Science and the Sacred

Science and the Sacred


On Feeling at Home in the Family

posted by Darrel Falk

coming to peace.jpg

Every Monday, “Science and the Sacred” features an essay from
one of The BioLogos Foundation’s co-presidents: Karl Giberson and
Darrel Falk. Today’s entry was written by Darrel Falk.

The greatest joy of my life is being with family. This is especially true, of course, of my natural family, but it extends much more broadly than that. In my book, Coming to Peace With Science
, I write about my return to evangelical Christianity after a departure caused in part by my views on evolution. What I missed most during those several years away was the joy of being with family. In those early years after my return, we would often sing a chorus, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.” While we were singing, we’d just spontaneously wander around from person to person shaking hands and warmly smiling as we celebrated being a part of the same family. It was that longing for family that brought me back to the Church and caused me to stay even though I believed in evolution and most of them didn’t. It made no difference. Thousands of miles from our natural family, we, my wife Joyce and I, together with our two daughters, had found a larger family; we had found a home.

Several weeks ago, I talked with Karl Giberson after he had visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky. As I asked him about the experience, I expected he would make some light-hearted remark about the dinosaurs with saddles or the vegetarian lions. Instead, I was struck with how much he loved the serene setting. It was almost like he felt at home there, and his thoughts turned to his own daughters and to his wife, Myrna, with whom he wished he could share the experience.

I had a similar experience last weekend when I visited a seminar put on by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), at John MacArthur’s church in greater Los Angeles. I loved being there, and what I enjoyed most of all was the sense of being with family. After the daylong conference, friends of mine who attend this church invited me to their home along with about 50 guests to explain the scientific view of the creation story. My task was to explain the view that the earth was old and that God had created all life, including humans, through an evolutionary process. Even though I had never met most of these people before, I felt at home. I was with family.

They asked me to talk about the data that ran contrary to what they had heard throughout the day and they listened intently as I showed them the genetic evidence for evolution. They smiled with me at lighter moments, and they were as deeply moved as I was as we thought together about the richness and beauty of the story of Adam and Eve. In the end, they wrote their questions on cards and we had a meaningful discussion period. I loved their questions. They really wanted to understand and were especially concerned about the theological implications of the data I had just presented. They were skeptical about whether they could believe the science, largely because it seemed to them it would disrupt the theology upon which their lives had been grounded. They lovingly listened as we thought together about the theological implications. Throughout the evening, I never stopped feeling like I was with family–a warm and loving family.

The next morning I sat down over breakfast with my two friends who had only recently let go of their young earth position. It had not been easy for them, and was not easy for others I know who have recently made the shift. However now, with the process further along, they tell me it has greatly enriched their sense of awe for the beauty of creation and for the God who is responsible for it all. As I thought further about the preceding day and the delightful evening I had enjoyed so much, I concluded the following:

  • People who hold the young earth perspective are not unintelligent. If it had been possible to do some sort of intelligence test on the group of 50 gathered in that home, it would have been similar to that which would typify the many scientific gatherings I have attended over the years.
  • These are beautiful people whose lives reflect the glory of God.
  • Since most of these people do not have a science background they have difficulty understanding why science should be considered anything more than an opinion about how things work.
  • Their worldview is based upon a theology that is difficult to wrestle free from the young earth perspective. The questions they raise are not knee jerk reactions, they are important questions that we must be prepared to address. They are tied to things like the apostle Paul ‘s clear belief in a historical Adam in Romans 5 and the fact that God is reported to have said centuries later that He created heaven and earth in six days (Exodus 20:11). “Did God really say this, or not?” they ask. “Was Paul inspired to write something that was not really true?” they want to know.
  • Some, perhaps many, have come to Christianity from lives that were previously very unfulfilling. They have found a safe haven among beautiful people who believe a certain way. They don’t want to go back to their old lives and they fear that accepting evolution is a step back to where they used to be.
  • Many are open to new ways of thinking. If the data is strong, they will thoughtfully consider it, but letting go will not be easy. Like me, they are convinced of the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Like me, they believe in a God who can and does supersede nature. Like me they take their theology very seriously. They will only let go of the old theology when the new one brings them to some place where they remain intellectually and spiritually fulfilled.

As the ICR seminar began last Saturday morning, Henry Morris III, the CEO of the organization, said that the real enemy of the church is not atheists, it is people like myself–people who had reached a compromise between the Bible and science. Despite his sentiment, I continued to feel at home there. As I listened to his message at the end of the day, I applauded with everyone else. He was preaching the gospel message that I believe too. In fact so powerful was his message that I felt like leading the way to a standing ovation…it was a beautiful message that had absolutely nothing to do with the age of the earth or the mechanism by which God had created humans. He might think people like me are the enemy, but I think of him as a brother who just doesn’t understand how clear the data is.

My task, and the task of others like me, is to help members of the family who want to listen come to understand that whether God set up and maintains a process by which creation takes place gradually or whether God did it in an instant makes no difference. Sure, there will be some tweaking of theology so it is a little less subject to our very human misinterpretations. Sure, there will need to be some changes in how we understand scripture to bring it into a framework that is more consistent with how God intends to speak to us through scripture. The fact is that the day is coming–and I suspect it is not that far away– when most in the Church will wonder why we ever struggled with this issue in God’s family.

We’ll get on with the task of that which matters most of all: providing a home for those who need a family–being the family of God, for those who want a home.

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Kathryn

posted November 2, 2009 at 10:00 am


Beautiful.



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Daniel Mann

posted November 2, 2009 at 10:32 am


Darrell,
I appreciate your irenic post and pray that we can continue to dialogue in a friendly manner over issues that are so important.
However, I also have to assert that there will necessarily be profound and unavoidable conflicts for those who buy into the Darwin-Jesus synthesis. Here’s a few:
1. LACK OF STABILITY IN THE DARWIN/CHRIST MARRIAGE: The Darwinist worldview is entirely different from the Biblical at its most fundamental points. While the Bible insists that God created everything good and that we are the problem (Gen. 3), Darwin is unequivocal that, even at the beginning, life was characterized as a bloody survival-of-the-fittest struggle. All subsequent theology hinges upon this: the Fall and origin of sin (Gen. 3), the Redemption (1 Cor. 15:21-22), the Restoration (Acts 3:21). Hence, you have opened the door to a continual struggle for authority between Darwin and Jesus, as Darwin seeks to erode what you what you want to retain.
2. AN UNDERMINING OF ALL OBJECTIVE REASONS TO BELIEVE IN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH: Since theistic evolutionists teach that the Bible isn’t about this physical world (in order to make room for Darwinism) but rather the theological world, they have consequently come to disdain any of the classical theistic proofs for God and the Christian faith. Consequently, they have rendered themselves ineffectual in bringing the Gospel to unbelievers and have been relegated to the position of only being able to talk effectively to those who already have a faith in Christ. They have marginalized themselves away from the broader exchange of ideas. Besides, if we tell the world that they can’t trust the Bible in its teachings about the physical world (history, etc), they will doubtless see any reason to trust it regarding its proclamations about the spiritual world.
3. AN UNDERMINING OF THEIR OWN CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST: In order to make room for Darwin, the theistic evolutionist (TE) must relegate much of Genesis to the place of myth. However, all of the writers of Scripture, including Jesus, regard these accounts as historical. Therefore, the TE is forced to admit that these authorities are also teaching myth. (If we can’t trust them about the physical world, why then the spiritual!) However, in order to retain some semblance of the Christian faith, they must make the unbiblical distinction between the science and history of the Bible and the theology of the Bible. But we can’t separate the history of the Cross from the theology of the Cross. This inseparable bond also pertains to other doctrines. How then can you trust in the theology of the Bible, when you are unwilling to trust in the history of the Bible?



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Gordon J. Glover

posted November 2, 2009 at 11:55 am


Daniel,
These are all very good points. I can’t think of a better summary of why this IS a big deal. It would definitely be easier to pretend that evolution had no scientific merit. However, a scientist like Dr. Falk doesn’t have the luxury of forming a theologically satisfying “opinion” about the data that support evolution and leaving it at that. Nor can he fulfill his professional calling as a biologist while willfully ignoring the overwhelming evidence of biological history. You seem to think that just because these questions are difficult, we must bury our heads in the sand and ignore the testimony of nature itself.
Let me remind you of 3 things that, while theologically challenging, can none-the-less be demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt:
1.) The age of the earth and cosmos far exceeds the biblical timeline. The discrepancy is severe. Even if science is off by a factor of 100, or 1000, or a 100,000 we are still not even close.
2.) Animals have been living, struggling, dying and changing for millions of years prior to the appearence of anatomically modern man. This is a demonstrable FACT. Wishing it to be otherwise doesn’t change it. We can argue (and do argue) over the technical details about how species change over the ages, but the fact that they have changed is irrefutable. Even if you take evolution off the table and assume that God created different “sets” of flora and fauna ex nihilo during different geologic ages (ie: progressive creation), we still have the problem of death and decay prior to man (and prior to the fall).
3.) It is physically IMPOSSIBLE for there to have been a world-wide flood only a few thousand years ago. Not only is there ZERO evidence for something that should have left an indellible mark on the lithosphere, there are loads of evidence from various scientific disciplines that plainly contradict it. There are geological formations that absolutely could not have formed during a 1-year flood. Maintaining this belief is tantamount to believing that the earth is flat. It’s that cut and dry.
So while I agree that the problems you have identified need to be addressed by thoughtful Christians, we can’t simply run and hide from them because the potential answers make us uncomfortable. Nor can we treat the question of earth history like we treat infant baptism or eschatology. Unlike these other non-essential theological quibbles, when it comes to earth history, we actually have hard evidence that must be considered.
I’m not suggesting that every believer must leave the mental fortress they have constructed for themselves. I wouldn’t offer a beer to a fellow Christian who wrestles with achohol abuse; nor would I force evolution on any brother who didn’t have the spiritual maturity to assimilate it (and I would advise them against a career in the natural sciences). From what I gather, you would rather not see the world how it really is, so you close your eyes and imagine how it should look according to the nifty little theological systems we Christians tend to build for ourselves. Fine. But for those of us who have already lowered the drawbridge and ventured beyond the walls of voluntary ignorance, there is no more pretending that everything on the outside is either black or white. The dragons that frolic on the slippery slope across the mote are real and must be slain! They can’t be wished away or ignored indefinitely. You should thank God that at least some Christians, like Dr. Falk, are willing to engange them while carrying the banner of Christ.



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Mere_Christian

posted November 2, 2009 at 12:23 pm


Mr. Falk,
How do you B-L guys find so many Six dayers? I go to a Lutheran Church for the most part, my kids are in Christian school and there are none of these people cruising around in large numbers?
But anyway . . .
After you and other B-L guys re, re, re, re, re-establish evolution and prop it up as a main part of the theology for the doctrine of salvation, then what?
OK, OK, we get it: From eons of nothing to eons of mud . . . fast forward . . . to lots of years of monkeys to the development of man and then Adam. You’ve built the foundation for your interesting ministry, now what?
You still have the errors and false teachings of the liberals, progressives, gay activists, cultists and their plethora of wrong assertions on what the Bible says, and means, to deal with as well.
It’s time to see you deal with those people in The Church that are styled in the ways of the pagans and tax collectors peddling their falsehoods in The Church.
Here are some reasons for your effort in that direction:
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” – 2 Timothy 4:3
That time has come BioLogos guys, for far more people than just some creationists.
Evolutionism does not alter the consistent message that Bible-affirming Christians carry from the dawn of creation to the dawn of the day Christ arose to the dawn this morning.
And Paul was not the only Christian that saw the importance of preaching against falsehood infecting the true believers. And again, not just the falsehoods of those silly IDers. (But I must say, the IDers are not peddling a different Gospel.)
Jude was a BioLogos guy before Dr. Collins re-coined the tagline about the Word of God:
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share,
I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.
They are godless men,
who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality
and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” – 1 Jude 3-4.
There are far more people of error to deal with in The Church than the segment holding to ID. BioLogos voices warning of “grave” conditions of schism and loss caused by anti-evolutionists; now let’s see you deal with the evidence for the IMMENSE schism and destruction of souls and bodies caused by liberals, progressives, gay activists and other kinds of anti-Gospel preaching. Start with the places like the Church of England or the Metropolitan Community Church; for there is evidence of great schism and for making many people fall away from The Church caused NOT by Bible believing people.
BioLogos will not last long if all it exists to do is to convince Christians to admire Darwinism and to make the imbibers of skeptic blogs happy, or to have Richard Dawkins feel at ease about the American public education system.
How is what happened before the creation of Adam more important than what is happening after the canonized writings of the Apostles? An apologia based on the works of Charles Darwin is hardly the foundation for The Church preached by Jesus



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Your Name

posted November 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm


Physics, astronomy and geology contradicted the literal Biblical creation long before evolutionary theory came along. Similarly, other faiths have their own creation stories that are different from Genesis.
Science will continue to refine the story that is best supported by the facts. Science is the ONLY creation story that has introduced timescales and concepts that are well beyond human comprehension. That’s a good sign. The creation of the universe and the Earth and life SHOULD be a grand story involving times and distances and forces beyond the understanding of modern man, and certainly beyond the understanding of people 2000 years ago.
I am reminded of a quote by the late, great Dr. Sagan:
“In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed!’? Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.'”
Religions MUST be flexible enough to accept new information. The alternative is faith that relies on ignorance.
And the vast majority of Christians do accept the advancements of science. It is very encouraging to see statements like this, signed by over 12,000 Christian Clergy:
“We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator.”
http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/Christian_Clergy/ChrClergyLtr.htm



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RickK

posted November 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm


The above was posted by me. Replace “Your Name” with “RickK”.
Captcha refresh wiped my name. Apologies.



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Daniel Mann

posted November 2, 2009 at 12:58 pm


Gordon J. Glover,
I’m truly glad that you are willing to admit the weightiness of my concerns about defending the faith in view of the threat presented by Darwin. You even admit that Darwinism can undermine the faith of some, namely a “brother who didn’t have the spiritual maturity to assimilate it.” (I guess evolution is only for the spiritually mature? Those hardened enough to stomach the invalidation of their faith?)
In light of this, I am perplexed by your accusation: “From what I gather, you would rather not see the world how it really is, so you close your eyes and imagine how it should look according to the nifty little theological systems we Christians tend to build for ourselves.”
On the contrary, I think I’m seeing what is most sure (the teachings of the Gospel) and what is most important (an eternity with my God). As Christians, we have every reason in the world (even in the physical world) to defend and to place as preeminent what is most important and sure (2 Cor. 10:4-5). I marvel that you would jeopardize this for yourself and for others, placing the present scientific consensus above these certainties.
We do not close our eyes, but prefer to understand these findings through the lens of Scripture. Indeed, we all have our multiple lenses – products of our upbringing, culture and education. At least, we are honest about our commitments. Do you not see that you too are the products of the educational system that has molded you? It is no wonder that students emerge from the universities as confirmed evolutionists.
I too had been a product of my university education. I too had been overwhelmed by an avalanche of one-sided “findings,” funded by a Goliath of a system, only interested in proving one worldview and banishing any competitive perspectives. Without truly thinking and without any means to evaluate the “evidence,” I had placed my faith in my professors and in their textbooks and demonized those voices that raised objections.
I look at your evidences, visit your blogs, and remained unimpressed in light of those verities that have truly impressed and transformed me and patiently await the next revision of your biology textbook. Meanwhile, you conclude, “But for those of us who have already lowered the drawbridge and ventured beyond the walls of voluntary ignorance, there is no more pretending that everything on the outside is either black or white. The dragons that frolic on the slippery slope across the mote are real and must be slain!”
I’m afraid you’ve slain the wrong dragon and, in doing so, you have left your house without its rightful guard.



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Daniel Mann

posted November 2, 2009 at 1:15 pm


RickK,
Even though I am a Christian who takes the Bible very seriously, I do not disregard science. However, I recognize that there are other forms of cognition apart from science. Therefore, I must take issue with the clergy-statement you cited:
“We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.”
If there are other ways of ascertaining truth, then, on the basis of one of these other ways, it does not necessarily represent “ignorance” to dispute some of the contentions of the present scientific consensus. In fact, I would argue that this is both healthy for the individual and for science. Instead, it is detrimental to regard this consensus as an unchallengeable monolith.



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Knockgoats

posted November 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm


it is detrimental to regard this consensus as an unchallengeable monolith. – Daniel Mann
Scientists don’t; they just don’t take myths such as Genesis seriously as constraints on scientific findings. There is not the faintest chance that future discoveries could show that the Earth is only a few thousand years old.



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Arni Zachariassen

posted November 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm


To get back to the topic of Dr. Falk’s post, I’m interested in what fellow Christian evolutionists’ experience is of things being the other way around from what Dr. Falk describes. I can certainly testify to moments just like the ones he describes (and I applaud you for pointing them out – we need to be reminded of the large amount of things we all have in common and agree on while we debate), but at the same time, I can attest to many moments of pure frustration because of being effectively excluded from the community because of my evolutionary views. Because of taking a stand publicly, I have been called “of the devil” and have had my salvation questioned by high ranking church leaders. And for every public denunciation there are a hundred silent whispers behind ones back. Even worse than this are the tensions that can arise in ones “earthly” family. I’m a pastor’s son and brother, and my coming out (as it were) created some very difficult tensions between us. They are resolved now, but at the time it was very hard.
What about you other guys? Any similar experiences?



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Rachel H. Evans

posted November 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! – For all you are doing reach out to the evangelical community and help us harmonize our faith with science.
I’m from Dayton, Tennessee – home of the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 – and have recently come to accept the theory of evolution. It’s been tough facing the criticisms of my friends and neighbors, many of whom automatically assume that accepting evolution means giving up on Christianity. In this environment, it’s easy for me to get cynical and frustrated…even resentful…of the conservative evangelical community. But as you write in the post, most of those who come from a young earth perspective are good people, who are intelligent and kind, but who lack the tools to dialog about this issue.
Thanks to this blog and to BioLogos for helping me engage in better, healthier conversations with my friends and family here in Monkey Town!



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Gordon J. Glover

posted November 2, 2009 at 3:48 pm


Hi Daniel,
“You even admit that Darwinism can undermine the faith of some…” — I’d say it challenges the faith of EVERYBODY who grew up being told that the Genesis creation stories were historically/scientifically accurrate. But for folks like Dr. Collins who were familar with evolution first before coming to faith, there wasn’t much tension at all. Contrary to what you might think, creationsm is the offending party when it comes to science undermining faith.
“We do not close our eyes, but prefer to understand these findings through the lens of Scripture.”
Stop and think about what you are saying. What kind of lens hides things that others can easily see while at the same makes things appear to the wearer that are not visible to others? Hmmm… Your “lens” sounds more like blinders to me. But not just ordinary blinders; ones with a “theologically-correct” picture of the universe drawn on the inside that only the wearer can see.
Such a device can serve only one purpose: keeping Christians from dealing with the tough questions. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just admit it? “Here, put these one and you don’t have to worry about that evolution stuff.” It’s no different than Supernova 1054 (known as the Crab Nebula today) which was visible to the entire world for almost 2 years. That is, except for Christian Europe which was theologically opposed to any changes in the immutable heavens. While every other culture that had astronomers recorded this event (even the North American Indians), there is nothing about it in all of Christendom. Just as the medieval church did not wish to confront the disturbing possibility that the dwelling place of God (the physical heavens) might not be eternal, immutable, and unchanging — modern creationists don’t want to face the possiblity that the earth is old, death preceeded the fall, and there was no global flood. So they simply ignored it — for two years.
If such a lens (blinder) served any other purpose, those who wear it would be producing new medicines, making and documenting new discoveries, coming up with new inventions that improve the human condition, etc. And you would see research dollars pouring in to support seeing more of the world through this device. Oil companies, for one, could really use an accurrate picture of the earth’s crust. Why have they not chosen to see the data though “the lens of Scripture”? Hmmm….
“It is no wonder that students emerge from the universities as confirmed evolutionists.” — In case you forget who you are talking to, I was a strict creationist for most of my life. My favorite subjects in high school were physics and astronomy, but I avoided the natural sciences in college and studied engineering so that I my faith would not come under assault. After I graduated from secular college, I remained a strong creationist (so studying engineering worked). After that, I would not attend a chruch unless it was committed to 6-day creationism. And yet, not once during this entire time did I ever actually look at the data objectively. And when I actually did look at the evidence for myself, the house of cards came crashing down. Not because I wanted it too. Quite the opposite. I had wanted it all to be false. I had wanted to confront the data for myself and find it wanting. That way I could confidently say that I rejected evolution on solid scientific grounds. But that did not happen.
I did not lose my faith, but many others do. There are two ways to avoid losing ones faith when it comes to science: (1) remain in the fortress and keep the blinders firmly affixed, or (2) take a proactive approach and discuss different ways that science and faith can coexist. You obviously prefer #1. The mission of BioLogos is #2. I am teaching my kids #2 because all three of them love science and it would be really hard for my wife and I to follow them all around for the rest of their lives and make sure they keep the blinders on.



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Charlie

posted November 2, 2009 at 4:16 pm


Ask yourself this:
Should a sense of community (something I feel is great for all individuals to have) influence one’s beliefs about creation and science? If there were gatherings where all of your friends and relatives went to discuss evidence, well supported theories, and science in general, would you tailor your beliefs toward science?



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RickK

posted November 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm


Daniel Mann,
To argue a point as “scientific” after it has been thoroughly disproved is to promote a falsehood. The 6000-year-old Earth, flood geology, “irreducible complexity”, white hole cosmology – these have all been as thoroughly disproved as the crystal spheres, the four humours, polywater and the luminiferous aether.
Why do we still talk about flood geology or irreducible complexity? Not because they have scientific merit. We still talk about them because they are driven and funded by religious public-relations organizations like the “Institute for Creation Research” and the “Discovery Institute”.
While I understand the close ties that form between people of shared beliefs, I don’t consider organized denial of humanity’s discoveries to be a healthy binding mechanism for the family.
I don’t consider the PR-driven promotion of falsehoods to be “another way to ascertain the truth.” I consider the well-financed promotion of falsehoods to be a direct attack on truth and honesty.
And I consider rise in science popularization by people like Richard Dawkins, Neil Shubin, Carl Zimmer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox, Ken Miller and Jerry Coyne a welcome and inevitable response in defense of science, honesty and truth.



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Martin Rizley

posted November 2, 2009 at 11:37 pm


“The questions they raise are not knee jerk reactions, they are important questions that we must be prepared to address. They are tied to things like the apostle Paul ‘s clear belief in a historical Adam in Romans 5 and the fact that God is reported to have said centuries later that He created heaven and earth in six days (Exodus 20:11). “Did God really say this, or not?” they ask. “Was Paul inspired to write something that was not really true?” they want to know.”
I agree that these are extremely important questions, and I don’t think those claiming that human evolution is a fact and that the story of Adam and Eve is a myth can hope to be given a serious hearing by people who believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God unless they can give convincing answers to those questions. If you tell me that God did not really speak in an audible voice from Mt. Sinai when the Scriptures so very clearly say that He did, or that Paul either was not inspired to write Romans 5, or that the meaning of that passage was indecipherable before the advent of modern science provided the esoteric “key” to unlock its mysteries, then your position sounds remarkably like that of the serpent to Eve– “Did God really say?”
So, what is your answer to these important questions? (in plain English, please!) Did God really speak from Mt. Sinai in an audible voice about creating the world in six days? Was Paul inspired to write something that was not really true, asserting that sin entered the world through one man, when in fact, sin did not enter the world through one man?



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Jacob

posted November 3, 2009 at 2:42 am


This is the best blog entry yet! I’m so encouraged to see a theistic evolutionist talking so respectfully about young-earthers. Jesus would be proud.



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Gordon J. Glover

posted November 3, 2009 at 8:23 am


Martin,
I agree with you. Those are the questions that need answering. For me personally, I don’t need to question whether Bible was inspired by God. That is a faith-position we take as believers. When I see overwhelming evidence for something that is contrary to a plain reading of scripture (ie: a moving earth, the stars being greater than the moon, the moon not producing its own light, the earth being old, species changing over time, etc…), it doesn’t cause me to doubt my faith, nor does it cause me to deny the obvious. What it does do is cause me to re-evaluate the nature and scope of biblical authority. On what level does God’s Word speak to us? That’s the qeustion we should be asking.
Here, I think, is where we have to set aside our post-Enlightenment 21st century Western worldview and see the text as the ancients would have seen it, through their eyes and in terms of their cognitive environment. The biblical authors say many things that can’t be taken as scientific truth. How many times do they refer to the “ends” or “corners” of the earth? Or to the “heart” as the seat of intellect and emotions? Is there an ocean that sits above the solid sky? Is epilepsy a demonic phenomenon? Does the sun enter the firmament through “doors” and rest in its “chambers” at night? Can a tall object really be seen from the ends of the earth? Did the Gospel really go out to all the peoples of the earth during Paul’s day? I doubt that Paul was even aware of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, the people of the Far East, or any of the Native American tribes. And what are we to make to Paul’s vivid description of the thrid heaven? In each case, these passages make much more sense when understood in the context of ANE cosmology. They all relate to the common understanding of the day.
So the question I ask myself is this: if God can inspire the biblical authors to draw from their common understanding of botany, cosmology, astronomy, and geography — why not from popular biology and origins stories as well? And if not, then what is the alternative? If we say NO WAY — then what are we left with? We are left with mountains of evidence that must be forced to fit a specific version of earth history. And despite the best efforts of creation scientists, this can’t be done. And the more we learn about the created order, the worse it gets for them.
Again, the question for Christian is not, “does the evidence for old-earth/evolution mean that the Bible is wrong?” No. Our faith gives us the luxury of starting with the assumption that the Bible is inspired. We don’t have to look to the sciences to “validate” our faith the Bible. But the premise of scientific creationsim is exactly that — how does science prove the Bible true? What place for faith then? The question that science should make us ask is this: “on what level does God’s Word speak to us?”



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Martin Rizley

posted November 3, 2009 at 10:40 am


Gordon,
I’m sorry, but I just can’t believe that the ancient were as unconcerned about matters of historicity as you say they were, or that a concern for historicity is simply a “modern” concern that colors our reading of Scripture. The apostle Peter knew perfectly well the difference between events of history and “cunningly crafted fables,” and he thought that difference mattered: “We did not follow cunningly crafted fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18). Now, in light of such a statement, how can you say that the ancients had no real concern about whether or not the events recorded in the Scriptures really occurred in time and space, but were interested only in the “theological truth” conveyed by such events? How can you say that the issue of historical validity is of concern only to those who are reading the Scriptures through the lenses of post-Enlightenment 21st century Western culture? I’m sorry Gordon, I just don’t buy it. Moreover, I think you are not giving the ancients enough credit for the use of figurative and poetic language in their writing. I don’t think they intended to teach that the world is square in shape when they spoke of the “four corners of the earth” any more than they intended to teach that God has a literal body when they spoke of “the eyes of the Lord” or of His “outstretched arm.” Do you think they believed God literally has the form of bird because they speak of people taking refuge under His wings? We must give them some credit for the use of poetic imagery and figurative language? As far as Jesus’ ascension up to “heaven above”– do you really think that narrative is intended to teach a physical cosmography of the universe, with heaven being located just above the clouds? Here again, I must disagree with you. Think of it this way: if Jesus was going to leave the presence of His disciples definitively for a time, there were only several ways in which He could go. He could disappear suddenly from their sight (as He did when breaking bread with the disciples on the road to Emmaus), depart from them horizontally by walking away until He disappeared over the horizon, or He could go up vertically into the sky until disappearing from their sight. Which form of departure would convey to them the truth that He had been exalted by the Father to the place of supreme sovereignty, majesty, and power over all the earth? That’s why I believe that the ascension was a “prophetic action” designed to impress on the disciples the truth of Jesus’ ascension to the place of supreme authority. Once again, there is no reason to doubt the historicity of that event, unless one reads the Scriptures through the post-enlightenment, 21st century Western lenses of pure naturalism.
You’ve got to understand that for people like myself, Gordon, who do not have Phds. in any of the natural sciences, the dogmatic declarations of scientists about earth’s history can never be received as “infallible, inspired prophetic pronouncements” on a level with what we have in the Scriptures. They remain, and always will remain, the educated opinions and interpretations of geological data by intelligent, but fallible men who spend all their time studying the data. Do you think that Christians who are non-scientists will accept as “gospel truth” the pronouncements of scientists, just because they claim to be so sure they are right, and that no other interpretion of the data is possible? As Karl Popper points out, the history of science is marked by sudden “paradigm shifts” in men’s understanding of the natural world as new evidence comes to light. Sometimes those paradigm shifts lead to the discarding of former theories that were once held with dogmatic fervor. Those who believe in the infallibility and perspicuity of Scriptures are aware of that fact. They are also aware that there are men with Phd’s who disagree with the standard interpretation of the geological data as taught in our institutions of higher learning. So what else is a Bible believer to do but to continue believing firmly what the Scriptures clearly teach and looking with a measure of skepticism at the statements of fallible men whose dogmatic declarations appear to contradict the teaching of Scripture?



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Charlie

posted November 3, 2009 at 10:49 am


Falk says “People who hold the young earth perspective are not unintelligent.” By unintelligent, I am assuming they are knowledgable in some areas and not knowledgable in others. He goes on to say “most of these people do not have a science background” so science is not something they are knowledgable in. Why? It seems like these people want to understand the mysteries of the universe. I personally feel it is important to learn about something before coming to a belief about it. Take the origin of life. I’m sure the people who reject that life arose naturally do not know the research that helps answer the question. For example, science has been able to synthesize self-replicating RNA, making something both an enzyme and genetic code.
Also I posted earlier: Should a sense of community (something I feel is great for all individuals to have) influence one’s beliefs about creation and science?
It is because many people make this association between belief and community that lead these people to believe I (an agnostic) am an immoral person, when in fact I truly enjoy helping those around me (from driving cancer patients to appointments to volunteering at a free health clinic). What I feel is more important is for people to respect other people’s beliefs. When a dying cancer patient says pray for me, even though I don’t believe in prayer, out of respect for that person, of course I will say “I will pray for you”. What is seldom seen in today’s world is a respect for people like me that say humanity understands some things and humanity doesn’t understand other things. I just choose not to explain (I may hypothesize) what is not yet understood.



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Gordon J. Glover

posted November 3, 2009 at 11:55 am


Martin, you’re making this way more difficult than it needs to be.
“I’m sorry, but I just can’t believe that the ancient were as unconcerned about matters of historicity as you say they were, or that a concern for historicity is simply a “modern” concern that colors our reading of Scripture.” — This is not an all-or-nothing approach. You have to take each passage one at a time and try to understand on what level it is speaking to us. Eyewitness events recorded by the NT authors are much different than the “campfire” stories of the Hebrews thousands of years ealier. You have to distinguish between the two. Moreoever, the events surrounding the cross are central to the Christian faith, whereas the means of creation are not (only that God created all things).
“As far as Jesus’ ascension up to “heaven above”– do you really think that narrative is intended to teach a physical cosmography of the universe, with heaven being located just above the clouds?” — You are so completely missing point. The questions is not “what does the bible intend to teach?” — the question is “what did the authors and the audience already believe?” What was their pre-existing worldview and how did God use this when communicating to them? If the scientific consensus for thousands of years was that heaven was a physical place just beyond the clouds, then it makes perfect sense that the NT authors would describe the ascention using these terms. Why is this so hard for you to grasp? What are you so afraid of?
“That’s why I believe that the ascension was a “prophetic action” designed to impress on the disciples the truth of Jesus’ ascension to the place of supreme authority.” — I agree with this. The very act of Jesus being “taken up” was an accommodation to exising cosmology and geography. I never questioned the historicity of it. Once again, you are taking an all-or-nothing approach.
Moreover, nobody here is saying that science is infallible. Even so, science doesn’t have to be infallible to discard certain erroneous beliefs. I know with very high degree of certainty that an old man on the subway is not 2 years old, even though I don’t know how old he actually is. If anybody tried to make the case that my not knowing exactly how old is proves that he could be only 2 years old, they would need to have their head checked. And yet there is entire cottage industry of “scientific creationism” making these same types of arguments.
The fact that there was no global flood can be demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt. The fact that all people alive today did not descend from a single human couble who lived 6000 years can also be demonstrated beyond all reasonble doubt. The fact that plants and animals lived and died prior the creation of man (regardless of the absolute age of either) can be demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt. That the earth and cosmos are different ages and are several orders of magnitude older than the biblical timelines can be demonstrated beyond all reasonble doubt.
You are attempting to hid behind the well-known fact that scientific knowledge is tentative. That is tantamount to saying, “well, the earth could be flat because science isn’t infallible.” Yes, science isn’t infallible. But some things are just so easily demonstrated that it does no good to keep dening them. And I’m not even talking about evolution. I’m just talking about those 3 or 4 things I mentioned earlier.
“They are also aware that there are men with Phd’s who disagree with the standard interpretation of the geological data as taught in our institutions of higher learning.” — There are also astronomers with PhD’s who think the sun revolves around the earth. That doesn’t mean we should listen to them. You might be curious what would cause an educated person to turn a blind eye to the obvious. Well, it’s the same thing that cuases educated geologists and biologists to turn a blind eye to earth’s geologic history. It is a well-meaning, but misguided committment to biblical inerrancy and infallibility that doesn’t give Christians the flexibility to re-evaluate traditional interpretations in light of new evidence. Funny how that works.
If you don’t believe me, see for yourself. (tripple w).geocentricity.com
“So what else is a Bible believer to do but to continue believing firmly what the Scriptures clearly teach and looking with a measure of skepticism at the statements of fallible men whose dogmatic declarations appear to contradict the teaching of Scripture?”
Just look at history. When, for all the times science and scripture have crossed paths, has the traditional understanding of the bible prevailed? Can you name one instance? I can name dozens where Christians were forced back to the scriptures to re-evaluate traditional interpretations in light of new data. But I can’t think of one where Christians “stuck to their guns” and it paid off. This usually ends up doing more harm than good.



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Charlie

posted November 3, 2009 at 12:08 pm


It seems all of these comments stray off target pretty rapidly. We should try to focus our discussions on the essay topics.



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Daniel Mann

posted November 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm


Gordon and RickK,
Because I place more emphasis on the truth of Scripture than on the prevailing scientific consensus you unfairly accuse me of being blind:
“Your “lens” [consisting of Scripture] sounds more like blinders to me. But not just ordinary blinders; ones with a “theologically-correct” picture of the universe drawn on the inside that only the wearer can see.”
However, there are numerous reasons to remain skeptical of the prevailing science consensus:
1. NATURALISM HAS BLINDED AND CO-OPTED THE SCIENCE ESTABLISHMENT: While we all agree that things happen formulaically and predictably, there is not a shred of evidence that these things occur “naturally,” based upon natural and unintelligent laws. Instead, it makes far more sense to understand these unchanging laws to emanate from the Mind of God. However, science has fallen into such captivity that it has ruled out any consideration of intelligent causation.
2. NATURALISM HAS SILENCED ALL OPPOSITION: While many try to argue that ID isn’t contributing anything to science, such an objection is disingenuous since ID has been denied a place at the table. Journals refuse to accept papers and research critical of evolution. IDers and creationists are scorned, denied jobs and hounded from the university. This is not a healthy situation for the science establishment.
3. NATURALISM (DARWINISM) RECEIVES ALL THE FUNDING: Naturally, all of the “findings” are skewed in one direction. Consequently, it’s very easy to find the “facts” we are looking for, and students are over-whelmed by all of the one-sided “evidence” and all the “authorities” parroting the same things and condemning all those who disagree.
4. EVEN IF THERE ARE NATURAL FORCES, THESE CAN NEVER HOPE TO EXPLAIN PHENOMENA THAT ARE NON-FORMULAIC, BUT RATHER INFORMATIONAL AND INTENTIONAL: Only ID is capable of explaining the origins of life, DNA, laws of physics, reason, logic, moral absolutes, freewill, consciousness, the fine-tuning of the universe and irreducible complexity. Evolutionists have lost all credibility when they insist that eventually natural causation will be able to explain these phenomena.
5. NATURALISM ALSO HAS ITS BLINDERS: Naturalism is a product of insipient atheism in an affluent world which has enabled us to become very satisfied with ourselves, our professions and our colleagues. It has fostered the illusion of self-mastery and self-sufficiency. Consequently, its “findings” should be highly suspect. Do you really suppose that its philosophical commitments do not impinge upon objectivity?
6. NATURALISTIC SCIENCE HAS BEEN VERY WRONG IN THE PAST: Even Karl Giberson has some interesting observations on this subject:
[Evolutionist] “Ernst Haeckel nudged the racism of the Third Reich along its malignant road by suggesting that the various human races were like stages in the embryonic development of the fetus…’You must draw [a line] between the most highly developed civilized people on the one hand and the crudest primitive people on the other and unite the latter with animals.’” (Saving Darwin, 76)
“How shocking it is today to acknowledge that virtually every educated person in the Western culture at the time …shared Haeckel’s ideas. Countless atrocities around the globe were rationalized by the belief that superior races were improving the planet by exterminating defective elements…there can be little doubt that such viewpoints muted voices that would otherwise have been raised in protest.”
The scientific establishment can produce some abominations. Do you really think that it merits the exaggerated faith that you have invested in it?



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Daniel Mann

posted November 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm


Gordon and Martin,
Martin had correctly claimed, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t believe that the ancient were as unconcerned about matters of historicity as you say they were, or that a concern for historicity is simply a “modern” concern that colors our reading of Scripture.”
However Gordon retorted, “This is not an all-or-nothing approach. You have to take each passage one at a time and try to understand on what level it is speaking to us. Eyewitness events recorded by the NT authors are much different than the “campfire” stories of the Hebrews thousands of years ealier. You have to distinguish between the two.”
I am glad to hear you express a high regard for the NT authors, but I can’t reconcile this with your dismissal of Hebrew writers of the OT. After all, the NT writers endorsed the historicity of the Hebrew accounts.
Gordon, I would be glad to take up your challenge and examine the particulars. Let’s try these:
1. Jesus endorsed the historicity of the Genesis 2 account of Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4-6)
2. Paul endorsed the historicity of the Fall (Gen. 3) and the creation account of Gen. 2 (1 Tim. 2:13-14; Romans 5, 15).
3. Peter endorsed the historicity of the worldwide flood (2 Peter 3) along with the Book of Hebrews (11:7).
In fact, there is no NT passage that disparages the historicity of the OT as you have. How is it that you can affirm the NT, but then contradict what all of its authors claim? What type of double talk is this? If you disparage the OT, you are also disparaging the NT which affirms it!



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Charlie

posted November 3, 2009 at 5:13 pm


Daniel Mann,
First, do you have anything to say about the essay you’re supposedly commenting on? Isn’t that what these comment areas are for?
However, in response to what you said, you say naturalism receives all of the funding and you believe in ID. The NIH for example, when giving out money, needs to know that what they’re pouring money into is going to be worth it. That’s why scientists must show preliminary data. With this data, proposed future experiments, and relevance to health, the NIH can determine if it is a wise investment. ID has NO preliminary data and NO proposed experiments. Please let me know if I am wrong. Why would anyone want to fund something where even the people that believe in ID can’t come up with a game plan?



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Karen Spivey

posted November 3, 2009 at 5:57 pm


Why would anyone want to fund something where even the people that believe in ID can’t come up with a game plan?

An excellent question, Charlie! I have been asking Daniel for months now about any ID research that ID theorists have proposed, and he has yet to answer my question. So how about it Daniel? Have you come up with anything?



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Daniel Mann

posted November 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm


Karen Spivey (BeagleLady?)
I’d be glad to tell you what the IDers are doing, but I must confess that I’m not a scientist and lack any semblance of a science background. Besides, I’m just not in the loop. However, I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve read and seen of them and am not able to reconcile these observations with the ways that even TEs dismiss them.
What amazes me even more is that some of them are evolutionists as you are. However, they are willing to recognize that evolution is inadequate to account for all of the phenomena. This is something that you, as theists, also should be willing to acknowledge. I’m surprised that you don’t and even respond to IDers with such vitriol.



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Martin Rizley

posted November 3, 2009 at 8:20 pm


Charlie,
I disagree with you that the blog posts are deviating from the main issue raised in the essay above by Darrel Falk. Dr. Falk makes the claim that “there will need to be some changes in how we understand scripture to bring it into a framework that is more consistent with how God intends to speak to us through scripture.” Daniel Mann and myself are challenging this view of Mr. Falk. He seems to be saying that conservative evangelicals needs to undergo a “paradigm shift” in the way they read the Old Testament Scriptures, so that passages which have historically been understood as historical narratives must now be recognized as mythical “campfire stories” which contain a kernel of theological truth, even though they are completely untrue in terms of what took place in space/time history. I am saying that such a paradigm shift is not needed, it in any way warranted by the text of Scripture itself (interpreted according to sound hermeneutical principles), and that such an approach to Scripture will lead ultimately to theological disaster for the church. Why so? Because you cannot deny the historicity of events recorded in the Scripture without denying (or at least modifying) the theology associated with those events. For example, if you deny the fall of Adam as an event of history, you cannot avoid denying the nature of original sin as involving the inheritance of legal guilt and inborn moral corruption from one man on the basis of that one man’s sin. Deny the representative principle by which all men are condemned in Adam on account of Adam‘s one sin, and you threaten the representative principle by which all believers are freely justified in Christ on account of Christ’s one righteous act. Paul’s point in Romans 5 is that believers are made righteous in Christ in the same way in which all men are made guilty in Adam– that is, on the basis of what one man does. So Charlie, there is no deviation in these blog posts from the issue raised in Darrel Falk’s article. We are addressing that issue head on, by explaining why he is mistaken in calling for a paradigm shift in the way we read the Old Testament narratives.



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Beaglelady

posted November 3, 2009 at 9:06 pm


Daniel,
If you can’t name a single ID research project (even without having the foggiest idea of what it might be about) then why do you assume it isn’t being funded? I thought that scientists had to write up grant proposals to get funding for research. Haven’t you made an attempt to find out more from the ID theorists?



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RickK

posted November 4, 2009 at 12:11 am


Daniel Mann,
If the supernatural is true, if gods exist, then we should be capable of learning something about them.
Please explain to me what we have truly learned about the nature of god in the past 2000 years. What do we know now about god that the authors of the New Testament did not understand at all?
How have our debates over the nature of god and his prophets changed in the past 2000 years?
History has shown time after time that divine and supernatural explanations are replaced by natural explanations:
The Sun – was a God, now explained by science
The Moon – was a God, now understood by science
The stars – were God, now science
The tides – were attributed to God, now science
The seasons – attributed to God, now science
Earthquakes – were God, now science
Lightning – was God, now science
Rain & drought – was God, now science
Health & disease – was God, now science
Schizophrenia – was demonic possession, now science
Epilepsy – was divine possession, now science
Origin of species – was God, now science (evolution)
Identity & personality – was the soul, now neuroscience
But we’ve NEVER seen a natural explanation replaced by a supernatural explanation.
I bet my life on science when I get behind the wheel of my car, board an airplane, or enter an operating room. I would bet my life that current species evolved from earlier species, that Earth and Saturn orbit the Sun, and that most chemical reactions will work tomorrow the way they work today. I know a dozen different naturalistic sciences must work perfectly together for you to read these words.
Now, what about your god can I bet my life on?



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Rene

posted November 4, 2009 at 4:48 am


Hi Rick,
your afterlife, perhaps?
None of the things you mention above are actually attributed to God in the Bible. Agreed, you could make a case for Origins, but other interpretations have been around for quite a long time (read dr. Falks excellent book!). And perhaps Epilepsy/schizophrenia – but that’s not as straightforward as you suggest.
You make science and religion into competing explanations. My view is that they are synergistic. The Bible was never intended as a science textbook.



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RickK

posted November 4, 2009 at 7:33 am


Rene – Sorry, but I wasn’t differentiating between the God of the Bible and other gods.
My point was to Daniel, that humanity has a long history of attributing natural events to supernatural causes. And we have a more recent but extremely dramatic history of discovering that natural events actually do have natural causes.
I refer again to Dr. Sagan’s quote in my first post.
As for all the evils and mistakes of “naturalism” that Daniel Mann rolls out, I have this in response:
My children can expect to enjoy this precious life twice as long as before the impact of science. They can lead selfish lives or generous lives or lives of piety or lives of adventure – whatever they choose. But they can live them TWICE AS LONG.
That is a gift beyond measure.
Whatever faults Daniel may attribute to naturalism, it delivers the goods.



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Michael Thompson

posted November 4, 2009 at 8:54 am


Hi RickK
I expect that trend to continue.
that is what science is all about, finding natural explanations about everything. Scientists will find more too, I wouldn’t even be shocked to see it discover some form of abiogenesis.
I think religion falls into error when trying to find scientific facts to convince themselves to believe in God for that very reason. as more is discovered, the smaller and less needed God becomes!
The more I think on this, the more I believe that the truths we are to seek in religion are subjective, objectivity should be left to the sciences.
MT



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Daniel Mann

posted November 4, 2009 at 9:37 am


BeagleLady,
I just watched “Being Human” – one of a THOUSAND programs promoting evolution — on PBS last night. I have never seen one on TV on ID! This is nothing short of propaganda!!!



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Daniel Mann

posted November 4, 2009 at 9:43 am


RickK,
You reiterate, “History has shown time after time that divine and supernatural explanations are replaced by natural explanations.”
Once again, I must ask you to demonstrate how scientific demonstrations translate into natural explanations. Meanwhile, I have maintained that this is no more than a philosophical bias – Just because we have been able to derive formulas and make predictions doesn’t mean that the law or the force is NATURAL and unintelligent! Instead, it makes more sense to regard these laws as part of the Mind of God.



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Gordon J. Glover

posted November 4, 2009 at 10:34 am


So your position, Daniel Mann, must be this:
1.) God created the world in 6 days only 6000 years ago.
2.) God then erased all evidence of a recently created earth and replaced it with several lines of evidence that all converge into a 4.5 billion year-old earth in a 13.7 billion year-old cosmos
3.) God then destroyed the world with a flood.
4.) God then erased all evidence of the deluge, and made other civilazations appear that had histories going back before the event that supposedly destroyed all life on earth.
5.) God then planted several other features, like trace fossils, coral reefs, dried mudbeds, burried canyons in the middle of the flood sediment, alternating layers of sandstone and shale (which require tranquil conditions to parcipate out without mixing), animal burrows, and many other geologic features that could not have possibly been formed in 1 year by a single violent flood.
6.) God then took all of the dead mammals and flowing plants and moved them to the top of flood sediment, while moving all of the extinct marine invertebrates and non-vascular plants to the very bottom and sorting them according to their taxonomy for no apparent reason but to deceive palaeontologists.
7.) He then took some of the largest and heaviest animals, the dinosarus, and stuck them in the middle of the flood sediment, and covered them with a worldwide layer of iridium — an element found primarily in extra-terriestrial sources like meteorites. And he carefully adjusted the isotopes in this layer to make geoloists think it was laid down 65 million years ago.
8.) God then caused the human genome to mutate thousands of times faster than what we currently observe, thereby producing the genetic variation we currenty see. Unfortunately, He did this in such a way that allows scientists to reconstruct the entire migration of humans out of Africa and over the entire world, and to mistakenly conclude that the human race could not have possibly descended from a single couple, but rather from a population of no less than tens of thousands of anatomically modern humans some 150,000 years ago. Just to top it off, he planted some hominid fossils in key locations to make the story even more believable.
9.) Then, for reasons that we are apparently not allowed to think about, God commands his people to believe those same things that he removed all the evidence of, and reject all of those things that he planted evidence of.
Hmmm… Now what scenario sounds more probable? This? Or perhaps that God allowed the biblical authors to draw from their own contemporary origins myths under inspiration — something that we already know they did when it comes to other areas of ANE science? Hmmm…
You can believe what you want, but I’ll go with the latter.



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Beaglelady

posted November 4, 2009 at 10:50 am


I just watched “Being Human” – one of a THOUSAND programs promoting evolution — on PBS last night. I have never seen one on TV on ID! This is nothing short of propaganda!!!

Daniel,
The show was called “Becoming Human” not “Being Human”. I thought it was excellent. (Everyone: it is a 3-part series and you can watch it on the Nova web site.)
In addition to ID research funding (whatever that is), now you apparently want a television show on ID-based physical anthropology. Do tell us what that would look like– pretend you are a producer with an open-ended budget!!! Are there any ID theorists out there with advanced degrees in physical anthropology?



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Daniel Mann

posted November 4, 2009 at 11:06 am


You are mistaken about my position. I’ve never taken a position on young earth.
Here is my position as I just articulated to Darrell:
I appreciate your peaceable spirit and want to respond in a like-spirit. However, I’m sure you are aware of how troubled many serious Christians are regarding your solution to relegate the Bible to the place where it can only talk authoritatively on spiritual things. As Bruce Malone has pointed out:
“If we can’t trust the Bible on the physical plane, how can we expect anyone to trust it on the spiritual?” (Rough quote)
Instead, I would greatly prefer it if you would consider another way of reconciling your faith with evolution:
Could you instead live with the tension created by believing both in evolution and Scripture, without compromising the latter? This solution would be far more acceptable to the Christian world. Let’s face it – the other (depriving Scripture of its say) is just unacceptable for many reasons.
I think that we all live with tensions. I certainly can’t reconcile everything that I see around me with Scripture, even with its spiritual teachings! However, I don’t deny my observations, but I also don’t allow them to rise above what I’m convinced must remain preeminent – Scripture!



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Daniel Mann

posted November 4, 2009 at 11:11 am


BeagleLady,
As I told you before, I’m the furthest creature from I scientist – so I can’t set a format for a science presentation. However, it is so blatantly obvious to anyone with eyes and ears that the ubiquitous presentations attempting to sell evolution must be regarded as propaganda, in the absence of any contrary evidence or thought.



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Charlie

posted November 4, 2009 at 11:51 am


I posted what truth is to me as a scientist below. I think that it helps clear up why there is such controversy with respect to science and religion:
As far as my definition of truth goes, if you want to get philosophical, humans can never 100% conclusively determine what truth is. You can have a TON of evidence supporting a theory but, in the end, everything is “just a theory” (a quote said VERY often by the anti-evolutionists). Because, philosophically everything is a theory, we humans determine what a sufficient amount of evidence is so that we can claim a theory is indeed truth. The theory that the sun is composed mostly of hydrogen and helium is considered truth due to the sufficient amount of evidence that supports it. What gets tricky in science is that there is no exact definition as to what a sufficient amount of evidence is. When is something considered truth to society? I don’t think anyone knows. All I know is that the more evidence there is that supports a theory, the stronger the theory and the more likely that theory is the truth.
We as humans are humbled by how little we know about the universe. We acknowledge the are many things we do not understand. This is what personally attracted me to science; I get to help answer some of these questions. If you want to work religion around what science safely assumes what truth is, then that’s ok. But do not let these religious beliefs contradict, and more commonly, impede science’s truth and its progress.



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Daniel Mann

posted November 4, 2009 at 12:11 pm


Charlie,
I appreciate your response. However, regarding the impact of Christianity on science, I do have a couple of comments:
1. Please recognize that science experienced its resurgence in “Christian” nations. I think that this says something about the amenability of Christianity to science.
2. The morals of the Christian faith do place moral limits upon science, but would you want it any other way? Do you believe that science should be unencumbered by morality? Were the Nazis right in carrying on their human experimentation? You might not like were Christians might draw the line, but I think that all would draw a line somewhere.



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Charlie

posted November 4, 2009 at 2:46 pm


Daniel,
Can you tell me your source that a resurgence of science was in Christian nations? Look at China, they’re having their own little resurgence in science now. Are you also claiming religion does not impede scientific progress? I feel it’s clearly been shown by numerous examples how religion does impede science (ex. stem cells but that’s a whole other conversation that would take us off target). I agree there are moral limits to science, but how can you claim Christianity is responsible for defining what society’s morals are? I’m not Christian and, suprising to you I know, I disagree with what the Nazi’s did.
P.S. I really hope you don’t think non-Christians feel the Nazi’s experiments were ethically ok.



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Daniel Mann

posted November 4, 2009 at 4:42 pm


Charlie,
The historical testimony in favor of the Christian role in the development of science is overwhelming. British scientist Robert Clark sums it up this way:
However we may interpret the fact, scientific development has only occurred in Christian culture. The ancients had brains as good as ours. In all civilizations—Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, India, Rome, Persia, China and so on—science developed to a certain point and then stopped. It is easy to argue speculatively that, perhaps, science might have been able to develop in the absence of Christianity, but in fact, it never did. And no wonder. For the non-Christian world believed that there was something ethically wrong about science. In Greece, this conviction was enshrined in the legend of Prometheus, the fire-bearer and prototype scientist who stole fire from heaven, thus incurring the wrath of the gods. (Christian Belief and Science, quoted by Henry F. Schaefer, 14)
Even Richard Dawkins has acknowledged that “science grew out of a religious tradition.”



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Daniel Mann

posted November 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm


BeagleLady,
I just saw this post at the blog UNCOMMON DESIGN. It mad me think of our disagreement about the bias against ID in the establishment:
Jason Rosenhouse has written a blog about [Evolutionist] Michael Ruse and [IDer] Dr. Dembski. His complaint against Michael Ruse, among other things, is that Ruse is too cordial, too civil with ID supporters, Dr. Dembski especially:
“And while I may dislike and disagree with Ruse’s thinking, it is his actions over the last several years that I loathe and detest. I hate the way he has been doing everything in his power to prop up the ID folks. I hate that he persuaded a presitgious university press to publish a book co-edited by William Dembski, which featured four essays defending “Darwinism” that seemed tailor made to make evolution look bad. I hate that he contributes essays to anthologies designed to celebrate ID promoters and that he tells debate audiences that Dembski has made valuable contributions to science. Go here for relevant links and further details.”



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Charlie

posted November 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm


Daniel,
Interesting you think that way. Care to give any examples of a scientific conclusion that was only possible to discover because of Christianity (The evidence existing is solely dependent on Christianity)?



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Daniel Mann

posted November 4, 2009 at 6:13 pm


Charlie,
There are several aspects of Christianity that I think have made it amenable to the progress in science:
1. The assurance of our relationship in the Lord gives us courage to ask questions and to receive answers. I never had the wherewithal to examine the world because I had been too involved in myself and my own insecurities before Christ had established me.
2. Some faith systems are fearful of antagonizing the gods by examining too closely. However, the Biblical faith is about seeking truth and wisdom and understanding the ways of God.
3. Some faith systems just believe that the gods did it. This belief also stifles inquiry. However, the Bible makes it clear that largely God rules through the laws He has established (Jeremiah 33:25). Therefore, it is possible to discover those laws.
4. Order is only possible given an omnipotent monotheistic God. Polytheistic systems can’t account for orderliness, but rather the competition among the gods.
5. The Biblical faith encourages us to use our minds (Matthew 22:37).



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Beaglelady

posted November 4, 2009 at 11:44 pm


I just saw this post at the blog UNCOMMON DESIGN. It mad me think of our disagreement about the bias against ID in the establishment…

Daniel,
Scientists for the most part don’t accept ID because it has no scientific merit. It’s that simple. Whether a scientist is polite or rude to ID supporters is a totally different matter.
For example, Ken Miller is a scientist who is friendly with the ID theorists he debates, but he is totally against ID, as is Michael Ruse.
If ID wants to be considered by mainstream science they will have to come up with some evidence and positive ID research. You seem to have deliberately chosen not to know anything about ID or science.
btw, did you know that Bill Dembski takes Genesis figuratively?



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Daniel Mann

posted November 5, 2009 at 6:11 am


BeagleLady,
As far as IDers doing research that will be accepted by the establishment, there are many impediments as we all know. However, I’d recommend some of their videos:
UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY OF LIFE, ICONS OF EVOLUTION, and THE PRIVILEGED PLANET.
In fact, the latter was being shown at the Smithsonian until someone got wind of the fact that it promoted ID.



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Gordon J. Glover

posted November 5, 2009 at 8:57 am


“btw, did you know that Bill Dembski takes Genesis figuratively?”
Dambsky has a very interesting idea about the fall retroactively applying to all of the death and decay prior to the creation of man. His reasoning is that just as the death of Christ was retroactively applied to the saints of old, so can the effects of man’s sin to pre-history. I’m not sure I buy it, or think it’s even necessary, but here Dembski is at least honestly trying to deal with the facts. — and I appreciate that.



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Gordon J. Glover

posted November 5, 2009 at 9:10 am


Ooops. My unfortunate spelling of Dembski’s name was a typo. It was a random point mutation, not by design. :)



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Charlie

posted November 5, 2009 at 10:07 am


Daniel,
Surely you know there are varying degrees of Christianity, from the hardcore fundamentalists to the ones who work Christianity around science. In your interpretation of Christianity, you see how Christianity does not impede science. However, I urge you not to shut your eyes and ignore history. Christianity has put restraints on science since Galileo and it continues today. I agree one can make Christianity personal so that it does not impede science, but that’s not how it is in the real world. Also, I’d still like a scientific discovery that was only possible through Christianity (please no assumptions, can you think of a direct correlation)



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Daniel Mann

posted November 5, 2009 at 10:40 am


Charlie,
You wrote, “Also, I’d still like a scientific discovery that was only possible through Christianity (please no assumptions, can you think of a direct correlation).”
As much as I’d love to rattle off a thousand scientific discoveries implicit to Christianity, I can’t. However, I don’t think that this is a fair test of the viability of Christianity. After all, what scientific discoveries are strictly implicit to the structure of atheism? Or TE? Or Hinduism?
Instead, I’ve tried to argue that Christianity has provided a favorable context within which to do science. In fact, I think that Western science has become very insensitive and dismissive of its Christian inheritance.
For instance, we retain certain meaningful and scientifically fruitful categories like this distinction between humankind and the apes. Therefore, when we investigate human behavior, we don’t include apes into the mix, recognizing a vast qualitative distinction.
However, this category is under assault by Darwinists, who assert that there shouldn’t be such distinct categories but a recognition of a familial continuum among humans and human-like life forms. Giberson, among many others, maintaining this “recognition,” argue that we should see apes as kissing-cousins, and should treat them accordingly, with similar legal protections.
Well then, perhaps we should haul daddy ape to court for having sex with his daughter? (Or perhaps we should eliminate all incest laws?)



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Gordon J. Glover

posted November 5, 2009 at 11:06 am


“As much as I’d love to rattle off a thousand scientific discoveries implicit to Christianity, I can’t.”
I believe you were only asked to provide one example.



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Charlie

posted November 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm


Daniel,
You said “After all, what scientific discoveries are strictly implicit to the structure of atheism? Or TE? Or Hinduism?” I never made the claim that scientific discoveries are implicit on these. Scientific discoveries are made because of humanity’s innate drive to learn as well as humanity developing a scientific method to safely support theories based on evidence.
Also, chimps have similarities to us and they have differences from us. Just the same as the mouse and even the single celled baker’s yeast. It is becasue of the similarities that us scientists use these organisms in place of humans when performing experiments.



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Daniel Mann

posted November 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm


Charlie,
I certainly can agree!



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Knockgoats

posted November 11, 2009 at 7:20 am


However we may interpret the fact, scientific development has only occurred in Christian culture. The ancients had brains as good as ours. In all civilizations—Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, India, Rome, Persia, China and so on—science developed to a certain point and then stopped. Daniel Mann quoting Robert Clark
To say science “stopped” in these places is simply false. In at least three cases I know something about – Hellenistic Egypt, Sung China and the Islamic world – it was disrupted by external forces: Roman conquest followed by Christian obscurantism and vandalism in the first case, nomad invasions in the others. The primary reasons modern science developed in western Europe rather than elsewhere are probably the lack of such external disruptions; the accumulation of key technical advances such as paper, clear glass, metalcraft skills, clockwork and moveable-type printing; the competition between multiple states in military, naval, mining and other technology; and the ease of communication by sea. Medieval Christianity can claim to have motivated the development of clockwork, and the Reformation that of moveable-type printing, but there is no reason in either case to think the connection was a necessary one.



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