Advertisment

Download Opera, the fastest and most secure browser

Monday, February 12, 2007

List vs List


Several writings that I came across this morning in regards to  Evolution/Creation Sunday 2007 I found interesting.  They show the battle that is raging out there about this topic and how much more involved it is than most people would think. First, this one ( http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54176 )  about this list ( http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org ) that just brought to my mind about how strange it is that as Pastors from many denominations are placing their names on a list denying the Bible and supporting Evolution, there are Scientists from around the world placing their names on a list raising doubts about the validity of that same evolution.  Why is it that the church always seems to be 50 to 100 years behind?  Not that I would have supported the Church supporting evolution 100 years ago any more than today but it just seems that in every area of society, music, media, societal issues of any kind, the church waits until something is out of vogue with the rest of society (somehow then making it ok for the church to be involved in it) until it decides that maybe they should look into this thing.  I just don't get it.  I dread the day when society finally champions sexual abstinance and the church takes up the virtues of promiscuity...oh, wait...its already happening. The church really needs to get a clue.  And this evolution debate would be a great place to start.  Finally, Scientists are bowing to science instead of giving it lip service and bowing instead to their religion (evolution is a religion) and what does the church do?   Well, we start bowing to the religion of evolution of course.  For those of us who can see this, let's raise a voice to start supporting science as we should have done all along.  Science supports the Bible and Christianity and now that Scientists are finally admitting it, let's not fail God and the people of the world who have been so devastated by the effects of the evolution religion by dropping the ball and embracing another religion. Second was this ( http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/12/science/12geologist.html?ei=5065&en=4f4a020a32419ff4&ex=1171861200&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print ) which details something that I had not even considered before.  The sickening fact that our Universities are actively discriminating and censuring Christians for being Christians!  These people openly say that being a Christian automatically disqualifies a person from getting a degree in any scientific field.  This is outrageous and if there is any better reason to attend a Christian University if there is one that effectively deals with the field you are entering, I don't know what is.  I firmly believe that within my lifetime Christianity will be illegal in this country but still, we must do whatever we can to keep that day from arriving for as long as we can.  If you are a Christian who is all concerned about being accepted by this world and this society and your deepest desire is to be friends with the world, I have some depressing news for you.  They hate you.  And they will always hate you, until that time when you devoid yourself of enough Christianity to where you no longer can be considered one, even if you still call yourself one.  Jesus PROMISED that the world would hate us (Mt 10:16-22; 24:9; Mark 13:13; John 15:18-21) and we, in America, have been relaxing and wallowing in this false idea that we can make the world love us.  Are we calling Jesus a liar? We need to wake up and start living in a manner worthy of Christ and to hell with selling out Christ for the sake of the love of the world!  Are we so dim as to think that a world ruled by the the Prince of the Air, Satan himself, is ever going to accept and love us? Who are we kidding?  The day Satan loves you is the day the world will...and not a moment sooner.  Only a fool will hold his breath for that day to come.  Love your Brethren and love your enemies, be in the world but not of it.  And do not trample the Blood of Chirst under foot for without valuing the Sacrifice of Christ for you with all your heart, you will be unable to value others, even unto your enemies.

Filled Under:

21 comments:

JP Vilaire said...

Nicholas,
How right you are! The evidence for creation is so compelling it never ceases to amaze me that, because it is politically incorrect, even Christians are afraid to stand up for truth! I worked at FedEx with a student of anthropology who was sold out to evolution. I started to bring up some scientifice facts (such as the first two laws of Thermodynamics) that show evolutionary concepts to be impossible. She said, "you believe what you believe and I will believe what I believe". I said, "I thought science was about facts?" She refused to discuss it further. It goes to show you must have more "faith" to believe in evolution than to accept the truth of intelligent design! Keep the truth front and center!

James Diggs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Diggs said...

Nyk,

I am glad you brought this up again in your last two posts, you posted against evolution before but it got buried under a lot of newer posts. I think the statement you made in the post right before this one best sums up your feelings on evolution:

“By the way, if you call yourself a Christian and believe you evolved from a lower life form to a higher form, as evolution preaches – I mean, teaches – you are denying the very heart of your faith. Jesus Christ, whom you claim to follow, taught that man fell from a higher estate into sin, and is therefore in need of salvation. If we have evolved from a lower life form, improving constantly over the eons to our present advanced state, there is no possible need for salvation through the substitutionary death of the Son of God. There's absolutely no wiggle-room here, friends. You're busted.”

Let me push back a bit and say that believing in evolution in no way threatens the idea that man needs saved from a state of broken relationship with both God and his or her neighbors. Believing in evolution in no way threatens the idea that mankind is by nature self centered; i.e. the concept of original sin or sinful nature.

The only thing evolution threatens is a literal reading and interpretation of the creation story. I know you are concerned that people are just randomly choosing what is “literal” and what is “symbolic” scripture based on their whims and what is most convenient to them; while some people do this about all kids of things there are strong scholarly arguments that can back up the idea that the creation story is symbolic. I have mentioned some of these before in a comment to one of your earlier posts, but I would suggest that you explore concepts such as “source theory” and the context style of “primeval writing”. You may disagree, and there are some scholars that do, but many that believe the creation story is symbolic have sound arguments and reasons for doing so and it is not just so that they can “have their cake and eat it too” and find a convenient way to embrace faith and evolution.

Regardless of this even for those of us that believe the creation story is symbolic this does not mean that it isn’t true or that we think the biblical creation story is a lie. I shared this with you before and I’ll touch on it again that whether you believe the story is literal or symbolic the conclusions the story makes about God and his relationship to man are the same and true.


• There is one almighty God and not many gods

• God made mankind (both men and women) in His image and for relationship and not because He needed people to do the work. (God needing people to work was common belief in other primeval stories that our biblical story counters.)

• Mankind has a unique relationship with both God and all of God’s creation.

• God’s intent for man was to have unbroken relationship with Him but our sin broke that relationship.

• God describes what living in a world of sin is like.

• God shows himself to be a God of love and mercy and promises to restore what sin has broken.


My point is that literal or symbolic I can come to the same theological conclusions about God, man, God’s intent for creation, mans fall from God’s intent, and the promise of God to redeem us to that intent. I do not believe that believing in evolution some how betrays my faith and so I don’t think that I am “busted”.

Do I think that Science has all the answers? Hell no!! Science is a limited form of epistemology that is only based on what is both observable and repeatable and depends on a strict use of the scientific method. For instance, evolution claims that mutations among species took place “randomly”; the word “random” often freaks out the disciple of Christ because we don’t believe we are here “by accident”. But in a scientific context the word “ransom” is the appropriate word because there is no observable reason for the change. As a disciple of Christ I believe that God is behind the changes but we can not put God under the microscope and examine him in a scientific manner. I suppose this puts me somewhere along the line of believing in theistic evolution; this belief can not be either confirmed or denied by the scientific method because this belief is not observable or can be tested by the scientific method. The scientific method has a built in limitation to what it can confirm or deny as truth.

I have no problem with those challenging evolution concepts for scientific reasons; I don’t think that modern science has all the answers (or ever will). I will also not be shaken to find that various evolutionary theories are discovered, dropped, or changed as scientists continue to explore the possibilities. There is no doubt that there are still more questions than answers when it comes to many aspects of understanding the evolutionary process. I think the scientific process welcomes its data to be challenged and tested in a scientific way.

I do have a problem with arguing against evolution for religious reasons; to often “Christians” will use selective small amount of scientific data to try muscle in what appears to be a scientific argument against evolution. These arguments sound technical enough to “convince” those who already have a personal agenda to deny evolution based on their understanding of their religion more so than their exploring the scientific data. In other words most so called “scientific” arguments against evolution from this section of the Christian world simply twist data to tell Christians who would deny evolution regardless of science, what they want to hear. So called scientific arguments against evolution are not about science but defending the literal view of the creation story in the Bible.

The biggest problem with these so called “scientific arguments against evolution” is that they provide no scientific alternative to evolution; the only alternative leaves the realm of science and enters a religious realm. These beliefs stated in a scientific way would support a theory of “spontaneous and instantaneous creation of different species”; there is not one shred of evidence ever even offered to support the idea that various species were spontaneously and instantaneously created. Remember that from a scientific perspective we are not just talking about initial creation, but why some time latter we repeatedly had some species appear to die out and others that were strikingly similar but still very distinct emerge. Evolution is a reasonable solution to this problem but if you believed in spontaneous and instantaneous creation than you would have to believe that this not only happened once but again and again. This means that it would not surprise you if suddenly a new kind of animal suddenly appeared on the earth out of no where without any connection to any animals that had already existed. I have never heard any scientific arguments FOR instantaneous creation of species. So, for the time being evolution seems to be the most reasonable scientific position available to us.

Though I think it is reasonable I do not worship evolution; I worship God who both created the universe (however he did it) and became incarnated in his universe as the man Jesus Christ who met us in our suffering and sin as a human being on the cross so we could be one with him forever. As a follower of Christ I am not threatened by the idea of science or evolution, but rather I want to celebrate it as one way to explore and wonder in God’s magnificent creation. Nyk, I am not responding to your post to convince you to believe in evolution but to show you that it is possible for a disciple of Christ to believe in evolution without compromising his or her faith. I am not going to pretend to understand all the mysteries of how the universe was created; I believe simply that God did it and that there are a few things we can observe through science that give us a glimpse of how he did it. I don’t believe these things to be mutually exclusive.

Peace,

James

Hardy Ulmet said...

I think the desire to make ourselves acceptable to this society, is nauseating to all true believers. The Word would seem to prophetically state such would never occur on this rock.

What I don't quite comprehend, is your ire at true believers being alienated from the scientific community.

We have great difficulty with practicing homosexuals being ordained within our denomination even though it's occuring. Why? Because their basic theological belief structure is in conflict with our theological stands. We refuse on the surface to thusly recognize them.

Why should the religion of Science be any different? Many of our core beliefs are in direct opposition to science, be it global warming, evolution, homosexuality being genetically passed on from generation to generation, the Great Flood, etc.

If I was a professing scientist, I would NEVER allow believers to work along side me or in my employ.

Our leaders disallow the recognition of practicing homosexuals and others we find divant to our theological views. We're "comfortable" with the one expulsion and not the other?

Doesn't really make much sense, does it?

James Diggs said...

Hardy,

How are Christian core beliefs in direct opposition to the scientific opinion of global warming? The existence of the “gay gene” has never scientifically been proven, but even if it were it would not be in direct opposition to core Christian beliefs; after all Christians believe the sinful nature is hereditary. I am having trouble making sense of your argument that we should separate ourselves from science for theological reasons when science has never contradicted sound theology.

Galileo was once persecuted by the church for saying the earth revolved around the sun because in the OT the scripture says that “sun stood still” so that meant to the church at the time that the sun was normally the moving object and revolved around the earth. The church of that day mistakenly treated scripture like a science book resulting in both bad theology and bad science. Good grief, do we really want to go back to looking at both scripture and science so immaturely?

Peace,

James

Hardy Ulmet said...

James:

You wrote, "I am having trouble making sense of your argument that we should separate ourselves from science for theological reasons when science has never contradicted sound theology."

(Maybe some day we can discuss this "never" statement above. It has consistently contradicted sound theology, In My Obnoxious Opinion.)

I was not addressing the need to separate ourselves from science, but rather the apparent need for science to separate themselves from us, and our "disappointment" at that. I find their actions perfectly logical with every aggregate that believers choose to become apart of and the way they like to alienate those that don't see things their way. It's the science of believerhood, so to say, be it traditional Nazarenes, Emergent varieties, etc.

Fact is, one of the points of the original post was the wrongness of trying to make ourselves acceptable to the secular world. If that's the case, why the hurt when the world chooses to separate themselves from us? It doesn't seem to follow.

Genetic research has not, as far as I know, narrowed down the cause for homosexuality to an indentified genome. However, there is a great body of science that is attempting to do that involving multiplied millions of dollars and hundreds of scientists. It would not serve that movement well to have theologically homophobic believer scientists working along side them and I would empathize with their desire to not allow such to happen.

When one contemplates the possibility of the omnipotence of our Creator balanced against man created global warming destroying that reality in a few short years, sides are easily defined within the Christian and scientific communities. Most within the Christian (Evangelical) community opt for God's ability in foreseeing this aspect of humanity and creating the earth with enough checks and balances to overcome whatever miniscule global warming degradation that could possibly emanate from man. Those in the scientific community likewise would go the other direction in what seems to purport to be a great majority of the scientists in that field.

To read a desire to separate what you term as "sound" theological precepts from good science in my original response, could possibly likewise be termed an "immature" interpretation of facts presented in that response. I made no such case and attempted none to make such.

Another issue where theological beliefs would conflict with science is in the realm of carbon dating. We, of course, have made explanations, some of which include the Great Flood, to offset what appears to be solid scientific data in this realm, but those range from weak to barely tolerable arguments, however intriguing they appear to be on the surface.

In any case, modern science seems bent on proving agendas and theories rather than forming those from intellectual experimentation. Most of our scientists, IMOO, are involved in this effort and why they would EVER desire a believer to join them in their search, would be counterproductive to say the least, and down right ludicrous in how they budget their monies.

Most modern "science" appears to be purchased and paid for prior to definitive statements resulting from subsequent research, IMOO.

Hardy Ulmet
www.christiancadence.blogspot.com

Nicholas said...

JP!
Thanks for the comments. I think what you experienced with your fellow employee is fairly typical. It is sad that it has come to this, it is sad that most people will trust the "scientists" without question when it is now clear that these "scientists" suppress the facts instead of study them. They cannot be trusted at all.
Thanks again for your comments

Nyk

Nicholas said...

James,

Thanks for the comments. This is a good discussion.
I would say that you went alot of diferent directions with your comment but never actually said anything in regard to the quote. I am not positive that I fully agree with the quote because it was so vague without any points to back it up. I posited it to our young adults group and they had arguments for and against it and we never came to a solid conclusion, actually.
Here is the issue with the quote: Did Jesus say that we fell from a higher to lower state? What were the conditions of that? In other words, what was the higher state? We know what the lower state is because we are living it.
Also, does evolution ever show a creature that evolves from lower to higher and then back again? In this instance, man evolves from goo of some sort all the way to perfection, so much so that he, beyond all other creatures, can have a relationship with God and then screws it all up, thus becoming what we now see which is certainly not as evolved as we were.
And then, does evolution make any account for a spiritual nature, or does it actually deny such?
As far as alternate theories to evolution, Intelligent Design is a legitimate theory whether you want to accept it or not and it explains things much better than evolution and is not religious in any way as it does not make any statement as to the nature of the intelligence or designer. It is evolutionists who make the connection and then dismiss it.
Global Warming as posited by its proponants takes the control away from God and puts it squarely in our hands, both negative (we caused it, only Americans by the way) and only we can fix it (if it is even fixable). This is in direct opposition to Christianity.
I only have one other question about your symbolic idea and that is, where does the Genesis story change from symbolic to literal?

Hardy,

My ire was only raised because of the support that these institutions get from our government and my forced taxation and all the while claiming that there is no opposing scientific evidence when there is but it is being suppressed by them. Even James started making this same argument when he essentially said that if there is "science" that opposes evolution then it isn't real science.
You make a very good point and I don't have a problem with that if there were a public statement and then they could raise their own funding based on that but they don't do it that way. They lie and intimidate and deceive.
I guess my surprise was not that it is happening but that it is so much farther along than I thought it was. There is no way to stop it, only slow it down. And maybe I want it slowed only for the selfish reason of not really wanting to spend the rest of my life in jail. I am willing but I am not too keen on it.

Thanks for the great comments both!

Nyk

James Diggs said...

Nyk,

Yes this is a good discussion, and yes it does go in a lot of directions.

Evolution and the Fall

As for where and how the fall of man takes place in the context of evolution I do not know. There are many theories, but absolutely no way to confirm them so they will always be speculation. Personally I do not get caught up in thinking about the fall in terms of “higher and lower” states and would not think that the fall would mean that there was a trackable point of de-evolving. All I know for sure is that scripture teaches that it was God’s intent in his creation of us is to have unbroken relationship with us and that our sin became the obstacle to that relationship; I believe in the point of the story, even if I can never figure out how that may have played out in the context of evolution. I also don’t think science can measure a “spiritual nature” even in people today, so tracking it through the course of evolution would be impossible. Again, spiritual things are outside the scope and ability of science to be able to confirm or deny.

Intelligent Design

As for “intelligent design” being a scientific alternative for evolution I think it falls short of doing such on many levels. I actually like “intelligent design” and believe it as a broad concept but I think it is inappropriate to push it as an “alternative” to evolution. “Intelligent design” is better suited as a philosophical lens to view evolution itself rather than an alternative for it. The broadest application of intelligent design simply makes a strong and reasonable case that life could not have happened by accident. Though this is a very reasonable conclusion base on scientific fact it is not testable through the scientific method. There is an appropriate place for investigating concepts of intelligent design as a meta-science (like metaphysics) where philosophy and science come together to explore the possibilities that and can not known through the scientific method alone.

The push for intelligent design as an alternative is mostly based on a severe misunderstanding of the word “random” in a scientific context. I mentioned this before, but the word “random” is used because there is nothing observable or testable to confirm any reason for evolutionary mutations. This can not scientifically confirm or deny that God (who is too big to observe scientifically) is the one that is behind and guiding these mutations. This is why intelligent design does not fit under empirical science and fits better as a meta-science (advance forms of scientific philosophy studied in colleges and grad schools).

Intelligent design also fails to be a scientific alternative to evolution because it provides absolutely no alternative scientific theory about how man or any species came in existence in the world. I.D. only makes a strong and reasonable philosophical argument that life is to complex to be here by accident, but gives not scientific alternative to HOW that manifested itself in the physical world. There is no scientific evidence to support that one day a species wasn’t and the next day it simply was; evolution is still the best possible explanation to answer the scientific question of HOW. Like I said, intelligent design makes a strong philosophical case that life is too complex to have happened by accident and this fits better with evolution rather than opposed to it. That is why I fit more into a theistic evolution position where I believe God was behind and guiding the evolutionary process. Theistic evolution also fits into a meta-science or philosophy of science category rather than pure empirical science. The point is these things can not “disprove” empirical science’s conclusions (such as evolution) but they do provide a lens and philosophy of science to explore what empirical science can not answer. So, intelligent design is not an empirical scientific “alternative” to evolution.

Global Warming

Concerns about global warming, real or not, does not oppose Christianity. Again science can not observe the sovereignty of God but only the natural laws of the physical world that God created. Regardless of the severity of mans effect on the environment (I think there is still much scientific debate about this with out a clear answer) as Christians we have a responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation and “tend the garden” so to speak; we are responsible to how we effect God’s creation. It is true that the earth will not last forever anyway, neither will our bodies, but we are still called to be stewards of and positively affect both. As Christians we should care about God’s creation and not villainize those that also care about the environment even if there is still some debate as to what we can and should do about environmental concerns.

The Transitions of Genres in Genesis

Finally as for where the Genesis story changes from symbolic to literal I would suggest that you read about things such as source theory; this is covered in almost every Bible College and Seminary including our Nazarene institutions. The basic premise of this particular theory is that the book of Genesis was actually put together from various sources; this make Moses more of an editor than the initial writer of the early sections of the book up through the flood and to the point of Abraham. It is a theory because there is no existing writing or physical sources found to prove it absolutely. Source theory still makes a strong case because there is extremely distinct different writing styles weaved through the creation story that match various other historical kinds of literature types that are much older than the literary style used in the rest of Genesis.

There are other source theories and at the very least an understanding of a long oral tradition. With Moses as the assumed author there is a lot of material covered in Genesis before we get to these first hand accounts; it is most reasonable that these stories existed and were passed along in some form long before Moses ever came on the scene. These stories are in various literary forms, much older than what Moses himself would chose to use if the story was revealed to him for the first time. The first thing Moses does as the “author” of Genesis is compile the stories of the people of God that had been passed down so far up to his point. Because of this literary styles would change at least once, if not several times between what Moses compiles and what he records first hand; to answer your question then; Genesis transitions from more symbolic language to more literal somewhere between these two points.

As for myself I am most confident in a switch from symbolic to literal at the point of Abraham with the story of Noah and the flood being a kind of hybrid of the two. I think there was a flood that covered the known world and that Noah was an actual person; but there are many Mesopotamian flood stories and mythologies that existed as well so this story may have similar symbolic aspects because it uses a similar literary style. This is even truer for the biblical creation story that also parallels the literary styles of ancient Mesopotamian writings about creation. Because of the strong primeval influence on the genre that is far older than Moses it is very reasonable to conclude that it is both written in and came from the same era of other symbolic primitive writings and should be read in the same context. Reading this story in this context does not take away from believing that God inspired the writing and that it is true and reliable as scripture’s written revelation to mankind.

Thanks for the conversation Nyk. I know that my answers are by no means comprehensive; these all touch big fields of scholarly study that goes far beyond my expertise. If you want to know more about them I would suggest doing some research with broad comprehensive sources to explore these things further; the best I am able to give you is a very brief and simplified overview of the material. At best I hope that I provided a window into other valid ideas and concepts within Christian thought and discipleship.

Peace,

James

Nicholas said...

James,

Well, I cannot head North without just making a couple quick comments.

I think that if you spoke with Darwinists you would find that they whole-heartedly disagree with your definition of "random" and the idea of the Spiritual. And if the people who define these terms and ideas disagree with you then it seems to me that it is your evaluation that is wrong, not theirs. Honestly, even if you accept evolution on its face the way you have, you are still promoting a form of I.D. not evolution. And this idea that evolution explains the HOW better than I.D. is simply not true. Evolution does nothing to explain any aspect of the HOW. In fact, it's attempt at explaining the HOW in any measure has been proven impossible by other equally valid sciences.

Somehow you need to decide whether these scientists and the proponants of Global Warming, etc. are trustworthy. Because, what I see and many others as well, is that, like Hardy pointed out, the people positing these theories and calling them irrefutable facts (which is a falsehood to begin with, which throws their trustworthiness into doubt) have an agenda that is not based on the facts of science but rather on their atheistic worldview. They will not accept people like you any more than they would accept me.

Source theory as you describe it, is a given. Anyone with a brain should be able to figure that out without the need for Seminary. But that does not even talk to the idea of what is symbolic or literal. Just because other cultures describe an event that is similar but in a clearly symbolic way doesn't imply at all how the Biblical accounts should be read. All it does is support the idea that these events happened. The Biblical writers (or story-tellers at that early stage) had one thing different in how they conveyed their accounts. Divine Inspiration. In reality, Moses wouldn't even had to have used any other written or verbal accounts necessarily. Because God was directing the writing. Most likely Moses did it the way you said he did but that doesn't change the aspect and influence of Divine Inspiration. I have read translations of many of the different accounts of Creation and the Flood and in all the other renditions, it is obvious that they are symbolic or the best attempts at describing what happened based on how they viewed the world. The Biblical account is written in a much more literal fashion and is decidedly written from God's view of the world. If we say that it isn't, then all the things that you gleened from the story that you listed in your other comments can't be any more valid than what could be gleened from any of the other renditions. Because we have no basis for which one is more reflective of reality. What makes the Genesis story a better reflection of reality than any of the others?
Source theory just doesn't speak to the symbolic/literal dilema. And your decision to make the shift from symbolic to literal somewhere around the Flood story (and are you saying the Flood story is a "transitional" literary form?) seems rather arbitrary to me. I was hoping for something more solid.

Ok, I have to go for the weekend but I will read and comment more next week. I hope others will join in and discuss this more.

James Diggs said...

Nyk,

I would agree with you that some scientist and even Darwin himself misused the word “random” when they wrongly conclude that this “proves” that God is not behind the process; this is a severe misuse of science itself because science can not measure God. This does not mean that the correct view of what is meant by “random” in a scientific context isn’t widely embraced by scientist; it is just difficult to tell because the media only reports on one extreme view or the other to get the most dramatic story and not the wider middle ground of accepted opinion. Both fanatical atheist and fanatical “Christians” push the extreme arguments and want to claim a “conspiracy” by the others against themselves and push twisted information about the other group with propaganda material. Frankly both extreme liberal and extreme conservative media do the same thing in lots of areas (such as global warming) and neither perspective can be treated as trustworthy because both are filtering their stories through their agendas. This is certainly true for the World Net Daily which appears to be one of your trusted sources. I seriously question any source that regularly churns up conspiracy theories about how the other group is out to get them.

This leads me to your claim that “equally valid scientist” are being repressed by the scientific community because they simply don’t like these supposed valid scientific findings because of an “atheistic world view”. Really? You really believe that the scientific community is behind a gigantic conspiracy to suppress the truth of legitimate science? Has it ever occurred to you that the claims of these so called “equally valid scientist” might not be valid after all for legitimate scientific reasons? Or that the media you read might spin the information to better support their agenda. I know there is also hyper liberal and/or atheistic media out there that spins the information the other direction, but you have got escape the realms of battling propaganda where one straw man is forever in mortal combat with the other.

The idea that evolution is proven impossible by those that promote I.D. is based on an argument of probability to make a case against the “random” chance life just accidentally happened. I think this argument is reasonable and as a broader concept I believe it for myself, but it does not disprove evolution because the observation of the factors themselves that happened “randomly” is not being disputed. Again, the I.D. argument is more about defending a misunderstood view of the word “random” in a scientific context. Measuring God’s involvement with creation is a field that can not be studied with empirical science; which is why I.D. is best discussed in the context of the meta sciences and philosophy of science. If you don’t think so I would love to hear an empirical scientific argument not against evolution but for instantaneous creation.

As for source theory, I never said anything to deny divine inspiration; in fact I went out of my way to support it. I understand your argument that other sources of similar stories might be evidence that these events actually happened, but this symbolic writing style of this time period crossed over into all kinds of writing and mythologies that we would never accept as actual events. You may disagree with it because you prefer to read the biblical creation story more literally but it is a reasonable conclusion to think that God inspired people to convey the truth of God’s act of creation in the same symbolic language they understood and used in their day. Remember God was not trying to make a statement in his revelation to refute evolution, a concept primeval people had no concept of. God was not trying to teach science through this story, a discipline far above their ability to grasp. God was trying to get people to understand that he was the creator and that he alone was God. God wanted to convey that he made man in his image and he made him for fellowship and community with God. He wanted man to understand the sin has broken that relationship but God himself promises to restore us to himself. God inspired the biblical creation story in a way that made sense first and foremost to these ancient primeval Mesopotamian people. If God had tried to convey modern scientific truths of creation to these people it would have only done two things; first it would have confused the hell out of them because they would have had no context for it, and two it would distract from the main points I have listed that he wanted to make. God spoke revelation into the specific word view context of that time which was largely based on elaborate symbolic imagery; we need to understand that context if we are going to understand the point of the message God intended for us. The point of the message was not to refute evolution or give a scientific account of creation but to point us to God.

As for wanting something more solid I suggest you pick up some books and do some research, I said already that the best I could give you is a simplistic overview of the material and I shared with you what was personally my opinion about the flood being a hybrid type point. There are many different opinions about this; many of them just outright keep the flood as a symbolic story and some scholarly opinions even include Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as symbolic characters. Personally drawing the line at these later points doesn’t gel with me but I would not fault anyone that it did. It certainly would be a lot easier not to have to study historical and literary context when looking at scripture, it certainly would make it easier not to have to humbly admit that we do not have all the answers about everything even in scripture. Studying this stuff will leave us with far more questions than answers; the “answers” we do find are based on facts and reason but many of them can not be confirmed absolutely because we simply can not know all of those details. But scripture was not given to us so we can know science or history; it was given so we can know God. You should not feel threatened by those who have contextual and historical reasons to believe that a section of scripture is given uses symbolic language as long as they do not dismiss the point the story is trying to make and it points us to God and the message of his gospel. Again viewing the biblical creation story as symbolic does not threaten any theological point, it only threatens those that read the biblical creation story not only literally but also as if it speaks from a historical and scientific perspective; because of this they can not reconcile it to what we know about history and science in our modern world.

Nyk, I am not sure if we are ever going to agree on this, mostly because I do not accept the same fundamentalist leanings that you do. I do not mean the term fundamentalist in a slanderous way; I just think this describes the faith paradigm you operate from best. Fundamentalism has its own context and assumptions that makes it difficult to dialogue with other paradigms if you do not understand that some times doing this means that your are talking “apples and oranges” even if you happen to both be using the word “apples”. In the end we believe the same conclusions about God and the gospel, even if we arrived at those conclusions in different ways. We both believe that God created us for relationship, that our sins break relationship and that Jesus Christ came, died, and rose again to restore us to God. We are both disciples of Christ and though I am not going to convince you to abandon your fundamentalist views please understand that there are other Christian views within the essential tenants of the Christian faith.

Good luck on your trip; I pray traveling mercies for you and wish you a safe return.

Peace,

James

JP Vilaire said...

James,
I just want to point out a couple of things. First, I admit that I have not had the time to read all these posts. I have not checked back since I was the only post.

But I must disagree with the idea that intelligent design fails to show an explanation of the origin of creation. Actually ALL the evidence points in this direction. Evolutionists have failed time and time again to show one shred of scientific evidence that one species have evolved into another. All the earliest fossil evidence, rather than showing simpler and simpler life forms, show incredibly complex life forms. ALL the claims of "missing links" have been shown to be hoaxes or simple errors. And there is simply a ton of evidence to support the theory of intelligent design. I'm no expert but I try to read everything that I run into on the subject. The evidence is overwhelming, but a scientific community that does not want to acknowledge the existence of a supernatural realm refuses to consider any other claim. There is a $100,000 award waiting for any evolutionist who can offer any convincing evidence that evolution is in any way true and that 'bounty' had never been claimed.

There is a huge group of scientists that are creationists. Please don't fall into the category of those who say "creationsim is faith" and "evolution is science" and both can somehow exist in harmony. I believe my favorite example is the Bombadier Beetle, an insect that secretes explosive chemicals. It has been shown that for this insect to "evolve" would have taken millions of years of it blowing itself up! Either that or separately evolving the ability to house four different chemicals for absolutely no reason whatsoever! This, evolutionists say, would not happen as all developments happen for a specific purpose (to aid in survival in some way).

I reccommend you check out www.icr.org if you want better discussion. Creationism is a real science...not some kind of hopeful clinging to a "earth centered universe".

Please try to find a balanced view and not rely on secular sources on this matter. I know the evolutionary community would like you to think that "God as creator" only belongs in Genesis, while the evolution belongs to facts, but it just isnt true.

God bless.

JP Vilaire said...

Hey, I have a little more to add! Regarding the idea that creationism shouldn't be defined as a science but philosophy, icr's website discusses the difference and actually defines "scientific creationism". We must remember, that while it is easy to go with the secular media and poo-poo away creationism as Bible-thumping wishful thinking. There is a definite body of knowledge supported by a large group of incredibly well qualified scientists. And you must remember that any theory of universal origin breaks the first two laws of thermodynamics. That energy cannot be created or destroyed and the law of intropy. That any system left to its own accord moves from order to disorder. Evolutionists posit that this "system", our universe, moved from complete chaos to an incredibly complex and balanced order! Hmmmm....

JP Vilaire said...

ooops, clarification. I meant to say "any evolutionary thoery of the origin of the universe"

JP Vilaire said...

A little PS...another good resource for an explanation of how the general populace has been duped by the psuedo-science of evolution is the chapter on the subject in Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Faith. Strobel was a passionate athiest and journalist.

James Diggs said...

JP,

I suggest that you re- read my comments again for some subtle clarification. You say that I should not just rely on “secular sources” and that the “evidence is overwhelming, but a scientific community that does not want to acknowledge the existence of a supernatural realm refuses to consider any other claim.” I have already explained that empirical science is based on repeatable and testable observation per the scientific method and that spiritual or supernatural things are things outside of sciences ability to observe in a scientific way.

Exploring other claims outside of empirical science would mean not using empirical science; you can not fault “secular” science for not “acknowledging the supernatural” when this is outside the realm and limitations of the discipline of the scientific method. Believing “God as creator” is not something that a scientist can test, we can not put God under the microscope; add control devices to God while doing an experiment on him. God, spiritual things, and the supernatural, are all things the science as a discipline can not scientifically observe.

Please, do not misunderstand me, just because science can not measure the supernatural does not prove that it does not exist; empirical science is limited to only being able to observe the physical world. It makes sense to me that there are scientists that believe in God, the supernatural or even some that may believe in a literal biblical creation account because they know more than most that science itself can only give us one kind of evidence and can not tell us everything. “When you say “evidence” not all your evidence fits under the strict discipline of the scientific method; this does not mean it isn’t valid it just means that it isn’t empirical science.

I agree with you that creation itself gives us evidence of a creator; I can not look at the universe without marveling at how great God is. But this evidence is not the kind that can be tested scientifically because empirical science is too limited and too strict of a specific epistemology to be able to confirm this. I do think that scientific data can be used to point to a reasonable and philosophical argument for God and his hand in creation but this is a different kind of evidence than an empirical scientific one and is more of a metaphysical and philosophical one. This does not make the argument or evidence less legitimate because it is not based on the scientific method, because it is based on other scientific and philosophical related fields such as metaphysics.

Now as for the Bombardier Beetle, I am sorry to say that this argument to discredit evolution is severally disappointing. I remember hearing it along time ago and I was in awe at the findings…..until I looked into it further. The “scientific” assessment of how the defense mechanism Bombardier Beetle supposedly works is simply wrong and researchers have shown that creationist claims were based on a misreading of research and that the chemical weapon involves minor alterations from systems in other, less noxious beetles. This lends weight to the idea that this beetle has diverged from other species as a product of evolution by natural selection. Furthermore, when biologists mix together hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide in an artificial environment no reaction occurs because a catalyst is required; this shows that as the beetle's defensive mechanism evolved the intermediate stages would not explode. Everything I have found regarding the “Beetle that defies evolution” is based on one bad interpretation of a 1961 article that even though scientific journals have pointed out the flawed science in the assessment the information keeps being ignorantly recycled in creationist literature.

JP, you ask that I find a “balanced view” and not just rely on “secular sources” on this matter. I get the feeling that you think balanced means giving equal wait to everyone’s claim regardless of the validity of the source. We are talking about empirical science here and the evidence all has to pass the mustered of the scientific method, be checked and rechecked and repeated before it is accepted as a valid scientific view. This is why there our scientific journals and researchers that do these things and they work to keep each other accountable in regards to the scientific method. You give me ICR as a source that will supposedly give me a more “balanced view”; while ICR may give balance in regard to that differing opinions on the topic it is not provide balance on strict empirical scientific opinions on the matter or its work would be published in a scientific journal. Frankly ICR, like many creationists, usually only look for selective evidence that can twist to support their opinion that they plan on never changing regardless of other evidence which they simply can ignore-(just like with the Bombardier Beetle).

Again, I can still look at the Bombardier Beetle with awe of God’s creation; even though it wouldn’t have exploded during the evolutionary process it is an amazing creature and everything we know about it including what science can tells us creates a more than reasonable and compelling argument for God as the creator. But this argument, though it can be supported by scientific data, is not in itself an empirical scientific position. Also there is nothing about evolution that denies that God couldn’t have been behind it so there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of evolution unless you are trying to protect the literal view of the biblical creation story; which is the biggest reason anyone objects to the scientific evidence for evolution anyway. The science of evolution can not deny God as the creator or the truth of Christian theology it only counters a literal reading of a biblical story that was truth told in symbolic language and should be read as such.

J.P. I would suggest if you want to really study evolution that you read some scientific journals or resources on the topic. I keep hearing how these sources are biased by humanistic atheists who wish to deny God but there is a scientific method and discipline that provide checks and balances to scientific findings. If there is biased material out there it comes from a section of the faith community who desperately wants to find validation for believing in the literal 6 day creation because they think if this falls apart the whole Bible will somehow unravel and their entire paradigm that they based their life on will fall apart. Yes there are some atheists out there who misuse science and evolution to say that this somehow proves that God does not exist; but science and evolution does not have the ability to make that claim. We need to start challenging atheist’s poor use of science by pointing them back to the strict use of the scientific method also. Meanwhile we need to stop abusing the scientific method ourselves in our fleeting efforts to prove the biblical creation story is literal and we should adjust our use of I.D. from being an a weak empirical scientific “alternative” to evolution to a valid metaphysical scientific and legitimate philosophy of science epistemology that can speak to a strong, reasonable, philosophical evidence that God is the creator all along the way; even in the process of evolution.

Thanks for your comments JP, watch out for those Fire Bugs!

Peace,

James

JP Vilaire said...

James,
I see what you are saying. And I apologize for not being clearer. The Bombadier beetle is just one of numerous examples of how nature continues to perplex evolutionar theory. Darwin himself said that if his theory was true there would be thousands of transitional life forms and none have been found. But the claim that we cannot affirm an intelligent designer is ludicrous. The old philosophical watchmaker argument holds valid enough here, we can see a car and even though we might have never seen one before it is obvious it had a maker and did not happen by accident.

And I am not talking "wonder of nature that leads to an awe of God" stuff here either. The intro to the chapter in Lee Strobel's book, Case for Faith there is this quote, "[Evolutionary theory] is still, as it was in Darwin's time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe." (Micheal Denton, Molecular Biologist).

You see there are many scientist out there who are not romanticizing the first chapter of Genesis, but have, with research, concluded the definite evidence of an intelligent designer!

If you do not know, Lee Strobel was the legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. His experience is that of an investigative reporter. He set out to disprove the claims of Christianity, including creationism. He then, through factual research, discovered it to be right! This is a guy from the field who had nothing to gain by discrediting his profession. And he acknowledges that a bias exists that would rather affirm garbage "science" of evolutionists than affirm the reality of a creator God!

Check out his book, I think you will be surprised. But don't discount the work of a host of serious scientists that are also creationists.

Thanks for hanging in this discussion!

JP

James Diggs said...

JP, I have better things to do than read literal 6 day creationist propaganda; if someone has a legitimate empirical scientific case than they can publish it in a scientific journal. I understand that Lee Strobel book has to do with far more than just the issue of evolution and the book records his personal journey that overcame the things that were an obstacle to faith for him. But I don’t think Strobel is any more an expert on evolution than you or I.

I also love it when people point out flaws in some of Darwin’s work thinking this some how disproves evolution; modern evolutionist have long gotten past some of Darwins flawed details and they still believe in evolution. Darwin had a lot of details wrong but the over all concepts has been verified again and again. Of course to blow a hole in evolutionary arguments of Darwin’s makes for a great way to have a convincing sounding argument as long as nobody knows that modern evolutionist no longer hold to those details and that the facts about evolution itself is not hinged on those points. Wow, and Christians complain that “scientists are biased”.

I am telling you that one of the biggest problems here is that a large part of church culture has bought into the idea that there is some kind of conspiracy against Christians and that the atheistic powers that be have the power to deny good science if it happens to show results that support conservative Christian ideas. Come-on man…can you really buy these kind of conspiracy theories??? Of course these crazy idea’s get passed along all the time through “Christian media sources” that are always telling everybody that demons, liberals and atheist are crouching behind every bush just ready to pounce on us. Of course many Christians really dig the invented drama of over exaggerated “persecution”, it makes them feel like they have an exciting lives and are living in “the end times”. Kirk Cameron would be proud of all of them.

Of course I really do believe that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” But I don’t mean this in the Frank Paretti over dramatized obvious way, no if the devil is involved here, he is far craftier than this. This is where the real struggle is, the struggle to overcome our paranoia and fear that there is a conspiracy out there to get us. There is a real struggle for genuine science to be accepted without suspicion that this is all part of some humanistic atheistic plot against God. There is a real struggle to overcome the fear by some Christians to set aside the idolatry of their own paradigms of how they think God works and seek God himself. You see there are many in the world who call them selves Christians who do not follow God, but they follow the systematic theological paradigm they set up for themselves; their God then becomes their perception of a “Christian worldview”. This “Christian worldview” includes ridiculous exaggerated ideas that everyone else is about to get us, but that’s ok because the rapture is coming soon and all those heathen will die and we will all be proved to be right. Yea God!

I know all this is coming across as over the top, but I think our over suspicious paranoid behavior against the scientific community is over the top. Yes, there have been atheistic extremist wacos that have misused science and social politics to try and oppress Christianity but Christian media takes these things and make it sound like the norm when it isn’t. Christians that get their news from Rush Limbaugh, the 700 hundred club, James Dobson and Christian radio are bombarded with how atheist and liberals are out to get them 24/7 a day.

I am tired of saying that the atheist, scientist, and the liberals are the bad guys; we sound like a bunch of crazy people with our suspicious accusations. Yup, we sure model Christian love to these folks. So good for Lee Strobel that he overcame whatever intellectual arguments that formally kept him from pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ. (I mean that sincerely, but the next part I am not sincere at all about) Yea for us that he is on “our team now” and can join in with inwardly bent church culture in their paranoid accusations against the gigantic mainstream scientific community.

So that’s the problem I have with your suggestion JP; you are asking me to buy in to the idea that there is a conspiracy by humanistic liberal atheistic scientist and a global scientific community made up of hundreds of thousands of people that are out to dupe us and pull one over on us. Check these stats out, “of the scientists and engineers in the United States, only about 5% are creationists, according to a 1991 Gallup poll (Robinson 1995, Witham 1997). However, this number includes those working in fields not related to life origins (such as computer scientists, mechanical engineers, etc.). Taking into account only those working in the relevant fields of earth and life sciences, there are about 480,000 scientists, but only about 700 believe in "creation-science" or consider it a valid theory (Robinson 1995). This means that less than 0.15 percent of relevant scientists believe in creationism. And that is just in the United States, which has more creationists than any other industrialized country. In other countries, the number of relevant scientists who accept creationism drops to less than one tenth of 1 percent.” Less than one tenth of one percent is hardly “a HOST of serious scientists that are also creationists”; and you’re asking ME to consider a more balanced view?

Peace,

James

JP Vilaire said...

James,
Sorry but I must disagree with your stats. In fact, I just got off of one website that list an organization with over 1050 members who hold advanced degrees in related fields. You are still assuming that I am getting my information from the 700 club and stuff like that. No I haven't done recent investigation into what current stats are or anything. I don't have time for that either at the moment. But as a new Christian who believed in evolution I did a thorough search and came to my own informed conclusion.

I still affirm that there is not one shred of serious scientific evidence ever offered to support evolution.

I have read some brief comments from scientists who say that there is a lot of pressure in that community to deny intelligent design. And so there are many that will not openly admit they are creationists.

In an increasingly secular society that wants Christians to practice thier faith behind closed doors, is there a 'conspiracy' to shut out the truth of a creator God? I would say yes.

Finally, creationists.org list answers to three page headings that answer some of your earlier "charges", first, a list of "creation scientists with outstanding credentials", second, "do creationists publish in notable refereed journals?", and third a list of "former evolutionists who became creation scientists".

I realize like you, time is precious and I do not think we will come to agreement of any kind on this issue (I still love you brother:). But this might help you to realize that things aren't as black and white as you suggest!

see you next week

James Diggs said...

Oh boy, I certainly don't think things are "black and white", and don't think everyone that believes in creationism is a waco that gets their information from the 700 club. I certainly don’t think you personally have looked into these things lightly. I just think that Christian media hypes an exaggerated perception of a conspiracy that just isn't there. And I think the so called pressure from scientist on other scientist to deny I.D. is based on a professional opinions that I.D. fails to fit into empirical science and not because they desire to “shut out the truth of a creator God.”

Like I said, I think I.D. fits better as a meta science and philosophy of science which is not to say that it is less valid of an argument but because the whole idea if having an intelligent designer can’t be proven with the limited discipline of empirical science and the scientific method. There are lots of scientific fields other than empirical science that are legitimate scientific fields that try to talk about things empirical science can not measure; metaphysics is one of them. There is no shame in understanding I.D. as a philosophy of or meta science rather than empirical physical science; this is a reality that speaks to the limitations of physical empirical science as an epistemology rather than I.D. being an unreasonable position.

I also think that I.D. over steps it’s legitimate arguments when it positions itself as an “alternative” to evolution. The strongest argument in I.D. is a compelling mathematical probability argument that states that life is far to complex to be an accident. I can believe that and still believe in evolution, they do not have to be mutually exclusive. This is why theistic evolutionist often disagrees with I.D. because creationist wants to make I.D. an argument that supports creationism OVER evolution when I.D. would actually better serve to show how God created everything THROUGH evolution. Again, it does this not as an empirical science but meta- philosophical science.

Finally, your number that says that there are 1,050 scientist that believe in creationism is only 350 more than the 700 I mentioned from the study done in 1991. I guess your statistics are more current than mine but 1,050 still is a far cry from 480,000; does the 350 additional people in 16 years make a significant dent in the that less than 0.15 percent of relevant scientists that believe in creationism? And this is assuming that the number of scientist believing in evolution hasn’t grown after 16 years and remains at 480,000.

By the way I am very confident that you still love me, I love you too; that’s what makes these discussions more fun. I am glad that you don’t think I am a “mole” sent by the atheist scientist to infiltrate the Christian ranks and tear down creationism and morality from the inside. How very devious of them. lol

Later bro,

Peace,

James

Nicholas said...

Well, There is no way I am going to be able to catch up with this discussion!
By the way, thanks for the prayers, we traveled safe and it was a huge growing experience for everyone. God Rules!

Only one comment right now.

James said: "if someone has a legitimate empirical scientific case than they can publish it in a scientific journal."

No they can't. I posted an article about the discrimination of solid science because of its conclusions. Please, read through the articles I posted. It might be in the newer post not this one. And do not dismiss an article because it was posted on WND. Many of them are simply linked to other news sources with no ties to WND. I, for one, have learned to never take what someone writes or says as truth simply because I agree with them on certain things. There are many "propaganda" elements on WND but if you sift through the obvious there is much there that is information that no one else is compiling. Certainly not the major news netwarks including FOX or many newspapers.
But one article in particular goes into detail about the deliberate suppression of legitimate science because of the conclusions. This is accepting facts based on the theory instead of accepting theories based on the facts. And that is not real science.

Thanks for keeping this alive while I was away!!

Nyk


 

Facebook Badge Azahel