The two Toms will continue their discussion privately*. Let it be noted that the theistic Tom did change one position based on the evidence. The atheistic Tom retreated into uncharacteristic illogic when cornered.
Tom W., arguing from a Big Bang perspective, insisted that an effect needed a final cause. Tom L. responded essentially that "Universes happen."
When Tom W. tried to show that Genesis was compatible with long ages, Tom L. nailed him to the wall. Tom W. responded by acknowledging the evidence and changing his position.
It is instructive that the Enlightenment man seems impervious to evidence and reason while the man of Faith responds to them. So who is closed-minded and who is open?
The implied premise of Tom Lawson's website "Faith Vs Reason" is shown to be faulty. Faith does not extinguish reason, it enhances it. Contrarily, unbelief closes the mind.
(If either Tom wants to append this editorial, their comments have been invited and are welcome.)
* But if anyone is interested in their ongoing discussion, it has been compiled and is available from Ross Olson.
TOM LAWSON'S APPENDED COMMENTS
** ROSS: "The two Toms will continue their discussion privately."
TOM: Actually, our offline discussion on the Gospels need not be private -- it just didn't belong on the Beginning of the Universe page. I have copies of all correspondence on this topic, so if you are curious, I could send them to you.
** ROSS: "Let it be noted that the theistic Tom did change one position based on the evidence. When Tom W. tried to show that Genesis was compatible with long ages, Tom L. nailed him to the wall. Tom W. responded by acknowledging the evidence and changing his position."
TOM: Actually, Tom W. appeared to be an Old-Earth creationist from the start; he spoke of 15 billion years as if it were a fact. I let it go at that. Maybe he thought each "day" was an eon. Our main differences were over his insistence that Genesis agreed with the Big Bang and the scientific sequence of the formation of stars, Sun, Earth, Moon, water, plants, animals, etc.
** ROSS: The atheistic Tom retreated into uncharacteristic illogic when cornered. Tom W., arguing from a Big Bang perspective, insisted that an effect needed a final cause. Tom L. responded essentially that "Universes happen."
TOM: Far from being cornered or illogical, I was just trying to correct Tom W.'s illogic and present the views of scientists on the subject.
** ROSS: "It is instructive that the Enlightenment man seems impervious to evidence and reason while the man of Faith responds to them. So who is closed-minded and who is open? The implied premise of Tom Lawson's website "Faith Vs Reason" is shown to be faulty. Faith does not extinguish reason, it enhances it. Contrarily, unbelief closes the mind."
TOM: When faith leads to faulty conclusions, it is my duty to set the record straight. I am not "impervious to evidence." I remain impervious to the supernatural as long as no one provides evidence of it. The problem was simply that Tom W.'s scientific evidence didn't agree with the biblical text, and his spiritual evidence was based on private revelation (untestable) and Holy Scripture (begging the question & no better than other faiths). Faith does not enhance reason; it abdicates it. Moving Tom W. to a more rational position is not close-mindedness.
TOM LAWSON'S SUMMARY of Beginning of the Universe:
The two Tom's concluded their discussion of the Beginning of the Universe and are now discussing the Gospels offline.
Wolff claimed that Genesis 1 agrees with the Big Bang. Lawson presented alternative astrophysical hypotheses.
Wolff repeatedly claimed that Genesis 1 gives the correct sequence of the formation of the milky way, Sun, Moon, water, plants, animals, etc. Lawson repeatedly pointed out omissions and errors in both Genesis 1 and 2 and Wolff's reading of the text. I assume I convinced him on this topic.
Wolff claimed that an intelligent creator is more acceptable than a universe that is infinite or that came from nothing. Lawson countered that a universe that is infinite or came from nothing is both simpler and as logical as a creator that is infinite or came from nothing.
Wolff claimed that the multiverse hypothesis is based on circular reasoning and is not testable. Lawson replied that the multiverse hypothesis is no worse than the god hypothesis, which also is not testable.
At Lawson's request, Wolff related several personal experiences that for him confirmed "God's power in action." Lawson provided plausible natural explanations of them.
Having been exposed for a while to Lawson's atheistic views, Wolff revised his description of his philosophical position, prior to conversion to Christianity, from atheist (Part 3) to agnostic (Part 7). Also, Lawson suggested that Wolff may be submitting now to Christian peer pressure in the same way he appears to have submitted in his early life to agnostic or atheistic peer pressure.
Wolff concluded that only direct revelation would convince Lawson of the existence of God. Lawson responded that revelation does not constitute evidence, because it is private and experienced similarly by members of many very different religions with very different religious doctrines.
Wolff asked Lawson for his opinion of a list of certain biblical moral goals and claimed that God is the "mark by which all else is measured." Lawson responded that morality is independent of God, that one of the main goals is reciprocal altruism, and that, if God is the mark, it is a mark of cruelty and vengefulness toward multitudes of innocent people, causing thousands of years of suffering for the sin of one couple.
Wolff claimed that only the Bible has "the full Truth of Jesus Christ." Lawson stated that, according to Mormon doctrine, only the Bible PLUS the Book of Mormon have the "full Truth of Jesus Christ."
Wolff claimed that we are all capable of knowing the Truth about God and Jesus. Lawson countered that he can't tell the difference between the deep faith of a Christian and the deep faith of the member of any other religion.
TOM WOLFF'S SUMMARY of Beginning of the Universe:
Tom Lawson did an excellent job in discussing the topic of the beginning of the universe. He provided the various 'scientific' explanations for explaining how the universe began, without having to resort to God. But Mr. Lawson's attempt at defending the beginning of the universe ends up being an excellent proof for the existence of God. The attempts at explaining the beginning of the universe without God fail for a number of reasons:
1) There is no consensus among scientists as to how the universe could begin apart from God. The three theories submitted in our discussion are: that the universe is eternal. That there are many other, undiscovered universes. And that the massive amount of energy needed to begin our universe could happen because of the presence of gravity.
These various explanations provided are unscientific, and illogical. There are no observations or theories to support any of the explanations Mr. Lawson has submitted. These theories cannot be tested. They contradict other scientific theories. And they fail the most basic of tests, where if something is observed to happen, there must be a Cause. No Cause is provided by any of the theories submitted by Mr. Lawson in our discussion. The universe just exists is not a very satisfying explanation. With these sort of 'scientific' explanations for the beginning of the universe, it is easy to see why 96% of the people still believe that God is the reason that the universe began.
2) And the case for the existence of God is overwhelming. The basic logic that because the universe existed, there must be a Cause, with that Cause being God is insurmountable to atheiests. The perfect fine tuning of the universe can only be explained by an Intelligent Designer. And most importantly, the many, many personal experiences of people having had a personal relationship with Christ, and the changed lives is only explained by the presence of God. "In the beginning God", is the only explanation that satisfies man's intellectual pursuit for why we are here.