Sunday, June 30, 2019

Stupid Atheist Arguments part 1

Stupid Atheist Arguments part 1

by Glenn Morton 2019

(Note: All my future posts will have the June date so as to keep my posts below on the first page and available to casual visitors)

Neil deGrasse Tyson had a Stupid Design argument and listed 3 items that he feels prove that if we were 'designed', then it was done stupidly.  He isn't the only atheist who has stated this silly argument. Now, I want it clear, that I do not believe the young-earth views that man was created ex nihilo 6000 years ago, but believe that humans evolved in ways delimited by God.  But my views don't mean I think Tyson's argument are sound. Indeed they display an utter ignorance of biology, presented by Tyson with the greatest of arrogance that he knows what he is talking about.  But it isn't just Tyson, it is lots of atheists who arrogantly repeat these arguments and then ridicule the ignorant Christians while they themselves are presenting arguments that display their own ignorance of science. The arguments below are not sound and display a huge hole in their knowledge base. Tyson's first argument is against the appendix.  He may be a fine astronomer, but he is a very uninformed source for biological knowledge:

First Stupid Design

"So let’s start a movement called Stupid Design, and we’ll see where that takes us. For example, what’s going on with your appendix? It’s much better at killing you than it is at anything else. That’s definitely a stupid design…"1

As far back as 1954, Digby and Enticknap2 proved that bacteria inserted into the rabbit appendix caused the rabbit to become immune to those bacteria.  This knowledge was out there long before Tyson and other atheists decided to target this as an evidence of bad design.   But this isn't all. 

Twenty years ago, again prior to Tyson's use of this argument, there was a growing consensus that the human appendix, far from being useless is a major part of the immune system, but to tell the rest of the story, it works mostly for poor people living in the third world where diarrheic diseases kill people. 

"The emerging consensus is that the appendix serves as part of the immune system. As Moore explains, “In infants and children it has the appearance of a well-developed lymphoid organ and may have important immunological functions”. This hypothesis stems from the fact that the appendix contains a high concentration of lymphoid tissue. In addition, its position near the entrance of the large intestine affords the appendix early access to antigens entering the cecum."3

By 2007 new information came to light showing how essential the appendix is in unsanitary conditions, which are experienced by most of humanity over the millennia.

"The function of the human appendix has long been a matter of debate, with the structure often considered to be a vestige of evolutionary development despite evidence to the contrary based on comparative primate anatomy. The appendix is thought to have some immune function based on its association with substantial lymphatic tissue, although the specific nature of that putative function is unknown.  Based (a) on a recently acquired understanding of immune-mediated biofilm formation by commensal bacteria in the mammalian gut, (b) on biofilm distribution in the large bowel, (c) the association of lymphoid tissue with the appendix, (d) the potential for biofilms to protect and support colonization by commensal bacteria, and (e) on the architecture of the human bowel, we propose that the human appendix is well suited as a “safe house” for commensal bacteria, providing support for bacterial growth and potentially facilitating re-inoculation of the colon in the event that the contents of the intestinal tract are purged following exposure to a pathogen."4

In other words, after diarrhea purges and cleanses the intestine, good (commensal) bacteria recolonize the intestines, helping to prevent harmful bacteria from taking over.

" This bacterial safehouse, which is likely important in the event of diarrheal illness, is presumably of minimal importance to humans living with abundant nutritional resources, modern medicine and modern hygiene practices that include clean drinking water. Consistent with this idea, epidemiologic studies demonstrate that diarrheal illness is indeed a major source of selection pressure in developing countries but not in developed countries, whereas appendicitis shows the opposite trend, being associated with modern hygiene and medicine. The cecal appendix may thus be viewed as a part of the immune system that, like those immune compartments that cause allergy, is vital to life in a ‘‘natural’’ environment, but which is poorly suited to post-industrialized societies."5

So, yes, Tyson's and my appendix's are useless because we are living in a very clean western society They are only useful when the clean out procedure for a colonoscopy empties the large intestines. Then the bacteria in the appendix repopulate our intestines.  Our fellows who live in third world conditions never get colonoscopies, but  need their appendix's quite often after a diarrheic disease attacks them.

Second Stupid Design

Tyson's second example of stupid design is our ability to choke.

"or the fact that you breathe and drink through the same hole in your body, causing some fraction of us to choke to death every year?"1
Tyson fails to understand that this feature is essential for speech AND fine motor control, so necessary for our technological development.  Both of these make humans extremely unique.

But the larynx of the human being has been repositioned half-way down the throat, as is conspicuous in the adult male as the Adam’s apple.  So human beings cannot breathe and drink at the same time.  Any attempt to pull such a stunt results in choking.  That seems like an enormous disadvantage—except that the descent of the larynx leaves an enormous space above it, at the back of the nose and top of the throat.  The space acts as a sound chamber, like the ceiling of a concert hall.  It gives our voices a resonance that other species do not have—or at least, if they do, then they must have resorted to other extraordinary means to achieve it, such as the throat-pouches of the orang-utan or the ability of tongue and lips, gives us a verbal dexterity that is indeed comparable with and as wonderful as our manual dexterity, and it is again uniquely human.6
"Human babies are born with the standard ape vocal plan and it is only after they are six months old that the voice box retraces its evolutionary history and descends deep down into the throat. the reason for this is that the ape's vocal plan allows apes--and young babies--to breathe and wallow at the same time because the hole connecting the windpipe and throat at the back of the mouth can be blocked off so that the ape can breathe through its nose while drinking or eating."7We humans have been called "Man the Toolmaker," by anthropologist Kenneth Oakley and that tool-making ability, believe it or not depends upon the location of our larnyx.

"The larynx can thus serve to hold the air in the lungs and to control its release.  This was originally important in actions of the arms requiring strength and steadiness.  Diamond notes that workmen who have lost their larynxes are often unable to continue manual work, and that difficult actions that require precise movement are usually performed with the breath held and the lips closed. After performing such actions, especially those involving considerable expenditure of effort, the air is suddenly released, producing an audible grunt."8

What about the choking?  It is interesting that the atheist, who thinks this world is all there is, answers this question from their own philosophical viewpoint, never thinking that maybe they are wrong.  As a Christian, dying isn't the worst thing that can happen to us.  But here is the direct answer to his complaint: Every organ we possess has a chance of failure and thus of killing us! Somehow atheists like Tyson seem to think that not having speech is superior to a very small chance of choking. While it is sad when anyone dies, and the hole left behind in the family, Tyson's complaint seems overwrought. According to the National Safety Council:

"Of the 5,051 people who died from choking in 2015, 2,848 were older than 74" 9The biggest problem comes late in life when other health problems like difficulty swallowing arise. This is 1.5 people per 100,000 and if you only include the young and healthy, it is a 1 in a million shot of dying from choking. To put this in comparison, 110 people per million die in auto crashes. You have a 110 fold higher chance of dying from driving than from choking. Further we all need to worry more about our hearts than chocking. Two people out of a thousand die of a heart attack each year.  They constitute 1/4th of all deaths each year.

Do atheists think that anything in this world can be evolved or designed which will last forever?  Only believing that can one say the above is a stupid design. The benefits of both speech and fine motor control to our lives far outweighs the danger.

Third Stupid Design

Tyson continues:

 "And here’s my last one. Ready? Down there between our legs, it’s like an entertainment complex in the middle of a sewage system. Who designed that?" 1Again, I note that Tyson is a very good astronomer and show host, but his is an abysmal biologist. What Tyson and others who use this argument don't know is that the world is a dangerous place with lots of bad bacteria out there just waiting to infect the child.  The child's gut begins with no or few bacteria and by getting bacteria from mom, the baby is getting a tried and true, non-harmful set of bacteria. The Journal of Nutrition said:

"At birth the fetus is sterile, and the first encounter with the microbial world begins during delivery. In adulthood a number of barriers exert a potent selective action on bacteria arriving from the mouth, but in the very first stage of life these barriers are at a very low level and temporarily allow penetration into the gut of bacteria that are not really believed to be gut related.
      "Moreover, type of delivery (natural vs. cesarean) and feeding (breast vs. bottle feeding) play dramatic roles in determining the microflora composition. The relation between microflora composition and type of feeding offers an opportunity to develop a nutritional strategy to favor the most efficient microflora in terms of health protection.
"During birth, bacterial colonization of a previously germ-free gut begins. Type of delivery is crucial in selecting the first colonizers. Naturally delivered babies experienced a period of 2–3 d in which, as a consequence of the low selective potential of their stomach and small bowel, bacteria invading and reproducing within the gut belong to aerobic species such as Enterobacteriaceae, streptococci, and staphylococci. These bacteria, arriving from the external environment, belong to species with a pathogenic potential, and therefore, it might seem that they would not be the best choice for the health of neonates. However, the metabolisms of these bacteria are believed to be positive factors in preparing the path to a beneficial enteric flora" 10

Another Stupid Atheist ArgumentA site saying it is listing the 40 best arguments for atheism has this as one of them:

"God cannot be proven by science which is the main way we study and understand our universe or natural world. There is no theory of God"

-There is no conclusive logical argument for the existence of God. His/her existence is continuously debated."11

This is so ridiculous and illogical as to be risable.  Science works only with material objects and by definition of almost all religions, God is immaterial. This guy is an atheist, meaning he denies immaterial things exist.  But he is saying, in effect that the scientific method should tell us about immaterial objects, like God. Clearly this person doesn't understand how science works. Methodological naturalism is the idea that science can only work on material objects:

     " Methodological naturalism does exclude the supernatural as an explanatory principle because it is unknowable by means of scientific inquiry,..."12 

Well, that means we can't use science to study God or prove his existence.. Given that the writer who said there is no Theory of God is an atheist, and thus, he must deny that God exists. Time magazine of all places has an interesting answer to his point,

"With respect for metaphysics comes respect for an idea central to  many religions: the unknowable.  Agnosticism - reserving judgment  about divine purpose - remains as defensible as ever, but atheism -  the confident denial of divine purpose - becomes trickier.  If you  admit that we can't peer behind the curtain, how can you be sure  there's nothing there? "13

So how this guy believes that a materialistic process, science, is going to describe the immaterial is something everyone must wonder about.  Does this atheist think all religious people believe in a physical god, who is subject to the laws of nature, subject to scientific enquiry, when the said god is usually described as having created the laws of nature? Is God a quark so we can have a theory of quarks that explain God?  This is truly a stupid argument.References1. Neil deGrasse Tyson,
2 K. H. Digby and J. B. Enticknap, " The Immunising Function of the Rabbit Vermiform Appendix," British journal of experimental pathology, 1954, p. 294-298
3. Rebecca E. Fischer, "The Primate Appendix: A Reassessment," THE ANATOMICAL RECOR D (NEW ANAT.) 261:228–236, 2000, p. 228
4.R. Randal Bollinger, "Biofilms in the large bowel suggest an apparent function of the human vermiform appendix," Journal of Theoretical Biology, 249:9(2007), p. 826
5. Michel Laurin et al., , Anatomical Record, 294(2011), p. 567
6. Colin Tudge, The Day Before Yesterday, (London: Pimlico, 1995), p. 257
7.John McCrone, The Ape That Spoke, New York: Wm Morrow, 1991), p.160
8. Michael C. Corballis, The Lopsided Ape, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 155
9" Choking Prevention and Rescue Tip,"
10.Lorenzo Morelli, "Postnatal Development of Intestinal Microflora as Influenced by Infant Nutrition," The Journal of Nutrition, Sept 1, 2008, p 1791S
13. Science God and Man" Time Dec. 28, 1992  vol 140 #26. p 44

Experimentally Proven Free Will implies Immateriality of the Soul

Experimentally Proven Free Will implies immateriality of the Soul

by Glenn R Morton 2019

I am going to present a slightly different argument for the existence of the immaterial soul. The general view of the scientific community is that we have no free will–everything is determined, and this lack of free will is compatible with and deduced from the materialist view of the world. Determinism basically says that what you do is determined by the past and you can't change what it is you are about to do. And that, in turn, means you are not morally responsible for what you do. Of Determinism,  David Deutsch, a quantum computing expert and leading advocate for the Everett multiverse says:

Another mental attribute that is somehow associated with consciousness is free will. Free will is also notoriously difficult to understand in the classical world-picture. The difficulty of reconciling free will with physics is often attributed to determinism, but it is not determinism that is at fault. It is (as I have explained in Chapter II) classical spacetime. In spacetime, something happens to me at each particular moment in my future. Even if what will happen is unpredictable, it is already there, on the appropriate cross-section of spacetime. It makes no sense to speak of my 'changing' what is on that cross-section. Spacetime does not change, therefore one cannot, within spacetime physics, conceive of causes, effects, the openness of the future or free will.1.

In other words, your future is fixed in spacetime and you just are going along the rollercoaster ride observing what is already determined for you. We will discuss this below, but notice the list of things determinism removes from science, causes, effects, the changeability of the future, and free will. Deutsch's view has moral implications. Honderich says of materialism:

It has been around long enough, and most of us have some idea of what it is. Its supposed upshot is that we are not free in anything we choose or do, and aren't to be held morally responsible for our actions or given moral credit for them.2

This is the big conflict between Christianity and the widespread philosophy of materialism.  The Bible says we are morally responsible; materialism says we are not. Christians seem to spend all their time on design in biology, which in my view is a losing argument, and little time addressing effectively the problem of materialism.  If materialism is true, we have no free will and thus no moral accountability before God, who can't exist because He isn't material. Honderich speaks more of this lack of moral responsibility,

" Plainly stated, it is that if determinism is true, then my action today, perhaps my going along again with my unjust society, is the effect or consequence of a causal circumstance in the remote past, before I was born. That circumstance, clearly, was not up to me. So its necessary consequence, my action of compliance today with my unjust society, is not up to me. Hence my action today is not free and I am not responsible for it. Determinism is inconsistent with freedom and responsibility (van Inwagen).3

The next quote is from a friend of mine, Will Provine, with whom during my crisis of faith, I had many conversations that involved, free will, evolution, evidence for atheism, intelligent design, what would cause Provine to change his mind, and our personal stories. These interchanges took place over three years or so and continued after his diagnosis with brain cancer. Will was the son of a Methodist minister who sadly never got to discuss his change of heart with his father. I think he was a bit sad about that as he obviously liked his father so this wasn’t a preacher’s kid rebellion. His views are outlined in a book on him, and I strongly disagree with what he sees as the nature of evolution:

"If you really accept evolution by natural selection, Provine says, you soon find yourself face to face with a set of implications that undermine the fundamental assumptions of Western civilization:
o There are no gods or purposive forces in nature.
o There are no inherent moral or ethical laws to guide human society
o Human beings are complex machines that become ethical beings by way of heredity and environmental influences, with environment playing a somewhat smaller role than is commonly supposed.
o There is no free will in the traditional sense of being able to make unpredictable choices.
o When we die, we die _ finally and completely and forever .4

Searles agrees that there is no free will and says that if we have it we have to have an entity that can influence matter (that is how I interpret his statement–a little more broadly than just limited to moving molecules):

But if libertarianism, which is the thesis of free will, were true, it appears we would have to make some really radical changes in our beliefs about the world. In order for us to have radical freedom, it looks as if we would have to postulate that inside each of us was a self that was capable of interfering with the causal order of nature. That is, it looks as if we would have to contain some entity that was capable of making molecules swerve from their paths. I don’t know if such a view is even intelligible, but it’s certainly not consistent with what we know about how the world works from physics . And there is not the slightest evidence to suppose that we should abandon physical theory in favour of such a view.5

These statements seem to posit a universe lacking soul, and Provine’s world is positively bleak. So is there a way out of this conundrum. We certainly feel like we have free will? Is there any escape from this bleak landscape of determinism?
Honderich presents Epicurus's escape from determinism, which ultimately fails.
     It was stated by the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, and has been with us ever since. What Epicurus said is that a determinist cannot criticize the doctrine of Free Will because he admits his own criticism is itself determined. He cannot in a real sense object to Free Will because he admits his objection is just a matter of cause and effect. He cannot take what he says to have the respectable standing of real criticism or real objection. The same applies to his own assertion of his own theory and his arguments for it. These too are for him just effects. Furthermore, if the determinist says he can really criticize, object, argue for, and so on, this commits him to admitting that his own theory is false. In short, determinism is self-defeating (Chomsky; Macintyre; Eccles and Popper).”
        “This seems to me the best objection so far, but what does it come to? That is the problem. In fact, different philosophers have made different things of it.”
         “Is the idea that if a judgment is taken to be an effect in the determinist way, it cannot be true? That a determinist cannot take himself really to be arguing because he can't take what he says to be true? That doesn't seem to work. Suppose a judgment's being true consists in its corresponding to a fact. That, after all, is the central definition of what it is for a judgment to be true. There doesn't seem to be any conflict between the judgment's being an effect and its corresponding to a fact.”
        “One scientist first accepted the Epicurean objection to determinism, and then changed his mind (Haldane 1932, 1954). What he first thought was this: 'If my opinions are the result of the chemical processes going on in my brain, they are determined by the laws of chemistry, not logic.' To put the idea in a way many philosophers have, anything that really is an opinion, a judgment, an argument or the like must be owed to Reason, not causation. But what is Reason? There are a lot of answers. Indeed, all the versions of the Epicurean objection could be put in terms of Reason. Let us say here that Reason consists in the laws of logic and true propositions generally, where all of those things are abstract objects. But abstract objects don't cause anything. It is no good saying with the scientist that my opinions, if they are to be any good, must be caused by abstract objects. They can't be.6

Why can't abstract things be causative?  Because supposedly physics says that the universe is deterministic and further it says that there are no immaterial influences on matter.  Gordon Simons and I showed in Quantum Soul that the observer in quantum mechanics is outside of the laws of physics and there for not subject to materialism.  Indeed consciousness/soul must be immaterial.

So, here we come to a different argument for the existence of soul.  As we saw above if materialism is true, we have no free will.  But what if science itself requires that we have free will in order for science to mean anything?  What if experimental results can only be obtains if and only if we have Free Will?  That is the situation with Bell's Theorem.
As it turns out there is. Searles is wrong. It comes from an observational experiment which works ONLY if there is free will. Mark Buchanan explains:

"Bell calculated the outcome based on three assumptions. First, that the two experimenters could freely choose to measure the spins using any axis they like. Second, he assumed that there is something about each electron, before it is measured, that helps determine what is likely to happen in a measurement; that is, the experimental results reflect some real, pre-existing property of the particles and their local environment. And third, that no influence can travel faster than light, so if the measurements take place at virtually the same time, what happens at one end cannot possibly affect what happens at the other." 7

"In every test, over more than two decades, quantum theory has come  out intact. So relativity's assumption that nothing can travel faster  than the speed of light is flawed... or is it? Well, not necessarily:  there are two other assumptions that have to be tested first."
      "The first is free will. Bell's analysis only produces his  inequality if the two experimenters have genuine freedom to choose  how they set their detectors. In an experiment with spins, that means being able to make  measurements along axes that they can choose independently. But maybe that isn't possible. "The idea is that everything could be  somehow determined at the beginning," says Gisin. Perhaps the  creation of the particle pairs and the experimenters' choices are  fixed by a vast web of cause and effect set up long ago, in which  case the" choices" would be predetermined and beyond anyone's  control. Some fundamental law might mean that these choices always  lead to a violation of Bell's inequalities."
     "Unsurprisingly, not many physicists go for this idea. So what of the other assumption behind the inequality?
      "Bell's analysis requires that reality is "out there" and has  properties even when we don't measure them. Rejecting this is another  way to explain how it is that experiments seem to violate his  inequality. It could be that prior to being measured, a quantum  particle has no property that makes measurements come out one way  rather than another (New Scientist, 24 July 2004, P 30). Physicists  do experiments and get results -lines on some photographic film,  settings on a dial. Quantum theory describes these outcomes with  perfect accuracy, but that is all there is to say."8

In other words, in order for Bell’s famous experiment to work as it does, the observer MUST have free will. If that is so, then that certainly makes me look back at Searles’ statement: That is, it looks as if we would have to contain some entity that was capable of making matter swerve from its path. While maybe not molecules, Gordon Simons and I have presented much evidence from quantum that the conscious observer affects matter. To me, Bell's Theorem shows that Free Will must exist.  Bell's inequality is just another reason to hold that the immaterial soul actually exists.

The conjunction of these two ideas means that the existence of Free Will as shown in Bell’s Theorem supports the concept that the immaterial soul exists. Free Will requires something to be above and apart from matter. Free Will must be unbound, unconstrained by the laws of matter in order to actually be free. If it is bound by matter, to obey matter as materialists suggest, then it can't be free.  To quote the physicist Stephen M. Barr,

"But this was only one of the remarkable reversals produced by the quantum revolution. In the opinion of many physicists-including such great figures in twentieth-century physics as Eugene Wigner and Rudolf Peierls-the fundamental principles of quantum theory are inconsistent with the materialist view of the human mind. Quantum theory, in its traditional, or "standard," or "orthodox" formulation, treats "observers" as being on a different plane from the physical systems that they observe . A careful analysis of the logical structure of quantum theory suggests that for quantum theory to make sense it has to posit the existence of observers who lie, at least in part, outside of the description provided by physics. This claim is controversial. There have been various attempts made to avoid this conclusion, either by radical reinterpretations of quantum theory (such as the so-called "many-worlds interpretation") or by changing quantum theory in some way. But the argument against materialism based on quantum theory is a strong one, and has certainly not been refuted. The line" of argument is rather subtle. It is also not well- known, even among most practicing physicists. But, if it is correct, it would be the most important philosophical implication to come from any scientific discovery."9

As alluded to by Buchanan above there is one escape from the Free Will demonstrated by Bell's theorem, and that is superdeterminism.  That means that everything was determined at the Big Bang, and all experiments done by science are already pre-determined, as are each individual's actions. Since the results of Bell's theory implies Free Will, superdeterminism must, therefore, hold that the universe conspired to give a false result in Bell's experiment. Making it appear falsely that we have Free Will when in fact we don't. It is precisely this false result that must arise every time the experiment is run, if superdeterminism is true, that destroys our ability to know anything.  If the universe conspires to give us false results, it raises the question of how many other experiments is the universe conspiring to give us false answers?  Such a question destroys knowledge. The problem with this superdeterministic escape from Free Will is that it makes science a meaningless exercise.  Nothing whatsoever is learned in any scientific experiment because the outcome is set prior to the experiment and the result may or may not reflect anything about the reality of Nature. Wiki says:

"The implications of superdeterminism, if it is true, would bring into question the value of science itself by destroying falsifiability, as Anton Zeilinger has commented: 

"[W]e always implicitly assume the freedom of the experimentalist... This fundamental assumption is essential to doing science. If this were not true, then, I suggest, it would make no sense at all to ask nature questions in an experiment, since then nature could determine what our questions are, and that could guide our questions such that we arrive at a false picture of nature."10
Wiki's footnote to Zeilinger's statement contains this:

"Abner Shimony, Michael Horne and John Clauser made a similar comment in replying to John Bell in their discussions in the Epistemological Letters:
 "In any scientific experiment in which two or more variables are supposed to be randomly selected, one can always conjecture that some factor in the overlap of the backward light cones has controlled the presumably random choices. But, we maintain, skepticism of this sort will essentially dismiss all results of scientific experimentation. Unless we proceed under the assumption that hidden conspiracies of this sort do not occur, we have abandoned in advance the whole enterprise of discovering the laws of nature by experimentation." 11 

Indeed, superdeterminism would result is solipcism because we could never know anything about the external world, and we might not know anything about our subjective internal world either. Thus advocates of superdeterminism like Gerard t'Hooft, destroy science in order to avoid the immateriality of the soul.  

One forgotten aspect of this problem is that because of the above, the destruction of falsifiability mentioned by Zeilinger, we have the same need for Free Will in classical mechanics, contrary to many claims,

Finally, we might agree with Hamlet: “Find out the cause of this effect / Or rather, say, the cause of this defect.” What the Dane had in mind was the paradox of the Newtonian universe: in a strictly causal world, the existence of causality cannot be established. If every event is determined by every preceding event, then the concept of free will is meaningless, as is the notion of running an experiment, which presupposes that conditions can be varied. Yet, if the experimenter’s very actions are predetermined, then nothing has been varied and no “experiment” has been carried out. To put it another way, one needs a defect in causality to verify causality. That is to say. . .”
“Apparently, Newtonian physics did not clarify all issues.12

In a truly deterministic world, causality cannot be discovered.  Is the event B, which always follows event A,  the effect of the cause A, or is it just merely predetermined and has nothing to do with A?  As they say, we need a defect in causality in order to understand what is a cause and what is an effect.  The free unbound soul/conciousness is the defect in causality required by Rothman and Sudarshan.

One physics student struggling with how Free Will fits into his deterministic world view wrote:

"I was going through the results of Bell’s theorem recently and found that the freedom of the experimenter to choose the variable to measure is a key assumption. Given that we have no reason to believe that experimenters have “true” free will, how does this affect the validity of Bell’s theorem?

So…does the current state of science allow for traditional "free" will that is unbound from the laws of nature? After all, that is the meaning of the word "free" - as in "not bound".;"13

The one answer to his physics forum question referred to Libet’s work which suggested that the brain makes up its mind before the consciousness becomes aware that the decision is made.

EVEN now, your brain may already have decided to turn the page. That’s the upshot of a study which found that a person’s decision to press a button can be detected up to 7 seconds before they are even aware of it.”
    "Our decisions are predetermined unconsciously a long time before our consciousness kicks in," says John-Dylan Haynes at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, Germany, who led the study. "I think it says there is no free will"
     “It’s not the first time scientists have cast doubt on conscious free will. In the early 1980s, neuroscientist Benjamin Libet uncovered a spark of brain activity 300 milliseconds before subjects opted to raise a finger, in a brain region involved in planning body movement. However, this area may only perform the final calculations to move, not the initial decision to lift a finger, Haynes says.”
     “His team asked 14 volunteers to tap one of two buttons at will, with a finger of their left or right hand, and used an fMRI scanner to monitor their brains all the while. They saw part of the prefrontal cortex - vital for executive thought and consciousness - "light up" about 7 seconds before the volunteers pressed a button.”
      “What’s more, deciding to press the left or right buttons revealed slightly different brain patterns, enabling the team to predict 60 per cent of the time which button would be pressed (Nature Neuroscience, 001: 10.1038/nn.2112).14

What about those experiments like Libet and of Haynes which suggest that the unconscious brain makes a decision before consciousness becomes aware of it? The body is prepped to move before the subjects become consciously aware of it. Haynes says there is a 7 second precursor signal to movement. Libet’s time was less and his data has been claimed to be an artefact by John Eccles. These experiments are claimed to show that consciousness has nothing to do with making our decisions.

I don’t know what the exact problem is but it is clear to me that the conscious decision to move does not take 7 seconds. Consider driving and seeing danger ahead. The generally accepted time of our response is 1.5 seconds from seeing the danger and hitting the brakes. The best response time is 0.7 seconds (obviously in teenagers). That best reaction time is divided as follows:

Of this, 0.5 is perception and 0.2 is movement, the time required to release the accelerator and to depress the brake pedal.
Furthermore while driving, we can’t prep our bodies for movement prior to actually SEEING the danger. There would be a lot more bad accidents if we required seven seconds to move our bodies. 

Evolution would have wiped out such a lethargic species. A leopard can run at 37 mph, which means that if it takes that long for my body to decide to move, any leopard that gets within 4 houses(400 ft) from me, will have me for dinner while I just stand there. The leopard runs at 54.26 ft/s in 7 seconds he can cover 380 ft, so he is 20 ft from me when I start to run. Even if I am a 4 minute a mile runner, which I and most of you reading this aren't,  it takes about 20 seconds to get up to speed so the leopard will get me just as I finally get to my top 20 mph sprint. Something is clearly very wrong with the conclusions drawn from Libet and Haynes experiments.  

My guess as to the problem is that the subjects in these experiments have been given instructions prior to the tests and they prep their body accordingly. I know I would start thinking about what finger to move. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from doing so.
As we saw above, for physics to mean anything, both for classical and quantum, requires that we have Free Will, and that means our WILL is not bound by the laws of physics–that is what Free in Free Will means. The only way to have an unbound Will is to have an immaterial Will.  What is Will except part of our consciousness; our soul.  Thus, we are once again, led by physics, to understand that consciousness is a very special thing in this universe, and that it is  above and unbound by the laws of  matter.

If souls are immaterial, then we cannot claim with certainty, like Provine did, that an immaterial God doesn't exist.  While this work doesn't prove God exists, it does prove the necessity of the existence of an immaterial soul.  Further, if we have Free Will, then we are moral agents, responsible for our actions.

To go back to Provine’s list above, if the soul is not subject to the laws of physics, then it is something immaterial, and many of his claims fall.

The claim that gods don’t exist as a statement of his certitude falls. If immaterial objects exist, then maybe a God exists.

The claim that evolution is purely naturalistic is at least questionable. IF a God exists, then who knows what He did during the evolution of life?

The existence of the immaterial soul affect’s Provine's claim that when we die we are just gone. Not necessarily if we are not material girls, as Madonna sings!

I sincerely liked Provine and wish he were still here to discuss this with. I think the discussions would be different now. While science and philosophers want to ignore the existence of the immaterial soul, the necessity of Free Will to exist in order for science to exist, requires that Free Will be a defect in causality and since Free Will is part of our consciousness, our consciousness must be immaterial as well. Consciousness is another word for soul.  

Thus physics is once again showing the glory of God, and as moral agents, we are responsible for how we respond to this knowledge.  As the Bible says:

Romans 1:20 says, "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

Don't let the atheist friend or atheist professor fool you into believing there is no evidence for the soul.  


1.David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality, (New York: Penguin Books, 1997),  p. 338
2. Ted Honderich, How Free Are You?, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 1
3. Ted Honderich, How Free Are You?, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 115
4. from "The Faith of an Atheist" by George Liles, written about Cornell Biology Prof. William Provine "MD" Magazine, March, 1994 pg. 60
5.John Searle, Minds, Brains, and Science, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), p 92
6.Ted Ted Honderich, How Free Are You?, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 89
8.Mark Buchanan,  "Double Jeopardy,"  New Scientist, June 18, 2005, p. 34
9.Stephen M. Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003), p. 27-28
10.A. Zeilinger, Dance of the Photons, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2010, p. 266. Wiki Superdeterminism,
11.Shimony A, Horne M A and Clauser J F, "Comment on the theory of local beables", Epistemological Letters, 13 1 (1976), as quoted in Jan-Åke Larsson, "Loopholes in Bell inequality tests of local realism", J. Phys. A: Math. Theor. 47 (2014), Wiki, Superdeterminism
12.Tony Rothman and George Sudarshan, Doubt and Certainty, (Reading, Mass.: Perseus Books, 1998), p. 74
14.Anonymous, “Your brain makes its decisions long before you know it,” New Scientist, April 19, 2008, p. 14

The Power of Knowing: Why is Historicity in Scripture Important?

The Power of Knowing: Why is Historicity in Scripture Important?

by Glenn R. Morton 2019

People ask me all the time why is it important for early Genesis to be historically real.  The reason is the power of knowing.  If you know something happened that changed your life, then you make decisions, arrange your life around that event.  A good example of this comes from the 1977 movie Contact which is old enough not to worry too much about spoilers. Ellie Arroway had gotten in a special machine, whose plans had been transmitted to earth from some alien civilization, and she had traveled to meet them.  But, while she thought the trip took days, people on earth never saw her even leave earth.  She passed through the machine in about 2 seconds and landed, asking what day it was.  Of course, there is an inquiry and the dialogue between two examiners and her goes like this:

Dr. Arroway you come to us with no evidence; no records, no artifacts, only a story that, to put it mildly, strains credibility. Over a half a trillion dollars were spent. Dozens of lives were lost. Are you really going to sit there and tell us we should just take this all on faith?

Please, answer the question, doctor

Is it possible it didn't happen? Yes. As a scientist I must concede that; I must volunteer that.

Wait a minute, Let me get this straight You admit that you have absolutely no physical evidence to back up your story?


You admit that you very well may have hallucinated this whole thing.


You admit that if you were in our position that you would respond  with exactly the same degree incredulity and skepticism ?


Then why don't you just simply withdraw your testimony and concede that this journey to the center of the galaxy, in fact, never took place?

"Because I can't. I had an experience. I can't prove it; I can't even explain it, but everything I know as a human being; every  I thing I am, as tells me it is real.

While she could doubt the experience, she couldn't disbelieve the experience and stood up to the second examiner telling him that she couldn't disbelieve what she knew to be real. 

This illustrates the power of knowing. Dr. Arroway would stand against the world and proclaim that what she observed was real. That is what knowing does for you.

Have you ever considered why the disciples were so powerful?  They began the change which overtook the largest empire on earth in 300 years.  Within a month of the resurrection there were thousands of believers. People could see that they really believed what they were saying. They had had an experience!  They KNEW that Jesus was bodily resurrected from the dead, which was a big change from their initial reaction.  At first, when the women told the disciples that Jesus had spoken with them, none of them believed it.  It was not rational to believe that a crucified man got up out of his grave. Crucifixion was a method of death that ensured the person was D-E-A-D! Doubting Thomas got bad press. He was just one of 12 apostles, all of whom initially doubted the reports. Thomas was nothing special.  But now, they knew that Jesus Christ was who he said he was. They lived their lives based upon that knowledge.

There is a story about John the disciple risking his life for one backslidden young man who had turned into the chief of a band of thieves. When John found out he got a horse and a guide and went to find this young captain of the bloodiest band of thieves around. Clement continues:

On coming to the place, he is arrested by the robbers' outpost; neither fleeing nor entreating, but crying, "It was for this I came. Lead me to your captain;" who meanwhile was waiting, all armed as he was. But when he recognized John as he advanced, he turned, ashamed, to flight. The other followed with all his might, forgetting his age, crying, "Why, my son, dost thou flee from me, thy father, unarmed, old? Son, pity me. Fear not; thou hast still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for thee. If need be, I will willingly endure thy death, as the Lord did death for us. For thee I will surrender my life. Stand, believe; Christ hath sent me." paragraph 42,St. Clement of Alexandria Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?

John caught up with the man who wept bitterly and repented.  John did this because he knew what the young man had left and what his future was and he knew that Jesus had died and risen for him.  Thus he was fearless in front of the badest group of bad thieves around.

Consider the effect and cost that knowing had on all the other apostles. They all risked death and many faced it. Andrew, some say, might have been the first martyr. He was Peter's brother and was killed in Patrae, Achaia, which is part of Greece.  An apocryphal count of Philip's death said Phillip preached in Phrygia and was crucified in Hierapolis. He was nailed to a tree by his feet, hanging upside down and then was eventually beheaded. Tradition, has been partly confirmed, archaeologists recently excavated the Apostle Phillip's tomb in Hierapolis.  James the son of Zebedee was killed by the sword around 44 A. D. at the order of Herod Agrippa I to make the Jews happy. James the Lesser was thrown from the temple onto the street below, and because he survived that fall, they stoned him to death, bashing his brains out with a fuller's club.  Peter was crucified upside down in Rome Jude was martyred in Iran and Thomas probably in India. Some lived to old age, but they all were insistent on dedicating their lives to Christianity because they knew what they had seen.

The disciples were able to impart that assurance to the second generation of Christians, and maybe them to the third, as time went on, people lost that absolute assurance and as a result the church has become weak.  We need to know that our faith is true.  One way to partly know is to have a scientifically valid/ historically real interpretation of early Genesis.  If we can know God did what he said, and have no doubt there, it is much easier to transfer that trust to what God did at the resurrection. 

I want to tell two more stories about knowing; one from the bible and the other from personal experience.. The Biblical story in John 9 is told a little loosely from the strict account, but it captures what knowing does to a person.

 A blind beggar in Jerusalem was sitting along a street and Jesus came up to him, as his disciples were asking for whose sin is this man blind. Jesus told them that it was nobody's sin that caused the blindness but it was to show the works of God. Jesus spit on the ground, made a bit of mud, put it on the eyes of the beggar and told the beggar to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  Note, the beggar had not asked for anything; Jesus just did it.  When the man followed the orders, and washed the mud off, he could see.  This man knew one fact; he had been blind but now could see. 

This event caused quite a stir in the neighborhood because it had taken place on a Sabbath when people were not supposed to work. The neighbors argued amongst themselves about whether or not this was the same guy. Some said it just looked like the blind beggar but it was a doppelganger. The beggar told them that he had been healed and that he was the former blind beggar.  Some of the neighborhood nannies tattled on the beggar by bringing him to the Pharisees because this sort of stuff didn't happen.

The exchange with the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders,  was fascinating. They began by asking what happened, and the man told them, Jesus put mud in my eyes, told me to wash in the pool of Siloam and voila, I could see.  Some of the Pharisees said Jesus couldn't have done it because Jesus is not of God because he broke the Sabbath. Others asked how a sinner like Jesus could do this miracle? So they asked the blind man what he thought of Jesus and the now seeing man said that Jesus was a prophet.  That made the Leaders decide that if anyone proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, they would be thrown out of the synagogue.

Now skepticism arose among the Pharisees. They figured they were being scammed so they sent for the parents, asking is this your kid who received sight? The answer was affirmative, so the Pharisee's asked the parents how he received his sight?.  The parents were as perplexed as anyone and said, "Hey, we don't have a clue what happened. Our son is an adult, ask him. "

So they did ask, but prefaced their remarks by letting the man know that he better not like Jesus and signaling that they weren't going to accept any answer that didn't agree with their current opinion. They said,

Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.

And the beggar answered:

He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” NASB.

This was the thing the beggar knew! By saying the above, he had realized he had an absolutely firm stake in the ground, a stake that could not be moved.  He KNEW he now could see and he knew who gave him sight.  And this certitude gave this uneducated man the courage to stand up to the religious leaders of the day. When they asked again, effectively he said, "If I tell you again, will you become his disciples?" The religious leaders reviled him saying you are His disciple and we are disciples of Moses. They said that  God had spoken to Moses and they didn't know where Jesus was from or what his credentials were.

What the blind man knew gave him the courage use logic and to say,

Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. "We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” NASB

And the courageous man was kicked out of the synagogue. Knowing gives power. Not knowing leads to weakness.

When I left young-earth creationism, I left because I could no longer hide from myself the severity of the observational issues saying the world was old.  This sent me into a 12 year long crisis of faith in which I was questioning everything there is to question about Christianity. I even called my son who at that time was a college minister and told him I was really going wobbly on Christianity.  One day at work I called my wife at home and said I needed to talk to her about something important that night.  She said,"you are going to tell me you have become an atheist."  I answered, "Not yet".  I was on the razor's edge. But I knew something. Something I couldn't get past. I had had an experience and knew God answered a remarkable prayer. Like a burr under the saddle, it constantly made it hard for me to leave Christianity.  It was my Turkish translator experience.

I am telling this for two reasons–first Christians need an observational reason to help them through the doubts, at least I did. Secondly, I have hoped for years to find the 3rd person in this drama, the woman who came up to us that night. She would be in her late 60s or early 70s by now. Down to the dash was written years ago, below that I have added some things.

The first time I went to Dallas, I was 19 years old. I went to a Campus Crusade Christmas conference there. My best friend and college roommate was with me. His name is Wayne Sparkman… He went into the Ministry and Im not entirely sure where he is right now. That night we had heard a sermon on ‘Pray specifically,’ Don’t pray for the missionaries in Africa, you won’t know if your prayer was answered. Afterwards, around, at 1 AM on a Thursday night in Downtown Dallas at the Adolphus Hotel, a girl walked up to us and asked us if we knew where she could find a Turkish translator. Of course, at 1 AM most folks are asleep and we weren’t from Dallas. Wayne asked why she wanted one and the girl replied that they were trying to witness to a Turkish fellow but he didn’t know enough English and they didn’t know any Turkish. What made me say this, I don’t know but I said, “lets pray about it.” I was actually shocked I said that.

I must tell you that there were two desks at the Adolphus at that time (they have changed it), one ran east west and the other north south. I prayed that the Lord would bring us a Turkish translator to the north-south desk in 10 minutes. (Once again, I don’t know why I was brazen enough to pray that particular prayer). When we finished, Wayne said, ‘Lets look around.’ I said (once again to my own surprise) lets wait, we have another 8 minutes. We waited. In 10 minutes a guy walked in from the street and went to the north south desk. Wayne told me to go ask the fellow if he spoke Turkish. I told Wayne that I couldn’t do it. (I chickened out!) Wayne had the courage to walk up and ask that guy if he spoke Turkish. He did!

Wayne brought him to the girl who took him over to where they were witnessing. Wayne and I were amazed. So we hung around till they were through using the translator to talk to the translator. The guy was a short order cook in downtown Dallas. He got off at 12:30 and had never gone home the way he chose to go that night. He ran out of cigarettes and came into the hotel to get change so he could buy some(who said smoking was bad?). He had been with the Air Force at Adana, Turkey (I recall) and worked as a translator. He wasn’t a Christian so he got witnessed to that night also.

About a year later, I was working at the Okla. University Research Institute in the Oil Information Center. We put oil production statistics into the computer. They decided to branch out and help Wycliff develop their first computer translation helps. A Dr. Joe Grimes (I believe) was the liaison and I asked him how many people in the U.S. spoke Turkish. He said that about 5000. He said 90% were in the New York area. When you figure out what percentage were probably asleep at 1 AM and what percentage were in Dallas, it was truly amazing to find one of them in a 10 x 3 foot area of Dallas after that 10 minutes had passed.

-end of old account–

One has to know that back in 1971 there were very few Turkish people here in the US. It was only was only a few years since Congress had changed the immigration law allowing more into our country. (not interested in an immigration debate, this was just the way it was.)

The interesting thing was that I don’t think this event meant as much to Wayne as it did to me. In the past when I have been in contact with Wayne, I have tried to get him to put his account on paper and all I ever get is 'I remember it about like you tell it."

I don’t know who the woman was who first asked us about a translator, and would love to find her, I doubt at this late date I will ever know who she was. She had introduced herself that night but I don't recall anything she said.

I know the ‘scientific’ explanation is that this was a fluke. I calculate that the odds of this happening by chance are about the same as winning the Powerball lottery, 1 x 10^-15. But there is a difference between the Powerball and this, at least operationally. When millions of tickets are sold eventually someone will win the Powerball, but this situation isn't like that. It was like, in all the world, only one ticket was sold to this drawing. It was sold to three people who shared the cost, no other tickets were sold, and they won the Powerball. Someone might think the game was rigged if that happened in real life.

One could get slightly different numbers by changing my assumptions but it is still going to be very difficult to make this a probable event. In a casino, if I won even 100 times more than I should, they would think I had rigged the game somehow, but with numbers like the above, some still say it is a fluke. I have shared this on lists where there were lots of atheists, all of whom of course pooh-poohed this as a fluke. Some liken it to running into your cousin in Moscow when you didn't even know your cousin had left the US.  Well, it isn't like that at all.  You didn't pray for your cousin to be in Moscow at this street lamp in 10 minutes.  That is a big difference.

There is one other thing I know about this experience that doesn’t come across in the mere statistics. When I shocked myself by saying, “let’s pray about it” it was almost like those words escaping my lips were produced involuntarily. I don’t have a clue why I said that–I was a physics major and at that time in my life taking that kind of risk was not me. If I had thought about it, it wouldn’t have happened. They say Jesus is both the author and perfector of our faith. I can assure you the faith at that moment was not mine. I know what was going on in my thoughts and it was “oh o what did you do?”

And again, when I said we have 8 minutes left, again, it was almost like I didn’t say that. It was bizarre and maybe for the worse, it has never happened again to me.

I know how the words came out of my mouth and that makes it less likely to be a fluke in my opinion. Of course, that is a subjective experience. But I am like Ellie Arroway at the end of the Movie Contact, where she said, "I had an experience" and only the weird amoral preacher and those who saw 18 hours of static on the recording devices believed her. This thing I knew gave me the strength to get through my doubts and maybe that is why it meant more to me than to Wayne.  He didn't need it; I did. 

Below, starting with Quantum Soul, showing the existence of the immaterial soul, I have laid out a path for Christians to see Genesis asperfectly historical and perfectly scientific. This work started when I was 19 years old, a physics student and new Christian.  I told my roommate, who was Wayne, that I was going to find a solution to the creation/evolution area--note, not THE solution. There may be other solutions but in my book a solution must match the facts of both the Bible and science. Trying to solve the issue, as accommodationalism does,  by proclaiming the Biblical account to be accommodated to the false beliefs of those Neolithic peoples, is not a solution in my book.  Doing that is merely agreeing with the atheist that the Bible is false. A solution that matches both the Bible and scientific data has been presented below on this blog. If you haven't read them, start with Days of Proclamation and work up--that is the proper order.

These articles are my life's work and purpose. It took a lifetime to get to this point.  I have posted these posts on boards with lots of scientists and they didn't really chastise me much for the science.  I got a couple of complaints which I responded to on the Babel post but mostly I got things like, "Why would anyone want to do what you did?" or "God is not talking about science", or "I think of the books of Moses as first grade textbooks", meaning I guess, that God told Santa and Easter bunny stories to us.  If that is true, that God told us faerie tales,   then we would know that the Bible isn't historically true in Genesis, so why would we have a firm faith in what God says about the resurrection? Is it too a faerie tale?  This is the most crucial reason for having a historically/scientifically accurate interpretation of Genesis.

To those who wonder why such a view is necessary, I would furthr respond that I know too many young-earth people who became persuaded that young-earth views don't match scientific data. Too many of those ex-YECs go straight into being atheists. I was amazed at how nonchalant many accomodationalists were with the idea that these people would become atheist. I also have observed how gleeful atheists are when this happens. The accommodationalist's disdain for young-earth creationist becomes very clear at in their nonchalance about YECs become atheist. I think it would be nice to help them during their struggles.  By giving struggling ex-YECs   a historically/scientifically accurate way to interpret early Genesis, they would have something to hold onto during their struggles.  I know how hard those struggles can be.  I went through them.

Secondly, the power of knowing is faith enhancing. Maybe the power of knowing that early Genesis can be historically real will keep you firm in times of your doubt.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Leviathon: May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

The Leviathon: May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

by Glenn R. Morton

This is part of my series on historicity in the Bible. The series really begins with the evidence for the existence of the soul followed by a way to read Genesis 1 totally scientifically and historically accurately. This may mark the end of the series as I have gone through all the issues that occupied much of my spare time in my life.   I believe that knowing the Scripture can be trusted, historically, is important for empowering our faith.  Why were the disciples so powerful?  Because they KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus had risen.  That empowered their faith.  Today we address Job 41, which is a much mocked part of the Bible. Atheists are fond of ridiculing this mythical animal, so they say.  Here is what they mock.
1Can you draw out aLeviathan with a fishhook?
Or press down his tongue with a cord?
2 “Can you put a rope in his nose
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?
3“Will he make many supplications to you,
Or will he speak to you soft words?
4“Will he make a covenant with you?
Will you take him for a servant forever?
5“Will you play with him as with a bird,
Or will you bind him for your maidens?
6“Will the traders bargain over him?
Will they divide him among the merchants?
7“Can you fill his skin with harpoons,
Or his head with fishing spears?8“Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle; you will not do it again!9“Behold, your expectation is false;
Will you be laid low even at the sight of him?
10 “No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him;
Who then is he that can stand before Me?
11“Who has agiven to Me that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.12 “I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
Or his mighty strength, or his orderly frame.
13“Who can strip off his outer armor?
Who can come within his double mail?
14“Who can open the doors of his face?
Around his teeth there is terror.
15 His strong scales are his pride,
Shut up as with a tight seal.
16 “One is so near to another
That no air can come between them.
17“They are joined one to another;
They clasp each other and cannot be separated.
18“His sneezes flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
19“Out of his mouth go burning torches;
Sparks of fire leap forth.
20“Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth
As from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
21“His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes forth from his mouth.
22“In his neck lodges strength,
And dismay leaps before him.
23“The folds of his flesh are joined together,
Firm on him and immovable.
24“His heart is as hard as a stone,
Even as hard as a lower millstone.
25“When he raises himself up, the mighty fear;
Because of the crashing they are bewildered.
26“The sword that reaches him cannot avail,
Nor the spear, the dart or the javelin.
27“He regards iron as straw,
Bronze as rotten wood.
28“The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones are turned into stubble for him.
29“Clubs are regarded as stubble;
He laughs at the rattling of the javelin.
30“His underparts are like sharp potsherds;
He spreads out like a threshing sledge on the mire.
31“He makes the depths boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a jar of ointment.
32“Behind him he makes a wake to shine;
One would think the deep to be gray-haired.
33“Nothing on earth is like him,
One made without fear.
34“He looks on everything that is high;
He is king over all the sons of pride.”1

This post was inspired by my son, who is a preacher who does a podcast on odd things of the Bible. He was preparing episode 8 and asked me what I thought about what Leviathan was. I told him I didn't know, but that the lack of fossils don't prove much because 97% of living species are not found in the most recent part of the fossil record!.

The fossil record is amazingly sparse.  Most species who have lived all through geologic history, have left no trace of their existence.

Colin Tudge observes,

"Logic dictates, too, that the oldest known fossils cannot possibly be the  oldest representatives of their kind.  Fossilization is a rare event, after all; and when animals first appear, they are rare.  The earliest fossil bones are therefore likely to date from a time when their erstwhile owners were already common.  Logic similarly dictates that if an animal is particularly unlikely to form fossils--as primates seem to be--then paleontologists are particularly unlikely to find the very earliest types.  In fact, this logic can be translated into a mathematical formula (see Robert D. Martin, ""Primate Origins: Plugging  the Gaps,"" Nature, May 20, 1993, pp 223-234).  The fewer fossils there are  (relative to the calculated number of extinct species), the older the group is  liable to be, relative to the number of fossils found."2
So, how rare is the fossilization of a species? To answer that, we must ask look at how many species alive today are found as fossils.   Consider what Foote et al,

"The number of living species that have been described is about 1.5 million...If we focus on the paleontologically important groups, present-day diversity is about 180,000 species. ...Suppose we assume that the present-day level of diversity was attained immediately at the beginning of the Cambrian Period and has been maintained since then. Then 25 percent of 180,000 species, or 45,000 species became extinct and were replaced by new species every million years.  In rough terms, the Phanerozoic is 550 million years log. this leads to an estimate that there have been 180,000+(45,000 X 550) or about 25 million species.  Comparing this with the 300,000 described fossil species implies that between 1 percent and 2 percent of species are known as fossils."3

So,98-99% of species were never fosilized.  That means the critics can't be sure Leviathan didn't exist.  Regardless of this, one might say I cherry picked a quote, but this concept of the rarity of fossilization is wide-spread. Prothero goes through the calculation in other ways:

"Let us start with some simple estimates. We have already estimated that there are 1.5 million described species, or as many as 4.5 to 10 million described and undescribed species of organisms alive on Earth today.  How many species are known as fossils?  It turns out that there are only about 250,000 described species of fossil plants and animals presently known, or only 5% of the total for species living today."4

He then goes  on to focus on marine invertebrates.  Marine invertebrates are the best animals to get fossilized.  They can't run from a landslide of sediment(turbidites) coming to cover them. Such things happen at earthquakes and when sediment accumulates so much that the pile sloughs off some of its mass.

"Let us just focus on nine well-skeltonized phyla of marine invertebrates and see if we come up with better estimates.  These nine phyla are the Protista, Archaeocyatha, Porifera, Cnidaria, Bryozoa, Brachiopoda, Mollusca, Echinodermata, and Arthropoda (excluding insects).  In these groups, there are about 150,000 living species, but more than 180,000 fossil species. To translate these numbers into completeness estimates, we need to know the turnover rate of species and the number of coexisting species through time.  Different values have been used for each of these variables, but the results of the calculations are remarkably similar. Durham estimated that about 2.3% of all the species in these nine phyla were fossilized. Valentine gave estimates that ranged from 4.5% to 13.6%.  No matter which method we use, we must conclude that 85% to 97% of all the species in these nine well-skeletonized phyla that have ever lived have never been fossilized."5

No matter how one estimates this, the number of species that are fossilized is quite small.

"About 300,000 species of fossil organisms have been described and the number is growing steadily. However, this number is only a tiny fraction of the species that have ever lived. We do not know how many species lived in the past but we have ways of making reasonable estimates. Of the present-day biota, approximately 1.7 million species have been named. The actual number of living species is probably at least 10 million, because most species of insects and mites (the animal groups with the largest numbers of species; see Chapter 32) have not yet been described. So the number of described fossil species is less than 2 percent of the probable minimum number of living species."6

To show the problem, back in the late 90s, I got into some online databases of paleontology(no longer there that I am aware of ) and collected data on all the fish genera found in geologic history. Here are what the numbers show (Pleistocene is the age 11,7000 to 2.5 million years ago): genera..extinct genera

One other thing which can be seen is the rarity of fossilization of genera. Today there are 3245 genera (the Recent period). The Recent period consists of only the past 11,700 years. Notice that only 12% of today’s genera (408/3245) are found as fossils. That number would be smaller if we were discussing species. Some genera have large numbers of fish, and when a genera is not found as a fossil, that not a single member of the genera was fossilized.

Further if we assume that the Pleistocene had as many genera of fish as we have today, it means that only 13% of Pleistocene genera were fossilized as well. This rarity of fossilization means that we can't say any given creature described by some society didn't exist.  If such a creature as Leviathan existed but was on the verge of extinction in Job's day, it is quite possible, indeed, highly likely that he didn't leave a fossil. Indeed the odds are 87% that he didn't leave a trace in the fossil record.
Because of this, fossilization is very  incomplete, when critics say that there is no way Leviathon could have existed, that it is ridiculous to believe in such a creature, what they  are effectively saying that every species that ever existed was fossilized and we don't see Leviathan.  Well, that is patently, and scientifically, false. Only a small percentage of species and even genera are found as fossils. While we can't say definitely that Leviathan existed, they can't state categorically that it didn't exist.  Given the statistics above, the odds are more in our favor than in the favor of critics. The vast majority of species have never left a trace of their existence. Next time you hear a Biblical critic drag Leviathan out of his bag of Biblical belly-aches, tell him these statistics.


1, New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Job 41:1–34). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

2.Colin Tudge, The Time  Before History, (New York: Scribner, 1996), p. 172

3. Michael Foote et al,   Principles of Paleontology, (New York, W. H. Freeman and Co., 2007), p 23

4. Donald R. Prothero, Bringing Fossils to Life: An Introduction to Paleobiology, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), p.21.

5 Donald R. Prothero, Bringing Fossils to Life: An Introduction to Paleobiology, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), p.21.

6. David E. Sadava, H. Craig Heller, William K. Purves, Gordon H. Orians, and David M. Hillis, Life: the Science of Biology,  (MacMillan, 2008), p.472