Nick Matzke posted Entry 2483 on July 31, 2006 12:08 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2478

Here I am, minding my own business, reading this editorial opinion piece in The Guardian about fundamentalists and creationism/ID, stem-cell research, The Rapture, etc. It is by Karen Armstrong, author of the 2000 book The Battle for God. I have not read the book, but I had the impression it was a best-selling history of fundamentalism and a comparative study of the fundamentalist phenomenon in various religions. So I figured that Armstrong probably had some idea of what she was talking about.

So I’m reading the editorial. It overviews some history of Christian fundamentalism and the like, and goes into the Scopes Trial. One minor misstep occurs when “creation science” is dated to 1925, which is not quite accurate (“scientific creationism” was a particular expression of creationism that was codified around 1969 according to Ronald Numbers), but this is the kind of detail that may be lost on people who are not creationism nerds.

But then I read this:

The fundamentalists’ rejection of science is deeply linked to their apocalyptic vision. Even the relatively sober ID theorists segue easily into Rapture-speak. “Great shakings and darkness are descending on Planet Earth,” says the ID philosopher Paul Nelson, “but they will be overshadowed by even more amazing displays of God’s power and light. Ever the long-term strategist, YHVH is raising up a mighty army of cutting-edge Jewish End-time warriors.”

As Jon Stewart would say, Whaaa?

Paul Nelson is a young-earth creationist and therefore has some rather severe disconnects with reality, but this was the first I’d heard of him saying crazy stuff about the Rapture and how Jews for Jesus (or something; I’m guessing here) will be the warriors of the End-time. And believe me, if Paul Nelson had said something like this in writing, someone here at The Thumb would have gleefully posted it by now.

Since spurious quotations are bad in general, and not just when the creationists use them, I figured I should check this one. Googling the quote reveals exactly one hit, to a website named “David’s Tent“. This is apparently the website of Final Frontier Ministries, which is headquartered in Nashville. Instead of doing something rational like evangelizing Trekkies or country music fans, the founders of Final Frontier Ministries live in Israel and evangelize the jews, which I am sure everyone there deeply appreciates. I bet the bit about training up “cutting-edge Jewish End-time warriors” is an especially popular message too, especially in the last few weeks.

Anyway, irresistable sarcasm aside, there is no evidence whatsoever of any connection between Paul Nelson and the quotes from the David’s Tent webpage. For that matter, the word “Nelson” does not appear anywhere on the entire David’s Tent website, according to google. The only mention of “Paul” on the page with the quotes is the Apostle Paul, here:

The Apostle Paul encourages us not only to intercede for Israel, but also to reach out to Jewish people with the message of Yeshua. How shall Israel hear about Him unless someone shows them? And how can people share this message with the Jewish people unless they are sent out (see Rom.10:14)? Israel certainly needs fiery prayers (Jer.31:7) and compassionate hands (Isa.60:5-16).

In other words, a different Paul entirely. Unless Karen Armstrong has some really amazing evidence that none of us have ever heard of before, She Goofed Big Time. A retraction clearly is in order. And it’s quite a shame, really, because this will undoubtedly give the ID advocates something indignant to blog about all week, and will give them a talking point to raise every time Armstrong decides to talk about fundamentalism/creationism/ID. The ID guys say enough silly things, even truly wacky things, that there is no reason to go around wildly misattributing quotes.

[Note: Thanks to an email which pointed out this was an opinion piece, not an editorial from the newspaper editors.]

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 #115802

Posted by tacitus on July 31, 2006 2:50 AM (e)

Have you asked her about the quote?

Comment #115816

Posted by Daniel Morgan on July 31, 2006 5:23 AM (e)

I left a comment on it at the Guardian article. I’m sure someone will check it out, probably Paul himself…

Comment #115817

Posted by Tony Jackson on July 31, 2006 5:46 AM (e)

I’m afraid this doesn’t surprise me. Karen Armstrong is not very rigorous and tends to say other gooey-brained stuff. For example, see here:
http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/articleprint.php?num=202.

She really isn’t any friend of rationalist thought.

Comment #115818

Posted by Mephisto on July 31, 2006 6:16 AM (e)

There are plenty of fundies trolling the article. One post I particularly like. It says that “liberal secularists” want embryonic stem cell funding so they can deny the sanctity of life and thus promote abortion. Why? Because without abortion, the position that you should be allowed to have sex with whom you wish is “untenable.”

Two non-sequiturs in a row. Good job, fundie.

Comment #115835

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on July 31, 2006 6:49 AM (e)

Two non-sequiturs in a row. Good job, fundie.

I think you miscounted:

1) “embryonic stem cell funding” leads to
2) “deny the sanctity of life” leads to
3) “promote abortion” leads to
4) “the position that you should be allowed to have sex with whom you wish”

I count four. Or is it three (fencepost problem)?

I really hope that fundie had incest in mind when he wrote that, because homosexuality, which seems to be the bigger threat to fundiness, is not a reproductive coupling and thus cannot have anything to do with abortion.

I still find the “sanctity of life” argument from fundies quite funny since they have no problem killing people that threatens that catchphrase, nor do they hesitate in sending death threats to people that threatens their ignorance.

Comment #115837

Posted by Michael Hopkins on July 31, 2006 7:16 AM (e)

A creationist is misquoted in a “July 31, 2006” article and here I am on July 31, 2006 seeing the quote debunked here on the Thumb.

If Ms. Armstrong had misquoted an “evolutionist”, we would not be seeing any debunking in creationist sites, they would repeat it.

Comment #115838

Posted by Gerard Harbison on July 31, 2006 7:46 AM (e)

Anonymous_Coward wrote:

1) “embryonic stem cell funding” leads to
2) “deny the sanctity of life” leads to
3) “promote abortion” leads to
4) “the position that you should be allowed to have sex with whom you wish”

5) That starts with ‘T’ that rhymes with ‘P’ that stands for ‘Pool’.

(I’m dating myself, I know!)

Comment #115839

Posted by Renier on July 31, 2006 7:55 AM (e)

A creationist is misquoted in a “July 31, 2006” article and here I am on July 31, 2006 seeing the quote debunked here on the Thumb.

If Ms. Armstrong had misquoted an “evolutionist”, we would not be seeing any debunking in creationist sites, they would repeat it.

Very very very true.

Comment #115841

Posted by Paul on July 31, 2006 8:13 AM (e)

“Cutting-edge Jewish End-time warriors”

Great name for a rock band…

It’ll be interesting to see if there will be a retraction or correction. The Guardian is usually pretty scrupulous about that kind of thing.

And respect for calling BS on a supposed quote from an opponent. I’m pretty certain the gesture wouldn’t be reciprocated if the roles were reversed.

Comment #115842

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on July 31, 2006 8:33 AM (e)

I’m pretty certain the gesture wouldn’t be reciprocated if the roles were reversed.

I don’t get what’s all this talk about “if” the roles were reversed.

We’re seeing the reversal right now. Someone arguing for “our” side made a mistake.

Before, it was the creationists who would misquote, misrepresent and even fake quotes and a lot of them haven’t retracted anything. Furthermore, some of them had “retracted” it, but continues to make the same claim.

Our case was made long before this error occurred.

Comment #115853

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 9:47 AM (e)

PT and folks at the NCSE are the champion quote-miners, routinely quoting the pope’s statements on human evolution as if he gave his blanket endorsement to the standard garden-variety view of the diversity of life as championed on this site. As long as you guys are around, all other quote-miners can hope for no more than second best.

Comment #115854

Posted by Renier on July 31, 2006 9:51 AM (e)

and Heddle, as long as you are around we can be assured of humour. Go cry somewhere else…

Comment #115855

Posted by Arden Chatfield on July 31, 2006 10:03 AM (e)

PT and folks at the NCSE are the champion quote-miners, routinely quoting the pope’s statements on human evolution as if he gave his blanket endorsement to the standard garden-variety view of the diversity of life as championed on this site. As long as you guys are around, all other quote-miners can hope for no more than second best.

Heddle, you’re a little slow, so I should point out that it is the wicked PT secularists who are pointing out the erroneous quote. Have you *ever* seen an ID or Creationism advocate VOLUNTARILY disavow a quote they had claimed the other side made? That is, have you ever seen a Creationist say “guys, the Evolutionists didn’t really say this, we shouldn’t claim they did”, without being pressured to? Your whininess is misplaced here.

Comment #115860

Posted by Corkscrew on July 31, 2006 10:20 AM (e)

A creationist is misquoted in a “July 31, 2006” article and here I am on July 31, 2006 seeing the quote debunked here on the Thumb.

If Ms. Armstrong had misquoted an “evolutionist”, we would not be seeing any debunking in creationist sites, they would repeat it.

And this sort of thing is one reason I have far more respect for PT than I do for, say, UD.

Comment #115862

Posted by KL on July 31, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Gary Hurd linked:
We have already seen how Dembski defends his quote minning. He claims it is just fine!

Wow-these threads date back to a year before I started reading PT. You guys have been at this fight for a long time and IDists still don’t understand the concept of intellectual honesty! Do any of these ID movement leaders ever come clean when they make mistakes? No wonder you get so annoyed when newbies show up spouting the same old trash. My hat is off to all of you who are in this for the long haul.

Comment #115865

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on July 31, 2006 10:28 AM (e)

Gary Hurd wrote:

We have already seen how Dembski defends his quote minning. He claims it is just fine!

What’s worse (for them) about the link you provided:

Dembski wrote:

My post took a few minutes to write up. Evolutionists wrote detailed responses many times its length on places like the Pandasthumb to justify that the problem with the Cambrian explosion was not really a problem.

Yet, in another thread, some person with a few pieces missing complained that a poster did not write a long enough rebuttal to Casey Luskin’s already-rebutted-at-length piece.

Comment #115866

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on July 31, 2006 10:30 AM (e)

My hat is off to all of you who are in this for the long haul.

Collect some money for us while you’re at it…

Comment #115867

Posted by Bob O'H on July 31, 2006 10:41 AM (e)

Would I appear old-fashioned if I suggested checking for spelling mistakes? The Grauniad does have a certain reputation.

If nothing else, it always made the crossword interesting.

Bob

Comment #115869

Posted by Steverino on July 31, 2006 10:47 AM (e)

“PT and folks at the NCSE are the champion quote-miners, routinely quoting the pope’s statements on human evolution as if he gave his blanket endorsement to the standard garden-variety view of the diversity of life as championed on this site. As long as you guys are around, all other quote-miners can hope for no more than second best.”

All right…..who moved the rock?!

Comment #115870

Posted by KL on July 31, 2006 10:54 AM (e)

Collect some money for us while you’re at it…

I can at least make a donation to talkorigins. Would that help? Of course, it would be small potatos compared to some of the DI supporters. Just reinforces the idea that being rich does not necessarily mean being wise…

Comment #115871

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on July 31, 2006 10:55 AM (e)

Heddle, have you ever heard of theistic evolution?

Comment #115876

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 11:46 AM (e)

W. Kevin Vicklund,

Heddle, have you ever heard of theistic evolution?

You bet! It’s the form of evolution that the Vatican does permit. This is clear when one reads, in-context, Vatican statements on evolution instead of parroting the obfuscating PT and NCSE quote-mining . It (theistic evolution) is completely compatible with non-theistic evolution—however it does not rule out the possibility of a discontinuity due to supernatural intervention. Its methodology in the lab and field would be indistinguishable from its non-theistic cousin. However, underneath the hood it would assume that God’s sovereign plan could not be thwarted in any manner by unforeseen mutations and or natural cataclysms. And, in particular, the theistic evolution that the Vatican finds acceptable includes the notion that our species, singled out for special treatment, was inevitable. It would argue that, much like God uses the secondary cause of gravity to move the planets in their orbits, God uses the secondary cause of evolution to introduce the diversity of life—none of which has caught him by surprise. In other words, theistic evolution is God using evolution to intelligently design life.

So yes, I have heard of it.

Comment #115877

Posted by steve s on July 31, 2006 12:00 PM (e)

When Heddle uses the phrase ‘intelligent design’, it’s important to remember that he means his own unique flavor of ID, which is often in direct contradiction to mainstream ID. In Heddle’s world, theistic evolution is a respectable thing, while in mainstream ID:

As far as design theorists are concerned, theistic evolution is an oxymoron, something like “purposeful purposelessness.”

-William Dembski

Comment #115878

Posted by Chris Hyland on July 31, 2006 12:07 PM (e)

One minor misstep occurs when “creation science” is dated to 1925, which is not quite accurate (“scientific creationism” was a particular expression of creationism that was codified around 1969 according to Ronald Numbers)

Technically yes, but most of the creation science arguments of Morris et al were invented by George Macready Price in the 20s. The creationists tend not to mention this as it would expose their adventist roots, but Morris has said it is price that ‘opened his eyes’.

Comment #115880

Posted by Henry J on July 31, 2006 12:35 PM (e)

Re “purposeful purposelessness.”

That sort of describes any genetic algorithm, doesn’t it? (Loosely speaking, anyway.)

Henry

Comment #115902

Posted by Chris Ho-Stuart on July 31, 2006 1:29 PM (e)

I found an apparent source of the quote using Google. It appears in Final Fontier Ministries, and the author is not clearly identified. Avner and Rachel Boskey are the key players in this site. I’ve never heard of ID being associated with apocalyptic ideas like this.

Comment #115903

Posted by gregonomic on July 31, 2006 1:34 PM (e)

As far as design theorists are concerned, theistic evolution is an oxymoron, something like “purposeful purposelessness.”

-William Dembski

Hmmm, so, when IDiots say that “some biological structures are too complex to have evolved”, what they really mean is “all biological structures…”?

Comment #115904

Posted by Coin on July 31, 2006 1:40 PM (e)

I saw that editorial and wasn’t very happy with it. It has a good bit of really sloppy thinking in there, mostly to do with equating the very most extreme wing of the Christian right with the Christian right itself.

Any self-decribed “fundamentalist” who does not, in fact, specifically believe that Israel must conquer the middle east so that we can bring Jesus back– or even anyone who knows enough about American religion to know this is not specifically true of all fundamentalists– will likely see Armstrong’s generalizations, realize they are inaccurate, and discard the entire article as factually inaccurate. This precludes getting any useful information out of the article, or reaching any useful conclusions from it (like “gosh, maybe the ‘moderate’ Christian political right is a bit extreme itself” or “I wonder who within the Christian right has more sway over the Republican party, the moderates or the extremists?”).

Even someone who knows little enough about America to take Armstrong’s entire article at face value (this is a Guardian article, after all, I doubt the intended audience is American) will be left with a cartoonish view of American fundamentalism which helps neither them nor us. After all, the reality (where the Christian right is actually a complex alliance including such diverse groups as biblical literalists, pro-lifers, gay-bashers, Left Behind-camp premillenial dispensationalists, dominionists, creationists and pseudo-calvinist capitalists– which are not at all all the same group, but do sometimes partially overlap, are all mostly cheerful about allying against common foes, and are all usually disinclined to contradict one another publicly) is a lot more dangerous than the caricature that Armstrong presents in this article. If all the fundies were premillenial dispensationalists, they’d be a lot easier to defeat in the public sphere.

I sincerely hope that this article wound up this way because of space considerations or something, and that her book is of higher quality. Has anyone read it?

Comment #115905

Posted by steve s on July 31, 2006 1:46 PM (e)

Hmmm, so, when IDiots say that “some biological structures are too complex to have evolved”, what they really mean is “all biological structures…”?

Well, they haven’t managed to give us an example of an IC object without later modifying the definition of IC, and they haven’t figured out how to calculate the CSI of, well, anything in biology, so I don’t know what structures they’d accept had evolved, or not.

Comment #115906

Posted by njm on July 31, 2006 1:55 PM (e)

I found an apparent source of the quote using Google. It appears in Final Fontier Ministries…

As I so noted in the opening post. ;-). What I’m wondering is who came up with the name of “Final Frontier Ministries”? It really sounds like a Star Trek reference to me.

Avner and Rachel Boskey are the key players in this site. I’ve never heard of ID being associated with apocalyptic ideas like this.

It would be worth looking at the copious writings of the various ID-associated theologians on all this – John Mark Reynolds, J.P. Moreland, Robert Newman, etc. They are leading conservative evangelical theologians (well, JMR is eastern orthodox I guess, but he teaches at Biola and somehow the orthodox and the protestant evangelicals have gotten together) as well as big ID fans. That crowd might go for Jews-for-Jesus type stuff and perhaps further, I’m not sure.

Certainly “scientific creationism” and radical premillenial views have gone hand-in-hand – Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind novels, also co-founded the Institute for Creation Research I think.

But as another commentator has noted, conservative Christian evangelicalism/fundamentalism is tremendously complex and they definitely do not all believe the same things. Figuring how who thinks what, exactly, is not always easy.

Comment #115908

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on July 31, 2006 2:16 PM (e)

It’s the form of evolution that the Vatican does permit… It (theistic evolution) is completely compatible with non-theistic evolution—however it does not rule out the possibility of a discontinuity due to supernatural intervention. Its methodology in the lab and field would be indistinguishable from its non-theistic cousin. However, underneath the hood it would assume that God’s sovereign plan could not be thwarted in any manner by unforeseen mutations and or natural cataclysms. And, in particular, the theistic evolution that the Vatican finds acceptable includes the notion that our species, singled out for special treatment, was inevitable. It would argue that, much like God uses the secondary cause of gravity to move the planets in their orbits, God uses the secondary cause of evolution to introduce the diversity of life—none of which has caught him by surprise. In other words, theistic evolution is God using evolution to intelligently design life. attack on PT and NCSE removed for clarity

Congratulations, Heddle! You’ve successfully stated PT’s take on the late Pope’s position on evolution!

Does that mean that you are also quote-mining the late Pope? Or are you just making false accusations?

Comment #115909

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on July 31, 2006 2:38 PM (e)

It’s the form of evolution that the Vatican does permit… It (theistic evolution) is completely compatible with non-theistic evolution—however it does not rule out the possibility of a discontinuity due to supernatural intervention. Its methodology in the lab and field would be indistinguishable from its non-theistic cousin. However, underneath the hood it would assume that God’s sovereign plan could not be thwarted in any manner by unforeseen mutations and or natural cataclysms. And, in particular, the theistic evolution that the Vatican finds acceptable includes the notion that our species, singled out for special treatment, was inevitable. It would argue that, much like God uses the secondary cause of gravity to move the planets in their orbits, God uses the secondary cause of evolution to introduce the diversity of life—none of which has caught him by surprise. In other words, theistic evolution is God using evolution to intelligently design life.

Congratulations, Heddle! You’ve successfully stated PT’s take on the late Pope’s position on evolution!

Does that mean that you are also quote-mining the late Pope? Or are you just making false accusations?

Comment #115910

Posted by Roger Albin on July 31, 2006 2:40 PM (e)

Misquotation is hardly Armstrong’s only failure. As another commentator remarked, the column is pretty sloppy. Her statements about this particular evangelical eschatology are erroneous. Its not a late 19th century phenomenon and not originally American either. The strain of thought to which she is referring is Dispensationalism, originating in Britain among the Plymouth Brethren in the mid-19th century.

Comment #115911

Posted by frank schmidt on July 31, 2006 2:43 PM (e)

The first question is “Do you accept the common biological ancestry of all organisms, including humans?” Most ID-ers when pressed will have to say “No,” which means that they endorse Special Creation. In plain English, they are creationists.

Acceptors of science will say “yes.” This classifies them as evolutionists.

The only other issue is the Origin of Life. The question is equally simple: “Do you accept that the origin of life did not involve an exception to the laws of Chemistry and Physics (i.e., a miracle)?” Creationists like Behe will say “No.”

Science-acceptors will say “That’s a reasonable assumption, if you want to do science about it.”

Quite simple, really.

So, Heddle, what are your answers?

Comment #115912

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on July 31, 2006 2:44 PM (e)

Sorry, the connection was refused the first time I posted. It must have posted but then refused the connection when it tried to update the page.

Comment #115914

Posted by Ben on July 31, 2006 2:51 PM (e)

“where the Christian right is actually a complex alliance including such diverse groups as biblical literalists, pro-lifers, gay-bashers, Left Behind-camp premillenial dispensationalists, dominionists, creationists and pseudo-calvinist capitalists”

You’re over thinking the religious right. I don’t think you can compartmentalize the “movement” that much. Each particular nutjob may have his own brand of anti-social fantacism.. the problem is they all seem perfectly happy to march along lock step… And exactly how are these “diverse” groups again?

Comment #115915

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 3:04 PM (e)

W. Kevin Vicklund ,

Congratulations, Heddle! You’ve successfully stated PT’s take on the late Pope’s position on evolution!

Oh really? If that’s the case, I retract all my charges regarding PT, NCSE, and their quote-mining of Rome. But I don’t think that’s the case. The party-line here and at NCSE is “Rome is OK with evolution, period,” without discussion of the inconvenient caveats such as those I mentioned—i.e., they quote-mine.

Frank Schmidt,

I’m not sure why you care about my views on this subject or even the point of your questions but the answers are (1) I don’t know and (2) no, although I support (wholeheartedly) abiogenesis research.

Comment #115917

Posted by frank schmidt on July 31, 2006 3:11 PM (e)

heddle wrote:

the answers are (1) I don’t know and (2) no, although I support (wholeheartedly) abiogenesis research.

Q.E.D.

Comment #115918

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

PT critical thinking and rhetoric as practiced by an expert, Frank Schmidt, graduate summa cum laude of the PT school of logic:

Frank: If you take position A, you are not an ‘acceptor of science.’

Detractor: I take position A.

Frank: Q.E.D.

Lights fade. Cue rim shot, snare drum, loud applause, backslapping, attaboys, and guffaws.

Comment #115921

Posted by Arden Chatfield on July 31, 2006 3:44 PM (e)

Heddle, what’s your scientific evidence for Methuselah living to be 900?

Comment #115923

Posted by Henry J on July 31, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

Re Methuselah

Well, he couldn’t have lived more years than reported, because in the year he reportedly died there was reportedly a rather large flood. Ergo therefore, something or other, reportedly.

Comment #115924

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 4:02 PM (e)

Arden,

Heddle, what’s your scientific evidence for Methuselah living to be 900?

900? He was only a lad at 900. He lived to be 969.

Obviously short of finding his bones there is no direct evidence–we can only point to genetic and biochemical research into extended lifespans, such as:

Simon Melov et al., “Extension of Life Span with Superoxide Dismutase/Catalase Mimetics,” Science 289 (2000), 1567-69.

and here:

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0307929101v1

and many others.

Comment #115925

Posted by Coin on July 31, 2006 4:05 PM (e)

Ben wrote:

And exactly how are these “diverse” groups again?

Because, though these little compartmentalized groups may go for decades at a stretch alternately tacitly supporting one another and loudly supporting one another, they’ll cry bloody murder and deny any involvement with the people they were just marching in lockstep with the instant it becomes embarrassing. No matter how frequently all of these groups overlap in the same person, the only thing that really matters is whether they can pretend to be different groups in public and get away with it.

This does not of course mean that we have to actually treat them like different groups; it just means we have to be careful. It is of course totally fine to address Christian politics as a movement, or to ascribe to that movement all of the little things it as a movement supports. But the instant you lose focus on some specific, definable movement and start generalizing about people you are setting yourself up to look very stupid. Most people’s inherent sense of fairness understands that it is fundamentally wrong to judge a religion by its most extreme adherents (even though most people will only extend this courtesy to religions they “like”) and you do not want to wind up being viewed on the wrong side of that inherent sense of fairness. So it’s okay to state some political pressure group or cable televangelism network or other is millenialist, as long as we can show they’re sufficiently tied to millenialist groups or statements. But state without qualification that “fundamentalists” believe America’s policy on Israel should be driven with an eye to the Rapture, like Armstrong here does, and the nearest Republican-voting Christian who doesn’t think of Left Behind as dramatized fact will stand up and object and you will be at serious risk of losing the crowd.

Armstrong could have just taken the couple extra lines necessary to ditch the generalization and explain that the millenialists within the Christian right are numerous and influential enough to create a problem, or ditch the “fundamentalists” part and try to talk about some specific political leader with interesting millenialist ties. But she didn’t. If we strive to represent the “reality-based community” then we should try not to endorse such sloppiness.

There’s a similar version of this same dance in the evolution-creation debate proper. It’s okay to say “Intelligent Design is Creationism”, because while the Intelligent Designers may whine their heads off about this statement it’s really easy to demonstrate this is true. But outright say “Intelligent Design proponents believe the earth is 7,000 years old” and you will have created a problem for yourself…

Basically, the ground rules of the debate we find ourselves in are that they’re allowed to make dishonest generalizations and we’re not. This is the price of being the good guys.

Comment #115926

Posted by Arden Chatfield on July 31, 2006 4:05 PM (e)

Obviously short of finding his bones there is no direct evidence—we can only point to genetic and biochemical research into extended lifespans, such as:

Simon Melov et al., “Extension of Life Span with Superoxide Dismutase/Catalase Mimetics,” Science 289 (2000), 1567-69.

and here:

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0307929…

and many others.

That technology wasn’t known then. It still can’t be done now. So what is your evidence that he lived to be 969, in the absence of any physical evidence that such a thing has ever happened? Why do you believe that he lived to be 969?

Comment #115927

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 4:27 PM (e)

Arden,

That technology wasn’t known then. It still can’t be done now. So what is your evidence that he lived to be 969, in the absence of any physical evidence that such a thing has ever happened? Why do you believe that he lived to be 969?

Is this a trick question? I believe it because it says so in the bible. As for technology, it was not done with technology. I’m not sure why you think “It still can’t be done now” is anything beyond a preaching-to-the-choir argument.

I think what you might be getting at, although it’s just a guess, is whether I have to invoke a miracle to explain it. I don’t think so—not in the usual sense. In the days before Noah, long lifespans were common. Miracles in the normal sense of the word are more-or-less one-time-only specialized supersedings of the laws of physics. I would say this does involve divine intervention, but more along the lines of genetic engineering. Whether or not you want to call that a miracle, without distinction made with respect to things like walking on water, is your call. The current research simply makes it more plausible that, with the right genetic, biochemical, dietary, and environmental tweaks, long lifespans are possible “naturally.”

Comment #115928

Posted by frank schmidt on July 31, 2006 4:53 PM (e)

heddle wrote:

I believe it because it says so in the bible.

Q.E.D.

Comment #115931

Posted by CJ O'Brien on July 31, 2006 5:30 PM (e)

Heddle says of Methuselah:

short of finding his bones there is no direct evidence

Suggesting that bones are good evidence for this sort of thing. But then:

In the days before Noah, long lifespans were common

And we have lots of human bones that pre-date “Noah” (say 3000 BCE or thereabouts) and no, long lifespans weren’t common.

What gives?

Comment #115934

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 5:47 PM (e)

CJ O’Brien

And we have lots of human bones that pre-date “Noah” (say 3000 BCE or thereabouts) and no, long lifespans weren’t common.

Typical PT logic. I am not a YEC, but I must abide by YEC timelines.

Comment #115941

Posted by CJ O'Brien on July 31, 2006 6:08 PM (e)

Forgive me. I did assume that we were following the traditional literalist’s timeline.

I forgot that, whatever you are, it is certainly not “traditional.” So, before you attribute to me faulty logic, why don’t YOU define for me what we’re talking about when we say “before the time of Noah,” and go on to provide some corroborating physical evidence for the assertion “long lifespans were common” in that time-frame?

Comment #115945

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 6:24 PM (e)

CJ O’Brien

why don’t YOU define for me what we’re talking about when we say “before the time of Noah,” and go on to provide some corroborating physical evidence for the assertion “long lifespans were common” in that time-frame?

I think the Noahic flood was a local flood in Mesopotamia, ~50k years ago. As I stated, I don’t have any physical evidence for long life spans—I have only the bible and current research indicating that longer lifespans are possible. If anyone asks me again “what is your physical evidence?” they’ll get the same answer.

I forgot that, whatever you are, it is certainly not “traditional.”

That is subject to debate. Insistence on a young earth and yom = 24 hours interpretation of Genesis 1 was far from unanimous in the early church, and didn’t reach frenzied support until the advent of evolution when it was recognized that (1) evolution’s and abiogenesis’s greatest enemy is insufficient time (true) and (2) the best way to deny it the time it needs is to elevate to a canonical test-of-faith the young earth interpretation (misguided, though well-intentioned.)

Comment #115946

Posted by Arden Chatfield on July 31, 2006 6:31 PM (e)

In the days before Noah, long lifespans were common

Really? Do you have a supporting reference for this that doesn’t come from the Bible or AIG?

Can you conceive of any set of circumstances that would ever cause you to conclude that an event described in the Bible couldn’t have happened?

Comment #115948

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on July 31, 2006 6:51 PM (e)

Oh really? If that’s the case, I retract all my charges regarding PT, NCSE, and their quote-mining of Rome. But I don’t think that’s the case. The party-line here and at NCSE is “Rome is OK with evolution, period,” without discussion of the inconvenient caveats such as those I mentioned—i.e., they quote-mine.

So Heddle is resorting to quote-mining to support his accusation of quote-mining? That’s intellectual honesty for you. And I have seen a lot of people mention those “caveats” here over the past two years, sometimes, but not always, in response to your baseless and dishonest accusation.

Newsflash, Heddle. Those “caveats” are only “inconvenient” if PT and NCSE are saying “Rome is OK with atheistic evolution,” which they are patently not saying. Evolution itself is neutral wrt supernatural entities, your deliberate ignorance notwithstanding. Theistic evolution is not at all at odds with basic evolution - it just adds a layer of “God.” Just like it adds a layer of “God” to all other scientific discoveries.

Comment #115949

Posted by DAB on July 31, 2006 6:52 PM (e)

Heddle would like to discuss what the Roman Catholic church has *said* about the issue. Let us consider that, but let us also consider what the Church has *done*. When push comes to shove, talk is cheap and it is by one’s actions that we can judge one’s position.

In 1981, when McLean v. Arkansas went to trial, “the individual plaintiffs include[d] the resident Arkansas Bishops of the United Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic and African Methodist Episcopal Churches, …” (decision of Judge William Overton).

In 1983, when an attempt was made to repeal the bill that became Edwards v. Aguillard, the Louisiana Catholic conference (i.e., the bishops in the Louisiana dioceses) (27 January 1983; I could type the whole thing in if it were worth it) wrote their rejection of atheistic evolution but went to say, “… the Bishops insist that the teaching of the Catholic Church does not require that one accept the creation stories as scientific or historical accounts; therefore one cannot draw any scientific conclusions from the Bible. The Bible is God’s plan for salvation and not an encyclopedia of the physical world.” The RC Church was strongly opposed to the creationism law and strongly supportive of the efforts of the Louisiana Interchurch Council to get it repealed.

Comment #115952

Posted by CJ O'Brien on July 31, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

Heddle:

I think the Noahic flood was a local flood in Mesopotamia, ~50k years ago.

Well then, it seems to me we have a big discrepancy with the scriptural genealogy, which, I believe, is fairly complete from Noah to Abraham.

So my question is, why is it OK to stretch beyond recognition the biblical chronology of “begats” from Shem to Terah, but not to admit that Methuselah might have just been “really old” (ie ~100)?

Comment #115953

Posted by Darth Robo on July 31, 2006 7:35 PM (e)

Heddle said:

“Typical PT logic. I am not a YEC, but I must abide by YEC timelines.”

You don’t have to. Admittedly I don’t know the specifics of their chronology, but can’t even YECers have a 969 year old bloke in a YEC timeline of 6000 years?

“evolution’s and abiogenesis’s greatest enemy is insufficient time (true)”

LOL!!! 4 BILLION years of earth’s existence and that’s still not enough time? How long did God take, and by which method? Oh yeah: 6 days, and ‘Poof!’.

Comment #115954

Posted by David Heddle on July 31, 2006 7:49 PM (e)

Arden,

Can you conceive of any set of circumstances that would ever cause you to conclude that an event described in the Bible couldn’t have happened?

Of course. The bible makes (relatively few) scientific statements, but enumerable archeological and historic proclamations—by which it provides ample opportunity to be tested. For example, if it is ever conclusively demonstrated that King Solomon never existed the entire bible would come a-tumblin’ down.

However, miracles are excluded. You can’t disprove a miracle, because they don’t obey the physical laws—which is why they are miracles. So a proof that a person cannot walk on water doesn’t disprove the bible.

W Kevin Vicklund,

Newsflash, Heddle. Those “caveats” are only “inconvenient” if PT and NCSE are saying “Rome is OK with atheistic evolution,” which they are patently not saying

Being only an admirer but not a practitioner of advanced PT Logic and Rhetoric, please let me know if I am close:

1) Rome says it is OK with evolution with caveats that mean it is OK with theistic evolution.
2) PT and NCSE state that Rome is OK with evolution.
3) The fact that PT and NCSE does not explicitly state that Rome is OK with atheistic evolution absolves them of quote-mining, even though they don’t clarify Rome’s position, and even though they give the impression that Rome is OK with any form of evolution.

Am I close? This is indeed dizzying.

DAB,

The RC Church was strongly opposed to the creationism law and strongly supportive of the efforts of the Louisiana Interchurch Council to get it repealed.

So am I. What’s your point? Are you under the impression that I suggested Rome supports creation science?

CJ O’Brien,

Well then, it seems to me we have a big discrepancy with the scriptural genealogy, which, I believe, is fairly complete from Noah to Abraham.

Well yes, if you insist that biblical genealogies are also chronologies. Which they demonstrably are not. There are many books I could suggest for you on this topic, books that are much more comprehensive that the small post I linked to.

Darth Robo,

but can’t even YECers have a 969 year old bloke in a YEC timeline of 6000 years?

Obviously they can numerically, but that wasn’t the issue.

LOL!!! 4 BILLION years of earth’s existence and that’s still not enough time? How long did God take, and by which method? Oh yeah: 6 days, and ‘Poof!’.

It used to be ~10^9 years from nothing to a single cell, and that cell was little more than a cell-wall surrounding a blob of structureless protoplasm. Now it is ~10^8 years to a cell, and the cell is biochemically complex. You are getting squeezed from both ends, I’m afraid. I’m not saying it is impossible, but the problem is much, much harder than originally imagined.

Do you mean 6 days or 6 ages with your argument-ending ‘Poof!’?

Comment #115956

Posted by Darth Robo on July 31, 2006 7:56 PM (e)

Heddle said:

“I’m not saying it is impossible, but the problem is much, much harder than originally imagined.”

I don’t doubt it. But I don’t think it’s impossible either.

“Do you mean 6 days or 6 ages with your argument-ending ‘Poof!’?”

You tell me. (shrug)

Comment #115959

Posted by Arden Chatfield on July 31, 2006 8:22 PM (e)

Heddle, you still can’t give me a link for your claim ‘people lived longer in Noah’s time’?

For example, if it is ever conclusively demonstrated that King Solomon never existed the entire bible would come a-tumblin’ down.

Fundamentalists seldom state this so baldly – remove one element from the Bible and the whole thing evaporates.

Would the whole thing come tumbling down if it was shown that Methuselah died in his 90’s?

However, miracles are excluded. You can’t disprove a miracle, because they don’t obey the physical laws—which is why they are miracles. So a proof that a person cannot walk on water doesn’t disprove the bible.

So essentially, you have an escape hatch that enables you from ever admitting that something in the Bible is impossible, since you have this big trash can labelled MIRACLES into which anything can go. Thus, the whole thing need never come tumbling down.

Cool. That’s what you said last winter as well.

Answer my earlier question, Heddle: why should anyone who is not a Christian, esp. an Evangelical Christian, have any reason to believe any of your ‘explanations’? Why are your explanations better than a fundamentalist Hindu’s, or a scientologist’s?

Comment #115962

Posted by Coin on July 31, 2006 8:38 PM (e)

Rome says it is OK with evolution with caveats that mean it is OK with theistic evolution…. PT and NCSE state that Rome is OK with evolution.

Things don’t have to be any more complicated than this. If you’re okay with theistic evolution you’re okay with evolution. Period. From the perspective of a group of people more interested in scientific propositions than religious ones, or from the perspective of a debate about creationism in public schools, the difference between theistic and atheistic evolution is effectively nothing.

heddle wrote:

Am I close? This is indeed dizzying.

Poor heddle. Being asked to both read and write plain, everyday english and then understand what it means. Have you people no heart? Why are you putting him through this? Can’t you see how you’re hurting him?

Comment #115966

Posted by k.e. on July 31, 2006 8:58 PM (e)

Hey Heddle did Eve have a mother and who was she?

Was Mary the mother of God?

And you try to lecture US on logic? Are you on crack?

Is this the NEW logic that we were introduced to in MP’s Holy Grail?

You know….. where earthquakes can be prevented by the use of sheep’s bladders.

You fall in love with some number in a Book regarding a mythical old guy

….Old guys by the way make the worlds best liars…I know because I can make a kid believe anything I want them to..you should try it…oh that’s right you already do ……in Sunday School.

Really give it a try, you will be surprised. I told my kids years ago that Steve Irwin the TV crocodile guy was eaten by a ….crocodile…..it took them YEARS to figure out I had pulled the wool over their eyes.

I considered it a valuable life lesson.

Anyway …..so the other biblical numbers are discounted …..because, why again?

Do you toss a coin to choose which bit you take as literal or do you go on GUT truthyness? OR shock horror are you a RELATIVIST?

Thanks for the lesson on your particular brand of biblical insanity wrt to the CC ….it’s nice to know that Calvinists haven’t lost their sense of humor…snicker.

Comment #115968

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on July 31, 2006 9:05 PM (e)

Being only an admirer but not a practitioner of advanced PT Logic and Rhetoric, please let me know if I am close:

Okay, I’ll go through this one item at a time:

1) Rome says it is OK with evolution with caveats that mean it is OK with theistic evolution.

Yep, that’s accurate.

2) PT and NCSE state that Rome is OK with evolution.

This is stated with the implication or explication that Rome is adding the caveat that it supports theistic evolution.

3) The fact that PT and NCSE does not explicitly state that Rome is OK with atheistic evolution absolves them of quote-mining, even though they don’t clarify Rome’s position, and even though they give the impression that Rome is OK with any form of evolution.

This is a three-parter, separated by regular, italic, and bold. Regular-face: If Rome accepts theistic evoltion, they automatically accept evolution. Theistic evolution adds to evolution, it does not subtract from or modify evolution. If PT or NCSE stated that Rome was OK with atheistic evolution, that is quote mining. Stating they are OK with evolution is not quote-mining. Italic-face: we often do clarify Rome’s position, soomething you seem to consistently miss even when we point it out to you. Bold-face: you are latantly quote-mining here. Any such impression exists in your mind and the minds of others deliberately trying to badmouth science. And people have taken pains in the past to correct that mis-impression.

Am I close? This is indeed dizzying.

In baseball, that’d be an impressive average. In honesty, your ranking is terrible.

I’m tired of your dishonesty on this front. We’ve told you dozens of times that we take the statement as a support of theistic evolution.

Comment #115973

Posted by shiva on July 31, 2006 9:55 PM (e)

Heddle,
I’m not saying it is impossible, but the problem is much, much harder than originally imagined.

Science is hard work, that’s why there are scientists and scientists; and then there is Heddle.

Comment #115978

Posted by dre on July 31, 2006 10:13 PM (e)

heddle is stone cold NUTS! i think i’m starting to like him… in the same way i love old cheech and chong movies, you know… heddle, you GO, man!

Comment #115989

Posted by k.e. on August 1, 2006 12:02 AM (e)

…snicker..
Heddle: That …uh…. Methusula guy was really old man.
PT: Go easy on that sh*t man, it’ll mess with your mind.
Heddle: Hey man, I can handle this …(drools).
PT: Heddle wake up, you’re trying to eat the floor.
Heddle: That …uh…. Methusula guy was really old man.
PT: Oh..go back to sleep.

Comment #116003

Posted by David Heddle on August 1, 2006 3:19 AM (e)

Arden,

Heddle, you still can’t give me a link for your claim ‘people lived longer in Noah’s time?

Oh, sure, I didn’t know that is what you wanted.

Arden,

Fundamentalists seldom state this so baldly — remove one element from the Bible and the whole thing evaporates.

Would the whole thing come tumbling down if it was shown that Methuselah died in his 90’s?

Yes, because as far as I know there is to wiggle room in the Hebrew here, so yep, it would all fall-apart. If the bible is wrong at one point, then it cant be trusted at all.

Arden,

So essentially, you have an escape hatch that enables you from ever admitting that something in the Bible is impossible, since you have this big trash can labelled MIRACLES into which anything can go. Thus, the whole thing need never come tumbling down.

Wrong, but people without any critical thinking—that necessarily includes graduates of the PT School of Logic and Rhetoric, often make that argument. Even though I just stated earlier that the bible makes many archeological and historic claims that, if demonstrated as false, could not be attributed to miracles. If you can prove the Solomon never existed, then the biblical history of Solomon cannot be written off as a miracle.

Most non-PT educated bible critics understand that the relatively few miracles are, by definition, excluded from the burden of scientific proof. PT-logic is this: since we don’t believe in miracles, you must prove that your miracles are actually parlor tricks.

Coin,

Things don’t have to be any more complicated than this. If you’re okay with theistic evolution you’re okay with evolution. Period.

More PT brilliance. The fact that people are theistic evolutionists precisely because they are not OK with evolution “period” is obvious only to those not educated on PT.

W. Kevin Vicklund

If Rome accepts theistic evolution, they automatically accept evolution. Theistic evolution adds to evolution, it does not subtract from or modify evolution.

If Rome accepts theistic evolution, they automatically accept evolution. My guess, no doubt overly-optimistic, is even your colleagues wince at the indefensibility of such a claim. It is a trivial matter to find people who are supporters of theistic evolution only.

And of course it modifies evolution. The simplest litmus test is regarding our own species. The Vatican would argue, in its theistic evolution, that the evolution of man, being part of God’s sovereign plan from before the foundation of the earth, was inevitable. Non-theistic evolution would disagree. Reset the initial conditions of the earth, and you may end up with nothing resembling man—in fact a well timed asteroid impact and there may be no complex life at all. In this regard they are as different as night and day.

We’ve told you dozens of times that we take the statement as a support of theistic evolution.

No, you’ve said that a few times. There is no “we” here who has stated it dozens of times. There examples of “Rome supports evolution” without specifying it is “theistic”—which is textbook quote-mining.

Comment #116006

Posted by Registered User on August 1, 2006 3:41 AM (e)

If the bible is wrong at one point, then it cant be trusted at all.

Yeah, that’s why every bible is exactly the same. I get it now. Maybe I’ll become a fundie and david can add my name to his little book of converts.

Or not.

Comment #116007

Posted by Darth Robo on August 1, 2006 3:42 AM (e)

Heddle said:

“The fact that people are theistic evolutionists precisely because they are not OK with evolution “period” is obvious only to those not educated on PT.”

Boy, I didn’t realise theistic evolutionists had such a big problem with atheistic evolutionists. Wake up, fella. If you’re happy with evolutionary science, you’re happy with evolutionary science. Anything else is a philisophical choice. You’re trying to place religious people against athiests. It doesn’t have to be like that.

Comment #116009

Posted by Registered User on August 1, 2006 3:48 AM (e)

heddle

For example, if it is ever conclusively demonstrated that King Solomon never existed the entire bible would come a-tumblin’ down.

No, not really.

Comment #116010

Posted by Registered User on August 1, 2006 3:52 AM (e)

Methuseleh was flash-frozen in an ice storm. Discuss.

Comment #116011

Posted by Registered User on August 1, 2006 3:59 AM (e)

Q: How many popes does it take to confuse Heddle?

A: None.

Comment #116013

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 1, 2006 5:02 AM (e)

Heddle, Arden meant scientific evidence.

Not the Bible.

No, you’ve said that a few times. There is no “we” here who has stated it dozens of times. There examples of “Rome supports evolution” without specifying it is “theistic”—which is textbook quote-mining.

The Panda’s Thumb is not the only resource, you know.

By “we”, he meant the WHOLE FREAKIN’ (relevant) SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY.

In fact, I’m quite certain that the Talk.Origins newsgroup has come across and refuted the claim many times. It’s even a part of the list of Creationist claims.

Comment #116017

Posted by Frank J on August 1, 2006 5:36 AM (e)

heddle wrote:

So yes, I have heard of it.

So you must have also heard that ID objects to theistic evolution even more than to atheistic evolution.

Comment #116025

Posted by demallien on August 1, 2006 7:01 AM (e)

Hmmm, those that wish to claim that the Pope’s statement on evolution was basically acceptance of evolution, as understood by scientists, need to be very careful. David Heddle is right to point that out.

Go and read the statement in it’s entirety. The Pope is very clear on certain points, such as the fact that whatever happened in the rest of the animal kingdom, it is certain that HUMANS did not evolve.

He also speaks of numerous theories of evolution, and does not specifically announce which one he was supporting. One could imagine that he was thinking of ID, rather than neo-darwinian evolution.

That said, he was also very clear that the scientific support for evolution (neo-darwinian one imagines) is impressive.

My anaylysis: he thought that evolution is probably right, but that for the sake of Christianity’s integrity, humans by definition had to be removed from the tapestry…

Well, he was half right. the evidence IS impressive, but there is no justification for excluding humans. Still, Dave Heddle is right to object when it is claimed that the Pope accepted evolution. THe exception of humans is a BIG exception, and not to be glossed over….

Comment #116031

Posted by k.e. on August 1, 2006 7:17 AM (e)

That same ‘papa’ warned of the rise of fundamentalism in particular (one presumes) the tickle you #ss with a feather version practiced by politically conservative Americans behind ID.

And the CC has long ago conveyed the message that the stories in putative sacred writings are just that…stories. Could have something to do with ID pin up boy Galileo.

Comment #116040

Posted by Ed Darrell on August 1, 2006 8:35 AM (e)

Go and read the statement in it’s entirety. The Pope is very clear on certain points, such as the fact that whatever happened in the rest of the animal kingdom, it is certain that HUMANS did not evolve.

I read the thing (in English) a couple of times, and can’t find that line. Can you quote it for us?

Comment #116043

Posted by gregonomic on August 1, 2006 9:00 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

However, miracles are excluded. You can’t disprove a miracle, because they don’t obey the physical laws—which is why they are miracles.

And you feel entitled to lecture us about logic … why?

Comment #116045

Posted by Frank J on August 1, 2006 9:09 AM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote:

I read the thing (in English) a couple of times, and can’t find that line. Can you quote it for us?

Neither did I, nor did I find any suggestion as to what might have happened instead, e.g. independent abiogenesis or saltation. Come to think of it, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” IDers don’t either. Which is particularly odd, since they never miss an opportunity so claim how it did not happen.

Comment #116046

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 1, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

Heddle, that’s a fine reply:

If you can prove the Solomon never existed, then the biblical history of Solomon cannot be written off as a miracle.

But that’s still not very satisyfing, since it’s very difficult to prove the historical non-existence of anything (can you prove that you didn’t exist 500 years ago?).

Is there some more positive way to disprove something in the Bible, circumventing both the non-existence problem and miracles? Something like, “if we find X then the whole thing comes tumbling down?”

I think the answer is no; since you can always say X is a miracle.

Comment #116048

Posted by solarwnz on August 1, 2006 9:39 AM (e)

“There examples of “Rome supports evolution” without specifying it is “theistic”—which is textbook quote-mining.”

Heddle,
I agree with you that it is important to recognize that the Vatican endorsed version of evolution has specific features regarding man’s existence that are teleological in nature rather than the contingent factors found in a godless evolutionary process. But I don’t think that point is missed on anyone here at PT. Obviously the Pope’s endorsement of evolution shows that some believe in God and Evolution.

However, you are arguing that PTers ignore this distinction in order to support an idea that the Pope does not support. You also claim we are guilty pots calling the kettle black. You accuse us of quote mining but you provide no examples. Where are these quotes from PTers that make no mention of the theistic component to the Vatican’s position and thus conclude that the Pope doesn’t believe in a designer?

Simply saying the Pope endorses/supports evolution does not mean we are taking his statement out of context. The Pope DOES support the FACT of evolutionary changes in species. To quote him on this matter is not quote-mining. If one were to say, “This quote from the Pope shows that he supports evolution and therefore rejects any components of a designer”, well that is using the quote out of context. But who says that? And when did they say it? Please provide examples.

In other words, accusing those who show that the Pope endorses evolution of quote mining is like accusing gradualists who quote Stephen Jay Gould, as supporting the fact of evolutionary change, of taking his quote out of context simply because they didn’t qualify the quote by stating that S.J.G. is a punctuated equilibriumist and that they are gradualists. This is pointless quibbling being used to distract people away from the larger problems with ID and Creationism. And it is simply a false accusation! This very article shows that PTers have a genuine interest in quoting people correctly - even our opponents. And that we will take ourselves and our allies to task for misquoting, even if it was unintended.

You made your argument that we at PT are just as guilty of quote-mining, but for that to be so you need to provide the quotes from the users here and show where they quoted out of context. Saying, “the Pope supports evolution” is only out of context if evolution MUST equal atheism. For some it does and for some clearly it does not. If Kenneth Miller quotes the Pope it is ok but not if Richard Dawkins does it?

For someone to quote-mine they must take the original author’s words and select only that portion which suits their agenda but grossly misrepresents the original author’s intent and argument. You’re saying that atheists by default are not allowed to quote anyone who believes in evolution and god as an agent in that process, because it is using those quotes as evidence for atheism. Wrong! Those quotes are being used to show evolution’s strong rational appeal across the political and ideological spectrum. There is nothing that indicates in saying the Pope supports evolution that the evolution we speak of is without a designer or that it implies a certain kind of designer. It simply implies that there are people on both sides of the religious coin who agree that species have changed over time, evolving into other forms of species.

I think you are confusing the PT credo of arguing against those that would deny the FACT of evolutionary changes in species and replace these observations with untenable supernaturalism with the crusade of some to equate evolution with atheism.

Besides, how does showing that some have quoted the Pope out of context (which hasn’t happened here unless the quoter concluded that the Pope supports godless evolution) prove your ideas about man’s origins? It doesn’t. You are simply trying to level the playing field in a game in which if we were to tally up the quote-mining offenses on both sides, IDers and Creationists would take the 1st prize in out-of context misrepresentations that further their own agenda! And you know it!

Comment #116049

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 1, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Oh, sure, I didn’t know that is what you wanted.

Didn’t know?? I asked for it outright twice!

So I ask for scientific evidence that ‘people lived longer in Noah’s time’ and you give me a BIBLE PASSAGE? The bible is true because the Bible says so?

Heddle, you are priceless. Just like a little child.

You may recall I asked you for ‘evidence’ that didn’t come from the Bible itself or AIG. Guess you couldn’t comply, eh?

Wrong, but people without any critical thinking—that necessarily includes graduates of the PT School of Logic and Rhetoric, often make that argument.

Why is it wrong? What statement in the Bible would you be precluded from putting into your MIRACLES wastebasket?

Comment #116052

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 1, 2006 10:29 AM (e)

For example, if it is ever conclusively demonstrated that King Solomon never existed the entire bible would come a-tumblin’ down.

This would explain why Heddle seems to frightened and illogical. His whole world is at stake here.

Comment #116056

Posted by linda seebach on August 1, 2006 10:51 AM (e)

Term-of-art quibble: Karen Armstrong’s op-ed in The Guardian is NOT an editorial. It is her personal view. An editorial is the institutional view of the newspaper, and I have no reason to believe that the newspaper endorses her opinion. Newspapers frequently, and by policy, publish individual opinions contrary to their editorial policies.

Comment #116065

Posted by heddle on August 1, 2006 11:41 AM (e)

gregonomic,

David Heddle wrote:
However, miracles are excluded. You can’t disprove a miracle, because they don’t obey the physical laws—which is why they are miracles.

And you feel entitled to lecture us about logic … why?

Precisely because you dont grasp this point, which should be simple. Let’s try again:

1) Hmm, I am arguing with a believer about the truthfulness of the bible.
2) Believers, by definition, believe in the supernatural.
3) Consequently they believe in miracles, i.e., events that can only be explained by the supernatural, so there is nothing to be gained by pointing out that specific miracles such as walking on water are scientifically impossible—they would agree. In fact, what might be somewhat productive is to explain how the alleged miracles could have been performed as simple magic tricks.
4) That said, it is probably best to simply ignore the ~100 miracles in the bible, and concentrate on the overwhelming bulk of the text, which does not describe miracles, and examine its historic claims.

GuyeFaux,

I think the answer is no; since you can always say X is a miracle.

Do you guys ever have an original thought, or do you just keep parroting one another? This bible has a great deal more to say about history and archeology than the relatively small amount of text it devotes to miracles. If the history described in the bible is not testable, then no historic account in any ancient document is testable. For example, the book of Mormon historic claims can be put to the test both archeologically and scientifically—DNA testing can be performed to test whether native central-Americans are related to Jews, as alleged. Similar tests can be applied to the bible.

Slarwnz,

Simply saying the Pope endorses/supports evolution does not mean we are taking his statement out of context. The Pope DOES support the FACT of evolutionary changes in species. To quote him on this matter is not quote-mining. If one were to say, “This quote from the Pope shows that he supports evolution and therefore rejects any components of a designer”, well that is using the quote out of context. But who says that? And when did they say it? Please provide examples.

These are not necessarily the best examples, they come from the first few pages in a Google search of “Catholic Church Evolution” on the PT homepage. (The 27 pages of hits.)

Also the Catholic Catechism has specific statements supporting evolution.
www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/06/episcopal_churc.html#comment-107729

Does it bother any of the ID/Creationist crowd that the Catholic Church made its peace with Darwin around 1951?
www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/03/why_the_peppered_moth_remains_an_icon_of_evolution.html#comment-21141

That would be good news for the pro-evolution contingent as the Catholic church has explicitly endorsed natural selection / Darwinian evolution.
www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/11/apparent_end_of.html#comment-55971

The Roman Catholic Church recently moved to reaffirm and clarify its acceptance of evolution as valid science.
www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/02/evolution_sunda.html#comment-79295

the Catholic Church now accepts evolution as the explanation of the diversity of organisms, while retaining the teaching of a divine origin of life.
www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/08/santorum_vs_san.html#comment-41302

These statements attempt to convey that the Catholic Church is just peachy with evolution, period. It’s demonstrably not.

Arden,

So I ask for scientific evidence that ‘people lived longer in Noah’s time’ and you give me a BIBLE PASSAGE? The bible is true because the Bible says so?

No Arden, you have a reading comprehension problem. At least twice if not three times in this thread I stated explicitly that I have no physical evidence for the long antediluvian lifespans. But still you asked again—so I gave you the bible quote.

Comment #116070

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 12:04 PM (e)

So Heddle claims that PTers misrepresent the Catholic position on evolution, to give the impression it’s more compatible with us. When pressed for evidence, he comes back with, among other items.

Does it bother any of the ID/Creationist crowd that the Catholic Church made its peace with Darwin around 1951?
www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/03/why_the_peppered_moth_remains_an_icon_of_evolution.html#comment-21141

Ooooo, wow, what PTer said that? PZ Myers? PvM? Mark Perakh?

Comment #21167

Posted by John A. Davison on March 20, 2005 10:38 AM (e) (s) | kill

The Catholic Church never made its peace with Darwin. It made its peace with evolution. Darwinism and evolution are far from synonymous. Evolution WAS a reality. Darwinism IS a scandal and a hoax and always was.

John A. Davison

Comment #116071

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 1, 2006 12:06 PM (e)

4) That said, it is probably best to simply ignore the ~100 miracles in the bible, and concentrate on the overwhelming bulk of the text, which does not describe miracles, and examine its historic claims.

Okay.

The Bible says that everyone came from Adam and Eve.

“Adam and Eve, those inbreeding sickos, ain’t on MY family tree!!!”

In Chinese history, when the “big flood” came, we did not go on a big boat. Instead, the Da Yu and his father before him spent their lives trying to control the big flood. Da Yu finally succeeded. Which means the Chinese saved your sorry Hebrew ass.

There we go. A bit of comparative history for you. Since my countrymen’s history contradicts the Bible, we can safely say the Bible is not (at least) literally true.

Comment #116072

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 1, 2006 12:12 PM (e)

If the history described in the bible is not testable, then no historic account in any ancient document is testable.

That’s just stupid.

The Shang Dynasty in China was thought to be mythical until archaeological findings (that are peer reviewed and then some) revealed that it existed.

Many ancient Chinese historical documents record the Shang.

These statements attempt to convey that the Catholic Church is just peachy with evolution, period. It’s demonstrably not.

You say it’s demonstrably not. Then why don’t you demonstrate it?

For example, the book of Mormon historic claims can be put to the test both archeologically and scientifically—DNA testing can be performed to test whether native central-Americans are related to Jews, as alleged. Similar tests can be applied to the bible.

Actually, many “tests” have been done on the Bible.

Recent findings say that Jericho did not crumble in the way described in the Bible. Nor was it “invaded”. Evidence suggests that Jericho collapsed by earthquake (since it was so close to a fault line) years before it was “sacked” and the battle probably never took place.

Comment #116073

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 12:13 PM (e)

whoops, my browser showed me the wrong comment. Heddle gives us this:

Comment #21141

Posted by c. l. currier on March 20, 2005 04:24 AM (e) (s) | kill

Does it bother any of the ID/Creationist crowd that the Catholic Church made its peace with Darwin around 1951? I had always thought that the CC had an edge over any “Creation” Research group in theological sophistication. Or is there another agenda at work here? Perhaps, as crass as it may seem, MONEY! Some obscure American prophet said something to the effect that ‘A sucker is born (reborn, perhaps) every minuite.’ Wish they’d send me some tithes. America held out such promise to the world. Now all we can offer is fear and darkness of mind and spirit. What further proof of evolution does anyone need?

The point remains, your quotes hardly represent PT as a whole. Furthermore, single sentences from comments do not disprove that PT has presented a nuanced understanding of the catholic position. There have been many discussions here about Shoenborn, JP2, Benedict, and Coyne.

Comment #116074

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 1, 2006 12:20 PM (e)

So, Heddle, when you initially said this:

In the days before Noah, long lifespans were common

I should have known that this statement was just you regurgitating the Bible?

And when you said this:

I have only the bible and current research indicating that longer lifespans are possible.

Your ‘current research’ refers solely to some contemporary research that did not exist in ‘Noah’s time’ that says longer lifespans might be possible some day, right?

This bible has a great deal more to say about history and archeology than the relatively small amount of text it devotes to miracles.

Yeah, but funny thing, it’s by far the miracles that seem to be the most important to folks like yourself. You have said yourself you’d lose all your faith in the Bible if anything in it were proven wrong, and presumably that would include the miracles. Of course, you have your little defense mechanism that precludes the miracles being proven wrong…

Comment #116075

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 12:26 PM (e)

Your ‘current research’ refers solely to some contemporary research that did not exist in ‘Noah’s time’ that says longer lifespans might be possible some day, right?

Arden, did you know the Jean Claude Van Damme movie Timecop is the literal truth? My evidence? I saw some articles that time travel might be possible in the future.

Comment #116076

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 1, 2006 12:30 PM (e)

heddle wrote:

This bible has a great deal more to say about history and archeology than the relatively small amount of text it devotes to miracles. If the history described in the bible is not testable, then no historic account in any ancient document is testable. For example, the book of Mormon historic claims can be put to the test both archeologically and scientifically—DNA testing can be performed to test whether native central-Americans are related to Jews, as alleged. Similar tests can be applied to the bible.

But the Bible has been tested and failed some of it’s claims. The evidence is against their having been a global flood and even if there was, Noah’s ark would have been worthless for saving anything. The evidence is against humanity having been descended from only two people. Certainly, your genetics speak plainly of common ancestry with chimpanzees. The very same DNA testing you’re refering to shows our relationship with the chimps. You can’t claim that the test would be valid for rejecting the Mormon view of Amerinds as a lost Israeli tribe without admitting that we’re essentially body-bald monkeys with ego problems.

But let’s ignore complicated tests and focus on specifics. (I’m probably really stupid for even trying to bring this up.) Mark 4:31 states that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds. It is not. Many seeds are smaller. Mark 4:31 is wrong. One part of the Bible is wrong. What does this mean to you?

As a theistic evolutionist and Christian, I have no trouble with this, merely reflecting the fallibilities of the humans who composed the Bible. But then I also see nothing wrong with any of the supposedly out-of-context quotes from the Pope. He supports evolution to the extent given in any of your quotes.

Comment #116078

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 12:38 PM (e)

Don’t you just love how we quote mine the pope here at PT? Why just look at this comment:

Comment #82772

Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 28, 2006 05:27 PM (e) | kill

I know of no statement from the CC saying that belief in theistic evolution is entirely a matter of faith.

But now read the following abridged address from John Paul II:

John Paul II wrote:

The Proofs for God’s Existence
July 10, 1985 – General Audience

General Audience, July 10, 1985

When we ask ourselves “Why do we believe in God?” our faith
provides the first response. God has revealed himself to humanity
and has entered into contact with it. The supreme revelation of
God has come to us through Jesus Christ, God incarnate. We
believe in God because God has made himself known to us as
the supreme Being, the great “Existent.”

However, this faith in a God who reveals himself, also finds
support in the reasoning of our intelligence. When we reflect,
we observe that proofs of God’s existence are not lacking. These
have been elaborated by thinkers under the form of philosophical
demonstrations in the sense of rigorously logical deductions.
But they can also take on a simpler form. As such, they are
accessible to everyone who seeks to understand the meaning of
the world around him.

In speaking of the existence of God we should underline that we
are not speaking of proofs in the sense implied by the
experimental sciences. Scientific proofs in the modern sense of
the word are valid only for things perceptible to the senses, since
it is only on such things that scientific instruments of
investigation can be used. To desire a scientific proof of God
would be equivalent to lowering God to the level of the beings
of our world, and we would therefore be mistaken
methodologically in regard to what God is. Science must
recognize its limits and its inability to reach the existence of
God. It can neither affirm nor deny his existence.

From this, however, we must not draw the conclusion that
scientists in their scientific studies are unable to find valid
reasons for admitting the existence of God. If science as such
cannot reach God, the scientist who has an intelligence, the object
of which is not limited to things of sense perception, can discover
in the world reasons for affirming a Being which surpasses it.
Many scientists have made and are making this discovery.

Whoever reflects with an open mind on what is implied in the
existence of the universe, cannot help but pose the question of
the problem of the origin. Instinctively, when we witness certain
happenings, we ask ourselves what caused them. How can we
not but ask the same question in regard to the sum total of beings
and phenomena which we discover in the world?

A scientific hypothesis such as that of the expansion of the
universe makes the problem all the more clear. If the universe
is in a state of continual expansion, should not one go back in
time to that which could be called the “initial moment,” the
moment in which that expansion began? But, whatever the theory
adopted concerning the origin of the universe, the most basic
question cannot be avoided. This universe in constant movement
postulates a Cause which, in giving it being, has communicated
to it this movement, and continues to sustain it. Without such a
supreme Cause, the world and every movement in it would
remain “unexplained” and “inexplicable,” and our intelligence
would not be satisfied. The human mind can receive a response
to its questions only by admitting a Being who has created the
world with all its dynamism, and who continues to maintain it
in existence.

The necessity to go back to a supreme Cause is all the greater if
one considers the perfect organization which science has
ceaselessly discovered in the structure of matter. When human
intelligence is applied with so much effort to determine the
constitution and modalities of action of material particles, is it
not perhaps induced to seek their origin in a superior Intelligence
which has conceived the whole? In face of the marvel of what
can be called the immensely small world of the atom, and the
immensely great world of the cosmos, the human mind feels
itself completely surpassed in its possibilities of creation and
even of imagination. It understands that a work of such quality
and of such proportions demands a Creator whose wisdom is
beyond all measure and whose power is infinite.

All the observations concerning the development of life lead to
a similar conclusion. The evolution of living beings, of which
science seeks to determine the stages and to discern the
mechanism, presents an internal finality which arouses
admiration. This finality which directs beings in a direction for
which they are not responsible or in charge, obliges one to
suppose a Mind which is its inventor, its creator.

To all these “indications” of the existence of God the Creator,
some oppose the power of chance or of the proper mechanisms
of matter. To speak of chance for a universe which presents such
a complex organization in its elements, and such a marvelous
finality in its life would be equivalent to giving up the search
for an explanation of the world as it appears to us. In fact, this
would be equivalent to admitting effects without a cause. It
would be to abdicate human intelligence which would thus refuse
to think, and to seek a solution for its problems.

In conclusion, a myriad of indications impels man, who tries to
understand the universe in which he lives, to direct his gaze
toward his Creator. The proofs for the existence of God are many
and convergent. They contribute to show that faith does not
humble human intelligence, but stimulates it to reflection and
permits it to understand better all the “whys” posed by the
observation of reality.

Reason contemplating nature demonstrates all these indications of intelligent design. Not faith, but reason.
There are many very similar statements from other CC sources.

Clearly this is a quote mine. I mean, you can take any single 900 words out of context and mislead people. Heddle you have opened my eyes. Please don’t stop. Tell me how you do hypothesis testing without any numbers, O wise one!

Comment #116079

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 12:52 PM (e)

Comment #115876

Posted by heddle on July 31, 2006 11:46 AM (e) | kill

W. Kevin Vicklund,

Heddle, have you ever heard of theistic evolution?

You bet! It’s the form of evolution that the Vatican does permit. This is clear when one reads, in-context, Vatican statements on evolution instead of parroting the obfuscating PT and NCSE quote-mining .

Well that’s a pretty clear accusation. Here at PT, we deliberately obscure the fact that the catholics support theistic evolution, to confuse people into thinking they support atheistic evolution.

Catholic Church Supports Neo-Paleyism?

Reed A. Cartwright posted Entry 1191 on July 7, 2005 12:23 PM.
Trackback URL: http://degas.fdisk.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1189

Today the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about evolution and the Catholic faith: “Finding Design in Nature”. On a quick read the op-ed appears to place the Catholic Church in league with “intelligent design” creationism. (I’m sure you will hear such victory cheers from the neo-Paleyists.) However, this quick read is deceiving, since the author made some mistakes when choosing his words for a US audience.

Before getting upset at what the Archbishop wrote, consider this:

The Archbishop is not writing to align Catholic theology with the anti-evolution movement. Instead he is writing to reaffirm the Catholic faith’s commitment to theistic evolution and to eliminate any confusion that it is committed to atheistic evolution. (I have no idea why he thought that this needed to be done.)

Compare and contrast the Archbishop’s words to “Creationism talk suggests need to revisit Catholic education” in this week’s Catholic Telegraph from Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

My work here is done.

Comment #116080

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 1, 2006 12:53 PM (e)

Arden, did you know the Jean Claude Van Damme movie Timecop is the literal truth? My evidence? I saw some articles that time travel might be possible in the future.

Yeah, I already knew about that. I also heard that in the future, apes will be our masters and they’ll wear these cool suits and the Statue of Liberty will be all crooked. I can provide you with scientific sources, if you need.

Comment #116081

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 1, 2006 1:03 PM (e)

See? We’re seeing this again.

Some creationist spews crap.

Then they are shown to be false.

And they still make the claim.

Heddle has been proven wrong long before he started posting.

Hasn’t stopped him from making the same claims and not admitting to misrepresentation and outright lying in face of evidence.

Comment #116082

Posted by Long time lurker, first time Poster on August 1, 2006 1:15 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

…if it is ever conclusively demonstrated that King Solomon never existed the entire bible would come a-tumblin’ down.

cf. Daniel Lazare, “False Testament: Archaeology Refutes the Bible’s Claim to History.” Harper’s Magazine, March 2002.

Caveats: This is a popular science article, not the primary data; however the author refers heavily to the work of archaeologists, both in the past and more recently. I myself read this article in “Best American Science and Nature Writing, 2003,” edited by none other than Richard Dawkins. The copy of the article in this anthology does not have any references to the primary data, but perhaps the original version in the magazine does.

The money quote(s):

Daniel Lazare wrote:

The Davidic Empire, which archaeologists once thought as incontrivertible as the Roman, is now seen as an invention of Jersalem-based priests in the seventh and eighth centuries BC who were eager to burnish their national history.

Daniel Lazare wrote:

… [The priests] set about creating an imperial past commensurate with such an empire, one that had the southern heroes of David and Solomon conquering the northern kingdom and making rival kings tremble throughout the known world.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that a historical figure by the name of Solomon never existed, just that the Biblical Solomon did not exist.

Heddle wrote:

If you can prove the Solomon never existed, then the biblical history of Solomon cannot be written off as a miracle.

Pre-hoc goalpost moving noted.

Comment #116083

Posted by heddle on August 1, 2006 1:19 PM (e)

Steve s,

Oh I see the strategy. If I post Steven Hawking’s Brief History in its entirety somewhere on my blog—then sometime later quote Hawking from that book:

It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as an act of a God who intended to create beings like us.

without qualification, in an attempt to imply that he affirms divine creation, then I am not guilty of quote-mining because the the complete, in-context quote is somewhere on my blog! How liberating PT ethics are!

Arden,

Your ‘current research’ refers solely to some contemporary research that did not exist in ‘Noah’s time’ that says longer lifespans might be possible some day, right?

Dang—I’ve been found out. I was hoping nobody would notice that when I called it ‘current’ research it implied that it did not exist at the time of Noah. I should have known I can’t sneak anything past you guys.

You have said yourself you’d lose all your faith in the Bible if anything in it were proven wrong, and presumably that would include the miracles.

Is it really so hard to understand that you cannot disprove miracles? Not even in principle? You cannot disprove that Jesus walked on water, you can only show that the laws of physics prohibit it–and so it would have to be–what’s it called–oh yeah, a miracle!

Michael Suttkus,

The evidence is against their having been a global flood and even if there was, Noah’s ark would have been worthless for saving anything.

That would be true if I thought the bible taught a global flood. Oh wait Heddle—you cannot just defend your interpretation of the bible—you must defend the interpretation that is easy for us to attack! Cheater!

Oh no!, not the mustard seed! Drat! Next is “bats are birds”, “pi = 3”, and “rabbits chew their cud.”

Comment #116084

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 1, 2006 1:26 PM (e)

Is it really so hard to understand that you cannot disprove miracles? Not even in principle? You cannot disprove that Jesus walked on water, you can only show that the laws of physics prohibit it—and so it would have to be—what’s it called—oh yeah, a miracle!

And that’s exactly what the points against you were predicting from you.

Comment #116085

Posted by solarwnz on August 1, 2006 1:27 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

“These statements attempt to convey that the Catholic Church is just peachy with evolution, period. It’s demonstrably not.”

Those statements are bogus examples of what you claimed were quote-mining by PTers! Where are the specific quotes from the Pope or the Vatican that are out of context? Those statements don’t even refer to any quote in particular!!! It seems you are claiming one thing (PTers quote mine) while giving examples for another thing entirely (that PTers are mistaken in their belief that the Catholic Church is “peachy” with Evolution).

First, at this point I think you should retract your claim that PTers quote mine as you have not provided any examples of actual quote-mining.

Second, if the Catholic Church is not peachy with the idea that species have changed over time into new species, i.e. evolution, than why did Pope John Paul II issue a message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1996 in which he stated:

“It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers,
following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither
sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself
a significant argument in favour of this theory.”

If I am wrong, then what, in your opinion, is he saying about evolution?

Here is the message in it’s entirety: http://www.cin.org/jp2evolu.html

Reading the entire message it is clear that the Pope was arguing for theistic evolution. In particular, the major point of the message is that man is a special creation, possessing a soul that was divinely infused at some point in god’s creation. The moment of soul infusing can never be observed under a microscope.

“But the experience of metaphysical knowledge, of self-awareness and self-reflection, of
moral conscience, freedom, or again, of aesthetic and religious experience, falls within
the competence of philosophical analysis and reflection while theology brings out its
ultimate meaning according to the Creator’s plans.”

I think the Vatican IS Peachy with evolution (as a fact of species changing into new species over time). It’s just not peachy with a godless evolution in which human consciousness arises through purely material processes alone. The Church must leave ample room for man’s special relationship with god through creation.

Of course, you would be right to point out that there are a lot of Catholics who disagree with the Pope’s message and reject the idea that species can change into new species over time. But they didn’t issue the message that is being referred to as the Catholic Church’s position on evolution.

I think it is safe to say however, that your claims of quote-mining are baseless.

Comment #116086

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 1, 2006 1:29 PM (e)

That would be true if I thought the bible taught a global flood. Oh wait Heddle—you cannot just defend your interpretation of the bible—you must defend the interpretation that is easy for us to attack! Cheater!

Oh no!, not the mustard seed! Drat! Next is “bats are birds”, “pi = 3”, and “rabbits chew their cud.”

The HYPOCRISY.

You accuse everyone of making strawmen arguments.

So why did you ignore the OTHER posts that do not aim to disprove the miracles but the historical claims of the Bible? Why do you ignore those? You said that the whole Bible will be untrustworthy if even one bit is disproved.

Your PR attempts won’t work here.

Comment #116087

Posted by Peter Henderson on August 1, 2006 1:34 PM (e)

Referring back to the original article posted by Nick, I saw quite a disturbing report on BBC 4 the other evening. They interviewed John Hagee (pastor of Cornerstone church in San Antonio Texas) who’s a strong dispensationlist. Apparently it transpires that a number of republican senators attend the church and some of them seemingly are basing their political ideas on Hagees teachings etc. I found the report quite scary !

Today I did my Google news scan for “creationist” and came up with these two gems:

http://www.bestsyndication.com/Articles/2006/r/ranganathan_babu/073106_young_earth.htm

http://peacejournalism.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=9974

It would seem that young Earth creationism is inextricably linked to dispensationalism

Comment #116088

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 1:35 PM (e)

If Rome accepts theistic evolution, they automatically accept evolution. My guess, no doubt overly-optimistic, is even your colleagues wince at the indefensibility of such a claim. It is a trivial matter to find people who are supporters of theistic evolution only.

No, it is an accurate claim. Theistic evolution is still evolution. It just has some added bits - nothing in evolution contradicts theistic evolution.

And of course it modifies evolution. The simplest litmus test is regarding our own species. The Vatican would argue, in its theistic evolution, that the evolution of man, being part of God’s sovereign plan from before the foundation of the earth, was inevitable. Non-theistic evolution would disagree. Reset the initial conditions of the earth, and you may end up with nothing resembling man—in fact a well timed asteroid impact and there may be no complex life at all. In this regard they are as different as night and day.

What you are describing is deistic evolution. What guarantee do we have that God would choose to do everything the same way? According to the late Pope, it is consciousness and spirituality that is important to God, not necessarily the physical appearance. Also, evolution only talks about apparent randomness. It takes a philosophical stance to convert this appearance into an absolute. It is entirely possible that the RNG of the universe is only a pRNG - that if you reset conditions exactly as they were, up to and including the pRNG, the exact sequence of events would still occur. Evolution itself does not take a stand on that, rather it leaves it as a possibility either way.

We’ve told you dozens of times that we take the statement as a support of theistic evolution.

No, you’ve said that a few times. There is no “we” here who has stated it dozens of times. There examples of “Rome supports evolution” without specifying it is “theistic”—which is textbook quote-mining.

How many people would it take to become “we”? 10? There’s that many in this thread alone. 25? The first three threads I checked on my own search got me to that number. Contributors? PvM chimed in on the first thread I checked. It’s not just me. And there are plenty of examples here of people specifying theistic evolution. In fact, IT IS THE ENTIRE POINT OF QUOTING THE POPE IN THE FIRST PLACE!

BTW, how many poeple noticed that at least two of the five quotes Heddle posted contained references to the caveats of the Church?

The Roman Catholic Church recently moved to reaffirm and clarify its acceptance of evolution as valid science. here

the Catholic Church now accepts evolution as the explanation of the diversity of organisms, while retaining the teaching of a divine origin of life. here

So who’s doing the quote-mining?

Mr. Heddle, you’re peddling lies.

Comment #116089

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 1, 2006 1:39 PM (e)

Dang—I’ve been found out. I was hoping nobody would notice that when I called it ‘current’ research it implied that it did not exist at the time of Noah. I should have known I can’t sneak anything past you guys.

Actually, I didn’t really think you were trying to sneak anything past us as such. What I was after was I wanted to point out how infantile your ‘best logic’ was, to make sure it came through loud and clear to everyone. I think I succeeded.

Oh no!, not the mustard seed! Drat! Next is “bats are birds”, “pi = 3”, and “rabbits chew their cud.”

Ah! So you DO have a concept of false things existing in the bible and these false things being irrelevant!

So, given that you think the disproving of any of the historical or mythological things in the Bible would sink it, can you tell us where precisely you draw the line? What sorts of Biblical inaccuracy can you dismiss, versus where do you start declaring ‘MIRACLE!’?

See? We’re seeing this again.

Some creationist spews crap.

Then they are shown to be false.

And they still make the claim.

Heddle has been proven wrong long before he started posting.

Hasn’t stopped him from making the same claims and not admitting to misrepresentation and outright lying in face of evidence.

What’s even funnier is that Heddle made all these exact same arguments, pretty much verbatim, in a big PT argument last winter, and he got smacked down pretty much the exact same way then. It’s sort of cute that he seems to think that we’re going to be convinced now, or maybe he thinks his skills in debating the heathens have somehow improved.

Comment #116091

Posted by heddle on August 1, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

Solarwnz,

No retraction, for the quote mining instances are legion—in fact you just contributed to them. The Catholic Church is fine with one species evolving into another—so are, by definition, all theistic evolutionists-so that point means exactly zip.point.oh. The Catholic Church is not “peachy” with evolution without caveat, as they have stated repeatedly and in what amounts to a quote-mining feeding frenzy gets almost universally ignored on PT.

Pope John Paul II stated some years ago that “new knowledge leads to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge”(“Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Evolution”1996). In continuity with previous twentieth century papal teaching on evolution (especially Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis ), the Holy Father’s message acknowledges that there are “several theories of evolution” that are “materialist, reductionist and spiritualist” and thus incompatible with the Catholic faith. It follows that the message of Pope John Paul II cannot be read as a blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe. Mainly concerned with evolution as it “involves the question of man,” however, Pope John Paul’s message is specifically critical of materialistic theories of human origins and insists on the relevance of philosophy and theology for an adequate understanding of the “ontological leap” to the human which cannot be explained in purely scientific terms.

Comment #116092

Posted by Darth Robo on August 1, 2006 1:50 PM (e)

I’m probably gonna get slaughtered for this, but I can’t resist. (I think a few of the other miracles might be a little tougher to explain, though) :-)

http://www.livescience.com/othernews/060404_jesus_ice.html

Comment #116093

Posted by Peter Henderson on August 1, 2006 1:53 PM (e)

Dunno if this is relevant, but YEC organisations like AIG etc. detest theistic evolutionists (and even OEC’s like Hugh Ross). A lot of their venom is reserved for not just Christians who believe in a 4.5 billion year old Earth, but those who accept evolution as well.

Comment #116095

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 2:04 PM (e)

John walks into a fast-food joint and orders a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and ketchup. I later tell someone that John likes hamburgers.

Am I lying?

According to Heddle’s logic, yes.

Comment #116096

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 2:04 PM (e)

What’s even funnier is that Heddle made all these exact same arguments, pretty much verbatim, in a big PT argument last winter, and he got smacked down pretty much the exact same way then. It’s sort of cute that he seems to think that we’re going to be convinced now, or maybe he thinks his skills in debating the heathens have somehow improved.

Several times he’s gotten his ass handed to him, and a few times promised to quit Panda’s Thumb. But his religious obsession–check out his blog if you don’t believe me–apparently compels him to preach to the infidel.

Comment #116097

Posted by Darth Robo on August 1, 2006 2:05 PM (e)

But just to clarify, I still think Heddle is talking nonsense.

Comment #116100

Posted by Coin on August 1, 2006 2:17 PM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote:

heddle wrote:

Go and read the statement in it’s entirety. The Pope is very clear on certain points, such as the fact that whatever happened in the rest of the animal kingdom, it is certain that HUMANS did not evolve.

I read the thing (in English) a couple of times, and can’t find that line. Can you quote it for us?

Since heddle has declined to explain what on earth he meant by this, I would like to venture a guess as to what exactly he was thinking.

If you look up “Evolution and the Roman Catholic Church” on wikipedia, you get a series of references to speeches or encyclicals summarizing the position of the Vatican under each of the various popes on evolution. Here is the document they use as representative of JPII’s views on the subject. I bring this up because this speech contains a good example of the closest thing to Heddle’s strange interpretation which the Catholic Church, to my knowledge, expressed under JPII.

4. Taking into account the scientific research of the era, and also the proper requirements of theology, the encyclical Humani Generis treated the doctrine of “evolutionism” as a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and serious study, alongside the opposite hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions for this study: one could not adopt this opinion as if it were a certain and demonstrable doctrine, and one could not totally set aside the teaching Revelation on the relevant questions. He also set out the conditions on which this opinion would be compatible with the Christian faith—a point to which I shall return.

Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis… (Snip discussion about science, including an explanation that there is more than one possible ‘theory of evolution’ and some of them may be anathemical to the church.)

5. The magisterium of the Church takes a direct interest in the question of evolution, because it touches on the conception of man, whom Revelation tells us is created in the image and likeness of God. The conciliar constitution Gaudium et Spes has given us a magnificent exposition of this doctrine, which is one of the essential elements of Christian thought. The Council recalled that “man is the only creature on earth that God wanted for its own sake.” In other words, the human person cannot be subordinated as a means to an end, or as an instrument of either the species or the society; he has a value of his own. He is a person. By this intelligence and his will, he is capable of entering into relationship, of communion, of solidarity, of the gift of himself to others like himself. St. Thomas observed that man’s resemblance to God resides especially in his speculative intellect, because his relationship with the object of his knowledge is like God’s relationship with his creation. (Summa Theologica I-II, q 3, a 5, ad 1) But even beyond that, man is called to enter into a loving relationship with God himself, a relationship which will find its full expression at the end of time, in eternity. Within the mystery of the risen Christ the full grandeur of this vocation is revealed to us. (Gaudium et Spes, 22) It is by virtue of his eternal soul that the whole person, including his body, possesses such great dignity. Pius XII underlined the essential point: if the origin of the human body comes through living matter which existed previously, the spiritual soul is created directly by God (“animas enim a Deo immediate creari catholica fides non retimere iubet”). (Humani Generis)

As a result, the theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. They are therefore unable to serve as the basis for the dignity of the human person.

This seems to me quite clear. What is being said here is that everything evolved, but man alone is special and unique being within creation. So far this is similar to Heddle said above, but the similarity ends there. Because what the Catholic church says here is that the reason why man is unique within creation is that man has a soul. JPII says here– and Pius XII is even more explicit in his encyclical– that the body of man may well have evolved, and the church doesn’t mind at all if you try to claim so. The church simply reserves the right to claim that God intervened to give man his spirit, and states that if science ever tries to explain man’s soul, then the church will object. This seems to me an extremely reasonable position. If I ever saw something claiming to be a scientific theory about souls, I’d be extremely leery of it. This hypothetical alternate “theory of evolution” which explains the origin of the soul (and which the Catholic Church is taking pains here to explain they would not endorse) would in fact no more be science than Intelligent Design, because it would seek to explain a supernatural entity.

Since biology is only concerned with the body of man, and due to the groundrules of methodological naturalism is entirely unable to even take a position on man’s spirit, there exists no conflict here. There may be a looming conflict here as neurological science moves toward explaining consciousness, if the church begins to feel that this is too close to talking about mankind’s soul. However this conflict has not happened yet, and whether it will happen at all is unpredictable as it will come down to where the conceptual dividing lines between “soul”, “spirit”, “speculative intellect” and consciousness lie. Since no neurological theory of consciousness I can conceive of would claim the human consciousness to be immortal, I would personally expect that the consciousness is a separate entity from what the Catholic Church has been so far thinking of as the soul or spirit. (Of course, personally I don’t even think any such thing as a “soul” even exists, but that’s just my opinion and it’s not a scientific one.)

My best guess here is therefore that Heddle’s still-unexplained statement that, in the eyes of the catholic church “HUMANS did not evolve” is simple misunderstanding, as a commonplace reading of the above quotes, as well as the Wikipedia hivemind’s interpretation of the above quotes (their article on the catholic church and evolution is worth reading, and analyzes also the views of Pius XII and the new pope Benedict, although they correctly note that Benedict has not spoken on Evolution since becoming pope and so it is ambiguous whether he is in complete agreement with JPII), as well as the interpretation of prety much every commentator I’ve ever seen, is that the Catholic church is willing to accept the evolution of the human BODY and rejects only any scientific explanation the of the human soul.

Meanwhile, Heddle’s arbitrary and forced hair-splitting between “theistic” and “atheistic” evolution still doesn’t mean anything interesting. Science is fundamentally unable to distinguish between “theistic” and “atheistic” evolution; the difference between the two is entirely a religious question, unrelated to the science of the matter in any way. I for one find such religious questions uninteresting, except to the extent I feel it would be inappropriate to teach explicitly atheistic or theistic evolution in a public school. I feel no particular reason to defend “atheistic evolution” and so I see no particular reason not to consider “theistic evolutionists” as entirely on the same side as I am.

Comment #116101

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 2:18 PM (e)

including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe

But this is not “evolution, period” which does not explicitly confirm or deny divine providence. This is evolution plus a metaphysical stance.

We are not saying or attempting to imply that the Pope or the Catholic Church supports “evolution plus metaphysical stances other than theism” We are saying that the church supports the science of evolution, and often though not always remind people that the church has a metaphysical stance.

If I order a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and ketchup, it’s still a hamburger.

Theistic evolution is still evolution.

Comment #116102

Posted by heddle on August 1, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

Coin,

Since heddle has declined to explain what on earth he meant by this, I would like to venture a guess as to what exactly he was thinking…

My best guess here is therefore that Heddle’s still-unexplained statement that, in the eyes of the catholic church “HUMANS did not evolve is simple misunderstanding…”

That should be amusing, since the quote you are attributing to me (HUMANS did not evolve) and for which you are mocking me for not defending did not, in fact, come from me. Someone named demallien wrote it in comment 116025.

So all your speculation as to what I meant is, well, sort of silly.

Comment #116103

Posted by Coin on August 1, 2006 2:30 PM (e)

heddle wrote:

That should be amusing, since the quote you are attributing to me (HUMANS did not evolve) and for which you are mocking me for not defending did not, in fact, come from me. Someone named demallien wrote it in comment 116025.

Oh dear, you are right. I got that quote originally from someone else’s blockquote and misread. I am terribly sorry about that.

Comment #116104

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 2:31 PM (e)

Or to state things more succintly, we are stating and/or implying that the Catholic Church supports the science of evolution, but not the various meta-physics of evolution. All of the caveats and conditions that Heddle has stated (that can be borne by the actual quote, at least) are meta-physics.

Comment #116107

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 1, 2006 2:42 PM (e)

And, as has now been said several times, though we evolution-acceptors on PT often have a good deal of jolly fun bashing each other about regarding whatever our respective metaphysical positions may be surrounding the issues of existence and creation, essentially no one here has misrepresented or quote-mined the Catholic Church’s statements so as to suggest that the church accepts or approves atheistic evolution.

Heddle was wrong when he contended to the contrary. He has been amply shown to have been wrong. A reasonable, sane, gracious individual–what used to be called a scholar and a gentle, ahem, person–would now admit he was wrong (as Coin just did above about a relatively-minor matter).

Heddle: time to step up to the plate…

****thumb-twiddling, elevator music, pages falling off calendar, and such-like****

Nah, I didn’t think so.

Comment #116108

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 2:47 PM (e)

Heddle hasn’t always scorned our treatment of this distinction

Comment #58851

Posted by Jack Krebs on November 19, 2005 01:36 PM (e)

PvM writes,

While the Catholic church obviously supports intelligent design’, it also seems to realize that ‘Intelligent Design’ is scientifically vacuous.

This is a critical distinction. Of course the Catholic Church believes that the intelligence (and benevolence) of God is responsible for the design and plan of the world, from its overall purpose and meaning to the specific nature of its physical components.

That is vastly different than the claims of the “Intelligent Design” movement: that somehow some things (the bacterial flagellum, for instance) can be scientifcially shown (although they have not done so)to have arisen through means other than natural events. The ID movement plays off of the confusion between these two meanings as much as they can, but Coyne understands the difference.

Comment #58853
Posted by David Heddle on November 19, 2005 01:55 PM (e) | kill

Jack, if I understand him correctly, makes a very good point. There is no false dilemma. The Catholic Church is not stating that the choice for the faithful is between Behe/Dembski Intelligent Design and full-blown naturalisitc evolution, and only the latter is viable. The Church supports theistic evolution which is is a form of intelligent design (with a little ‘i’ and a little ‘d’.) After all, the Church would say that everything turned out according to God’s sovereign plan. Evolution may have been God’s means to his end, but the outcome, the Church would insist, was never in doubt, and that God cannot be excluded from from having acted at any step in the process.

Comment #116111

Posted by heddle on August 1, 2006 3:01 PM (e)

Steviepinhead,

A reasonable, sane, gracious individual—what used to be called a scholar and a gentle, ahem, person—would now admit he was wrong

Sorry you don’t get to claim the highroad. When I have been wrong on PT, such as when I really screwed up a freshman physics argument, I am quick to admit it.

And yes, Coin was graceful with his apology.

But I am not going to admit that I am wrong because a PT choir is singing a chorus to that effect.

There are dozens of times when PT contributors have stated “Rome is OK with evolution.”

Most of the time, they don’t qualify that statement.

That’s quote-mining, pure and simple.

Comment #116112

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 3:05 PM (e)

Hey, Heddle, ever heard of meta-physics?

Comment #116113

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 3:06 PM (e)

Hey, Heddle, are you ever going to stop quote-mining us to support your accusations of quote-mining?

Comment #116114

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 3:10 PM (e)

Hey, Heddle, have you figured out yet that “evolution, period” contains no meta-physical assumptions?

Comment #116115

Posted by Peter Henderson on August 1, 2006 3:11 PM (e)

Re #116100. Here’s a famous French philosopher’s thoughts on the soul,mind,body etc. I think this discussion has been going on for centuries. I wonder what Descartes would have thought had he been alive today ?

http://www.iep.utm.edu/d/descarte.htm#SH7d

Comment #116116

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 1, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

There are dozens of times when PT contributors have stated “Rome is OK with evolution.”

Most of the time, they don’t qualify that statement.

Um, we weren’t asking you about ‘most’ of the time, Heddle, we were asking you about THIS time. Do you not see the distinction?

Comment #116117

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

Evidence of progress! A year ago Heddle said we never qualified Rome’s position.

Comment #32017

Posted by David Heddle on May 25, 2005 09:11 AM (e) | kill


PT and its contributors try to make a great deal of Rome’s support for evolution. They always fail to mention it is for theistic evolution only.

Now he says

There are dozens of times when PT contributors have stated “Rome is OK with evolution.”

Most of the time, they don’t qualify that statement.

Kinda reminds me of Larry F, trying to prove something long after it’s been proven wrong.

Comment #116118

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 3:15 PM (e)

Hey, Heddle, if I stop at my favorite fast-food chain and order a hamburger with ketchup only, did I order a hamburger?

Comment #116119

Posted by Coin on August 1, 2006 3:20 PM (e)

heddle wrote:

Pope John Paul II stated some years ago that “new knowledge leads to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge”(“Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Evolution”1996). In continuity with previous twentieth century papal teaching on evolution (especially Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis ), the Holy Father’s message acknowledges that there are “several theories of evolution” that are “materialist, reductionist and spiritualist” and thus incompatible with the Catholic faith. It follows that the message of Pope John Paul II cannot be read as a blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe. Mainly concerned with evolution as it “involves the question of man,” however, Pope John Paul’s message is specifically critical of materialistic theories of human origins and insists on the relevance of philosophy and theology for an adequate understanding of the “ontological leap” to the human which cannot be explained in purely scientific terms.

Anyhow, though I erred in directing objections toward you which should have been directed toward demallien, conveniently those objections happened to comprise the exact JPII message which is being summarized here. I unfortunately didn’t include in my blockquote the “theories of evolution” part or the “ontological leap” part, but they can be found at the link above.

The International Theological Commission clearly doesn’t view JPII’s message as as much of a glowing endorsement of science as likely I presented it as above. However, given that these International Theological Commission folks are only in a position to clarify and summarize the pope’s comments, not supplant them, and given that we can ourselves see the previous pope’s comments above, I think it is fair to look at this closer.

Specifically: Throughout the quoted paragraph, as in the “theories, plural” portion of the JPII message they cite, they take pains to note that what they are objecting to is materialism. Though they make it clear they do not support all possible theories of evolution, I see no indication they are trying to bring into question the current mainstream scientific consensus version of evolution, and it seems quite clear to me that in the case of those “theories” they find objectionable they are objecting to the philosophical components of those hypothetical theories. If one is only interested in the scientific realm and disinterested in philosophical or metaphysical takes on evolution, it is difficult to see where this constitutes uncertainty about evolution itself.

What I would say, looking at that quote, is that they are taking pains to ensure that papal statements about scientific inquiry into evolution are not taken as endorsing, for example, the philophical positions of someone like (for example) Richard Dawkins, who views evolution as part of an explicitly materialist worldview. As long as one does not think that acceptance of evolution necessarily implies acceptance of Dawkins’ philosophical writings– and I don’t think anyone would reasonably claim so– there is still nothing here to contradict the statement “Rome is OK with evolution”. The stuff that Rome is objecting to here does not imply a need for qualification if we are discussing scientific matters, because the things they are explicitly objecting to are not part of evolution; they are part of something else, something outside the boundaries of science. Again: “Atheistic” evolution is no more or less scientific than “theistic” evolution, and if we limit ourselves to discussing scientific questions then the difference between those two things disappears.

What if anything is unreasonable about this?

Incidentally, the “ontological leap” bit that your quoted source reduces to two words is actually a rather interesting bit in which JPII asks a question about where the boundaries between the spiritual and natural lie, and then does not entirely answer it:

JPII wrote:

6. With man, we find ourselves facing a different ontological order—an ontological leap, we could say. But in posing such a great ontological discontinuity, are we not breaking up the physical continuity which seems to be the main line of research about evolution in the fields of physics and chemistry? An appreciation for the different methods used in different fields of scholarship allows us to bring together two points of view which at first might seem irreconcilable. The sciences of observation describe and measure, with ever greater precision, the many manifestations of life, and write them down along the time-line. The moment of passage into the spiritual realm is not something that can be observed in this way—although we can nevertheless discern, through experimental research, a series of very valuable signs of what is specifically human life. But the experience of metaphysical knowledge, of self-consciousness and self-awareness, of moral conscience, of liberty, or of aesthetic and religious experience—these must be analyzed through philosophical reflection, while theology seeks to clarify the ultimate meaning of the Creator’s designs.

Comment #116120

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 3:24 PM (e)

Comment #116118

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 03:15 PM (e) | kill

Hey, Heddle, if I stop at my favorite fast-food chain and order a hamburger with ketchup only, did I order a hamburger?

Of course not. That would be quote-mining the Burger King menu.

Comment #116121

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 1, 2006 3:36 PM (e)

Evolution itself answers a “how/what/when/where” question. Theistic evolution answers that question in the same way, but it also asnwers a “why” question.

I think JPII implied that he has no beef with the “how/what/when/where” answer, as long as it doesn’t purport to also answer the “why”.

I invite Heddle to find me a quote mine whose implication is that the Pope was “peachy” with an ultimate explanation, as derived somehow by evolution.

I don’t think it exists; at least publicly, PT posters refrain from making ultimate arguments, since they are not under the purvue of science.

Furthermore, if one were to extrapolate from evolution to ultimate causes, I can assure Heddle that they wouldn’t give a flying f*** what the Pope said one way or the other.

Comment #116123

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 3:37 PM (e)

Them ain’t hamburgers, Steve. ;)

Now, if saw someone order a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and ketchup, and subsequently said or implied they liked cheeseburgers, then I would be wrong.

But we’re not doing that.

BTW, I went to the NCSE site and did a search on “Pope evolution” The first 20 or so hits (I stopped there) either were the full quote without commentary, a discussion of Schonborn’s (sp?) remarks with a brief reference to JPII’s statement, a commentary on the quote, or had nothing at all to do with the quote. In all commentaries on the quote, the commentator mentioned the meta-physical position of the church.

Seems Heddle’s credibility just took another hit…

Comment #116125

Posted by CJ O'Brien on August 1, 2006 3:48 PM (e)

Heddle’s cup o’ sarcasm runneth over:

Oh wait Heddle—you cannot just defend your interpretation of the bible—you must defend the interpretation that is easy for us to attack! Cheater!

And then, irony of ironies! he feels free to engage in the exact same kind of “cheating”: We must adopt the interpretation of the Vatican’s stance that is easiest for him to contrast with what we’re calling evolution period. i.e. evolution devoid of metaphysical import (NOT “atheistic” evolution).

And of course it modifies evolution. The simplest litmus test is regarding our own species. The Vatican would argue, in its theistic evolution, that the evolution of man, being part of God’s sovereign plan from before the foundation of the earth, was inevitable. Non-theistic evolution would disagree. Reset the initial conditions of the earth, and you may end up with nothing resembling man—in fact a well timed asteroid impact and there may be no complex life at all. In this regard they are as different as night and day.

But contingency isn’t the issue. Evolution, the science, says what likely DID happen, and can acknowledge that said events APPEAR to be highly contingent on, among other things, asteroid impacts. The theistic evolutionist is free to go beyond this and get at what is precisely the issue: all that contingency was god’s will. To us mortals, it may appear as blind chance, but mysterious ways, etc.

The outcome is still the same, heddle. And you equivocate here on just where the theistic evolutionist inserts god. If he is present in all things, evolving lineages as much as falling asteroids, where is the contrast? Certainly, atheists and theists are going to have different takes on what contingency means, invisible intent, or blind chance, but that doesn’t get you over the hump: given an all present creator and the inevitable rise of spirit (metaphysical positions), the Catholic Church firmly accepts evolution.

Comment #116126

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 1, 2006 3:49 PM (e)

I think Heddle is hoping that if his credibility takes so many hits that all of his hot air leaks out, then he won’t be a gasbag anymore.

Sorry, heddles, it doesn’t work that way…

Comment #116129

Posted by David B. Benson on August 1, 2006 4:06 PM (e)

A minor point: In Hebrew, it is easy to misread and hence miscopy numbers, adding a power of ten. So “90” becomes “900” and “10,000” becomes “100,000”, etc.

Comment #116130

Posted by Mr Christopher on August 1, 2006 4:11 PM (e)

heddle is stone cold NUTS! i think i’m starting to like him… in the same way i love old cheech and chong movies, you know… heddle, you GO, man!

No kidding! This guy rocks, he’s obviously smoking crack, but what a hoot. I can’t wait to smoke some dope tonight and read his comments again.

Comment #116131

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 1, 2006 4:21 PM (e)

Wow, six months ago, Carol Clouser woulda been in here like white on rice…

Comment #116132

Posted by heddle on August 1, 2006 4:27 PM (e)

W. Kevin Vicklund,

Your hamburger analogy that has struck you and steve s with the giggles is too metaphysical.

In all commentaries on the quote, the commentator mentioned the meta-physical position of the church.

That’s funny, the second hit I got stated:

Given that the Catholic Church and the mainstream Protestant community have accepted evolution as the way God created the millions of species

I guess the pixels forming the qualifying word “theistic” don’t light up in my browser.

Comment #116133

Posted by Coin on August 1, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

Metaphysical Hamburgers.

Worst band name ever

Comment #116134

Posted by David B. Benson on August 1, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

From Wikipedia: Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the nature of the world.

“Too metaphysical”?

Comment #116135

Posted by Coin on August 1, 2006 4:39 PM (e)

Are not hamburgers deeply intertwined with the nature of the world?

Comment #116136

Posted by steve s on August 1, 2006 4:40 PM (e)

Given that the Catholic Church and the mainstream Protestant community have accepted evolution as the way God created the millions of species

I guess the pixels forming the qualifying word “theistic” don’t light up in my browser.

Oh, what a dipshit. I can’t keep watching this. Have a good thread, people.

Comment #116137

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 4:46 PM (e)

Just when I thought Heddle couldn’t descend any further into dishonesty, he posts this (emphasis mine):

That’s funny, the second hit I got stated:

Given that the Catholic Church and the mainstream Protestant community have accepted evolution as the way God created the millions of species

I guess the pixels forming the qualifying word “theistic” don’t light up in my browser.

If I order a quarter pound of ground beef formed into a round patty, cooked, and placed in a bread bun, have I just ordered a hamburger?

Heddle: no.

Rest of the world: yes.

Comment #116138

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 1, 2006 4:46 PM (e)

That’s funny, the second hit I got stated:

Given that the Catholic Church and the mainstream Protestant community have accepted evolution as the way God created the millions of species…

I call Quote-mine.

The full sentence is:

Given that the Catholic Church and the mainstream Protestant community have accepted evolution as the way God created the millions of species, one wonders why the creationists still insist upon a literal reading of Genesis.

This is precisely what the RCC rejects.

Comment #116139

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 4:48 PM (e)

Hey, Heddle, have you ever tried reading for comprehension?

Comment #116140

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 4:51 PM (e)

Hey, Heddle, you might want to consider the relationship between the words “God” and “theistic”

Comment #116141

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 1, 2006 4:53 PM (e)

Not to mention, the entire paragraph, concluding with

Thus, not only is creationism or “intelligent design” bad science, it is also arguably bad theology!

is a short explanation for why ID/Creationism is bad religion, in contrast to Catholicism which does not have the same, deliniated shortcomings.

Comment #116142

Posted by heddle on August 1, 2006 4:58 PM (e)

W. Kevin Vicklund,

who added “one wonders why the creationists still insist upon a literal reading of Genesis.” to my quote from NCSE and called it evidence of quote mining:

Do you really believe that the part you added is relevant to the question of whether the NCSE post adequately explains how The RCC supports evolution–or did you just add some more of the quote and declare victory, and are now awaiting an attaboy from steve s?

Comment #116143

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 1, 2006 5:04 PM (e)

W. Kevin Vicklund,

who added “one wonders why the creationists still insist upon a literal reading of Genesis.” to my quote from NCSE and called it evidence of quote mining:

Do you really believe that the part you added is relevant to the question of whether the NCSE post adequately explains how The RCC supports evolution—or did you just add some more of the quote and declare victory, and are now awaiting an attaboy from steve s?

I’m no burning effigy. GuyeFaux is the Guy you want to ask that question of.

The part you quoted is sufficient disclosure. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to have the intelligence to understand why.

Comment #116145

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 1, 2006 5:06 PM (e)

Do you really believe that the part you added is relevant to the question of whether the NCSE post adequately explains how The RCC supports evolution…?

No, it’s not relevant to the question of whether the NCSE post adequately explains how the RCC supports evolution.

The article does not discuss the RCC’s stance in depth.

However, the RCC’s position is well-represented insofar as it gives weight to the author’s particular argument, in that the RCC does not commit the same theological fallacies as ID/Creationism.

Now, had he said something like

Given that the Catholic Church and the mainstream Protestant community have accepted evolution as the way God created the millions of species, one wonders why Catholics still believe in God

the author could well be accused of intellectual dishonesty.

Comment #116146

Posted by solarwnz on August 1, 2006 5:27 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

“No retraction, for the quote mining instances are legion—in fact you just contributed to them. The Catholic Church is fine with one species evolving into another—so are, by definition, all theistic evolutionists-so that point means exactly zip.point.oh. The Catholic Church is not “peachy” with evolution without caveat, as they have stated repeatedly and in what amounts to a quote-mining feeding frenzy gets almost universally ignored on PT.”

I’m sorry but I fail to see how I contributed to this legion of quote-mining. Your whole argument is that without the caveat any quote from the 1996 Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences a person uses to claim that the Catholic Church is peachy with evolution, is a lie about how the Catholic Church really feels, and thus a quote-mine.

But didn’t I quote two passages from the message showing, 1: the recognition of evolution as a legitimate scientific theory and 2: the need for metaphysical reflection in understanding the creator’s plans and our special relationship to his creation? Are you saying that I failed to address the caveat about how evolution must contain a place for man’s soul???

Didn’t I provide a link to the entire message so you could verify whether or not I was taking those quotes out of context? And you still think I am trying to argue that the Pope endorses a godless evolution when I clearly stated that he was endorsing theistic evolution?

Your claim that PTers quote-mine is absurd since all those examples you gave didn’t actually have any direct quotes from the Pope’s message. Are saying they did contain quotes from the Pope’s message and that PTers used his words out of context?

I in fact did use two quotes from the Pope’s message and I think I represented his position quite clearly as that he supports a theistic evolution! How is this quote-mining under your definition?

And that’s another thing. Your definition of quote-mining is strange. A quote-mine is taking a specific phrase from an author or speaker and using that phrase to argue for a particular point of view that mis-represents the original author’s argument/idea. QUOTE-MINING IS NOT SIMPLY MAKING CONCLUSIONS BASED ON AN AUTHOR’S IDEAS. It isn’t quote-mining unless the quoter deliberately twists the words of the author to mean something they clearly disagree with - as outlined from within the rest of the text. And you still think I deliberately tried to misrepresent the Pope? HOW?

It is true that the CC doesn’t support an atheist’s view of evolution. But if an atheist claims that the CC supports evolution it doesn’t mean the atheist thinks that the CC admits that there is no god! And that is what I think you are stuck on. So, please stop associating evolution with atheism.

Let me ask you these simple questions:

1. If the Catholic Church believes in the FACT of evolution but stresses the need for god’s sovereign role in that process, then how is it misrepresenting the Church to simply state, “The CC supports the theory of evolution”? Do Ken Miller and Richard Dawkins misrepresent each other when they claim the other endorses evolution?

Please address these questions.

Comment #116180

Posted by shiva on August 1, 2006 9:06 PM (e)

Heddle:
No retraction, for the quote mining instances are legion…

Dave, you are having trouble coming up with instances of quote mining on this thread, and you insist that instance are legion? That’s a laugh!

Comment #116210

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on August 1, 2006 10:25 PM (e)

You know, once upon a time, there were creationists on the internet who were actually capable of functional discussion and debate. I used to have conversations with creationists that I did not consider utter morons.

What happened to them?

Well, I know what happened to some of them, they abandonded creationism for theistic evolution.

But, on the whole, it seems less a dying breed than a dead one. These days all you get are total incompetants like Heddle who CANNOT EVEN DIRECTLY ADDRESS A QUESTION.

I asked about the reference in the Bible to mustard seeds being the smallest of all seeds. The Bible says this. The Bible is not correct. Mustard seeds are objectively and undeniably not the smallest of all seeds. I asked how he justified this.

His answer? Warble about interpretations, while avoiding giving us any interpretations where “mustard seeds are the smallest of all seeds” means something other than “mustard seeds are the smallest of all seeds”.

Trying to get a creationist like Heddle to answer questions is like trying to pull teeth from an unanesthetized patient, they just won’t sit still long enough for you to get any work done!

Well, forget I asked, Heddle, as I’m sure you already have. I won’t bother you with nasty questions or annoying facts anymore. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the show as you pretend hamburgers with ketchup aren’t really hamburgers (a brilliant metaphor, kudos).

Comment #116213

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 1, 2006 10:27 PM (e)

Dave, you are having trouble coming up with instances of quote mining on this thread, and you insist that instance are legion? That’s a laugh!

Correct. Most of instances of so-called “quote-mines” didn’t have quotations. They were mostly alleged misrepresentations of the RC’s stance, and all of them have been rebutted. At most a minimal exertion in reading comprehension is generally, but not always, required to demonstrate that no misrepresentation has taken place.

Nowhere near the semantic gymnastic one has to to perform to figure out exactly what the hell Heddle peddles. And it’s not for lack of trying: generous folk have actually contributed evidence on his behalf to figure out where he’s coming from.

Bottom line: Heddle has shown zero instances of

1) Quote mines on PT. I.e. zero quotes, so zero quote-mines. This should be easy. Find me something where person A quoted person B as having said S in order to show P. But in fact B did not mean S, and certaily would not approve of it being used to justify P. (Sorry for the symbols, but I figure formal logic would help here)

2) Misrepresentation of the Vatican’s stance. The RC’s stance is kind of vague, and there’s plenty left for interpretation. But we can at least say that the RC doesn’t mind (i.e. tolerates, accepts, is neutral towards, does not reject) evolution as long as it stays away from ultimate causes.

Comment #116248

Posted by Anton Mates on August 2, 2006 12:19 AM (e)

Michael Suttkus, II wrote:

I asked about the reference in the Bible to mustard seeds being the smallest of all seeds. The Bible says this. The Bible is not correct. Mustard seeds are objectively and undeniably not the smallest of all seeds. I asked how he justified this.

His answer? Warble about interpretations, while avoiding giving us any interpretations where “mustard seeds are the smallest of all seeds” means something other than “mustard seeds are the smallest of all seeds”.

Trying to get a creationist like Heddle to answer questions is like trying to pull teeth from an unanesthetized patient, they just won’t sit still long enough for you to get any work done!

You have to admit, though, it’s a very psychologically effective defense.

“I believe everything that’s in this book is literally true.”
“But this bit here is false.”
“Exactly. So are these other bits. Ha!”
“…now my brain hurts.”
“I’ll BET it does! Begone, heathen!”

People probably crossed the street hurriedly to avoid talking to Tertullian too, and I’m sure it made him just as happy.

Comment #116263

Posted by demallien on August 2, 2006 2:16 AM (e)

Coin syas:
“Anyhow, though I erred in directing objections toward you which should have been directed toward demallien, conveniently those objections happened to comprise the exact JPII message which is being summarized here. I unfortunately didn’t include in my blockquote the “theories of evolution” part or the “ontological leap” part, but they can be found at the link above.”

Coin, just to clarify, I’m a diehard atheist. I just feel that Pope JPII’s statement is at best ambiguous support for evolution. He is explicit that humans are a special case, certainly from a spiritual point of view, and he doesn’t even give an impression if being particularly sure about corporal evolution for humans either, to quote:
“if the origin of the human body comes through living matter which existed previously, the spiritual soul is created directly by God”.
Note the smacking big “if” at the start of the quote.

Anyway, all I wanted to say is that we do need to be careful when claiming Catholic Church support for evolution. As it stands, the statement slams Intelligent Design, as Intelligent Design wants to claim design in organisms other than humans. So any discussion attacking Intelligent Design can use the statement without any problem. But to use the statement to attack creationism in general is risky. In the interest of not offering easy targets for creationists, I counsel extreme caution in using the Pope’s statement.

Comment #116279

Posted by Keith Douglas on August 2, 2006 8:10 AM (e)

Peter Henderson: Descartes was very sly to hide some of his opinions from the Church, and much of what he held was heretical. Moreover, he only once attended church as an adult (to acknowledge a child, as was traditional in Holland at the time). It is not too far fetched to think that he’d be an out-and-out materialist today, if he could be caught up on the latest neuroscience, which no doubt would interest him.

demallien: As I have said for quite a while, JPII was a creationist of a very specific sort - namely of humans, since he basically denies (some of) their psychological characteristics evolved.

Comment #116297

Posted by Mephisto on August 2, 2006 9:26 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

“I think the Noahic flood was a local flood in Mesopotamia, ~50k years ago.”

But we have fossils that predate even this, and none seem to have lived anywhere near 900 years old.

You’re pretty much willing to accept everything that is in the bible until it is conclusively disproven, even though it happens with increasing frequency? That’s a slippery slope sort of way of going around things.

Comment #116299

Posted by Anonymous_Coward on August 2, 2006 9:50 AM (e)

I want to know:

How many posts does Heddle read?

It seems he picks the ones he feels are easy to argue against and ignores the rest.

He makes claims that are already disproven by posts he seems to have ignored.

Come on, Heddle. Stop quotemining and arguing strawmen.

Comment #116307

Posted by k.e. on August 2, 2006 10:07 AM (e)

Oh fur gawds sake Heddle

You cannot disprove that Jesus walked on water, you can only show that the laws of physics prohibit it—and so it would have to be—what’s it called—oh yeah, a miracle!

Not a miracle you complete tosser just an impossibility!!

Or an hallucination

Or a bit of religio/political spin or propaganda.

Or creative writing

Or a literary allusion.

To actually get me to believe ANYBODY could walk on water without a trick, Heddle, WOULD take a miracle.

Get off the grass.

Comment #116312

Posted by k.e. on August 2, 2006 10:25 AM (e)

Reel ‘em in Heddle.

Gee for a Calvinist you seem to be taking Catholic theology pretty damn seriously.

I thought the whole schtik of being a Protestant was to put man on an equal footing with dog.

You said:

…It follows that the message of Pope John Paul II cannot be read as a blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe.

Well WTF do you EXPECT them to say ? Not a TAUTOLOGICAL piece of nonsense theological rambling taken seriously by no more than a few die hard real estate managers for god??

ARE YOU mad?

Who would pay the rent?

Yeah right…Ah…. dearly beloved we are gathered here today to pay homage to our father ….now pass the plate and don’t skimp…the price of wine is on the way up.

Comment #116360

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 2, 2006 1:45 PM (e)

“Do you accept that the origin of life did not involve an exception to the laws of Chemistry and Physics (i.e., a miracle)?”

The laws of chemistry and physics are descriptive, not prescriptive; they are generalizations from observation, not something handed down from on high. Thus “exceptions” are not “miracles”, they simply indicate (if they actually occur) that the generalization is not an entirely accurate description of nature. The concepts of “miracle” and “supernatural” are fundamentally incoherent, and indicate a misunderstanding of the nature of scientific empiricism.

Comment #116368

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 2, 2006 2:17 PM (e)

There are dozens of times when PT contributors have stated “Rome is OK with evolution.”

Most of the time, they don’t qualify that statement.

Rome is OK with theistic physics, and not OK with atheistic physics. Does that mean that “Rome is OK with physics” is false or misleading or lacking qualification or “quote mining”? Only a very dense person would think so.

You cannot disprove that Jesus walked on water, you can only show that the laws of physics prohibit it

Not necessarily; perhaps, unlike Heddle, Jesus wasn’t dense.

Comment #116394

Posted by Robert O'Brien on August 2, 2006 5:55 PM (e)

shiva wrote:

Science is hard work, that’s why there are scientists and scientists; and then there is Heddle.

The only science shiva is qualified to write about is the science of chamchagiri.

Comment #116400

Posted by Coin on August 2, 2006 6:12 PM (e)

Okay, so since this discussion has long since ceased to resemble the original topic, I feel free to ask this equally offtopic question: What the heck exactly is meant by “Calvinist” in the modern context? I am familiar with the beliefs and writings of John Calvin himself, but as far as I knew “Calvinism” itself was just a denomination of Christianity, one linked with Puritanism and today mostly defunct. But within discussions like this one I often see “Calvinist” used as a property of Christian belief which seems to be orthogonal to denomination; for example I’m told that Howard Ahmanson “became a Calvinist” in the 70s, but also that he was apparently an Anglican this entire time (?). What exactly is someone saying today when they self-identify as “Calvinist”? What am I missing here?

Comment #116408

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on August 2, 2006 6:47 PM (e)

Try looking up the Wiki on Calvinism. It’s a bit complex, but aside from being Protestant, it is non-denominational Think pre-destination and work from there.

Comment #116421

Posted by Coin on August 2, 2006 8:17 PM (e)

No, I mean… I actually was looking at that wiki article when I made my last post, and I’m still unsure how much (all?) of that applies to modern thinking about Calvinism. That looks like mostly information about historical Calvinism, and all the dates that appear in the article are centuries ago. I guess what I’m asking is, is there any substantive difference between Calvinism as practiced by Howard Ahmanson and Calvinism as practiced by John Winthrop?

Comment #116422

Posted by Coin on August 2, 2006 8:20 PM (e)

Oh, hey, and look at that. The Discovery Institute finally noticed the misquote this particular thread here was originally about. They have a slightly odd take on it, interpreting a single instance of a misquote as “growing” (from zero to one, I guess?) into some kind of pandemic, but whatever.

They still don’t seem to have anything to say about Kansas’ elections last night, unless we count Paul Nelson’s “Science isn’t about having standards” blog post thing.

Comment #116445

Posted by Coin on August 2, 2006 10:11 PM (e)

Hmm… It occurs to me I should not have put quotation marks around the non-quote in my last post, since it looks like I was trying to make a quote out of something which isn’t and quote honesty is the entire subject of discussion here in the first place.

Oh well.

Comment #116475

Posted by nedlum on August 2, 2006 11:50 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

For example, if it is ever conclusively demonstrated that King Solomon never existed the entire bible would come a-tumblin’ down.

Isn’t it generally agreed that you can’t prove a negative?

Comment #116557

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 3, 2006 4:57 AM (e)

Isn’t it generally agreed that you can’t prove a negative?

No. For instance, I can prove that steel isn’t lighter than air. Sometimes it is said that one can’t prove a universal negative, but I can prove that there is no largest prime number.

However, it’s hard to see what would count as proof that Solomon didn’t exist, which makes that a ridiculous and dishonest criterion. It’s particularly ridiculous in context; Heddle essentially said that he would conclude that an event described in the Bible couldn’t have happened if it were demonstrated that certain events (those involving Solomon) described in the Bible didn’t happen, but he gave no hint as to what would be adequate to convince him that they hadn’t happened.

Comment #116558

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 3, 2006 4:59 AM (e)

Go and read the statement in it’s entirety. The Pope is very clear on certain points, such as the fact that whatever happened in the rest of the animal kingdom, it is certain that HUMANS did not evolve.

I have read it in its entirety, and you are simply wrong.

Comment #116559

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 3, 2006 5:06 AM (e)

those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe

Scientific theories, “neo-Darwinian” or otherwise, do not deny any such thing – they are neutral on metaphysical matters. Further, the “neo-Darwinian” theory of evolution concerns the biodiversity of life on Earth, and nothing else.

Comment #116588

Posted by k.e. on August 3, 2006 8:33 AM (e)

Coin on your Calvinist confusion there is only one thing you need to know…as far as Heddle is concerned Calvinists or in his case Gravenistas are never wrong.

Comment #116670

Posted by Josh L. on August 3, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

Calvinism has never really been a denomination, but rather a set of theological beliefs that are occasionally characteristic of a denomination. For instance, Presbyterians are historically fairly Calvinist, whereas Methodists are historically Arminian (the “anti-Calvinist” theology).

Calvinism is still the source of many debates in contemporary Evangelical theology, including such things as the eternal security of the believer (whether the saved can lose their salvation by losing their belief in God or some other immorality), what exactly it means to say that Christians are predestined (this one gets rather technical–suffice to say it revolves the relationship between human free-will and God’s sovereignty), whether non-christians are predestined to hell (so-called “double-predestination”) and a few others.

Calvin is known as perhaps the greatest systematic theologian of Protestant Christianity, and so cannot help be important to Protestant Christians today–evangelical or mainstream. My general impression is that he is better respected among mainstream denominations–although his ideas have filtered equally into both. Evangelical denomination are often slightly suspicious of systematic theology as departing too far from the Bible into something resembling philosophy.

As for someone today “becoming” a Calvinist–I suspect this means different things to different people. However, if a Christian told me that she was becoming a Calvinist, I would guess that she meant that she no longer believed in libertarian free will (at least regarding salvation). The main point would be a privileging of the power (in Calvinist talk “sovereignty”) of God in such a way that humans are unable to “choose” to be saved.

Comment #117260

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 5, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

What a pathetic waste of energy. It’s striking how many people – even here at PT – insist that I must respect the views of people who “debate” whether or not I will suffer for eternity – despite lacking nerves, neurotransmitters, or anything else that might give rise to sensation, perception, or any cognitive (or any other) function. Well, I don’t respect them, nor do I respect people who respect them – they are all, in my mind, intellectually dishonest fools, arrogant in their ignorance and their pretense of “morality”, “spirituality”, “awareness”, “enlightenment”, or any other purportedly positive attribute that they bestow upon themselves.

Comment #117261

Posted by Robert O'Brien on August 5, 2006 5:41 PM (e)

Pill Popper's ghost wrote:

What a pathetic waste of energy. It’s striking how many people — even here at PT — insist that I must respect the views of people who “debate” whether or not I will suffer for eternity — despite lacking nerves, neurotransmitters, or anything else that might give rise to sensation, perception, or any cognitive (or any other) function. Well, I don’t respect them, nor do I respect people who respect them — they are all, in my mind, intellectually dishonest fools, arrogant in their ignorance and their pretense of “morality”, “spirituality”, “awareness”, “enlightenment”, or any other purportedly positive attribute that they bestow upon themselves.

Your objections might apply to a “spiritual” resurrection or some other form of disembodied existence but not to a physical resurrection.

Comment #117262

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 5, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

My objection applies to anyone stupid enough to think that “physical resurrection” is coherent, or who ignores the context which was “predestined to hell” – is hell physical, git?

Comment #117265

Posted by steve s on August 5, 2006 6:56 PM (e)

that’s the first time I’ve seen the word git applied to anyone on this blog. And I think it couldn’t be applied to a more deserving person.

Comment #117270

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 5, 2006 7:45 PM (e)

Oh heck, I go away for a week, and I miss Heddle’s monthly delusions of divinity ……

Hey Heddle, let me remind you once again that your religious opinions are just that – your opinions. They aren’t any more authoritative or divine or godly than anyone else’s. You are not God’s Spokesman © ™, you don’t know any more about God than anyone else alive does, and no one has any good reason whatsoever to pay any more attention to your relgiious opinions than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas.

You are just a man, Heddle. Just a man.

Comment #117291

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 5, 2006 8:14 PM (e)

Robert O’Brien

Your objections might apply to a “spiritual” resurrection or some other form of disembodied existence but not to a physical resurrection.

But, mommy, I don’t wanna be a zombie!

Comment #117295

Posted by Robert O'Brien on August 5, 2006 9:47 PM (e)

Pill Popper's ghost wrote:

My objection applies to anyone stupid enough to think that “physical resurrection” is coherent…

There is nothing incoherent about it, your pretense of learning notwithstanding.

Pill Popper's ghost wrote:

…or who ignores the context which was “predestined to hell” — is hell physical, git?

Some folks seem to think so.

Comment #117296

Posted by Robert O'Brien on August 5, 2006 9:49 PM (e)

Steve Story wrote:

that’s the first time I’ve seen the word git applied to anyone on this blog. And I think it couldn’t be applied to a more deserving person.

Ah, Steve, what would PT do without your tireless me-tooism?

Comment #117306

Posted by Popper's ghost on August 5, 2006 11:32 PM (e)

There is nothing incoherent about it

As I said, anyone stupid enough to think so …

…or who ignores the context which was “predestined to hell” — is hell physical, git?

Some folks seem to think so.

Stupid folks.

Comment #117308

Posted by steve s on August 5, 2006 11:56 PM (e)

Comment #117296

Posted by Robert O’Brien on August 5, 2006 09:49 PM (e) | kill

Ah, Steve, what would PT do without your tireless me-tooism?

Probably serve pages very slightly faster.