Cold Case Christianity For Kids, mother and daughter team review – Chapter Three, part 2

My daughter and I, both atheists, are teaming up to review J. Warner Wallace’s apologetics book ‘Cold Case Christianity For Kids’. All posts in the series are collected here.


Jeffries is about to explain the indirect evidence for the existence of God. Which he illustrates with diagrams. This cues a joke about ‘Better to be an artist than a con artist!’ which Wallace seems to have written so that he can put in one of his little grey inset boxes with the question ‘Some people think the disciples of Jesus were con artists, but is this a reasonable conclusion?’ No, Wallace, I do not think they had any good motivation to try a con that would have put their lives on the line and I do agree they believed what they were saying about the risen Jesus, but that does not mean they were right.

“You know,” Katie said thoughtfully of Jeffries “I think he might be a con artist, because he’s trying to trick them into being Christians.”

I…. couldn’t actually counter that. As previously mentioned, one probably unintentional effect of Wallace’s writing format for this book is that Jeffries is in effect presented as running a fairly blatant Christian evangelising class disguised as a police cadet class. I don’t think Wallace deliberately meant it that way – I think he’d probably be quite shocked if he heard it described that way – but that still is what the description in his book comes down to, and it’s really not OK.

Anyway, Jeffries assures the cadets ‘”This won’t be difficult to sketch out”‘ and proceeds to draw a line of falling dominoes (to indicate First Cause), which sounded quite difficult to sketch out as far as I was concerned. Katie, the family artist, assured me that for someone who was good at art it wouldn’t be that difficult, but pointed out that drawing it on a whiteboard, as Jeffries was, would be pretty difficult; whiteboards are hard to draw on. Jeffries goes on to illustrate his other points with pictures of a designer’s compass, a DNA molecule, a – you have got to be kidding me – a microscope, and two Ten Commandments-style stone tablets, so, excuse me, but I do not really buy this “This won’t be difficult to sketch out” line. #overthinkingit #seriouslysidetracked

Ahem. The indirect evidence? Ah, yes. Back to Jeffries’ speech:

“First, we’re in a universe that began to exist, just like we talked about before. What made it begin?

“A potato,” Katie suggested.

Whatever it is, it would have to be something outside of space, time, and matter. We know that God fits that description.”

“No, no, no, it’s a potato. But it’s a very lonely potato, so it made a whole universe so it can have friends.”

Jeffries draws a set of falling dominoes on the board….


HE IS THE LORD AND SAVIOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


…all of which was actually typed by Katie, who grabbed the computer from me to type about her new religion of potato-worship. I clearly wasn’t going to get much insightful conversation about the book that evening.

Having thus covered nothing whatsoever of use in this post, I shall end it here and move on to – I hope – actually answering some of the points properly in my next post.


  1. Owlmirror says

    a line of falling dominoes (to indicate First Cause)

    Dominoes can be put in a circle to demonstrate a causal loop. Theists might counter that no-one has seen a causal loop, but then, no-one has seen a God (or a Prime Potato), either.

    • Dr Sarah says

      In terms of this analogy, would that mean that time was circular and the end of the universe somehow caused its beginnings? Out of interest, is that an actual theory?

      • Owlmirror says

        I seem to remember reading about a scenario involving child universes, where a parent universe would give rise to a child universe, and the child universe could give rise to another child universe, and that [grand]child universe could give rise to the original [grand]parent universe. But I can’t find the paper again (there’s lots of stuff on child universes out there), and maybe I misunderstood it.

        I do know that cosmologists talk about closed timelike curves (which technically are a form of time-travel) as a logical possibility arising from the current understanding of General Relativity, but I haven’t found anyone suggesting that the whole universe is the result of a closed timelike curve, or (on the other hand) why such a scenario can be ruled out.

      • Owlmirror says

        This page may have what I was thinking of, and other weird and interesting scenarios besides:

        Descriptions of Scientifically Based Hypothesized Universes

        Continuous loop Self creating universes
        An infinite and continuous loop, and that that loop could serve as the “trunk” of a tree that sprouted, giving rise all universes.
        In 1998, J. Richard Gott and Li Xin Li . Gott and Li showed that it was possible to solve Einstein’s equations of general relativity in such a way that a universe started off going around and around in a continuous loop, and that that loop could serve as the “trunk” of a tree that sprouted, giving rise to our own universe. The way to read this image is that for the most part, time travels from bottom to top, and that everything begins with the little loop at the bottom. That is the origin of the universe. This means that the universe has no beginning, since the loop goes around and around infinitely.

        • Dr Sarah says

          Strewth. I’m continually amazed that there are people who can actually get their heads around this stuff well enough to construct theories about it. Thanks!

    • Dr Sarah says

      Why switch? Surely the Great Potato and the FSM can co-exist in joyous carbohydrate-based harmony.

      By the way, Katie went on to develop this into a more detailed religious view that involved parsnips being evil and The Carrot being the messenger of The Potato. She then did a presentation on this for her school class (the topic was meant to be traditions at [Christmas] time; every time I pointed out to her that this was not in fact a tradition but something she’d made up two months earlier, she protested indignantly that I was criticising her religion and must stop speaking out against the Potato). I have no idea what her class made of it.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    In all seriousness, I think your daughter shows a lot of insight into the logical fallacy that is being used here:

    Whatever it is, it would have to be something outside of space, time, and matter. We know that God fits that description.

    A lot of people would miss the trick here, which is to define X so that it fits into a convenient gap, then state that the gap exists, and therefore take that as evidence of X, as in:
    “We all know that unicorns like to live beneath inverted baskets. And look, I happen to have an inverted basket right here. Hence, unicorns are real!”
    Katie is smart enough to realize that definitions are not the same as evidence, and can’t be used to “prove” anything. Because really, if you’re just going to rely on definitions to make your point — why not a potato? Since we’re talking about imaginary entities, we can assign them any qualities we want, so why not potato-ness?

    Very astute, Katie.

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