A Comprehensive Attempt To Critique The Idea That Reason And Faith Are Incompatible
- Ross Olson 's First Response to Tom's Website 9/24/2000
- Tom Lawson's Rebuttal 9/29/2000
- Ross Olson's Response to Tom Lawson's Rebuttal 10/6/2000
- Tom Lawson's Second Rebuttal 10/9/2000
- Ross Olson's Final Response to Tom Lawson, 10/15/2000
- Tom Lawson's Third Rebuttal 10/21/2000
- Ross Olson's "One More Thing" to Tom Lawson
- Tom Lawson was asked to respond to this and said that he has already answered everything and the reader can judge.
So reader! [Hello... Hello? Is anybody out there?] Please go ahead and judge.
Interactions with Thomas Wolff
On "The Beginning Of The Universe"
- For the complete series click HERE.
The two Toms will continue their discussion privately*. Let it be noted that the
theistic Tom did change one position based on the evidence. The atheistic Tom
retreated into uncharacteristic illogic when cornered.
Tom W., arguing from a Big Bang perspective, insisted that an effect needed a
final cause. Tom L. responded essentially that "Universes happen."
When Tom W. tried to show that Genesis was compatible with long ages, Tom L.
nailed him to the wall. Tom W. responded by acknowledging the evidence and
changing his position.
It is instructive that the Enlightenment man seems impervious to evidence and
reason while the man of Faith responds to them. So who is closed-minded and who
The implied premise of Tom Lawson's website "Faith Vs Reason" is shown to be
faulty. Faith does not extinguish reason, it enhances it. Contrarily, unbelief
closes the mind.
(If either Tom wants to append this editorial, their comments have been invited and are welcome.)
* But if anyone is interested in their ongoing discussion, it has been compiled and is available from Ross Olson.
TOM LAWSON'S APPENDED COMMENTS
** ROSS: "The two Toms will continue their discussion privately."
TOM: Actually, our offline discussion on the Gospels need not be private --
it just didn't belong on the Beginning of the Universe page. I have copies
of all correspondence on this topic, so if you are curious, I could send
them to you.
** ROSS: "Let it be noted that the theistic Tom did change one position
based on the evidence. When Tom W. tried to show that Genesis was
compatible with long ages, Tom L. nailed him to the wall. Tom W. responded
by acknowledging the evidence and changing his position."
TOM: Actually, Tom W. appeared to be an Old-Earth creationist from the
start; he spoke of 15 billion years as if it were a fact. I let it go at
that. Maybe he thought each "day" was an eon. Our main differences were
over his insistence that Genesis agreed with the Big Bang and the
scientific sequence of the formation of stars, Sun, Earth, Moon, water,
plants, animals, etc.
** ROSS: The atheistic Tom retreated into uncharacteristic illogic when
cornered. Tom W., arguing from a Big Bang perspective, insisted that an
effect needed a final cause. Tom L. responded essentially that "Universes
TOM: Far from being cornered or illogical, I was just trying to correct Tom
W.'s illogic and present the views of scientists on the subject.
** ROSS: "It is instructive that the Enlightenment man seems impervious to
evidence and reason while the man of Faith responds to them. So who is
closed-minded and who is open? The implied premise of Tom Lawson's website
"Faith Vs Reason" is shown to be faulty. Faith does not extinguish reason,
it enhances it. Contrarily, unbelief closes the mind."
TOM: When faith leads to faulty conclusions, it is my duty to set the
record straight. I am not "impervious to evidence." I remain impervious
to the supernatural as long as no one provides evidence of it. The problem
was simply that Tom W.'s scientific evidence didn't agree with the biblical
text, and his spiritual evidence was based on private revelation
(untestable) and Holy Scripture (begging the question & no better than
other faiths). Faith does not enhance reason; it abdicates it. Moving Tom
W. to a more rational position is not close-mindedness.
TOM LAWSON'S SUMMARY of Beginning of the Universe:
The two Tom's concluded their discussion of the Beginning of the Universe
and are now discussing the Gospels offline.
Wolff claimed that Genesis 1 agrees with the Big Bang. Lawson presented
alternative astrophysical hypotheses.
Wolff repeatedly claimed that Genesis 1 gives the correct sequence of the
formation of the milky way, Sun, Moon, water, plants, animals, etc. Lawson
repeatedly pointed out omissions and errors in both Genesis 1 and 2 and
Wolff's reading of the text. I assume I convinced him on this topic.
Wolff claimed that an intelligent creator is more acceptable than a
universe that is infinite or that came from nothing. Lawson countered that
a universe that is infinite or came from nothing is both simpler and as
logical as a creator that is infinite or came from nothing.
Wolff claimed that the multiverse hypothesis is based on circular reasoning
and is not testable. Lawson replied that the multiverse hypothesis is no
worse than the god hypothesis, which also is not testable.
At Lawson's request, Wolff related several personal experiences that for
him confirmed "God's power in action." Lawson provided plausible natural
explanations of them.
Having been exposed for a while to Lawson's atheistic views, Wolff revised
his description of his philosophical position, prior to conversion to
Christianity, from atheist (Part 3) to agnostic (Part 7). Also, Lawson
suggested that Wolff may be submitting now to Christian peer pressure in
the same way he appears to have submitted in his early life to agnostic or
atheistic peer pressure.
Wolff concluded that only direct revelation would convince Lawson of the
existence of God. Lawson responded that revelation does not constitute
evidence, because it is private and experienced similarly by members of
many very different religions with very different religious doctrines.
Wolff asked Lawson for his opinion of a list of certain biblical moral
goals and claimed that God is the "mark by which all else is measured."
Lawson responded that morality is independent of God, that one of the main
goals is reciprocal altruism, and that, if God is the mark, it is a mark of
cruelty and vengefulness toward multitudes of innocent people, causing
thousands of years of suffering for the sin of one couple.
Wolff claimed that only the Bible has "the full Truth of Jesus Christ."
Lawson stated that, according to Mormon doctrine, only the Bible PLUS the
Book of Mormon have the "full Truth of Jesus Christ."
Wolff claimed that we are all capable of knowing the Truth about God and
Jesus. Lawson countered that he can't tell the difference between the deep
faith of a Christian and the deep faith of the member of any other
TOM WOLFF'S SUMMARY of Beginning of the Universe:
Tom Lawson did an excellent job in discussing the topic of the beginning of
the universe. He provided the various 'scientific' explanations for
explaining how the universe began, without having to resort to God. But Mr.
Lawson's attempt at defending the beginning of the universe ends up being an
excellent proof for the existence of God. The attempts at explaining the
beginning of the universe without God fail for a number of reasons:
1) There is no consensus among scientists as to how the universe could begin
apart from God. The three theories submitted in our discussion are: that
the universe is eternal. That there are many other, undiscovered universes.
And that the massive amount of energy needed to begin our universe could
happen because of the presence of gravity.
These various explanations provided are unscientific, and illogical. There
are no observations or theories to support any of the explanations Mr. Lawson
has submitted. These theories cannot be tested. They contradict other
scientific theories. And they fail the most basic of tests, where if
something is observed to happen, there must be a Cause. No Cause is provided
by any of the theories submitted by Mr. Lawson in our discussion. The
universe just exists is not a very satisfying explanation. With these sort
of 'scientific' explanations for the beginning of the universe, it is easy to
see why 96% of the people still believe that God is the reason that the
2) And the case for the existence of God is overwhelming. The basic logic
that because the universe existed, there must be a Cause, with that Cause
being God is insurmountable to atheiests. The perfect fine tuning of the
universe can only be explained by an Intelligent Designer. And most
importantly, the many, many personal experiences of people having had a
personal relationship with Christ, and the changed lives is only explained by
the presence of God. "In the beginning God", is the only explanation that
satisfies man's intellectual pursuit for why we are here.
Tom Lawson is like a good hockey goalie, slapping shots away with amazing dexterity and at the same time a chess grandmaster, playing a whole circle of games at once. But please look carefully to see if he has really stopped all the shots or just disconnected the buzzer, and examine the moves to see if they are really legal.