1060

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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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106 Responses to 1060

  1. Robb says:

    What are you doing for 1066 Jon?

  2. Chris says:

    Haha brilliant!

  3. jonbirch says:

    robb… 1066… will have to think hard about that. :-)

  4. Pingback: Creationism and Global Warming in a Nutshell « Exploring Our Matrix

  5. Joe Turner says:

    It is an anathema to me to understand why people who claim to take the bible literally also seem unable to believe that God would insulate us from the effects our own actions/greed. Have they even read the bible..?

  6. Joe Turner says:

    there is a missing negative somewhere in my comment. Yeah, I know..

  7. rebecca says:

    It is almost certainly a valid point that there is a high negative correlation between creationist beliefs and recognition of climate change as a problem (ie a creationist is even less likely to recognise climate change as a problem than anybody else). And you can see why — if somebody thinks that God made the world fully formed only a few thousand years ago, why would God include fuels in that creation which would damage the environment if they were used? And if the earth is only due to last a few more years, why does it matter if we damage the environment?

    But… you can tell there’s a “but” coming. In fact there are two. Firstly, do creationists ever use the term “fossil fuels”?

    And a second “but”. Jon — you should think about some of the stuff you’ve produced for Proost. I am particularly thinking of the seven days creation reading, from Worshipping the Creator/Out Of Nothing. Am I right in thinking the text was written by Clare? It credits God with dreaming up “gold and diamonds and oil, just waiting to be discovered”. I’ve used the reading in other contexts, but I left out that line. Considering how much trouble oil in particular causes, it looks a bit careless for God to dream it up, just waiting to be discovered.

  8. This type of parody of those of us who are not Darwinist believers is awful, and doubly so coming from fellow Christians. However, this type of behavior and outlook is becoming more typical among ‘progressive’ Christians (not that you are such, Jon) – growing more antagonistic towards biblical morality (“it’s ok to be gay”), a biblical view of man and government (“Jesus was a socialist and the state is savior of the poor”), and an honest view of the politicization of science (“nooo, there is no philosophic, theological, or political implications behind or following Darwinism and global warming”).

    Unfortunately, there are at least two grievous errors here. First, assuming that the majority of Creationists deny the existence of fossils – YECs don’t even really teach that kind of nonsense anymore, it was just some edge fundies who couldn’t intellectually reconcile the fossil record’s assumed chronology with their young earthism. What they do believe is that a global flood caused rapid deposition of fossils, and that fossil dating methods are both circular and unreliable. And they have good reasons for their skepticism.

    If you really want to know what the majority of YECs believe about fossils, try The Fossil Record (AIG)

    Second, those of us who aren’t ‘warmists’ may have good reasons to doubt the ‘scientific’ consensus, and mocking us shows the hubris and willing ignorance of global warming activists. Our reasons include:

    1. The political, rather than scientific nature of the IPCC
    The IPCC Exposed: Political To Its Core

    2. The destruction of much of the original data.
    Phil Jones admits loss of weather data was ‘not acceptable’

    3. The fake hockey stick graph and other misinformation in Gore’s documentary, which not only started the alarmist warmist movement, but continues to fuel the culture of misinformation and exaggeration which has been documented.
    How Global Warming Research is Creating a Climate of Fear
    Scientist: Global Warming Evidence, Claims Exaggerated
    Climate forecasts ‘exaggerated': Science journal
    Warming Scare Tactics | Al Gore – An Inconvenient Truth

    4. Pretending that the sun has little to do with warming our planet (are you kidding me?!?)
    Global Warming Myths: Bogus Science and Exaggerated Claims for Climate Change

    5. The use of the ‘anti-science’ stance is a cheap cop out based on laziness and hubris, failing to enter into meaningful dialogue on the relevant issues.
    Republicans and Science

    6. The conflation of valid ideas (reducing pollution) with doubtful politically based goals (man made global warming) is a red flag that something is amiss in the warmist movement.
    When to doubt a scientific consensus

    THE OPPOSITE PARODY
    —————————————-
    “I don’t believe for one moment that Al Gore and the IPCC have political motives.”
    “You’re a Darwinist, so you don’t ‘for one moment’ even believe in the political implications of ideology.”

  9. jonbirch says:

    in the past i’ve had some fun at the expense of darwinism… thought it was about time i had a pop at creationism.
    personally i find ‘isms’ too unbending to really relate to. best to study the evidence and decide from that.

    rebecca… it’s poetic, that piece… it doesn’t discuss process. like the creation story in genesis. god dreaming things up is no excuse for people’s bad behaviour and exploitation.

  10. Joe Turner says:

    @Daniel, address the point, please, why creationists might intellectually be uncomfortable with the idea that God would allow us to face the consequences of our own actions.

    And for the record, I’m not really into ‘biblical morality’ if it means giving up your daughters to be raped by strangers, multiple partners, stonings, and excluding the sick, the slave, the female as being ‘unclean’ and outwith of the generosity of God. Literalism seems to just mean being literal about the bits of the bible you chose to be literal about.

  11. iaincotton says:

    Hi Jon
    “personally i find ‘isms’ too unbending to really relate to. best to study the evidence and decide from that.”
    Sorry – spotted a problem here – empiricism!

  12. jonbirch says:

    haha, iain! are you assuming i’m talking only about the scientific ‘hard’ facts or what i can see with my own eyes?.. i enjoy all kinds of data. and given that nearly all my evidence comes second hand, via telly, books, the bible etc. and requires much trust on my part, i would say that i have to live a life of faith everyday, regardless of where i choose to put that faith. i would never discount stories or here say or many other types of experience off hand. i’m not sure i’m nearly consistent enough to be an empiric’ist’… what with being an emotional creature and all. :-)

  13. jonbirch says:

    by the way iain… i love your gravitar! it looks just like you! brilliant! :-)

  14. jonbirch says:

    btw… ‘empiricism’ is far too unbending as well. so if i dabble with ‘isms’ you’ll have to forgive me… i’ll soon grow tired of the immovable, predictable. joyless things. :lol:

  15. Sarah says:

    Absaf***inglutely. I used to think this. F*** me.

  16. Sarah says:

    Anyone scientifically knowledgeable- is there any ways fossil fuels can be used without releasing harmful byproducts? Most things in nature seem to be usable with byproducts that if harmful can be mitigated/avoided, it seems to me.

    Anyone care to enlighten me?

    x

  17. Joe Turner says:

    @sarah – not really, the release of CO2 is part of the combustion process. Basically when you burn a fossil fuel you’re releasing all the carbon that the plant took in whilst it was alive. Most fossil fuels are pretty dense, hence releasing a lot of trapped carbon that has been collected over millions of years in a moment. Of course, in the natural way, very little coal or oil would be burned, it is humans that have had the ingenuity to work out where it is and extract it.

    Of course, part of the argument is about what the impact of increased CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) will be. In theory this could be mitigated, but you’d have to find a way take back all those millions of years worth of carbon which would otherwise not be there.

  18. Hazel says:

    Amen to Joe Turner ” Literalism seems to just mean being literal about the bits of the bible you chose to be literal about”.
    Interesting that everyone who finds this funny has been labelled “a Darwinist believer”. Incidentally, what is a YEC?

  19. >> JOE: why creationists might intellectually be uncomfortable with the idea that God would allow us to face the consequences of our own actions

    I have no idea, I think that’s a straw man. Creationists aren’t against environmentalism, but against ideology and politics warping science for their own ends, or science that involves questionable ethics.

    So, creationists, who would view our role here as caretakers, would be all for caring for the Creation. For an interesting discussion of the three views of man and environment, see Environmentalism: wilderness, wasteland, or garden?.

    But global warming has all the hallmarks of ideology co-opting and trumping science. We view the global warming alarmism as driven by the economic concerns of the major stakeholders (Al Gore included), and the valid desires of environmentalists who, though rightly want to reduce pollution and become energy independent, are merely trumping up this trojan horse to get their political goals met sooner – that is, the means justify the ends for them, and we object to the politicization and bastardization of science as a means to an end.

    Secondly, with respect to other science that religious conservatives oppose, it is again not an objection to science nor to the possible good, but to the means. For example, we object to embryonic stem cell research, as well as experimentation on fetuses, not because we are anti-science, but because there is a serious ethical concern.

    >> JOE: Of course, part of the argument is about what the impact of increased CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) will be. In theory this could be mitigated,

    Assuming that increased CO2 and warming are actually BAD. There is evidence that they increase crop production, reduce death and disease, and don’t really cause the sea levels to rise precipitously. Nor have I seen good evidence that solar activity is not the root cause of warming.

    The issue here is that (a) warmists and Darwinists ignore the ideological assumptions, implications, and influence of their ideologies on their science and politics, and (b) there are ethical implications that are being poo-pooed. Some of us don’t like either of those things.

  20. >> HAZEL: Literalism seems to just mean being literal about the bits of the bible you chose to be literal about

    Absolutely. What’s really interesting is when anti-theists quote parts of the bible overly literally to damn it, and I get to retort “why are you being such a hyper-literalist when it suits you? Even fundies don’t take that passage literally.”

    >> HAZEL: nteresting that everyone who finds this funny has been labelled ‘a Darwinist believer.’ Incidentally, what is a YEC?

    Well, ususally, people who use straw men to attack YECs are not OEC’s, but Darwinists – that is, they believe the Darwinian myth of origins rather than the Biblical one :).

    YEC = Young Earth Creationist
    OEC = Old Earth Creationist

  21. Joe Turner says:

    @Daniel, I don’t think it is a straw man, but never mind.

    Good to know you’re repeating the same old, tired, conspiracy theories. Marvellous.

  22. rithompson says:

    It amazes me that people who take the Bible literary and believe that God created the world, don’t see any reason why they need to look after the Earth. Are they trying to bring the end about more quickly by bleeding the planet dry?

  23. >> JOE: Good to know you’re repeating the same old, tired, conspiracy theories. Marvellous.
    You see, this is the type of non-argument you get from the brainwashed. Self-reinforcing arrogance. This same attitude of trusting politicized science is what led to eugenics in the recent past in the US. It’s not just the religious, xenophobic, or paranoid that are manipulated by those who appeal to authority instead of reason. It’s those who fall prey to their own intellectual pride.

    Naturally, I provided some links to back up my ‘conspiracy theories,’ since I was expecting that my word would be rightly questioned. Not that you actually READ any of those links, did you?

    And again, you really missed my main point – these few contentious issue are so, not because of the mythical anti-science paranoia of the religious, but because there are ethical and political concerns and influences which cause their proponents (like yourself) to take refuge in scare tactics, derision, exaggeration, and other anti-science, anti-reason behaviors. This type of boorish behavior will not resolve the matters.

    >> RITHOMPSON: It amazes me that people who take the Bible literary and believe that God created the world, don’t see any reason why they need to look after the Earth.

    It amazes me that people believe such caricatures. Opposition to global warming alarmism has nothing to do with any religious beliefs. It has to do with the obvious lying, data manipulation, and political nature of the entire endeavor, and the immoral waste of resources on it.

    I admit that religious right types have NOT led the charge for environmentalism, but there is a complex history behind that, only some of which has to do with doctrine, and this doctrine is more about the prioritization of Creation Care than opposition to it.

    Again, if you are really interested in what evangelicals think of environmentalism, as well as why they have been absent from the discussion, you could start with Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry into the Environmental Debate. It includes three predominant views, some of which religious types have mistakenly bought into, including:

    1. The Wasteland of Industrialists
    2. The Wilderness of Secularists, Darwinists and Eastern Religionists
    3. The Garden of Biblical Stewardship

  24. Joe Turner says:

    Yeah, y’know I’m just going to let you have the last word now rather than have to read through your drivel, Daniel.

  25. Pat says:

    we object to the politicization and bastardization of science as a means to an end

    Er…..pot, ketttle, black etc.

    Oh, and I didread your links Daniel – but they weren’t exactly from neutral sources themselves I’m afraid – so they are really less than convincing as ‘objective’ presentations of data

  26. Chris says:

    Much as I find the cartoon fun, it does a very good job of highlighting how we can end up talking past each other. What is your scientific method? If it’s different from the mainstream norm that (simply put) reduces to transparency and falsifiability, then you are talking past mainstream science. You need to assume the other guy’s assumptions in order to have a meaningful discussion about the results, show how his methodological assumptions are wrong, or demonstrate how your assumptions are the correct ones.
    Without a doubt there is politics going on in the global warming debate, but politics is going on in every contentious issue! The question is, is the politics affecting or undermining the scientific method? Demonstrate that and the whole house of cards could come down.
    SImilarly with the theology. It’s not enough to say that even fundies don’t take that particular passage literally. How do you choose which passage to take literally in the first place? What is your method for interpreting scripture? Is there even a mainstream method that most Christians adhere to?

  27. Ogg says:

    John 13:35

  28. JF says:

    “Non-arguments from the brainwashed”? “Self-reinforcing arrogance”? “Anti-science, anti-reason behaviours”? “Boorish behaviour”?
    Jeeeez!

  29. JF says:

    “Absolutely. What’s really interesting is when anti-theists quote parts of the bible overly literally to damn it, and I get to retort “why are you being such a hyper-literalist when it suits you? Even fundies don’t take that passage literally.”

    Errrr…. so I think the point you’re missing is that the anti-theist in that situation is saying “if you’re going to take A literally, I’m going to force you to take B literally also, UNLESS you tell me by what divine revelation you ‘KNOW’ which parts of the bible are literally true and which aren’t”.

    Your ‘clever’ retort is a spectacular avoidance of simple, reasoned discussion of the extent to which YOU pick and choose what is true, simply because it matches views you had before you even picked up a bible.

    The anti-theist is saying: “none of this is literally true, beyond the ‘truisms’ which most/all societies have hit upon over the millennia, with or without reference to this old Jewish text”. You are saying “SOME of it is (homosexuality is a sin), some of it isn’t (God didn’t literally tell Lot to hand his daughters over to a bunch of rabid rapists)”.

    So SOMEHOW you have to demonstrate how are you deciding what is literally true and what isn’t… and how is it that you are not only coming up with different answers from the guy in the next church down the road, but you are doing it in a way which (rather arrogantly) says “I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG!…. YOU ARE BRAINWASHED!….”

    You either have to be clear by what divine revelation you are RIGHT, or you just have to be more humble. I think either would satisfy most right-thinking people.

  30. Joe Turner says:

    What JF said.

    And for the record, I’m not a non-theist, so the whole premise is nonsense.

  31. iaincotton says:

    I’m just having some fun John. I know your not a, hard core analytical drilling into the hard facts kind of operator!

  32. jonbirch says:

    i’m so relieved iain. it’s good to be known. :-)

  33. jonbirch says:

    btw… i’m with johnny when he suggests humility as a way forward. we people have big brains for mammals, but not one of us is as clever as we’d like to be. in the scheme of things we know rather little… even the very cleverest of us! we’ve quite possibly not been standing up on two legs for that long, as many of us currently understand the evidence…
    i don’t like arrogance… i’ve simply been wrong too many times to trust my certainties. i am nervous of those who are so, so certain about their certainties. i think the wise keep their eyes, ears and hearts open. they are willing to see shades of grey, they are willing to not understand even if they are in pursuit of understanding. you get great people like this in all walks of life. i have heard the best and cleverest scientists, clergy, teachers etc. all say ‘we/i don’t know’ and it does my heart good. of course it doesn’t stop them pursuing knowledge.
    to ‘know’ before you really ‘know’ would be the end of humanity and it’s desire to explore, unfold, discover and understand… one of the wonderful things about being human in my view.

  34. >>JF: Errrr…. so I think the point you’re missing is that the anti-theist in that situation is saying “if you’re going to take A literally, I’m going to force you to take B literally also, UNLESS you tell me by what divine revelation you ‘KNOW’ which parts of the bible are literally true and which aren’t”.

    No, not at all. What I am saying is that
    a). Any reasonable person should be able to use standard hermeneutic rules to understand when something is figurative v. literal, prescriptive v. descriptive, allegorical v. historical, etc. Anti-theists often rail against Christians who (rightly or wrongly) take certain passages in one sense or the other, but then they turn around and make the same errors!

    b) The example you provide illustrates my point – not all passages are MEANT to be taken literally – a reasonable person would interpret passages using literary type (historical narrative v. parable v. poetry v. apocalyptic literature, etc). To read them all literally would be idiotic. Just because someone takes a historical narrative as literal does not mean that the other types must be taken that way.

    >>JOE: YOU pick and choose what is true,

    I think you are confusing ‘true’ with literal. I find it all true, if you define true as ‘accurate’ – or more specifically, accurate according to sensical hermeneutics (e.g. calling the earth a sphere is not technically true, but it is accurate in a more common sense). But, for example, if you make the mistake, as some theologians and anti-theists have done, of interpreting the idiom ‘the four corners of the earth’ as teaching a literal flat, square earth, you’re making a mistake that even most theologians did not make – no majority thought that the earth was flat, that’s just a myth propagated by some famous anti-theists.

  35. Joe Turner says:

    @Daniel – as it happens, accuracy and precision have very specific meanings, but neither are really anything to do with this discussion. The point is very simple: you hold that one part of the bible is literally (it really happened like this) true: ie early chapters of Genesis. But you then hold that other parts of the bible are not to be taken by you as literally true for you – like the uncleanness of women, slave and so on. You have not established any kind of criteria for judging why certain parts of the biblical text should be taken as written and others are not to be. You’ve just stated them as fact.

    I dispute those facts from my position as a Christian believer. I reject your characterisation of ‘fact’ and I reject your characterisation of me as an ‘anti-theist’.

    And as someone who spent a lot of time getting a robust science education, I reject almost everything else you’ve written as drivel.

    .

  36. Joe Turner says:

    George Fox is said to have asked those who believed those who believed the bread and wine literally became his body and blood because Jesus said ‘this is my body…’ whether he should also believe Jesus was a door because he said ‘I am the door..’

  37. >> JOE: you hold that one part of the bible is literally (it really happened like this) true: ie early chapters of Genesis. But you then hold that other parts of the bible are not to be taken by you as literally true for you – like the uncleanness of women, slave and so on.

    Again, I think you are confused about how to interpret different types of literature, and fail to recognize, for instance, to whom such rules apply, biblically speaking. I mean, as you may know, Jesus and Paul both explicitly say that old testament rules for Israel were temporary until the work of Jesus. This is internally consistent and clear in the scriptures. What seems to you to be convenient application of scripture can also be logically, and perhaps more reasonably viewed as being faithful to the entire text, rather than taking things out of historic, cultural, covenental, and linguistic context.

    Now for sure, some people DO use such an approach to explain away or apply passages improperly, but that does not mean that all such exercises are merely convenient.

    I think that if we looked at a case by case basis as to why, for example, evangelicals do or do not see various verses as literal or prescriptive, there are fair answers.

    And again, my point is that, typically, when anti-theists try this tactic of making things prescriptive that an evangelical would not, it is not that the evangelical is misapplying logic to avoid the implications of scripture, but rather, the anti-theist is misapplying his own hyperliteralism to try to force the evangelical into a corner, but his poor hermeneutic is actually doing what he accuses the evangelical of doing.

    I have no problem taking the historical narrative of Genesis as literal. Now, that does cause some difficulties when referring to, for example, the talking serpent, so I’ll grant you that. But a few strained interpretations, esp. with regard to the creation narrative, isn’t a big enough hurdle.

  38. jonbirch says:

    are you a creationist, daniel? ;-)

  39. >> JOE: You have not established any kind of criteria for judging why certain parts of the biblical text should be taken as written and others are not to be. You’ve just stated them as fact.

    Just google ‘biblical hermeneutics’ and have a read. Not a big deal. The answers are there everywhere. I’m not sure from my feedback that you can tell what I believe, except that the caricature of the anti-science creationist is an inaccurate caricature.

    And actually, if you read back, I didn’t call you anti-theist at all. I said that you seemed to be in favor of the anti-science caricature of Christians, and esp. creationists. Was that accurate?

  40. @Jon, I am a YEC sympathizer ;)

  41. Chris says:

    @Daniel – what scientific method do you subscribe to? Is it the science, the theology, or both that lead you towards the YEC position?

  42. >> CHRIS: @Daniel – what scientific method do you subscribe to?

    You mean there’s more than one?!?

    Regarding the interplay of faith and science, that is a long discussion. Let’s just say that origins science is highly speculative, partly because it involves ancient history, and so leans on historic evidence as much as empirical, more on assumptions than direct observation.

    I think the recent and overwhelming scientific support for the big bang has given the Biblical Cosmology a huge boost, including providing some verification for the genesis creation story.

    I think there are good reasons to question Darwinian origins for life, and natural origins for the universe. I think Intelligent Design provides a decent positive argument for the existence of an intelligent Creator, and is not at all Creationism in scientific garb.

    While many OEC’s have bought into the modern dating methods that place the universe as very old, I think there is a possibility (though perhaps not a probability) that they could be wrong, and that the universe is much younger than we suppose. I haven’t kept up on the science, but I know that such ideas as c-decay (the slowing of the speed of light and other subatomic processes), rates of universe expansion, and grand gravity and quantum effects can support a young universe.

    I favor the YEC position primarily because (a) it is possible, and (b) i think it is more easily reconcilable with scripture.

    But I won’t die on the hill of the age of the Universe, nor on the various interpretations of the Genesis days. However, i won’t capitulate easily to theologians who make crazy assumptions in trying to reconcile and Old Universe with the scriptural record.

    You might like these articles I wrote to explain my position (sorry for the broken links, I moved domains and have yet to do all of the updates):
    Is Creationism a Barrier to Faith?
    13 Misconceptions About Evolution
    Why Most Evangelicals Don�t Like Evolution
    More Genetic Evidence Against Evolution
    Is Genesis Metaphorical or Historical?
    Reconciling Faith and Science
    Reconciling Faith and Science
    Why I Doubt Evolution
    Astronomers Baffled by Mature, Distant Galaxies

    Some humor:
    There was an old teacher from Kansas
    Who doubted we came from chimpanzas
    He smote evolution
    Taught God as solution
    Now the ACLU wants the man’s *ss.

  43. Sarah says:

    @Joe-thanks for that.

    Did anyone else know that Ecuador agreed to keep a 5th of their oil reserves underground in exchange for bio-diversity and sustainability funding from UN(something or other). Fantastic!

    Read `Positive News` for more of this kind of thing.

    Sas x

  44. jonbirch says:

    that does sound positive.

  45. Chris says:

    @Daniel – Thank you. I confess I’ve not read all of the articles you linked to (!) but it seems to me that your interpretation of scripture determines the science that you are prepared to accept.
    In contrast it is likely if I explained my position that you would point out that the reverse is true for me, and you might be right about that.
    Where the science seems to be agreed, I consider if there is an interpretation of scripture that is reconcilable with the science.
    I expect we’ve both got a worldview that’s reasonably coherent for us out of those methods, but the danger is we’d end up talking past each other on the specifics!
    As for the original cartoon, then of course if one subscribes to YEC then the body of “evidence” for global warming, relying as it does on an old earth, is going to be suspect.

  46. dgsinclair says:

    Chris – I may put a little more weight on scripture than you do in the balance with science, but I do not necessarily let my understanding of scripture trump science. It’s only in the more speculative areas of science, specifically origins science, that I defer to scripture. Where there is significant room for doubt (origins, evolution), I defer to scripture, for many reasons.

    One is, esp. in cosmology, specifically with regard to the big bang, scripture was right, while for decades, our greatest scientists thought otherwise.

    Second, almost 50% of all published findings are significantly controverted by future research, meaning that the more speculative an initial finding of science (which much origins science is – I mean, there is NO empirical evidence for string theory or the multiverse, yet some people would bet their life that it is correct).

    As another example, look up all of the recent supposed ‘missing link’ fossils – almost universally, they are later debunked, but you never hear much about that. And that’s the rule, not the exception.

    Third, I was thoroughly schooled in Darwinian evolution as a Biochem major in college, and it wasn’t till my senior year, when I became a Christian, that I realized that I had not been told the whole story – like about the gaps in the data, the fossils that contradict evolution (that get ignored, misclassified, or otherwise demoted to under the rug status), the statistical unliklihood of it all, the genetic evidence that sheds doubt on common ancestry, etc.

    Fourth, let’s not forget the incredible attestation of archaeology to the historical narratives of the Bible – of course, the more ancient the history, the more difficult it is to find surviving evidence, but as far as we can go back, the Bible has a stellar record. So I have little reason to doubt the existence of Abraham, Noah, or Adam himself, and by extension, the creation narrative.

  47. dgsinclair says:

    And by the way, it is only in the more speculative areas of science that science and scripture do seem to disagree – in the less speculative areas, like history, and even perhaps psychology, there is little contradiction.

    Whenever there is an apparent conflict, I think that either our understanding of scripture, or the science (or both) is off. Since I believe scripture to be true, I expect little contradiction between science and scripture unless one or both are being misunderstood. And as I’ve discussed, science, as powerful as it is, is not infallible, esp. in the short run.

  48. dgsinclair says:

    BTW, if you want to see some books that discuss the myth of the conflict between Christianity and Science, and how xianity has actually set the foundation for modern science, see some of the books I’ve listed at GUIDE: Books on Christianity and Science.

    I’ve listed what I think are some of the best theist, neutral, and anti-theist books.

  49. jonbirch says:

    in the uk, perhaps very different in the states (i don’t know), missing links are debunked for fun in documentaries… and quite right too. some of darwin appears pretty correct, much is as yet just speculation and theory and may, or may not, prove to be correct or incorrect… who knows? i guess that’s why we keep looking. bad science does get debunked in the end… so any bad darwin or wrong assumptions he made will eventually be debunked. you can argue that it’ll take longer for the debunking to happen if most scientists are darwinists… but rubbish will get debunked.
    i don’t see the need to set scripture up against science in regards to genesis 1 etc… seems to me that genesis is simply not trying to be a scientific text book. in fact, possibly one of it’s most important truths (that man and woman have responsibility for stewardship over the creation), seems to be completely ignored by a massive chunk of christendom in favour of arguments about genesis as historical fact.
    btw. i’m struggling to think of anyone who’d give up their life over string theory. as wonderful, imaginative and fun as the theory is (and who knows? it might turn out to be correct), i’m not sure that even the scientists working on it would die for it. may be i’m being naive.
    mind you… i’m coming from a position where i certainly don’t see the old testament scribes, law makers, story tellers, historians and poets as infallible… likewise for science.
    btw… i do think there are often ethical issues with scientific discoveries. but i fail to see why the same people who are happy to own nuclear arms are unhappy with stem cell research. i do think all research needs debate as we go, but if stem cell research brings about the end of MS (which it may do), then what’s the problem with that in itself. i have more of a problem that it’ll only be the rich who can afford the cures provided because of the greed of the companies in control and the lack of social care and provision in our respective countries.
    i’m by no means convinced that the church or atheists or whoever else would even be bothering with these arguments if it weren’t for a few self-serving, self promoting narcissists of all views who enjoy stirring up the crowds. (and we all know what crowds are like :-) )
    religion and science get on very well generally i think.

  50. jonbirch says:

    @ myself… “if it weren’t for a few self-serving, self promoting narcissists”… hmmm… that might be me then :-(

  51. Chris says:

    @Jon – I think it was possibly as long ago as Augustine who counselled against taking too literal a view of scripture lest we might get embarrassed by later developments in our understanding of the natural world. If I’m right, that would be long before modern scientific method or any suggestion of evolution by natural selection!
    @ Daniel – I think probably the thing I’m most uncomfortable with about your approach is your citing of exceptions to the general trends as evidence to support a young earth/ID position. I don’t think I can agree that a group of exceptions prove anything beyond the fact that there are gaps in our scientific knowledge. I don’t think bringing them together can prove anything in particular. On the other hand I do find it persuasive when the broad thrust of several different scientific disciplines all seem to point in the same direction. Since there are coherent interpretations of scripture that happily coexist with that approach to the science, I’m also happy to accept there is no conflict between the two.

  52. dgsinclair says:

    I don’t think I am citing exceptions when it comes to evolutionary theory – it’s just that you are taught that the evidence points in that direction. What happens when the ‘exceptions’ become more than small? When they become the majority? I would say that this is actually becoming the case, yet evolutionists play the ‘science in the gap’ game. For example, see How molecular biology has ‘annihilated the tree of life’.

    The real problem is, evolution is held onto, not mainly for scientific reasons, but for world view and emotional reasons, as I described in Mass Delusion – 10 Reasons Why the Majority of Scientists Believe in Evolution

    Also, I am not citing exceptions when I talk about the big bang confirming biblical cosmology.

    And I am pretty convinced that many of the so-called harmonizations of the bible with some of the accepted science (like the age of the universe) have serious logical problems when it comes to internal consistency.

    For example, if you allegorize Adam and Eve, what do you do with the OT, gospels, jesus, and Paul all treating them as if they were historic? Or if the days of creation were actually ages, and the sun was created after plants, how did the plants survive for millenia without the sun?

    What I think most people do is just accept the conclusions of science based on the authority of the pundits, but don’t think through the logic and consistency of their modified biblical stands – they just assume they can be sloppy with scripture. I think liberal theology is really intellectually weak in this manner. It’s not internally consistent at all.

  53. Chris says:

    @Daniel – “Many evolutionary supporters claim that anyone who doubts evolution as a theory of origins is really daft or religiously driven.”
    So, let’s take away the religious element. Does the scientific evidence for a young earth stand on its own?
    Personally I doubt we would even consider the possibility, still less postulate a figure of, say, 8000 years give or take, nor do I think anyone would be discussing the possibility of a global flood. The bits that don’t fit would be simply that – bits that we don’t know yet, and which require further examination.
    But really this is just to confirm what I mentioned way back. The baseline assumptions are different. You appear to take scripture and ask “can I make the science fit in a way that is intellectually satisfying?” and the answer you come up with is “yes.”
    I take the science and ask “can I make the scripture fit in a way that is intellectually satisfying?” and the answer I come up with is “yes.”
    Happily I then find that I don’t actually have to do anything to the scripture after all, because good exegesis doesn’t seem to be at odds with the science. And I expect you will say that something similar is true for you. It’s simply a case of different worldviews.
    And that means that the merry-go-round can start again about the nature of science and the nature of scripture. :)

  54. dgsinclair says:

    >> CHRIS: So, let’s take away the religious element. Does the scientific evidence for a young earth stand on its own?

    We could ask the same of common descent, and I would argue that the answer is ‘No’ Let’s make sure we use the same standards for both, OK?

    And to some extent, I want to say that the YEC position is a in some ways not as well supported as the OEC position, but it is not out of the question. That’s all I am saying, so I concede on this point. But good luck getting an evolutionist to honestly conceded on such a point, despite the problems with their theory.

    As I said, when it comes to distant history, including the origin of the universe, life, and the global flood, I’d say that most of modern science is based on little empirical data, and largely on assumption. And in at least one major case where we do have data, that is, the big bang, it turns out to support the biblical cosmology.

    I do not think that a global flood has been disproved, and our poor comprehension of the ice age (nearly global), which creationists do associate with the aftermath of the flood, seems supportive if you question the assumptions made regarding the ice age, whose causes are still poorly understood.

    And do not think that the current guestimates of the age of the universe are not without problems. Problems like that discussed in Astronomers Baffled by Mature, Distant Galaxies are just one piece showing at least the possibliity that we could be mistaken in estimating such things.

    As I said, I do favor the the bible in areas that are not clear, and that has been a reliable stance in the past – in both opposing Darwinian supported eugenics in Germany and America (supported by scientists of the day), as well as in supporting a finite beginning to space and time.

    Does evidence point unequivocally or primarily to a young universe? Perhaps not. Does holding to a young universe mean you hold your view because of scripture DESPITE science? I don’t think so. Despite current scientific consensus? Perhaps. But science is done by evidence, not consensus, and I’m comfortable waiting for further evidence while agreeing with scripture, based on the track records of both.

  55. dgsinclair says:

    >> CHRIS: because good exegesis doesn’t seem to be at odds with the science.

    Ok, so when racist science, using Darwinian thought, supported eugenics in America at the turn of the century, racist bible believers made the same specious argument – that science and scripture agree. The problem is, when science changes its mind, then what do you do with your previous stance?

    It would be better to base your understanding of scripture not primarily on science, but on the logic of a proper hermeneutic, and then try to correlate with science. That’s my stance,

    When it comes to direct empirical science, I can’t think of any contentions, because both are true. But when it comes to distant, often philosophic matters, I see little reason to trust science over scripture, and this is where most, if not all of the disagreement is.

    I”m not sure if you’ve ever examined the logical problems of harmonizing scripture with itself if you assume such things as day/ages, or mythical Adam and Eve, etc. It may harmonize with current scientific consensus, but it certainly fails the test of internal logic, and I would not be glib in saying that such exegesis is good just because it supposedly agrees with science while disagreeing with itself.

  56. dgsinclair says:

    Regarding arguments for a young earth, feel free to peruse the articles at AIG and decide for yourself. You could start with Evidence for a Young World.

  57. Chris says:

    @Daniel – How did I know that you wouldn’t accept that I accept the internal consistency of the position I hold. I’m afraid even citing the old chestnut about eugenics doesn’t dislodge that. Bad people can always take a system and use to it justify their bad behaviour. But we could spend all day trading negative outcomes that are possible when our positions are taken to their logical extremes. Sorry, but I’m not going to get drawn into that. :-)

  58. JF says:

    Anyway, back to hermeneutics… hermeneutics is a subjective approach to interpreting anything and leaves you, Daniel, standing rather naked in square one, still needing to explain how the conclusions you draw are somehow more valid than those drawn by someone else who also takes a hermeneutic approach, but with a different starting agenda and therefore different conclusions. You have so far explained nothing that begins to excuse your boorish assertions and pseudo-scholarly ravings.

    And as for scripture “being right” about the Big Bang… you dumbfound me. The Big Bang theory was postulated by science and is still being pieced together by people working hard at the coalface of scientific discovery. Maybe you can make it fit with your view of a 7-day creation, but you are stretching credulity to say “yes, that’s exactly what Genesis 1 says!”. How dare you appropriate their work to reinforce your bunkum myth? Or else get your hermeneutics hat on and write the article for Science magazine that explains the rest of the mysteries for once and for all.

    And I wouldn’t use the words ‘global flood’ in the same sentence as ‘history’, either. Again, we are talking at best about folklore, based in all likelihood on a collective recollection of a major event or events. But the account in the bible (with a wooden boat saving just two of each species, especially if you think it happened within the last 8,000 years or so) simply cannot be called ‘history’, unless you clarify that it was man’s best attempt at explaining the world around him while living in the desert, waiting for the wheel to be invented, several thousand years ago, blissfully unaware that a male & female kangaroos were at that very moment apparently swimming from Mount Ararat to Australia

    You only have to read the story of Galileo Galilei to grasp how it all works. Sure, he got it wrong (he believed in heliocentrism, i.e. that our sun was motionless at the centre of the universe), but he was a lot less wrong than those of his age who had the greatest understanding of the bible. He was working to advance man’s understanding and uncover the objective truth; the christians were doing anything to try to salvage the ‘veracity’ of the bible as its texts unravelled before their eyes, even to the point of having scientists put to death.

    If you approach science from the point of view of trying desperately to have it confirm your preconceived ideas; ideas which you will not even refute in the face of objective proof, then you should probably not talk about science at all, as you will do it a massive disservice every time you open your mouth or put pen to paper.

  59. I must confess I got a bit bored in the middle…

    Which creation story are we holding up as *the* creation? The first one in genesis or the one in the chapter after? I personally like the Job (probably written earlier) account of order out of chaos.

    Crouching leviathan, hidden behemoth.

  60. JF says:

    “I must confess I got a bit bored in the middle…”
    Of the bible? Don’t worry, apparently there are bits you can skip if you don’t like them! :-)

  61. Bex says:

    I realise this is a very long post and this is now possibly not relevant, but just to pitch in at my church last week we had John Lennox as a guest speaker who I think explained brilliantly some of the confusing (at least to me) parts of Genesis and whether to take them literally or not. Here’s the link if anyone fancies, enjoy! http://blip.tv/destiny-church-/prof-john-lennox-5942346

  62. Chris says:

    Thank you Bex, really enjoyed watching that. Very interesting chap.

  63. >> CHRIS: How did I know that you wouldn’t accept that I accept the internal consistency of the position I hold.

    OK, let me use a less radioactive example. In the time of Galileo, the church had adopted the major scientific view of the time, the geocentric model – a model that came, not from scripture, but from Ptolemy.

    So when the science changed to the heliocentric model, the church was in the unenviable position of having to change it’s doctrine.

    Those who trust science in the more speculative areas take this risk. They did, for example, with the idea that the universe did not have a beginning, but was eternal – the majority view until the recent data showing almost incontrovertibly that the universe DID have a beginning.

    This latter example is even more damning because Christians who trusted science in this point did not even realize that it contradicted not only reality, but Christianity itself – it was born of the idea that the universe was so complex, it could not possibly have evolved in a short time – in fact, the amount of time was so vast that it REQUIRED an almost infinite past.

    Einstein knew this, and so when Hubble first found evidence of the Big Bang, Einstein was miffed and refused to believe it, since he knew it probably indicated a creator. However, after visiting Hubble, he was largely convinced, but not until he wasted years trying to find a constant to disprove it.

    So when Christians say “I’ll believe science instead of the bible” in these less verifiable areas, I think they’re making a mistake – one that they will have to pay for in (a) unknowingly adopting an anti-theist view, and (b) changing their doctrine when the science finally comes in.

    Regarding the Big Bang still being open to debate, that’s really less and less the case. I could go quote mining, but I’ll just include this wikipedia quote on the Big Bang:

    The Big Bang is a well-tested scientific theory which is widely accepted within the scientific community because it is the most accurate and comprehensive explanation for the full range of phenomena astronomers observe. Since its conception, abundant evidence has arisen to further validate the model.[6][7]

  64. >>CW: Which creation story are we holding up as *the* creation? The first one in genesis or the one in the chapter after?

    Don’t be mentally lazy, that’s just a superficial skeptic’s talking point. If you don’t want to understand the literature type, and how to determine the purpose of the repetition, you’ll find lots of similar ‘problems’ elsewhere – there are plenty of such ‘contradictions’ for those with a selection bias, but many fewer for those actually looking for reasoned discussion.

    As Jesus himself said that skeptics with bad motives would see nothing:

    Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
    And seeing you will see and not perceive; (Matthew 13)

  65. And please notice that I said that the main areas where science and Christian faith supposedly disgaree are not in the sure things, but in the speculative, like origins, a category to which the Big Bang belongs.

    Before Hubble’s theory, scientists believed in an eternal universe, mostly. Theologians who agreed (and some of the great ones did) with an eternal universe (by allegorizing the Genesis account) had to backtrack when the Big Bang proved what the Bible actually claimed – a beginning.

    This is no stretch at all. Those who put their trust in evolution, and quite possibly, an ancient universe, may suffer the same fate when the evidence comes in.

  66. >>JF: hermeneutics is a subjective approach to interpreting anything?

    Are you kidding me? I don’t think you understand hermeneutics – it is a logical, reasoned approach to all types of literature. And while schools of thought may differ, to say that it’s subjective is like saying that the scientific method is subjective – in fact, it is the analog of the scientific method for interpreting texts. Such logical laws as those that follow are not subjective.

    1. Interpret based on the literary genre.
    2. Interpret based on the author’s purpose (often stated)
    3. Interpret using within historical/cultural/linguistic context
    4. Interpret within the immediate context
    5. Interpret within the context of the entire work

    Are those subjective? For a more complete list of the logical rules of hermeneutics, see:
    12 Hermeneutical Principles
    Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics

  67. JF says:

    Yes, “interpret” is subjective. You used that word five times. So it is not an analogue of the scientific method, although given your views of science I can see why you might think it is.

    I had no trouble finding the following quotes:
    “While Jewish and Christian Biblical hermeneutics have some overlap and dialogue, they have distinctly separate interpretative traditions”
    “The egalitarian and complementarian positions differ significantly in their approach to hermeneutics, and specifically in their interpretation of biblical history.”
    “Jewish commentaries on the Bible discusses hermeneutics on the Bible from a Jewish point of view”
    “The process by which theological texts are understood relies on a particular hermeneutical viewpoint.”
    “Sound hermeneutics seek to decrease reader bias through the application of rules, which introduce objectivity to the interpretive process. But these ideological and reader-centered methods hold that this objectivity is never possible, because the text was never objective in the first place. The first act of interpretation was the author’s decision about what to include and what to exclude in his text. Also, the uncertainty of language means modern readers might as well supply their own interpretation, because we will never know what the “true” interpretation should be. To hold to such a thing as a “true” or “real” interpretation is naive, because such faith fails to take into account the arbitrary nature of language and the social forces which distort people’s (both readers and author’s) view of the world. ”

    Why did God make it so difficult to understand his word?

  68. Chris says:

    @Daniel – The situation I find is an understanding of scripture that happily does not have to be subservient to science but is actually talking about something else. My starting point is science because that at least has the tools for objective, verifiable or falsifiable findings – even if it gets it wrong sometimes.
    I’m not claiming that Genesis supports evolution or anything else particularly. It doesn’t have to. So it is not at the mercy of any future scientific developments as far as I know.
    Is hermeneutics hopelessly subjective? I don’t know, and I’m not sure that I have the tools to argue that one way or the other. I would like to think the goal of arriving at an objective interpretation is a worthy one to pursue even if in reality it is impossible. I see it something like this: if we arrive at a framework of understanding scripture that we can agree on and that is logically defensible, I might want to argue that the findings one arrives at by applying that hermeneutic are objective – within that scheme. But that’s the rub, because that is precisely where it is necessary to assume the other guy’s assumptions for the sake of argument.
    That’s not to deny that the implications of applying that hermeneutic aren’t helpful in highlighting potential problems with it, as long as it doesn’t degenerate into mud-slinging about logical extremes.
    @JF – I think one of the major assumptions of hermeneutics is that scripture was clear in its meaning to those it was originally addressed to. The challenge now is to find and agree the necessary tools for bridging the historical and cultural gap between them and us. And that isn’t ever going to be easy!

  69. dgsinclair says:

    >>JF: Yes, “interpret” is subjective….While Jewish and Christian Biblical hermeneutics

    1. Hermeneutics – the basic rules I gave are not just for the Bible, they are hermeneutical rules for interpreting any document, from Shakespeare to Josephus. Yes, there are some differences in the finer points of Biblical hermeneutics, but the general rules are a common foundation.

    2. Interpret – guess what? We interpret scientific data too. In science, as in historic literature, we interpret based on assumptions and methods. The question is, how reasonable are your assumptions and methods? I would say that hermeneutics is the direct analog of the scientific method.

    In fact, it is the basic method of historicans, who are essentially using science to unearth the past, just like archaeologists or those doing origins research might do.

    I think appeals to the subjectiveness of bible interpretation may be valid, but nearly equal in validity to interpretation of historic scientific data. I mean, take a look at how many times scientists have changed their opinions on the fossil record, or how often things are misclassified to fit the evolutionary model when the morphology and dating conflict with that model.

    Do these problems mean that science is worthless? No. Does it mean that we should do more careful and open minded science, and be sure to apply rational rules? Yes. Same with the Bible or any other historic document. Can we know for sure? No. Can we know beyond a reasonable doubt if we do our homework and apply reason? Often.

  70. dgsinclair says:

    >> CHRIS: The situation I find is an understanding of scripture that happily does not have to be subservient to science but is actually talking about something else.

    Well, I think there is a danger here of divorcing scripture from reason, or divorcing it from reality. I mean, when a passage is clearly a historical narrative, shouldn’t we be able to find evidence of it in history? Or do we say “it doesn’t need to be real to be useful,” ignoring the fact that the passage, as useful as it is as a metaphor, is clearly intended to be historic?

    I mean, sure, Jesus’ life and death and resurrection are a powerful metaphor, but what happens when we deny the historicity of it?

    And I think that adopting the evolutionary model of origins while ignoring the philosophic and theological implications of it is a copout (not that you do that, I’m just saying in general). In adopting that world view, we may be (we ARE! I think) adopting views that are antithetical to the biblical world view. I do NOT think that evolution is compatible with Christian faith.

    I’m not willing to fight to the death on that point, since I think it is quite possible to be a believer while holding an evolutionary view. I just don’t think it’s intellectually consistent. And in addition to the theological problems associated with evolutionary belief, there are plenty of rational reasons to doubt it from a scientific point of view, since it is HIGHLY speculative, and poorly supported by evidence, either genetic or fossil.

    I find the podcast at IDthefuture.com to be very instructive in the science behind evolution and Intelligent Design, you should check it out. It’s usually very smart and detailed, and not just posturing.

  71. Chris says:

    @Daniel – It seems to turn on whether one takes the early chapters of Genesis as historical narrative or not. I don’t, and I don’t think that has any great implications for the major doctrines of the faith.
    Science claims that evolution is true, which if correct means that either Christianity is untrue or simply doesn’t speak to that point. We have a choice to make on those issues. For me the evidence stacks up in favour of accepting evolution as scientifically proven, and for the bible not making scientific claims.
    Some of the bible claims to be historically true, and I’ve no problem with that, nor with the fact that one would expect the scientific disciplines to verify that history where evidence is available, but that is different from asserting that the bible makes scientific claims.
    Anyway I think that’s a rationally defensible approach to take, and its certainly no less rationally defensible than your own. While I obviously am convinced by the approach I’ve accepted I don’t feel it necessary to make any stronger claim than that.
    After all, mainstream science is perfectly well capable of defending itself. The UK government is on record as saying Creationism/ID will not be taught as science in schools. In the US where the argument is more vociferous the courts have ruled that ID is Creationism in disguise and that it is unconstitutional to teach it as science. The burden of proof is on proponents of ID to make their argument stick in a society that doesn’t hold the bible as authoritative and where many (most?) Christians don’t accept that it makes scientific claims. It seems a reasonable assumption that non-believers become less likely to adopt the faith in a context of such arguments, which must bring a wry smile to the faces of those antithetical to the faith. But I’m getting into implications and away from methods here!

  72. >> CHRIS: Anyway I think that’s a rationally defensible approach to take, and its certainly no less rationally defensible than your own.

    Perhaps not, but I still think that there are either (a) conflicts between the philosophic/theologic implications and assumptions behind evolution and scripture, and (b) if you assume Genesis to be anything other than primarily historic, you may have doctrinal issues.

    Here’s a couple interesting episodes of one of my favorite podcasts (Unbelievable Radio, from the UK), which has people from both sides of this subject debating their views with civility. The first involves two ‘experts’ debating this very topic we are discussing:
    Unbelievable? 29 Nov 2008 Creation or Evolution – do we have to choose?
    Unbelievable? 16 Feb 2008 Noah and the Flood – did it happen?

    >> CHRIS: In the US where the argument is more vociferous the courts have ruled that ID is Creationism in disguise and that it is unconstitutional to teach it as science.

    Yes, there was a case, but it was a very corrupt decision based on a mis-definition of ID – anyone who actually believes that it’s merely creation in scientific garb hasn’t really studied the issue. Basically, this was an activist judge who won’t have the last answer on this issue. Although some might complain that the link below is to a PRO-ID site, where else are you going to find such arguments? That decision in no way defines what’s actually right logical, it was a poor decision, not just because I disagree with it, but based on normal jurisprudence.
    Where Dover Was Wrong: A Detailed Look at the Errors of the Infamous Kitzmiller Decision

  73. BTW, for a more succinct list of relevant links (only 3) regarding ID’s definition and the Dover decision, see Responses to Dover Ruling

  74. >> CHRIS: The burden of proof is on proponents of ID to make their argument stick in a society that doesn’t hold the bible as authoritative and where many (most?)

    ID does not refer to the bible at all – it makes positive arguments (not Intelligence in the gaps), from the data that we do have.

  75. Chris says:

    @Daniel – I know that proponents of ID hold it to be science. The courts have held that it is creationism, which does refer to the bible and is what makes teaching it unconstitutional. Thus burden of proof, etc. Even if that were not the case, as I mentioned above, we would not be having a discussion about a young earth or ID if they were not postulated in the bible. We would not be looking at the various branches of science to find evidence in that way, which is why most scientists are not doing so anyway.

  76. Chris says:

    @Daniel – the notification emails arrived out of order and I missed your first reply, sorry. The link to Discovery is coming up with an error message.
    I accept the losing party doesn’t like the judgment. Attacking the judge is sadly all too common, and it happens in the UK too. But I’m forgetting, the judge got it wrong. ;)
    Anyway, to get back to the point, which was that mainstream science is doing a very good job of defending its position, so I don’t feel the need to add to that. It’s not me you have to convince, even though you’d quite like to.

  77. jonbirch says:

    i find that needing genesis to be ‘historically’ accurate, or wanting it to be, robs it of it’s beauty and power as a story. so that rather than discussing the truth of the story and the implications on human behaviour and relationships to each other and the world around us… all that ‘wisdom’, if you like… we would rather engage in a debate that to my mind seems far less important. people enter in to hostility over the historical origins and say and do things which should be an anathema to the main tenets of their faith. it just might be the biggest red herring of our age… and a few ages gone by too.

  78. >> JON: i find that needing genesis to be ‘historically’ accurate, or wanting it to be, robs it of it’s beauty and power as a story.

    I think this is analogous to saying “i find that needing the resurrection of Jesus to be ‘historically’ accurate, or wanting it to be, robs it of it’s beauty and power as a story.”

    Both have metaphoric power, but denying their historicity, if they are actually historic, has consequences, not the least of which is being mistaken about history.

  79. jonbirch says:

    daniel… by only half quoting me you’ve entirely missed my point… in fact you’ve changed my point.
    i think a half quote is ‘analogous’ to a miss quote. :-)
    i only say this because this is how these conversations always seem to go.

    back to genesis, which is where we were i believe. what is it about the writing of genesis that leads you to think it was ever meant to be an actual historic account?.. (please answer in a way that doesn’t mean i have to extract you from the spam filter again :-) ) i don’t think there are many rabbis who would think it to be in that writing tradition, are there?

    slight tangent… i think one thing can be agreed in all this… there ain’t no easy extracting of people from their worldviews. i enjoy reassessing my views and finding myself wrong… which has happened a lot over the years and continues to this day. i also like being right… but knowing i’m right brings out the worst excesses of pride in me, so i may as well have been wrong. i’d rather be wrong with a good heart any day… but most days i don’t even manage that. oh well, i’ll try again tomorrow.

  80. Pat says:

    denying their historicity, if they are actually historic, has consequences

    However one should perhaps note that the claimed consequences do not of themselves make (or guarentee) the literalness of the events they are tied to – since they will depend on what prior metaphysical/theological view one holds. Thus if you are already committed to a penal theory of atonement, you will inevitably see different ‘consequences’ arising from a denial of the actual existence of Adam and Eve as a distinctly identifiable couple or of holding a less literal view of the resurrection than someone whose understanding of the Christ event doesnot rest on that particular interpretation (I use the word deliberately :-) ) of the cross. So claiming a particular set of consequences does not authenticate a particular reading per se.

  81. Carole says:

    Eek! Not sure I’ve got the stamina for this one…off to 1061. :-)

  82. jonbirch says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! CAROLE, YOU ARE AWESOME!!! :lol:

  83. >> CHRIS: I accept the losing party doesn’t like the judgment. Attacking the judge is sadly all too common, and it happens in the UK too. But I’m forgetting, the judge got it wrong.

    In contentious cases like this one, judges OFTEN get it wrong, and to refuse to consider that shows a bias. In fact, the links I sent discussed the important questions which you are avoiding for the sake of loving evolution more than truth or the bible, it seems. Those questions include:
    – Dover in Review, Part 1: Is Judge Jones an activist judge?
    – Dover in Review, pt. 2: Did Judge Jones read the evidence submitted to him in the Dover trial?

    Perhaps you don’t have activist judges in your country, where decisions are made and then overturned – in my state of California, we have a notorious Federal Court which is the MOST overturned court in the country.

  84. Chris says:

    @Daniel – like one of the other correspondents said way back, I’m going to let you have the last word. Thanks for the discussion, it answered the underlying question I had some time back. I wish you well.

  85. >> JON: i think a half quote is ‘analogous’ to a miss quote. :-)
    LOL, funny. Nice.

    >> JON: what is it about the writing of genesis that leads you to think it was ever meant to be an actual historic account?

    I got a very impressed by the interview and book by Joel Heck, which I briefly discussed in Is Genesis Metaphorical or Historical? (I swear, no more links!). As I wrote there:
    I was impressed with his answers, and learned some new reasons why Genesis should be interpreted as history, not metaphor, and that Chapter 2 should be seen, not as a recapitulation, but as a detailed examination of the 6th day (the creation of man). His explanation of why the verbs in Chapter 2 should be interpreted as past tense (God ‘had planted’, not God ‘planted’) easily clears up the �problems� with chronologies.

    Here’s an overview of why I believe it to be literal (though it may contain short passages of poetry, like 1:27, in which you can see some obvious parallelism, but that’s not to say that the story is mythological):

    1. Ps 38:4-7 *is* a poetic description of Creation (so is Job 38), contrast against Genesis, you’ll see a vast difference – Genesis is *not* in the typical Judaic poetic form.

    2. Note that “these are the generations of” is used to introduce genealogies, which joins the earlier sections to the current. So which of the genealogies are mythological?

    3. Luke tracks Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam – so where does it cross into myth?

    4. The new testament always seem to refer to creation as a literal event, taking Genesis literally. See the following passages and decide for yourself – a metaphoric reading might work, but it seems more of a strain than the natural reading of Genesis: John 1:1-5, Romans 1:20, 5:12-21, 2 Cor 4:6, Eph 5:31, 1 Tim 2:11-14, Heb 4:4, 6:7-8, 11:3.

    5. Jesus seems to refer to the Genesis story, including Adam and Eve, as historic: Mt 19:4-8, Mark 13:19, Luke 11:50-51, Mark 10:6.

    But then let me ask you a couple questions:

    1. What indicates to you that these passages are NOT historical?

    2. When does Genesis turn into history? At Adam? Noah? Abraham? Moses? And why?

    Adam might be your best bet, since you could claim that only the creation up till that point was metaphoric.

    If Noah is your last ‘mythological’ character, what about his sons and the tons of details it mentions, including names, places, the table of nations coming from them, etc? Where is the shift from legend/myth to history?

    3. Do you take this position primarily because you think that science has proven an old universe and evolution?

    I would contend that anyone who takes the metaphoric approach will also be an evolutionary believer, and by extension, a believer in an old universe since long epochs are required to overcome the statistical impossibility of evolution (and secondarily that they have looked at the science dating the universe).

    This correlation might not always be causation, at least consciously, but I’d bet it’s more influential in peoples’ minds than they can see or admit.

  86. >> PAT: However one should perhaps note that the claimed consequences do not of themselves make

    I didn’t mean ‘eternal consequences’ – in fact, I didn’t specify. But what I meant was, perhaps there are consequences (and maybe not that important ones!) to believing that people from history were really legendary or mythological.

    I mean, what if you believe that Jesus was not a historic person? Or George Washington? Or Ghandi? Does it matter? And if so, how?

    I could think of some possibilities – that you deny, for example, that they said things recorded in history, since you think those are made up too.

  87. Pingback: Why I beleive Genesis is historic, not merely metaphoric | Whole Reason

  88. Lily Mainstone Cotton says:

    Thanks everyone, all of your comments have been really useful for arguments in RE GCSE- am doing evolutionism and creationism at the moment :)

  89. jonbirch says:

    hey lily! great to have you here! i do hope we haven’t put you completely off the subject. :-)

  90. subo says:

    wow, – anyway I’m impressed Lilly, that anyone can read all this

  91. andy t says:

    hey Daniel, Chris and John thats one heck of a good debut, personally i think it is all down to the white mice ;) until next time…

  92. JF says:

    Far too many uses of the word “seem”, Daniel! :-)
    When does Genesis turn into history? Er… it doesn’t! At all. Noah’s Ark (with the implicit story of those swimming kangaroos), those family trees… all made up, I’m afraid.
    Even William the Conqueror could trace his own genesis back to God. It was just something you had to do in ancient times to substantiate your claim to the right to any kind of power over people.
    What indicates to me that Genesis is NOT historical? See above.

    By the way, when do you think Genesis was written? And by whom? How do you know this? Who could have known the conversations that Adam had with God, or remember who was whose father, brother etc. ? Most theories presuppose that Moses got all this verbatim in some kind of dream. Are dreams reliable sources of history?

  93. JF says:

    I guess we will never know…

  94. JF – so you say that NONE of the people mentioned in Genesis, including Moses, were historical?

    And what of the Kings of Israel and other nations? Myth?

    And if deny them all, do you also deny, then, that Jesus, or Joseph and Mary, were historic? And if you agree that they were historic, at what point in their genealogies do they become mythical, and by what reason do you make that judgment?

    >>LF: By the way, when do you think Genesis was written? And by whom? How do you know this?

    I’ll ask you a question then – who wrote the plays of Shakespeare? And how do you know this? The answer is similar, except that the Biblical manuscripts have much better attestation than the plays of Shakespeare.

    >> LF: Who could have known the conversations that Adam had with God, or remember who was whose father, brother etc. ?

    First, you may not know the disciplines involved in Jewish oral history memorization. Second, you may be too literal in your understanding of ‘what was said.’ Such ‘quotes’ may be merely the gist of the conversations. Third, you may have a low view of inspiration in the writing of scripture. Fourth, you may underestimate how important genealogies were to such tribal peoples.

  95. Forrest says:

    Don’t know what makes me different, but I’m not having all the things which seem to be getting read in to the cartoon.
    It is a factual statement, a strictly literal 6,000 or however many years creationist is not going to accept that there are fossils which are millions of years old.

  96. Forrest says:

    Now, picking up on the discussion, it makes sense to me that there are multiple factors contributing to climate change. And since climate appears to have changed before we got here it is logical that it would continue to do so.
    And given the trend of things said in Revelation and other places about conditions before Christ’s return it makes sense to me that there ain’t jack we can do to stop it.
    –> Which is NOT the same thing as saying us humans should not do anything. God assigned us via Adam and Eve to be stewards of this place starting with the Garden of Eden. We jacked that up bigtime. And we’re still jacking up at the job. Therefore we have a _bunch_ of FUBARS to fix.
    With or without human-caused climate change and/or global warming us humans have one hell of a planetary “spring cleaning” to do unless we want to have some _really_ embarrassing answers at the final Judgement when God asks how we humans did at taking care of this little ball of rock and water he gave us.

  97. Forrest says:

    And, since oil was brought up, the arguments that oil may be abiotic in part or in whole are starting to make sense to me.

  98. Forrest says:

    Note: I ain’t dissin Rebecca

    Re: “rebecca says:
    February 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm
    — if somebody thinks that God made the world fully formed only a few thousand years ago, why would God include fuels in that creation which would damage the environment if they were used?”

    And why would God include plants in that creation which will kill you the minute you eat them?

  99. Forrest says:

    While this conversation is rambling to and fro –
    On that tree of life in the Garden on Eden thing: I don’t know if it is a literal tree; an allegorical tree; a symbolic tree; or what, and to me that’s almost irrelevant.
    The point is that the people did something which they very much knew they were not to do, and that behavior had negative effects. And they learned that the resultant negative effects can and often will go beyond your own self to greater or lesser degree.
    And in this case they discovered that the negative effects of _that_ action went unimaginably far beyond themselves.

  100. jonbirch says:

    yup, forrest… i think that’s the idea of the story… or that’s what i take from it… and some other great points to boot.
    the idea that genesis (or the writers of said book) is even trying to be ‘science’ or any other such thing, seems completely ludicrous to me and makes no sense at all.

  101. dgsinclair says:

    >> It is a factual statement, a strictly literal 6,000 or however many years creationist is not going to accept that there are fossils which are millions of years old.

    True, but the cartoon says nothing about millions of years, only about fossils themselves. Of course, creationists see the fossils. We just doubt the assumptions behind the dating methodologies, and acknowledge the many problems with them that are glossed over. Things like 20 year old lava flows testing at millions of years old, bent sediments that show no sign of shearing (impossible with dry million year old layers), polystrate fossils, intact dinosaur DNA in bones that are way past the age of DNA degredation, C14 in ‘ancient’ diamonds and rock formations that should have no detectable C14 left, and many other young earth evidences that INCLUDE the fossil data are all important pieces of data.

  102. dgsinclair says:

    >> FORREST: On that tree of life in the Garden on Eden thing: I don’t know if it is a literal tree; an allegorical tree; a symbolic tree; or what, and to me that’s almost irrelevant.

    I think this is the copout of those only interested in subjective truth. It may matter if such things were literal, even if they have metaphoric value. This is like saying “I don’t care if the resurrection was literal, it has meaning to me as metaphor.” Unfortunately, if Jesus was not actually raised from the dead, neither will we (well, maybe you’ll be resurrected metaphorically ;).

    What is irrelevant is my feelings about what is important – what is relevant is what is true.

  103. dgsinclair says:

    >> REBECCA: — if somebody thinks that God made the world fully formed only a few thousand years ago, why would God include fuels in that creation which would damage the environment if they were used?”…..And why would God include plants in that creation which will kill you the minute you eat them?

    Are you just hiding behind these, or would you surrender your skepticism if a good answer were offered? There are simple theological answers to such questions, I think.

    1. Creation is not perfect, it is fallen – so we see death and decay as part of Adam’s fall and the subsequent judgement. BTW, God did not include ‘fuels,’ it’s just that oil is left behind – as well as coal, trees, and humans – all of which cause pollution when you burn them as fuel.

    2. Killing plants – plants are not sentient, but are renewable sources of food for those of us who can’t synthesize metabolic energy from sunlight. This is hardly killing, and Genesis records that they ate plants in the garden BEFORE the fall, so biblically speaking, this is not death. Plants are not sentient and do not experience suffering.

  104. dgsinclair says:

    >> JF: I guess we will never know…
    So I answered, time to put up or not.

  105. JF says:

    DGS: You answered nothing. My question was about WHO wrote Genesis and WHERE they got their information from.

    “JF – so you say that NONE of the people mentioned in Genesis, including Moses, were historical?”
    I absolutely challenge you to show me where I said that!??

    To me it does not matter whether or not Moses existed. But even if he did, and even if it could be shown that he wrote Genesis (it can’t), I would still query how his version of events hundreds of years before his own existence could be considered reliable, i.e. how the information was delivered to him.

    “And what of the Kings of Israel and other nations? Myth?”
    Archaeology seems to show that the bible is written from inside the folk tradition of one small sector of society through the ages in that region, talking up the importance of their own kings (as one would expect), while ignoring others who may have been kings of larger, neighbouring nations. So if it’s ‘history’, it’s a very subjective and selective history. Just as a History of England wouldn’t tell you much about the French or Dutch or Irish.

    “And if you deny them all…” (I didn’t!!), “…do you also deny, then, that Jesus, or Joseph and Mary, were historic?”
    To me this is simply not that important. I suspect that stories about Jesus do centre on one or more historical figures, subject to later embellishment/editing etc. to serve the purposes of various aspects of the church at a time when they controlled written texts. To me it is more important to read and understand the thoughts/teachings of major thinkers than to study the details of their lives. This is true whether it’s Jesus or Bertrand Russell. Even if historical evidence were to be found for a Jesus of Nazareth with parents called Mary & Joseph, that would still leave you with everything to do, to show he was son of God rather than just one of what appear to have been many wandering teachers of that time. Even the ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ tag has to be squared with the prediction of the birth in Bethlehem by fabricating a census requiring people to go back to the towns of their birth. No record of any such census has ever been found; this just shows how writers of the bible pieced things together to serve their own ends.

    “And if you agree that they were historic, at what point in their genealogies do they become mythical, and by what reason do you make that judgment?”
    See the point I made about William the Conqueror. I believe 100% that William existed, but I do not believe the truth or provenance of his claimed family tree making him a direct descendant of God. Do you? I don’t know how or where the claimed lineage becomes false, but I simply know that someone known widely as “William the Bastard” is more likely to have fabricated this lineage for political and self-perceptual reasons than for it to be true. (Similarly this case: http://www.jesusevidence.org/gen.html). Occam’s Razor is all I really need for this, but the fact is that not even the established church believes any longer that there was a literal Adam & Eve.
    Both William the Conqueror and Mr Richard Steel fall down because they have surrendered reason at the door of proud wish-thinking. The same wish-thinking that I assume pieced together most of the ‘historical’ elements of the bible to support various Israelite desires to perceive themselves as ‘the promised ones’ living in a ‘promised land’.

    It is a more rational and adult stance to look to multiple sources for real history / facts and then say “we don’t know for sure” when appropriate… than to try to hold up the bible as some sort of history book without any external justification.

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