A Frog with No Legs

A layman’s rebuttal to
Jean L. Bertelsen Pond’s
"Catholic Frogs"

By Tim Ganstrom, BSE

Tim Ganstrom Tim Ganstrom was raised just north of Salt Lake City, in Idaho, by Godly Christian parents. He accepted Jesus as his personal savior at age six, and became exceptionally evangelical when God broke his selfish stupor the summer before his sophmore year. Through high school, friends told him that truth was found by a 'feeling' God would give him about 'the one true church' if he would pray sincerely about the Book of Mormon. He realized that this method was manifestly illogical, and that started his quest for truth and knowing WHY he believed and what he ought to believe. He is still in that process at 26 years old. Tim has a BS in Engineering (Mechanical) and is pursuing an MS in Physics. He plans to also study for a Masters of Theology and a Doctor of Philosophy. Snowboarding is Tim's favorite sport. He has even competed nationally a few times.

This article is a response to Catholic Frogs.

A story without epistemological coherence is much like a frog with no legs: He’s not jumping any closer to truth. Of course, I assume Jean Pond sincerely wants to "love God with all our mind," because I greatly respect the Lord’s servants who work on LU.com. However, when a brother or sister boldly speaks false things, I must speak up, not only for his/her benefit but also for the sake of the Body. The following is a rebuttal to Jean’s article advocating that scientific propositions and Christian beliefs have no bearing on each other. I will show, as best I can, that Jean’s conclusion is non sequitur.

The Informal Logical Fallacies.

Jean does present a few arguments for the ‘keep science and Christianity separate’ idea, but sadly some of the article is mere rhetoric. Jean’s overview of different kinds of thinking on this subject is adequate, however the statement meant to poke at ‘creationists’ arguing with each other is misplaced. It is perfectly logical to dialog with our kin first, because we hope that among our brothers and sisters in Christ we will most likely be given a fair hearing and/or realize our missteps. Hence, this rebuttal is not addressed to Richard Dawkins. More to the point, internal arguing is irrelevant to the thesis and is therefore a ‘Red herring.’

Later in the article, Jean claims that, "… creationism is little better than ‘lying for Jesus’…" Then Jean supports it with a quote from Michael Ruse which states the same idea only with more colorful language. Nowhere in the article is this statement supported by an argument. If 6 day creation is false, then yes, even I am unwittingly lying for Jesus. However, the premise is Jean’s conclusion, therefore begging the question has occurred. Ruse however probably does show examples of "every trick in the book," so I will be reading it at the first opportunity.

Now I will counter the actual arguments:

Leg #1

The story of Galileo’s championing the Copernican theory is indeed a fascinating and inspiring one for any ‘under-dog’ in the pursuit of truth. It is however merely an analogy that can also represent the plight of the scientist that believes the evidence points to ‘relatively’ recent creation. Jean even rightly points out that Galileo’s first and most avid detractors where his own university colleagues. It wasn’t until they had begged the ‘church’ leaders of significant political powers to take their side did Galileo face dire threat. Considering the fact that the Pope has endorsed evolution, the analogy actually casts a suspicious eye on evolutionary scientists.

In that story, Jean obviously wants to further the analogy by trying to equate 1 Chronicles 16:30 with the first (many?) chapters of Genesis. However this analogy immediately fails one of the most fundamental methods of exegesis: context. I opened up my Bible to find that Chapter 16 is clearly poetic literature, not because it is old or may have roots in verbal transmission, but because it says so in verse 7. Therefore, it is logical from the context to know that ‘stable, that it be not moved,’ means we ought to be thankful that our Earth-ship is not tossed around randomly. In fact, the Earth in it’s nearly circular orbit is ‘stable, and not moved.’ Sure, it moves, but God’s word is always true in an intelligent, normal way. I’m no Hebrew scholar, but my English translations do not say: "…Not moving" which Colombe was trying to assert.

As it naturally would, our quest for knowledge comes down to one of the foundational apodictic questions: How do we know what Special Revelation is trying to tell us? (I hope I am correct in assuming that Pond knows that the Bible is God’s Word, because that is a whole other truth search.) I’m not an expert but in my seven or so years of reading everything I could find, friend or foe, about Genesis and rational methods of interpretation, I have not seen one argument for taking Genesis (and/or the rest of the Bible) as mere allegories, that did not first assume a naturalistic world view or ascribe to the philosophical position known as Scientism (which happens to be self-refuting.) Therefore, the argument by analogy from mistaken ‘church’ leaders advances us no further toward the truth about our question: How did God do it, if indeed He did? The frog is missing a front leg.

Leg #2

Now we ask the question: If all truth is God’s truth how can science ever be in conflict with faith? As a rhetorical question with the implied answer, "It can’t," this question is predicated upon a very flawed assumption. The assumption is that everything ‘Science’ says is true. Here is Scientism rearing it’s ugly head again, only the soft version now. Any student of the history of Science knows that any theory of science may be modified or discarded as data or interpreting assumptions come and go. Take the Ether theory of Physics for example. The real answer to the question is, "When ever science happens to be wrong about something." And when can Science be wrong? Precisely whenever the data is fabricated{1} and when the interpreting assumptions are wrong{2}. Well, the frogs missing another front leg.

Before I hit the next leg, if Jean can somehow get a logically coherent Ethic like Jesus’ out of evolution, I’d be stunned. Also, Henry M. Morris and his kind do not propose that science and faith are essentially incompatible. They only assert that some false ‘scientific’ propositions are also philosophically contrary to some true ‘faith’ propositions, like "God exists, God cares, God is smart and capable, Jesus was who he said he was, Jesus’ teachings were based on real things not myth." I’ll clarify this on the last leg.

Leg #3

The jumping legs are a more serious matter. I agree that a straightforward definition of science would have enormous benefits. However, as such, it doesn’t exist.{3} For example, if I apply Jean’s definition of Science to the evolutionary hypothesis we find evolution is not science. Jean says, "Science deals with testable explanations of natural phenomena." Oddly enough this definition employs redundant adjectives. Scientifically testable things are by definition repeatable and observable. And repeatable, observable things automatically get labeled ‘natural.’

So is evolution a testable explanation? In the late 19th/early 20th century it seemed testable, but as soon as it failed those tests it morphed into untestable dogma. We can’t observe billions of years and chance. We can’t observe the initial radio-isotope ratios billions of years ago. We can’t observe punctuated equilibrium precisely because the hypothesis was designed to have it’s evolutionary happenings exactly where the data isn’t! When the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics became unavoidable, the mythology of ‘Open system’ came to the rescue. This proposition states that the entropy on Earth can (slowly, naturally) decrease while a proportionate amount increases outside (the sun.) However, this is the most basic definition of an engine! And every observable engine is itself an ordered system. You can’t observe an engine coming into being from unordered matter precisely because of the 2nd Law. If you did, it wouldn’t be a Law! And if you try what my Modern Physics professor did: "But biological engines came into existence…" you’ve fallen into classical circular reasoning. In summary, all present, observable processes deny evolution, for they are necessarily ‘order’ losing processes.

Therefore, if we want to call the ‘Evolution Hypothesis’ science, we need a broader definition. This is it: A proposition is termed scientific if and only if it has some empirically testable propositions as a part of it’s epistemological justification.{4} Another way of saying this is that the proposition must have some justification that is empirically falsifiable. To clarify, this definition does not imply that a scientific proposition necessarily be coherent with all empirical propositions. If all our theories fit perfectly all data there wouldn’t be any scientific work left to do.

A philosophical naturalist won’t like this definition because it allows for some "supernatural" propositions to be labeled scientific. However, any scientist that is willing to allow any progress in science must use this definition, precisely because hypothesis or even theories are (by definition) ahead of the data that finally proves or disproves them, and actually largely based upon deductive-type propositions. For example, Einstein’s Relativity was scientific before we could hardly touch it with empirical tests.

One need only to browse a publication like Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal or talk to a ‘creation’ scientist to see that they do largely base their propositions on empirical data. Whether their conclusions are largely right or wrong is immaterial to whether they are ‘doing science.’ Therefore, the question of which school is more scientific is, in fact, two questions:

Which philosophy of Science is closer to the Truth?

And which fits the empirical data most closely?

Therefore, Jean has failed to define ‘science that supports recent creation’ out of existence. Only one leg left.

Leg #4

Here I must state that Jean is quite correct about the all too popular "God of the gaps." It is, of course, a logical necessity that the God of the Bible must be, as Aubrey Moore said, ". . . everywhere present in nature, or he is nowhere."{5} So naturally it is futile to ascribe to God whatever it is that the self proclaimed lords of knowledge have not come up with a story for … yet. You would end up with a very small or strange god.

This brings me to my last point. For Christianized evolution to be rational, the theory of how we came to be must be logically coherent with the fundamental propositions that Jesus as Savior is built on.

First of all, if 'religious' type propositions can never based upon empirically verifiable evidence, then they will always seem to be practically irrational. Because, if scientific propositions are base on observed things and all 'religious' propositions are not, then it follows that 'religious' propositions must be solely derived from mere faith in subjective ideas. Theism may be rational on those grounds alone,{6} however Christianity is very much based upon empirical data. We cannot deduce from "I exist" or "the universe exists" down to "Jesus rose from the dead." Therefore, Christianity has to be historically scientific or else it is manifestly irrational. Now I hope that is not what Jean was trying to show. But logical consequences are unavoidable.

Additionally, Jean is also purposely trying to create rational room for theistic evolution in a Christian world view or "evolution as creation." Not only is theistic evolution as false as atheistic evolution,{7} but theistic evolution is philosophically/logically contrary to everything Jesus/ the Bible teaches is true. For example, God 'creates' using millions of years of death and blood shed before any sinning humans exist? If anything can be gleaned from the Bible, physical suffering and death are the result of sin, not the other way around. If there were no real Adam and Eve then our 'essence' is essentially equal to animals, we are not morally responsible for ourselves, and Jesus died for NOTHING! Besides why should we hope for God to make a better place, when on His first (or second) try all he achieved was millions of years of suffering through trial and error? If God chose to create in the most wasteful and cruel process conceivable by which to produce man, what does that tell us about the God we worship?{8}

Does Jean propose that in Matthew 19:4 (and Mark 10:6-8) Jesus built his teaching about divorce on a myth? Why would we worship a man who would perpetuate the ‘myths’ of his time?

The clincher is this: Jean says, "I suggest that it is presumptuous to claim any precise understanding of where and how God has acted in Creation." Initially this sounds nice and humble, but let's apply it to a Christian World view. If the above is true, then we would be presumptuous to claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, or maybe even existed at all! If we back off of that, then what on earth are we doing calling ourselves Christians. We might as well jump in the boat with Bishop John Shelby Spong to "rescue the Bible from fundimentalists"{9} and turn Christianity into a New Age Cult that believes in a god we just made up! Therefore, we end with a limbless frog that does not glorify God.

I may not be telling the truth with as much love as I ought, but a Christianity that accepts evolution makes it easy for lost people to discount Jesus and the rest of the Bible as just another set of nice teachings that don't really match reality, change with the current fads, and are internally incoherent. This is a weighty matter because one of the central tenets of real Christianity is that a person’s eternal destiny hinges upon who/what they place their trust in.

What I am asserting is that it is irrational to compartmentalize our Christian beliefs away from scientific beliefs. I work everyday to replace unjustified beliefs I have with justified ones. Christianized theistic evolution is definitely one I have had to replace.

To Jean: I must thank you for this opportunity to display the weakness of theistic evolution. However, you did make some very good points and I commend you for not ignoring the issue. I hope to someday meet you.


{1}Just one example: Faked human embryology drawings ‘supporting’ evolution. Creation Ex Nihilo Vol. 20 #2.

{2}For example: The initial conditions for Radiometric ‘Dating.’

{3}Chapter 1 of: J.P. Moreland Christianity and the Nature of Science (Baker.)


{5}See also Dallas Willard The Divine Conspiracy (Harper.)

{6}See Ronald H. Nash Faith and Reason (Zondervan.)

{7}I must leave the refutation for another project.

{8}An Episcopal Bishop claimed we can learn about God from Evolution in a sermon given in Covington, GA on May 30th, 1999.

{9}See Bishop John Shelby Spong Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalists (Harper.)