Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 14

Is ID a cult? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s time to wrap up this book. The last and longest chapter is on ID. I am not a fan of ID. I don’t use ID. My arguments are metaphysical, but that doesn’t mean that Mills gets a free pass. A lot of it is still the same kind of stuff.

For 2000 years, Christians of all persuasions—both Catholic and Protestant—believed in the Genesis account of Creation. Even Jews and many non-Christians affirmed the teachings of Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.” Historically, this verse was universally accepted to mean that God literally created the heavens (i.e., the planets, moons, stars and galaxies) and the Earth at the beginning of time. The truth and meaning of this doctrine were unambiguous and undisputed for twenty centuries.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 214). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

As has been pointed out before, Mills gives no sources on this. I have pointed out Kyle Greenwood’s book Since The Beginning. Mills has never read church history at all and has no idea on the history of the interpretation of the doctrine.

While I certainly applaud ID for moving into the 21st century on the study of astronomy,

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 214). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

This has actually been the historical Christian position. The Roman Catholic Church was heavily invested in astronomical studies at the time of Galileo. Christianity historically has encouraged scientific research.

If, as science tells us, the cosmos is roughly 14 billion years old and Earth is 5 billion years old, then Earth is only about one-third the age of the universe as a whole (generally speaking). By analogy, a football game is 60 minutes of playing time. Two-thirds of that time—or the game’s first 40 minutes—would represent the time the cosmos existed before Earth formed. Would it be fair to claim that a touchdown scored during the game’s fortieth minute—or five minutes before the start of the fourth quarter—was scored “in the beginning” of the game? I don’t think that any reasonable person could truthfully answer yes to this question. Neither can anyone honestly assert that the 14-billion-year-old heavens and a 5-billion-year-old Earth were both created together “in the beginning,” as Genesis 1:1 declares.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 215). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Saying Heaven and Earth is not a way of speaking of them as individual entities, but a Hebrew merism to say that everything was created in the beginning.

While disdainfully blaming “liberals” and “liberal theology” for every imaginable evil, ID leaders hypocritically embrace the core tenet of liberal theology—i.e., the belief that Genesis is not to be taken literally.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 215). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Some YECs might agree, though I hope not all would or even most would, but this is not the case at all. Mills, like all fundamentalists, has a hang-up on literalism.

Since I am apparently copying too much from the book as Kindle has informed me, he does state that IDists are embarrassed about their book since they don’t answer questions on Hell. For one thing, not everyone in the ID movement is a Christian. For a second, depending on what the question is, saying “It’s not for us to judge” is not embarrassment, but humility.

The Anthropic Principle is a supremely egotistical manifestation of human self-centeredness, self-delusion and self-importance gone into orbit. ID’s man-centered universe is hauntingly reminiscent of Christianity’s medieval belief in an Earth-centered universe.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 223). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Except the priniciple didn’t come from them. It came long before the ID movement came about. Also, the Earth-centered universe was not an egotistical belief. It was in the outer realms where God was that one wanted to be.

As for talking about irreducible complexity, Mills says that this would also mean divine complexity. Mills, who seems to know so much about historical interpretations, misses that historically, the church has also held to divine simplicity. It’s only been within fairly recent history that that has been seriously questioned.

He says that IDists have glee pointing out errors in historical sketches of human evolution. He responds saying:

We could of course play the same childish game by pointing out that Thomas Aquinas—13th-century architect of ID’s “First Cause” argument— believed that the eyes of a menstruating woman affected a mirror.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 228-229). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

I tried to find where Aquinas says this. I could not. Mills gives no citations again.

Now a lengthy section:

Intelligent Design proponents knew that their original First Cause argument was flawed so they contrived a “patch” in an attempt to salvage the necessity of Jehovah’s existence. They changed their starting premise from “Everything needs a cause” to “Everything that begins to exist needs a cause.” Since God didn’t begin to exist (according to the Bible) and since the universe did begin to exist (according to ID’s total lie about what cosmologists “agree”), ID leaders claim they have delivered scientific proof of God’s existence. There are three transparent blunders with this so-called Kalam argument. First, the argument that God exists and has always existed is a Biblical doctrine. So ID is “proving” God’s eternal existence by constructing an argument that assumes God’s eternal existence based on Scripture. And ID knows that the Bible is true because it’s the Bible. The second problem with the Kalam argument, as we discussed above, is the utterly dishonest claim that “cosmologists agree that the universe arose suddenly out of absolute nothingness.” We can easily see here how one flawed premise quickly requires other flawed and dishonest arguments as supporting props. The third fallacy involves the identity of the god whose existence is allegedly “proven” by the Kalam argument. Why couldn’t the Intelligent Designer be Zeus, or Allah, or Apollo? There is nothing in the Kalam argument that even addresses this question. Yet, without rational explanation, ID worshippers know in their hearts that the intelligent Creator is Jesus’ Father.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 234). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

First off, the Kalam argument opening premise was never changed. Mills is just ignorant of what it was. Second, God’s eternal existing was not assumed based on Scripture but actually argued for by Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Finally, the Kalam argument never by itself attempts to show who the first cause was. It is just pointing out that there is one.

It is both meaningless and slippery to feign that “God is beyond time.” What does this cliché actually mean in a scientific context? I don’t know. Before His Creation of our universe, did God have no mental deliberations, no acts of love to bestow upon His heavenly host, no heavenly chores to discharge, no actions or thoughts of any kind? If God did engage in such thoughts or actions prior to His Creation of our universe, then, theoretically, these thoughts and actions could be enumerated or itemized, at least partially. Even though Craig would self-servingly define these pre-Creation activities as “before time” or “beyond time,” couldn’t these prior events be added to a tallied list of God’s other praiseworthy attributes and actions? Wouldn’t this list of God’s pre-Creation activities—however incomplete it may be—show that an infinite regress of specific events is not only possible but indispensable if God is assumed to be infinitely old as Craig believes? In plain English, Craig claims that something can be infinitely old when it suits his purpose, but something can’t be infinitely old when it doesn’t suit his purpose.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 238-239). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

It’s always amusing when someone says they don’t know what X means, and then go on to tell you what they think the position means. Well, Mr. Mills. Let me explain this. God being eternal means that God is not moving on a timeline. There is no such thing as before or after in the actions of God. We see them that way, but that is because we are in the timeline. God is always eternally doing them. The infinite regress doesn’t apply.

Also, Mills includes Hugh Ross in the ID camp. I reached out to Fazale Rana at Reasons to Believe who did tell me that he would not see himself as an “ID lecturer” as Mills says.

While there was more I had highlighted, most of it I have already dealt with. Mills is sadly the person who thinks he is educated when he instead reveals himself to be a fool in all that he says about Christianity. It’s sad atheists read books like this thinking the author knows what he’s talking about.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)





Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 13

Were the Founding Fathers Christians? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Imagine if I was telling you what a group of scientists believed, let’s say a group of 50+, but I did so by only picking out 3 of them. Suppose I went to the National Academy of Sciences, picked out the scientists that were theists, and then said “See? The NAS is a theistic society.” If you think that’s ridiculous, you have an idea of what it’s like to read David Mills on the founding of America.

To the extent that our Founding Fathers had any religious affiliation at all, it was a tepid embracing of the philosophy of Deism, a popular system of thought in the 18th century. Deism is the belief that a supernatural Power originally created the universe but does not currently manage its day-to-day operation or intervene personally into human affairs. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine, among many others, held Deist, rather than Christian, religious beliefs. If one dismisses all preconceived historical inaccuracies and Christian propaganda, then an extraordinary and very revealing fact emerges: The two documents upon which our country was actually founded—i.e., the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States—contain not a single word about Christianity, Christian principles, the Bible or Jesus Christ. Neither is there any mention at all of the Ten Commandments, Heaven, Hell or being saved. Not a word! The phrase “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” was a reference to the Deist Creator, rather than the God of Christianity.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 205). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

For the former, when people want to talk about the founding fathers not being Christian, you can bet dollars to donuts that they will name the same three people every time. Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Benjamin Franklin. MIlls finds it odd that the founding documents don’t mention explicitly Christian language. He gives us no reason why we should think that they would. The Constitution and Declaration were to be for all people, not just Christians.

Yet after saying that these aren’t found in these documents he says:

Witch burning and mandatory church affiliation, among other factors, led the Founding Fathers to establish a “Wall of Separation between Church and State,” allowing, at each citizen’s discretion, freedom of religion or freedom from religion.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 206). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

You know what else isn’t found in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution? The Wall of Separation between Church and State. However, that is something golden that obviously all the founders held. There is no mention on how government funds were used to evangelize the Native Americans in the area of the Louisiana Purchase. There is no mention that the wall mention was made to the Danbury Baptist Church to assure them the government would not infringe upon them. There is no mention that after writing that, the very next Sunday Jefferson let worship services take place in the House of Representatives.

The other thing you can be sure that will be mentioned is the Treaty of Tripoli.

In 1797 the United States ratified the Treaty of Tripoli, which was negotiated by George Washington himself and signed by his successor, John Adams. The treaty declared that “the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Congress unanimously approved the text of this treaty.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 206). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

In other words, Mills is following the atheistic script accurately. Cite only the information that agrees with you. Ignore the rest. Never mind that it can be questioned if Article 11 where the phrase shows up even belongs in the treaty or not seeing as we have a version in two languages. There is no mention of the Treaty of Paris which uses explicit Christian language right in the intro in speaking of it being in the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.

Modern-day conservative propaganda about the “Christian birth of our nation” is therefore just as erroneous and self-serving as Christian pronouncements about the birth of our universe. In both cases, “men of God” completely ignore the actual evidence at hand and conjure up a fictitious tale. They then spread the myth, along with fabricated evidence, and repeat the myth so frequently that it is soon accepted uncritically by the citizenry.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 207). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Oh, the irony.

But to be fair, have I provided positive evidence so far? Not too much. However, if you want to see a listing of such quotations with their sources, you can go here. Here are some that you can find there.

    “From the day of the Declaration, the people of the North American union, and of its constituent states, were associated bodies of civilized men and Christians, in a state of nature, but not of anarchy. They were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all acknowledged as the rules of their conduct. They were bound by the principles which they themselves had proclaimed in the declaration. They were bound by all those tender and endearing sympathies, the absence of which, in the British government and nation, towards them, was the primary cause of the distressing conflict in which they had been precipitated by the headlong rashness and unfeeling insolence of their oppressors. They were bound by all the beneficent laws and institutions, which their forefathers had brought with them from their mother country, not as servitudes but as rights. They were bound by habits of hardy industry, by frugal and hospitable manners, by the general sentiments of social equality, by pure and virtuous morals; and lastly they were bound by the grappling-hooks of common suffering under the scourge of oppression.”

————–John Quincy Adams

Letter to Mrs. Jane Mecom:
“I am so far from thinking that God is not to be worshipped, that I have composed and wrote a whole book of devotions for my own use; and I imagine there are few if any in the world so weak as to imagine, that the little good we can do here can merit so vast a reward hereafter.”

————–Benjamin Franklin

“I do hereby appoint THURSDAY, the TWENTY-FIRST of NOVEMBER next, to be a day of Public THANKSGIVING, PRAISE, and PRAYER, throughout this Commonwealth; calling on and requesting the ministers and people of every religious denomination, to meet on that day in their respective sanctuaries, that with unanimity and fervor, we may present our unfeigned praises for all the mercies we have received of our Bountiful Creator, who has continued to us the inestimable blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, blessings not confined to time, but extended to eternity, who has confirmed to us our federal and State constitutions, which secure the enjoyment of our lives, liberties and property, who continues to bless us with a National Government and Administration, whose wisdom, virtue, and firmness have not been circumvented, corrupted or appalled by the arts, seductions, or threats of foreign or domestic foes, but whose patriotic efforts have uniformly and manifestly resulted from an ardent desire to promote the public welfare and happiness, who has not punished our ungrateful murmurs, discontents and other crimes, as He has those of distant nations, by war and its dire effects; but has preserved to us peace, the greatest of national blessings, who has favored us with a Clergy, (with few exceptions,) whose conduct, is influenced by the mild, benign and benevolent principles of the Gospel; and whose example is a constant admonition to such pastors and professors of Christianity, as are too much under the guidance of passion, prejudice, and worldly delusion, Who has enabled us from unavoidable spoliations to derive permanent benefits, by gradually diminishing our dependence on foreign markets, for necessary supplies; by rapidly increasing our manufactures thereof; and by thus preventing in future the plunder of such property by avaricious nations, who has not visited us, as He has other countries, with plague, pestilence or famine; but has kindly preserved to us a great degree of health, and crowned with plenty the labors of our industrious husbandmen, Who has increased the martial ardor and discipline of our militia, and enables us to smile at the menaces of mighty potentates, Who continues to us the due administration of justice, the full and free exercise of our civil religious rights, and the numerous blessing which have resulted from them, Who has prospered in a remarkable degree our Schools, Academies and Colleges; those inestimable sources of public information and happiness, who has protected so great a portion of the property of our merchants, when exposed to the depredations of perfidious governments, Who has granted success to our enterprising fishermen, prospered our ingenious mechanics, and loaded us with His boundless munificence.”

—- Elbridge Thomas Gerry

I, ——, do profess Faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ his only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine Inspiration.

—– George Read

“We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.”

—– Benjamin Rush

But keep in mind, Mills says this is just fabricating evidence.

I can freely acknowledge that Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin did not hold Christian views, perhaps Franklin was the closest.

Can Mills accept the others?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)







Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 12

Is internet porn a danger? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Up until now, I have considered Mills highly ignorant.

Yet when I got to this chapter, that changed.

Mills has an attitude that is disgraceful to have and highly misogynistic towards women. I do not make such statements lightly. I do intend to back it.

First, why this chapter anyway? Why did he write it? He didn’t just write a chapter about supposedly odd views about sex that Christians have. No. This was about internet porn specifically. This was about men going on the internet with the intention of looking up pictures of women in various stages of undress all the way to completely nude for the purpose of feeding their own lusts and that is okay to Mills. Note I say men specifically since that is the group that Mills focuses on saying girls don’t really have this struggle. Well, they actually do, and a large part of that is because men do as well.

So let’s dive in.

Is there truly a problem of children’s accessing pornography on the internet? And if there is, shouldn’t we, as adults, strive mightily to prevent impressionable children from viewing sexually oriented material intended solely for adults? The answers to these questions are: (1) There is no problem; and (2) We should not strive to “child-proof” the internet.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 193). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Entirely wrong on both counts. It is extremely hard for women to find men today who are not viewing porn. They are the exception, not the rule, and this is changing the way men think about sex and in turn changing the way women are doing sex and thinking about sex. Men are getting more and more the idea that what they see on the screen is how sex is supposed to be an how women are supposed to look.

Those are airbrushed fantasy and put a real woman next to a fantasy and the fantasy will win. I hate saying that because real women I do think are definitely superior because they are real, but fake women can be whatever the man wants them to be. Today, a man’s first sexual encounter won’t be on his wedding night. It will be in front of a computer screen.

Yes. We need to child-proof the internet. Minors are passing around nude pictures of themselves that in any other hands would be considered child pornography and a crime. A number of them have committed suicide after said pictures have leaked. Women are suffering in the Instagram generation where they think they have to look like the women on Facebook.

But this is just the beginning for Mills.

He goes on to talk about how our young men reach sexual maturity in their teen years and then have to wait several years before they can get married. On this, I agree. This is a problem. Our society has set eighteen as if it is some magical number that suddenly makes a boy a man. It doesn’t. There are several boys who are over eighteen and there are several men who are under, though those numbers are greatly increasing on both sides.

So Mills says:

So economic reality, more than anything else, has crafted our perception that teenage males are “harmed” by sexual preoccupation. Today’s male faces a frustrating gap of approximately ten years between the onset of his sexual maturity and the median marital age. Genetically and hormonally, however, today’s teenage male is unchanged from the day when early teenage copulation was the accepted norm. During this extended gap between puberty and marriage, all teenage males masturbate frequently, and the overwhelming majority of them view pornography as well.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 197-198). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

In this, there is very little to disagree. It’s his next part that’s the big problem.

Again I pose the question: If, throughout the entirety of human history, teenage males were not “jeopardized” by full penile-vaginal intercourse with their teenage partners, how then are today’s teenage males “endangered” by mere photographs of women?

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 198). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

And this I declare is incredibly misogynistic. Mills says “If a man was involved in a relationship with a woman where he was spending his life with her and siring children with her and raising a family with her, then how is looking at photographs a problem? That is hardly a one-to-one parallel. The former requires that a man be a man. It requires that he take responsibility for a woman he has pledged loyalty and faithfulness to. It requires that he work to provide for her and the children that they will have.

Pornography does the exact opposite. It requires that a man not be a man. It does not require the man to take any responsibility. It does not require him to be faithful and loyal to anyone. It does not require him to make any effort to provide for a woman or provide children. The woman in pornography is solely there for the gratification of the man. He doesn’t even have to know her name or anything about her. He doesn’t have to risk himself with her at all.

Yet Mills sees these as parallels.


This really tells you how Mills sees women.

Pornography causes young men to see women as just bodies and cheapens sex. I am not at all saying women’s bodies are not beautiful. Thank God they are. I am saying you can’t beat the real thing. It is why even as a divorced man I strive to keep myself porn free so that when I remarry, my then wife will know I only have eyes for her and she doesn’t have to compete with a Rolodex of images of nude women in my head.

Another sad fact is that if Mills’s view is true, then yes, there is nothing wrong with any of this. There is nothing wrong with anything. There is also nothing right with anything. Things just are. That’s it.

Thank God the world is not like that.

Thank God women are real and good in their own right and that sex was a gift He created for us to enjoy in the context of a marital relationship.

We don’t want a cheap thing like Mills does.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)



Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 11

What about Hell? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s not a shock that someone like Mills goes straight to the topic of Hell. One problem is that Mills consistently holds that if you believe in Hell, you believe in a fiery torture chamber. There are a multitude of different views on the topic. There are some who hold that God just annihilates those who reject Him. My own view can be found here if you are interested.

So Mills really starts his case this way:

Common sense tells us that God would create Hell only if He had a reason to inflict this punishment. In other words, God would not have decided arbitrarily that He would enjoy torturing humans (and fallen angels) and have created a hell on that basis, for this scenario would imply that God behaved sadistically and brought this lake of fire into existence to satisfy his desires to perceive suffering and to hear screams of pain.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 171). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

In all honesty, aside from the torture chamber idea, this seems reasonable enough. So what reasons does Mills give that would be reasons God could create Hell? First, he clarifies his position further saying:

1. God had a reason to create Hell and therefore did so. 2. God had no reason to create Hell, but did so anyway—He just enjoys torturing others. 3. God had no reason to create Hell and therefore did not.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 171-172). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Mills lists three reasons for punishment of any kind:

1. To establish a precedent that will benefit society, by serving as a deterrent to future offenses; 2. To separate the offender from those individuals whose rights he would violate; 3. To correct the offender for his and others’ benefit.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 172). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

To this, I have to say that I highly encourage you to read C.S. Lewis’s essay on a humanitarian theory of punishment. Lewis said that he wrote his essay on behalf of the criminal. The criminal must still be treated as a man and Mills ignores the main reason Lewis gives for punishment. If you’re interested, go ahead and read it, but I will save Lewis’s reason for punishment till the end.

So in talking about deterrence, Mills says the following:

“Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth into life, and few there be that find it.”2 The Christian Church wholeheartedly believes this “Divine” biblical prophecy, which announces that the majority of humanity will follow the wrong road in life and will, as a result, end up in Hell instead of Heaven.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 176-177). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

MIlls doesn’t bother to look at any contrary ideas on how to interpret this verse. I happen to think it is speaking about the immediate response to Jesus, not the universal one. This applies to Jesus’s own life and the response of His immediate hearers.

Speaking of the atonement, Mills says:

So Jesus, in effect, became a victim of His own judgment when dying on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice—a blood ritual which Jesus offered to Himself so that He could forgive “sin.”

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 180). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

I’ll just say people who don’t have a clue about the Trinity have no business writing a book against Christianity.

A truly benevolent and omnipotent God could simply let bygones be bygones and forgive “sinners” even though they adopted mistaken religious beliefs. If this universal and unconditional forgiveness is impossible for God to bestow, then He is not omnipotent; He is controlled and tossed about by circumstances superseding His authority. If He could forgive all “sinners” unconditionally, but refused, then He is not benevolent.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 181). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

But if God does this, then He is saying that something is greater in the universe than His own goodness and that that must be sacrificed for human happiness. It is a form of idolatry. For MIlls, God is just a superman, a really big man. If a man can do this, well God is just one of us except really big so He can do the same.

There’s not much to say about separation or rehabilitation, but in all of this, Mills misses the one obvious reason why we punish people. It is the one that Lewis looks at the most.

They deserve it.

If you punish someone for deterrence, then you are using them as an object to others. You could punish someone who wasn’t even guilty of something as a lesson to others. If you punish to separate, again, you don’t need to be someone who has done something wrong to do this. A tyrant can take you away from your loved ones. As for rehabilitation, how many times are we hearing people being sent into sensitivity training and things of that sort for perceived wrongs? Again, you don’t have to have done anything objectively wrong. Just thinking you have is enough.

And what if this is the reason for Hell?

That people have done something deserving of punishment and God treats them as people still deserving of punishment?

This never occurs to Mills. He sees punishment in functional terms. If so, then the person becomes a means to an end. In the end, Mills’s case for how unbelievers should be treated is actually inhuman.

Funny how that works out.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)






Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 10

What about miracles? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s nice to know that Mills at least began this chapter with a joke.

If you have read, even casually, the six preceding chapters of this book, then you have become somewhat of an expert on the arguments for, and against, the Bible’s reliability and Divine inspiration. You are therefore better informed than most Christians on these issues of science and theology. You are also more knowledgeable than 90 percent of the professional clergy in America, who know a lot about preaching the Gospel, but little about proving the Gospel.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 156). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Because nothing says being knowledgable about the material such as refusing to interact with major sources in defense of that material. Sadly, the part about 90% of the clergy could be true. One of my hopes doing this blog is to reverse those numbers.

From here, Mills goes on to talk about the miracles a Christian notices in his daily life.

Foremost among these daily “miracles” is the “comforting presence of the Holy Ghost.” Christians claim that external or scientific proof of God’s existence is for them unnecessary, because the Holy Ghost bears witness in their hearts that He is real and that the Bible is God’s Word. Christians pity the “fools” and “lost souls” who reject religious dogma because these skeptics fail to appreciate and to experience for themselves the self-evident proof that God provides through His “Inner Comforter.”

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 157). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

There’s a reason I’ve never supported Bill Craig’s fifth argument for God. It’s easy to knock down or mock. If Mills ever saw this blog, he can look through other posts of mine where I have told Christians to regularly not base their attitudes on feelings or think that God is speaking to them through feelings.  This is not to say that there are no emotions in our Christian walk, but that they are not the guiding force.

Aside from feeling God’s presence, the most common “miracle of Christian perception” is having one’s prayers answered by God, or otherwise witnessing God’s direct intervention into the natural course of human events. For example, church congregations often pray for the swift recovery of a sick or hospitalized individual. If this bedfast individual later recuperates, the church boastfully attributes his recovery to their miracle-working God. If, instead, the afflicted person dies, this sad outcome is literally never counted as evidence against God’s existence or against God’s ability to answer prayer. The disappointment is stoically accepted as “God’s will” or as a purely natural event irrelevant to theological debate. “It was simply his time to go.”

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 159). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Does Mills expect a universe where every prayer will be answered yes? Just watch Bruce Almighty to see what happens in that case. Sometimes He answers yes and sometimes no. If a miracle does happen though, that does count as evidence of God’s existing. As for evil, I would be glad to talk with Mills about evil any time. I have a number of approaches I use for that, many are on this blog.

However, there are a number of times prayers are answered that I think is not just coincidence. Consider what is happening in the Muslim world as many Muslims are becoming Christians after prayers and visions of Jesus. The thing with events like this is for Mills, every single one of them has to be a coincidence. For me, just one is positive data. Who has more at stake?

Mills refers to John Glenn seeing Earth from space and speaking of its beauty and saying “There has to be a God.”

But I also recall vividly that, at the very moment Glenn uttered his oft-repeated words about a Creator, the Shuttle was flying over Central America, where Hurricane Mitch had just destroyed the infrastructures of five entire nations. Thousands of people had just been killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless. Government officials calculated that it would take 30 years to rebuild. But none of my Christian email correspondents said a thing to me about the carnage and catastrophic damage wrought by the storm, which was raging only 200 miles beneath Glenn and the Shuttle. I hesitate to emphasize the negative. But, here again, Glenn’s “vision of God” was based on selective observation. If Glenn’s family had just been wiped out by the storm, I doubt that he would have voiced such an idyllic view of Nature. So whenever Christians point out to me that many intelligent people believe in God, I agree wholeheartedly. But I, in turn, point out that the empirical observations made by these intelligent individuals, though usually accurate, are frequently selectively employed.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 162). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

But if selective vision is wrong for Glenn, it’s also wrong for Mills. Mills looks at evil and suffering and says “No God.” Glenn sees beauty in the world and says “God.” The question is if atheism can give a basis for beauty and order better than theism can give for evil. We easily can. People went against God and chose lesser goods that in turn caused them to do evil in pursuit of a lesser good over a greater one.

Mills goes on to say about all this that:

Such an undeniably mixed bag would lead an objective observer to conclude that Nature is governed neither by benevolent gods nor by evil demons. Nature simply exists and, irrespective of our desires or best interests, operates through natural law, rather than through mystical or purposeful legerdemain.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 162-163). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Yet Lewis spoke about this years ago. If this was really the case, why would people think of an all-good and all-powerful and all-knowing God? That’s the last kind of God we would expect. That’s probably why so many people for years were polytheists. It made sense.

Suppose that I were standing near Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery, and the ground suddenly opened up revealing a coffin. I see the casket opening; and a man who looks exactly like John Kennedy sits up and walks away. Even under these bizarre circumstances, it is still more probable that: (a) I am misperceiving what is occurring, or (b) that someone is playing an ingenious trick, or (c) that I am witnessing the filming of a movie, or (d) that I am dreaming, or (e) that the man I saw was not actually John Kennedy, or (f) that someone has slipped me a hallucinogenic drug, or (g) that I have fallen victim to psychosis or (h) that I am completely fabricating this story. Any of these explanations is infinitely more plausible than the assertion that John Kennedy genuinely rose from the dead. These explanations are more plausible even when I claim to be an eyewitness to the event. Whenever miraculous tales are secondhand or, like Scripture, are handed down from generation to generation, the veracity of the original stories is forever untestable and is thus unworthy of serious consideration. A naturalistic explanation—however far-fetched it seems—is invariably more likely to be accurate than a supernatural explanation.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 164). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

A valid question to ask Mills at this point would be “What would convince you?” If the answer is “nothing”, then Mills’s position is not based on evidence. Were that the case, evidence to the contrary would change his mind. It can be thought believers believe because they have a dogma in favor of miracles, but Chesterton turned this on its head years ago in Orthodoxy.

“The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.”

And no, in all of this, he doesn’t touch the resurrection. He doesn’t bother interacting with resources like Craig Keener’s Miracles, which was out by then. There is not a single miracle that he really looks at and deals with.

Not a shock.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)





Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 9

Can Genesis be reconciled with modern science? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was pleased to go through this chapter and find that Mills regularly interacted with the Christian scholarship holding the opinion he disagreed with. He cited sources regularly, took them seriously and……yeah. We all know that didn’t happen!

So how does Mills start?

The New Testament books of Matthew and Luke then continue the genealogy from David to Jesus, again specifying the age at which each male descendant “begat” the next generation. Since we have a fixed “historical” time period for Jesus’ birth, creationists thereby calculate that the heavens and Earth were created by God in the year 4004 B.C. Earth, therefore, is only 6000 years old by the biblical chronology.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 137). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

No. Earth is 6,000 years old according to Bishop Ussher’s chronology. We’ve learned a lot about biblical genealogies since then, but what does new information have to do with Mills? It would be awful to read the latest and best scholarship on the matter. One wonders what Mills would think if I judged modern science by the beliefs of scientists 300+ years ago. Sure. Like Biblical scholars and historians, they had some things right, but they had some things wrong as well.

Again also, this term comes up of creationists. At some points, Mills would seem to think someone like me is a creationist, but I sure don’t hold to the Earth being 6,000 years old. Not even all YECs hold 6,000 years as some go for 10,000 years.

He also says some creationists say that if the Earth is this young, then evolution is a fraud. On that, they are right, at least in the macro sense. Macroevolution is definitely a fraud then. The problem is what he says after this:

They echo the sentiments of St. Thomas Aquinas, who believed that any discord between science and Scripture was due to errors of science, rather than errors of Scripture.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 137). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Aquinas wrote around 80 books or so in his lifetime. Mills just throws out a claim and gives no reference whatsoever to it.  To be sure also, I asked some other friends who are also Thomists if they could recognize any such reference. We all knew of no place where Aquinas said this and we also agreed he would be hesitant to disagree with Augustine who said:

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience.

“Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [1 Timothy 1.7].” (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book 1 Chapter 19 Paragraph 39)

Note this also. There is a reference to that. I don’t pull Mills’s technique of saying “This guy said this. Just trust me on it!” If anyone wants to see what Augustine said, that’s where you go.

One creationist he does interact with is R.L. Wysong. While I don’t agree with Wysong’s claims on the speed of light, granting Mills represents them accurate, a huge thing to grant, I do find it odd that one criticism Mills has is Wysong is a veterinarian. I find this odd because I tried to find Mills’s academic credentials and I couldn’t find any, and yet Mills wants to speak on science, philosophy, history, and Biblical studies, and have us take him seriously.

Moving on, Mills says:

Today, some creationists are abandoning their long-held belief in a 6000-year-old Earth. Why this abrupt reversal of opinion? Were startling new chapters suddenly discovered in the Book of Genesis? Did Moses appear in a miraculous vision, revising his previous chronology, and teaching the geological history of an ancient Earth? No. The change of heart among some creationists is due to the fact that modern scientific research has shown the Genesis chronology to be nothing short of ridiculous.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 142). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Actually, this is false. There had always been discussions on the age of the Earth. It can be granted to Mills that Since the Beginning was not in print when he wrote this book, but the information that Greenwood cites in his work was available. (My copy is back in Tennessee so I am unable to cite the references here.) Mills just assumes that a fundamentalist reading has always been the held reading.

More-liberal-minded creationists, however, strive mightily to disassociate themselves from the conservative Fundamentalists. These non-literalists often refuse to call themselves “creationists,” even though they believe in God as the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the Earth. This non-literalist group believes in an ancient Earth and in macro (large-scale) evolution. They believe that Genesis and modern science may be successfully reconciled. The primary difference between the literalists and the non-literalists is this: The literalists distort science to make it harmonize with Genesis. The non-literalists distort Genesis to make it harmonize with science.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 142-143). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Yet in all of this, Mills has not gone through the text of Genesis. He has not made any attempt to explain how it should be read. All he is saying is “Anyone who doesn’t read it in way X is wrong.” One may disagree with readings of others who do not hold to a YEC position, but one should at least see what they say and how they explain the text.

That is, if one really cares about truth. Mills doesn’t, so not a shock that he doesn’t do this.

Generally speaking, religious-minded individuals know little about science. And science-minded individuals know even less about the Bible. With each camp sadly uninformed about the other, reconciliation seems possible and desirable to both sides. In reality, agreement is possible only by (1) perverting science, as the Fundamentalists do, or by (2) perverting the Book of Genesis, as the non-literalists do.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 143-144). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Yes, everyone. Science-minded individuals, of whom I am sure Mills will include himself, are uninformed about the Bible, but Mills is the exception! He will tell you what the Bible really means! It would be a delight to see what Mills would say in a debate with someone like John Lennox or Hugh Ross.

1. The non-literalists believe that Earth is much older than 6000 years. To rationalize their belief in an ancient Earth, non-literalists claim that the Genesis genealogies contain “errors of omission.” In other words, the genealogies are only partial lists, overlooking many intermediate generations between Adam and Jesus. When Scripture says, for example, that “Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber,” that really means that Salah lived thirty years and begat Eber’s grandfather or great, great, great, grandfather. When the “missing” generations are added to the chronology, the date of Creation drifts further into the past. To me, such a position is absolutely mind-boggling. How can we believe (A) that Genesis is the Inspired, Perfect, Holy, Infallible Word of God, while simultaneously believing (B) that the Genesis genealogies should be disregarded because they contain “errors of omission”? Was God in a forgetful mood when He “inspired” Genesis? Creationist Henry Clarence Thiessen, suggesting that the Genesis genealogies may be overlooked, writes that “a study of the various [other] biblical genealogies indicates that they are incomplete and contain omissions.”

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 144-145). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

After all, the only way you can do a genealogy is the way modern people do. The genealogies do have omissions in them. That’s not because they’re “errors.” It’s because of the way genealogies were done in the past. As said though, Mills is not interested in this kind of thinking or research.

From this, he gets to saying:

So the non-literalist argument goes like this: We believe that the Genesis genealogies may be unreliable since other biblical genealogies are also unreliable.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 145). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

But we aren’t saying they are unreliable. They are reliable for the purpose for which they were written and the time as well. Mills is imposing a modern standard on the genealogies that is foreign to the text.

When viewed in isolation, the Genesis genealogies themselves posit no miraculous events or supernatural Beings. If we cannot interpret these mundane genealogies literally, then we cannot interpret anything in the Bible literally. These same creationists, however, demand that we interpret literally the existence of God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, the Devil, Angels, Heaven and Hell. All miraculous events portrayed in the Bible are likewise to be interpreted in a strictly literal sense: Jesus literally turned water into wine—literally cast out demons—literally walked on the Sea of Galilee—literally placed a magic curse on a fig tree—literally rose from the dead. Apparently, it’s only the Genesis genealogies that we are supposed to interpret metaphorically.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 147-148). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

But saying the genealogies were done differently is not saying they were metaphorical. No. These were real people in a real time and a real place.

Let us remember that a young Earth was always posited by religious leaders throughout the entire history of Christianity. No medieval priest ever asserted that Genesis described a 4.5-billion-year-old Earth. No ancient church document ever claimed that Adam and Eve lived hundreds of millions of years ago. And no pre-Renaissance missionary ever preached a sermon about “omissions” or “time gaps” in the Genesis genealogies. If creationists now wish to abandon their historical position and acquiesce to an ancient Earth, then I applaud their progress. But it is a farce to maintain that Genesis never really demanded a young Earth since the genealogies were always intended as metaphors.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 148). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Of course, Mills gives no citations for any of this. There is no indication he has looked at church history. There is no mention of creedal statements or anything of the sort. It is just asserted. Also, I contend that no one could tell the age of the Earth from Genesis because that was not the point of Genesis.

Mills then goes on to list other “problems” in the text, such as the existence of unicorns. He lists all the references, but fails to mention that this is just how the KJV translated it. There is no Hebrew word for unicorn. Many translations now speak of it as the auroch instead. What Mills would need to show is that the Hebrew word meant unicorn. This, he does not do.

The same can apply to dragons, which can often refer to a great serpent or a sea monster or even a venomous snake. The word for cockatrice also refers to a serpent. Satyrs most likely refers to hairy goats.

I also find it revealing that, in the newer, modern-language translations of the Bible, these ridiculous passages of Scripture have been dishonestly excised, rewritten or edited beyond recognition from their original translation in the King James. So not only are the Great Pretenders forsaking long-honored and long-held Christian beliefs, but the Bible itself, under their supervision, appears to be experiencing a quiet, behind-the-scenes, Hollywood makeover as well.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 150). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Yes. Because the way the KJV translated it was the way the church for all those years always understood the text.  It would be horrible for Mills to go back and just try to figure out what the original words meant. If you go and look up the words on, you are doing more research than Mills did.

Because religious doctrines are supposedly ordained of God, the religious adherent cannot easily question the teachings of his chosen church, even when those teachings are provably false. The scientist, on the other hand, is most rewarded when he proves the conventional wisdom wrong and revolutionizes our understanding of the universe.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 155). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

On the contrary, I happen to love it when Christians start questioning the church. Meanwhile, go out as a scientist and start questioning climate change or at least humans causing climate change and see what happens to you. Go out and say “Maybe the Intelligent Design crowd has a point” and see what happens to you. Scientists often have their own groups that do not welcome any questioning. (After Covid, we can speak a lot about any scientist who dared say that Covid was made in a lab.)

Mills is fooling himself if he thinks any majority really likes to be questioned.

The fun continues next time as we talk about miracles.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)










Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 8

Did Schweitzer deny that Jesus existed? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is going to be a sidebar. Throughout the book, Mills has snippets from other people throughout history making brief statements in favor of his atheism/skepticism. This is a common one from Albert Schweitzer that many people misuse.

“There is nothing more
negative than the result
of the critical study of the
life of Jesus. The Jesus
of Nazareth who came
forward publicly as the
Messiah, who preached the
Kingdom of God, who
founded the Kingdom of
Heaven upon earth, and
died to give his work its
final consecration, never
had any existence.” —ALBERT SCHWEITZER
(1875-1965), French physician,
philosopher and humanitarian,
in The Quest of the
Historical Jesus

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 143). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

As it turns out though, this is what he says:

THOSE WHO ARE FOND OF TALKING ABOUT NEGATIVE THEOLOGY CAN FIND their account here. There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the Life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give His work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.

Schweitzer, Albert. The Quest of the Historical Jesus (p. 259). Kindle Edition.

The problem is if anyone ever bothers to read the book, they will find Schweitzer is not saying Jesus never existed. He is saying that a Jesus like this is a Jesus of imagination as the historical Jesus was not like this at all. Schweitzer will often speak of the historical Jesus as opposed to Jesus as seen by many of his time.

What we can learn from this overall is that Mills, like too many atheists, has just taken a snippet of something, presumed it means what he thinks it means, and ran with it. He did not bother to go and check and see what Schweitzer said in the text. There are too many Christians that simply believe everything that is told to them as long as it agrees with them. There are conservatives who do this in politics. There are leftists who do this in politics.

Also, atheists are quite prone to do this as well. This is not something that is a problem of any one belief system. This is a human problem. Hence, I encourage you to question what disagrees with you definitely, but also question what does agree with you. Try to verify everything that you can. If you are unsure, it is acceptable I think to go on Facebook and share it with the disclaimer that you have not verified it and if anyone knows more, please let you know. In this case, you are not sharing it as a fact, but as a quesiton.

If you will search this blog you will find many posts where I have taken down false claims made against people that I disagree with such as here and here and here. Truth should matter to all of us. We should not only care that our views are presented right, but we should make sure our opponents are treated right as well and not misrepresented. To take down a false view is to take down a straw man.

Mills is someone who does not do research at all. He is someone who balks at “creationists” who don’t understand science commenting on it, but he comments on numerous things he doesn’t understand. If it is his area that he cares about, it is wrong, but if it is areas he thinks are nonsense, it is okay.

Don’t be like Mills. Be a thinking person.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 7

What about evolution? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Well we all knew this was coming. Evolution has to show up. There are Christians and atheists both who think it’s either evolution or Christianity. If you prove one, you disprove the other. Both of them see this then as an essential battle.

I disagree with both of them. I don’t have a problem with evolution, but I also don’t argue for it either. I definitely still have some questions, but they’re not hills I’m willing to die on. Yet somehow, I’m sure I’d still be considered a creationist by Mills.

Anyway, after a long description of evolution in history, he does start talking about these people he calls creationists who he has never really defined.

Creationism’s most sacred doctrine is that God created all lifeforms, including man, during a single, brief period known as “Creation Week.” Dinosaurs and human beings walked the earth simultaneously, as did gorillas and trilobites. All animal “kinds” are the same age, give or take a few days.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 118). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Well, considering that for most of Christian history we had no idea dinosaurs even existed, much like everyone else, it’s hard to see how this is a most sacred doctrine. Also, there’s no interaction with any Christian history to see how it has been interpreted. Granted, a work like Kyle Greenwood’s Since The Beginning was not out yet, but the data was still there had Mills bothered to look for it. Had he done such, he would have found a multitude of ways to interpret the creation account including length. Augustine in his work on a Literal Interpretation of Genesis even said everything was done instantaneously such that the whole week took place in one moment.

When talking about the Cambrian explosion, he tells us it took place 570 million years ago instead of 6,000 like creationism demands. This again is the problem. There are all different kinds of creationists. Some would say the Earth is 6,000 years old. Some might say 10,000. Others would go with the majority scientific opinion and say 4.5 billion years ago. Mills makes no differentiation.

Later, he says:

Creationists, however, view scientific debate and disagreement as signs of weakness. Creationism therefore ridicules open-mindedness and scoffs at the free exchange of ideas so essential to a democratic society and to the scientific method itself. To question one’s own opinion is sinful for the creationist, who is not permitted the luxury of healthy skepticism. All contrary opinion is instantly dismissed as foolishness, because the Lord Thy God has spoken.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 122). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

What’s so amusing to me about this is this is what I find internet atheists doing. I have offered numerous atheists a link to Andrew Loke’s book on the resurrection of Jesus. This book is certainly an excellent scholarly look at the resurrection, but there’s one great reason I offer it. On Kindle, it’s free. 100%. If you have one, you can get it right now. If you want to read Kindle on your computer, you can do that for free as well. Thus, I am essentially saying “Here’s a free book on the topic you can read and discuss.”

How many atheists have taken me up on this offer to date? Zero. If I present any book, it usually just gets pushed aside and ignored. Meanwhile, if someone tells me about such a book, I will usually see if I can get it for cheap on Kindle and barring that, I will go to the library and order it if possible.

I have no problem with healthy skepticism. It’s the atheists I meet who do.

Hundreds of books have detailed at length the now-legendary Miller-Urey experiment performed at the University of Chicago in 1953. As a brief summary: Stanley Miller and Harold Urey found that amino acids—the building blocks of cell proteins—form readily from a mixture of ammonia, methane, water and hydrogen gas, all of which were present in abundance on the primordial Earth. In other words, Miller and Urey discovered that the molecules of life naturally assemble themselves from a few basic, easily available ingredients. The origin of life required only organic molecules, water and, most importantly, millions of years to develop. Moreover, in the late 1990s, scientists discovered that life can occur and thrive in conditions previously thought to be completely inhospitable to biological systems—such as in near-boiling hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, or in poison methane ice.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 123-124). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

It’s my understanding that nowadays, people really question if Miller and Urey had their science right as to if this was what the early Earth was like. Now keep in mind, I am not saying this is a defeater for evolution. It’s just my asking if Mills is really presenting the data accurately?

On a separate branch of the evolutionary tree, Archaeopteryx, part reptile and part bird, is the perfect example of macro-evolution in action. Archaeopteryx was first unearthed in Bavaria in 1860. When paleontologists later realized what they had discovered, creationists became so distraught that they accused the paleontologists of gluing bird feathers on a reptile fossil. After several additional fossils of Archaeopteryx were recovered, creationists refrained from embarrassing themselves again.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 126). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

No cases are cited, but even so, if this was what really happened, can anyone blame skepticism, something Mills just championed? After all, there have been hoaxes done in the world of fossils. Not only that, but Mills ignores that the noted creationist Fred Hoyle was also skeptical of Archaeopteryx and….wait….Fred Hoyle wasn’t a creationist? He was an atheist?


Well, he’s not a creationist so he gets a free pass.

Keep in mind, I don’t read in this area so this came up with just a brief web search. Did Mills even bother to do something like that to see if anyone else was skeptical of the find? Apparently not.

Odd after he was just telling us of the virtues of healthy skepticism and all that. I guess that only goes one way. I have a saying for atheists like Mills. They honor reason with their lips, but their heads are far from it.

When we get to what he says about the flood story:

The story of Noah’s Ark was adapted by the Hebrews from an earlier Babylonian myth called the Epic of Gilgamesh . In many respects, the Babylonian flood story—which is older than the biblical tale—is virtually identical to the biblical clone, but describes different gods and ark-building characters.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 132). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Sure. They’re the same. Just minor differences like one is polytheistic and one is monotheistic. One has a vessel that could survive a flood and one doesn’t. One has the water flooding the Earth in 6 days and receding in one while the other has 40 days and nights and a much more reasonable time for the waters to recede. One has the hero getting immortality at the end and the other has the hero getting drunk and shamed. One has the gods swarming around a sacrifice for food and the other has the one God making a covenant.

But other than that, they’re totally the same! I mean, they both have a flood! It reminds me of how G.K. Chesterton said you might as well think it’s the same story as the baptism of Jesus by John since both of them involve people going underwater.

But hey, at least Mills has an astute scholarly source for the idea that Christianity borrowed from everyone:

As Robert Ingersoll has noted, “There is nothing new or original in Christianity. Its maxims, miracles and mistakes, its doctrines, sacraments and ceremonies, were all borrowed.”

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 133). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

We are talking top-notch scholarship here, folks.

I realize that, to some, my position may appear extremist. Some readers may think that I’m just as rigid and literal-minded as the creationists—though on the opposite end of the philosophical spectrum. Nonetheless I believe that clarity should be the highest goal of science writing.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 134). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Well, yes. He is. If Mills believed in clarity, perhaps he should have defined his terms. The irony is thick with this one.

Next time, we’ll see what he has to say about Genesis.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)




Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 6

Is there order in the universe? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We move on now to chapter 4. Again, Mills has the problem of not citing any sources. He just makes grand pronouncements about what these people thought without citing any of these people. In the first case, he pictures in ancient Greece a hunter firing an arrow.

Citizens of ancient Greece were quite perplexed by the observed flight of such an arrow. Which god, they wondered, kept the arrow moving toward the target? The bow obviously provided the initial propulsion, but once out of direct, physical contact with the bow, why didn’t the arrow instantly fall to earth? Which god, they pondered, kept the arrow aloft, at least temporarily? Which supernatural Being was responsible for the arrow’s continued forward motion?

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 87-88). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Someone wanting to really show what the Greeks thought would have cited ancient sources. There were more than enough philosophers that could have been mentioned. Nope. Not a one. Mills can’t be bothered to actually document his claim. It was just “God did it” until Newton came along and science finally saved us.

Of course, this relates to “creationism.”

Creationists argue that the regularity and predictability of planetary orbits are evidence of supernatural governance of the universe. In other words, creationists believe, in direct opposition to Newton’s first law, that constancy and regularity of motion are evidence not only of an external force, but of a supernatural external force. I submit to you that this creationist claim—of a miraculous Power guiding the planets—is identical in every sense to the ancient Greek belief in god-propelled arrows or god-assisted plunges to the bottom of a cliff. Let us recall that “regularity or constancy of motion denotes the absence of an external force.” If gods are unnecessary to explain the continued motion of a hunter’s arrow, then the gods are unnecessary to explain the continued motion of celestial objects. If gods are unnecessary to explain the hunter’s downward plunge off a cliff, then they are unnecessary to explain other gravitational fields as well. For, as Isaac Newton discovered, the same gravity that pulls an apple (or a hunter) to the ground is the same gravity that holds the moon and planets in their orbits. There is no difference—except perhaps to those who, for emotional reasons, strive to see miraculous visions and omens in the night sky.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 92). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Call Oz. Someone took their straw man.

First off, saying that planetary order is explained by God does not mean we cannot understand scientifically how He does it. That does not oppose Newton at all. Mills is really arguing against an Islamic understanding where God is the direct cause of everything going on, whereas most Christians have no problem with God using secondary means to bring about order in the universe.

Second, the idea of no God being necessary is really begging the question. How do we know we don’t need a God to establish order and maintain it? Well, we have our universe and we can explain it just fine scientifically. And how do you know God isn’t a reality in this universe? Because we can explain it scientifically.

I contend that the fact that we can explain the universe scientifically actually does show that there is an orderer behind the universe. If the universe is a brute fact that is an accident, why should we expect any order? Why should there be any consistency?

Creationists of Fundamentalist persuasion disagree vehemently that planetary motion is a wholly natural phenomenon. It’s far more intriguing and emotionally inspiring for them to believe in “Divine Watchmakers” than to accept the mundane, mathematical explanations of science. A minority of creationists, however, raise few, if any, objections to the conclusions drawn thus far in this chapter. This minority will readily accept that inertia and gravitation are not supernatural forces, and that routine planetary motion is simply the merging of gravity with inertia. Put another way, a small group of creationists do accept (in this instance, at least) the scientific principle known as Ockham’s Razor, which states that the simplest reasonable explanation is usually the most accurate.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 93). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

I know many creationists and I have never met one who would have a problem with this. Of course, Mills doesn’t cite any of them. I still don’t know then who these people are he is arguing against.

Later, Mills talks abotu Kepler:

It is interesting to note here that Kepler was a deeply religious man, striving for years to prove his theory of “Divine Geometry” in which the planets moved in perfect circles around the sun. Finally, Kepler was forced to abandon his theory because the observed motion of the planets contradicted the theory’s predictions. Three hundred years later, “modern” creationism still maintains that the solar system obeys Divine Geometry.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 96-97). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Mills should not study medieval science if he doesn’t want to realize that the majority of scientists were deeply religious men. As for this theory of divine geometry today, again, who are these creationists? Also, the system that was set up of divine geometry was not from the religious originally, but from people like Ptolemy. This was the best theory at the time and it did work in predicting where the planets would be.

Creationism maintains that God created Earth primarily as a home for mankind. For what purpose, then, did God create the other planets and stars? Creationists sometimes respond that God created the heavens to attest His majesty and to provide man with a beautiful night sky. Such an argument—already highly dubious—disintegrates further when we consider that all planets and stars visible to the naked eye are located within our own Milky Way galaxy. Of what benefit to mankind are the other hundred-billion galaxies?

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 98). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

The problem with this kind of thing is that Mills raises the questions, but he never seeks any answers. There are plenty of scientific minds in Christianity that can address this. Mills doesn’t bother. It’s saying “I don’t know, therefore there isn’t a reason.” It’s strange since these are the same people who say science is all about exploring the questions.

He also talks about how some people used Hawking’s A Brief History of Time to show Hawking was arguing for the idea of a divine creator. In great irony, Mills says:

Science illiteracy is so ubiquitous, and religious dogma so firmly ingrained, that legions cannot read a well-written science book without hallucinating the supernatural on every page.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (pp. 101-102). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

And many atheists cannot read any data that disagrees with them and are highly illiterate of the views they argue against. (Just off the top of my head, imagine if someone can’t get the first cause argument even right!) Does the public need to learn how to read science books well? Yes, but sadly that’s because the public largely needs to learn how to read ALL books well. Mills does not set a good example in that he speaks on material that anyone who has done reading on the subject can see he is uninformed on.

Finally, in summing up all his data, what does Mills say?

Why do I find these obscure facts so convincing? Because these are the facts that we would expect to observe if the solar system formed naturally.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 102). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

To which I wonder how does anything form naturally from nothing? If something is eternal, how does it continue in existence? It is as if MIlls takes this as a given to be formed naturally. The problem is we don’t have any other universes, at least ones we have access to, that we can do a comparison of, and if theism is true, those universes would also find their existing based on God.

Next time, we will discuss life on Earth.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)





Book Plunge: Atheist Universe Part 5

Is there design in the universe? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Mills in this chapter is going to take on intelligent design. Since I’m not an advocate of the movement, it really doesn’t matter to me, but I do want to point out bad arguments he makes along the way. Let’s get started.

The most charitable comment available is that the “First Cause” argument begs the question (i.e., If God created the universe, then who created God? If God always existed, then why couldn’t the mass-energy of the universe have always existed?). A less charitable comment might be that the “First Cause” argument reflects ignorance of the scientific method, in that theological philosophizing is offered as a substitute for independent, empirical verification of one’s scientific conclusions.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 83). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

Yes. It has already been dealt with. I just wanted to point out he says it again.

Unaware of biological evolution, medieval man considered the complexity of his own anatomy to be evidence of Divine Creation. The wider the gaps in scientific understanding, the greater the historical need for a miracle-working “God of the Gaps.” Why does it rain? God makes it rain. Why does the wind blow? God makes the wind blow. Why is the sky blue? God made the sky blue. Why does the sun shine? God makes the sun shine.

Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 85). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.

I challenge Mills to show me where these medieval men said this. On the contrary, they were constantly trying to find explanations for why the universe worked how it did. They knew ultimately, God was behind it, but they wanted to discover His methodologies as a way to bring glory to Him. This wasn’t God of the Gaps! They were trying to fill in the gaps!

Naturally, Mills will point to the way that nature is destructive as well as beautiful, but medieval men knew this. Modern Christians also know this. Constant theodicies have been written. Even if hypothetically, they all failed, thus far in my reading, Mills has not bothered to interact with a single one of them.

The reality is Mills and the Christian both have something to explain. The problem is Mills puts the onus on the Christian when the Christian has a ready reason available. Either the world fell when Adam and Eve fell, or God created it not perfect knowing that Adam and Eve would fall anyway.

What Mills has to explain is what Chesterton called the problem of pleasure. if the universe is at its root just random chaos, then why do we find such beauty and order in so many places? Wouldn’t we expect to find more chaos instead? Christianity has to explain how evil entered the world, which is part and parcel of the Christian story. Atheism has to explain how beauty, goodness, and order came from the exact opposite via pure accident. (Even assuming those things being objectively real can somehow be explained on atheism.)

Mercifully, this is a short chapter. We won’t be as lucky with the others.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)