John Grisham is in my short list of favorite authors alongside Tana French, Philip Kerr and Pierce Brown. My two favorites are probably Runaway Jury and The Client. I never finished Gray Mountain so that would not be a positive review if it came down to it.
Camino Islandis a heist story. It takes place in the book world. My complements to John Grisham for writing a novel about the novel writing business. A book about authors and their work can’t be all bad. I’m convinced this book is Grisham’s tribute to his readers and book lovers in general. It’s also a salute to independent bookstore owners
What I liked:
The story takes place in the summer. I chose it as a summer read. It’s so appropriate to have summer novels cover the summer season! It’s on the beach too. What a perfect setting for a summer read. The only regret I have is that I didn’t take it to the beach with me.
There’s a nice vignette depicting authors talking about authors and writing. Or not talking about writing. Apparently, writers come in two camps, those that talk about their writing and those that don’t. Either way this for me was the cornerstone of Camino Island. I wish there was more, a lot more, of the group of writers. That was a book I really could have gotten into. There wasn’t enough of that part of the book for me.
There’s a private insurance investigation group of characters in the story. This part also has potential. I could see an entire series of novels based on them. I doubt that John Grisham has the inspiration to do that though. He’s written so much already and I don’t think he needs the money. Oh Well.
What I didn’t like
None of the thieves involved in the heist were convincing. Having spent time around people who steal things, I have an impression of what they’re like. None of them were given much depth either. At least if they weren’t convincing I might have tolerated them had I gotten to know them a little bit.
I got the impression that Grisham was interested in writing about one character – Bruce Cable – a book store owner. He spends his time and energy on Cable. Just not enough on the others, any of them, to make the book enjoyable.
He has another character, a young author named Mercer, who is struggling to write her second novel. She is also struggling, financially and personally. However, her story would have meant a totally different book. I suspect Grisham didn’t find her challenges interesting enough on their own, so he folded her into this heist novel. Mercer has writer’s block. I am wondering if she’s a projection of the writer’s block Grisham had trying to write the novel about her, until he gave up and put her in Camino Island. All in all I expect Grisham fans will appreciate this book. If you aren’t a fan I can’t see any reason why this one would convince you otherwise.
Chapter 11 – The Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament Writers Told the Truth
The top ten reasons we know the New Testament writers told the truth.66
The New Testament writers included embarrassing details about themselves.
The New Testament writers included embarrassing details and difficult sayings of Jesus.
The New Testament writers let in demanding sayings of Jesus.
The New Testament writers carefully distinguished Jesus’ words from their own.
The New testament writers include events related to the resurrection that they would not have invented.
The New Testament writers include more than thirty historically confirmed people in their writings.
The New Testament writers include divergent details.
The New Testament writers challenge their readers to check out verifiable facts, even facts about miracles.
New Testament writers describe miracles like other historical events: with simple, unembellished accounts.
The New Testament writers abandoned their long-held sacred beliefs and did not deny their testimony under persecution or threat of death.
Three radical beliefs adopted by New Testament Christians after abandoning their old beliefs.67
Sunday, a work day, as the new day of worship.
Baptism as a new sign that one was a partaker of the new covenant in place of circumcision, the sign of the old covenant.
Communion as an act of remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for their sins.
Communion is especially inexplicable unless the Resurrection is true. Why would Jews make up a practice where they symbolically eat the body and drink the blood of Jesus?68
Unnecessary because of Christ’s sacrifice
Binding Law of Moses
Nonbinding because it was fulfilled by Christ’s life
Trinity (three persons in one divine essence)
Replaced by Sunday worship
Sacrificial Messiah (he’ll conquer when he returns)
Replaced by baptism and Communion
Finally, in addition to abandoning long-held sacred institutions and adopting new ones, the New Testament writers suffered persecution and death when they could have saved themselves by recanting. If they had made up the Resurrection story, the certainly would have said so when they were about to be crucified (Peter), stoned (James), or beheaded (Paul).69
In chapters 9 and 10 the authors proved we have an accurate copy of the early and eyewitness testimony found in the New Testament documents. The question for chapter 11 is whether the documents were invented, embellished, or exaggerated. The chapter proves that they were not. The writers simply had no motive to lie, and every motive to admit they were lying if they had. The lasted remaining objection by skeptics then is that the New Testament writers were deceived. They sincerely though Jesus had risen from the dead, but they were wrong. Chapter 12 deals with that theory.70
How much faith does it take to believe the New Testament? Faith is often a missunderstood word. The faith that Christianity is based on is basically belief that because Jesus is God, committing to Him results in an eternal existence based on forgiveness of sins we committed. Sins that were judged and punished with the crucifixion of Jesus. Do you think the book makes a persuasive case that believing the New Testament is actually true takes a lot less “faith” than disbelieving it, as atheists and others choose to?
66 Geisler & Turek pages 275-290 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
67Geisler & Turek pages 292 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
68Geisler & Turek page 292 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
69Geisler & Turek page 292 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
70Geisler & Turek page 297 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 10 – Do We Have Eyewitness Testimony About Jesus?
Eyewitness Claims in the New Testament
In the New Testament, Peter, John, and Paul state that they saw the resurrected Jesus. Paul identified 12 apostles and 4 women as witnesses by name plus an additional 500 people, most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote about them.
Luke has written the significant book that covers much of this evidence, Acts. Here are the facts that support the accuracy of what Luke wrote.
Classical scholar and historian Colin Hemmer chronicles Luke’s accuracy in the book of Acts verse by verse. With painstaking detail, Hemer identifies 84 facts in the last 16 chapters of Acts that have been confirmed by historical and archaeological research.62 As you read the following list, keep in mind that Luke did not have access to modern-day maps or nautical charts. Luke accurately records:63
The natural crossing between correctly named ports
The proper port along the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cypress
The proper location of Lycaonia
The unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra
The correct language spoke in Lystra
Two gods known to be associated – Zeus and Hermes
The proper port, Attalia , which returning travelers would use
The correct order of approach to Derbe and then Lystra from the Cilician Gates
The proper form of the name Troas
The place of a conspicuous sailor’s landmark, Samothrace
The proper description of Philippi as a Roman colony
The right location for the river near Philippi
The proper association of Thyatira as a center of dyeing
Correct designations for the magistrates of the colony
The proper locations where travelers would spend successive nights on this journey
The presence of a synagogue in Thessalonica
The proper term used of the magistrates there
The correct implication that sea travel is the most convenient was of reaching Athens, with the favoring east winds of summer sailing
The abundant presence of images in Athens
The reference to a synagogue in Athens
The depiction of the Athenian life of philosophical debate in the Agora
The use of the correct Athenian slang word for Paul as well as for the court
The proper characterization of the Athenian character
An altar to an “unknown god”
The proper reaction of Greek philosophers, who denied the bodily resurrection
Areopagites as the correct title for a member of the court
A Corinthian synagogue
The correct designation of Gallo as proconsul resident in Corinth
The bena, which overlooks Corinth’s forum
The name Tyrannus as attested from Ephesus in first-century inscriptions
Well-known shrines and images of Artemis
The well-attested “great goddess Artemis”
That the Ephesian theater was the meeting place of the city
The correct title grammateus for the chief executive magistrate in Ephesus
The proper title of honor neokoros authorized by the Romans
The correct name to designate the goddess
The proper term for those holding court
Use of plural anthupatoi, perhaps a remarkable reference to the fact that two men were conjointly exercising the functions of proconsul at the time
The “regular” assembly, as the precise phrase is attested elsewhere
Use of precise ethnic designation, beroiaios
Employment of the ethnic term Asianos
The implied recognition of the strategic importance assigned to this city of Troas
The danger of the coastal trip in this location
The correct sequence of places
The correct name of the city as a neuter plural
The appropriate route passing across the open sea south of Cypress favored by persistent southwest winds
The suitable distance between these cities
A characteristically Jewish act of piety
The Jewish law regarding Gentile use of the temple area
The permanent stationing of a Roman cohort at Antonia to suppress any disturbance at festival times
The flight of steps used by the guards
The common way to obtain Roman citizen ship at this time
The tribune being impressed with Roman rather than Tarsian citizenship
Ananias being high priest at this time
Felix being governor at this time
The natural stopping point on the way to Caesarea
Whose jurisdiction Cilicia was in at the time
The provincial penal procedure of the time
The name Porcius Festus, which agrees precisely with that given by Josephus
The right of appeal for Roman citizens
The correct legal formula
The characteristic form of reference to the emperor at the time
The best shipping lanes at the time
The common bonding of Cilicia and Pamphylia
The principal port to find a ship sailing to Italy
The slow passage to Cnidus, in the face of the typical northwest wind
The right route to sail, in view of the winds
The locations of Fair Havens and the neighboring site of Lasca
Fair Havens as a poorly sheltered roadstead
A noted tendency of a south wind in these climes to back suddenly to a violent northeaster, the well-known gregale
The nature of a square-rigged ancient ship, having no option but to be driven before a gale
The precise place and name of this island
The appropriate maneuvers for the safety of the ship in its particular plight
The fourteenth night – a remarkable calculation, based inevitably on a compounding of estimates and probabilities, confirmed in the judgment of experienced Mediterranean navigators.
The proper term of the time for the Adriatic
The precise term for taking soundings, and the correct depth of the water near Malta
A position that suits the probable line of approach of a ship released to run before an easterly wind
The severs liability on guards who permitted a prisoner to escape
The local people and superstitions of the day
The proper title protos tes neson
Rhegium as a refuge to await a southerly wind to carry them through the straight
Appii Forum and Tres Tabernae as correctly placed stopping places on the Appian Way
Appropriate means of custody with Roman soldiers
The conditions of imprisonment, living “at his own expense”
Luke identifies 35 miracles that took place in Acts.
Luke, John and Acts
By looking at just a few new testament documents, John, Luke and half of Acts, we have found more than 140 details that appear to be authentic, most of which have been historically confirmed and some of which are historically probable.64
From this chapter the authors conclude that the New Testament contains at least four to six lines of early, independent eyewitness written testimony.65
The major New Testament writers record the same basic events with diverging details and some unique material.
They cite at least thirty real historical figures who have been confirmed by ancient non-Christian writers and various archeological discoveries.
The second half of Acts with at least 84 historically confirmed eyewitness details and includes several others in his Gospel.
Luke’s proven trustworthiness affirms that of Matthew, and Mark because they record the same basic story.
John includes at least 59 historically confirmed or historically probable eyewitness details in his Gospel.
Paul and Peter provide the fifth and sixth written testimonies to the Resurrection
Since this early, independent eyewitness testimony is within one generation of the events, the New Testament events cannot be considered legendary.
What were your thoughts about the historical accuracy of the New Testament Gospel before? If you read the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts now will you see it any differently based on how it has been historically verified? What doubts would you have about what was written in the books of the New Testament? Does the fact that Acts contains so many documented miracles concern you? The next chapter promises to address potential doubts.
62Colon J. Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History
63Geisler & Turek pages 256-259 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
64Geisler & Turek page 269 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
65Geisler & Turek pages 273-274 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 9 – Do we have Early Testimony About Jesus?
Historians have documented 10 Non-Christian writers who mentioned Jesus within 150 years of his life. By comparison, you will find documentation that Roman Emperor Tiberius was mentioned by 9 writers within that time frame.
Here is a compilation of facts documented by these non-Christian writers.57
Jesus lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar.
He lived a virtuous life.
He was a wonder-worker.
He had a brother named James.
He was acclaimed to be the Messiah.
He was crucified on the eve of the Jewish Passover.
He was crucified under Pontus Pilot.
Darkness and an earthquake occurred when he did.
His disciples believed he rose from the dead.
His disciples were willing to die for their belief.
Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome.
His disciples denied the Roman gods and worshipped Jesus as God.
Here is the goal of chapter 9
Since, as we have shown, the existence of God and the possibility of miracles is firmly established through natural revelation, and the general story of Christ and the early church is affirmed through non-Christian sources, did the miracles of Christ actually occur as the disciples claim? So the New Testament documents record actual history? Could it be that they are not biased religious writings full of myths and fables as many in our modern world assume, but instead describe events that actually occurred about 2,000 years ago? Is so, we’ll be well on our way to discovering which theistic religion is true.58
Publius Cornelius Tacitus
To test the historical validity of the New Testament the authors pose two questions
1. Do we have accurate copies of the original documents that were written down in the first century?
2. Do those documents speak the truth?
Here is some of the evidence for question #1.59
Copies of the original documents- about 5,800 Greek New Testament manuscripts. 20,000 more in other languages. The next closest document with copies of manuscripts is The Iliad by Homer with 1,800 total.
Some of the manuscripts were written very close to the time the originals would have been written. Within 25 years. Other manuscripts by comparison – Homer; about 400 years between the original and the oldest copies. Plato 1,200 years (only 7 actual copies). Caeser 1,000 years (only 10 actual copies). Pliny 750 years (only 7 actual copies).
The early church workers quoted the original so many times, you could make your own complete reproductions of the New Testament just from reading others quoting it.
Because of the quantity of source material, the accuracy of the New Testament has been established at 99.5 percent.
Seven items provide the basis for the historical reliability of the New Testament (is it the truth?).60
Early testimony that supports the New Testament.
Eyewitness testimony that confirms the New Testament.
Multiple, independent eyewitnesses.
Archeological corroboration and corroboration from other writers.
Enemies of Christianity who attest to the reliability of the New Testament.
Testimony regarding the New Testament that has content embarrassing to the authors.
The authors draw two major conclusions in this chapter.61
We have an accurate copy of the original New testament documents.
The New Testament documents are early and contain even earlier source material.
Often you hear about doubts about the New Testament. What do you think about the overwhelming evidence that eliminates reasonable arguments by doubters?
57Geisler & Turek page 223 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
58Geisler & Turek page 223 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
59Geisler & Turek pages 224-230 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
60Geisler & Turek page 231 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
61Geisler & Turek pages 248-249 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
The halfway point in the book marks a transition from proving the existence of God to proving Christianity. Here again are the twelve points the book sets out to make.4 I have summarized them below.
Truth about reality is knowable
The opposite of true is false
It is true that the theistic God exists. There are 4 types of evidence for this truth
If God exists, then miracles are possible
Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (acts of God confirm a word from God)
The New Testament is historically reliable, based on 4 key points of evidence
The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God
The Jesus’ claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by
His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself
His sinless life and miraculous deeds
His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection
Therefore, Jesus is God
Whatever Jesus teaches is true
Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God
Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God – and anything opposed to it is false
Chapter 8 covers the two points about miracles @ items 4 and 5.
The authors point out that so far the Cosmological, Teleological, a Moral Law arguments prove the existence of a theistic God. Therefore no other religious worldviews, those that deny a theist God, are correct about God. That is based on the Law of Noncontradiction. Mutually exclusive religions cannot all be true.
While other religions can offer good guidance and state accurate truths, they are still built on a false foundation without a theistic God.
How we know beyond a reasonable doubt that a theistic God exists with certain characteristics.50
The Cosmological Argument proves that God is
Self-Existent, timeless, nonspatial, immaterial (outside of time, space, and matter). in other words, without limits. infinite.
Unimaginably powerful, having created the universe out of nothing.
Personal, by choosing to convert nothingness into the time-space-material universe.
The Teleological Argument proves that God is
Supremely intelligent, able to design incredibly complex life in an incredibly precise universe.
Purposeful, having designed many life forms which live in the specific and ordered environment they exist in.
The Moral Law Argument proves that God is
Absolutely morally pure. Consisting of infinite justice and infinite love.
God Communicates Using Miracles
Is it possible for God to intervene in the natural world by performing miracles?
In fact, miracles are not only possible; miracles are actual, because the greatest miracle of all – the creation of the universe out of nothing – has already occurred. So with regard to the Bible, if Genesis 1:1 is true – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” – then every other miracle in the Bible is easy to believe.51
The two major arguments against miracles came from Benedict Spinoza and David Hume.
According to Spinoza53
Miracles are a violation of natural laws.
Natural laws are immutable.
It is impossible to violate immutable laws.
Therefore, miracles are impossible.
The problem with Spinoza’s argument is that it begs the question. How does he know that natural laws are immutable?
The creation of the universe itself shows us that natural laws are not immutable. The universe was created by a power beyond nature, a supernatural power.
Book Discussion Day 8: Chapter 7 – Mother Teresa vs. Hitler
The first three arguments for a theistic God are the Cosmological Teleological and Moral Law arguments.
The Moral Law Argument39 Every law has a law giver
There is a Moral Law
Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.
Eight reasons for the Moral Law40The Moral Law is undeniable
We know it by are reactions
It is the basis of human rights
It is the unchanging standard of justice
It defines a real difference between moral positions (Mother Teresa vs. Hitler)
Since we know what’s absolutely wrong, there must be an absolute standard of rightness
The Moral Law is the grounds for political and social dissent
If there were no Moral Law, then we wouldn’t make excuses for violating it.
How we react proves we live by a Moral Law
One student, an atheist, wrote eloquently on the topic of moral relativism. He argued, “All morals are relative; there is no absolute standard of justice or rightness; it’s all a matter of opinion; you like chocolate, I like vanilla,” and so on. His paper provided both his reasons and his documentation. It was the right length, on time, and stylishly presented ion a handsome blue folder.
After the professor read the entire paper, he wrote on the front cover,”F, I don’t like blue folders!” When the student got the paper back he was enraged. He stormed into the professor’s office and protested, “F! You didn’t grade the paper on its merits!”
Raising his hand to quiet the bombastic student, the professor calmly retorted, “Wait a minute. Hold on. I read a lot of papers. Let me see…wasn’t your paper the one that said there is no such thing as fairness, rightness, and justice?”
“Yes,” the student answered.
“Then what’s this you say about me not being fair, right, and just?” The professor asked. “Didn’t your paper argue that it’s all a matter of taste? You like chocolate, I like vanilla?”
The student replied, “Yes, that’s my view.”
“Fine, then,” the professor responded. “I don’t like blue. You get an F!”
Suddenly the light bulb went on in the student’s head. He realized he really did believe in moral absolutes. He at least believed in justice. That simple fact defeated his entire case for relativism.41
We judge, because there is a standard based on the Moral Law
Before he became a Christian C.S. Lewis believed one reason for belief in atheism was all the injustice in the world.
“As an atheist my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”42When people think that morality is relative, it is due to confusion.43 People confuse absolute morals with changing behavior.
People confuse absolute morals with changing perceptions of the facts
People confuse absolute morals with the application of morals to particular situations
People confuse a what an absolute command is with how the absolute command is practiced by a particular culture
People confuse absolute morals with disagreements over moral questions
People confuse values that are absolute ends with the means of achieving those ends
Consider the moral dilemma often used by university professors to get their students to believe in relativism: there are five people trying to survive in a life raft designed for only four. If one person isn’t thrown overboard, then everyone will die. Students labor over the dilemma, come to different conclusions, and then conclude their disagreement proves that morality must be relative.
But the dilemma actually proves the opposite – that morality is absolute. How? Because there would be no dilemma if morality were relative! If morality were relative and there were no absolute right to life you’d say, “It doesn’t matter what happens! Throw everyone overboard! Who cares?”. The very reason we struggle with the dilemma is because we know how valuable life is.44
Ideas have consequences
Hitler used Darwin’s theory as a philosophical justification for the Holocaust.
Princeton professor Peter Singer used Darwinism to assert that “the life of a newborn is of less value than that of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”45James Rachels wrote a book defending the Darwinian view that the human species has no more inherent value than any other species. He wrote that retarded people should be used as laboratory subjects, or as food, like other animals.46Two other Darwinists, Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, wrote a book asserting that rape is a natural consequence of evolution.47Objective moral laws require a transcendent Law-Giver, but the Darwinian worldview has ruled him out in advance. So consistent Darwinists can only consider murder and rape as personal dislikes, not real moral wrongs.48
In their seminar the authors begin with these two points
If There is no God, then what Hitler did was just a matter of opinion!
If at least one thing is really morally wrong – like it’s wrong to torture babies, or it’s wrong to intentionally fly planes into buildings with innocent people in them – then God exists.49
I think the biggest reason people do not consider where their ideas about right and wrong come from and what how they should live their lives is based on is that many simply do not think about it. If they think of it much at all their thoughts don’t go below the surface. Have you had conversations with anyone about how they know the difference between right and wrong? How far did the conversation go?
What consequences do you think can result from some of the ideas about whether or not there is a Moral Law?
39Geisler & Turek page 171 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
40Geisler & Turek page 172 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
41Geisler & Turek pages 173-174 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
42C.S. Lewis page 45 Mere Christianity
43Geisler & Turek pages 182-186 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
44Geisler & Turek page 184 IDon’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
45Peter Singer pages 122-123 Practical Ethics
46James Rachels page 186 Created from Animals: the Moral Implications of Darwinism
47Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion
48Geisler & Turek page 191 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
49Geisler & Turek page 192 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 6 – New Life Forms: From the Goo to You via the Zoo?
The Most Difficult problem for Darwinists. Where did the first life come from?
Darwinists don’t have an explanation for first life. Yet they still force the very bad – completely unsupported – science of macroevolution on innocent children in American public schools.
Comedian Steve Martin used to say, “I know how you can be a millionaire and never pay taxes! First get a million dollars, okay, now…”27
The joke of Darwinism is worse than that because, 1) they can’t explain how first life occurred, and 2) they can’t even explain where the non-living chemicals came from that first life consists of.
Darwinist Theory of Macroevolution
The belief that all life on earth came from one common original one cell organism, naturally, with no intelligent direction, no God, all by accident.
The only scientific evidence that has ever been found, shows that microevolution takes place. That is when a life form changes BUT still remains the exact same type of life form. There is no scientific evidence of any lifeforms ever evolving into a different type of life form.
The Darwinists use the evidence of microevolution to claim that it proves macroevolution. That’s their proof! Remember that the next time anyone asks you if you believe in evolution. Which one? The one that there’s evidence for or the one Darwinism teaches that has never been observed?
Five reasons why natural selection cannot support Darwinists’ unproven macroevolution.28
Nonviability of Transitional Forms
The Fossil Record
Artificial selection, man made efforts to change species, has never been successful because each species of life is limited by its genetic makeup. And once again, Darwinists tell you that natural, unintelligent random selection can do what artificial, intelligent man made intervention can’t.
The evidence of change within a species shows that they change back and forth over time in response to environmental influences, not in one specific direction without returning to a previous form. Natural Selection may be able to explain the survival of a species, but not the arrival of a species.
In his book Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, provides the evidence of irreducible complexity that disproves Darwinism.29 Here is his conclusion.
The idea of Darwinian molecular evolution is not based on science. There is no publication in the scientific literature – in journals or books – that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations. Since there is no authority on which to base claims of knowledge, it can truly be said that the assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster.30
Here is what Behe wrote about the contribution of this scientific study.
The result of these cumulative efforts to investigate the cell – to investigate life at the molecular level – is a loud, clear, piercing cry of ‘design!’ The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science. The discovery rivals those of Newton and Einstein.31
Nonviability of Transitional Forms
Darwinism claims that macroevolution takes place slowly, minute changes over long periods of time. So the problem for the Darwinists is twofold: first they have no viable mechanism for getting from reptiles to birds, and second, even if a viable mechanism were discovered, the transitional forms would be unlikely to survive anyway.32
At a molecular level there is no trace of the evolutionary transition from fish >amphibian>reptile>mammal. So amphibia, always traditionally considered intermediate between fish and other terrestrial vertebrates, are in molecular terms as far from fish as any group of reptiles or mammals! To those well acquainted with the traditional picture of vertebrate evolution the result is truly astonishing.33
The Fossil Record
Darwin thought that further fossil discoveries would reveal that his theory was true. Time has proven him wrong.34 Even though the fossil record has not shown the ancestral relationships Darwin hoped for, it doesn’t matter because it is irrelevant since the irreducible complexity problem revealed by microbiology trumps it.
Anatomy is, quite simply irrelevant to the question of whether evolution could take place on the molecular level. So is the fossil record.35
Even though Darwinists have no support for their theories, they object to Intelligent Design.
Four Darwinist Objections to Intelligent Design36
It is not science
It commits the God-of-the-Gaps fallacy
It is religiously motivated
It is false because the so-called design isn’t perfect
Why are there still Darwinists when their theory has been proven false?
Motivations for supporting Darwinist beliefs37
Darwinists would lose their claim as the highest authorities on truth. (Power)
By admitting God, Darwinists would be admitting that they don’t have absolute authority when it comes to explaining causes. (Miracles)
By admitting God, Darwinists would risk losing financial security and professional admiration. (Power/Money)
By admitting God, Darwinists would be admitting that they don’t have the authority to define right and wrong for themselves.
The authors propose teaching the scientific evidence that supports Intelligent Design in American public schools. They argue why not give children all the scientific evidence, pro and con, and let them make up their own minds. They say that Darwinists fight to prevent this from happening. The reason why, they say, is because in this area Darwinists lack faith.
They lack the faith to believe that their theory will still be believed after our children see all the evidence.38
For me the discussion must be about what appears to be the source of the conflict. This is a moral battle. Truth is at the center of this battle. I argue that it’s a form sophisticated deception. Advanced lying. In every adversarial confrontation there are winners and losers. Do you think there is a more important issue in the debate than that? If so what might it be?
27Geisler & Turek page 139 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
28Geisler & Turek pages 142-155 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
29Geisler & Turek page 145 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
30 Michael Behe page 183 Mere Creation: Science, Faith, and Intelligent Design. William Dembski
31Michael Behe pages 232-233 Darwin’sBlack Box.
32Geisler & Turek page 148 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
33Michael Denton page 285 Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.
34Geisler & Turek page 152 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
35Michael Behe page 22 Darwin’sBlack Box.
36Geisler & Turek pages 156-161 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
37Geisler & Turek pages 162-163 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
38Geisler & Turek page 167 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 5 – The First Life: Natural Law or Divine Awe?
The Proof that Darwinism is nothing more than a secular religion masquerading as science
Atheists and Darwinists including Naturalists do not have a valid explanation for the presence of life on earth. Any life on earth. Scientific discovery, specifically the nature of DNA, proves that the simplest life form on earth is made of detailed instructions that would fill over 1,000 sets of encyclopedias.22 Their theory is that original life spontaneously came into existence from nonliving chemicals. There is no scientific evidence for this theory. None. In fact all the scientific evidence points to an intelligence that created and designed the instructions that tell DNA to cause life to occur. There is no forensic evidence to support the theory either. That’s the same type of evidence which the police use to investigate crime. Forensic investigation is based on the Principle of Uniformity.23 The chapter has a useful analogy to describe that principle. If natural activity causes something today, then that’s what happened in the past. If intelligent activity caused something in the past, then that’s what is happening today. For example, the faces of presidents on Mount Rushmore could not be made by natural wind erosion today. Therefore in the past when Mount Rushmore came to look the way it does, it was caused by an intelligent action. Similarly, the Grand Canyon was created by water erosion many years ago, just like water erosion creates canyons in the present day.
When confronted with the complexity of DNA and the impossibility of life being created by itself, the atheists and Darwinists admit that they are committed to their theory regardless of the evidence. Moreover, they will not question it since to do so would require them to consider a divine cause.
This is compounded by the fact that all experimental efforts to re-create life by scientists have failed. So intelligent scientists have been unable to do what Darwinists and atheists claim unintelligent chemicals can do by themselves. And if some scientist is ever able to do it, it would only prove that it could be done by intelligent action!
Here’s a tip. If life could have spontaneously created itself from nonliving things as atheists claim, then according to the principle of uniformity it should have been able to happen more than once since the earth began. But there is no evidence of it ever happening even once! Not today, not last week, not last year, not ever.
Science is a Slave to Philosophy
Science is built on philosophy. Bad philosophy results in bad science and good science requires good philosophy. Here are three reasons.24
Science cannot be done without philosophy
Philosophical assumptions can dramatically impact science
Science doesn’t really say anything-scientists do.
There are five reasons why the materialism of the Darwinist naturalists’ worldview is false.25
Materialism cannot explain how complex life exists from mindless nature creating it. The authors point out that its like saying the words on this page were not created by the mindless ink, but by the mind of the writer who held the pen.
Human thoughts and theories are not comprised of only materials. Thoughts, convictions and emotions are not completely materially based. Therefore materialism is false.
If we were nothing more than materials, then we’d be able to take all the materials of life – which are the same materials found in dirt – and make a living being.
If materialism is true, then everyone in all of human history who has ever had any kind of spiritual experience has been completely mistaken.
If materialism is true, then reason itself is impossible.
Let’s simplify this
If you could identify one paragraph that represents this lengthy and complex chapter, it would be this one on page 133
How do you find the right box top of the puzzle of life? Arriving at the right box top is not a matter of preference (you like atheism, I like theism). No, it’s a matter of objective fact. By using the self-evident first principles of logic and the correct principles of scientific investigation, we discovered in chapters 3 and 4 that this is a theistic universe. If this is a theistic universe, then materialism is false. If materialism is false, then the Darwinism promoters may not be interpreting the evidence correctly.
Here is a summary of some of the chapter’s main points.
Life isn’t made up of merely chemicals, it includes specified complexity which only comes from a mind. There are no known natural laws that create specified complexity. Science is a search for causes based on philosophy, and there are only two types of causes, intelligent and natural. Yet the Darwinists use a philosophy that rules out intelligent causes before they even look at the evidence. Spontaneous generation of life, which Darwinism requires to get the theory started, has never been observed. It is believed by faith. With such strong evidence against the Darwinian belief in naturalism/materialism, that belief has nothing but their faith in it to support it.26
In many public schools children are taught materialism, the idea that life occurred by chance from natural phenomenon. What are the consequences of teaching a theory that is not supported by any scientific evidence?
Remember the discussion on why we believe what we believe? This gets back to those four sources of belief. Sociological (parents, friends, society and culture), psychological, religious, and philosophical. Why do people believe that the science of evolution disagrees with intelligent design and creation? Is it because of sociological influence, what they’ve been told? Since there isn’t any philosophical or scientific proof to support materialism and a natural cause for either the creation of the universe or life on earth, why do some people believe these ideas?
22Geisler & Turek page 118 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
23Geisler & Turek page 118 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
24Geisler & Turek pages 127-128 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
25Geisler & Turek pages 126-127 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
26Geisler & Turek pages 134-135 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 4 introduces us to the Teleological Argument which was alluded to in Chapter 3 when the authors described the precision with which the universe was created.
The Teleological Argument17
Every design has a designer
The universe has a highly complex design
Therefore, the universe has a designer
There is so much evidence of the complex design of the universe it is hard to quantify. The Anthropic Principle can help the average person get an idea of how complex our universe is.
The Anthropic Principle
In so many words, this principle identifies many aspects of the created universe that allow life to exist on earth. These aspects are very narrow as a rule, and the odds of all of them coming together to enable life on earth are far beyond chance. In other words, it is not statistically possible that they happened by chance.
The chapter describes five anthropic constants in detail. Each constant represents something in the universe that is required for life on earth to exist. There is another list of 10 constants. Over 100 of these anthropic constants have been identified. Every one of them must exist for us to have life on earth. They are also dependent on one another. If one of the constants was altered in the slightest, others would not be in the state they are, and we would not be here. It is not possible for all these constants, existing in the precise form that they do, to have been created accidentally.
Five Anthropic Constants18
Moon-Earth Gravitational Interaction
Carbon Dioxide Level
The chapter examines how atheists respond to this evidence. It is very telling. It amounts to essentially ignoring the evidence and attempting to explain it away with unscientific guessing. For example, one atheist argument is the Multiple Universe Theory. It’s main goal is to explain the unexplainable, how the universe could be made by chance when there is no chance it was made by chance. Four problems of the Multiple Universe Theory are provided in the chapter.19
The Questionable Response of Atheists
Questions About the Multiple Universe Theory
There is no evidence for it.
It has been proven that it is not possible for an infinite number of real things to exist in a finite universe.20 Since the Multiple Universe Theory asserts that there are infinite universes the theory promotes an idea that is not possible.
It is not possible for multiple universes to exist in the precision they would need to have without something or someone to design them that way. In other words, multiple universes would increase the argument for a designer, not defeat it.
The Multiple Universe Theory explains away everything you can imagine.
Here is an example of how the theory works.
In fact, The Multiple Universe Theory is so broad that it can even be used to excuse the atheists who made it up. Perhaps we just happen to be in the universe where people are irrational enough to suggest that such nonsense is the truth!21
The authors conclude the chapter by explaining that atheists who refuse to accept the scientific evidence showing the universe was designed do so because they are unwilling to accept the idea itself. They do not want to believe it, so they choose to ignore the evidence. An explanation for why they make that choice is promised in chapter 6.
How do you feel when you think about the mountain of evidence that proves the universe was designed to support life on earth? What reactions do you have?
I think this is the type of knowledge that provokes an emotional response. Do you think the knowledge shared in the chapter motivates people to try to answer the questions many of us have? For example, who created us? Why were we created? Is there an eternity we should consider?
Do you see how the authors use the Teleological Argument as another basis for their point that it takes more faith to be an atheist than not? The atheists deny that there is a designer of the universe. Where to you fall on this question?
17Geisler & Turek page 95 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
18Geisler & Turek pages 98-102 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
19Geisler & Turek page 107 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
20Geisler & Turek pages 90-91 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
21Geisler & Turek page 108 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
Chapter 3: In the Beginning There Was a Great SURGE
SURGE stands for
Second Law of Thermodynamics
Universe is Expanding
Radiation from the Big Bang
Great Galaxy Seeds
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity13
All of these aspects of the SURGE provide overwhelming evidence that science and scientists have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe, everything that exists in the physical reality, had a beginning.
Real tangible evidence. Scientific evidence.
What the evidence points to is that time, space, matter and energy are all related. They all began at the same moment, at the beginning of the universe. Which means time, space, matter and energy did not exist before the universe began. There was not time, space, matter or energy before the universe began. None of the material reality existed before the universe started, and it started from a single point and has been expanding ever since that beginning.
The fundamental principle of science is called the Law of Causality.14 The law states that everything that had a beginning had a cause.
Since the universe had a beginning, what caused the universe to exist?
The simplest, best and easiest answer is God
The fact the universe had a beginning points to the existence of something beyond nature, or supernatural as the cause of the universe. Since there was nothing, no matter before the universe, there was no natural thing before the universe. Therefore anything existing before the universe or before time itself would exist beyond time, space and matter, and, by definition, be supernatural, transcending time and space.
Now for the heady part.
If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing?15
Nobody has come up with a good answer. Not a single atheist. All attempts by atheists have been found poorly lacking in any scientific or logical validity, often both.
In summary, the chapter makes the case that the scientific evidence leaves us with only two possibilities16
No-one created something out of nothing
Someone created something out of nothing
If you can’t believe that nothing caused something, then you don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.
Here is the Cosmological argument that defeats atheism:
Everything that had a beginning had a cause.16
The universe had a beginning.
Therefore the universe had a cause.
Here is the most scientific proof that I think there can be for the existence of God. How persuasive do you find this to be?
Why do people choose to doubt the existence of God after considering this evidence? What is their position based on? What are the reasons for them believing that there is no God? Are they sociological? Are they psychological? Are they religious? Are they philosophical? If they are philosophical what is the strength of their evidence? How do they answer the question if there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing?
There was one overriding facet of the scientific evidence proving the beginning of the universe. It was the precision with which the universe was created. There is such specific precision to the universe that it points to a supernatural creator.
On page 93 of the chapter the authors list 4 things about the First Cause that made the universe based on scientific evidence.
Self-existent, timeless, nonspatial and immaterial
Unimaginably powerful, to create the entire universe out of nothing
Supremely intelligent, to design an incredibly precise universe
Personal, in order to choose to convert nothingness into the time-space material universe
Since science identified these characteristics of the entity that existed before the universe, how would you compare it to our ideas about God?
13Geisler & Turek pages 76-84 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
14Geisler & Turek page 75 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
15Geisler & Turek page 94 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
16Geisler & Turek page 75 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.