Evolutionism vs. Creationism?

Having been raised in a non-Christian home which encouraged my early appreciation of the sciences, when I began to pursue Jesus it was the utmost importance for me grasp how what I thought I knew from science related to what God told me what true about creation in the Scriptures. I went through a number of phases of how I understood and interpreted both (Science & the Scripture), but as it comes up often in conversations with skeptics, I thought I’d pull together some of my current thinking on the issue of Biblical creationism.

First, I need to point out: there are good scientific grounds to believe that the universe may not be quite as old as we had at one time thought, and the estimates for the age of the earth, in particular, in some secular scientific circles, has – last I checked – been shortening: i.e. – the earth may not be as old as we once thought.

Second, one can believe that the over-arching story (a meta-narrative) is true without agreeing or signing-on with every little detail, as we currently understand it. I know many thinking Christians who do. Thought remaining ‘agnostic’ on particular doctrines of the faith may not be the most comfortable place to be (I remain so on the issue of the ‘end-times’, to a large degree, as the more I study it the less sure I am of which interpretation of the end-times events are the most Biblically accurate, so I have simply chosen to suspend my judgment on the issue until later), sometimes it is the most solid place we can find to stand. Many criticize nit-picky details of the Judea Christian creation account to dismiss the larger picture, which in the face of those details still has great ‘explanatory’ power.

Thirdly, Old Testament Hebrew isn’t at all like New Testament Greek: Greek is specific, Hebrew is vague, Greek was a detailed written language, Ancient Hebrew was written down ONLY for the purpose of aiding memorization, so it was essentially comparable to ‘short-hand’ or even abbreviation – they used no vowels, so one written word – depending of the vowel sounds you inserted between the written consonants – could have MANY meanings.

Fourthly, the creation account(s) in Genesis is/are a genre unto themselves and are hard to interpret – they don’t quite seem to be literal history, they don’t seem to quit be prophecy, and not quite poetry. This really opens up their interpretation possibilities, and even for Bible ‘literalists’, there are 3 or 4 very broadly different interpretations of the Creation account which can be solidly defended from the written Hebrew text.

Well, as quickly as I can muster, this is my personal take on Genesis, which is, like most any idea, is not original to me, but originates with Rabbi’s before Jesus, and was recently re-popularized by my personal favorite Hebrew Scholar, Dr. John Sailhamer.

The short of it is this: The book of Genesis only tells us that the Universe was created, not how or when, and the 7 days are not creation days of the Earth, but rather days of ‘ordering’ and ‘assigning meaning and purpose’ to things humans interact with in the area that would eventually be known as the ‘promised land’.

In the Beginning:
First, it is important to note that “Reshit”, the best English phraseology for the Hebrew word for “Beginning”: every place it occurs in Scripture (including this one) refers to a block of time – not a specific moment…an ‘age’ or period of time, not a ‘point’.

In Job 8:7 ‘reshit’ refers to Job early life, the entire period up to when his misfortunes began. “And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.
If ‘reshit’ was here read as it is commonly understood in Genesis this would mean, not that Job’s early life was fairly insignificant, but that at the moment of his birth he was a small child – not a likely reading.

In Genesis 10:10 ‘reshit’ refers to the first phase or period of Nimrod’s kingdom.
The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” So, either all of these cities were founded at the same moment, or this is an overview of the ‘early days’ or ‘reshit’ of his kingdom.

In Jeremiah 28:1:
In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, Hananiah the son of Azzur, the prophet from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the LORD” Understood in context, this was 4 years in – so, if it was still the ‘beginning’ of his reign, this ‘beginning’ has been 4 years long…it is used this way through most of the Old Testament.

Given it’s use elsewhere in the Pentateuch (the books of Moses), and throughout the rest of the Old Testament, there is no good reason that “in the beginning” in Genesis 1:1 should be a moment, rather than simply a referencing to an earlier period of time (which would indeed have a beginning and an end, but a length of time itself which has no necessary boundaries length-wise)…

Basically, ‘in the beginning’ should understood much like the phrase ‘in my youth’, not, as is commonly understood, ‘at the moment of my birth’.

Of course, that leaves the age of the earth entirely beyond the scope of the Bible – it simply doesn’t address the issue.

Given this, of course, is there any reason the universe could not be billions of years old? There are already clear examples of it representing 4 year period, and the early period of a kingdom (God only knows how long that was – the founding of 5 or 6 other cities can take a while), and multiple times it refers to one’s childhood, which in the Old Testament, where people’s ages sometimes SEEM to reach 900 years+, that can be a long time. Given its context, it’s pretty clear that the word simply references some unspecified period of time in the past. I can see no linguistic reason to limit the word’s scope, otherwise. My only case that it could mean ‘billions’ of years, of course, is that it’s used at the beginning of genesis in reference to the period of time during which the Universe came into being to the point in time where the fertile creasant (Promised Land/Eden) was prepared for the introduction of human life. Given what we know scientifically, since ‘reshit’ is referring to that period of time, if Science is correct on the age of the universe, by necessity that would be what ‘reshit’ was referencing, and such would easily fit within it’s semantic usage.

Again, the creation story in Genesis is the single hardest section of the Bible to translate. Not only is Hebrew vague (quite the opposite of Greek) – sometimes a single word (like the word “day”, for instance) can have 10 – 15 different meaning depending on the context of the word. On top of that, Hebrew, as it was originally written (for instance, in the earliest texts of the Old Testament, one of which would be the book of Genesis) was not a written language as we understand it: it was an oral one. Even during Jesus time and afterwards most young men were expected to have memorized the entire Torah (the first 5 books of our Christian Bible). The original written texts of Genesis, therefore, was only written in a way to remind someone that had already memorized the contents of the text – they only wrote down consonants – no vowels. It would be sort of like you memorizing a paper, then writing down the first and last letter of every word on a piece of paper to use as ‘notes’ to remind you of what you were going to say. Someone that didn’t know the text honestly couldn’t read it, or would only be guessing at what you might have intended to say. The fact that many of the words in the so-called ‘creation story’ (which I call, from a ‘Historical Creationism’ perspective, the ‘ordering story’) are used no where else in the entire Old Testament, at least not within this context, means that their meaning is – to a great degree – up for grabs. That is why one can make a solid case for long-day creationism (like Hugh Ross), a position I respect and at one time held myself, short-day creationism (which has many problems, but a few benefits from a theological perspective), and many other modified versions of the creation story.

Here’s the short of it: If one single author or editor was responsible for Torah (tradition says that Moses was behind it to a large degree), then one would expect the usage and definition of words over the course of those 5 books to be consistent. The word translated ‘earth’ during the ‘creation story’ literally means ‘dirt beneath your feet’, and is translated through-out the rest of the torah as ‘land’, most often referring to the ‘promised land’. The word translated ‘heavens and earth’ is a Hebrew phrase that doesn’t mean ‘land’, but ‘all that is’ – in modern terms: ‘universe’. So, here’s the creation story in total – “In the beginning (which is not a specific time, but in Hebrew is the equivalent to our phrase “when I was younger”, meaning that some undetermined period of time sometime in the distance past) God created (the word ‘created’ in Hebrew can mean any number of things, which I’ll address next) the ‘Heavens and the Earth’ (i.e. – all that exists). That’s the entire Creation Story from a Historical Creationist perspective. That’s all God tells us about the creation – no details.

As has been said by others after studying this: Since the creation of the universe is finished before the six days of Genesis one ever begin, then what is God doing for the six days throughout the rest of the chapter?

Sailhamer says (and I think I agree with him) God is preparing the Promised Land for the inhabitation of the human race. He is preparing the land, not creating the universe.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

The phrase ‘Formless and Void’ in Hebrew (our modern translations are all influenced by the Greek concept of this phrase) brings to mind the idea of a desert. In fact, Jewish interpreters around the era 300-200 B.C. rendered the phrase not as “formless and void” but as “desolate without human beings or beasts and void of all cultivation of plants and trees” Basically, the land was unsuitable for human habitation

On the first of what is normally considered a creation day, God says, “Let there be light.” Elsewhere this same phrase is used to describe the sunrise, and is translated as such. Light was not created in our modern understanding, nor was the Sun it was just given a purpose (which is one of the meanings of the Hebrew concept of create): to give light to the land which Gods people will occupy.

Day two, God purposed the clouds to provide rain FOR vegetation (for mankind) in the land.

Day three, the land began to bring forth vegetation the land was no longer wilderness.

On day four, God declared the man-centered purpose of the sun, moon, and stars, which is actually hinted at in the English translations Let the lights in the expanse be FOR separating the day and night etc. On the fourth day God was not creating the sun and stars, but stating the purpose for which he had already created them “in the beginning”-to provide light on the land for man and to be measurements for keeping time. Why does God wait until the 3rd day to declare the purpose of the celestial bodies? Theologically, it seems that the author of Genesis wants to make clear that the order and purpose of all of creation come from the mouth and mind of God. Also, the ordering of the days seems to reflect a form of Hebrew poetry.

On the fifth day God populated the sky and seas that he had prepared on day two with birds and sea creatures. As with the celestial bodies, these creatures had already been created “in the beginning.” But since the promise land had been a deserted wilderness up until this point, God had to bring forth these creatures to populate the land. Likewise, the expression in Genesis 1:20 need not mean that God created the sea creatures for the first time on day five. In light of Genesis 1:1, we must understand it to mean that God was populating the promised land with the various creatures that were created ‘in the beginning’

So on, and so forth – tie this to the fact that we don’t know if day (which simply means a period of time with a beginning and an end its used to mean day, week, year, decades, and that the Hebrew people had weeks of years a week merely meant 7 of ANYTHING) was a 24 hour period, or some very long period, and couple all of that with the fact that the poetic rendering of the account leaves it open to all be understood figuratively, and it really opens up the possible meaning of the creation event.

Another problem, the concept of ‘create’ in Hebrew: If I were to call out of nothing a ceramic glass, I would have ‘created’ it according to the Hebrew word – yet, if I were to form a ceramic glass out of clay, then fire it, I also would have ‘created’ a glass – but ALSO, If I were to take a ceramic glass shaped thing and say ‘This is a ceramic glass’, I would have ‘created’ a glass according to the Hebrew concept of the word, and even stranger still, if I were to take a thing called a glass, put water in it and say “from now one this glass will be for the purpose of drinking”, I STILL would have ‘created’ a glass in the Hebrew. Do you see how incredibly ‘OPEN’ this makes that creation story?

Immediately after this, the subject changes from ‘all that is’ (heaven & earth) to ‘the land’ (or dirt beneath your feet – most often referring to the ‘promised land’), which is the main topic of the entire Torah.

I’ll have to add to this later, but I think you can see the significance for how one relates evolutionary science to the Bible, since the Bible doesn’t ever say how old the Earth is, or the specific way in which is was formed. In fact, most of the ‘7 days’ assumes the prior existence of the animals and plants, sun & moon, and stars, which it refers to.

Tie this evangelical reading of the creation event with Polkinghorne’s ‘quantum’ understanding of God’s work in this world (breaking no actual natural laws), and Alister McGrath’s general understanding of the interaction between Science & Religion (see “Foundations of Dialogue in Science & Religion” for starters), and I – an evangelical Christian – find little to disagree with or problematic with GOOD evolutionary science (and BAD evolutionary science can usually be easily dismissed on either scientific or philosophical grounds, without ever referring to the Bible). My only issues come from when biologists attempt to speak to ‘meta’ issues when they clearly haven’t read enough philosophy of science to understand the limits of their field – i.e.: Richard Dawkins, as of late.

So, here’s my basic summation of the Creation story…
In the BEGINNING (‘reshit’ – a period of time sometime in the universes past) God CREATED (see my prior addressing of the ancient Hebrew concept of ‘to Create’, which involved not only creation ex-nihlo, but naming, or shaping, or assigning meaning to an already existing thing) the ‘HEAVENS AND THE EARTH’ (a phrase with very different meaning than simply the combination of the Hebrew words for ‘Heaven’ and the Hebrew word for ‘Earth/Dirt’), i.e., all that exists. At that point, the creation story has come to a close, apart from POSSIBLY the special creation of Adam & Eve.

And, again, given the way the text reads in Hebrew, it is quite likely that the
1. The Sun already existed, and did its thing, but hadn’t been assigned its purpose in the story of humanity yet…
2. Birds & all the animals already lived, only not in the ‘desert’/uninhabitable area that was to be ‘Eden’/The Promised Land.
3. Bible makes pretty clear that the death which arose was primarily spiritual in nature, as Adam didn’t keel over the moment he & Eve sinned.

So, there are only a few of my thoughts – I hope to find time to better organize them soon. I’m sure questions will be raised, and I’ll do my best to respond, but most of you would do best to simply pursue a number of the books & authors I’ve referenced.

For further reading related to the interaction of Science & Religion:

Foundations of Dialogue in Science & Religion by Alister McGrath

Exploring Reality: The Intertwining of Science and Religion by John Polkinghorne

The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy by Charles Thaxton

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~ by heatlight on August 14, 2007.

14 Responses to “Evolutionism vs. Creationism?”

  1. “Many criticize nit-picky details of the Judea Christian creation account to dismiss the larger picture, which in the face of those details still has great ‘explanatory’ power.”

    Really? Please explain something in advance of actual scientific discovery that you have found in the Bible. It seems that these great truths are only discovered after scientific facts are revealed.

    Why is it alright to be so “nit-picky” of the details of Darwinian Evolution theory and dismiss the larger picture, which in the face of those details still has great explanatory power’?

    The variations of explanations of the Bible seem much much wider than the variations on the details of Evolution, Biology, or any other established area of science. Furthermore, even the theoretical physicists, who do have many conflicting theories, will agree in advance on what it takes to falsify their theories.

    How does one determine which parts of the Bible are to be taken literally and which to be taken figuratively. Is there a systematic approach?

    Did God really want Adam and Eve to be ignorant? What is the explanation of God forbidding man to eat from the Tree of Knowledge? Why not chose something else, if God was trying to make a point about being obedient to Him? Is it your understanding that God would have known in advance that Adam and Eve would have disobeyed Him?

    I doubt that Alister McGrath and the other more sophisticated Christians would ever move much beyond the literal translations had it not been for the advent of modern science.

    One can always wiggle around and play with the meaning of the Bible. I would like to hear of a prediction in advance of which model of the final theory of everything is known to contradict the Bible. Or what findings in Evolution theory would falsify the Bible?

    Is it nit-picky or simply incorrect that the following appears to be a contracdicion in the Bible (after reading the sophistication of your post, I am sure you have come across this somewhere and have an explanation – please feel free to simply provide a reference):

    Which first–beasts or man?
    GEN 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
    GEN 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    GEN 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
    GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

    Evolutionary theory shows that the beasts came first, then man (the fossil records are completely consistent here). Here it *seems* clear to me that in GEN 2 it is clear that (1) the man is alone, then (2) God formed *every beast* (not some of them) and *every fowl* (not all of them)

    Why is GEN 1 taken literally and GEN 2 taken figuratively? Or do you see it differently still?

  2. Hey, again – thanks for the response. Given it’s length, I’m going to take it in pieces.

    “Why is it alright to be so “nit-picky” of the details of Darwinian Evolution theory and dismiss the larger picture, which in the face of those details still has great explanatory power’?”

    I would say because that it is fairly clear that the two (the Book of Genesis, and the great number of articles and books written clarifying the details of neo-darwinist evolutionary theory) are quite different in nature. The Genesis creation accounts were written thousands of years ago as a (I believe divinely inspired, but not ‘dictated’ – would hate to chase that rabbit trail) holy text explaining the spiritual significant of our existence: 1.) God is ultimately responsible for every things’ existence, 2.) Humanity is a created thing and not God, 3.) Humanity is special in significance and authority within the creation. Pretty significant ideas, given that the ideas of the surrounding cultures were quite different at the time. In fact, those core ideas is what led to the eventual development of ‘Science’ as we understand it because it 1.) demystified the creation (most religions believed in numerous deities through-out creation: I’d be a little nervous experimenting on a tree if I thought it might be, or have in it, a ‘god’), and 2.) provided us with the solid philosophical grounds to believe that the world we observed was really as we observed it to be. A great book on this is Charles Thaxton’s “The Soul of Science”. Anyway, the Genesis creation account(s) as holy texts are quite different in nature than neo-darwinian evolutionary theory: any science, if it is real science, is about evidence, and critique – both in the details, and the whole. I think that’s what makes good science – that it’s self-critical and self-corrective in nature.

    “How does one determine which parts of the Bible are to be taken literally and which to be taken figuratively. Is there a systematic approach?”

    Now THAT’S a very good question. Honestly, I’ve never thought much about it – I take all of it quite literally unless it follows a particular Hebrew poetic style that might suggest a non-literal interpretation. Just because one takes a ‘literal’ interpretation doesn’t mean that it’s ‘simplistic’ however.

    “I doubt that Alister McGrath and the other more sophisticated Christians would ever move much beyond the literal translations had it not been for the advent of modern science.”

    And how is that a problem? Modern-science, when speaking within it’s natural limits, is essentially a branch of Christian theology, as it is grounded in Judea-Christian philosophy at it’s root. Christianity, as a revealed Western religion, has always been a religion of two-books, and I don’t mean the Old Testament and the New Testament: I mean the Book of Revelation (the Bible) and the Book of Nature (Creation). Even the earliest theologians (and by that I don’t mean the early Evangelicals, though Jonathan Edwards and John Calvin both loved the Sciences) recognize that the Bible holds what can be known of God through nature to be significant – that is why Newton was studying the Science in the first place: to better understand God – theology.

    Regarding the rest of your post, I have yet to encounter a significant contradiction in the Scriptures – though I have read many apparent contradictions which are all very easily made clear. Regarding the issue in the Genesis creation accounts you brought up, my time is short tonight, and so I will address those later, I will say this, re-read what I wrote of the order of creation – most of your conflict in the account comes from a rather poor and confusing English translation (though it be the traditional one) of the text from Hebrew.

    More to come! Thanks for your note!

  3. Thanks for your response. I agree that the early church encouraged science, but that does not mean that their religious beliefs necessarily are true (or false). I think it was more-or-less reasonable to conclude that a Creator existed before the mechanisms for Darwinian Evolution were discovered, and can even understand (somewhat) the appeal today, but what I do not understand are all of the specifics that the various religions seem to claim.

    On the other hand, you do not come across as one who would be tempted to fly an airplane into an office building… or do something outrageous in the name of your religious convictions, so I am Okay with your beliefs. I do not agree with you … but I too am a little tired to get much more into this topic.

    Today I was thinking that Arnold Schwarzenegger should play Christ in a movie, just so he could say “I’ll be back!” I am not sure if that is an original joke or if I heard it somewhere (maybe even a modern-day inspiration from God. Who knows for sure?). I meant it in the spirit of good humor, so if you are really really angry by my little joke, then I will take back my statement above. 😉 Thanks again fellow blogger!

  4. I find it interesting how the popular understanding of things like the conflict between Galileo & the Catholic Church, and the Scopes Monkey Trial are often twisted to be seen as a conflict between Science & Religion (Christianity, particularly) – even a cursory study of either will show that such is not the case.

    Funny, yes – but I shiver at the thought of Schwarzenegger playing in ANY movies, let alone one about Jesus! 😉

    p.s. – flying airplanes into buildings was definitely not on the schedule for today.

    Now, get some rest! Take care, man.

  5. Hey great post, thought I would mosey on over and give it a read.

  6. I find it interesting how the popular understanding of things like the conflict between Galileo & the Catholic Church, and the Scopes Monkey Trial are often twisted to be seen as a conflict between Science & Religion (Christianity, particularly) – even a cursory study of either will show that such is not the case.

    What are you talking about twisted?

    Thanks to his intuition as a brilliant physicist and by relying on different arguments, Galileo, who practically invented the experimental method, understood why only the sun could function as the centre of the world, as it was then known, that is to say, as a planetary system. The error of the theologians of the time, when they maintained the centrality of the earth, was to think that our understanding of the physical world’s structure was, in some way, imposed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture….

    – Pope John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano N. 44 (1264) – 4th November,1992

    Which of the following statements from Wikipedia are twisted?

    Galileo was ordered to Rome to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633. The sentence of the Inquisition was in three essential parts:

    Galileo was required to recant his heliocentric ideas, declaring the immobility of the sun to be “absurd in philosophy and formally heretical”, and the mobility of the earth “to be at least erroneous in faith”;
    He was ordered imprisoned; the sentence was later commuted to house arrest for the rest of his life.
    His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.
    ====================
    The Scopes Trial was a trial concerning the Butler act:

    “… that it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.”

    Here we have a law that is conflicting between Science and Religion. Again, there is no twisting here. One was not allowed to teach the Science of Evolution since it indeed does deny the Divine Creation of man.

    We are seeing this over and over again today. I see many religious people who do not want to see the scienctific theory of evolution taught in the schools.

  7. Twisted – a few examples…

    Re: Galileo

    Did you know that Pope Paul V – the pope under who’s rule Galileo was condemned for heresy – was a devout supporter of Galileo’s theory early on? It was not until it was revealed that Galileo’s ideas stemmed from Pythagorean philosophy, rather than the Aristotelian philosophy which was generally accepted as fact in his day, that the Pope dissented from Galileo’s view? Galileo, not being a very gracious individual, was angered by this and began making fun of the Pope – if I remember correctly, sometimes even in illustrations – within his scientific texts, which made things even worse between them.

    Did you know that the scientific data available to Galileo no more supported his theories than it did the opposing ones, and both were able to account for the data at hand? Galileo’s theory was simpler, which we now accept as ‘better’ – however, within a culture where Aristotelian philosophy ruled, such was not necessarily the case, and Galileo’s ideas were actually frowned on by the populace because of their simplicity.

    The fact is, Galileo’s condemnation – though, I believe, very wrong – was primarily due to a conflict not between Religion and Science, but between two competing philosophies as they related to proper Scientific method at the time…that, and Galileo was a bit of a jerk and enjoyed poking fun at people who disagreed with him. That sure didn’t help.

    Re: Scopes Monkey Trial

    Did you know that William Jennings Bryan and Charles Darrow ran for president on the same ticket and had long been friends and associates prior to the ‘trial’?

    Did you know that NOT A SINGLE TEACHER at Rhea County High School had EVER taught on the theory of evolution, particularly not John Scopes, until well AFTER the trial? The entire trial was ‘arranged’ as a publicity stunt – the city of Dayton, TN, needed to raise some money, and the ACLU needed someplace to challenge a law.

    Did you know that INHERIT THE WIND, the play and movie most watch at school about the Scopes trial is almost entirely fictionalized – it’s author simple used the outline of the events to write what was essentially a ‘parable’ promoting socialism? Sadly, most think that INHERIT THE WIND is a documentary of sorts, which could not be further from the truth.

    Did you know that Bryan took NO ISSUE with the general theory of evolution – he was, at his most conservative, a long-day creationist that did not believe it important for the earth to be a ‘recent creation’. His primary issue with teaching evolution was due to him politically being a populist – he believed that popular opinion should dictate what is taught in school.

    That’s only the tip of the ice-berg for both accounts, but I think you can see that the ‘myths’ we’re fed are far from accurately portraying the events as they actually occurred – and these are all well documented.

    I appreciate your response, though – keep reading!

  8. I knew much, but not all of what you said. What you reveal about the Pope and the religious populous is more of the dogmatic nature of religion (at the time).

    Again, I point you to the facts of the trial – the three main points of his trial. There is no myth being perpetuated.

    Yes, religion and politics often make no-so-strange bedfellows. Censorship of new ideas was far from the exception, both in Galeo’s time and in our time. Most of the censorship in this country is perpetuated by the religious at both ends of the political spectrum – from Tipper Gore to George Bush.

  9. It seems that you will believe what you want to believe on this one, but I feel you are missing the point I am making: “Biblical Christianity” has always been, and is the foundation of, “true Science”.

    “Culture” and “Power” are it’s enemies – I see this as the reason ID theorists are so persecuted: those in power in the academies have their generally accepted philosophies which underlay their endeavors, and ID seeks to question those. Just like the Pope, speaking from his circle of power, sought to silent Galileo once it’s was made clear that he was working from an conceptual structure outside of what was the accepted one and was no longer willing to even consider his theories, the same is true of ID theorist vs. Darwinians.

    If you listen to the tirade against ID from the Darwinists it seems irrational to the point of sounding as if a fundamentalist Christian were just asked a critical Bible question he’d never considered before. I.E. – it sounds like someone’s religion were just attacked.

    Anytime ‘power’ is used to discourage inquiry, something is severely wrong.

  10. Sorry man, it is just that all of your “Did you knows…” had nothing or very little to do with my comments, especially the numerous comment about INHERIT THE WIND. I pointed out the actual case and the actual law as it was written. I do not get my history from pieces of fiction. Inherit The Wind was not a documentary, I never brought it up in any of my comments, and I do not recall anyone at any time claiming is was anything other than a drama. In any event, it is not relevant.

    I have no doubt that the Scopes trial itself was political in nature, but the law that the trial was all about was very clearly both pro-Christian and anti-science. I quoted the segment of the law that was relevant in my previous comments. The fact remains, regardless of all that you say, that John Thomas Scopes was charged on May 25, 1925 with violating the Butler Act. Clearly, a bunch of Christians living in Tennessee did not want Evolution taught in their schools because evolution clearly goes against their worldview that is very clearly based on their religious convictions of what the Bible says.

    Even a cursory study of “Inherit The Wind” will reveal that it was never intended as a documentary or a docu-drama about the Scope Monkey trial, but as a warning about the evils of McArthyism. “Most people” have never even heard of the movie, but you claim that “most people” think it is a documentary.

    Then when it comes to the Pope, I pointed out that the Catholic Church officially said they were wrong (after 400 years), and I laid out the actual, factual charges. The fact is the church stopped Galileo from doing any more work and his book was banned. This is at a time when religion and government power were essentially the same thing. Terms like “heretical” definitely have religious connotations.

    You comments and earlier responses dance around the facts but never quite talk about anything substantial.

    If you listen to the tirade against ID from the Darwinists it seems irrational to the point of sounding as if a fundamentalist Christian were just asked a critical Bible question he’d never considered before. I.E. – it sounds like someone’s religion were just attacked.

    Here is an actual example of what I mean when I claim that you tend to dance around issues and not get to the facts. One cannot argue with ambiguously written generalizations that contain no specifics. It is also another example of a tangential point, not related or barely related to anything being discussed. It is almost as if you expect the reader to simply nod their head in agreement with you.

  11. I was raised in Ohio where we watched “Inherit the Wind” in our High School Biology class – I was never told that it was a fictionalized account. I know many others with similar experiences. Also, it should be noted that at the time that the law was written Darwinian Evolution was not nearly as well studied subject by Scientists – it was, in all manners, still a ‘fledgling science’. In fact, a surprising number of the earliest Darwinist subscribed to the theory not because they had seen the data and were convinced (the data was very sparse), but because it made it possible for them to be an intellectually satisfied atheist – essentially ‘religious reasons’ (which is often the reason, these days, many – not even understanding the ‘theory’ – subscribe to ID theory).

    Regarding your final point, simply read Dawkins, since he’s apparently the current spokesperson – like it or not – of popular Darwinism.

    I am sorry however I cannot give you references – I work 2 (sometimes 3) jobs and have only minutes here & there to respond.

  12. “Regarding your final point, simply read Dawkins”
    I have read many wonderful books by Dawkins, including the Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The Extended Phenotype, and yes even “The God Delutions” I have seen Dawkins science specials on YouTube as well as a lengthy debate/discussion with Alister McGrath. I did not see any “tirade against ID from the Darwinists [Dawkins].” In fact, I was very suprised by how soft and gentle Dawkin’s voice sounded like when I first heard him. I ma not sure I have ever heard any Britoner “tirade”

    I have heard Richard Dawkins kurtly dismiss tiresome quetions at the end of one of his lectures on The God Delusion. When he was asked “What if your wrong?” He replied “What if YOUR wrong?” The question was referencing his atheism (if you read the God Delusion, there are no tirades going on there either – he is stating rational, objective facts, and the topic is mostly about God – not ID).

    Contrary to what the creationists claim about Dawkins, he is generally rational, objective and explains very clearly why he dislikes both ID and the Bible. If you Google “Dawkins tirade” you will find many many examples of the Christian/Creationist/Christian camp confusing the term “tirade” with “quip”

    The closest thing I have seen in Dawkins writing to a “tirade” was his comments about the God of Abraham in “The God Delusion”. So I would perhaps concede that he has justifyably “tiraded” against the evil God in the old testiment, but I have never seen more than a quip against ID.

  13. I’ll give you that much: Dawkins WAS very gracious in the McGrath/Dawkins debate, and I LOVED every second of it! I wish public debate of that caliber happened more often.

    Besides, ‘tirade’ was not the proper term – ‘misinformed excessive criticism’ may be more accurate when applied to him.

    I suppose I’ve mostly been given an excessively bad taste for Dawkins (though, even more-so, Sam Harris) by the aggressive ‘New Atheist’ folks, who tend to join religious groups on myspace to ‘evangelize’ their a-religion – many of their posts are clearly ‘tirades’ and they quote Dawkins and Harris as their Scripture, even though it’s clear that in most cases that wouldn’t know proper science if it sat on them.

  14. As a note: any blogger that chooses to send me linked to a YouTube file about “MOUSETRAP: REDUCED!”, the response will not be ‘approved’. Why – you’ve obviously not read Behe, and the video would be best renamed ‘Adventures in Missing the Point’. Behe has already responded to those sorts of methods of ‘reducing’ the complexity of a system within his own work, and they are faulty beyond reason. So, here’s a suggestion: READ, THINK, then RESPOND – do not, I REPEAT – DO NOT simply ‘vomit’ your own beliefs without engaging the real issues. Thanks.

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