God's Politics

God's Politics


Prof Caught Red-Handed Reading Jim Wallis by Randall Balmer

posted by God's Politics

I guess we suspected it all along, but now we have proof: Jim Wallis is a left-wing, anti-capitalist.
That’s the apparent message behind the dismissal of Andrew Paquin from the faculty of Colorado Christian University. Until Monday, Paquin was a professor of global studies who also is executive director of something called the 10/10 Project, a Colorado-based international advocacy organization that promotes development in Africa. Last year, Paquin, a popular teacher, had been named “faculty member of the year.”
His crime? According to the Rocky Mountain News, the school’s president, Bill Armstrong, former U.S. senator from Colorado, fired Paquin “amid concerns that his lessons were too radical and undermined the school’s commitment to the free enterprise system.” Specifically, Paquin had the temerity to ask his students to read books by Peter Singer, the animal-rights ethicist at Princeton University, and by our friend Jim Wallis.
This whole episode could be a reprise of the Nixon-era “enemies list,” when people who did not make the list sent condolence notes to one another. In this case, if your book didn’t appear on Paquin’s reading list, somehow it missed the mark.
I guess I wasn’t aware that capitalism was under siege – what with the collapse of the Soviet empire and China’s headlong rush into a market-based economy. But the president of Colorado Christian University apparently feels otherwise. Capitalism, in fact, appears to be Jesus’ preferred economic system.
“I don’t think there is another system that is more consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ,” Armstrong told the Rocky Mountain News. “What the university stands for, among other things, is free markets.”
Armstrong didn’t specify exactly how the writings of Singer or Wallis contradicted his beloved free-market ideology. Paquin’s own non-profit actually offers mirco-loans to help Africans start small businesses, and he has plenty of nice things to say about capitalism. “But,” he told the Rocky Mountain News, “I’d stop short of deifying it.”
Colorado Christian University, based in Lakewood, Colorado, adopted a set of “strategic objectives” last year, one of which was the desire to “impact our culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, free markets, natural law, original intent of the Constitution and Western civilization.”
Armstrong told the Rocky Mountain News that he was “probably” part of the Religious Right.
Trust me, Bill. You qualify.

Randall Balmer is professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University and a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School. He very much hopes that his book, Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America, was on Andrew Paquin’s reading list. His latest book, God in the White House: A History, will be released in January.



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:29 pm


You’re expecting to find academic freedom at a ‘Christian’ University?
Forget it.
The ‘free market’ trumps academic freedom.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:40 pm


After an orangutan nearly raped a lady scientist, Singer wrote:
“but the aspect of the story that struck me most forcefully was that in the eyes of someone who has lived much of her life with orangutans, to be seen by one of them as an object of sexual interest is not a cause for shock or horror. The potential violence of the orangutan’s come-on may have been disturbing, but the fact that it was an orangutan making the advances was not. That may be because Galdikas understands very well that we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes.”
He also advocated infanticide, which, while not being explicitly anti-Capitalist, is pretty !@#@$% up, not that indifference to bestiality doesn’t get him there anyway.
Wallis did write that those fleeing the Khmer Rouge were doing so to sate their capitlalistic urges, which is a smidge anti-capitalist (and almost as !@#$%^ up).
Also, if you read the article, Armstrong notes that one can be a Socialist and a good Christian, and that there is no link between salvation and economic views.
So what is your point?



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Charity

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:46 pm


Not only does academic freedom NOT exist at these ‘Christian’ ‘Universities’, the concept of freedom of speech is apparently a crime.
I get tired of hearing them called institutions of higher eduction. Let’s call them what they are – institutions of indoctrination and brainwashing. Look at the lawyers Regent University has turned out. Apparently, the ability to interpret the law was skimmed over while the concept of actually applying it was just ignored.



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Moderatelad

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:49 pm


I think there has to be more to this dismissal than reading a book – even Wallis’ book. If he was released because of Wallis’ book – they saw something in it that I never did – whick they could have. For me – it has been a great treatment for my insomnia.
Have a great day!
.



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:50 pm


kevin:
“He also advocated infanticide, which, while not being explicitly anti-Capitalist, is pretty !@#@$% up, not that indifference to bestiality doesn’t get him there anyway.
Wallis did write that those fleeing the Khmer Rouge were doing so to sate their capitlalistic urges, which is a smidge anti-capitalist (and almost as !@#$%^ up).”
How about a reference or a link to support your hearsay, kevin?
And what is YOUR point, kevin?



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moderatelad

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:54 pm


Posted by: Charity | August 15, 2007 2:46 PM
Someone’s lawyer is another persons ambulance chaser.
‘…institutions of indoctrination and brainwashing…’
guess you just have to make the decision as to who you want to wash your brain. (LOL)
Have a great day…
.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:54 pm


“You’re expecting to find academic freedom at a ‘Christian’ University?
Forget it.”
Do you expect to find it at non-Christian universities? Iowa State refused tenure to an astronomer on the basis of a book he wrote advancing scientific evidence that the earth was not designed at random thanks to a campaign by an atheistic professor of religion who equates the Bible to Mein Kampfand said that “any act of love based on religion is immoral”.
The professor in question co-authored a textbook used by intorductory students.
Is that the academic freedom for which you pine?



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justintimr

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:55 pm


“I think there has to be more to this dismissal than reading a book – even Wallis’ book. If he was released because of Wallis’ book – they saw something in it that I never did – whick they could have. For me – it has been a great treatment for my insomnia.”
Time to wake up, modlad.



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:56 pm


I attended CCU from Fall of ’94 to Spring of ’95. Just one year. Long enough to rack up a lot of student loans and to discover I didn’t belong there.
I got into a fight with then-University President over tuition increases of 13% and turned my back to him in protest in front of the entire student body.
Two Presidents later, we get this story, which is not too different from a scandal while I was there involving the dismissal of an ancient languages scholar for being too liberal. I was mad about that, too.
And, if my memory is right CCU is also home to our beloved K-Love. You know, positive, encouraging, sappy enough to make you vomit K-Love.
But the issue here is interesting to me.
I read Wallis’ book. I’ve heard of Singer. I read a lot of atheists and liberals who I disagree with, and plenty of Conservatives I disagree with. And I think I’m smart enough to come up with my own educated opinion about these things. And I think college students are smart enough, too.
Shall we protect our children until they are in the grave, or do we expose them to all the ideas of the real world and challenge them to synthesize what they read with what they observe for themselves?
Then again, if CCU wants to let a guy with just a Master’s degree and only two years experience go, there should not be a big baruhaha about it.
Finally, there is the issue of capitalism through this incident. If the Prof wants to better reconcile Jesus’ mandate with the effectiveness of capitalism he needs to consider renouncing the state, and discerning between the church and society.
Nathanael Snow



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:00 pm


kevin,
“Do you expect to find it at non-Christian universities? Iowa State refused tenure to an astronomer on the basis of a book he wrote advancing scientific evidence that the earth was not designed at random thanks to a campaign by an atheistic professor of religion who equates the Bible to Mein Kampfand said that “any act of love based on religion is immoral”.
Wasn’t it the Iowa State Board of Education that banned the teaching of evolution in public schools, only to have their decree thrown out by a judge?



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:04 pm


For once I can agree with N. Snow.
Except for the last two paragraphs.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:10 pm


Justintime,
I brought up the Wallis quote before, and you asked for a link that time. Go back through the archives. He said it.
As for Singer, you can find the sources for all of Singer’s stuff on Wiki.



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Jeff

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:15 pm


“You’re expecting to find academic freedom at a ‘Christian’ University?
Forget it.”
I also wonder if there isn’t more to this story. If this is the whole story let’s not prejudge all Christian Institutions of higher learning. My experiences in a Christian University and a Seminary was that everything was in play to discuss in the classroom relevant to the topic of the course.
Ask the former president of Harvard about academic freedom.
Jeff



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:18 pm


Wasn’t it the Iowa State Board of Education that banned the teaching of evolution in public schools, only to have their decree thrown out by a judge?
Kansas. And some of those anti-evolution folks eventually were replaced.



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Steve Thorngate

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:26 pm


Denying a particular professor tenure, at Iowa State or wherever, is sometimes controversial. Declining to offer tenure to any of your professors, as a matter of general policy–as is the practice at CCU–is the very definition of hostility toward academic freedom. There’s a fundamental difference.



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Anonymous

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:30 pm


Kevin says:
“I brought up the Wallis quote before, and you asked for a link that time. Go back through the archives. He said it.”
As for Singer, you can find the sources for all of Singer’s stuff on Wiki.
I don’t remember this at all and I hope you can forgive me for not accepting out-of-context quotes in support of ambiguous and non-existent points.
Kevin says: “As for Singer, you can find the sources for all of Singer’s stuff on Wiki.”
Wiki on Singer: “Consistent with his general ethical theory, Singer holds that the right to physical integrity is grounded in a being’s ability to suffer, and the right to life is grounded in, among other things, the ability to plan and anticipate one’s future. Since the unborn, infants and severely disabled people lack the latter (but not the former) ability, he states that abortion, painless infanticide and euthanasia can be justified in certain special circumstances, for instance in the case of severely disabled infants whose life would cause suffering both to themselves and to their parents.”
Kevin says: “Again, nationalized care or no, unless we make some tough decisions about the elderly, the obese, smokers and so forth, we are going to have an extremely expensive system, more expensive than the one we have today.”
Sounds like Singer has a philosophical argument to support your position on health care, Kevin.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:33 pm


“Wasn’t it the Iowa State Board of Education that banned the teaching of evolution in public schools, only to have their decree thrown out by a judge?”
I am referring to the University.
“And what is YOUR point, kevin?”
My point is that this professor was removed for teaching for teaching from Singer’s texts. If I send my kid to a private Christian school (not that I would), I would certainly expect them to teach in accordance with Christian values, and Singer’s views are despicable.
In addition to his anti-Captialistic views, Wallis also advocates legal abortion and gay marriage. I think most college kids can see through God’s Politics, and I don’t know to what extent Wallis’ work in particular played in the firing, but one can sense a pattern.
If Balmer disagrees with the firing, that is fine. Let’s have a discussion about it. But he should at least discuss the article he cites honestly, as opposed to pretending that the school teaches the gospel of capitalism. Balmer knows who Singer is, and why he is controversial.



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Anonymous

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:37 pm


Posted by: justintimr | August 15, 2007 2:55 PM
Time to wake up, modlad.
still with the oneliners – very origional justintime
all the best – ‘Moderatelad’ not laddy not modlad just Moderatelad.
.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:38 pm


Wiki has all the sources you would need for the Singer quotes. He has written extensively on these issues whether you have heard of him or not. Wallis’ quote can be found in the Weekly Standard article about him, among other places.



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:40 pm


Another quote from Peter Singer:
On his recent appearance on The Colbert Report, Singer said “I don’t support sex with animals, I think it’s a lot more fun to do it with humans”.



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squeaky

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:53 pm


“My point is that this professor was removed for teaching for teaching from Singer’s texts. If I send my kid to a private Christian school (not that I would), I would certainly expect them to teach in accordance with Christian values, and Singer’s views are despicable. ”
How do you know he wasn’t? Just because he used Singer’s texts doesn’t mean he was advocating them. What if he was introducing Singer for the purpose of showing other worldviews that are not in line with the Gospel? My high school English teacher taught from the Bible, not because he was advocating Christianity (although he was a Christian) but because much of Western Lit is rooted in the Biblical text. I’m sure there is some sort of comparative religion course at this school–do they not allow students to read the Koran?
There seems to be this inherent fear in Christian education that if students learn about opposing world views they will chuck Christianity and follow after all manner of ungodly ideas. I wouldn’t want my kids indoctrinated in the Christian worldview as much as I would want them to be able to think for themselves, understand and be able to critically analyze other world views, and be able to robustly challenge and defend their own faith. They will be exposed to other world views sooner or later.



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Another nonymous

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:53 pm


Assigning an author’s writings for students to read isn’t the same thing as agreeing with that person’s views: a nuance that seems to have gotten lost in this discussion so far.



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:59 pm


Kevin says:
“Wallis did write that those fleeing the Khmer Rouge were doing so to sate their capitlalistic urges, which is a smidge anti-capitalist (and almost as !@#$%^ up).
Wallis’ quote can be found in the Weekly Standard article about him, among other places.”
Weekly Standard:
“In September 1979, Wallis wrote of the Vietnamese “boat people”: “Many of today’s refugees were inoculated with a taste for a Western lifestyle during the war years and are fleeing to support their consumer habit in other lands,” somehow managing to credit their desperate flight in fear of totalitarian oppression to the corruption of capitalism.”
What’s your point, Kevin?



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 4:15 pm


Kevin says:
“If Balmer disagrees with the firing, that is fine. Let’s have a discussion about it. But he should at least discuss the article he cites honestly, as opposed to pretending that the school teaches the gospel of capitalism.”
Rocy Mountain News:
“Armstrong won’t discuss Paquin’s case specifically, but he says free enterprise is fundamental to the school’s philosophy.
“I don’t think there is another system that is more consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ,” Armstrong said.
That doesn’t mean socialists can’t be good Christians, and a belief in free enterprise is not linked to salvation, Armstrong added.
But free enterprise is the message of Colorado Christian, he said. “What the university stands for, among other things, is free markets.”
Paquin, 36, says he supports capitalism, too. The Lafayette-based charity he founded gives “micro-loans” to poor Africans, allowing them to start simple businesses.
“It’s obviously been one of the greatest wealth generators in the world,” Paquin said of capitalism.
“But,” he added, “I’d stop short of deifying it.”
_______________________________________________
Kevin, we know you despise Randall Balmer, but you’ve wrongfully accused him of dishonesty here.
Please don’t waste precious time with your incessant heckling on this blog.



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aaron

posted August 15, 2007 at 4:39 pm


Do you expect to find it at non-Christian universities? Iowa State refused tenure to an astronomer on the basis of a book he wrote advancing scientific evidence that the earth was not designed at random thanks to a campaign by an atheistic professor of religion who equates the Bible to Mein Kampfand said that “any act of love based on religion is immoral”.
Or you could point to the same professors lack of original research (which he was supposed to be doing being on tenure-track)as the main factor if his tenure denial.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 4:48 pm


“What’s your point, Kevin?”
Um… That the boat people were fleeing “re-education” camps, which has nothing to do with their taste for western lifestyle, and that Wallis’ remarks were cruel, ignorant and (rather obviously) anti-capitalist.
“Assigning an author’s writings for students to read isn’t the same thing as agreeing with that person’s views: a nuance that seems to have gotten lost in this discussion so far.”
It isn’t lost, and if the professor simply used Singer’s texts as a counterexample to something righteous, it is difficult for me to believe that this would be reason for termination. The article doesn’t say that this is the case, and I could be wrong in making the assumption that it is not.
“There seems to be this inherent fear in Christian education that if students learn about opposing world views they will chuck Christianity and follow after all manner of ungodly ideas.”
Perhaps that is a fair criticism. In what way then, should Christian universities differentiate themselves from secular institutions? Either way, Balmer’s point is not that it is wrong to fire a professor for teaching from the works of a nutjob.



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laura

posted August 15, 2007 at 4:49 pm


I have nothing to do with a Christian university since I am not of that faith but it seems to me that a private college of any kind can hire and fire as they wish.
Hopefull the professor will find work elsewhere where he can do as he wishes.
Laura



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 4:56 pm


SO MUCH FOR COLORADO CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
In this case, Andrew Paquin, the fired Professor at Colorado Christian U, makes a lot more sense than Bill Armstrong, the CCU President who fired him.
Paquin was named “Professor of the Year”.
I hope he gets a better job at a real University.
Armstrong is the “Fool of the Year” at CCU.
Armstrong and his ilk are the reason why wise parents don’t send their kids to private Christian Universities.
At a real University, you can study anything and everything.



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aaron

posted August 15, 2007 at 4:56 pm


In what way then, should Christian universities differentiate themselves from secular institutions?
By not promulgating myth as fact???



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 4:59 pm


In what way then, should Christian universities differentiate themselves from secular institutions?
_______________________________________
By not promulgating myth as fact???
_______________________________________
Could you parse this out for us, Aaron?



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Another nonymous

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:08 pm


“In what way then, should Christian universities differentiate themselves from secular institutions?”
They should encourage discussion of every topic from the point of view faith: specifically Christian faith.
That said, I note from CCU’s website that they are accredited – unlike, say, Bob Jones University, which doesn’t pretend to have academic freedom. In his presidential statement, Armstrong says that: “In the classroom students are learning to think for themselves, to ponder and interact with today’s ideas and theories.”
Not knowing the full context, I will withhold judgment. Let me just say that faith seems to me, of all the soul’s attributes, the least likely to develop in an environment where intellectual vitality is not allowed full and vigorous expression.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:09 pm


“Or you could point to the same professors lack of original research (which he was supposed to be doing being on tenure-track)as the main factor if his tenure denial.”
That is the University’s “official” reason, even though Prof. Gonzalez’s work was published in 68 peer-reviewed journals. There is simply no compelling, consistent reason for the denial of tenure in this case aside from his views on ID.



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Wolverine

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:14 pm


To my mind, there’s just too much we don’t know to draw any conclusions either way. In particular we don’t know what Prof. Paquin told his students about Singer or Wallis in class. And without that, I don’t feel comfortable making any judgements either way.
As for Balmer’s closing comment — “Trust me Bill, you qualify” — it’s comforting to know I’m not the only smart-aleck on this board.
Wolverine



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:15 pm


Evangelical Christianity should stop looking to the secular world for its approval.
If CCU wants to promulgate a certain set of beliefs, let it. But CCU shouldn’t seek out accreditation from secular organizations. It shouldn’t seek to have its courses accepted for credit by other institutions. (I place myself directly at risk here, because my CCU credits would have to be repeated at NCSU for me to graduate this spring!)
If the Religious Right wants people to act morally, they ought to clean house and institute some more church discipline.
If the Religious Left wants to work for social justice they should abandon their building campaigns and other programs and put all their resources to work.
Christians ought not seek the world’s approval or sanction of their activity. Nor ought they to attempt to make others live according to their creeds. They ought not to seek the participation of the world if it has not accepted the call of Christ. This means no more anti-gay laws for the conservatives, and no more welfare programs for the liberals.
No more patronization.
Nathanael Snow



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aaron

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:15 pm


That is the University’s “official” reason, even though Prof. Gonzalez’s work was published in 68 peer-reviewed journals. There is simply no compelling, consistent reason for the denial of tenure in this case aside from his views on ID.
1) It’s not his total publication record, it his publications since joining the University in a tenure-track position
AND
2)Having those recent publications be original research and not a continuation of his post-doc work with colleagues from other universities.
He failed both those criteria. All the time he could’ve been fulfilling those criteria, he spent writing a religious book. No wonder he was denied tenure.



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Jeff

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:18 pm


“At a real University, you can study anything and everything.”
Once again, ask the former president of Harvard about that. All he did was attempt to open academic discussion on how to better educate women in the hard sciences.
I attended a secular (or as someone else said, “real”) college and found much less academic freedom. There was lots of intimidation used to limit discussion that didn’t fit the professors’ viewpoint. I didn’t know academic freedom until I switched to a Christian University that allowed us to take the gloves off in class and really go at it with each other and with the profs.
Jeff



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aaron

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:25 pm


I attended a secular (or as someone else said, “real”) college and found much less academic freedom.
translation: I wasn’t allowed to use Answers in Genesis as a primary source in my evolution class.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:26 pm


“1) It’s not his total publication record, it his publications since joining the University in a tenure-track position”
That isn’t true. Either way, he cleared the bar.
“He failed both those criteria. All the time he could’ve been fulfilling those criteria, he spent writing a religious book. No wonder he was denied tenure.”
It was not at all a religious book. It was scientific research advancing a theory that can be interpreted as religious or not.



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jesse

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:32 pm


Aaron,
Where are you getting this evidence that he didn’t author original research since joining ISU? He claimed to have published 25 papers since joining ISU (15 was the minimum for granting tenure): http://www.midiowanews.com/site/tab1.cfm?newsid=18333457&BRD=2700&PAG=461&dept_id=554432&rfi=6
I also think the Larry Summers Harvard fiasco to be a telling tale about the poor state of academic freedom in secular universities.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:34 pm


Perhaps the problem was there was no balance in the classroom ?



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aaron

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:34 pm


That isn’t true. Either way, he cleared the bar.
Wrong on both accounts, you HAVE to show original research initiative and publish to support it, he did neither while on tenure track. Which aspects of that don’t you understand?
Let’s not forget grants:
The Des Moines Register reported Thursday that university records showed that Gonzalez had raised significantly less research and grant money than his peers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Iowa State has sponsored $22,661 in outside grant money for Gonzalez since July 2001, records show. In that same time period, Gonzalez’s peers in physics and astronomy secured an average of $1.3 million by the time they were granted tenure.

It was not at all a religious book. It was scientific research advancing a theory that can be interpreted as religious or not.
Which is why it wasn’t submitted to scientists for peer-review, it being *snicker* advancing a “scientific theory” and all. And you must be the only person who doesn’t understand the whole ID as science concept is smoke and mirrors.



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Jeff

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:36 pm


I said,
“I attended a secular (or as someone else said, “real”) college and found much less academic freedom.”
Aaron said
“translation: I wasn’t allowed to use Answers in Genesis as a primary source in my evolution class.”
Wow Aaron, that’s mean. That is not at all what I meant. Your mind reading skills are a way off.
Jeff



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aaron

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:46 pm


You’re right Jeff, that was mean, I apologize.
I come from a science background and just took the bare minimum of liberal arts classes, so I don’t have much experience in a classroom that doesn’t have concrete right/wrong answers.



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Anonymous

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:59 pm


Posted by: justintime | August 15, 2007 4:56 PM
Armstrong and his ilk are the reason why wise parents don’t send their kids to private Christian Universities.
Well – my son attends a private Christian University because the state run schools do not offer a degree in Youth Ministries and Theological Studies. Wallis was asked to come and speak at this university – so I don’t think that he would agree with you. My son also got a copy of his book and after he read it – it became a door stop in his apt.
Have a great one…
.



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:00 pm


Hello all.
I recently graduated from Colorado Christian University in May 2007. After 3 hard years dealing with Student Life and the likes thereof, I am still divided in my opinions of CCU. Allow me to explain.
You see, all of you that claim that you can’t have academic freedom at a Christian university are wrong. Dead, 100% wrong. I graduated with a BA in Theology at CCU and I will tell you that I have never seen a better “religions” faculty or department at a secular OR Christian school than the one at CCU. Dr. Jeffrey Mallinson leads the charge impeccably, striving to maintain an academic environment in his department of Theology and succeeding in doing so. We have incredibly talented professors in these successful departments often under fire from other people in the community or on the campus that do not agree with them. But don’t EVER say that they are not promoting academic freedom.
I champion certain departments at CCU like I would champion Johns Hopkins for their medical program. We may not be as renowned for these programs, but the professors in these programs and departments are among the most intellectual, most challenging, most academically rigorous professors you will meet at ANY type of school. These departments include Theology (which encompasses Biblical Studies, Philosophy and Youth Ministry, as well as any ancient languages) Psychology, English, History, Global Studies (that is, until Paquin, who recently changed his name to Syed, was let go.) Please do not comment on the academic freedom or nature of this school without recognizing that the administration in the spotlight does not stand for everything.
I have spoken with President Armstrong a number of times, and he seeks to make the university a more academically rigorous place. I agree with him on a few of his objectives (not the “strategic objectives,” mind you,) such as the strengthening of the tutoring program, the overhaul of student study habits and learning habits, making sure that students in this school are known for their academia and not for the fact that they barely should have graduated high school. How does he plan to do this after firing Paquin and watching countless other prized professors leave at the idea of potentially being the next on the list? I have no idea…I don’t trust that plan of action, either. He let go one of the most incredible professors that CCU had on campus and it is just plain unfortunate that he has neglected to see what prizes he has at that university. You see, our professors do not enjoy tenure…they have to watch their steps and not be quick to criticize student learning habits because they have mortgages to pay and mouths to feed. Think about all of the background before you comment on academic freedom.
I had my first and only class with Professor Paquin/Syed in my last semester at CCU and I am privileged to say that I know him and enjoy a friendship with him. He is an incredible man of God and one that desires for students to reach deep inside themselves and LEARN. Whatever their opinions may be, he entertains them in class and challenges them to go further. He stretches our students and forces them to think in ways that their youth groups didn’t let them think. He challenges them to own their faith and their religious beliefs and to know WHY, and to own their view of the world, politics and our nationi in the same way.
You may believe that I have simply been brainwashed by this university to say anything good about it…*chuckles.* You would be wrong. I hated that university while I was there, but I stayed for a reason. I stayed because the department I was in was phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade my education at CCU for anything in the world. Because of my impeccable education at this university, I was accepted to the highest honors program at the graduate school I applied to: the Master’s of Philosophy at the University of Exeter to study Historical Theology with a concentration on Heresiology in the Reformation Period. I achieved this honor because I went to this university, had professors like the ones in our Theology, Psychology, Languages and Global Studies departments, who showed me that my world is so much bigger than just what I see around me…that my opportunities are as numerous as I am able to conceive of…and most importantly, that my duty to give back to humanity is tremendously important and significant because of this gift I have been given in this education and in these people.
So please…please do not think that the firing of such a stellar professor speaks of the lack of academic freedom at any and all Christian universities. It is unbelievable and it outrages me that such an incredibly brilliant man was let go for not being “capitalist” enough when Christ taught that we should care for “the least of these,” (which is hardly what capitalism praises, by the way.) However, do not direct your anger, cynicism, bitterness and resignation at the Christian community or even at CCU as a whole. Direct it at CCU’s administration…at the board, at the president, at the people in charge of making decisions at that school. And never, ever stop championing academic freedom in such environments.



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:04 pm


Also, to the person that claims that wise parents should not and do not send their children to Christian universities…
…wise parents are also wise enough to question all aspects of a situation before lumping it into a general category and assuming that they know what goes on behind the scenes and in the classroom. Are the parents who sent their children to CU-Boulder wise, because their children were in a classroom with a professor who was trusted with great influence on his students and used that influence to say that the victims of the 9/11 attacks were comparable to Nazis?
Think a little.
I’m open to any questions about CCU that anyone has. I feel like I know it well enough in its current state to answer.



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:14 pm


Kevin says:
“If Balmer disagrees with the firing, that is fine. Let’s have a discussion about it. But he should at least discuss the article he cites honestly, as opposed to pretending that the school teaches the gospel of capitalism.”
Kevin,
I went to the school. That’s exactly what they are trying to implement.
Also in the strategic objectives that President Armstrong is trying to implement into the school is ‘the promotion of Western civilization.’
I confronted Mr. Armstrong on such a subject and he said that while Rome was not without its problems (like every civilization,) it was definitely the best model for us as Americans and it’s one that, as Christians, we should be championing and teaching others to champion as well.
Academic freedom is this:
I asked President Armstrong whether he wanted to champion Nero’s Rome, Constantine’s Rome or Caesar Augustus’ Rome…or if he was aware that the Romans regularly sat around and tried to think of different ways to torture people and if that was in line with what Christ has taught us.
I should clarify also: we are academically free in many of our classrooms…but citing where that academic freedom exists would mean that the freedom has the potential to be lost. It’s academically free…as long as we don’t mention we have the freedom or where it’s at. But to me and to many of my peers who have gone on to very highly renowned graduate schools, it was an academically rigorous and challenging place.



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:23 pm


And finally, just because I keep finding things that bug me…
maybe some of YOU don’t know what happened in Professor Paquin/Syed’s classes, but _I_ do…as a student in them. That man hardly spoke his own opinion and instead challenged the rest of us to do battle with each other…to debate the issues without getting mean (where he would intervene) and to wrestle with ourselves. He taught the basics of global economies and politics and asked questions about tough issues without promoting any particular theory. He said nothing out of line that I have not heard many times before in my education. He challenged viewpoints with things we had never thought of and encouraged us to think about them while maintaining professionalism and neutrality. His classroom was a SAFE place for students to speak their opinions…a kind of place that is becoming rarer on that campus with the current administration.
Shoot, most of the class I was in required us to go through God’s Politics, get into groups and discuss the chapters. We didn’t have to like them, we didn’t have to dislike them and he remained neutral, waiting to hear our own opinions, which were often very divided. Students were in charge of the discussion and I learned much more in that class than it’s being given credit for.



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Steve Thorngate

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:23 pm


You see, our professors do not enjoy tenure…they have to watch their steps and not be quick to criticize student learning habits because they have mortgages to pay and mouths to feed. Think about all of the background before you comment on academic freedom.
Danielle – Thanks for your thoughtful insider’s comments. You’re right that academic rigor, excellence, and openness are often found in many otherwise less-than-ideal situations, usually thanks to good teachers. But the issue this story raises is about a professor’s academic freedom–not so much a student’s–and this is defined primarily by the existence of tenure. W/o tenure, professors are potentially muzzled, for exactly the reasons you describe.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:26 pm


“I confronted Mr. Armstrong on such a subject and he said that while Rome was not without its problems (like every civilization,) it was definitely the best model for us as Americans and it’s one that, as Christians, we should be championing and teaching others to champion as well.”
Danielle,
Thank you for your thoughts in general. The above quote isn’t the same as promoting a gospel of capitalism. Some Christians believe that we must promote pacifism. That isn’t the same as promoting a gospel of pacifism.
That said, I would be interested in hearing why he was fired, and how he treated Singer’s texts in the classroom. I also understand that Christian Colleges can be a mixed bag with respect to balancing faith and academics. Does the school have a tradition of firing professors for this reason.



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:28 pm


Steve,
I completely understand and agree with what you mean.
What I am saying is that I HATE the idea that because I come from a Christian university, i MUST be brainwashed. Do you know how damaging that is to my future education, to my career, to my future networking? Many could say that I just shouldn’t have gone there, but the education that I was afforded was incredible and could not be matched elsewhere. It’s just unfortunate that ignorant people continue to REMAIN ignorant instead of thinking that perhaps the situation is different than they think.
The professors don’t have real freedom, I’ll grant you that. But no one should take that and make it something where students are not properly educated at that school. My diploma says that I graduated from Colorado Christian University, and it will say the same thing as another student who was brainwashed…but because that unfortunate stereotype continues to be perpetuated, my diploma is worth less and less when the education I was given is qualified to be worth so much more.



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:33 pm


Kevin,
I understand your position, but as an insider, I promise you that our professors are now being put through a screening process before they are hired…they are not allowed to believe in theistic evolution or socialism…they must believe what the university wants and from there, diversity goes out the window. It’s a short step up from ‘promotion’ to ‘gospel’ with this situation.
The university does, indeed, have a history of firing professors held very dear by the students in the past. In the 3 years that I studied there, they let go 4 professors that I personally knew and loved. Before that, there were at least 3 more the previous year. 3 others have left because they feared for their jobs. Countless others are staying quiet because they have bills to pay. Many of those are at risk of being taken out, should someone have a mood change.
As a matter of fact, even in the staff departments for the inner workings of this university, many people are leaving because of the new environment that CCU is walking right into.
Like I said before…this displays a lack of academic freedom for the professors, but please understand that not all students/products of Christian universities are indoctrinated or brainwashed.



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:34 pm


I just realized that the numbers I posted don’t mean much if you don’t understand that CCU is a small school…less than 1,000 undergrads. 7 teachers in 3 years is a huge blow.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:36 pm


“Armstrong and his ilk are the reason why wise parents don’t send their kids to private Christian Universities.”
Wise parents send their kids to Pomona College.
“Wrong on both accounts, you HAVE to show original research initiative and publish to support it, he did neither while on tenure track. Which aspects of that don’t you understand?”
He published 21 articles, clearing the bar of 15, while (again) writing materials used in their own courses.
“Which is why it wasn’t submitted to scientists for peer-review, it being *snicker* advancing a “scientific theory” and all. And you must be the only person who doesn’t understand the whole ID as science concept is smoke and mirrors.”
I disagree. First of all, anyone who believes in God (and I know that you do not) believes that there is an intelligent designer. As such, any intellectually consistent theistic scientist ought to be interested in unraveling how the universe may have been created intelligently.
Your point that ID is automatically invalid as scientific theory, and research done regarding ID is automatically dismissable only augments my point regarding the lack of academic freedom in secular schools.



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 15, 2007 at 7:52 pm


Danielle,
Thanks for your input. CCU has been through the wringer over the last decade, and it appears it isn’t over.
Is there still goose poop everywhere? Can you walk across the pond at all in winter?
Is T.K. Murphy still around?
In regards to capitalism:
Unregenerate humans are self-interested. Capitalism attempts to channel this aspect of human nature most productively by offering compelling incentives for action.
Christians can overcome self-interest by responding to the call of Christ and obeying His commands.
The response to Christ does not guarantee positive social or personal outcomes! Rather, we are promised persecution and trials, in short the cross of Christ, for our decision.
The enemy of both systems is power, or the use of force. The use of force removes the restraint on self-interest which permits individuals from realizing mutual gains from exchange. The use of force likewise corrupts the message of the cross.
Christians ought to work first to eliminate force from their own habits. Second they should work to protect the victims of the use of force. Third they ought to work to restrain the use of force.
Only Christians are capable of acting out of conscious virtue in imitation of Christ in the renunciation of, protection from, and resistance of force unselfishly. In other words, most people can take care of themselves fine so long as they allowed to defend themselves and care for themselves out of self interest. But for the defenseless and incapable God has provided the Church as a means for overcoming this world.
Capitalism works up to a point, but it neglects the least of these. It does tend to raise the welfare of all participants albeit disproportionately. Christianity has as its unique mandate to care for those who are stuck outside of the Capitalist system.
Nathanael Snow



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 8:45 pm


Danielle,
Thanks for the inside look at CCU and your commentary on academic freedom.
I don’t think that all private religious schools are second rate, but many are.
Some Christian Universities have dangerous agenda, such as Pat Robertson’s Regent University, which has graduated a cohort of dominionist lawyers, some of whom are now testifying before Congress about Alberto Gonzales’ corrupted Justice Department.
I don’t think that all graduates of Christian Universities are second rate, either.
Congratulations to you for being accepted by the Philosophy Department at Exeter University.
In every educational environment you will find some outstanding teachers and some outstanding students.
It’s the job of every manager (in this case Bill Armstrong) to provide and maintain an environment that will allow staff to perform at their very best.
CCU alums should speak out about the damage Bill Armstrong is doing to the quality of the educational environment at CCU and CCU’s academic reputation.
Sounds like he needs to be replaced.



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aaron

posted August 15, 2007 at 8:51 pm


He published 21 articles, clearing the bar of 15, while (again) writing materials used in their own courses.
You just don’t get it. How many of those were he first author, how many were co-authored with either his post-doc buddies from Washington or his previous doctoral advisor(s)? How many were original research not related to his previous work? How many were tied to major grant funding initiated research for ISU? 15 isn’t some automatic number where you collect $200 and pass go.
I disagree.
Noted.
First of all, anyone who believes in God (and I know that you do not) believes that there is an intelligent designer. As such, any intellectually consistent theistic scientist ought to be interested in unraveling how the universe may have been created intelligently.
Sure, or you can just believe God works in mysterious ways. Not a very parsimonious position from which to begin the investigation, but I digress…
Your point that ID is automatically invalid as scientific theory,
Well, since nobody has actually published or proposed what could properly be defined as “scientific theory”, sure they have some guesses, Behe and IC, Dembski and CSI, but they even know it’s not a theory. The Discovery Institute itself knows that and has said as much. So I have a valid point that it is NOT a scientific theory.
and research done regarding ID is automatically dismissable
Until they do publish and submit to peer-review it IS dismissable, much like I can dismiss most herbal claims as they have not gone through peer-review.
only augments my point regarding the lack of academic freedom in secular schools.
Your point is further diminished.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 10:04 pm


“15 isn’t some automatic number where you collect $200 and pass go.”
It is if you aren’t Gonzalez, by and large. I know what the talking points are, but any way you slice his accomplishments, there is simply no way anyone else is denied tenure for having accomplished what he accomplished.
“So I have a valid point that it is NOT a scientific theory”
I think you know well what I mean, which is that any effort to elevate the legitimacy of ID is automatically dismissed.
“Until they do publish and submit to peer-review it IS dismissable,”
You back over yourself here. Is submission for peer review important or no? Or is it important only up to the point it benefits Gonzalez, and not at any other point? Which argument are you making here?
For the record, there is no real theory as to how the universe began. The big bang theory takes us from a certain point, but what began it all? Research into the origins of all existence ought to be legitimate, and Darwin does nothing to get us there.
At any rate, just as Christian colleges expel ideas that run contrary to biblical truth, so secular schools expel ideas that are consonant with biblical truth. As such, secular schools teach that which is false.



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 10:21 pm


Kevin, Do they teach evolution at Pomona College?



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 10:26 pm


“Kevin, Do they teach evolution at Pomona College?”
No. They don’t teach that Christ is Lord either. So what?



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 15, 2007 at 10:29 pm


Nathanael,
The goose poop is still there, they took out the pond for landscaping purposes and I don’t know who Murphy is.
I agree with your last paragraph, but I cannot agree that only Christians can enact the virtues that Christ holds for his church. I have seen many a non-Christian do it much better than i.
also, to the person who thinks that the alumni should speak out against Armstrong: we have…there are still many financial tanks willing to pour money into the way he runs things.



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 10:47 pm


Kevin:
“For the record, there is no real theory as to how the universe began.”
….
I’ve heard a thousand myths about the origin of the universe, including the one in the Book of Genesis.
Speculating on the ORIGIN of the universe falls within the realms of astrophysics, metaphysics and theology.
But for some folks, it’s a matter of faith.
Anyone is free to advance a theory on the origin of the universe, but it would have to be verifiable by scientific methods for the scientific community to give it serious attention.
Actually I have seen some theories on the origin of the universe that do receive serious attention from the scientific community.
But the Book of Genesis myth is not verifiable by the scientific method.
Have the Intelligent Designers advanced a theory, for the origin of the universe, other than the myth in Genesis?
I believe the universe always was.
What about you?



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Mike M

posted August 15, 2007 at 10:52 pm


For those of you questioning the release of a professor with only a masters degree, may I remind you that the president of CCU himself does not have a degree. He leans on his political experience and “honorary doctorates.” And given the global experience of Professor Paquin/Syed with the 10/10 project, Armstrong has little, if at all, any leverage with respect to academic experience. My graduation from CCU in ’05 gives me a higher education than the president of the institution in which I am an alum.
In my opinion, the key to this situation is that CCU was recently denied funds by the federal court provided by the state to students who stay in state to pursue a college degree. The court ruled CCU is “pervasively sectarian.” More so now than ever. And if CCU is to have any hope of receiving this money, they are running in the wrong direction. In fact, CCU’s strategic objective of free enterprise has dropped them on a double edged sword. A good portion of CCU’ monetary donations come from people whom most would label religious conservatives. So when a professor “seems” to be teaching something other than donor’s beliefs, the school falls under pressure and has chosen to quiet the noise by ridding the school of intelligent professors. The product of this, as I said above, is rejected state funds most private Christian schools wouldn’t have a chance at anyway, let alone schools with the mentality of the current administration of CCU.



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 11:00 pm


Danielle:
“also, to the person who thinks that the alumni should speak out against Armstrong: we have…there are still many financial tanks willing to pour money into the way he runs things.”
Keep pushing for academic freedom and excellence in education!
What are the financial tanks willing to put money behind Armstrong’s vision?
What does the Board of Directors (Trustees) think about Armstrong’s vision?
So sad to watch an institution slide into mediocrity.
You have my sympathies.



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aaron

posted August 15, 2007 at 11:07 pm


It is if you aren’t Gonzalez, by and large.
Ok, if YOU say so.
I know what the talking points are, but any way you slice his accomplishments, there is simply no way anyone else is denied tenure for having accomplished what he accomplished.
Many qualified people are passed for tenure. Gonzalez failed to engage in and find funding for research, and ISU being a research university, this tends to be a big thing. I know you know what the talking points are as you cannot deviate from them without easily losing the argument.
I think you know well what I mean, which is that any effort to elevate the legitimacy of ID is automatically dismissed.
That’s the claim that hasn’t been established.
You back over yourself here.
No, just your typical lack of reading comprehension and desire to argue with what you want the person to have said rather than what they actually said.
Is submission for peer review important or no?
Yes, which is where the ID’sts fail, as they seem to not even submit (with a few teeny tiny exceptions) manuscripts to academic journals, but they have plenty of time to write quacked out books, go on church speaking tours, or spend their tenure track time writing books to a non-literate public about misrepresentations of science they’ll never understand.
I mean, you’re tooting Gonzalez’s horn here and his publications. Why is his ID “research” never submitted to the same peers the other much touted papers are?
Or is it important only up to the point it benefits Gonzalez, and not at any other point? Which argument are you making here?
You seem to be under the mistaken notion that:
1) I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too
2) All publications are equal
3) That 15 is some magical admittance number, when it’s merely a “we’ll consider your application now” minimum
4) That there is some conspiracy to keep IDists from publishing (hint they don’t even submit, so how can they be rejected?)
5) Failure to initiate and publish work independent of past associates does not factor into the tenure process (strange for one who usually applauds the entrepreneurial spirit)
6) Failure to get significant grant funding at a research university does not factor into the tenure process
For the record, there is no real theory as to how the universe began.
And that has what to do with ID’s pseudoscience?
The big bang theory takes us from a certain point, but what began it all?
Good question, anyone who claims to know the answer is a certified nut.
Research into the origins of all existence ought to be legitimate, and Darwin does nothing to get us there.
Well I wouldn’t think so either, as Darwin was about how species change in time, not sure why you’re invoking him here.
At any rate, just as Christian colleges expel ideas that run contrary to biblical truth, so secular schools expel ideas that are consonant with biblical truth. As such, secular schools teach that which is false.

Ah, I see, you are a certified nut.



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kevin s.

posted August 15, 2007 at 11:38 pm


“Speculating on the ORIGIN of the universe falls within the realms of astrophysics, metaphysics and theology.”
Why? Do you reject the notion that God designed the universe? What else in the Bible is myth?
“Anyone is free to advance a theory on the origin of the universe, but it would have to be verifiable by scientific methods for the scientific community to give it serious attention.”
But if trying to prove the existence of an intelligent designer is out of bounds, then, for Christians, the scientific community is incapable of discovering the truth.
“Have the Intelligent Designers advanced a theory, for the origin of the universe, other than the myth in Genesis?”
ID has nothing to do with the Genesis account of creation, which isn’t to say that they aren’t compatible. For the record, and I think you know this and are hoping to start an argument, I do not consider the Genesis account of creation to be a myth.
“I believe the universe always was.”
I believe that God always has been. Will you concede that either phenomena has yet to be adequately explained by science, which has yet to find a way to account for the concept of eternal history?



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 15, 2007 at 11:48 pm


Danielle,
Just to clarify:
I was careful to qualify my statement by stating that only Christians can act consciously and unselfishly at the same time. I ought to add to this rationally.
No individual has a rational explanation for acting unselfishly, unless they are hoping for some future benefit, in which case they are again acting selfishly.
The uniqueness of the Christian Ethic is that we have already been promised our reward. It is unconditional. So acting unselfishly now is done purely in imitation of Christ, and remains peculiarly rational.
No unregenerate individual can make the same claim and no other religion I know of makes this claim either.
Nathanael Snow



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justintime

posted August 15, 2007 at 11:58 pm


The Trustees of Colorado Christian University should read this comment from Another nonymous and give it their serious consideration.
……………
“Let me just say that faith seems to me, of all the soul’s attributes, the least likely to develop in an environment where intellectual vitality is not allowed full and vigorous expression.”
……………………………..
And then start looking for the right man to fill the vacancy left by Bill Armstrong.



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:01 am


Errata: Please substitute ‘the right person’ for ‘the right man’.



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Anonymous

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:03 am


It has been fascinating – and I admit – a bit self-indulgent to not only read the story in the Rocky Mountain News regarding my situation at Colorado Christian University, but to watch the internet chatter that it has produced. In the past 72 hours, I’ve gotten calls from Christianity Today, the Peter Boyles Show, and a caring Pastor in Longmont, CO. I’ve seen my name on both the Sojourners and Relevant Magazine web-site. My kids think I’m famous and wonder if I am by default therefore rich. My wife – she knows better. She’s not impressed.
There are a few things I’d like to clear up in the chatter. First of all, I was a full-time Assistant Professor of Global Studies at CCU. Not part-time, not adjunct. I was fully a part of the faculty community at CCU. I was voted Faculty of the Year in 2005 – 2006, promoted, celebrated and marketed as a vital part of the future of CCU.
Second, I do lack a PhD in my field, which a few bloggers have enjoyed referring to. No one has been more aware of this than me. That being said, in addition to years of field experience, I do have an MA in International Development and Human Rights from the University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies. Check for yourself where GSIS ranks in the nation in this field. Make sure you check near the top – because that’s where you’ll find it, right around Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. Go DU!
Third, what has been interesting to me throughout this process is that my specialty in academia is not political economy. This is taught by others at CCU – not me. My focus and discipline is International Development. Obviously, at a small school, Professors are asked to teach a wider breadth of subjects than what they might otherwise do at a larger institution. This was certainly true with me, as over a period of two years I taught 9 different courses.
My stance on capitalism is this… it is obviously a very efficient and pragmatic economic system that has produced the largest and wealthiest country the world has ever seen. It also can be exploitative, lead to human greed, and leave vast populations behind in its wake. It can turn citizens into consumers. Adam Smith writes that the common good is served by the individual pursuit of self-interest. Excuse me if I believe that the pursuit of my own self-interest might be in contrast to the life of Christ that exemplifies the pursuit of the interest of others. This is my tension. I have a house, two kids, two cars — the American Dream. I also work in the slums of Africa, trying desperately to generate markets and enterprise so that people do not have to be mired in stupid poverty. If and when capitalism works – I’m all for it. But the tenets of my faith are bigger than the political economy of the West.
Let me say it this way. In Christ, you and I are set free, not for the individual pursuit of happiness, but set free for the collective pursuit of holiness. We are called by God not for ourselves, but for the glory of His Kingdom, and for the service of others. We, the fortunate ones of this great country have somehow forgotten that it is impossible to serve others while at the same time believing we are better than the others we are called to serve. Selfishness, greed, gluttony – these are epidemic in our culture. These might be the real threats to our way of life, but because they stare at us in the mirror, we are reluctant to say so. Instead, we write off the prophets among us as “liberal”, “radical”, or even “anti-American.” I can hear Amos. Can you?
I am as perplexed as any as to why the use of Jim Wallis in class was a problem. I can understand the misgivings, though, with Peter Singer. The book I used of his is entitled ONE WORLD – THE ETHICS OF GLOBALIZATION. I do not agree with everything the book has to offer. I do believe, though, that Singer offers some very interesting things to think about in the realm of ethics, responsibility, and the global community. Read it. There are things in there that might challenge us all to recognize both the fallacies of our own nationalism and the consequences of inaction (or wrong action) on the global stage. Peter Singer might have something to say to the Christian community.
These details aside, Colorado Christian was a University. But now, it is a place where students are told “what to think.” This is President Armstrong’s written definition of the teaching profession. Teaching is “telling students what to think.” I disagree. And I am saddened, because I love CCU, my former colleagues and students, and even have respect for President Armstrong and his achievements in his life. I just believe he is wrong for dismissing me based on the grounds mentioned. I don’t have a PhD – I’m young in the academic profession, but none of these were ever mentioned as reasons for my dismissal. No, it was pure political (poorly disguised by religious) ideology. I am not perfect. I have a lot to learn. I wrestle with these issues daily. But this was wrong, both in decision and process.
By the way, I will not end this without a plug for The 10/10 Project. In 4 years, we’ve partnered with our African friends in creating almost 300 businesses that provide income for families that were previously living on just $1 per day. Check it out – get involved – and remember that poverty and justice matter to all of us.
http://www.the1010project.org
http://www.andrewsyed.blogspot.com
Proverbs 31:8-9



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kevin s.

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:12 am


“Ok, if YOU say so.”
You first made the case the Gonzalez doesn’t get credit for articles prior to ISU. I noted that he meets the criteria either way. You then shifted gears. Even if I cede your argument, he meets the criterion in letter, and blows the criterion out of the water in spirit.
Incidentally, the department’s tenure policy has says this about published work:
“For promotion to associate professor, excellence sufficient to lead to a national or international reputation is required and would ordinarily be shown by the publication of approximately fifteen papers of good quality in refereed journals.”
Not only has Gonzalez appeared in refereed journals, he has served as the referee himself.
Gonzalez’s peers concede that his embrace of intelligent design influenced their decision. Gonzalez was the victim of an overzealous religious studies prof. (whose own ideas would classify him as a nut much moreso than mine). There is simply no way that Gonzalez is one of the very few to be denied tenure if he doesn’t embrace ID.
You can argue whether that is fair, but that is the reason, and that does not constitue academic freedom in my view.
“You seem to be under the mistaken notion that:
1) I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too”
You are.
“2) All publications are equal”
I have not made this argument.
“3) That 15 is some magical admittance number, when it’s merely a “we’ll consider your application now” minimum”
See above.
“4) That there is some conspiracy to keep IDists from publishing (hint they don’t even submit, so how can they be rejected?)”
Publishing what? Gonzalez published plenty.
5) Failure to initiate and publish work independent of past associates does not factor into the tenure process (strange for one who usually applauds the entrepreneurial spirit)
Where so you see that Gonzalez has failed to initiate and publish work? He has consistently done so. I have plenty of criticisms of the tenure process as they relate to the entrepreneurial spirit, but that is not what this is about.
6) Failure to get significant grant funding at a research university does not factor into the tenure process”
This is all you have to stand on, but it is not an expressly stated reason, and many who had not received grant funding were granted tenure. It factors is for political reasons, and Gonzalez was certainly denied tenure for political reasons, but not for this one.
“And that has what to do with ID’s pseudoscience?”
That it is one means of attempting to explain what has yet to be explained. I disagree that ID consitutes pseudoscience.
“Well I wouldn’t think so either, as Darwin was about how species change in time, not sure why you’re invoking him here.”
Simply to illustrate how far scientific theory is from explaining how the universe began. Further, you cannot deny that much of the anti-ID fervor is based on the fact that it runs afoul of evolutionary theory.
“Ah, I see, you are a certified nut.”
You find all Christians to be nuts, or at least those who believe the Bible to be literally true in any substantive way.



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:17 am


Straight from the horse’s mouth…can’t get any more direct than that.
I agree with Mike M…probably because I am very good friends with him. But the university really is going at this in entirely the wrong direction.
Justintime:
The Board of Trustees elected Senator Armstrong who, in agreement with Mike M, lacks any form of a college degree and seems to have no problem with the conflict of his non-degree and running a UNIVERSITY. The Board of Trustees had a trustee member on it who just happened to be Senator Armstrong’s wife…but to ‘eliminate a conflict of interests,’ she stepped down (I’m sure that resolved said conflict.)
Point being–the board elected him to make money for the school. He’s doing just that. Unfortunately, most members on the board are so conservative that they put forth and were mulling over the idea of mandating chapel to the point that if students did not go regularly, they would be fined, put on academic probation and potentially not graduate (we are already fined nicely for not attending.) These people on the board are also very conservative–religiously and politically. They want to make money for the school…to “put it on the map” as they are fond of saying. In doing so, they are making themselves MORE “pervasively sectarian” by eliminating prized professors from different ends of the educational and opinionated spectrum. It’s been an issue for CCU for some time now that many churches will not send their youth group students here or advise them to come here because we are not conservative enough. CCU has “too many liberal professors that don’t believe in six-day creation,” they say. Cue Armstrong: weeds out the “bad apples” and brings in money from more youth groups to “put CCU on the map.”
I’m not sure what map it is that the trustees seem to want to see CCU on…but the only map it’s going on for many is that of ultra-conservative, mindless Christian schools.
Professor Paquin/Syed made a good point: Colorado Christian USED TO BE a university. Now, academic freedom is limited freedom (paradoxically,) and is available to those who desire it and thrive on it from impeccable professors…but it is also becoming a breeding ground for the anti-intellectual.



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kevin s.

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:18 am


Professor Paquin,
Thank you for your comments. It sounds as though you were treated unfairly. I am sorry to hear that.



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kevin s.

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:24 am


“The Board of Trustees elected Senator Armstrong who, in agreement with Mike M, lacks any form of a college degree and seems to have no problem with the conflict of his non-degree and running a UNIVERSITY.”
Ugh. I didn’t know that. To the extent that I defended the College’s actions here, I retract my defense.



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:31 am


Kevin: “But if trying to prove the existence of an intelligent designer is out of bounds, then, for Christians, the scientific community is incapable of discovering the truth.”
….
Could you run that by me again, Kevin?
….
Kevin: “For the record, and I think you know this and are hoping to start an argument, I do not consider the Genesis account of creation to be a myth.”
….
Do you think Genesis should be advanced as a theory for the origin of the universe – and be examined by science?
….
justintime: “I believe the universe always was.”
kevin: “I believe that God always has been.”
….
Can we agree so far, Kevin?
….
Then you say: “Will you concede that either phenomena has yet to be adequately explained by science, which has yet to find a way to account for the concept of eternal history?”
….
What’s the logical punch line on this line of reasoning, Kevin?



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kevin s.

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:43 am


“Could you run that by me again, Kevin?”
I am beginning with the assumption, as a Christian, that the universe was designed by God. As such, any scientific inquiry that rejects the idea of an intelligent designer out of hand cannot result in truth. If it can, then I have faith in a non-existent God.
“Do you think Genesis should be advanced as a theory for the origin of the universe – and be examined by science? ”
Absolutely.
“What’s the logical punch line on this line of reasoning, Kevin?”
Based on your previous posts, the line would be that science cannot explain God, but I would amend that to say that science has simply not explained that way God created the universe.



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kevin s.

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:44 am


“Could you run that by me again, Kevin?”
I am beginning with the assumption, as a Christian, that the universe was designed by God. As such, any scientific inquiry that rejects the idea of an intelligent designer out of hand cannot result in truth. If it can, then I have faith in a non-existent God.
“Do you think Genesis should be advanced as a theory for the origin of the universe – and be examined by science? ”
Absolutely.
“What’s the logical punch line on this line of reasoning, Kevin?”
Based on your previous posts, the line would be that science cannot explain God, but I would amend that to say that science has simply not explained that way God created the universe.



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 1:02 am


Thanks to Professor Panquin for the courage and passion of a true teacher and for stating his position with clarity and eloquence.



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Trevor Simmons

posted August 16, 2007 at 1:40 am


Let me begin by saying that I wholeheartedly support Andrew Paquin’s case. My statements in the Rocky Mountain News article demonstrates that: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/education/article/0,1299,DRMN_957_5670848,00.html
I, like Danielle, am an insider, both through my involvement with the 10/10 Project as well as the numerous classes I had with him. My opinion is that CCU’s dismissal of Andrew Paquin represents a travesty of everything a university should be; namely, a template for learning, dialogue, and the free exchange of ideas.
There is little I can add to the comments by Danielle and Andrew. I second the opinion that his classes were balanced, unobtrusive, and his endorsement of any idea or ideology was always qualified. In a nutshell, it was a mistake to dismiss Andrew Paquin.
But like Danielle I maintain that the fault here lies with the administration, and particularly President Armstrong. Those of you who have questioned the qualities of Christian universities should think twice. Through CCU, I spent two semester abroad studying at the University of Oxford, with around 75 other students from Christian colleges around the U.S. No, this program was not an extension of our Christian colleges. We were exposed, in full, to the life of a student at one of the world’s finest universities. Our professors (they call them tutors), except in theology, were generally not religious, and they hardly fit the mold that many tend to lump Christian into. Our professors at Oxford were and are world-class scholars, on top of the academic world. Their books have won international prizes, they have edited prestigious journals like the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and they have taken research and teaching fellowships at many of the world’s leading universities. And do you know what they said about us “Christian college students?” That we are some of the most lively, intelligent, industrious, and free-thinking students they encounter at Oxford. And as a product of the questionable Colorado Christian University, I was told by two Oxford professors that I fell roughly on the border between an Oxford “First” and “Second.” Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher were both Oxford “Seconds.” The point is that CCU is not an institution that brainwashes students; rather, its fine professors are competently preparing students for successful work at the world’s leading universities. Andrew Paquin was one of these fine professors. The problem lies with the administration.
What do I attribute this to? Like Danielle, I attribute this to professors which, despite their personal convictions, encourage their students to interact with the world and its ideas. Never once while at CCU did I feel my thinking was limited by anything. Having been raised to be politically and intellectually conservative, it was at CCU that I experienced by first faith crisis, my first crisis of belief (faith, politics, or otherwise), and at CCU that I largely worked out these crises. CCU has been, and can still be, a place where students are able to embrace higher learning and all it entails. Professors like Andrew Paquin make it possible; his dismissal does not sound the death knell of academic freedom at Christian colleges. It is important, however, that dynamic and engaging professors like him remain at CCU.
And if Christian colleges do not foster this academic freedom, how do you explain the success of Christian college students when they go on to “real” universities? My Christian college friends that attended the Oxford program with me are making their way to some of the finest institutions in the world, three of which were awarded nice fellowships to attend Yale.
As for me, a 2007 graduate of CCU, I was awarded the John K. Rice Fellowship to the Ph.D program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This is their top fellowship for historians of British history. Is Andrew Paquin’s firing a travesty? Yes. Does it mean that Christian colleges cannot be respectable places of learning? No. With enough effort of concerned people like yourselves, we can “put them back on the map.”



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aaron

posted August 16, 2007 at 7:31 am


kevin,
you obviously have some reading comprehension issues, it would be a waste of time to reiterate the same points you consistently fail to “get”. I understand you don’t have experience in a university science department, it’s simple as that.



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aaron

posted August 16, 2007 at 7:33 am


“Do you think Genesis should be advanced as a theory for the origin of the universe – and be examined by science? ”
Absolutely.

It was examined starting about 200 years ago, and found severely lacking in supporting evidence.



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Donny

posted August 16, 2007 at 8:10 am


And this doesn’t sound similar to “profs” getting booted from secular schools for NOT worshipping at the feet of Charles Darwin’s little insanity gone mainstream?
And come one now, Jin Wallis is absolutely a socialist.
Ala Chavez?
Where Leftists go, freedom gets extinquished.
Deal with the truth my little commie neighbors.



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Dave

posted August 16, 2007 at 8:23 am


If anyone actually wants to help Paquin and preserve academic integrity in the face of —- here is a link to sign a petition started by a student of CCU.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/AndrewPaquinatCCU/



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Anonymous

posted August 16, 2007 at 10:12 am


” I understand you don’t have experience in a university science department, it’s simple as that.”
Ah, so why did you even bother engaging, if it was just going to end with an appeal to authority?



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Danielle Bilbruck

posted August 16, 2007 at 10:23 am


Please…everyone and anyone…sign that petition. Thus far, we’ve only had student and alum signatures, which carry weight, but not enough. If we have community members signing this petition…well, we may not get Professor Paquin/Syed back, but we will make some changes in this university.



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Jeff

posted August 16, 2007 at 10:28 am


The dismissal of Prof. Paquin gives Christian academics an opportunity. Let’s not choose the path of arrogance blazed by Harvard faculty when dealing with their president who challeged feminist dogma.
Instead we must continue down the path of scholarship. Look for leaders and profs from Christian institutions to step forward.
Jeff



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Charity

posted August 16, 2007 at 10:50 am


Danielle,
First let me apologies for my comment regarding indoctrination and brainwashing. I did not mean to imply that any particular person had been brainwashed or even that every Christian college and/or institution engaged in that behavior.
When I wrote that post, I was angry and spoke/posted hastily. I don’t completely take back what I said, but I admit that it was way too general and lacked fairness. When we speak in anger, we often are (at least I am). So I apologize for the insult – I was out of line.
The reason for my anger is this – I’m an academic librarian and when I first came into the field, I did apply at some smaller Bible colleges and Christian institutions near family. I was appalled at the contract I would have had to sign. That contract would have muzzled me regarding what I would say, even off the clock. It also dictated what I could and could not believe, which really offended me. Interestingly enough, having been raised as a Baptist, I was always taught that only the wicked tries to prevent people from speaking out and that it was my duty as a Christian to speak out against tyranny – even within the Church.
In the end, I joined the library at a state-run, research institution. But as a librarian, I have become very alarmed over these last six years at the level of censorship that is happening before the students even see anything. (Many government documents that were freely available are no longer availalle to anyone – and this started happening BEFORE 9/11). And talking to some librarians at these Christian institutions, I know that there is pressure put on the librarians not to buy certain types of books. Like it or not, that does result in muzzling academic freedom. I feel it’s dangerous because one of the easiest ways to manipulate people is to allow access that only supports a certain viewpoint of those in charge. It’s what dictatorships do – book burning is very popular and it happens at both extremes.
Re: evolution v. creationism or ID. As a librarian, I want materials covering both aspects. My job is not to say what is true, but to provide access to both points of view, regardless of my personal feelings. Which also means buying Ann Coulter AND Jim Wallis. The discussion as to the scientific validity has to happen within the discipline.



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aaron

posted August 16, 2007 at 11:56 am


Ah, so why did you even bother engaging, if it was just going to end with an appeal to authority?
because appeals to authority (Thy Will be done Lord) are what christians understadn best? That,and facts of the matter did not persuade (not sure if it’s intentional, or stems from the lack of reading comprehension skills), tinfoil hat conspiracies are preferred.



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:10 pm


If you agree with this statement…
“With his practical and experiential knowledge in the non-profit sector, as well as his relentless passion for empowering the poor and marginalized, Professor Andrew Paquin should remain an asset to the Global Studies Department of Colorado Christian University.”
…please sign the petition at:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/AndrewPaquinatCCU/
I did.



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kevin s.

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:32 pm


“because appeals to authority (Thy Will be done Lord) are what christians understadn best?”
Touche.
It’s not conspiracy theory. There was a petition drive targetting Gonzalez. If his work was so trifling that his tenure candidacy had no legitimacy, why bother with the petition? At which university do you teach, may I ask?



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Moderatelad

posted August 16, 2007 at 2:03 pm


Please…everyone and anyone…sign that petition.
Not going to sign. This is a private institution and they have the right to assemble their faculty as they see fit. It is not a state school with tax dollors – the student makes a choice wheather to go there or not.
Blessings –
.



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aaron

posted August 16, 2007 at 2:04 pm


It’s not conspiracy theory. There was a petition drive targetting Gonzalez.
I’m not denying that, I’m saying the conspiracy is in believing the IDists are blacklisted, when they don’t even attempt to submit their ID ‘research” to the proper chaneels, so how would we know? (note: they do submit their mainstream research [i.e. all of Gonzalez's works SANS his ID stuff]to the proper channels, see the difference?)
If his work was so trifling that his tenure candidacy had no legitimacy, why bother with the petition?
His candidacy did have merit, in that he met the minimum qualifications to be CONSIDERED, but being considered is a far cry from meeting a minimum criteria and then automatically getting in, see the difference?
At which university do you teach, may I ask?

I don’t but have considered going that route. I know enough (especially in a science departement, let alone a research geared one) that meeting a minimum standard is not a guarantee.
I’m not saying Gonzalez is stupid or anything like that, he’s co-authored a respectable Astronomy text and has a good background, but I liken him to a talented stock broker, he makes his first company lots of millions, then he moves to a bigger firm with long-term career prospects, but suddenly his work output decreases dramatically and he is no longer bringing in the big bucks, and during this loss of performance, he spends time writing an economics book touting long-discredited economic theories under a new name. It would be no surprise if the company decides not to keep him after witnessing their prospect fizzle out.



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CKC

posted August 16, 2007 at 2:12 pm


I agree that academic freedom and censorship are issues worthy of discussion. However, I think we miss the point by debating whether it was just to fire this professor. For me, this is a prime example of how some religious conservatives mix and confuse Christianity with patriotism, or if you will, love of God and love of country. Jim Wallis addressed this in God’s Politics, “Since when did believing in God and having moral values make you pro-war, pro-rich, and pro-Republican?” Since when is capitalism and the free market part of Jesus’ Gospel message?
Somehow in certain circles being pro-America is part and parcel with their faith: criticize America and suddenly you have committed heresy. They often fail to remember JW’s other oft quoted point, “God is not an American.”
As Christians we all need to understand that our country, our citizenry, and our government are not above the laws of God. America doesn’t get a buy simply because some believe we are the greatest nation on earth due to Divine Providence. America does evil things. Just because we try not to do evil or we do fewer evil things than other countries doesn’t make it OK. Evil is unfavorable to God regardless of who does it.
I think this situation provides an ironic opportunity for further support of the separation of church and state. But what we need to do is not keep God out of the White House, but keep the flag out of church. I think the real heresy is equating American patriotism with being a good Chrisitian.



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Dave Bennett

posted August 16, 2007 at 2:39 pm


I actually wrote a letter to William Armstrong, strongly urging him to not let the standards of Academia down by terminating Professor Paquin. I believe the termination to be an act of censorship in the worst way.
Still I received an email back (surprisingly) and in good taste. Though we agreed to disagree, I do believe that the lesson I learned today is not to be so hasty with judgments on situations that I have not witnessed nor can verify.
Though this thought seems mildly rancid (in lieu of the amount of media accessible today, and the resulting feeling of powerlessness) it atleast accounts for the realness of the situation.
Professor Paquin, and President Armstrong–are not points of debate (though we tend to turn persons in media-based events into them) they are real people, with their lives, emotions, personalities, and character on the line. Let us not forget that as we haphazardly argue and quibble over justice–or what is right. If we do, then we pervert justice and the human good in the act of working towards it.



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kevin s.

posted August 16, 2007 at 3:32 pm


“don’t even attempt to submit their ID ‘research” to the proper chaneels, so how would we know? (note: they do submit their mainstream research [i.e. all of Gonzalez's works SANS his ID stuff]to the proper channels, see the difference?)”
Gonzalez ID work was based on the same research as that which was submitted for peer review.
“His candidacy did have merit, in that he met the minimum qualifications to be CONSIDERED, but being considered is a far cry from meeting a minimum criteria and then automatically getting in, see the difference?”
15 is not described as a minimum standard. It is described as a means of proving ones national and international influence. Further, there is no requirement that all of his work be during his time at ISU. This is a contrivance used to explain his denial of tenure after the fact.
That said, I do see a difference between the minimum standard and a compelling case for tenure. One might also expect his work to be referenced by other researchers extensively (it is) and that he be considered an excellent instructor (he is).
His work is rated as the most influential amongst his colleagues in his own department according to standards created by the ADS. He has had more citiations of his work DURING his time at ISU than any other professor in the department.
Further, he would have undoubtedly published more had he not been working on two textbooks, one of which is the intro. textbook used by his own school. Should professors not write textbooks in order to pad their submissions to journals?
Professors do not solely exist to bring in the big bucks. Otherwise, scores of professors would have to be denied tenure solely on this criterion. A number of professors have admitted that their vote was based on the ID issue, so I am not just making it up.
And yes, it presents a problem when the scientific community dismisses ID as science on the basis that it isn’t science, and refeuses to allow scientific inquiry. What happened at ISU is a breach of academic freedom.



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aaron

posted August 16, 2007 at 4:04 pm


A number of professors have admitted that their vote was based on the ID issue, so I am not just making it up.

Kevin, I’d like to explore this claim a little more. I’ve been through 4 pages of google results and can’t really find the source for the quotes of these scientists, but rather I keep finding some variant where a small quote is taken, and then West or Luskin (notorious liar…PR spokesman for the Discovery Institute)writes about two paragraphs putting their own spin on a one sentence quote



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kevin s.

posted August 16, 2007 at 4:26 pm


Prof. John Hauptman (who opposed Gonzalez) writes in his own editorial, stating the following.
” Intelligent design is the notion that a supreme being arranged it for us.
The Greeks thought in a similar way. Grains grew, so there had to be a god Ceres who managed this. The oceans had waves and tides and sank ships, so the god Poseidon was responsible for these. There was love and war and lightning, and a god for each: Aphrodite, Ares and Zeus.
We are past this way of thinking about nature. If one person exemplifies this, it is Galileo, who argued that just thinking about what you see and imagining reasons are not enough. You must test your ideas with measurements, and your ideas (your “theory”) must not only agree with all previous measurements, but also predict the results of measurements that have not yet been made. Any single wrong prediction, and you must junk the theory.
Intelligent design is not even a theory. It has not made its first prediction, nor suffered its first test by measurement. Its proponents can call it anything they like, but it is not science.”
That is his case in it’s entirety.
He concludes by stating this his decision…
“…is purely a question of what is science and what is not, and a physics department is not obligated to support notions that do not even begin to meet scientific standards.”
In other words, it is purely a question of whether intelligent design is science. That comes from him, and not Casey Luskin.



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Maria

posted August 16, 2007 at 6:03 pm


Wow…I’m Catholic, yet believe in evolution…I guess in Kevin’s eyes I’m not a Christian….
Sad…



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 6:19 pm


Intelligent Design is not a theory of the origin of the universe or a theory of anything else.
Intelligent Design is simply not science.
If you talk to ID groupies, you will first hear them attack Darwin’s theory of the origin of species.
They argue that evolution is flawed science.
Then you will hear them propose that ID be taught alongside evolution in the high school science curriculum.
Their idea is that once high school students are exposed to both ID and the evolution of species, they can make up their own minds on they should believe, the evolution of species or the Book of Genesis.
ID is just a Trojan Horse for Christianizing the science curriculum in our public schools and breaking the firewall between their religion and the American government.
In this respect, ID is anti-science and also anti US Constitution.
I won’t have my kids wasting any of their precious time on this Trojan Horse.



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squeaky

posted August 16, 2007 at 7:57 pm


“If you talk to ID groupies, you will first hear them attack Darwin’s theory of the origin of species.
They argue that evolution is flawed science.”
Ironically, ID groupies don’t even understand ID. IDists like Michael Behe do not in any way discount evolution (in fact, he uses evolutionary processes to support his hypothesis). In order to accept ID, one must also accept evolution.
As a scientist, the bright side of ID is that young earth creationism is beginning to be passed over. The ID of Behe and others accepts an old earth and evolution. I would think most creationists would be threatened by that, as it is, afterall, a slippery slope which will lead exactly where we should be in the first place–to the conclusion that science does not work the way religion does (and vice versa), and therefore should not be treated as such (see S. J. Gould’s “Rocks of Ages”).
In the meantime, scientifically, ID is best and only referred to as an hypothesis. Theories are hypotheses that have been tested for decades by 100’s if not 1000’s of researchers whose results appear in PEER REVIEWED



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Squeaky

posted August 16, 2007 at 8:02 pm


(continued)
journals. If the hypothesis stands up to such tests, it becomes a theory. ID is not, by definition, a theory, nor is it even close to becoming one. Evolution is a theory, and by definition has been subjected to rigorous testing.
Sorry about the weird gap there–somehow the message posted spontaneously before I was finished.



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 8:34 pm


Thanks to Squeaky for the clarification.
It’s encouraging to hear that Intelligent Design itself has evolved.
The version I was first exposed to out here in the ‘boondocks’ offered only the young earth alternative for confused high schoolers.
About 5 or 6 years back, a local cabal of young earth believers succeeded in planting an anti-evolution, Intelligent Design biology teacher into a nearby high school.
When one of the student’s parents tipped off the ACLU about what was going on in the biology class, the town became engulfed in a nationwide Church and State controversy.
The local ‘Young Earth Society’ was given substantial technical support from the Discovery Institute, the intelligent design think tank.
The district superintendent nearly lost his job for offering a compromise to keep the biology teacher.
But the parents wouldn’t budge and the teacher was replaced and the sup’t kept his job.
Years later, bitterly righteous letters from the Young Earth Society still appear in the local paper.
I know most of them – they’re card carrying Republicans.



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jerry

posted August 16, 2007 at 8:43 pm


didn’t jesus say something about staying away from those that don’t accept God and who spew bad things? justintime, you sound like an totally tolerant, anything goes liberal. you rock with obama, osama and yo mama (hillary). and thanks for your unsolicited advice on armstrong. now…..pull your head out of yourself and take a deep breath so you can realize that you are not the decider, you are not the judge and you don’t get to manage education. your ego trumps trump.
let freedom operate. if ccu doesn’t want paquin dump him. why do university professors think they have a monoply on their teaching job? tenure is for losers. if paquin had any b— he would leave and go where he can spew his view. academacians are a joke outside their cloistered world. no practical answers.



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 9:06 pm


Jerry offers nuggets of wisdom and
solves our controversy with a single post.
Thank you, Jerry.
If you’d only offered these nuggets at the beginning of this thread, it would have saved us all a lot of difficult thinking.



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YetAnotherRick

posted August 16, 2007 at 9:22 pm


Poor Wallis. The Right calls him a Communist. The Left calls him a Dominionist and Religious Supremacist. He deserves better than that for all the hard work he’s done over several decades.



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Deryll

posted August 16, 2007 at 9:29 pm


Jerry
Take a breath; “your” ego is about to explode. Then:
Give the Jesus quote and tell how it applies.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 16, 2007 at 10:39 pm


I was always afraid of the leftist Darwinian humanistic view that seems to go along with Darwinism then evolution science .
When I ran for school board , it was hard enough I was a lousy student when I was in school , and happen to be a an Evangelcial Christian , I had the liberals bombing me with what I thought of Evolution and such at the election forums .
I wanted to talk about drugs , community and parental involvement , better up to date books , getting behind the kids , and I was being asked about Kanas .
What I said was when a child asks at my wife’s Daycare/Preschool why flowers grow , they are told God makes it rain and that helps them grow .
“In public school we are taught about
photosynthesis
Evolution is science collected best guess on how we got here .” The right was disappointed , and the left called me a stealth . The athesist , secularuist progressives won of course. The School Union wanted her , They got their health clinic for the HS and homosexual protection for the students , suicide prevention classes
along with a couple of suicides , and now they are fighting among themselves which is strange because they made such a point of blocking the community out unless you were inaggreement with their group .
When I went to the school board meeting dealing with the Health Clinic I made a point of there already was a free health clinic nearby the HS that could be gotten to easyily by 14 to 18 yr olds , but that the kids in elementary school who were living in poverty and other reasons might be better served by a health clinic . The clinic was a freebie by the Health Department . So you think the little kids got the help , dental care , nope the smart evolutionsist chose the dogmatic religious dominated secualarist condom dispenser . After all , we animals can’t walk to the local clinic , and 5 year olds have no say .
I would not equate belief in evolution and bel;ief in education being neccessarily the same thing , obviously there is more to it .



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 11:03 pm


You lost me there, Mick.



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Deryll

posted August 16, 2007 at 11:11 pm


Sorry Mick Sheldon, I don’t follow you. Try again What are you trying to say?



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justintime

posted August 16, 2007 at 11:11 pm


YetAnotherRick:
“Poor Wallis. The Right calls him a Communist. The Left calls him a Dominionist and Religious Supremacist. He deserves better than that for all the hard work he’s done over several decades.”
I agree, Jim deserves much praise for bringing sanity into the politics and religion debate.
But I’ve never heard him called a Dominionist or a Religious Supremacist.
How absurd.
Where did you hear that?



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kevin s.

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:27 am


“Wow…I’m Catholic, yet believe in evolution…I guess in Kevin’s eyes I’m not a Christian…. Sad…”
Where did I say this? Apparently, I have an alter-ego that also happens to be a straw man.
“In this respect, ID is anti-science and also anti US Constitution.”
Only by way of a syllogism of your own devising. For some scientists who believe in God, it is simply a way of discovering how God created the universe. If you believe in God, Justintime (and you have implied that you do), you are aware that he created the universe. Would you concede that this God is an intelligent designer.
“IDists like Michael Behe do not in any way discount evolution (in fact, he uses evolutionary processes to support his hypothesis). In order to accept ID, one must also accept evolution.”
Well, one must concede natural selection, which I do, though one may reject elements of Darwinian evolution. I’ll agree that many ID proponents do not fully understand ID. It is always frustrating when the uneducated advance a viewpoint with which you happen to agree.
” Evolution is a theory, and by definition has been subjected to rigorous testing.”
Hmmm… It depends on how you define rigorous testing. We have not seen a species evolve into another species. There are gaps in the fossil record (I know that is a talking point, but it has not been refuted), we do not see even insects becoming other insects, much less mammals becoming other mammals. There is meandering, equivocal data w/r/t anomalisitc structures in fruitflies and some flowers. That’s about as rigorous as it gets.
I’m not sure Behe concedes as much as you are insinuating.
As for high school, I couldn’t get too worked up since my high school did such a piss poor job of teaching science (or anything at all) anyway. Go Spartans.



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Larz

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:29 am


“…do they not allow students to read the Koran?” Yes. In Expoloring World Cultures: Middle East, the students (myself included) were required to read the entire Qur’an.
I am a CCU student currently, and as such, I will not add much. However, I seriously considered dropping out of CCU and completing my last year someplace else. However, I was in Africa with the 10/10 Project and could not think about such things too strenuously. After all, it will be my last year.
I am a Global Studies major, a major that has been the fastest growing major on campus, mainly due to the wonderfully engaging classes that Professor Paquin/Syed taught. Now there are no Global Studies professors as such. Only three history profs, an economics prof and an assortment of adjuncts. I do not in any way mean to demean them, but the whole idea makes little sense to me.
I, for one, do not like being told what to think. I like to be shown the options and encouraged to think for myself. At CCU those days seem to be waning. I can only hope that when I graduate next May with a degree in Global Studies, it will be recognized as legitimate in the ‘outside world.’
Thanks to all who have added input and signed the petition. And remember to check out the 10/10 Project.
Thank you, Danielle, for your wonderfully articulate response(s). I appreciate your eloquence. You covered all I wanted to say and more.
Also thanks to Trevor. I very much appreciated your comments in the Rocky Mountain News article, as well as here.
And lastly, thanks to Andrew for everything I learned in your classes and everything I still hope to learn as I strive to stay connected with the 10/10 Project.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 17, 2007 at 5:33 am


You lost me there, Mick.
justintime
confirmed by Deryll
Sorry about that rant , was
incoherent , maybe I am not meant to be a blogger . Try again
Basically evolution has become a litmus test for some more then a science in some circles in academia . The philospy of evolution seems more of a concerned to me as a Christian then the science of it .
We can’t help it , we were born that way . Boys will be boys , so allow it , condom it , abort it , etc .
Survival of the fittest V Godly virtues and principles . I see the Darwinian debate more in those terms . interresting the leftward Christians don’t notice our changing culture in this regards ? I see it all the time . I see it creep into the churches , into my own thinking .
Our culture appears to be geared to be neutral on Godly principles and virtues and geared towards making allowances and escape mechanisms for our culture of Darwinisn .
No one does wrong ,it just happens because we are human . No right , no wrong .



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aaron

posted August 17, 2007 at 9:40 am


There are gaps in the fossil record (I know that is a talking point, but it has not been refuted)
Of course there are, and there are geological reasons why. There’s also been intermediate species found, found because they were predicted to be in a specific strata. If you have a species A found in strata X and species C found in strata Z and many geological years separate them, then it’s safe to assume that an intermediate B will be found in strata Y (assuming that geological preservation allowed it). That was exactly the case when they found tiktaalik.
Thanks for the quote from the prof Kevin, though I must admit to seeing nothing wrong in it and it doesn’t nearly have the drama that West and Luskin put on it, as I suspected.



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squeaky

posted August 17, 2007 at 11:12 am


Kevin S.
“I’m not sure Behe concedes as much as you are insinuating. ”
Read “Darwin’s Black Box.”



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squeaky

posted August 17, 2007 at 11:30 am


“Survival of the fittest V Godly virtues and principles . I see the Darwinian debate more in those terms . interresting the leftward Christians don’t notice our changing culture in this regards ? I see it all the time . I see it creep into the churches , into my own thinking . ”
See, the thing is, this is a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of evolution and science in general. Science isn’t about making ethical choices. It may be true that evolution has been used by the nazi’s to justify their evil, and other forms of “Social Darwinism”. But that isn’t science. Just because a discovery about the natural world is used for evil purposes, it does not negate the validity of that discovery. We learned to split the atom, and that discovery has been used to destroy humanity (nuclear bombs), but it has also been used for the good of humanity (nuclear energy). We understand and have catalogued the human genome, and that will be used for good intents (identifying and curing genetic illnesses), but also has the potential for being used for evil (human cloning, aborting babies with identified genetic defects). The science is not the problem, but the use of that science is.
I’m guessing the people who were giving you so much trouble at the school board themselves don’t understand what evolution is all about. It frustrates me as a scientist to see science misused in that way, especially since those who are misusing it don’t have a clue what it is all about on either side of whatever manufactured debate is going on.
Case in point–many people boil evolution down to “survival of the fittest”. This is not what evolution is about at all, but is, in fact, the classic misunderstanding. Evolution is more aptly described as “survival of the most well-adapted.” Strength really has nothing to do with it, unless strength is a greater adaptive advantage than some other trait, like say, an extra long beak to get deeper into the flower for nectar.
Cheers



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kevin s.

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:07 pm


Behe concedes the we have come from primates, but rejects evolutionary theory as it relates to the ability to reach across broader gaps. To say that he does not discount evolution in any way is an overstatement.
For the record, I am not an ID “groupie”. Until recently, I was indifferent to the question of how God created the world, or (more specifically) how that gelled with manmade science.
A good (poltically moderate) friend of mine made the case that I should be more interested in it, that ID is valid and represents the only plausible way of ascertaining how God created the Earth.



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justintime

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:30 pm


Kevin:
“A good (poltically moderate) friend of mine made the case that I should be more interested in it, that ID is valid and represents the only plausible way of ascertaining how God created the Earth.”
….
Did your friend explain how Intelligent Design might be used, to ascertain how God created the Earth?



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kevin s.

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:43 pm


“Did your friend explain how Intelligent Design might be used, to ascertain how God created the Earth?”
Like Professor Paquin, he encouraged me to think for myself.



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justintime

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:52 pm


What did you come up with?



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squeaky

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:46 pm


“Behe concedes the we have come from primates, but rejects evolutionary theory as it relates to the ability to reach across broader gaps. To say that he does not discount evolution in any way is an overstatement. ”
Perhaps–but nevertheless, IDist would have to accept that humans evolved from apes (a jump in species, by the way), and that is the fundamental issue most creationists find so distasteful.
As I said, many creationists have thrown in theirl lot with ID without understanding what it really means. For them, it is a compromised position, but they don’t seem to realize that.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 17, 2007 at 4:08 pm


Squeaky ,
Have you noticed many people who have strong feelings of evolution to be anti religion ?
How do you handle that , if you do have to ?
Because I found say in letters to the editors from passionate evolutionsists and reading about famous evolutionists there is a strong dis like of religion .
“Social Darwinism” appears to be belended in with current humanism , which I see as the culture of this day . Even in many churches .



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Another nonymous

posted August 17, 2007 at 4:25 pm


Mick –
Social Darwinism is also blended in with free market economics and many other notions on the political right. In fact, one of the strongest challenges to pervasive evolutionism I’ve ever read is delivered by Walter Wink, the left-wing theologian I’ve been referencing a lot recently. He sees his promotion of non-violence as the polar opposite of the evolutionary ideology that controls much of our intellectual life. So this is not a left vs. right thing, or even, I think, a secular vs. religious thing. As Squeaky suggests, it is, to some extent, a matter of keeping scientific theory separate from values. Wink, however, delivers a withering critique of the idea that this is even possible in chapter 6 of his book Unmasking the Powers: recommended reading for those on both sides of this discussion.



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squeaky

posted August 17, 2007 at 5:04 pm


That may be so, Mick, but the fact remains the unscientific uses that evolution has been hijacked for does not make the science bad, nor should it, in any way, be used to keep the science from being taught in school. On the contrary, it should be taught and taught CORRECTLY so that such misconceptions (such as evolution=survival of the fittest) are broken down.
Some scientists are anti-religion, it is true. However, not all, and I can’t even say whether it is most. In my experience in four different science departments, many of the professors believe in God (not necessarily the Christian God), or at the very least are respectful to those who hold religious beliefs. There most definitely are some scientists who are outspoken atheists, but in my experience, I haven’t seen the majority of scientists falling into this camp. The most disdain for Christians I have heard is directed at creationists and IDists and that because scientists hold grave concerns over the validity of the science. I certainly don’t fault any researcher for fighting to maintain the integrity of their area of study, nor for fighting to have science taught in school and taught correctly.
Just as many Christians label scientists as atheists, many people in the secular world label Christians as anti-science. Neither view is true, and both views are based on the voices people hear from these camps. Just as outspoken atheist scientists have been the voice Christians hear from the science camp, the secular world hears the overwhelmingly loud voices presented by the Creationist/ID camp. I don’t believe these people hold the majority view and I don’t believe outspoken atheist scientists hold the majority view among scientists. They are just the squeaky wheels while most of us sit in between either disinterested in the argument, or wishing the loudmouths would shut up because they make the rest of us look like idiots.



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kevin s.

posted August 17, 2007 at 5:18 pm


“Perhaps–but nevertheless, IDist would have to accept that humans evolved from apes (a jump in species, by the way), and that is the fundamental issue most creationists find so distasteful.”
If you agree with Behe on this, perhaps. There is more than one viewpoint on this. It isn’t a matter of taste, it is a matter of whether science can refute the Biblical account of creation. I don’t think it can.
And there are loudmouths on both sides of this debate. Hector Avalos is a particularly unpleasant, screamy one opposed to ID (and God) in all forms.
The difference is that Prof. Avalos doesn’t get fired for his, um, radical beliefs.



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squeaky

posted August 18, 2007 at 12:31 pm


“It isn’t a matter of taste, it is a matter of whether science can refute the Biblical account of creation. I don’t think it can. ”
What are the other viewpoints regarding ID specifically? ID is not the same as creationism, unless it is old earth creationism. There are many viewpoints swirling around, but just because they are creationist viewpoints doesn’t mean they are part of the ID hypothesis.
It depends on your interpretation of the Genesis account. If you interpret the age of the Earth as 6,000 years old based on counting back generations of human civilization as recorded in the Bible, then science has irrefutably proven the Bible is wrong on that account. If, however, you take the stance of a Hugh Ross that the Earth is old, and that the Genesis account summarizes creation as ages of indeterminate periods, then science has very little quibble with the creation account (with regards to the age of the earth). Or, if you take the “Framework Hypothesis” which looks at the creation account from a literary perspective, but still allows for indeterminate lengths of time, science also has no true quibble with the Genesis account. The problem is, the loudest voices coming from Christianity are those who take the first interpretation and won’t even consider the possibility they are wrong. The Bible is no science book, does not claim to be one, and should not be used as such. Therein lies the problem, and it is a wholly manufactured one.
“And there are loudmouths on both sides of this debate. Hector Avalos is a particularly unpleasant, screamy one opposed to ID (and God) in all forms. ”
Seems to me I already said that in my post above. Please reread it to more fully understand my point about squeaky wheels.
Profs should not be fired for whatever beliefs they hold. If Gonzalez truly met the requirements for tenure, he should have received tenure regardless of his beliefs. If he didn’t, he shouldn’t have, but again, regardless of his beliefs. I don’t know, nor do I think we can really understand the ins and outs of that case without being on the faculty–just as we didn’t know the true story behind Balmer’s firing until he chimed in (and that without Armstrong’s side of the story, so we still don’t know)–and we don’t really have much to say about it. If Gonzales did meet the tenure requirements, his colleagues should only view his work in ID as nothing more than an outside interest and shouldn’t be personally offended by them. If that outside interest truly got him fired, he has a case for an appeal, and should take steps toward that, or if necessary, bring a lawsuit for unjust termination.



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Another nonymous

posted August 18, 2007 at 2:49 pm


I remember Tony Campolo speaking about a woman who was asked if she believed the Genesis account of creation was literally true. “Oh no,” she said, “I believe it’s much more true than that.”



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kevin s.

posted August 18, 2007 at 7:40 pm


“It depends on your interpretation of the Genesis account. If you interpret the age of the Earth as 6,000 years old based on counting back generations of human civilization as recorded in the Bible, then science has irrefutably proven the Bible is wrong on that account”
So does the Bible, really. But I think we are on the same page so far as this goes. So let me take this from another tact. You and I know both know that, at a 40,000 ft. level, Intelligent Design theorists are correct. There is an intelligent designer. That designer is God.
Therefore, if science is (at least in this case) about using what is happening to determine what has happened and what will happen, what do we make of a science community that cannot take intelligent design seriously?
Which comes back to the question of academic freedom. It isn’t about promoting the church in a secular school, but rather about making sure that our scientific research leads us toward truth. From an educational standpoint, we ought to demand professorships for the likes of Gonzalez.
Alternately, we can divide God and science, leaving the latter to meditate on the apocryphal as it relates to the Earth’s origins. In my view, this tact benefits neither God nor science.
“I remember Tony Campolo speaking about a woman who was asked if she believed the Genesis account of creation was literally true. “Oh no,” she said, “I believe it’s much more true than that.””
That’s the sort of thing people nod their heads and smile at without thinking.



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Another nonymous

posted August 18, 2007 at 9:10 pm


“That’s the sort of thing people nod their heads and smile at without thinking.”
On the contrary. It’s the kind of thing that people smile at if they have been thinking, and that perhaps makes them think if they don’t smile.



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Another nonymous

posted August 18, 2007 at 9:21 pm


“Alternately, we can divide God and science…In my view, this tact benefits neither God nor science.”
With the indicated ellipsis, I completely agree.



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Payshun

posted August 18, 2007 at 9:23 pm


I have never understood the whole argument about using science to evaluate or determine God and his existence. Frankly it lacks the ability to even understand a tenth of what it analyzes and that critique comes from someone that believes that Genesis is a series of mythic stories, not literal history.
It was designed to reveal who God is, not explain how everything is made. Granted none of us were there but I don’t see God ignoring order to create his universe. I don’t see him creating the earth before the stars were formed. It doesn’t make sense to me because I see God as someone that had way too much fun creating the universe to arbitrailily build the earth and then create the universe around it.
Kevin said:
Therefore, if science is (at least in this case) about using what is happening to determine what has happened and what will happen, what do we make of a science community that cannot take intelligent design seriously?
Me:
That they are really smart and don’t need to make their case. You can’t use myth (and I mean that in the classic use of the word) to explain something as complex as the foundations of the universe, earth and mankind. Genesis by it’s own standards can’t hold up to western scrutiny like that (hence the whole two creation stories that were compiled as one.)
Science is not designed to first and foremost examine the intelligent designer and should not be used for that anyway. It should be used to examine his creation and understand that. that’s where science is strong but not always binding. I have seen too many miracles (people getting healed from cancer…) to know that science can explain the complexity of the universe. That said it can do a lot. It should be taken on its merits, not on the ego driven faith of Christians that can’t handle real critique.
Mysticsim should be used to know the designer. It’s the only way to meet him as the ancient Jews, Prophets, mystics, and Jesus have shown.
p



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Another nonymous

posted August 18, 2007 at 10:28 pm


Payshun –
This is beautifully said, and I’m inclined to leave you the last word in this discussion, which (thanks in part to me) has gone on too long already. The older I get, though, the less comfortable I am with the idea that empirical science is devoid of mystical content, or that myth cannot be studied scientifically. Hence my qualified agreement with Kevin above. (Plus the fact that I’m a strong supporter of academic freedom.)
Signing off now…



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kevin s.

posted August 18, 2007 at 10:39 pm


Payshun,
You say you use the term ‘myth’ in the classical sense of the term. I am not entirely sure what you mean by that. It seems you are trying to divert the very criticism that I am about to level.
The question of whether the two Genesis accounts of creation conflict each other has been the subject of volumes, but you seem to play it as a trump card here. Your reasoning is circular. Genesis is a myth because it cannot be explained by science. Genesis cannot inform science because it is a myth.
“Science is not designed to first and foremost examine the intelligent designer and should not be used for that anyway”
Did God not design science? Again, what is science if not an effort to pursue the truth?
Do you mean to say that science ought not devote itself to the question of how the universe was created? Because there are a large number of scientists (astronomers in particular, I would hazard) who are very interested in the pursuit of that question.
Science should simply observe what is, not make conjectures about what should be. If there are miracles, then there are miracles. Scientists ought to observe them and make whatever conjectures they can. If science demands the dismissal of that which is manifestly true, then it is simply an empty intellectual exercise.
If it is an empty intellectual exercise, and such an exercise is used to refute the existence of God (and you have to concede that it is) or, at minimum, the validity of scripture, surely you can see why Christians seem hostile to that exercise?
Either way, that is your opinion about how science and religion ought to be divided. Is there no room anywhere for difference in that opinion?



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Payshun

posted August 19, 2007 at 12:07 am


Kevin said:
Either way, that is your opinion about how science and religion ought to be divided. Is there no room anywhere for difference in that opinion?
Me:
Reading comprehension is not your strong suit. But before I get to that let me answer your question. I never once said they are completely separate in understanding creation. They (mysticism and science) need each other. But the scientific method cannot qualify, quantify and collate God. It is beyond it’s mandate. It can only understand a visual or quantifiable aspect of creation.
That gives science a huge advantage because it seeks to know. That impulse and it’s power to examine is good. It’s necessary but it lacks something. It lacks spirit. Only mystics know the spirit and only God can be known in spirit. That is why they (science and mysticism) need each other so desperately.
k said:
If it is an empty intellectual exercise, and such an exercise is used to refute the existence of God (and you have to concede that it is) or, at minimum, the validity of scripture, surely you can see why Christians seem hostile to that exercise?
Me:
Why does it matter? Your hostility and the hostility of Christians that think like you has nothing to do w/ God. It’s about your own ego and about someone attacking what you believe to be true. God doesn’t seem to care about that stuff and confounds science all the time.
None of critiques that science utters against scripture truly matters. I am referring to whether or not scripture is accurate or valid. Science cannot question the validity of scripture. it stands on its own merits of faith. Faith is trust. Science cannot dispute what is trusted it can only examine what is visually knowable. So if you have trust it really would not matter what someone else said. You would trust your beloved regardless of what evidence was thrown at you because you knew it was trustworthy. In this case I am referring to the Bible. The bible serves as your beloved. Do you trust it or not? If you trust it don’t worry about science trying to disprove aspects of it.
But science can examine and should examine the literal history in its pages. Archeolgists thought David’s kingdom was a myth concocted by the Jews until they found a single urn dating near his reign w/ the name of his kingdom on it. Science disputes the literal rendering of Genesis (ie the earth being forged first and then the stars and universe) because we have plenty of data on stars and how they were formed.
You are hostile to that because it attacks a central tenet of your belief. That’s silly. Is your faith so weak that it can’t stand criticism? My faith can stand science poking holes in the Genesis timeline, as a matter of fact it supports it. You should never follow something w/o challenging it. But I don’t see you actually challenging science itself, it’s methods… I see you using your acceptance of faith as a fact when it’s really not. Faith is not a fact, it’s a trust.
Science shows that the universe and the stars were forged first. Then the earth and the planets were made from stardust. I agree w/ that.
That discovery doesn’t challenge my faith at all because my faith understands that the Genesis creation narratives are myths. You see it as actual history when it’s actually Hebrew poetry. I can see how you might see it as both but you cannot ignore the original way in which it was written and the audience for whom it was first spoken.
More in a second.
p



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Payshun

posted August 19, 2007 at 1:05 am


Science and religion are divided at least for many conservative Christians.
Science and mysticsm are linked, always have been. I am defining mysticism as a direct personal relationship w/ the divine.
You said:
If it is an empty intellectual exercise, and such an exercise is used to refute the existence of God (and you have to concede that it is) or, at minimum, the validity of scripture, surely you can see why Christians seem hostile to that exercise?
Me:
No I don’t have to concede that it is. The existence of God cannot be refuted by science. It lacks the power to do that.
When you say validity of scripture what are you referring to?
You:
You say you use the term ‘myth’ in the classical sense of the term. I am not entirely sure what you mean by that. It seems you are trying to divert the very criticism that I am about to level.
Me:
When I use the word myth I am describing an epic story designed to convey the personality and nature of God, like all creation myths (think egyptian and greek mythology for example.) those other myths were used to show how powerful their gods were and that they are greater. The stories in Genesis are designed to show that Yaweh is the greatest, not render an accurate understanding of how the universe was formed. That was a metaphor for God’s greatness.
you said:
Your reasoning is circular. Genesis is a myth because it cannot be explained by science. Genesis cannot inform science because it is a myth.
Me:
The creation narratives are myths because they are first and foremost Hebrew poetry w/ a definite beginning, middle and end.
Science can’t study the details of those myths. It was not there to see how the universe was formed so it cannot create the same conditions to study. It can’t study the voice of God over the waters or God creating the stars. It cannot examine God. It cannot create a secluded world where plants grew by mists while the stars were not even there. It just can’t. Nothing can.
This is what I said earlier:
Science is not designed to first and foremost examine the intelligent designer and should not be used for that anyway. It should be used to examine his creation and understand that. that’s where science is strong but not always binding.
You said:
Science should simply observe what is, not make conjectures about what should be. If there are miracles, then there are miracles. Scientists ought to observe them and make whatever conjectures they can.
Me:
We said the same thing and we agree here. The fact that you did not pay attention to all of what I wrote either points to poor reading comprehension or a willful ignoring of what I actually said.
You asked:
Did God not design science? Again, what is science if not an effort to pursue the truth?
Me:
I don’t know. I think God designed the heart of man to constantly seek so if you call science that then I agree.
Science was never about seeking truth. It was about learning and adapting. That’s why theories change as more new information becomes available. As we have seen from scripture the truth of God’s existence is irrefutable and it doesn’t change.
Science cannot measure God. It lacks the instruments. That’s what I am saying and I honestly think you agree w/ me on that.
As I said earlier it can measure aspects of the universe, particular particles, the existence of massive black holes at the center of galaxies, and many other scientific oddities. But it can never measure God and it is silly for conservative evangelicals to care about that when there is so much about God that should be known first. (I mean that in the biblical meaning of the word)
Hence mysticism, it is the other side of the coin in knowing. Whereas sciences covers what can be quantified and qualified, mysticism covers that which cannot be quanitified and qualified. They need each other if we as a society are going to evolve out of immaturity into greatness.
Please notice that I don’t use the term religion which is the term you use. Religion (as is the case in this discussion) becomes dogmatic and faithless. One cannot use trust (faith) in God as a reasonable defense against the way the universe was formed. It comes across as silly by any scientist. That may be arrogant but then I think you miss the point if it is. The scientific method has its own checks and balances and if the information is not accurate it will eventually check it self. The same cannot always be said for faith. It is something completely different.
p



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kevin s.

posted August 19, 2007 at 3:21 am


“Reading comprehension is not your strong suit.”
Yes it is. I don’t need you to write something expressly in order to draw conclusions from what you have written.
“I never once said they are completely separate in understanding creation.”
I never said you said they were completely separate. See how annoying this game can be? Now let’s move forward, eh?
“But the scientific method cannot qualify, quantify and collate God.”
How do you know?
“It is beyond it’s mandate.”
What is science’s mandate? Explain it to me simply, as I do not read well.
” It can only understand a visual or quantifiable aspect of creation.”
If God, in his infinite wisdom, blasts the Earth with comets, shall the scientists, then, remain silent? Your argument is the same as mine, which is that science is forced to deny truth.
“Why does it matter?”
Why does it matter whether science, as a discipline, is a hollow intellectual exercise? Well, for starters, because we teach it to our children. But, honestly, this sounds like a question that might be asked by the most provincial of fundamentalist Christians, not the most enlightened mystics.
“It’s about your own ego and about someone attacking what you believe to be true.”
Nah. If I had an ego about what I believed to be true, I would have gone to CCU instead of Pomona. Further, I would go to a church more amenable to open theism than my own. I’m cool about what I believe to be true, but I’ll catch you when I think you’re wrong.
But I guess I am a bit too curious to simply leave it at “God confounds science all the time.” I believe he left the universe for us to discover, and gave us the minds to do it. I find it fascinating.
“Science cannot question the validity of scripture.”
Yes it can.
“Science cannot dispute what is trusted it can only examine what is visually knowable.”
This is incorrect.
” So if you have trust it really would not matter what someone else said.”
Tell that to Randall Balmer.
“You would trust your beloved regardless of what evidence was thrown at you because you knew it was trustworthy.”
Absolutely not. If my God is non-existent, and provably so, I will abandon him in an instant. Fortunately, he exists, and provably so, in my opinion.
“The bible serves as your beloved. Do you trust it or not? If you trust it don’t worry about science trying to disprove aspects of it.”
I don’t. But not because I believe it can or has already. That would be cognitive dissonance.
“Archeolgists thought David’s kingdom was a myth concocted by the Jews until they found a single urn dating near his reign w/ the name of his kingdom on it.”
I would expect as much. He really did reign.
“Science disputes the literal rendering of Genesis (ie the earth being forged first and then the stars and universe) because we have plenty of data on stars and how they were formed.”
Where does Genesis address how God made the stars, and how has science empirically refuted this?
“You are hostile to that”
Hostile to what? Stars?
“Is your faith so weak that it can’t stand criticism? My faith can stand science poking holes in the Genesis timeline, ”
This reveals something about your faith. Your faith is based on the idea that God is leading us to him through some magical power that is (apparently) not necessarily revealed to us through scripture. Genesis may be allegorical, literal, phantasmagorical, or none of the above. I disagree with this worldview, and my faith is not weaker for it.
“You see it as actual history when it’s actually Hebrew poetry.”
That is assertion in the place of argument.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 19, 2007 at 5:44 am


Squeaky said ,
Just as many Christians label scientists as atheists, many people in the secular world label Christians as anti-science. Neither view is true, and both views are based on the voices people hear from these camps.
Then may I ask you how you view Genesis ? Is it all allegories , was there an Abraham , was their an Adam or is this just an example for us to see the harm of man to want to be his own god . Do you believe Christ was born of a
Virgin , which beats all of the evolution/ ID , Creationist claims anyway . How about Moses and the Red Sea?
I notice people who view the Bible differently , as True Accounts , or just Allegories have a different World view on many other things . I see it in their politics quite often .
I do have discernment in certain areas , wish I had the wisdom to go with it at times , but I notice a big difference in people and how they view say abortion , marriage , ones right to their own property , and such and how they view the Bible . Yes there are exceptions , but on the large average that appears to be very true .
I have rented one movie On ID , it was called the Great Planet Earth or something like that . Never mentioned God , but basically I think a scientist would love showing it in their class , it describes the Universe with awesome pictures , quite interesting of how everything works together , etc , . If there was not a controversary I would not have known watching it in a classroom would have been one . It does get into on how everything works together and how much of the universe is involved together in one big realtionship . I can see why one would glean that someone would have had to plan this , its just too complicated to not have been . But the movie never says that , but I guess the suggestion is enough ? I look at our Mountains out here and i always think about God .
I think your missing part of the reasons for the debate. Have you read any of those books like Darwins Black Box . I have read materals from both sides on this at times , I could not refute either . The average person can not honestly , so I can see why the majority of scientist get upset . But also , I see why some others who have seen the mistakes made in evolution science , and not bothered to address it in the public could see it as an old boys club with no accountability .
Sorry , too many questions , your smart and I went to the shore and cut classes in HS , trying to catch up . ;o)
.



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justintime

posted August 19, 2007 at 11:30 am


Here’s an excellent diary on evolution at DKos:
Evolution is, in fact, a theory, not a fact.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/18/131318/677



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squeaky

posted August 19, 2007 at 12:43 pm


Kevin,
Payshun shows a strong understanding of science and the scientific method, and why science cannot and should not be used to prove or disprove the existence of God. Unfortunately, you seem to be more focused on arguing your points than on actually understanding what science is about. I find that frustrating because as a scientist, I am committed to helping laypeople understand science and how it works, and for non-scientists to argue those points shows a fundamental misunderstanding of science birthed not in knowledge, but in the desire to be right. So please take the time to understand rather than argue. I am not trying to be mean or snide, but look at it this way–if I told you how your job works, and I know nothing about your job, would you not insist that I listen to you when you tried to explain your job to me? I applaud that you seem to have taken the time to learn quite a bit about science, but if I had done the same about your job, and you told me I had fundamental misunderstandings about your job, I would take the time to learn what those misconceptions are.
Science cannot prove or disprove that which is accepted on faith. There are scientists (IDists) who say they can prove God’s existance based on irreducible complexity. Both Christian (Kenneth Miller) and non-Christian evolutionary biologists have poked huge holes in this hypothesis (I direct you to Kenneth Miller’s writings). Meanwhile, there are scientists who say that God’s non-existence has been proven because science can explain everything about the natural world and thus a “creator” is not necessary.
Both those who try to use the scientific method to prove God’s existence and those who use it to disprove God’s existence are misusing, misunderstanding, and manipulating the scientific method to support their personal bias. Since the scientific method was designed to eliminate human bias, they are, by definition, using it incorrectly. The scientific method eliminates God from the equation for a couple of reasons:
1. It is deeply unsatisfying as a scientist to answer the question “why” or “how” with “God did it.”
2. God cannot, and even WILL not, be measurable by scientific means.
More on number 2. Design an experiment to prove God’s existence. Hypothesis: If God exists, He will answer my prayer for this person’s healing. The person gets healed. God must exist. OK, well, the experiment MUST be repeatable by other researchers, so someone in another part of the world conducts the exact same experiment on another person. That person dies. The hypothesis has failed, and therefore answer to prayer cannot be used to prove God’s existence. You and I both know we are not convinced of God’s non-existence because of His apparent failure to answer the latter prayer. What it shows is that God is not at our beck and call, and for that reason, we can’t predict what He will do. This is anti-science, as scientific hypotheses are all about prediction. Once a hypothesis fails to predict, it fails to be valid hypothesis.
Philip Yancy explains this in his book “Rumors”. Science is reductionist in nature. In science, the scientist strives to explain and describe and develop hypotheses and theories based on explanations and descriptions of the natural world. These hypotheses may be able to explain why a sunset is so red and purple, but they cannot explain why people find the sunset to be absolutely stunningly gorgeous. Nor can they explain why someone might not be that impressed by the same sunset someone else is moved to tears over, or why another person has absolutely no interest in the same sunset whatsoever. Or to put it another way, you can scientifically explain to me why Brad Pitt is stunningly attractive by describing his perfect facial construction, his well-proportioned form, and his piercing eyes, and why the pock-faced, weak-chinned, skinny professor I once had in college is not, but you can’t explain why it is I find the latter person to be far more attractive and sexy than the former.
But let’s try to look at God scientifically. We should be able to explain Him and describe Him. Can we do that in the same way we can describe a piece of granite? Not at all. The moment we think we have Him nailed down, He is no longer what we think He is. The Bible only uses metaphor to describe Him, and makes no attempt to describe Him in a reductionist manner. He is a rock. He is a fortress. He is a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. He is a mighty wind. He is a whisper. None of these descriptions pass scientific muster because they are not literal. God is not literally a rock or a hen. As a scientist trying to describe God, I would want to describe His literal size, His shape, His color, His texture, His smell, etc. I can’t do this. I can’t observe Him directly or indirectly. I can’t measure Him directly or indirectly. I can look at the natural world and say “yup, God did it”, but that is not a scientific statement. Science strives for natural explanations to the natural world, not supernatural explanations.
“If my God is non-existent, and provably so, I will abandon him in an instant. Fortunately, he exists, and provably so, in my opinion.”
The question is, then, what would such proofs look like? What would a proof that God doesn’t exist look like? What would a proof that God does exist look like? Faith is the belief in things unseen. In other words, our faith is ultimately in something that cannot be proved. For something to be scientifically provable, the proof must be irrefutable. My experience is, what I see as proof of God’s existence–the amazing complexity of His creation–others have seen as proof of God’s non-existence (we can explain that complexity, therefore no need for God). No standing scientific theory has that much disagreement about it.



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squeaky

posted August 19, 2007 at 1:16 pm


Mick–
“I notice people who view the Bible differently , as True Accounts , or just Allegories have a different World view on many other things . I see it in their politics quite often .
I do have discernment in certain areas , wish I had the wisdom to go with it at times , but I notice a big difference in people and how they view say abortion , marriage , ones right to their own property , and such and how they view the Bible . Yes there are exceptions , but on the large average that appears to be very true .”
I don’t think you can make a black and white statement that those who believe the Bible is literal are pro-life, anti-gay, etc and those who don’t are pro-choice, pro-gay, etc. Many who don’t believe the Bible is literal do believe in Christ’s literal command to care for the poor, for example. I think people’s reasons for not being pro-life, etc are much more complex than that. I, for example, am pro-life, but I would not be in support of pro-life legislation unless there are safeguards for the women faced with unwanted pregnancy, such as healthcare and help to get on their feet and raise a child if they don’t have the means. I wouldn’t want anyone to say I am pro-choice just because I don’t suscribe to the view of “no abortions for any reason, end of story, period”, and I wouldn’t want anyone to reduce my beliefs down to “you believe that because you don’t believe in a literal translation of Genesis.”
To briefly answer your questions, though: I don’t view Genesis as all allegory. I just don’t think it is a science book and should not be taken or interpreted as such. I see evolution in the Genesis account, even though it isn’t explicitly stated (multiply after your own kind). I have had an explanation for Payshun’s contention that the Earth wasn’t created before the stars, and thus the Genesis account can’t be scientifically accurate, a couple of years before I read Hugh Ross (the creation account is written from the perspective of how someone would have viewed it on Earth, thus, in the early days of Earth’s history, there was a tremendous amount of dust in the atmosphere. As this dust settled, the sun and stars became visible–this is in agreement with science, by the way).
The truth is, much of the Bible IS allegory–Do any of us actually believe God is a literal rock (Biblically, we have labelled those that do as worshippers of idols)? Much of the Bible is written with Hebrew literary devices which must be understood to understand a passage clearly. Google “Framework hypothesis” and you will gain another perspective on Genesis (and another explanation for the apparent problem between the timing of the creation of the earth vs. the creation of the stars).
I believe the Bible is 100% true, but allegory and mythical story in the Bible does not make it false. Many scholars believe Job was not a historical person. So what if he wasn’t? Does that make the lessons in that story any less true if it is nothing more than a story? Christ’s parables were stories–does that make His lessons any less important because they weren’t literally true?
Let’s look at it this way:
Which is a better use of time and resources?
Christians using their energy, resources, and time to block the teaching of evolution (and there is considerable money and time spent on just that)
or
Christians using their energy, resources, and time to spread the message of the Good News and the Kingdom of God, as Christ mandated us to do (and He said absolutely nothing about evolution or the age of the earth)?
Look at all the energy Ken Hamm has put into promoting young earth creationism–what if instead he had put that energy into helping destroy aides in Africa or feeding the hungry or getting vaccines to third world nations? Which advances God’s Kingdom?
So, in reference to my first paragraph you quoted in your post, look beyond the black and white as portrayed by the squeaky wheels. It is much more complex than whether someone believes in a literal Genesis or not.



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kevin s.

posted August 19, 2007 at 1:19 pm


” I applaud that you seem to have taken the time to learn quite a bit about science, but if I had done the same about your job, and you told me I had fundamental misunderstandings about your job, I would take the time to learn what those misconceptions are.”
I work in governmental affairs, so you could say I get “job advice” here every day. That said, I don’t see how my correction of Payshun’s understanding of science constitutes telling you what your job entails.
That said, I have no quibble with your definition of your job. However, you claim (as a scientist) to have some authority over what faith is and is not. That is where we have a problem.
Insofar as science “prove or disprove that which is accepted on faith,” we are on the same page. But you then want to take the scripture as a matter of faith, rather than a document of truth. You are thus shoehorning the scripture in accordance with your own attitudes toward it. Your status as a scientist does not give you the authority to do this.
“Since the scientific method was designed to eliminate human bias, they are, by definition, using it incorrectly.”
I would argue that scientists, by eliminating the possiblity of God, are doing precisely the same thing. It is this kind of circular reasoning that renders moot the quest for the “historical” Jesus among historians. Absent any possibility that Jesus is the son of God, the Crossan’s and Mack’s of the world are left to construct a narrative that is simply not reality.
If Genesis is literally true, then evolution is not. If Jesus literally rose from the dead, than the science is wrong about whether Jesus rose from the dead.
Now, you can argue that science has no business proving whether Genesis is literally true, or whether Jesus died or not. The issue then becomes whether science ought to hold the import that it does, and whether scientists ought to be seen as an authority on the origins of the earth.
That is what the debate is about w/r/t evolution being taught in schools. Scientists seem here to want to have their cake and eat it too. They want their theory taught in high school, but then want to back off on questions of whether they can explain “religion”.
This is fine if a religion is a series of metaphors, words to live by, or a way of fostering community and justice. But that is not a complete picture of Christianity, in which God literally regenerates our souls by the grace of his son’s death.
As such, the inability of science to explain God represents a compelling reason to either:
1) Downplay the value of science.
2) Getter better science.



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squeaky

posted August 19, 2007 at 2:03 pm


“As such, the inability of science to explain God represents a compelling reason to either:
1) Downplay the value of science.
2) Getter better science.”
No–it says this is what science is about. Science is about explaining the NATURAL and PHYSICAL world. It is NOT about explaining the SUPERNATURAL world. We have theology for that (and theology isn’t able to explain God, either). Those conclusions tell me you devalue science for what it does not do, and by its nature cannot and does not even try to do. Look at it another way–I’m a percussionist. I’m no less of a percussionist because I can’t play trumpet. It isn’t my job to play trumpet. that doesn’t make me less of a musician (hold off on the percussion jokes, please).
You’re saying science is less important because it can’t explain God. I’m saying it isn’t science’s job to explain God. I wouldn’t devalue your job because you don’t address that which is outside your job description, nor should you devalue mine for what my job doesn’t do and doesn’t even claim to do.
Science cannot explain God, but neither can anything else, at least not in the reductionist manner you propose. What would a scientific explanation of God be? (I’m asking you directly, this is not a rhetorical question)
“However, you claim (as a scientist) to have some authority over what faith is and is not.”
What claims have I made about faith as a scientist? As a Christian, I claim to have some authority over what faith is and is not (and that I am still learning about on this pilgrimage, as are you on yours). Faith is belief in what cannot be seen or proven. Tell me where the Bible contradicts such a statement.
“If Genesis is literally true, then evolution is not. ”
If you take Genesis as scientifically literal, you need to apply that reasoning to the rest of the Bible. so the sun must orbit the Earth. I take it as a summary of God’s creative acts as recorded from the perspective of someone on Earth. I suggest Millers’ “Finding Darwin’s God” and the works of Hugh Ross. And I do see evolution in the Genesis account, just as I see an old earth scattered throughout the Bible itself. Sometimes we don’t understand Biblical statements about the creation until we understand the creation itself.
“If Genesis is literally true, then evolution is not. If Jesus literally rose from the dead, than the science is wrong about whether Jesus rose from the dead. ”
Ultimately, this is an issue of faith. There is no scientific proof of Jesus rising from the dead. Either we believe it or we don’t. Jesus Himself saw the possibility of people in the future who would not believe without proof. Thomas, clearly a scientist at heart, demanded empirical proof of Jesus’ rising from the dead. When Jesus gave it to him, He said “blessed are those who do not see and still believe.” Is that not faith?
And no matter what, God creating the universe and all that is in it is a matter of faith. None of us were there when He did it. We take it on faith that He did, just as we take it on faith that Christ rose from the dead. We weren’t there when it happened. We take it on faith that His Word is true and inspired, but we can’t scientifically prove that it was. I can be like Lee Strobel and come up with all the logic that supports my faith, but no matter what, ultimately it boils down to faith–to me choosing to believe what is ultimately illogical and ultimately unprovable.
As a Christian, I take it on faith that God created everything, but as a scientist, I ask “how?” The reason God is taken out of the answer to that question is that the second I say “God did it” I can no longer ask “how.” I suspend the “God did it” answer so I can delve deeper into the “how?” question.



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squeaky

posted August 19, 2007 at 2:19 pm


I will add–as a Christian, I accept the validity of the Bible on faith, and as such, I accept its truth. I cannot have the latter without first doing the former. If you can, please explain how you do it.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 19, 2007 at 5:01 pm


Squeaky said
I don’t think you can make a black and white statement that those who believe the Bible is literal are pro-life, anti-gay, etc and those who don’t are pro-choice, pro-gay, etc. Many who don’t believe the Bible is literal do believe in Christ’s literal command to care for the poor, for example.
Me
I almost knew you would say that Squeak , its why I put in that it does not always hold true . Some of the best pro life arguemens come from athesist . But your example does allow me to come forward and say yes , many do use examples of the Bible of giving to the poor , but they also leave out the Bible’s teachings on property . So taking from some who unwilling to give to your paticular cause in a form of taxation is not a Bibical concept . Its a political , and I believe you can argue morral, but the Bible teaches about us giving to the poor , not taking from another to give to the poor .
hence I find more people who see the word of God as being less then truthfull on all accounts tend to use more of a man made humanistic approaches and mix them in parts of the Bible that fits their world view . . Even in their Faith , then some on the more orthodox who see God’s word as the bottom line so to speak . I hope I explained that right . I sometimes have a problem with the way I was brought up and doing what Jesus tells us . But since I know Jesus is God , not my culture , I will be more apt to go, or try to do what Jesus says . Usually the left ward souls on this blog like to point out when conservative minded people are hippocrits , I admit that . Its not easy doing what Jesus told us to do . Not easy as all . Through Christ all things are possible though .
Squeaky
I think people’s reasons for not being pro-life, etc are much more complex than that. I, for example, am pro-life, but I would not be in support of pro-life legislation unless there are safeguards for the women faced with unwanted pregnancy, such as healthcare and help to get on their feet and raise a child if they don’t have the means.
Me
Well we are getting into your personal beliefs , and I don’t want to get into another debate . But I will use my pro life position to show where I believe I am taking a Bibicall view . Please understand your ethics or morals I am not questioning , I by no means saying I am a better Christian then you , just how I understand the Bible .
You see I have just the opposite view , I would have a problem myself telling a women she could not have an abortion, but according to the Bible , God was involved in that process, science can call it conception , or just a part of a process of life that has no beginning and no end , but according to the Bible and my understanding God was involved in creating that life . I don’t see how as I as Beliver of God , can have any thing to do with allowing that life to be ended unless God chooses to . Either by tax dollars or my support politcally. Its not that I have better ethics , its I have a belief that no should mess with God’s creation . He is Pro Life , I am just following the Bible , even when our culture says I am anti women , anti poor , or just an ogar for doing so . And yes I am a hippocrit .
Squeaky said
To briefly answer your questions, though: I don’t view Genesis as all allegory. I just don’t think it is a science book and should not be taken or interpreted as such.
Me
I see the Bible as a love story also . I know the people writing it were flawed , and when for instance you say the sun rises in the east , that is how it looks , and its not really rising . But this statement of yoursdoes make my analysis a bit off , but I believe your an exception . Or we are talking by each other and misunderstanding ?
For instance , more people who take the Bible as the word of God tend to be pro life , tend to be pro marriage . Quite a larger percentage . When I first heard of this organization I was actually kind of glad . I thought great , Christians who see things from a different perspective getting involved with democrats . Out here , Christians are always put in a very dim light . The state democratic party web page had a Fish Bumpersticker for sale with the word hippocrit under it . In the early 90s Pat Robertson was popular out here , this state never for got it .
Except for a few , such as yourself by the way , it really looks like politics are more more important then God . I have seen that in the right , and it bothers me because we have a generation in my opinion that really see right and wrong will be subject to their own view points , and not on some traditional Bibical truths .
Squeak says
I see evolution in the Genesis account, even though it isn’t explicitly stated (multiply after your own kind). I have had an explanation for Payshun’s contention that the Earth wasn’t created before the stars, and thus the Genesis account can’t be scientifically accurate,
P said that , wow , he surprises me also . But I try to keep an open mind , and sometimes think it was a mixture of evolution and such . But saying we started from goo to man , I am not sold on that . I can’t prove it or disprove it .
Squeak said
The truth is, much of the Bible IS allegory
Some of it is . I remember a Devout Catholic describing the Bible as a newspaper on a talk show . He desribed it as having the sports page , fiancial section , crime blotter , etc. Thought it was a pretty good way of describing it to the non believer . .
Squeaky said
Many scholars believe Job was not a historical person. So what if he wasn’t? Does that make the lessons in that story any less true if it is nothing more than a story?
Me
I think reading the bible as though it is true does impact the reader more then if they think its fairytales with a good moral to the story .
Personally I remember one night waking up my wife late at night because I thought I had discovered the nugget of all truth . I had read JOB a few times and it was the first time I noticed that God gave JOB back all he had and more AFTER HE FORGAVE ALL HIS FRIENDS . I always missed he forgave his friend first , I rememebr it so vividly because it was like a light bulb lit up , ” I am a 20 watt bulb if you noticed” My wife looked up at me after I awoke her and she looked at me and said , you just now understood that ? She gets up early . ;0)
Squaky
Christ’s parables were stories–does that make His lessons any less important because they weren’t literally true?
Me
I agree yes , but I have noticed many people only take Christ words , and leave the rest of the bible as out dated because they do not think it is as important .
Squeaky said
Christians using their energy, resources, and time to block the teaching of evolution (and there is considerable money and time spent on just that)
Me
No I would not spend money on that , but I don’t think I would stop the teaching of science that was not totally based in evolution either .
Squaky said
Christians using their energy, resources, and time to spread the message of the Good News and the Kingdom of God, as Christ mandated us to do (and He said absolutely nothing about evolution or the age of the earth)?
Me
Well you ar right on. you win .
Squeaky said
Look at all the energy Ken Hamm has put into promoting young earth creationism–what if instead he had put that energy into helping destroy aides in Africa or feeding the hungry or getting vaccines to third world nations? Which advances God’s Kingdom?
I really can’t talk about this one , I don’t think I have read him . He may feel as I do , that evolution has been used in academia in ways that have not been healthy all the time . You seem to think it is marginal , I don’t . Maybe at best its just conicidence of what is happening in academia and the added emphasis on this subject in public schools .
Also you have not talked about our changing culture . The your right and your right culture , no wrong , sex out of marraige is a choice , etc . That is in academia right now , that is a social belief system being taught and promoted in public schools . You can not make a judgement , judgement is considered wrong . The fact that a young person having say sex is not considered wrong , that would be a judgement . Science teaches to use condoms . You go to science and learn we are in a process that has no design . I don’t think you are seeing the whole picture either .
Yikes do I sound like James Dobson ?
But that is so obvious to me . Our standards
are changing quickly . That is why I think some folks see Creation as such a worthy ministry, I am with you that it may not be what I would focus on , the Love of Christ will do more then the belief that some impersoanl god created us .
Squeak said
So, in reference to my first paragraph you quoted in your post, look beyond the black and white as portrayed by the squeaky wheels. It is much more complex than whether someone believes in a literal Genesis or not.
Thanks for the conversation, I hope I worded my responces ok , my gramar is terrible .
God Bless



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Payshun

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:32 am


Kevin said:
That is assertion in the place of argument.
Me:
No its a fact based on studying the Hebrew origins of Genesis and how people in the region write epic poetry. If you studied the structure of those first 2.5 chapters from a more Hebrew and less Christian perspective you would see that. The vast majority of rabbis and teachers understand this. Why can’t you? It may be a true poem as in a literal history but I doubt it.
Kevin:
How do you know?
Me:
Great question. Because we talk and he doesn’t like being put in boxes by anyone. Not only that but I read the prophets, mystics, the life of Moses and examined the ways in which the Hebrew people have been let down by the lack of strictly Hebrew Messiah. Any time anyone boxes him in he breaks it.
Not only that but how can one measure faith. I have faith. that’s not quantifiable.
You:
What is science’s mandate? Explain it to me simply, as I do not read well.
Me:
Since you asked so nicely.
To examine what can be quantifiable, and unless God is a molecule, an enzyme, a quark or a something that can be measured he can’t be measured scientifically. And according to more Hebrew poetry (ie the Psalms and Job) God created the borders of when the snows were formed and borders for the oceans.
You said:
Nah. If I had an ego about what I believed to be true, I would have gone to CCU instead of Pomona. Further, I would go to a church more amenable to open theism than my own. I’m cool about what I believe to be true, but I’ll catch you when I think you’re wrong.
Me:
Interesting. For someone w/o much ego you sure spend a great deal of time arguing about finding new and exciting ways to downplay science and exalt biblical literalism.
You:
But I guess I am a bit too curious to simply leave it at “God confounds science all the time.” I believe he left the universe for us to discover, and gave us the minds to do it. I find it fascinating.
Me:
I remember reading a myth about people like that. They built a tower and God created multiple languages. Any time man always assumes they can become higher out of it’s own imagination instead of the love of God, he gets spanked.
I also find it fascinating. I just know that God can’t be scientifically explained. Some of his creation can. But not all of it.
You:
Yes it can.
Me:
How?
You:
This is incorrect.
Me:
again How? It’s not like God all of sudden became visible and gave us pieces of himself to examine. What’s he going to do bring the ark of the covenant back and split the fire of the shekinah in little vessels for us to examine?
You:
Absolutely not. If my God is non-existent, and provably so, I will abandon him in an instant. Fortunately, he exists, and provably so, in my opinion.
Me:
Ok Kevin prove God scientifically. People have been trying for centuries but somehow your smarter than the most gifted scientists. Please we are all waiting to see that.
You:
I would expect as much. He really did reign.
Me:
But you did not know that until you trusted the bible or read other accounts from people that lived in the region.
You:
Where does Genesis address how God made the stars, and how has science empirically refuted this?
Me:
Before I answer that question let me get back to my point and break it down a little more.
Genesis 1:9-10 reads:
9Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
10God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Then he goes onto create the stars in verse 16:
16God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
Science has concluded that Stars came first. That’s out of order from what Genesis states. In genesis God keeps all the vegatation and animals safe while he makes the stars. Scientifically that’s impossible because we are made from stardust. Not only that but the radiation from the cooling of said stars and other phenomona would have made the earth unlivable.
Now let’s answer your question.
First off Genesis doesn’t explain how God made the stars but it does explain the order and the order doesn’t fit the scientific method or the study of stellar matter. So I think we need to let science examine the stars and let mysticism enjoy the mystery of God revealed in Genesis. Science can’t prove God as there is no blood or DNA from God that can be examined.
You:
Hostile to what? Stars?
Me:
The Scientific Method and Science contradicting the bible. You really don’t have to be, it can’t hurt your kids or your faith.
Oh and not all Genesis is mythic or poetic in nature just parts like the story of the Nephilim in chapter 6 or the two creation stories or… Once we get to Abraham that takes on a whole new narrative structure that could be closer to history and less about reporting myth. The story of Noah for instance lends itself to both structures well. But it is a narrative story.
p



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William Watson

posted August 20, 2007 at 10:00 am


As a friend and colleague of Andrew Paquin’s (my office was next to his) we have had a friendly exchange on economics since he joined the faculty two years ago. Both Andrew and President Armstrong are right in their assessments of capitalism. One may ask how can you reconcile these disparate views? Augustine, Luther and many other respected Christian theologians (even Christ) have spoken of two kingdoms, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. God has called us to put his kingdom first, and Andrew does that, but capitalism works in the kingdom of man. It conforms to our fallen state. Christian idealists tend to ignore the pragmatic, the real world, our fallen state. The Holy Spirit allows Christians to transcend these shortcomings, but to expect the vast majority of humanity to trancend it is naive. Most are motivated by Adam Smith’s ‘self-interest’. To desire a world where everyone lives like Mother Teresa or Andrew Paquin is laudable but unrealistic.
William Watson, Professor of Modern History, CCU



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squeaky

posted August 20, 2007 at 10:37 am


Mick,
I’m not going to write my usual big, huge, long-winded answer. I think you brought up many good points, and certainly there are many avenues for discussion that would be interesting to wander down.
I do think it all boils down to this:
Some may think our current culture is the outgrowth of science (I think that is an oversimplification of what has happened culturally in the last 40 years…). Even if it is, it doesn’t mean that science itself is wrong or even evil. It only means it has been misused to fit someone’s ideology. It is fine to be upset about the misuse of science, but do not blame science itself.



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squeaky

posted August 20, 2007 at 10:58 am


William Watson,
(faux aghast) How DARE you waltz in here and bring this thread back to the original topic?! =)
Thank you for expressing the tension between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man. It is sad to think that Paquin was ousted because he was teaching Kingdom of God at a Christian university.
Getting a bit off track again, however–begs the question of how we follow the Kingdom of God without using the tools of the Kingdom of Man? For example, microcredit introduced to poor African communities works because when people have money, they are able to spend it, benefiting the entire community. Thus it is capitalism that lifts the community out of poverty.



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Anonymous

posted August 20, 2007 at 11:17 am


“Reading comprehension is not your strong suit.”
Oh good, so I ‘m not the only one who has noticed.



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kevin s.

posted August 20, 2007 at 12:27 pm


“No–it says this is what science is about. Science is about explaining the NATURAL and PHYSICAL world. It is NOT about explaining the SUPERNATURAL world.”
But if God created nature, and created us through natural means, then why is He considered supernatural? Why the distinction, other than it resolves some messy issues in your head?
“Those conclusions tell me you devalue science for what it does not do, and by its nature cannot and does not even try to do.”
I devalue science (defined broadly) for what it does not try to do, at least at present. That is correct.
” I’m no less of a percussionist because I can’t play trumpet.”
At Iowa State, it seems you are less of a percussionist because you can.
“I wouldn’t devalue your job because you don’t address that which is outside your job description, nor should you devalue mine for what my job doesn’t do and doesn’t”
I’m not devaluing your job, as I have no idea what you do. I am only devaluing science insofar as you insist that it cannot explain God’s literal truth. Again, and I think it is a perfect example. If “science” must deny (or ignore) the existence of an intelligent designer, then science ignores literal truth.
“If you take Genesis as scientifically literal, you need to apply that reasoning to the rest of the Bible. so the sun must orbit the Earth.”
Why? When Joshua calls on God to stop the sun and moon, he does so from his understanding of science. He certainly didn’t ask God to restrict the earth from moving around the sun. How could he have? He asked for what he needed as best he knew how.
This does not call into question whether God stopped the progression of the Earth to accommodate Joshua’s request.
“I can be like Lee Strobel and come up with all the logic that supports my faith, but no matter what, ultimately it boils down to faith–to me choosing to believe what is ultimately illogical and ultimately unprovable.”
Illogical and unprovable? Considering that God invented both logic and proof, this stance is untenable. You are muddling the distinction here between faith and belief. One can believe that the Biblical account of history is true without having faith of any sort.
The Bible fails human logic, but only insofar as our logic is fallen and errant. Same for our standards of proof. Can you find a scriptural passage that defined faith as believing something that isn’t provable?
“As a Christian, I take it on faith that God created everything, but as a scientist, I ask “how?” The reason God is taken out of the answer to that question is that the second I say “God did it” I can no longer ask “how.” I suspend the “God did it” answer so I can delve deeper into the “how?” question.”
Christ goes to great lengths to prove that he is the messiah. Scientists and historians claim they cannot consider Christ’s proofs, on account of being unable to process the miraculous, and so they generate an alternate story which is an utter fabrication.
The same applies to the intelligent design debate. Scientists must preclude God from their research into “how?”, and therefore contruct alternate theories that might reject the literal truth.
If God simply made a dinosaur, and violated evolutionary theory to do so, then that is what he did. If your exploration into how precludes the answer “God did it”, then it demands an alternative. This does not give you the liberty, as a scientist, to construct a nonsense answer.



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squeaky

posted August 20, 2007 at 12:37 pm


“But if God created nature, and created us through natural means, then why is He considered supernatural? Why the distinction, other than it resolves some messy issues in your head?”
so you’re telling me God is a physical being, measureable by physical means?



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aaron

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:03 pm


If God simply made a dinosaur, and violated evolutionary theory to do so, then that is what he did.
If God created us 0.073259854932 nanoseconds ago complete with the appearance of age, then you’d have to admit your reality (which has its source in claims of historical note) is a bit fabricated no?



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kevin s.

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:06 pm


“No its a fact based on studying the Hebrew origins of Genesis and how people in the region write epic poetry.”
I didn’t deny that it was written poetically, but that isn’t what you asserted.
“Great question. Because we talk and he doesn’t like being put in boxes by anyone.”
That really isn’t relevant to the question of whether we can reconcile his word with science. I disagree that this puts him in any sort of box.
“Interesting. For someone w/o much ego you sure spend a great deal of time arguing about finding new and exciting ways to downplay science and exalt biblical literalism.”
I subscribe to the concept of biblical inerrancy, which is not the same as literalism (not that literalism has any meaning beyond pejorative). I’m not sure what arguing my point of view has to do with my ego, unless you are doing the pot-kettle thing.
“Any time man always assumes they can become higher out of it’s own imagination instead of the love of God, he gets spanked.”
So do you not believe that God wishes for us to discover the universe? I can’t imagine this is what you are arguing. I am not looking to get closer to God by way of science, but rather that Christians ought to advocate a science that we know is compatible with scriptural truth.
“People have been trying for centuries but somehow your smarter than the most gifted scientists.”
I don’t have to be smarter. Christ died and came back from the dead, with numerous witness to his having done so. He claimed he was the son of God, and proved it by performing miracles. How does he do this without a God?
I suppose I cannot prove this based on your definition of science, which says that I must be able to replicate Christ’s effort in order to prove it could happen. So perhaps I should say I can prove him historically, since science is uninterested in getting involved.
“First off Genesis doesn’t explain how God made the stars but it does explain the order and the order doesn’t fit the scientific method or the study of stellar matter. So I think we need to let science examine the stars and let mysticism enjoy the mystery of God revealed in Genesis.”
And here you break Squeaky’s wall between science and religion. Science is allowed dominion over what is true and not true. The book of Genesis does not gel with our scientific understanding of what has transpired w/r/t stars. Therefore science has the authority to say whether the scriptures are true.
However, any effort to determine how God might have gone about making the stars in a manner consistent with scriptures is dismissed as outside the pale of what science can do. As such, Christians are prevented from making a case. If this is as it should be, then science certainly ought not be making truth claims about scripture.
That was the whole point of my original argument about academic freedom.



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aaron

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:39 pm


but rather that Christians ought to advocate a science that we know is compatible with scriptural truth.

Staunch Catholic and Biology professor Ken Miller seems to do that without degenerating into pseudoscience like Behe, Dembski, etc.



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Payshun

posted August 20, 2007 at 4:21 pm


Kevin:
I don’t have to be smarter. Christ died and came back from the dead, with numerous witness to his having done so. He claimed he was the son of God, and proved it by performing miracles. How does he do this without a God?
Me:
He doesn’t. But then Kevin you said you could scientifically prove it. So you will need to get 12 Christs and crucify repeatedly to show that you can scientifically prove God. You are still discussing faith not science. None of those eye witnesses are alive today. Where is your scientific proof.
You:
I suppose I cannot prove this based on your definition of science, which says that I must be able to replicate Christ’s effort in order to prove it could happen. So perhaps I should say I can prove him historically, since science is uninterested in getting involved.
Me:
This is not my definition of science. I took this from other scientists. Historically you still could not prove it. It is something that is known by faith which is also known as trust.
You:
And here you break Squeaky’s wall between science and religion. Science is allowed dominion over what is true and not true. The book of Genesis does not gel with our scientific understanding of what has transpired w/r/t stars. Therefore science has the authority to say whether the scriptures are true.
Me:
Only in your head and the heads of people that think like you. Just because science disputes the order doesn’t make the idea of God creating everything untrue or the nature of God false. That’s the problem w/ your ideology. It has to be literally true in order to have validity. The thing about Genesis especially the first 2.5 chapters is that it was an epic song. It was originally recorded earlier as a song. That means it is metaphorical and spiritual in nature. I believe it to be true because I have faith not because it can be proved scientifically.
You:
However, any effort to determine how God might have gone about making the stars in a manner consistent with scriptures is dismissed as outside the pale of what science can do. As such, Christians are prevented from making a case. If this is as it should be, then science certainly ought not be making truth claims about scripture.
Me:
There is no manner in scripture that details how God made the universe. So you are making that whole thing up to try and build up your point. What is this case that you are trying to make? I am still waiting for you to prove God scientifically.
Ofcourse I want science to examine how the universe was made. I find astrophysics and astronomy absolutely fascinating. I find the study of stars invigorating. I am a novice in that aswell. But I don’t want to confuse that w/ the intimate and amazing, awesome, brilliant and powerful, indomitable, eternal, transcendent God. That’s something that science can’t solve and that’s why learning different prayer techniques and becoming one w/ the Holy Spirit allows for us to know God by experience. This experience cannot be proven because God is spirit. But it still can be seen and experienced by all.
p



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squeaky

posted August 20, 2007 at 4:52 pm


“I am still waiting for you to prove God scientifically. ”
So am I, Kevin–I’ve asked you similar questions a few times now, and I note you ignore them.



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kevin s.

posted August 20, 2007 at 5:30 pm


“So am I, Kevin–I’ve asked you similar questions a few times now, and I note you ignore them.”
I gave my answer in my response to Payshun, and I’ll address it again now.
“But then Kevin you said you could scientifically prove it.”
No, I said that God is provably real, and that science could not prove his non-existence. And, again, your definition of science precludes scientific proof of Christ. If Christ came back to the Earth, performed miracles in front of you, and then left, I could not prove his existence by your definition.
“That’s the problem w/ your ideology. It has to be literally true in order to have validity. ”
I never said this, and it is not a necessary corollary of the idea that historical accuracy is a non-negotiable goal of scripture.
“That means it is metaphorical and spiritual in nature. I believe it to be true because I have faith not because it can be proved scientifically.”
These are two different claims. Even if I cede that I cannot prove it scientifically, that does not mean that it is metaphor, specifically since your definition of science does not allow for one-time events.
“But I don’t want to confuse that w/ the intimate and amazing, awesome, brilliant and powerful, indomitable, eternal, transcendent God. ”
So you do not want to confuse the question of how the universe was made with the eternal, transcendent God. Do you think that the two have nothing to do with each other?
I’ll agree that science cannot solve the mystery of God, but that does not mean I should embrace that which literally contradicts scripture.



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squeaky

posted August 20, 2007 at 5:34 pm


OK–I’ll try this one more time, Kevin.
Suppose science decided to forego the scientific method and meld science and God together. Seems great until you then begin to ask the following questions:
“which God are we forcing science to match?”
“Which creation account are we forcing science to come in line with? Hindu? Budhhist? Native American? Animist?”
See, science is a worldwide endeavor, and if everyone’s faith is allowed into the mix, we can end up with many different forms of science. The scientific method is designed to divorce our particular biases from the equation so that we can explore the world without these biases. If we had stopped exploring the relationship of the sun, moon, and earth because we interpreted the Bible to say the sun orbits the earth, where would we be? Turns out we misunderstood that passage and we understand it better now with our knowledge of the actual natural world. But it took separating our interpretation of the Bible from our human senses of observation to understand the true relationship.
For Christians who are scientists, it does not require us to say God does not exist. It only requires us to not accept “because this is what our interpretation of the Bible says” as an answer to explain natural phenomenon. It is a reasonable approach because the Bible is not at all detailed about science.



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Payshun

posted August 20, 2007 at 6:03 pm


Kevin:
No, I said that God is provably real, and that science could not prove his non-existence. And, again, your definition of science precludes scientific proof of Christ. If Christ came back to the Earth, performed miracles in front of you, and then left, I could not prove his existence by your definition.
ME:
That is not what you said at all. This is what you said:
Absolutely not. If my God is non-existent, and provably so, I will abandon him in an instant. Fortunately, he exists, and provably so, in my opinion.
But that’s the point Kevin, he is not provable. It’s a faith exercise. You have to believe in order to gain Christ. it has nothing to do w/ what’s provable which was your whole point.
One more correction. It’s not my definition Kevin.
The scientific method is recognized around the world and has nothing to do w/ me.
You:
I never said this, and it is not a necessary corollary of the idea that historical accuracy is a non-negotiable goal of scripture.
Me:
But for you it is right? The bible is inerrant w/ no mistakes or anything.
You:
These are two different claims. Even if I cede that I cannot prove it scientifically, that does not mean that it is metaphor, specifically since your definition of science does not allow for one-time events.
Me:
well considering the orignial hebrew translations of Genesis 1:1-2:12 are song lyrics it’s hard to not see them as metaphor explaining a God that is that powerful. The epic nature of the creation accounts mirros other near eastern stories written during that time. If you study Gilgamesh you might notice some similarities like a big giant garden, a flood, immortality…
Are the creation accounts literal history or not?
Again not my definition. check out any reputable scientist. Heck we got one on the boards that goes by the name Squeaky and he agrees w/ me.
You said:
So you do not want to confuse the question of how the universe was made with the eternal, transcendent God. Do you think that the two have nothing to do with each other?
Me:
I can’t confuse them. To confuse them is to think of God being too small. It’s like comparing an amoeba to a red giant.
Ofcourse they have something in common w/ each other. One created the other and bears it’s image the other doesn’t. God doesn’t bare the image of the universe. God is transcendant and should not be looked at scientifically. That’s wrong.
p



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William Watson

posted August 20, 2007 at 7:16 pm


‘but rather that Christians ought to advocate a science that we know is compatible with scriptural truth.’
How about a biblical hermenuetic which incorporates scientific knowledge into the process. When Jesus said ‘I am the vine’ he didn’t mean it literally. We use human reason to determine that it must have been intended as metaphor. If the literal sense makes sense, then seek no other sense; but if the literal sense in nonsense, then seek another sense. Consequently, any part of Genesis 1 which is not consistent with what we are confident is true in science, we should consider it to be metaphor. Having said that, alot of what many scientists are confident is true, may just be current myth we accept without fully considering it (i.e. Darwinism).



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kevin s.

posted August 20, 2007 at 8:05 pm


” Consequently, any part of Genesis 1 which is not consistent with what we are confident is true in science, we should consider it to be metaphor. Having said that, alot of what many scientists are confident is true, may just be current myth we accept without fully considering it (i.e. Darwinism).”
Nicely put. My concern (well, one of my concerns) is that we could use the metaphor bludgeon to render all scripture as a trite little allegory. If the definition of metaphor is that which does not gel with science, then we are left with a metaphorical religion… Yuck.



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deacondana

posted August 20, 2007 at 11:25 pm


All I can say is: “Thank you God that this did not occur at a Catholic University/College.”
See – there is a bright side to every story.
including all of the interesting conversations…



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kevin s.

posted August 21, 2007 at 12:16 am


“Suppose science decided to forego the scientific method and meld science and God together.”
This is a false choice. I am looking for science that welcomes an explanation of scripture, which you say is off limits. I think we are at an impasse.
“Which creation account are we forcing science to come in line with? Hindu? Budhhist? Native American? Animist?”
Here, you have made a compelling argument for science and history to determine that which is true. Without any basis in reality, then there is no difference between Buddhism and Christianity. They are one and the same, and of equal value, given that they are based on faith. If I have faith in Allah, that is of the same value as having faith in Christ. What is to say whose faith is correct?
” It is a reasonable approach because the Bible is not at all detailed about science.”
Simply because the Bible is not detailed about science is not a compelling reason to reject what is contained therein. You reject the Genesis account of creation. You find it to be an allegory for what really happened. You have not made a compelling case for why this ought be so.
“If my God is non-existent, and provably so, I will abandon him in an instant. Fortunately, he exists, and provably so, in my opinion.”
Please explain how this statement conflicts with the following…
” God is provably real, and science cannot prove his non-existence. And, again, your definition of science precludes scientific proof of Christ.”
I don’t see how that is substantively dissimilar.
“But that’s the point Kevin, he is not provable. It’s a faith exercise. You have to believe in order to gain Christ”
Again, you conflate belief with faith. I concur that you need both to secure God’s grace, but that does not mean that God’s existence is unprovable.
“The bible is inerrant w/ no mistakes or anything.”
How much research have you done into inerrancy? I only ask because how you answer would probably determine how I engage the question.
“well considering the orignial hebrew translations of Genesis 1:1-2:12 are song lyrics it’s hard to not see them as metaphor explaining a God that is that powerful. ”
Can you point me to your resource indicating that the opening of Genesis is simply a set of metaphorical song lyrics? That might help here. That said, that other creations stories mirror Genesis does not refute the accuracy of the text.
” God doesn’t bare the image of the universe. God is transcendant and should not be looked at scientifically. That’s wrong.”
The question is whether the universe bears the image of God. That is a question independent of God’s transcendence. Incidentally, I wonder what you mean by transcendence. You seem to be using the term as a dodge. That God transcends human truth does not mean he does not meet the criteria of human truth, and nobody disagrees that God is transcendent.



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squeaky

posted August 21, 2007 at 9:26 am


“This is a false choice. I am looking for science that welcomes an explanation of scripture, which you say is off limits. I think we are at an impasse.”
Well if that’s all you want, then read Ross and Miller. Ross has a pretty interesting scientific explanation of Genesis. Miller advocates that evolution was not outside God’s plan of creation. I myself can scientifically explain scripture from my own studies of it and science. The problem comes, as I have said repeatedly, when Genesis is taken literally. How do you scientifically explain the stars being formed after the earth? If, however, the Genesis account is seen as written by someone from the perspective of standing on Earth while creation occurred, then it makes sense. It made perfect sense to Hugh Ross, a scientist who did not believe in God until he read the Genesis creation account.
And all of that is a nice exercise, but it still isn’t science. You are apparently saying you want a science that can prove Jesus rose from the dead. How can science do this? This is, once again, a direct quesion. Please don’t ignore it this time.
“If I have faith in Allah, that is of the same value as having faith in Christ. What is to say whose faith is correct?”
This is my point exactly. It isn’t just the Western world that studies science. I have a Muslim and Hindu colleagues in this department. Who is to say whose God gets to be the God of science? I say is it my God, but they will defend theirs with equal vigor. So whose God should we interpret the physical world through?
“Simply because the Bible is not detailed about science is not a compelling reason to reject what is contained therein. You reject the Genesis account of creation. You find it to be an allegory for what really happened. You have not made a compelling case for why this ought be so.”
I do not reject the Genesis account. Not agreeing with your interpretation of that scripture does not mean I reject it.
“And, again, your definition of science precludes scientific proof of Christ.”
Well, yes of course. You are telling me that science can and should prove the resurrection of Christ. Tell me how that works? And if you have a belief based on logic and proof, then where is there room for faith in your life? Since when does God ask us to believe only when scientific proof is presented? He counts faith as righteousness, not belief in scientific proof.
“””If my God is non-existent, and provably so, I will abandon him in an instant. Fortunately, he exists, and provably so, in my opinion.”
Please explain how this statement conflicts with the following…
” God is provably real, and science cannot prove his non-existence.””
It doesn’t contradict, but when you have been asked repeatedly to present scientific proof of God and Christ, this sentence doesn’t even come close.
And I am saying, as a scientist, that it is not science’s job to prove or disprove God. If you think it is, then you simply do not understand the purpose of science. Plain and simple.
You might want to read Yancy’s “Rumors” to better understand why this is important. Science is reductionist in nature–I don’t want God reduced to some set of measurements and formulas (which He can’t be anyway, hence the reason He is outside the bounds of science). Where is the awe and mystery in that?
“The question is whether the universe bears the image of God. ”
I say it does, but that is a statement of belief, not science. Plenty of scientists believe that since we understand how the physical universe works, there is no need for God. Two vastly different interpretations of the same data. Neither interpretation scientific. Either interpretation a statement of faith (or lack thereof).
You seem to need science to prove God’s existence in order to accept science. To turn it around, you seem to have a need for science to prove God’s existence to accept God. Are you really saying your faith needs to be grounded in physical proof in order for you to believe? If so, I suggest you seek what the Bible has to say about faith, rather than what science has to say about it.



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squeaky

posted August 21, 2007 at 10:08 am


“How about a biblical hermenuetic which incorporates scientific knowledge into the process. When Jesus said ‘I am the vine’ he didn’t mean it literally. We use human reason to determine that it must have been intended as metaphor. If the literal sense makes sense, then seek no other sense; but if the literal sense in nonsense, then seek another sense. Consequently, any part of Genesis 1 which is not consistent with what we are confident is true in science, we should consider it to be metaphor. Having said that, alot of what many scientists are confident is true, may just be current myth we accept without fully considering it (i.e. Darwinism).”
Thank you Professor Watson–good thoughts. This is mostly what I have been saying, although I disagree that science is incompatible with the Genesis account. Rather, science helps us understand the Genesis account, so I see no need to resort to metaphor, although that also may ultimately be truth as well (at least in part).
As for Darwinism, if you mean evolution, I would not call a scientific theory a myth, nor would I say it has been accepted without being fully considered. If it is a theory, it by definition, has already been fully considered. And until another explanation that explains everything evolution does and everything it does not comes along, that will be the theory.
Kent Hovind once said he would not believe in God if God used evolution to bring about man from ape. I myself am not an evolutionary biologist, so I haven’t carefully studied the evidence supporting human evolution. However, that still strikes me as an arrogant statement. So what if God did? Is He not God? Is it not His right to create using the mechanism of His choosing? It is insulting to us, though, because we feel like that makes us just a step above apes. What if it is just one more way for God to show us how much humility we really should have before Him? If we are simultaneously a step below the angels and a step above apes, how does that affect our sense of place in God’s sight? (It’s just a thought experiment, not a statement of belief or theology).



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kevin s.

posted August 21, 2007 at 10:37 am


“You are apparently saying you want a science that can prove Jesus rose from the dead. How can science do this? This is, once again, a direct quesion. Please don’t ignore it this time.”
I have never once ignored this question. I did not say that science needs to prove that Jesus rose from the dead. It certainly may, just as much as it may explain what happened to the dinosaurs.
Rather, science must accomodate the possibility. If we say science simply cannot prove anything miraculous, then we must systematically eliminate the possibility of miracle from history. You have not addressed my point about constructing a false narrative based on the scientific impossibility of Christ’s rebirth.
“I have a Muslim and Hindu colleagues in this department. Who is to say whose God gets to be the God of science? I say is it my God, but they will defend theirs with equal vigor. So whose God should we interpret the physical world through?”
I think this is a problem with your argument. Without literal truth, they can equal claim to God. If we cannot say the Biblical account is accurate, then we cannot say that they are misplacing their faith. Perhaps you do not believe that they are.
“And if you have a belief based on logic and proof, then where is there room for faith in your life?”
Your definition of faith is left wanting. Did Abraham not have faith? What about Moses? I think Moses could pretty logically conclude that God is real, with the burning bush and whatnot. Or was the burning bush again symbolic?
“You seem to need science to prove God’s existence in order to accept science. To turn it around, you seem to have a need for science to prove God’s existence to accept God.”
This is not at all a necessary corollary. I am an NBA fan. I know the NBA exists. What if Sportscenter refused to acknowledge the NBA? I wouldn’t accept Sportscenter as a sports news show. I would reject it and wonder why ESPN was so high on it.
I would want Sportscenter to cover the NBA, and criticize Sportscenter for not doing so, but this would in no way prove to me that the NBA did not exist, or that I should not enjoy it.



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squeaky

posted August 21, 2007 at 11:20 am


“I have never once ignored this question.”
You are still ignoring this question. Develop an experiment to prove God exists. That is the essence of what has been asked and ignored.
Is it not true that someone being raised from the dead is a miracle? Science has nothing to say about miracles. I’m sorry that you don’t accept that. How can it, since science explores that which follow the laws of nature?
“Rather, science must accomodate the possibility. ”
Why? It’s not science’s job. No scientist would ever stop research and say “well, I guess it was just a miracle. I can’t otherwise explain it.” Scientists will always try to explain the miraculous, and once they do, it ceases being miraculous.
“If we say science simply cannot prove anything miraculous, then we must systematically eliminate the possibility of miracle from history. ”
Why does that follow? Science, in its reductionist manner can’t explain love or beauty. Should love and beauty be excluded from history? Does that mean love and beauty does not exist?
“Your definition of faith is left wanting. Did Abraham not have faith? ”
Abraham believed before God did anything to prove His promises to him. In fact, Abraham died without seeing those promises come to fruition. He didn’t need physical proof. He believed without seeing. If that isn’t faith, then what is? This is also a direct question.
“Or was the burning bush again symbolic?”
No–but I can’t prove it actually occurred scientifically. Neither could Moses, even though he saw it first hand. Scientific proof would require the experience was repeatable not just by Moses, but by other shepherds. If Moses went back the next day and the same thing didn’t happen, he could not then construct an hypothesis that “bushes burn without being consumed.” He couldn’t even construct the hypothesis “God manifests himself only in a burning bush”. God manifested himself in many ways.
“This is not at all a necessary corollary. I am an NBA fan. I know the NBA exists. What if Sportscenter refused to acknowledge the NBA? I wouldn’t accept Sportscenter as a sports news show. I would reject it and wonder why ESPN was so high on it. ”
Bad analogy. You can go to an NBA game when the season is on, and if you have the schedule correct, you will know exactly where to go to see one. Where do you go to see a physical manifestation of God on a consistent and predictable basis?
Speaking of sports, and since we are off topic anyway–how ’bout them Vikings? If the defense plays like it has so far, I see a playoff in the picture. Seems the best offense is a great defense in the Vike’s case.



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kevin s.

posted August 21, 2007 at 1:33 pm


“Develop an experiment to prove God exists”
5th go around at the question you claim I am ignoring.
Death is a pretty simple experiment. Unfortunately, I cannot relay information from that state. The fact that I cannot conduct an experiment that proves the existence of a God does not mean it cannot be proven.
It is not necessary for me to know precisely how one can prove the existence of God in order to believe that he can be proven.
“Is it not true that someone being raised from the dead is a miracle? Science has nothing to say about miracles.”
Which requires it to construct false narratives, and I don’t want science to create false narratives. Science is used, albeit implicitly, in the quest for a historical Jesus, which explains Jesus as a sage, but not the son of God.
“Scientists will always try to explain the miraculous, and once they do, it ceases being miraculous.”
So the creation of the world is not miraculous? The definition of miracle is solely dependent on the ability of human scientists to explain the phenomenon? I disagree. I think that miracles are that which cannot be performed by human will alone, but that is far different from suggesting that miracles are not observable.
“Abraham believed before God did anything to prove His promises to him.”
Abraham had faith in the God he could see and observe, as did Moses. Now, they had to trust God that he would fulfill his promises, but they did not simply trust in God based on a warm fuzzy feeling. It was based on God’s literal authority to fulfill his promises.
“Bad analogy.”
Not for my purpose, which was to point out that your corollary doesn’t apply. That said, I find God to be no less observable than the NBA.
“Speaking of sports, and since we are off topic anyway–how ’bout them Vikings?”
I am a Lions fan. I have no faith in them whatsoever.



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kevin s.

posted August 21, 2007 at 1:38 pm


I think this set a record for longest Sojo thread not to mention Hitler.



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squeaky

posted August 21, 2007 at 2:14 pm


“Death is a pretty simple experiment.”
What does an experiment involving death prove?
“Unfortunately, I cannot relay information from that state.”
Nor does science have anything to say about the afterlife. Nothing it says could be proven because once someone is dead (other than Jesus), they aren’t coming back to report their observations.
“The fact that I cannot conduct an experiment that proves the existence of a God does not mean it cannot be proven.”
Well, since I’ve asked you how you would prove God’s existence scientifically, you should have some idea how that could be done if you truly believe that.
“It is not necessary for me to know precisely how one can prove the existence of God in order to believe that he can be proven.”
Yet you offer no evidence of what that proof would look like.
Saying that you can prove God’s existence, but then saying you don’t know what that proof is, is the same as saying you have no proof. You expect science to bridge your knowledge gap for you, and you fault science because it refuses to even attempt to do what you want it to. Sorry if science doesn’t fit your wishes, but there are very good reasons for the scientific method. My question for you is why do you need so badly for science to do this for you?
“Which requires it to construct false narratives, and I don’t want science to create false narratives. Science is used, albeit implicitly, in the quest for a historical Jesus, which explains Jesus as a sage, but not the son of God. ”
Your beef is with history then, not science. What false narratives has science itself constructed? It’s impossible for something dead to come to life again? So what? Faith is belief in the impossible, so science’s claims pose no threat to theology or faith. We have, in fact, just crossed out of the realm of science.
“So the creation of the world is not miraculous? The definition of miracle is solely dependent on the ability of human scientists to explain the phenomenon? I disagree. I think that miracles are that which cannot be performed by human will alone, but that is far different from suggesting that miracles are not observable. ”
Well, I agree–it does depend on your definition of miracle, and your definition is “A” definition of miracle. And yes, some scientists would say the creation of the world is not miraculous, especially if the definition of miracle is the breaking of natural law. Because we can explain the creation of the world within natural law, the miracle is lost, if in fact, that is your definition of miracle.
And that definition is no less valid than yours–this is what the burning bush did, this is what Christ rising from the dead did, this is what Christ’s healings did–they broke natural law.
I do, however, hold your definition among my understanding of miracle. For me, the miracle is that the natural world works together like it does in all its complexity and beauty. For me creation is no less miraculous because we understand or can explain it, and in fact, the more I understand creation, the more miraculous it becomes for me.
“Abraham had faith in the God he could see and observe, as did Moses.”
Umm–I guess you have ommitted the passage that says “no one has seen the Lord and lived” from your Bible. Abraham believed, and it was counted to him as righteousness. It was a big deal. What’s the big deal about believing something you can see and observe?
“That said, I find God to be no less observable than the NBA. ”
OK–then you should have proof if you can observe Him. this is the proof I have been asking you to produce. I have never physically seen God, never heard Him, never smelled Him, never touched Him or been touched by Him, never tasted Him. I haven’t even seen a miracle of the kind that breaks natural law. Yet I still believe in Him. How do you explain that? If He as just as observable as the NBA, we should be able to sell tickets to a colliseum to watch God just as we are to watch an NBA game.
Lions fan–sorry. That’s even worse than being a Vikings fan.



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squeaky

posted August 21, 2007 at 2:15 pm


“I think this set a record for longest Sojo thread not to mention Hitler.”
Dang–you just ruined it!
Back to sports, though–what’s up with Garnett trade–did the Wolves get anyone worthwhile, or was it just another MN trade boondoggle on the lines of Herschel Walker and Randy Moss?



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aaron

posted August 21, 2007 at 3:36 pm


I am looking for science that welcomes an explanation of scripture, …
they were doing that science til about 200 years ago, when they found it lacking.



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aaron

posted August 21, 2007 at 3:50 pm


Kevin,
You’re worried about a false narrative being spun because science rules out these one time miraculous events. Let’s take Noah’s flood and assume God can magically make the water appear after 40 days of rain, we don’t have to worry about where the water came from or went, or the atmospheric pressures and heat released from such a sizable quantity of water and so forth. Allowing that, there’s still absolutely no geological evidence whatsoever that the earth was completely inundated a few short thousands of years ago. So given that God can pop in and out, or pop other things in and out, what point in constructing this narrative can we –insert miracle here–?



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squeaky

posted August 21, 2007 at 3:59 pm


Yes, and to continue Aaron’s point–there is no geological evidence to support a worldwide flood. However, there is very good evidence of a localized flood in the region where Noah would have lived. The Biblical narrative makes sense if you put yourself in the shoes of Noah and others who saw what was for them the entire world inundated by that flood. They weren’t aware there was much of a world outside that region. From their perspective, it was a worldwide flood.



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justintime

posted August 21, 2007 at 4:05 pm


“I think this set a record for longest Sojo thread not to mention Hitler.”
“Dang–you just ruined it!”
We should try to set a record for the longest thread not to mention Bill Clinton.



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Payshun

posted August 21, 2007 at 7:30 pm


Kevin:
This is a false choice. I am looking for science that welcomes an explanation of scripture, which you say is off limits. I think we are at an impasse.
Me:
Well if you would explain what kind of science you are talking about that would help. Are we talking about biology, archaelogy, astrophysics?
You:
Here, you have made a compelling argument for science and history to determine that which is true. Without any basis in reality, then there is no difference between Buddhism and Christianity. They are one and the same, and of equal value, given that they are based on faith. If I have faith in Allah, that is of the same value as having faith in Christ. What is to say whose faith is correct?
Me:
You are silly. Kidding. I think each person’s faith is equal to someone else’s. Who am I to say that it is not? But I can say I prefer mine better and believe it to be true. But then who doesn’t?
You:
Simply because the Bible is not detailed about science is not a compelling reason to reject what is contained therein. You reject the Genesis account of creation. You find it to be an allegory for what really happened. You have not made a compelling case for why this ought be so.
Me:
I have rejected nothing. I just know what near eastern epic poetry looks like.
A good quote:
its assumption of a creation in six days, with the sequence of events as recounted, contradicts the theories of modern science regarding the formation of the heavenly bodies during vast periods of time, especially that of the earth, its organisms, and its position in the universe. The popular view of Genesis can not be reconciled with modern science. The story is a religio-scientific speculation on the origin of the world, analogous to the creation-myths found among many peoples. The similarities to the Babylonian creation-myth are most numerous and most striking. The extent of its dependence on other myths, the mode of transmission, and the age and history of the tradition and its adaptation are still matters of dispute.
I will reveal where I got that soon.
You:
Again, you conflate belief with faith. I concur that you need both to secure God’s grace, but that does not mean that God’s existence is unprovable.
Me:
You need neither for God’s grace. he is gracious to both good and evil. His grace is fully given freely out of his love for mankind.
You:
How much research have you done into inerrancy? I only ask because how you answer would probably determine how I engage the question.
Me:
Quite a bit, that’s why I don’t believe in it.
You:
Can you point me to your resource indicating that the opening of Genesis is simply a set of metaphorical song lyrics? That might help here. That said, that other creations stories mirror Genesis does not refute the accuracy of the text.
Me:
http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=137&letter=G&search=Genesis%20origin
Scroll toward the bottom
What accuracy are you talking about?
Do you believe that God created the world in six days as the first chapter says?
You:
The question is whether the universe bears the image of God. That is a question independent of God’s transcendence. Incidentally, I wonder what you mean by transcendence. You seem to be using the term as a dodge. That God transcends human truth does not mean he does not meet the criteria of human truth, and nobody disagrees that God is transcendent.
Me:
Talk about ego driven drivel. God cannot meet the criteria of human truth because human truth cannot contain God’s truth. It just can’t. Humanity (and the mortal truth it contains) is finite by nature, God on the other hand is not. He is beyond nature, an uncreated being that cannot be detailed or explained by humanity. he can be experienced but that’s not the same thing.
p



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Payshun

posted August 21, 2007 at 7:34 pm


Kevin,
Some more quotes from my Jewish brothers and sisters.
The story of the Garden of Eden (ch. ii., iii.) is a myth, invented in order to answer certain questions of religion, philosophy, and cultural history. Its origin can not be ascertained, as no parallel to it has so far been found.
(c)
The stories of Cain and Abel and the genealogies of the Cainites and Sethites are reminiscences of legends, the historical basis for which can no longer be ascertained. Their historical truth is excluded by the great age assigned to the Sethites, which contradicts all human experience. A parallel is found in the ten antediluvian primal kings of Babylonian chronology, where the figures are considerably greater.
(d)
The story of the Flood is a legend that is found among many peoples. It is traced back to a Babylonian prototype, still extant. It is perhaps founded on reminiscences of a great seismic-cyclonic event that actually occurred, but could have been only partial, as a general flood of the whole earth, covering even the highest mountains, is not conceivable.
(e)
The genealogy of peoples is a learned attempt to determine genealogically the relation of peoples known to the author, but by no means including the entire human race; this point of view was current in antiquity, although it does not correspond to the actual facts.
p



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Payshun

posted August 21, 2007 at 7:47 pm


Kevin
As w/ most histories of near eastern people they began orally as the quote I will copy will show. Genesis 1:1-2:12 has the same rythmic structure as Gilgamesh and other other ancient creation narratives of the time. Unfortunately I don’t have the internet data to back that up. I read it in a few books and talked to other scholars on that one.
The majority of Jewish scholars think this:
JE[the origin material and thesis ideas,] as far as Genesis is concerned, must be regarded as compilations of stories which long before their reduction to written form had been current orally among the people. These stories in part were not of Canaanitish-Hebrew origin.
Me:
I can write more on this but I think you get the point. I think they do a better job of summing this up than I could.
the jewish encyclopedia:
They represent Semitic and perhaps other cycles of popular and religious tales (“Sagen”) which antedate the differentiation of the Semitic family into Hebrews, Arabs, etc., or, migrating from one to the other of the Semitic groups after their separation, came to the Hebrews from non- Semitic peoples; hence the traces of Babylonian, Egyptian, Phenician, Aramaic, and Ishmaelitish influence.
p



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squeaky

posted August 22, 2007 at 9:01 am


“He is beyond nature, an uncreated being that cannot be detailed or explained by humanity. he can be experienced but that’s not the same thing.”
Exactly, Payshun. Well said. This is exactly the reason science doesn’t and shouldn’t address the question of God. I’m not sure why you don’t accept this, Kevin. I for one am glad God can’t be reduced to formulas and measurements. I suppose we try because we humans want to bring God down to our level. At heart, we are always trying to be God and to use God for our desires.



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Anonymous

posted August 25, 2007 at 5:19 pm


Obviously, Paquin’s university president never read John Paull II on capitalism! Lois Brunelle



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Daniel Rosenthal

posted November 4, 2008 at 12:13 am


Re: Intellegent Design
Every advocate 0f “Intellegent Design” seems to
have a different definition of what it is. The
only thing they seem to agree on is that natural
selection alone can not account for the develop-
ment of life. In the intellegent design movement
there are young earth creationists, old earth
creationists, and even some theistic evolutionists
who believe that God–or the Designer–had to
“tweak” the evolutionary process from time to time
to make it work (e.g. Michael Behe), rather than
designing it in “the beginning” and letting it
run without direct intervention. If the advocates
of intellegent design can not agree on what
intellegent design is, but want it taught in the
schools, whose version of it are we supposed to
teach?



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y8

posted June 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm


Looks great, I’ll try it on my site. Thanks



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