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  • Rick LoPresti

Debunking the debunkers

The presence of those who deny the existence of God and reject the Bible is nothing new. Today there are many deniers, some of whom even make a living at it. Christians need to know the arguments and have proper responses to them. "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1Pet 3:15)." The word answer in this verse is translated from the Greek word apologia, which is where we get the word apologetics. Apologetics is not apologizing. It means to give a reasoned statement of argument. The word reason in 1Peter 3:15 does not mean we rely on human intellect on its own apart from God (Rom 8, 1Cor 1-2). It comes from the Greek word logos which is the same word in John 1:1 & 14 describing Jesus Christ as the Word. It is true that if someone is determined to deny God and the Bible, there is not an argument that will persuade them. They will always find what are called rescuing devices to persist in their rejection. However, there are sincere people who need to be given the truth, and there is value in debunking the debunkers for the record.

In that vein, there is a video on youtube.com featuring a lecture by the famous scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The video is entitled, "Neil DeGrasse Tyson Debunks Creation (Intelligent Design)". The title of the lecture therein is "The Perimeter of Ignorance". It is about 40 minutes long. As an exercise in examining arguments, let us review his points and evaluate them.

The first point is that 85% of members of the National Academy of Sciences deny God. The obvious conclusion made is that since the majority of current scientific experts deny God, He must not be real. This is a logical fallacy known as argumentum ad populum or arguing based on the majority opinion. The majority of people including scientists have been wrong about things before. Medical scientists used to believe in blood letting, and they also refused to believe that infection could be transmitted by touch through microorganisms. Many people died because of the majority opinion. The majority of Germans in the 1930s believed in Adolph Hitler, and the majority of Russians believed in Joseph Stalin. History does not look kindly on either of them.

At the 12:50 mark, DeGrasse Tyson states that the question is not why do 15% of scientists believe in God. The question is, why isn't it zero? Thus his true agenda is revealed. It is not to advance science. It is to eliminate faith in God, especially among professional scientists. He states that the atheistic scientists must not "sweep this under the rug" or they are disingenuous in their efforts. Their efforts at what? At eliminating faith in God. He confirms this in his closing as well.

The argument behind the next point permeates the rest of the speech. Mr. DeGrasse Tyson states that Isaac Newton only expressed faith in God when he reached the limit of his understanding. He used faith in God to fill the gaps, and ceased to pursue scientific understanding at that point. He says Newton "basked in the glory of God" and stopped learning because of it. He was "no good any more". The speaker uses cherry picked quotes to misrepresent the nature of Newton's faith. His faith was his worldview and the basis upon which he did his science. This was also the case with many pioneers in different fields of science. DeGrasse Tyson says Newton was the greatest intellect in history, but then says he was ignorant. You can't have it both ways. DeGrasse Tyson also says that when Newton learned things through his studies, he abandoned God. He only made reference to God on things he did not understand. This is an outright lie, is inconsistent, and is illogical. Here are some other quotes from Newton. "He who thinks half-heartedly will not believe in God; but he who really thinks has to believe in God.” "“How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art, and for what ends were their several parts? Was the eye contrived without skill in Opticks, and the ear without knowledge of sounds?...and these things being rightly dispatch’d, does it not appear from phænomena that there is a Being incorporeal, living, intelligent...?” "“God without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing.” "No sciences are better attested than the religion of the Bible." "We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever." There are more.

DeGrasse Tyson then quotes Galileo in an effort to support his position on Newton. He states Galileo stated that God intended for us to use our intellect. He states this means that Galileo indicated by this that there is a distinction between faith and science. Again, the exact opposite is true. The quote is this: "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." If intellect is a gift from God, then how is it that to use it we must dispense with God?

The speaker calls the community of atheistic professional scientists "a community of truth seekers". Do truth seekers seek to silence anyone who presents even the slightest deviation from their opinion? Is there freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas in the professional scientific community and in the public education system, especially when it comes to God and the Bible? Major universities such as Harvard and Yale were founded as Christian seminaries. The original motto of Harvard was "Veritas Christo et Ecclesia", which means "Truth for Christ and the Church". It has been shortened to just "Veritas". Now the mention of God and the introduction of His word are forbidden, especially in science classrooms. I suggest a documentary called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" by Ben Stein regarding the shutting down of free discourse on the topic of intelligent design on college campuses.

DeGrasse Tyson does nothing to debunk the existence of God, the validity of the Bible, the creation account, or even intelligent design. He just insults the intelligence of believers and exalts his own, much like Bill Bye did in his debate with Ken Ham. Does Mr. DeGrasse Tyson know everything? What percent of all knowledge does he have? Let's say it's 10%. Could the existence of God be in the other 90%? He states "it takes someone without God on the brain" to advance learning, and that learning stops with belief in God. I wonder how Newton, the man he says is the most intelligent ever, would respond to that. We can just read his own statements to see. At the 21:25 mark, DeGrasse Tyson says that intelligent design is the philosophy of ignorance. He also states that science is the philosophy of investigation. He is implicitly saying that evolution is science and people of faith cannot do science. The conflict is between two worldviews which influence the interpretation of evidence, not the evidence. If atheistic evolutionists have a corner on the market of knowledge, then what about the Renaissance which by no coincidence occurred when Gutenburg invented the printing press and gave the Bible to the people. This period saw an explosion of Biblical knowledge and science happening simultaneously sometimes even by the same people. There are no conflicts between faith and real science, only between faith and atheism. The whole reason believers did and still do science is to learn what they don't know, not to stop where they don't and just leave it all to God.

The speaker states that when people look at the underbelly of a tarantula, no one invokes God. They only do this when they look at the cosmos. Does he know all 7 billion plus people on the earth? Millions and millions of people see the handiwork of God in all creation - people like Newton, hundreds of PhD professional scientists today, and myself.

DeGrasse Tyson states that President Bush erred when he said that God named the stars. He stated that 2/3 of the stars have Arabic names, so that is incorrect. Do Muslims realize he just stated their God does not exist? President Bush was quoting Psalm 147:4 which states, "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names". Just because Muslims gave them names too does not prove God does not exist. Men give multiple names to many things such as animals and plants. He then speaks about naming rights based on his presupposition that there is no God who has naming rights to His creation. Muslims did not create or discover the stars, so why do they have naming rights? The Greeks and Romans didn't either, but they also gave them and planets names. The origin of the language of names serves nothing to disprove God and proves nothing about science. The speaker states that 2/3 of stars that have names have Arabic names. What do the names of the other 1/3 prove? Why is DeGrasse Tyson fine with Islam but not Christianity? Why doesn't Islamic faith in their God stop their ability to do science and learn? The speaker states that from 800-1100AD Islam brought great increase of knowledge and Baghdad was the center of intellect. He says Arabic numerals, navigation, and the study of the celestial all came out of this time and place. Then a man named Al-Ghazali stated that math is of the devil and their whole system and ability to learn came crashing down and has never recovered. That was when revelation replaced investigation. Even if this was true, it does not prove that religion stops learning. This proves nothing against Christianity or the relationship between faith and knowledge. "Math is of the devil" is not in the Bible. This assertion means no Christian nor any Muslim has any knowledge and has discovered nothing scientifically since 1100AD. That is obviously false. Also, it would mean that the center if intellect for 300 years collapsed because of one statement about one subject by one man. That does not sound like the fountain of knowledge to me. Certainly not everything that has ever been spoken by people who claim to be people of faith has been perfect, but the same can be said of atheists. This neither proves nor disproves the validity of faith and does not inform us on the relationship between faith and knowledge. In fact, Jesus and the apostles repeatedly warned that there would be such people, so in that sense these people actually confirm the Bible.

The speaker states that there is a museum in New York with an area that shows monkey skeletons holding hands with human skeletons and says that Christians who don't believe the big bang theory cannot answer that. First of all, this display proves nothing about anything other than that some people made it. Most likely the bones are not even real. Monkeys and people exist together now as they did in the past. They have similarities and also differences because they were uniquely made by the same Creator. If people believe that skeletons can shake hands, they already have some issues. This display has nothing to do with whether the big bang theory is right. This theory has major scientific problems of its own without trying to support it like this. I suggest videos and articles at answersingenesis.org for further examination of the big bang theory by PhD astronomers.

DeGrasse Tyson then presents some facts that he puts under the heading of stupid creation in an effort to debunk the idea that there is any evidence of intelligent design. A basic problem with every one of them is that they do not take into account the teaching of the Bible that God originally created everything good (Gen 1-2), but when sin entered the world it not only affected man but all creation (Rom 8:19-23). Adam and Eve were over all things on the earth under God, and when they sinned it affected everything under them (Rom 5:12-21, 1Cor 15:21-26). The curse is only addressed by the death of Jesus Christ, and the final manifestation of that will occur when He returns. In the meantime, there is danger, suffering, and death. The speaker asks why there is no other place in the universe that is conducive to life. This not only doesn't prove his proposition, it agrees with the Bible. The creation account describes only the earth being created to support life, and there is nothing in the Bible about life anywhere else except spiritually speaking in heaven. DeGrasse Tyson states there is no sign of a benevolent being. There is abundant evidence of God which can be seen through His creation (Rom 1:20), but God gave Mr. DeGrasse Tyson and all of us the ability to choose to believe or not. No argument or evidence will override that for those who are adamant about their denial. The speaker says that evolution is hardly an efficient plan, and on that point we agree. Evolution is not only an inefficient way for things to come into being, it is impossible. The issue of danger, suffering, and death is not a problem for Christians. It is a problem for atheistic evolutionists. If the cosmos and everything on earth is evolving into a better state, then why is there suffering? Also, if there is no God, what is the definition of right and wrong. How would we know that suffering is bad and not good? In fact, only the Bible makes sense of these questions.

The speaker accuses Christians of hubris and audacity, but then he sets himself up as the one who knows how everything should have been designed. He states that if "people" (by which he means Christians) who are not making discoveries in science are allowed in the classroom, it will be the end of civilization and future economic success. How strange is it that the Biblical principles Western civilization, the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution were based on are now the cause of the destruction of that very society. The Bible gives the best economic advice there is. Even secular financial advisors either acknowledge this or at least borrow from its principles without saying so. There is no explanation of how rejecting God and embracing evolution will save society, or even how it is necessary to do science.

DeGrasse Tyson asks how many Muslims have won Nobel prizes compared to Jews. He complains that so few of 1 billion Muslims have received this award compared to so many of about 15 million Jews. It was Jews who wrote the Bible. The prophets, Jesus, and the apostles were all Jews. The early church was Jewish until Acts 10. Not all people who are Jewish by descent practice their faith, but many do. Also, there are Jewish Christians today as there were at the beginning of the church. These statements disprove rather than prove his argument. He states if it were not for the collapse of Muslim learning in 1100AD, they would have won all of the Nobel prizes. That is an absurd and unproveable statement.

DeGrasse Tyson then concludes by repeating his assertion that the problem is not that 15% of scientists believe in God, but that it should be zero. He explicitly states this is his objective and it is the objective of all atheistic evolutionist scientists. That has nothing to do with the true goals of science and learning, despite his fearmongering and lying. It is a religious goal unmasked. This is why students are blocked from learning any alternative to the current prevailing beliefs of most professional scientists. According to Mr. DeGrasse Tyson, it was the purpose of the conference he was speaking at. All people should be free to pursue knowledge, not be blocked from this pursuit so they can all be indoctrinated into a specific opinion. That is what leads to a lack of knowledge and advancement. Every atheistic political ideology has lead every nation that has embraced it into spiritual, political, and economic darkness. Wherever people are free to pursue and practice the scriptures, prosperity has come.

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