Watermelons and Worldviews

Twenty years ago or thereabouts, Christian worldview seminars for young people were all the thing. The erosion of centuries of cultural consensus had become generally apparent, and so a number of organizations and churches threw themselves into the task of helping young people—who were obviously going to be bringing up their children in bizarroworld—to know how to navigate said world. If you could call it a world.

But as time went by, and as things got weirder, a number of the cool kids began to sneer at the term worldview. As though life consisted of a cluster of conservative propositions! “Here, roll this thought around in your head. It will fix everything.”

And of course, as with all effective lies, there was an element of truth in this, as in, a smidgen of truth. A worldview does consist of more than just thoughts. We must include the way we worship, and the way we actually live, the symbols we use, and the non-Darwinian story we tell of our people and how we got here. In other word, everything we are and do is part of our worldview.

The problem was that those who sneered at the term worldview were not in the process of ascending above the truth of biblical propositions, but rather in the decadent process of sinking below them. They were not stretching to apply to the authority of Christ to all the practical details of their lives, now that they had taken every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5). Not a bit of it.

The spirit of our age is made up of a yearning for pointlessness. If everything is pointless, if there is no fundamental assigned telos, then I can give my lusts free rein. I can go wherever I want. I can be whatever I want. Are you a strapping dude athlete who wants to compete for the women’s long jump gold medal in the next Olympics? No sweat. No absurdity is too great for our blinkered generation to swallow. We are almost at the raggedy denouement, the point when the warden of the asylum is about to come into our ward, tell us all to pipe down, and flick the lights on and off at us. For—let us be frank—letting a guy compete in a women’s athletic event is comparable to letting that same fellow enter himself as a watermelon in the state 4-H competition.

The problem is not the troubled soul who thinks he is a watermelon. The problem is all the judges, who all have responsible lives, who pay their mortgages on time, standing around with solemn looks on their faces, without any earthly idea about where they might go to purchase the horse laugh that is so desperately needed. But the only place where such a thing might be purchased is in a Christian worldview seminar.

I referred to the Darwin thing a moment ago, and here is why. I would identify the ur-culprits of our disintegrating world as Kant and Darwin. Kant sought to put the world as it is, the world God actually gave us dominion over, out of our reach. We cannot know the world as it is. We can only know the thoughts in our heads, and at the end of the day, left alone with the thoughts in my head, detached from things as they actually are, I discover these deep yearnings to be a watermelon.

And don’t try to tell me that I have put too many eggs in the pudding by using absurd examples. Don’t tell me that my personal choices can easily trump the xx/xy chromosomal thing, making biology a stodgy thing of the past, and then go on to tell me that I shouldn’t use watermelon examples. Why can’t my choices trump anything genetic? Why do they just have authority over this part of the genetic strand? And not that part? When Rachel Dolezal made her attempted leap over the racial chasm by this means, she was making a much smaller leap than was attempted by Bruce Jenner. Yesterday, race; today, sex; and tomorrow, tasty specimens from the gourd family. The vistas open up all by themselves. They unfold naturally, leaving aside the fact that there is no such thing as naturally anymore.

Darwin summons us to madness via another route. The bête noire of the Darwinists is purpose, telos, intention, design. This is why they freak out when anyone, even if a fellow atheist like Thomas Nagle, suggests that there has to be a point. For if there is a point in the world, that world outside my ego, then it is conceivable that my lusts might have to submit to something other than their own imperious demands.

But in the blind world of natural selection, where there is no point, where there can be no intention, where goals are only apparent, and where everything is in the process of turning into everything else, what on earth could be wrong with a sex change operation? Knock yourself out. There is no point. There is no natural use of the woman, as that benighted apostle once claimed. There can be no natural use of the man.

So the contemporary world is governed by a deep hatred of telos. And the starting point for identifying the nature of this madness is what we think about it. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).

“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (Rom. 12:1-2, Phillips).

In the next installment, I hope to address all the halfway measures that pomo-influenced Christians adopt in order to let the world push them halfway into the mold. I refer, of course, to tattoos, liturgical dress-ups, eyeliner on guys, metrosexuality, postmodern historical studies, lumbersexuality, and exotic drinks from the Orient. And if anyone reacts to anything on this list, saying that’s not prohibited in the Bible, it only goes to show the need for more Christian worldview seminars.

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Bro. Steve
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Bro. Steve

Great post, but I must pick at a nit. The citation from Proverbs 23:7 is not applied correctly. This text, unlike many Proverbs, has a context. In this case, the context is about a ruler’s deceitfulness, not the genuineness of people who finally get their minds right.

Victoria West
Guest
Victoria West

“Lliturgical dress-ups,” (robes on clergy?) “lumbersexuality,” (macho men?) and “exotic drinks from the Orient” (kambucha?) – what are these things? (My guesses are in parentheses.) I am grateful however that Wilson has no problem with us girls wearing eyeliner.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

At one time tea was an exotic drink from the Orient. Hang around long enough and there are no novelties.

somethingclever
Guest
somethingclever

I usually have a bit of Earl Grey before I go hunting.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Talley-ho!

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

I love Kambucha and tattoos. I’m looking forward to when we’re post lumber-sexual though.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

How you keep up with the swirl is a marvel.

Propositions are fine and all, but practices are going to be necessary for continued motivation.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Reminds me of this.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

A lot of fault also goes to pastors who confuse misguided philosophical propositions with basic knowledge of biology. Thus, the young Christian with half a mind sees that the pastor is wrong on the biology, falsely equivocates the biology with the philosophical claim, and then throws out the baby with the bathwater. I know hundreds of Christians who understand the basic science of natural selection and genetics and Earth history while remaining deeply obedient Christians. Unfortunately, I also know former Christians who thought they had to reject the Bible when they realized they couldn’t deny obvious biological facts anymore. The… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I question a definition of natural selection which makes it sound like an Alice in Wonderland tea party. It’s a tree today, but it might be a cat tomorrow. It’s proof of the utter pointlessness of everything that an organism with traits that enable it to adapt to its environment has a better chance of surviving long enough to pass on its genes to the next generation?

Carson Spratt
Member

Let’s be clear: true Darwinianism doesn’t tolerate the existence of God. Without God, passing on your genes is pointless, and existence itself, having been separated from its true giver, becomes meaningless. What’s the point of reproducing specific molecules when all molecules will eventually disintegrate in the heat death of the universe?

Without spirit, matter is meaningless. Without mind, meaning cannot exist. And Darwinianism necessitates a denial of the spiritual.

Thursday1
Guest
Thursday1

Darwinianism necessitates a denial of the spiritual.

No it does not. Natural selection can only take place within a world that is already structured.

Carson Spratt
Member

Darwinianism is far more than just natural selection. Learn your terms.

demosthenes1d
Member

Thank goodness you were appointed the word czar. I love when Christians with no idea what they are talking about insolently throw around meaningless terminology!

soylentg
Member

But what if Carson self identifies as the word czar? And what if Darwinism self identifies as an anti Christian pipe dream seeking to make God’s word of no effect?

adad0
Member

Plus, I have it on good information, that “The word melon” trumphs “The word czar” in any and all cases.

And I, of course, self identify as the ultimate authority on these things! ; – )

adad0
Member

” We can only know the thoughts in our heads, and at the end of the day, left alone with the thoughts in my head, detached from things as they actually are, I discover these deep yearnings to be a watermelon.”

Pfffffff! No word czars for me! I think my skin is getting thicker and greener already! ; – )

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I have learned my terms, and you’re being silly. Darwinism “can” be more than that. So rather than arguing about s word that means different things to different people, why not simply be clear on what aspects we do and don’t believe?

Thursday1
Guest
Thursday1

Great! You apparently think the way some people making a philosophy out of “Darwinism” is incompatible with Christianity, but that the origin of new species by natural selection is fine. But I think the latter is what Pastor Wilson is objecting to.

Carson Spratt
Member

It all depends on how you define species, which is actually a bit of a problem in science today. Natural selection is simply the survival of the fittest. Natural selection does not imply, per se, the transformation of the species. That concept has been bundled onto the term natural selection by Darwinists. Whether those two concepts properly belong together is a thorny problem. For example, the Galapagos finch’s beak does respond to environmental pressures over generations. Do you define a bird with a beak longer by a few millimeters than its parents as speciation? Well, okay, I can grant that:… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The main reason that defining a species is “actually a bit of a problem” in science today is because the differences in DNA are so gradual over different species. It’s the close interrelation of organisms that is making this difficult. Which isn’t a great argument for creationism.

Carson Spratt
Member

So you mean a Creator who wanted to fill every niche of His creation would be obligated to use entirely novel DNA for every individual organism? Similar DNA just reflects similar design, for the most part. Just like a mountain bike and a street bike look similar, but do different things because they’re designed for different environments. No one argues that we need a completely different design for every single vehicle. They’re all going to work on the same general principles because of their purpose. Assuming that similar DNA just means that the organisms are interrelated, rather than that they… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

But it goes much, much further than that. To quote Michael Bebe, someone who has been quoted positively by many evolution deniers on this blog: “For example, both humans and chimps have a broken copy of a gene that in other mammals helps make vitamin C. … It’s hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans. … Despite some remaining puzzles, there’s no reason to doubt that Darwin had this point right, that all creatures on earth are biological relatives.” The Edge of Evolution, pp. 71–72 Do you believe that a DNA… Read more »

Carson Spratt
Member

Wait…you claim to have put serious study into DNA science, and you’re talking about Junk DNA? That’s a myth, man. You’re spouting junk pop science that’s over a decade out of date. There’s no such thing as junk DNA. Every part of DNA that we thought was junk has, upon further study, been revealed to have more significance than we thought, like regulating other parts of the DNA sequence. You talking about Junk DNA is like a person going around citing geocentrism – except with geocentrism, it actually explained a good amount of data and saved the appearances. Sorry, but… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Carson, if you are completely unlearned on a topic you should probably keep your mouth shut and learn. Remember your proverbs.

As it is you look like a third grader lecturing a professor.

Also, pretty sure if he produced a block quote he knows the guys name. Typos happen. This is basic charity.

Carson Spratt
Member

I’ve actually done study. In school and out. Even secular scientists have gravitated away from that myth. Also, my Ph.D. – holding professors also say the same thing. So on what level do I look completely unlearned? I’m citing modern DNA science – if you have a quarrel with what I’m saying, you’re not picking a bone with me, but cutting-edge science. You’re welcome to try, but I doubt you’ll find current DNA scientists readily using the term “Junk DNA,” because that concept has been rather thoroughly debunked in the last decade or so. So no. Your analogy is invalid… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Carson, while the term “junk DNA” is controversial, the concept that I stated – the DNA discarded during RNA transcription and translation – is still accurate, and is still referred to by many as junk DNA. I did my main academic studies 15-20 years ago and like all aging people tend to use the same terms I first learned, but there are plenty of other scientists who continue to use the term today. And the important thing isn’t the term, but what it represents. There is a great deal of noncoding DNA, some of which has no biological function other… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Here are two more articles which help to demonstrate who is dealing with the facts as they are and who is basing their absolute claims on press releases and a “pop science narrative”.

http://www.genomicron.evolverzone.com/2007/04/word-about-junk-dna/

https://arstechnica.com/staff/2012/09/most-of-what-you-read-was-wrong-how-press-releases-rewrote-scientific-history/

Jane
Member

Side note, Carson Spratt — it just occurred to me that your handle might be a play on two characters from a popular British TV show. Is that what it is, or is it your real name, or something else?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I have been following the argument about junk (or noncoding) DNA like somebody watching a tennis match. But a report published in 2015 in “Nature Genetics”, conducted by the Cold Spring Harbor Lab, said researchers “found that, at most, only about 7% of the letters in the human genome are functionally important.” One of the team, Dr. Adam Siepel, said: “We were impressed with how low that number is…Some analyses of the ENCODE data alone have argued that upwards of 80% of thegenome is functional, but our evolutionary analysis suggests that isn’t the case.” … “We think most of the… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Carson, if I could write all that and your only response is to note a typo and say you side with the “I don’t like the term junk – please call it noncoding DNA” side of the terminology wars, then it gives me a good idea of how honestly you’re engaging in this discussion.

Considering that I provided an exact quote from Behe and an accurate definition of junk/noncoding DNA that has NOT been discarded by scientific research, your objection just looks like an attempt to score a point and little else.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I read an interesting review of Behe’s The Edge of Evolution (2007). I understood that he accepts common ancestry, age of the earth, and the close relationship between modern humans and primates, but I wanted to know more about ID. I was startled by his statements about malaria: “Malaria was intentionally designed. The molecular machinery with which the parasite invades red blood cells is an exquisitely purposeful arrangement of parts. (…) What sort of designer is that? What sort of “fine-tuning” leads to untold human misery? To countless mothers mourning countless children? Did a hateful, malign being make intelligent life… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yeah, I brought up something akin to this four years ago when we discussed why Pastor Wilson was using Behe as an authority and certain commenters were repeatedly proof-texting Behe years ago. Behe is a biochemist. I understand biochemistry about as well as almost anyone commenting here – meaning that at best I’ve taken courses in organic chemistry and microbiology and a participated in one research project involving a bit of biochemistry. When I read Behe’s arguments about the implausibility of certain biochemical processes developing via evolutionary mechanisms, I have to admit that the ability to evaluate his claims is… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

Yeah, I brought up something akin to this four years ago when we discussed why Pastor Wilson was using Behe as an authority and certain commenters were repeatedly proof-texting Behe years ago.

Perhaps Jonathan can raise this objection once he stops selectively quote mining Augustine for his own purposes? (Augustine, while allegorizing the days of creation, explicitly rejected an ancient earth theory.) If Jonathan were to be judged in the manner by which he judges others, we would find him guilty by his own standard.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No, that’s a perfect way to use Augustine. Also, I like to use Augustine because he’s someone that many people here give significant authority, while literally no one on either side gives Behe meaningful authority except in the narrow statements where he supports their view. Augustine, without even having any scientific evidence, still thought the days of creation in Genesis 1 were allegorical. However, he had no way to know how old the Earth was outside of Egyptian records that went back much further than the patriarchs, which he just assumed might have been faked because he didn’t have the… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: There is absolutely no comparison between that and someone considering Behe an authority in a scientific field they don’t understand, yet rejecting every scientific conclusion he makes but one. No comparison? Does Jonathan accept Augustine’s global flood view, or reject it? Does Jonathan accept Augustine’s dismissal of the Egyptian records as false histories? Does Jonathan accept Augustine’s instantaneous completed creation theory? Does Jonathan accept Augustine’s belief in distinct created kinds? Jonathan epitomizes the very thing he accuses Wilson of. Jonathan wrote: Also, I like to use Augustine because he’s someone that many people here give significant authority, while… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

If “literally no one” credits Behe, the man, with any particular authority (even as a PhD in microbiology), then perhaps Jonathan should cease to accuse Wilson of selective appeal to authority as a motive. Perhaps Jonathan should acknowledge that Wilson has citing Behe because of the particular merit of a particular argument that Behe advanced. Isn’t that much more plausible, since “literally no one” ascribes authority to Behe himself? Behe is a chemist, not a biologist. His Ph.D. is in biochemistry, not microbiology. His claims on evolution are related to specifics of biochemistry. Your use of him as an authority… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: Why do Christian fundamentalists think that Behe’s speculations of this nature are so valuable that they want them taught to their children in public schools? Can jillybean provide a citation for the uncritical acceptance and wholesale teaching of Behe that she is bemoaning? What Christian fundamentalists are agitating to have every argument of Behe taught to their children in public schools? Does jillybean (like Jonathan) suppose that recognition of the power of one argument from Behe means total acceptance of every other position of his? Why do jillybean and Jonathan think in such false dichotomies? Is this how… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I ought to have provided more context for my comment. When I read Behe’s remarks, I remembered that he was the chief witness for the defense in the Dover Kitzmiller ID trial. I further recalled (and I have read the proceedings several times) that two of the schoolboard members had explicitly asked for creationism to accompany evolution in the district’s textbooks. They were told ID might be a good substitute, and were advised by the Thomas More Law Institute that buying textbooks and forcing their biology faculty to include instruction would pass constitutional scrutiny. Later, at their lawyers’ urging, they… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: Later, at their lawyers’ urging, they scaled back and settle for a compulsory oral warning and recycled creationist books in the school library. Jillybean’s history lesson regarding the Dover kangaroo trial fails to address my question to her regarding her false dichotomy. What Christian fundamentalists are agitating to have every argument of Behe taught to their children in public schools? The attempt to get creationism (or ID) forced (or smuggled) back into government schools is hardly a blanket endorsement of Behe’s entire body of thought by Christians fundamentalists. jillybean wrote: My problem is how Behe fits malaria into… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You asked for evidence of wholesale endorsement of Behe being thrust into public schools. I gave you the Dover Kitzmiller trial. Behe was a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute which sent the creationist members of the Dover school board materials about ID. Behe wrote a couple of chapters for the revised textbook “On Pandas and People” which the school board hoped to use as a science text to offset Miller’s “Biology”. Behe was the school board’s chief expert witness at the trial. From reading the trial testimony, I doubt that either Bonsell or Buckingham could have defined natural selection… Read more »

Carson Spratt
Member

Okay, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. So, your argument boils down to… God could have used similar DNA for similar purposes, but instead, we see different DNA for similar purposes. Presumably, you think this points at convergent evolution, rather than design. Now, the unspoken assumption is that God is tied to using the bare minimum amount of effort to design a creature. Where did that assumption come from, and is it warranted? In our telling, God, an infinite and infinitely creative being, made the entire world ex nihilo. That is pretty much the exact opposite of bare minimum… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No, that’s a false reframing of my argument. Here’s a much better description of my argument. Sisters have extremely similar DNA to each other – in fact, you can prove that they had the same mother, and who that mother is, based on looking at their DNA alone. Cousins have very similar DNA, though not quite as similar – but again, you can prove their common ancestry and even identify their grandmother correctly through their respective DNA. This keeps going back further and further. You can identify a common ancestor a couple centuries back, like whether one was descended from… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“But in that case, God would have been openly deceiving us to make it “look” for all appearances like common ancestry and a very old Earth was true.”

The moon looks bigger when it’s at the horizon, is that God openly deceiving us about the size of the moon?

Jane
Member

How can it be deception if He is simultaneously *telling* you how it happened? Not a moment has gone by when people did not have either the written scriptures or the word of mouth passed down to those who would listen, telling what Adam knew.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You don’t realize that you’re starting to sound like that geocentric guy you were arguing with again? “All other evidence can be denied before the face of my particular interpretation of Scripture.” There are billions of people in the world who don’t have Scripture, many of whom get the chance to learn about DNA and homologous structures and the fossil record long before they ever read Genesis 1-3. To look at how uniformly those lines of evidence, laid down by none other than the Lord God himself, point towards a progression of different species with a common ancestor, and then… Read more »

Jane
Member

If I said any of those things, your arguments might or might not deal with them.

But I didn’t. You really have a habit of arguing with the assumptions you make about people instead of what they say — do you realize that?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

It wasn’t an assumption – it was the logical conclusion of what you said.

If you meant something different, then explain it. But I made a very detailed point, and you dismissed it with a two-sentence response. I took your response at face value. If you meant something more subtle, then you need to explain what that was.

You still haven’t even said where I have analyzed your logic incorrectly. Do you see anything in your reply that advances the discussion for either of us or anyone else, or are you just fighting?

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

When dialoguing with these folks, do you ever get the feeling that you’ve wandered into a House of Mirrors? They have painted themselves and the Bible into a corner. The only way out is to discard their reductionist approach to the scriptures. I’m hopeful, but I’m not holding my breath.

insanitybytes22
Member

What always strikes me as kind of tragic, as Christians we’re supposed to put our faith in Jesus and than go forth and love one another. So what do modern Christians do? Pretty much just step over the least of these, ignore much of the human suffering around us,and proceed to just argue about the fossil record and creationism versus evolution.

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

Amen. I think what you’ve just described is the result of reducing the Bible to a set of doctrinal positions that end in parsing the hell out of agape.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree that the definition of speciation is difficult, and from what I have read, it is not the definition I was taught in school a couple of Ice Ages ago. That definition was that speciation occurs when there is such divergence between two groups that they can no longer mate with each other. The classic example of how this can happen was when a habitat is divided by an impregnable boundary, and members of the species become geographically isolated. When brought back together much later, they have become two distinct species who cannot mate and produce offspring. But DNA,… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

But who gets to define “true Darwinianism”? Certainly there are atheist biologists who say they cannot imagine how anyone who understands evolutionary theory can be dumb enough to believe in God. Certainly there are Christians who say they can’t understand why the literal truth of Genesis isn’t obvious to everyone else. But there are also millions of devout Christians who seemingly have no trouble reconciling their belief in God with their tentative acceptance of natural selection and common ancestry (tentative, because all scientific theory is tentative). Your not understanding how I, and they, can do this does not mean that… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Indeed. It is, of course, possible that you believe things that are mutually incompatible without realizing it, and that if you thought it through the contradiction would come clear. But to presume the worldview of one’s interlocutor is coherent is a wiser place to start, and certainly better manners.

Carson Spratt
Member

In my limited experience, it is far more common for people to believe dozens of incompatible things. I never assume the coherence of anyone’s worldview, but I try to drill down and see what the foundations are made of.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Sure, and I grant that. But if you lead with the presumption that you’re talking to someone who can’t think straight, you are likely to ignore a lot of nuance in favor of simple binary judgments. You also tend to discount the possibility that your interlocutor has simply thought the matter through more carefully than you have.

I don’t know that either thing is true in this particular case. But the approach that you outline lends itself to certain drawbacks.

Carson Spratt
Member

To clarify, I don’t assume people are unreasonable, but neither do I assume that their worldview is fully coherent when the details are filled in.

I test their worldview in the same way I do my own – with the understanding that people’s intellect is fallen.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

That’s a perfectly reasonable view to take. But it applies to you as much as anyone else, no?

Carson Spratt
Member

Yes. That’s why I said, “I test their worldview in the same way I do my own.” Read carefully! ;)

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

The posture of testing, however, tends to indicate epistemic certainty, as if, having checked your own worldview, you now regard it as sufficiently established to serve as a standard. Otherwise, on what basis do you evaluate someone else?

Carson Spratt
Member

Yes, I have tested my worldview and found it solid at the foundations. There are many matters which must be built upon that foundation, though. The foundations I am sure of, but there are stories higher up that probably need tinkering with. Everyone should do the same, and no one should take it as an insult when someone tests your worldview for leaks: it’s just sound practice, and the Bereans are good examples of that.

bethyada
Member

Everyone believes in some form of natural selection. It is Darwinism that is objected to.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Could you tell me (and I ask this in a peaceful spirit of genuine enquiry, not as one looking to start a fight) why people who reject evolutionary theory (defined here as speciation and common ancestry, not simply as change over time) always call it Darwinism? It always suggests to me that Darwin is solely responsible, and that no one else has ever treated, let alone confirmed, any aspect of his theory. And why “Darwinism” and not simply “Darwin’s theory”?

bethyada
Member

I think it is shorthand. The term has been used by evolutionists. But because accuracy of language is important concerning this issue, it is wordy to specify what one means. Some people just say evolution and then claim that evolution means change thus natural selection is evolution thus evolution is true. This is quite a common response even though creationists agree that natural selection is real (it was described by a creationist prior to Darwin). Other talk of biological evolution and decry the discussion of cosmological evolution even though cosmologists may use that term. Still others exclude the first development… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Evolutionism is also a good shorthand term encompassing the materialistic and naturalistic paradigm. Most adherents are very coy about where they actually stand, because they really only want to have to answer for natural selection, and nothing else. Theistic evolutionists don’t do anyone any favors by running cover for such materialists.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I understand that you believe a theistic evolutionist is in error. But I don’t think you can say that any particular individual is intellectually insincere in reaching his conclusions, especially when these conclusions don’t run counter to the teachings of his church. A Catholic biologist is almost certain to be a theistic evolutionist. His church teaches him the duty of intellectual honesty and tells him not to generalize beyond his data–in other words, not to present his own religious opinions as “settled science says…” It is unfortunate if his research, improperly understood and subjected to illegitimate extrapolation, tends to run… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: But I don’t think you can say that any particular individual is intellectually insincere in reaching his conclusions, especially when these conclusions don’t run counter to the teachings of his church. A Catholic biologist is almost certain to be a theistic evolutionist. It may come as a shock to jillybean, but Roman Catholics are not inoculated against being wrong; even wrong concerning basic Scriptural teaching. Being a sincere Roman Catholic will not shield or excuse jillybean from giving an account to God for disregarding the light that she was given by God, from His Word. Notice that I’m… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: But that doesn’t solve the problem of the sincere Christian astronomer who, looking at the available evidence, does not believe all the stars are equally old. Should a scientist who is Christian refrain from publishing any finding that might tend to cast doubt on Genesis for fear of running cover for unbelievers? Publishing observable data is nothing to be afraid of. That’s the power of actual physical science. However, the stories that are told around the actual observable data are another matter. For example, if Adam had chopped down a tree in the garden and counted the rings,… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Probably because of the near-immediate leap made by non-biologists from the publication of Darwin’s book to confident assertions that SCIENCE! had a sufficient explanation for the origin of life and we can dispense with all that antiquated God and religion stuff. (Meanwhile the actual science of genetics was getting started a few years later by an Augustinian monk named Mendel…)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Very true. But why do you suppose people were able to take Galileo’s heliocentrism in stride without immediately concluding that if our planet has been deposed as the center, then all bets are off when it comes to religion and morality?

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: But why do you suppose people were able to take Galileo’s heliocentrism in stride without immediately concluding that if our planet has been deposed as the center, then all bets are off when it comes to religion and morality? Probably for the same reason that the weather man can tell us when sunrise will occur tomorrow morning without being stoned by the heliocentric science community. They realize that events can be described, consistently and correctly, from an earth-based frame of reference. People in Galileo’s day probably realized that everything in Scripture pertaining to this question could also be… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

For one thing Darwinism describes a specific explanation for the existence of living things for which Charles Darwin receives due credit from scientists who wholly embrace the theory as you have described it. Darwinism also describes more than a scientific theory, it describes a philosophy, a mythos. In a way Darwinism does offer an explanation of the meaning of life, albeit one that dead ends in no real meaning at all. It certainly does offer an explanation of human behavior, one that explicitly rejects both the image of God and sin in favor of the origin of Homo sapiens behavior… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“Your not understanding how I, and they, can do this does not mean that it cannot be done–”

*You’re. :P

There seems to be a corrolation between accepting common ancestry/natural selection and bad theology. I don’t have enough data to say if the relationship is causitive, or if it is which direction it goes.

lndighost
Member

It’s ‘your’. The not understanding belongs to you. (See what I did there?)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I was about to explain about gerunds taking possessive pronouns but you beat me to it. I think this is a grammatical rule that is not much observed here. Find me one living person who grasps the shall/will distinction, and I will bow in gratitude before him (or her). Heck, I would be grateful for the proper use of lie and lay. I insisted on teaching usage to my daughter, not trusting her English teachers as far as I could throw them, and the result was that they went through her essays changing every correct “whom” to “who.” My fellow… Read more »

lndighost
Member

Funny, isn’t it, that grammar is something only other languages have nowadays.

Come to New Zealand, where we don’t do that annoying lie/lay thing. Unless, of course, you dislike people saying then for than!

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

First I will need to check with my sister who taught in an inner-city Auckland high school. I was startled to learn that New Zealand even had urban blight or poverty. I pictured it as being a kind of sub-tropical Scandinavia, but with sheep.

lndighost
Member

Sub-tropical is right! We’re having a cyclone at the moment. Parts of Auckland I hear are a bit blighted. I haven’t made an extensive study of poverty in NZ but what I know of it I’d characterise as mainly cultural. That is, many of our poor would not be much helped by receiving more money, or only money. There are homeless people who choose to be homeless because they want to be off the grid and free from the burdens of things like tenancy agreements. There are people raised in violent or negligent homes who have no idea what to… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I’ve been following Cyclones Debbie and Cook and hoping you are away from the worst of them. For perhaps the fiftieth time in my life, I looked up to see why you get cyclones, China gets typhoons, and the eastern seaboard on the Atlantic gets hurricanes. I think I have it, but don’t ask me next week.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Funny, I’ve seen the same correlation between YEC and bad theology. Of course, they make different mistakes.

adad0
Member

Proof of “devolution”.

Somebody should form a band!

Oh wait! ; – )

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

No, jilly is right.

Paraphrased as “Your refusal to understand this … ”

Not “You are refusal to understand this …”

Edit: Ah, I see Indigo beat me to it.

Carson Spratt
Member

My rejection of common ancestry is not born out of an intellectual inability to understand how anyone else does it. Rather, it’s founded upon study, observation, and reflection upon the necessary implications of such a belief. It is not a fog of doubt that makes me unable to see how you do it: rather, it is the light of logical necessity that makes me see clearly how incompatible these two are. And while you ask who gets to define “true Darwinism,” I would answer that it should be the Darwinists – who consistently reject the syncretistic attempts of theistic evolutionists.… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I was married to a biologist for thirty years, and I have known many others. While I have not personally met a biologist who rejected every aspect of evolutionary theory, I have not encountered the kind of zealotry you describe. My ex-husband, who is Jewish, believed in God. He did not reject theistic evolution; he did believe, however, that methodological naturalism precludes assuming theistic explanations for natural phenomena. I think it is important to distinguish between rejecting theism as something incompatible with the scientific method, and rejecting theism overall. But not every evolutionary biologist is a Dawkins. There are numerous… Read more »

Bro. Steve
Guest
Bro. Steve

Jillybean,

Here’s an anti-evolutionary viewpoint from a self-described atheist.

http://www.unz.com/freed/darwin-unhinged-the-bugs-in-evolution/

Carson Spratt
Member

In re: the popes saying that Christian belief and evolution are compatible:

I do not believe that the Pope represents the best theology available, nor the best science. And if he wasn’t speaking ex cathedra, he doesn’t really speak authoritatively on behalf of the church, right?

So the pope’s recommendations don’t persuade me as to the actual compatibility of the two doctrines.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You are right that the teachings have not been given infallibly: I don’t think that would ever happen as infallibility is restricted to questions of faith and morals. And even those are given rarely–sometimes less than once in a century. On the other hand, the majority of Catholic teaching is presented with Magisterial authority that a Catholic may not ignore simply because it was not delivered ex cathedra. If I am an obedient Catholic, I won’t get gay-married even though there has been no infallibly delivered rule. It’s important to be clear about what the papal statements about evolutionary theory… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I took a “science and religion” class that included a book which had 14 different definitions of evolution. Only a couple of them denied the spiritual, though 3-4 others were also false for other reasons.

insanitybytes22
Member

Well,I am the girl in the blue dress for a reason and we have truly arrived at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Not too get too cynical here, but people are kind of like these slightly stupid hairless apes, easily taken down by a common house cat. So without Divine intervention, I suspect our ability to pass down our genes would have been severed long ago.

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

I’m curious what you mean by Divine intervention, and if you could give an example or two.

adad0
Member

The birth of Issac and the birth of Samuel.????????????

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

I’m not sure that’s what ME had in mind. But I am quite certain that our species’ ability to pass down our genes would have continued regardless of the births of Issac or Samuel.

insanitybytes22
Member

“Divine intervention,” everything from ensuring our survival to correcting our never ending mistakes.

“I am quite certain that our species’ ability to pass down our genes would have continued regardless….”

I am NOT convinced. People have a propensity for self destruction and if our steps were not ordered in some way, I think we would have all died out long ago.

ashv
Guest
ashv

The funny thing is that if you start talking about race and IQ you can find people who are both anti-God materialists and anti-science fundamentalists. ;-)

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Oh yeah…that’s one of the biggest holes in “progressive” Christian thought.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Specifically I mean the people who deny the existence of the soul or anything spiritual but still insist that all humans have equal worth or ability.

john k
Guest
john k

Perhaps one of those hundreds of Christians could explain the natural process by which non-living matter became the first living thing from which all life evolved.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t think any Christian who accepts evolutionary theory would deny divine intervention. I have no doubt that God created life. I have no doubt that God created the universe.

john k
Guest
john k

The question is whether God created all life by solely by natural processes. Its the difference between my own origin in the womb, and that of Mary’s firstborn. Was power outside nature needed at any point from the beginning until now to make all living things? That goes against the naturalism that most scientists assume. Many scientists still assume that there is an as yet unknown natural process to explain the origin of life.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree with you, but while every scientist assumes that only natural explanations can be entertained while working in the lab, not every scientist is committed to philosophical materialism in every realm of life. Those who are, like Dawkins, are giving an opinion that is outside their specialty. If there is ever solid evidence that lightning sparks produced amino acids from a soup of atmospheric gases, I will still believe that the sparks, the gases, and the acids were part of God’s creative will. It would be disingenuous for me to pretend that there is no conflict between this view… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

If origins “look” the same (that is, in terms of our thoughts–because obviously no developed human was there to observe and record), regardless of theism or atheism, why believe there is a god acting behind the scenes? How can the answer be the Church or Scripture? ISTM that when the Church deconstructs Genesis 1-11, it invites the deconstruction of 1) the rest of Scripture, and 2) its own recorded origin and history.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That’s quite interesting. So you’re admitting that your beliefs in God feel threatened by knowledge of science, and that you’re afraid that if God isn’t needed as the “explain this crazy magic” excuse-maker, your whole fragile edifice falls apart.

I assure you there is a different faith out there, one that can understand how things in the world work and still be devoted to the God of Jesus Christ in all of it. And there are many millions of people with this faith.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think that is a little harsh. It seems to me a valid question to ask: if Genesis is not to be taken literally, at what point are we to start being literal in our understanding? Half way through the Old Testament, or can I wait until Matthew 1:1? If the evidence leads me to reject Genesis as history, do I treat every recorded miracle with equal skepticism? These are fair questions.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

But it’s based on quite a few false assumptions. We already know not to take a great deal of the Bible “literally”. Jesus’s parables, Daniel’s visions, John’s revelation, the Song of Solomon, are all obvious places where a symbolic story is told but the point of the story is not to relate history, but to elucidate a point about God and how He works and is now working. During the Galileo debates, where he was accused of not taking Scripture literally because Joshua clearly stopped the Sun in the sky thus proving the sun revolves around the Earth, he made… Read more »

lndighost
Member

What is your position on the supernatural?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I believe in it – thought I made that clear in the nonviolence discussions. I have witnessed it as well, though of course one’s own experience can be faulty and from time to time I can second-guess things I’ve seen with my own eyes or heard with my own ears. I don’t have a firm position on the mechanism. Such as, does God create a plausible natural explanation when He performs the miraculous, so that those who wish to doubt can always maintain “plausible deniability”? Thus, are many things with plausible natural explanations still clearly miraculous events that would not… Read more »

lndighost
Member

Ah, my faulty memory strikes again. (It’s also difficult to review your earlier remarks, given your Disqus settings.) I agree that the miraculous is not able to be subjected to scientific study. I do not see that a not-scientific book must necessarily be not-historical. I do not see the slightest reason, textually speaking, not to take Genesis as historical. “We already know not to take a great deal of the Bible “literally”. Jesus’s parables, Daniel’s visions, John’s revelation, the Song of Solomon, are all obvious places where a symbolic story is told but the point of the story is not… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I have a long argument written out, which I’ll post soon. But I realized that I was starting to get off the point in arguing this rather inconsequential subpoint (which only becomes consequential when preachers begin to claim it’s the whole thing). In order to re-orient back to the main point, I recommend looking up these three very short N.T. Wright videos before reading anything I have to say.

N.T. Wright on Genesis
N.T. Wright on Adam and Eve
N.T. Wright – Evolution

He makes three completely different points in those three videos, all three good ones.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Here are some textual reasons not to take Genesis as purely, literally historical. 1. There is a great deal of allegory within the passage. Take the snake, for example. Every Christian I know believes that the snake in Genesis 3 represents Satan, not some physical species of snake that happens to have the power of speech. (Note that there is no indication that God miraculously gives the snake speech – it just has it naturally as it is a very crafty animal. That’s another clear sign the story is allegorical – we’re not dealing with a real snake here.) They… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: They believe that the “offspring of the woman” represents Jesus, and when “he will crush its head”, it represents Jesus’s defeat of Satan. But the literal words of the passage clearly say that the snake is a snake, a wild animal, not Satan. Jonathan is repeating a very common misunderstanding, which leads him to engage in a long string of straw man fallacies. Since Genesis is recorded for us in literary form, none of us has any choice but to take it literally. So the question is not whether it will be taken literally, but what literary intent… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

As N.T. Wright so appropriately quotes in his Genesis video, you appear to be reading an entirely different book than me. If you read Genesis and believe that the main point is to instill historical shackles, give a treatise on exact order of creation and the length of creation days so that we can hold arguments with scientists digging up fossils and radioactively dating rocks 2,000 years later, then I have to say that you haven’t read the book for all its worth yet. You confuse simple metaphors of language and deeper allegory tremendously. Yes, “windows of heaven” is a… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I think the obvious allegorical content of Genesis 1-3 is the most text-supported reason not to take it literally in every detail. But here are a few other supporting reasons. 2. The structure of Genesis 1 is very uniform and poetic, and then differs a lot from Genesis 2-3. As history, that would be utterly confusing. What order did God do things on each day in Chapter 1? What is Chapter 1’s relationship to Chapter 2, and why so many apparent contradictions without explanation? What span of time do chapters 2-3 cover? Where did Adam and Eve go after they… Read more »

lndighost
Member

I regret that I don’t have time to do justice to your long post today, but here are some quick points: Any creation account is going to look different from other recorded history, for a number of reasons. One of those is that God was the only eye witness, as you mentioned, and another is that it is describing something supernatural and probably beyond human comprehension except at a basic level. Bible history is not given for its own sake, but to tell the story of God’s work in this world. The fact that Genesis 1-3 doesn’t contain lots of… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Bless you too Indigo. I agree with basically everything that you said, only disagree that what you have left over after you’ve admitted all those things is still something that can be called “literal history” in the modern Western sense, or why, after admitting so much is clearly unconcerned with order or exact details or time frames and there for the point of allegory or anthropomorphic illustration, it is so hard to see that other details within the same event fit the same pattern.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I get all that. I agree with all that. But, it is easy for me to get all that because I come from a tradition that does not insist on a literal reading of Genesis, does not base its theology on there being no death before the fall, and also teaches that if there is an apparent conflict between scientific discovery and Christian doctrine–be patient, because truth cannot conflict with truth. Ultimately we will understand. I did not grow up with a belief that Christian teaching is being deliberately undercut by wicked and deluded biologists and astronomers and geologists. No… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Amen to all that Jilly.

john k
Guest
john k

So you’re admitting that there is no evidence for God intervening in the world. You’re prepared to say that the Exodus (in the traditional sense) never happened, and that the Jesus Seminar is a helpful pursuit, but that nevertheless you pray, and value the “Jesus of faith.”

Heliocentrism is compatible with the historic Christian faith revealed in the Scriptures. The same cannot be said for other fashionable theories.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No, not at all, I believe absolutely nothing like that. You seem to know nothing about me whatsoever.

You have created a completely made up strawman version of me in your head. Engage with things I’ve actually said.

john k
Guest
john k

Perhaps you could extend to me the same courtesy?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You stated: If origins “look” the same (that is, in terms of our thoughts–because obviously no developed human was there to observe and record), regardless of theism or atheism, why believe there is a god acting behind the scenes? How can the answer be the Church or Scripture? ISTM that when the Church deconstructs Genesis 1-11, it invites the deconstruction of 1) the rest of Scripture, and 2) its own recorded origin and history. That implies that faith in God rests on needing to have a theory of origins that science cannot explain. You said that it seems, to you… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

I’m conceding a use of the term “origins” to encompass many things, from the beginning of the universe, even until now (especially from an evolutionary perspective, in which the cosmos continues to evolve). If all “origins” must have, and do have a materialistic explanation, Occam’s razor suggests that to posit a divinity at work invisibly behind the scenes is an unnecessary addition. That’s one reason Darwinian explanations so often foster atheism. And if such materialism applies from the beginning till now, how can we exclude the critical deconstruction of Scripture and the authority of the Church? To recognize this challenge… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

If all “origins” must have, and do have a materialistic explanation, Occam’s razor suggests that to posit a divinity at work invisibly behind the scenes is an unnecessary addition. I don’t see any rationale to argue that the creation and sustenance of existence in a purely materialistic world is “simpler” than the creation and sustenance of existence by a deity. Even the extremely materialistic Stephen Hawking, who has spent his life trying to write God out of everything, is forced to ask, “But what breathes fire into the equations? Why is there a universe for them to describe at all?”… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think it might be a more accurate (and fair) statement of the position to say that lab science gives no tools by which we can test or measure God’s intervention in the world.

adad0
Member

Hey! They don’t have to be christians! Just ask randman: “How did rocks turn into people all by themselves?” Trust me, it’s quite a ride! ; – )

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I actually took an entire class specifically on that exact question, and I’m not convinced it could have happened without divine intervention. Are you interested in the theories or were you just trolling?

john k
Guest
john k

It’s not trolling to point out that scientists are not certain on that question. There is at least that one major point about origins that your hundreds of Christians do not as yet know.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Oh, many many points. That’s one thing that science and faith have in common – in both cases there are many many things we do not know.

My question as to whether you were trolling was directed towards whether you actually wanted to hear the explanation you had asked for or not.

john k
Guest
john k

I asked for “the natural process by which non-living matter became the first living thing from which all life evolved.” In other words, it was a statement (couched as a suggestion) that there is no agreed scientific position on the subject. Your offer to bring forth a number of possibilities from the classroom simply confirms my statement. How many theories there are, and what they are is not germane. Not wanting to have them told does not mean I was trolling.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m struggling to see what you’re trying to get at. Yes, there is no agreed scientific position for the exact mechanism of the start of life some 3.9 billion years ago or whatever. Of course – the field is still young. There are people alive today who were scientists before DNA was even discovered, before we could explain genetics at all. The field is removing remarkably fast. It may be 10 years before a breakthrough that causes the scientific community to unite around a highly plausible theory, or it might be a 100 years, or it might be never. But… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

You referred to Christians who accept evolution as basic science. Yet, the basic science concerning original life and the so-called “last common universal ancestor” is not agreed. I’m not claiming that that disproves evolution. I realize you can accept evolution and hold origination off to the side. Yet it could help a scientist be more willing to entertain evidence against naturalistic evolution. Apparently you accept both God and a naturalistic process of evolution. I don’t know if there is anything that would falsify the process for you, or give you pause. I do find it telling that evolutionists can get… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You’re saying a lot of different things, and I’m not sure I follow all of them. 1. Yes, how one views the atonement does matter. But I am in fellowship with Christians with almost every view of the atonement imaginable, and yet we’re still Christians. I cannot see how one of those views could be “falsified”, or if it were, if that would affect any of our acceptance of Christianity. We all accept that Christ died for us, even if the most exact details of that one-time event aren’t at all agreed upon for us, and almost certainly won’t really… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

1. It’s not clear to me that “how one views the atonement” really does matter, if, “with almost every view of the atonement imaginable… we’re still Christians.” What are the Christians you fellowship with being taught? If Christ is only a teacher and example in laying down his life, our need for him is reduced to ignorance and moral error. If I see that my need concerns God’s holy wrath coming toward me–a person dead, guilty, and defiled–then Christ’s propitiation, substitution, and resurrection power will be precious to me from the Bible. A sound view of the atonement is not… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I won’t even get started on an argument of which atonement theory is “correct” or “primary” or “essential”, as I’ve invariably found that they’re the most useless arguments in all of Christiandom. Too many ingrained positions built off of particular cultural assumptions which then cause the person to interpret everything in favor of their understanding, not realizing that the filter they’re looking through completely distorts almost everything they’re looking at. There’s just no way to argue with that. For now I can just suggest caution before declaring most of the historical church, most of the modern church, and virtually all… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Jonathan, if you “…won’t even get started on an argument of which atonement theory is “correct” or “primary” or “essential” “, is it essential you go on at such length about how much it doesn’t matter? :-) Personally I think it is a worthwhile discussion, although I agree Christian’s have honestly come to differing views. Since we’ve started on the subject, is it necessarily either/or? Are we, or must we, be talking in terms of “this not that”, or could it be a matter of the aspect one sees fit to emphasize more than the others, without denying the others?… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Jonathan, if you “…won’t even get started on an argument of which atonement theory is “correct” or “primary” or “essential” “, is it essential you go on at such length about how much it doesn’t matter? :-) YES. :) For certain issues, the fact that they shouldn’t divide us, that a large range of views is acceptable, is actually of enormous significance. Personally I think it is a worthwhile discussion, although I agree Christian’s have honestly come to differing views. Since we’ve started on the subject, is it necessarily either/or? Are we, or must we, be talking in terms of… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

Lewis is valued as an apologist for “mere” Christianity, but he did not think anyone was meant to stay a “mere” Christian: I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions—as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall,… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Personally, I don’t make a big deal about the age of the earth one way or the other. Why not? If you take Genesis as literal in the historical/scientific text, and the text clearly speaks of a series of 24 hour days followed by lifetimes of specific lengths of years, why not insist that a 6,000 year old Earth is just as essential to faith as the denial of other aspect of evolutionary theory? Current views don’t have to be a conspiracy of lies. I’m sure you know the history of error in science. I think comparative anatomy argues against… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

Do you not realize that scholars are consistent when they apply your Genesis standard of interpretation to the Gospels? Marcus Borg: “The central meaning of Easter is not about whether something happened to the corpse of Jesus. Its central meanings are that Jesus continues to be known and that he is Lord. The tomb couldn’t hold him. He’s loose in the world. He’s still here. He’s still recruiting for the kingdom of God.” Dr. Borg values the effects of the empty tomb, while downplaying its historical nature. I’m glad you don’t go that far, but you’ve laid out no basis… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Marcus Borg is a Jesus Seminar guy. From what I’ve heard he’s certainly not the worst of the bunch, but I’m still certain that I disagree on so many levels that this would be just the tip of the iceberg. As you say, “The problem shows especially in the truth that the Gospels are not history according to modern historigraphical standards. They are theological through and though.” This is absolutely true. However, we have to base on understanding of the truth on the truth, not on what we are scared by. We can’t understand Genesis correctly if we’re just focused… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

It’s not helpful to dismiss someone’s view as motivated by fear, rather than truth. Fear for the cause of the truth is not a dishonorable motivation. I can say with justification that N. T. Wright holds certain views of Genesis because he is scared that science minded folk won’t become believers. I don’t count that as evidence against his view, or his program. In a time when naturalism reigns supreme, the question of whether a non-historical view of Genesis negatively impacts other Biblical narratives is not out of bounds. Bishop Wright believes that the Gospels are more historically reliable than… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

It’s not helpful to dismiss someone’s view as motivated by fear, rather than truth. Fear for the cause of the truth is not a dishonorable motivation. You’re right that it’s usually not helpful, but because people react poorly to hearing it, not because it’s wrong. And the fear is not “dishonorable”, but it won’t lead you to truth. Genesis 1-3 cannot be understood as an attempt at the same kind of history that the Gospels clearly are This quote merely restates that the details of the Gospels correspond to actual events, but the details of Genesis 1-3 do not. Perhaps… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi John, if I can butt in. I’ve had it explained to me what evolutionary biologists would regard as evidence that disproves the theory, in whole or in part. Because the theory has become so much more developed over time, it is hard to find one failed test that would demolish the theory in one go. I’m choosing the ones that I understand clearly and that seem accessible to non-biologists. 1. If there was indisputable evidence that the earth is only a few thousand years old. There would not be enough time to account for so much biodiversity descended from… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: Hi John, if I can butt in. I’ve had it explained to me what evolutionary biologists would regard as evidence that disproves the theory, in whole or in part. … I’m choosing the ones that I understand clearly and that seem accessible to non-biologists. I’m afraid jillybean’s list tells us more about her gullibility than about the falsifiability of evolution doctrine itself. jillybean wrote: 1. If there was indisputable evidence that the earth is only a few thousand years old. There would not be enough time to account for so much biodiversity descended from a common ancestor. Evolution… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It is impossible to discuss this with someone who apparently believes that every evolutionary biologist is lying through his teeth or is under the influence of demonic deception. And not just biologists, of course, but every scientist of every field pertaining to the age of the earth. What is the point of discussing where the evidence leads if you dismiss the methodology, the motives, and the data of every single scholar who disputes that the Genesis creation account as scientifically accurate? You say that I am gullible, and I’m sure that’s true. But my reading comprehension is as good as… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: I do not actually mind being called gullible and sentimental. But I have engaged with you without using personal adjectives; One of the things that I’ve really appreciated about jillybean is that she doesn’t tend to take disagreement or correction too personally. That’s highly commendable. However, the subject of evolution seems to be more sensitive and dear to her for some reason. jillybean wrote: You say that I am gullible, and I’m sure that’s true. Does jillybean suppose that the false religion of Islam is a great conspiracy since so many believe it? Or does jillybean acknowledge that… Read more »

bethyada
Member

You have it back to front. The fact of boys and girls is an obvious one.

The subtleties of evolution and the inability (of evolutionists) to agree on vast numbers of specifics, but only agree on the overarching truth of the grand theory, is not nearly so obvious.

No creationists are arguing for boys to run in the Girls’ 100 m. Every last trans-affirming person is also an evolutionist. This doesn’t make one right and the other wrong, but I don’t listen to men tell me about the finer points of linear algebra when they think that 2 and 3 make –59.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

This puzzles me a little. It seems to me that, if one accepts the most bleakly mechanistic view of the evolution of life on earth, one concludes that DNA is destiny and that the organism’s only function is to survive long enough to reproduce. A futile attempt to change genders seems more like defying this deterministic outlook than acquiescing in it. I understand your second point. But it leaves out the vast numbers of Christians (including all the Catholics if they follow the teaching of their church on this point) who both tend to accept evolutionary theory and reject transgenderism… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I don’t think that believing evolution makes one a believer in transgenderism. I do think that holding false beliefs, especially willingly, tends to lead one to greater error. But Jonathan was arguing against creationists for being scientifically ignorant. I don’t think they are, and it is notable that they are not getting the obviousness of boys and girls wrong. Evolution is very subtle, and has major lacunae, and isn’t understood by most people who believe it to be true. Even a 3 year old can tell the difference between a boy and a girl. The world is preaching boys are… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

If a creationist (or a three-year-old) can tell the difference between boys and girls but a biologist can’t, your argument holds up. I would agree totally that any biologist who thinks that gender reassignment surgery produces gender change at the DNA level should be viewed with mistrust when he invites us to trust his science. But nobody actually believes that such change is possible. The question is not whether boys can become girls in that sense; the real question is how we view people who want gender reassignment surgery, how tightly or fluidly we view gender identity, whether we think… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Yes to paragraph one. Which is entirely the point. A girl who thinks she is a boy or a cat is entirely delusional. There is a problem when someone points this out and everyone goes on the attack in defense of the girl whose concept of reality is screwed. Spiritually this is because God deludes men who hate him. So while Doug may say that the concept of genus fluidity aligns with gender fluidity—and that may well be true—I predominantly think that the new sexuality has to do with a society rejecting God and thus God sending them delusions. You… Read more »

Eagle_Eyed
Guest
Eagle_Eyed

Quit digging Jill

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Happy and blessed Easter, Eagle-Eyed!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That’s funny bethyada, because it’s quite similar to what Augustine had to say about Christians ignorant in science, only in the opposite direction.

I mean, how recently could you have used that claim in relation to people who believed the sun revolved around the Earth, or in a flat Earth, or that natural explanations for disease were false, because evil spirits or witches?

If you are going to dismiss one belief because those who practice it have other errors, then you see church history as an awful slow process of cleaning up its own house.

bethyada
Member

Nonsense, it is quite easy to understand that things look different from different reference points. People understood that the earth circling the sun would look like the sun circling the earth. The question was which and the answer was not at all clear. Not like the question of what a boy or girl is. Obviously an evolution believing physicist who designs satellites is more intelliigent than a creationist who did not finish highschool and shelves at the local supermarket. But the fact that the latter knows that a boy who thinks he is a girl is nonsense and the former… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

As Augustine pointed out, for a preacher of God to be obviously wrong on other aspects of the world is certainly consequential if it leads others to reject his message. Again, I know multiple Christians who have left the faith due to such misguided preaching. Often, a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and distances, … and this knowledge he holds with certainty from reason and experience. It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a… Read more »

bethyada
Member

And Augustine was wrong.

Often, a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and
the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars
and even their sizes and distances

the beliefs of the day were somewhat incorrect. So what the non-Christian “knew” was probably incorrect. Which shows that we need not agree with the claims of the day about things that are not certain. Some of his other comments are reasonable, but denying evolution, or the world being 4 billion years old is not reckless.

Denying a boy is a boy is reckless.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Who are these highly intelligent evolution-accepting scientists who think a boy can become a girl in any meaningful biological sense?

bethyada
Member

If you are going to dismiss one belief because those who practice it have other errors,

Not at all. We all have errors. But we are justified in not listening to grossly immoral people (even if they happen to be right in some areas; which every person is). Further, we are right to disregard those who can’t get the most obvious right.

I listen frequently to my pastor even though he believes in evolution, global warming, and a variety of other concepts that I dispute.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

And the “fact of boys and girls” as an absolute is not an obvious one in most of the world. Nearly every culture has a 3rd gender of one sort or another. In Biblical culture they were called eunuchs. They are different in different cultures, but the conclusion that “boy with penis, girl without penis” are the only two options is only “an obvious one” within a very limited set of cultural assumptions. Not even mentioning people who are clearly intersex physically as well as mentally. And it certainly didn’t start with evolutionists. You’re off by thousands of years there.… Read more »

bethyada
Member

The intersex (physically) is irrelevant. I am not talking about ambiguous cases that even the researchers struggle with. My point was that clearly boys and clearly girls (the majority) are clearly so and even young children can tell them apart. Evolution is far more subtle than that. Taking a pastor to task for denying a questionable complex theory while giving the world a free pass for denying the blindingly obvious is where I mean you have it back to front.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It’s not questioning evolution that can make people grow a little weary of pastoral utterances on the subject. I have heard a few on youtube, and they are too often characterized by misstatements of basic points in conjunction with a whole lot of accusations of bad faith. Before venturing to say that only a fool or a villain can accept evolution, I would make sure I could more or less accurately summarize the basic elements of the theory. As I said earlier, I don’t think anyone believes in the possibility of gender change at the molecular level. It’s unfair to… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I know that they have high sounding (conflicting) explanations for their beliefs. More so than children. After all, it takes a certain amount of education to think that males can transition to females. But it is still nonsense and foolishness. So Christians cannot be calling out Christians for criticising an admitted difficult theory that evolutionary scientists disagree about in virtually every detail except for the fact that evolution did happen. And then pay attention to otherwise intelligent men holding preposterous positions. I know several people who, in various ways, aid men and women in their attempts at being a different… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree that body dysmorphia, even in so severe a form, should not be treated with surgery etc. Even if I had no other objection to using surgery to treat an emotional disorder, there is no evidence that most people who undergo it end up any happier. The evidence seems to go the other way. Which is what we would expect. I have often been surprised that there is a great deal of vitriol directed against people who have the surgery, but I have seldom read any criticism of the presumably emotionally healthy surgeons who wield the knife. They, more… Read more »

fp
Guest
fp

What is it about this case that makes it horrifying? I thought that a woman’s right to autonomy over her own body is sacrosanct, and that whatever she does with her body is between her and her doctor.

Who cares whether it’s a pair of eyeballs or a “clump of cells”?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

If I believed the first, it would be harder to condemn the second. But what I find especially horrifying is that the therapist is presumed to be the sane one in the relationship. She (in this case, it was a she, but not an MD) either lost her clinical objectivity to such an extent that she grew to share her patient’s delusion, or she deliberately failed in her duty to keep her patient safe. In this state–at least for now–a therapist may not legally hand a suicidal patient a loaded gun. Let alone help her pull the trigger.

fp
Guest
fp

I’m not saying you believe the first. My point is: When pagans actually do behave in a manner consistent with their “principles”, why is it horrifying in one instance but not the other?

Jilly, just so you know, this isn’t directed at you personally.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I know it isn’t!

I have been lucky enough in my lifetime to have known some very principled “pagan” people. The downside is that it has given me high expectations. I am always surprised when people behave badly. (I am not surprised when I behave badly.)

bethyada
Member

And this pollyanna jillybean is what endears us.

:)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Thank you! My Snowflake is going to New Orleans tomorrow and I am feeling nervous. In Israel she will have ex-IDF security with her. In New Orleans who knows?? It is most unfair, but I always picture it as a den of iniquity.

bethyada
Member

Our perceptions of danger often exceed the real risks.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

She’s freaking out upstairs because she googled the murder rate. “Snowflake! You grew up in a gang-infested LA neighborhood! Woman up here!”

But I would appreciate it if you would say a prayer for her anyway!

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Ay-y-y, getting the Snowflake to the airport is enough penance even for a Catholic on Good Friday. When I have a noon flight, I am at the gate by 9 AM. I leave it only to go ask strangers if they are sure I am in the right terminal and at the right gate, and if are they sure that my plane is going to the right place. Once I have done this half a dozen times, I relax…sort of. The Snowflake appears to think that no flight would ever take off without her. I hope the Israelis will do… Read more »

bethyada
Member

3 hours! I am annoyed I have to be at the airport 90 minutes before an international flight.

Private Benjamin?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

A movie about a very over-indulged girl who is jilted before her wedding and runs across an army recruiter who promises her condos in foreign places if she enlists. It is very funny watching Goldie Hawn deal with basic training. But she perseveres and ends up having unsuspected depths of character and courage.

But now I must go back to obsessively following the Snowflake’s plane on Flight Tracker. Not that I’m over protective or anything like that. Of course not.

lndighost
Member

If it’s any comfort, my conservative and respectable parents have been several times in the last few years and they adore New Orleans.

bethyada
Member

Sympathy can be variable. For example the fa’afafine are to be pitied somewhat and the culture that created them rebuked. And it is right to be compassionate to those who struggle, and resist, and are horrified by their sin. Why would anyone hate on a guy that struggles with gay feelings but who knows the feelings are wrong and prays against them. This is (somewhat) similar to alcoholics giving up drink and men staying away from porn. But there is a militancy that Christians seem afraid to confront. Even if there is a background issue that pushed someone to a… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You’re almost perfectly engaging in exactly what N. T. Wright called out in his short video on Genesis. Trying to argue one question by making a completely unwarranted connection to an unrelated question so that you can then tie it to the culture wars. It is simply never a path to truth.

We generally agree on the Christian response to gender dysmorphia. But for you to keep pushing the idea that you can use that as a culture war bludgeon to attack evolution is ridiculous.

bethyada
Member

You’re the one who claimed people were leaving the church because pastors deny evolution. Then they join a culture that tells them sodomy is moral, and sex outside commitment is moral, and kids don’t need a dad and a mum, and that boys can be girls. I am sorry, but the issue here is what people are willing to believe. If one has a problem with his pastor’s denial of evolution (something far from obvious), but not a problem with other facts that are far more than obviously incorrect, then his crisis of the faith was not a crisis of… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m leaving aside for now the people who have other mental issues. But are you claiming that someone who isn’t intersex physically can’t be intersex mentally? Not even saying that is what is happening, but even a well-educated child could understand that it could possibly happen, right? Again, this isn’t something new or connected to evolution, but something that has been recognized in most cultures across millennia. Again, not saying that makes it right. But this claim, “even a child knows” is simply not true in the reality of the world, but simply a function of the cultural norms the… Read more »

bethyada
Member

My claim is that the idea that actual boys are girls is so Emperors New Clothes that the justification for that is usually a sophisticated one, one that intellectuals like to use. But still nonsense. Can a boy have girl feelings? Why not. There are all manner problems in our fallen world. Though the current trend being so big reflects copycat behaviour for many rather than severe gender feelings. But it is still a wrong feeling, much as wanting to steal, or get angry (sinfully), or be attracted to the same sex is a wrong feeling. What we are seeing… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I believe in gender differences that affect how we think, how we process information, make decisions, and so on. But I think that these differences are so much on a continuum that I don’t think “woman’s in a man’s body” has much meaning.

Society at large no longer imposes rigid gender roles on people. A man who thinks his tastes, interests, and mental processes tend toward the feminine doesn’t have all that many people telling him he can’t study fashion design. I sometimes wonder why this greater tolerance does not seem to have reduced gender dysphoria.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Happy Easter, Jonathan.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Happy Easter Jill!

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: I know hundreds of Christians who understand the basic science of natural selection and genetics and Earth history while remaining deeply obedient Christians. I also know hundreds of Christians who don’t pretend that natural selection and genetics are at the focus of what is wrong with evolutionism. Theistic evolutionists don’t help their case (let alone the cause of evangelism) when they keep suggesting that creationists are hung up on Mendelian genetics. All it really shows is that evolutionists are still muddying the lines of the debate. Jonathan wrote: Unfortunately, I also know former Christians who thought they had… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I have no trouble at all accepting the miraculous. When I am told that our Lord turned ordinary water into wine, I believe that. But if I were told I must believe in a kind of miracle science that accounts for water turning into wine–so that it is not a question of my believing that natural laws were suspended, but of my believing that there is a special kind of chemistry with its own laws that are truer than the laws discovered by the vast majority of chemists–then it becomes difficult. The theory of evolution may one day be discarded.… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I also know hundreds of Christians who don’t pretend that natural selection and genetics are at the focus of what is wrong with evolutionism. Theistic evolutionists don’t help their case (let alone the cause of evangelism) when they keep suggesting that creationists are hung up on Mendelian genetics. All it really shows is that evolutionists are still muddying the lines of the debate…. Again, obvious biological facts are not the problem. Such facts would be the sort that are actually reproducible, rather than the evolutionary stories about the distant past which aren’t reproducible. If any seeker thinks that they have… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I don’t think that genetics has anywhere near shown what you imply in this comment. The proof across genus and family lines is very speculative, and there is significant disagreement between supposed evolutionary trees from genetic and fossil claims.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

So where do you believe the line is, and what is this line? Please, seriously, tell me when you think this “speculative” stuff starts. How is the process by which common ancestry evaluated within a species any different than that within a genus, within a family, and so on?

bethyada
Member

Frequently what they are actually looking at is different. For example in ancestry they may look at actual conserved domains. So the DNA may be the same between father and daughter, even though historically the gene has mutated (or has natural variants). These may be in areas that are non coding. And we know that humans are the same kind. Across different kinds of animals the assumption (which is an assumption, not evidenced by the actual DNA) is common ancestry. DNA from various genes are compared with the assumption that the original gene in the ancestral organism was the same… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Frequently what they are actually looking at is different. For example in ancestry they may look at actual conserved domains. So the DNA may be the same between father and daughter, even though historically the gene has mutated (or has natural variants). These may be in areas that are non coding. Not sure completely what you’re getting at. Like you say, it does vary from test to test, and not as in “x relationships are evaluated this way whereas y relationships are evaluated that way”. Sometimes what they are looking at is different, other times what they are looking at… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Whining and ad hominem aside, Jonathan wrote: What you apparently don’t know is that there’s no line at all – the exact same genetic principles show the common ancestry of two closely related species, two more distant related species, two different genre, different families, etc. Contrast that statement with Jonathan’s claim that: That’s why NO ONE in this discussion is saying, “It would be impossible for God to have specially created all creatures distinctly in the beginning.” Science cannot tell you that. All science can do is look at the evidence and tell you what we can know about the… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Whining and ad hominem aside :dead: Does Jonathan merely mean hypothetically possible, but historically impossible? Yes, thought that was quite obviously what I said. No one denies that God could have created such a world, but the evidence shows rather clearly that He didn’t. It seems that Jonathan is the one still struggling with his own philosophy on the limits of science. The claimed contradiction isn’t there, and for you to think there was one shows that you not only read me wrong, but that you think there might really be hard boundary lines across the board that were set… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: No one denies that God could have created such a world, but the evidence shows rather clearly that He didn’t. Yet Jonathan also declared: All science can do is look at the evidence and tell you what we can know about the natural world, not how God did it. So how can Jonathan claim to know, by looking only at the physical world, how God did it? He can’t have it both ways. Jonathan seems to be making some rather bold claims about how God did, or didn’t do it. Again, if Jonathan were around in the garden… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

So how can Jonathan claim to know, by looking only at the physical world, how God did it? He can’t have it both ways. Jonathan seems to be making some rather bold claims about how God did, or didn’t do it. Yet again, you continue to refuse to recognize a distinction between what God did and how God did it. Those are two different things. We can look at evidence for what God did. We do not know how God did it. The way you almost constantly reframe my arguments in inappropriate ways to try to create false dilemmas is… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: Yet again, you continue to refuse to recognize a distinction between what God did and how God did it. Those are two different things. We can look at evidence for what God did. We do not know how God did it. Jonathan appears to be making a distinction without a difference. If he claims that God used eons of death and suffering to produce all the animals from a common ancestor, he is not simply claiming that God created, he is asserting how God did it. Not sure why he can’t acknowledge that. Jonathan wrote: And yes, God… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: Since I don’t believe that God would so elaborately deceive us for no discernible purpose, I dismiss that possibility. If God DID do so, then I’m sure that we’ll have a laugh about it when we meet, but I’m not the least concerned about eternal consequences. As with jillybean, Jonathan is choosing in which direction he is willing to be wrong. If God really did create the world in just a week, with the appearance of age, and did so as a pattern for man’s own sabbath rest, then Jonathan thinks this would make God a deceiver, in… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“Since I don’t believe that God would so elaborately deceive us for no discernible purpose, I dismiss that possibility.”

Why do you insist that either all life evolved from a common ancestor or God is intentionaly deceiving us? You almost sound like you’re getting talking points from Richard Dawkins.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Because the fossil record quite clearly shows a long pattern of descent. Because homologous structures in current animals show obvious signs of common ancestry. Because the DNA record shows that same pattern of descent and common ancestry. Because there is literally no explanation whatsoever for God doing such unless he is trying to trick someone into thinking those things really happened. Let’s say that God suddenly created Christopher Casey as a 19-year-old adult in the year 2016. We could accept that that happened. But let’s say that God also created a school record for Christopher Casey showing that he attended… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“Because there is literally no explanation whatsoever for God doing such unless he is trying to trick someone into thinking those things really happened.” Because there is no possibility that our perception is flawed in some way? “But let’s say that God also created a school record for Christopher Casey showing that he attended certain schools in 2003-2015, created an arrest record for him showing that he was arrested but not charged in 2014, created a dental record showing he got his wisdom teeth removed in 2015 and took out his wisdom teeth to match it, created medical records showing… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Of course the possibility is there – but that possibility extends to the perception of Scripture AND the perception of creation. On one hand, we have a rather understandable interpretation of Scripture in Genesis 1-3 that fits the text as well as fitting what we know of creation. On the other hand, we have an inexplicable and pervasive issue in our interpretation of creation that can only be explained by our flawed perception if it is to match with a particular favored interpretation of Scripture. I’m never going to say I can “prove” anything or that I “know” anything perfectly… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“Again, I haven’t seen you explain why if you apply this logic to the fossil record and DNA and homologous structures of modern organisms, you can’t apply it equally to a geocentric solar system and a flat Earth.” One could do that, but my goal is not to get anyone to deny what their senses tell them about reality. If the plain reading of scripture clashes with our peception of reality than either our reading or our peception is off. If you say that if our peception is wrong than God is deliberately deceiving us what can you say to… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Because I don’t see any deception in Scripture. Genesis 1-3 is quite obviously composed of two different stories, and they are clearly allegory meant to teach us about our relationship with God. No one thinks that snakes are the wisest of creatures, that they talk, or that now as a curse they eat dust. The way that Genesis 2-3 is framed, it quite strongly recalls the story of Israel’s exile, showing how that cycle of gift and disobedience and loss has been repeated since the beginning of humanity’s relationship with God. Now, I can see how people could easily take… Read more »

Dan
Guest
Dan

11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:11-12)…gulp!
Dan

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

So do you agree with the other commentor below in applying that thought to a geocentric solar system? Why or why not?

Of course, you don’t need to, because the actual context is regarding those who follow the anti-Christ and God’s actions in the End of Days, and has absolutely nothing to do with what we see in God’s creation. The perils of proof-texting.

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: No, you’re quite wrong on multiple levels. First off, “deny the biological fact of death” is a meaningless statement. I’m pretty sure everyone who believes in the resurrection accepts the biological fact of death, because if there wasn’t a biological fact of death the resurrection would be meaningless. The Resurrection is what it is BECAUSE death is omnipresent in this world. Otherwise it wouldn’t have the meaning that it does. Not one for consistency, Jonathan is willing to permit miracles that plainly contradict the biological facts about the permanence of biological death, but he is not willing to… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Not one for consistency, Jonathan is willing to permit miracles that plainly contradict the biological facts about the permanence of biological death, but he is not willing to permit the miracle of special, direct creation of original kinds, because that would, you know, contradict biological facts about offspring only coming from biological parents. Jonathan’s entire point against the doctrine of creation (being a stumbling block to the science-minded seeker) turns out to be special pleading about which miracles Jonathan has already chosen should be acceptable, on a biological basis, and which are unacceptable. Hard to imagine a finer example of… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t think the doctrine of special creation is a stumbling block for the science-minded. The stumbling block is the scientific evidence we are asked to believe in order to prove that this miraculous event occurred exactly as Genesis states 6000 years ago and that it explains the physical world as we see it today. The stumbling block is that I have to regard almost every modern scientist as a knave or a fool because some religious teachers have framed the issue as Believe all of it or none of it. I could almost handle “It was a miracle that… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: And your claim that science can only give you information on reproducible things is more creationist mumbo jumbo. Are you claiming that scientific investigations of murder scenes are useless because no one can reproduce the murder? Of course not. Do you believe that scientific study of, say, the Black Death of the 17th century is fruitless because no one can produce that event? Of course not. Science is constantly informing us on past events which we have events for, using principles gained from understanding other events. That’s how all knowledge is built. You make experiments and observations under… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Unfortunately, he commits a very classic mistake. He doesn’t distinguish observation from extrapolation. He assumes that the authority of science applies equally to both, when it, manifestly, does not. I guess you can call it a “very classic mistake” if by that you mean, “a classic distinction that many centuries ago was shown to be logically false. Even on the most basic level, everything you observe is meaningless without extrapolation. All your brain knows is that some light wavelengths with different amount of a few particular colors have hit the back of your eyes, and that the air outside your… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Criminologists do tell us, however, that eyewitness testimony is much less credible than forensic evidence.
http://forensicoutreach.com/library/%E2%80%A8do-the-eyes-really-have-it-why-eyewitness-testimony-is-more-fallible-than-you-think/

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Jonathan wrote: Science is constantly informing us on past events which we have evidence for (obvious typo corrected), using principles gained from understanding other events. That’s how all knowledge is built. This is false. All knowledge is not built using the scientific method. Science is a particularly limited means of knowledge, which is why it is so persuasive in the situations when it can be applied. Most of our knowledge is by way of faith in testimony, not by way of actual scientific experimentation. If Jonathan believes that George Washington crossed the Delaware, he does not have that knowledge because… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

And it was exactly pre Kantian thought that our Westminster Brothers swallowed before they regurgitated the idea that Mankind’s ruminations on the propositions presented in scripture can offer a sufficient platform of knowledge for salvation.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

what else could offer such a platform? As long as we have not the minds of angels, can we do otherwise?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Because we are not minds in vats, an anesthetic experience of God through the creation in which He has situated us provides an entirely sufficient basis for contact with Him.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Anesthetic? I am not familiar with that word in this context. Do you mean “not physical”, hence privileging reason over sense-experience? That doesn’t seem to fit your meaning. Paraphrase, please?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Hah! Beautiful auto-spell correct!
Meant aesthetic.

We experience and can and do and should pursue knowledge of God through means other than mental propositions.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Forms are not just exterior packaging for content.
They are content.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Say, perhaps, a form of content :-). Because a form and its content are distinct things, and may inform each other in a variety of ways. They are both properly subject to interpretation, but in different ways.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

That makes a lot more sense!

Are you meaning to exclude mental propositions, or merely to deny them exclusive claims to truth? If the “other means” of knowledge seem to contradict mental propositions, which would you be more inclined to reject?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

What God says in his works of art or architecture tend to be more accessible to a wider audience then what he has said in the limited number of propositions he has sporadically enumerated. Even babies in the womb have a whole lot of theology presented to them.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

They are also more ambiguous. Every pagan who has every seen the sky knows that its ruler demands our worship. To determine that the Sky God also came to die for our transgressions requires Special Revelation.

I consider nature is informative, but Scripture is necessary. Seeing mountains cannot save us, but a blind man who hears the gospel and repents will be just fine. Would you accept that hierarchy?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Oh but now you’ve gone and jumped in bed with Kant again!

What content God communicates is never ambiguous, unless our hearts are dark.

Then, Scripture will be no more help than a heartbeat.

And Scripture proper has always been preceeded by nature, and cannot be interpreted without it.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

So you would argue that the Bible is unnecessary? Or is it your view that the gospel is sufficiently apparent within the bloody scope of fallen nature? You are free to reject my proposed hierarchy, but I would like to know your alternative.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Propositions are not only unnecessary but also ineffective, given the bloody scope of fallen nature, are they not?

Name just one proposition you find in the Bible that is required to understand for the obtaining of salvation!

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

that Jesus died for my sins?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

And awareness plus acceptance of this proposition brought salvation to Abel, Noah, Melchisidec, Abraham, Jethro etc?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I don’t know what you want me to tell you. Yes, knowledge of grace in itself is insufficient. Nevertheless, God makes things known in his word and generally makes knowing them a pre-condition for salvation. “How shall they believe in whom they have not heard?” Do you disagree with that?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

I want you to tell me that Abel in fact did not need to be aware of that proposition you had said was indispensable for him to be aware of if he were to be saved.

Hearing must occur, yes.
It is the metaphor for faith.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

No human activity, strictly speaking, is necessary for salvation. God saves at his own good pleasure and by his own free will. Nevertheless, God has ordained that the ordinary means by which one comes to faith will be hearing and believing the message of the gospel. I see no reason to imagine that Abel was unfamiliar with this doctrine – the man wasn’t offering blood sacrifices for no reason, after all, and God’s direct revelation of that promise was easily within living memory.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Theoretically, then, you hold that all humans potentially have sufficient memories or histories recording the needed “direct” revelation?

And you are unaware of how Abel could use his noodle plus observations upon the state of God’s created order to “hear” and see that to be saved by the God he knows requires a condition of loyalty and trust that all the provisions He gives are gifts worthy of total submission?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I don’t think everyone’s mom and dad got direct verbal revelation from God, if that is what you are asking. Abel is a special case, for many many reasons. If a man dies without ever hearing of the gospel, my expectation is that he will be damned. Hence the need for missionaries. I am not “unaware” of this idea you seem hold: that Abel could reason his way into salvation by looking at and experiencing the world. I have heard of it before, and I think it false. It is not hard to see how nature teaches us about sin.… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Ok, you say Abel was a special case.

Noah too?
And Melchisidek, and Abraham and Jethro?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Can you please explain what you are trying to prove by these examples? Are these people supposed to represent saints who did not have the benefit of special revelation, or what? You proposed champions fall into two categories: those of whom we are almost entirely ignorant, and those to whom God talked directly. Neither of those proves what I suppose to be your case.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Your answer has dodged your own previous requirement that the proposition “Jesus died to save” must be understood or accepted.

Why don’t you be consistent and simply state that while the text is not explicit, you believe it must have been that that was somehow exactly what was propositionally communicated by special revelation to all those old testament figures?

That’s the only way they can be saved according to your paradigm: by mentally agreeing with some abstract proposition!

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

That isn’t my paradigm, and I have said as much up thread. Don’t put words in my mouth.

Is it conceivable for someone to be saved without assenting to some set of propositions? I’d like you to explain how that works, if you can. Granted, God is free to do as he pleases. But I cannot imagine what it would look like for a rational human soul to be forgiven his sins without obtaining something that pretty closely resembles the knowledge I get from reading Scripture.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Let’s cut to the chase … Once you have whatever info you think is required, then what do you think happens to get a “rational human soul” saved? I gather you think the devil and his crew have a pretty good bead on that info and aren’t confused as to its meaning. So you probably don’t think acquisition of correct info is sufficient, since those bad angels aren’t saved with it. So what happens to the humanoids once they’ve been enlightened as to the propositional content you hold so indispensable as groundwork? Does the Spirit then use the info as… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Men are ordinarily saved by ordinary means. So when one hears the message of the gospel (information), the Spirit uses that information to work conviction in the heart of the about-to-be believer, whence spring repentance and faith as a response. I don’t see how anyone can repent of sin without knowing what sin is. And that information is propositional.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

the Spirit uses propositions to work conviction in the heart — wait:

How did conviction get introduced into the picture?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

By the Spirit, like I said…

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Ok then — you say the Spirit adds a new element into the picture = conviction!

Would you define conviction as a disposition?
Would you go so far as to say it is an orientation towards God that is one of love?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Yeah, sure. The information is used by the spirit to produce a change of heart, resulting in repentance and faith. Where’s the problem in that?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

The problem with that is that you’ve demanded that a change of heart be preceded by by mental acuity and intellectual acceptance of an argument.

Can’t change the heart without logic first being exercised, right?

You’re making faith wait for works by brain.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Not an argument, a fact: that one is a sinner.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I’m doing my best to answer your questions. I’d appreciate it if you had a go at mine.

Is it possible to repent of my sins and put my faith in Christ without knowing certain propositions that are contained in Scripture? If it is possible, how are those actions (repentance and faith) meaningful?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Repent of sins without knowing certain (I presume you’d say fundamental) propositions?! — Yes it is not only entirely possible, but in almost all cases (well I’d strike that almost and just go with always) there is hardly any propositional knowing actually really going on anyway. Who do you know that really understands those propositions? These are the deep things of God, and knowing much of what they mean is beyond the ability of even the subtlest minds. Besides, it isn’t the understanding of propositions + accepting them that gets one saved. Repenting of sins — now that’s a different… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

“In all cases there is hardly any propositional knowledge going on”…
so is Paul mistaken when he says that the Law brings about conviction of sins? Do you have any evidence for this point of view?

What can it mean to repent of sin when you don’t know what sin is? How can I put my faith in Christ without knowing who he is? That doesn’t make sense.

Your explanation refers to something (pre-natal repentance) that has never happened, so far as can be known by men. That’s not very convincing.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Paul is not mistaken. the Law brought conviction of sin to Abel, for example — before the Israelite “law” was even written. So where was the Law in Abel’s day? It was and is throughout all creation. Of course, the Law then also required the Spirit to bring a happy outcome. And this is universally the case, whether in the womb or in the old man. What can it mean to repent of sin when you don’t know what sin is? — You’ve already precluded in your own head that “knowing what sin is” = a mental cognitive capability for… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

The Law in Abel’s day had been directly delivered to Adam and Eve. I don’t know why it is so difficult for you to concede that. At the time, with the world newly cursed by sin from their lawbreaking, I daresay it was sufficiently obvious. I have concluded “in my own head” – your head being presently in use, and unavailable – that knowing means “knowing”. Yes, guilty as charged. It is not exclusively a mental activity, but neither can it be exclusive of our minds. I have no earthly idea what children or disabled people know, or do not… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

What Law in Abel’s day had been delivered directly to Adam?!!
Go forth, multiply & subdue?! >> that’s what you call a tidy summary of God’s law?!

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

No, more like “Don’t eat from the tree or you shall surely die”.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Hmm — a bit problematic wouldn’t you say?
Abel is supposed to be convicted by a Law he had no opportunity to obey or disobey?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

No, remarkably, I wouldn’t. That’s why I used it as an example.

Adam’s transgression of that primal law is the basis of the original sin with which Abel, like the rest of us, was cursed. The effects of the fall were all around him. This was readily available information.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Okay — therefore that Law that Paul says was given is on display and can be known propositionally by observation of its effects when disobeyed?

Noah, Melchisidek, Abraham all had access via observation to this form of special revelation, even before they heard or saw a word from God?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Absolutely – the world abounds in evidence for sin. What is harder to derive from mere observation is the possibility of salvation. That is why the world is generally pagan, and why we are commanded to tell people of our faith, not wait for them to figure it out for themselves.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

The question is, is this abounding evidence for sin an example of propositions of special revelation? You said Paul’s statement that the Law convicts = a reference to the historic special revelation placement of propositions given way back even to Adam. You said Abel observed those propositions in the effects in the world. Therefore the effects in the world are a record of special revelation, you say. Now you appear to be trying to say that even those specific special revelations are not going to be effective agents for the Spirit to bring salvation, because they do not encompass the… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

You asked about which Law Abel would have been familiar with. The special revelation needed for grace would be God’s subsequent promise of a redeemer, the Seed of the Woman. My contention remains the same: faith must have a content, and the way we understand content is in terms of propositions.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So your position demands that, because Abel was saved, then Adam &/or Eve MUST HAVE communicated this verbal special revelation promise (unavailable to discover in the natural world) to Abel (stipulating that he could have otherwise been saved in an unordinary means)?

Faith is definitely full of content.
The best content there is.
Faith is the heart & soul of what we need to hope for: love & loyalty to God.

“The way we understand content is in terms of propositions?” — yep.
I’m just saying we don’t need to understand it to have it.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

That is my assumption. I don’t say it “needed” to happen that way, but that seems the simplest account to me. And I actually agree, to a point, that we don’t need to understand the content of faith perfectly. I would say that one needs to have some clue, so as to distinguish faith from a meaningless gesture, but I don’t think I can stipulate the precise degree required. Like a parachute, perhaps. To say that I “trust” my parachute implies that I know certain things: jumping out of a plane is dangerous, my chute is meant to stop me,… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Thanks for the engagement.
I benefited from the exercise.
I respect your opinions.
I’m glad you’re thinking about such things.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

No one can figure it out for themselves, of that we agree.

I’m not sure I agree that the world is generally pagan.
Maybe.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

You would say that it is mostly Christian? I find that surprising. Or is there a third option?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Remember the guy crying “I’m all alone in believing you, Lord!”
God: “I’ve got so many you have no idea about”

To take a stand proclaiming you know the state of most of the world’s hearts is, however, in logical keeping with someone who has first required them to do some thinking then mental accepting of those propositions before you’ll identify them as saved.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

No, it actually just requires that I read the Bible: many are called, but few are chosen. God’s people are always in the minority wherever they find themselves.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

I won’t fight you on that one.
There is a school of thought, however, that finds that billions and billions of believers are still the chosen few.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I would not call the evidence from nature “special revelation”. That’s general revelation.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

And you’ve said that not just any special revelation comprises the requisite informational content sufficient to be usable by the Spirit to enable & bring salvation.
Not only will general revelation do.
Even the parts of special revelation that we call the Law will not do.

You’ve said it has to be parts about a promised salvation.
Now that’s something the Spirit can use!
The rest, probably just helpful context, right?

But to get right down to it, a few cryptic words about a coming seed crushing a snake’s head — that’s all we need!

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I deny that they were so cryptic. I understand them, and Adam was far smarter than me. And he talked with God directly! What makes you think he didn’t know what it meant?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

I see you now allow exceptions to God’s ways!
Of course, you must be at an impasse to find anything anywhere in Scripture for this idea that God makes exceptions to anything He demands!
Your logic so far allows God to let reprobates into heaven as is — after all, He’s God and He can do whatever He likes, right?!

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

You’re not even trying. If you have any response to what I actually said, feel free to post it.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Your have no earthly idea what children know?!

For all you know, a 2 day old zygote does have the requisite mental capacity to ascertain & assent to those abstract propositions you demand?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I have no idea at what pace embryonic children develop intellectual capacities, or anything that could be described as will. Nor do you.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Therefore, they may be capable of knowing and accepting those propositions?
And, in fact, if God will be saving them by what you call “ordinary means”, this must be the case?!

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Your hyperbolic punctuation does not lend your argument any additional urgency, in case you were wondering.

“Ordinary” is not the word I would use to describe the salvation of a fetus.
Is that something you think happens very frequently?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Almost universally.

So will you take to the stand and agree you’re unsure if a 1 day old zygote is capable of ruminating on those propositions?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Are you so sure that he can’t? Who appointed you pre-natal expert to the nations, anyway? I repeat my question: do you regard the repentance and faith of a zygote as normal or exceptional?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

I like where you’re going with this! You’re saying one doesn’t actually need a brain to consider abstract propositions! I myself do not regard the repentance and faith of zygotes as in any way exceptional. I consider it not only the norm, but the correct expectation of every set of believing parents with regard to these kiddos. We believe these immediately conceived ones have been given faith. You’ve now said that even you can imagine that those first cells might be capable of having all the equipment needed to enable them to encounter, and, with the work of the Spirit,… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Sorry, but I think that’s nuts. I gave you an inch and you’re trying to take a mile. As if something being miraculously possible – and not even certain, then, merely within God’s possible range of action- were enough to demonstrate that it is probable. You haven’t got any theological argument, or even a coherent theory of how this might work. You have got one possible case, John the Baptist, who is a glaring exception to almost every natural rule, and you have inexplicably decided to make him the model of conversion. It’s like making an argument about the surface… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Abel did not reason his way to salvation.
There you go accepting Cartesian categories again.
What do they teach these boys in Sunday school nowadays?

Cain thought as straight as Abel.
But he chose to flaunt self-sufficency.

But you and Cain pretend to be nonplussed at God’s reaction, so inscrutable you find nature as He presents it.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I have asked you several straightforward questions, and it begins to seem that you are playing games. Abel is nearly the worst possible example for the thesis that we don’t need direct revelation to be saved – his mom talked with God, and received the promise of the gospel directly. It’s hard to get much more special than the revelation he had.

Answer me this, or let’s have done: what, in your opinion, is the relationship of the sixty-six books of the Bible, to the rest of creation?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

I’m sorry to se see wear out so quickly.

I would go with words of comparison like further, examples, more abstract and analytical than, when differentiating Bible from other created things.

Those books are a gift from God that He expects us to use for teaching us helpful things about how to live.

They provide further models of how to live and how not to live, and also very encouraging info on some if the specific things we can expect.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

If Scripture is merely an extension of what we see lying around in creation, would you say that it is unnecessary for salvation?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Scripture, by itself, just “lying around”, is totally unnecessary for salvation.
And so is any and all of the rest of any created things.

That is not to say it is irrelevant to salvation, however.

A surgeon (the Spirit of God) can pick up any old scalpel he has handy and work wonders.
If he’s clever enough (and He is) he can use his bare hands.
And He has.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I would say that the word of God is pretty effective “just lying around”. That is, a man can pick it up and read it and come to faith. I don’t see that happening with cranberries, mountains, or maple trees.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

“a man can pick it up and read it and come to faith” — well, only if you include that tiny little detail about that other little thing — you know, the Holy Spirit of Almighty God walking into your picture and doing open heart surgery.

Note, He doesn’t do open brain surgery.
Not at first.
The thinking comes later, as a result of getting a new heart / being born again.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Not according to Paul. “How shall they believe in whom they have not heard.” Hearing, hence knowledge, precedes faith. That knowledge won’t do anything without divine action. But your soteriology is simply unbiblical on this point.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

I agree — hearing & knowing precedes faith.
Hearing, you agree, doesn’t involve physical ears, does it!
Same with knowing, you know — it’s not a physical cranial brain thing!

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

By analogy I am willing to include “reading” within the definition of hearing, yes, particularly as Paul likely didn’t distinguish between the two – letters in his day were commonly consumed audibly, and letter-writing was considered a species of oratory. I do not know what alternative to “knowledge” you have in mind, and would like you to clarify.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

To know God or other folks is a way to describe disposition and orientation.

There’s a world of difference between hearing Him or, as you propose, hearing about Him.

To have know God, to hear Him, to see Him, means to have faith, to love Him.

Your position requires some unspecified threshold of intellectual development plus physical aptitudes including auditory or visual abilities.
It is therefore quasi-gnostic in nature, dependent upon some human attainment, before which others (infants, for example, but also older folks with cognitive disabilities) should be excluded unless an exception is somehow granted.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Are you trying to posit a person incapable of thinking who nonetheless possesses will? Are you talking about someone legally braindead, or what? Because infants think. Demented, crazy people think, too, although not with great clarity. So I don’t know whom you are trying to protect by denying the role of intellection. But I am happy for God to make exceptions for such people, presumably by direct revelation.

John Warren
Member

If propositions are unnecessary and ineffective, why did God give so many?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

They are ever so useful – “useful”: isn’t that the word the Bible itself uses to describe its own character? Useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness?

John Warren
Member

So something can be useful and ineffective at the same time?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

John — I’ve found hammers extremely useful for pounding nails.
Darn if they aren’t ineffective refrigerators, though.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think that nature alone leads to some very unpleasant theology. Sunsets and starry nights are all very well, but earthquakes, volcanoes, and the dining habits of vultures might produce some horrifying beliefs about God.

John Warren
Member

How do you determine unequivocally what God says in His works of art or architecture?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Your question reveals a quest for certainty, does it not?

This question reveals that the questioner has at least temporarily accepted a Kantian poison that you will stand as at least one of the arbiters of truth.

But to be fair, your question must then be asked of any interpretation you apply to Scripture, does it not?

John Warren
Member

So are you a follower of Peter Gabriel? or Soren Kirkegaard? or Erwin Schrodinger? John 8:31-32: So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 1 John 5:13: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. We should all be on a quest for certainty. If that makes us *sort of* agree with Kant, in part, and if… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

You’ll have to dumb down that question for me a bit, sorry.

It seems your quest for certainty allows for the possibility that we don’t already know the truth.
I’m saying we can’t not know.

Adam van den Hoven
Guest
Adam van den Hoven

If you want to see a great analysis of how we got HERE while at the same time witnessing the proof of Romans 1, you should watch this https://youtu.be/WqFo32lwY_g

I found myself saying to myself “and now if only you draw the next conclusion … Oh Romans 1” frequently. Its very relevant, I think to this post

Thursday1
Guest
Thursday1

The idea that natural selection is incompatible with teleology is hotly contested, to say the least. Natural selection can only take place within a world that is already structured. It is not random.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Au contraire. Randomness (in genetic and subsequent structural changes) is the heart of the theory of natural selection. Thus Einstein’s comment about God playing dice with the universe.

Carson Spratt
Member

I agree. Theistic evolutionists are trying to bridge an unbridgeable gap, one which denies the core of Darwinianism (random genetic mutation, acted upon by natural selection), and explains away the straightforward meaning of Genesis.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

If one is a Christian, one cannot reconcile a God who says death is the penalty for sin, yet uses it to the infinite power to make the biological world, including us.

John
Guest
John

Psuedo-randomness possibly, but not true randomness. All Darwinian mechanisms depend on an entirely structured and logical world.

Darwinian randomness is similar to the randomness of a die roll. It’s only random because the complexity is too large for us to understanding or predict, but it isn’t truly random. If you could perfectly simulate all the forces on the roll of a die, then you could perfectly predict what number it would fall on. Genetic mutations work the same way.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Darwinian randomness = Hocus Pocus. Evolutionary theory depends on chance alone. The structure of physical “laws” is the result of chance in this universe, one of many in the multi-verse, according to this theory. Evolutionists are much better than Christians at tolerating no other God.

John
Guest
John

The whole multiverse stuff has absolutely nothing to do with Darwinian evolution.

The randomness in Darwinian theory has to do with genetic copying errors, commonly referred to as mutations. They are called random because we can’t predict them, not because they are truly stochastic by nature.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

They are related. Extrapolating the purely mechanistic means of evolution to a cosmology means ultimate randomness in the physical world as well. You can’t ascribe chance to biology and then stop at the physical laws (as Einstein did) and say this realm is solid, immovable and therefore “god.” Be consistent.
We want the randomness to a point. But when it tells us we mean nothing, our pride balks at that.

John
Guest
John

They are both extrapolations of naturalism/materialism, but the multiverse is not an extrapolation of darwinian evolution. They are totally different theories with totally different mechanisms of action.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Your statement “It’s only random because the complexity is too large for us to understanding or predict, but it isn’t truly random” doesn’t fit the theories of natural selection or evolution. Every moment is a fork in the road, like whether I step on an ant or miss him by a fraction and change the future of millions of ants, ant predators and ant prey down the road. You have variability introduced every millisecond which makes the list of possible outcomes infinite. Thus, random.

John
Guest
John

Those aren’t random events, though. Under a naturalistic worldview, they are deterministic.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Determined by what or whom?

John
Guest
John

By the laws of physics.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

But what about the “choices” made by animals and humans?

John
Guest
John

A naturalist would see choices as, in the end, nothing more than the result of deterministic chemical reactions in the brain.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Well, that’s depressing.

John
Guest
John

I agree completely.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

So, my typing this response was a pre-determined result of the laws of physics from the beginning of the universe?

John
Guest
John

From the beginning of the universe? Possibly not because of the inherent randomness found in the quantum mechanics in the extremely early universe, but definitely determined since shortly after the start.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

So, to be clear, you are saying that in natural selection, there is no true variability nor randomness, just a pre-determined outcome based on the laws of physics? Do you ascribe to this theory?

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

That sounds like the Matrix, which brings us full-circle to Doug’s post as both of the Wachowskis now want us to call them sisters.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I often wonder about animals and choice. People who know much more about it than I do tell me that it looks as if my cats are making choices, but they’re not. What looks like choice is pure instinct. Then why do they have second thoughts about scratching the furniture when I walk into the room?

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

But a consistent worldview.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t think that is actually true. But if every biologist in the world was an atheist (which is untrue), you would still have to show that their atheism invalidated their science. You would need to show that their atheism led them to cherry pick the evidence, to misstate their findings, and to engage in mass conscious deception. Whether Einstein’s relativity theory is valid doesn’t depend on his personal religious beliefs, his being pretty much a socialist, and his not being very nice to his wife.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Huh? Never said every biologist was an atheist, just almost all of the ones who taught me. The debate point is randomness and chance which are ENCASED in evolutionary theory and natural selection as they are taught currently by the majority, not as some would like them to be taught or changed. We’re not debating the theory itself. That’s a whole other topic.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I am always nervous about the role of world view in establishing truth. I realize that our perceptions and thoughts are filtered through our world view, and that one of the purposes of the scientific method is to test for this. But I think a major creationist argument has been either that their world view has blinded most biologists to truth, or that acceptance of the theory of evolution should not depend on whether there is evidence but rather on whether it is bad for society in general. I think that in general this is a risky argument because, once… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Again, I’m not talking about worldview. I’m saying that evolutionary theory and natural selection, as they are currently taught in the universities, both have at their core the idea of events that are random and by chance, both genetic mutations and the natural forces that work on biological entities.

It’s all rather silly anyway as natural selection does a lousy job of explaining the fossil record.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Perhaps we are not meaning the same thing by “random”. And what I mean by it might not be what a biologist means by it.

Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Christ is risen indeed :)

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

And, in fact, randomness is NOT an essential feature of evolutionary theory. It is part of the theory believed by some, not by others, and that has never been experimentally proven. It is one of the places in which I believe certain evolutionists have added their philosophy beyond that which is warranted by the scientific evidence.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

I think 99% of the current pool of biology professors teaching in universities would disagree with your definition of their theory.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I disagree with your assertion and believe you should test it with 100 university biology professors, then get back to me. But even if it were true, it would not be an argument against my claim. Randomness has never been experimentally shown to be essential to evolution. It is one of the places where certain evolutionists have added their philosophy beyond that which is warranted by the evidence. Once you get in touch with those 100 university biology professors, ask them what experiment or fossil evidence demonstrated that randomness was essential to the evolutionary process. There is a strong current… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Okay. I’ll listen to N.T. Wright. Your homework is to study random genetic drift, random allele segregation, and population statistics.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

haha – what gives you the slightest impression that I don’t know what those words mean or what their implications are?

Have you ever read any of the following papers?

“Interaction-based evolution: how natural selection and nonrandom mutation work together”

“Climbing Mount Probable: Mutation as a Cause of Nonrandomness in Evolution”

“Evolution: are the monkeys’ typewriters rigged?”

“A Biochemical Mechanism for Nonrandom Mutations and Evolution”

“Nonrandomness of point mutation as reflected in nucleotide substitutions in pseudogenes and its evolutionary implications”

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

I have not.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Ginny, I don’t want to be unpleasantly argumentative, but it doesn’t. Mutations are random, but they are sorted out by natural selection which is the very opposite of chance. Genetic variation is random (why my siblings and I who share the same genetic material don’t look alike), but the variations which are beneficial to a particular environment are selected. Even the arrangement of atoms and molecules is directed by their chemical properties, not by chance. If anything, natural selection seems to me to be brutally deterministic.

demosthenes1d
Member

Indeed, even the mutations, genetic drift, genetic editing, etc. aren’t random. But the observer often has a limited understanding of the inputs. God does not play dice is quiet right. The cosmos and everything in it operates according to physical constants. There is no random.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

My math is lousy, and I don’t understand the inputs. What I found helpful was learning that the chance of any particular sequence resulting from shuffling a deck of cards is 52 factorial–roughly 8 X 10 to the 67th power. This number, if written out, would convince me that such an event is impossible–yet it happens every time we play cards.

soylentg
Member

Even if your numbers are correct, your conclusion “yet it happens every time we play cards” is wrong. The event would have to be specific, such as the cards after the shuffle being aligned in numerical order by suit, something that does NOT happen every time we play cards. Now apply the same math to the number of atoms in the universe instead of a deck of 52 and see where your random takes you.

bethyada
Member

Whoever explained this to you has no understanding of statistics. That is not how it works. The chance of having a sequence is 1. The change of a predetermined specific sequence is tiny. You don’t get to choose the sequence after laying down the cards.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

No good ever comes of my mentioning anything mathematical. Delete it from the record. Let me go back where I belong.

demosthenes1d
Member

Your math is fine, and correct. Your interlocutors didn’t understand the point (it appears you didn’t either…).

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The analogy made sense to me, but I I don’t have much faith in my understanding once I move outside my own field. It is one of the problems of this kind of debate that people use arguments they do not fully understand.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I am very puzzled about something. When I first became aware of the debate a few decades ago, no creationists were discussing “information” as a vital requirement for speciation. I do read quite a few biology boards, and I don’t encounter any discussion of “information” other than as a spurious demand from creationists. Is “information” a concept recognized by biologists, and is there an accepted definition? Is there a way to detect and measure it?

demosthenes1d
Member

I will mostly have to claim ignorance of information theory. I think it came to prominence in the YEC community through Dembski (not a YEC!).

This might be useful (don’t take this as a recommendation, I haven’t read it):

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/information/infotheory.html

On a tangential point, some of the most interesting challenges to modern synthesis are mathmatical, such as Granville Sewell’s work. Of course these arguments are no help to YECs as they have mostly adopted super hyper fast evolution from baramids.

I think there are very few biologists with the math chops to wade into the math debate.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I read “baramid” as “barmaid” and thought “Well, this is a novel criticism.”

bethyada
Member

You gain no information. If there is sorting then the information gained is imposed from outside. If you randomly alter a key until it fits the lock then the final shape of the key is determined by the shape of the lock you are fitting it to. The gain in information of a blank key to a key that fits the lock is no more than the information contained in the lock.

Natural selection cannot generate information that does not already exist.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Random is random. Darwinian randomness is nonsensical. Natural selection is the end result, according to evolutionists, of random processes that result from random physical phenomenon. There is no “selection” by a higher intelligence. Evolution has ALWAYS been an attempt to describe the natural world as arising by natural means with NO GOD ALLOWED, either in the biological processes or the physical ones. Trying to meld evolution and theism is trying to have your cake and eat it too. Survival of the fittest fits with Romans 8:20–frustration and futility, but as a Christian I do not believe this is the natural… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Evolution need not be random. Some evolutionists use the term “random” when describing the theory, some do not. There is no particular evidence for the driving factors being totally random other than that “some” mutations of the genetic code appear random.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Again, every evolutionist I was ever taught by, and every textbook I ever read spoke of purely mechanistic processes, depending on chance for their occurence.
Not sure what you are getting at, Jonathan. Are you saying a creator God used evolution to create the biological world as we know it?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m saying that there’s a difference between the aspects of evolutionary theory that we have evidence for (from the fossil record, analogous organs, embryonic development, DNA structure, laboratory experiments with bacteria, natural observations, etc.) and the aspects of evolutionary theories that are just philosophical gloss added to that we actually know. Whether you want to hypothesize the intervention of God, or the ability of organisms to self-regulate and even alter their own DNA to some degree, there is no scientific evidence that convincingly demonstrates that truly “random” mutations have to be the driver of evolutionary change. And you might have… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

You didn’t answer my question. Do you believe a creator God used evolution to create the biological world as we know it?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yes, in a sense. I believe that the creator God created the world, that the fossil record shows a general progression of species and those species are related to each other, and that natural selection appears to be part of the process at some level. I believe that the creator God is the one who chose to make a world where that would happen and that God had a pretty clear idea where it would all go. I didn’t use the word “evolution” in that answer because “evolution” can mean different things to different people, and I wanted to stick… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

How do you reconcile this with “through one man sin entered the world and death through sin” Rom 5:12, as well as Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death?”

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Happy Easter Ginny! I think my answer might be highlighted best by my asking a series of questions instead. I’d love if you could answer them, briefly or in detail. 1. What do those verses mean to you? At the deepest, most significant level, what do you believe that Paul is trying to get across to the Roman congregation for the benefit of their lives, and hopefully for the benefit of yours as well? 2. How many times do you believe sin entered the world? 3. Do you feel personally responsible to some degree for your own sin? While another,… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

6. Jesus Christ died once for all (Heb 7:27, I Pet 3:18, Rom 6:10) 5. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2). He paid the penalty for our sins which is death (Rom 3:24, 6:23). 4. Spiritual death was instant as was physical death. Adam’s body began its anti-nascent. We have no record of animal death until after Adam’s sin. Also, Romans 8 says creation was subjected to futility and slavery to corruption. This implies animal death was part of the fall. Plants don’t “give up the ghost” kind of die. Who cares about bacteria?… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Dang, I was honestly thinking that we would be on the same page and I was simply going to say, “See, I agree with you on every single fundamental”, and instead you wrote something quite different than I expected. 1. What do those verses mean to you? At the deepest, most significant level, what do you believe that Paul is trying to get across to the Roman congregation for the benefit of their lives, and hopefully for the benefit of yours as well? Notice, Jonathan, how many times you frame the questions subjectively. God’s personal communication to us as individuals… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

My presupposition is simple: the Word of God is to be given the benefit of the doubt over and above the inductive process of science. Where they seem to conflict, I assume the straightforward meaning of scripture and assume that science doesn’t have the whole picture yet. Few questions… If the death resulting from sin wasn’t physical, then why did Jesus die a physical death to pay for our sins? Why do you call physical death a trial if it was part of how God made the world, calling it good? I’m not going to die on the animal-death hill,… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

My presupposition is simple: the Word of God is to be given the benefit of the doubt over and above the inductive process of science. Where they seem to conflict, I assume the straightforward meaning of scripture and assume that science doesn’t have the whole picture yet. While that’s a good presupposition if you had perfect insight into God’s word and had perfect confidence in your own interpretation, it doesn’t make the same kind of sense when you see that what you’re comparing science to is your INTERPRETATION of God’s word, which is certain to be faulty in places, as… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

No doubt there are errors in my interpretation of God’s word. That’s why I rely greatly on teachers who have come before me, whose life mission has been to study the scriptures and who have more knowledge than I. I also pray that God would show me the correct interpretation. However, I can guarantee you that there are profound errors in scientific theories of origins. A quick survey of science history shows both a multitude of errors in theories, and often a corresponding hubris, not unlike what we see today. I do hold strongly to this rubric, with the idea… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

However, I can guarantee you that there are profound errors in scientific theories of origins. A quick survey of science history shows both a multitude of errors in theories, and often a corresponding hubris, not unlike what we see today. Yes, neither theologians nor scientists are immune from human error. That is why we need to do our best to be humble and keep deepening our understanding in both pursuits, rather than sitting on one “truth” claim and saying that you will then ignore all outside evidence to the contrary. And be careful how much you ascribe hubris to the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

When I look at pictures of a T-Rex’s fearsome teeth, with serrations for shredding it prey to ribbons, I can’t imagine how it coped with a vegetarian diet. Ate grass? And how could it have lumbered around without crushing every rab