Roundup

Great post by the Wintry Knight demonstrating how scientists sometimes lie and why they do so.  (Huh?  You mean that people don’t just sin in every other area of life but in science as well?  No way!)

Also see Stan’s piece about Lies People Tell – Christ vs Science

Christianity started modern science. In return, moderns have lied about Christianity. Then they took up positions directly intended to eliminate Christianity. Today, science tries to supplant Christianity as the only reliable belief system in the universe. It’s not true, and Christianity (and any other thinking person) disputes it. But please don’t listen to all those lies about how Christianity and science are diametrically opposed, or that faith and reason have nothing to do with each other.

Glenn had (most of) a terrific letter published in his local newspaper regarding the illogic of “same sex marriage.”  The haters probably won’t listen, but he did a great service by providing the middle grounders with simple and excellent arguments.

A few UCC-ers march to support universal health care — Yeah, Jesus was all about pressuring the government to take other people’s money to redistribute in a most inefficient way.

Rick Warren doesn’t understand the concept of unequally yoked.  It isn’t just about not marrying unbelievers, it is about not partnering with them in spiritual enterprises.  We should share the Gospel with Muslims, not do “ministry” together.

What a bizarre world.  I can’t believe the politicians don’t read their bills and don’t care that people know they don’t read the bills, or that Liberals don’t care if they read the bills.

Ted Nugent on gun control.  Classic stuff.  Hat tip to Tammi from Facebook (not sure if she’s still blogging)

95 thoughts on “Roundup

  1. If you want to see a spiritual enterprise being performed by an equally-yoked marrie couple, check out the story of William Lane Craig and his wife Jan:

    http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/is-it-ok-for-christians-to-marry-non-christians/

    He’s written quite a bit about it on his Reasonable Faith site, and he’s actually talked about it in a lecture, too. It’s all laid out in the post. This is one of my favorite posts because I like the idea of marriage in principle, but only if there is a bigger goal being performed by the married couple.

  2. “I can’t believe the politicians don’t read their bills and don’t care that people know they don’t read the bills, or that Liberals don’t care if they read the bills”

    They are very interested in our “bills” though, so much so that there’s talk of a “fine print czar” so that we don’t end up suffering from their ills. How kind. No one, it seems, is better at not do something right, like our government, nor, evidently, should there be.

  3. Your first entry today is great. And it made me think of this scripture:

    I Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

    As you’ve said before Neil, there is no disagreement between scripture and true science.

    And on the last entry, the video of Uncle Ted, AMEN to everything he just said. It is sad that our country has allowed the debate to get away from being about what laws the 2nd amendment doesn’t allow to what laws it will allow. Forget that, I have the right to bear arms, period, and congress should pass no law prohibiting that.

    As usual our politicians have it backwards.

  4. Wow. As a younger person on the blog, I remember clearly the teaches on Galileo and I am appalled at the lies thrown to young people everyday in public education. They won’t allow anyone to speak on religion but the religion of secular humanism goes un touch in the system

  5. Wow, the fact that you would even link to that site by Stan is really disappointing to me. I haven’t read anything more ridiculous online in a long time. Christianity started modern science? Modern science developed in spite of Christianity, and is still suppressed by Christians at every opportunity. The Mayans had an amazing amount of knowledge of astronomy a couple of thousand of years before it ever got to Europe. For their blasphemy and gold, they were slaughtered by the Spaniards.

    Wintery Knight’s blog talks about the suppression of science, yet my rebuttal of the points there did not make it past the “moderator”.

    In science, everything is on the table, and everyone is free to submit, test, and prove a theory. Unpopular theories that go against the flow eventually are vindicated – when evidence points to them.

    The “suppressed” argument is utter garbage. There’s no shortage of money and influence among Christians, yet the only “Christian backed” science I ever hear of is the various “creation museums” where dinosaurs have saddles, and science is mocked, not taught.

    • Christianity did indeed start modern science.

      It is no accident that the first Universities were affiliated with Cathedrals, that Catholic Priests have played a dominate role in the development of Mathematics, Physics, Genetics, and Science in general.

      I would strongly encourage you to read “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization” by Thomas Woods.

      Your anti-religious bigotry and talking points are blinding you to the reality of the situation. It’s a matter of facts and knowing them.

      • LCB, Catholics controlled all the money back then (and even now in some parts of the world). Have you toured those cathedrals in Italy? Have you seen the gold embossed EVERYTHING? The catholics controlled everything, and scientists, if they wanted to remain scientists, worked for the church. Same thing with artists.

        Don’t call me a bigot anymore.

      • I don’t know if the church funded all the scientists, but I do appreciate you conceding that scientists might modify their results to please those who control their paychecks and career progression. That is huge progress.

      • I didn’t say they changed their results, first of all, and the church controlled a lot more than their paychecks, including the length of their lives.

      • Oh, don’t try to wiggle out now. Are you claiming you were just pointing out an irrelevant trivia fact when you said, “The catholics controlled everything, and scientists, if they wanted to remain scientists, worked for the church,” or was your implication that they changed results to please Rome?

      • Neil, in fairness I think his point is that in early modern europe, it was hard not to be at least a nominal Christian, due to the influence of the church over many aspects of life, for better or worse. That’s not to say that many of them weren’t true believers, but if people have the impression that modern science was “started” by evangelical bible believing Christians they would be mistaken.
        It’s like the CSE folk claiming that almost all early scientists were creationists; it may be true but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

      • Thank you RB. That’s exactly what I meant. It’s the same as saying that Christians are responsible for the artwork that came out of the same period of time. It’s just that the artists who wanted to make a living in their trade did so by painting the insides of churches with religious imagery. It was commissioned work, paid for by the only group of people who had any money.

        I’m not wiggling out Neil, I’m trying to make a point. Did some scientists change results when data showed something the church did not agree with. Yeah that probably happened.

        Many of the scientist working for the catholic church did some amazing work. The engineering feats of building those churches alone is a fantastic accomplishment, and still a part of engineering texts today. The aqueducts are equally impressive for the time. Whoever has the money in any society is the one that pays for the advancements in science. If you want to talk about Hitler again, the Nazi administration was responsible for many scientific achievements. The cold war spurred the exploration of space, and a lot of nuclear technology. Today, repressive regimes in the Middle East are currently producing some architectural wonders. Science costs a lot of money, and whoever has the money can pay for the scientists.

      • Did some scientists change results when data showed something the church did not agree with. Yeah that probably happened.

        And my point is simply that if you hold that view then you should concede that the people paying the $ and controlling tenures and livelihoods today just might be influencing results.

        The rest of what you and Racing Boo are saying is just “the sky is blue” stuff. That is, it’s true enough, but not what I was objecting to.

      • you should concede that the people paying the $ and controlling tenures and livelihoods today just might be influencing results.

        Absolutely true, even today with the global warming deniers having research sponsored by the oil companies. But you were thinking of something else weren’t you…

        It does happen. Thats why we have scientific journals, where results can be published, and reviewed by scientists who are free to criticize them. It’s really good system actually.

      • But you do have o admit Ryan that a lot got passed the Church. Look at all the texts they ‘thought’ they destroyed. Dan Brown would have you believe there are whole societies whose purpose was solely to discredit t Church and right under their noses.

        While I have to agree modern science may have begun in the Church (that’s where your educated people were) it certainly didn’t stop there. If it had Gallieo would have most certainly been burned at the stake!

      • It certainly did. Many of the scientists worked on “side projects” where they published results under pseudonyms. Da Vinci would break church rules to obtain prisoner bodies from the morgues for his anatomy studies. Many of the medical doctors at the time would hold secret dissections in church owned operating theaters, since it was not permissible to dissect certain parts of the human body.

      • It’s probably a combination of the two, but I’d say mostly “despite”.

      • Why would a faith opposed to science pour massive amounts of wealth into sponsoring scientists?

        That doesn’t really make sense.

        You really should read “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.”

      • You can’t think of any reasons? Because nothing gets done without science. Massive cathedrals fall over without scientists figuring out how to build flying buttresses. The scientists were figuring out how to plate things in gold, and build higher towers while the illiterate commoners ate on their dirt floors, and shelled out their last pennies to the church for indulgences.

        Read some real books.

      • Ryan,

        I’ve suggested a title for you to read.

        What title would you have me read?

        You have said “read some books.”

        Okay. Which ones?

      • Actually, what’s most important is to not pick just one book, but to read many books, from people with different perspectives. If I picked one that has another view, you would probably point out some bias or bigotry. Read some biographies of scholars, scientists and artists. Start with Da Vinci, who was all three.

      • All I’m asking for are some titles, presumably the same titles that you’ve read that provide facts for your point of view.

        Surely you can provide this?

        After all, following up information about the Church seemingly exploiting, abusing, and taking advantage of folks with a phrase like “read some books” clearly indicates there are concrete titles you have in mind. I’d just like to know what they are so I can check them out from the library.

        Is it possible, Ryan, that your preconception of a certain timeperiod is being held to irrationally because changing your preconception would mean that your overall views are wrong? Sounds a bit like bigotry man.

        So what are the titles I should read?

      • LCB, I don’t have any books on the history of the Catholic Church, and I have not read one specifically on that. I have read a great deal of history textbooks, as well as books about the Roman empire. I’ve also gained a lot of my information about the history of the Catholic church from tours of the cathedrals in Italy, and from the study of art, and artists from the time.

        Is it really your view that the Catholic church encouraged scientists? Why did Pope John Paul express his regrets about how Gallileo was treated? He books were banned, and he was convicted of heresy for his heliocentric views

        I’ve got no vested interest in bashing the catholic church, and if it turned out that they were beneficial to science in the Roman empire, that would not effect my world view in the least. Plenty of religious people have done tremendous good in the world. It has nothing to do with my beliefs.

      • So really you’re just repeating biggoted statements without actually ever having read a book on the topic, even though you told me to “read some books.”

        I’m glad we were able to settle that.

        You may wish to consider your own advice, Ryan. “Read some books.”

        Repeating ignorant bigoted statements over and over again doesn’t make them right.

        I do repeat my offer, name a title, any title, and I shall read it. Provided that you read the title I provided earlier.

    • My “ridiculous” point about Christianity and science wasn’t something I made up. My primary sources were articles from Columbia University and from Johns Hopkins University. Perhaps your complaint would be best taken up with them?

      http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/science_origin.html

      http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/logos/v004/4.2hodgson.html

      http://www.grmi.org/Richard_Riss/evidences2/11sci.html

      I am curious, though. Is it your position that modern science owes its roots to the Mayans?

      • I certainly don’t think that modern science owes much to the Mayans since contact was extremely limited. I’m spent a good deal of time touring the ruins in Tikal (Guatemala), and the knowledge and accuracy of astronomy required to build the monuments there was not achieved until the past 150 years. This doesn’t prove anything about the Catholic church, but it shows that science can flourish in many places.

        i read the articles you linked to, and I have to say, some of them have some interesting points, specifically the motivations to explore science. I am not equipped to refute those points, but I think you have taken them way too far by saying Christianity and science are not opposed. That may have been the case at some point, and in some disciplines, but at no point was the church ever willing to let science trump the Bible, and that is the whole point. You can’t say to someone “We completely agree with your outcomes, as long as they agree with ours.”.

        Your analysis of the treatment of Galileo is also quite a stretch. The man was imprisoned at first, and then given house arrest. His publications were banned, and all future publications were prohibited. Your argument was that he deserved it because he broke a promise (which he should never have had to make) and that it was a nice prison?

        Christianity did not “start” modern science. I’ll admit that the class system started by Christianity has the effect of allowing certain individuals the free time required to study, but that is not a direct causative link.

      • Ryan,

        Christianity started modern science because of the presumption that, since God created the natural world and God is reasonable, the natural world is reasonable and is a better way to understand God and his greatness.

        Read the book “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization”, it spends an extensive amount of time on this issue, fully exploring it. I’m not plugging the book to plug Catholicism, but because European Christianity was Catholicism pre-1517

        The reality is that Rome often intervened around Europe to preserve the academic freedom of universities.

        The operating assumption was that faith and reason can not be opposed, so if we have a problem we need to have the theologians work on their end and the scientists do more research.

        And thusfar they remain entirely unopposed.

      • I’ve not read much on the subject of your first point. It seems interesting, and I can see that being inspiring to someone with curiosity about the world, so I’m not going to dispute it. I know a great deal of scientist, and if there is one thing that is not consistent, it is their motivation to learn. People are inspired by all kinds of things, perhaps even their belief in God.

        I think I gave some decent reasons for the correlation of Christianity and science in the 1600s, and I have not heard anyone comment on it. Whoever is in control of the money is generally in control of things that get built, and science is necessary to build things. I think this is the reason that the church supported science.

        When you support science, however, you must support the outcomes if you believe in the scientific method, which is the core of all science. How do you explain the treatment of Galileo, if you believe the church supports science?

        You say that science is unopposed to religion. Does that mean that if there was enough evidence for evolution, you would reject the claims of the Bible? Would anything make you reject its claims?

      • I think we should just drop this one. I’m not really one to criticize people who lived 400 years ago. They did not have access to the knowledge we have now, and I don’t really begrudge them.

        If anyone’s interested, and since I’ve been asked to find a book with an opposing viewpoint, here’s one in the public domain written in 1896. It seems to be extremely thorough, but could possibly be biased as well. I could not find a review for the book.

        http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924022599322

        As for attacks on science, I’m more concerned with the ones that happen today. When I see lines of kids going into creation museums, learning that men rode dinosaurs a few thousand years ago, I just feel sick. I really do.

      • The link I posted above deals directly with the book you have selected.

        I have read the book previously, and it has been entirely debunked and is not considered a reputable book on history in any fashion.

        You will not find a single history department in a single university where White’s book is taken seriously.

        One of the reviews from Amazon.com by Keith A Wells reads as such, “I am in a Master’s program in Science and Religion. The facts are, White was the first president of Cornell University. Cornell was the first secular institution of higher learning in the US. White was resisted because of his desire to make the University purely secular; in response he wrote this polemic specifically against religion. He misrepresents history on many counts. For example, he quotes the mythical account of Columbus’ alleged conversation with Ferdinand and Isabella about sailing to the New World to show the earth is round. I was taught that myth in grade school, only realizing in the last few months that this is a fable. Washington Irving is the one that made the story up about Columbus, White quoted him, and the fable has been perpetrated since. White has been used to perpetuate the myth that the Christian Church held that the earth is flat, which is again completely false. No serious historian of science today accepts the conflict thesis between science and religion, and no one in the field accepts White as anything more than historical curiosity. While the book might inflame people already predisposed to attack religion, serious investigators about the relationships between science and religion would do better to read real historians such as John Hedley Brooke, David Lindbergh and Ronald Numbers, or Dennis Danielson. The nuances in historical episodes such as the Galileo affair, who by the way was never tortured, are much more complex than the simplistic parrot talk usually perpetuated about these subjects.”

      • I would oppose teaching that men rode dinosaurs, so we agree there.

        But if you get sick over that you must never stop throwing up over how long the scientific community let the Haeckel’s embry fraud go on.

        That is, if you are consistent in your views.

      • I definitely don’t think they should have continued using the pictures, and most scientists agree they should have been removed. They are an interesting tidbit of information related to the development of the theory, but if they’re not accurate, they don’t belong in a textbook. It’s important to note that many textbooks now use photos of real embryos, or corrected versions of Haeckel’s drawings.

        The difference is that anyone seeing those photos does not get the wrong idea about evolution. The pictures are exaggerated for effect, but they make a point that embryos are very similar (Haeckel was dead wrong about the reasons for this, though, and that is made clear in textbooks). Telling children that humans and dinosaurs coexisted is a flat out lie. The people who run those museums know very well there’s no evidence for that, but they need it to be true to make the rest of their theory make sense.

      • Scientists — the only kind, according to you — deliberately lied about these in textbooks for decades. Decades.

      • Ryan,

        You write, “I think this is the reason that the church supported science.”

        I did refute it. I tried to explain to you, in kind terms, that you’re simply wrong. I don’t want to sound rude, but you just don’t know what you’re talking about on this.

        This article briefly deals with the matter

        http://www.catholicity.com/commentary/woods/04259.html

        (Not plugging Catholicism, but the author of the book is Catholic)

        It is by Thomas Woods, the author of the book I would like you to read, as I believe it would help dispel some of the unfortunate prejudices you have internalized about Christianity and History.

        As for evolution, I’m indifferent on the matter, the evidence is highly compelling but not conclusive because it can not be subjected to repeated experiments under control conditions.

        As for something to make me reject the claims in Sacred Scripture, I have never been presented with such information to invalidate anything in Sacred Scripture.

        I remain firmly convinced that neither Faith nor Reason can be opposed, and it seems that those that say otherwise are operating on the assumption that Faith is either illogical or containing incorrect information. Those are false assumptions.

      • I should clarify by indifferent I mean that I am not emotionally invested in the matter, and it doesn’t much matter to me.

        The evidence is compelling enough for me on a matter that doesn’t really interest me.

        I have little interest in what is or isn’t taught in science classes. I have a far greater interest in the fact that critical thinking and liberal eduction has been utterly abandoned in our schools, so children no longer have the capacity to evaluate information.

      • Fair enough, I’m really in no position to defend the book.

        If you’re indifferent on evolution you should not make the claim that it is not repeatable or observable in experiment. It has been observed in the lab, and in the wild on numerous occasions. Every mechanism responsible for everything up to and including speciation has been observed first hand.

        As for schools, I completely agree with you. We are turning out students unable to articulate a thought, and unable to explain why they believe something.

      • How has macro evolution been observed in a lab?

        I’m not saying there is or isn’t macro-evolution, I’m just saying that I fail to see how it can be repeated and observed in a lab.

      • Here’s a good overview of one of the experiments.

        http://www.dbskeptic.com/2008/06/21/macro-evolution-observed-in-the-laboratory/

        Since evolution takes so much time, it’s obviously difficult to watch the evolving of something like a mammal which can, at best produce new generations every month or so. With bacteria, we can watch DNA replicate much more rapidly, so that over a few years, we have thousands of generations. This experiment took may years, but showed that a population of bacteria could branch into a completely new species, that would follow it’s own evolutionary path. This proves that mutations can occur that give organisms completely new traits.

        (Neil, sorry, I had a typo in my email address when I posted this a minute ago – you may delete the duplicate)

      • Yep, those “macro” changes are virtually indistinguishable from single celled organisms mutating to elephants or caterpillars / butterflies.

        / sarcasm .

      • So you won’t believe the theory of evolution until you watch with your eyes bacteria morphing into an elephant?

        Creationists stand on the ground that one species cannot change into another. That has been proven to be false. That is the bid step in evolution. Once an organism changes so much that it cannot reproduce with the offspring of it’s cousins, we have two species, and each continues on its own path. If one population migrates, it adapts to the new surroundings, while its old friends continue with the old surroundings.

        Neil, the evidence points to this, and every time I bring up some more evidence for you, it’s dismissed with sarcasm. I can go on and on, and could give you examples for days. Thousands of biologists are watching this happen in nature, and in the fossil record, and it fits the predictions of the theory over and over.

      • Ryan, I’m disputing your question begging evidence. Sorry, couldn’t resist the sarcasm. They see things in the fossil record that they want to see. They resort to theories like punctuated equilibrum when they realize the timelines just don’t work. And so on.

      • Sure they see what they want to see, but they still see it, and it’s not like they can fake it.

        Look, if there are things in the fossil record that disprove evolution, where are they, and why won’t somebody please write a paper about it? I will never believe that every single biologist in the world is being forced to agree with evolution. There are countries all over the world where God and religion is revered, and a Biologist that could falsify evolution would be a hero.

        Neil, I’ve been to these digs, and I’ve seen with my own eyes the uncovering of evidence. These people have a passion for their work that I’ve rarely seen in any other profession. They make very little money, and work insane hours. How can every one of them be either incompetent or liars?

      • Ryan, the fact that people dig up fossils proves nothing and I don’t know why you bring that up as any sort of evidence. Their diligence is also irrelevant.

      • You gave me the exact same type evidence of for the resurrection of Jesus,

        You told me that the evidence was that there were trustworthy people who had no reason to lie, despite the fact that the evidence is 2000 years old and from just a few people.

        Now you say that the integrity of thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to an endeavor, and are constantly showing you rock solid evidence is irrelevant.

        Is there any sort of evidence that would lead you to believe that we evolved from lower life forms? If your mind really is closed to this issue, I really will shut up about it.

      • You mischaracterized my statement re. the scientists so I won’t go there.

        My mind is no more closed than yours, and probably more open. I readily concede that things can have supernatural or natural explanations.

        Even IF you could prove that macro-evolution could occur (and no, a different kind of bacteria doesn’t qualify), that still doesn’t mean that it did occur. When you are trapped in a tautology you miss those things. So you should probably save your keystrokes on this one and just write me off ;-) .

      • My mind is no more closed than yours, and probably more open. I readily concede that things can have supernatural or natural explanations.

        But not THIS natural occurrence, right? You gave me an explanation for macro evolution being the generation of a new species, and I showed it can happen. Now you want a different “kind” of animal. Species is a scientific word for “kind”.

        You fight really hard against this for someone who isn’t interested, but fair enough.

      • Species is not the scientific word for “kind.” Two species of the same Genus, or even Family could easily be considered of the same “kind” but merely different “types.”

        That would be on the Phylum level, though I would be satisfied if changes could be produced on the Order level in lab results.

      • So you’ve moved the bar just beyond what you think can be proved in a lab? How convenient and arbitrary of you.

        You agree that speciation occurs, but you’re not willing to believe that it can continue to occur to the extent that a new order would be required? Obviously this cannot be done in a lab, due to the tremendous amount of time it would take. You are suggesting that you would not believe in evolution unless you see a dog evolve into a whale (those are two mammals in orders that evolved along the same chain – siblings when it comes to orders) Did you know that horses and rhinos are in the SAME order? Humans and lemurs? Dogs, cats and bears? You would not be satisfied if a cat evolved into something as different as a bear?

        Don’t pretend you’re interested in learning something new if these are your requirements for belief. I won’t waste my time with either of you on this.

      • I’m not the one moving the bar Ryan, I’m the one pointing out that the matter can’t be proven under lab conditions.

        If you concede that it can’t be proven under lab conditions, you should maintain a respectful level of skepticism on the topic. As one who has previously talked about how “any scientists who looked at the evidence and isn’t convinced is an idiot (paraphrased)”, you should be willing to concede that the evidence is not conclusively lab proven in control conditions.

        A dog becoming a whale doesn’t equal the level of diversity our ecosystem has, because (as you say) they are still in the same order.

        And speciation of bacteria isn’t really all that impressive, it’s the natural micro conclusion of what takes place in dog breeding. Cool? Yes. Conclusive? No.

        Honesty requires one to acknowledge and admit that the evidence is not sufficient. Compelling? Surely. Probable? Perhaps. Sufficient? No.

        Get that bacteria to a dog, though, or even something other than bacteria, and I’ll be pretty close to sold.

        In the mean time, we can list scientific concept after concept that, at one time, was 100% the right answer, only to turn out to be 100% wrong. That doesn’t mean we dismiss macro evolution, but neither should we insist it is 100% solid. The best a scientist can realistically say about this is, “This is probably what’s taken place.”

      • There are things that cannot be proven in a lab, not because they would not occur in a lab, but because they won’t fit in a lab, and no scientist has a million years to spare. There are many other methods of obtaining valid scientific data, and thus far, it all points to the same conclusions that are found in the lab.

        Speciation of bacteria relies on exactly the same mechanisms as speciation in mammals. It’s just faster, and easier to show. Dog breeding is not speciation, since dogs are all the same species (lupis familiaris). The bacteria example would be equal to a dog (of any sub-species) evolving to a jackal or coyote.

        I will never say that any scientific theory is 100% the right answer. There are plenty of things to learn about evolution, and there will always be things to learn. I heard a scientist use the analogy of a murder scene:

        We may not know who the killer is, or why the murder was committed, but we are getting close to finding out the method of the murder, as well as the timeframes. The claims of creationists are about the same as a person saying to the investigators “Are you sure someone is even dead?”

        I’m glad you feel that the occurrence of evolution is probable, and I’m willing to accept that you probably won’t get beyond that barring a miracle (a scientific one). But I am curious about what you think about ll the worlds biologists. Are they all just brainwashed in your opinion? There really isn’t any question in most of their minds. Why?

  6. There are a couple of good books I would recommend on this topic by qualified scholars.

    “For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery” by Rodney Stark

    “The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy” by Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton

    Ryan, I’m a lot harder on commenters at my blog than Neil. I prefer comments with citations from neutral sources, such as the Rodney Stark (agnostic sociologist/historian from Baylor University).

    I think you would benefit from watching the movie “Expelled”. For the record, I am an old-earth creationist. I wonder how you explain the origin of space, time, matter and energy from nothing? Do you think things pop into being fro nothing? If not, what kind of agency can cause space and matter to appear from nothing?

    • Ryan, I’m a lot harder on commenters at my blog than Neil.

      Yeah, I am pretty liberal as those things go . . . please be sure to pass that along to all my liberal blogging buddies and to my friend Ed. They think I’m Stalinistic.

    • I will check out Rodney Stark – I’m always willing to listen to a different point of view (that’s why I’m here). As for Expelled – I’ve seen it, and it is terrible from its production quality to its lies about science and scientists. Why do you think they lied to the people they interviewed? The film-maker tried to argue the invalidity of evolution because he said Hitler based his view on it. That’s both wrong and irrelevant.

      I’m happy to hear you are an old-earth creationist. I don’t have a single problem with people with that view. I don’t understand how you come up with the idea that there must be a God controlling everything, but I can’t explain where everything came from either, so I have no business complaining about your view, as long as you try to make it fit with what we have observed. As for my explanation, as I said, I don’t have one, but why do you have a problem with the idea that things, in whatever state, have always existed if you can believe that God has always existed? Why is one easy to believe for you, and the other not?

      • It is fair to point out that if Darwinian evolution is true then you have no grounding to criticize Hitler.

        why do you have a problem with the idea that things, in whatever state, have always existed if you can believe that God has always existed?

        Science and philosophy both militate against that view.

      • if Darwinian evolution is true then you have no grounding to criticize Hitler.

        That’s just a stupid thing to say.

      • No. Grounding. If it sounds stupid it is because your worldview is flawed and/or you don’t fully understand its implications.

      • No, Ryan’s right, that’s the dumbest thing I have read in a very long time. All you demonstrate is a gross misunderstanding of historic events.

      • I have a pretty good understanding of historic events, but with respect to this argument they are irrelevant. You could take out the name “Hitler” and draw the same conclusion.

        You are both (deliberately?) misreading and misunderstanding what I said. Let’s try it again:

        It is fair to point out that if Darwinian evolution is true then you have no grounding to criticize Hitler.

        If we all came from materials and there is no God, then survival of the fittest is completely rational and has no moral component. Whoever is in power can decide who is fit. You could reason that it is quite cost effective to kill disabled and retarded people.

        If you think that sounds bad, then re-examine your worldview. It is your problem, not mine. You are just running on the fumes of Christianity and can’t see it or admit it.

      • And, if morality is just societal consensus, the german people reached a societal consensus and therefore the activity was moral.

        The leading scientists of the day supported the german government’s activity since eugenics was openly supported.

        Without God, anything is morally permissible.

        Ryan’s comment the other day “You think too much” really reveals a lot.

        Ultimately logic and reason utterly disassemble the ideologically driven positions, since they are not founded on principle, but are merely making a judgment about the situation that fits the individual’s desires and/or desired world view, and then logic is fudged to try and fit the conclusion.

      • If there’s one thing that I can conclude from this, it’s that you really and truly do not understand the theory of evolution.

        There is no “person in power” of evolution. It just happens. Whichever organism is best fit for reproduction, for any reason whatsoever, will have more babies, and those traits get passed on. Survival of the fittest certainly does have a moral component.

        Read this next paragraph if you want a better understanding of evolution, and skip it if you don’t care:

        The term “survival of the fittest” is incorrectly attributed to the fittest organism, but that is not true. It is survival of the fittest genes. If it was just the fittest organism, siblings would be best suited to kill each other, so the strongest one survives. If we instead look at the fittest genes, we realize that protecting the ones that are closest to us, and taking care of others in our community helps the genes that we all share survive and live on in our collective offspring.

        Maybe you could argue that it is cost effective to kill disabled people, but I could not fathom it. Is that the first thing you would do, if one day, you found out there was no God? If not, then you admit that morals exist without God. You know its wrong. You didn’t need to read it or ask God. You just know it. I take care of a disabled person every single day, and I’m not doing it because God said I have to.

        As for eugenics, the first books about it were distributed by the Methodist churches, and the criticism of eugenics came from biologists.

        Here’s the quote from Darwin used in Expelled:

        With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick, thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

        Here’s the VERY NEXT SENTENCE, which was not used in expelled

        The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature.

        Darwin was hardly an advocate for eugenics.

        Expelled confuses the debates among scientists about the details of evolution – how it works and what descended from what – with a nonexistent dispute about whether evolution occurred. This approach plays into the conspiracy theme of the movie: somehow, scientists are scheming to keep the unwary public from learning the truth about the supposed falsity of evolution. Science, however, rewards dissent and independence of thought – when it has a solid base. Scientists are an independent lot who find success and professional advancement by successfully overturning established ideas and through vigorously debating the evidence supporting scientific interpretations in scientific conferences and journals. The thought that anyone could herd them together to conspire against anything – even intelligent design – is laughable. One may as well conspire to herd a roomful of cats.

        – from http://www.expelledexposed.com/

      • There is no “person in power” of evolution.

        No kidding. True, but no one claimed that. The point is that if evolution is true and people are in power then there is nothing immoral about them determining who lives and dies — at least in a universal sense.

        Survival of the fittest certainly does have a moral component.

        Really? Are locusts immoral for not leaving food behind?

        The term “survival of the fittest” is incorrectly attributed to the fittest organism, but that is not true. It is survival of the fittest genes.

        That is an irrelevant distinction. In your question-begging materialist philosophy whoever is here must have had the best genes.

        and taking care of others in our community helps the genes that we all share survive and live on in our collective offspring.

        More question begging. Cute story, but it could explain Mother Teresa or Hitler. Hey, he figured that getting rid of what he thought were less fit was a swell idea. And he did it. Therefore, he had the best genes.

        Maybe you could argue that it is cost effective to kill disabled people, but I could not fathom it.

        Right. Because you aren’t willing to take your worldview to its logical conclusion and you are running off the fumes of Christianity (or, more accurately, you are living in the universe that the God of the Bible created so you can’t escape it). You always, always, always sneak universal morality in the back door.

        As for eugenics, the first books about it were distributed by the Methodist churches, and the criticism of eugenics came from biologists.

        You are missing the point. Even if your examples are correct, it is your materialistic worldview that is in question. It doesn’t matter who came up with the ideas, just that they flow logically from your dogma.

        Darwin was hardly an advocate for eugenics.

        Whether he was or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that in a materialistic worldview there is nothing wrong with it.

        You should study Expelled Exposed Exposed — http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com/2009/03/expelled-exposed-exposed.html

      • This is really boring. You didn’t even read what I wrote did you? I give up.

  7. Pingback: Is Rick Warren an orthodox Christian? « Wintery Knight Blog

  8. In regards to your link to my guest column in the local paper, today I received an e-mail demonstrating just how “tolerant” people are when the are supporting the non-existent gay agenda:

    Mr. Chatfield,

    Having read your opinion piece about gay marriage in the Gazette the other day, I felt compelled to write and wish you a raging case of cancer.

    Please die!

    James

    As for the web site, Expelled exposed, that has been exposed as full of misrepresentations and other nonsense, as well as lies. But I’m not going to discuss it – I just thought you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the net!

    • Ah, the intolerance of the “tolerant.” That sure sounds like hate speech to me. And all because you expressed some views that differed from his.

    • The parts of “Expelled exposed” that I quoted are direct quotes from Darwin, and a brief opinion paragraph about the film. The former is a commonly “split” quote that I knew about long before the film was even written, and the latter is just a person’s opinion, which cannot be a misrepresentation. I didn’t even read the rest of the site, so there may be misrepresentations. I don’t need anybody else’s opinion to conclude that the film Exposed was pathetic. They did not bring up a single point against evolution that I (not a scientist) could not completely prove wrong with a couple of sentences.

      As for the letter you received. Write anything to a newspaper with any point of view on a hot topic, and you will get a few of those. Of course it is reprehensible to wish that type of harm on a person. He should have left the “die” part out and changed “cancer” to “jock itch”.

      • Expelled wasn’t supposed to be a discussion against evolution; it’s purpose was to expose the fraud of the so-called science that expells anyone who even hints that there is a problem with the theory. If you don’t agree with Darwinism, then you are immediately condemned as not being a scientist and can lose your job, etc. THAT was the point of the film – intolerance of anyone challenging the insane and illogical theory of Darwinism.

      • Then why did he try to link Darwinists with Hitler? It certainly did touch on the validity of Evolution.

        There is absolutely no debate whatsoever in the scientific community about whether evolution occurred, or that we all evolved from earlier organisms. There is plenty of healthy debate about HOW that happened though, and there are plenty of dissenters from the common ideas, and all of them are gainfully employed by universities around the world. Do you really think that if there was a theory out there that was a valid alternative to evolution, that maybe one of two of the thousands of universities out there wouldn’t sponsor study in that area?

        Dissent happens all the time in Science. Proponents of String Theory in the early 80s were laughed at a bit by their colleagues, and were in the minority for quite a while. But they got funding, and they were supported by universities. Now their theory is widely accepted.

        The arguments against evolution that made it into this major motion picture can be refuted by a high school kid who gets anything better than a B in Biology. That’s the best they could do.

        Why don’t you give me a couple of good reasons you think evolution is a bad theory.

      • “There is absolutely no debate whatsoever in the scientific community about whether evolution occurred, or that we all evolved from earlier organisms.”

        This is a bald-faced lie! Thousands of scientists deny evolution of any type. For starters, how about looking at the scientists associated with Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research. Oh, I’m sorry, anyone who believes in creation or ID can’t be scientists. That’s what I’m told all the time.

        I didn’t say Expelled didn’t discuss evolution at all, what I said was that was not the main purpose of the film; the purpose was to expose the conspiracy to silence any and all opposition to the non-science of evolution.

        And none of the arguments against evolution in the film are able to truly be refuted.

        The first problem with evolution is that it requires life to arise from non-life, which in itself has been proven impossible. The next problem is trying to figure out how information spontaneoulsy appeared. Very good book you should read – “In the Beginning was Information” by Werner Gitt.

        The whole idea of obvious design in everything is the first common-sense argument against random development. But I’m sure you’ve heard all this before. I really don’t want to get into a debate about evolution. If you are truly open-minded, I suggest you go to http://www.answersingenesis.org and peruse their site and ask questions. I’m dropping the debate now.

      • The people who say evolution isn’t exactly the way the funding-controlled institutions say it is aren’t really scientists.

        Why aren’t they reall scientists?

        Because they say evolution isn’t exactly the way the funding controlled institutions say it is.

        Al Gore said it best, “If you don’t agree with me you are a Nazi.” The key to being a scientist is obviously having the right opinion about things, as opposed to practicing the method.

      • The first problem with evolution is that it requires life to arise from non-life, which in itself has been proven impossible.

        #1 This has not been proven wrong by any stretch of the imagination

        #2 The theory of evolution does not make this claim in any way. The origin of the first life forms has nothing to do with evolution. That is an entirely different field of study, and it is a perfect example of dissent among scientists. The origins of life are very much still a mystery, and while several ideas have emerged with promise, the is great disagreement about it.

        It’s the same arguments on every creationist website, and they have all been refuted. That’s why creationists can’t even get a scientist to debate with them. The debate ended long ago.

        Answers in Genesis? So you’re going with the 6000 year old theory eh?

        Probably best that you move on then.

      • I never said that LCB. Scientists are always discussing the mechanisms of evolution. Any one with solid evidence of an alternative idea will get to present it.

        A scientist who looks at the evidence for evolution, and declares it to be untrue is simply an idiot. If there was evidence for any alternative theory to explain the diversity of live on our planet, then institutions would be ALL OVER IT.

        You still believe in the repression of “creation theory” in universities in a country where the president himself for the past 8 years has been a creationist? And also in every other country of the world? Not one of them has the guts to admit that evolution is wrong?

        How can you be so unbelievably dense?

      • “A scientist who looks at the evidence for evolution, and declares it to be untrue is simply an idiot.”

        That attitude creates a chilling effect.

        Ergo preventing a scientist from looking at alternatives. If they look for evidence they are an idiot and castigated, therefore evidence is not looked for.

        You’ve proved my point for me.

        Remember the global warming “Consensus”? Scientists had their careers wrecked for daring to suggest otherwise, afterall, Al Gore made a video about it.

        Whoops. And now that it can be clearly shown that temperature changes vary in almost direct correlation with sun activity… well, the consensus isn’t talked about so much and “Warming” has changed to “climate change.”

        What we have here is ideology trumping critical thinking, again.

        How can you be so unbelievably dense?

      • Everything I say seems to “prove your point” it seems. You twist my words. Looking at alternatives is not only allowed in science, but it is required. For evolution, a scientific alternative does not exist.

        Scientists are allowed to have their own opinions, but they aren’t allowed to have their own facts.

        As for global warming, there is a large consensus, but I admit, it’s certainly not unanimous. I don’t know nearly as much about geology as I do about biology, so I don’t really have an opinion on the matter. But from what I can see, all the people put forward by the global warming denier crowd are university professors, indicating to me that they have not been fired for their views.

        There is a lot of healthy debate about climate change in the universities where I live.

        Nobody in universities talks about a 6000 year old Earth.

      • Ryan, that’s it. Take a break for a week, then come back if you like and try again. Leave your bigotry and fallacious arguments at home and then you’ll get to stay.

      • Come on Neil; he might wear his heart on his sleeve a bit, but he’s keeping these debates going.

        One of the things I appreciate about this blog is that you do tolerate opposing views a lot more than most, and that is to your credit.

        Don’t spoil it now, please.

      • Sorry, but when the comments turn to “How can you be so unbelievably dense?” I prefer to tone things down a bit.

        As you know, I do the same thing on the other side. Fair and balance, that’s me!

      • OK, Racing Boo wore me down. Ryan is welcome back.

        Just let’s keep it factual and cordial, everybody (by which I mean everybody, including me).

      • Thank you Neil – I’m sorry for the “dense” comment.

        I do wish that someone would stand up for my arguments. I know there are people here who can understand that the young Earth arguments are an insult to reason.

      • Wow, BANNED???

        Neil I’m so proud of you I don’t know what to do!! You cracked! Shame on you Ryan! :-P I thought the honor would go to me!

        Seriously though we do have to figure out away to ‘argue’ without insults. This blog is GREAT for those of us learning restraint!

    • No, I haven’t sent a copy to the police, but I have printed it out and am keeping it. Unless he has a false name on his yahoo e-mail, his full name is there. What a dummy!

      Yep, it sure does sound like hate speech!

      • It’s always amusing to me that the real loons are often so polite. Like this James fellow: “Please” die.

        I’ve seen other hate mail where bodily harm is threatened, but they’ll end it with “Kind regards” etc etc.

  9. To state the above in a different way:

    I’m not moving the bar. You’re the one asking me to put 100% trust in something that, by definition, can’t be proven under lab conditions and has never been observed.

    Yet when I ask you to put trust in something else that can’t be proven under lab conditions and has never been observed, I’m being irrational etc.

  10. I know I said I didn’t want to discuss evolution, but there have been some really inane statements that I must address. i can’t keep track of who said what without going back up through all the replies so I’m not naming names.

    Firstly, have you who complain about the creation museum actually been there? I have. No one says people rode dinosaurs. There are rides for kids that are dinosaurs with saddles. Have you ever been to a zoo with flamigos with saddles? i have. It’s just a fun thing for kids who like dinosaurs.

    NO one has ever observed evolution in the lab or anywhere else. There is a lot of equivocation with words here. Watching genetic mutations alter bacteria, etc is not evolution; no new information has been added, rather genetic material has been removed. No one has observed one species change into another. Breeding a poodle does not make a new species of animal – it is still a dog.

    And, all these genetic mutations by breeding or lab experiments are directed by intelligent human beings. Natural actions will only sort out that the genes that work better for an environment, only by the unsuited gene dying out. But no new material is added. No snail turns into a bird, turns into a dinosaur, turns into an ape, turns into a man. the whole thing is pure specualtion with lots of assertions and claims without foundation.

    Fossils do not prove for or against evolution. It is the bias of the one interpreting the data who sees either creation or evolution. The fossils are leftovers of things that died a long time ago, and they don’t come with dates on them. Any radiometric dating is done with assumptions upon assumptions, and there is a really good book explaining it for those who are not close-minded evolutionists: “The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods,” by John Woodmorappe. (No, you won’t learn about proms here).

    It is impossible to have any evidence to prove evolution because it doesn’t happen and it is only speculation that it happened in the past.

    As far as horses and rhinos being in the same “order,” those “orders” were developed by evolutionists and make very little sense half the time. rhinos and horses have no commonality other than four legs! Horses, zebras, donkeys, those are of the same “order” because they can interbreed – horses and rhinos cannot.

    That’s it, I’ve had my say and I’m even unsubscribing from this chain so as not to be tempted. I don’t want to spend the time. BUT, it takes a lot more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe Christ rose from the dead.

    And one more thing, evolution is incompatible with Christianity. The funny thing is, atheistic evolutionists say this all the time. They understand the problem that too many Christians don’t!

    • I’m assuming Glenn will not read this, since he seems to have taken his last shot and fled, and I was going to leave this one alone, but I can’t. There are lots of readers here, and this kind of a statement cannot go unchallenged.

      NO one has ever observed evolution in the lab or anywhere else … No one has observed one species change into another.

      I just gave you a proven example of one species evolving into another. This is not isolated, and has been done in the lab, and observed directly in nature, with each generation recorded. If you go to your local university and ask for proof, they WILL show it to you. Any university in the world with a Biology department can show this to you.

      The fossils are leftovers of things that died a long time ago, and they don’t come with dates on them. Any radiometric dating is done with assumptions upon assumptions

      Yes, things that died an incredibly long time ago. Radiometric dating is one of many methods for dating fossils, and radiometric dating itself is now done with several pairs of isotopes, all with very different half-lives. Many creationists argue that all the dating methods depend on one another to determine the age of the rock, and are thus arbitrary. This is 100% untrue. Radiometric dating is 90 years old, and at this point, all the different methods, using all the different isotopes are cross-checked against each other to determine accuracy. Each is an independent measurement. Not only is the evidence accurate when different dating methods can be used on the same rock, but there are cases where the rock from a volcanic eruption in a certain part of the world can be dated as to the age of the igneous rock. The ash from that volcano can be measured in a layer of rock thousands of miles away, and the dates of that rock – a completely different type – also match. John Woodmorappe (which is not even his real name) lied in his book, directly misquoting his references, so you may want to get your money back for that one. Or maybe he’ll give you a discount on his other book – about the feasibility of Noah getting all the animals into the Ark.

      As far as horses and rhinos being in the same “order,” those “orders” were developed by evolutionists

      Yes, that is part of their job.

      rhinos and horses have no commonality other than four legs! Horses, zebras, donkeys, those are of the same “order” because they can interbreed

      Four legs is it? That’s all you can think of? I’m not sure you know what “order” means in this context. It’s actually a common misconception that breeding ability determines classification. There are cases where animals that cannot breed are in the same species (try to mate a great dane and a chihuahua) and there are cases where certain species can interbreed. Speciation can occur with simply a geographic, or physical barrier.

      If you think that the only similarities in animals are how they look, you are missing most of the point.

      Here’s a video I’d love to share:

      Whale Evolution

      Don’t be scared by the “evolution” title. At about 5 or 6 minutes in there is a video showing the similarities between a whale swimming and a dog running. Look at it as a marvel of evolution, or of God’s design, or whatever you like. I think it’s one of the coolest things I have ever seen, so watch at least that part no matter what your view is.

      I’ve decided to be less concerned with people’s belief in a God, and just sit back a bit, and share what I have learned about science.

      • At least Glenn came up with some actual arguments this time, instead of his usual irrefutable statements of personal policy and conspiracy theories.

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