Sunday 30 December 2012

Dr Hugh Ross - Lying for God

On the 23rd of June 2012, Premier Christian Radio broadcast the debate "Is there evidence for a cosmic creator?" on the Unbelievable radio show hosted by Justin Brierley.

The Theological combatants were:

Dr Hugh Ross Dr Hugh Ross - Astrophysicist - Astronomer, Christian Apologist
He has worked at Caltech, MIT, Yale, Fermi Labs, JPL
He is the founder of the "Reasons to Believe" Organization.
Prof Lewis Wolpert - Cellular Biologist
University College London
He is Vice President of the British Humanist Association

The debate was hosted by the Imperial College Christian Union and was moderated by Monya Zard of Imperial College.

Before the debate had started, Red Flags started to appear. In the proposition "Is there evidence for a Cosmic Creator" the word "Cosmic" is ambiguous but if we assume the definition "Pertaining to the the Cosmos", we have a problematic mismatch between debating participants. An Astrophysicist and a Cellular Biologist.... debating Cosmology???

Dr Hugh Ross opened with the claim that The Bible has 10 times more cosmology than all the other religion's holy books combined.

He presented an example of where the Bible clearly states the universe began from a Space/Time Singularity -  "In the Beginning God created the heavens and the Earth."  He goes on to explain that the Hebrew word for "Create" [bara] means: "to bring into existence that which did not exist before."

This is incorrect. The translation of [bara] can be: to Shape, Fashion, Create or Transform.

This is exactly what most bronze age cultures believed... that their particular God created everything. There is no mention of a Space/Time Singularity and there is no way this passage in the Bible predicts or describes (implicitly or explicitly) a Cosmic Singularity. In fact, if this is the standard of evidence required by a professional Astrophysicist then I propose that the story of Goldilocks predicts a singularity, Space/Time and the Holy Trinity with: "Once upon a time, there where three bears". Such an analogy my sound flippant but both interpretations are equally tenuous and contrived.

I would have liked to have asked Dr Ross for his scientific evidence as to why the first law of thermodynamics is not violated by his claim. Remembering that he is presenting Scientific evidence and not Supernatural evidence.

I let this pass, It is nothing more that the standard technique of re-interpreting scripture to match that which is known. Scripture supported a geocentric universe until science discovered we lived in a Heliocentric system. Now the same scripture supports a Heliocentric system.

Dr Ross then made his first extraordinary claim.

He held up a document, the document was a scientific paper by Roger Penrose and Steven Hawking entitled "The singularities of gravitational collapse and cosmology."

Dr Ross read out the conclusion of the paper from the final paragraph:
"If mass exists in the universe and if general relativity reliably predicts the movement of bodies in the universe then space and time must be created by a causal agent who transcends space and time."

This is either a deliberate Lie or he has been fooled into believing a document modified by Creationists containing that paragraph.

But, he was holding the document and apparently quoting verbatim from the final paragraph.

The paper he is referring to is archived at the Royal Society and is available free of charge to the public. It can be downloaded from here:

I have studied the paper in it's entirety. The document does not contain the paragraph quoted by Dr Ross or make any conclusion even vaguely resembling his quote.

Read the concluding paragraph yourself and see if you can crowbar in an interpretation that in any way resembles the quotation.

If Dr Ross really had that paper in his hand and had read the final paragraph, he would know what he was saying was not true.

There are only 2 possibilities.

  • Dr Ross deliberately and knowingly lied.
  • Dr Ross was deceived into believing a fake Creationist version.

If the former then he has some serious explaining to do. If the latter then he is incompetent and does not bother to fact-check anything that agrees with his preconceived beliefs.

This is epitome of intellectual dishonesty. Dr Ross knew Prof Wolpert (A Biologist)  would not have read that paper nor anyone else at the Christian Union. He knew Prof Wolpert could not rebut that quote because the quote does not exist and could not be verified during the debate.

Dr Ross claims the Bible shows us that God is the author of the 2nd Law of thermodynamics in the following verse:-
NIV Romans 8:21 - "that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."
Call me Mr Pedantic but everyone else I know interprets Romans 8 as an explanation of salvation from death if you live in accordance with the Spirit and do not follow a sinful nature which leads to death. It takes a major effort of self deception to interpret this passage as Gods promulgation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.  Why would Paul be writing to the Romans explaining the gift of salvation freely given to all... and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

Things now go from bad to worse.

Dr Ross states that the Bible gives us a testable numeric entropy curve for the cooling of the universe. He displays a classic entropy curve supposedly predicted by the Bible overlaid with 13 data points representing temperatures measured by scientific observation. The Biblically predicted entropy curve precisely matches the curve measured by modern science.

During the Q&A period Dr Ross was asked to state where in the Bible this precise, quantified entropy curve was defined. Dr Ross attempted to sidestep this question, he evaded the question, tried to answer a different question and pretended not to understand the question even though it was re-phrased clearly and succinctly by the moderator.

I too would like to challenge Dr Ross' assertion that the Bible quantifies the temperature of the Universe over 14 Billion Years and that these Biblical Measurements correlate with modern scientific measurements. Dr Ross has gone to the effort of extracting enough of these measurements from the Bible to be able to plot an accurate entropy curve. It should be no problem for him to indicate which verses he used for his calculations.

Just when I thought Dr Ross' arguments had hit rock bottom... Things declined even further.

Dr Ross quotes 3 statements from a paper by 3 un-named Atheist Physicists entitled "Disturbing implications for a cosmological constant". The original paper can be downloaded from:

The 3 un-named Atheist Physicist are: L. Dyson , M. Kleban and L. Susskind  of the Department of Physics at Stanford University.

The 3 quotes Dr Ross read from the paper are:-

Quote 1. 
"Arranging the universe as we think it's arranged, that is, governed by dark energy would have required a miracle."
This statement does not appear anywhere in the paper. The closest I can find to this statement is in Ch6 p19 which discusses a hypothetical universe where the temperature  of the CMB is 10 degrees K instead of 2.7 degrees K.  The paper states that such a scenario would generate vastly more possible worlds but:
 "In all of these worlds statistically miraculous (but not impossible) events would be necessary to assemble and preserve the fragile nuclei that would ordinarily be destroyed by the higher temperatures. However, although each of the corresponding histories is extremely unlikely, there are so many more of them than those that evolve without “miracles,” that they would vastly dominate the livable universes that would be created by Poincare recurrences."
If the quotation does refer to this paragraph, Dr Ross has fabricated the quote, applied it to a hypothetical scenario and attributed it as a conclusion of the authors. This is a gross misrepresentation of the authors.

Quote 2. 
"An external agent, external to space and time, intervened in cosmic history for reasons of its own."
This is a deliberate alteration to what was actually stated in the paper. The full text of the statement reads:
"Another possibility is an unknown agent intervened in the evolution, and for reasons of its own restarted the universe in the state of low entropy characterizing inflation. How-ever, even this does not rid the theory of the pesky recurrences."

  • This is presented as a hypothetical.
  • It does not mention an "External" agent.
  • It does not say the hypothetical agent was "External to Space and Time".
  • He fails to mention that this hypothetical scenario is rejected.

This is a complete fabrication and misrepresentation by Dr Ross or perhaps Dr Ross was again deceived by a fraudulent Creationist version of the paper and he failed to do any fact checking.... like actually read the original paper.

Quote 3. 
"the only reasonable conclusion is that we do not live in a world with a true cosmological constant."
A minor point, Dr Ross omitted the first word of the conclusion: "Perhaps".

He also forgot to mention that the conclusion is given on the assumption that the scenarios discussed in the paper assume:

  • There is a fundamental cosmological constant.
  • We can apply the ideas of holography and complementarity to de Sitter space.
  • The time evolution operator is unitary, so that phase space area is conserved.

Finally, Dr Ross argued earlier in his presentation that God created the universal constants and the laws of cosmology. He now cites a paper that speculates there is no cosmological constant.

Dr Ross claims he has studied all the major religions and they all get cosmology wrong and The Bible gets it all correct. He says that Islam states the stars are closer than the planets and that Christianity does not make this mistake.

I would like to see Dr Ross' professional opinion as an Astronomer regarding the orbital trajectory of the Star of Bethlehem which moved across the sky and then hovered over Bethlehem.
Also - Mark 13:25 - The stars will fall from the sky.
And - Revelation 6:13 - and the stars in the sky fell to earth.

I'm disappointed with Premier Christian Radio for practically making Dr Ross their poster boy on the DVD for this lecture/debate series, even titling the DVD "Reasons to Believe" after Dr Ross' Mission. At very best this debate was technically and intellectually questionable at worst, it was a showcase for dishonest debate tactics, fabricated facts and misrepresentation.

If you have a claim for Truth, that Truth will stand firm on it's own merit. Truth relishes scrutiny and examination because honest scrutiny can only make Truth stronger. If you have to resort to lies and misrepresentation to promote your claim of Truth, you don't have Truth, you only have an empty claim.

When Truth becomes inconvenient and optional for a belief, it gives me Fewer Reasons to Believe.

The Ross/Wopert Debate - Is there evidence for a cosmic creator?

Premier Christian Radio - Unbelievable

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Huckabee & Hovind - Self-Aggrandising from Sandy Hook Shootings

Mike Huckabee and +Eric Hovind  are just two of the most despicable excuses for human beings that I can think of.

Within minutes of of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, Huckabee and Hovind were up on their self-aggrandising soap boxes trying to score theological points on the back of murdered children.

Here's a few example of their cold heartless promotion of the Christian agenda :

"No Surprise, We've 'Systematically Removed God' From Schools."
"Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?"
"And since we've ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn't act so surprised ... when all hell breaks loose."
[Mike Huckabee]

"Are you happy now that the shooter grew up in a school without God?"
[Eric Hovind]

"God Could Have Saved Those Kids, but He Won’t Go Where He’s Not Wanted."
[Bryan Fischer (AFA)] (Whoever he is?)

What they are indirectly referring to is obviously the adherence to the 1st Amendment that prevents state run organisations imposing any religious activity, doctrine or test on any citizen. Consequently, Schools are not allowed to impose mandatory worship of any deity on their pupils.

Huckabee and Hovind twist this to mean that God has been "Removed" or "Ordered Out" of Schools. Thus making a mockery of God's supposed Omnipresence.

Clearly this is not the case. Children and Teachers can pray in School whenever they feel like it. Praying is not banned in any US School.  This is a deliberate and cynical attempt to demonize and spit in the face of the constitution and the rights given to all US Citizens.

Children and Teachers can pray to their hearts content at school, then can pray on the way to school, they can spend all their lunch breaks praying, They can spend every single minute of spare time praying and I'm sure many of them pray all through lessons instead of learning about reality.

So let's examine the utter stupidity of what Huckabee and Hovind are actually claiming:

We know Christian kids and faculty can and do pray to their God as much as they like in school. What they can't do is force all the Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Atheist kids to worship their particular brand of God.

So according to the claims of Huckabee and Hovind, all those Christian prayers offered in School were totally useless, it FAILED to prevent evil entering the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The only thing that would have prevented this tragedy was to force Atheist and Jewish kids pray to Jesus every day.

But this causes a serious problem for Huckabee and Hovind. They are in effect admitting that Christian prayer is totally useless, God doesn't listen. The only thing that would have been effective would have been the additional prayers of Atheists.

I'm pleased that these two cold hearted bigots without any form of compassion or empathy are beginning to realise that Christian prayer does not work and that only the inclusion of Atheists could have had any effect.

If you really want to help:
Prayer clearly doesn't work, it only serves to make you feel better about yourself for not doing anything. Ignore Huckabee and Hovind, Get up off your damn knees and send money to:

Prayers will help you feel more righteous and caring about yourself.
Donations will help rebuild the lives of those affected by this tragedy.

Do NOT donate to any Facebook site claiming to be collecting donations for Sandy Hook Elementary School, it is almost certain to be a scam..... set up by despicable people trying to profiteer off someone else's tragedy.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Inside the Catholic Church - A short documentary

Just as we all suspected...

A short documentary by an unbiased researcher uncovers some interesting facts about the Catholic Church.

Friday 7 December 2012

Skepticule Extra Podcast #36


Skepticule Extra shownotes for episode 036 20121104

This is the thirty-sixth episode of Skepticule Extra — otherwise known (once again) as the Three Pauls Podcast. 

Paul Thompson ("Sinbad") 
The Skeptical Probe

Paul Orton

Paul S. Jenkins
Notes from an Evil Burnee

          Send feedback to, write a review oniTunes or post a comment below. There is also a Skepticule Extra Forum for further discussion of topics covered in the show (plus other topics). Follow the link to try out the forum.

          Skepticule Extra is a production of Willowsoft Communications

          Creative Commons License
          Skepticule Extra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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