Good News Blog

Tennis Takes Two

Posted by bonesiii on August 15, 2012 at 12:45 AM

CMI had a good article today that sums up why this conversation has stalled, Robert:

Thus far I have explained in detail why your argument fails. But you have apparently rejected my explanations, apparently for no other reason than fear of people knowing that you were wrong. It's okay to admit you were wrong. :) It happens. :)

Or, if you do think you're right, please engage in the conversation and explain why so. Otherwise, it will be plain to all that it is you who is "running" and dodging. So please go back to the article and look up the questions I asked that you did not answer, and answer them. :) Show us that the truth is what you care about.

Following the “tennis” rule, in addition to (and for some, to remind you of) my previous questions, here are some I think you would agree are directly relevant. They're not trick questions; honest disagreement is fine, but I would want to know your reasons for it. :) And if you must cite official definitions, that's fine, but it must be -in addition to- your own words, that any English-speaking layman can understand. To show that you actually understand what you are citing.

1 - Did thought go into the forming of the Goliath argument's major & minor premises?


2 - Is it fair to describe logic as the study of thought? How about my wording of the study of reliable and unreliable ways of thought?

3 - Are you a logician? By this I mean the plain English term, as with myself, as someone who attempts to practice only valid and sound logic always, to seek the truth honestly. Someone who always adopts a calm, objective point of view when analyzing things. Not your common mistake of pretending that only people with official sounding titles can be logicians. :)

4 - Are you a logician by your own apparent definition? And what is that definition?

5 - Are you engaging in the Proof by Verbosity (or intimidation) fallacy? Described on Wikipedia as “giving an argument loaded with jargon and appeal to obscure results, so that the audience is simply obliged to accept it, lest they have to admit their ignorance and lack of understanding.[1]” Full paragraph here:

6 - May stipulations be fairly (soundly) rejected? If not, why not? (Plain English, remember.)

7 - Can refusing to answer the other person's questions as you have been doing be fairly called “obfuscating”?

Here are more, with the same “tennis rule” and plain English rules as in the previous post:

8 - Do you claim that your stipulative definitions are “correct or incorrect”, or do you agree that the purpose of stipulations is merely to define terms in an argument and therefore not to comment on their correctness or incorrectness? I'll make it easy on you; see here: (please read the whole article).

9 - Do you agree that an answer of “yes” to your stipulation forms (a through d) does NOT indicate agreement with the definitions but merely recognition that the arguer in question defined them that way? (As you know, I ask because you have twisted my words in ways laymen might not spot before.)

10 - Do you agree with me that you did not choose the ideal definitions for those terms; for example, in normal terms 100 is not a 'few', but 6 may be fairly called a few? If you disagree, explain why.

11 - Wouldn't it be wise to choose normal, mutually agreed-on definitions for the words? If the argument is of any actual value, it should function with normal definitions that the people whose argument you are attempting to refute agree to (such as the distinction between origins science about the past and operational science in the present). Yes?

12 - Do you believe that without a time machine or without the word of the all-knowing, beyond-time God of the Bible we can accurately know the age of any object, considering that the past is gone, and all we have to study is the present?

13 - Do you agree that if we find the most sound scientific conclusion, and the most hermeneutically sound interpretation of the Bible, and if these two match, we have found the most reliable indicator of truth? (For example, the knowledge confirmed by both science and the Bible that the Earth is (roughly) spherical.)

14 - Do you acknowledge that Answers in Genesis supports time dilation as one possible biblical model, thus allowing some objects to have ages in their own relativistic reference frames much longer than six-thousand years? By much longer I mean spanning up to billions of years for the most distant stars.

15 - Do you understand that all mainstream “young Earth” creationists support time dilation, like Answers in Genesis?

16 - Do you agree that since the popular-young-earth-creation-science movement accepts time dilation, the Goliath argument does not accurately depict their views as believing no object can be measured as older than about six thousand years? In other words, do you concede that your argument is essentially irrelevant to the mainstream creationist position? That it is really just a Straw Man? See here about that fallacy:

17 - If you dodge my questions, you could be fairly described as “hiding” or “running”. Yes?

Here's two more questions for you. :) Same rules as in the previous posts.

18 – Do you agree that we can first be convinced with sound, logical reasoning that the Bible is the word of the infinite, all-knowing, beyond-time God who is Holy and Love and cannot lie, second apply the standard rules of the languages it was originally written in (hermeneutics) to figure out its intended meaning, and third thus humbly accept that meaning as true, and test all human claims by it? (I do; this is why we are not really just assuming on blind faith, but knowing from sound faith.)

19 – Do you agree that it is actually 'old Earth creationists' who blindly accept the unproven claims of atheists and secularists in many ways (sometimes arbitrarily rejecting some while accepting others), and thus have their own interpretation which they bring -to- their reading of the Bible, thus are using an illogical approach? (I am convinced this is the case.)

I look forward to your answers. :) If you don't answer, then it would seem you are afraid that people will notice that your argument is contradictory...

Which is okay. It happens to the best of us, and we can simply admit it and move on. :)

Previous entries:

[Update: Robert did respond. ^_^ That's a good sign. Here is my preliminary reply:]

Thanks for the reply! New series of questions:

1 - “Do you believe that without a time machine or without the word of the all-knowing, beyond-time God of the Bible we can accurately know the age of any object, considering that the past is gone, and all we have to study is the present?” “Baty replies: Yes!”

Please explain how. Give us some examples. How could we know?

2 - “Do you agree that if we find the most sound scientific conclusion, and the most hermeneutically sound interpretation of the Bible, and if these two match, we have found the most reliable indicator of truth? (For example, the knowledge confirmed by both science and the Bible that the Earth is (roughly) spherical.)” “Baty replies: Yes, but I'm not so sure your example is a necessarily good example of that.”

Thanks for the agreement in principle at least. :) As to the example, why not?

3 - “Do you acknowledge that Answers in Genesis supports time dilation as one possible biblical model, thus allowing some objects to have ages in their own relativistic reference frames much longer than six-thousand years? By much longer I mean spanning up to billions of years for the most distant stars.”

“Baty replies: That's an interesting subject we can discuss if it becomes relevant, and you will be welcome to document your effort to get Ken Ham to tell you what position he holds as to time dilation today, August 14, 2012, or later, at that time.”

You demonstrate once again that you dodge the tough questions. If you seriously doubt this, feel free to send in a feedback question. :)

4 - “Do you understand that all mainstream 'young Earth' creationists support time dilation, like Answers in Genesis?”

“Baty replies: I heard you are really deep into science fiction, and it is my position that what Ken Ham and mainstream YEC folks like him propose is science fiction; with hopes of making it into something more.”

What about it do you disagree with? The possibility that God used miracles? The existence of gravitational time dilation? The universe's expansion? Evolution itself can sound like science fiction. Besides, you know the difference between fiction and worldviews.

5 - “Do you agree that since the popular-young-earth-creation-science movement accepts time dilation, the Goliath argument does not accurately depict their views as believing no object can be measured as older than about six thousand years? In other words, do you concede that your argument is essentially irrelevant to the mainstream creationist position? That it is really just a Straw Man? See here about that fallacy:”

“Baty replies: No! That will be made clear at such time as you might successfully complete the  exercise.”

Why do you answer no?

Anyways, I have shown clearly why you are wrong to answer no; you did misrepresent the mainstream view. Your strategy now appears to be to simply not admit you were wrong, even though it's plain you were. I get that. It can be hard to overcome pride. It can be your own worst enemy. And practice helps (and especially the Holy Spirit! ^_^)

My answers are that the first and second premises are both false, for reasons I have explained. :) And the conclusion cannot be relied on (is probably false). You may fill those into your forms. And your second two stipulations are not reasonable by normal English, nor would mainstream creationists accept them easier. You are clearly trying to persuade by emotion rather than sound logic, overusing jargon, and directing attention away from the weakest parts of your argument.

Thanks for engaging in the conversation. Most of the rest of your answers show you to be very self-contradictory, as you denied that you doing the same things you accused me of would deserve the labels you applied. They are here:

Thinking people can read them and judge for themselves. No doubt many will emotionally side with you – and some may logically point out actual errors in my reasoning too. :) But I'm fine with that. I'm a truthseeker, and I know there are others out there. ^_^

Now as far as your exercise goes, I think I see one way to move on, at least a little. You gave answers that were not just yes/no. As I requested, and I thank you for that. :)

6 - Do you promise to always quote my exact answers, by only copying and pasting them, to your stipulation form, so that we can proceed – and never to reword it as you've been doing repeatedly? (For example, you keep adding exclamation points and the like that I did not use.)

I'm not demanding you do this, as I said earlier. But a promise on this would definitely show that you are making a good faith effort at a real conversation here, not just trolling. A refusal would imply that you do intentionally misrepresent people's positions.

7 - I'm also curious, which forms that you use deal with how we can tell whether the first premise is true or false? We need to be able to tell, since the premises must be true to reach a true conclusion. I've explained my basic thinking on it. Let's hear yours. :)

8 - Do atheists mix their religious beliefs with their science?

9 - Do they have faith?

10 - Is their faith blind?

Hopefully he will remain engaged in the conversation. ^_^

We will be able to tell more, of course, once that book-to-article series is completed (though we already know AiG accepts the possibility of time dilation). But hopefully we can progress in a truthseeking discussion in the meantime. Unfortunately Robert's answers show him to be very contradictory, as I suspected. At the root of this appears to be an assumption that he sticks to dogmatically that he simply IS right, and thus cannot be proven wrong -- even if he has been proven wrong. He doesn't seem able to see it.

But we'll see. This is a normal pattern; I've seen it many times before, and people can and do repent of it. Many have done so in response to my attempts to help them.:) I pray that God will convict him of the sin of pride and that he will rely on the Spirit's guidance more. ^_^ I especially hope he will come to realize that God's word is trustworthy, especially in comparison with atheistic/secularistic scientists, who have been proven wrong over and over. :)

One useful thing to add for the record is of course that even atheists can help us learn more about God's creation. I think most people are trying to do the right thing in this life, but so many are lost apart from Christ, and compromising has only driven more and more away. We need to get serious about trusting God's word and spreading the gospel, before it is too late.

Robert has demonstrated that antagonism has infected even members of churches (as we've seen throughout history and often warned of in the Bible), and that it seems to be connected to the rejection of the plain meaning of God's Word, as we would expect. I hope he and others like him will realize this and allow God to help them to overcome the original sin of pride someday. I know he can do it, because he's done it for me and for many others. ^_^

[Update2: Immediately after my second round of questions he dropped back into not answering, insulting, and misrepresenting (or perhaps somewhat innocently misundertanding :)) again:

A key part of that is this: "the Earth and/or some things on it are actually much older than 10,000 years and we can so determine from evidence and its interpretation independent of 'the text'."

But Robert, you know full well I've been saying all along that taking God's Word (or anything) off the table for consideration is NOT good truthseeking. No, I reject that stipulation. I do appreciate the attempt, though. This was actually a point I was hoping all along you would make (took you a long time though :P).

My answer to this is pretty simple. When lava rock of known age had been dated, they read millions of years of dates too. But they throw these out as errors and blame it on heat and the like. Why? Because there were reliable eyewitnesses who know the rock is young. Likewise, God has (by prophecies, Jesus' resurrection, etc.) proven himself to be a reliable eyewitness too. In reality, scientists do not really believe the assumption you are trying to promote. What they do reject is God (the atheists and secularists who drive the 'science' that you have bought into to based on their worldview assumptions and pride fallacies, etc.). They arbitrarily (and illogically, clearly wrongly) reject him as a reliable witness. OECs don't seem to realize that this is where the old Earth ideas are coming from.

However, note my possible disagreement with mainstream creationists on Days 1-2 (at least as possibilities I'm open to). Hermeneutically I do think the strongest case is that they were all six days, though. If any were longer, Jesus could have simply said so. (And if those two -were- longer, probably only by a few hours anyways.) CMI also has a very insightful article talking about other words the Bible could have used for long ages, here:

So mainstream creationists do think that the Earth only experienced six normal days in time length during the creation week. You are correct on that point.

Here is what I said to him yesterday, probably final for a while:]

“They have suggested that I take on Ken Ham, et al, directly. Alas, such folks as Ken Ham 'hide' from folks like me and the admissions they would be compelled to make if they 'came out'.” (Quote from Robert.)

You know full well that creationists have debunked the reasoning you relied on to form your arguments time and time again; I've shown you much of it. Instead of a healthy acknowledgement of this, you just say things like “but he hasn't affirmed it again today.” By that logic all the people you cite and rely on would be thrown out too.

Ultimately this discussion has indeed proved useful to me as well. You come away still willing to pretend you got the conclusion you always intended to pretend (as I thought you would) – despite your reasoning being clearly debunked, you showed a seeming inability to understand why it had been disproved.

I've noticed this kind of blindness often among opponents of biblical creationists. They exhibit poor thinking skills, and worse, they go around congratulating themselves on how much smarter they are. How wise you are in your own eyes!

Your core problem is that you base everything on a devotion to stubborn pride.

It's all about trying to avoid the horrible fate of having to admit you were wrong about something. (I know because I've been there, before I accepted Jesus [and committed to "living by the Spirit" re: Galatians ^_^].) You've fit the pattern exactly. People like that spend all their time hunting for 'thought crimes'. A new idea is a sin to them. A different idea, a strange idea, an uncommon idea, etc. All wrong in such people's eyes. Only accepted orthodoxy... except for Darwin of course, he gets a pass.

Often they will give lip service to free thought while condemning actual free thought. They think that if they can achieve an emotional reaction, or construct a sentence containing an insult, it proves they won the argument.


They will tend to think that in order to be logical, they must overuse jargon and the like to impress people, and yet when logical principles would bring flaws in their arguments into focus, they contradictorily reject that part of logic.They don't spend enough time learning to be logical to become adept at it. They often won't commit to always using only sound reasoning (as I do, which is why I call myself a logician), leaving open the possibility that they are intentionally using fallacious reasoning.


And above all, once they say something, they are locked into stubbornly defending it no matter what, even on the smallest trivial details and wordings. Even constructive criticisms to improve such details are treated as offensive.

Truthseekers on the other hand are comfortable admitting flaws where they exist, imagining all kinds of possibilities, etc. We are able to engage with maturity in a polite, friendly discussion, without hunting for things to get offended about.


And we are thus better able to find good solutions, even on the mundane and trivial things. I notice this in myself compared to others who aren't as adept at truthseeking all the time [or how the old me who is now dead was, compared to the new me who is alive in Christ]. I will tend to easily find the best way to do things practically while most people who are more steeped in stubbornness like you will often apparently never even think to look for a better way or will stop halfway. So I apply that successful strategy to everything, including truthseeking about origins, and I find it yields answers and possibilities that make sense, as well as many other interesting lines of thought.


And I have said before that I observe the sorts of illogical behavior I've described mostly in opponents of biblical creation, but logical, honest, truthseeking attitudes (and loving, etc.) among biblical Christians. Sadly it seems often to hold true even of compromising Christians in far too many cases, and you have unfortunately shown yourself to be a case in point. This is yet another strong evidence that biblical Christianity is true; we are more logical in general. There -are- exceptions, but this is the general rule I have honestly observed [it's worth adding that I believe the exceptions are simply Christians who have compromised on different subjects, especially on love -- all this bad stuff comes around to compromise in different ways]. Many others have noticed this as well.


The basic problem between these two comes down to bias among opponents. Biblical creationists tend to arrive at our conclusions based on honest objectivity, while opponents (since they are wrong) cannot have truly open minds if they have their minds emotionally made up based in stubborn pride. They confuse their own stubborn bias, which causes them to successfully fail to admit when they are wrong, with being proven right [this is why real truthseekers cannot trust the judgements of those who demonstrate "by their fruit" that they are intensely prideful; they are steeped in bias and cannot fairly understand others]. Likewise with fallacious appeals to majorities or flawed authorities (like courts, who do not determine biblical truth, as you well know, and are also prone to bias)[, showing that they are not actually skilled in logic themselves, or not enough]


And in order to defend their position, the prideful usually need to construct Straw Men to tear down, so they can further convince themselves that they 'won.' (Since fairly tearing down the actually logical reasoning we really use is probably impossible, due to our conclusions being true.)


What they usually don't realize, something I have always noticed, is that when a person such as this constructs a Straw Man, they are typically not very imaginative. (After all, if they were more imaginative they might imagine other possibilities besides the ones they cling to.) So they usually only look so far as their own “secret” sins, the things their subconscious tells them they are wrong on but that they ignore, and try to hide. The idea usually seems to be that if they accuse their opponents of something, everybody will assume that it couldn't possibly be true of the accuser [we could call this part of it Innocent Accuser Fallacy; I call the whole thing Inverse Accusation Fallacy; psychologists call it projection]. And yet, often the details are so outlandish to describe the accused, that it is easy to see that the accuser is really describing themselves.


Thus, the details of the Straw Men tend to expose the accuser's own flaws. And you have done this yourself, as your answers to my questions showed. The fundamental Straw Man that you constructed was that we, biblical creationists, are not logical, and make up our own interpretation to bring into the text. When in fact – as biblical creationists have been pointing out all along – it is -you- who are illogical and who make up your own interpretation to bring into the text.


Someone referenced on your site accused creationists of switching off our brains. But it's always been my experience that it's stubborn pride that switches off brains. Calm, friendly approaches actually foster [clear] thought. :) I've tried both, so I know. The key is what attitude you have in your heart. Both sides think, but your side thinks poorly because your hearts are not open to honest thought.


And the worst part of it is, you are only hurting yourself in doing this. The stubborn prideful make themselves miserable, because they are always in conflict with their own conscience. Yet the calm friendly are aware that there are stubborn people out there, and we tend to learn not to let it upset us, and to maturely realize that it doesn't speak to truth or falsehood of ideas, but rather to attitude problems.


I am praying for you that you will see the error of your ways someday.:)


I know that pride can be nearly impossible to overcome right away, and I never expected you to do that. But I hope that someday after a lot of honest soul-searching, you will realize that the way of humility and a truly open mind is much better. And then maybe you will graduate upwards to realize why we can trust the Bible's plain meaning! :)



I prayed a lot about whether I should explain to Robert directly the pattern he has fit into that I have seen in others, and helped many of them see and fix. I touched on some it already, but I felt the Spirit was telling me that he did need a more direct Ezekiel 3 watchman notice, as well as much from Proverbs, Jesus, and Paul. In his case I felt his heart needed a direct explanation of how he 'empirically' fits the pattern of stubborn pridefulness which 'switches off the brain' to some extent.

Many other people directly pointed out this same mistake in me when I was young, and though I directed all kinds of negative emotions towards them at the time, I now know that they were right -- stubborn pride is not good, and I am very grateful they had the guts and cared enough to tell me.

It has become crystal clear that the type of debate he has been using all along is the mudslinging, defensive debate where it's all a game to make him feel confident by insulting all who disagree and the like, because deep down he does know he's wrong, and he needs to do something to "shout down" his conscience (as I 'read' him and based on what I know I was like).

Notice he also makes many appeals to pride, a fallacy I've seen a lot in less skilled thinkers, and in myself back when I was like that. The idea they hope you think it's about (and maybe they honestly do think it) is "come over to my mud puddle, and you'll be more prideful, which is good for some unknown reason". What they don't seem to realize is that emotional transmission pumps pridefulness into their opponents, which only makes them sit down in their own muddles and throw insults back. It all ends up being a giant waste of time for them all, because neither side really had any intention of giving up an inch.

They're so convinced that everybody is really like this, that there are no truthseekers, that they can't recognize them when they see them. Notice how me simply honestly describing myself, in how I define myself as a logician for example (which he likely already knew because I already said it on the "Rules" page here), he thinks is somehow a retreat. Also whenever I acted like a normal truthseeking person, recognizing that he had good points and the like, he took it as me admitting defeat! No, Robert. The whole point of truthseeking is that we suspect we might not have it, or that others might not, and it is to improve and learn and find more truth. Being shown wrong is never a defeat to a real truthseeker, because we simply change our minds and become more right. The truth is that I have gained much out of this conversation, but sadly it appears you have not.

I learned from God in the Bible that true manliness, true maturity, is not about puffing yourself up, or giving into those who do. It's about love and humility. Peace and joy. Get out of the mud puddle and let the Spirit wash you clean!

Love and seek truth. Think clearly. Learn from others. I think all sides on origins have good ideas, and I wish we were all mature enough to discuss it like healthy human beings do all the time on more trivial things. We can all learn from each other if we adopt God's way.

I felt that it would be helpful to try to work with him and see if he would respond to constructive criticism to test whether he was really using the other kind; truthseeking debate, but the only answers he would accept were agreement. As soon as we got to the parts where I disagreed, he locked up again, and has shown his argument to be filled with self-contradictions. And as of now he is still not taking in everything I've said and honestly understanding why it debunks the basic reasoning of OECism; he's only slowly working through little pieces of it out of context.

Ultimately the common advice to not feed a troll does seem to prove true in his case. I've in the past always tried to work forgivingly with trolls to help them see why they are wrong, because the common advice has the one strong downside that it does not help the troll, who is really a misguided, flawed human being like the rest of us, who can find forgiveness and can turn away from pride. Sometimes it works and they eventually admit they were wrong (though outside a context where they had to agree beforehand not to troll in order to post, I find it never happens overnight).

But at this point we've come down to the "answer, don't answer" principle in Proverbs, which Jesus also used on the Pharisees. No doubt in seeing this, to help his pride, Robert may make a show of answering a little more, but he will probably not go all the way. It's become clear that if I answer adopting his strategies, as I experimented with a little and he misrepresented my answer, then refused to promise not to do so again, I would be adopting his folly. So instead I felt that the Spirit wanted me to clearly explain why he was not wise, to answer according to his folly in the way Proverbs does advise. I do think I have given him enough information that his subconscious has already proven to him that he is wrong, and over the rest of his life, his conscience will continue to work on him, I think. It's up to him to listen or ignore it. I have noticed that it is hardest for those who have built up a following by their pride-based arguments to see the light, though, so unfortunately I think Robert will have much to overcome. But I'm praying for him, and again urge everybody else to pray for him, me, and everybody involved. ^_^

Meanwhile, the possibility I'm wrong about any of this remains, so as I said before I'll try to keep reading. There'll likely be some more light shed on this in the coming months, once the current AiG book-to-article series is fully posted. ^_^

[UPDATE as of August 30:]

While the book-to-article series has yet to shed direct light on this (as if that was necessary considering the direct light I already cited, heh), today's article in response to Bill Nye's recent video had a very relevant paragraph that directly debunks the entire Goliath argument:

"Nye’s belief that “billions . . . explains so much” is based on circular reasoning and unverifiable assumptions. God’s Word, however, explains our origins, what we see in the world, and even why we are the intelligent yet sinful creatures we are—all on the authority of the God who has always been here and always tells the truth. Nye claims, “There is no evidence for it”—God’s explanation for what we see. But he is wrong. The evidence affirming God’s explanation is all around us and even beneath our feet in the fossil record (Romans 1:18–20). And it’s also in our conscience (Romans 2:14–16)."


This is a good example of the sort of clarification I mentioned earlier about AiG's position on presuppositional logic. They do NOT believe in merely assuming and bringing that into things, but rather they, like other mainstream creationists and myself, have looked into these things enough, have had the open minds to do so, and the logic to see that the evidence best fits with the Bible's plain meaning. True science, investigating both the Word and the world, produces clear agreement -- biblical creation is true!

[Final Update! Ken Ham in his blog today just confirmed this question:

"I encourage you to read the book Old-Earth Creationism on Trial, which is available for purchase or online to read."

He then links to the article I already cited which cites Starlight & Time by Humphreys, etc.. Thus, there is no excuse left (for today anyways :P) to claim that AiG no longer supports time dilation. Yes, they do. And specifically Ken Ham. From:


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