Lee Strobel is an idiot

So, I mentioned awhile back that I’m reading “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel, who also wrote such books as “The Case for Faith” and “The Case for Christ,” two very popular books on the college scene in such “black and white” groups as CCF and Campus Crusade…

Anyway, so I saw this book at Barnes and Noble and couldn’t help but buy it since it was that trendy author writing about two things I’m interested in: God and science. Thus far (and, granted, I’m only 80 pgs into it…), the book is worthless. Strobel uses “evidence” out of non-evidence. For example:

“The problem with irreducibly complex systems is that they perform no function until all the parts are present and working together in close coordination with one another. So natural selection cannot help you build such systems; it can only preserve them once they’ve been built. And it’s virtually impossible for evolution to take such a huge leap by mere chance to create the whole system at once.” — pg 79

Why not?! The chances of being struck by lightening once, surviving, and then getting struck again in the exact same location as before isn’t likely, but it’s still possible. How do you know it isn’t possible? And now to the whole “evidence by non-evidence” point:

“This is not an argument from ignorance…we’re not inferring design just because the naturalistic evolutionary theories all fail to explain information. We infer design because all those theories fail and we know of another causal entity that is capable of producing information – namely, intelligence. Personally, I find this to be a very strong argument indeed.” — pg 78

Oh really! All those theories fail? Do you know how science works, Mr. Strobel? You know there is no such thing as “proof” in science? That’s because any evidence can come along and change the way we we all see the world. You assume that since we don’t understand a few facets of the world around us, we must assume that “intelligence” as we know it must be involved. We thought the world was flat until we found evidence to support that it’s round. We thought the universe revolved around Earth until we found that Earth revolves around a star…that is one of infinite stars in the rest of the universe. The “intelligence” you’re talking about is human intelligence. God is all-knowing, thereby presenting an entirely different type of intelligence from what we have experienced. Frankly, Mr. Strobel, you don’t know anything about science if this is the “evidence” you’re presenting. You shouldn’t be writing books about things you apparently know nothing about.

The point of all this is: humans understand absolutely nothing about the “known” universe. We don’t know how God works. We don’t know how it was all done. To quote the common phrase, “we don’t know jack.” How can we assume to know how it all works? Isn’t it possible that there are other universes parallel to our own that have completely different physics to our own? How about another planet out there that has beings built out of neon rather than carbon? Or perhaps even that on some planet on some distant galaxy, a milk cow won an election against someone looking strangely like George W. Bush. Frankly, we don’t know. I can’t prove that these things aren’t happening because, well, because it can’t be proven.

Much like Strobel can’t prove anything he’s putting forth in his book. Know why? Well, because “evidence by non-evidence” isn’t evidence at all. It’s ignorance.

23 Replies to “Lee Strobel is an idiot”

  1. First… I’d like to declare that I am not a creationist.
    Second… An omnipitant God who we feel plays a role in our day to day lives, but can’t prove, if exists couldn’t have come to exist after we evolved. So where does he fit in? The very nature of omnipitance couldn’t have allowed him to just be fixing his gaze about another galaxy while all this happened, and then turn to see people whos lives… whos very souls… he would then decide to intervene about.

  2. ….seems I should also add…
    “if evolution were God’s tool to create all that we see… wouldn’t it not turn out to be so random.. and wouldn’t that then be what we should be calling ‘inteligent design’?”
    …get my point?
    Also… this is why I liked the ending of “war of the worlds” so much, because it says something like God’s genius prevails through evolution making us so resistant to the world around us.. making every death not for granted.
    you know.. to paraphrase a great deal.

  3. Who says that God is involved in our day to day lives? Why do most people either insist that if there is a god then he has to be involved in our day to day lives or there is no god at all? Couldn’t God simply have just started life, put it into motion if you will, and then decided to just sit back and watch? Just because you already know what is going to happen doesn’t mean that you don’t want to see it happen.

    1. To the author.
      God is the ultimate scientist. Look at it this way. A car. Take a car, it’s a pretty complex piece of machinery. The cool thing is all those materials originated from minerals in the ground ( I didn’t even think about that, so cool when it was revealed to me) So is it possible for a car to randomly come into existence? Another analogy, Atheist snowmen. What are the mathematical chances that a snowman will be made from just the snow falling? So compare a car to the human body. Our bodies are way more high tech than a car. NOt trying to argue but it’s a different perspective that you may not have touched on. Dude and really? Someone is not an idiot because they have different views (which are backed by multiple proofs in “A Case for Christ” and “More Than a Carpenter”) so just investigate Christianity like Lee Strobel did. You may be surprised.

      With much love,
      Frito.

      P.S. You are all blessed.

      1. Frito,

        All you did was state Intelligent Design with a circuitous, and I might add terrible, analogy. These were probably explained to you in Jesus camp and might fool the weak minded, but those with a scientific backing know that ID is a cop-out for a real discussion.

        Cheeto.

        P.S. You cannot speak for God, and therefore your comment ‘God is the Ultimate Scientist’ is invalid, as is whatever argument you were just trying to make.

  4. Consistency amongst people is not an issue. Interpretation of a fact incorrectly doesn’t make the fact wrong.
    Without the Bible where does this idea of God come from? He turns into a god of your design, issued only for comfort- and only based on things other people say— simply a work of fiction to ease your mind and to fall back on in case the event of your death leads you to an ever God you silently thought didn’t exist outside popular culture. Worshiping this self made diety is the same as worshiping no diety. The Bible is paramount.

  5. To play devil’s advocate: how do we know that this “diety” isn’t self made? As in, I wasn’t around 2000 years ago and some schmuck could have written down the Bible, leaving it for future generations to read. I’m just saying that reading a written work about a diety could still be “self-made.” If not, wouldn’t the Koran be just as correct? Or the Book of Mormon? They’re both books written about their chosen dieties/lifestyles. What makes the Bible as or more correct?

    Secondly, the Bible is only semi-paramount in that it’s more of a guidebook, not necessarily a perfect dictation of history. We watched “Stigmata” yesterday and, as they pointed out, there are many other gospels all telling the same story, many of which aren’t included in the Bible because the Catholics like their power where it is: not in the hands of the believers. So the Bible cannot be considered to be completely paramount, but is certainly still important.

  6. This begs volumes of answer, of which I cannot spend the time to type- and certainly not without raising many more questions. Certainly easier done vocally.
    Firstly…
    all of this requires a degree of faith, because you cannot just take the word of the Bible without feeling God. The Bible is much larger than 2,000 years ago– The old testament giving us an idea of how people experienced God over many centuries. Also.. “dieties/lifestyles”? what does that mean? The biggest problem with today(and historically speaking) is fitting God into us and not the other way around. The Bible is much more historically accurate than any other piece of liturature virtually at all. It is also vastly different than the book of mormon or the koran. Which kind of leads into the second paragraph you have up there. This is completely a mis-statement. Was the Bible ever claiming to be a perfect dictation of history? While history has never been its adjenda, it has tiem and time again been backed by scholars. Also, don’t get confused about the many other gospels and about catholics. There wasn’t actually a time when they got together and said “get rid of these books and keep these” There was a counsel that came together many years after the books were all written, and simply bound them. — unlike mormon’s or the koran– the bible wasn’t written with a claimed ‘hotwire’ to God– but rather the whole world of the people writting was formed and shapped and of all of those misnomered “gospels” only a few were useful. only a few were ever used by churches. Imagine the power of one guy who would grow up in, say, milan missouri and live a low key life and in about two and a half years literally change the face of the planet.. a lot of people wrote about him.. he was pretty influential. People would get together and, through the holy spirit a kind of boiling down process began to occur that would end in just four gospels being used in the whole of the known world. The others just were too repetative and didn’t really mean much to people. Also it is important to note that because they were not bound with the bible, these pieces are in no way accurate at all- and are likely completely different than the original work. Mostly the writtings were taken in by a very liberal sect of christianity which changed and edited them to their own liking, creating lots of needless worry and making for a good box office, not to mention book sales. The key here is the holy spirit. the work done in peoples lives. Stigmata is a poor source for learning about this stuff.. I have some textbooks that I will drop your way if you want (don’t worry- they are real liberal). Also- the ‘catholics’ aren’t who you think of today. They were the universal church. they were just the church. like, “christians”.
    I guess there’s a lot to think about, and it’s hard to type this and anticipate where your mind will float.I think a lot of this is a matter of faith, and to be blunt it’s your buisness how much you choose to learn about it. It’s just sad when miseducation leads people to think things that aren’t real. I mean, of all the things to learn about- why the hell not study something that says it could change your forever. I guess it’s strange to think that we have a God who we say is omnipotent and then are in absolute disbelief that he could work in the lives of mortals and influence a simple book.

  7. Everyone has certain fundamental beliefs that cannot, under any circumstance, be modified. On one end of the spectrum (fundamentalists), it’s “the bible is the absolute word-for-word truth”. On the other end of the spectrum (rationalists) is the “if it’s logical and reasonable and provable, it’s good thought”. Trying to convince “the other side” that your belief is the right one is useless, as they don’t share the same core beliefs, and can never see your side. It’s fun to yak about, though. 🙂

    The whole God as omnipotent, omniscient “we have no free will!” problem is broken and unsolvable in Classical theology, imo. (just about all common Christian denomiations fall under Classical), for basically the reasons Nathan & Andy mention.

    Process theology neatly solves all those problems by allowing god to be all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, and so on, without all the messy problems of not having free will thus not having a reason to live at all.

    This has already gone on far too long so you should all read my most favorite theological work ever, “Omnipotence and other Theological Mistakes”, by Charles Hartshorne, a theologist that follows the Process viewpoint. Some of his later thoughts about the afterlife and stuff get a little weird for me (not being christian and all), but his basic tenents are just way cool. Or, they were for me at least, ’cause when I went to church when I was a kid none of it made any sense whatsoever. And his whole book made a hell of a lot of sense to me.

  8. Why is there a supposition that an omnipotent god will choose the fate of its subjects? This is a grave misunderstanding of “classical” theology. God knowing what we will do and making us do it are two completely different things. Somewhat like an artist painting a picture… Picaso knows in his head what it will look like before he paints it.. he sees it.. this particular artist claims to have a ‘relationship’ with his art before he puts it on paper. But just because he knows what it’s going to look like doesnt mean he doesn’t still have to paint it- going step by step.
    If you were blessed with some psychic power and knew the old woman across the street was going to get hit by a bus tomorrow, and then she did, that doesn’t mean you made her get hit by the bus.
    A good way to circumvent that spectrum problem of not ever seeing the other persons view is to try to not have a view, and go from there. Don’t proove your side, just see what makes sense.

  9. …yeah…buuuuuut…wouldn’t that presuppose that if we were blessed with this psychic power and knew something would happen and _didn’t_ act based on that knowledge, we were still in effect responsible for the outcome? …that if we were painters with paintings in our minds and _didn’t_ paint it, perhaps it was still our will and commandment that it _isn’t_ painted?

    …and for the record, by “circumventing that spectrum problem” by trying to “not have a view”…I dunno about that…seems like a cop out step to me. Everyone has a view. This is human nature. The trick is to be able to set aside that view and try to see the other view and then synthesize a new and (hopefully) more accurate view. Unfortunately, each side has problems setting aside their views. Going back to science, the purpose of being a scientist is to be able to have a philosophy and then find evidence to prove or disprove it; either option is favorable for a scientist because it furthers their understanding of the world around us, which is the WHOLE POINT of doing science. Not having a view at all doesn’t make it easy to find something that makes sense to each of us on an individual basis. We need a view to start from, some place on the spectrum, so that we can move along the spectrum in the direction that ends up most logical.

    Occam’s Razor, yo…Occam’s Razor…

  10. First paragraph…
    now you are getting into ethics and not omnipotent standby. I mean, it’s hard to understand the will of God. The painting analogy is admitedly a bad one, because it’s God seeing it and us painting it.
    Second paragraph…
    I love science. I have no problems with the theory of evolution. Seperation of church and state are crucial… I mean, what if it were some radical christian sect that controlled what was taught? or what if they were… God forbid… Catholic?! So since there are so many different religious views (even apart from christianity) those views must be seperated from our state and our public education system. However… Can’t I still see God in our system? If I believe he instilled in us ‘morals’.. aren’t those morals the basis for our laws? (not that we align perfectly in any specific instance,, but a basis, yes)
    And I will now go post something up there where old ‘wes’ and brooke made a comment.
    ps.
    this has been a lot of fun, I enjoy talking to intelligent people

  11. Assume God is all-knowing, and can see future events.

    If God knows I’m going to do something in the future, I must _by definition_ do that thing, otherwise god is not all-knowing. If I do something different, and god didn’t see it coming, he’s not all-knowing. That’s all I meant. Not that God chooses what someone must do.

    I should clarify what I meant by unmodifiable beliefs, since that’s a crappy way to put it: Everyone makes certain _very basic_ assumptions. For example, no experience could possibly convince me that the Bible is word-for-word God dictacted truth. You can still have extremely productive discussions with people of radically different viewpoints, but you’ll never convince them to dump whatever deep-seated assumptions they hold, though you can certainly persuade them of anything else.

  12. There only 2 choices. Either Almighty God created the universe or the universe (or universes as the unsubstantiated case may be) created itself. There are no other choices. In order for the 2nd option to occur, one must believe something came from nothing, and then this something, on its own, self assembled, with increasing complexity, all the different life forms that exist some billions years later. It would behoove those who believe this to refrain from calling people names. Consider this some friendly and helpful advice, and think rationally before calling or categorizing people and their faith.

    1. Charles. This one is too easy…. there’s only 2 choices, because you can only conceive of 2 choices. I’d argue that there are probably infinite possibilities. Anyway, your logic is circular, because then you must answer this question; Where did God come from? Did he come from nothing? Who is his creator?

      Consider this some friendly advice: don’t go trolling someone’s blog from an entry made in 2005.

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