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Why we should fact-check our apologetic arguments

Isn’t it wonderful how much information we have available at our fingertips? No longer do we have to visit a library or interview an expert to learn about various subjects. Thanks to websites and search engines, a mind-boggling amount of information is just a few clicks away.

With that in mind, I want to issue a challenge to all of us: before you repeat an argument you’ve heard (especially a spiritual or apologetic argument), Google it. Do some research online. Just because you’ve heard something doesn’t mean it’s true.

You will reap at least two benefits when you do this.

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First, you will be more knowledgeable about the subject and have a better grasp of counter arguments and opposing views. Many people today cocoon themselves in protective echo chambers where they rarely hear arguments that challenge their beliefs. Don’t do that. Although you may feel safe and validated when you surround yourself with people and sources that agree with you, you’ll be caught off guard when people raise other arguments. Remember that truth can withstand scrutiny, so don’t be afraid to survey the web and look into other views.

Second, when you research topics online, you will be able to sift through arguments and figure out which ones are stronger than others. Some of the arguments creationists use are outdated or simply not very compelling, and a few minutes of online research may help you see which ones are better than others. Obviously not everything on the internet is true, but online searches are a great way to see the context of a claim or argument.

I’ll give a real life example: for years I thought the recession of the moon was great evidence of a young earth. After all, I used to say, the moon is slowly drifting away from the earth, so there’s no way the earth is as old as most scientists say it is, because if we rewound the clock 4.5 billion years, then the moon would be touching the earth.

But is that actually a reasonable argument? Let’s find out.

A quick Google search confirms that the moon’s orbit is indeed getting wider. With each passing year, the moon moves away from the earth by about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm).

Let’s do the math. Assuming the moon’s rate of recession hasn’t changed, then that means that 4.5 billion years ago, the moon would be 6.75 billion inches closer to the earth (because 4.5 billion x 1.5 = 6.75 billion). That’s equal to 106,534 miles. The distance between the earth and the moon is currently 238,900 miles, so 4.5 billion years ago the moon would be about 45% closer to us that it is today, but it would not be touching the earth.

See how a few minutes of Googling and quick calculations can shed light on an argument like that? For years I thought the recession of the moon was a great argument to use in favor of a young earth, but now I see that I was a little off with my understanding of the facts.

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That’s just one simple example of how we can learn helpful information from doing a few minutes of research on a topic. There’s a wealth of information available online, and we do ourselves a disservice if we don’t fact-check the arguments we use. That’s why I think it is good to do our homework and double-check arguments we’ve heard, especially if they involve apologetics.

Written by Garrett Haley

Garrett works at Coldwell Banker Commercial in Lubbock, TX. During his free time he enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and pondering life’s deep questions. On weekends he can often be found mowing lawns or playing soccer. He also serves as a deacon at FreeWay Bible Chapel.

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  1. Hi there. The point of your article is well taken. We need to fact check yearly.
    As a technicality, the example you used should be changed. I too did the math, then discovered that the recession rate is not linear as we both supposed. Then I heard Dr Don DeYoung,a physicist, explain the math. Here it is:

    For the technical reader: since tidal forces are inversely proportional to the cube of the distance, the recession rate (dR/dt) is inversely proportional to the sixth power of the distance. So dR/dt = k/R6, where k is a constant = (present speed: 0.04 m/year) x (present distance: 384,400,000 m)6 = 1.29×1050 m7/year. Integrating this differential equation gives the time to move from Ri to Rf as t = 1/7k(Rf7 – Ri7). For Rf = the present distance and Ri = 0, i.e. the earth and moon touching, t = 1.37 x 109 years.

    The September 1998 issue of Creation magazine has a feature article on the moon – its creation and purpose, that will cover this issue and much more. See online version.

    Keep up your good work.
    Chuck Bultman

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