Archive for the ‘creation’ Category
This was a really exciting book that I enjoyed immensely. It was well written by two exceptionally intelligent individuals. It is accessible, but not condescending. It is intelligent, but not stuff. It is a science book written for lay-folk like myself who find the mysteries of the universe to be both a source of wonder and a picture of sanity. It all makes sense; it makes no sense.
That's pretty much my takeaway from this book: In truth, we pretty much no nothing about the world in which we live even if we happen to know enough to fill millions of pages with ink and letters and words and sentences. There is a lot we know and perhaps even more that we do not know. At the end of the day, science is an endless journey of discovery which takes us from the gargantuan complexities of galaxies to the uber-minutia of quantum mechanics and biology. Who knows how these things even hold together are what keeps them from imploding or exploding? The book is filled with rampant speculation about such things as the authors note, "…we cannot yet be sure that all of the features we have just described are quantum mechanical." (325).
But isn't it fun to explore, predict, test, and retest?
It kind of makes me wonder every now and then what would become of science and scientists if we ran out of things to investigate? What if there is a world even smaller than the quantum world? What if there is a world larger than the universe? Truth is, we won't know unless we continue to explore–an arduous task that boggles the mind. As I read through this book I often wondered 'how on earth can they do that?' I mean, seriously, the levels of smallness that are being dealt with in this book are quite extraordinary.
I remain unconvinced by their arguments put forth in chapter 7 where the authors dealt with 'quantum genes.' They throw large numbers at the readers like, "The rate of copying errors in DNA replication, what we call mutation, is usually less than one in a billion." (202) But they want us to believe that over the course of 'generations' enough of these mutations collect in an organism to produce something useful in the organism. What I can never figure out is how the organisms survive long enough without the useful something to arrive at the place where the useful something is, well, useful. What I mean is something like this. If all of the sudden the climate on earth changed so dramatically that I needed to grow a horn on my head to survive, but replication errors only occur 1/1,000,000,000, and I need billions of years to complete this replication error in order to survive, then how did I survive long enough without the horn on my head in order for the horn to grow on my head in order for me to survive?
Or, if a robin didn't originally have a 'sense that detects the earth's magnetic field' that helped it 'navigate'–that is, if it needed millions of years to evolve this skill (173), what did it do for all those millions of years when it didn't have this sense? How did it determine it needed this sense? And how did it navigate before it evolved this sense? I confess that these questions perplex me.
Now, if you tell me that organisms change because of their environment then we can have a conversation. But it makes no sense to me for anyone to suggest that there are so few replication errors and yet there are enough that produce what we see. I admire the authors of the book very much for their steadfast hold to something that makes no logical sense whatsoever. I enjoyed the book very much right up to the point where they started flopping around like fish out of water to explain Darwinism in light of quantum mechanics. Maybe sometimes the phenomena we see do not require us to work backwards to a point of origin or necessity. Maybe what we see requires us only to stand slack-jawed in amazement at what is or can be.
At times the authors fall into the error of tautology. For example, in the same chapter 7 on Quantum Genes, the authors are discussing Hugo de Vries and his observations concerning the evening primrose and how one version of this plant was 'taller' and had 'oval-shaped petals rather than the familiar heart-shaped petals.' To this earth shattering observation, the authors write, "He recognized this flower as a 'mutant'; and, more important, he showed that the mutant traits were passed on to the plant's progeny, so they were inherited." (212). Well, of course the 'mutant' plant passed on 'mutated genes'; what else could it pass on to its progeny? And let's be honest, this really doesn't demonstrate anything other than that it was a mutated plant and that it passed on mutated genes. There's no explanation of why it was mutated, what factors led to the mutation, what purpose the mutation might have served, and so on. Maybe a bee just got it wrong when it was pollinating the plant.
This is an exciting book except where it dips into the absurd world of Darwinian evolution–which was inevitable. I find the book to be somewhat whimsical and joyful. They weren't cracking back on people who happen to have philosophical, theological, or logical disagreements with their conclusions. They admit that much of what they are suggesting is speculation and that a lot more research is necessary to prove their ideas. The authors seemed to genuinely amazed by what they were writing about and that made the book a lot of fun to read–that is, I often marked in the margins that something they wrote or discovered was simply 'magnificent.' Like when they talk about robins or clown fish or just life: "Life is remarkable" (25). Yes. It is.
The book is filled with wonderful illustrations and a few pictures. The style of writing is engaging. I really enjoyed this book a lot and I am hopeful that more books concerning quantum biology will be written in the future–books for people like me who enjoy reading and learning about the discoveries scientists and everyday people make about this great planet where we live.
Finally, the book was well researched. Part of what I enjoyed most was how each chapter slowly uncovered a discovery by tracing its history from this scientist to that scientist and all the way to our current day. This was excellent and a lot of the names mentioned are familiar even if a few of them are somewhat obscure. Notes are appended at the end and there is a helpful, lengthy index for readers who wish to do follow-up on the author's sources.
This is an excellent book. I recommend it for those interested in quantum mechanics/biology and for those who simply enjoy delighting in the wonders of this earth. In some ways, this book will cause the reader never to look at life the same way again. Maybe this is a good thing.
May your wonder never cease.
Important Book & Author Things
- Where to purchase Life on the Edge (Amazon: Hardcover, $17.94)
- Authors Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili
- On Twitter: Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili
- Academic Webpage:
- Publisher:Crown Publishers
- Pages: 353
- Year: 2015
- Audience: Science buffs, Scientists, Science Enthusiasts, Wonderers
- Reading Level: Advanced High School, College
- Disclaimer: I was provided an advance reader's copy courtesy of Blogging for Books blog program in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.
- Denis O. Lamoureux
- John H. Walton | BioLogos Forum
- C. John Collins | Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?
- William D. Barrick | The Masters Seminary
- Greg A. Boyd | ReKnew
- Philip G. Ryken | Sermon Audio
Pages: 289 (e-book)
[I was provided with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased and fair review. On another note, the government spends too much time worrying about what books I read and get for free. Thank you.]
I have provided plenty of links for you, the reader, to do your own research into this book because I have a particular point of view on this sort of work that may or may not be particularly helpful. To be sure, I read an 'uncorrected proof for review purposes' which is a bit frustrating because page numbers in references appear as (ooo) which is kind of annoying.
The book is laid out in a fairly manageable format. There is a lengthy introduction by the series editors (Barrett and Caneday) which explains the format and lays out some preliminary observations such as historical background, history of debates, and the various points of view that the authors will subsequently take up in the bulk of the text. Next comes the presentation of the four authors' points of view. Each author presents his view which is followed by responses from the other three authors and, finally, a rejoinder from the original author. I'm not sure if there was a reason for the order in which the various views are presented but they seem to follow from the most 'liberal' (Lamoureux) to the most 'conservative' (Barrick) with the two 'fence straddlers' (Walton & Collins; it's probably unfair to call them 'straddlers'; their positions are as robust as the others) resting in the middle of the sandwich. Finally, pastoral reflections are offered (Boyd & Ryken) representing a broad spectrum of opinion of how these various points of view might affect the church. Surprisingly, this is a debate left entire to the male point of view–that is, no women have left their mark on these pages. Not surprisingly, Boyd takes the more 'liberal' post and Ryken the more 'conservative.'
I should start off right away by noting that Lamoureux's point of view holds no sway with me whatsoever. When an author has to continually defend himself against the charge, imagined or otherwise, that he is saying 'God lied' or that 'Scripture cannot be trusted' then there is a serious problem. On the other hand, Lamoureux, out of all the authors, probably holds to the most literal reading of the book of Genesis even though he doesn't believe a word of Genesis 1-11 to represent anything close to a historical record. This is strange. I never cease to be amazed at those who hold to evolution as a means antithetical to pure ex nihilo creation. They always remind us that they find the evidence 'for evolution is overwhelming' (40). What is amazing is that so many equally trained theologians and scientists find the evidence underwhelming. Frankly, I decided a while ago that I will no longer live in fear of evolution or those who teach it. In my opinion God is a big God and doesn't need me to get all worked up about defending him or what he has done. I'm fairly certain Lamoureux is the only author who felt the need to talk about his academic credentials and, to be sure, much of his article is autobiographical–another defense mechanism.
I think the problem, for me, is that Lamoureux believes that Genesis 1-11 is merely indicative of the way God talks to humans. His evidence is that this is how Jesus talked to his disciples: "The Lord himself accommodated in His teaching ministry by using parables" (54). Honestly I think this is a rather poor understanding of why Jesus spoke using parables; furthermore, the parables were not merely "earthly stories [meant] to deliver inerrant heavenly messages" (54). This is a shallow and rather naive way of understanding parables and, to be sure, has nothing to do with the way God talked to people through Genesis. What I find amazing is the utter lack of faith Lamoureux has in Scripture. This is evident in that he really doesn't seem to get that the Holy Spirit had quite a lot to do with the actual final composition of the original autographs and, I would venture to assume, their translation and transmission to future generations. I'm not sure he gets this or if he does if he just rejects it as more unreliable biblical rhetoric. It is hard to tell at times.
At the end of each author's presentation there is a hefty response from the other writers of the book. It's all fairly typical, as one might expect, with this type of book. Of course every author has a point of view, of course he defends it, of course others tear apart his arguments, and of course there's all sorts of moving 'what-a-great-guy-he-is' kind of comments. There is much mutual respect, in other words, except that there is some obvious tension between Lamoureux and Barrick. This is how it goes page after page. Honestly, the four points of view are not terribly difficult to understand and the responses are largely predictable. And even though the book is about four views of the historical Adam when it's all said and done there's really only two: you either believe he was a real, historical figure; or you don't. The book really revolves around the points of view concerning creation mechanisms (and various theories about the 'days' in Genesis) and how these points of view impact readings of later Scripture.
I enjoyed reading the responses from the pastors at the end of the book the most and I enjoyed Greg Boyd's best of the two if for nothing else because I think it captured the spirit of his assignment ('pastoral reflections') the best. Ryken wrote a fine reflection, but I thought he focused less on the pastoral implications and more on the theological implications of whatever view one chooses to adopt.
Every author has something to contribute to the discussion (even though Lamoureux's view, in my opinion, lacks teeth). No one has it perfectly right and no one is absolutely wrong–which is evident by the responses. Frankly, there is a lot of agreement among the authors and this is healthy. It shows that the debate isn't as scary as one might think. It demonstrates that there can be a variety of orthodoxy amongst Christians and that satisfying and healthy debates are indeed possible. It seems to me that any of these men would stand up for one of the others if the debate were to include a die-hard, dyed in the wool atheistic evolutionist. Of this I have no doubt.
The evolution/creation debate is interesting and, sadly, ongoing. There will never be resolution to this discussion this side of the new heavens and new earth. The main question of this book is: does there need to be a real historical Adam in order for the Bible (Lamoureux believes 'real' biblical history starts in Genesis 12) to be true with respect to redemptive history? According to the book, yes and no. Whatever side of the debate the reader happens to side with, this much is true: all of the authors point us to Jesus. We may not necessarily agree with the path they take through Scripture to arrive at Jesus, but they all get there. For this I am glad. At times, however, I do wonder if perhaps we have carried on this debate long enough. It could be that it is time to move on to weightier matters and perhaps see how it is that we can take care of the earth we have been given whether by a Creator or through evolution. That is a different paper altogether.
This is a helpful volume. I don't think it adds anything new to the debate (as far as evidence, one way or the other, is concerned) and those who are well versed in the history and literature of the creation/evolution debate will find the book rather redundant and tired at points. Newcomers to the debate will find this a worthy volume that will help them sort through some of their early questions (about the debate) and develop some clear thinking on certain issues (such as the theological implications of there not being a historical person named Adam). They might even be persuaded to change their minds at certain points. Seasoned readers probably won't find much challenging and will probably only find their a priori arguments bolstered by fresh looks at Scripture (esp. Genesis; I think all four authors contributed some stunning ideas about Genesis even if, again, I didn't happen to agree with all the conclusions they arrived at from the evidence) and repetition of old arguments.
I give this book 3.5/5 Stars and recommend it for readers who are newer to the conversation.
*My page numbers may not align exactly. I read an draft version (.pdf) on my Nook and sometimes the pages and numbering are adjusted later.
Christian posted a short exercise in theology at Church Voices a few days ago. That I think you should take 60 seconds of your time to read.
I’m currently reading the book Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey. In it she proposes Creationism as foundational to communicating the gospel. I have to agree. The story of Jesus’ death on the cross only makes sense in light of creation. Which is why it can be difficult to evangelize in cultures (such as ours) that declare that we are only a part of nature which has it’s roots in itself (Darwinism is a form of this naturalistic worldview).
He’s right. To further the problem is that many preachers are simply terrified to preach it (creation). To make matters worse, those who do preach creation (that is, Genesis 1 & 2 as historical accounts of human origin and not, necessarily, the popular creationism so often mocked by the secular humanists of our culture) simply do not understand the profound theological ramifications of Genesis 1 & 2 (and 3-50!) so they preach Creation not as something historical, but as a mere poem or an allegory or something merely polemical. But as my professor stated so beautifully, there can be no true doctrine of atonement apart from a doctrine of creation that begins in Genesis 1.
In fact, 3 of the four Gospels understood this all too well and began their Gospels in this way (Matthew, Mark & John), that is, by referring us back to creation before pointing us forward to Jesus. Their understanding is that the person and work of Jesus are only properly understood when the world belongs to God and is His to redeem. To take it a step further: they understand that the work of Jesus actually began at the creation. Apart from this, Christianity is yet one more myth among myths (and likely not a very good one). But creation is also foundational to the writings of Paul (see in particular Colossians and Romans), John (the Revelation), and Peter (see 1 & 2 Peter).
In fact, a careful reading of the Bible demonstrates that what took place at the beginning, the record of which is found in Genesis, is crucial to every page of the Bible. Creation permeates the Psalms, is underscored by the Prophets, and is the foundation of the Law. It is hard, difficult, impossible to understand the 66 books that make up the Christian Scriptures apart from understanding the very first verse.
Indeed, I agree with Christian (and his wise 4 year old daughter): When it comes to our preaching and teaching: Let’s begin at the beginning.
Always For His Glory!
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I subscribed to three or four new magazines and journals this year. Two of them are my concern with this post.
The first is Salvo. I thought it might be fun and some challenging, critical reading. The first issue I received, issue 4, Winter 2008: ID (as in, Intelligent Design).
The second is The Christian Century. This was a trial four-week subscription. The first issue I received, volume 125, no 3. The cover: Faith after Darwin and A Visit to the Creation Museum. (I have already cancelled my trial subscription.)
The problem with both of these journals is that they purport, in some way or another to have some ties to the Christian community. Salvo is from the ‘Fellowship of St James.’ Christian Century…well…Christian sort of gives it away doesn’t it?
In The Christian Century Jason Byassee wrote, “Reconciling Christian claims about God, creation and humanity with the findings of Darwin and his successors is an important and daunting task, one that mainline theology has still not satisfactorily accomplished. AiG [Answers in Genesis; he is review the Creation Museum] can hardly be faulted for attempting the task, though its effort is a spectacular failure.” (26)
The problem here is that Mr Byassee thinks that Christianity needs to reconcile with the world and that the Scripture must be wrong. He builds on the assumption that Scripture is not accurate and that its claims are not truth. He also seems to disregard entirely the notion of the God-breathedness of Scripture. The Scripture does not need to be reconciled with the ‘findings of Darwin’ (which are the spurious rantings of an apostate). Rather, Darwin needs to be reconciled with Scripture. If the finding is not in accord with Scripture, the ‘finding’ must be flawed.
In Salvo, (pages 10-11) there is a list of words that must be defined in order to understand the issue. One of those words is ‘Creationism’ (which is just as pejorative as Darwinism): “A literal belief in the account of creation provided by the Bible. Creationists insist that each of the various animals present today on earth was created separately by God. They are thus opposed to the theory that humans and other species descended from common ancestors. Creationism, which also assumes a young earth, should not be confused with the theory of intelligent design.” [!]
The problem is not with the definition as such, but with the portrayal of those who believe in Genesis 1ff as mere Creationists. The problem is with the idea that those who believe in the literal account of the creation must be somehow not quite as caught up as those who believe in the grand theory of ID or Darwin. If I understand this, ID is little more than an attempt to mingle the two, God and Darwin, so that the best of both worlds can be had.
It’s not just Genesis that speaks of God as Creator: It is the entire Bible! Will those who write off Genesis 1-3 also write off Job? How about Colossians? How about John’s Gospel? How about Hebrews? How about the Psalter? How about Isaiah? How about Romans? How about the Revelation? How about statements made by Jesus himself where he specifically references Genesis as history? Are we to write those off as well? You see it is a slippery slope because once Christians write off the most fundamental statement of faith, ‘In the beginning God created…’, then it becomes easy to write off the rest of the Scripture too; which is exactly what Darwinists do.
The problem here is not with ID or with Darwinism as such. The problem here is with Christians who simply will not accept the testimony of Scripture. I think ID is a wonder mechanism for showing the distortions and flaws of Darwinian evolution, but to the extent that it refuses to accept Biblical testimony it is no better than Darwinism. If we cannot accept that it was God who made the earth, the sky, the seas, and everything in them, then how can we ever expect God to be powerful enough to recreate this world when Christ returns? If God is not powerful enough to Creation, then how can God be powerful enough to Redeem? For that matter, if God did not Create, then why would he Redeem?
This simply cannot be both ways: One cannot have Darwin and God. God either Created or He did not. Atheists and Darwinists are convinced he did not. So why would Christians reject Scripture and align themselves with those who do not believe? This is, at its very core, a battle over whether or not Scripture is Truth. This is a problem for Christians right now who feel the need to abandon Scripture and compromise and fornicate with the world’s gods. (I’d like to use stronger language here, but I’ll be respectful for now.) This is about Christians, not Darwinists or atheists, who have abandoned the Word of God. Byassee may mock those of AiG, but they are right. Salvo may have no use for those who believe in the mere literal understanding, but if Genesis is not literal then how can anything else be literal in Scripture?
I should have more to say about this later, but for now I’ll leave you with this thought. The compromise Christians are making in this area is terribly damaging. Christianity is really one short step away from abandoning its entire belief system because we have rejected our Creator. Is this not what the apostle said Romans?
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
It does matter what Christians believe about the Scripture. So mock away, I will take Christians who believe in Scripture over those who don’t any day of the week. And in the end, I suspect the Lord will too.
Soli Deo Gloria!
ps–clearly the issue here is that neither the Salvo issue on ID (Intelligent Design) nor essay in The Christian Century deal adequately with Scripture. I know ID is not trying to and I know that is not the point of ID. Still both issues Salvo and TCC at best mock those who do contend with Scripture. AiG may not have everything right, but being right on all counts is not the issue. The issue is, rather, what point of view does one have of Scripture? AiG takes a high view of Scripture which means, at worst, they take God at His Word so that all that follows Genesis 1:1 is also taken at face value and as Truth. I don’t see such a high view of Scripture coming from either of the other two examples I have referenced.
pss–this post is not about evolution, ID, or Creation as such. It is about the point of view Christians have of Scripture. So please spare me all the atheistic rants about evolution’s proof, and Darwin’s godlike status, and the sanctity of the Natural History Museums in the world.
Those of you who are interested might trying visiting the new blog Design of Life. Lead blogger is Denyse O’Leary who also blogs at PostDarwinist and Uncommon Descent. I have added this blog to my blogroll as well. Here’s a sampling from one of her first posts. It concerns several myths that are currently propagated by the materialist culture:
– Humans and chimps are 99% genetically identical?
– Christian Europe believed and promoted the idea that the Earth is flat? Debunked here. In reality, the old cosmology pictured Earth as a sphere.
– The US government denies the age of the Grand Canyon? Believe it or not, someone at TIME Magazine was promoting that one. Remember that when you get the subscription renewal notice.
– Oh, and here’s a good one: Religious folk opposed anesthesia in childbirth?
– Isaac Newton was the soul of materialism? Wait till you hear what he had to say about the end of the world …
– And lastly, Charles Darwin invented the idea of evolution? What he invented was unguided materialist evolution. We explain that clearly in The Design of Life. (Prediction: You will soon be awash in nonsense because of the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth.)
If you enjoy The Design of Life, we are sure you will enjoy the blog too. And, if you enjoy the blog, the book will help you get up to speed on the reasons we have started this blog. Here you will read the news about evolution that does NOT support the propaganda that is – increasingly – legislated as the only information you or your kids or grandkids are allowed to learn in tax-supported schools. Why do we call it propaganda? Well, let’s start with the fact that the history of life has – so far – proceeded entirely differently from what Darwin’s theory of evolution would reasonably suggest.
Now, to be sure, I don’t buy the notion that the earth or universe is as old as O’Leary believes (millions upon millions) because I believe in a literal reading of Genesis (without the constraints of misinterpreted genealogies to set dates), but I do think there is something to be said about her careful observations concerning the logical inconsistencies and materialist underpinnings of Darwinian evolution. I think this new blog deserves a chance to get going assuming it will be something substantially different from the (at least) two other blogs she contributes to.
On another note, I read this short article about 10 days ago and forgot about it. Turns out that evolution in humans has been advancing rather more rapidly than scientists had previously thought:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Human evolution has been moving at breakneck speed in the past several thousand years, far from plodding along as some scientists had thought, researchers said on Monday.
Then there is this:
For example, Africans have new genes providing resistance to malaria. In Europeans, there is a gene that makes them better able to digest milk as adults. In Asians, there is a gene that makes ear wax more dry.
The changes have been driven by the colossal growth in the human population — from a few million to 6.5 billion in the past 10,000 years — with people moving into new environments to which they needed to adapt, added Henry Harpending, a University of Utah anthropologist.
“The central finding is that human evolution is happening very fast — faster than any of us thought,” Harpending said in a telephone interview.
“Most of the acceleration is in the last 10,000 years, basically corresponding to population growth after agriculture is invented,” Hawks said in a telephone interview.
Kind of makes you wonder what else scientists have been wrong about, doesn’t it? Oh, yes, I know. All this shows is that science is self-correcting. And I am glad they are. It is amazing to me that science, as it continues to improve and correct, keeps coming closer and closer to the Scriptural revelation. I wonder how many years it will take for science to evolve out of the silly idea of Materialist Darwinian evolution?
Isn’t it amazing how much we have changed in the past 10,000 years since God created us?
PS–BTW, I accidentally watched this last night. I thought you might like to see one of the proponents of Darwinism:
Perhaps we can all learn a little wisdom from Phoebe in these scenes. But it is funny how she puts Ross in his place. (I can’t believe I’m putting a Friends video on my blog.)
Imagine this. Every day, somewhere in the world (but mostly in the USA) some preacher gets the idea to build a megapolis to his own honor (usually, called a ‘megachurch’.) They use fancy sounding phrases like ‘this will enable us to better meet the ministry needs of our community’ and things like that. A while back, someone had a different dream. They said, “Let’s build a museum dedicated to the idea that God’s Word is actually telling the truth about our origins and our destiny.” Then they built it.
Well, I wonder if the reported $27 million that Answers in Genesis spent constructing the Creation Museum was a good use of money? Imagine, a museum dedicated solely to the proposition that God’s Word is true from the first verse to the last. Imagine, they have already surpassed their year long goals within the first six months! Imagine, something was built that had nothing to do with a pastor’s ego, the ‘needs’ of the community (except the need to hear the Word of God), or the ongoing quest for ‘relevance.’
Congratulations to Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum. It is refreshing to know that someone in this world still believes that the Bible is telling the Truth about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and what He has done for us. Good Job!
A while back I made quick reference at this blog to an essay published by Scientific American written by Michael Shermer: Darwin on the Right. It’s an older essay (published September 18, 2006), but I think the points he made then still need to addressed by thinking people who refuse to just give up. The overall tone of the essay, brief as it is, is just that: Christians ought to just give up the fight because, according to Darwinists, there is such a preponderance of evidence for Darwinian evolution that it seems silly for anyone to argue against it. Shermer writes:
According to a 2005 Pew Research Center poll, 70 percent of evangelical Christians believe that living beings have always existed in their present form, compared with 32 percent of Protestants and 31 percent of Catholics. Politically, 60 percent of Republicans are creationists, whereas only 11 percent accept evolution, compared with 29 percent of Democrats who are creationists and 44 percent who accept evolution. A 2005 Harris Poll found that 63 percent of liberals but only 37 percent of conservatives believe that humans and apes have a common ancestry. What these figures confirm for us is that there are religious and political reasons for rejecting evolution. Can one be a conservative Christian and a Darwinian? Yes. Here’s how.
Now, I realize these figures are severely outdated, and that Shermer’s essay is over a year old, but I doubt the figures have changed much. Shermer’s approach is kind of a ‘Awe, com’on you silly Christians (and Conservatives!) get with the program!’ He also seems to think that believing in evolution (or at least making it compatible with biblical Christianity) is a rather simple thing to do: “Just follow these six easy steps and, Presto! as if by magic the synthesis will be complete.” But is it really as easy as Shermer would suggest? I think not. I’d like to take his points one at a time which means that these posts may run a little longer and may, in fact, be broken up as I address each of his six points.
First, Shermer writes that ‘Evolution fits well with good theology.’ He writes:
Christians believe in an omniscient and omnipotent God. What difference does it make when God created the universe–10,000 years ago or 10,000,000,000 years ago? The glory of the creation commands reverence regardless of how many zeroes in the date. And what difference does it make how God created life–spoken word or natural forces? The grandeur of life’s complexity elicits awe regardless of what creative processes were employed. Christians (indeed, all faiths) should embrace modern science for what it has done to reveal the magnificence of the divine in a depth and detail unmatched by ancient texts.
Well, in fact it does matter a great deal–theologically speaking, and for a few reasons at least. First, because, as I have stated elsewhere, the premise of Darwinian evolution is that it does not require any god to be involved. (I sometimes think Richard Dawkins carries more dislike for theistic evolutionists than he does for Creationists.) The whole idea then that Christians should accept a system of belief that does not require God, even the God of Scripture, is absurd. Second, because the Scripture says that God Created the world by his Spoken Word! The Scripture does not say that God used ‘natural forces’ (whatever that means). Genesis 1 is ample testimony that God spoke the world and the universe into existence. Colossians 1 is further evidence. But there is also Hebrews 11:3: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (And, please, spare me the drivel about creationism being only a matter of faith because evolution is no less a matter of faith!)
Third, ‘modern science’ is not rejected! This is the straw-man that Darwinists continue to lob out at Christians. Christians do not reject science; we reject materialistic Darwinian evolution and those ideas and beliefs that reject the Word of God as true.
Fourth, it (evolution) is not good or even bad theology or even compatible with good theology because Darwinian evolution is not any sort of Continue Reading »
Here’s some helpful stuff concerning evolution:
First, Intelligent Design is Not Creationism. (Blog entry by Robert Crowther.) I think this is significant. Said Philip Johnson, “Ralph, in my writings and public appearances I can’t even mention God much less Satan. I have a very specific battle to fight, namely, to take apart the logic of unaided evolution. That is all I am trying to do.” (See Ralph Winter: The Religion of Science: The Largest Remaining Frontier) Crowther & Johnson are right. ID is not about Biblical Creation. There may be ID’ers who happen to believe in Creation and use ID to argue against evolution, but ID should not be confused with a specific belief in the specific verses of the Bible found in Genesis and elsewhere.
Second, Casey Luskin has a series of blog entries concerning the so-called 1% difference in genetic material between chimps and humans. He is writing concerning Jon Cohen’s work and a recent Scienceessay (I’m not commenting on the Science essay since I don’t have full access to it. I’m merely referencing Luskin’s blog and pointing to it.) Follow these links: 1 % Difference Myth, Exchange with Cohen, pt 1, Exchange with Cohen, pt 2. Luskin also printed the letter he received from Cohen in the first part. For more information on this debate see Scientific American.
Third, even though this is ‘old news’ by now, I couldn’t leave out a reference to our good friend Dr Watson, and Dr Watson, and Dr Watson. I could probably put a hundred more links to this honest Darwinist, but why bother. It’s funny how every time a Darwinist is honest about the logical conclusions of Darwinism, the rest of the gang hurries to silence him or her. I at least appreciate honesty. Or read this or this or this.
Fourth, here is a brilliant blog entry by Bruce Chapman on the fears of Darwinists: Science Controversies and Public Burnings. He writes:
We all have to get over the childish assumption that scientists are superior beings immune from human pride and ambition, not to mention human guile and bile. Here’s a question though, do these negative qualities derive from evolutionary adaptation—and therefore must be excused—or from a human nature anchored to the very existence of man’s soul, and therefore must be confronted?
Brilliant point. You mean the very thing the Darwinists accuse Christians of is the very thing that they themselves are susceptible to?
Fifth, what about traditional morality? I’ve had Darwinists here tell me that one can be perfectly moral and believe in Darwinian evolution. True? Dr John West argues against this idea. I’ll even give Dr West a plug for his book Darwin’s Conservatives. (The first link will lead you to a page where you can listen to a podcast of Dr West’s ideas.)
OK. I think that is plenty for now. Some of this is for you to consider, some of it is for me to check on later when I have some more time. For now, have fun. Remember, the challenge of ideas is what spurs us on to better ideas. Here we are debating thoughts and ideas. I think you’ll have fun with these pages even if you don’t agree with all the ideas presented.
I wonder if anyone really understands what the ‘debate’ is? Here’s the closing paragraph from Avery Cardinal Dulles at First Things: God and Evolution.
The recent outburst of atheistic scientism is an ominous sign. If unchecked, this arrogance could lead to a resumption of the senseless warfare that raged in the nineteenth century, thus undermining the harmony of different levels of knowledge that has been foundational to our Western civilization. By contrast, the kind of dialogue between evolutionary science and theology proposed by John Paul II can overcome the alienation and lead to authentic progress both for science and for religion.
I wonder if anyone realizes that for most Christians the debate is not between ‘science’ and ‘religion’? The ‘debate’ is between Christ and Darwin. I don’t know a single Christian who is opposed to science. Not a single one! On the other hand, I know plenty of Christians (and not-Christians) who are opposed to Darwinian Evolution and its underlying materialism and all that goes along with it.
For the record, there is also a large population of Christians who couldn’t care less what the pope has to say about anything–let alone whether there should be dialogue between Christians and evolutionists. For example:
In a widely noticed message on evolution to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, sent on October 22, 1996, John Paul II noted that, while there are several theories of evolution, the fact of the evolution of the human body from lower forms of life is “more than a hypothesis.” But human life, he insisted, was separated from all that is less than human by an “ontological difference.” The spiritual soul, said the pope, does not simply emerge from the forces of living matter nor is it a mere epiphenomenon of matter. Faith enables us to affirm that the human soul is immediately created by God.
Yes, but the pope also things he is the voice of God in the church, that he is the head of the church, that what he says is gospel, and that we should pray to the virgin Mary. That John Paul would make such absurd statements says more about his willingness to compromise biblical teaching than it does of his leadership in forging ahead with such dialogue. And while I mean no offense to all the good catholic Christians in the world, I’d rather have them on my side than not, the pope does not speak, dead or alive, for all Christians in this matter. In fact, he was and is wrong.
But even if such ‘dialogue’ should take place, what would that mean? I don’t know a single, committed Darwinist who is willing to concede that God had anything to do with evolution. Ask them, and they will tell you that the ‘God-hypothesis’ is meaningless and unnecessary for Darwinian evolutionary forces. And for the Christian, Darwinian evolution is simply incompatible with biblical revelation. It defies the most basic, fundamental teaching of the Scripture: “In the Beginning God Created…” And our redemption in Christ is too closely tied to this verse for this verse to be ignored or explained away by materialist Darwinism. What dialogue, then, should there be? What dialogue could there be? It would be a staring contest to see who cracked first. And more and more, regrettably, it is the Christian who is cracking.
Again, this is not a matter of science vs religion. It is a matter of Christ vs Darwinism. We should at least define the parameters correctly. I need to read the rest of the essay, but these are some preliminary thoughts on the matter. Thanks for stopping by.
Stephen Jay Gould, eminent popularizer of Darwinism over the course of his career writing for Natural History was simply a stunning writer. I quote from his essay, In the Mind of the Beholder, in the February 1994 issue:
Historians and philosophers of science often make a distinction between the logic and psychologic of a scientific conclusion–or ‘context of justification’ and ‘context of discovery’ in the jargon. After conclusions are firmly in place, a logical pathway can be traced from data through principles of reasoning to results and new theories–context of justification. But scientists who make the discovery rarely follow the optimal pathway of subsequent logical reconstruction. Scientists reach conclusions for the damnedest reasons: intuitions, guesses, redirections after wild goose chases, all combined with a dollop of rigorous observation and logical reasoning to be sure–context of discovery.” (p 14)
And Darwinists say that Creationists need faith!
Darwinism is defunct, deadly, and dying.
Charles Darwin should share with Adolph Hitler the blame for the 11 million or more lives lost in the Holocaust, a provocative video documentary explains. And, the program says, the more than 45 million American lives lost to abortion also can be blamed on that famous founder of evolutionary theory.”
This is just a bit. Click the link for more.
Also, see this amazing, 17 page pdf: A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.
We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
The copy I have linked to was updated in February 2007. The document lists the current position the scientist holds, and their academic credentials.
Also see: Dissent From Darwin.
You will be amazed at how many scientists question the Darwinian theory of evolution thus countering the commonly held belief and propaganda that all scientists with credentials believe in bunk theories like Darwinism.
Also see: Doctors Doubting Darwin.
Then there’s: Survival of the Fakest.
What all of this shows, at least in part, is that Darwinism is not as commonly accepted among the ‘intellectual elite’ (R Dawkins words) as we have been led to believe. One would think that Darwinism is such a lock that there would be no dissent from any scientist ever, that there would only be consensus. I think these documents point us in the direction where we can confidently say: That is not true!
Happily, there are plenty of rational people in the scientific world who understand what the real issues are in this battle. Happily, those of us who know how to think, who enjoy mystery because it gives us a reason to continue searching, and delight in the power of God, can truly see what Darwinism is at its roots: Life without God.
Have a blessed day, and if you see a Darwinist, or hear from a teacher that Darwin had all the answers, print the seventeen pages or give them a link. Don’t fear those who have no answers and thus must invent theories to explain what their small minds cannot grasp. Believe in the God of Creation.
Scientific Americanhas published the most ridiculous essay by Michael Shermer publisher of Skeptic. He has published 6 reasons why Conservative Christians should just accept Darwinian evolution. They are:
1. Evolution fits well with good theology.
2. Creationism is bad theology.
3. Evolution explains original sin and the Christian model of human nature.
4. Evolution explains family values.
5. Evolution accounts for specific Christian moral precepts.
6. Evolution explains conservative free-market economics.
He ends his work by quoting from Proverbs 11:29. I’d like to remind Mr. Shermer of another quotation from Proverbs: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
I’m going to read his arguments carefully before I say anything else about them because he could very well just be acting like a smart ass in which case his ‘take’ is meaningless. He asks at the outset: “Can one be a conservative Christian and a Darwinian? Yes. Here’s how.” I want to state this out front: No, one cannot. (If you don’t believe me, ask Richard Dawkins.) There is simply no way, despite the efforts of many well-intentioned Christians and Darwinists to do so, to mesh the two philosophies.
The reason is as follows: Redemption is too closely, tightly knitted together with the God of Creation for there to be any compatibility between the two. I will explore this a little more when I comment on the specific points of his essay.
Perhaps some of my more scientific friends could help me with this story because I’m not quite certain what to make of it at this point. Artificial Life. Here are a couple of questions.
First, is he serious about this being used to ‘combat global warming’?
Second, are there any ethical issues concerning what he has ‘created’ (shouldn’t he say, ‘what I have evolved’? I mean, he didn’t really create it did he? Seriously.)
Mr Venter said he had carried out an ethical review before completing the experiment. “We feel that this is good science,” he said. He has further heightened the controversy surrounding his potential breakthrough by applying for a patent for the synthetic bacterium.
What does ‘feeling’ have to do with it? I’m sure there are others who ‘feel’ this is ‘bad science’. ‘Feelings’ should have nothing to do with whether or not this is ethical, good, or even science.
Third, how is it ‘a new life form’ if it starts out by being ‘transplanted into a living bacterial cell’?
Fourth, is this guy really naive enough to believe this statement he made:
Mr Venter believes designer genomes have enormous positive potential if properly regulated. In the long-term, he hopes they could lead to alternative energy sources previously unthinkable. [My emphasis.]
Nothing has ever been properly regulated. This is wishful thinking.
Fifth, explain this statement:
“We are not afraid to take on things that are important just because they stimulate thinking,” he said. “We are dealing in big ideas. We are trying to create a new value system for life. When dealing at this scale, you can’t expect everybody to be happy.”
What ‘thinking’ does he hope to stimulate? What is the ‘big idea’ here? What is the new ‘value system for life’ he hopes to create? Seriously, what would this sort of work do to help the world live better, happier, and with more value for life? I think it is too bad we don’t consider humans people created in the image of God instead of products of changes incurred climbing ‘mount improbable.’ Then we wouldn’t need a new ‘value system’. But what is the ‘value system’ he hopes to create?
Sixth, is this in any way another attempt by man to ‘play God’? Does this story say anything to us about what we really think about life, God, and Darwinian evolution? If yes, what? If no, why?
Well, I’d really appreciate any feedback you could give me. I’m up in the air on this one so I’m asking for a little guidance. Thanks.
Because I am interested in truth, here’s another link: Intelligent Design. This link is to a pro-evolution site, but the pages are in the form of essay/response: Essay by an ID’er, response by an EVO’er. Anyhow, for what it’s worth…there are some flaws, evidently, in the ID scheme of things. As I’ve said before, that’s why I think it is better to take Genesis at face value.
Someone complained to me a while back that irreducible complexity had been debunked and proven false. I just found an essay by William Dembski that reduces that debunking to myth. It is an older essay (published in 2003) but worth the effort. For even more, visit Irreducible Complexity Revisited.
By the way, many of Dembski’s writings, which are technical at times, can be accessed by clicking this link to the Design Inference Website. There is a ton of stuff here. Dembski, the last time I checked, was the owner of two PhD’s, one in mathematics and the other in philosophy; he also has other degrees. He is well published in a variety of disciplines.
There are a lot of questions I regret I cannot answer when it comes to Darwinian evolution. William Dembski can answer them and in many instances, has. I encourage you to visit Design Inference and his blog Uncommon Descent which I linked to in a previous post. Don’t be put off by his belief in ID, he is erudite and concise. You will appreciate his work.