Reality Insights

Reality Insights

Nick G

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Halloween is a popular festival at this time of year, and the shops are filled with celebratory plastic skeletons and large bags of cheap candy.

Halloween often causes moral conflict for Christian consciences. On the one hand it is a celebration of ghosts, witches, the undead, Disney princesses and all other things evil; on the other hand kids enjoy dressing up and walking round collecting sweets.

In this video, I give my two cents about what Halloween was, is and what it represents. Spoiler alert: I don't think Christians should celebrate Halloween, but the reasons might surprise you.

Sources
• Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, Nicholas Rogers, 2002
History.com, “History of Halloween”
• Wikipedia, “Halloween”, “All Souls’ Day”, “All Saints’ Day”
Througheternity.com, “7 Pagan Festivals We Still Celebrate Today”

Licenses
• CC BY 2.0
• CC BY-SA 2.5

Something I dealt with years ago, that came to mind the other day, was the issue of testimony anxiety. Basically, most of the Christian testimonies you hear about about are dramatic and powerful. This is fine, they are good stories.

However, it can cause an issue, because it sometimes creates a distorted view of what a Christian is supposed to be. This results in what almost seems like a weird sort of Christian intersectionality (see, the title was *just* clickbait), where the worse your past, the more dramatic, the better a Christian you are perceived to be.

For those of us with rather boring, uneventful backstories, this can cause strong feelings of inadequacy. If this has happened to you (and it happened me for quite a while), then this video is intended to encourage you. You don't need to feel that way, and I will explain why.

The burden of proof is a common dispute that arises between atheists and believers in God. While both sides are guilty of misusing it (and regularly accuse the other side of misusing it), in my experience it is most often weaponised by atheists.

In this video, I discuss some of my own thoughts on the topic and why a "lack of belief" is not effective as a defence of the atheistic worldview.

Links that might be useful
Jordan Peterson clip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKG4_psaC9k

Good article about "lack of belief" - https://apologetics315.com/2013/10/richard-dawkins-and-the-absence-of-belief/

Drone in D by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1200044
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

In a lake in Switzerland lives a small fish called the Lake Constance stickleback. This is a very special fish, which has been evolving into two distinct sub-types within the lake – one that lives in the lake, the other that lives in the surrounding streams. Both types breed at the same time in the same place, but breed separately.

This is touted as an example of extremely fast evolution, with this change beginning only 150 years ago, and already having visible results. How true is this, and what does it mean for the evolution vs. design debate? Well, let’s find out.

This video is a viewer request. Thank you for your support.

References
[1] https://www.newscientist.com/article/2079118-super-fast-evolving-fish-splitting-into-two-species-in-same-lake/
[2] https://phys.org/news/2020-04-rapid-evolution-fish-genomic.html
[3] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2020.611672/full
[4] https://www.livescience.com/40311-pleistocene-epoch.html
[5] https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1005887
[6] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12182-w
[7] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160229152902.htm
[8] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jeb.13016
[9] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165783618300869
[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3514289/

Drone in D by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1200044
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Supposedly God is good. Supposedly He inspired the Bible. Yet the Bible appears to endorse slavery. Slavery is evil. So why does a good God endorse it? Is God evil?

The obvious atheist conclusion, reasonably, is that the Bible wasn't inspired by God, and is simply an example of ancient literature written in cultures where slavery was normal, since if God did inspire it, God is evil.

Christian apologists tend to go into detail on the scriptures involved, explaining why it wasn't really as bad as it appears. Their arguments are mostly correct, but in my opinion these kinds of answers are unsatisfying since they don't really address the question. The fact that slavery in the Bible was less bad than other slavery doesn't make it good. Thus, we end up with a never-ending atheist vs. Christian debate.

This video is basically my attempt to address the question of the reason why the Bible appears to endorse slavery, in what I think is a better fashion (at least better than the ones I've seen, it may have been done before). You can tell me how well I've succeeded.

References
[1] bethinking.org/bible/does-the-bible-support-slavery
[2] https://www.gotquestions.org/law-of-first-mention.html
[3] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-wrong-say-bible-pro-slavery/
[4] FreeBibleimages.org
Licenses
CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en)
CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Game footage recorded from War Thunder, by Gaijin. I am in no way affiliated with them.

Welcome to Part 3 of the evolution of the eye. In this video, we are looking at the mathematics of eye evolution, how the how the authors calculated their really short timeframe, and the massive mathematical failures involved in doing so. The video is in 3 parts:

00:00 Explaining what maths is used and how it works

20:38 Explaining the various things that are wrong with it, and why it is invalid

36:25 Exploring what the correct approach should have been

There was quite a lot to cover so the video has ended up significantly longer than usual.

Suffice to say though, that there is no way that the eye could have evolved as quickly as they think it does, and it baffles me how this paper has reached such universal acceptance.

This paper makes an excellent example of how, when atheists tell you that science is all about following evidence and questioning assumptions and seeking the truth, you shouldn't believe them. It’s not true.

Link to the eye evolution article that helped to guide my investigations: https://evolutionunderthemicroscope.com/eyes02.html

References
[1] “The Equation for Response to Selection and Its Use for Prediction”, Heinz Muhlenbein (1998)

[2] https://blogs.iu.edu/sciu/2017/04/11/heritability/

[3] Lande (1980) "Genetic Variation and Phenotypic Evolution During Allopatric Speciation"

[4] Barton and Turelli (1989) "Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics: How Little Do We Know?

[5] Smith (1989) "Evolutionary Genetics"

[6] Falconer and Mackay (1989) "Introduction to Quantitative Genetics"

Licenses

CC BY-SA 4.0 - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

So, the third video in the evolution of the eye series is in progress, but is taking quite a lot longer that I expected (turns out that it takes longer than an afternoon to master evolutionary mathematics).

This video is inspired a debate I had in a Youtube comment section the other day, about the claim “The gospels are fake” (yes, I get my inspiration from well-known scholarly sources).

In this video, we look at the simplistic objections raised, and a simple way that they can be immediately refuted, without a vast amount of historical knowledge.

I figured that if these arguments have been used on me, then they've probably been used on others, so I thought it would be worth taking a bit of time to refute some simplistic nonsense and swat them away.

References

https://aleteia.org/2018/06/15/archaeological-evidence-of-pontius-pilate-corroborates-gospel/

https://www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/joseph_caiaphas.htm

Brake, A. The Minimal Facts of the Resurrection. https://crossexamined.org/the-minimal-facts-of-the-resurrection/ (2018).

Ludemann, G. & Ozen, A. What Really Happened to Jesus: A Historical Approach to the Resurrection. (Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, 1995).

So this video was made in response to viewer comments on my previous soul-building video. In short, the previous video was mostly about explaining about how it works and the thought process behind it. There was a section about the objections to the theodicy and some responses to those, but that section was kind of weak.

This video is intended to remedy that deficiency. Here, I will go into a lot more detail about my thoughts on the objections to the soul-building theodicy, and how they might be responded to.

Link to my first soul-building video: https://youtu.be/CaXiuX-ZvFc

Link to my epicurean paradox video: https://youtu.be/uPYBWX9n4ew

References:
http://www.theotodman.com/Abstracts/Abstract_16/Abstract_16673.htm
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/do-animals-experience-grief-180970124/
https://www.thehastingscenter.org/rats-have-empathy-but-what-about-the-scientists-who-experiment-on-them/

Image licenses:
CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

Hello everyone and welcome back to Part 2 of this series.

One of the things that always gets ignored when discussing evolution from a "simple" eye, to a "complex" eye, is how hellishly complex the supposedly simple one actually is. This is all taken for granted.

This means that the evolutionary analysis starts at a point where most of the hard work has already been done. In this video, we will look at how complicated a "simple" eye actually is, and what the implications of this are for the evolutionary narrative.

References
1. Zhao, F., Bottjer, D. J., Hu, S., Yin, Z. & Zhu, M. Complexity and diversity of eyes in Early Cambrian ecosystems. Sci. Rep. 3, 1–6 (2013).
2. Ma, X., Hou, X., Edgecombe, G. D. & Strausfeld, N. J. Complex brain and optic lobes in an early Cambrian arthropod. Nature 490, 258–261 (2012).
3. Zhang, X. G. & Pratt, B. R. The first stalk-eyed phosphatocopine crustacean from the lower Cambrian of China. Curr. Biol. 22, 2149–2154 (2012).
4. Castellani, C. et al. Exceptionally well-preserved isolated eyes from Cambrian ‘Orsten’ fossil assemblages of Sweden. Palaeontology 55, 553–566 (2012).
5. Shu, D. G. et al. Lower Cambrian vertebrates from south China. Nature 402, 42–46 (1999).

Licenses
CC BY-SA 4.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

A couple of decades ago, a paper was published, which purported to show that an eye can actually evolve really quickly - in as little time as 360,000 years. This was a reasonably big deal, since the ability of such a complex organ to evolve was something of a sticking point for darwinian evolution.

This paper has since been referenced all over the place, as evidence that complex eyes can evolve really quickly. If the paper is read with a critical eye, however, it becomes clear that it doesn't really say what everyone thinks it says and that the eye remains a significant problem for Darwinian evolution.

This video is Part 1 of my analysis of this paper. Here, we look at the apparent mismatch between what people think the paper says, what the paper claims to say, and what it actually says. The phenomenon of "scientific marketing".

References
"A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve", Nilsson Pegler (1994)

Licenses
CC BY-SA 3.0

A few decades ago, a strange discovery was made in the London Underground. A type of mosquito, apparently unique, was discovered living in the tunnels and stations.

This mosquito, though related to the native above-ground type, was distinct in terms of both behaviour and genetics, and the two could not interbreed.

Was this an example of modern-day evolution? This is the subject of today's video.

This video is a viewer request. Thank you for your support.

References

[1] “What Is The London Underground Mosquito?” (https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-the-london-underground-mosquito.html)

[2] “Culex pipiens in London Underground tunnels: differentiation between surface and subterranean populations”, Byrne and Nichols, 2001

[3] “Morphometric, physiological and molecular characteristics of underground populations of the urban mosquito Culex pipiens Linnaeus f. molestus Forskål (Diptera: Culicidae) from several areas of Russia”, Vinagradova and Shaikevich, 2007

[4] “Emerging Vectors in the Culex pipiens Complex”, Fonseca et al., 2004

[5] “First Evidence for Presence of Culex pipiens Biotype Molestus in the Netherlands, and of Hybrid Biotype Pipiens and Molestus in Northern Europe”, Reusken et al., 2010

[6] “How often do they meet? Genetic similarity between European populations of a potential disease vector Culex pipiens”, Lohmus et al., 2012

Licenses

CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

CC BY-SA 3.0

CC BY-SA 2.0

I probably wouldn't have made this video normally, but all the Ravi Zacharias stuff kicking off has made it topical.

A lot of people were deeply affected by the revelations surrounding Ravi Zacharias. I wasn't, all that much, because I was already somewhat suspicious of him (not that I expected anything that happened, because I didn't). There were visible red flags that lead me to think "this guy isn't entirely on the up and up".

In this video, we will go through what these red flags are, and simple ways to calibrate your scepticism around people who are prominent in Christian circles.

I've come across a lot of social medial recently, mainly Christian, attacking pandemic control measures, masks and vaccines.

As is their wont, they have religicised the whole thing, saying Jesus wouldn't have worn a mask, "he had faith", and therefore we shouldn't either. This is transparent nonsense, and in this video we look at why.

There is an apparent paradox between the idea of a benevolent God and the existence of evil. Can the co-existence of these two things be justified?

Soul-building is a type of study called a Theodicy, literally "justifying God". This attempts to not only show that God and evil are logically compatible, but that the existence of evil is actually justifiable. In this video, we will look at the concept of soul-building, how it works, the objections to it and some responses to those objections. Enjoy!

References
[1] J. P. McBrayer and D. Howard-Snyder, The Blackwell Companion to The Problem of Evil. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
[2] M. L. Peterson, The Problem of Evil Selected Readings, Second Edition. University of Notre Dame Press, 2016.

Move picture credits
Star Wars
10,000 BC

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CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Irreducible Complexity is an important idea in the debate about evolution, design and the existence of God. It is therefore very important to understand what it is and what it means.

In this video, we will discuss what Irreducible Complexity is and how the concept relates to evolution, in order to set the stage.

Atheists make moral arguments against God all the time:
"The Bible condones slavery!"
"The Bible condones misogyny!"

All of these arguments fail, and here is why.

Sceptics often have huge laundry lists of apparent contradictions in the Bible. The issue is that it is much easier to throw up problems than it is to find solutions.

How do you defend your beliefs when you don't know much about history and don't have time to spend ages in research. Luckily, there are a few simple tricks.

Disclaimer
Total War: Rome 2 footage - Please note this is an unofficial video and is not endorsed by SEGA or the Creative Assembly in any way. For more information on Total War, please visit www.totalwar.com.

It is very common, especially in atheist circles, to dismiss the Bible as being a bunch of made up fairy tales. Apparently, because it is a religious book it is disqualified from being taken seriously.

One way of evaluating the truth or not of the Bible’s core message is to look at the events it describes and see how reliable they are. In this video, we will do this for a selection of the events from the Book of Acts.

References
___________________
[1] Sergius Paulus: An Archaeological Biography (https://biblearchaeologyreport.com/2019/11/15/sergius-paulus-an-archaeological-biography/)
[2] Sergius Paulus (http://www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/paulus.htm)
[3] K. Atkinson, A History of the Hasmonean State: Josephus and Beyond. 2016.
[4] F. Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews,” pp. 343–361.
[5] C. Anderson and B. Edwards, Evidence for the Bible. Day One Publications, 2014.
[6] S. J. Friesen, S. A. James, and D. N. Schowalter, “Corinth in Contrast,” Corinth in Contrast, 2014, doi: 10.1163/9789004261310.
[7] Tyrian Purple (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrian_purple)
[8] Lydia: Seller of Purple in the Book of Acts (https://www.learnreligions.com/lydia-in-the-bible-4150413)

Licenses and disclaimers
_____________________
Total War: Rome 2 footage - Please note this is an unofficial video and is not endorsed by SEGA or the Creative Assembly in any way. For more information on Total War, please visit www.totalwar.com.

The recurrent laryngeal nerve is often held up as a prime example of evolution and a strong argument against design.

Here, we will see why that is not true.

Sources

[1] M. Cavendish, Mammal Anatomy: An Illustrated Guide. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2010.

[2] Is the Atheistic and Evolutionary Argument About the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerves Valid, Wrong, or a Fraud? (https://www.asifthinkingmatters.com/blog/the-atheistic-and-evolutionary-argument)

[3] The Laryngeal Nerve of the Giraffe: Does it Prove Evolution?, Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, 2010 (http://www.weloennig.de/LaryngealNerve.pdf)

[4] The Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Does Not Refute Intelligent Design, Casey Luskin (http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1507)

Licenses:
CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Is the Bible literally true? Some passages are obviously meant to be, others are not. Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of clear labelling to make it easy to tell the difference.

Here, we will discuss a systematic method to work out how to distinguish between the two.

I've seen this crop up a lot on the internet of late, roughly paraphrased: "The Bible says bats are birds, hurr durr, religious people are stupid lol." I found it sufficiently irritating to devote a short video to the topic.

Here we will discuss exactly why the Bible categorises bats as birds, and why it makes sense given the taxonomical system in use at the time.

Sources not referenced in the video itself:

[1] A. J. Cain, “Taxonomy,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/science/taxonomy (accessed Aug. 20, 2020).

[2] C. R. Woese, O. Kandler, and M. L. Wheelis, “Towards a natural system of organisms: Proposal for the domains Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., vol. 87, no. 12, pp. 4576–4579, 1990, doi: 10.1073/pnas.87.12.4576.

[3] R. Bailey, “Guide to the Six Kingdoms of Life.” https://www.thoughtco.com/six-kingdoms-of-life-373414 (accessed Aug. 20, 2020).

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Either God is willing and unable to prevent evil, He is able but unwilling to prevent evil, or He is both willing and able to prevent evil. Only the latter is compatible with the concept of God, but why then does evil exist?

I've seen this argument doing the rounds a few times and thought I would present my (very short) take on it, and why the two concepts are not as contradictory as they may seem.

The colouration of the Peppered Moth has been described as "one of the clearest and most easily understood examples of Darwinian evolution in action".

In this video, we will explore the story of this research, what it shows and, more importantly, what it does not.

Sources:
[1] Kettlewell, H. B. D. A survey of the frequencies of Biston Betularia (L.) (LEP.) and its melanic forms in Great Britain. Heredity (Edinb). 12, 51–72 (1958).

[2] Cook, L. M., Grant, B. S., Saccheri, I. J. & Mallet, J. Selective bird predation on the peppered moth: The last experiment of Michael Majerus. Biol. Lett. 8, 609–612 (2012).

The evolutionary explanation for life on Earth is heavily dependent on mutation to create beneficial changes that can be preserved via natural selection.

In this video we examine why mutation is not up to the task.

It is a common belief that as long as millions of years are available, evolution will happen. This is not necessarily true, since the number of years does not actually directly affect how quickly evolution takes place.

In this video, we look at what actually governs the speed of evolution and how that affects what it can do.

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Created 2 years, 11 months ago.

27 videos

Category Science & Technology

Semi-intelligent design advocate, scientist and history nerd. The purpose of this channel is to provide simple explanations of complex topics in the areas of Evolution/Intelligent Design, Bible History, Christian Theology and other subjects like this; in order to help equip Christians who are not academically specialised defend themselves when these topics come up in conversation.

On the off-chance that people prefer other platforms, my content is mirrored:

On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLLIGwoV5BrNioistvd1Ibg