Burt Humburg posted Entry 1047 on May 20, 2005 02:17 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1045

Andrew Gumbel, a correspondent for the London-based Independent, attended the recent intelligent design show trial in Topeka. His write-up at LA City Beat is recommended reading. Although he develops several good themes in his essay, there is one point in particular I would like to highlight.

Another manifestation of the misdirection of the ID movement is the ludicrous notion that high schools are the appropriate venue for intricate debate about the finer points of evolutionary science. Any public school science teacher will tell you it’s already a minor miracle if a 16-year-old can accurately summarize The Origin of Species, or pinpoint the Galapagos Islands on an atlas. Raising questions about the cellular structure of the flagellum is unlikely to exercise most students until grad school.

The only reason for raising such questions before state education authorities is not to deepen the scientific understanding of teenagers but rather to sow deliberate confusion. It is about denigrating mainstream science as biased against religion — which it is not; it merely regards questions of the supernatural to be outside the realm of scientific inquiry — and by extension bringing God and open avowals of faith into the public school system. (Emphasis mine.)

Many authors have correctly explained that the testimony of ID proponents in Topeka only criticized evolution. Indeed, in an effort to allay concerns that the rejected proposals were written to mandate the teaching of creationism, John Calvert articulated this point numerous times directly. Until Gumbel’s article, though, media coverage has failed to identify the desire by ID creationists to confuse the public. In other words, Gumbel is one of the first journalists to point out that, to an intelligent design creationist, the whole point of criticizing evolutionary theory is to criticize evolutionary theory.

It is important for advocates of science to recognize this strategy because there is a clear link between the beliefs creationists hold, the threats to those beliefs that they perceive from verified science, the fear they have from those threats, and the reactions to those threats that they make. Several points and implications about this understanding of creationist strategy merit mention and they will be developed below the fold.

Creationists Aren’t Stupid

When the transcriptions from the Topeka hearings are made public, the sheer volume of logical inconsistencies in the testimony between ID creationists and even in their own statements will strain credibility. For example, Charles Thaxton and many other creationists testified under cross examination that science should not be restricted to natural explanations, even while they refused to admit that they wanted (or in some cases saying that they didn't want) supernatural explanations included in science classes.

It is tempting to ridicule these creationists, dismissing them as hayseeds and not giving them a second thought. But this dismissive attitude overlooks the motivations that drive them and prevents genuine understanding of the issues creationists consider pivotal regarding evolution and the methods of science. Obviously, something is influencing their decisions and it isn’t a lack of intellectual stature. John Calvert was a successful oil and gas trial lawyer. William Harris is a successful nutritional biochemist. Charles Thaxton retired from a career as a chemist. These are not careers that tolerate problems with cognition.

An optimal strategy for science advocates must presuppose nonscientific motivations in creationists, motivations that deserve more strategic consideration than simply being dismissed as the result of stupidity.

Creationists Are in Fear

To understand why creationists fear evolution, it is necessary to consider three things. First, many creationists believe that the Bible must be taken literally, though this literalism is typically ad hoc. (They interpret literally when literalism serves their purposes and they interpret metaphorically or symbolically when it does not.) Second, one must consider the concept of salvation, specifically Christian salvation. (No other religious belief will do.) According to the fundamentalism that gives rise to creationism, all morals, values, ethics, and behaviors in which Christians should engage are derived from these two beliefs.

The final key to understanding creationist fear is to know that they engage in absolutism. In other words, to not believe in the account of the creation in the Bible is to not believe in talking snakes, to not believe in worldwide floods, to not believe in the geocentric model of the solar system, to not believe that rabbits chew their cud, etc. (Note that this is not to imply all modern creationists hold all these beliefs as absolutes; for example, creationists today have found ways to overlook the geocentrism that a truly literalist approach would necessitate.) By way of their absolutism, if they can’t trust the Bible with regards to (insert issue of concern here), then there is no reason or justification for their religious values whatsoever.

Naturally, these arguments sound absurd to anyone who recognizes the parallels between the arguments supporting Middle-age geocentrism and the arguments supporting intelligent design, especially anyone who recognizes that Christianity did not end with Galileo’s research. Nevertheless, this absolutism leads to fear and this fear leads to irrationality and unconventional behaviors.

Or, as reporters were asking KCFS members by the second day of testimony, ‘Why are these creationists saying the things they do? I thought they were Christians.’

ID Avoids Tough Questions

Yet more needs to be elucidated about creationist fears before the implications of this model can be discussed. Consider the following true story. A few months ago, I attended a Sunday-school course on creationist responses to evolutionary statements, which was being put on by the Creation Science Association of Mid-America. (This is the group that wrote the now infamous standards from the 1999 fiasco, for which Steve Abrams told Steve Case he was the sole author.)

One thing that was interesting about the creationist’s arguments was the certainty with which he held his YEC positions. As anyone who has read Robert Pennock’s book Tower of Babel knows, there is a great diversity of creationist thought in the US. So, I asked the obvious question:

‘Sir, there are forms of creationism other than YEC, such as OEC and ID creationism. How can you be so certain about the age of the earth when it appears to be a legitimate controversy within the creationist community?’

His answer was, ‘All those other forms of creationism allow for the possibility of an old earth. If death entered the world before the fall, then there is no need for Christian salvation. That is why YEC is true.’

While religiously arrogant, this creationist was also refreshingly direct about his motivations. He was explaining that the threat he perceived to his beliefs was not just from evolution, but also from any of the sciences that require (or even accommodate) an old earth. And although this creationist was rebelling against the fact of the 4.5 billion-year-old earth, his argument prototypes many of the claims made by those whose beliefs contradict the findings of verified science: creationism is an obvious area of conflict, but there have been others. Galileo’s heliocentrism and whether rabbits chewed their cud were both, in their day, equally controversial due to contemporary Biblical literalists. Regardless of the controversy, efforts to suppress scientific investigations at best delay the inevitable enlightenment. Eventually, believers have to rethink their theology in the light of new scientific understanding.

What does it mean to be made in God’s own image if humans evolved from ape-like ancestors? If organisms, species, and indeed entire phyla died and went extinct before humans appeared, what need have we for a salvation based on the idea that human sin gave rise to death? Why can some Christians decide what women should do with their own bodies when the God of the Bible chooses to let people make their own decisions? Why are abortion and stem-cell research, but not in-vitro fertilization, forms of murder? And if common sense and research both demonstrate that no one — no one — chooses their own sexuality, what are we to make of religiously-fueled homophobia?

Now consider intelligent design in the light of these questions and in the light of the point Gumbel was making: even though there is no scientific evidence for intelligent design, nor is there any forthcoming, the purpose of intelligent design creationism arguments is to give certain believers a plausible reason to not ask the ‘tough questions.’ Yet these creationists know that science is an amazingly successful method of finding things out about the world. So, to provide believers a crutch for their faith, they seek to gain the legitimacy of science to support their beliefs. They believe in intelligent design and, for it to be legitimate, call ID creationism science. Odd as it may sound, for a creationist, for something to be nonscientific is for it to be irrelevant or unimportant.

Consider, when sympathetic, non-scientific journals publish what little passes for faux empiricism — itself riddled with secondary source citations passing for proof, quote-mining, and distortions of elementary physical and biological understandings — these articles are celebrated as groundbreaking and revolutionary. Without exception, there is a shortage of peer-reviewed studies supporting intelligent design creationism, though there is a wealth of promises that such will be forthcoming. The arguments from the creationists themselves are no better. If viewed as an attempt to generate an alternative scientific framework, the intelligent design arguments are incoherent at best and lies at worst. There is no, nor will there ever be, any theory of intelligent design.

But viewed in the theological model of evolution fear I am proposing, these arguments become purposeful. The ID creationists aren’t trying to advance science or educate kids about a legitimate controversy in science or subject their ideas to peer review. The reason intelligent design creationists criticize evolution is to criticize evolution. To those creationists who are in fear of evolution, this pseudoscience provides them a surrogate for faith — they can believe in a God that science has, through its purported failures, confirmed. As the testimony in Topeka demonstrated, examples of creationist duplicity in the service of simply criticizing evolution abound.

Forrest and Gross, in their book Creationism’s Trojan Horse, make the argument that intelligent design creationism is an attempt to change the fundamental belief systems of our society. This understanding is not inconsistent with the fear of evolution model I am proposing.

ID as Political Opportunism

The ID creationists engage the psychology of fear described above, convincing themselves that their faith is not simply misplaced but that they are an embattled minority. Thus, the faith that creationists place in their theology becomes the delusion that evolution is supported only by a worldwide conspiracy of scientists and liberal media. This delusion leads creationists to claim that intelligent design, which has no testable model -- the sine qua non of a useful scientific theory -- proposed, cannot get published due to this worldwide conspiracy.

Even pastors fall victim to (or utilize, as the case may be) this fear. Consider Jerry Johnston who, in his 13 April 2005 sermon on intelligent design, told his congregation that Genesis was a book under attack that need to be defended by the faithful. Notably, in the same sermon, he openly admitted that the people who trained him in divinity school advised not to teach from Genesis literally. The possibility that Pastor Johnston’s faith might have been misplaced and that there was not a worldwide conspiracy of scientists and theologians whom he must have respected was not discussed.

That the creationists are in fear, that this fear leads to absolutism, and that absolutism leads to irrationality about belief, has been previously described. One creationist, testifying at the standards committee meeting in Derby, exemplified this irrationality terribly:

if we cannot as a state even put a sticker on a book that says macroevolution at least is not a fact, it is just a theory, then that is — then you are telling my, my children that everything that we have taught them as a family is wrong.

The political implications are intuitively obvious. Politicians know that fear is a powerful motivator, far more so than reason. Politicians, and others who fail to place sufficient priority on science education, may find this population of people who are in fear due to a lack of scientific understanding tantalizing. They recognize that, for example, it is far easier to marginalize those who have abortions than it is to marginalize scientists than it is to marginalize couples who cannot have babies on their own. To marginalize abortion and stem-cell research, not in-vitro fertilization, as forms of murder gains them favor with their uninformed constituency, even while it leaves that constituency ignorant of embryonic biology.

But why stop at just embryos? In for a penny, in for a pound: those same politicians also tell that constituency about the worldwide conspiracies against intelligent design, the evils of evolution, how it is impossible to be a legitimate Christian and to be pro-choice or pro-science, that God calls them to be absolutist in their dealings with those who hold differing views about murky ethical issues like Terry Schiavo, etc. When things are good for politicians who do not care about science education, things are good for religious leaders who propagate ancient and wrong understandings of the observable world, and vice-versa. Thus, religious leaders make pacts with those politicians to continue to market these incoherent theologies in exchange for political favors.

For these lies, for the crime of abandoning their charge to lead responsibly, indeed for failing to even read the proposed standards over which creationists held hearings in Topeka in the first place, the voters who lack scientific understanding reward these politicians with continued terms in office and political approval. Needless to say, it is unlikely that politicians like these will be enthusiastic about taking steps to improve the understandings of science in their constituency. To do so would be to remove the fear of the scientific issues involved.

So, what science-advocacy strategies does this fear-based model of intelligent design suggest?

Deny Creationists Martyrdom

In order to be a martyr, there must be a general recognition that the cause for which one suffers is a cause worth suffering for. Absent that recognition, the toil is wasted and unworthy.

Attempting to achieve martyrdom, ‘expert witness’ Roger DeHart openly admitted — indeed, seemed rather proud of — being reassigned for teaching non-science while he was a science teacher charged to teach science. Similarly, Nancy Bryson let it be known that she was appearing as an ‘expert witness’ at the risk of her science career. William Dembski said that his career was in ruins due to his advocacy of intelligent design. He made this claim when even a cursory review of the facts will demonstrate that he failed to address the claims of those who took the time to review his work critically and that his problems are perfectly explained by his lack of collegiality in this and other regards. In other words, none of the hardships these creationists describe as due to their beliefs are worthy toil.

Someone can leap into the path of an oncoming train, somehow defending their belief that things fall up when dropped, and die for those beliefs. While such commitment may be deserving of respect, it does not make that death any more than a senseless waste. Similarly, that creationists have endured hardship may be reason for those of goodwill to respect those creationists. Nevertheless, the violation of their charge to educate students in science or teach people about actual philosophy when hired as philosophy instructors or help a congregation to make sense of God in a world with a dizzying pace of scientific progress remains nothing more than a violation of their respective charges. Specifically, the cause of denying verified science is not and cannot be worthy toil, especially when those creationists choose — despite the evidence — to believe that one cannot be a Christian and endorse verified science.

Respect those who hold these beliefs, possibly, but do not excuse them. They are not martyrs. They are in fear and they have misplaced their faith. They tilt at windmills and the hardships they endure are nothing more than the fruits of their own self-deceit.

Don’t Confuse the Public

Gumbel's article made the point that it was ludicrous to present highly technical arguments to high schoolers under the assumption that it would stimulate their interest in science. The same is true for the public at large. Michael Behe cites the absence of a described evolutionary ascent of the blood-clotting cascade as evidence of design in debates. Only a small percentage of Americans would be convinced of evolution by reviewing the clotting cascade's technical details that refute Behe. Similarly, Jonathan Wells offers the phylogeny produced by a limited dataset as evidence that molecular phylogenies are unreliable. Only a small percentage of Americans would be able to understand the technical arguments involved, process what the literature really says and how Wells misrepresented it, and recognize Jonathan Wells for the liar that he is.

Arguing pseudoscience with science in an audience comprised of those unfamiliar with the science involved will lead to confusion. Gumbel’s article cited prestigious journalists who found the claims of the creationists convincing. (In their defense, they only found them reasonable on day one of the trials. After they heard what science actually had to say that first day, their questions to scientists became on days two and three, ‘Okay, how is what this creationist said (bullcrap).’)

Or consider letters to the editor. David Berlinski wrote to the Wichita Eagle itemizing nine ‘controversies’ about evolution, the gist of which was to convince the reader that doubting evolution was justifiable academically. In point of fact, the answers to those questions were shockingly simple: a freshman biology major could have answered them. Unfortunately, the response that was printed in the Eagle rebutted Berlinski point-by-point, only describing in the final sentence the violation of the accepted process whereby scientific conclusions are legitimately overturned that was implicit in Berlinski’s letter. Most of the people who don’t know the science involved probably read Berlinski’s points and thought them logical and valid.

In each of these cases, the average citizen is implicitly told that the process the creationists use to argue their case is a valid one. In other words, by participating in these forums of equal-time (or equal-space, in the case of letters to the editor) as creationists, we do exactly what the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said it would be doing if one of its members agreed to participate in the recent circus in Topeka, ‘Rather than contribute to science education, [our participation] will most likely serve to confuse the public about the nature of the scientific enterprise.”

True understanding of science, to a level sufficient to judge ID creationism arguments in an equal or truly balanced format, takes time and effort. While it is important to let citizens know that the scientific community has engaged the arguments of creationists on their (absent) merits, it is inappropriate to legitimize the Hardball-style debate or point-counterpoint letters to the editor that the creationists desire above all else.

Remember, the creationists aren’t trying to advance a scientific case. The creationists aren’t trying to educate the public. As Gumbel has pointed out, the creationists are trying to confuse the public for non-scientific reasons. They argue against evolution for the sake of arguing against evolution. When Berlinski asked his questions, he succeeded in making evolution seem less well-verified than it actually was. When Jonathan Wells lies in front of audiences, he succeeds in making evolution seem less well-verified than it actually is. Being accurate, representing science, and educating the public is just not what these guys have in mind. That’s why Wells lies and that’s why Berlinski asked freshman biology questions.

This is also why the Kansas boycott was a resounding success. We denied them the opportunity to confuse the public about the nature of actual scientific revolutions. In this, we denied them legitimacy in the eyes of the public, fighting non-science arguments with non-science (but science-supported) strategies. Importantly, we engaged the public, even while we boycotted the proceedings. Indeed, we staffed a media-relations table one floor below the trial and most journalists took advantage of the opportunity to hear from scientists what science really had to say on the issues.

KCFS recommends similar strategies whenever creationists try to confuse the public. Don’t answer non-science with science. However convincing your argument might be to someone fully trained in your field, you won’t win with a general audience. Instead, have scientific support ready, but use process-oriented rather than outcomes-oriented approaches in fighting creationism. This has worked very well in Kansas and we recommend it to other states.

Develop Alliances

This essay has attempted to describe the irrational fears that lead creationists to disregard the evidence, be deceived by corrupt politicians, engage in unconventional behaviors, and confuse the public. In this strange milieu of scientific, religious, and political concerns, science advocacy that uses only science arguments simply will not be successful. Not, that is, without a unified, multifaceted front in which educators, scientists, politicians, and theologians who can stand together and make sense to people who may not know the science involved but can understand arguments based in intellect, reason, and well-placed faith.

Real evolution advocacy happens in day-to-day life. It happens when doctors explain to their patients that since the 1930s, animal research has been required to bring drugs to the market and that such research makes no sense without evolution. It happens in political discussions, as citizens learn the actual science that underpins the contentious issues being debated or supports sound policies. It happens when theologians remind creationists that God calls them to take responsibility for their beliefs and that well-meaning believers have had to reexamine their theology in the light of verified science many times throughout history. It happens when those who understand evolution advocate for it daily without embarrassment, recognizing it for the non-controversial component of essential biology education that it is.

All this is to say, intelligent design creationism has received the broad creationist support that it has — despite the unrecoverable conflicts between forms of creationism — precisely because they have a big tent strategy. To successfully advocate for science, Christians who desire strong science education should not make concessions to creationists that non-theists or those of other religions would find objectionable. Similarly, when a feature of the creationist testimony in Topeka was that evolution and modern science is incompatible with any form of legitimate Christian faith, it is politically unastute for non-theist advocates of strong science to make that very point themselves, at least without regard for creationist fears this essay has described.

Rather, to alleviate the creationist fears, all advocates of science should work together to establish mutually acceptable terms for science education. The cause of science advocacy is a big-tent issue, one which citizens of any creed or religion can endorse.

This essay has attempted to describe a new way of looking at creationism — as a fear of evolution and its perceived impact on beliefs. To the end of ameliorating creationist fears, advocates of science will hopefully undermine the strategies of the creationists better, inaugurating another era of American scientific success and returning America to her rightful place as a world leader in science.

Bio and Grateful Thanks

Burt Humburg is a graduate of and lab assistant at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He will begin a residency in internal medicine at Penn State University -- Hershey Medical Center this summer. He is a former board member with Kansas Citizens for Science and he attended all three days of Topeka creationist testimony.

This is his first submission to the Panda’s Thumb and he wishes to thank those in Kansas Citizens for Science, Pennsylvania, and who author the Panda’s Thumb who contributed to the development of this essay.

EDIT: Included Johnston link above that I originally forgot to include. 2nd graf of “ID as Political Opportunism”

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #31272

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on May 20, 2005 3:36 PM (e)

What a debut!

Comment #31274

Posted by Steven Laskoske on May 20, 2005 3:38 PM (e)

Mr. Humburg,

After reading all that you had written here, I can only say that you have posted a truly wonderful article. As your maiden voyage onto PT, I can honestly say that I look forward to more from you in the future. Congratulations.

Comment #31275

Posted by Boyce Williams on May 20, 2005 3:39 PM (e)

Charles Thaxton and many other creationists testified under cross examination that science should not be restricted to natural explanations,…

This sentiment has also been expressed across the national airways and cable channel several times by Bill O’Reilly; who takes every opportunity to credit himself as a former high school history teacher “looking out for the rest of us.” With that kind of irrational thinking regarding science, I rather be looking out for myself.

Comment #31281

Posted by JRQ on May 20, 2005 3:53 PM (e)

Wow.

A most outstanding piece, Mr. Humburg.

Comment #31282

Posted by jeffw on May 20, 2005 4:00 PM (e)

Second, one must consider the concept of salvation, specifically Christian salvation

IMO this is the key concept motivating most Christians. “Eternal Life”. Would there even be any Christians if their religion did not promise them immortality? And is there really much difference between this and the Darwinian survival instinct?

What is the most selfish thing that someone could possibly ask for? A billion dollars? Nope, immortality trumps everything. Even if they spend a lifetime doing charitable things, they’re still probably doing it for the perceived reward of immortality. So it could be argued that most people ultimately come to their faith through extreme selfishness!

Comment #31286

Posted by Kenneth Fair on May 20, 2005 4:17 PM (e)

Thank you very much, Mr. Humburg. I’m very glad that we’ve been able to get so much informed commentary on this entire episode by people like you who’ve attended the hearings in Kansas. For make no mistake: ID proponents are motivated, well-funded, and coordinated, and they revise their message and political strategy based on events such as these. Because this is a national fight – today Kansas, tomorrow Pennsylvania – it’s crucial that those of us interested in maintaining good science standards learn about and disseminate their message and strategy as widely as possible, the better to counter it with the truth.

Comment #31287

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 20, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

I think the evidence would suggest that most people come to their faiths through their families and through their upbringing. For example, I was born into my faith and I haven’t left it, though it’s demonstrably changed as I’ve learned.

I disagree that Christianity represents selfishness or whatever, but I’m running a test right now and I don’t have time to support my argument.

More later, maybe.

BCH

Comment #31288

Posted by Russell on May 20, 2005 4:24 PM (e)

when a feature of the creationist testimony in Topeka was that evolution and modern science is incompatible with any form of legitimate Christian faith, it is politically unastute for non-theist advocates of strong science to make that very point themselves

This is an important point. In the view of this nontheist, evolution - or any other aspect of science - may very well be incompatible with certain religions. How people of these different faiths reconcile these incompatibilities is not my concern, and none of my business. But it’s not OK to go redefining science and teaching flat-out falsehoods in order to make those incompatibilities go away.

Comment #31290

Posted by tytlal on May 20, 2005 4:34 PM (e)

After the Kansas fiasco, do we have any “new” thoughts from the Dover school board?

Comment #31292

Posted by Kevin Nyberg on May 20, 2005 4:39 PM (e)

Thumbs up, Burt.

kdn

Comment #31295

Posted by Ken Shackleton on May 20, 2005 4:52 PM (e)

jeffw wrote:

What is the most selfish thing that someone could possibly ask for? A billion dollars? Nope, immortality trumps everything. Even if they spend a lifetime doing charitable things, they’re still probably doing it for the perceived reward of immortality. So it could be argued that most people ultimately come to their faith through extreme selfishness!

I agree completely….and I must also concure that the posted essay was excellent.

Comment #31297

Posted by Steven Laskoske on May 20, 2005 4:57 PM (e)

tytlal wrote:

After the Kansas fiasco, do we have any “new” thoughts from the Dover school board?

Frankly, living not 50 miles from Dover, I wonder if the Dover school board had any “new” thoughts in their lives. However, there has been no more news aside from the primaries which included elections for the school board on Tuesday. I have not yet heard the results of that yet.

Comment #31300

Posted by Russell on May 20, 2005 5:10 PM (e)

Here’s the latest update. Interestingly, it’s falling out along strictly party lines. All the republican nominees favor “intelligent design”; all the democrats oppose it.

Comment #31301

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 5:15 PM (e)

interesting, maybe, but certainly not surprising.

ID is, after all, a political movement, supported by republicans mostly just to increase their power base.

Comment #31302

Posted by Longhorm on May 20, 2005 5:18 PM (e)

I don’t restrict myself to so-called “natural explanations.” I don’t even know what that means. I’m open to anything. But many of the events that people claim occurred did not occur. A deity did not turn dust – poof! – directly into two elephants (one male and one female). The first two organisms to live on earth that were fairly similar to today’s elephants were born by their mothers in much the same way I was born by mine.

Methusehah didn’t live to be 969 years old. Whether we call the claim “science” or “non-science” isn’t important to me. In fact, I think we should avoid that distinction in most contexts. But Methuselah didn’t live to be that old.

A lot of people think they have been abducted by aliens. But they are mistaken.

A lot of people think that the space, matter and time that we associate with the known universe is about 6,000 years old. But it’s not.

Some people think Elvis is still alive and doing stuff. But he is probably not.

I don’t know the series of events that resulted in the first self-replicators being on earth. But a really smart extraterrestrial probably did not use a high-tech device to turn dust directy into those things. It is logically possible that an extraterrestrial did that. And I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open. But for reasons I don’t want to get into now, it probably wasn’t an extraterrestrial who did that.

Comment #31303

Posted by Longhorm on May 20, 2005 5:25 PM (e)

When someone says that he or she favors “intelligent design,” my response is always the same: “Which event(s) on earth did the designer(s) cause? For example, did a designer turn dust directly into two elephants (one male and one female)? And what evidence, if any, suggests that a designer did what you think it did?”

Some people say: “Cells are too complicated to have come about with the special intervention of a divine being.”

Well, I’m more complex than any cell. And I was born by my mother. So, apparently fairly complex things come into being without a designer turning dust (or “nothingness”) – poof! – directly into those things.

Comment #31304

Posted by Barron on May 20, 2005 5:25 PM (e)

Excellent essay! I have thought for a while that the fear aspect of the debate is pivotal and too often overlooked. I said before (http://chugg.net/rants/rant.shtml?rant_ce.shtml) that the Creationism debate is three pronged, Scientific, Political and Emotional. The scientific part is settled, but the other two remain fruitful for the creatioists. And the emotional is really the most important, IMHO. Political plays on emotional and may apply to conservative opportunists, but the debate boils down to emotion (note, I’m not denigrating emotion as an issue, I’m just pointing out it’s role).

I also think that if creationism is to be put to rest or at least re-marginalized the key is the emotional aspect. If someone feels that they have to choose between their faith and science, faith will always win. The goal I think is to find a way to defuse the emotional mine field around evolution (and science in general). Until then there will be a ready market for what the professional creatioinsts are selling.

Comment #31306

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 5:37 PM (e)

“(note, I’m not denigrating emotion as an issue, I’m just pointing out it’s role).”

well, let me be the devil’s advocate then (pun intended), and say that I want it on record that I AM denigrating emotion as an issue in this. It’s become abundantly clear that the debate is about nothing other than subjective interpretation on the part of the religious right. In fact, i think we have spent considerable time here on PT pointing out that ID has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with “emotion”.

so yeah, I degigrate emotion as an issue… so much so one could consider me to be emotional about it.

“they have to choose between their faith and science, faith will always win.”

science never forced anyone to choose. it was their own interpretations that are forcing them to choose, nothing less, nothing more.

They are selfish because they don’t WANT to make that choice, but instead would rather maintain their erroneous interpretations and force the rest of us to accept them.

Mainstream christianity accepted evolutionary theory decades ago. Shall we change the rules to accomodate those that chose to be left behind?

Is this the true meaning of “no child left behind?”

Comment #31307

Posted by FL on May 20, 2005 5:37 PM (e)

Well, I don’t mean to throw cold water on the Amen Choir’s praises of Burt’s essay, but the honest truth is that it could (and should) be challenged at several points.

I’d love to critically examine those portions of the essay that looks very much like armchair psychoanalysis (for example, the claim“Creationists are in fear”), but that will just have to wait for another day.

However, one flaw that ~won’t~ wait, is Burt’s obvious conflation of the terms “Intelligent Design” and “Creationism.”

I agree with Mike Gene’s observation that “How we label things and how we describe things do shape our perceptions”, so let me offer Gene’s corrective article regarding the phrase “Intelligent Design Creationism”:

http://www.idthink.net/back/idc

There is one good thing about the term “Intelligent Design Creationism.” Those who use the term to make sense of this debate give themselves away as being biased and incapable of considering this debate objectively.

—Mike Gene

Comment #31310

Posted by Steve U. on May 20, 2005 5:41 PM (e)

If someone feels that they have to choose between their faith and science, faith will always win. The goal I think is to find a way to defuse the emotional mine field around evolution (and science in general).

The emotional mine field is nearly 100% laid down by creationist “leaders”, i.e., preachers and politicans who have found it a useful way to manipulate their followers (by telling them scary stories about “materialists”).

Defusing that mine field is impossible when the minelayers are left unassailed. A combined strategy of diminishing the stature of the individual minelayers (e.g., by pointing out their dishonesty and hypocracy), showing that the “choice” between faith and science is a false choice presented only to manipulate and confuse people, and showing that the abandonment of the science is (and always has been) impossible should be effective.

That’s essentially what I see happening here at this site (trolls notwithstanding).

Comment #31311

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 5:42 PM (e)

but the problem, FL, is that there has never been anything objective about this debate presented from your side.

the wedge document clearly states the legal and political strategy behind changing creationism to ID…

you have just been duped into believing that there is any real substance behind that.

Just like Ruse noted about Dembski.

You “true believers” in ID are just dupes, that the rest of us would just laugh at if there weren’t politicians involved in using you as well.

oh, and i’d love to hear your own “armchair pyschoanalysis”… not.

Comment #31312

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 20, 2005 5:43 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #31313

Posted by RBH on May 20, 2005 5:44 PM (e)

Apropos of Burt’s excellent maiden effort, I’ll be so immodest as to quote myself from a year ago almost to the day:

I am beginning to understand that the core motivation driving the supporters of such proposals is fear. Not fear for themselves — they are too strong in their faith to be corrupted by evolutionary science. It is fear for their children and in particular, fear for their children’s souls. There is a genuine belief that accepting an evolutionary view of biological phenomena is a giant step on the road to atheism, and in learning evolutionary theory their children are in peril of losing salvation. Given the beliefs they hold, this is not a silly fear. From their perspective, atheism is a deadly threat, and evolution is a door through which that threat can enter to corrupt one’s child. No amount of scientific research, no citations of scientific studies, no detailed criticism of the Wellsian trash science offered in “teach the controversy” proposals, speaks to those fears. If one genuinely fears that learning evolution will corrupt one’s children and damn them for eternity, scientific reasoning is wholly irrelevant.

RBH

Comment #31315

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 20, 2005 5:49 PM (e)

I’m familiar with Mike Gene and I’ve heard the argument that ID != IDC before. I reject that bit of rhetorical legerdemain for the following reason:

Creationism is any sort of God-did-it explanation of origins. IDC, OEC, YEC, flat-earth, and theistic evolution are all forms of creationism. In this sense, I am myself a creationist, though I am not an anti-evolutionary creationist.

It is true that science can detect intelligent agency, but to do so presupposes either such a familiarity with the designer’s methods that the diagnosis of design is clear (c.f., 9/11) or that the diagnosis of design is confirmed by asking questions of the designer that go on to explain and predict other findings (c.f., archaeology).

The blood clotting cascade sure looks like it evolved. And whether it did or not, it obviously is not one of those former cases of design, where to question the reliability of the design diagnosis is foolish. Thus, to confirm design scientifically, one must do what scientists do when they confirm design scientifically: they ask questions about the designer.

Such as:
* Who was the designer?
* Why did the designer design?
* How can we determine other instances of design?
* How many design interventions have there been?
etc.

ID creationists defer answering those questions to “theology.” The failure to answer these questions 1) seriously detracts from the credibility of the design diagnosis and 2) firmly plants ID into the realm of IDC.

BCH

Comment #31316

Posted by Steve U. on May 20, 2005 5:50 PM (e)

Mike Gene makes me laugh, FL. Here’s a quote for Mike Gene to chew on.

There is one good thing about the term “Intelligent Design Creationism.” Those who object to the use of the term give themselves away as being biased and incapable of considering this debate objectively.

—- Steve U.

If you or Mike Gene can explain why a theory that proposes that some alien beings “somehow” designed and created all of the “complex” life forms that ever lived on earth is not “creationism”, then please do so now.

I would especially enjoy it if Mike came here and defended his statement. It’s always more interesting to hear from the “masters” rather than the slaves who merely recite their masters’ scripts.

But Mike Gene won’t come here and explain his statement because he’s wrong, he knows it, and he’s too cowardly to face the truth.

That’s okay. Someday he can attempt to explain his comment in a court of law. How do you suppose that will turn out, FL?

Comment #31317

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 20, 2005 5:53 PM (e)

Incidentally, can you really consider me to be “armchair psychoanalyzing” when I’ve been trained to psychoanalyze?

Granted, it’s not my area of expertise, but it’s not like I flunked my psych rotation.

BCH, MD

Comment #31318

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 5:56 PM (e)

Pay no attention to FL, Burt, unless you have spent some time checking out his ramblings for the last few weeks or so.

He makes even less sense if you don’t.

Comment #31320

Posted by Barron on May 20, 2005 6:01 PM (e)

Toejam, “science never forced anyone to choose. it was their own interpretations that are forcing them to choose, nothing less, nothing more.” Agreed on both counts, my point is that telling them they are just wrong is not likely to change many minds. Recognizing that people hold these (misguided) beliefs for real, personal reasons gives a much better chance. Afterall, the more “elitest scientists” scorn these guys the more it plays into their persecuted mindset.

SteveU, agreed also and well put. Frankly I think that a lot of literalism builds a sort of house of cards where everything works as long as none of the beliefs are questioned. But, when one belief is questioned, the whole sense of self is threatened. And people can get pretty wacky in defending that sense of self. So while the chioce is completely false, I think we have a better chance getting people to see that if we approach them respectfully. Note, this DOES NOT apply to the minelayers! They deserve all the derision and ruthless debunking in the world.

Comment #31321

Posted by Longhorm on May 20, 2005 6:06 PM (e)

FL posts:

However, one flaw that ~won’t~ wait, is Burt’s obvious conflation of the terms “Intelligent Design” and “Creationism.”

Okay. But which event(s) that occurred on or near earth did the designer(s) cause? Did the designer cause the existence of some organisms and/or some parts of some organisms? If so, which ones? And what evidence do you have for that? Remember, lots of fairly complex things have been born. That’s how I got here.

Comment #31322

Posted by Russell on May 20, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

Now I’m a little confused. Phil Johnson proudly claims the creationist label, but Mike Gene says we can dismiss, out of hand, the arguments of anyone using the term ID creationist.

And from various posts, I had formed the impression that FL himself was a biblical literalist, i.e. an unapologetic creationist, valiantly carrying the ID banner here at Panda’s Thumb.

Perhaps he’ll clear it up for me.

Comment #31329

Posted by tom_kbel on May 20, 2005 6:31 PM (e)

FL said:

However, one flaw that ~won’t~ wait, is Burt’s obvious conflation of the terms “Intelligent Design” and “Creationism.”

I agree with Mike Gene’s observation that “How we label things and how we describe things do shape our perceptions”, so let me offer Gene’s corrective article regarding the phrase “Intelligent Design Creationism”:

I agree with the general point that how we label things shapes how we think about things. However, that cuts BOTH ways. The refusal to label ID as creationism also indicates a very clear bias; and in this case a bias based on tactical considerations. It is tactically inconvenient for the ID movement to be labelled as creationist, so they reject the label without regard for its descriptive accuraccy.

If FL wishes to dispute this point, perhaps he could explain why the ID community whole hearted endorses arguments from “fine tuning” to the existance of a “designer”; and further explain how a designer of the laws of the universe themselves could be anything other than supernatural.

Comment #31339

Posted by tom_kbel on May 20, 2005 6:52 PM (e)

I wish to join in congratulating Burt Humburg for his excellent essay. However, I also wish to disagree with his policy recommendation.

Boycotting the Kansas hearings may have worked well, but in as much as they did, it was because the Kansas hearings were clearly a show trial. All three panel members already supported the ID cause before the hearing. They were not open to the evidence for evolution from the start, as clearly indicated by their failure to fully read the originally proposed science standards. Further, while it is perfectly reasonable to present all the evidence favourable to ID in the space of three days (or indeed, just one), a similar presentation of the evidence for evolution would, in three days, have not begun to scratch the surface.

Despite this, the DI is spinning the failure of scientists to appear as being based on fear, on an inability to openly confront ID arguments. Extending the Kansas strategy to other forum where the ID proponents are not clearly biassing the forum in their favour will lend support to this claim, and make it believable to much of the public.

May I suggest that a better strategy would be to engage in scientific detail in open ended fora, and to clearly draw attention to the fact that creationists of all stripes refuse to follow arguments through in their proper detail.

If, for example, a creationist raises the topic of “no transitional fossils”, attention could be drawn Kathleen Hunt’s of Clifford Cuffey’s excellent articles; and to the continuing failure of any creationist to meet Wesley Ellsberry’s challenge to go through some examples of transitional sequences.
http://www.gcssepm.org/special/cuffey_00.htm
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html
http://www.rtis.com/nat/user/elsberry/evobio/evc/argresp/tranform.html

The strategy is to always make it clear that, where the topic can be explored in proper detail, creationists flee the field - and to provide resources for those who wish to follow up on the actual evidence.

Comment #31343

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 20, 2005 7:10 PM (e)

After the Kansas fiasco, do we have any “new” thoughts from the Dover school board?

From a little birdie:

> Lenny:
> I’m curious — what’s the local reaction been to the Kansas
> “kangaroo court” hearings about evolution?

“Source X”:
I’m not hearing much reaction at all outside our group which is, as
you might imagine, revolted & a bit scared. Believe me, we are only
too aware of the implications of every evolutionary theory-related
event around.

We’re also aware that the local fundamentalists (our opposition) are
applauding the KS board of ed, but they do it largely under the table.
In public, they disavow any connection between ID & religion.

I personally am not sure the Kansas scientific community made the best
decision by boycotting the thing, although I certainly understand
their reasoning. But this movement is not going to go away by being
ignored.

Comment #31344

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 20, 2005 7:12 PM (e)

Yes, that’s probably a better way of phrasing it. The idea I was getting at was to make an assessment about the ways the ideas were going to be settled. If it was going to be a non-scientific format, then don’t use science arguements. If it is going to be a scientific format in which the ideas are explored fully, then it’s much easier to use science arguments as scientists use them.

I’m always open to hearing better ways of putting things, but we don’t disagree on this point.

BCH

Comment #31348

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 20, 2005 7:20 PM (e)

BTW, tell your birdie that KCFS was there, along with scientists, philosophers, journalism professors, theologians, and other pro-science types. We definitely did not ignore the creationists and I hope your birdie will pass that statement of fact along to anyone who thinks scientists were absent from Topeka.

The scientists were there. We just refused to testify. Science was well represented.

BCH

Comment #31350

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 20, 2005 7:27 PM (e)

I have found that to back ID/creationists into an inescapable corner, thoroughly, fully and simply, requires only one of two simple questions, repeated as often as necessary until they either answer or leave the field with their tail tucked between their gonads.

The first question is posed to any ID/creationist who wants to yammer that his crap is “science”. That question is: What is the scientific theory of ID, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

The second question goes to those marginally-more-honest IDers who admit that ID is religious apologetics. That question is: Why should your religious opinions have any more authority or legal backing than mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

Both of those questions are lethal to IDers, and they know it (which is why they always bend over backwards to avoid answering them). If ID is science, it is incumbent upon them to produce their science and show it to us. Until they do that, they, quite literally, have nothing to argue over. And if ID is religion, they need to demonstrate why their religious opinions are better than anyone else’s and deserve to be enshrined into law.

They can do neither of these things. They have NO scientific theory of ID to offer, and they have NO reason why their religious opinions are any better than anyone else’s (other than their say-so). Anything else is nothing but a side issue (or a deliberate misdirection on their part). Either they have a scientific theory to offer, or they don’t. Either they are more holy and godlike than every other mere mortal, or they’re not.

I say, force them to either put up or shut up. Force them to either fish or cut bait. Force them to either shit or get off the damn toilet.

For too long, we’ve been letting THEM set the agenda, and flood it with irrelevantia. It’s time we take the fight straight to them, and force them to answer those two simple questions.

It will kill them. Dead. And they know it.

Comment #31352

Posted by maureen_l on May 20, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

In this discussion, I’m seeing one thing left out, which frustrates me.

Arguing pseudoscience with science in an audience comprised of those unfamiliar with the science involved will lead to confusion…. Instead, have scientific support ready, but use process-oriented rather than outcomes-oriented approaches in fighting creationism.

I wish I could see more examples of such approaches. As a non-scientist, just to begin with, I’m not even certain of the definitions of “process-oriented” and “outcomes-oriented”.

Comment #31354

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 7:30 PM (e)

“It will kill them. Dead. And they know it.”

I think I’m gonna start calling Lenny “Dr. Raid”.

;)

Comment #31361

Posted by FL on May 20, 2005 7:56 PM (e)

But Mike Gene won’t come here and explain his statement because he’s wrong, he knows it, and he’s too cowardly to face the truth.

That’s okay. Someday he can attempt to explain his comment in a court of law. How do you suppose that will turn out, FL?

Honestly, Steve, I don’t know. All I know is, when it came time to show up for the bell this time around, the non-Darwinists demonstrated the courage to face a Darwinist attorney’s cross-ex grilling in public, but the Darwinists failed to similarly demonstrate their courage by likewise sitting down for a non-Darwinist lawyer’s cross-examination grilling of their positions.

Evolutionists have offered official attempts at explaining this failure, but for me, when the bell sounds for both parties to step forward to the center of the ring, courage is as courage does, ~right then and there~.

You can always go visit Mike Gene’s website, Steve, and ask your questions and let him ask YOU some questions too. But obviously, with the Great No-Show still hanging in the air, you can understand why I am automatically inclined to reject any suggestion of cowardice on Mike Gene’s part, no matter what he does or doesn’t do.

Incidentally, can you really consider me to be “armchair psychoanalyzing” when I’ve been trained to psychoanalyze?

Granted, it’s not my area of expertise, but it’s not like I flunked my psych rotation.

Well, first of all, there would have been nothing wrong with acknowledging in your essay that it’s not your area of expertise. That would only have been honest.

And since you admit (to your credit) that it’s not your expertise, how can you be so sure your assessment and conclusions are correct? Did you consult some PhD psychologists at the hearings and get a professional opinion from them?

I’m not any expert in psych either (just took Basic Psych and Theories of Personality), so as someone trained in journalism, I would certainly try to grab some professional expert feedback (and try to consult at least one source from “both sides”) before writing what amounts to a psychological assessment of people (people you already were in opposition to, btw).

Also, tell me something. You mentioned Dr. Thaxton, for example. To use your specific terms, did Dr. Thaxton display any visible indications of “fear”, or any “irrationality”, or any “unconventional behaviors”?
Did you speak with any professionally trained psychologists who noticed any of these problems as they observed Dr. Thaxton, and said so?

If not, then I offer Dr. Thaxton as a living counter-example to your claim of “fear.”

But I wasn’t looking to talk about all this right now. I just wanted to offer response about the IDC conflation. Still, it’s on the table now.
The ~non-Darwinists~ showed up and were willing to take the heat for their positions. Whatever else you criticize them for, either by commission or omission, I don’t think “fear” fits.

FL

Comment #31362

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 8:02 PM (e)

“All I know is, when it came time to show up for the bell this time around, the non-Darwinists demonstrated the courage to face a Darwinist attorney’s cross-ex grilling in public, but the Darwinists failed to similarly demonstrate their courage by likewise sitting down for a non-Darwinist lawyer’s cross-examination grilling of their positions. “

that is because, as has been pointed out countless times now, IT WASN’T A COURT OF LAW!

In any case where a real court of law was involved, we showed up and *ahem* kicked your *ss.

as to your critique of Burt’s armchair philosophy (which really isn’t, since he has direct training in what he is speaking of as an MD).

He wasn’t speaking of folks like Thaxton… he was speaking of folks like.. you.

perhaps you should re-read your freshman texts on how fear manifests itself, as you are a textbook case of denial induced by fear.

Comment #31363

Posted by Russell on May 20, 2005 8:03 PM (e)

FL: I see you’re back. Are you going to clear up my confusion?

Comment #31366

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on May 20, 2005 8:20 PM (e)

Martyrdom: The only way a man can become famous without ability.
- George Bernard Shaw

Comment #31367

Posted by afarensis on May 20, 2005 8:23 PM (e)

Excellent post. One of the few I have read about creationists where I didn’t come away thinking the writer just did not understand fundamentalists.
I think Burt is right about strategy. In Kansas the school board displayed their bias loud and clear so science did not loose anything by not participating (which is quite a bit different from not showing up). The tool should be appropriate to the job being performed and in this case it was a PR battle. Rather than being sucked into a fake trial and wasting a lot of energy on that, the battle was fought where it really counted. Looking at what is currently happening around the country (Dover, Cobb County) creationists tactics seem to be driven more by the type of strategy we saw in Kansas - none of which are legitimate formats conducive to a full exploration of the issues. Which is not to say that we should endlessly mimic the tactics in Kansas. I think part of the success there was the creative way scientists responded to the challange. The media expected a replay of Scopes or McLean v Arkansas and got something completely different.
Again, great post!

Comment #31369

Posted by DonM on May 20, 2005 8:44 PM (e)

I agree wholeheartedly with “Dr.Raid”, but unfortunately the only place where you can pin them down and force them to answer those questions is in a court of law.

I understand that the “Topeka 23” didn’t have to swear an oath before testifying. I’m sure that the utterances of all those god-fearing folk would have been quite different if they had been under oath.

Comment #31370

Posted by DrJohn on May 20, 2005 8:46 PM (e)

tom_kbel wrote:

I agree with the general point that how we label things shapes how we think about things. However, that cuts BOTH ways. The refusal to label ID as creationism also indicates a very clear bias; and in this case a bias based on tactical considerations. It is tactically inconvenient for the ID movement to be labelled as creationist, so they reject the label without regard for its descriptive accuraccy.

This is the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and even in its strong form. It is really and quite sincerely dead (except, of course, in the humanities) killed by a nice color perception experiment by Eleanor Rosch. A long time ago, even!

The weak form, mostly a connotative version, still lives and is probably well worth considering valid. You imply as much in your last sentence.

FL wrote:

Well, first of all, there would have been nothing wrong with acknowledging in your essay that it’s not your area of expertise. That would only have been honest.

And since you admit (to your credit) that it’s not your expertise, how can you be so sure your assessment and conclusions are correct? Did you consult some PhD psychologists at the hearings and get a professional opinion from them?

I’m not any expert in psych either (just took Basic Psych and Theories of Personality), so as someone trained in journalism, I would certainly try to grab some professional expert feedback (and try to consult at least one source from “both sides”) before writing what amounts to a psychological assessment of people (people you already were in opposition to, btw).

Thanks for explicating your level of knowledge. Psychoanalysis is decidedly not psychology. Freud’s little tirade has yet to have any real scientific basis for the theoretical, and shows no true benefit when compared with other therapies (since it is long, it is supposed to be much better!). See any of the writings by Crews, Webster, and a hoard of others. Freud was a coke sniffing egoist who’s only real scientific work was with eels.

As to the essay, it was written by an MD. The psych rotation would have been in psychiatry, not psychology. I am not amazed you did not know this! Additionally, if you’d look into psychoanalysis, you don’t need two people - one can give you both sides as it is a hermeneutic enterprise with little to no relation to real data. You should look into it. Sounds right up your alley.

Comment #31372

Posted by FL on May 20, 2005 9:20 PM (e)

Sure, Russell, let’s work this thing.

Now I’m a little confused. Phil Johnson proudly claims the creationist label, but Mike Gene says we can dismiss, out of hand, the arguments of anyone using the term ID creationist.

So, does Phil Johnson use the term “ID creationist”? If not, (and the correct answer is indeed “not”, from what I’ve read of his books),
then there’s no contradiction with what Mike Gene said.

Really, the “confusion” should be settled right there, just going by the wording you yourself used.
No way to escape it. If Johnson doesn’t himself use the term “Intelligent Design Creationist”, that’s the end of the claimed discrepancy, right there.

But if you are seeing some sort of “maybe” contradiction merely because “Phil Johnson proudly claims the creationist label”, then go back and re-read what Mike Gene said. “Creationists accept ID.”
That’s cool; still no contradiction with what Mike Gene said in your paragraph. It’s just that “the inverse is not true”, that is, not all ID folks accept creationism.

Either way, the “IDC” label can be challenged, of course. It’s redundant in the first instance (creationists who accept ID), and misrepresenting in the second instance (ID’ers who do not accept creationism.) There you go.

And from various posts, I had formed the impression that FL himself was a biblical literalist, i.e. an unapologetic creationist, valiantly carrying the ID banner here at Panda’s Thumb.

Sure. I am a biblical creationist. I place my trust in Jesus’ placing HIS complete trust in an “unbreakable” Bible, the “word of God”, right down to the historical claims denied by evolutionists and materialists. A literal Adam and Eve? Global Noahic Flood? Jonah and the Big Fish? Sure. Jesus accepted all that, so I accept all that too. It’s only what you’d expect from a follower of Jesus, no?

Dr. GW Carver (and Dr. J.Baumgardner, more recently) showed that you could get a lot of science work done if you just trust God and God’s Word first.

Apologetics? Sure. To ME, it’s fun, like working Dell crossword puzzles or figuring out how to beat a video game on the Playstation.
Plus there’s the added joy of occasionally answering somebody’s question(s) and contributing to them hanging on to (or even increasing) their Biblical faith rather than the opposite.

And I also like ID too, as you already know. Some people see adventure in skiing, sports, running for political office, serving hospital patients, makin’ discoveries in science labs, even regular janitorial services, keeping people safe and sanitary from day to day.

Me, I honestly see real adventure in the modern ID hypothesis and the cataclysmic Science Paradigm Shift it potentially could trigger someday, (sooner rather than later, hopefully!). Great opportunities for exploration, for discovery, imo.

This debate is like a great chess game for extremely high stakes—the very hearts and minds and worldviews of science-loving people, young and old. One heart, one mind, one person at a time.

It excites me and I plan on making it my avocation, just like some of you evolutionists have already done the same with Darwinism. (Only you’re on the wrong team, of course.)

Anyway, Russell, I don’t use the term “ID creationist” either. So I’m kewl relative to Mike Gene’s remarks, no discrepancy, just like Phil Johnson, even though I’m a biblical creationist who favors ID.

(Btw,I keep an eye open for new angles and responses from the OEC’s and YEC’s too. Shoot, I’ll even listen to an occasional “Theistic Evolutionist”—-IF his name is Dr. Gordon Mills or Dr. Michael Denton.)

Sorry for being lengthy, Russell, but I trust this clears things up. There’s no discrepancy there.

FL

Comment #31374

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 9:43 PM (e)

“ Great opportunities for exploration, for discovery, imo.”

well, good luck with that. do let us know if you ever manage to accomplish any actual science with it.

at least you have now admitted, which was obvious anyway, that ID is nothing more than religious apologetics.

“the very hearts and minds and worldviews of science-loving people, young and old. One heart, one mind, one person at a time.”

the words science and loving juxtaposed coming out of your mouth just shows your ignorance. You have not enough comprehension of what science is or does to claim a love for it. Especially since your goal is to replace it with religious philosophy.

However, having now admited that… can you admit your fear in the face of the evidence against YEC?

blind faith is not honest faith, FL.

Moreover, you still have not answered my question…

Of what practical value is ID? Can you predict how it will help us solve any practical problem?

since i have asked you multiple times, and you haven’t answered, I will answer for you.

you can’t, simply because you will not realize that there is no scientific basis for ID, and so it can’t solve problems in the real world. God and faith lie outside of the natural realm, so even if you utilize every word of your bible, it will not explain anything you can see around you in practical terms. it never has, which is why creationism was abandoned by critical thinkers in favor of the scientific method to begin with, and it never will.

the only reason you persist in trying to change the rest of us is that nagging fear that you deny so readily.

Comment #31381

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 20, 2005 10:15 PM (e)

So, does Phil Johnson use the term “ID creationist”?

Can you point to any ID argument that was not amde by creation “scientists” twenty years ago?

No?

Why not?

Comment #31383

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 20, 2005 10:20 PM (e)

All I know is, when it came time to show up for the bell this time around, the non-Darwinists demonstrated the courage to face a Darwinist attorney’s cross-ex grilling in public, but the Darwinists failed to similarly demonstrate their courage by likewise sitting down for a non-Darwinist lawyer’s cross-examination grilling of their positions.

Um, you mean like in the Epperson case, where all the “darwinists” sat down for a non-darwinist lawyer’s cross examination grilling of their positions?

Or Maclean?

Or Aguillard?

Or Webster?

Or Selman?

Or any of the other Federal court cases that ID/creationists have lost?

Why have ID/creationists lost every single federal court case they have ever been involved with, FL. Every single solitary one. Ya know, the kind of court cases where everyone has to testify under oath in front of everyone else, subject to whatever cross-examination the opposition lawyer can give?

Oh, and why won’t you answer that simple quesitonf or me, FL?

Is something the matter?

Comment #31385

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 20, 2005 10:22 PM (e)

This debate is like a great chess game for extremely high stakes—-the very hearts and minds and worldviews of science-loving people, young and old. One heart, one mind, one person at a time.

I see. So ID/creationism is nothing but a religious crusade against science, and IDers/creationists are simply lying to us when they claim otherwise.

Got it. Thanks for making it so clear for us.

Are you willing to come to Dover and testify to that under oath?

Comment #31386

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 20, 2005 10:25 PM (e)

I agree wholeheartedly with “Dr.Raid”, but unfortunately the only place where you can pin them down and force them to answer those questions is in a court of law.

That’s right. And that is where we should drag creationist/IDers. As often as we can. They have lost every single Federalc ourt case they have ever been involved with, and it is solely and only that unbroken string of losses that has kept their crap out of school classrooms so far.

I say it’s time to start dragging THEIR ass into court, instead of the other way around.

Comment #31387

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 20, 2005 10:27 PM (e)

I understand that the “Topeka 23” didn’t have to swear an oath before testifying. I’m sure that the utterances of all those god-fearing folk would have been quite different if they had been under oath.

Some of them WILL be testifying udner oath, in Dover. And if, as I expect, the Kansas fiasco ends up in court too, some more of them will be testifying there.

And if any of them make any statement under oath that they did NOT make during the Kangaroo Kourt, they will find themselves in an EXTREMELY uncomfortable position …. Lawyers refer to the experience as “tearing them a new asshole”.

Comment #31391

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 10:37 PM (e)

“I say it’s time to start dragging THEIR ass into court, instead of the other way around.”

hmm. i seem to recall Wesley mentioning he was going to talk to legal about your idea.

Did you ever hear back? I’d love to see that idea come to fruition, my own minor criticisms aside.

Comment #31393

Posted by Arden Chatfield on May 20, 2005 11:34 PM (e)

“What is the most selfish thing that someone could possibly ask for? A billion dollars? Nope, immortality trumps everything. Even if they spend a lifetime doing charitable things, they’re still probably doing it for the perceived reward of immortality. So it could be argued that most people ultimately come to their faith through extreme selfishness!”

Or, alternately, the flipside of *this* argument is the notion held by certain fundamentalists that people cannot possibly behave in a moral or ethical manner without the threat of God’s punishment hanging over their heads.

This is how the fundies convince themselves that society ‘needs’ them. Never mind that much of Europe is much less religious than America but also far less violent.

Comment #31394

Posted by Arden Chatfield on May 20, 2005 11:37 PM (e)

“I think the evidence would suggest that most people come to their faiths through their families and through their upbringing. For example, I was born into my faith and I haven’t left it, though it’s demonstrably changed as I’ve learned.”

This too is a good point that’s often overlooked – the bulk of people are whatever religion most of the people around them are. This is why it seems to be missing the point when someone gives some explanation of why they’re a Christian (or whatever) – would we expect, say, your average Saudi to have a reason why they ‘chose’ to be Moslem?

Comment #31397

Posted by Henry J on May 21, 2005 12:01 AM (e)

Longhorm,

Re “Methusehah didn’t live to be 969 years old.”
Then maybe he didn’t drown after all? ;)

Re “Some people think Elvis is still alive and doing stuff.”
Well, there was that cameo in the movie “Death Becomes Her”. On second thought, ignore that remark.

Re “Which event(s) on earth did the designer(s) cause? “
I’d suggest saying “engineer” rather than “designer”, to emphasize that something or somebody would have had to do the actual work, rather than just punching data into a CAD* terminal (or its supernatural equivalent). It just seems to me that their use of the term “design” is an attempt to mask that fact.
*(CAD = Computer Aided Design)

Barron,

Re “The goal I think is to find a way to defuse the emotional mine field around evolution”

Wish I knew how to find a convincing way to tell somebody that “God is behind it” does not logically contradict “it looks like it happened in a way consistent with known physical processes”.

Henry

Comment #31401

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 21, 2005 1:21 AM (e)

er, speaking of creationist behaviors…

the latest post on Dembski’s blog is very strange.

it starts off accusing evolutionists of saying students are too stupid to understand evolutionary theory, but then provides two links in “support” that don’t quite mesh, to say the least:

“Teenagers, high school students, take note. The evolutionary establishment thinks you are just too stupid to grasp weaknesses and alternatives to the theory of evolution that gets peddled in all your high school biology textbooks (i.e., neo-Darwinism). For a sampler of just how intellectually challenged they think you are, go here (http://archive.salon.com/news/feature/2001/05/04/darwin/print.html) and here (http://www.lacitybeat.com/article.php?id=2085&IssueNum=102). “

uh, the first accuses darwinists of being racists (does anyone remember the discussion we had in another thread about the role-reversal creationists play?)

and the second talks about the laughability of the kansas BOE in the face of the spread of creationism. the only quote Dr. Dembento finds of use is one related to trying to teach ID’s “finer points” as too complex for students to deal with in high school. and that is saying students are too dumb to learn evolutionary theory? hmm. sounds like exactly the opposite to me.

he even includes the counter to his own argument in the very quote he mines from the article:

“The only reason for raising such questions before state education authorities is not to deepen the scientific understanding of teenagers but rather to sow deliberate confusion.”

Has Dembski lost it?

Comment #31402

Posted by Air Bear on May 21, 2005 1:55 AM (e)

“the latest post on Dembski’s blog is very strange.”

But not unusual.

Over on the New York Times forums, rabid policital conservatives sometimes post a link to some web page that they claim has “proof” of something. Invariably, the referenced web page is barely on the same subject, and offers no support for the claims they’re making. Standards of evidence apparently don’t matter to these people.

Comment #31404

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on May 21, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

Andrew Gumbel wrote:

It is about denigrating mainstream science as biased against religion – which it is not; it merely regards questions of the supernatural to be outside the realm of scientific inquiry

This mistake crops up pretty regularly. It contains a couple of hidden, and mistaken, assumptions.
* Religion is monolithic. There are numerous contradictory religions.
* Religion restricts itself to the supernatural. This is clearly incorrect. Various implementations of religion have made claims about the natural world ranging from levitation to geocentricity to global flooding to prayer healing to creationism to human cloning.

Any religion making claims about the natural world opens itself up to scientific investigation, and possibly, opposition. The only question is whether this opposition can be labeled “bias”.

Comment #31409

Posted by lamuella on May 21, 2005 10:51 AM (e)

regarding the supposed differences between ID and creationism:

What, precisely is the difference between saying “someone created this” and “someone designed this” with regards to life on earth?

Comment #31410

Posted by Dan S. on May 21, 2005 11:18 AM (e)

FL says “This debate is like a great chess game for extremely high stakes—-the very hearts and minds and worldviews of science-loving people, young and old. “

Yes, capturing the hearts, minds, and worldviews of people, and imprisoning them in little cages - cages not of faith but of fear, provoked by the relentless drumbeat of “Darwinism is atheistic! Science is atheistic! Etc!”
This stuff is really beginning to bug me . .
*****

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says “It contains a couple of hidden, and mistaken, assumptions….”

I dunno about that second one. I think the explicit part of this claim - science restricts itself to the natural - is the only part; it’s politely, nonconfrontationally not bringing up whether religion stays on its side of the fence or jumps over and starts wandering around. In other words, we’re staying within our borders, and the fact that certain factions seem convinced that all of Upper and Lower Naturalia happens to belong to them, so anything we do is an attack on their territorial integrity, well, we don’t have to bring that up, do we?

But of course, this view accepts these borders (which many don’t accept/understand), so I guess I see what you’re saying …

Comment #31412

Posted by Dan S. on May 21, 2005 11:26 AM (e)

“What, precisely is the difference between saying “someone created this” and “someone designed this” with regards to life on earth?”

The old-school creationists are at least honest and upfront about who they think the Creator was, leading to easy-hypothesis testing and swift legal butt-kicking. The IDers coyly (for the most part, some may actually be sincere) avoid talking about the Designer’s identity in public, away from their core religiously-motivated supporters, so as to avoid said swift legal butt-kicking.

Also, “designed” conjures up all sorts of quasi-scientific sounding stuff, adding to their protective coloration and surface plausibility, while “created” is unabashedly theological.

Etc.

Comment #31414

Posted by Dan S. on May 21, 2005 11:30 AM (e)

Also - what Henry J. said

Comment #31417

Posted by Cubist on May 21, 2005 12:22 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #31437

Posted by tristero on May 21, 2005 4:03 PM (e)

I am glad that scientists are beginning to address what has been patently obvious to so many non-scientists who have been following this contretemps for a long time. This is not an argument about science or scientific evidence, but about cultural mores.

Burt Humburg gets it. Why would anyone who wasn’t a biologist, or was intellectually curious about the scientific origin of species, care enough about evolution to launch decades-long crusades to foist a poor alternative that no decent scientist who understands the facts can accept.? Why not crusade against, say, tcp/ip instead?

The reason is that christianists believe that somehow evolution calls their entire worldview into question, especially the notion that human moral behavior must be regulated by God. Therefore, by sowing confusion about evolution, the christianists make it possible for the suckers who follow them to feel comfortable to ignore Darwin and, by extension, any science that christianists believe is in conflict with their sense of virtue.

Therefore, ID/Creationism/Yadda, yadda is asserted not to advance science but merely to criticize evolution. The real game afoot here is, as it has been since Bryan’s time and even before, cultural.

Comment #31446

Posted by Arden Chatfield on May 21, 2005 5:48 PM (e)

“Over on the New York Times forums, rabid policital conservatives sometimes post a link to some web page that they claim has “proof” of something.  Invariably, the referenced web page is barely on the same subject, and offers no support for the claims they’re making.  Standards of evidence apparently don’t matter to these people”

I think they’re just counting on people not looking up the articles, and hoping they’ll just be dazzled by all the references. Makes it look like everyone agrees with them.

Comment #31468

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 21, 2005 8:52 PM (e)

“Invariably, the referenced web page is barely on the same subject, and offers no support for the claims they’re making”

invariably the sycophantic statements in support of such missives do in fact, fail to mention the invalid links as well.

not one of the comments on Dembski’s blog even mentions the first two links.

Comment #31480

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 21, 2005 10:40 PM (e)

FL said:

Honestly, Steve, I don’t know. All I know is, when it came time to show up for the bell this time around, the non-Darwinists demonstrated the courage to face a Darwinist attorney’s cross-ex grilling in public, but the Darwinists failed to similarly demonstrate their courage by likewise sitting down for a non-Darwinist lawyer’s cross-examination grilling of their positions.

No, they didn’t show courage. Most of them didn’t even answer fully or directly the three questions Mr. Iregonegary put to them. None testified under oath. In fact, I would say not a single expert witness testified in the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt. I don’t believe any of the witnesses – ANY of them – qualify under the rules of evidence to be an expert witness either against evolution or in favor of “intelligent design.” They fail the first because they are not expert in evolution, and they fail the second because they are not expert in intelligent design and because intelligent design meets none of the rules of evidence to establish intelligent design as science.

Intelligent design is bald junk science.

We had a real trial, with real experts and real lawyers, and real cross examination, in Arkansas, in 1981. Guess who won.

Comment #31481

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 21, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

The reason is that christianists believe that somehow evolution calls their entire worldview into question, especially the notion that human moral behavior must be regulated by God. Therefore, by sowing confusion about evolution, the christianists make it possible for the suckers who follow them to feel comfortable to ignore Darwin and, by extension, any science that christianists believe is in conflict with their sense of virtue.

How about, “a few Christians?” Most Christians don’t think evolution affects their “worldview,” except to shed light on fascinating questions.

Comment #31500

Posted by James Blair on May 22, 2005 6:02 AM (e)

ONe needs to remember that an attack on motives is not necessarily a valid attack on an argument.

There are several problems with an attack on motives, which can border on an ad hominem. First, you can’t really know “the motives”. Second, they may be independent of the argument.

For example, you would not think it was valid for someone to critcize evolution as being motivated by atheism, would you?

And even if it were, since some like Richard Dawkins have said that he liked evolution because it allowed him to be “intellectually fulfilled” (whatever that meant) it would not prove the case.

Comment #31502

Posted by Cubist on May 22, 2005 6:33 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #31503

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 22, 2005 7:21 AM (e)

Let’s try to put this simply. The legal system in the USA generally doesn’t give grounds to sue over schools teaching non-science in the science classroom. It is when the non-science is religious non-science that precedent has been established for taking those who pushed that to court. In these cases, motivation is relevant and is considered very seriously indeed. Examining motivation is not intended to cast doubt upon whatever “argument” may be offered. Instead, the intent behind particular bits of non-science has been used in the past by courts to find that the non-science constitutes an establishment of religion.

The whole “bringing up motivation is an ad hominem argument” thing misses the point completely, and likely is done to confuse people. Those in the pro-science camp should be sure to document carefully everything related to the motivation of officials who advocate religious non-science in science classes. Note the simple denial by officials in Dover, PA of having made religious arguments in board meetings and discussing “creationism”. Sufficient documentation can reduce the effectiveness of POFS (Public Official Forgetful Syndrome, hat tip to Molly Ivins). While ID cheerleaders may not like it, judges have been interested in the topic.

Comment #31504

Posted by Jack Krebs on May 22, 2005 7:26 AM (e)

Wesley’s point is and will continue to be quite pertinent in regards to Kansas. The tracks of the religious motivations and theological concerns behind the non-science being offered are pretty clear.

Comment #31509

Posted by Kevin Nyberg on May 22, 2005 7:56 AM (e)

Jack is right. KSBE members are “on the record” making numerous religiously-motivated statements by virtue of their office, and memories will last long on this one. Very, very long.

kdn

Comment #31518

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 22, 2005 8:38 AM (e)

ONe needs to remember that an attack on motives is not necessarily a valid attack on an argument.

There are several problems with an attack on motives, which can border on an ad hominem. First, you can’t really know “the motives”. Second, they may be independent of the argument.

For example, you would not think it was valid for someone to critcize evolution as being motivated by atheism, would you?

And even if it were, since some like Richard Dawkins have said that he liked evolution because it allowed him to be “intellectually fulfilled” (whatever that meant) it would not prove the case.

It is illegal to teach religious opinions ins chools. Period. And every time some creationist/ID nutjob starts yammering about his religious motives, he helps us establish that ID/creationism is nothing but religious opinions.

That is why it is relevant.

It is not illegal to teach science in classrooms – even science that is absolutely totally completely one-thousand-percent wrong. It *is*, however, illegal to teach religious opinions as science. Creationism hasn’t been banned from schools because it’s bad science. it’s been banned because it’s *not science at all*. And neither is ID.

Like I’ve always said, ID will fail as a strategy precisely because it requires a bunch of religious fanatics to remain completely silent, indefinitely, about the oen thing they care about most in the world. They can’t do it. They do’t WANT to do it. Hence, they will always do what the Kansas Kooks did — they will preach at every opportunity, thus helping us establish that their only aim is to advance religion. precisely what the Supreme COurt has already ruled they *cannot* do.

IDers are by far their own worst enemies. All we have to do is let them talk long enough, and they shoot themselves in the head every single time.

Comment #31520

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 22, 2005 8:46 AM (e)

We had a real trial, with real experts and real lawyers, and real cross examination, in Arkansas, in 1981. Guess who won.

The same side who won in Arkansas in 1968, in Louisiana in 1987, in California in 1981, in Illinois in 1990, in California in 1994, in Louisiana in 1999, and in Georgia in 2005.

In every one of these instances — every one – “evolutionist” witnesses were subject to whatever cross-examination the creationists wanted to give them. And in every one of these instances — every one – the creationists lost.

I’ve asked FL repeatedly why this is so. For some odd reason, he doesn’t seem to want to answer that simple question.

I once heard “delusion” defined as “the expectation that a series of events that happened before, will not happen again this time”

Sounds like FL. (shrug)

Comment #31521

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 22, 2005 8:52 AM (e)

The old-school creationists are at least honest and upfront about who they think the Creator was, leading to easy-hypothesis testing and swift legal butt-kicking. The IDers coyly (for the most part, some may actually be sincere) avoid talking about the Designer’s identity in public, away from their core religiously-motivated supporters, so as to avoid said swift legal butt-kicking.

Actually, if you read the old creationist arguments in court, they WERE just as coy about it. Indeed, their argument was precisely the same as ID’s argument now — the creator/designer isn’t NECESSARILY God,and is NOT NECESSARILY based on religion, but it just so happens that they all think it is. Indeed, some of the creationist witnesses in Maclean tried to argue that God isn’t really a religious concept.

As I’ve said before, I’ve not seen IDers produce a single argument in the past ten years that creation ‘scientists’ weren’t already making twenty years ago.

Comment #31532

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 22, 2005 10:16 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #31540

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 22, 2005 12:28 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'h'

Comment #31542

Posted by Flint on May 22, 2005 12:51 PM (e)

Burt Humburg:

Dawkins’s point was that before some testable mechanism was proposed for how we came to be, the only candidates available were magic, and the hazy suspicion that maybe it wasn’t magical but instead a result of, well, *something*.

If you read this site for very long, you will see endless demands that the ID proponents provide some testable mechanism in support of their preferences. The implication is that if they can’t dream up any way to test them, they’re just babbling quasi-scientistical nonsense. But that was pretty much what someone who didn’t like magical explanations was limited to before Darwin. A genuinely testable mechanism moved evolution solidly into the realm of science.

Comment #31544

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 22, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

Glyn wrote:

(This is from the KCFS Forums post on this topic:
You are 100% correct that fear is behind the push for ID. This entire issue is one of emotion for the creationists. I would like to see more from you. And now that you have proposed fear as the motivator - I would like to hear from you as to why the ‘fear’ is at an all-time-high right now - and what can be done to allay it. How do you help these citizens feel safe - when their government is relying on their fear to operate?

Is fear at an all-time high? Maybe in our lifetimes, but I don’t think so in history. Fear has always been used as a political device. There’s all that Southern “White Heritage” stuff and keeping blacks away from our daughters in the ’60s that certain religious types talked about. I remember at Central Christian Church in Wichita being told that MTV was this black-hole-for-your-soul of a channel that, if you watched it, your salvation was undermined. Just about anything can serve as a boogeyman, provided you’ve got a population susceptible to that kind of propaganda.

How do we get over it? I consider knowledge to be fatal for fear. It’s been my experience that most of my patients who want to be informed about cancer, the track it will take during the end-stage of their life, and know soberly what to expect seem to be more at ease with their condition than those who want me to not explain it. IOW, ignorance leads to fear; we fear mainly that which we do not understand.

I sort of alluded to it in my essay, but this is one reason why certain politicians don’t want evolution taught. I don’t think it’s that they are necessarily anti-science. Simply put, having a truly informed electorate would render these politicians chances for reelection difficult. Having a population in fear makes people politically manipulable.

We also need ministers who preach a stronger theology. It hasn’t gotten much traffic, but my writeup at Josh Rosenau’s site on Johnston’s incoherent ramblings with politics in mind deserves a readthrough if you haven’t. (I added the link to my essay above late. See the EDIT line at the end.)

Here we have Johnston, one of those megachurch pastors, telling his congregation that using science to reach conclusions that go against a literally-read Bible is theologically dangerous and that evolution was theologically dangerous. Oh yeah, and he said this in the same sermon that he gave God the glory for the Big Bang.

This is not coherent theology. He was propagating fear of evolution by telling his congregation to avoid and eschew evolution instruction. So an understanding of good theology I also think will be fatal to fear of evolution and, by extension, ID creationism.

Hope that answers your question.

BCH

Comment #31547

Posted by Russell on May 22, 2005 2:06 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #31548

Posted by Russell on May 22, 2005 2:13 PM (e)

FL wrote:

Either way, the “IDC” label can be challenged, of course. It’s redundant in the first instance (creationists who accept ID), and misrepresenting in the second instance (ID’ers who do not accept creationism.) There you go.

Now if you think that makes sense you’re deceiving yourself more successfully than you’re deceiving anyone else. We’ve just dispatched “redundancy” issue, and to the extent that there are any “IDers” who are not creationists, the use of the “IDC” serves to make that distinction clear, not, as you suggest, to lump together. But really, the point is of academic interest only, because the fraction of “IDers” who are not also creationists (as in fundamentalist christian) is negligible. In the whole time I’ve been involved in this issue, I’ve never met a single one.

Sure. I am a biblical creationist.

Exactly. As is the bulk of the “ID” offensive. Why do you object so strenuously whenever that fact is highlighted? (Both “You” collectively, as in Mike Gene’s whine, and “you” in particular, as a biblical literalist)

A literal Adam and Eve? Global Noahic Flood? Jonah and the Big Fish? Sure. Jesus accepted all that…

How do you know that?

It’s only what you’d expect from a follower of Jesus, no?

Well, no. As has been pointed out many, many times here, most of the mainstream christian denominations do no such thing. Are you asking me to believe that they are all “false christians”; that only the biblical literalists are followers of Jesus?

Me, I honestly see real adventure in the modern ID hypothesis and the cataclysmic Science Paradigm Shift it potentially could trigger someday, (sooner rather than later, hopefully!). Great opportunities for exploration, for discovery, imo.

BS. First of all, you’re not a scientist, are you? Your interest in this has nothing to do with opening new horizons of science. You wouldn’t recognize one if you saw it. You could prove me wrong by identifying one of these opportunities. But you can’t, can you?

This debate is like a great chess game for extremely high stakes—-the very hearts and minds and worldviews of science-loving people, young and old. One heart, one mind, one person at a time.

Well, keep at it. You’ve alienated a whole lot more scientists than you’ve attracted, by my count. Do you consider yourself a “science-loving” person? I sure don’t.

It excites me and I plan on making it my avocation

I have no objection to your wasting your time however you like, but it does piss me off that you waste so much of everybody else’s. I really fail to see how this crusade has anything to do with Jesus’s suggestions about how to live one’s life.

Comment #31552

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 22, 2005 2:49 PM (e)

A literal Adam and Eve? Global Noahic Flood? Jonah and the Big Fish? Sure. Jesus accepted all that …

I don’t think one can make a good case that Jesus accepted these things as literal. There is nothing in the New Testament, nor in the Apocrypha, to indicate he did.

I’m particularly incensed at the usual creationist playing-fast-and-loose-with-scripture answer about Jesus’s accepting a literal Adam and Eve. Jesus was asked about divorce, and Jesus answered that God is against it, and was always against it. Creationists say this line out of Matthew shows Jesus’ acceptance of a literal Adam and Eve. It find that a rather gross distortion of Jesus’s words that borders on blasphemy, but in any case does not reflect Jesus’s real words or Jesus’s intent. Similarly, Jesus mentions Noah’s time, in a literary allusion, in an answer to the question about how we might tell when the end of the world is coming. In no way does Jesus in that passage say that the flood was literal.

Most of the creationists who so carefully pick and choose which of Jesus’s words to distort in these cases will also accuse scientists and others of “picking and choosing” verses from the Bible.

It would be high comedy, were the stakes not so high as they are.

Comment #31553

Posted by steve on May 22, 2005 2:59 PM (e)

FL should read Orr’s review of Dembski’s NFL. It points out that the best of ID is just confused pleading to not believe evolution. There’s no paradigm shift to be had. In brief, Orr reveals Dembski’s book to say:

1 The NFL theorems show evolution is no good
2 Except that I admit they don’t really apply to evolution
3 Nevertheless I don’t think evolution could be too useful because it would just find local maxima of the fitness function
4 Except that I admit the function changes with time so that’s not true,
5 But anyway the Real action is with IC things
6 Though it turns out there are at least two ways IC things could evolve but,
7 Since certain systems like the flagella have not been historically explained down to every last detail, I can still believe that some step might not be explainable without god.

One might wonder, since he indirectly admits that none of his arguments are any good, why does he make them, with lots of pages of impressive-looking math? To impress people like FL.

Comment #31556

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 22, 2005 3:35 PM (e)

I beg your pardon: Should have been “… to indicate He did.”

Comment #31557

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 22, 2005 3:52 PM (e)

no… to impress people like Ahmanson.

supporting ID is a singular way to make a career for yourself, when you are an obvious failure as a real scientist.

IIRC, Dembski was fired from Baylor, and after that doubled his efforts at promoting ID.

obviously there is a lot of money out there to support creationism, as evidenced by the 25 million available to build a “creation musuem” headed by that idiot Hovind?

the funny thing is, Dembski often links to articles and provides subtexts that indicate, just like his book, that he might not actually believe in any of the ID nonsense.

Not that it really matters, as long as he continues to whore himself for “the cause”.

what gets me is how people like slaveador and FL can be drawn in by such obvious claptrap, just to somehow support their “faith” which is obviously lacking.

Comment #31561

Posted by steve on May 22, 2005 5:02 PM (e)

I wouldn’t be surprised if Dembski and other IDists started suing critics. Their grants and salaries are threatened by scientists’ comments.

Comment #31562

Posted by frank schmidt on May 22, 2005 5:02 PM (e)

As one who insists that ID always be appended with a C, it seems that FL and others who object to this are playing political word-games. They attempt to (in public at least) distinguish themselves from the Hovind-type creationsists by insisting that the term only applies to Biblical creationism. In fact there are many versions of creationism, including Greek mythological, Native American, etc. What all versions have in common is the positing of an event or mechanism outside the known mechanisms of Chemistry and Physics to account for the origin and diversity of life.

We call these events miracles, and many believe in them, but they are not the appropriate area for science, because (by definition) they are outside the natural processes that science studies. As Fr. Hesburgh said when President of Notre Dame: “Biology does not study miracles.”

As for Dawkins’ atheism, I suspect its roots took hold well before he read the Origin. He would have been just as much of an atheist in 1700, before any of this was discovered.

Comment #31563

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 22, 2005 5:06 PM (e)

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Dembski and other IDists started suing critics. Their grants and salaries are threatened by scientists’ comments.”

this reminds me; anyone know what is happening with the lawsuit against Eugenie Scott?

Comment #31564

Posted by Flint on May 22, 2005 5:34 PM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote:

I don’t think one can make a good case that Jesus accepted these things as literal. There is nothing in the New Testament, nor in the Apocrypha, to indicate he did.

Perhaps it’s to the point here to emphasize that one can NOT make a good case that a physical Jesus ever existed at all. The evidence against a physical Jesus, in comparison, is compelling.

Arguments about whether someone who never existed “accepted” anything always strike me as nugatory. Just as a footnote, archaeological efforts indicate that Nazareth in the time of Jesus consisted of perhaps 25-75 people! Now, if you were attempting to solicit followers 100 years after the alleged fact, 1500 miles away, speaking a different language, writing at a time when embellishment-for-cause was the norm and verification was unknown, and you wanted to run no feasible risk of anyone ever showing up and saying “Wait a minute, I was there!”, Nazareth is a pretty good setting to choose.

I wonder if our forum “theistic evolutionists” maintain their avowed reverence for evidence (and its most reasonable interpretation) when these indicate that Jesus was a convenient fiction. When we start wandering into the never-never-land of “IF Jesus had actually existed as depicted, he would probably have thought X and not Y” then we’re getting into Finley’s territory.

Comment #31566

Posted by Hokie on May 22, 2005 5:44 PM (e)

Great post. I’d always viewed ID as a reaction to a fear of science (not just evolution, but science as a whole), since it seeks to undermine the methodological naturalism of the scientific process and replace it with a God of the gaps, but I didn’t quite go the extra step to view their “critique” as intentionally confusing and simply with the end of criticizing. Very, very nicely laid out.

Comment #31567

Posted by RBH on May 22, 2005 5:45 PM (e)

STJ wrote

IIRC, Dembski was fired from Baylor, and after that doubled his efforts at promoting ID.

He was fired as director of the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor, but was permitted to stay for the 5-year term of his original appointment as “Associate Research Professor in the Conceptual Foundations of Science”. That expires this spring (June?), when he will move to Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, as director of its new Center for Science and Theology.

RBH

Comment #31579

Posted by Henry J on May 22, 2005 6:41 PM (e)

Given that Jesus wouldn’t have heard any of the modern evidence against a worldwide flood (e.g., continuity of ice caps, continuity of unique ecosystems, species having more genetic variety than would arise in 6000 yrs, lack of a unique layer of debris at that age in the geologic record), I wonder if it’s really relevant to ask if he took the Flood story literally? Without recent knowledge, he wouldn’t have had our reasons for not doing so.

Henry

Comment #31587

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 22, 2005 7:17 PM (e)

Perhaps it’s to the point here to emphasize that one can NOT make a good case that a physical Jesus ever existed at all.

Ditto for Lao Tzu and Buddha.

Does it matter? Not to me. It’s the ideas that matter, not who it was who said them. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a good idea, whether it was said by a historical Jesus or by Ahmad the tent maker.

Comment #31590

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 22, 2005 7:34 PM (e)

“ “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you””

I beleive it was Ploink Ploink who originally gave that bit of wisdom unto his followers.

Comment #31597

Posted by FL on May 22, 2005 8:39 PM (e)

I wonder if our forum “theistic evolutionists” maintain their avowed reverence for evidence (and its most reasonable interpretation) when these indicate that Jesus was a convenient fiction.

So, Ed, are you going to respond to this?….

*****************

FL should read Orr’s review of Dembski’s NFL.

True, Orr has responded to NFL, but it’s equally true that Dembski has responded to Orr. So let us read ~that~ too while we’re at it:

http://www.designinference.com/documents/2002.08.Orr_Response.htm

According to Dembski’s website, a more extensive response to Orr is planned. But this will do nicely for now.

*********************

But, as I pointed out Phil Johnson considers “ID advocates” to be “creationists”. And as you pointed out, creationists can generally be described as “ID advocates”. So the combination of the terms shouldn’t be particularly objectionable except conceivably because it’s redundant. What “bias”, what lack of objectivity, does it betray to use that combination?

Well, it was Mike Gene who pointed out, correctly, that “creationists accept ID”. But as he ALSO pointed out, (and which you have missed either accidently or intentionally), the inverse is NOT true.
That is, not all ID advocates accept creationism.

Think David Berlinski, for example. Reportedly an agnostic; which means he’s not even a biblical creationist like myself, let alone OEC or YEC. Not a creationist, obviously.

(This example should be clear enough, Russell. To ignore it, is to honestly demonstrate the bias Mike Gene is talking about. It’s as simple as that.)

*****************

But really, the point is of academic interest only, because the fraction of “IDers” who are not also creationists (as in fundamentalist christian) is negligible. In the whole time I’ve been involved in this issue, I’ve never met a single one.

So, is Berlinski a creationist, Russell? How about Michael Behe (who is Roman Catholic and reportedly accepts common descent)? Is he a creationist? Are either one of them “fundamentalist Christians” (to use your phrase)?

See, all your paragraph really tells me is that you’ve made ~no~ effort to “meet”, let alone scientifically survey, the number of ID’ers who may be non-creationist and/or non-fundamentalist.

Moreover, (and this is important), you and your evo-homies don’t even have a consistent across-the-board definition of the term “creationist.”

Look at your own words: you’ve already quasi-defined the term “creationist” as “fundamentalist Christian”, even though clear counter-examples exist.
And as Dr. Francis Beckwith pointed out, the term creationist can be defined so broadly that even a theistic evolutionist becomes a creationist.

Tell me, Russell, when theistic evolutionist Kenneth Miller got publicly labeled a creationist by Prof. Frederick Crews over his book Finding Darwin’s God, what was your response to that? I bet you didn’t respond at all.

“Clearly, if the definition of “Creationist” can include a proponent of Darwinian evolution, then the definition adds smoke, not light, to the debate.”
—-Mike Gene.

Looks like he nailed it there.

to the extent that there are any “IDers” who are not creationists, the use of the “IDC” serves to make that distinction clear

Well, THAT sho’nuff ain’t true, judging by the very visibly sweeping manner in which the term is being used around here, plus the clear lack of consistency about the definition of the term in the first place.

FL

Comment #31599

Posted by FL on May 22, 2005 8:50 PM (e)

BS. First of all, you’re not a scientist, are you? Your interest in this has nothing to do with opening new horizons of science. You wouldn’t recognize one if you saw it.

My understanding is that you’re good at the biology business, Russell, and you’ve worked at it for a long time.

But trust me: you ain’t so good at it that you can sit behind some computer monitor out there in Blogville and start telling me what ~my~ interests are or are not, regarding opening new horizons of science. (Insert smile here.)
Honestly, your presumptuousness is showing. That’s your problem to deal with, sir, not mine.

Although I am not a ~professional~ scientist, (my training is jointly in newspaper journalism and religious studies), I hasten to remind you that according to Scientific American magazine, there does exist such a creature as an ~amateur~ scientist. I think I’m one of them.

Somebody who loves science as much as you do, and constantly reads about science just as as you do, but for whom it remains an avocation instead of a full time vocation.
The microscope I own is doubtless far less powerful than what you have access to (after all, it only cost 30 bucks); the telescope I own is similarly unimpressive ($120 with tax, at a K-Mart sale. But I like it.)

At any rate, I do own them, and I do know how to use them, and I do have fun with various activities with ‘em so I can continue enjoying science “live”, as well as reading about science.

Further, over a period of years, my college transcript includes introductory courses in geology, astronomy, evolution, anthropology, chemistry, physics, and statistics.

Why? Because I wanted to be prepared to write stories regarding (among other topics) science and scientists, including the origins controversy.

I admit I’m no expert, but I know ~where~ to seek out and locate expert opinion both “live” and print, I know ~what~ the working vocabulary is for this and that discipline, and I know ~how~ to ask relevant questions with fairness, making sure that the science subject gets his or her story to the people exactly in the way he or she seeks to tell it.

I’m happy to say (if I may do so) that I have contributed one newspaper story about Darwinist Kenneth Miller that the people on your evo-side were quite pleased with, and I have contributed one newspaper story about non-Darwinists Wells, Bradley, and Behe (and a little bit of Calvert I think), that the ID folks were quite pleased with.

So let’s be clear on this: The only reason why I share this personal information about myself, Russell, is so that you might know that you are talking to someone who loves science just as much as you do, even without biology degree. You really don’t have to be Darwinist (nor a professional scientist) to be fully pro-science and to honestly seek the opening of new horizons in science.

Like Dembski, I see science and theology in mutual support of each other.
Therefore I do NOT apologize for being a biblical Christian who loves the art of apologetics and question-answering (as one means of loving God and loving God’s Word), and letting that art it inform my motives ALONG WITH a basic, home-grown love of science itself. That’s me.

Just because you guys pretend (contra your own Michael Ruse) that hypotheses are scientific or unscientific based on “religious motivations” of their supporters, doesn’t mean I have to hide where ~I’m~ coming from. Carver didn’t hide his beliefs, Dembski doesn’t hide his beliefs (“Christ as the completion of science”) and I don’t hide mine, either

I love the fact that, though the 3-point ID hypothesis is NOT religious in an of itself (we already demonstrated that previously), it DOES have delicious theological implications, just as Darwinism DOES have doo-doo theological implications.

Best of all, I love the fact that “teaching the controversy” and “the ID hypothesis” have the potential, even now without any political or legal dealings, to bring gradual but sure changes to an individual’s worldview. One person, one mind, one heart, one new horizon at a time. (Not to mention the Cataclysmic Science Paradigm Shift that we all look forward to.)

There you go, Russell. Btw, Sir Toejam, do you remember asking me “why do you post here?” Well, dude, now you know.

FL

Comment #31600

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 22, 2005 8:52 PM (e)

In every one of these instances —- every one — “evolutionist” witnesses were subject to whatever cross-examination the creationists wanted to give them. And in every one of these instances —- every one — the creationists lost.

I’ve asked FL repeatedly why this is so. For some odd reason, he doesn’t seem to want to answer that simple question.

Well, FL … ?

I’m still waiting ……

What seems to be the problem?

Comment #31601

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 22, 2005 8:55 PM (e)

Best of all, I love the fact that “teaching the controversy” and “the ID hypothesis” have the potential, even now without any political or legal dealings, to bring gradual but sure changes to an individual’s worldview. One person, one mind, one heart, one new horizon at a time. (Not to mention the Cataclysmic Science Paradigm Shift that we all look forward to.)

There you go, Russell. Btw, Sir Toejam, do you remember asking me “why do you post here?” Well, dude, now you know.

You mean you’re posting here because you have religious objections to science, and ID is nothing more than religious objections to science, and IDers are simply lying to us when they claim otherwise?

Gee, FL, we already knew that. You didn’t have to tell anyone. (shrug)

Comment #31607

Posted by FL on May 22, 2005 9:34 PM (e)

In every one of these instances —- every one — “evolutionist” witnesses were subject to whatever cross-examination the creationists wanted to give them. And in every one of these instances —- every one — the creationists lost.

I’ve asked FL repeatedly why this is so. For some odd reason, he doesn’t seem to want to answer that simple question.

Although I have no discomfort in answering, it’s definitely not a simple question, Rev.

Remember that it took the late evolutionist theologian Langdon Gilkey an entire book (Creationism On Trial just to explain the specific details of ~how~ his side won at McClean vs Arkansas.
(You’ve read that book, haven’t you Rev?)

To answer your question, you’d have to take it a case at a time. If you want to discuss a specific case and the details thereof, that’s fine.

Will have to return to this, but this will do as a start.

And btw, Rev, what you’re saying still doesn’t explain why you guys were scared stiff to show up for cross-ex ~this~ time around, seeing as you boast of how very successful you guys were in past legal cases.

FL

Comment #31610

Posted by JRQ on May 22, 2005 9:42 PM (e)

FL: Just because you guys pretend (contra your own Michael Ruse) that hypotheses are scientific or unscientific based on “religious motivations” of their supporters, doesn’t mean I have to hide where ~I’m~ coming from. Carver didn’t hide his beliefs, Dembski doesn’t hide his beliefs (“Christ as the completion of science”) and I don’t hide mine, either

A hypothesis is scientific or unscientific regardless of the religious orientation of its supporters. The objection is not to the religion of the ID crowd per se, but to the inability of the ID crowd to recognize, as a result of a religious motivation, that thier position as unscientific .

The objection to ID based on religious motivation is very similar to a any other objection based on a personal investment or conflict of interest on the issue or . Having a personal stake in the outcome of a body of research poses a general problem in science. Often, competing financial interests are deemed of sufficient concern to make authors declare any competing financial interests they might have when submitting a paper for publication or a conference presentation. Many of us have to do this regularly. But, don’t know anyone who has had to declare competing personal relgious interests. Yet but I think most people will agree a religious conflict of interest could potentially be every bit as biasing as a financial one, depending on how rigidly one holds one’s faith.

In the case of ID, the arguments of ID-supporters have been found seriously wanting yet they continue to push the same nonsense they have from the beginning. We KNOW what thier religious orientations are, we KNOW thier conclusions have “mysteriously” come out in favor of thier beliefs, and we KNOW exactly why thier arguments are wrong on scientific grounds. IF this isn’t evidence of bias due to religious motivation, I don’t know what is.

Comment #31611

Posted by Steven Laskoske on May 22, 2005 9:46 PM (e)

A literal Adam and Eve? Global Noahic Flood? Jonah and the Big Fish? Sure. Jesus accepted all that …

How do you know that?

Or, to echo the standard Creationist arguement, “Were you there?”

Comment #31613

Posted by JRQ on May 22, 2005 9:49 PM (e)

One person, one mind, one heart, one new horizon at a time.

I have mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating: this one-at-a-time strategy is highly diagnostic of a subjective persuasion tactic rather than an objective evidence-based tactic. This is the kind of attitude change one shoots for in a political or commercial marketing campaign.

Comment #31614

Posted by Kevin Nyberg on May 22, 2005 10:27 PM (e)

And btw, Rev, what you’re saying still doesn’t explain why you guys were scared stiff to show up for cross-ex ~this~ time around, seeing as you boast of how very successful you guys were in past legal cases.

(1) This wasn’t a legal case; the sub-committee had no legal jurisdiction to compel testimony. Be patient. When the time comes for the rule of law, there will be testimony.
(2) The outcome had already been pre-determined, as per frequent public comments on the part of KSBE members. Perhaps they needed to stay “on message” better: they gave it all away.
(3) It has already been explained, often, that testimony wasn’t worth the effort. The deck had been stacked already. Spinning it ex post facto doesn’t change it.
(4) Two of the three sub-committee members couldn’t be bothered even to read the curricula, along with numerous witnesses, demonstrating again it was all for show.
(5) The scientists were there, contradicting your assessment that they were “scared stiff.” Their refusal to testify was a protest against the rigged nature of the hearings.

kdn

Comment #31619

Posted by Russell on May 22, 2005 11:00 PM (e)

FL: you are amazingly adept at ignoring the obvious and/or constructing strawman alternatives. I said the “non-creationist” ID fan club constitutes an infinitesimal fraction of the movement, not that it doesn’t exist. Hell, we’ve got Charlie Wagner right here as proof it exists. I also pointed out that in the several years I have been engaged in this discussion, I have never met a single one. Berlinski, in particular, has been shown to be such a total charlatan right here at Panda’s Thumb, I couldn’t possibly care less whether he considers himself an evangelical Christian, militant atheist, or professional clown.

Think David Berlinski, for example. Reportedly an agnostic; which means he’s not even a biblical creationist like myself, let alone OEC or YEC. Not a creationist, obviously.
(This example should be clear enough, Russell. To ignore it, is to honestly demonstrate the bias Mike Gene is talking about. It’s as simple as that.)

I’m not talking about freak (and questionable) examples; I’m talking about the bulk, the heart and the soul of the movement: people like you, FL.

Honestly, your presumptuousness is showing. That’s your problem to deal with, sir, not mine.

If it were presumptuousness, I wouldn’t have asked it as a question; I would have told you: “you are not a scientist”.

you ain’t so good at it that you can sit behind some computer monitor out there in Blogville and start telling me what ~my~ interests are or are not, regarding opening new horizons of science.

Perhaps not. But I can make a pretty good guess: that is you’re a whole lot more interested in the religious aspect of all this than the scientific (if at all).

there does exist such a creature as an ~amateur~ scientist. I think I’m one of them.

And I think you’re not.

Tell me, Russell, when theistic evolutionist Kenneth Miller got publicly labeled a creationist by Prof. Frederick Crews over his book Finding Darwin’s God, what was your response to that? I bet you didn’t respond at all.

Bingo! What possible reason would I have to respond? I don’t give a rat’s ass about Miller’s or anyone else’s theology. Does he support science and science education, or does he seek to undermine it?

Comment #31622

Posted by Russell on May 22, 2005 11:12 PM (e)

And, might I add, where does a dilettante outsider who smugly insist that an entire branch of science -thousands and thousands of professional biologists with millions of study-hours behind them - are all mistaken about the very foundation of their discipline… where does such a piker get off talking about “presumptuousness”!!!???

Comment #31623

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 22, 2005 11:12 PM (e)

well, i gotta admit. FL’s comments have certainly fit the threads title to a “T”.

Comment #31624

Posted by Ruthless on May 22, 2005 11:30 PM (e)

FL Said:

Although I am not a ~professional~ scientist, (my training is jointly in newspaper journalism and religious studies), I hasten to remind you that according to Scientific American magazine, there does exist such a creature as an ~amateur~ scientist. I think I’m one of them.

As one amature to another, you don’t know what the fook you’re talking about.

You really don’t have to be Darwinist (nor a professional scientist) to be fully pro-science and to honestly seek the opening of new horizons in science.

What are these “new horizons” and what do you think we (as humans) will gain from them and why do you think that?

Like Dembski, I see science and theology in mutual support of each other.

They aren’t. And, IMO, science being based upon observable reality and religion being based upon unobserved folklore (much of which contradicts both reality and itself), I have to say that religion is incompatible with science as well as with rational thinking. Many here may disagree with me (an atheist), but it’s my experience, anyway. Once one decides to believe in UFO’s, conspiracies, Elvis, big foot, ghosts, astrology, god, or what-have-you, you cease to be rational and objective (you are believing something that the facts say most likely doesn’t exist because, well, because you want to.)

Therefore I do NOT apologize for being a biblical Christian who loves the art of apologetics and question-answering (as one means of loving God and loving God’s Word), and letting that art it inform my motives ALONG WITH a basic, home-grown love of science itself. That’s me.

But if scientific observations–let’s say ones you make yourself–contradicted creation (or Intelligent Design), which would you accept and why? Would you accept the observation and change your origin beliefs or would you throw out the observation to keep your origins beliefs?

Just because you guys pretend (contra your own Michael Ruse) that hypotheses are scientific or unscientific based on “religious motivations” of their supporters

No one claims this.

, doesn’t mean I have to hide where ~I’m~ coming from. Carver didn’t hide his beliefs, Dembski doesn’t hide his beliefs (“Christ as the completion of science”) and I don’t hide mine, either

How does Christ complete science? The Bible has produced which scientific theories or laws or hypotheses that have helped humanity? Care to state some of Christianity’s scientific achievements?

I love the fact that, though the 3-point ID hypothesis is NOT religious in an of itself

Sure it is. I’ll make you a deal: If the ID camp agrees that the only possible “intelligent designer”, scientifically speaking, could be space aliens or some other corporeal creature–and there is no possibility that it could be a deity of some kind, then we can think about talking about it in science class. What do you think of my proposal? Heck, if you accepted my proposal, you could actually start doing science with your theory. You could start investigating what sort of properties the “designer” had/has.

Best of all, I love the fact that “teaching the controversy” and “the ID hypothesis” have the potential, even now without any political or legal dealings, to bring gradual but sure changes to an individual’s worldview. One person, one mind, one heart, one new horizon at a time. (Not to mention the Cataclysmic Science Paradigm Shift that we all look forward to.)

Keep trying to legislate junk science as Christianity and you’ll see Christianity die an even quicker death than it is experiencing now.

Sure. I am a biblical creationist. I place my trust in Jesus’ placing HIS complete trust in an “unbreakable” Bible, the “word of God”, right down to the historical claims denied by evolutionists and materialists. A literal Adam and Eve? Global Noahic Flood? Jonah and the Big Fish? Sure. Jesus accepted all that, so I accept all that too. It’s only what you’d expect from a follower of Jesus, no?

What makes you think Jesus believed those things and if he did, that he was correct?

But I wasn’t looking to talk about all this right now. I just wanted to offer response about the IDC conflation. Still, it’s on the table now.
The ~non-Darwinists~ showed up and were willing to take the heat for their positions. Whatever else you criticize them for, either by commission or omission, I don’t think “fear” fits.

The “non-Darwinists” didn’t have much choice. The BOE of KS was trying to get their theories taught as science. If they really think they are science, they should certainly explain themselves, otherwise they’d look awfully silly. OTOH, there was no reason for the “Darwinists” to show up; there is no scientific debate about evolution being fact.
That said, I don’t think the the ID reps showed up out of courage or anything, I think they showed up because it is their goal to sow confusion in the public and a show-trial, held by creationists for creationists, is certainly an excellent way to publicly disseminate all sorts of confusing lies that the public is ill-equipped to understand.

All I know is, when it came time to show up for the bell this time around, the non-Darwinists demonstrated the courage to face a Darwinist attorney’s cross-ex grilling in public, but the Darwinists failed to similarly demonstrate their courage by likewise sitting down for a non-Darwinist lawyer’s cross-examination grilling of their positions.

By “Darwinists”, do you mean “scientists”?
I would say that most probably didn’t know about it. Of those that knew, probably few had any sort of motivation to take part in a junk-science mock-trial for a bunch of creationists. (I doubt astronomers would fall all over themselves to attend a show-trial for people who think the Earth is flat.) Of those who might have known about it and had motivation to participate, they DID participate, by setting up shop outside and being available for press questions. You consider them cowardly; I consider them to be smart; they picked a much more successful strategy. And when the real trials come, scientists will testify, and educated people will rule that “Intelligent Design” is a form of religion and is not appropriate for school.

Comment #31625

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 23, 2005 12:00 AM (e)

“the non-Darwinists demonstrated the courage to face a Darwinist attorney’s cross-ex grilling in public”

for the last time, FL…

NOT UNDER OATH! their proclamations mean less than nothing.

and no, creationists have NEVER won a federal case in a court of law.

and no, you actually did not address my question as to why you post here, because it was based on my incredulity at the total lack of credibility on just about every issue you have commented on, again and again, as just demonstrated.

however, by far my more important question was…

if you got what you wanted, and all scientific endeavor was replaced with relgious dogma:

What practical applications can you see coming out of that? It’s a very simple question, really.

Comment #31628

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 23, 2005 1:07 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #31647

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 23, 2005 6:30 AM (e)

In every one of these instances —- every one — “evolutionist” witnesses were subject to whatever cross-examination the creationists wanted to give them. And in every one of these instances —- every one — the creationists lost.

I’ve asked FL repeatedly why this is so. For some odd reason, he doesn’t seem to want to answer that simple question.

Although I have no discomfort in answering, it’s definitely not a simple question, Rev.

Remember that it took the late evolutionist theologian Langdon Gilkey an entire book (Creationism On Trial just to explain the specific details of ~how~ his side won at McClean vs Arkansas.
(You’ve read that book, haven’t you Rev?)

To answer your question, you’d have to take it a case at a time. If you want to discuss a specific case and the details thereof, that’s fine.

Will have to return to this, but this will do as a start.

And btw, Rev, what you’re saying still doesn’t explain why you guys were scared stiff to show up for cross-ex ~this~ time around, seeing as you boast of how very successful you guys were in past legal cases.

Thanks for not answering my question. Again.

Comment #31706

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 23, 2005 2:57 PM (e)

OT, but extremely relevant, because if this happens creationist behavior and ideology will end up becoming enshrined in the legal system as well.

one more day until the fillibuster is nuked, and the creationists will have a wide open path to install sympathetic judges:

http://www.elitestv.com/pub/2005/May/EEN429227451b5ec.html …

President Bush encouraged Frist and conservative Republicans in the Senate to push ahead with the ‘nuclear option.’ Bush emphasized that he wanted ‘his type’ of judges on the federal bench which is the real reason behind this fight over Senate rules.

well, there is some truth behind that, but really what the pres wants is for his brand of conservatism to continue after he is gone, in the personage of Frist.

Frist is running for pres in ‘08, and most pundits grant that if he pulls of nuking the filibuster, this will go a long way towards swaying the right wing extremeists to his platform.

so … with that in mind, if you haven’t written your senator yet to encourange them NOT to allow the filibuster to be nuked, best do so right bloody now!

Comment #31708

Posted by Kirala on May 23, 2005 3:02 PM (e)

Fear is indeed a big problem in this debate. But I think pride is a bigger one.

The Righteous are so busy defending Truth (Justice, and the American Way) that they can’t stop to look at the facts of the matter objectively, much less logically. The Enemy of Good is on the prowl, and threatening all human existence. Pretty soon, there’s so much shouting going on, no one can hear themselves think - and rational thought is then abandoned. Fear of losing is close kin to pride, after all.

And, of course, the Righteous are to be found in many places, wherever the opposition Must Not Win. The world has not yet ended on account of Darwinism, as the Religious Right ought to note, but neither has it ended on account of stubborn fundamentalism.

I find it ironic, though, that there are so many battles over what science curriculum is. The anti-evolution wing should be content to leave matters as they are: it was the ridiculous, badly-presented Darwinist curriculum in my schools which turned me to Young Earth Creationism, and it was the YEC Answers Book which turned me away from the Creationist movement altogether. And I have some amazing news to report to the still-faithful of the Young Earthers: I didn’t have to become a Bible-burning God-hating devil-worshipper or atheist to do it!

Comment #31713

Posted by Steve U. on May 23, 2005 3:59 PM (e)

Re Tom DeLay

The speech took place at “Worldview Weekend,” a gathering at which speakers emphasize the need for evangelical Christians to get involved in politics and not to segregate their religious worldview from their daily lives

“Worldview Weekend”?

I suggest a more accurate title: “You’re All Going To Hell But We’re Not Weekend”.

I hope those folks had a great time comparing halo sizes.

Comment #31714

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 23, 2005 4:07 PM (e)

better start measuring your head.

Comment #31715

Posted by Mike S. on May 23, 2005 4:08 PM (e)

I thought that Dr. Humburg’s post was pretty good, except for a couple of doozies:

Burt Humburg wrote:

What does it mean to be made in God’s own image if humans evolved from ape-like ancestors? If organisms, species, and indeed entire phyla died and went extinct before humans appeared, what need have we for a salvation based on the idea that human sin gave rise to death? Why can some Christians decide what women should do with their own bodies when the God of the Bible chooses to let people make their own decisions? Why are abortion and stem-cell research, but not in-vitro fertilization, forms of murder? And if common sense and research both demonstrate that no one – no one – chooses their own sexuality, what are we to make of religiously-fueled homophobia?

You talk accurately about Creationist’s fears, but then you just reinforce that their fears are correct, by insinuating that the answers to these questions are determined by science. I’m not sure where you are going with the first two questions, but they are certainly legitimate theological questions in light of the scientific evidence. But the latter two are value questions whose answers are not determined by the scientific data. The fact that people have free will does not mean that choosing to abort one’s child is morally acceptable (in fact, science tells us that a fetus is not a part of a woman’s body - it is, in fact, a distinct member of the human species - the question is whether it has a moral claim not to be intentionally destroyed). The fact that people’s sexual preferences may be genetically or environmentally determined (a point which is not scientifically proven one way or the other at the moment) does not mean that one must not consider homosexual behavior to be morally wrong. There are many behaviors which derive from physiological impulses that we still consider it inappropriate to engage in.

You’ve basically just said, “believing in evolution means you must accept that abortion and homosexual behavior are morally acceptable.” You’ve essentially just stated exactly what the Creationists claim, and reinforced their fears.

The political implications are intuitively obvious. Politicians know that fear is a powerful motivator, far more so than reason. Politicians, and others who fail to place sufficient priority on science education, may find this population of people who are in fear due to a lack of scientific understanding tantalizing. They recognize that, for example, it is far easier to marginalize those who have abortions than it is to marginalize scientists than it is to marginalize couples who cannot have babies on their own. To marginalize abortion and stem-cell research, not in-vitro fertilization, as forms of murder gains them favor with their uninformed constituency, even while it leaves that constituency ignorant of embryonic biology.

But why stop at just embryos? In for a penny, in for a pound: those same politicians also tell that constituency about the worldwide conspiracies against intelligent design, the evils of evolution, how it is impossible to be a legitimate Christian and to be pro-choice or pro-science, that God calls them to be absolutist in their dealings with those who hold differing views about murky ethical issues like Terry Schiavo, etc. When things are good for politicians who do not care about science education, things are good for religious leaders who propagate ancient and wrong understandings of the observable world, and vice-versa. Thus, religious leaders make pacts with those politicians to continue to market these incoherent theologies in exchange for political favors.

I have to run so I don’t have time to fully go over this, but your Manichean view of politicians is unhelpful to the discussion. Do no politicians support any causes out of conviction? Surely you’re not saying that pro-choice politicians take that position out of principle, but pro-life politicians take that position purely out of political calculation? Certainly politicians will use fear as a motivator, but it’s ludicrous to claim only conservatives, or only Republicans use that tactic, and it does nothing to illuminate how to deal with the ID problem by framing the issue this way.

Comment #31717

Posted by atoller on May 23, 2005 4:32 PM (e)

FL wrote:

not all ID advocates accept creationism

.

But, if there was an intelligent designer who never
actually created anything, how would we know they
existed, and why would we care?

Comment #31718

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 23, 2005 4:32 PM (e)

“ but it’s ludicrous to claim only conservatives, or only Republicans use that tactic”

perhaps it would be, if that is what he was doing.

what he was doing, and is essentially correct in saying, is that this “new breed” of republican we have seen since Reagan seems to take this tactic to the extreme; moreso than any other political group in recent memory.

There is a ton of evidence to support this, and the fact that the extreme right wants to nuke the filibuster, and to get support for this, is accusing the dems of being “anti-faith” (frist’s own words), is the icing on the cake.

if you can’t see this, you have must be wearing some politically “bent” blinders.

Comment #31729

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 23, 2005 5:01 PM (e)

I do not hold that to assent to the realities of evolution is tantamount to being pro-choice or anti-gay rights. I do feel that several verified theories and observations that arise from science (like evolution, child development, sexual development, embryonic biology, etc.) do undermine the basis of many of the fundamentalist claims.

1) Evolution should cause us to rethink what God meant when he said we were made in his image.
2) Any theorem that verifies deep-time will cause us to rethink salvation in the light of a pre-man death.
3) An actual understanding of embryonic procedures and biology should cause us to rethink how morally upright it is to consider abortion and stem cell research murder, but not in-vitro fertilization.
4) If no one chooses their own sexuality, then this should cause us to rethink the “sin” of homosexuality, especially in the light of an evolutionary ascent of man and the fact that there was no physical Adam and Eve.

Now those are the questions. If you engage those questions, even if you maintain your answers, then that is not fear and my thesis would not apply to you. But if you dismiss these questions without due consideration for the ideas - say, for example, you don’t rethink your anti-gay rights stance due to your use of Behe’s IC as an excuse to dismiss evolution - then the chances are you are in fear of the answers.

Let me put it another way: I reinforce the fears of creationists and undermine my thesis by asking these questions ONLY to the extent that the beliefs of creationists are indefensable in the light of the evidence that those who aren’t in fear would consider.

Is it possible that your concerns indicate you embody my point about fear more than you’d care to let on?

Regarding politics, your point is well taken, though I’m not sure how relevant it is. While it is appropriate to spin something so that uninterested people consider that it “is their ox getting gored,” I think you’d be straining credibility to charge that Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats in inspiring independent thought. (Remember, according to studies, the people who voted for Bush were not only more likely to think that Iraq had WMD, but that they were more likely to think we actually found them in Iraq.)

Needless to say, it’s not the most informed voting that the US has ever seen. And, needless to say, I think it seriously undermines your thesis that conservatives aren’t far more guilty of this than moderates.

BCH

Comment #31730

Posted by Steve U. on May 23, 2005 5:10 PM (e)

Sir T wrote

” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you””

I beleive it was Ploink Ploink who originally gave that bit of wisdom unto his followers.

Wasn’t Ploink Ploink a she? Where is GWW when we need her?

Comment #31733

Posted by Larry Lord on May 23, 2005 5:19 PM (e)

Burt

But if you dismiss these questions without due consideration for the ideas - say, for example, you don’t rethink your anti-gay rights stance due to your use of Behe’s IC as an excuse to dismiss evolution - then the chances are you are in fear of the answers.

This is an excellent point and one that is infrequently made. There is something strange about the way that discourse is conducted in “mainstream” channels where beliefs that are alleged “premised” in Biblical or “unscientific/faith-based” principles are somehow not subject to the rigorous treatment given to other claims.

Rarely, if ever, are the proponents of such beliefs (e.g., prominent political preachers) asked to explain what the hell are they talking about and how their views can be reconciled with positions on other topics and with positions taken by other Christians on the same topic.

I expect as hardliner religious people increasingly demand to be heard that we will start seeing more serious debunking, if you will, of their claims. And I expect they will not approve.

Comment #31735

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 23, 2005 5:25 PM (e)

“Rarely, if ever, are the proponents of such beliefs (e.g., prominent political preachers) asked to explain what the hell are they talking about and how their views can be reconciled with positions on other topics and with positions taken by other Christians on the same topic.”

…like when Falwell claimed that 9/11 was god’s punishment for sinful americans?

Comment #31738

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 23, 2005 5:42 PM (e)

Someone asked:

I wonder if our forum “theistic evolutionists” maintain their avowed reverence for evidence (and its most reasonable interpretation) when these indicate that Jesus was a convenient fiction.

FL, who appears never to have met a piece of evidence he couldn’t dismiss anyway, said:

So, Ed, are you going to respond to this?

Absolutely. It’s by faith that we are convinced of Jesus’ existence, not by proofs. Jesus called for faith, not a hard-nosed analysis of the evidence.

If we had the proof, incidentally, there would be no need for faith – and we would all be agnostics – perhaps fulfilled agnostics, but agnostics nevertheless.

Is it the most reasonable interpretation that Jesus didn’t exist? Perhaps. There’s no disproof of Jesus’ existence, however, so it remains open to the genuinely skeptical mind.

This query gets at the root of Christianity, however, I believe, and it also demonstrates one of my great complaints about creationism. Christianity is a faith, not a methodology, not a science. Those who require “proof” of Jesus often delude themselves into thinking they have it (see any of Josh McDowell’s books, but especially Evidence that Demands a Verdict, in which he argues that copies of the Bible are proof of the veracity of a literal reading …). And then, waving this “proof,” they are really nothing more than a falsely-fulfilled agnostic. Would their “faith” in Jesus waiver if they thought the evidence was not solid? By everything they say, we must conclude it would. So it’s not faith at all that binds them to the sect; it’s self-delusion. This explains in large part why they fear a careful analysis of the real evidence. It would blow their cover.

And creationism, for all its bluster, is just an attempt to keep that cover on, so those of weak faith or no faith can claim to be saved. It’s a crude pandering to fear, often after having created the fear.

Creationism isn’t bad just because it’s disproven science; it’s also bad because it’s bad religion.

Comment #31740

Posted by Mike Haubrich on May 23, 2005 5:48 PM (e)

Thanks for sharing your insight. You articulated much that I have been trying to tell people for years, that it is fruitless to argue science with creationists of whatever stripe. It is an article well worth saving.

Comment #31744

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 23, 2005 7:24 PM (e)

breaking news on the filibuster issue:

just now (5 pm PST), the moderates in the Senate announced a deal to remove the “nuclear option” from the table.

the details of the deal haven’t been published yet, but it appears there might be some hope for moderacy after all.

Comment #31755

Posted by Henry J on May 23, 2005 8:55 PM (e)

Re “1) Evolution should cause us to rethink what God meant when he said we were made in his image.”

I think just the extreme similarity of human and ape anatomy and biochemistry should do that even if common ancestry weren’t being considered.

Re “2) Any theorem that verifies deep-time will cause us to rethink salvation in the light of a pre-man death.”

That point too doesn’t really depend on whether evolution was involved, but just the simple fact that so many different types were but now aren’t.

Henry

Comment #31771

Posted by FL on May 23, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

Is it the most reasonable interpretation that Jesus didn’t exist? Perhaps.

Well, Ed, no. That’s NOT the most reasonable interpretation. At all. Not even ‘perhaps.’

In fact, the one tiny piece of consensus, the one place of real agreement between most liberal and conservative scholars, is that Jesus at least historically existed. The historical testimony of Josephus, combined with other extrabiblical sources, (and of course the Four Gospels themselves), result in a cumulative case that’s just too strong to deny (for rational folks anyway).

Which is why the consensus of diverse religious and historical scholarship is at least willing to acknowledge Jesus historically existed, even as they wildly disagree on everything else about Him.

Look, I know that Jesus did (and does) call for faith, but honestly, 1 Peter 3:15 still says:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have….”

There’s no need to make concessions to skeptics when such concessions don’t even have the support of most liberal scholarship let alone conservative scholarship. ~That’s~ not going to boost anyone’s faith. With all due respect, don’t be so quick to back down.

I know we don’t agree on this, but I see great value in Christ-centered Bible-honoring apologetics.

I know very well, from personal experience, that people, all flavors of people, often have real questions, maybe tough questions, about God, Christ and the Bible, (and science, social justice, ethics, heaven, hell, sin, suffering, salvation). And they’re even now looking for somebody they can trust to ask those question(s).

I know very well, from personal experience, what can happen when such inquirers meet up with a prepared Christian or Christians who are READY at the right time. Good things happen; doubts subside and evaporate, faith in God begins to rise up in a person.
Even if your answer is totally rejected, you can at least sometimes get a sincere “thank you” just for being willing to show them that you cared enough to offer a little homework regarding their sincere inquiry.

But I know very well, again from personal experience, what can happen when Christians fail to invest serious effort in apologetic Biblical and other homework so that they are honestly READY to courteously, caringly, “give an answer” at crunch time. Not a pretty picture; doubt and rejection goes up, and faith goes down–sometimes down the crapper.

At least Josh McDowell did his homework and put some good stuff on the table. Not perfect, nope, (and neither were his critics perfect), but good stuff all the same. His books were/are at least helpful to many people, myself included. An honest boost to faith.

If McDowell’s work is not to your Christian taste, then git out there and produce a superior batch of homework, and get it published. But do not whine, snipe, or backbite at McDowell’s efforts. That’s worse than useless. Just go out and do better than him if you can.

If Jesus is calling for faith (and you’re right, He is), then this is the time for as many competent caring Christ-centered (and yes, Bible-believing) apologists as possible. Great opportunity for all Christians to help people move past doubts and instead reach out to Christ by faith. Apologetics can help.

There’s no disproof of Jesus’ existence, however, so it remains open to the genuinely skeptical mind.

There you go! Well said, Ed! See, you like trying out that apologetics stuff too! Go for it!

FL

P.S. I know this thread isn’t about Christianity or apologetics. Just offering a response to Ed’s post, that’s all.
We return you now to your regularly scheduled program, “Darwin Dogma is Doomed.”

Comment #31777

Posted by Ruthless on May 23, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

FL said:

I know we don’t agree on this, but I see great value in Christ-centered Bible-honoring apologetics.

I know very well, from personal experience, that people, all flavors of people, often have real questions, maybe tough questions, about God, Christ and the Bible, (and science, social justice, ethics, heaven, hell, sin, suffering, salvation).

Does it help to twist facts, distort evidence, ignore counter-arguments and evidence, and outright lie to them? I don’t think so. A religion built on lies isn’t much, is it?

And they’re even now looking for somebody they can trust to ask those question(s).

And what will happen to Christianity as more and more people realize that what a lot of Christians have been telling them is sharply contradicted by reality? You should take a cue from the Catholic church: They have gradually bent to keep their religion viable (though they’re going to have to give up the contraception thing very soon and the no-female-priests thing, too.)

I know very well, from personal experience, what can happen when such inquirers meet up with a prepared Christian or Christians who are READY at the right time. Good things happen; doubts subside and evaporate, faith in God begins to rise up in a person.

Translation: What can happen when someone gullible meets someone who lies to gain converts…

Comment #31785

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 12:46 AM (e)

“I know very well, from personal experience, that people, all flavors of people, often have real questions, maybe tough questions, about God, Christ and the Bible, (and science, social justice, ethics, heaven, hell, sin, suffering, salvation). And they’re even now looking for somebody they can trust to ask those question(s).”

now you are really pissing me off.

what you are essentially saying is that you want to be the one to take advantage of people who are unsure, so that you can foist your pathetic belief structure on them and claim it covers both science AND religion.

I hope you never meet any confused kid before they can learn about what science REALLY is.

You don’t see it, but you do both christianity and science both a disservice with your dissembling idiocy.

It’s utterly amazing to me that you can think yourself “well centered” and able to resolve issues of faith for others, when you are so obviously confused yourself.

I feel very sorry for you, and anybody you manage to “convince” of your ideology.

Can’t you see that you are still lost? that you yourself are still for answers? you are just grasping at straws, just like Salvador, in order to prop up your own failing faith.

pathetic.

Comment #31787

Posted by speck on May 24, 2005 1:04 AM (e)

FL,the evidence you provide for Jesus’ existence all appears to be hearsay. Unfortunately, Jesus left no personal writings or confirmed artifacts and the gospels were all written well after his purported existence.

I think it’s more accurate to say that scholars agree on the historical concept of Jesus, which is not the same as claiming he ever actually walked the earth. I think “proof” of his existence is no more qualified than “proof” of his non-existence.

I don’t know why this would trouble you, I was raised to believe that God gave us and respects our free will. Anything that would confirm or indicate the existence of God and his workings would be in direct violation of our free will. We would be coerced to love and serve. God would have effectively taken away our free will and faith would be meaningless.

Do you agree that we possess free will? Do you agree that your faith is meaningless without free will? Or, did God leave behind bread crumbs, evidence of his existence?

Comment #31797

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 7:07 AM (e)

.

I know we don’t agree on this, but I see great value in Christ-centered Bible-honoring apologetics.

I see. So after all of its arm-waving and weeping and whining and bitching and moaning, the entire aim of ID **is** nothing but religious apologetics, and they are indeed just lying to us when they claim otherwise.

Thanks for making that so clear.

Since you insist on regaling everyone with your religious opinions, though, I have a simple question to ask you:

What exactly is the source of your religious authority. What exactly
makes your (or ANY person’s) religious opinions more (or less) authoritative than anyone else’s. Why should anyone pay any more attention to my religious opinions, or yours, than we pay to the religious opinions of my next door neighbor or my gardener or the guy who delivered my pizza last night. It seems to me that no one alive would or could know any more about God than anyone else alive does, since there doesn’t seem to be any potential source of such knowledge that isn’t equally available to everyone else. You pray; I pray. You read the Bible; I read the Bible. You go to church and listen to the pastor; I go to church and listen to the pastor. So what is it, exactly, that makes your religious opinion any more (or less) valid than anyone else’s. Are you more holy than anyone else? Do you walk more closely with God than anyone else? Does God love you best? Are you the best Biblical scholar in human history? What makes your opinions better than an yone else’s?

Is it your opinion that not only is the Bible inerrant and infallible, but YOUR INTERPRETATIONS of it are also inerant and infallible? Sorry, FL, but I simply don’t believe that you are infallible. Would you mind explaining to me why I should think you are? Other than your say-so?

It seems to me, FL, that your religious opinions are just that, your opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow your religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

Can you show me anything to indicate otherwise?

Comment #31799

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 8:12 AM (e)

Well, Lenny, I don’t think we’re going to make too much progress convincing FL that his “religious opinions” are not, in fact, The Truth, or that the Republican party is not the Body of Christ.

But I think it’s a good thing for him to expound on his theology here. It serves the dual purpose of discrediting his “science” for the large majority of readers who will recognize his theology as wing-nut and discrediting his theology for the large majority of readers who will recognize his “science” as crackpot.

Comment #31801

Posted by Mike S. on May 24, 2005 8:41 AM (e)

Burt Humburg wrote:

1) Evolution should cause us to rethink what God meant when he said we were made in his image.
2) Any theorem that verifies deep-time will cause us to rethink salvation in the light of a pre-man death.
3) An actual understanding of embryonic procedures and biology should cause us to rethink how morally upright it is to consider abortion and stem cell research murder, but not in-vitro fertilization.
4) If no one chooses their own sexuality, then this should cause us to rethink the “sin” of homosexuality, especially in the light of an evolutionary ascent of man and the fact that there was no physical Adam and Eve.

There’s not much point in debating these issues here. I agree with you on the general point that particular interpretations of the Bible will be challenged by evolution.

Now those are the questions. If you engage those questions, even if you maintain your answers, then that is not fear and my thesis would not apply to you. But if you dismiss these questions without due consideration for the ideas - say, for example, you don’t rethink your anti-gay rights stance due to your use of Behe’s IC as an excuse to dismiss evolution - then the chances are you are in fear of the answers.

Let me put it another way: I reinforce the fears of creationists and undermine my thesis by asking these questions ONLY to the extent that the beliefs of creationists are indefensable in the light of the evidence that those who aren’t in fear would consider.

The question is, what is your goal? If your goal is to defend the proper understanding and teaching of evolution, and of the methods of science, then what you want is to alleviate the fears of those who are opposed to evolution, to the extent possible (I realize that some people will never give up their opposition to it, and cannot be reasoned with on the issue.) That is, the goal is to support evolution, and to reduce the opposition to it, not to discredit the theological views of those who oppose evolution, however much you might disagree with those views. However, if your goal is to discredit fundamentalist theology, or conservative religious views, or conservative political positions, using evolution as a tool, then you are necessarily going to make the acceptance of evolution more difficult. I’m not saying the latter goals are inappropriate - if that’s what you think is best, you have every right to take that tack. All I’m saying is that you need to recognize the tradeoff and prioritize your goals. To the extent you want to support evolution and good science, I suggest you decouple links (again, to the extent possible) between evolution and various philosophical, political, or theological positions. But if you think it is more important to discredit conservative positions, then just be aware that you’re reinforcing resistance to evolution, not weakening it.

Comment #31805

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 9:13 AM (e)

Mike S. presents what I see as a false dichotomy: your goal is either (1) “to support evolution, and to reduce the opposition to it” or (2)”to discredit fundamentalist theology, or conservative religious views, or conservative political positions, using evolution as a tool”.

Dr. Humburg dealt with this in the quote Mike S. quoted

I reinforce the fears of creationists and undermine my thesis by asking these questions ONLY to the extent that the beliefs of creationists are indefensable in the light of the evidence that those who aren’t in fear would consider.

Let me put it yet another way: The creationists’ strategy these days, after an unbroken losing streak in the courts, is to present “ID”, a.k.a. “Genesis Lite (now less filling, and just half the God!)” I don’t support countering with Evolution Lite.

Comment #31806

Posted by Flint on May 24, 2005 9:14 AM (e)

I found an interesting site here for FL to ignore, and perhaps for theistic evolutionists to dismiss as beside the point. But the sheer volume of information might be worth taking a peek at anyway.

FL wrote:

the one place of real agreement between most liberal and conservative scholars, is that Jesus at least historically existed.

I think what FL omitted here was that this is a necessary point of agreement of Christian theological scholars. The link above, not being constrained to scholars who happen to follow FL’s faith, can be at least slightly open to a wider range of possibilities than FL can afford to recognize.

Comment #31812

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 24, 2005 9:50 AM (e)

I agree with what Russell wrote. You’re presenting a false dichotomy.

But to answer your question directly, I’m wearing two hats here. First, as a proponent of strong science education, I want to do what I can to further the teaching of evolution and undermine those who would seek to subvert that teaching. Since this is an outcome or method that is shared by all with posting privileges at the Thumb, I get to post my essay to that end here.

The other hat I am wearing here is of one who professes Christianity. I am a theist and I think I have just as much right as anyone to speak out against theologies that are bad/dangerout/etc. Unfortunately, this isn’t Burt’s Blog: this is the Panda’s Thumb. And lest readers of this site visit and feel betrayed that so much theology was bantered about, I intentionally restrained myself from talking too much about the poor theology of ID here at the Thumb.

So, to pile on to what Russell said, yours is a false dichotomy for another reason: it is precisely because I am a proponent of Christianity that I seek to undermine the aberration of antievolutionary ID creationism theology if for no other reason than that the God I worship doesn’t suck. (See links above if this is offensive; the God of ID creationism is a God no Christian should want to have anything to do with.)

BCH

Comment #31829

Posted by Colin on May 24, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

FL’s hypocrisy makes me goggle-eyed with astonishment. How could even the most craven creationist say this, without realizing how antithetical it is to intelligent design and creationism in general?

FL wrote:

If McDowell’s work is not to your Christian taste, then git out there and produce a superior batch of homework, and get it published. But do not whine, snipe, or backbite at McDowell’s efforts. That’s worse than useless. Just go out and do better than him if you can.

We can substitute Darwin, or Gould, or Dawkins, or any other accomplished scientist for “McDowell,” and FL is insisting that we do exactly what creationists have always refused to do - compete on the basis of research, rather than ideology or rhetoric.

In fact, let’s do that now:

FL almost wrote:

If [Mayr’s] work is not to your Christian taste, then git out there and produce a superior batch of homework, and get it published. But do not whine, snipe, or backbite at [Mayr’s] efforts. That’s worse than useless. Just go out and do better than him if you can.

The punchline, of course, is that neither professional scientists or self-professed amateurs such as FL are able to produce creationist scholarship that can compete with honest and objective scientific work product. Nor, it seems, are they particularly willing to try.

Comment #31851

Posted by Mike S. on May 24, 2005 2:21 PM (e)

Russell wrote:

Mike S. presents what I see as a false dichotomy: your goal is either (1) “to support evolution, and to reduce the opposition to it” or (2)”to discredit fundamentalist theology, or conservative religious views, or conservative political positions, using evolution as a tool”….I don’t support countering with Evolution Lite.

I guess that depends upon what you mean by “Evolution Lite” - what do you mean by it?

Burt Humburg wrote:

I reinforce the fears of creationists and undermine my thesis by asking these questions ONLY to the extent that the beliefs of creationists are indefensable in the light of the evidence that those who aren’t in fear would consider.

It may be that we’re talking past each other here. Or it may be that we have irreconcilable views on the implications of evolution for Christian theology and teachings on issues like homosexual behavior and abortion. The question is, what specific beliefs are indefensible? We agree that the belief that the earth is 6,000 years old is indefensible in the light of evolution and other sciences. We agree that belief that no death entered the world prior to the first sin of human beings is indefensible in light of the available scientific record. You haven’t quite said it outright, so I might be misinterpreting what you are trying to say, but you seem to be implying very strongly that the belief that abortion or engaging in homosexual (or extramarital) sex is morally wrong is indefensible in light of evolution. My narrow purpose here is not to argue with you about whether you are right about that - it is to point out that if you make the claim that acceptance of evolution strongly implicates, if not requires, accepting that abortion and/or extramarital sex are morally acceptable, then you are making it harder, not easier, for people to accept evolution. There are far more people who think abortion is wrong or who are against same-sex marriage than are biblical literalists. If you feel those connections are very strong, then I assume you would just say that that is the cost of standing up for what you believe. But I don’t think those connections are necessary: you can support evolution, and you can support abortion rights or same-sex marriage (for example), but you don’t need to claim that one entails the other. There are all kinds of behaviors that can be explained in evolutionary terms (male coalitionary violence, for example), which we don’t assume said explanation is a moral justification for.

Michael Ruse apparently makes this point in his latest book. He says,

All told, Ruse claims, loading values onto the platform of evolutionary science constitutes “evolutionism,” an outlook that goes far beyond the scientific acceptance of evolution as a means of explaining the origins and development of species.

Richard Dawkins is an extreme example of this, but many other scientists do it in less dramatic ways. If you want to use evolution to bolster your philosophical or theological views, you have to accept the fact that people who have differing philosophical or theological views, and who don’t understand evolution very well, will tend to be skeptical of your claims that evolution is true (if not reject them outright), since you are claiming that believing in evolution necessitates simultaneously rejecting their philosophical or theological views. Like I said, on some issues there is no way around this (such as the age of the earth), but it seems to me you’re going past the realm of objective facts into value judgements that science cannot answer.

Comment #31852

Posted by FL on May 24, 2005 2:30 PM (e)

Hmm, a lot of responses here. Well, sincere thanks.

***************

Burt says,

it is precisely because I am a proponent of Christianity that I seek to undermine the aberration of antievolutionary ID creationism theology if for no other reason than that the God I worship doesn’t suck.

A sincere thank you to Burt for being willing to openly talk about his religious motivations as well as his evolution & science education motivations, and to admit that his religious motivations DO factor into what he wrote above.

Me, I have already openly admitted my motivations likewise (“a proponent of Christianity”, to borrow Burt’s phrase, and a “home-grown love of science”, my own phrase.

And there are other posters here, say for example Ruthless, who show similar honesty about where they’re coming from. The idea is that we ALL have religious motivations and they DO invariably influence our posts, even the supposedly “scientific” ones.

Therefore, it’s not just good for ME to “expound upon my theology” as Russell puts it, it’s good for EVERYONE to put their theological (or in some cases, atheological) cards on the table so that we all can see where you and I and us are REALLY coming from sometimes.

****************

Hey, speaking of Russell, if you truly feel that my theological claims are “wingnut” or “discredited”, you’re quite welcome to engage them and refute them for all to see.
(Insert smile here.)

*****************

Speaking of Ruthless, he says:

You should take a cue from the Catholic church: They have gradually bent to keep their religion viable (though they’re going to have to give up the contraception thing very soon and the no-female-priests thing, too.)

Judging from the way you’ve worded it, it looks like no matter how much a Christian “bends”, somebody’s always gonna be pushing him or her to keep on bending some more, and more, and more, and more, ad nauseum, ad vomitum.

That’s what I like about the Roman Catholic biochemist Michael Behe. Instead of bending and bending, Behe evolved a backbone and took a historic stand, helping to ignite a revolution that’s still in progress.

****************

Gotta do the rest later today or tonite, and believe me, there IS some more stuff to say.

FL

P.S. Don’t worry Flint, I’ll nuke your website too; don’t think I forgot about you.

Comment #31854

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 24, 2005 2:36 PM (e)

Let me try it another way…

Kenneth Miller might be virulently anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, etc., but if he arrives at those conclusions having considered evolution in its fullness, then my fear thesis would not apply to him.

On the other hand, if Joe Creationist maintained his homophobia because he literally reads the Bible and thinks that “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” is a serious argument to that, but when told about evolution decides not to consider it because then he’s have to rethink his thoughts on religiously-fueled homophobia, then that’s fear and my thesis would apply to him.

It’s about the process involved. If you say, “Here’s something that could potentially make me rethink my views on X. I’m going to ignore that something,” that’s the kind of fear my essay is referring to. It’s when you take your faith off of God and put it in a God that under no circumstances would use evolution that faith becomes the kind of misplaced faith I’m referring to in my essay.

Is that better?

BCH

Comment #31856

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 2:41 PM (e)

“Judging from the way you’ve worded it, it looks like no matter how much a Christian “bends”, somebody’s always gonna be pushing him or her to keep on bending some more, and more, and more, and more, ad nauseum, ad vomitum. “

yup. until eventually we abandon all this superstitious nonsense. I expect it will take 4 or 5 more generations until religion itself becomes marginalized.

better get out there and get to work FL!

Comment #31857

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 2:45 PM (e)

Hey, speaking of Russell, if you truly feel that my theological claims are “wingnut” or “discredited”, you’re quite welcome to engage them and refute them for all to see.

I’m not very interested in anyone’s theological claims. I guess each reader can judge for him/herself whether biblical literalism is wing-nut or sensible, and - more to the point - whether it’s compatible with science.

Comment #31861

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 24, 2005 3:04 PM (e)

I don’t have a problem discussing theology, but I don’t think that the ease with which I discuss it should be the standard for everyone on these forums. Theology is one of those things that people should feel comfortable to discuss or not per their preference.

I will say that my religious beliefs do not require me to shut my eyes to reality. I’m therefore free to investigate and accept the conclusions of verified science and my theology is only of tangential relevance to evolution. (Hence, the absence of reference to my own theology in my essay.)

There are other theologies that do make an enemy of verified science (e.g., Wells and his “Father’s words, my prayers” quote). In those cases, religious motivations are key to consider since they are the sine qua non of antievolutionism in most cases.

BCH

Comment #31862

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 3:13 PM (e)

Mike S wrote:

I guess that depends upon what you mean by “Evolution Lite” - what do you mean by it?

What I mean is that I want biology to be taught pretty much the same way chemistry is taught. I wouldn’t want chemistry courses to spend any time on “alleviat[ing] the fears of those who are opposed” to molecular orbitals.

Here’s a specific example. Here in Columbus several years ago the Columbus Dispatch editorialized against the description of evolution in some education standards document (I can’t remember which). The description specifically included some phrase like “random, unguided mutations”. The Dispatch thought that was an intentional slap at conservative christianity.

(Incidentally, in the years since, the Dispatch has become a fairly reliable critic of IDC).

Comment #31872

Posted by Mike S. on May 24, 2005 4:16 PM (e)

Russell wrote:

What I mean is that I want biology to be taught pretty much the same way chemistry is taught. I wouldn’t want chemistry courses to spend any time on “alleviat[ing] the fears of those who are opposed” to molecular orbitals.

Well, why do you think there aren’t any organized groups out there who are concerned about the teaching of molecular orbital theory? The answer is obvious. It’s naive to pretend that biology won’t draw more attention (and fear) from people than chemistry will, because of the way it directly addresses human beings. You can claim all you want that biology is (or should be) no different from chemistry, but the rest of the world isn’t going to listen to you.

Here’s a specific example. Here in Columbus several years ago the Columbus Dispatch editorialized against the description of evolution in some education standards document (I can’t remember which). The description specifically included some phrase like “random, unguided mutations”. The Dispatch thought that was an intentional slap at conservative christianity.

So the question is whether “random, unguided mutations” is necessary to a proper description of evolution. It seems to me the ‘unguided’ is possibly superfluous. Random and unguided are functionally synonyms in this context. So, if the book could convey the same scientific meaning with “random mutations”, and avoid antagonizing a few people, why not leave out ‘unguided’?

Comment #31874

Posted by Steve U. on May 24, 2005 4:27 PM (e)

So, if the book could convey the same scientific meaning with “random mutations”, and avoid antagonizing a few people, why not leave out ‘unguided’?

Under the circumstances, I would be reluctant to take the term out because the charge that the use of the term “unguided” is a “slap” at anyone except perhaps for Mr. Lamarck is absolutely freaking absurd and paranoid beyond belief.

What the religious people with too much time on their hands have to realize is that if I or anyone else wants to take a “slap” at them, we needn’t resort to vague but 100% truthful statements in biology textbooks to do so.

Religious people with too much time on their hands need to learn to appreciate how lucky they are to live in the United States where their odd beliefs have always been given more credit than they deserve by our government officials and by the pundits, puppets, and (not to be too redundant) journalists who serve those officials.

Comment #31877

Posted by Mike S. on May 24, 2005 4:35 PM (e)

Burt Humburg wrote:

Kenneth Miller might be virulently anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, etc., but if he arrives at those conclusions having considered evolution in its fullness, then my fear thesis would not apply to him.

On the other hand, if Joe Creationist maintained his homophobia because he literally reads the Bible and thinks that “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” is a serious argument to that, but when told about evolution decides not to consider it because then he’s have to rethink his thoughts on religiously-fueled homophobia, then that’s fear and my thesis would apply to him.

It’s about the process involved. If you say, “Here’s something that could potentially make me rethink my views on X. I’m going to ignore that something,” that’s the kind of fear my essay is referring to. It’s when you take your faith off of God and put it in a God that under no circumstances would use evolution that faith becomes the kind of misplaced faith I’m referring to in my essay.

I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere with this, but I’ll make the point one more time. I’m not objecting to the general notion that evolution necessitates rethinking certain types of religious beliefs - I’m objecting to your categories of which beliefs require rethinking. Why bring up hot-button political issues like abortion or gay-rights as issues that must necessarily be rethought in light of evolution? Even if you are convinced that evolutionary theory has some important implications for those topics, why bring those up if they aren’t necessary for the acceptance of evolution? That is, unless the goal of promoting those positions trumps the goal of promoting evolution. Your claims of a false dichotomy notwithstanding, those two goals really are in opposition to each other (at least in the way you’ve framed the issues).

The larger issue is your assumption that certain beliefs are primarily due to irrational fears. Your essay was on target in pointing out that what drives Creationists is fear that their beliefs are wrong. But in order to assuage those fears you have to be clear about which beliefs are wrong and which are not in light of evolution - otherwise, like I said, you’re just reinforcing the Creationist fears that everything they believe will come crashing down if they give up one aspect of their beliefs. Maybe you, in fact, believe that everything they believe is wrong, and that it all will, or should, come crashing down. If that’s the case I don’t see how you can expect them to do anything but resist more strongly when you insist that evolution is true.

It makes more sense to me to point out to religious skeptics of evolution that there are people who share their religious or political views (on, e.g. abortion or same-sex marriage), who don’t reject evolution. Eugenie Scott and Michael Ruse are good examples of people who don’t share the political or religious views of most anti-evolutionists, but who are careful to avoid equating support for evolution with particular political or religious views. They don’t tie their particular beliefs with their support of evolution (at least publicly) like you are doing.

Comment #31880

Posted by Flint on May 24, 2005 5:01 PM (e)

Non-Christians are not over-represented among those getting abortions, so there’s not even any relationship between what people say they believe, and what they do when their beliefs turn out to be inconvenient. If creationists have a political agenda besides converting as many as possible to the same general doctrines, it’s taking care that their policies only apply to other people. The dual goals are (1)saying the right things, and (2)making sure other people DO the right things.

But one need not be a creationist to be two-faced or apply a double standard. It’s not even clear that being a creationist is particularly helpful, much less necessary. Evolution only encourages people who aren’t comfortable with the notion, to find rationalized workarounds for evolution-related discomfort. Kind of like being a practicing Christian only for one hour each week – gotta stay focused here.

Comment #31881

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 24, 2005 5:04 PM (e)

Why bring up hot-button political issues like abortion or gay-rights as issues that must necessarily be rethought in light of evolution? Even if you are convinced that evolutionary theory has some important implications for those topics, why bring those up if they aren’t necessary for the acceptance of evolution?

Because simply advocating for evolution is not my thesis here. To a scientist, what I’ve presented in this paper would be meaningless. You want data supporting evolution, head to TalkOrigins.org and look around.

The purpose of my essay was to propose, and defend with examples and evidence, a new way of looking at creationism: as a product of fear and political opportunism. Naturally, obviously, clearly, unavoidably, necessarily I must highlight the sorts of things creationists are in fear over to defend this thesis.

Reporters who were Christians were coming up to me in Topeka asking me why Christians were up on the witness stand lying their butts off. “I thought they were Christian. Why are they doing this?” How are you going to answer that question just talking about the data in support of evolution?

This is an issue of fear. Some Christians are afraid about evolution’s implications. This essay spoke to those concerns and how to undermine the fearmongering that some religious leaders and politicians do that result in the subversion of science education.

At the risk of being offensive, I don’t see us going around in circles here at all. I see you as refusing to accept that Christians are in fear over the implications of evolution; you argue as though doubting evolution vis-a-vis intelligent design were a legitimate perspective. That’s why I’ve had to repeat myself.

I have intentionally avoided talking about what beliefs are wrong and which ones should come crashing down for several reasons. First, I think I’m right (and they are wrong) about evolution being correct, but I’m not comfortable commenting on which beliefs they should hold instead. (Kenneth Miller and I disagree on these kinds of things, for example.) Secondly, this isn’t Burt’s Blog: I intentionally limited the theology I included here to the bare minimum to get the point across.

This intentional avoidance is not indicative that to ask these questions is to reinforce the fears of creationists. Far from it, whatever answers to those questions arise, having considered them honestly is probably going to be fatal to ID creationism. And if ID creationism doesn’t withstand theological scrutiny (much less scientific), then there’s little reason for Christians to fear asking those questions.

At the end of the day, it’s about fearing what one doesn’t understand. One is not resigned to reach particular beliefs having assented to evolution, but the opposite of evolution is certainly supported by ancient and wrong understandings of the observable world. To not consider evolution due to the fear of theological implications is to be the kind of creationist my essay has described.

Looking forward to seeing us circle back again.

BCH

Comment #31883

Posted by David Heddle on May 24, 2005 5:05 PM (e)

And if common sense and research both demonstrate that no one — no one — chooses their own sexuality, what are we to make of religiously-fueled homophobia?

This is an idiotically posed question. (For more reasons than a fatuous equating of homophobia and bible-based opposition to homosexuality.) It presupposes that scientific evidence that someone is born a homosexual is counter to orthodox Christianity.

This is not true. The idea that some are born homosexuals is perfectly compatible with conservative, orthodox Christianity.

Comment #31885

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 5:13 PM (e)

Mike S wrote:

So the question is whether “random, unguided mutations” is necessary to a proper description of evolution. It seems to me the ‘unguided’ is possibly superfluous. Random and unguided are functionally synonyms in this context. So, if the book could convey the same scientific meaning with “random mutations”, and avoid antagonizing a few people, why not leave out ‘unguided’?

Honestly, I don’t remember the exact phrasing. Maybe it was redundant; probably it was not, since a fair amount of work had gone into it, and it had gone through a fair amount of vetting before it was made public. But my point is that the lack of a specific “target” is an important concept in evolution, and if religious group X has a problem with that, they need to deal with that among themselves, not go changing the rules by which science works, or editing the science curriculum.

Comment #31889

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 5:23 PM (e)

This is an idiotically posed question. (For more reasons than a fatuous equating of homophobia and bible-based opposition to homosexuality.) It presupposes that scientific evidence that someone is born a homosexual is counter to orthodox Christianity.

This is an intemperately phrased response. (Is this the same Heddle who puffs up in righteous indignation when some PT comments have been “insulting”, e.g. using terms like “moron”, etc.? Can’t be!).

But more importantly, it’s poorly considered. After all the question in question is:

And if common sense and research both demonstrate that no one — no one — chooses their own sexuality, what are we to make of religiously-fueled homophobia?

Note: not “Heddle’s religion”, not “orthodox christianity”. The phrase is “religiously-fueled homophobia”. Are we to believe this is a nonexistent, or even just a minor phenomenon? I think not.

Comment #31900

Posted by David Heddle on May 24, 2005 6:15 PM (e)

Russell,

Are you arguing that Humburg is stating that born-homosexuals are a problem only for religiously-fueled homophobes, while allowing that there are some who are opposed to homosexuality for biblical reasons but who are not homophobes? I don’t think so.

If he agrees that it is possible to accept, as truth, that homosexuality is an abomination, because the bible teaches as much, without being a religiously-fueled homophobe, then I’ll retract my previous comment.

From your perspective, I suspect, not only is “religiously-fueled homophobia” not a minor phenomenon, but it applies to all Christians who oppose homosexuality.

Comment #31908

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 6:30 PM (e)

that’s some wacky stuff there, Hedley.

“Christians who oppose homosexuality”

Ok, so we have Christians, who by definition are a religious group.

Now the “oppose homosexuality”. How do they do this hedley? by not being homosexuals, or by screaming and protesting about how homosexuality is a sin?

that irrational opposition of one sin over another could quite well be defined as a the result of a defense mechanism due to fear (phobia).

hence, it IS logical to conclude that the basis for public christian opposition to homosexuality is a phobia.

the only thing i would wonder about is whether using the bible is just an excuse for a previously existing phobia.

so are you using the excuse of the bible to declare yourself a homophobe, or were you already one to begin with?

Comment #31919

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 6:46 PM (e)

To answer your question(s), David, I think I can just pretty much just “ditto” Sir ToeJam.

(Though without that last question, because, as you know, I don’t want to be uncivil, accusing people of being homophobes, or of posing questions idiotically, that sort of thing.)

Comment #31922

Posted by David Heddle on May 24, 2005 6:53 PM (e)

You make my point nicely, STJ. I think you lump all Christians who oppose homosexuality into the group known as homophobes. That voids Russel’s complaint that Humburg was referring only to “religiously-fueled homophobes.” From your perspective, I am guessing the set of Christians opposed to homosexuality who are not homophobes is the empty set.

By the way,now I could really care less, but you insist on referring to me as hedley. If this is a joke, a la dumbski, I just don’t get it.

It is not, by the way, the opposition of one sin over another. It is opposition to the declaration that what the bible declares as a sin is not a sin, and in fact represents an acceptable lifestyle with no contradiction to scripture. (And that you must agree, or you are a bigot and a homophobe.)

it IS logical to conclude that the basis for public christian opposition to homosexuality is a phobia.

So the bible condemnations are illegitimate reasons? Only homophobia explains an opposition? How convenient for you.

Comment #31926

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

You make my point nicely, STJ. I think you lump all Christians who oppose homosexuality into the group known as homophobes. That voids Russel’s complaint that Humburg was referring only to “religiously-fueled homophobes.

To which I can only add, “huh?”

Comment #31927

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 7:05 PM (e)

“So the bible condemnations are illegitimate reasons?”

i answer your question with another:

how many things that the bible condemns do we actually condemn in public?

I don’t think you know your bible very well.

try it sometime. if you think the bible is an authoritative text, then go through and list on paper everything that is condemned in the bible, then compare that list to things that are actually condemned in public.

I know you will find a great discrepancy. In fact, it makes me wonder just what kind of a bible-thumper you are to not know this already.

now, if you ever get to the point of finishing this task (i personally don’t see the point of finishing it altogether, as I’m sure after an hour of reading the list will be long enough to have proved my point), you should be able to answer both the question I posed, and the one you posed to me.

If you accept one thing condemned in the bible as worthy of public condemnation (legitimate), then why don’t you accept ALL of the things the bible condemns, eh?

On a far smaller scale, how many of the ten commandments are actually written and utilized as current law in the US?

I mean, we have a huge percentage of the populations that supposedly believe in the bible, yes?

Comment #31932

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 7:11 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #31934

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 7:13 PM (e)

go through and list on paper everything that is condemned in the bible

The classic case being Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:11 - the prohibition of clothes of mixed fibers.

Comment #31935

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 7:16 PM (e)

It is opposition to the declaration that what the bible declares as a sin is not a sin, and in fact represents an acceptable lifestyle with no contradiction to scripture.

Hey Heddle, let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Bible DOES condemn homosexuality as a sin (lots of Christians don’t agree with that interpretation, and of course your interpretation is no more authoritative or divinely-sanctioned than is theirs, but we’ll elt that aside ofr now).

My question is - - - - - so what? Why is the rest of the country obligated to live according to your Biblical religious opinions? What section of the Constitution places the US under your interpretations of Biblical law?

Comment #31936

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 7:23 PM (e)

“the prohibition of clothes of mixed fibers.”

i’ve forgotten; was there a proposed punishment for that?

like forcing someone who wears a poly/cotton blend to wear wool?

;)

Comment #31937

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 7:23 PM (e)

Posted by FL on May 24, 2005 02:30 PM (e) (s)

Hmm, a lot of responses here.

None from you regarding my question about your religious authority though, I see …. .

I’ll ask again:

*ahem*

hat exactly is the source of your religious authority. What exactly makes your (or ANY person’s) religious opinions more (or less) authoritative than anyone else’s. Why should anyone pay any more attention to my religious opinions, or yours, than we pay to the religious opinions of my next door neighbor or my gardener or the guy who delivered my pizza last night. It seems to me that no one alive would or could know any more about God than anyone else alive does, since there doesn’t seem to be any potential source of such knowledge that isn’t equally available to everyone else. You pray; I pray. You read the Bible; I read the Bible. You go to church and listen to the pastor; I go to church and listen to the pastor. So what is it, exactly, that makes your religious opinion any more (or less) valid than anyone else’s. Are you more holy than anyone else? Do you walk more closely with God than anyone else? Does God love you best? Are you the best Biblical scholar in human history? What exactly makes your opinions better than anyone else’s? Other than your say-so?

Is it your opinion that not only is the Bible inerrant and infallible, but YOUR INTERPRETATIONS of it are also inerrant and infallible? Sorry, but I simply don’t believe that you are infallible. Would you mind explaining to me why I SHOULD think you are? Other than your say-so?

It seems to me that your religious opinions are just that, your opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow your religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

Can you show me anything to indicate otherwise? Other than your say-so?

Why do all IDers seem to have such a lethal allergy to answering direct questions?

Comment #31938

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

so are you using the excuse of the bible to declare yourself a homophobe, or were you already one to begin with?

I wonder if he’s seen this research:

http://www.petertatchell.net/homophobia/bigots%20are%20buggers.htm

Comment #31940

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 7:31 PM (e)

Therefore, it’s not just good for ME to “expound upon my theology” as Russell puts it, it’s good for EVERYONE to put their theological (or in some cases, atheological) cards on the table so that we all can see where you and I and us are REALLY coming from sometimes.

Why? IDers keep telling us that ID is about SCIENCE and has NOTHING to do with advancing religion. Nothing AT ALL.

Or are they (and you) just lying to us when they claim that.

Are you willing to come to Dover and testify that ID is just a “theological” matter?

Or aren’t you that honest.

Comment #31941

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 7:32 PM (e)

“http://www.petertatchell.net/homophobia/bigots%20are%20bugge … “

lol. doesn’t surprise me a bit.

Comment #31944

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 7:36 PM (e)

“Why do all IDers seem to have such a lethal allergy to answering direct questions?”

because they are in denial to begin with. it’s how they live, so why should we be surprised when they can’t answer direct questions?

hell, you just posted a link that has your answer in it.

Comment #31947

Posted by David Heddle on May 24, 2005 7:44 PM (e)

Russell and Sir TJ:

As for the ceremonial law, you raise a valid question. For the general viewpoint of Christians is the the ceremonial law was done away with by Christ. While this is believed by virtually all Christians, including me, it is not trivial to prove. It is done mostly by anecdote–i.e., Jesus’ own violation of the Sabbath, etc. And in Jesus’ claim of fulfilling the law–although personally I think that means something else.

If the condemnation of homosexuality were only tied to the ceremonial law, you would have a valid point. However, it receives condemnation in the NT as well, so therein lies the difficulty. In other words, it does not stand or fall with the ceremonial law.

Lenny,

You finally ask a reasonable question. I’ve always wanted to have an actual dialog with you, but, until now, all you ever did was repeat your silly mantra, which I already answered.

The answer is: The rest of the country is not obligated to live according to my Biblical religious opinions, and no section of the Constitution places the US under my interpretations of Biblical law. Are we square on that?

I am not saying that homosexuality should be illegal under US law.

I am saying that two things, actually, neither of which have any connection to your question.

The first is that I don’t believe that Russell, or Sir TJ, or Humburg think that there is any type of Christians opposed to homosexuality other than religiously-fueled homophobes. You may be in that category too.

The second is that the possibility that some (or even all) homosexuals are born homosexual is compatible with orthodox Christianity. In fact, if you followed the link I posted in my first comment, to argue, as some Christians do, that all homosexuals choose to be gay, is, in my opinion, a heretical viewpoint.

By the way, Lenny, I would swear under oath that ID is religiously motivated. I don’t see how anyone can claim otherwise.

Comment #31949

Posted by Jim Harrison on May 24, 2005 7:45 PM (e)

At most times and most places, people simply assume that what they were taught is truth. Not all belief is the result of a spiritual struggle. Mostly it’s just a default. I’m sure most Christians would identify homosexuality as a sin if somebody asked ‘em the question since that is the traditional position; but their answer doesn’t imply that they give a damn about the issue or couldn’t be readily convinced that other aspects of their faith, agape, for example, are more important than a few lines in Leviticus.

Presumably a homophobe is somebody for whom homosexuality is a big deal, not just somebody who answers a poll question one way or another.

Comment #31957

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 8:05 PM (e)

lol.

whatever. if you want to stick to the new testament, be my guest. However, you can no longer claim the “bible” as a legitimate authority, since it includes both new and old testaments.

even if i went so far as to cede your ceremonial argument to you…

I would simply rephrase the question and ask you to list ALL the things condemned in the new testament and perform the same comparison.

My point works just as well.

again, you are only indicating your ignorance of the very source of authority you seem to think is so important.

Comment #31959

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 8:15 PM (e)

@Jim:

I’m sure most Christians would identify homosexuality as a sin if somebody asked ‘em the question since that is the traditional position; but their answer doesn’t imply that they give a damn about the issue or couldn’t be readily convinced that other aspects of their faith, agape, for example, are more important than a few lines in Leviticus.

bingo. Hence that’s why there is resistance to changing the constitution. If 90% of americans define themselves as christian, then obviously if homosexuality were considered to be such a big issue the constituitonal ammendments would have been proposed and passed long ago.

continuing in the same line, another task for DH would be too list all the condemnations in the bible (even restricted to the new testament) and then ask himself if we made them all into law, what would the result look like. Would he like to live in that society? would anyone?

this is similar to the question i keep posting to the IDiots that i can’t seem to ever get an answer for:

if we actually replaced science with psuedo-christian religious philosophy, as they seem to want, would they even be able to exist in that society for long? what practical applications would arise from replacing the scientific method with religious postulations? Has ID ever produced a shred of practical theory or application? nope.

why the hell do these folks think we abandoned religious philosophy in favor of the scientific method to explore the world to begin with?

Comment #31960

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 8:16 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #31964

Posted by Kid Who Delivers Pizza to Flank on May 24, 2005 8:51 PM (e)

Rest assured that your opinion of me means less to me than that of the kid who delivers my pizzas.

Hey Reverend,

Why you keep dissin’ me? Not enough pepperoni?

Comment #31968

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 9:13 PM (e)

I don’t believe that Russell, or Sir TJ, or Humburg think that there is any type of Christians opposed to homosexuality other than religiously-fueled homophobes.

Hmmmm. That hadn’t occurred to me. I’ll have to think about it. In the meantime, I’m talking about a significant number of people who go on and on, quite irrationally if you ask me, about homosexuality and claim the bible as their reason why. I’m thinking Rev. Phelps, for instance, or those charming folks that picket the gay pride parade with bibles and crucifixes in hand carrying signs like

Got AIDS Yet?

Get it? It’s funny, because it’s an anagram!

Comment #31969

Posted by Russell on May 24, 2005 9:17 PM (e)

By the way, I know there are passages in the bible condemning, specifically male homosexuality. But does the bible say anything at all about female homosexuality? Does anyone know why fundies get all hot and bothered about lesbians?

Comment #31971

Posted by steve on May 24, 2005 9:22 PM (e)

Does anyone know why fundies get all hot and bothered about lesbians?

I know why I get all hot and bothered….;-)

Comment #31978

Posted by FL on May 24, 2005 9:36 PM (e)

Okay, I’m back. Should be able to wrap this up.

Russell has responded to my previous invitation thusly:

I’m not very interested in anyone’s theological claims. I guess each reader can judge for him/herself whether biblical literalism is wing-nut or sensible, and - more to the point - whether it’s compatible with science.

Fair enough. I guess I won’t be hearing any more pejoratives from you concerning my theology, unless you change your mind and decide to specifically engage and refute my stated views.

***************

Sir Toejam, you said:

now you are really pissing me off

…which brought a sinfully mischievous smile to my face, for which I’m sure I’ll have to ask forgiveness later.

But I also wanted to comment on your other statement:

what you are essentially saying is that you want to be the one to take advantage of people who are unsure, so that you can foist your pathetic belief structure on them and claim it covers both science AND religion.

The last part of that, I find rather perceptive. After all, my ‘pathetic belief structure’ DOES happen to cover both science and religion in a certain manner.

The crucial breakthrough of the intelligent design movement has been to show that this great theological truth–that God acts in the world by dispersing information–also has scientific content.

Wm. Dembski, Intelligent Design, p. 233.

Think about that one, Sir Toe. And kudos again on being so perceptive.

*************

Speck began his response by saying,

FL,the evidence you provide for Jesus’ existence all appears to be hearsay.

Well, no, it ain’t hearsay, Speck. We could go over those dates for the Four Gospels and see where they’re NOT written too late to serve as credible sources for the proposition that Jesus historically existed. But a faster method, imo, would be to point you to what 1 Cor. 15:3-4 says about Jesus, and then point out how that text dates all the way back to people who witnessed Jesus’ Crucifixion.

The details are spelled out in New Testament scholar Gary Habermas’ book The Verdict of History and probably elsewhere, but if you don’t have that book on you, just go to this summary link for the main points:

http://www.carm.org/evidence/1Cor15_3-4.htm

Which is yet another reason, on top of all the other ancient historical literature, why the consensus of scholarship on both sides of the aisle agree that Jesus really did exist in actual history. Not merely “a historical concept”, but actual history, the real deal.

You also asked about free will. You and I agree that God gave us free will and respects our free will. But the part about “Anything that would confirm or indicate the existence of God and his workings would be in direct violation of our free will” is just plain wrong.

There is nothing coercive about “confirming or indicating” the existence of God. You’re still totally free to accept or reject Him, and in the Bible (and sometimes in your local newspaper) you can find many examples of people choosing freely to go in either direction.

In fact, the same God who gave us free will is the same one constantly trying to email us that He’s here for us.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Ps. 19:1-3

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Rom. 1:20

God is sending us all e-mail. Question is, are our freewilled fingers poised to hit the “Open” button, or the “Delete” button instead?

***************

Rev, you had a lot of comments and questions there, just because I said I saw great value in Christ centered Bible honoring apologetics. I hadn’t anticipated such intensity of reaction.

Two things. First, you said:

the entire aim of ID **is** nothing but religious apologetics, and they are indeed just lying to us when they claim otherwise.

Which is not true, nor did I even suggest such a thing. In fact, I’ve shown previously that the 3 point ID hypothesis is not inherently religious, per se, at all. And no, you were not able to refute that.

Second, after so many intro questions, you said:

Sorry, FL, but I simply don’t believe that you are infallible.

Excellent! We finally agree on something, Rev.
(On the other hand, I don’t recall ever making such a claim in the first place.)

You see, Rev, when some skeptic throws down the gauntlet and declares that Jesus is a historical fiction, you don’t have to be infallible to stand your ground.
You just have to be ~willing~ to courteously offer relevant evidence or reasoning, no matter how big or small, that helps to show why you believe what you believe, and that hopefully will help to show the skeptic that his or her position is wrong.

You said, “You pray; I pray. You read the Bible; I read the Bible. You go to church and listen to the pastor; I go to church and listen to the pastor.”
Well, that’s great. So you should be just as prepared as me or anybody else, when the next skeptic-challenge pops up in this forum, to just jump right on in there, and do the 1 Peter 3:15 thing.

***************

And Flint. Odd how one sincere challenge of yours, not even related to evolution or to Burt’s gig, led to all this exchange. But, I have no complaints. Keep em coming, as far as I’m concerned.

The first two items of Mr Deley’s laundry list, which imo are really what the fictional-Jesus biz is about, is pretty much nuked by the current scholarship available (including the CARM link I offered to Speck), and also by…

http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/copycathub.html

….which takes care of Mr. Deley’s Item #2.

I don’t want to stop at this juncture, but because of length, I just want you to know how I would ~begin~ refuting Mr. Deley.

************

Colin, I’ve never tried to whine, snipe, or backbite Mr. Mayr. In fact, I’ve quoted him without disagreement. Mr. Mayr is very helpful for me to show how Darwinism is, at the end of the day, incompatible with Christianity.

I know that’s kind of a brief response, too brief, but let me kinda wrap it up with that. Though I might point out, my quotation was a direct response to Ed’s comments about McDowell and his published Christian apologetics work, I’m not sure it really fits to blindly substitute those guys you spoke of, in there.

****************

That’s it, finally. Except for one thing. Burt told another poster,

I see you as refusing to accept that Christians are in fear over the implications of evolution; you argue as though doubting evolution vis-a-vis intelligent design were a legitimate perspective.

And with that, we get a little peek into Burt’s motivations too. Unable to accept that legitimate doubts about evolution vis-a-vis ID may exist, Burt is forced to posit “fear” as an alternative.

He posits this not because he’s a professionally credentialled psychiatrist or psychologist (he’s not),
nor because he observed, say, the non-Darwinist PHD chemist Dr. Thaxton exhibiting known signs of “fear, irrationality, or unconventional behaviors” on the witness stand (I did ask Burt specifically about this, and Burt could not answer me!),
but because the alternative is to simply admit that perhaps non-Darwinists have pointed to at least some legitimate doubts after all.

So now you know the real deal. That’s it for me, folks. Tried to respond to as many as possible. I’m done!

FL :-)

Comment #31980

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 9:39 PM (e)

Hey Reverend,

Why you keep dissin’ me? Not enough pepperoni?

‘Shrooms, dude.

More ‘shrooms.

:>

Comment #31981

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 9:42 PM (e)

the entire aim of ID **is** nothing but religious apologetics, and they are indeed just lying to us when they claim otherwise.

Which is not true, nor did I even suggest such a thing.

Hey Heddle, this is the part where you step in and tell FL that he is wrong when he says ID is not religious apologetics. Do something useful for a change.

Hey FL, you still haven’t answered my simple question.

I’ll ask again, and I’ll try to amke it simpler for you this time.

*ahem*

Why should anyone pay any more attention to your religious opinions than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, my veterinarian’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

Other than your say-so?

Comment #31982

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 24, 2005 9:45 PM (e)

Mr. Mayr is very helpful for me to show how Darwinism is, at the end of the day, incompatible with Christianity.

Says who.

You? Who the hell are *you*?

Comment #31983

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 24, 2005 9:48 PM (e)

There’s a back and forth here going on that I don’t want to stoop to. I want to answer Heddle’s question as best as I can, but I don’t want to get embroiled on the locker-room stuff going on here of late.

I think it is rare to find someone who is able to take a religious view against homosexuality and not be religiously homophobic. Those people do exist, clearly, but they are the rarity. Rather, what is far more common is to see people like Jerry Johnston openly advocate hatred of homosexuals as a political instrument.

I don’t want to be ethereal here so let me be plain. On or before the day I attended Johnston’s sermon, gays and lesbians and their friends had decided to be silent for a full 24hours in representation of the silent adversity faced by those who are not out of the closet. Independent of what one’s religious beliefs are about homosexuality, the fact that gays who are not out experience silent hardship and emotional pressure cannot be debated. It would be like me refusing to speak for 24 hours in deference to creationists who silently believed that evolution was false: it’s something anyone independent of belief could do to recognize the adversity.

Jerry Johnston prayed to God (see the writeup in my essay above), apologizing that as Christians they lacked the political power to crush that simple promotion of awareness.

There is religiously-fueled homophobia in the world and it wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of people who were so did so thinking they were being Godly when they act this way.

In closing, I will only say that to consider admonitions against homophobia as having NT validation is for you to hold that Jesus was not competent to talk about the things that mattered. (Please remember that Jesus mentioned the topic all of ZERO times. He did have things to say about liars and injustice, however.)

Nuff said on this topic. You may go back to your feces flinging.

BCH

Comment #31984

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 9:50 PM (e)

“Think about that one, Sir Toe. And kudos again on being so perceptive.”

I did think about it; er that’s why i called you on it. as to being perceptive, compared to yourself, evidently, a bowling ball is more perceptive.

you yourself pointed out your infallibility to lenny:

Second, after so many intro questions, you said:

lenny:Sorry, FL, but I simply don’t believe that you are infallible.

Excellent! We finally agree on something, Rev.
(On the other hand, I don’t recall ever making such a claim in the first

but you claim to be infallible when deciding that ID is the answer to both science and religion.

you run circles around yourself.

again i ask you, a question to add to the que of questions you refuse to answer, like how can you claim that ID answers scientific questions, when it demonstrably does not:

“if we actually replaced science with psuedo-christian religious philosophy, as they seem to want, would they even be able to exist in that society for long? what practical applications would arise from replacing the scientific method with religious postulations? Has ID ever produced a shred of practical theory or application? nope.”

congratulations on being the textbook case of denial based on fear so eloquently described in the other thread.

how’s that for perceptive?

Comment #31989

Posted by RBH on May 24, 2005 11:21 PM (e)

Burt wrote

Nuff said on this topic. You may go back to your feces flinging.

I concur with the “feces flinging” remark. It’s getting deep in here.

RBH

Comment #31996

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 25, 2005 1:36 AM (e)

oh please.

Comment #32014

Posted by DougT on May 25, 2005 8:54 AM (e)

David H

Regarding ceremonial law. When people bring up this issue, they frequently mention things like mixed fiber garments and dietary laws (no shellfish, no cheesburgers- I’m sure you can do the list better than I can). Your answer was pretty standard relative to that of others with a biblical inerrancy standpoint. One OT law that seems not to have been overturned in the New Testament is against the charging of interest on loans. Nobody has ever given me a cogent answer about why Christians don’t have a problem with it despite a straightforward biblical proscription. Care to take a crack? (and apologies to all, this feels way off topic to me).

Comment #32025

Posted by David Heddle on May 25, 2005 9:45 AM (e)

Burt wrote a comment that concluding that there was “nuff said on this topic.” But since he didn’t write anything substantive, I am not sure why he bothered.

Oh, he did say something quite silly:

to consider admonitions against homophobia as having NT validation is for you to hold that Jesus was not competent to talk about the things that mattered. (Please remember that Jesus mentioned the topic all of ZERO times. He did have things to say about liars and injustice, however.)

In other words, the bible should be pared to just a few pages: the collective sayings of Jesus. The whole notion that God spoke through the prophets and that the writers of the gospels and epistles were inspired must be tossed out. Then, and only then, when we have a NT with no admonitions against homosexuality to we have a “real” bible worthy of the honorific holy.

Jesus did talk about hell more than anyone else in the bible. Hell as a place where unbelievers are punished forever. When we pare the bible down to just the sayings of Jesus, can we toss that part out too? It is so…out of character for him.

Doug T

One OT law that seems not to have been overturned in the New Testament is against the charging of interest on loans.

It’s a tough question, but one that was tackled nicely by John Calvin (one of the two greatest post-apostolic theologians, along with Augustine, IMHO), and I refer you to searches on “Calvin and usury.” In short, Calvin argued that the prohibitions against usury applied to the poor: we should not give money to the poor and try to make a profit. He wrote a great deal on this, you can read him and decide if you buy his arguments. I could do no better that parrot what he wrote.

Comment #32054

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 25, 2005 12:00 PM (e)

So you admit that Jesus didn’t think homosexuality was a big deal?

BCH

Comment #32057

Posted by David Heddle on May 25, 2005 12:07 PM (e)

Exactly the opposite. It is impossible for Paul to teach something in the bible that conflicts with Jesus, and Paul wrote against homosexuality.

Comment #32061

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 25, 2005 12:30 PM (e)

I think the creationist disregard for evidence often affects the way they read the Bible.

1. Nothing in the Bible suggests that it would be impossible for Paul to teach something in the Bible that conflicts with Jesus. In point of fact, Paul says that some of what he says is his own opinion, not from any other source. Why would Paul say that? Why would a student of the Bible ignore the point?

2. Paul wrote against temple prostitution, and he wrote about both heterosexual temple prostitution as well as homosexual prostitution, if in fact his words can be construed accurately to be against homosexuality. Some scholars question that. Paul preached hard against promiscuity – in all things, in all people.

Paul also wrote against marriage.

Now, if we were to be consistent, and take all of this stuff literally, we’d be in the same position as the Shakers. Mr. Heddle is not of the Shaker persuasion, however – so our question should be, why does Mr. Heddle do what he accuses the rest of us of doing, pick and choose parts of the Bible to emphasize, sometimes with disregard for the rest?

3. Jesus spoke not a word against homosexuality recorded in scripture. Not even in the Apocrypha.

4. If we’re interpreting Paul’s use of the word “unnatural” as disallowing homosexuality, we have a lot of explaining to do now that we know homosexuality is not uncommon among hundreds of other animal species (not to mention that it is virtually required in some plants).

5. When claims that Paul spoke against anything come from those who twist scripture to claim that Jesus affirmed the literalness of the flood and creation stories, since we know that Jesus did neither except in passing in longer comments against divorce and the end of time, we might be justified to dismiss the claims about Paul as similarly twisted or ill-informed.

6. Jesus talked about money and economic justice more than any other topic. Hell on Earth is poverty, and Jesus preached against it. Hell on Earth is sickness, and Jesus preached against it. Applied evolution has given us the green revolution to combat poverty and medical miracles that promote healing. To the extent that creationism calls those things evil in its haste to disavow Darwin (who was a good and just man), creationism is blasphemous. And that’s wholly apart from whether Paul intended to condemn homosexuality.

Comment #32068

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 25, 2005 1:16 PM (e)

I’d comment to Heddle, but Darrell summarized my thoughts nicely. I endorse his rejoinder, especially its organizing thesis that Heddle is allowing his preconceptions about the Bible to affect the way he reads it.

While I don’t want to criticize him on this point - because one observation of the psychology of learning and creativity is that we are able to understand only that which we already half-know - I do think he’s making some assumptions about the God-breathed aspects of the Pauline NT that might not necessarily be valid.

BCH

Comment #32079

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 25, 2005 1:40 PM (e)

Heddley does a little twirl:

“The whole notion that God spoke through the prophets and that the writers of the gospels and epistles were inspired must be tossed out”

uh, just a couple of posts before that, you essentially threw out the entire OT as of no value in answering the questions i posed.

so which is it, eh? Is it “the bible” or just a collection of random texts?

do you even know yourself?

Comment #32080

Posted by Flint on May 25, 2005 1:41 PM (e)

Bah! On this board, scientists find the Bible supports evolution, creationists find that it does not. On other boards, bigots find Biblical support for bigotry, homophobes find Biblical support for their visceral disgust with homosexuality, while homosexuals find Biblical endorsement of their orientation. Apparently we could change the name of the Bible to the Giant Golden Book of Congenial Ambiguities. It seems to say anything anyone wants to believe.

In this respect, the Bible sounds just like ID and anything else that means everything and its opposite and therefore can’t be wrong even when it’s wrong. Are you people feeling all right?

Comment #32083

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 25, 2005 1:46 PM (e)

“It seems to say anything anyone wants to believe”

Exactly, why do you think it’s been around for so long?

Comment #32085

Posted by Henry J on May 25, 2005 1:47 PM (e)

now that we know homosexuality is not uncommon among hundreds of other animal species (not to mention that it is virtually required in some plants).

And at least one species of lizard.

Henry

Comment #32087

Posted by Henry J on May 25, 2005 1:49 PM (e)

(Oops, left out some punctuation from the above.)

Re “[…] now that we know homosexuality is not uncommon among hundreds of other animal species (not to mention that it is virtually required in some plants).”

And at least one species of lizard.

Henry

Comment #32089

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 25, 2005 1:54 PM (e)

FL quoted scripture:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Rom. 1:20

Exactly. Darwin observed and described some of that nature. Creationism asks its followers to hit the delete button on FL’s e-mail from God – sadly, creationists of all stripes (including especially IDists), hit that delete button.

Yes, if you want to put it in religious terms: Evolution describes what is seen in nature, the “invisible” qualities of God manifested in creation. It’s not necessary to claim “God did it” in order to make the observation. But denying the observation is, in religious terms, a denial of God, as well as a denial of evolution.

Which is why creationism is bad religion and should be abandoned by Christians.

Comment #32179

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 25, 2005 7:07 PM (e)

It is impossible for Paul to teach something in the bible that conflicts with Jesus, and Paul wrote against homosexuality.

So what. When did Paul become infallible.

Comment #32180

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 25, 2005 7:09 PM (e)

the entire aim of ID **is** nothing but religious apologetics, and they are indeed just lying to us when they claim otherwise.

Which is not true, nor did I even suggest such a thing.

Hey Heddle, this is the part where you step in and tell FL that he is wrong when he says ID is not religious apologetics. Do something useful for a change.

Hey Heddle, I’m still waiting ……

Comment #32181

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 25, 2005 7:18 PM (e)

the entire aim of ID **is** nothing but religious apologetics, and they are indeed just lying to us when they claim otherwise.

Which is not true, nor did I even suggest such a thing.

Hey Heddle, this is the part where you step in and tell FL that he is wrong when he says ID is not religious apologetics. Do something useful for a change.

Hey Heddle, I’m still waiting ……

Comment #32183

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 25, 2005 7:31 PM (e)

lenny, Heddle says he’s done with us. something about “getting a life”.

which means you might have to wait a few days before his inevitable return.

Comment #32184

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 25, 2005 7:35 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #32185

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 25, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

The whole notion that God spoke through the prophets and that the writers of the gospels and epistles were inspired must be tossed out.

Umm, he Davey, most Christians have ALREADY tossed out the idea of an inerrant Bible that was dictated by God. Do try and keep up, would you?

Does the word “biblidolatry” ring any bells for you, Davey … ?

Comment #32189

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on May 25, 2005 8:10 PM (e)

lenny, Heddle says he’s done with us. something about “getting a life”.

which means you might have to wait a few days before his inevitable return.

My questions will be here waiting for him.

Just like Sal, and FL, and Nelson.

I’m a very patient person.