Expelled!

I’ll finish the Love blog (part 2) as soon as I can. On Sunday, Margi and I accompanied 3 friends to see the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. I really liked Ben Stein’s movie and resonated with its theme. The movie is a documentary about the systematic way that academia, media, and culture expels even a rational discussion about Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is the theory that life and the universe originated from an intelligent Designer. It leaves open the question of who or what that designer might be.
  2. Okay… there was a “heavy-handedness” at times, but in the end, it was justified.
  3. The weirdest part:
    Ben Stein interviews Richard Dawkins, author of the bestselling book, “The God Delusion.” Dawkins argues that the biblical God is racist, genocidal, homophobic, and infanticidal. He is a committed atheist, and argues your real freedom begins the day you eliminate God from the equation of your life. Dawkins holds the Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. So, he’s no slouch.
  4. Weirdest part, continued. As the interview progresses, Dawkins laughs at the idea of god. To him it is illogical and foolish to posit an invisible supreme being. But…
  5. Weirdest part, for real… He suggest that it IS LOGICALLY possible that life on earth (DNA) was “seeded” BY ALIENS FROM OTHER PLANETS… but no matter what, those aliens had to evolve according to a Darwinian model. Okay, then. That makes sense, doesn’t it.

The movie will make you think. It will make you cringe. It will make you worry about the future of Western Civilization. It will make you pray for revival. Go see it.

I would have loved to see an explanation of “Intelligent Design.” It is, after all, the basis of the whole move. The important concept of “Irreducible Complexity” is simple to grasp, and amazingly powerful against the idea of materialistic evolution.

Since I’m half-hillbilly, I can give Expelled three thumbs up.

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41 thoughts on “Expelled!

  1. You do understand that the movie is premised on lies, don’t you? Perhaps you should go read about what Ben Stein doesn’t want you to know.

    Also, on your “wierdest” part – sure, it’s logically possible. Is it plausible though, or probable? No, probably not. But that’s not what Dawkins said. He said “possible.” And indeed, it’s possible that aliens seeded Earth with life, just as it’s possible that we will one day seed life on another planet.

  2. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for your comment. You are right, Dawkins said it was possible. But with the same breath he implies that God is impossible. On a scale of probability, it seems to me that God is more probable than aliens from other planets as a theory to explain the origins of life on earth. That’s the problem. Scientists sniff at the improbability of God, and then point to what they think MIGHT be POSSIBLE, without a single shred of empirical evidence. The point I got out of the movie is that merely the discussion of the God-theory is stifled.

    I have not visited the website you linked to… I’ll do so when I get a chance.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  3. But with the same breath he implies that God is impossible.

    I think you’re wrong again there. Dawkins says that all gods are possible, but they’re all equally improbable. Zeus is just as possible, for instance, but we’re so accustomed to saying that Zeus doesn’t exist. Why make an exception for one god, and not another, unless it’s just for some parochial reason?

    Anyway, I just thought I’d toss my 2cents in.

  4. Hi Dan

    What I found to be more telling, was how the ID sympathizers really just wanted a hearing on the evidence, while the Darwinian folks found it nessasary to call names… for me that speaks volumes about how “strong” their position really is… I say my hats off to the Darwinian crowd… It takes incredible faith to believe that stuff…

  5. The problem is three fold:

    a) Evidence for Evolution is massive indeed. A great (and free) sources of such can be found at talkorigins.org. It is a highly respected site which backs up everything it says by referencing to thousands of pieces of peer reviewed research, papers, observations and experiments. So yes, the position for the Theory of Evolution is incredibly strong.

    b) ID proponents have not managed to actually produce any evidence. That’s right, none at all. The closest they ever came was the hypothesis about irreducible complexity but not one case has been found of it.

    c) Most ID proponents are actually incredibly ignorant about scientific research. Behe was shown to be exactly this at the Dover trial, Simmons was likewise shown not to have a clue in an interview with PZ Myers, Stein likewise has expressed some truly ignorant statements which is just false. And, to top it off, Mathis recently got shown to be pretty much completely ignorant in a newspaper interview.

  6. It’s interesting how time and time again, the stuff IDers call “irreducibly complex” have been shown to be possible in evolution, and in at least one case, the new, evolved version was even better than the original, making it look even more like it had been designed from the original (yet it all came from mutations).

    From the eye, to blood clotting systems, to cell metabolism. It’s all been shown to be reducible.

    Speaking of probability, the probability of you being born from the exact sperm and egg combination is 1 in 12 trillion (sperms your father will produce in his lifetime) x 1 in 2 million (eggs your mother began with at birth).

    Then multiply that by the chance your father and mother could’ve been born with their sperm/egg combination, and all their ancestors, and so on.

    Then do what you did above to everyone that exists in the world today. It’s literally impossible for everyone who exists today to exist. Yet here we are.

  7. Bill,

    These topics are fascinating.

    One professor I had (many years ago in graduate school) asked us, “Instead of denying intelligent design, one should actually be asking, ‘WHY anything at all?'”

    Grace.
    Joe

  8. The last statement in the video in the link from Dan is, “NCSE will be there until the last fire is out.” What they don’t realize is, that last fire is eternal. 😦

  9. The way for Christians (and anyone else, really) to defeat Dawkins and all of the “New Atheist” folks is not to attack them on the “facts” or the “evidence.” Their standards of what counts as evidence or facts (indeed, what counts as REAL) is where they ought to be challenged.

    Dawkins and crowd assume a Hume-ian epistemology (understanding of what counts as knowledge) that is performatively contradictory.

    The epistemological standard I’m talking about is this: the only statements that can be true are either “analytic” statements or “synthetic” statements.

    Analytic statements are those that completely contain their own definition. For example; “All bachelors are unmarried men.” or “A circle is a set of coplaner points equi-distant from a given center.”

    Synthetic statements are like declarative statements with a subject and a predicate. “The chair is green.” or “Bill is smart.” These can be affirmed by empirical verification.

    So, of course they don’t believe in God. The God of Christianity is not a purely analytic or empirically verifiable reality. In fact, they can’t even affirm the God of the philosophers, who is just a deistic first cause. Hume argues (probably correctly) that causality isn’t empirically verifiable, so that argument doesn’t work either.

    The problem is that their standard of knowledge, their epistemological commitment, is neither analytically self-evident nor empirically derived. You can’t figure out that is the standard using the standard itself.

    In other words; THEIR STANDARD OF WHAT COUNTS AS TRUE…DOESN’T MEET IT’S OWN DEMANDS!!! They take it completely on faith. It is just assumed.

    Good bye Dawkins. Good bye Hitchins.

    To be fair to those guys, the god that they attack really isn’t God anyway. They are right to reject the god they are always talking about. If that was god, we should all be atheists.

    Luckily, its not. Its just a cultural strawman that, unfortunately, we’ve probably enabled, if not created.

    Godspeed,
    Jon

  10. Scott,
    What I found to be more telling, was how the ID sympathizers really just wanted a hearing on the evidence, while the Darwinian folks found it nessasary to call name

    I’ve never seen a creation science or intelligent design advocate seriously attempt to discuss the evidence – the correspondence between transitional fossils, phylogenetics, comparative embryology, biogeography, etc., and the creationists in Ben Stein’s fill prove no exception. So I call shenanigans on your part.

    “It takes faith to believe this stuff”? It takes faith to believe that fossils exist??? It takes faith to believe that deeper strata represent older geological eras??? No, cancel the shenanigans bit – you’re just plain ignorant. I recommend learning about geology and natural history in this instance.

  11. Please play nice…. civil discourse, no name calling, or I’ll delete/edit your post.

    Dan… Scott’s right in that there is a level of faith (acceptance of a truth-claim without empirical evidence) in the whole evolutionary schema. Evolution is still a theory because it has not been observed in nature.

    Fossils exist… no faith there.
    Deeper strata represent older geological eras… not always. Even the Encylopedia Britannica called the reasoning behind this assumption “circular reasoning.”

    The way we put together the evidence often depends on our presuppositions.

    IN the end, the bottom line of this movie isn’t simply about who’s right or wrong. It’s about our ability to even discuss the matter or to offer opposing views without being ostracized, demonized, or uhhh… I can’t think of another word right now that ends with -ized.

    Bill

  12. Scott’s right in that there is a level of faith (acceptance of a truth-claim without empirical evidence) in the whole evolutionary schema.

    Denialism abounds…

  13. Jonathan,
    Right on. The epistemological base is off and circular. Most evolutionists believe in evolution because their teachers/grownup believe in evolution, just as most Christians believe in Christ because of their parents.
    Very few think through their positions critically and come to their own conclusions.
    Question: Is the moon a sphere or is it flat like a pancake?
    Answer: A sphere.
    Question: How do you know?
    Answer:… My teacher told me (Faith). Astronauts have flown around it and verified its sphericity (empiricism), but have YOU ever verified it’s sphericity? NO? Oh, you’re taking their word at it? Oops… it’s faith again. Well… mathematically, it has been proven that the moon is a sphere (Rationalism). Really? Have you ever done the math? No? Then you’re taking their word at it? Hmmm… Sounds like faith to me.
    You could make a similar argument about evolution.
    Bottom line: if FAITH is considered a weak link in the chain of knowing, then it’s a weak link in EVERY CHAIN… including the evolutionist’s.
    By the way, I don’t consider faith a weak link, I’m just asking for consistency.
    Bill

  14. Dan,

    Labelling a philosophical statement as denialism doesn’t progress the discussion. You list “transitional fossils.” Is it not scientifically true that there are “gaps” in the geologic record and that “missing links” are unaccounted for? I’m not drawing a conclusion, just affirming what I have read (and not just from Christians/creationists). These lacunae are factual. Now what will we do with them? Either follow the evidence or deny them. IN this case, it seems to me that it’s the darwinian side that denies/overlooks its own gaps. Does this make it false? No. It just means that every theory has its gaps, and shouldn’t deny them, but should work to “close” them.

    You also mention phylogenetics. May I respectfully ask you to consider that this field is itself speculative and that there is a circularity it its logic. One need go no further than the Wikipedia article to verify this… no creationist ranting in sight there. Just the simple acknowledgement, “The problem posed by phylogenetics is that genetic data are only available for the present, and fossil records (osteometric data) are sporadic and less reliable. Our knowledge of how evolution operates is used to reconstruct the full tree.[3]” Translation: we’re creating evolutionary sub-theories by applying evolutionary theories.

    Dan, I’m not saying that this means they are FALSE. Not at all. I’m just asking you to consider that there may be a level of circularity and even of Faith in the evolutionary system…

    When I was in high school, I was taught, “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” This was a motto of darwinian evolution. What it meant was that a human embryo seems to “evolve” in the womb. It had a single cell stage, and then a fish-like stage with gill-like structures, etc. Ontogeny–the coming into being of a human–recapitulated (summarized, in miniature) phylogeny–the coming into being of the phylum or species. This OBSERVATION was deemed yet another PROOF of evolution.

    Today no on is taught this, because it is patently false. The similarities of embryonic structure do not mean anything.. just because it looked like gills doesn’t mean it is scientifically gill-like.
    All of which is to say this: both evolutionists and creationists are working with the same empirical data. We are trying to put that data together into a system that both explains what is and predicts what is to come in a way that satisfies the evidence and has the least amount of loose ends. I acknowledge that both sides in this debate are on a quest for truth, and most often that quest is sincere.

    Unfortunately, most evolutionists treat creationists as if they were a bunch of crackpots. That was the main point of this movie, as I saw it. That is what I am against. Especially since there are plenty of credible doctors, scientists, geologists, embryologists… etc., on the creationist side. Could it be that they’re not all a bunch of morons?

    Bill

  15. Labelling a philosophical statement as denialism doesn’t progress the discussion.

    Each and every one of your counterarguments represents a standard creationist talking point that has been dealt with by scientists and is accounted for. I recommend you take a glance at the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims.

  16. Dracil,
    I think I understand your point, and would respectfully disagree. The low odds of any person’s genetic profile have nothing to do with the low odds of life having evolved. The two are of a completely different order.
    In fact, I would turn your argument around and ask why you would assume a completely natural explanation without at least considering the possibility of a supernatural one?
    Bill

  17. ah, but Bill, the point I’m making above is not that the particular data of understanding (this conclusion or that conclusion) are taken on faith. In one way they are, in that the individual hasn’t done the verifying themselves. On the other, they aren’t, in so far as the scientific method allows for a systematic verification we can trust (provisionally, until more data emerges or better insights are realized) without having to verify the conclusions ourselves. Just saying “well, you’ve never seen the queen of england sleep,” does not make that fact worth debating. She almost certainly does.

    My point is a bit more nuanced than that. I’m saying that their epistemological standard isn’t just taken on faith, but that it performatively contradicts itself. It’s not just assumed (which, of course, it is), but it actually cannot be true. It proves itself false.

    Bernard Lonergan’s Cognitional Theory that a posted a few messages ago, BTW, has the opposite status. It performatively proves itself true. It can’t be denied. In order to do so, you would do exactly what it says you will. But, again, I’ll resist the urge to ramble on about that…

  18. Jonathan…
    Right… we operate on provisional certainties.
    My argument is essentially a defense of faith. Faith is the fundamental system of perception, even for the most convinced empiricist or rationalist. To exalt one system or another because you view faith as inferior way of knowing pulls the rug out from underneath yourself. I’m kind of tired of a so-called empiricist or rationalist presuming superiority because they don’t rely on faith, whereas (poor, ignorant, antiquated, primitive) Christians do..
    So there. 🙂
    Bill

  19. 1. The rainbow I saw last summer was the result of scientific environmental conditions where sunlight refracted through rain droplets. The rainbow I saw last summer was placed there by God.

    2. My niece was born last year because a sperm and egg united, the embryo was nurtured and birthed. My niece was born last year because God “knit her together” in the womb and ordained her life.

    3. Cool and warm air mixed, a dark funnel cloud formed, and environmental conditions produced a tornado. Even an insurance company will acknowledge that tornado as an ‘act of God’.

    God is big enough to have created science, and big enough to use its rules. He is also big enough to step outside the rules that we (so far) understand, to do things that puzzle us. Frequently, there are scientific rules (which God created and man has come to understand) behind what God does.

    Why does there have to be an either-or here? Why the dogmatism that reaches beyond the fact that God created all – to assume we know HOW He created it – beyond the Genesis account, which I believe is fully true, and was not intended as a play-by-play instruction or scientific manual.

    The bottom line is: God did it. We were not there when He did. Is it not dangerous to speak with any kind of passion, claiming certain knowledge of such things – beyond the fact that He created? Is the ‘how’ of this really a belief that when held, either way, in the light of the Cross, determines ones’ salvation?

    Love you all, but, as Christ-followers, when we are dogmatic about the ‘how’, is it possible that we are unwittingly placing obstacles before scientifically-trained people, that might serve to keep them out of the Kingdom? Sadly, (in regard to the ‘how’ only) on a technicality that none of us on any side will truly fully understand until we’re with Him?

    One final note. Just as with staunch evolutionists, there are many examples of staunch creationists (I consider myself a creationist in that God DID all the creating – I’m just open-minded about how) who speak vehemently, insultingly, and condescendingly against those who disagree with them. Check out any tape or DVD by Kent Hovind (who is now in prison for tax evasion).

    For an example of an intelligent Christ-follower who believes God might have used evolution, check out any online talks or interviews by Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project.

  20. -V-
    Beautifully stated, though I am bummed out that you hear an “either/or” argument from me. I am simply stating the logic of the “or” side, so to speak. That it is at least equal to that of the “either” side.
    The only issue that might be raised by a staunch creationist (like me) would be that the “how” questions, to the extent that they are a matter of biblical revelation, have been answered: “in the beginning God created…”
    The next step in the logic is to ask…Is it POSSIBLE (as possible as Dawkin’s aliens) that GOD created the world and its life in a manner that accords with Genesis literally? Is it possible? Is it feasible? Is it logical?
    To “leave room for how” could be construed as either a denial of biblical revelation, or as a method of interpretating that revelation that does not accord with historic, literal, grammtical/historical hermeneutics.
    I am not on the warpath against evolution or darwinists.
    I am simply saying that there is a valid defense of the old time, traditionally held faith on this matter; and that it is not just held by a bunch of reactionary lunatics who call each other Thee and Thou. Yes, there are other positions. And yes, there can and should be discussion. A lot of creationists feel unjustly shut out of the dialogue, and that is where I resonated with the movie.

    Bill

    To all…

    I would also like to ask the ethical question: what does it make of human nature to say that we are simply matter and energy, on the order of a light bulb, but much more complex? What intrinsic value are we left with? Why is “thou shalt not murder” a valid commandment, if we are simply the smartest branch on the evolutionary tree? Once you subtract “the image of God” or any transcendent element or even any non-material element from human nature, then who are we?

    This is more than theoretical, because darwinism has been used to justify euthanasia, eugenics, and genocide. That is NOT to say that darwinists all do that… some have, so the ethical side needs to be developed and the ethical implications explored. I would love to see a coherent “Evolutionary Ethics.” Is one out there?

    V, I know you’re not saying that stuff… it’s just meant as part of the overall discussion.

    Bill

  21. maxgrace,

    Actually, as a Theistic Evolutionist, I believe there is a supernatural creator. However, science cannot make any claims about the supernatural. Therefore it is pointless to invoke the supernatural, either God or whatever one wishes to claim is involved in the process. Sure, we may believe there is, but as science requires falsifiability, and we cannot really falsify God, the supernatural is outside the realm of science no matter how strongly one wishes otherwise.

    That is really all there is to it. Unfortunately, yes, there are certain scientists who try to claim more than science, by saying science proves there is no God. That is not true. Any claims made that something in science disproves God immediately steps of science and into the realm of philosophy.

    I think St. Augustine, 1500 years ago, summed the debate pretty well in his Literal Meaning of Genesis:

    “It often happens that even a non-Christian knows a thing or two about the earth, the sky, the various elements of the world, about the movement and revolution of the stars and even their size and distance, about the nature of animals, shrubs, rocks, and the like, and maintains this knowledge with sure reason and the experience. It is offensive and ruinous, something to be avoided at all cost, for a nonbeliever to hear a Christian talking about these things as though with Christian writings as his source, and yet so nonsensically and with such obvious error that the nonbeliever can hardly keep from laughing.

    “The trouble is not so much that the erring fellow is laughed at but that our authors are believed by outsiders to have held those same opinions and so are despised and rejected as untutored men, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil…How are they going to believe our books concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven when they think they are filled with fallacious writing about things which they know from experience or sure calculation?

    “There is no telling how much harm these rash and presumptuous people bring upon their more prudent brethren when they begin to be caught and argued down by those who are not bound by the authority of our Scriptures, and when they then try to defend their flippant, rash, and obviously erroneously statements by quoting a shower of words from those same Sacred Scriptures, even citing from memory those passages which they think support their case, ‘without understanding either what they are saying or things about which they make assertions’ (I Tim. 1:7)”

  22. It’s from De genesi ad litteram, or The Literal Meaning of Genesis.

    I believe it’s specifically from this translation: The Literal Meaning of
    Genesis, Translated by Tr. J.H. Taylor, Westminster, Md., Newman Press, 1982.

  23. Hoo boy, are you going to get comments. Fun!

    I am reluctant to see the movie, but I will have to eventually if I want to credibly comment on it.

    Matt and dracil are on the right track (and intriguing symbol, dracil!). In all my thinking about this, the one underlying issue is as alluded in Bill’s comment to dracil – naturalistic and supernatural explanations. Actually, Bill indicated that dracil assumed a completely naturalistic explanation and didn’t consider a supernatural one, which I didn’t see written in dracil’s comment. That is because we have adopted the view that a naturalistic explanation (evolution) and a supernatural one (God’s creation) are mutually exclusive. In other words, if all of life developed on earth from a common ancestor through a naturalistic process that we can learn about by doing science, it leaves nothing for God to have done. I haven’t been able to figure out why we have trouble with this, considering that those of us that walk with God live with parallel natural and supernatural explanations all around us – e.g., God and medicine healed me, God and sexual reproduction created me. I don’t believe that God healed me only if there is no possible parallel medical explanation, and I don’t believe God is the creator only if there is no possible parallel naturalistic explanation. We can talk about the scientific evidence, or the Biblical evidence, but I believe that adherence to this false dichotomy is generally at the base of stances against evolution. To me this is so obviously a false dichotomy, and yet it is so prevalent that I am beginning to question whether I am missing something. What am I missing?

    If we can’t get past the false dichotomy of evolution OR creation, then Christians have to continue to try to disprove evolution as an attack on God, which only adds to the confusion (and I’m not sure advances the kingdom of God), and from there you get all the facets of the debate we see today. Hm, that last sounds overly simplistic and reductionistic, and it’s probably not completely true, but you get my point. In a lot of things I’ve heard, the discussion quickly becomes whether there is a God or not, and all sorts of other bizarre things like whether the universe could come into being out of nothing, which has nothing to do with evolution. Evolution is a scientific theory about the development of life on earth. By definition, it doesn’t say anything either way about the involvement of God. There seems to be a lot of confusion around the intermingling of the theory of evolution and the philosophical conclusions drawn by some (atheism/materialism). And, of course, adding to the confusion (and fueling the hostility of the creationists) are all the atheists like Dawkins that subscribe to the same false dichotomy and claim that evolution explains away God.

    At the risk of being nitpicky, we should also be aware that the Expelled filmmakers, supposedly fighting on the side of truth, used music and other media without permission; basically tricked Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, Eugenie Scott, etc. into doing the interviews; and have distorted the stories of the “expelled” scientists, at least according to expelledexposed.com. And I can’t believe no one’s commented yet on the Darwin/Hitler thing, which is so outrageously offensive to everyone involved and belies such a staggering misunderstanding of evolution.

    Dang, I just realized that while I was writing this, my wife and dracil did it better than I did. Oh well, here it is anyway . . .

  24. Dracil and E – thank you.

    Bill, I so appreciate your honesty and love your ‘staunchness’ in communicating the gospel and grace of Christ. I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture; if I had to make a choice between Scripture and scientific theory, Scripture would win out each and every time.

    But I honestly don’t believe I have to make a choice, in this case, between Scripture and the scientific process of evolution. No more than I have to make a choice between light refraction and God’s placement (and full authorship) of a rainbow. He owns light refraction; His use of it does not diminish His Reign. But He could have placed a rainbow there without choosing to use refraction too. That was all I meant by not needing an ‘either-or’.

    Before ‘E’ and I were married, I took the same distrustful stance toward theistic evolution – and was far more dogmatic about it even than you seem to be. Some of what opened me to other possibilities of flexing on the ‘how’ (and why that was okay) were the gentle, humble writings of Hugh Ross (a Christian ID proponent). In his book, ‘Creation and Time’ he devotes some well-researched chapters to the reconciliation of Scripture and science – specifically addressing the Genesis account. He acknowledges that Scripture and science are both from God and the Lord our God is One. Any apparent conflict between these two expressions is simply a result of our own imperfect knowledge.

    One concept that created particular pause for me was the fact that ‘days’ are referenced in Genesis prior to creation of the sun and moon. By our current standard, one literal ‘day’ is one rotation of the earth on its axis; its relationship to the sun determines which portions of the earth are light and dark. Should the fact that 3 ‘days’ (evening and morning) occurred in the Bible prior to God’s creating the sun and moon cause me to question Genesis, or the Bible? Absolutely not. But it may cause valid questions about whether the word ‘day’ in Genesis was intended to hold the exact same meaning we now use to define it. Particularly in light of the loose comparison we know God draws (also scripturally) to a day vs. a thousand years. The world must look so much different to Him, not confined to time. There is room for humility there.

    Anyway, I agree with Dracil – Augustine summed it up beautifully. My point was just that, in our eagerness to defend the faith (and I am so with you on the importance of that), it hurts me to see seeking evolutionists regularly turned away, and turned off, by Christianity because of a stumbling block that does not relate to the deity of Christ, nor what He did for us on the Cross and through the Resurrection.

    We will read children’s books accounts of 7-day creationism to our daughter when she comes home. Later, she will learn about evolution as one of the methods God could have used during His creation. We don’t believe the two necessarily conflict, and will rejoice in teaching her that, no matter what, ‘God did it’ when it comes to creation. And someday, when I stand before Him, if he says with a twinkle in His eye, “And, by the way, what in the world were you thinking in not warring against that whole evolution thing??”, I will be on my face before Him asking, “Forgive me- I knew it was all yours all along and, by your grace, did my best to point to you despite not knowing for sure how it all went down. Your ways are SO much higher than mine… and can you please show me how you did it now? I’m so very curious…”

  25. I wonder about the implication of God’s words in Genesis: “Let the sea bring forth. . . . Let the earth bring forth . . . .” Yet He says, “Let us make man in our image . . . .”

  26. We can discuss the opposing theories and nuances for a long time. But the real conflict doesn’t play out personally. And here, I can take the discussion in a new direction. What both sides resent is being force fed the other’s theory. Worse, we resent our kids being fed the concept we disagree with. Where does that happen? Only in public schools. Right now, evolution is the dominant thought. This angers Christian parents. Evolutionists fear that science will be overthrown for theology. Why should people have to pay tax dollars that completely undermines the value system they teach at home? I’m not being cynical to say that it is only money that determines how a person feels about this issue. I am saying, though, that in a free market economy, which America is supposed to be, parents should have a choice at where they spend their education dollars. Then the market can determine which is the best education system for our children. Parents that want to raise their children with a faith-based value system should be able to do so. Parents that want to maximize the scientific input in their children would also have that freedom. Right now, we have a publicly funded monopoly that is serving no one well. In terms of the creationism/evolution debate, if we remove the public schools from the equation, I think we could co-exist much better.
    I discussed this with a woman who raised two boys who leaned toward the scientific explanation of everything. She didn’t understand why I was so concerned about evolution being taught in public schools. She said that in all her boys’ education, they had had only two days of evolution taught to them, anyway, so what’s the big deal? Well, it’s not that I’m concerned with evolution being taught. I’m concerned with the lack of choice. Besides, if I agreed with evolution and was raising kids whom I wanted to get the best science education available, I would be pretty upset that in 17 years of public education, those boys received only two days’ education in the predominant theory of life origins and development. We must move toward a better system of education. As Milton Friedman explained (it seems that everyone has to quote someone), the government demands that you feed your kids, but it doesn’t tell you where to go.

  27. I saw the movie with some friends a couple of nights ago.

    I don’t think this is a science vs. religion discussion. This is a religion vs. religion discussion. I think I heard (at least) these two statements (perhaps by implication) from Dawkins:

    * Science is the one and only valid path to truth (thus enlightenment).
    * The deeper our commitment to science the less we need God (Science displaces/replaces God.

    It seems that this time around, the “inquisition” shoe is on the other foot!

  28. Wow – Quite a discussion.

    I saw the movie with my wife and felt that it told the truth. Whether or not you believe in evolution the movie is mostly about the mistreatment of those who dare to express an unpopular opinion in the scientific community. Einstein said: “Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.” And he knew a little something about science.

    The other problem with arguing about evolution is that it disregards the importance of faith. My faith makes me sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see. Most christian’s faith will cause them to disregard whatever fact of the week science may come up with. Throughout history the scholarly have been wrong, but always certain that they had the answers.

    Finding incorrect scientific teachings which were viewed as absolute fact throughout history is not a very tough assignment.

    I love the BLOG, it is nice to know what the pastor is thinking !

  29. Matt A…

    “What both sides resent is being force fed the other’s theory. Worse, we resent our kids being fed the concept we disagree with. Where does that happen? Only in public schools.”

    Great point. You’re right on. We have to figure out a way to communicate the various positions without a) turning it into a war; b) turning it into censorship or political correctness.

    Bill

  30. I truly believe that the folks who feel it so necessary to defend Darwin and Allien possibilites, in any forum, espescially ones that are connected with Church…are really seeking God. By the simple act of dissenting from the premis of God, they are actually asking for knowledge of him and his true existance. Its fear that stops them from being intellectually honest with themselves and say ” I want to believe and I want to know God. How do I do that?”. I see them as opportunity and in need more than followers of Darwin or Seti’s ( Search for extraterestrial Intellegence).
    Its just my opinion of course…however, the only explanation I require is why anyone who trusts Darwins theory would even be involved in a religeous debate or forum? For every consideration there’s a reason behind it, no act is done without forthought and knowing its surroundings…so why?

    Thanks

  31. That’s a funny thing to say when most Christians also accept the theory of evolution.

    The reason we (or at least I) debate against Creationists is because I seriously believe the Creationist position harms Christianity and will turn people away from it.

  32. dracil,

    How so? Please give me an example of how creation beliefs harm Christians?
    Isn’t the reasoning of “It harms Christians” simply a contradiction of faith? and that in itself, is non Christian?
    I only see it has harmful in the respect that it goes against the political correctness this country has fallen prey to. It goes against the secular left as they have demanded only their ideas are incapable of harming anyone and never to offend any other. Which is to say, only others than Christians may NOT be offended.
    I can respect the opinions of others even if it irks me a little…. but I can not agree with a premis that belief, faith and following can be harmful.

    I look forward to reading your examples and I appreciate the debate. Thanks

  33. Political correctness?

    This isn’t about political correctness.

    This is about espousing views that are simply so ridiculous to pretty much everyone in the world that they use it as a basis to reject all of Christianity, thinking this non-essential belief is a requirement for Christianity.

    Even St. Augustine 1600 years ago warned about this behavior.

    “It often happens that even a non-Christian knows a thing or two about the earth, the sky, the various elements of the world, about the movement and revolution of the stars and even their size and distance, about the nature of animals, shrubs, rocks, and the like, and maintains this knowledge with sure reason and experience. It is offensive and ruinous, something to be avoided at all cost, for a nonbeliever to hear a Christian talking about these things as though with Christian writings as his source, and yet so nonsensically and with such obvious error that the nonbeliever can hardly keep from laughing.

    “The trouble is not so much that the erring fellow is laughed at but that our authors are believed by outsiders to have held those same opinions and so are despised and rejected as untutored men, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil…How are they going to believe our books concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven when they think they are filled with fallacious writing about things which they know from experience or sure calculation?

    “There is no telling how much harm these rash and presumptuous people bring upon their more prudent brethren when they begin to be caught and argued down by those who are not bound by the authority of our Scriptures, and when they then try to defend their flippant, rash, and obviously erroneously statements by quoting a shower of words from those same Sacred Scriptures, even citing from memory those passages which they think support their case, ‘without understanding either what they are saying or things about which they make assertions’ (I Tim. 1:7)” – St. Augustine in The Literal Meaning of Genesis

  34. Dracil,
    I understand your point, but wonder if there will always be “ridiculous” elements in the Christian message.

    Doesn’t the majority of Americans deem it “ridiculous” to believe that Jesus walked on water, or that he raised Lazarus from the dead, or that he himself rose from the dead?

    If we are going to eliminate the parts of Scripture that the culture deems ridiculous, we’ll be left with very little. I don’t think that can be a standard for us. Christianity, even at its core, has always been unpalatable to society. Early Roman Christians were idiots, it was thought, for not simply uttering the phrase, “Caesar is Lord.”

    “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1Co 1:22-25.

    Where do we draw the line?

    Bill

  35. Bill,

    Thank you for your response to Dracil. I was about to draw a similar conclusion, but you did it with much more tact than I was about to. Not that I want to be combative here.

    Dracil,

    St. Augustine…thats the one source you can give me for the belief being harmful? I can see what you are saying. However, I continue with what was also said was out of fear and YES Political correctness…which IS the public trend and unobjectionable means to complying with a standard set by one group or another. Never to upset the cart and ridicule being the sentence for doing so. This is not political correctness? Unless there is proof to the contrary in our discussion here, than neither you nor I have the answer. Yet called “Rash and Presumptuous” While a comparison to the “Prudent Bretheren”. Id’e say my term stands.

  36. I echo your thoughts, Richard, particularly the one about tact.

    How could anyone make a comment about the ridiculousness about part of Scripture and not think of the Corinthians passage Bill cites? It betrays a lack of knowledge. Otherwise, it automatically comes to mind.

  37. Where do we draw the line? Good question. God gave us reason for a reason. Think about it. 😉

    Richard, are you saying that St. Augustine was worried about being politically correct 1600 years ago?

    The comment about the majority of Americans finding certain parts of the Bible “ridiculous” is interesting, as there was a survey that showed the majority of clergy in Britain (Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant) don’t believe the world was created in six days nor believe in existence of Adam and Eve, 97% and 80% respectively.

    I would say the Nicene Creed is probably a pretty standard statement of Christian faith, and I don’t see Adam and Eve and how long it took the world to be created in there.

  38. European Clergy is NOT what I would base any of my opinions on. Europe has been in a decline of faith for a vvery long time and Christianity is suffering in Britain more than ever. I really don’t recognize a survey from what is practically a secular left place.

  39. BTW yes! I do believe political correctness was a concern even then! People were still being oppressed and harmed by their faiths and certainly if it went against the “Popular” Opinion of the day…Just as today. Different term maybe, but still the same result.

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