THE LEGEND OF THE CISCO KID – DOES ATHEISM EXIST
By: Bear Woznick of Deep Adventure Ministries and Deep Adventure Radio
So many of the millennialist generation are being drawn by their redefinition of terminology, contrived “facts” and wrong assumptions. We cannot refute them from the revelation of scripture because for neo-atheists they consider the bible a superstitious book of myth so we must approach them with reason and then bring them to faith. As Aquinas said we will turn the water of reason into wine the faith.
Excuse me as we swim back to the shallow end of the pool to deal with some of their arguments. Since their arguments are silly I felt the only way to refute them was with a little silliness of our own.
The leading spokesmen for atheism like to call themselves the four horsemen of the non -apocalypse. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett must be cowboys. I hope then that you will bear with me as I present an “epic” mini cowboy drama based upon the old black and white television western called “The Cisco Kid.” Hey Plato used this technique so why can’t I. The title of this episode is “The Cisco Kid rides up the Mountain of Improbability to the Last Chance Ranch”
The Cisco Kid will be played by your favorite action hero or even yourself if you like and his sidekick, Poncho, will be played by Richard Dawkins. The scene starts out as our two heroes ride on their trusted steeds up the ridge line. Of course the glow of a fading sunset silhouettes them as the camera closes in.
“Argument from the Ultimate Cause – The Cosmological Argument.”
Filled with a sense of wonder, Poncho declares “Cisco isn’t it amazing how out of pure luck the universe just popped into existence 13.5 billion years ago?”
Both Cisco and his horse give out a hardy laugh. “Oh Poncho, you are being very silly today. How can something come from nothing?”
Poncho tips his sombrero back, rubs his forehead and then a brilliant idea just “pops” into his brain which in Poncho’s case is very much like something coming from nothing. “I don’t know Cisco, but maybe there were many universes before this one and they each in turn caused each other until we got to this one.” For a brief moment, a look of great profound serendipity comes over his countenance but then he reaches for his kerchief and blows his nose as if he had just blown his mind with his own brilliance.
Cisco is a little in shock and abruptly pulls back on his reigns, his mighty stead rises up on its back legs because that is what a hero’s horse always does. Then Cisco says “Oh Poncho, you forgot to say what caused the first universe in your multi verse. Does there not need to be a first cause? Did not Aristotle say there needs to be a pusher that is not itself first pushed? Aquinas said that this is what all men call God? “God is the necessary being God is He who there is no one greater. God has no potentiality. He is totally actualized. He is not in a state of becoming. He is who he is and by the way nothing can push Him around. ‘There is no shadow of change in Him. (James)’ “
The Argument from Design
Poncho takes his goat skin flask off of his saddle bag and leans back and takes a big drink of water ( I think we all know that it is really sangria). “But Cisco I am so blinded by my belief in blind chance that I cannot accept this proposition. I have never seen God, therefore He does not exist. We don’t need God anyway. Just look at the random chance evolution of the universe and look how far it has come from its inception all the way forward to the point of man’s existence. Cisco, I am shocked that you do not see the wisdom of my circular logic. We know life exists that is how we know random chance caused it.”
Cisco pulls out his six gun spins it a couple of times and shoots a rattle snake out of a low hanging branch that Poncho is riding under. Poncho hardly flinches at the loud report of the gun shot because, after all, he is used to getting shot at several times in each episode. But, when the rattler falls on his saddle horn he jumps back and gives out the high pitched scream of a coquettish thirteen year old girl.
Cisco chuckles “Oh Poncho! Don’t get bit with that argument. The snake has been using that one for years.” Then Cisco continues “Scientists have a sense of wonder when they look at the unique calibration of what has come to be accepted as the “Big Bang” at the birth of the universe. But really take a hard look at that. So much was at play in this first trillionth of a second of the “Let there be light moment” that it was much more than just a huge explosion. It was calibrated with just the right amount of power to each of the strong forces such as the force of gravity and the electro-magnetic force. Had the strong force of gravity been just a little bit stronger the universe would have collapsed back in on itself before it ever really got going. If it had been weaker the explosion would have accelerated so fast that the elements of the universe would not have had a chance to bond and the universe would just be confetti.
If the temperature of the universe had cooled down too quickly we in those first twenty minutes of the Big Bang we would not had the formation of hydrogen and helium. Hydrogen and Helium atom which are the first building blocks of chemistry.
But luckily, as you would say Poncho, the universe just popped into existence with just this incredible degree of precision. But how is it that this incredible stroke of luck was followed by millions of more incredible lucky happenings of just random blind chance. Was it really just pure luck Poncho?”
Poncho blinked at Cisco a few times and was open mouth breathing with his jaw slightly askew, as if his brain was having difficulty wrapping around all that Cisco just said. “Cisco umm, I am not sure at all what you just said. Next time please try to say it in English. But why don’t we just skip all of that and start at the beginning of life on earth? You believe that the bible says that the earth is only seven thousand years old right?”
Cisco crossed himself and looks up to heaven “Madre mia help me” he whispers. “Oh Poncho. I believe that the two creation stories show us that God created the universe, the planets, life and ultimately created mankind who was made in His image and likeness is the greatest of His creation. But that does not preclude the scientific fact that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.
We cannot just skip eight billion years of the history of the universe Poncho either, but maybe we can fast forward a little bit. The universe was dark until he first generation of stars started to blink on at around one hundred million years after the Big Bang. Then it took three generation of stars to act as the furnace to fuse all of the elements on the chemistry chart you learned about in high school.”
Poncho responds “Yes, Yes Cisco. I remember seeing that chart in my chemistry class when I was a junior in high school.” Then a big smile comes across his face which makes his mustache appear to spread out like a cat about to pounce. “Cisco, I remember so very well my junior year in high school. It was the best three years of my life.”
As Poncho is lost in his reverie, Cisco tries to take a drink of water (sangria) from his goat skin flask but finding that it is empty, he reaches over and switches goat skins with Poncho while he isn’t looking.
“Oh Poncho, it took the furnace of the first generation of stars to fuse the first elements of that chart, and then those stars exploded and when the star dust of those stars came back together they became stars that were a furnace that created the next elements on the chart, then they, in turn, super nova’d and then when those elements came back together to form the most recent generation of stars and so the last of the elements on the chart were fused.
All of those elements came together 4.5 billion years ago to form planet earth. So you see, Poncho, you are made of star dust. People always try to tell you that you are not as big a star as me, but you see, Poncho you are just as much a star as I am.
The earth, though, was still too hot to sustain life. It had to cool down a bit just like your morning coffee, when we make camp. You know how you don’t like it too hot or too cold. You like it just right. So the earth had to cool down just right so that life could exist. So it wasn’t until about 3.8 billion years ago that our planet was ready to sustain life.”
Poncho is leaning back so far in his saddle in his reverie over the glory days of his three years as a junior in high school that he kind of loses track of what Cisco is saying and almost falls from his horse. At the last moment, he grabs the saddle horn and catches himself. Then, acting like nothing happened, he reaches back to grab the goat skin and leans his head way back and opens his mouth wide to pour the water (sangria) from about four inches away into his gaping mouth but, not a single drop comes out. He looks at it and shakes it with a look of perplexed consternation. He looks over at Cisco and then down at his goat skin and then over at Cisco who innocently looks straight ahead,
Then Poncho says “Yes but it isn’t it lucky that right at the moment that the earth was ready to be a host for life that life came into existence. What are the odds? Isn’t random chance amazing!”
Cisco squints at him from under his sombrero, then takes a long drink of water (sangria) “Oh Poncho. Didn’t all of our gambling at the Lucky Chance Saloon teach you anything Don’t you know there is a big difference between highly improbable and impossible?”
Poncho looked at him “I don’t know Cisco. I had a girlfriend once and everyone thought that would be impossible.”
Cisco laughs back “Oh Poncho. Now that scientists know that what we need for life is DNA which is the blueprint, the RNA which activates and implements the code and a protein molecule that hosts it and then it also must hang together long enough to duplicate and oh yes it has to want to duplicate, most intelligent people see that it is not just highly improbable that just by pure luck all of those things would come together. But most consider it impossible. Even Doctor Crick, who was one of the two scientists who cracked the code of the DNA genome, says that it would be impossible, by sheer luck, for it to all to come together to create life just by pure lucky random chance.”
Poncho looks up with sly “now I gotcha look” like someone about to lay down his winning hand in poker “But Cisco, I have seen you play cards. I know you are the second greatest gambler in the world.” He looks down brushing off his vest waiting for Cisco to acknowledge that Poncho is the best gambler among the two of them but Cisco just looks away. “Given enough time anything is possible. Given enough time a dealer could deal a perfect hand of bridge to each of four players right? So why not, given enough time couldn’t the DNA, RNA and amino protein molecule all that just happen to come together to form the first life?”
“Oh Poncho, you are so silly today. Remember when you were just a little Poncheto and your Papa told you to clean the barn and you went in there and, after a little while, you fell asleep in the hay. When your Pa came and found you, he was so mad that he grounded you from your tap dancing classes for a whole month. He said “Poncho the barn isn’t going to clean itself.” Nor would DNA just make itself Poncho.
“Let me take a moment here to do the math for you on your perfect hands of bridge proposition ” He takes his sombrero off and raises his hand to press the buttons on an imaginary calculator in the sky and runs the equations in his mind. Yes that’s it. It would take 2,235,197,406,895,366,368,301,559,999 dealings of the hand for that to happen. If a new hand was dealt every second that would take trillions years to do and of course the universe is only is only 13.8 billions years old. That would not take luck. That would take a miracle. And those odds are easy odds compared to the odds of all the strands necessary for the DNA, RNA and protein molecule all coming together. It can’t just happen on its own. It’s not just highly improbable. It is impossible. There is a brilliant designer who made it.”
“But,” laughed Poncho, “Doctor Crick came up with the obvious answer. Like you said, he agrees with you that there is no way it could have just happened, but he is a very brilliant atheist and he proposes the simple solution that life on planet earth was planted here by aliens or by an asteroid.”
“Oh Poncho. What other planet was that? Don’t you see, you are right back in that same problem. That gives even less time for that earlier planet to form and accidentally produce life. It’s as impossible as a flying spaghetti monster just popping into the sky by pure chance. Besides, think of it. Almost from the very moment that life could be sustained on earth, life happened. That would be like dealing that perfect four hands of bridge the very first time that the cards were dealt.”
Poncho scratches his head and he decides he better quickly change subjects. He points up to the sky “Look Cisco isn’t that Haley’s comet?”
Argument from Evil
Cisco lets out a chuckle. “Oh Poncho you almost had me that time.”
They continue riding up the ridge of Improbability for a ways and then Poncho says “Ok Cisco you’ve got me stumped on that one, but let’s look at it this way. If there is a god he could not be a very good God. Who would want to follow a God who allows so much evil in the world? Just look at how many wars have been fought in the name of religion. Atheists would never fight or kill in the name of their unbelief in God. Why would they?
Cisco responds “Oh Poncho, not so fast. Your self-righteousness is showing.” Pancho looks down at his belly, with a puzzled look, to investigate what could be showing. “How can you even define something is evil if there are no moral absolutes in your survival of the fittest world view. In fact in your scenario, murder is good because the unfit would be killed off by the more fit right?” Poncho quickly looks down and rubs his belly thinking to himself ” Is he saying I’m not fit?”
Cisco goes on “Oh Poncho. I am shocked that you have not been keeping up with your reading stack. You must not have read the recent study by the University of Hawaii. They said that 1.2 million people were killed in wars over the last two thousand years that were supposedly fought over Christianity. The same study showed that, in just the last one hundred years, two hundred million people were killed by atheist regimes, from Communist China, Poll Pot in Cambodia, Stalin and Lenin in the Soviet Union and a host of other regimes.”
This really troubles Poncho. Then as serious as he has ever been he asks “Then Cisco, why is there evil in the world. If God is all good and all powerful why doesn’t he just stop it?”
“Oh Poncho, Be assured there will come a day when it will all be stopped. The evil will go to their evil lair eternally separated from God and the good will go to paradise to behold the beatific vision. “God makes all things work together for the good for those who are called according to His purposes.”(VS) God can even make what the enemy meant for evil for our good as he did with Job. But for now, for the sake of love, God allows it, for love must have the freedom of choice to freely give and receive love.”
Cisco pulls back on the reigns and his horse stops and even backs up a bit. Poncho does the same and turns his horse so he can look directly at Cisco. Poncho has a very heavy but receptive heart and he leans forward to listen.
Cisco takes a deep breath and looks at his side kick. “Oh Poncho. God did not make us into droids. He made us in His image with a God breathed spirit and a rational mind that can comprehend him and choose to give ourselves to him in love or we can choose to reject Him. A robot does not have love. It just, unvolitionally, does as it is commanded.
Poncho looks at him “So Cisco you don’t think it was just pure luck that the universe and you and I exist?”
“Oh Poncho. No I don’t.”
Poncho nodded his head, reasoning through it all and finally coming to a full agreement with Cisco he smiles and says “Oh Cisco.”
The Cisco kid smiles back “Oh Poncho.” then he leans forward in his saddle “Hey! I will race you to that little barn over there. I think it’s the “everything is going to be OK Corral” He leans forward as if to kick his horse into a giddyup and so Poncho reacts and does so too and takes off. Poncho rides hot leather and he just can’t believe that he is winning the race.
He does not realize that the Cisco Kid never starts the race and that the Kid is just sitting back with one leg pulled up cross ways over his saddle horn and leaning back as he drains the rest of the water (sangria) out of the goat skin and lets out a little laugh “Oh Poncho”