CREATION/EVOLUTION DEBATE

Twenty-eight articles and letters appear below. The debate produced little useful information. Items 12 & 14 by F. Russo summarise what went wrong.
 
 

1 J Holman Creation Versus Evolution… 86 
2 Atheist  Science Empirical, Religion Spiritual 87
3 J Holman  Response to Atheist 88
4 J H Williams Denizens of Unintelligent Design-Land 89
5 Atheist Questions for Josef Holman 89
6 J Holman  Argumentum ad hominum–Cadit quaestio 90
7 H Edwards  Substantiate More, Berate Less 91
8 Atheist  No answer is also an answer 91
9 J Holman  Peeved But Reacting Charitably 92
10 J H Williams  Whingeing Diatribes 92
11 J Holman Parting is such Sweet Sorrow 93
12 F Russo  HALT IRRELEVANT BICKERING 92
13 J Holman Reply to Frank Russo 93
14 F Russo QUOTES ALONE ARE INADEQUATE 94
15 J Holman Frank's Foray Falters 95
16 J Holman Riposte Respecting Rivals' Rambling… 92 
17 H Edwards Give Reasons for Your Conclusions 93
18 Bob Potter Must We Give Reasons for…? 94
19 H Edwards No Grounds for Amazement 95 *
20 J Holman Requests for Reasons Rejected 94*
21 Atheist Rambling 93
22 J Holman Determined Detective's…Data Digging! 94
23 Atheist  Holman's Horrendous Howler 94
24 Editor  Investigator Debates 94
25 H Edwards Frustrated Over "Getting Through" 95
26 J Holman My Final Response 95
27 Atheist Definitely The Last Word! 95
28 Editor Editor's Comment 95
 

CREATION VERSUS EVOLUTION
WHAT SOME SCIENTIST SAID

J Holman

(Investigator 86, 2002 September)


Anyone believing in evolution and dismissing creation should consider reading, without any prejudice, many excellent books which have been published in recent years detailing scientific findings and conclusions that demonstrate the impossibility of evolution as an explanation for the existence of life on Earth.

It should be of great help to remember that evolution cannot offer an explanation for the origin of our magnificent universe. Evolution clearly seeks to explain only how life might have begun in a universe that already existed. Many of the following books were written with backgrounds in the physical sciences. Hopefully, it will help make many unreasonably hard core evolutionists less stubborn in accepting the possibility that creationism may be a better/or more logical answer to the true origin of human race.

1. DARWIN'S BLACK BOX: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Michael Behe, associate professor of biochemistry, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, 1996.

Demonstrates that the minute building blocks of life – cells and their myriad components – are far too complex for their co-dependent parts and processes to have evolved without an outside, intelligent design at work.

2. MERE CREATION: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design, edited by William Dembski, 1998.

A collection of academic writings from the fields of physics, astrophysics, biology, anthropology, mechanical engineering and mathematics that challenge Darwinism and offer evidence supporting intelligent design in the universe.

3. EVOLUTION: A Theory in Crisis, Michael Denton, senior research fellow, University of Otago, New Zealand, 1996.

Examines features of the natural world that mutation and natural selection cannot explain and shows the impossibility of transitional form required for Darwinist evolution to have taken place.

4. CREATION AND EVOLUTION: Rethinking the Evidence From Science and the Bible, Alan Hayward, 1985. Written by a British physicist, an insightful book on the pros and cons of the evolution vs. science controversy.

5. THE NECK OF THE GIRAFFE: Where Darwin Went Wrong, Francis Hitching, 1982.

Points out many of the problems in the traditional view of evolution.

6. DARWIN ON TRIAL, Phillip Johnson, professor of law, University of California, Berkeley, 1993.

Examines scientific detail that argues convincingly against the theory of evolution.

7. REASON IN THE BALANCE: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education, Phillip Johnson, 1995.

Discusses the cultural implications of belief in evolution, that is, that the philosophy behind Darwinian evolution has become, in effect, the dominant established religion in many societies.

8. DEFEATING DARWINISM by OPENING MINDS, Phillip Johnson, 1997.

Written specifically for older students and their parents and teachers to prepare them for the anti-religion bias inherent in most advanced education.

9. OBJECTIONS SUSTAINED: Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law and Culture, Phillip Johnson, 1998.

Compilation of essays ranging from evolution and culture to law and religion.

10. BONES OF CONTENTION: A Creationist Assessment of the Human Fossils, Marvin Lubenow, 1992.

Documents the serious problems with the supposed links between man and apes.

11. WHAT IS CREATION SCIENCE? Henry Morris and Gary Parker, 1987.

Two creation scientists provide a critical examination of the major arguments used to support evolution.

12. SHATTERING THE MYTHS OF DARWINISM, Richard Milton.

A science journalist and non-creationist, reveals the circular reasoning Darwinists must rely on for their arguments while discussing data widely acknowledged in scientific circles.

13. TORNADO IN A JUNKYARD: The Relentless Myth of Darwinism, Jamed Perloff, 1999.

A self-professed former atheist offers an easy-to-read view of evidence contradicting Darwinism, including many quotations from evolutionists and creationists. (The title is taken from a British astronomer's assessment that the likelyhood of higher life forms emerging through random mutation is comparable to saying a tornado sweeping through a junkyard could build a Boeing 747 airliner.)

14. NOT BY CHANCE: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, Lee Spetner, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1998.

Dr. Spetner shows that one of the fundamental premises of neoDarwinism–that random mutation created the kinds of variations that allowed macro-evolution to take place–is fatally flawed and could never have happened as Darwinists claim.

_________________________________________________________

Let's have an unbiased look at what some highly regarded scientists have to say about creation and evolution. No one should assume that scientists uniformly agree that there is no God (and prayers are not answered) and that the world around us is the product of a mindless evolutionary process. Consider what some scientists say or believe:

1) "For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume (Origin of Species) on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I arrived."

Charles Darwin (1809-1882), British naturalist who popularised the theory of evolution through natural selection.

2) "The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Into his tiniest creatures, God has placed extraordinary properties that turn them into agents of destruction of dead matter."

"A bit of science distances one from God, but much science nears one to him." Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), French scientist, developer of pasteurisation process for milk and vaccines for anthrax, chicken cholera and rabies, dean of the faculty of sciences at Lille University.

3) "Manned space flight is an amazing achievement, but it has opened for mankind thus far only a tiny door for viewing the awesome reaches of space. An outlook through this peephole at the vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator."

"It is in scientific honesty that I endorse the presentation of alternative theories for the origin of the universe, life and man in the science classroom. It would be an error to overlook the possibility that the universe was planned rather than happening by chance."

4) "Atheists all over the world have…called upon science as their crown witness against the existence of God. But as they try, with arrogant abuse of scientific reasoning, to render proof there is no God, the simple and enlightening truth is that their arguments boomerang. For one of the most fundamental laws of natural science is that nothing in the physical world ever happens without a cause."

"There simply cannot be a creation without some kind of Spiritual Creator...in the world around us we can behold the obvious manifestation of the Divine plan of the Creator."

Dr. Wernher von Braun (1912 -1977), NASA director and "father of the American Space Program."

5) "The theories of evolution, with which our studious youth have been deceived, constitute actually a dogma that all the world continues to teach; but each, in his specialty, the zoologist or the botanist, ascertains that none of the explanations furnished is adequate."

"The theory of evolution is impossible. At base, in spite of appearances, no one any longer believes in it... Evolution is a kind of dogma which the priests no longer believe, but which they maintain for their people."

Paul Lemoine (1878-1940), director of the Paris Natural History Museum, president of the Geological Society of France and editor of Encyclopedie Francaise.

6) "To postulate that the development and survival of the fittest is entirely a consequence of chance mutation seems to me a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts. These classical evolutionary theories are a gross oversimplification of an immensely complex and intricate mass of facts, and it amazes me that they are swallowed so uncritically and readily, and for such a long time, by so many scientists without a murmur of protest."

Sir Ernest Chain (1906-1979), co-holder of the 1945 Nobel Prize for isolating and purifying penicillin, director of Rome's International Research Centre for Chemical Microbiology, professor of biochemistry at Imperial College, University of London.

The above is just a fraction of the many scientists of similar views. I rest my case.

 



 

SCIENCE EMPIRICAL, RELIGION SPIRITUAL

Atheist

(Investigator 87, 2002 November)


Josef Holman (#86) maintains that scientists do not uniformly agree that there is no God and in support provides a bibliography that appears to have been taken from a Creationist publication.

Two of the authors - Morris and Parker - are Creation "scientists", a misnomer if there ever was one.

I venture to suggest that Holman has never read any books critical of creationist ideas by Sagan, Gould, Kitcher, Hawkin, McMullin, Hayward, Eldredge, Montague, Godfrey, McGowan, Futuyma, and Zetterberg to mention just a few. The last book contains a 30-page bibliography!

That scientists do not uniformly agree that there is no God doesn't imply that there is any doubt about evolutionism. It is quite possible to be scientific and religious at the same time. Stephen J Gould in his essay Non-Overlapping Magisteria (1998) explains there should be no conflict between science and religion as each has its own separate and distinct magisterium. This is because there is no overlap between their respective domains of professional expertise–science in the empirical constitution of the universe, and religion in the search for proper ethical values and the spiritual meaning of our lives (Gould. p271, 1998). Scientists study how the heavens go, theologians study how to go to heaven.

Even Pope John Paul II stated in 1996 that the evidence for evolution was overwhelming and as such Catholics should believe in theistic evolution.




 

RESPONSE TO "ATHEIST" (No. 87 p. 5)

J Holman

(Investigator 88, 2003 January)


I suspect that Atheist derives a masochistic pleasure from carelessly contradicting my contributions published in Investigator (e.g. No. 87, page 5) while disregarding any incorrect assumptions or false accusations he/she makes.

I do respect any of Atheist's views when they are not brazenly sarcastic, forceful, wheedling or obviously misleading.

The scientists I named in (No. 86), who believe in or agree that there is God, were only a fraction of countless other ones. It seems Atheist now attempts to convince the readers that more scientists or esteemed literatis believe in evolution. So what even if that should be true? Among the overwhelming majority of Earth's population who believe in God or some intelligence mightier than any human being, there is an enormous number of highly educated individuals, academics, doctors, etc., who believe in creation! The vast majority of our planet's inhabitants don't accept the theory of evolution as a valid or conclusive one. End of the story.

One does not need to go into more details on the subject or use "bibliographies", "essays" and impressive "statements" from famous personalities or known academics to convert all believers into atheists! It is practically impossible. Similarly it is practically impossible to convert true atheists who may have been "brainwashed" into that state of mind or disbelief since their early youth or who have been misled by popularly propagated, but far from substantiated, philosophies and biased teachings.

The people believing in God far outnumber the atheists. This has been officially confirmed. There is a somewhat very true saying: "Numbers win" (As in voting/elections, etc.) Need more be said?




 

DENIZENS OF UNINTELLIGENT DESIGN-LAND

By John H Williams

(Investigator 89, 2003 March)


In Investigator 86 Joseph Holman attempts to explain the existence of life by way of an inferred being for which there is no empirical evidence, created by 'intelligent design' (ID).

Dr Holman refers to 'unreasonably hard core evolutionists' who are 'stubborn' in not accepting his beliefs. Elsewhere we are 'incorrigible', an example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Isn't it reasonable to ask for a body of unequivocal evidence, equivalent to some century and a half of palaeontological research, for example, before developing any kind of hypothesis? The scientific evidence, incomplete and imperfect though it be, does offer the objective, rational mind much to digest.

I believe that Dr Holman should take his own advice (The Asininity of Anger, Investigator 88) and have a nice calming cup of tea before he continues to label people who don't agree with him as unreasonable, or wheedling, or brazenly sarcastic. Instead, he ought to play the Investigator game of open debate between those and who are 'gutsy enough to face contrary evidence' (Stett, 88).

If you can't stand the kitchen's heat, Dr Holman, please stop complaining and provide us 'Unreasonables' some intellectual grist to fuel further satisfying debate.

I'm a member of the Australian Skeptics, who are actively involved in seeking such evidence. We are a diverse collection of people, who, I'm pleased to say, have collectively a fine sense of humour. The sceptical attitude involves:
 

From what he's written I have a feeling that Dr Holman believes those who disagree with him are unpleasant Bible-hating anti-religionists, cynics and contemptibly pitiable in their godless universe. Well, we're not. Nor are we "brainwashed". If Dr Holman flings around this kind of verbiage, which is inaccurate, then he needs to develop a thicker carapace. It is noticeable that Dr Holman hasn't acknowledged or addressed the strong argument put up by Atheist.

I strongly agree with Atheist (#87) in his dismissal of Dr Holman's ideas, particularly his point about the Catholic Church accepting the overwhelming evidence for evolution. (Are believers keeping up with what's happening, and doing some cognitive dissonance, or are they avoiding unwanted news?)

A few years later this same church 'did away with' Hell in stating that 'Hell' was a 'portable state' individuals had to cart around with them. I could hardly believe this rather 'with it', sensible and secular edict. Was it some kind of hoax? No Hell, the dear old Devil evicted by an 'infallible' pope!

A catalogue of quotes, scientists and book titles, does not a convincing argument make, though to the naive and the non-scientific, it may have superficial appeal. Given the vast scale of Darwin's output (this 'Newton of Biology' produced about sixty years'-worth), its unfair and invalid to selectively quote, out of context, implying things that he never intended. The more sophisticated creationists, who often have Ph.Ds after their names, are able and well-practised in this intellectual sleight -of-hand.

These ID 'gurus', such as Phillip Johnson, Jerry Bergman, Henry Morris et al are able, literate and influential in pushing their agenda in a quite sophisticated way. As readers will know, I have no respect for the movement, not because I believe that they could not be more wrong, but because Dr Jerry Bergman has not responded to my articles attacking his 'one-liners' which have not been supported by any articles offering his rationale. This I believe contradicts the ethos of The Investigator which is primarily about debate.

So are we to accept a deity who 'caused' people to write material which, as Atheist demonstrated, contained the most horrific passages? Christianity might not have emerged from Judaism if it hadn't have been for Paul, who is very much a creature of his time and his background:
 

'Slaves, serve your masters with fear and trembling' (Ephesians 6:5), and 'Every one should remain in the state in which he was called. Were you a slave when called? Never mind' (I Corinthians 7) and his endearing '...it is better to marry than to burn' (1 Corinthians).


I am confident that Paul and Yesu'a al Nazri (Jesus) would have had major disagreements of philosophy, since I believe that the latter's agenda was very much about addressing the awful social justice issues inherent in first century Judea. A hidebound religion-based culture relegated large sections of the pyramidal society, such as women, to poverty and powerlessness. Paul's agenda, obviously, was mainly about proselytisation, keeping the spiritual fires alight around the Mediterranean and resolving the problem of gentiles and circumcision, so that the Christian church became increasingly gentile and non-Jewish, while Judaism retained its ancient certainties.

Returning to Holman's asininity theme here's a sample, from Rev Graham Humphris of the Aberfoyle Uniting Church:

Central to the Christian faith is that God understands what loneliness is all about and it bothers God more than we can imagine. This is why God went to the extraordinary lengths of putting us in communities and then reaching out to us in Jesus Christ. (The Advertiser 13/1/03)


Such nonsense is enough to have me reaching for a calming cup of tea! Loneliness, like depression, is real for hundreds of millions, while the rest is the merest wishful thinking, allied to highly subjective speculation.

I'll end with a few of statements of Bishop Jack Spong. This person is not a 'despised' sceptic but a very senior Anglican churchman with a massive international following!  

A church unified in racism, chauvinism and homophobia cannot be the Body of Christ'
'Why do we not recognise that quoting an ancient text to try to solve a moral or scientific issue is as irrelevant today as it was when the book of Joshua was quoted to condemn the discoveries of Galileo?'
'How many more moral debates will we have to undergo…before people recognise that the literal Bible was wrong on epilepsy being demon possession, wrong on sickness resulting from sin, wrong on the sun rotating around the Earth, wrong on slavery, wrong on defining women as inferior, and is now wrong on origins, causes and meaning of homosexuality?'
  Bishop Spong's reply to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Nov 26, 1997 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~Icrew/spng2abc.html





QUESTIONS FOR JOSEF HOLMAN

Atheist

(Investigator 89, 2003 March)


When unable or unwilling to answer a simple question Josef Holman dismisses his adversaries' comments as 'sarcasm' and indulges in unsubstantiated quotes.

Contrary to what he thinks I am not trying to convert anybody but simply commenting on the inadequacy and lack of support for some of his extraordinary claims. In answering the following he need only refer to the number of the question thus saving space by not repeating the question itself.

1. In #81, page 48, Holman says in effect that God advocates limiting the Earth's population by not saving people. He supports this contention with, "there are a few references to this in the Bible."

For the third time of asking – where in the Bible?

2. In #86, pages 44 - 48, Holman tries to show that many scientists do not believe in evolution and therefore must believe in the existence of a creator God. He concludes with, "The above is just a fraction of the many scientists of similar views." I.e. 'belief in God.' He is implying therefore that the percentage of scientists who hold this belief is large?

Peter Landsberg, Professor of mathematics at Southampton University, holds otherwise. In a survey of American scientists in 1998 he found that belief in a personal God had seriously declined over the previous 84 years from 27.7% to 7.0%. Seven per cent is hardly a significant proportion.

Would Holman care to dispute those figures?

3. In #88 he states, "The overwhelming majority of Earth's population believe in God."

(a) Would he please support that statement with demographic statistics starting with the Indian sub-continent and the Orient.

(b) Do the citizens of former communist (atheist) states automatically believe in God simultaneously with a change in government ideology?

4. "The vast majority of our planet's inhabitants don't accept the theory of evolution."

(a) On what evidence does he base that statement? What are the statistics?

(b) Would he care to rebuke Pope John Paul's 1996 statement that "the evidence for evolution is overwhelming"? (See #87, p 5. para 4).

(c) As the Pope is considered by Catholics to be infallible shouldn't all Catholics now accept the truth of evolution?

5. "People believing in God far outnumber atheists. This has been confirmed."

By whom? By what authority?

6. In #86, repeated in #87 and again in #88 Holman tells us that there are many scientists who believe in the existence of God. I have not disputed that some do and quoted Stephen J Gould's essay Non-Overlapping Magisteria (#87, p 5, penultimate paragraph) to explain the absence of conflict.

If Holman disagrees please offer an alternative.

7. Finally in #88, p4, para 3, we have, "Atheists are 'brainwashed'". Given that the term 'brainwashed' is generally accepted as 'forcible indoctrination' and that atheism is a choice one makes based on rational thought, would Holman please explain:-

(a) How an atheist is 'brainwashed'. (The reasons given in his letter are fatuous and should not exclude a more plausible explanation.)

(b) By propagating his endorsement of Darwinian theory ('the evidence for evolution is overwhelming') is Pope John Paul II (God's spokesperson and the spiritual leader of nearly one billion Catholics) 'brainwashing' believers?




ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM - CADIT QUAESTIO

Response to John Williams & Atheist #89

J Holman

(Investigator 90, 2003 May)


I read John Williams' yet another outburst followed by his apparently sympathetic "copycat" "Atheist" with his unnecessary or even irrelevant questioning most of which, if responded to, would likely make no difference to his/her convictions and, sometimes, confusing views! (Investigator, No. 89, pages 38-41)

In such cases, the application of "silence is golden" would seem the wiser reaction. However, because of John Williams' and irreligious Atheist's derisive responses to my article "The Asisinity Of Anger" (#88) and some of my previously writings I couldn't resist further clarifying some points. It appears my earlier humble attempts failed to do a good job of it or the true, beneficial meaning of my published contributions have been ignored or misread. I'll be more "haughty" this time, though reluctantly.

I surmise that Mr. Williams may possibly need something more effective than few cups of calming tea brew to help him control better his fomented emotions he seems to be subjected to at times, or to restrain him from inaccurate connotations, or beliefs.

One example: his claim that members of The Australian Skeptics, "are a diverse collection of people who have collectively a fine sense of humor".

A diverse collection of people they may be but I, for one dare say and regret to disappoint John Williams, have not detected such a commendable quality as a "FINE sense of humor" in his responses to my contributions. The only "well balanced" skeptic I know of (and greatly admire who has a wonderful, "biting but not injurious" sense of humor in his writings (including replies to readers' letters in Investigator and other popular publications) is Harry Edwards, the former editor of The Skeptic!

Correspondents or writers like him seem to be a rarity, nowadays. What I detected are various degrees of sarcasm, contempt or unsavoury innuendos dominating most "professional" skeptics' published contributions, however cleverly some of them are written and are making reasonably interesting reading when not disparaging other writers' opposing views or beliefs. Their apparent lack of basic skills in diplomacy and tactfulness in their responses to other contributors' writings is not difficult to notice.

These findings of mine are not meant to be unkind or "sarcastic", let me stress this most emphatically! It is just more of my humble observations.

I felt sad and somewhat sorry for Mr. Williams after I read his quote in his response, "if you can't stand the kitchen's heat, Dr. Holman, please, stop complaining". (Investigator, No. 88) It has painfully reminded me of my younger days after I escaped from the horrors of Communism which took hold of my beloved country of birth with the help of ruthless Russian government and unruly hordes of its mighty armed forces. In the subsequent tough battles for survival in the extremely harsh post-WW II European environments I considered myself once again very fortunate when I got a job as a dishwasher or cleaner. I slaved in hot kitchens with no air condition where even my eye balls perspired profusely and my feet were constantly swollen from many long hours of standing on concrete floors. I never uttered one word of complaint. I was happy to be alive and grateful for my freedom. Life has hardened me physically and mentally.

This was also the time when I came to know God very intimately and my faith saved me from perishing. I am not in the habit of complaining just for the fun of it. I simply stand up for my right and entitlement to freedom of speech while living in any democratic country. If some of my views, or the way I word my literary creations, give the impression of "complaining", then I assure the good reader/s that it is only my sincere effort to correct any apparent wrongs or, hopefully, to vindicate my claim/s which may have been accused of some inaccuracy or "lack of support".

I would also like to reiterate: It is any person's God-given right to express views or opinions (including "complaints") so long as it is done in a civilised manner and the person shouldn't have to subsequently fear unfair or insolent thus a long-way-from-constructive criticism from opposing sides.

I believe I have appropriately exercised my democratic rights to express views or beliefs and to respond to any criticism in a befitting, accepted social manner – without improper overtones or "belittling", peasantry insinuation.

I was tempted to respond to Atheist's list of some seven questions (Investigator 89, pages 40-41), but no, thank you. Somehow I doubt Atheist would be satisfied even if I obliged his/her peevish request.

It flatters me that Atheist finds my views "extraordinary" not just "ordinary". Contrary to Atheist's notion, I humbly suggest that my "extraordinary views" do have sufficient "support" or they contain reasonable statements, opinions or claims in the context of my God given rights as mentioned above. If Atheist thinks my "quotes" are "unsubstantiated" then, of course, he is fully entitled to his/her opinion, too whether it is erroneous or not. One could easily accuse him/her of similar shortcomings or lack of support (convincing evidence?) for his/her various claims and quotes which, not infrequently, appear to be somewhat unnecessarily "forceful" or expressed in an offensive manner.

Atheist being what the meaning of his/her "pen-name" suggests would likely always have some opposition or contradictory views to ANY of MY and other contributors' views and claims especially if it is about religious matters or creation, no matter how much they are supported by evidence, statistics, logic and other people's strong backing. Which is not a bad thing, really. It provides a steady supply of entertainment for readers or it attracts their responses thus providing more absorbing reading material. Despite all, I must confess (once again) that I do enjoy most of Mr. John William's and Atheist's contributions. "May the Force be with them."

I have previously recommended to readers like Atheist, and all those desiring solutions to their different personal problems, to seek answers or good advice in the Holy Bible. It offers directions how to attain a satisfying healthy life and great peace of mind. All one needs is to read the Good Book with diligence and without preconceptions. The answers to some other questions which seem to bother Atheist so much can be obtained through the Internet or any city's archdiocese. There are also many appropriately qualified consultants who can help too in some cases. They are mostly volunteers who provide advisory services free of charge.

Let anxious Atheist do a bit of "detective" work, too. It won't hurt him/her. I believe I've done my part and I am fully satisfied with the outcome or the "fruits of my labour" which consequently helped to form my rock solid convictions. Some of them I shared with the readers of Investigator in my published contributions. I don't claim not to make errors or that I am some "know-all" genius, but until someone can convince me that I am wrong or any of my "extraordinary views" lack "support", I'll stand behind my opinions, claims and quotes.

I would feel a bit uncomfortable if I did not offer response especially to question No. 1 (Investigator 89, page 40) where Atheist writes: "Holman says in effect that God advocates limiting the Earth's population by not saving people. He supports this contention with 'there are a few references to this in the Bible'. For the third time of asking – where in the Bible?"

First of all, it seems that Atheist, perhaps conveniently, misinterpreted my "contention". I have not suggested that God "advocates" limiting the Earth's population. Actually, He does it constantly–and nobody in his or her right mind would disagree that it is not for the good of our planet!

I said, in part: "if God acted on all people's prayers in which they ask Him to save loved ones from death, practically nobody would ever die. Soon Mother Earth would not have even a standing room on it for its population! This is not in God's plan for his devotees." There are a few references to this in the Bible, too. God promises all believers in Him, through His son Jesus Christ, to save them and that non-believers shall "perish". God hears calls for help or requests for favours from His "faithful flock". One cannot expect God to answer prayers of non-believers or insincere people. "God works in mysterious ways". He invariably answers in the way which ultimately is FOR THE BEST of mankind in general, however it may at first appear unkind or unhelpful. (Investigator 81, pages 48-49).

May I suggest Atheist look up the following passages in the Bible:

1 Chronicles 21:9-14; 18:9-13; 19:5-7, 12-13.
2 Chronicles 6:24-31
Exodus 9:14-19, 24-25; 12:29-31
Ezekiel 3816-23; 39:1-14
Jeremiah 4:3-13; 1:9-16
1 Kings 20:13-30; 22:10-15
2 Kings 9:6-10
Nehemiah 9:26-30
2 Peter 2:5-7
The Revelation 16:15-21
The Revelation 22:10-19
Psalm 37:9-11, 18-20, 38
Psalm 28:4-5
Exodus 9:14-19, 24-25
Exodus 12:29-31
Hopefully, the references above will help Atheist see some of the ways in which God "limited" the Earth's population which include wars, plagues and natural disasters.




 

SUBSTANTIATE MORE, BERATE LESS

H Edwards

(Investigator 91, 2003 July)


I appreciate Josef Holman's kind comments (#90) and as a 'well-balanced' skeptic I'm sure he won't mind me proffering an opinion.

To my mind Atheist's questions in #89 were a legitimate attempt to elicit evidence in support of Josef's claims. Josef made the claims in the first place so it's up to him to substantiate them up when asked to do so. Some of the questions merely require a reference. Surely that's no big deal? By not answering, Josef casts a shadow of doubt over those claims.

While I admire Josef's resilience and fortitude in facing up to heavy-weights such as Williams and Atheist I really think he needs spend less time berating his adversaries.




 
No answer is also an answer

Atheist

(Investigator 91, 2003 July)


Josef Holman's latest rambling response (Investigator No. 90) to John Williams and myself could be likened to an orchestra tuning up prior to a concert, a discordant cacophony with no particular piece in mind.

Trying to garner some intelligent comment from Holman's 'literary creation' (his words) is like trying to sort the wheat from the chaff during a cyclone. All that emerged is English is not the writer's native tongue and that he was at one time a dishwasher.

My 'unnecessary and irrelevant questions' (according to Holman) were drafted to elicit from him simple straight-forward answers to substantiate some of his extraordinary claims. I suspect he declined to do so as this would expose his adherence to the propagation of vacuous reasoning.

Incidentally Mr Holman, 'Extraordinary' means 'unusual or exceptional.' It's not a flattering compliment and a response requires detailed and irrefutable evidence to support such a claim–not anecdotes or poorly considered opinion. Perhaps a more appropriate word would have been, 'outlandish' 'bizarre' 'eccentric' or simply 'odd.'

In #90 p44 paragraphs 4 & 5 Holman suggests that I should do a bit of detective work and obtain the answers to my questions on the Internet or from any city's (sic) archdiocese. For goodness sake man, YOU made the statements it's up to YOU to back them up!

The purpose of this magazine as I understand it is to provide a forum for discussion and to stimulate debate, the outcome of which depends on the facts presented and the persuasiveness of the writer. So far Holman has demonstrated a lack of experience when it comes to normal debating procedure and he has no idea what is required when one asks for evidence.

As for 'entertaining' readers, Holman's contributions certainly generate laughter when one reads his attempts to dodge questions and obfuscate.

Holman pleads his 'God given right to express an opinion in a democratic country'. Not only has this magazine not denied him that right he has also, time and time again, been given ample opportunity to reinforce his opinions with verifiable evidence. He has not done so.

The writer later changes his mind, and decides to answer one of my questions. He failed to note however, that there is a subtle difference between saying 'God advocates' and 'in effect God advocates.' The former is specific, the latter only implies action. (In all fairness English not being Holman's native tongue he is evidently not fully acquainted with the subtleties and nuances of the language.)

Holman's response to the 'God limiting the population' question was simply a reiteration of a paragraph from one of his contributions in #81. To support his contention he provided Bible references to show how God allegedly limits the population through wars, plagues and disasters. But to argue that these events are effective in controlling the world's population to any great degree is fatuous to say the least.

Despite two world wars (WWII alone had 55 million civilian and battle casualties) and over one hundred 'minor' wars, the 1918 influenza epidemic (21 million deaths), AIDS, famines (China 1970, 20 million deaths), droughts, genocide (Cambodia 2 million deaths), and countless natural disasters in the last century, the world's population has more than doubled. It increases by approximately 200,000 each day.

The exponential increase in the world's population from the Bible's original pair to six billion souls should be evidence enough to show that either God's plan hasn't worked or indeed there never was one.

While on the subject of natural disasters perhaps Holman can explain how God causes earthquakes, volcanoes, cyclones and plagues. It is estimated that each year there are some 500,000 detectable seismic disturbances alone. God is indeed a busy man! The world's geophysicists, seismologists, vulcanologists and virologists would be shaken to the core when they realise all they've learned and taught about our planet and its inhabitants is nonsense according to Josef Holman.

Finally. In #90 page 44 paragraph 2 Holman alleges that there is a lack of support for some of my claims. Surely he jests?! I challenge my accuser to quote one example for which I have not, or cannot, provide evidence.




 

PEEVED BUT REACTING CHARITABLY

Josef Holman

(Investigator 92, 2003 September)


I was rather peeved this time by Atheist and Mr. Williams criticising my personal qualities instead of just concentrating fully on dissecting my well-meant contributions published in Investigator.

I don't mind if they take pleasure in finding faults with my style of writing (I don't claim I don't have any – "nobody is perfect!") or the subjects which I humbly present.

But getting also stuck each time into my character or appropriate academic qualifications becomes somewhat annoying and I am compelled to strongly object to such unnecessary peasantry behaviour of any intelligent person. This is the main reason why I have succumbed, as much as I dislike it, to a similar deportment in the enclosed riposte to Atheist and Williams [See this edition p.40]. I am not wilfully using any impertinent overtones in order to belittle their personalities or apparently superior qualifications (which they obviously consider to possess). As a legally ordained minister of a church I am expected to act or react charitably or "nicely".
 
 



 

NON-SENSICAL VIEWS, SPECIOUS THINKING
and
WHINGEING DIATRIBES

John H Williams

(Investigator 92, 2003 September)


I refer to Josef Holman's article in Investigator No. 90.

I appeal to the Editor for some fair play, as I'm unhappy with Dr Holman's ad hominem criticism of me: again, more 'the pot calling the kettle black'. Clearly, his last piece was regarded as acceptable, and, in protest, I'm withdrawing from further 'debate' with him.

May I point out that our normal language of discourse is English, so to use a title which is entirely in Latin is rather precious and excludes a large number who do not read Latin. I do know, from my soccer-playing days, that ad hominem means 'playing the man and not the ball'. It's my perception that Dr Holman has, for whatever reason, lost sight of the ball.

He implied that I have a poor sense of humour, then made an invidious comparison of my writing and Harry Edwards. (I was, in referring to "a fine sense of humour", not referring to mine but to the many witty and light-hearted contributions of the editor and writers of the Australian Skeptics' the skeptic magazine, to which Harry has been a most distinguished contributor). I believe that my funny-bone's as well-tuned as any, but, in response to Dr Holman's somewhat intemperate and unchristian judgements, I revert to whatever means necessary to demonstrate how nonsensical are his views. I believe that I've done this yet all one manages to elicit are whingeing diatribes, which consistently fail to address non-personal issues. I ask for editorial input, please.

After 'putting in the boot' Dr Holman told us that he "feels sorry for me", followed by long reminiscences during which he believes he "came to know God". I'm 60 this year, and have seen and read enough to identify specious and speculative wishful thinking, as presented by Dr Holman, when I see it.

His views on the ways in which 'God', about which entity there is fierce debate, has limited the Earth's population via "wars, plagues and natural disasters" do not accord with the findings of history, anthropology, demography or common sense. I suppose one can argue that the Earth's current annual increase of c 80 million and likely plateau of around 8-9 billion may be 'arranged' by a deity, but that is, in my opinion, a lame and literal 'argument', thus unworthy of debate.

Later in his article he confuses things by saying that "I do enjoy most of John William's (sic)…contributions", referring to the 'debate' as providing a "steady supply of entertainment for readers"! An obvious problem, as raised by me, is the paucity of both quality and quantity in 'believers'' writings, and the Investigator is the poorer for it.

In labelling individuals who disagree with his views as "brainwashed", "incorrigible" and "unreasonable", doesn't it cross Dr Holman's mind that those words accurately fit himself? Apparently not, since there's not the slightest hint in his responses that it does.

I refer to the current cover story article in Time (16/6/03), which asks, plaintively, "Where Did God Go?" and "O Father Where Art Thou?" As is glaringly obvious, a being who doesn't actually exist hasn't been, so is unable to 'go' anywhere. The emperor is clothes-less, and, no matter how closely acquainted we become with the Universe, 'He' can only be 'found' in the grey matter of a billion humanoids. Anonymous and Dr Holman present their highly literal theism, the only 'real' god in a cast of thousands, as reality – in my opinion, a delusional reality.

I now make it clear to Dr Holman that I'm not in the business of entertaining readers, but am interested in the cut and thrust of real debate where ideas and theories are exchanged, and one can respect the 'opposition's' opinions and argumentative skills.

Since I don't respect those aspects of Dr Holman's writing, and dislike both the nature of his 'personal' comments and his refusal to address what I believe is the raison d'etre of this magazine, I'm ceasing any contribution related to that which he writes.
 
 



 

PARTING IS SUCH A SWEET SORROW

Josef Holman

(Investigator 93, 2003 November)


I was delighted but rather sad that Mr. Williams decided in an apparent fit of emotional upheaval to cease "any contribution related to that which he writes." (Investigator 92, pages 48-49)

I was flattered that my contributions have something to do with such dramatic reaction from one of the supposed "heavy weights" as described by Harry Edwards (Investigator 9, page 5). This suggests to me that my writings cannot be that bad when they prompt some response. It gives satisfaction to most dedicated or "daring" writers when their published literary contributions stir up the abysmal interior of readers' souls and bring out their true characters which subsequently reflect in their ripostes. It gives even greater joy if such a reaction results in some benefit to them.

On the other hand, I am sad because Mr. Williams will deprive readers of some adrenalin-boosting, "non-scientific" entertain-ment by ceasing his responses to contributions he doesn't like. I will miss what I considered to be mostly his nit-picking, unfair criticism of my articles published in Investigator. But, as Confucius would say: "the show must go on, no matter what!"

Oh, I must not forget – Mr. Williams also seems to think I am a complete nincompoop. He goes through the trouble of pointing out to me (Investigator 92, page 48) that "our normal language of discourse is English". He resents the title in Latin I assigned to my contribution in Investigator 90, page 42. Every regular reader of Investigator magazine would notice that some other contributors before me used Latin words in their articles. I am bewildered why Mr. Williams targeted only my humble self for his disapproval of MY title in Latin. It is not uncommon among the intelligentsia to use Latin expressions in their speech or literary creations.

Just to show goodwill I promise not to use Latin titles again.

However, I can't guarantee that I won't use some other foreign words. I noticed that Mr. Williams masters at least some French, if not Latin (Investigator 92, page 49). He used "raison d'etre". Apparently he thinks that's O.K. even though he professes that "our normal language of discourse is English."
 
 



HALT IRRELEVANT BICKERING

Frank Russo

(Investigator 92, 2003 September)


The current Investigator debate about evolution is saying little about evolution.

On the creationist side I would expect information on points like:

On the pro-evolution side I would expect elaboration on points like: However, such points are not being elaborated.

J Holman quoted from among the minority of scientists (perhaps 7%) with whom he agrees. Subsequently Holman:

    1. Raised concepts irrelevant to evolution such as his dishwashing, humility, democratic rights and rock-solid convictions;
    2. Claimed he need give no evidence since the evidence is on the Internet;
    3. Berated his questioners rather than "substantiate".
Is Mr Holman dodging or blowing a smokescreen or what?

The evolution "debate" smacks of schoolboy bickering and brings little credit to its highly educated participants! "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise…" (Proverbs 17:28) Think about that.

Of course I have views too and these can be read on my website at: www.frankrusso.net
 
 



 

REPLY TO FRANK RUSSO

Josef Holman

(Investigator 93, 2003 November)


Frank Russo's criticisms in Halt Irrelevant Bickering (#92, page 7) are not going to be of any relevance or help to anybody (including myself).

His views, no matter how sincere or how well supported by "scientific" theories they may be, will not weaken true creationists' convictions or strengthen evolutionists'.

Creationists may have views which evolutionists disagree with but, at least, their claims are usually based on more plausible, pure logic (see my contribution in Investigator 92 page 43), not on some often conflicting "findings" of so-called "experts" or professionals. Consequently, to provide any convincing or faultless "substantiation" of scientific derivation would clearly be very hard if not impossible.

I also find most interesting Frank Russo's interpretation of a passage from Bible - Proverbs 17:28 – "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise."

Actually, the full version of it is: "The man of few words and settled is wise; therefore even a fool is thought to be wise when silent. It pays to keep his mouth shut." (The Living Bible) I do pray Frank Russo is not implying that any writer would be considered wiser by refraining from sounding his/her unprejudicial views, criticism, beliefs, etc. I, for one, can't see just what could be so wise about that! Neither can I see WHO, apart from the Almighty, has the right or authority to judge or accuse another man of being a fool and, at the same time, consider him/her to be also wise only because he keeps silent. History verifies that many a man had been considered wise only because they did not keep silent!

Nevertheless, this is not to say that I don't respect Russo's views.

Unlike Mr. Williams I will not decide to cease responding to other correspondents' ripostes (providing the editor will permit me to do so) or their questioning of my "irrelevant concepts", "dishwashing", "rock-solid convictions", or whether I am "dodging" or "blowing smokescreen" (No. 92, page 7).
 

 




QUOTES ALONE ARE INADEQUATE

Frank Russo

(Investigator 94, 2004 January)


The Sunday Mail (SA) reported on two women who believe in fairies, even claiming to have seen fairies. (January 25, 1998, p.38)

A naïve person might quote these ladies as proof that fairies exist and think the case is clinched. That's all that Holman did with creationism – he quoted a dozen creationists as if that clinched the case and proved, "the impossibility of evolution as an explanation for the existence of life on Earth." (Investigator 86, p.44)

However, when a topic is controversial it's not enough to quote a minority opinion as if that settled anything because it doesn't. If a few quotes are sufficient to settle a controversial question then we'd all have to believe in fairies and in any other nonsense whenever a few supporting quotes turn up.

A writer trying to prove a controversial point needs to explain why he accepts the quotes he quoted – especially if he's quoting the lunatic fringe.

Holman has dodged or ignored every request to explain why he thinks his dozen quotes prove creationism. His procedure for a year has been to ignore the substance of his questioners' comments and write essays on sidelines.

For example, when Williams used the phrase "kitchen's heat", Holman described his employment in a kitchen – as if that's pertinent to evolution!

Myself, I listed the sorts of evidence that evolutionists and creationists need to discuss such as fossils, vestigial organs, geological eras, mutations, etc. (#92 p.7) Holman dismissed this as a "view" and focused on the proverb, "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise." (Proverbs 17:28) Again, that's how Holman dodges – he picks a phrase that helps him ignore the question and discusses that phrase. The question, remember, is "Why accept pro-creation rather than pro-evolution quotes?"

Holman should stop dodging and give scientific reasons why we should accept pro-creation quotes and reject discoveries in palaeontology, genetics and geology that contradict such quotes.
 
 



 

FRANK'S FORAY FALTERS

J Holman

(Investigator 95, 2004 March)

Russo claims that I quoted a dozen creationists as if that clinched the case and proved "the impossibility of evolution as an explanation for the existence of life on Earth" (No. 94, page 48).

I do not claim that quotes are sufficient to settle a controversial question without also hearing the opponents' views whilst, of course, I would expect them to produce valid explanation why THEIR quotes or their views are the true ones!

Evolutionists have not so far proved "beyond any shadow of doubt" that their belief or so called scientific evidence is foolproof. Very much like the case of atheists who have not produced one iota of evidence that God does not exist whilst they insist on some solid proof from believers that He does exist !
 
 



 

RIPOSTE RESPECTING
RIVALS' RAMBLING REPERTOIRE

Josef Holman

(Investigator 92, 2003 September)

I am reluctant to respond to improper, blatantly silly, false or belligerent accusations, innuendos, denigration and sarcastic criticism of one's characteristics or lack of appropriate academic qualifications–which lack apparently doesn't give me the democratic right to reciprocally criticise, rightly or wrongly, my adversaries or their claims and passionate views.

And, if one opposes their advocatory they seem to become rancorous. Surely, this can't be perceived as being realistic, fair or befitting accepted social manner when engaged in any slinging oratory or literary match?

Personally, I try hard to avoid such conflict. Unfortunately, I weaken at times and join in some "slinging literary matches" too – without intending to harm others with my response however "unsubstantiated", "berating", "laugher generating", "lacking experience", "rambling", "unintelligent", etc., it may appear – when I detect unfair, uncalled for acerbic or ignorantly insolent undertones in some correspondents' published views, essays or claims. These may impress or convince some readers but I am not one of them and thus I must be "illiterate" especially since I unashamedly admitted in one of my contributions to Investigator (No. 90) that I was once a "dishwasher" and "English is not my native tongue". (Despite my handicaps I have had countless articles, stories, essays and some books published in Australia, England, USA, Germany and other countries). The readers will find reference to all the above in "No answer is also an answer", pages 48-49, Investigator No. 91 and in "Letters" page 5.

So, once again, I couldn't resist responding to some of my "adversaries" whose articles or responses to any of my previously published contributions in Investigator seem to indulge a great deal in denigrating my writing abilities or my intelligence in general which, in my humble view, will not add any credit to their own intelligence or character. But, as the saying goes: "It takes all kinds of people to make this world!" Consequently, I am compelled to "forgive and forget", but not without first putting up some fight in self-defence to protect my dignity from suffering further wounds.

Resecting Harry Edwards' suggestion that I "substantiate more, berate less" (Investigator, No. 91p. 5) I feel somewhat betrayed after I praised Harry's special virtues and how "well balanced" a skeptic he is. I don't mind him proffering an opinion if it is unbiased or not "one-sided". He appears to be unaware of the reasons I've already given why, in my unprejudiced mind, I feel it is not necessary to provide more "proofs" or "substantiations"–apart from some helpful references and my stressing that some of my convictions are based on my ironclad trust in God's words (as in the Holy Bible). Other "substantiations" may be obtained via the Internet by those who really must have them.

I pray Harry won't feel "berated" if I respectfully render a riposte to what I consider his rather rash or risque reproach which was uncalled for from apparently "harried Harry" whom I held in high esteem and considered as an open-minded skeptic (which is somewhat rare among skeptics). May I remind him and, for that matter, also Atheist and Mr. Williams that I have previously stressed the fact all genuine Christians don't require any "evidence" of God's existence and His divine powers. Their unshatterable religious faith is more than sufficient "proof" or "substantiation" THEY need to support their claims or convictions.

I repeat that no matter how much evidence or substantiation one presents to non-believers or to true atheists and staunch skeptics it will not suddenly convert them to Christianity–they will accept the evidence as convincing and conclusive without demanding even more "scientific proofs" or corroborations. So, why bother to offer them any at all in the first place?

By the way, Anonymous was kind enough to back some of my "unsubstantiated" claims or views with a good measure "evidence" but this doesn't seem to have satisfied Atheist and the like either! It appears "harried Harry" and "astute Atheist" ignored this by-me-appreciated support.

Furthermore, I have previously recommended readers like "astute Atheist" (Investigator, No. 90, page 44) that they seek answers or good advice in the Holy Bible.

If they want any "scientific evidence" let them seek such from more qualified persons. It seems they consider anyone of my apparently unworthy background (detailed in Investigator No. 90 and No. 91 pages 48-49) and opposing views as less qualified than themselves (including Atheist, Mr. Williams and now Harry Edwards) to express views without "scientific" evidence or substantiation.

It is thus reasonable to repeat my suggestion that it would be futile to try to convince them of anything, no matter how much substantiation or how many references and scientific proofs are provided by anyone of different views and beliefs. Period!

More over, I feel obliged to assure "harried Harry" that while he obviously considers Mr Williams and Atheist "heavy weights" (Investigator, No. 91, page 5) and so charitably admires my "resilience and fortitude in facing up to them", I have a somewhat different assessment of them. I am not intimidated by Mr. Williams' qualifications or Atheist's apparent enthusiasm to "belittle" anyone whose views contradict his/hers or whom he/she considers to have unsuitable qualifications for expressing views or criticising subjects which "astute Atheist" appears to be convinced he/she knows much more about. Of course, this is only my humble impression and I don't expect him/her react to it kindly.

But, should he/she react to it again in what previously appeared as unfairly disrespectful or unnecessarily pestering manner I promise I shan't bother to respond and, even though my dignity may be somewhat "ruffled" once more, I am not going to join the Foreign Legion. May I also reiterate that I have already provided a number of helpful references in lieu of any "substantiation" for some of my more important views or claims in Investigator. These should have sufficed. Such references, if followed up diligently (without any preconception) reveal more information or explanation and may provide or lead to more "proofs" or "substantiation". Excepting perhaps on the subject of God's existence.

Speaking of God – maybe it is not so unreasonable for hard core atheists and skeptics to profess that it will never be possible to provide solid MATERIAL proof of God's existence, if there is such thing governing the universe. However, we have one kind of plausible proof of God's existence already! It may not be in the form most non-believers, atheists and skeptics apparently demand to SEE–perhaps not unlike a human form or some celestial being capable of communicating with us earthlings orally and perform miracles on request if asked nicely. Actually, God's existence CAN BE SEEN anywhere but it proves its presence in different ways or images.

One example:- Christians or those believing in the existence of the Deity are often asked by atheists "how do you know there's God when you can't see Him?" Answering such question has occupied theologians and philosophers for centuries.

You could try St. Anselm's Ontological Argument, a famous proof of the existence of God developed in the Middle ages that uses pure logic. Or you can take a leaf out of the book of Reverend Canon Dr. Martyn Percy of Sheffield University in the US: "When our son asked us this, we explained that there are a lot of things that you can't see, but which exist. You can't see love, but you can see what love does, in relationships between men and women, families and partners. And you can see the effect of other things, like the wind, see what it does, but you can't hold it or bottle it."

Did Percy's young son buy it? "Yes, he did. Modern theologians would say that we have to deal in the language of analogy rather than the language of proof."

May I add my own little piece on the existence of God: it is not my aim to convert anyone to Christianity or convince atheists of God's existence by pugnacious means. Christianity or any other creed cannot be shoved down anyone's throat. If you seek the truth, it will become available to you. If there is no God, answer these questions. What is life? Even that which exists in a common blade of grass. What is eternity? Or how is it possible for there to be a beginning of anything from nothing? Atheists give answers to this question by referring to an outside source. Where did that source originate? Has a man ever created a single thing? Can any part of our bodies be really replaced other than from another human body? Have you ever looked at the perfection and precision of the universe which perfectly provides the conditions for our existence and sought honest and credible answers? Every detail of God's creation is mystery far beyond human comprehension.

In all the centuries, not one iota of evidence has emerged to remotely show that there is no God! The life of Jesus is a historically verifiable fact. Yes, there is evil in the world; it is amazing what atrocities people are capable of. So some blame God for our own faults, or deny His existence. If God punished us every time we did something wrong, how long before we run out of people? By allowing us free choice, unfortunately some people choose to turn away from right and do wrong. The more society turns from God the worse things are getting. If our early ancestors crawled out of the primeval slime, as evolutionists like to profess, then we are responsible ultimately to no one. We can set our own rules, we can command the ship of our own destiny.

The product of this evolutionary and atheistic philosophy is this scenario: endless wars, human exploitation, subjugation and annihilation. One needs not be confused by man's inhumanity to man while man considers himself autonomous from a Creator whose standards are those that people such as atheists say we must aspire to, but which history testifies we are incapable of achieving through our own efforts. If we have originated from slime and are destined, following a brief sojourn on this earth, for eternal nothingness, then why not do as we please? With this view terrorism (among other evil things) as a means of getting what you want would clearly appear a logical option. It's a frightening thought, indeed!

Back to "harried Harry" whose advice that I "substantiate more, berate less" sent waves of utter bewilderment through my mind. My casual remarks or criticism, no different from the style used by some other correspondents, was not meant to "berate". I simply, democratically expressed my views in the manner chosen to suit a given situation without intention to harm or unfairly degrade the above mentioned "heavy weights". I will continue to do so as long as other writers' articles are virtually "asking for it" and the editor will consider publishing.

Anyway, I have this "funny feeling" that regular readers of Investigator enjoy contributors criticising each other's articles and personal qualities (or lack of them). It is entertaining in a sort of "rugged" way.
 
 



GIVE REASONS FOR YOUR CONCLUSIONS

Harry Edwards

(Investigator 93, 2003 November)

I really can't understand Josef Holman's bewilderment over my suggestion that he would be better served by substantiating some of his claims.

A fundamental requirement for the truth of a claim to be accepted is the rationale leading to the conclusion. Put simply, Josef Holman has made certain statements and claims – if they are to be taken as credible then he has an obligation to explain how he came to those conclusions. (See Atheist's questions #89 p40-41)

The questions have nothing to do with academic qualifications, democratic rights or mud slinging. They seek only clarification.
 

 



 

MUST WE GIVE
REASONS FOR OUR CONCLUSIONS?

Bob Potter

(Investigator 94, 2004 January)


I was amazed Harry Edwards chose to re-iterate the long outdated a priori logic, originated by Aristotle, developed by Kant and Leibniz, but rejected by Hume and virtually everyone since.

I refer, of course, to his erroneous declaration (as an attempt to discredit Josef Holman): "a fundamental requirement for the truth of a claim to be accepted is the rationale leading to the conclusion" (Investigator 93, p6).

Allow me to remind readers of a 'true story' concerning German pharmacologist, Otto Loewi, who, in a dream, envisaged how to carry out a crucial research experiment related to a frog's nervous system. He awoke next morning, remembered he'd had the dream, that it was important, but could recall no details. The next night he went to bed with pencil and paper alongside him. As he had anticipated, the dream came again; he woke himself up, remembered the dream and made notes. Next morning he anxiously grabbed the paper – but couldn't 'make sense' of what he had scribbled. He realized the solution was not to trust paper and pencil, so on the third night, he fully awakened himself and made a full plan of the experiment.

The dream experiment was immediately carried out in the laboratory. It was successful – and for his 'discovery', Loewi was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1936!

There are scores of similar cases reported in many books exploring the mechanisms of 'creative thought'; the reader can amuse him/herself by imagining a discussion between Loewi and our own Harry Edwards:

H.E. "Now Otto, a fundamental requirement for the acceptance of the truth of your experiment requires you to give us the rationale behind it."

O.L. "Well Harry, I had this dream…"
 

This is a topic area writers to Investigator have explored in the past. The origins of hypotheses, be they from alcohol or heroin or 'deduction', have no bearing on their 'truth'. What makes them 'true' is their offering possibilities for 'testability' – and their success in passing those "tests".
 

 



 

NO GROUNDS FOR AMAZEMENT

Harry Edwards

(Investigator 95, 2004 March)

I don't know why Bob Potter was amazed at my statement that "a fundamental requirement for the truth of a claim to be accepted is the rationale leading to the conclusion."

After all I'm only a high school dropout under the impression that Hume was the manufacturer of concrete pipes!

I did say "a fundamental …" and not "the fundamental …" which in this case I believed appropriate to Holman's statement.
 

 



REQUESTS FOR REASONS REJECTED

(Contributed for #94 but not published)

J Holman

I can't understand why Harry Edwards can't understand my bewilderment over his suggestion that I would be better served by substantiating some of my claims (Investigator 93, page 6).

May I bring Harry's attention to my article "Argumentum ad hominem - cadit quaestro" in Investigator 92, page 48, particularly the first and second paragraph. I dare suggest there are adequate answers or hints throughout the whole article which should satisfy any reader of reasonable thinking or comprehension and dissuade him or her from seeking any more "substantiations"!

I must also stress that if I ever make any claims as such they are usually based on pure logic or claims of others; perhaps some clergyperson, a researcher, scientist, esteemed author, etc. I may add some of my views or knowledge acquired from my past researches, but sometimes not backed by references I couldn't immediately recall or I thought them to be unnecessary.

In any case, my contributions mostly consists of fair critiques, honest opinions, readings from Bible or articles which don't need any "references" or "substantiations" especially if based on common sense or logic. It is up to the reader, if he/she wishes to criticise my published literary creations (preferably fairly and without insolent undertones), to offer credible views along with constructive advice rather than boorishly getting stuck into my character, inferior qualifications and other "oddities" as may be imagined.

Once again, it seems to me that Harry Edwards does not read my contributions carefully. I pray the above will make my stance clearer to Harry and perhaps to other readers who may have not digested very well some of my previously published contributions in Investigator.
 

 



Rambling

Atheist

(Investigator 93, 2003 November)


Joseph Holman's latest "rambling" (#92) once again evades the issue–the request for the answers to some questions.

Instead of five pages of excuses why didn't he answer the questions?

It seems to me that Holman has a real problem with comprehension. Perhaps if asked for the umpteenth time he will get the message, which is:- Having made certain statements it's incumbent on him to support them.

A few issues back Holman suggested that I do a bit of detective work. I took his advice and put on the gumshoes. In #92 on p 40 he lists his literary achievements, including books published. This gave me a clue.

An e-mail to a colleague in Canberra and a subsequent trip to the National Library confirmed that Holman has indeed self-published three slim volumes in 1972, 1980 and 1988 respectively. The second is an autobiography, which, while detailing his early years in Australia, leaves many gaps in his life. No mention of schooling, college, tertiary education, academic or post-graduate qualifications, profession or occupation. However, included in notes on the author in the 1988 book, Holman was born in 1930, at Prague, Czechoslovakia.

We are told that his literary talent manifested itself at the age of eight years when he won first prize in a nation wide story-writing contest with 60,000 participants of all ages. His 130-page essay of convincing facts (my emphasis) on ice cream was indeed a masterpiece. It's 129 pages longer than the Encyclopaedia Britannica's entire history of ice cream!

At age 14 Holman claims he was engaged in fighting the Nazis during the Czech uprising early in 1945. At 17 he went to England and served for a while in the British Army. In 1950 he arrived in Australia as a migrant.

Disillusioned with the way he was treated as a new Australian he went to America in 1955 then returned to Australia in 1958 to take up permanent residence.

There is little if anything mentioned about an occupation or profession.

The first mention of religion or a ministry comes in the 1988 book which is authored by the 'Reverend' Josef Holman. He states he was ordained by the US based Ministry of Salvation Church and at the same time honoured with a Doctorate of Divinity.

My contact in the USA, who ran a check on churches and religious organizations in the USA for me, advised that all members of this particular 'church' are automatically ordained as ministers for a fee of US$15.

Nowhere in Holman's books is there any mention of why he was awarded an honorary Masters degree or a Doctorate of Literature.

There are twelve entries listed under the name J Holman in the Sydney telephone directory. None of the names are prefixed with Dr or Rev.

Let's hope we can now get from him some answers to my questions.
 




DETERMINED DETECTIVE'S
DEXTEROUS DATA DIGGING!

Josef Holman

(Investigator 94, 2004 January)


I admire Atheist's stamina, so sadly wasted, in his persistent attempts to peeve me or tarnish my character by demanding from me answers already provided or clearly implied in my previously published contributions in Investigator Magazine.

I cannot but wonder whether Atheist derives some devilish pleasure out of denigrating other contributors' (to Investigator) character, writing abilities or qualifications–not to mention "invasion of privacy".

I refer to Atheist's article titled "Rambling" (Investigator 93). He invaded my past (as if it had anything to do with any civilised debate) and gathered some information about me part of which contains errors whilst a great deal of information of greater importance is absent. Which, in any case, is nobody's business–apart from the fact that sufficient details about me are already known to readers of Investigator.

It is clear to me now that Atheist knows no scruples.

I am very concerned, on principle alone, about Atheist gathering and publicly revealing personal information about me without my written consent or respect for my privacy. It was uncalled for. I hope no other contributors to Investigator or other publications will ever succumb to such unnecessary deed. I also wish Atheist would use his apparent skills as a sleuth to find Osama bin Laden or help our understaffed police fight the increasing wave of crime in Australia instead of snooping on fellow-contributors!

As I mentioned previously, I am not ashamed of my humble background. On the contrary I am quite proud of my achievements in life and the opportunity to see and enjoy many exotic parts of our planet and meet people of different cultures.

By the way, the write up about my having won a nation-wide story-writing contest is true. It was a humorous rather than serious essay obviously highly thought of by the contest's judges when they awarded me the 1st prize! I enjoyed the attention of media and the popularity that followed my win. What 8-year-old school boy or girl wouldn't, especially if the prize is hard cash?

What exactly was Atheist driving at when he wrote, apparently sarcastically, "His 130-page essay on ice cream was indeed a masterpiece. It's 129 pages longer than the Encyclopaedia Britannica's entire history of ice cream!" (#93 page 52) On second thought I really don't want to know. I've had enough of it!

Furthermore, let me stress it was very common to see youths 14-15 years of age fighting the Nazis in the Czech uprising in 1945 and in partisan activities during WW II.

During the Czech uprising (or "May Revolution") some 40,000 Czech patriots were killed. However, countless thousands died in concentration camps or were tortured, murdered or shot dead for their anti-Nazi activities between 1939 and 1945. To write a winning, 130-page, humorous essay in those dark days was a great achievement! The usual size writing paper for scribbling stories or essays on it by old-fashioned pen or graphite pencil (there were then no biros, "bics" or "papermates") was not at that time the A4 we have now. The 130 pages hand-written on significantly smaller paper than size A4 would considerably reduce the total of 130 pages if written on A4 writing paper!

I should also like to clarify once again the matter of my titles which seem to bother only Atheist. My titles have been earned or bestowed on me LEGALLY. I have a LEGAL right to use them whenever I wish, or not use them! I don't advertise them or use them for any self-interest or self-aggrandisement by prefixing my name with them if I don't feel like it.

I can assure any "doubting Thomas" that I have not paid any fee for my titles but earned them. How or when and where is privileged information.

Atheist should read, more carefully, my contribution Argumentum Ad Hominem - Cadit Quaestro (Investigator 90) and pay particular attention to the first and 12th paragraphs. Also, Riposte Respecting Rivals' Rambling Repertoire (Investigator 92, pages 40 - 45, paragraphs 11, 12 and 13). All the answers I have provided are there. That should satisfy Atheist. If not, bad luck.

It saddens me that a writer finds it necessary to dig up another writer's history to help settle controversial questions or perhaps score "points" in what is meant to be congenial debate. Nevertheless, as Confucius would probably say, "forgive and forget those who don't know any better"!
 

 



Holman's Horrendous Howler

Atheist

<>(Investigator 94, 2004 January)


Josef Holman has made some extraordinary statements and claims, none of which he has he substantiated. My personal conclusion is that he is unable to do so.

Take for example his statement in #88 p 4, "The people believing in God far outnumber the atheists. This has been officially confirmed… "Numbers win… Need more be said?"

Let's have a close look at that paragraph.

First, Holman substantiates his statement with "It's been officially confirmed!" Confirmed by whom? This is a meaningless approbation devoid of any reference whereby one can check its veracity or value.

Second, his opening statement claiming that believers in God are the overwhelming majority is also not bourn out in fact. (I assume of course that he is referring to the God of Christianity, not Hindu gods or tree spirits!)

The world's population is approximately six billion. Countries where Christianity makes up an insignificant percentage and in which the population does not believe in the Christian God include China, India, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Japan, Mongolia, Thailand, Burma, Korea, Vietnam,Nepal, Laos, Cambodia and dozens of others mainly located in Sub-Saharan Africa–well over three billion souls or more than half the world's population.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica puts the Christian population of the world at 1.7 billion - approximately 30% of the whole. This figure is confirmed in The Book of Vital World Statistics where it states that, "Just under a third of the world's population are nominal or practising Christians." When I went to school 30% was not considered to be a majority.

Note the word "nominal". Just because one is a Christian it doesn't automatically follow that one believes in God. Estimates of religious affiliation often overstate religious activity, since not all those professing a religion practise it actively. In Holman's country of origin for example 40% of the Christian population is officially atheist! (Czech Republic's Bureau of Statistics). In Australia those claiming "no religion" in the last census was 30%.

Furthermore, the Australian figure for those claiming Christianity as their religion has shown a steady decline from 97.5% in 1901 to 70% in 2000. Again we come up with a figure of 30% of Christians who are non-believers. (Reader's Digest Book of Australian Facts.) Subtract this 30% from the1.7 billion and we are now looking at just over 1.1 billion believers or a 19% minority. And just how many of them are being totally honest when they say, "I believe in the existence of a creator God".

Now if that's not convincing enough consider the following. A person is automatically recognised as a Christian when born into a Christian family. The newborn has no choice. The parents make vows on behalf of the child when it is christened. At a later age, usually 16 years in the case of an Anglican, the child then confirms those vows. Some don't, others consciously decide not to and become non-believers. In the absence of any figures it's not possible to quantify, but in view of the above it would be fair enough to say that an educated guess would put the figure of non-believers in a Christian God at over 80%. This makes them the majority not the minority.

So do your "numbers win" Mr Holman?
 

 



 

INVESTIGATOR DEBATES

B S


As editor I rarely intervene in debates other than to correct spelling and delete non-essential bits to make articles more concise.

The page 2 statement "try to conclude debates in two or three rounds" was never a rule to be enforced. Most writers who disagree with each other present their best evidence in the "two or three rounds" framework and decide for themselves when it's time to stop.

Sometimes, however, useful points are still made after two or three rounds. In such cases the outcome would be prejudiced if the editor called halt.

Adelaide's newspaper The Advertiser has a policy "NOT to publish rebuttals to responses." (Investigator 58 p.24) This sometimes left letter-writers feeling unfairly treated when a response contained a misunderstanding but further reply was denied. In Investigator we have the "two or three round" policy to avoid just that sort of result.

In 2002 an article by Josef Holman listed a series of quotations from scientists who believed in creation. "Atheist" responded that the actual percentage is 7%.

That was actually a good start. The casual reader would expect the writers, if they went on, to explain why the 7% of scientists are correct and the 93% wrong or vice versa. But this hasn't happened. The debaters instead went off on many tangents and irritated each other more and more. Scientific content was small and comment about creation/evolution – the original topic – was small also. Several readers have expressed concern about the increasing acrimony.

Such a debate deserves to be terminated because the idea behind Investigator is to investigate, not aggravate. Participants may short finishing comments in Investigator 95 if they desire and then consider the series finished.
 

 



 

FRUSTRATED OVER "GETTING THROUGH"

H Edwards

(Investigator 95, 2004 March)


I agree with the editor's comments regarding debates not strictly adhering to the original topic.

However, the editor should set the example and refuse to publish submissions which ignore the topic completely. What have Josef Holman's two pages in #94 got to do with anything? Like other contributors I was frustrated in my attempts to "get through" to Holman. He didn't seem to get the points we were making.
 



DEFINITELY THE LAST WORD!

Atheist

(Investigator 95, 2003 March)


It was Josef Holman's suggestion that I do some detective work.

Then, having gathered some information about him he complains that I have invaded his privacy! I simply reiterated the information he had already made public in his book.

In #94 p 47, Holman refers to "the dark days between 1939 and 1945" when as an 8 year old he wrote his winning essay on ice-cream. Being born in 1930 he was 8 years old in 1938. The contest was therefore, held prior to "the dark days."

A4 paper, both typing and in exercise books, was available well before Holman was born and freely available at that time. He also claims there were no biros. The ballpoint pen was invented in 1895 and in wide commercial use throughout Europe in the 1930s.

Re those qualifications. It is not illegal to call oneself anything provided it's not used for deceptive purposes. Most people who have earned tertiary qualifications are proud to display them–not become evasive.

Holman hasn't repudiated a single statement of mine.

Finally here's the clincher. The population-doubling figure for the predominantly non-Christian countries (China and India) is 35 years. For predominantly Christian countries it is 80 years to static. In simple terms the non-believers in a Christian God are increasing exponentially while the number of believers is decreasing proportionally.
 

 



MY FINAL RESPONSE

J Holman

(Investigator 95, 2004 March)


Regarding Atheist's article "Holman's Horrendous Howler" (Investigator 94):

Yes, numbers do win! There are considerably more people on planet Earth who believe in a supreme being, Deity or omnipotent God (which is not exclusive to Christians only) than Atheists or non-believers. Some might have a different word such as Allah, or Vishnu, or even Buddha, but worshippers fear, venerate and pray to Him just as devotedly. Consequently, they are not atheists.

40% of Czech Republic's population may be atheists (#94, p. 29) but that still leaves 60% non-atheists! Former Czechoslovakia was more than 40 years under Communism which forbade religious activities and public worship of God. A whole generation grew under the soul-destroying political system. They could not be anything but "non-believers". Nevertheless, the new generation of Czechs are rapidly becoming believers in God as are Poles, East Germans, Hungarians, etc. Many Christian churches closed during the Communist regime have been reopened. I say again – "numbers win".
 

 



 

EDITOR'S COMMENT

(Investigator 95, 2004 May)


Investigator
's creation/evolution debate produced little evidence for creation or for evolution.

Information that's more substantial can be found in:

1       Investigator 53 to 57; 88; 90.

2        The No Answers in Genesis website:
          http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/default.htm



http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/