Christian Student Deflates Atheist Professor (Round II)

I’m sure all of you recall fondly the Chick “Big Daddy” Tract where the Christian student chastens his unbelieving professor with preposterous anti-evolution arguments. Here is something else in that same genre, forwarded to me by a former student (hmmmmm). BTW, they did not even get absolute zero right. It is -459.67 degrees F, not -458 degrees F. Enjoy.

A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, ‘Let me explain the problem science has with religion.’ The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’

‘Yes sir,’ the student says.

‘So you believe in God?’


‘Is God good?’

‘Sure! God’s good.’

‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’


‘Are you good or ev il?’

‘The Bible says I’m evil.’

The professor grins knowingly. ‘Aha! The Bible!’ He considers for a moment.

‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’

‘Yes sir, I would.’

‘So you’re good…!’

‘I wouldn’t say that.’

‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. ‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?’

The student remains silent.

‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

‘Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?’

‘Er…yes,’ the student says.

‘Is Satan good?’

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. ‘No.’

‘Then where does Satan come from?’

The student falters. ‘From God’

‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?’


‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’

Again, the student has no answer. ‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred?

Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’

The student squirms on his feet. ‘Yes.’

‘So who created them?’

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question.

‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. ‘Tell me,’ he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’

The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. ‘Yes, professor, I do.’

The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’

‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him.’

‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’

‘No, sir, I have not.’

‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’

‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’

‘Yet you still believe in him?’


‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?’

‘Nothing,’ the student replies. ‘I only have my faith.’

‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats . ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. ‘Professor, is there such thing as heat?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies. ‘There’s heat.’

‘And is there such a thing as cold?’

‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’

‘No sir, there isn’t.’

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. ‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We c an hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.’

‘Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold.
Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’

‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.’

‘In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?’

‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’

‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains. ‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.’

‘It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the o pposite of life, just the absence of it.’

‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’

‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’

‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinio n, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’

The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’ The class breaks out into laughter.

‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.’

‘So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’

‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’

Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’

To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’

The professor sat down.

About Keith Parsons
  • Les

    I addressed a variation of this nonsensical email over at my own blog back in September of last year. This one has been making the rounds for quite some time now. It’s pretty piss-poor reasoning.

  • Taner Edis

    Its physics is all wrong too. Heat refers to thermal energy transfers; it’s not something an object can possess or not.

  • Lamar

    If God really is all good, then part of that would mean to transfer His goodness wherever He can. So there shouldn’t ever be a place where there is a lack of goodness because God is omnipotent–He should be able to spread his goodness to all.

    The analogy forces God to be not omnipotent. Aparently there are places where God cannot go. The story still plays right into the hands of the philosophical problem of evil.

    I’ve also heard another version of this where the student was supposed to be Einstein.

  • Steven Carr

    Why does the Bible claim God created darkness when darkness does not exist?

    How do you create something that does not exist?

    Still, if evil does not exist, the author of the piece cannot say I am evil if I hit him repeatedly on the head with this piece of 2 by 4 theological debating wood….

  • David B. Ellis

    The obvious problem with evil as absence of good as a theodicy is that the POE is referring to suffering, especially extreme suffering, when it uses the term “evil”.

    And agony is not simply the absence of pleasure.

  • Fogy

    Oh, but evolution HAS been observed…

    We atheists need to spread the word about this important discovery and “evolution has never been observed” argument killer.

    “Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab”

    A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers’ eyes. It’s the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait.

    And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events.

    Twenty years ago, evolutionary biologist Richard Lenski of Michigan State University in East Lansing, US, took a single Escherichia coli bacterium and used its descendants to found 12 laboratory populations.

    The 12 have been growing ever since, gradually accumulating mutations and evolving for more than 44,000 generations, while Lenski watches what happens.

  • mathyoo

    I didn’t see anyone comment on this obvious fallacy in that piece of tripe: They’re putting words into the mouth of the professor. I can’t imagine any physics professor agreeing that “darkness exists” or with any of the other nonsensical things the alleged student says. It’s just another load of strawman arguments dressed up as their false logic.

  • Lamar

    Also, though scientific theories like evolution by natural selection must be based on observation, they need not be based on direct observation. There is plenty of observable evidence that backs up the theory.

  • Bradley Bowen

    It is worth noting that the problem of evil introduced by the professor focuses on disease (some sick people are not healed by God, and the professor’s brother died of cancer after praying to Jesus for healing), but the problem of evil that is “explained” by the Christian student is focused on “crime and violence” and “man’s inhumanity to man”.

    The latter examples concern the problem of moral evil, while the former examples concern the problem of natural evil. Both the professor and the student appear to be ignorant of this basic distinction that is covered in any introduction to philosophy of religion.

    Sin or disobedience to God is a poor explanation for death and disease, because death and disease predate human beings.

  • Scott

    Wait… is this a science professor or a philosophy professor?

    If a science professor, then he deserves to be shamed for his abysmal understanding of thermodynamics.

    If a philosophy professor, then he deserves to be shamed for his unfamiliarity with the “evil as absence of good” argument, and walking right into it.

  • Fogy

    He’s an imaginary professor. The email is a scam.

  • Doubting Foo

    Gah! That was grueling to read. They could have at least put a good punch line at the end!

  • Cman

    This is a great argument. The main point is that both creationism and evolution are two faith based systems. Both assume that the world and universe started a certain way, and our world is the way it is today because of it. Thus, the issue lies upon the evidence that we find today. Here. For example, EVOLUTION HAS NEVER BEEN OBSERVED TODAY. Or rather, more specifically, macro evolution. Sure, microevolution has been observed today, but there is a boundary that cannot be crossed in terms of mutations. Yes, bacteria may mutate over many generations, but they will never become something else. Mutations are changes in the DNA code,and may or may not be passed down through generations. However, in order to BECOME A DIFFERENT SPECIES, there must be an ADDITION of information into the DNA. This is impossible. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics forbids this. All matter and energy in the universe is approaching greater disorder, NOT greater complexity. The empirical worldview is flawed. We cannot know EVERYTHING via our senses. There are things that we trust exist simply because we see the effects of it.
    And Lamar, there is NO evidence that supports evolution whatsoever. If there is, I challenge you to find some and present it, because every archeological find and fossil points back to creation.

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