Creationist Mark Thompson responds to James Kirk Wall

On January 5th I released an article titled Bill Nye vs. creationist Ken Ham defending science from theology where I supported what was an upcoming debate at the time but also offered warning and advice on dealing with creationist dishonesty.

A Biblical creationist by the name of Mark Thompson took issue with my piece and wanted to share his criticism publically. I asked Mark to provide an essay summarizing his disagreements. Mark insisted on providing a paragraph-by-paragraph response. So this reply will include the original article and Mark’s responses in bold. At the end is also a brief follow-up.

I will be responding with a summary reply to Mark next week.

About Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson has had the privilege of teaching a variety of subjects in two Christian schools and pastoring a small-town church in western Ohio. Between his third and fourth year at Bowling Green State University (emphasis in physics), he realized that his sin merited the wrath of a holy God and turned to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Subsequently, he graduated from Cedarville College and, then, Grace Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. Mark has been blessed with 29 years of wonderful marriage to a very understanding wife named Beth and four miraculously well-adjusted children who somehow made it through dad’s classes.

MarkThompson

Mark's Response:

Many are criticizing Bill Nye’s decision to debate Ken Ham arguing that the very willingness to publicly argue gives recognition to the creationists. The opponents of such a confrontation also state the absurdity of the fact that we are even discussing creationist nonsense in modern times. Should we also debate where lightning comes from and include Zeus as a “competing scientific theory?” According to creationist logic we should, otherwise we’re not promoting “critical thinking” skills for our children
I do appreciate your desire for the debate to go forward because many evolutionist do not want their theory scrutinized, especially in the public setting.

The people against the debate are wrong. Bill Nye is absolutely right in doing this, and here’s why. If someone had a belief that human babies came from storks, we wouldn't need a debate. If one third of the adults in this country believed that babies came from storks, as insane as it sounds, yes, we need to have the debate. And that’s where we are. The people who believe in creationism should be zero, but it’s not. And we have people like Ken Ham and a lot of misguided Republican politicians to thank for that. These people deserve to be crushed in argumentation. These people deserve to be ridiculed without mercy. The entire future of our species rests on science, and these people want us to go backwards.
What if one third of Americans thought we came from an amoeba or an explosion? Evolutionary theory is not observable, repeatable, testable science. The scientific revolution was propelled forward by the Protestant Reformation and scientists who saw the order and precision of creation as a reflection of the Creator (e.g. Newton, Boyle, Cuvier, Morse, Babbage, Maury, Mendel, Lister, Fleming, Carver, the Wright bros., Kepler, Linnaeus, Faraday, Joule, Pasteur, Thompson, Maxwell, von Braun, etc.). It is the evolutionary dogmatist who promotes censorship and repression of opposing ideas, and, thus, does indeed discourage critical thinking. Science continues to be a disappointing savior because man’s biggest problem is moral and spiritual, not intellectual (Jeremiah 17:9-10). It has been estimated that officially atheistic regimes have put to death 90+ million (The Delusion of Disbelief, 128) in a little over a century. Could there be anything wrong with getting rid of “inferior races” to further evolution?

Bill is making the right decision, but will he be prepared? Too many times intelligent people have not fared well against professional frauds because they were not prepared for the smoke and mirrors. A liar with good argumentation skills will defeat someone with the truth on their side who’s unable to articulate it. If you come into a debate with a creationist expecting honesty and reason, you will lose. (If the creationist is a Christian he is bound by the Lord to whom he is accountable to properly convey truth. But why would an evolutionist feel any compunction to not lie – he believes he is accountable to no higher power and lying may well increase his “survival value” [and tenure at many universities]?) You won’t lose on the issues, you will lose in the perception of the viewers by being thrown off and playing defense for most of the debate.

If you’re going to crush a creationist in debate, you can’t just be a scientist. You need to be a philosopher as well. You need to understand epistemology, as that’s what creationists often use to throw scientifically minded individuals off their game. You need to know how to answer the question, “How do you know what is real?” effectively.
You need to watch creationist debates and understand their game. You need to be prepared for shameless ignorance and outright lies. Be prepared for a creationist to use an incident of a fake fossil (there have been many) or scientific mistake (never on purpose?) to try and undermine an entire field of study. Be prepared for the intentional misrepresentation or the blatant ignoring of scientific discoveries. If you’re not prepared, you’re going to be playing defense. If you’re prepared, you’re going to be playing offense, and that’s the place to be.

Bill Nye will need to keep his composure in the face of absurdity in this debate. He needs to be prepared for both nonsense and personal attacks. (Jim, what do you practice throughout this whole article but vilifying and slandering creation scientists? This tactic is employed by some evolutionists because they don’t have a sound argument. This article is conspicuously missing any scientific (i.e., observable, repeatable) evidence for mud-to-man evolution.) Bill Nye will have the responsibility of explaining science in very simple terms in regards to scientific principles and specifically well-established science that supports an old universe and biological evolution. Science isn't about what makes us feel good or what people think is moral or immoral (Is this why evolutionary “science” fit so well with Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.?). Science doesn't care what religion someone belongs to. Science is about truth, either experiment supports an idea, or it doesn't.
Certainly the law of biogenesis (life doesn’t come from non-life) has never been remotely contradicted, yet evolutionist believe it in spite of staggering, overwhelming empirical evidence! Experiments produce facts which, in turn, are interpreted according to one’s worldview. The naturalist sees evolution because that is all he is looking to find. It is his starting assumption.
Consider a standard secular biology textbook. Every page and paragraph in a book hundreds of pages long screams out purpose, design and function. No anatomist looks for randomness in his specimens, but expects to find orderliness and intricacy. Yet, if he is an evolutionist, he irrationally claims it all happened by chance. So, he can’t do science without looking for intricate design but then is overcome by his prejudice in the interpretation of what he sees. To say that DNA, cells, organs and systems just “appear” to be designed is purposeful, irrational, self-delusion (Romans 1:18).

Bill Nye will need to be selective in what he responds to. If he strictly reads prepared speeches in the debate, he will be accused of dodging. At the same time he won’t be able to answer to all the lies and half-truths Ken Ham is sure to throw at him. Bill needs to come prepared with statements that he’s going to make, and be selective of the statements he’s going to respond to. He should also pose pressing questions to Ken Ham to put him on the defense. Too many times creationists get away with spending the whole debate attacking science without being forced to defend the serious implications and insanity of taking the Bible literally.

Creation scientists love science as a tool God has given us to explore the amazing beauty, complexity and order of His creation. It was Isaac Newton who describe the scientific endeavor as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”. He proclaimed, “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” So, how about the insanity of blindly following the biased interpretations of men who are fallen, finite and driven by an irrational hatred of God?

Bill Nye has an opportunity to valiantly promote science over creationist nonsense. I expect Bill is going to do very well.
Argumentation techniques and recommendations for debating creationists and theologians:
(Note: Some of these strategies are hard hitting and probably not recommended for this particular debate. I would expect the theme for Bill Nye to be pro-science rather than anti-religious. I would expect the goal to be the promotion of scientifically minded Christians rather than engaging in atheist vs. theist dialog. In other words, I would expect this to be different than the Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig debate which was atheist vs. Christian apologist rather than scientist vs. creationist.)
Isolate the creationists from the Christians who believe in evolution
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams recognizes that humans evolved from other animals.
Pope John Paul II recognized the realities of evolution in 1996.
Newton also exclaimed, “Atheism is so senseless.” Warner von Braun, the great architect of the U.S. lunar landings, declared “There are those who argue that the universe evolved out of a random process, but what random process could produce the brain of man or the system of the human eye?” (as Darwin shuddered to explain!). Von Braun was an active Christian who describe the Bible as “the revelation of God’s nature and love”. As with many eminent scientist before him, this view provided the foundation for his science.
Many Christians laugh at the notion of taking the Bible literally and recognize that Biblical stories such as Noah’s flood are fables. Many sensible scientists laugh at the notion of taking spontaneous generation seriously or magically creating space, time, and matter out of nothing without a First Cause. Why would some want to call themselves Christian if they exchange God’s Word for the myths of fallible men (Is.8:20; Mt.7:15)?

Many Christians understand that Muslim theocracies that do not allow evolution to be taught, not surprisingly, fail to provide any modern day significant scientific contributions or achievements.
For the first four centuries or so of the scientific revolution evolution wasn’t seriously taught and science flourished. Evolutionists and humanists have had a strangle hold on forced public education in the U.S. since the mid-60’s and test scores have plummeted while the family and society has fallen apart. (P.S. I don’t think I should be able to take your tax dollars and indoctrinate your children, so why do many evolutionist think they have the right to take my tax dollars to indoctrinate mine? Give parents a voucher and equal resources, let the competition begin and see who produces brighter kids on the whole with far fewer social and personal problems. If, indeed, you don’t believe in indoctrination, this plan should sound good to you.)
Theologians will use vague statements, counter with specifics. (Note that scientific facts based on observable, repeatable evidence are conspicuously absent in this article.)
Ambiguity is the friend of a deceiver, or someone who doesn’t know the subject matter well. When knowledge and truth are on your side, specifics are your friend. In these debates Christian theologians will often use a vague statements and definitions, such as the definition of god. They will describe god as in some kind of higher intelligence beyond our perceptions and philosophies. This vague definition is difficult to hit. But this is not the god that the theologian believes in, but he knows specifics will work against him. The theologian is promoting specifically the god of the Bible which is a singular all powerful being with male reproductive parts whose (“who is”?) jealous (If your wife left you for other lovers, would you be jealous? I would hope so. Jealousy for the good of someone you love is laudable.) and doesn’t want us to eat shrimp. Force the Christian theologian to use Biblical definitions of god.
The Bible contains four “God is …” statements. God is:
1) Spirit (John 4:19-26) – He transcends the universe that He created and is immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He, therefore, completely knows and judges our every immaterial thought, attitude and motive. He is more concerned with an internal, heart-attitude of grateful worship than externals.
2) Love (1 John 4:7-11) – God’s love was supremely demonstrated by sending His Son to be crushed on the cross to satisfy God’s righteous judgment upon our sins. For those who have received His forgiveness through faith in Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice, His unsolicited love prompts them to sacrifice for the eternal welfare of others.
3) Light (1 John 1:5-10) – He is absolute moral perfection. For someone to say that they know Him and not reflect His moral character is for that person to be self-deceived. His light exposes the darkness in our souls. This leads His children to repentance and His enemies to cling to their sin and hide from anything that will expose it (John 3:19-21).
4) A Consuming Fire (Hebrews 12:25-29) – God’s holy nature is a wonderful thing when it purifies God’s children but a terrifying instrument of judgment upon those who suppress and deny His perfect Word (cf. Rom.1:18). Nothing will be left in eternity of the empty, raging arguments of those set themselves against God in this life (Psalm 2).

Be prepared for pseudoscience
From dust on the moon (This was popularized by atheist Isaac Asimov and was a substantial concern to secular NASA scientists and astronauts in the early 60’s as seen in the oversized “duck” feet on the LEM) to curved rock in the Grand Canyon, be prepared for all the typical young earth creationist arguments and how they’ve been exposed as false by the science community So, how do you explain hardened rock layers, that are supposedly millions of years old, bending and not cracking? Try it once with hardened concrete in your driveway. It is easy to explain bent rock layers according to flood geology. Multiple sedimentary (precipitate laid down by water) layers can be easily bent when they are still soft, and afterward harden into rock. They couldn’t have been hardened, heated and then bent for they would then become metamorphic rock such as marble or quartzite. Tapeats sandstone can be traced from the whole sedimentary sequence in the Grand Canyon all the way across North America and other continents and is cogent evidence for the Flood.

A key source of creationist pseudoscience is a shameless organization called Creation Ministries International. http://creation.com Why did you not reference Ken Ham’s ministry here, www.answersingenesis.org , or the Institute for Creation Research at www.icr.org , both of which offer thorough material published by top-notch, degreed creation scientists?
Good sources for refuting creationist claims are an organization called Talk Origins http://www.talkorigins.org and RationalWiki http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Main_Page.

Never let a theologian define god as perfect
Often he will try and do this at the beginning of the debate. If unchallenged, he has just established god as being perfect and therefore the source of perfect knowledge and perfect morals. This is nonsense and any creationist attempting to define god as perfect needs to be challenged on what perfect means.
Perfect as in jealous? Perfect as in vengeful? Perfect as in realizing he made a mistake in making humans and needed to drown everyone? Or by perfect do we mean a Machiavellian definition of the term? Do we mean might makes right perfection (no, this is an evolutionary “survival of the fittest” doctrine)? God is perfect through the power to define what perfect is? Under that sadistic definition of the word, every viciously cruel act of every psychotic dictator in history can be morally justified. Force the creationist to reveal that in using the word perfect, it is not an understood or reasonable definition by any kind of human intelligence or decency.
I certainly do not agree with your Biblically distorted definition of God, but from an atheistic viewpoint, how would you determine what is sadistic, vicious, cruel, or decent? Your supposed relatives in the animal kingdom don’t operate according to these metrics, so where did you get the concepts from? Given an evolutionary worldview with no ultimate standard of right and wrong, how could you possibly declare murder, rape, child abuse, lying or anything to be morally wrong? Listen to what Darwin’s had to say, “A man who has no assured and ever-present belief in the existence of a personal God, or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones.” So, why is there societal decay wherever atheism reigns?
The Bible says that God has put his moral law on every man’s heart (Romans 2) and so there is a commonality among many human moral codes. The Scriptures also say that humans are made in the image of God which gives us attributes that are distinct from the animal kingdom and reflect parts of God’s nature. This gives man dignity, value and worth. But, according to Cornell University evolutionary biologist Will Provine, there is no “ultimate basis for ethics or human free will” in the evolutionary worldview. Evolutionary philosopher Michael Ruse says that “ethics are illusory”. So please explain how you can make any moral judgments without borrowing from a Christian worldview. I suppose that if you were perfect you could make such pronouncements, but, then, you would be God, wouldn’t you (Romans 1:22-25)?

Be prepared for epistemology
How do you know what is real without a divine knowledge giver? A vague question. When the theologian goes vague, force specifics. Like what? That we are currently having this debate? That I am currently standing? That I exist, I think therefore I am? How crazy do you want to take this question of knowledge and how does pretending there’s a knowledge giver add anything to it? In knowing what is real there are many methods such as using our senses (in a random chance universe why would you expect these to be reliable?), using technology to extend our senses, the scientific method, the Socratic Method, the 5 Ws, common sense, simplification, research, critical thinking and analysis, engaging subject matter experts, etc. The method used depends on the question being asked. What is the question?
Try this one, how did non-thinking dirt gain intelligence? Please don’t just say that it just took a lot of time. Intelligence comes from an intelligent Source. You never look at the information on your computer screen and conclude that it came from a random ordering of electrons or an explosion in a Microsoft lab. Why do evolutionists come to this conclusion when they look at fantastically ordered DNA? According to Richard Dawkins, each cell of the human body has more information in its DNA than four sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Be prepared for attacks on scientific terms
Creationists will use terms such as Darwinian evolution or historical science. This is meant to daze and confuse. There is no Darwinian evolution, there is evolution. And evolution doesn’t claim to know how life began on Earth (Of course it doesn’t, because evolution is not a person who can claim anything. It is merely a concept in evolutionists’ minds.). But the fact that life started simple and became more complex over time is indisputable based on the evidence
Please be specific, seeing how we don’t see it occurring today, can’t make it happen in the laboratory even by the intelligent design of evolutionists, and certainly don’t see it in the fossil record as admitted by Darwin and evolutionary icon Steven J. Gould? Harvard paleontologist Gould admirably conceded, “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of palaeontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches … in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the gradual transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and “fully formed.”

Evolution is the best explanation we have for what is observed in nature, while clay, a rib, and a big boat are not. (The Bible predicts fixity of animal kinds [not species – Gen.1]. This has been universally confirmed and serves as the basis for our classification system developed by a brilliant creationist, Karl Linnaeus. The evolutionary system would predict a continuation of intermediary forms that could interbreed. Ask any honest scientist which prediction is accurate and true.)

Ken Ham uses the term historical science to try and say that science is different when it’s not currently observed at this very instance. We can observe that the earth orbits the sun, but we can’t make the claim it did 3,000 years ago because we weren’t there? (But other humans were there and made precise astronomical observations. After the Flood, the Lord in Genesis 8:22 guarantees His upholding of the general process of “nature” until the consummation of history, so, yes, the Bible does give us reason to assume this continuity that far back. But from an evolutionary perspective of random chance, why should the laws of nature be consistent?) Scientists don’t generally speak in terms of currently observable and historical science as Ken would have us believe as it’s mostly irrelevant (Irrelevant? Only if you want to conflate biased theory with verifiable science.) And yet hypocritically Ham claims that everything in the Bible is historically and scientifically accurate even though it’s not currently observable. Ken would have us believe that Adam from clay and Eve from a rib are scientific facts. Be prepared for attacks on scientific terms and be prepared for hypocrisy.
Events of history are not in the realm of scientific inquiry but are historical facts passed on by witnesses. I believe in Cyrus the Persian even though you can’t prove him to me in a test tube. No evolutionist has ever seen a rock come to life but it is part of his religious faith. Such an occurrence is completely contrary to the laws of probability and millennia of historical observation.
There is great evidence for the Biblical Creator in things like irreducible complexity, incredibly intricate design, the laws of probability, the fixity of kinds, the abysmal lack of transitional forms, the fact that there is no natural mechanism for an increase in information in the genome, the geologic evidence for a worldwide flood, the faint, young sun paradox, carbon-14 in fossils, coal, and diamonds, etc. Add to these evidences human capacities that reflect our being made in the image of God (Gen.1:26-27): reasoning abilities, logic, communication of abstract concepts, volition, morality, creativity, appreciation of beauty, emotions, compassion, goal setting, etc. Rocks don’t demonstrate any of these things very well and neither do animals.

Don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by stupidity
It can be very easy for a logical mind to be momentarily stunned by stupid statements. In order to prepare your mind for immunity, watch Dave Silverman debates on Fox News. Notice how he’s able to keep his wits no matter what absurdity is thrown at him. This is how you are to be in a debate. Don’t be phased by anything (even the truth?), keep your focus.

Be prepared for fear to accompany ignorance
After an onslaught of unyielding shameless ignorance the next weapon in the creationist argument is fear. We don’t know how the universe began and therefore it was the god of my religion. If you don’t believe what I believe you will burn in hell forever. Stand firm in the face of fear. Refuse to bow down to perverted justice based on mindless obedience over good character and good deeds. Refuse to believe that someone’s delusions can send you to an imaginary place after you die (You must be omniscient to know this place doesn’t exist? I do understand your hopefulness, though.). Refuse to believe that a book which is completely ignorant of how life began contains divine knowledge of how life ends (Didn’t you say, “We [evolutionary scientists] don’t know how the world began”? I appreciate your honesty here. How, then, would you know that the Creator wouldn’t know “how life ends”?). Refuse to believe that ancient and ignorant bigots claiming to speak for god actually were speaking for god any more than all the other ignorant bigots making the same claim. Are you advocating closing one’s mind without investigating other claims?

Expose the madness we’re supposed to embrace according to young earth creationists (YECs)
For example:
600 year old Noah after parking the ship planted a vineyard. He makes wine, gets drunk and passes out. His son Ham sees him naked. You would think after a flood that killed countless men, women and children that seeing Noah’s naughty bits wouldn’t be a headliner. But it is. Ham wasn’t supposed to look. He should have walked backwards to cover things up. He didn’t do this. So what happens? Canaan becomes a slave. Who’s Canaan? He’s Ham’s son. Did he see Noah naked? No! And this is the kind of madness we’re supposed to embrace while abandoning science and reason according to YECs.
Sinful proclivities are often replicated in one’s offspring through their own choosing. The text in Gen.9:18-27 doesn’t say whether Canaan had any sinful involvement in what happened – you have simply made the assumption that he wasn’t. The Bible makes it clear that God does not punish sons for the sins of their fathers. God could foresee the depravity which would be displayed by future Canaanites - things like homosexuality, infant sacrifice (abortion after birth), violence and bestiality - and declared that this moral decadence would lead Canaan’s descendants into servitude. The same activities today lead many of the godless into the bondages of meaningless existence, addictions, STD’s, abortion, guilt, deceit, self-centeredness, unthankfulness, arrogance, greed, reprobate character, lack of loyalty, hostility, bitterness. Romans 1:18-32 declares that these vices are but foreshadowings of God’s future, final judgment upon them.

Turn bad analogies against them
Ken Ham claims that mechanical engineering doesn’t use evolution because that would mean putting parts on the ground and expecting them to come together on their own. Of course an attempt to equate the natural biology of living organisms to human mechanical engineering is a bad analogy. As Sesame Street would say, one of these things is not like the other. But this bad analogy can still be used against the creationist.
When a modern mechanical engineer works on an airplane, he’s not working from scratch (yet evolution theory does indeed claim that everything came from “scratch” [nothing] – so does creation science only we have Intelligence behind it). He’s working with a design that is the result of other designs (copying God’s design in nature). Today’s airplane is far more complex than what the Wright brothers created in 1903. And what the Wright brothers created was a result of many older designs (based on birds God had marvelously created) and countless failures. In this respect mechanical engineering follows evolution (you mean, God’s infinite wisdom? The airplane doesn’t come together on its own and fly. It takes an enormous amount of intelligent design, hence a wonderful analogy!). If mechanical engineering followed the creationist model, we would begin with the perfect design of an airplane. (God’s design did begin with perfection before the Fall. Could an evolutionist build a living, breathing hummingbird or common house fly? Perhaps you could just watch one evolve if you mixed the right chemicals in the test tube? How about if you just squished the fly so that you had all the right materials present and didn’t have to start from scratch? If man can’t design something remotely as complex as a housefly, why do you think it came about by time, chance and an explosion?
Beginning with the perfect design means perfect efficiency. Beginning with the perfect design means no failure. Beginning with the perfect design means no simple to complex progression. But what do we see in nature? Simple to complex progression over time (No, you don’t “see” it, you purpose to imagine it – there is no new information in the genome. Professor of Information Science, Dr. Werner Gitt declares, “There is no know natural law through which matter can give rise to information, neither is there any physical process or material phenomenon known that can do this.” Conveniently, evolution is supposed to be so slow that you could never see it if you lived hundreds of thousands of years.) and over 99% of newly developed species extinct. We don’t see results based on efficiency and success, we see results based on inefficiency and failure.
You are correct in that nearly all mutations [well over 90%] are deleterious or neutral (this is a result of God’s curse on sin) and that none show an increase in information. Likewise, natural selection doesn’t improve things by addition because it just selects (pardon the term, for natural selection has no mind and no pre-planned goal) from information that is already present. It is never able to create new information. That is why legs never turn into wings or skin cells into eyes.

Remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
In one of his interviews, creationist Ray Comfort was asked how he knows god is real. Ray asks the man how he knows his wife is real and then answers the question for him. You know your wife is real because you have a personal relationship with your wife “you know her”. I know god is real because I have a personal relationship with him “I know him”. There’s only one problem with Ray’s argument. It’s absurd.
It is true that this argument will not make sense to someone who has not experienced God’s redeeming grace (1 Corinthians 2:14) but it still is a valid statement. Just because I’ve been to Honduras and perhaps you haven’t doesn’t mean I stop believing in the reality of my experience just to make you feel better.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
How about scores of specific Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ’s earthly ministry, or a Resurrection confirmed by hundreds of eyewitnesses and denied by no first century document? Jesus specifically said that His stupendous miracles, including resurrecting dead people, validated his claims (again, denied by no early secular document). How about the vast archeological evidence that confirms the geography and historicity of the Bible? How about the willingness of those first disciples and many early Christians to lay down their lives for something they supposedly knew was a myth? It all sounds like extraordinary evidence which some will try to dismiss simplistically. BTW, no other religion begins to stack up to the evidence above.
That was a famous expression of Carl Sagan. My wife is real is an ordinary claim. It can be confirmed with driver’s license, marriage certificate, and a few interviews with friends and family. In other words, the ordinary claim can be confirmed with ordinary evidence.

I have a personal relationship with the all-powerful man god specifically mentioned in this book is an extraordinary claim. If the claim of a personal relationship, “I know him,” constituted as proof of existence, imagine the consequences.
All the following would exist:
Every delusion validated by personal relationship claims of every inmate in the insane asylum would be real.
I “know” the tooth fairy. I put my tooth under the pillow at night, in the morning there is money. Tooth fairy is real.
I “know” Santa Claus. I’ve written him letters and talked to him over the phone. I’ve even seen him in person and have pictures of us together. Santa Claus is real.
Same thing with FSM, Big Foot, gremlins, goblins, angels, demons, Kraken, Zeus, Isis, Pikachu, TMNT, Bugs Bunny and of course Sponge Bob. According to Ray Comfort, a personal relationship equates to proof. But what if personal relationships with supernatural fictional characters completely contradicted the personal relationships of other people? What if someone had a personal relationship with reality as in empirical evidence and reason? Under Ray’s logic that would mean reality is true which completely contradicts his original statement.
God is not real because I’ve had an experience, but if He is real and if I’ve fulfilled what He requires for personally knowing Him (repentance and faith in His Son – Romans 10:9) I will experience His transforming power. Hundreds of millions have testified to this life-changing grace. I am genuinely sorry that you are hardened to this.

Practice, practice, practice
Public speaking and argumentation is not easy, especially against professional frauds. It’s a skill that needs to be honed. The opening introductory statement in any debate is critical. Practice this in front of the video camera and review. Practice this in front of friends and get feedback. Practice everything else you plan on bringing to the argument as well. Have mock debates where others play the creationist side. Spend a lot of time anticipating what your opponent is going to say and practice your response.

When it comes to explaining science, be like Feynman

Good luck (random chance?) to all the warriors in the battle of reason over superstition and may logic and reason be with you! (Where do these non-material entities come from in a naturalist’s universe and why are the random chemical interactions in your brain any more reliable than those in mine?)

Jim, it is not that there is not an overwhelming amount of evidence for the Biblical Creator in the design, power and complexity of the universe; the sense of right and wrong God has wired into our consciences (which sadly can be deadened); the accuracy, cohesiveness and life-transforming abilities of Scripture; and the matchless character and wisdom of God’s Son (Romans 1-3). The problem is that you hate God (Rom.8:7) and actively suppress the truth (Rom.1:18). This is the natural state of all men apart from God’s amazing grace (1 Cor.2:14) and was my condition 33 years ago. You react violently against God because deep down you know that you are accountable to Him; have repeated violated His law in your conscience, thoughts and actions (Rom.2, Exodus 20); and owe everything to Him (John 3:19-20). One day He is going to expose every wicked thought and motive of all who have not been cleansed by the blood of Christ and justly give them what they have desired – eternal separation from their Creator (Heb.4:12-13; 2 Thess.1:6-10).

The Lord has demonstrated His goodness by giving you life and the abilities necessary to experience, explore and enjoy it, including the blessings of relative health, meaningful relationships, love, and family. Supremely, He has shown His love toward you in that, while you spit on His Son and mock His Word, He sent that same Son to bear His holy wrath against your sin. He gives you the intellect and sustains the breath by which you curse Him. God's love is so amazing, that it even reaches out to His enemies: "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die, but God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom.5:7-8). That love stopped me in my tracks in July of 1980, took away my guilt and put an incredible song of joy and praise in my mouth.

Christ’s mercy covers all the iniquity of all those who humbly bow before Him as their Creator, Savior and Lord, “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). What a wonderfully kind and condescending Savior!

May His blessings be yours!
Mark Thompson, February 1, 2014

-James Kirk Wall
“Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain.” – Thomas Henry Huxley
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” – 1 Corinthians 1:18-20

Follow-up correspondence

From James Kirk Wall

Hello Mark,
Evolution does not claim to know how life began and Bill Nye made it very clear in the debate that we don't know. Charles Darwin didn't know and his good friend Thomas Huxley questioned if we ever would. That seems to be most of your argument is an ignorance of what evolution is. In the story or Canaan becoming a slave, you add some kind of sin he did to make an excuse for it. There is nothing in the Bible regarding anything he did, only what Ham did. And the Bible is very big on punishing children for the sins of the parents. That's right in the First Commandment. Amazing how you missed that. In the New Testament it is written that the Jews took the ownership of Jesus's crucifixion on themselves and all their descendants. And in regards to "why not lie without god," that seems childish to me. Typically when people grow up they are able to act like adults without supervision. Please explain how a delusion of having a sky daddy makes you ethical? Especially a deity as morally repulsive as the god of Abraham. And in regards to Hitler being an atheist, please explain "God with us" on the belt buckles of the Nazis. Atheism has no doctrine that justifies the murdering of others with different religious beliefs, do you? You sadly bring up the master race ignorance and yet miss the master religion irony. Secularism is what allows people of different beliefs to live together in peace without governmental favoritism or oppression of one belief over another. We can have a quote war or some weird competition of horrible atheists and Christians, but in neither case were these people for secularism which is granted in the First Amendment.
If you would like to write up an essay criticizing my views and want me to publish that on my blog, we can do that. I would then issue a response a week later. I did this previously with a young earth creationist named Randy Ruggles. This was his piece.
http://www.chicagonow.com/an-agnostic-in-wheaton/2012/11/creationist-randy-ruggles-strikes-back/
Regards,
Jim

Reply from Mark Thompson

Hello Mark,
Hey, Jim!
The ripples of the debate radiate outward! This is a good thing. Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
Evolution does not claim to know how life began and Bill Nye made it very clear in the debate that we don't know. Charles Darwin didn't know and his good friend Thomas Huxley questioned if we ever would. That seems to be most of your argument is an ignorance of what evolution is. Evolution can simply mean change over time. No creation scientist that I know of has a problem with that definition. Things change. What information science absolutely confirms, as I said in my quote from Dr. Werner Gitt, is that there is no natural process known to man that can add information to the genome. Therefore, animals can adapt to their environment based on information they already possess, but they have no ability to grow, say, a wing from an arm, or an eye from skin cells because they have no access to the “blueprints”, “instructions” and “technology” to do so. These intricate structures could only be the product of intelligent input.
In the story or Canaan becoming a slave, you add some kind of sin he did to make an excuse for it. God doesn’t judge those who have no sin (there are no such people, anyway - Deut.24:16; Ezek.18:19-32; Rom.3:23). There is nothing in the Bible regarding anything he did, only what Ham did. And the Bible is very big on punishing children for the sins of the parents. That's right in the First Commandment. Amazing how you missed that.
You have your commandments mixed up. It is the second commandment. It says that God visits (judges) the generational sins “of those who hate Him” (Exodus 20:5). Sadly, you may pass your hatred of God unto your children, who may then choose to ratify and even amplify that hatred in their own hearts. Like it or not, parents do have a great influence on the attitudes and behaviors of their children for which both will be held accountable. But we also need to say that a parent’s influence is not final because there are plenty of examples, both in contemporary life and in the Bible, of children who did not choose to follow their parent’s animus against God and have been greatly blessed and used by the Lord.
In the New Testament it is written that the Jews took the ownership of Jesus's crucifixion on themselves and all their descendants. There are many Messianic Jews today who have broken this “curse” (consequences that follow from one’s own decisions), turned to Jesus as their promised Redeemer, and now proclaim the blessings of forgiveness and eternal life in Christ. Isn’t it wonderful that children don’t have to be trapped by the sins of their parents such as alcoholism, child abuse, pornography, promiscuity, divorce, anger, slander, greed, pride, atheism, etc. (Jn.8:34-36)?
And in regards to "why not lie without god," that seems childish to me. Typically when people grow up they are able to act like adults without supervision
Jim, I take it you’ve never lied, shaded the truth to get out of a tight spot, exaggerated, slandered someone else’s character, quoted out of context, cheated on your taxes, or deceived someone for your advantage as an adult? Evidently, only children lie, or maybe they just do it more extensively? Dawkins writes about our “selfish genes”, so please do explain why we would want to fight such a propensity to lie and why this would be a property of “adulthood”.
Please explain how a delusion of having a sky daddy makes you ethical?
Accountability to a God who judges unbelievers (2 Thess.1:6-10) and disciplines His own children (Heb.12:5-11) is a proper, Biblical motivation for what doing what is right (although a love for one’s Father is to be a higher motive for the Christian –Prov.1:7; 2
Cor.5:6-21). Please explain how you would possibly arrive at a definition of “act like adults” in an evolutionary worldview. Do adult animals act any different than their young? Might makes right in the evolutionary scheme of things and animals really don’t have much of a moral conscience about deceiving, stealing, raping or murdering regardless of their age. Again, as evolutionists Provine and Ruse insist, ethics are baseless illusions for the consistent evolutionist.

Especially a deity as morally repulsive as the god of Abraham. By what absolute standard would you judge Him to be morally repulsive? Morality has no place in a random chance universe. What is your standard, where did it come from, and why is it better than someone else’s standard?
And in regards to Hitler being an atheist, please explain "God with us" on the belt buckles of the Nazis.
Many superstitious folk hang a cross on their rear-view mirror who have never read an entire book of the Bible. Are we saying that every pop star that hangs a cross around their neck must surely have a deep devotion to Christ and not just want the comfort of thinking that they’re OK with God? And, indeed, the aphorism “there are no atheists in fox holes” may have a good amount of validity.
Our president was sworn into office with his hand on the Bible and declared that he was a “Christian”. Cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith based on the Bible include: the inerrancy of the 66 books of the Bible, the deity of Jesus, the depravity of every human heart, salvation by faith alone in the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ; the exclusivity of Jesus as the only way to God (BTW, most all religions are exclusive, including atheism – truth claims by nature are exclusive), that marriage is defined as an exclusive covenant relationship between one man and one woman and that all sexual activity outside of this relationship is sin, and that abortion is murder (ask me for any of the references to support these doctrines). Surely because president Obama attended Rev. Wright’s “Christian” church he fervently believes all of these things?
Could it be possible that candidates or leaders could use Christianity (or another religion) to win the following of the masses who superficially identify themselves as Christian (as the vast majority of Americans do and Germans did in the time of Hitler)? If it could increase their “survival value” (electability) in an evolutionary universe, what would be wrong with lying?
It is true that Hitler took some propaganda photo ops in front of a church as he rose to power but with regard to his real views on religion, we’ll let him speak for himself, “the world has known two great scourges: the pox and Christianity … Christianity is an invention of sick brains ... The war will be over on day. I shall then consider my life’s final task will be to solve the religious problem” (Table Talk, in Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, 672-3). Wow, I wonder what his “solution” would be? As Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt.12:33-37). His desire to produce a “master race” and eliminate “inferior species” was saturated with evolutionary thinking.

Atheism has no doctrine that justifies the murdering of others with different religious beliefs, do you?
It seems that Darwin might disagree with you. Let me quote him again, “A man who has no assured and ever-present belief in the existence of a personal God, or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the
best ones.”I may have some really strong impulses and instincts to kill someone Idon’t like. Ina Darwinian,evolutionist’s universe,why shouldn’t I act on those impulses?Could you really condemn me for randomchemical reactions in my brainor for acting likemy animal ancestors?As I asked before,what makes your random chemical reactions better than mine?
In contrast, listen toJesus, whowould die to save menfrom theirsinful impulses, “You have heard thatit was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’, but I sayto you, love your enemies, bless thosewho curseyou, do good to those who hateyou,and pray for those who spitefully useyou and persecuteyou”(Matthew 5:43-44).
I am thankful that many evolutionists can be relatively upright individualswho may have more scruples than their “relatives” in the animal kingdom, but my question to youis,where do those moral promptingscome fromand whyshould wefollow them?TheBible says that these promptingsare evidences that we were createdintheimageof a moral God (Gen.1:26-27)who has put his moral law inevery man’s conscience (Rom.2:14-15). Christianity has an objectivebasis for moralsand human worthin Scripture-naturalism hasno suchbasis.

You sadly bring up the master race ignorance and yet missthe master religion irony. Secularismis what allows people of different beliefs to live together in peace without governmentalfavoritismor oppression of one belief over another.Wecan have a quote war or some weird competition ofhorrible atheistsand Christians, but in neither case were these people for secularism which isgranted in the First Amendment.
The FirstAmendmentsimply protects against the establishment of onenationalstate church,as had beenexperienced in England, whileprotecting the free exercise of religion. Thewritings of the Founding Fathersweresaturatedwithquotes and allusions to Scripturewhich informed our Constitutions and early laws. Let’s lettheU.S. Congressof 1854explainthe founder’s intent:
“Had the people during the Revolution had a suspicion of anyattempt to war against
Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the
adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentimentwas that
Christianity should be encouraged, [but] not any one [denomination] ….In thisage,
there is no substitute for Christianity….That was the religion ofthe founders of the
republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.”
.
LouisianaState University published a ten-year study conducted by its political science professors to identify the sources cited in 15,000writings fromthe Founding Era ofournation. Of the 3,154 direct quotes 34% came from the Bible. No other source even cameclose. Thesecond most quoted sourcewas political philosopher Charles Montesquieu with8.3% of the quotes being taken fromhis writings. Legal scholarWilliam Blackstone was thirdwith 7.9% and political philosopherand theologian John Locke wasfourth with 2.9%. The influenceof the Bible on the founding of our nation becomes even moreastounding when werealize that Montesquieu, Blackstone and Locke used the Bible to come to many of their conclusions. For instance, the GreatAwakeningevangelist, CharlesFinney,stated that in the process of studying Blackstone’smonumentalCommentaries on the Law, which became the finalword in American courts and a primary legal authorityintothe 20thcentury,he readso much of the Bible that he became a Christian andreceivedhis call into the ministry!(See David Barton’s,America’s Godly Heritage)
The beauty of the Christianity of the Bible and of our founding fathers is that it respects the rights of others to not believe. Indeed, conversion is a matter of the heart, not of coercion (John 3:16; 2 Tim 2:24-26). But if you think that our founding fathers thought that the Bible should not have a prominent place in the governance and education of our nation I would encourage you to honestly do some more reading.
As I mentioned before, every citizen should have his own tax dollars to educate his own children. I have no problem with certain state standards in things like math, geography and English (I have a sneaky feeling that religious kids will do just fine). Atheists can establish their own schools and not just take over public schools with their belief and value system (religion). Anyone who is against “governmental favoritism or oppression of one belief over another” will, no doubt, wholeheartedly embrace this plan.

If you would like to write up an essay criticizing my views and want me to publish that on my blog, we can do that. I would then issue a response a week later. I did this previously with a young earth creationist named Randy Ruggles. This was his piece.
http://www.chicagonow.com/an-agnostic-in-wheaton/2012/11/creationist-randy-ruggles-strikes-back/
Regards,
Jim
Thank you, Jim, for your gracious invitation. I would very much enjoy having you post both of our two interchanges thus far (i.e., your “Defending Science from Theology” with my interspersed replies, and your above email with my interspersed replies). I would simply ask that you publish them in their entirety with no omissions or alterations. If you would like to then respond in a week, that would be fine. I would hope that you would then give me the option of continuing the conversation if I desired. It would be great to see your reader’s responses – I trust they would be kind and substantive. 
I am sad to admit that I suspect you won’t post these but perhaps you will happily prove me wrong.
May His blessings be yours,
Mark

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