where religion and politics meet

Everybody has a worldview. A worldview is what you believe about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Nations have worldviews too, a prevailing way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Politics is the outworking of that worldview in public life.

Our country’s worldview used to be Christianity. Now we are told it is and has always been secularism, which is practical atheism. This issue divides our country, but those who disagree are divided as well on how to respond.

Our country could not have been founded as a secular nation, because a secular country could not guarantee freedom of religion. Secular values would be higher than religious ones, and they would supersede them when there was a conflict. Secularism sees religion only as your personal preferences, like your taste in food, music, or movies. It does not see religion, any religion, as being true.

But God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were always important parts of our public life, including our public schools, until 1963, when the court called supreme ruled them unconstitutional, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.

Our country also did not envision a multitude of different religions co-existing in one place, because the people, and the government, would then be divided on the basic questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Constitution, which we fought a war to be able to enact, states, among other things, that our government exists for us to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It could not do this unless it had a clear vision of what it considers to be true, a vision shared with the vast majority of the people in this country.

I want to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

Because religion deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, though the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation, critical thinking, and a hunger for what is true.

Science and education used to be valuable tools in the search for truth, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions of life without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary, possible, or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues. Many of the newer articles are shorter responses to partiular problems.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:


If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Larry Craig

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Response to an Atheist on Evolution

Response to an Atheist on Evolution

In a few generations, Western Civilization has undergone some major changes, the greatest of which has been the rejection of religion, specifically Christianity, in favor of secularism, which is essentially atheism.  This has had a profound impact on, frankly, everything. 
At the core of this change has been the concept of evolution.  Many religious people reject the idea, but they are commonly portrayed as being anti-science or just plain stupid for doing so. 
There is a video on the internet by Joshua Feuerstein attacking evolution, video here, which has gained some traction and was brought to the attention of JT Eberhard, the editor of patheos.com, an atheist online newsletter.  JT (I will use this to refer to Mr. Eberhard just because it’s faster to type) has taken the time to address this video point by point to show where he believes Feuerstein (or, Josh) is in error. link here,
This debate is important for everyone, whether or not they are interested in evolution, because, like I said, this affects everything, including governmental policies, which do affect everybody; morals in society, including but certainly not limited to even killings and crime in general; the movies you see; the books you read; and, well, just about everything.  Are people created in the image of God, endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, as per the Declaration of Independence, and consequently of enormous intrinsic value,  or did humans evolve from lower forms of life by mutations, and all our rights come from the government?
In this article, I will take the points that Eberhard uses one by one and hopefully add to the conversation in a significant way to warrant the time you take to read this.  Do you need to watch the video or read the original article to make sense of this article?  I don’t think so.  The points raise the various issues involved in evolution, and I will address those.
There are a lot of other links in this article as well.  Do you need to look at every one?  No, they are like footnotes, there to show that I am not just making this stuff up.  This subject is important, so please take the time to understand the issues here and what is involved.  The points I list here are the points made in the video that Eberhard then answers.
1.          Evolution was never observed. 
JT makes two points here.  “[I]f being observed directly is your criteria, god should be thrown out immediately along with any stories of him creating the universe.”  People don’t have a problem with evolution because it was “never observed.”  They have a problem with the idea that evolution is standard science, because one of the foundational principles of science is being able to conduct an experiment to prove a hypothesis, and someone across the world can do the same experiment and get the same results.  Critics just don’t see this same level of verifiability in evolution. 
JT then asserts “[b]ut evolution has been observed.”  He cites four examples to prove his point.  The first is from an article in National Geographic here, where five pairs of adult lizards were transplanted to an island that already had lizards.  He calls this a “controlled experiment,” though it appears not..  A war broke out and researchers were not there for an extended period of time, about 30 years. 
The article says that “the new species wiped out the indigenous lizard populations, although how it happened is unknown.”   Of course, nobody knows, because nobody was there.  The most logical reason why is that the various species intermingled.  The researchers were able to show that the remaining lizards descended from the original ones brought there, but would the genetic footprint have been different if they hadn’t intermingled than if they had?  The article doesn’t say.  It also doesn’t say if the original lizards were examined beyond the fact that they were less aggressive than the new ones.
The upshot is that, when the researchers returned to the island, the remaining lizards had some different traits from the original ones brought there, including a new muscle that helped in digestion, which is cited as a proof for evolution.  But apparently the indigenous lizards must have had this valve, because they lived on the same diet, which supposedly was the need for this new valve.  Wouldn’t the mixture of the two species more likely be the source of this new valve? 
The article ends with this: “What could be debated, however, is how those changes are interpreted—whether or not they had a genetic basis and not a "plastic response to the environment," said Hendry, who was not associated with the study.  There's no dispute that major changes to the lizards' digestive tract occurred. "That kind of change is really dramatic," he added.  "All of this might be evolution," Hendry said. "The logical next step would be to confirm the genetic basis for these changes."
So it seems that calling it evolution might be a bit premature.   However, I don’t think anyone, including Josh, would question that living things can adapt up to a point to a changing environment.  Any creationist would say that all the various species of, say, dogs derived from a very few original dogs.  The problem comes when they are asked to believe in the major changes.  
For example, if all life evolved from simpler life forms, how or why did sea creatures develop lungs or land creatures develop gills?  They didn’t need them, and until they were fully developed they would have killed them if they tried to use them. Yet we are supposed to believe that a creature having fully functioning gills would still develop lungs over thousands (?) of generations with nobody guiding the process.
The second link to an example of “observed speciation” in mosquitos did not have any references to evolution that I could see.
The third example concerned a kind of maggot that “spontaneously emerged” in North America in the early 1800s.  Wasn’t this also the time in the history of science when it was believed that maggots spontaneously appeared in dead people?  This ‘spontaneous emergence’ happened long before Darwin’s views on evolution were broadly accepted by the scientific community or even a matter of discussion.  Why is that relevant?  Because there was no perceived need back then to substantiate their findings to prove their case. 
These maggots were associated with apples, which were not native to North America.  When apples were brought to North America, were they all brought over as seeds?  Were no European maggots aboard those ships that sailed for months to the New World?  Were there no European flies on those ships that made the journey that intermingled with home grown flies?  I don’t think the case for evolution is supported with this example.
The fourth cited link refers to a flower that is supposed to show strong evidence of evolution, but you need to be a botanist or at least be strongly scientifically trained to know all the technical terms used in the article. 
But briefly, evolutionists consider any changes in a living thing across a generation as proof of evolution.  Critics of evolution generally are not concerned about this.  They want to know how random, mindless mutations, without intelligence guiding it, can develop eyes, brains, a neurological system, and any of dozens of other intricate systems of the human body.  They want to know how self-reproducing things can randomly, mindlessly develop complementary reproductive systems that work together to create new offspring.  See my article for amplification. article: Is there a God?
No critic of evolution cares about all these ‘examples’ of evolution.  In the end, the lizards were still lizards, the maggots were still maggots, the mosquitoes were still mosquitoes, and the flowers were still flowers.  There are hundreds of kinds of dogs in the world, and many different races of human beings. The only important question is whether dogs or lizards or mosquitoes ever became something else.
Evolutionists seem quite pleased when they find what is considered a transitional species, that bridge between one species and another, which is essential if all life came from simpler forms.  JT notes the discovery of a transitional species  , an extinct fish “with many features akin to those of tetrapods”(four footed animals).
He even wrote a primer on evolution that references quite a few transitional species.  But for a process that is constantly at work with no intelligence guiding it and which produces changes only incrementally, I would expect that after billions of years of life on this planet, every living thing would be in a transitional state, like a city where every building is under construction, no building completed, yet all still inhabitable.
The problem with these ‘transitional species’ is that it gives the impression that they are like book revisions that come out all at once, like 2nd and 3rd editions.  And after a while, they just call it an entirely new book. Rather these incremental microscopic changes across the whole spectrum of genetic coding are as if I were editing this paper by randomly inserting and deleting letters yet expecting that at every stage the article was readable, coherent, and actually improving.
There is no master designer deciding when evolution can take a break, or even when a species is ‘complete.’  There are supposed to be constant changes, and after all these years, every living thing should exhibit these changes in progress.  Yet it looks to the casual observer like all of life has reached a state of equilibrium in that trees seem complete as trees, and human beings look like finished products.  Sure, we could all be smarter and better looking, and we still need a gene to prevent obesity, but nobody looks like the manufacturer is still at work here. 
2.  ”That’s why it’s called the “theory” of evolution.”
Because evolution is usually spoken of as “the theory of evolution,” the question is what that means exactly.    The word ‘theory’ can mean both an unproven assumption, and it can mean a set of principles.  Josh latches onto the fact that evolution is called a theory to assert that science itself admits that this is not yet proven. 
JT debunks Josh by using the other definition.  Actually I think JT goes a little too far with his definition of theory.  He describes “a theory [as] a hypothesis or collection of hypotheses, which has stood up to repeated rigorous testing and passed the test. A theory explains all relevant facts and is contradicted by none.”  Yet the Wikipedia article he refers to here notes that “a scientific theory may be rejected or modified if it does not fit [the] new empirical findings.” 
So science is supposed to always be open to new information leading to new conclusions.  And this is precisely where I would say that science has stepped off the path a little. 
Most people I believe would think of science as the search for truth, the search for answers.  But consider the questions of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of species, the origin of humans.  A lot of people believe in a God who did all this.  But science is not interested in finding out whether God did it or not.  It works from the assumption that God didn’t do it, and natural causes explain everything. 
So say for the sake of argument that there really is a God.  Science is not interested in knowing that.  It would still insist that everything can and must be explained only by natural causes, even when in fact it wasn’t.  So evolution is ‘proved’ basically because it is the only alternative explanation for things apart from God.  Either God created or nature did it on its own.  Since we automatically rule out the God option, what’s left?  Evolution.  So evolution wins.  [Note: Evolutionists separate the question of the origin of life from the question of evolution, but for now I am just dealing with the larger question of whether everything happened on its own or whether there was a God at work.]
The first question is not how life could have developed by itself but did it?  Science tries to explain how it could have, and if it could have, they assume it must have, and if it must have developed by itself, then God didn’t do it, and therefore there must not be a God. 
Now science will insist that they are not really interested in the God question, that it is not a matter for science, that they are only interested in the physical world.  But they then insist that the physical world is a closed system, that everything in the physical world can and must be explained by physical, or natural, causes, so there is no need for a God or to even bother with the question.  But to go from not seeing any reason or need for God to the conclusion that there is no God is a leap beyond logic or faith, a non sequitur.
I think the average person is not aware of these distinctions and would still see science as in the pursuit of all truth.  So it is essentially giving science a lot more credit than it really deserves.  Science ends up attributing things to mindless actions that we would never expect in regular life.  We know that all the advances in technology, like computers and cars and space travel, have required the accumulation of human knowledge and high levels of education and training, but science insists that given enough time, anything can happen, like human brains. 
The example of flipping a coin was used.  The odds of getting either heads or tails is 50/50.  But if you do it enough, say several billions times, you might or should get 20 heads or tails in a row.  The problem is that, if this is being compared to evolution, you just don’t start counting when you get the 20 in a row.  You don’t even know you are going to get 20 in a row until after you do.  But evolution is never done and never starts with a clean slate.  All the ‘misses’ before that are still there.  All the ‘mistakes’ from the last generation are still there. 
3.  ”One man’s theory.”
The statement is made here that this “theory [is] adopted by virtually every biologist on the planet.”  I think it should be noted that evolutionary concepts are not just the purview of biology, but chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, and a lot more fields that I don’t even know the names of.  But as for that first statement, I think it would be more accurate to say that few biologists would publicly question evolution for fear of losing their job.  There are many scientists who believe their findings show the impossibility of evolution  link, but because these scientists are too closely associated with openly religious people, a lot of people don’t even listen to what they have to say.
4.  ”You want me to believe that out of some accidental cosmic bang was created one cell…”
The video was clearly not made by a scientist here, because it confuses the question of how life began with evolution.  And that is a very serious matter with evolutionists, but I vote to give him some slack here.  For non-scientists, it’s all one big question: did God create the world, including human beings in their present form, or is everything simply the product of natural forces with no intelligence guiding the process? 
He is simply questioning how inert matter, things like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon could suddenly or even slowly join together to form a living thing.  It has been estimated that the value of all the chemicals and elements that make up the human body cost about $1 link..
Now chemicals constantly interact with other chemicals when they come in contact with each other.  But the question is how these chemicals can join to form a living thing, specifically a human being.
Scientists readily admit that the chemical structures in living things today are uniquely complex.  So they propose, no, assert that early life forms had to be really simple, and once that happened, they could then just evolve the rest of the way on their own. 
To explain how this started, or could have started, they give as evidence things like polymers or vesicles here which can both increase in size and divide.  But the increase in size is due to the absorption of available molecules, similar to how a log absorbs water.  The added water is not reconstructed into log but remains water that can just as easily be removed.  The log is dead and remains dead.   And the divisions of the original ‘thing’ is caused by outside sources rather than reproduction.  And another source is cited here which explains more about what could have happened. 
What is clear from these two cited sources is that natural causes are assumed to be responsible for everything.  But this is the assumption of science and not the conclusions.  Things had to evolve and things had to come together to form life, because there is no other explanation that they will allow.  To call it God seems to them to be an excuse for not doing the heavy lifting, like figuring out how it could have happened without God.
So when it is asserted that scientists agree, or the consensus of scientists is, it must be remembered that they are working from the assumption that there are no supernatural forces at work here.  All things can and must be explained in natural terms.  But there is nothing in the natural explanations that shows that it even could have happened apart from supernatural causes.  It is accepted only because any other possibilities have been ruled out from the start.
5.  ”…and that somewhere along the line we all magically developed different will[s] and different traits.”
Josh (the video) finds it hard to believe that from simple life forms complex life forms can emerge. 
The response, amplified in his primer, is:
“Evolution is engineered by the same key forces that generate new order everywhere in our universe without the need for any appeal to god. They are:
1. Mutation.
2. Reproduction.
3. Competition.
That’s it. If you have these three catalysts in place working over time, order and often improved functionality are inevitably the end result. This goes for life on this planet and for the evolution of stellar bodies in galaxies light years beyond it.”
That’s it, folks!  We can all go home now.  There’s nothing more to be seen here.
Mutations are changes in the genetic code when reproduction takes place.  The problem is that since scientists have started studying DNA, the building blocks of life, they have found that mutations are primarily neutral or adverse, such that some scientists, doing the math, see this as showing the upper limit for how long human beings could have been in existence, and frankly the numbers they give are a lot shorter than the numbers commonly taught. link There are just too many genetic errors in each generation.
JT thinks this is all a good thing.  He calls them “birth defects.”  Yet this is supposed to be the driving force that has produced thousands of new species with these incredible features like brains and eyes.  In fact, there aren’t any simple parts in a human being.  Yet again we are supposed to believe that all these errors, given enough time, will make such incredible things.
Reproduction?  The model of reproduction in the vesicles in point 4 was division imposed on them from without, like wind blowing a tree limb off.  Raindrops can be broken into new drops and combine to form larger drops, even rivers, but it is not alive and doesn’t have a program written into its cells that have the blueprint for a new raindrop; and it doesn’t take hydrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere and convert it into water.  Self-replicating molecules are not the same as having this program of reproduction (DNA) written in every cell.
6.  ”…it’s all because we willed it in our heads…”
Slip of the tongue?
7.  ”Everything came from one single cell, how much faith does that take?”
The question here simply is: which requires more faith, believing in God and the Bible or believing in evolution?  Let me quote the article here:
“Very little (see my rebuttal to argument #4), since this does not conflict at all with how we know the universe to work.  By that token it takes infinitely less faith than to believe in things that outright contradict the way we know the universe to work like, say, someone rising from the dead and walking on water.”
The bigger question now becomes: so just how does the universe work, and how do we know?  Evolution sees no problem with believing that complex life forms can come from simpler forms without the intervention of a higher intelligence, because their belief system requires it.  So the universe must work that way, because, since they assume there is no God, there is no other way it could possibly work. 
And Jesus couldn’t have done the things attributed to him, because they presuppose the reality of a spiritual power beyond the physical world. 
So what it comes down to is this.  Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God.  Neither can anything else I would suppose, apart from maybe a personal appearance by God himself.  So the question of God or no God, creation or evolution, is not one to be resolved by what might be called proofs.  There is evidence, but there will always be unanswered questions.  Don’t expect that a human being will understand everything about God this side of death.  By definition, there is an enormous gap between humans and God.  Any information we would obtain about God would have to be through his initiative, not our efforts.  And if such were the case, I would have imagined that this would have taken place a long time ago (like Bible times?) rather than God waiting for, what, people to be smarter(?).
In general, I would say that the question of whether a person believes in God or not is based on personal issues, not on external information.  In other words, there is no amount of physical data that will prove or disprove the existence of God.
8.  ”The law of thermodynamics says that chaos can never produce order.”
Josh, who made the video, is not a scientist.  He may say things in the wrong way, and you can rebut the words he uses, but if you don’t see what he is getting at, you’re not addressing the issues he’s raising, and your rebuttal is not doing all that you are hoping for.
JT makes the following statement to disprove this statement from the video:
“But in terms of evolution the second law [of thermodynamics] doesn’t even apply because living systems are not isolated.  They are not closed systems.  Look at any plant to see this.  Most plants produce leaves by using 2% of the energy it receives from the sun to photosynthesize atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules into high-energy, highly organized hydrocarbon molecules such as sugars.  This doesn’t violate the second law because the increased order is driven by energy coming into the system from the sun.  In fact, it is thanks to the second law of thermodynamics that living systems are able to increase their organization.”
But if a plant cannot exist without photosynthesis, how do you get a plant in the first place?  If evolution produced a pre-plant organism that was able to exist and metabolize energy and reproduce, how or why did it develop the ability to photosynthesize oxygen and carbon dioxide?  It obviously didn’t need it, so why would it do it?  And could random mindless mutations develop such a system?
This is what the video means by chaos producing order.  Random, unguided actions produce chaos, like a very young child hitting the keyboard of a computer trying to write a book on science.  It takes intelligence and knowledge.
The example used here to show that living systems can “increases their organization” does not answer the original charge, because the original charge has to do with how living systems got this ability to increase their organization in the first place.  How and why did (pre-)plants develop systems to photosynthesize in the first place?  The original charge is that something, meaning intelligence, outside of the system had to have imposed order on the system, otherwise the system on its own would never have created order.
9.  ”You cannot say that a universe that has order came out of an accident because it defies the very logic and laws of science.
There are at least two problems here.
Science says that there is no need for a God, because everything has within itself these properties that make for order and for this struggle for advancement through evolution.  But the only reason they say that these properties are inherent to molecules and organisms is because they have already rejected the idea of a God.  So therefore there has to be these inherent properties to explain how things got to where they are. 
It’s a little like saying that we don’t need farmers, because you can get all the produce you want from the grocery store.  If you need more, all they have to do is order it, and big trucks come and bring it.  How cool is that?
So where does produce come from?  Ultimately from trucks.
They think they can explain everything by describing how some very simple molecule combinations may self-replicate, and once that happens the ball is rolling, and you have plants and animals and human beings with brains and hearts and eyes and ears and nerves, given enough time, of course.
So the first problem is making an assumption (there is no God), and then offering an explanation of how things had to have happened, and then saying it actually did happen that way, because there is no other way it could have happened, and therefore they have proven that there is no God.
The second problem is the assumption that, given enough time, anything can happen, and we have had enough time to account for the existence of everything by entirely natural means.
Quoting JT:
“As for chance, yes, the arise [sic] of a self-replicating molecule is unlikely.  However, so are people winning the lottery.  Yet people win the lottery all the time.  Why?  Because millions of people are purchasing lottery tickets.  If you have enough tickets purchased, even something as unlikely as winning the lottery becomes probable.
That is why, if a self-replicating molecule arose through natural means, we’d expect to find ourselves in a vast, very old universe full of lots of materials and with enough time for them to interact a LOT, such that our self-replicating molecule “lottery” would have a probable winner.”
The problem here is that the fact that people all over the world would win the lottery at some point in time has nothing to do with evolution.  Evolution requires that the same molecules or organisms win the lottery over and over again.  Evolution compounds on the changes in the past in the same organism and its direct ‘descendants,’ but organisms separate from each other are all on different paths.  The advancement of one has no effect on the advancement of another.  These are all self-replicating systems here.  It’s not like human beings where blacks and whites can intermingle, and you can get a white man who can dunk.
10.  The tornado creating a Lamborghini analogy.
This is probably the weakest part of the video explanation, because it used the example of a violent storm assembling an expensive car out of junkyard parts.  However, the point of the analogy is that something as complicated as a Lamborghini requires intelligence to design, make the parts, and put it together.  Yet we are asked to believe that things far more complicated than Lamborghinis are able to be formed simply through mutations(?). 
The response to this is how self-replicating molecules explain everything.  Yet a few things are lacking in this explanation.  It has already been admitted that self-replicating molecules are “unlikely” (see #9 above), though it is asserted that they must have happened.  Yet there is still this huge gap between that and life. 
Life requires a lot more functionality than simply the ability to self-replicate.  Molecules replicating is far removed from a living organism having a genetic code that assembles a complex organism out of simple elements like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon.  We are asked to believe that very simple molecules that can replicate themselves make enough ‘mistakes’ in replication that over millions of years these ‘mistakes’ can account for all the various forms of life in the world. 
11.  ”…and yet, that’s exactly what science believes.”
This is just another part of the last point.  No, science does not believe this [Science does not claim that things can be instantly assembled from molecules that don’t self-replicate.], referring to the Lamborghini, but I think it does highly overestimate the abilities of evolution and highly underestimates the complexity of everything living.
12.  ”Science believes that from this accident came this perfectly working earth…everything in earth was created perfectly…it had to be by intelligent design.”
A little confusion here.  Christians do believe that the world was created perfect.  They also believe that things changed when humans gained the knowledge of good and evil, both humans and the physical world as well.  All the things JT brings up at this point [“As long as you consider hurricanes which kill indiscriminately (i.e., they kill Christians too), cancer, birth defects, earthquakes, whooping cough, and on, and on, to fall under the category of “perfect”.] were not a part of how the world was said to have been designed.  Evil entered the world, and the physical world changed as well. 
The point is again made here that “order requires no appeal to god.”  The bottom line here is that there are many things in life that a lot of people cannot imagine could have developed by themselves, like the things I have already mentioned: eyes, ears, brains, nerves.  Evolutionists look at them and say, no problem. 
13.  ”So dear Mr. Atheist, who really has to have a lot of faith today?”
JT notes first that Christianity obviously doesn’t make people better, and he sees the author of this video as proof.  However, there is no way to know if the video proves that, because we don’t know how Josh would be if he were not a Christian. 
But I would have to contend that Christianity does make people better (not perfect, just better), and atheism actually brings out the worst in people (with exceptions, of course J). 
Whatever evils have been attributed to the Church and to Christians throughout history, there is no question that the Bible itself teaches people, especially Christians, to love their neighbors, to be honest, kind, faithful, giving, patient, forgiving, self-sacrificing, hardworking, and essentially living for others.   It also teaches them that God will hold them accountable for their lives, and there is an afterlife to both reward good and punish evil.
If Christians do not live up to these standards, it is not the fault of the system.  People are not forced to do what they themselves don’t choose to do, but Christians are expected to live up to a very high standard, to be like Jesus. 
Now atheists can certainly have all of the above virtues, but there is nothing in atheism that teaches that they should, and certainly no one to hold them accountable if they are not.  So while many atheists believe in some set of morals, I would contend that this is not from their atheism but from the past Christian influences on society.  And nobody should be surprised if an atheist lives entirely for himself. Life is short, and that is all there is.
So the question is: what takes more faith, meaning: what is harder to believe, as in more contrary to common sense or common knowledge: to believe in God or to believe in evolution?
I think it is clear that believing in God is the default human condition.  There is no culture I am aware of where a belief in God is not prevalent.  There are countries that have officially declared themselves to be atheistic, but this is a position assumed at the top and then forced on the people.  These were not the result of popular referendums.
But common human experience shows that if you find something considered complex, like words in a sentence, tools, or machines, there was intelligence at work in the design and manufacturing of it.  Animals don’t build cities, or cars, or computers.  They don’t write books or compose music.  Human beings, even the simplest life forms, show such complex systems of assimilation and awareness that most people cannot imagine that there are the results of ‘mistakes’ in the genetic code.  And just how did we get that genetic code in the first place?
JT believes Josh (and Christians) need more faith, because “[he] reject[s] the entire discipline of biology (while clearly knowing next to nothing about it) in favor of a book written by people who lived in a time ignorant of almost every human discovery.”
The fact is that Josh and Christians don’t reject biology [“: a branch of knowledge that deals with living organisms and vital processes”], but many do have a problem with the explanation of how those living organisms and vital processes are said to have come about.
As for the Bible, is it really “ignorant of almost every human discovery”?  There are whole books written to show how far that is from the truth.  May I suggest:  Modern Science in the Bible by Ben Hobrink, Howard Books, 2005?  Modern science had to catch up with the Bible actually.  Certain basic principles of hygiene and health were unknown to science until the last hundred years or so but were taught in the Bible 3500 years ago.
14.  ”I can’t look at all of that creation (animals, Yellowstone, etc.) and say that it was an accident.”
More and more humans live in metropolitan areas where they are surrounded by concrete, buildings, streets, noise, and just plain human clutter.  I don’t want to overgeneralize here, but I would say that people who spend more time in nature, far from cities and town, find it a lot easier to believe in the existence of God than those who don’t
15.  ”I have to say that creation has a creator.”
The evolutionist doesn’t find any evidence of a creator, because they had already decided before the fact that there wasn’t any.  They are not asking whether any evidence supports the idea of a creator, because they have decided, and need to believe, that there is no creator.
Beginning with the assumption that everything happened on its own, it gives descriptions of the processes by which everything that is could have come about. 
“There was once a time when nothing was explained.  Ever since that time everything we have explained has been found to be the product of mindless forces acting on inanimate objects (i.e. natural causes).  All of it.  Literally.”  JT gives two examples of these explanations here: stars and the earth and solar systems
So what science has done is provide an explanation of how things could have happened and then suddenly they know [“has been found”] how things actually did happen, because, given the assumption that there is no God, how else could it have happened?  Science thinks that, when you introduce the God concept to explain anything, you are just trying to get around the hard work of finding out what really happened.  The fact is, though, that when you are trying to figure out what happened billions of years ago, you just don’t have enough information to go on.  You create a scenario of what could have happened, and leave it at that.
16.  ”I dare you to read Genesis 1.”
JT has a lot of questions about Genesis 1.  I read Genesis 1, and I have a lot of questions too.  Answering a lot of these questions didn’t make my list of most important questions in life to answer, so I don’t have answers to all of them, mine or his.  But I have some.
Three times JT asserts that something Genesis says happened didn’t happen the way it says it did.  And why would he say that?  Two reasons.  The first is that science already figured out how certain things could have happened according to their presuppositions.  Not because there was proof, but because assuming things had to have happened naturally, they believe they found a way it could have.  And because it is the only way it could have apart from God doing it, they accept it as fact.
The other reason would be the fossil record, which would take another article with a lot of documentation.  Yawn. Sigh.  And what would need to be documented?  Things like fossils being in the ‘wrong’ layers or mixed with the ‘wrong fossils,’ earlier fossils in layers above later fossils, dinosaur fossils having DNA present which doesn’t hold up for millions of years (actually a lot less), many unchanged forms from modern day descendants, problems with dating techniques, the presence of carbon – 14, and a few other matters beyond the scope of this article.
But simply, the bigger questions can still be answered apart from the question of fossils.
JT wonders “[h]ow, exactly, did he (God) give us dominion over all the species that came (and went extinct) before us?”  I would say that would be because of human intelligence.  Animals don’t ask questions about how things work.  They don’t create sciences or literature. They don’t put humans in zoos to admire and learn from them and quench their curiosity about other life forms. 
JT thinks it’s bad advice for Genesis (or God) to say that every herb and tree was given to us for “meat.”  “Even if it’s just being metaphorical, do you know how many plants have evolved poisons and other means to keep us from eating them?”  The Bible explains in chapter 3 of Genesis that a lot of things changed for the worse after sin entered into the world, including plant life, e.g. we now have to work the soil to grow our food.
18.  ”Why do we let evolution “science” work its way into middle schools and preschools and colleges and universities around the world?”
JT insists that schools only teach as science what has been “confirmed by the experts through the process of peer-review” and that creationists are only interested in talking to lay people who they are easily able to convince of the truth of their message.
Actually they only teach evolution in most places, because the courts have banned creationism from being taught.  Because it’s considered religion. 
So the question that needs to be answered is: what is [the] truth?  That ban assumes or contends that religion, any religion or all religions, is not true.  Yes, there is more than one religion, but does that mean that there is no way to evaluate them and see if one is truer than another. 
But the courts have banned religion from public education, because it has concluded that religion contributes nothing essential to human knowledge.  It is a cultural incidental like Italians liking pasta or Germans liking beer.
I would think that education is about learning the truth, the truth about everything, including whether there is a God, is there a purpose to life, is there right and wrong, are there rules in life? 
And you’re not going to be able to study the supernatural by studying only the natural, or study the immaterial by studying only the material. 
Is there a God?  Don’t ask a scientist.  They have spent their lives avoiding the question.  And don’t say that they have answered the question already, because they haven’t.  Just because you ignore something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  And that’s what they have done.  They have assumed there is no God and then constructed a view of the world based on that assumption and then told people to believe it on their authority. 
Believing in God or not believing in God is your choice.  Does it make a difference?  Only if there really is a God.  I would say that it is the most important decision you will make in your life.  Don’t make it lightly or quickly.  What many people have done is to voice a prayer that if there is a God, that he would make himself known to this person. 
On a lighter note, I will close with JT’s final comment.  It’s too good to pass up.  Just don’t let it make you forget everything that we said before it. 
“If nothing else, Josh and his followers have laid the groundwork for a fourth law of thermodynamics: rebuttals to a bullshit claim will take exponentially more energy to research and deploy than it took to make the bullshit claim.”