I recently was invited to discuss why I believe in God with atheist Tom Jump. At first, I was hesitant to participate, mainly because this is such a busy season and I didn’t really have time to prepare for a debate. Plus, I wondered whether those who watch Tom’s popular YouTube channel are really open to arguments for faith in God—or are they simply eager to lob objections and red herrings at those who do?
But I was convicted to accept the invitation by 1 Peter 3:15, which says we should always be ready to give an answer for the hope we have. So I went on Tom’s program and recounted the highlights in my journey to faith, most notably how God dramatically healed me of depression. And I was really surprised and moved by Tom’s response. Tom grew up in a Christian home and struggled with depression himself. Yet his experience has been the opposite of mine.
I have soft spot for Tom now. He’s a sweet guy and a good listener. And even though we don’t agree about belief in God, I enjoyed our conversation. Some other areas we explored were the historical reasons for believing in the resurrection and an argument for Intelligent Design based on the incredible complexity of DNA. Hope you enjoy it!
UPDATE: Today on The Roys Report, I asked Dr. Michael Behe, author of several best-selling books on Intelligent Design, how he’d respond to one of Tom’s comebacks to an argument I made. I argued that DNA contains a complex blueprint for life that couldn’t possibly have arisen by purposeless, unguided processes. Here’s how Tom responded, and then Dr. Behe’s response to Tom:
TOM JUMP: I definitely understand what you’re saying from but from my perspective, when I look at the science, like we can see RNA, the building blocks of DNA, being made on clay. We’ve done the experiments to show that this can happen, how it can form spontaneously on just natural processes. I don’t think it’s hard to say that was unlikely. And it seems since we know of a natural process that can occur that can do it, it seems more likely to believe that it did happen just by natural processes than by a being beyond our knowledge that it created it.
JULIE ROYS: Okay, so Michael, help me out. I might be debating this guy again. So, help me out. How do I respond to that?
DR MICHAEL BEHE: Well, you should tell him that he’s looked at the science. But tell him to look at the science a little more closely because it turns out that it’s not getting the pieces of RNA to come together, called nucleotides. But rather, it’s the order in which they come together.
Think of those blueprints. Suppose we write them out as instructions. Like take this piece and then add it to that. What Mr. Jump was saying is that well, if I had some Scrabble letters, and I put them on clay, they the clay could, you know make this Scrabble letters stick to each other. Well, that’s great. But that doesn’t explain, say, where the instructions came from. The instructions are the precise ordering of those letters in order to get a message to get information out. You can pull Scrabble letters out of a bag and string together a bunch of letters, but you’re never going to get instructions to build a spaceship.
What’s more, the experiment that he is referring to is kind of grossly exaggerated. It’s kind of like saying, “Well, you know, in order to make those letters in the instructions, we need some ink. Well, I found a deposit of carbon over here in the ground and here’s a little bit of liquid. And maybe if some meteor hit it, it would splash and make something resembling, say an S. And oh, okay, there’s a letter. Maybe I can use that as part of the instructions.” But the amount of “Ss” and the amount of letters you’re going to get is very small. They’re scattered.
And to make a long story short, nobody thinks—no professional person involved in the origin of life research—thinks that the problem is anywhere near solved. And another difficulty is that some experiments that professionals know to be either very simple or very limited in what they show are used by people arguing for evolution to trot them out and kind of bluff their way through an argument. They say, “well, RNA and clay and this lines up and so on.” And they hope to reduce the skeptical people to silence. But professionals know those to be incorrect or extremely inadequate.
So, you were correct. And you know, he was bluffing. But the problem with this is that one really has to know some of the scientific details to see where the bluff is being posed.
To hear my full interview with Dr. Behe, click here.