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Baloney Detection The Right Use of Logic and Investigative Procedure by James Nickel, B.A., B.Th., B.Miss., M.A. Copyright 2007 www.biblicalchristianworldview.net.

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Presentation on theme: "Baloney Detection The Right Use of Logic and Investigative Procedure by James Nickel, B.A., B.Th., B.Miss., M.A. Copyright 2007 www.biblicalchristianworldview.net."— Presentation transcript:

1 Baloney Detection The Right Use of Logic and Investigative Procedure by James Nickel, B.A., B.Th., B.Miss., M.A. Copyright

2 Baloney Detectors The evidence conclusively states …. The evidence conclusively states …. The authorities say …. The authorities say …. You are a troglodyte. You are a troglodyte. Lets build a straw man. Lets build a straw man. Will you please beg the question? Will you please beg the question? Lets test it. Lets test it. What do you mean? What do you mean? I believe …. I believe …. copyright

3 The evidence conclusively states …. Facts are always interpreted facts. Facts are always interpreted facts. Two people can look at the same fact and come to different conclusions. Two people can look at the same fact and come to different conclusions. Hes out! (if the player is an opponent)Hes out! (if the player is an opponent) No, hes safe! (if the player is on your team)No, hes safe! (if the player is on your team) Even false theories can muster up supportive evidence. Even false theories can muster up supportive evidence. There is a tendency in human nature to ignore the inconvenient. There is a tendency in human nature to ignore the inconvenient. copyright

4 The Fossil Record Assertion: The fossil record evidences the truth of evolution. Assertion: The fossil record evidences the truth of evolution. Question to pose: Question to pose: What changes are necessary for one species to evolve into another?What changes are necessary for one species to evolve into another? What must happen, morphologically, for a land creature to evolve into a water creature?What must happen, morphologically, for a land creature to evolve into a water creature? copyright

5 The Fossil Record One change?One change? Many changes?Many changes? How many changes?How many changes? A significant number of changes.A significant number of changes. copyright

6 The Fossil Record Since evolution occurs imperceptibly slow over immensely long periods of time, then there should be evidence, fossil evidence, of these many changes.Since evolution occurs imperceptibly slow over immensely long periods of time, then there should be evidence, fossil evidence, of these many changes. The fossil evidence is multitudinous.The fossil evidence is multitudinous. No such evidence exists.No such evidence exists. copyright

7 The Fossil Record The fossil record gives evidence to land and sea creatures.The fossil record gives evidence to land and sea creatures. The fossil record does not give evidence to the required multitude of intermediary transitional forms as the theory of evolution demands.The fossil record does not give evidence to the required multitude of intermediary transitional forms as the theory of evolution demands. copyright

8 The Fossil Record A great deal of interpretation is involved in the analysis of fossils. A great deal of interpretation is involved in the analysis of fossils. Do not believe a scientist when he says, We will follow the evidence to wherever it leads. Do not believe a scientist when he says, We will follow the evidence to wherever it leads. Many scientists are biased when it comes to explaining the fossil record. Many scientists are biased when it comes to explaining the fossil record. In history, some scientists have been willing to create deceptive evidence (e.g., the Piltdown Man forgery) in order to prove their belief system. In history, some scientists have been willing to create deceptive evidence (e.g., the Piltdown Man forgery) in order to prove their belief system. copyright

9 The authorities say …. Nothing is true just because a Ph.D. says it is or scholarship has shown … Nothing is true just because a Ph.D. says it is or scholarship has shown … To be an expert in a subject does not necessarily make you an authority. To be an expert in a subject does not necessarily make you an authority. The dogma of authority can always be tested. The dogma of authority can always be tested. copyright

10 The Challenger Explosion (1986) For a variety of reasons, NASA, an expert in launching vehicles into space, wanted the space shuttle to fly. For a variety of reasons, NASA, an expert in launching vehicles into space, wanted the space shuttle to fly. It was very cold. It was very cold. The manufacturers told NASA that the O- rings could possibly fail given the conditions. The manufacturers told NASA that the O- rings could possibly fail given the conditions. The authorities at NASA refused to heed these warnings and proceeded with the countdown. The authorities at NASA refused to heed these warnings and proceeded with the countdown. copyright

11 The Challenger Explosion (1986) 73 seconds after lift off, the Challenger exploded killing all seven on board. 73 seconds after lift off, the Challenger exploded killing all seven on board. In this instance (real world test), NASA, as an authority, was wrong. In this instance (real world test), NASA, as an authority, was wrong. copyright

12 How Modern Science Works The conclusions of scientists can be wrong. The conclusions of scientists can be wrong. Often, only limited tests are made to confirm a theory. Often, only limited tests are made to confirm a theory. Many times, politics, power, and money (funding) are involved in the affirmation of a theory or a making of a decision. Many times, politics, power, and money (funding) are involved in the affirmation of a theory or a making of a decision. Debate and negotiation are often involved in determining a conclusion. Debate and negotiation are often involved in determining a conclusion. Politics, power, and money sometimes trump truth. Politics, power, and money sometimes trump truth. copyright

13 You are a troglodyte. In any debate between two people, we must be careful to make a distinction between the argument and the people engaged in the argument. In any debate between two people, we must be careful to make a distinction between the argument and the people engaged in the argument. copyright

14 You are a troglodyte. Christians are nothing but bigoted troglodytes. Christians are nothing but bigoted troglodytes. Jews! They the cause of all the problems in the world! Jews! They the cause of all the problems in the world! But you are an atheist! But you are an atheist! Ha! Hes a creationist. Ha! Hes a creationist. copyright

15 You are a troglodyte. Ad hominem, in Latin, means to the man. Ad hominem, in Latin, means to the man. Calling people names [to the man] is often a way of distracting attention away from the issue at hand. Calling people names [to the man] is often a way of distracting attention away from the issue at hand. copyright

16 Every person is biased People tend to believe what they believe for a variety of reasons. People tend to believe what they believe for a variety of reasons. Every man views facts based upon a philosophy of the facts. Every man views facts based upon a philosophy of the facts. copyright

17 Every person is biased An owner of a business will tend not to believe facts that may hurt his business. An owner of a business will tend not to believe facts that may hurt his business. Scientists may favor certain theories in order to secure or increase their funding. Scientists may favor certain theories in order to secure or increase their funding. A Christian may disregard a passage of Scripture that conflicts with his theological position. A Christian may disregard a passage of Scripture that conflicts with his theological position. An evolutionary scientist may neglect evidence that shows problems with the theory of natural selection. An evolutionary scientist may neglect evidence that shows problems with the theory of natural selection. copyright

18 Every person is biased Since all arguments will be flavored by the inbred bias of the arguer, it most imperative that the arguments themselves be examined more carefully. Since all arguments will be flavored by the inbred bias of the arguer, it most imperative that the arguments themselves be examined more carefully. Recognize the bias but move to an analysis of the argument, not the person making the argument. Recognize the bias but move to an analysis of the argument, not the person making the argument. copyright

19 Lets build a straw man. In a debate, an opponents position is often distorted in order demolish the argument. In a debate, an opponents position is often distorted in order demolish the argument. copyright

20 Lets build a straw man. Christians often make crazy (aka. foolish) arguments in defense of the Bible or of faith. Christians often make crazy (aka. foolish) arguments in defense of the Bible or of faith. The stereotype thus created in the minds of many is that Christians are Bible- bashing, fundamentalist idiots. The stereotype thus created in the minds of many is that Christians are Bible- bashing, fundamentalist idiots. This stereotype is often invoked by evolutionists when an argument is framed in terms of Science vs. the Bible. This stereotype is often invoked by evolutionists when an argument is framed in terms of Science vs. the Bible. copyright

21 Lets build a straw man. The main problem with Darwinism is that it fails to produce positive evidence that natural selection creates new species (plants and animals) starting from simple organisms. The main problem with Darwinism is that it fails to produce positive evidence that natural selection creates new species (plants and animals) starting from simple organisms. copyright

22 Lets build a straw man. To divert the discussion from this issue, they build a straw man edifice as a diversionary tactic. To divert the discussion from this issue, they build a straw man edifice as a diversionary tactic. To believe in Genesis creation account is contrary to scientific evidence! To believe in Genesis creation account is contrary to scientific evidence! copyright

23 Will you please beg the question? When a conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of its premises, then you are begging the question (petitio principii). When a conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of its premises, then you are begging the question (petitio principii). copyright

24 Will you please beg the question? Our team is the outstanding team in the conference because it is the best team in the conference. Our team is the outstanding team in the conference because it is the best team in the conference. copyright

25 Will you please beg the question? The evidence for the existence of God is far from plain because if it were plain everybody would believe in Him. The evidence for the existence of God is far from plain because if it were plain everybody would believe in Him. The conclusion assumes that the evidence is far from plain. The conclusion assumes that the evidence is far from plain. copyright

26 Will you please beg the question? Biblically, if the God of Christianity does exist, the evidence for Him must be plain. Biblically, if the God of Christianity does exist, the evidence for Him must be plain. The reason why everybody does not believe in God is that people suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20). The reason why everybody does not believe in God is that people suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20). copyright

27 Will you please beg the question? Question: What evidence proves that life evolved from nonliving molecules? Question: What evidence proves that life evolved from nonliving molecules? Answer: Dont reject this theory because of your religious bias. Answer: Dont reject this theory because of your religious bias. This answer assumes the truth of the point in dispute. This answer assumes the truth of the point in dispute. The answer is actually stating that the evidence is so overwhelming that to question it must mean that you have some sort of bias. The answer is actually stating that the evidence is so overwhelming that to question it must mean that you have some sort of bias. copyright

28 Lets test it. Some theories can be tested (by observation and experiment) while others cannot be empirically shown to be either true or false. Some theories can be tested (by observation and experiment) while others cannot be empirically shown to be either true or false. Remember, some scientific statements are mere assertions, conjectures, or speculations (there is no supporting evidence). Remember, some scientific statements are mere assertions, conjectures, or speculations (there is no supporting evidence). copyright

29 Lets test it. There are multiple universes. There are multiple universes. Our universe came into being when a scientist in another universe made an experiment. Our universe came into being when a scientist in another universe made an experiment. Carl Sagan, The Cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or ever will be. Carl Sagan, The Cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or ever will be. Introduction to the film series Cosmos copyright

30 Lets test it. Be careful how you state your position. Be careful how you state your position. State your position in a testable, not in a un-testable fashion. State your position in a testable, not in a un-testable fashion. copyright

31 Lets test it. Un-testable: I believe in creation merely and only by faith, no matter what the evidence says. Un-testable: I believe in creation merely and only by faith, no matter what the evidence says. Testable: Evidence indicates that living organisms are information-centric. Testable: Evidence indicates that living organisms are information-centric. These organisms work because they consist of interrelated and interconnected parts that plainly speak to design and intelligence. These organisms work because they consist of interrelated and interconnected parts that plainly speak to design and intelligence. copyright

32 Lets test it. The Bible reveals that the Creator is a rational, intelligent being. The Bible reveals that the Creator is a rational, intelligent being. Thus, if we accept the Bible to be true, then we would expect His creation to reflect intelligence, coherence, interconnectedness, and design. Thus, if we accept the Bible to be true, then we would expect His creation to reflect intelligence, coherence, interconnectedness, and design. We can test for this design. We can test for this design. The Bible reveals to us the true nature of the Designer. The Bible reveals to us the true nature of the Designer. copyright

33 Lets test it. Testable Darwinism: Originally, Darwin asserted that fossil hunters would eventually find transitional forms (they have not) and that animal breeders would create new and distinct species (they have not). Testable Darwinism: Originally, Darwin asserted that fossil hunters would eventually find transitional forms (they have not) and that animal breeders would create new and distinct species (they have not). Darwinism, in its original form, can be proved to be false by lack of evidence. Darwinism, in its original form, can be proved to be false by lack of evidence. copyright

34 Lets test it. Un-testable Darwinism: Naturalistic evolution is science and any alterative to naturalism is religion. Un-testable Darwinism: Naturalistic evolution is science and any alterative to naturalism is religion. Hence, naturalistic science is true by definition. Hence, naturalistic science is true by definition. copyright

35 What do you mean? The words science and evolution are often used in contradictory ways. The words science and evolution are often used in contradictory ways. Logical fallacy of equivocation: When the definition of a word changes in an argument. Logical fallacy of equivocation: When the definition of a word changes in an argument. copyright

36 What do you mean? Dog breeding is a powerful evidence of evolution. Dog breeding is a powerful evidence of evolution. Charles Darwin ( ), Richard Dawkins (1941-), and Francis Crick (1916-) have all asserted this fact. Charles Darwin ( ), Richard Dawkins (1941-), and Francis Crick (1916-) have all asserted this fact. Dog breeding, in fact, is an evidence of adaptation within a given gene pool (the dog gene pool). Dog breeding, in fact, is an evidence of adaptation within a given gene pool (the dog gene pool). copyright

37 What do you mean? Evolution, by definition, means that all living things are the accidental products of a purposeless universe. Evolution, by definition, means that all living things are the accidental products of a purposeless universe. Contrariwise, dog breeding is a process that is guided by intelligence. Contrariwise, dog breeding is a process that is guided by intelligence. To say that dog breeding is a powerful evidence of evolution is an equivocation. To say that dog breeding is a powerful evidence of evolution is an equivocation. copyright

38 What do you mean? When someone talks about evolution, make sure that the word is defined first! When someone talks about evolution, make sure that the word is defined first! Be on the alert to note when the definition moves (equivocates) in a discussion (and it will). Be on the alert to note when the definition moves (equivocates) in a discussion (and it will). copyright

39 What do you mean? 1995 Position Statement of the American National Association of Biology Teachers Position Statement of the American National Association of Biology Teachers. The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural science, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments. The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural science, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments. copyright

40 I believe … As we have noted, everyone, for a variety of reasons, believes what they want to believe. As we have noted, everyone, for a variety of reasons, believes what they want to believe. copyright

41 I believe … Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of spontaneous generation, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief of spontaneous creation, are left with nothing. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of spontaneous generation, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief of spontaneous creation, are left with nothing. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. copyright

42 I believe … One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are, as a result. I believe in spontaneous generation. One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are, as a result. I believe in spontaneous generation. George Wald, The Origin of Life, Scientific American, 1954:190, No. 2, copyright

43 I believe … Every position is ultimately and finally a faith position. Every position is ultimately and finally a faith position. Key questions to ask. Key questions to ask. What are the starting points for reasoning and thinking?What are the starting points for reasoning and thinking? What are the implications of the faith position of scientific naturalism?What are the implications of the faith position of scientific naturalism? copyright

44 I believe … Based upon this starting point, mans rationality is a product of chance. Based upon this starting point, mans rationality is a product of chance. Based upon this starting point, even the immaterial laws of logic that man employs in his scientific and everyday life are products of chance. Based upon this starting point, even the immaterial laws of logic that man employs in his scientific and everyday life are products of chance. The rationality and purpose that man is searching for are products of chance. The rationality and purpose that man is searching for are products of chance. Hence, from this starting point – this faith – all of life is unintelligible. Hence, from this starting point – this faith – all of life is unintelligible. copyright

45 Carl Sagan I meet many people who are offended by evolution, who passionately prefer to be the personal handicraft of God than to arise by blind physical and chemical forces over aeons from slime. I meet many people who are offended by evolution, who passionately prefer to be the personal handicraft of God than to arise by blind physical and chemical forces over aeons from slime. Analysis: the same passion for belief exists in Sagan. Analysis: the same passion for belief exists in Sagan. copyright

46 Carl Sagan They also tend to be less than assiduous in exposing themselves to the evidence. Evidence has little to do with it. What they wish to be true, they believe is true. They also tend to be less than assiduous in exposing themselves to the evidence. Evidence has little to do with it. What they wish to be true, they believe is true. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, p Analysis: What Sagan accuses others of doing, he is doing himself. Analysis: What Sagan accuses others of doing, he is doing himself. copyright

47 Carl Sagan On the basis of Sagans starting points, he has no justification for using reason to show that all of life evolved merely and only by natural processes governed by chance. On the basis of Sagans starting points, he has no justification for using reason to show that all of life evolved merely and only by natural processes governed by chance. copyright

48 I believe … So then, the Biblical Christian embraces a faith position … So then, the Biblical Christian embraces a faith position … copyright

49 I believe … This faith position requires him to hold that Christian theism is really true … This faith position requires him to hold that Christian theism is really true … copyright

50 I believe … … and as such must be taken as the presuppositional starting point that makes the acquisition of knowledge in any field intelligible … … and as such must be taken as the presuppositional starting point that makes the acquisition of knowledge in any field intelligible … copyright

51 I believe … … and must therefore point out in a most gracious manner … … and must therefore point out in a most gracious manner … copyright

52 I believe … … that the efforts of men committed to the faith of scientific naturalism are futile. … that the efforts of men committed to the faith of scientific naturalism are futile. copyright

53 Acknowledgements Thanks to Philip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (InterVarsity Press, 1997) for his chapter entitled Tuning Up Your Baloney Detector. Thanks to Philip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (InterVarsity Press, 1997) for his chapter entitled Tuning Up Your Baloney Detector. copyright


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