Is The Bible Trustworthy?

There is insurmountable evidence for the accuracy and authority of the Bible. Let’s look at a just a few of those evidences:

Manuscript Evidence:

Ancient writing Number of copies Years between writing and first existing manuscript
Tacitus (Roman historian)

1

700

Josephus (Jewish historian)

9

300

Homer’s Iliad

650

950

Caesar’s
Gaelic Wars

10

1,000

The Holy Bible

5,750

50

As you can see, there is amazing manuscript evidence for the Bible. Since we generally accept the integrity of other ancient documents, and the Bible has far greater manuscript support, shouldn’t it enjoy at least the same historical respect?

Archeological Evidence: Many portions of the Bible have been proven to be true by archeological finds. Here are a few:

  1. The Bible records that David captured Jerusalem by entering through a tunnel that led to the Pool of Siloam. The pool was believed to be outside city walls until a discovery in the 1960s confirmed the pool was inside the city walls.
  2. The Bible lists Belshazzar as king of Babylon, but he isn’t found in any lists of Babylonian kings. Archaeologists later discover Belshazzar was appointed acting king by his father, King Nabodonius, for a period of a few years.
  3. The Bible says that God made the walls of Jericho collapse when the Israelites marched around the city with the priests blowing trumpets. Because Rahab, a resident of the city, provided refuge for Israelite spies, they promised that she and her family would survive the battle if they stayed in her house built against the northern city wall. Archaeologists have found that all of the walls of Jericho fell, except the northern wall, confirming the biblical account.

Prophetic Evidence: The Bible foretold many future events (prophecies). Some prophecies that came true in the life of the Jewish Messiah (Jesus) were:

  1. Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Jesus was born in this small town (Matt. 2:1–7, John 7:42, Luke 2:5).
  2. Messiah is to enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). This was fulfilled as people shouted to praises to Jesus while he entered the city on a donkey (Luke 19: 35, Matthew 21:6–11).
  3. Messiah is to be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12). Judas, Jesus’ betrayer, was given 30 pieces of silver to hand Jesus over to His enemies. (Matthew 26:15, 27:3).
  4. Messiah is to be executed by crucifixion as a thief (Psalm 22:16, Zechariah 12:10). Jesus died on a cross, hanging between two thieves (Luke 23:33, John 20:25).

Jesus fulfilled more than 100 other Messianic prophecies. The odds that just eight of these prophecies would be fulfilled randomly by any one person are one in 10 to the 17th power. To put that in perspective, imagine this: If Texas were filled with silver dollars one foot deep, you would have better odds of picking a marked coin than one in 10 to the 17th power.

Forty authors wrote the Bible in three languages over the course of 1,500 years, yet the whole Bible revolves around one theme—what God has done to save us from hell. Every one of us deserves that punishment, because we’ve broken God’s law (including the Ten Commandments). Have you ever told a lie, stolen, taken God’s name in vain, or looked at someone with lust? If you said yes to any of those, you’ll be guilty on Judgment Day. God, being infinitely just, must punish sinfulness. But Jesus, who lived a sinless life, was brutally tortured and crucified for you, and then he rose from the dead, defeating death. Jesus can take your punishment, or you can take your own punishment. The choice is yours. If you’d like to accept the gift of forgiveness He offers, repent (turn from your sin) and trust Jesus for this life and the life to come. Then, read the Bible daily to learn more about God and how to live for Him.

For further information on this topic, go to:
www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/bible.asp, www.carm.org, www.needGod.com

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45 Responses to Is The Bible Trustworthy?

  1. Evidently, Bill, you’re unfamiliar with postdiction and redaction. So sad. Also, simply because I accept the historicity of the bible, it does not mean that it’s divinely inspired; it merely means that it’s a book and that it’s old.

  2. billphillips says:

    Accepting the historicity of the Bible is a big step. One that few atheists take, and I admire you for that. I’m unfamiliar with postdiction, but I assume it means writing something after an event takes place and trying to pass it off as something written before the event as a prophecy. Of course, I might be wrong, because that word doesn’t seem to be in my dictionary.

    Even charging that the Bible has postdiction and redaction issues shows your ignorance of the manuscript evidence. You might want to take a look at the dead sea scrolls, and the prophecies in Isaiah. Also, you need to go back to Carm.org, and look at the manuscript evidence there.

    Are the Jews, who are certainly not big fans of Jesus, also in on this big conspiracy theory of yours?

    Thanks for your comment.
    Bill

  3. Odale says:

    I’m impressed, whether anyone who wants to debate scripture is or not! I like that carm.org site and I found another one you may be interested in perusing: http://www.biblebb.com/ . All we can do is pray and study and I’d say it looks like you’ve heeded 2Timothy 2: 15 (Study to show thyself approved…). Good job here.

    Aren’t the Mormons and Latter Day Saints the same? Do they have denmominational sects? e.g, Baptist, Methodist… Perhaps you already have a post; will see!

    Thanks for your efforts and God Bless You!

  4. billphillips says:

    Odale,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I think LDS have fundamental LDS (who still practice polygamy) and reformed LDS, who are much nearer biblical Christianity. There might be others, but I’m not sure.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  5. men4god says:

    Good work Bill. I would also recommend you check out the book “Seven Reasons Why you Can Trust The Bible” by Erwin Lutzer, which lists prophetic, logical, scientific, and other reasons why the Bible is true and accurate. If you do get a chance, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

    http://men4god.wordpress.com, http://russbonchu.reachby.com

  6. billphillips says:

    Men4God,

    Thanks for reading my blog, and for your comments. My friend always likes to tell people that if you were repairing your car, and you were using a manual, if the manual proved trustworthy, you would continue to use it and trust it. While I love all of the apologetics, my favorite proof for the Bible is that I’ve tried the it, and I know it to be true, because it works.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  7. Miles says:

    Well I’m athiest and I don’t think its a complete waste of time, we live by the morals or at least we should every day. Of course crap like noahs ark to me are stories of morals rather than factual historic events.

  8. Bill says:

    Miles,

    Where do you get your morals from? How do you know that there was no global flood about 4000 years ago?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  9. pelagian7 says:

    I read the Seven Reasons… It convinced me I couldn’t trust the Bible. Your chart about various books cracks me up. The earliest Bible ever found is now being made available on the web. It looks nothing like the various Bibles today. No virgin birth, no genealogy, no physical ressurection,and none of the divine references. Early Church fathers made the same claims. They also wrote that the audacious scribes of the first six centuries were adding and subtracting that which seemed good to them at the time, in the form of correction. At least three official times the scriptures, were found to be inaccurate and the church corrected them.

    And your prophecies were crib notes for those trying to create a new religion. You assume your interpretation is correct. However, you are merely repeating the propaganda fed to you by previous generations. That said, I believe the scriptures can tell a remarkable story.

    Luther said no other people wrote using allegory more than the Jews. Look up, Hellenistic and 1st century Jewish, symbolism. Look into the Jewish mystical lit. Then reread the Bible and you’ll catch on very quickly. There is a ‘two theme’ throughout, earthly (ego) and heavenly (higher consciousness). When Jesus says the kingdom is at hand, he meant it could be found inside ourselves. Paul said the same thing.

    About morals, you pick and choose which parts of the Bible to accept. How is this done? An early church father explained, we use the divine notions (our conscience) implanted in man by God since the beginning of time.

  10. Bill says:

    Hi Pelagian7,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I’d like to see the website you referenced about “the earliest Bible ever found.”

    Do you think it’s wrong to lie? How about stealing, adultery, and blasphemy? You’re breaking God’s law when you do those things, and guilty lawbreakers must be punished. What are you going to do about your sins?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  11. pelagian7 says:

    Check out the video posted by Paul Williams. I think it was a professor Tabor reporting. Do you think it is wrong to steal? King David said it was revealed to him by God that those starving could eat their fill in anothers field as long as they didn’t take a doggy bag, so to speak. This is Biblical, but I bet you wouldn’t allow any who are starving to raid your refrigerator. This was also Jesus message. The law was made for man, not, man, made for the law.

    What does that mean to you? The scribes wrote scripture and Pharisees were literal (inerrrant) interpreters of scripture and Jesus attacks them. Your inerrant literal interpretation sounds very much like the Pharisees.

    I apologize, I’m not very computer savy and I can’t find the web site for the old Bible. It said parts had been divided among different scholars for years and they were reassembling the parts and posting them early next year. I used their quotes on what it contains. However, I have read this same information from several other sources.

    This information has popped up many times in the past but those who found it discredited it with any number of excuses. When I assembled all the apologies for the claims of the early Bible, I was overwhelmed. There were so many and reading them together, I was left amazed that everyone didn’t know. Yet, when you try to tell someone they usually run the other way, so I guess lies, even obvious ones, can remain believed.

  12. Bill says:

    Pelagian7,

    I searched Youtube for “Paul Williams Bible” and “Professor Tabor Bible” and I can’t find anything. Unless you give a particular fact or cite a website, there’s nothing I can really respond to. You’re just some guy on the internet typing your opinion. You haven’t even given something in particular on this post that you dispute.

    Jesus disliked the Pharisees because they were legalistic and self-righteous–not because they interpreted the Bible literally. Jesus interpreted the Bible literally. Just flip through the gospels, and see how many times Jesus quoted the Old Testament, and how he interpreted it.

    You didn’t answer the question I asked. What are you going to do about your sins? Please answer it. I suspect you have no good answer.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  13. pelagian7 says:

    Hey Bill, look up my namesake, Pelagius. Then you will know about sin. Quoting scripture does not mean a literal interpretation. I quote scripture and I think it is highly compromised.

    Besides, quotes of scripture by Jesus were from a Greek translation and even then his quotes are not always accurate, an unforgivale sin for a Jew. Of course the Bible and its apologists won’t reveal these facts. You may have to read something other than propaganda to confirm my claims.

    What is your reply to Jesus including scribes in his damnation. He doesn’t offer explanations nor qualifications so any response is pure speculation to avoid his actual teachings, which are those who write scripture cannot be trusted. Jesus called scribes a brood of vipers, symbolic at the time for deceivers and evil doers.

    I understand your fear. It behooves you to defend every aspect of your doctrine, even if Jesus himself endorses another way. His Disciples misunderstood him and debated what he meant, yet, two thousand years later, those who repeat what they hear from generations removed, believe they can now, inerrantly interpret, an inerrant scripture, three languages removed, and two thousand years later, absolutely. How ridiculously arrogant, if Jesus wanted us to understand absolutely, his Disciples would have been the first to know.

    If you believe politicians are beyond reproach I give up. Those who put the Bible and doctrine together were politicians in addition to Holy men. Look up the latin phrase, Justa Causa, which was initiated by the Church and used liberally.

    The meaning is simple but the application is immpossible. The Church leaders acknowledged, in letters to one another, that lying for the good of man need not be a sin. These justifiable lies led to the defence of lies with more lies. Yet these are the moral men who gave you your interpretation of the Gospels, that is, if they gave you uncorrupted originals.

    You didn’t read what I wrote either, I told you to look for a video, I couldn’t remember the Bible site. I will find it and provide it for you though.

    Check out A.H. Newman 1899, Robert Eisenman, Gandy and Freke, Tom Harpur, Maccoby, Biagent, Barbara Theissen the Catholic Encyclopedia, Justin Martyrs apology, Retractiones, Clement recognitions. . .! I give you logic and sources to enjoy.
    From: Brian

  14. Bill says:

    Brian,

    Your line of thinking is filled with logical errors. While you think it’s not possible for anyone to know what the Bible teaches for certain, you’re certain that it doesn’t teach what I think. That is a self-refuting position.

    You can’t really take a stand on any position, because you never know for sure that the verse you like should actually belong in the Bible.

    You will give an account for every thought, word and deed on Judgment Day, and unless you repent and put your faith in Jesus, you will spend eternity in hell.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  15. pelagian7 says:

    Wrong again Bill, my position is that there are errors. That doesn’t mean my interpretation is correct, only that inerrancy is impossible.

    You are correct; if I don’t trust the Bible is uncompromised, I can’t take an absolute position using scripture alone. And generally I try to stay away from it, however, it is the only thing that you use, so I used it.

    You avoided answering my question. Why should we trust the Gospels when Jesus warned us to not trust those who write them, scribes?

    Additionally, you think you can understand a literal inerrant Bible written two thousand years ago. Yet, his Disciples who traveled with him, speaking the same language and able to ask him questions, didn’t always understand what he meant.
    They even argued with one another. Did Jesus tell them they had to agree completely with each other or go to hell? Which verse is that I can’t seem to find it?

    You, by saying I will go to hell, are casting the first stone, what would Jesus say. You should be ashamed of yourself.
    brian

  16. Bill says:

    Brian,

    You can’t know whether I’m right or wrong, so why are you arguing? It’s quite preposterous to debate the Bible when you have no idea what belongs and what doesn’t. The only consistent position you can take is to say you disagree, but I might be right.

    Why do you believe the verses that say Jesus was angry at the scribes? You only believe them because they fit your theology.

    Jesus was angry at the scribes for self-righteousness and hypocrisy. He wasn’t angry at them for copying the Bible incorrectly.

    There are some things Christians are free to disagree about. There are some things that Christians must believe to be Christians, such as the physical resurrection of Jesus, His deity, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

    Apparently you believe the verse about casting the first stone. Why do you believe that verse?

    I’m not ashamed of saying you’re going to hell. It’s patently obvious. I say it because I care about you, and I want you to find salvation. Christians are supposed to judge.

    Pelagianism is heresy that will take you to hell, and you can’t even debate that due to your presuppositions about the Bible, because I’m as likely to be right as you are.

    You have sinned against an infinitely holy God, and you deserve eternity in the lake of fire, suffering torture forever. However, God came to this earth and paid for our sins while we were still His enemies, then He rose from the dead on the third day. In response to this, you should submit to Jesus as Lord. I pray that God will save you.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  17. pelagian7 says:

    Bill again you state a position as fact, on how we need to believe in Jesus as God.

    Again your logic fails you. I cannot prove my interpretation is correct using scripture. But, I can, using your theology, prove you wrong.

    I am using your evidence and if it is false your position is false, if the scriptures are accurate then your position is still false because of the contradictions.

    You still have not addressed the Scribes. Biblically, none of what you said exists. Those are Church generated excuses. He calls them Vipers.

    Look up viper or serpent in Jewish or hellenistic symbolism books for that era. I can save you the time. Calling somone that was equal to calling them deceivers and liars.

    By the way, I am God so quit trying to read my mind.

  18. Bill says:

    Brian,

    Your statements don’t hold up to the standards of logic.

    You said,

    Bill again you state a position as fact, on how we need to believe in Jesus as God.

    Again your logic fails you. I cannot prove my interpretation is correct using scripture. But, I can, using your theology, prove you wrong.

    So you cannot take a stand on anything, but then you take the stand that I’m wrong. Even if the reasons I take my position are bogus, it could still be the right position, and you would never be able to tell.

    If you consistently applied your presuppositions, you can’t tell me I’m wrong, even if you don’t like my reasoning.

    You said,

    If the scriptures are accurate then your position is still false because of the contradictions.

    How do you know there are any contradictions? Again, you’re taking a stand that there are contradictions when you say you can’t take a stand. You’re acting very hypocritically.

    You’ve abandoned your whole line of argumentation about the scribes except for the word “viper”? Don’t you think you should read things in context? For someone who doesn’t take any positions, you take a lot of positions.

    Furthermore, I would agree wholeheartedly that the scribes were deceitful, and that doesn’t contradict my interpretation at all. Maybe you can show me where to find the list of “Church generated excuses” because I’m not familiar with that and would be interested in checking it out.

    You said,

    By the way, I am God so quit trying to read my mind.

    That’s called blasphemy, and you will give an account for that on Judgment Day. God in His mercy has delayed your death, but if I were you, I would be very leery of relying on the mercy of the God I hate. Should you die in your sins, you will glorify God for eternity as all of creation sees His wrath being poured out on you.

    I don’t want that to happen to you, so I speak candidly hoping something will get through to you.

    You really paint yourself in a corner when you say you can’t take any positions. It makes everything you say hypocritical, and is self-refuting, anyway.

    I’m willing to point out your inconsistencies for a while longer, but I hope you’ll comprehend it soon.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  19. Vagon says:

    Hi Bill,

    Let me be open and say I’m an atheist and that I have not yet found any historical evidence for anything but a mythical Jesus. That is to say, I do not believe Paul was talking about an earthly man.

    I also note there are a number of factual and historically correct places and events within the bible, but I find these no more compelling than say the city of Troy confirming Achilles could only be killed by his ankle.

    I have some questions that will address my main gripes:
    How can we trust the historical method of the anonymous gospels writers?
    Are their any contemporary (as in around 0 AD) records of a miraculous Jesus?
    Is their any archaeological evidence of the miracles in the Bible (say a global flood line)?

  20. Bill says:

    Hi Vagon,

    I’m not sure I would approach the question of whether there is a God, or whether Jesus is Him, in the way you’re approaching it. I’d say there is a Creator, because time, space, matter, and life demands a Creator. Life is filled with information, and information doesn’t come about by chance or non-intelligence. So there is a Creator. That only leaves the question of who He is.

    I believe Jesus is God, and Christianity is the correct religion for a couple of reasons. I know that I have sinned. I have broken God’s law, and I deserve to be punished. Christianity is the only religion that provides a payment for my sin.

    All religions attempt to deal with the question of making up for sin. Almost all of them say we can do something to pay for our own sins. For example, Islam says that you can keep the 5 pillars and Allah will forgive your sins. That is bribery–not justice. Jesus provides the payment for my sins, and there is nothing I can do to pay for it or earn it. It is a gift.

    If you’re looking for some sort of evidence for miracles of Jesus, I would recommend investigating His resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus is one way the Bible offers to falsify Christianity.

    I’m away from home right now, and may not be able to check back on this conversation as much as I would like. I appreciate your comment, and I would definitely like to continue the conversation as we have opportunity.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  21. Vagon says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your time, hope you’re having a good time away during the festive season and I completely understand if conversation is chequered.

    Well as you can imagine I don’t see the same evidence for a creator that you do. I don’t know if we should bring that into this thread, but if its core to the argument I’m absolutely willing.

    Do you mean sin as in just breaking a religions tenets or Christianity specifically?

    Also can you provide a resource or site (when you get back is fine) for the evidence around the resurrection? Compelling evidence here would certainly go a long way to changing my views.

    All the best

  22. Bill says:

    Hi Vagon,

    Sin is breaking God’s law, specifically the laws of the God of the Bible. However, there are some laws that I think everyone, including atheists, can agree on. For example, lying is a sin. How many lies have you told in your life? I’ve told more than I can count, and that makes me a liar. The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

    Most people think lying is no big deal; everyone does it; surely God isn’t going to send everyone to hell. We are guilty lawbreakers, and we may not like the punishment, but what else would you expect? What criminal is excited about their sentence? The judge determines the sentence–not the criminal. We have an infinite sentence dangling over our heads, and only an infinite payment can satisfy justice.

    Of course, there are 9 other commandments, with the same penalty, of which both you and I are guilty in thought or deed, some of which you would agree with, and some you wouldn’t.

    Here’s a good site to look at:
    http://www.carm.org/evidence-and-answers

    There are a few articles about each of the objections you’ve raised on that page under “Evidence supporting Jesus’ existence” and “Answers to objections concerning Jesus’ miracles and resurrection.”

    Here’s a question I have for you. Where do you think time, space, matter, energy and life came from?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  23. Vagon says:

    Thanks for the CARM site – it seems big! I’ve got a bit of time coming up (as you can imagine) so I’ll have a read over it.

    You mentioned earlier that Christianity paying for my sins is evidence of the bible, but you’re also saying sin is breaking God’s laws, this does seem a bit circular to be. I mean that to believe in sin, you would have need to believe in God in the first place.

    On the subject of lying, certainly I’ve lied, but I don’t think that makes me a liar anymore than the fact I’ve told the truth makes me a truth-teller. I cant say lying is always bad, in fact I’m pretty sure in the bible God himself lies!

    In regard to your question, I don’t know of anyone that can say they definitely they know about space, time, matter and energy. As I understand it the problem is that we cannot hope to measure distances below Planck length. Life is another hard one, as I’m sure you know there’s a whole bunch of hypotheses around it, but again I’m not sure on that.

    Hey just so I can check out your verses, which Bible are you using, KJV?

    Cheers,
    Vaughan

  24. Bill says:

    Vaughn,

    There is no need to become a Christian if you don’t feel terrible about your sins. I don’t think you even could become a Christian if you don’t feel guilty.

    Your conscience should tell you that lying is wrong. That is a testimony to the Bible. Christianity provides the only logical solution to the problem of sin. This also provides evidence that the Bible is correct.

    How many lies do you have to tell before you’re a liar? How many murders do you have to commit before you’re a murderer?

    What verse is it where God lies?

    Not only does no one know how time, space, matter, energy and life came about by itself, but to posit the theory that it did come about by itself is unscientific and foolish. If there is an effect, there was a cause.

    There are several versions of the Bible I like. KJV is probably my least favorite, due to the antiquated English. I like NIV, NASB and ESV best.

    Merry Christmas,
    Bill

  25. Vagon says:

    Hey Bill,

    I suppose that’s where we differ. For me lying carries nowhere near the same weight as murder – I would, without doubt, lie to save a life.

    I just looked up the passage I was thinking about and it wasn’t God, lying it was Abrahm – apologies. Funny though – it kind of ties in to what we’re saying, Arbrahm lies to save Sarah’s life (Gen 12:14-20). Is this a bad example because it comes before the new covenant?

    Well abiogenesis is a long way off in my opinion, but you would be hard pressed to argue the big bang theory isn’t based what we observe. Its probably going off topic though unless you believe the bible to represent a young earth.

    Hope you and your family had a great Christmas,
    Vaughan

  26. Bill says:

    Hi Vaughan,

    Lying isn’t as bad as murder, I agree. The Bible doesn’t teach that lying is as serious as murder. However, we are guilty of lying, and we as the guilty party do not determine the penalty. We don’t get any input on the fairness of our punishment. God is holy and just, and the penalty for even one lie is eternity in hell.

    Regarding Genesis 12, lying has always been a sin. There are many stories told in the Bible where it doesn’t comment on the wisdom or sinfulness of the characters’ actions. Lying is certainly not endorsed in that passage.

    A scientist in a lab cannot demonstrate abiogenesis. It has to be shown that life comes from non-life by chance for atheism to be true. The law of abiogenesis states that life cannot come from non-life. It is a scientific principle. To believe that somewhere long ago, in a galaxy far, far away that it did happen is an unscientific step of faith.

    I am a young-earth creationist, because that is what the Bible teaches. But, the big bang doesn’t answer the question of where everything came from. Where did the matter come from that exploded? To be an atheist, you have to start with absolutely nothing at some point that came into existence for no reason, by itself.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  27. Vagon says:

    Hey Bill,

    Yeah I don’t know I find it funny that God punishes the Pharaoh in that instance and not Abrahm, when he lies about his marriage – but I guess you’d say I’m trying to put myself in God’s shoes.

    I think you are thinking of the “law of biogenesis” (maybe a typo?). Anyhow this is regarding fully formed life, rather than say a replicating nucleic acids. As previously stated I think we are a long way off anything conclusive in that area so I’d rather not make judgement calls. I do think calling atheism false on this basis is a leap of faith though.

    On where the matter came from. Well thats another “I dont know” but we have a much better idea here to the point where I’d be pretty happy with saying “We cant know”. Perhaps I can help clear up any misconceptions, are you familiar with quantum mechanics or general relativity?

    Also one thing has always puzzled me about young earth creationists, maybe you could help. I’m guessing you believe in “Kinds” and an earth around 6000 years old, yes?

  28. Vagon says:

    Have a good new years!

  29. Bill says:

    Hi Vaughan,

    I think God doesn’t punish believers for their sins, because the only punishment God hands out is hell. However, there certainly can be consequences for sin, and Abraham may or may not have suffered consequences for lying, but I don’t expect the Bible to give every detail.

    I’m not too familiar with quantum mechanics and relativity, though I have a degree in electrical engineering, so I think I could catch on. I’d like to hear (or you can just give me a link) that explains how matter, energy, space and time literally came from nothing and nowhere.

    Thanks for the correction; I should have written “law of biogenesis.” I think it’s very safe to say that even a replicating nucleic acid cannot form by chance. Even that would be a very complex system, and complex systems don’t arise by chance.

    Yes I believe in kinds and a 6000 year old earth. For example, a poodle and a wolf are the same kind. Noah took 7 pairs of the dog kind on the ark, and people have bred them or they’ve micro-evolved to their current species. However, a dog cannot evolve into some other kind.

    Happy new year to you, too!

    Thanks,
    Bill

  30. Vagon says:

    Hi Bill,

    A really good book to read is “The Elegant Universe” by Brian Greene – its not religious at all, just physics and some of it fairly cutting edge.

    Now as for the universe coming from nothing and nowhere, I think thats a couple of misnomers. “Nowhere” is a reference to a location, but if the universe is at singularity it so dense that distance and space is literally useless. “Nothing” is referring to non-existence, but I think you’ll find most people are referring to an existence that is so small you cant observe it; or what is called “Planck Length”.

    Nucliec acids are complex in a way I suppose, but I’m not sure they are any more complex than non life – say snow flakes or crystals. That said I’m not sure you’d find that line of argument convincing as you believe God made them too :)

    Okay so the thing that puzzles me is, if a wolf and a poodle are the same kind how did such disparity occur that they should become so different in only 6000 years? Or were the 7 kinds of different sizes and shapes?

    Here’s some links:

    Planck Length:
    http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae281.cfm?CFID=24220927&CFTOKEN=93e90b6b8b9a53ad-F79DFB4A-15C5-EE01-B9D1C71E3166D032

    Quantum Mechanics intro:
    http://www.scoon.co.uk/Quantum101.pdf

    Id also recommend buying the Feynman Lectures, which are more dated than Greene but equally awesome in how they make sense of the current struggle to combine Quantum Mechanics with General Relativity.

    Cheers,
    Vaughan

  31. Bill says:

    Hi Vaughan,

    You said, ““Nowhere” is a reference to a location, but if the universe is at singularity it so dense that distance and space is literally useless.”

    I agree with the point you’re making, but my question would be where did the universe at a singularity come from? How did it even come to be at all? Will I find the answer in the book or links you mentioned?

    Certain molecules will naturally arrange themselves into crystals and snowflakes under the right conditions. Molecules don’t randomly arrange themselves into amino acids, much less proteins or replicating nucleic acids. To believe that they have in spite of the fact that they don’t is a leap of faith.

    How do wolves become poodles in 6000 years (closer to 4500 since the flood)? This is an example you can probably learn about in secular history. You would agree that humans have bred poodles from some original species of domesticated dog, right? Poodles didn’t evolve on their own; there was human intervention.

    Modern poodles have been bred as pets, and the first poodle may be about 400 hundred years ago (you’d have to verify that, I couldn’t find much of a history). As far as I know there are no famous poodles of ancient history. Poodles are a fairly recent development.

    The first poodles were supposedly for hunting, and probably bred in France. In the last few centuries, they’ve been bred smaller and smaller and more suited to being house pets. It hasn’t taken all that long.

    This type of evolution involves a loss of genetic information. Wolves have the genetic information for all the domesticated dogs. But, you can’t take 2 poodles and breed them back into a wolf. The gene pool for poodles doesn’t have the information for a wolf. Also, poodles can never be bred to fly, or be bred to live underwater like whales. That would be macroevolution and would be impossible, because that would require a tremendous amount of new information.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  32. Vagon says:

    Hey Bill,

    You will find an answer, in a round about way but I don’t think it’s what you’d expect and its not overly satisfying. We cant confirm how it came to be at this stage and we literally cant know what its properties are. That is a definite affirmation of ignorance. Things like string theory are being proposed and have yet to be falsified, but they are far from complete.

    On the subject of wolves to poodles that makes a lot of sense, human intervention. How about those species which haven’t had human intervention like say an anaconda to Leptotyphlops carlae (a 10cm snake)?

    I guess what I’m driving at is, if in 4500 years we can see those kind of huge difference from micro-evolution, whats so crazy about an old ape turning into a man?

  33. Bill says:

    Hi Vaughn,

    I looked up Leptotyphlops carlae, and the Wikipedia article had this line, “Hedges named the new species of snake in honor of his wife, Carla Ann Hass, a herpetologist who was part of the discovery team.”

    I wonder whether Carla really took it as an honor to have a snake named after her. I kind of doubt that she goes around bragging to her friends that her husband named a species in her honor.

    I don’t think creationists have a problem with snakes remaining snakes, even if there’s a great size differential. I don’t know how many kinds of snakes were on the ark. The only problem for creationists would be if a snake developed an entirely new systems or structures. Otherwise, I don’t know how long it would take for a snake to micro-evolve into a small snake.

    The problem with ape to man evolution would be that humans do have entirely different structures and systems that couldn’t come about by many small evolutionary steps.

    Micro-evolution is really the opposite of macro-evolution. Macro-evolution requires an increase in genetic information and new systems. Micro-evolution, while it is change within a kind, is really based on the loss of information. Examples of micro-evolution only hurt (or at least don’t help) the case for macro-evolution.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  34. Vagon says:

    Haha very true, though I guess being a biologist herself Carla probably was chuffed.

    Re snakes remaining snakes, thats fair enough I just thought a kind was defined by the fact it could procreate with a different kind and produce fertile offspring, in which case I would think an anaconda and carlae would be two different kinds. Maybe you could could point me to a definition of kind.

  35. Bill says:

    Vaughan,

    The definition of kind isn’t exactly clear cut, just as the definition of species isn’t clear cut. Here’s an article discussing some of the definitions:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/cfol/ch2-species.asp

    I appreciate your tone in this conversation; you’re welcome here anytime.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  36. Vagon says:

    Cheers Bill, I really appreciate your time in providing this open forum.

    That was a good article from AiG, it helped me clear up the young earth position. That said I am still unsure on their argument, I would think an inability to clearly define kind supported evolution. They seem to be saying that a kind is a unique combination of shared traits. Thats fine, but it seems to side-step some of the more clear cut examples of atavism or left over organs and limbs.

    For example I think tails still appearing in humans is fairly good evidence that we once had a tail. Even more clear cut are whales with legs, but these are just the really obvious ones I can think of. I’ll have a look around tonight and grab some links.

    All the best,
    Vaughan

  37. Vagon says:

    As promised here are some good recent links I’ve found:

    Tails:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19922280?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1

    Whales:
    (http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/Palaeofiles/whales/archaeoceti.htm
    And one a bit more detailed from the biologist mentioned in the AiG article you provided (its long but that allows for good detail):
    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/gould_leviathan.html

  38. Bill says:

    Vaughan,

    If someone has 12 fingers and toes or 16 toes, that isn’t indicative that we evolved from an animal that had more than 5 fingers and toes. Freak occurrences happen. Also, why would we lose our tail? I think a tail would be useful.

    The whale fossils in those article are highly disputed even among evolutionists. There are major problems with whales evolving from land mammals. For example, even the side-to-side tail movement of land mammals to up-down tail movement in whales would require major structural changes. There can be no small steps between the two.

    Gould says an animal like a tiger with more of a natural up-down spinal motion must have evolved into a whale, but that only moves the problem somewhere else. And I don’t think that’s the path that the fossils on the previous link took anyway.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  39. Vagon says:

    Hi Bill,

    A couple of things here. Firstly, usefulness isn’t a prerequisite for evolution: a peacocks tail is useful in only so much as it attracts the opposite sex, perhaps small/no tails were more attractive.

    Secondly I’ve heard creationists say this before: information doesn’t come from nothing. If we saw humans growing wings, well, then you could throw evolution out the window but this is exactly what the evolutionary model predicts. If you look at the genes of a human and a chimp we share over 99%, we can actually go in and see the gene that grows tails.

    Thirdly if you accept that freak occurrences like growing a fully functional tail can occur, then why is the difference between a man and an ape-like ancestor so hard to see?

    The great thing about evolution is that we can falsify every one of these suggestions. If we ever saw a fossil of common decent in the wrong geographic location, say a horse fossil here in Australia, it would completely blow the theory out of the water.

    Cheers,
    Vaughan

  40. Bill says:

    Vaughan,

    In regards to your third point, I think we can look at the children of these people born with tails and extra fingers to see whether evolution is a viable theory. Do their children have extra fingers or a tail? I doubt it. There would be a reversion to the mean.

    If these occurrences overcame the hurdle to being passed on to a following generation, there is no reason to believe they would aid in survivability. A partial tail (the steps between no tail and a useful tail) would only harm the chances of survival of all the generations that had it.

    Also, these examples are not additions of information but corruption of existing information.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  41. Vagon says:

    Well I don’t know the characteristics of this specific tail gene, but actually its pretty certain their children could have the characteristics. At face value its a 1 in 4 chance the kids will get it. All you’d need is for another person with this tail gene as dormant (as opposed to damaged) and the chances would go up again.

    I guess it depends on what you mean by information, I thought the addition of a tail was what you meant. But yeah evolution doesn’t really propose that there was suddenly a whole new tail formed, its slow. Really slow actually. If you mean new self replicating data I’d point you to endogenous retroviruses (a bit of a mouthful). Or something even less ‘alive’ is a prion (just a weirdly formed protein). Both of these can add data to existing DNA and pass it on.

    Actually the endogenous retroviruses are really cool, and further evidence of evolution can be seen from when the various DNA was infected. you can see shared retroviruses between humans and apes for example going back in the fossil record to specific times.

    Did you get a chance to read any of the physics stuff?

    Cheers,
    Vaughan

  42. Bill says:

    Vaughan,

    I intend to read the book and articles you mentioned, but I haven’t had time quite yet.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  43. Vagon says:

    Absolutely understandable, let me know when you do, the book is really great and like I said there’s no religious discussion at all just well written science.

    Cheers.

  44. Bill says:

    Hi Vaughan,

    I finished reading the book and the links you gave. I like the book it’s pretty interesting stuff. I’m not sure that it really shed any light on our discussion. It talked about electrons and positrons popping into existence, but the energy for that is provided from somewhere in the universe.

    There was also a speculative discussion that there may be many other universes, but none of them came into existence from nothing. Much like Richard Dawkins speculates that life on earth could have originated from aliens, multiple universes only moves the problem off to somewhere else.

    If there is a painting there is a painter. If there is a building there is a builder. If there is a universe (or multiverses) there must be a universe maker.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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