Showing posts with label Evolution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Evolution. Show all posts

Friday, June 07, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Evolving Christianity

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Billions of blue, blistering barnacles ...

Erik Jones asks the question “Was Christianity Designed to Evolve?

Tom: Now, Jones is Church of God, the Sabbath-keeping sect out of Texas that originated with Herbert Armstrong, so we’re certainly not going to find ourselves in agreement with their particular emphasis on law-keeping and Jewish holy days, a hint of which bleeds into Jones’ article.

We will also be unsurprised to find Jones’ answer to his own question is a resounding ‘No’.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Cognitive Dissonance

My youngest son was going out the door this afternoon, trying to figure out what to wear. He asked, “Is it a warm twelve degrees or a cold twelve degrees?” I said, “You’ll be fine the way you are. Unless we get the rain they have been saying is 100% likely for the last four hours.”

It was a bright sunny day. Not a drop of rain to be seen anywhere. Not a cloud in the sky.

Halfway up the stairs he stopped and said this: “They can’t tell us what’s going to happen in the next twelve hours, but they can tell us what’s been happening for the last six billion years.”

I said, “You have now learned everything important I could ever teach you.”

Friday, May 20, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Fundamentalism and Modernism

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Theistic evolution is a concept that has become increasingly acceptable throughout Christendom. As long as God is said to have directed it, evolution is a pill many otherwise-solid Christians seem prepared to swallow.

Tom: I read Terry Mortenson’s article on compromise this morning. It seems as good a starting point as any. He names a number of well-reputed conservative stalwarts whose own statements suggest they have gone (or went) a little soft on the issue — James Orr, Dyson Hague, George Frederick Wright, R.A. Torrey — to one degree or another, some as far back as the early 1900s. Other less conservative believers like Andrew Klavan accept evolution outright, convinced it’s so obvious that believing it is simply common sense.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Under the Science Bus [Part 2]

Before Christians join Michael Gungor and a growing number of fellow believers in throwing Noah, Adam, Eve, Jonah and a bunch of other Old Testament standards under the big ol’ scary Science Bus, I’m going to suggest we ask ourselves a few more questions about science:

5.  Are Scientists Infallible?

One only needs a quick glance at Wikipedia’s lengthy list of superseded scientific theories to recognize that they are not.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Under the Science Bus [Part 1]

I have a degree of respect for the intelligence of critics who dismiss scripture in its entirety on the basis that it is unscientific or incredible, though I don’t agree with them (and, in many instances, their arguments would be more convincing if they would take the time to actually read what they are criticizing).

At least, if wrong, their position is intellectually coherent.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: Evolving Christianity

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The New Creationism

I’ve gotten far too used to seeing creationists adopt a more or less defensive posture, taking issue with what purports to be intelligent criticism from a scientific perspective, but usually amounts to nothing more than derisive sniping. The non-scientific media relentlessly harangue creationists over views they haven’t read and don’t understand in favor of secular views they also haven’t read and couldn’t coherently articulate in any case.

These apologetics are of some limited use; however, because they are almost completely defensive, they cannot do much to rehabilitate — let alone popularize — the creationist position in the public sphere.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Anonymous Asks (34)

“How do you know God is real besides ‘look all around you’?”

Mileage varies. For me, one of the most powerful evidences of God’s reality is my cat. She is a slightly-dinged-up work of art. The Theory of Evolution by Whichever-Mechanism-is-Currently-in-Vogue offers one possible explanation for her existence. The Bible offers me what I think is a better one: she was designed by an Artist of unparalleled skill. It also offers me an explanation for why she is slightly dinged up: she’s collateral damage from the fall of mankind.

So “look all around you” works for me, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Fair enough.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Cake on a Fence

Theistic evolutionists attempt to reconcile the claims of secular scientists with the claims of the Bible. The idea is that by allegorizing or mythologizing the early chapters of Genesis, Christians can retain the important moral teaching of scripture without losing their audience.

It is an increasingly popular position, though hard numbers of Christians who hold it are difficult to come by. On the low side, a Gallup poll taken for the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday showed only 24% of frequent church attendees believe in evolution. On the high side, a more recent study claimed almost 50% of Roman Catholics believe it.

That’s an apples/oranges comparison, of course, but the actual percentage of Christians who feel comfortable acknowledging some form of theistic evolution probably falls somewhere in between those two numbers.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Fundamentalism and Modernism

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Anonymous Asks (12)

“Where did God come from before he created earth, animals and humankind?”

This is the kind of question that could be asked two entirely different ways. The first is out of curiosity. The second is out of an obdurate refusal to believe anything that can’t be stringently proved on one’s own terms.

Since I have no idea where this anonymous questioner is coming from in his current thinking, I’ll answer it both ways and trust he’ll take it appropriately.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Semi-Random Musings (8)

“Darwinism was once a well-fortified castle, with elaborate towers, moats, and battlements,” says author Tom Bethell. “Today, however, it more closely resembles a house of cards, built out of flimsy icons rather than hard evidence, and liable to blow away in the slightest breeze.” So begins Darwin’s House of Cards: A Journalist’s Odyssey Through the Darwin Debates.

What isn’t initially obvious is that the “debates” in view are almost all in-house, which to me is a big selling point. Rather than rehash the arguments of creationists, Bethell has instead elected to draw his citations primarily from a murderer’s row of big names on the other side of the table who stray here and there from Darwinian orthodoxy.

As you might anticipate, where weaknesses in their case have come to light through disagreements in the evolutionist camp, these have not always been well-publicized.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

We Won’t Even Say We Told You So

Advances in the study of genetics continue to raise uncomfortable questions about the credibility of Darwinian evolutionary theory, requiring ever-more-elaborate pseudo-scientific fantasies about the origin of species and, as usual, reminding Christians that the wisdom of this world is folly with God and “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”

It appears Darwin’s religion requires more faith than ever.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Quote of the Day (39)

In his book Do We Need God to be Good? anthropologist C.R. Hallpike quotes mathematician Kevin Devlin:

“Whatever features of our brain enable (some of) us to do mathematics must have been present long before we had any mathematics. Those crucial features, therefore, must have evolved to fulfil some other purpose.”

This sort of statement is incredibly common among evolutionary psychologists and biologists, but “some other [undefined] purpose” is pretty much the best they have to offer the world. The gaping holes in their theoretical framework are orders of magnitude larger than the frame itself, calling their entire dubious intellectual structure into question.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Quote of the Day (36)

If Professor Bret Weinstein is not quite Washington State’s answer to Jordan Peterson, at very least he’s managed to make a bunch of the same enemies by refusing to kow-tow to political correctness on campus, and good for him.

Weinstein is an evolutionary theorist and a professor of biology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. He and Peterson got together on Joe Rogan’s show recently (ostensibly to discuss Hitler, of all things) in a wide-ranging, almost three hour brainstorm-fest. (Rogan may have an ‘everyman’ sort of appeal, but he too is no intellectual slouch.)

At least part of the three-way exchange might interest other Christians as intensely as it interested me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Quote of the Day (29)

Fred Reed is a smart guy. Definitely smarter than me. Closing in on seventy and anticipating the economic, cultural and political disasters looming over the United States, the former journalist bolted to Mexico to write away his retirement, mostly online.

Fred is that special sort of smart that sees the holes in both sides of an argument. The great thing about being alert in that particular way is that it generally means you are humble enough to say “I don’t know” on a regular basis, something you never hear from the majority of scientists, politicians and media pundits.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Evolving Christianity

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Recommend-a-blog (17)

Tim Barnett at Stand to Reason tells us why Christianity with a mythical Adam and Eve simply doesn’t work:

“Imagine a young boy sits next to his grandfather, and a large scar across his grandfather’s cheek catches the boy’s attention. The boy asks, ‘Grandpa, how did you get that scar on your face?’ The grandfather replies, ‘Well, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ...’ Immediately the boy interrupts his grandfather, ‘No, Grandpa, I don’t want a fairy tale, I want to know how you got that real scar on your face.’

The problem of sin is real. We experience it every day. A fictional tale does not explain the fall of humanity into sin.”

Monday, February 01, 2016

One Bad Argument Deserves Another

Sometimes better to add nothing ...
The creation/evolution debate goes on, but maybe a little less publicly than before.

In my lifetime, evolution has become the preferred ideology for those seeking election to public office and the only broadly acceptable “scientific” explanation of origins. Even an increasing number of evangelicals are buying in.

As Neil Carter puts it, “Scientists are no longer debating the topic of common ancestry nor the age of the earth. That ship sailed a long time ago”.

Which is too bad, really. Truth does not cease to be truth because people have stopped discussing it and, for the most part, abandoned the search for it.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Recommend-a-blog (12)

I don’t know enough about the Intelligent Design movement to recommend this site unreservedly. I’ve seen ID regularly and virulently thrashed in the scientific community; seen its proponents and exponents referred to as “IDiots” and worse.

Still, Denyse O’Leary’s recent article on horizontal gene transfer at Evolution News is not some easily-discredited Christian science fantasy. It is backed by secular science (including MIT) and well worth a glance for anyone interested in the subject of origins.

Basically, it gives Darwin’s evolutionary mechanism a pretty hard time.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Consensus and Truth

Truth is an interesting thing.

If every intellectual, expert and scientist in the world could be simultaneously brought to consensus by some particular piece of evidence, would that constitute “truth”?

More importantly, how would we know?

The climate change folks attempted to convince us their popular theory has just about that level of consensus. Motherboard ran an article in 2014 that insisted “0.01 Percent of Climate Scientists Reject Global Warming”.

Hey, if only 1/100 of 1% of climate scientists are against global warming, that must mean everybody important is already on board. So break out the sunblock: anyone who disagrees with us must be nuts!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: Fundamentalism and Modernism

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Saturn and Uniformitarianism

Maggie McKee at has an interesting piece on the difficulties that a number of recent scientific discoveries pose for uniformitarians, several of them related to study of the planet Saturn.

For instance, Saturn’s rings, which are 90% water ice, should be darker than they are if they were actually formed 4 billion years ago as originally assumed. Comets and asteroids shed dust that in theory ought to darken the rings over time. So the rings are either younger than previously thought, or … something.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Get a Cat, Richard

Not my cat, but close enough
I’m feeling inadequate today, for a number of reasons.

One is age. Okay, fine, relatively speaking I’m not all THAT old. Still, when you get out of bed in the morning and creak all the way to the bathroom and don’t feel like yourself until you’ve had your morning coffee (assuming you are still allowed by your doctor to drink coffee and of course always assuming that alcohol is not involved), you start to think about how much worse it may get.

Someone at the midweek prayer meeting I attend recently offered up thanks for the life of a fellow believer who just reached 110, more than twice my age. That is, to me, a daunting prospect.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Science Redux

David Berlinski does what I can’t (but certainly tried to) in a Peter Robinson interview appropriately entitled Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions. He quotes from his book The Devil’s Delusion:
“In many respects, the word ‘naturalism’ comes closest to conveying what scientists regard as the spirit of science: the source of its superiority to religious thought. But what reason is there to conclude that everything is, to quote philosopher Alexander Byrne, ‘an aspect of the universe … revealed by the natural sciences’? There is no reason at all.”
He comments on the validity of certain scientists’ claim to authority:
“The comparable claim would be, ‘(a) I’m a scientist; (b) I’m an expert on contract law’. You’re an expert on contract law because you’ve studied particle physics? Give me a break. An expert on the existence of God because you’ve studied particle physics? I request the same break, the same suspension of belief, the same absence of commitment to whatever it is you’re saying.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwing the Old Testament Under the Science Bus [Pt 2]

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Throwing the Old Testament Under the Science Bus [Pt 1]

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Media Dumbs Down

“The U.S. is being overrun by a wave of anti-science, anti-intellectual thinking. Has the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind?” (from a Maclean’s article entitled “America Dumbs Down”, by Jonathon Gatehouse)
I don’t subscribe to Maclean’s magazine, but car trouble last week left me stuck at the mechanic with a styrofoam cup of bad coffee in hand and, well, there wasn’t much else on offer. I read a bunch of articles but the Gatehouse piece stuck out like a sore thumb.

His thesis, in short: Americans are stupid. Gatehouse’s proof?

·         42% of Americans  are “not too” or “not at all” confident that all life on Earth is the product of evolution;
·         51% are skeptical that a “big bang” 13.8 billion years ago started it all;
·         36% doubt the Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years;
·         47% are less than perfectly confident that child vaccines are safe;
·         only 33% are highly confident that global warming is “man made”.

(Also, Gatehouse is offended that more Americans didn’t uncritically embrace Obamacare and had to have it rammed down their throats, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Then he warms to his theme: “Everywhere you look these days, America is in a rush to embrace the stupid. Hell-bent on a path that’s not just irrational, but often self-destructive.”

Really? Does Skepticism = Stupidity, in every instance?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Who’s Afraid of Science?

I often refer to Wikipedia, that unassailable bastion of compiled wisdom, not because I believe it to be particularly accurate, but because it provides as good an understanding of how people currently use language as can possibly be obtained. A Wikipedia definition is the gold standard for lowest common denominator human knowledge. So while it may not represent what everyone down through human history understood by the term “science”, let’s give their definition a browse:
Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.”
Sounds reasonable, no? So let’s get some things clear here:

I am not anti-science — and more importantly, neither Christians nor the Scripture itself are anti-science — if by “science” we mean using our God-given intelligence to puzzle out how things work and make life better for each other. Who could reasonably be against the search for objective truth? Who wouldn’t like better hygiene, a cure for cancer or buildings that remain standing in earthquakes?

“Science” in this sense is a perfectly sensible concept, and something man was clearly designed for. It’s in our nature to ask questions and look for answers.

I am, however, profoundly anti-science, if by “science” you mean what most people actually mean by it: agenda-driven, government- or special interest-funded pseudo-authority masquerading as universal truth. 

Boiled down to its essence, it is a propaganda hammer used to bludgeon the most malleable minds into what are — today, at least — the most politically acceptable shapes.

It is about as far from the original concept as it is possible to have come.