Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

If the Children of Israel Were Giant Squid

posted by David Klinghoffer

Purportedly religion-friendly Darwinists like genome scientist Francis Collins and biologist Kenneth Miller get a lot of mileage out of reassuring the faith community that Darwinism poses no threat to traditional religion. As I noted the other day, neither thinks it would undermine the idea of God’s children having been created in His image to imagine the videotape of life’s history being re-run and producing not humans but intelligent creatures of some totally different description. Perhaps, in Miller’s example, brainy mollusks. Maybe giant squid, pictured above in the diorama I love at New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

If the post-larval juvenile squid of Israel were taken captive by their natural predators and sent into exile in a marine Babylon, perhaps they would sing this lament — if they could sing underwater. When discussing evolution, Dr. Collins is known to enjoy taking a break to strum a guitar and sing inspiring hymns. Too bad this would likely not work with stalk-mounted suction cups:

Psalm 137

In the oceans of Babylon, there we jetted, yea, we discharged ink, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps over our mantles and swimming fins in the midst thereof. For there, at depths greater than 300 meters, they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that preyed upon us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange sea? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right tentacle forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue with its arrangement of small, file-sharp teeth cleave to the roof of my parrot-like beak; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy, namely fish, shrimp, and other squid. Remember, O LORD, the pods of the Sperm Whale in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Bite it, eat it, even to the foundation thereof. O cetaceans of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy calf into our eight arms, two long tentacles, and serrated sucker rings.

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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 23, 2009 at 11:57 pm

So you think that theistic evolution cannot possibly be true because God’s children, if He did it all over again, might not look like humans, and they might have written exactly the same Bible?
So ID requires that the “Designer” produce, not only humans who look like us, but humans who write a Hebrew Bible using in exactly the same words? So when is the peer-reviewed paper that demonstrates THIS coming out?
How is ID scientific again? Do explain.
If you speak publicly within 300 miles of me, I’m coming, and I’m bringing printouts of this.
Seriously, David, you are a piece of work. You keep saying the ridiculous things over and over without acknowledging the objections of your critics ON YOUR OWN BLOG.
If your DI fellowship is for making ID look respectable to the public, you are pretty far from earning your money.

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David Klinghoffer

posted June 24, 2009 at 1:46 am

Hello Gabriel, you seem like a smart guy — have you not read the subtitle of this blog? This is not a blog about science per se. It’s about the worldview of the Hebrew Bible. Now there’s obviously an overlap. That there *is* indeed such an overlap is part of my ongoing argument. I don’t buy Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA concept. However, I do not offer original scientific arguments here. If that’s what you want to read — and if so, I applaud you — then there are lots of resources available. I commend to you, for example, Stephen Meyer’s new book “Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design,” published just today by HarperOne. Here’s a link:
Ah, but if I recall from a previous comment you made, you don’t feel you need to read new books. You’ve already got it all figured out. If so, I’m really not sure how in the world I can help you.

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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:01 am

David, it is one thing to argue for the worldview of the Hebrew Bible.
It is quite another to argue, in front of one audience, that believing in evolution, even God-directed evolution, leads to unacceptable social consequences; and in front of another, argue for a “scientific” alternative to evolution that doesn’t depend on God. You are dishonest.
For the lawyers, you say one thing. For religious believers, you turn around and say the opposite.
As for reading new books, suppose I suggest you read a book about the Discovery Institute’s role in the conservative conspiracy to establish an American theocracy. You would know that I have an ideological axe to grind and that my book is unlikely to be more than factual distortions and polemics.
Unlike you, I’ve read extensively about Darwin and Hitler. Unlike you, I quote them without leaving out crucial sentences and qualifiers which totally change the meanings of their statements.
And when I quote you, I will quote you in full. There is no need to distort the things you say, they speak for themselves.

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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:09 am

At any rate, David, arguing with you is pointless. You just repeat the very same thing in some other place as though the objection had never been made.
I assume you are waiting for your critics to get bored and go away.
You’ve never retracted or even acknowledged your absurd characterization of Hitler’s viewpoints (how you thought you could get away with distorting the views of one of the most studied humans in history I don’t know). You’ve never acknowledged or retracted your distortion of orthodox Jewish doctrine on the incorporeality of God. (You left out Maimonides!)
You will just move on to a new audience that hasn’t heard the objections.
This is why I, and some of others of your critics, will continue to challenge you here and elsewhere.

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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:32 am

Anyway, you are lying to someone.
If ID really doesn’t entail the existence of God, then it can’t be an alternative to theistic evolution. If it really does, then it can’t be taught in schools as science.
Who are you lying to? The believers, or the judges?

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David Klinghoffer

posted June 24, 2009 at 3:07 am

Sigh. Gabriel, you really need to follow this issue a little more closely than you do before trying to weigh in and comment. ID doesn’t entail God’s existence, though it doesn’t undercut belief either. Theistic evo does undercut key tenets of theistic belief. No one I work with is trying to mandate that ID be taught in the schools as a substitute for Darwinism. They are trying to make room for teachers who want to teach about the scientific shortcomings of Darwinism as well as about the scientific case for evolution. Darwinism has clear theological implications — it undermines traditional religious belief. It’s taught in the schools nevertheless, and that’s fine. Why not allow both sides in the debate to be heard by students? Why limit the presentation to propaganda and indoctrination?

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Bruce Chapman

posted June 24, 2009 at 3:17 am

The satire is hilarious and spot-on. The rebarbative Gabriel Hanna should display such wit in his self-indulgently repeated posts. Meanwhile, do we not note that this article by David sends up SCIENTISTS who write about religion–e.g., Miller and Collins? They are the ones who brought up the topic; Klinghoffer is examining their position. His piece is not about intelligent design, by the way, but the vacuities of theistic evolution. ID, doesn’t express a religious claim; theistic evolution expressly does, does it not? That is why it is such a delicious target for the seafaring Klinghoffer.

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Gabriel Hanna

posted June 24, 2009 at 10:48 am

David, theistic evolution POSTULATES God. You didn’t even attempt to prove that the postulate is incompatible with the conclusion–all you did was ridicule it–a Bible written for squids, how hilarious. And you ignored one of the most influential figures in Jewish theology who said the exact opposite of what you said.
ID, you claim, DOES NOT postulate God. Anything at all could have been designed in place of humans and their Bibles could be whatever.
How can you hold up a view that DOES NOT require God as superior, from a religious standpoint, to one that DOES, without contradiction?
You are arguing A in court and not-A here.
Are you lying to believers or to judges?
You and I both know you are lying to judges. You don’t believe in “ID” any more than you believe in the Man in the Moon. You believe that the God of Abraham created the Universe basically just like it is now; furthermore you asserted in your “squid” posts that He could ONLY have done so in one way. He couldn’t have made anything He pleased–He HAD to make humans as they are now, so they could write the Bible as it exists now. (That’s a huge burden of proof you’ve taken upon yourself).
You just want a fig leaf, or a wedge, if you will, so that people who want to teach God in SCIENCE CLASS can have some legal pretence for doing so in spite of the Supreme Court’s clear ruling on what does or does not constitute science.
Judges of course notice when you make arguments in one forum that are exact opposite of the arguments you make in another, as you discovered to your chagrin in Pennsylvania.
You will not get away with it.

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posted June 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm

There is no evidence for intelligent design. There is no research being done on behalf of the intelligent design claims being made. Yeah, the Wedge Document is helpful to the ID noisemakers, but only if they don’t leave the playbook out for everyone to see.
Anyway, if David wants to claim that he’s talking about the Scriptures, then he needs to abandon ID. Nothing in the Scriptures supports ID. Nothing in science supports ID. Nothing supports ID, except some folks who rely on dishonesty (I’m sure David has read Judge Jones’s comments in Kitzmiller about the lack of integrity of the ID proponents) and religious sleight of hand.

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posted June 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

David: Purportedly religion-friendly Darwinists like genome scientist Francis Collins….
Another one of your subtle rhetorical tics–calling into question the bona fides of Collins et al. by using “purportedly” and then using “Darwinism” as if to indicate an ideology and to imply deceit. It’s almost like saying, “Purportedly Christian atheists….”
ID doesn’t entail God’s existence, though it doesn’t undercut belief either.
I’m inclined to think that most of the ID people are using ID as a backdoor way to push Christianity (Wedge Strategy, anyone?). However, suppose you’re right, and suppose ID were universally accepted tomorrow. Then it’s a free-for-all between Gnostics (who think the Designer is evil), proponents of aliens from Alpha Centauri (as Behe suggested), etc. Judaism and Christianity wouldn’t necessarily win out, would they? In fact, without prior theological commitments, one might say that ID makes the Demiurge more likely, since it’s hard to see why a benevolent Creator would set up ichneuomonid wasps the way they are (as Darwin himself noted).
Theistic evo does undercut key tenets of theistic belief.
No, it doesn’t, and you have not yet demonstrated how it does.
Darwinism has clear theological implications — it undermines traditional religious belief.
1. To consistently use the term “Darwinism” is a rhetorical trick by which you attempt to turn a well-established scientific consensus into an ideology or religious analogue. Several of us have pointed this out before.
2. Evolution has no theological implications beyond indicating that naive Biblical literalism (which you claim not to hold) is not possible.
I notice that several posters pointed out on the last thread, from Jewish as well as Christian sources, that the “image and likeness” of God is not to be understood in a physical way (as even you began by saying). So, had it suited God to do so, why couldn’t he have made squid intelligent?
On the other hand, are you implying that if intelligent life exists elsewhere in the cosmos that it must look like us, and couldn’t be, say, intelligent squid, since tzelem by your confused and contradictory reading seems to mean “having the physical form of an incorporeal God”? A response would be appreciated.

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Glen Davidson

posted June 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm

ID doesn’t entail God’s existence, though it doesn’t undercut belief either.

Why no, it only entails a god-like being who is utterly inscrutable and beyond investigation. The designer can create an entire universe, and follows no rules, except, oddly enough, those of evolution–which is okay, because IDists always refuse to deal with such facts and only assume that a god-like being can choose to do anything for any reason or no reason at all.
How could anyone ever suppose that such a being is god? Only those evil atheists, and the theistic evolutionists who are always disparaged as lackeys of the atheists. The curs.
Glen Davidson

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posted June 24, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Bruce Chapman (June 24, 2009 3:17 AM) “The satire is hilarious and spot-on.”
Mr. Chapman’s sense of humor, like most creatioonists’, could use some work.

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posted June 25, 2009 at 11:48 am

If the Children of Israel were giant squid, then we would have no trouble making arguments like “on one hand…”, “on the other hand…”, “and on another hand…”

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posted July 2, 2009 at 9:33 pm


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