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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Peer review review part three



Weird Science cartoons above. One reason I do what I do is to get people to think and not just accept the pablum held out on a spoon for them to swallow. I think the first cartoon is indicative of how easy it is for a YEC to get his research peer-reviewed by the Great Orthodoxy. For now.

The second is illustrative of how many teachers want their students. Just unthinking, believing, not questioning. Lemmings running blindly towards the cliff. Sad.

~~~

Here is the "rest of the story" concerning Earth Science Ireland and the attendant fuss posted on last...I have copied straight from CMI, much to the chagrin of some of you. But it illustrates that as YEC or ID proponents continue to fight prejudice and censorship we sometimes win small victories. A victory for free expression of scientific thought is a victory for science. Small minds like Richard Dawkins (small in focus not necessarily capacity) cannot bring themselves to face facts - they are not the High Priests of Information appointed to rule over all of humanity and censor scientists and their research and results!
Next post will be an answer to Taxandrian concerning evolution and information...

Earth Science Ireland chastised over anti-Christian, anti-creationist attitude

An open letter geologist to geologist

by Angus Kennedy

Published: 9 September 2008(GMT+10)

Three articles appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of the magazine Earth Science Ireland1 that heaped ridicule and scorn on creationists. Angus Kennedy, a geologist who works in Northern Ireland, was so concerned that he wrote an open letter to the editor protesting the ill-informed and hostile attitude expressed in the articles. Angus had previously met the editor among a group of geologists whom he had conducted on a guided tour of two of the quarries where he works. In his letter, which is reproduced below, Angus concludes that it is only fair that the Editor now include the other side of debate in his earth science publication.


Angus Kennedy
Co. Down
Northern Ireland
16th July 2008

Dr Tony Bazley
Editor, Earth Science Ireland
Co. Down
Northern Ireland

Dear Dr Bazley,

Cover

Ironically, the offending issue of Earth Science Ireland included an article about the ‘Waterford peperites’. Peperites point to large-scale, watery catastrophe but geologists are trained to discount any thought of Noah’s Flood.

May I reintroduce myself–a few years ago you spoke to me regarding the possibility of writing an article for your publication. I also met you last year in May–I am the geologist who conducted the guided walk around two of the quarries operated by the company I work for.

Though I do not subscribe to your Earth Science Ireland publication, I came across a copy of the Spring 2008, No. 3 Issue. I was much taken aback by the very anti-Christian and anti-creationist tone of three articles that appeared in it.

In talking with you previously, I said that I was a Christian and a creationist. I became a Christian before I went to Glasgow University where I studied geology for four years (1975–79). I recall my first palaeontology lecture given by Dr James Lawson. His opening statement was to tell us that ‘though we knew the Bible said that “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”, well, it didn’t happen like that!’ This upset me somewhat, but I accepted what was being taught, as at that time I didn’t know science based creation apologetics existed. Surprisingly, at the end of my studies I had not lost my faith, but I had rationalised the concept of long ages and evolution with the Genesis account by reasoning that God must have used evolution as a means of creation. This was the situation until I came across a copy of Whitcomb and Morris’s ‘The Genesis Flood’ five years later. I found their arguments in favour of a young-earth creation compelling. Since then, I have followed the subject with great interest.

I found their arguments in favour of a young-earth creation compelling.

Within the issue in question, Paul Lyle’s comment in his Chairman’s remarks ‘Just when we think that things cannot possibly get worse, along comes news that there is an active lobby putting forward a creationist view of the origin of the Causeway lavas–and wanting equal status with the scientific explanation in any future Visitor’s centre. Elsewhere in this issue you will read what we think about this!’ set the partisan tone against creationism which was greatly amplified in the two other articles.

In the Stratigraphic Commission’s article, the openly hostile comment, ‘The young-Earth creationists’ view of Earth history is quite simply wrong. It is a manifest untruth.’ belies their sop, ‘It is no attack on Christianity … to say that the Earth and its rocks stretch back to ages far greater than those claimed by the young-Earth creationists.’

Their view that had Archbishop Ussher ‘lived today and had access to the wealth of contemporary scientific knowledge, he would have seen the Biblical texts in a very different light.’ could just as easily be said of Darwin–had he lived today and had access to the wealth of contemporary scientific knowledge (e.g., still no (undisputed) missing links, nor any sign of finely graduated series of fossils linking phyla; so-called living fossils showing no change over the assumed millions of years hiatus between their fossil occurrence and the present; and developments in microbiology which show the sheer complexity of the cell), he too would almost certainly have seen his theory in a different light!

Cover

Some geologists want to suppress the creationist view for the origin of the Causeway lavas.

Has the Commission no thought for taxpayers such as me when they opine, ‘We do not question the right of creationists to hold or expound their views. We do, however, profoundly disagree with any suggestion that creationist views should be given significant space in publicly funded museums, visitor centres, school science lessons or science textbooks.’ Is it not somewhat ironic that Christian taxpayers find themselves in the position of funding atheistic evolutionary propaganda, whilst at the same time being denied any opportunity of publically putting forward their views–is this not censorship in another guise?

Tom Mason’s opinion piece, written to counter his perceived ‘local shift towards irrationality.’ descends rapidly to the level of a diatribe. I am surprised that such an ill-thought-out article could come from a man in his position and be printed. His statement ‘There remains, however, in the spectrum of both Christianity and Islam, fundamentalist minorities seeking the conversion of everyone to their belief systems, sometimes still advocating alarming violence to do so (the Inquisition and Jihad). I see this as a scary consequence of irrationality, and a stubborn lack of acceptance that others are equally entitled to hold diametrically opposing views to theirs’ unjustifiably conflates creationists with the Inquisition and Jihad, and appears to impugn creationists by implying that they would use force against those of opposing views. Is Mr Mason’s polemic not an indication that he too holds a stubborn lack of acceptance of others?

In expressing his view that science is ‘reason versus irrationality’, and belittling creationists as being both irrational and ignorant, and who are also deluded by a ‘god-given belief that [creationists] know better than others’, he appears to arrogate to himself an unassailable ├╝ber-knowledge which he denies to the Christians’ omniscient Creator God (whom he also denigrates as ‘a god of ignorance’). That his knowledge is not certain nor unassailable is given away by his comments regarding scientific knowledge–it ‘changes on a daily basis’, and, ‘we place before our audiences’ [sic] scientific facts and try to explain them as best we can’. He frequently cites the need to infer and interpret the facts (i.e., trust me, I’m a scientist).

The putative evolution of the eye is more involved than suggested by Mason, with no clear path from simple to complex. Amongst evolutionists, the matter is so murky and involved that some suggest that eyes independently evolved at least 40 and as many as 65 times! The biochemistry of even the simplest conceivable ‘light-sensitive spot’ is going to be already horrendously (and probably irreducibly) complex, and no-one has come close to suggesting a credible biochemical pathway for its alleged evolution.

Mason rounds off his bald assertions regarding eye evolution with the non-sequitur that creationists can be easily countered as they know nothing about the topic! I beg to disagree. Creation science articles that I read have been written by bona-fide scientists, many with multiple degrees, and in many disciplines–e.g., biology, biochemistry, astronomy, mathematics, physics, geology etc.–and yes, ophthalmic science in the case of the eye’s alleged evolution. They do know what they are talking about.

It is a travesty for Mason to try to impugn creationists with his offensive assertion that ‘The god-given belief that you know better than others leads not only to intellectually impoverished intelligent designers but also to the aberrant psychology of jihadists and suicide bombers. They are two faces of the same coin …’

I wish to keep this letter as brief as possible, so I have avoided lengthy treatments of the scientific evidences against evolution and for creation. Creationist arguments are certainly cogent and not as misrepresented in the articles in question. An open-minded look at the creationist position on the web would confirm this. I can recommend CreationOnTheWeb.com and a browse through their FAQs section.

I will mention that in the years since I left university, a number of things that I was taught as axiomatic appear to have been overturned, for example:

  • ‘High-grade’ metamorphic minerals have been found forming within hydrothermal piles on the ocean floor–not scores of kilometres down in the crust.
  • Large-grained plutonic bodies can cool quickly–grain size is not dependent on cooling time, but on other factors, such as number of crystal nucleation centres and volatiles.
  • Fine sediments and clay laminae can be laid down rapidly from flowing water–mudstone and shale do not require still waters and long periods to accumulate.
  • Graptolites are not extinct!
  • I have read the late Professor Derek Ager’s book ‘The New Catastrophism’–he recognised that sediments world-wide were laid down rapidly in catastrophic events, not in the uniformitarian slow and steady way postulated by Hutton and Lyell. All well and good from a creationist world-wide Noachian deluge point of view, as he had to grudgingly admit, but he couldn’t let go of millions of years and was thus reduced to positing that the time not seen in the actual rock layers was represented by untold periods of quiescence between layers. Layers that appeared for all intents and purposes to have been laid down contiguously.

Having studied both uniformitarian evolutionary geology and creation science apologetics, I am satisfied that the geological facts fit the young-earth creation model best. I consider that the eye-witness account given by the God of the Christian Bible (‘the only true God’, and his incarnate Son Jesus Christ–who is ‘the way, the truth and the life’) gives a more logical basis for the order we see in creation and purpose to our lives. We may look at the same facts–the rocks and fossils–but our underlying presuppositions are different, therefore our interpretations are different. For evolutionists to insist that they have science on their side is for them to ignore the difference between operational science–dealing with measuring tangible things in the here and now (how the world works if you like) and historical science–trying to find out what happened in times past when none of us were present. The first employs fundamental principles and repeatable measurements and experiments and has led to the breadth of modern technology we see today. The second relies on extrapolation of measurements (no matter how exact these measurements are), constructs (like the geological column), assumptions, and interpretation (no matter how scanty the evidence). Evolutionists would say I have faith in some imaginary being I can not see, ditto the evolutionist–he has faith in his interpretation of the remains of material things he did not witness at first hand–how they were formed, how they lived, how they died, how they were preserved, or the time-frame involved.

May I suggest that rather than reinforce an exclusive and singularly evolutionary point of view, why not open up your publication to debate with creationist scientists and test their mettle?

Finally, in defence of myself against evolutionists, I am not ignorant, violently threatening, peddling untruths, not a naked ape, nor evolved.

Yours sincerely,

Angus Kennedy


Update 10 September 2008:

The editor of ESI Magazine, Dr Tony Bazley, advised Angus Kennedy today that his letter will be in the next issue, which is currently at the printer and so should be out within 3 weeks. The letter has been edited to fit within the space limitations of the magazine but the sense is not expected to have been changed.

Message from Dr Tony Bazley, 10 September 2008:

Earth Science Ireland would never publish anything that is anti-Christian. There the author is quite wrong. It does like robust debate. The original articles can be found on: www.habitas.org.uk/es2k . Do read them. And 'Rescuing Genesis' in the issue to go online shortly, with Mr Kennedy's letter.

Some readers’ comments on Angus Kennedy’s letter:

Kathy W, Australia.

Brilliant! Thanks from the bottom of my heart for an excellent, gentle but firm rebuttal of evolutionary bigotry. "… not a naked ape"… what wonderful words.

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Fendall H, New Zealand

Angus, excellent letter. It’s always hard to make all the key statements and keep such a letter suitably abridged, but you have done well. I look forward to hearing of any response.

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Scott G, United States

I just read Angus Kennedy’s letter to the editor, and my bottom jaw is left dangling open. I think his tactics and boldness were blended into a compelling argument. I pray that 1) the recipients might take a moment of thought to reconsider their paradigm, and 2) that we might eventually learn to use the information we receive from CMI in a similar, effective manner.

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Luke, Canada.

Touchdown Angus!!!

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David C, Australia

Excellent article Angus; rational, non-aggressive, and it addresses the pertinent points within the constraints of length for an article such as this.

I’m so tired of hearing the science versus faith argument for origins (that evolution is science and creationism is faith). It’s encouraging to read another article that boils it down to what it really is: matching the facts with the most plausible explanation, and admission that the main contenders (evolutionary science and creation science) require faith. It’s simply a matter of where we place that faith; in God or the ever-changing theories of man.

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R.F., Canada

Bravo on your letter and Well done! Greetings from an American friend in Canada working on his PhD in Electrical Engineering at the age of 56. Cheering and praying for you guys—to the glory of God!

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Carlton Rader, United States

His comments were direct and right on point! Well done. The dogmatic faith these evolutionist have in ‘long ages’ amazes me. When they have a ‘calculated age’ how can they possibly know they've got it right? How does one calibrate a method that gives millions of years anyway? What do you check it against?

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Jennifer T, Australia

I am truly thankful to men like you with such understanding and knowledge to answer this kind of article as you did; and I really enjoyed reading it.

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Katrina M, Australia

It’s still so refreshing and empowering to read someone who is so articulate and informed about creation, speaking up. And YEAH why as a taxpayer DO I put up with no representation! Go get ‘em, Angus (means strength by the way).

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Andrew M, South Africa

I read the offending articles. It is interesting how they are preaching to their own converted. The trouble is, it is not so easy to explain the superiority of evolution to someone who does not already believe in it.

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David H, Australia

The power of this letter is quite refreshing.

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Richard P, Australia

What a great response! Scientists like these like to assume that they are rational thinkers, with a balanced mentality, until their "beliefs" are challenged. Far from adopting a response that you would expect from such distinguished professionals, like an unprejudiced, systematic, phsical, test of different theories to their own,(especially creation science) they are invariably reduced to a diatribe of childish name-calling and nonsensical argument. Their emotion displays their real "faith"...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh...Matt 12:34

Keep up the good work Brother.

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Daiv F, United States

At the time I read your letter, it appears that ESI has already agreed to publish your letter. I do hope that Dr. Bazley is not ostricized or even forced out of his position for making this fateful decision. As was brilliantly illustrated in the movie "Expelled", there are serious consequences for any evolutionist who gives nod towards a creationist for any reason. Time will tell.

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Ed N, Canada

A thoughtful and considerate letter. I too get frustrated by the confidence of people who believe in evolution when in truth it is far more accurate to call it another faith—and a faith in SPITE of a plethora of contradicting evidence. I am a professor of chemistry (organic) and I just wish I could get my reactions to spontaneously form new compounds like evolution purports. But no, I have to carefully control solvents, atmosphere, molarities, time etc to maybe get an overall 75% average yield. Then all the purifications etc. Oh yes, the chemicals making up life just happened AND THEN reacted to create more complex molecules which THEN self assembled to create a viable cell. Not from my experience and understanding of the molecular world! Evolution doesn't even have evidence for step 1. But the real question? Is anybody listening?

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Frank M, Ireland

Just to let you know Angus, your comment has touched base here in your own country too. Well done.

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Roger S, New Zealand

Thankyou Angus,and congratulations on your bold, knowledgeable reproof of Dr Bazley's bigotted comments. It is good to see a convinced Christian academic prepared to stand up and present the evidence and logicality of the creation model.

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John H, Australia

The creationist-evolutionist debate is about light and darkness. Only when a person accepts the truth of the God of the Bible will that person ever emerge out of the darkness they hide in. Paul knew this when he wrote his letter to the Romans: For although they knew God they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. [1:21]

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Karen S, Australia

You encourage me to write to such editors. Although I am not well equipped to argue biology or physics, it is obvious that the evolutionist argument relies on attacking the character of anyone who disagrees with them, rather than presenting evidence for their theory (no surprise there since they lack the substance of their faith). The creationist on the other hand finds that the evidence supports the Biblical account and in turn strengthens conviction in its truth. It is also marvelous that evolutionists don't seem to realise that they are guilty of the crimes and attitudes that they project onto others. If as claimed abberant psychology manifests in offensive behaviour I can only conclude that these same evolutionists need to be investigated much like the unfaithful husband who accuses his innocent wife of adultery.

Thank you Angus for the provocation to love and do good works and I will take every opportunity to follow through on it.

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Peter R, New Zealand

I enjoyed the mature, respectful yet direct and collegial tone of Angus Kennedy's letter.

Yet, my main praise goes to Dr. Bazley for his scientific integrity in publishing the other side of the argument.

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Otto I, Australia

Great article, Angus. I believe we need to emphasise it's Evolutionary Faith we are dealing with and not evolutionary science. The Dewey classification puts Creation/Creationism under faith and religion while Evolution (or dare I say Evolutionism?) goes under Science. Isn't it time for honest classification? University students and others cannot find many creation textbooks in the science section of their libraries as they are under a different classification! Evolution faith should be the title of this religion and shown up for what it is!



Related articles

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peer review review part two

I have to wait on files to transfer from one computer to another today. The last discussion began getting chippy and way off point but I am staying on point by posting this article and interspersing comments. Part three will follow:


The Geological Society of London again moves to silence debate on creation science

by Tas Walker and Jonathan Sarfati

Vesuvius

Photo of Mt Vesuvius from wikipedia.org

This week’s feedback responds to a recent policy statement on creationism by the Geological Society of London, one of the oldest such professional institutions in the world.

In January 2008 the editor of Geoscientist, the in-house magazine of the Society, wrote an aggressive opinion piece about creationists, saying that they were not even worthy of their contempt.1 A few months later, Geoscientist published a call to bar the creationist viewpoint from the public information centre at the Giant’s Causeway, UK.2

Now, the Council of the Geological Society of London has issued a statement critical of young-earth creationism, creation science and intelligent design, saying they should not be considered as scientific.3 Clearly the issue is of concern to the Society and we are pleased that the Council has made a public statement. It gives us the opportunity to respond and set the record straight.

‘Young Earth Creationism’, ‘Creation Science’ and ‘Intelligent Design’

A Statement by the Geological Society of London
Approved by Council 10 April, and published 11 April 2008
This Society upholds the right of freedom of belief for all. The freedom scientists enjoy to investigate the nature and history of the Earth is the same freedom that allows individuals to believe—or not—in a deity.

Freedom of belief means that government cannot prescribe what an individual should believe; they cannot try to force an individual to act contrary to their beliefs, or discriminate against individuals on the basis of their beliefs. However, the Council, through this statement, seems to want to influence government to remove the freedom of individuals to promote beliefs that are contrary to the Council’s views.

Science's business is to investigate the constitution of the universe, and cannot pronounce on any concept that lies ‘beyond’ nature.

Central to science is observation and measurement, activities that can only be performed in the present. Events of the past lie ‘beyond’ the ability of scientists to observe, so all statements about what happened in the past, including geological interpretations, rely on assumption and opinion.

Geologists have often referred to Pliny the Younger’s writings [on Vesuvius’ eruption] when interpreting the geology of the area, and that is scientifically valid. Likewise, it’s scientifically valid for creationists to refer to biblical history when interpreting the geology of the globe. In fact, the pioneers of geology such as Nicholas Steno did just that.


Radar - In other words, the naturalistic materialistic worldview is scientific whether it is speaking to observations being made in 2009 or philosophically driven suppositions about origins that suggest possible past operations that cannot be observed. Interpretation and forensic conclusions are the sole property of naturalistic materialists and the rest of us, being of lesser value and intellect, can just go hang...

Concerning ‘Intelligent Design’, science is well able to recognize design when it is present, and several scientific disciplines rely on this, including forensic science, archaeology, and the SETI project. In the same way, scientists who point to evidence of ‘intelligent design’ in living organisms are presenting conclusions that are absolutely valid within the realm of science. Questions about of the nature of this intelligence tend to be ‘beyond’ scientific investigation, which is why ‘intelligent design’ advocates generally don’t venture into this area.

Likewise, young-earth creationism, or creation-science, is a valid scientific approach to questions about the past. It’s based on recorded history. The Bible records historical events that have consequences for geology, as does Pliny the Younger’s account of the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Geologists have often referred to Pliny the Younger’s writings when interpreting the geology of the area, and that is scientifically valid. Likewise, it’s scientifically valid for creationists to refer to biblical history when interpreting the geology of the globe. In fact, the pioneers of geology such as Nicholas Steno did just that. (See Geological pioneer was a biblical creationist.)

This is the meaning of ‘agnostic’, the word coined by former GSL President Thomas Henry Huxley, to describe a scientist’s position of being ‘unable to know’.
Steno

Nicholas Steno (wikipedia.org)

Frequently the term ‘agnostic’ is used in the sense of ‘I don’t want to know’. Long term atheist Antony Flew changed his mind about atheism and became a theist in 2004—because of the scientific evidence. (Radar - There is a God is Flew's new book) The Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Romans that the evidence of the Creator’s power and nature is so clear that all people are without excuse (Romans 1:20). It’s interesting that the Apostle describes how people will deny that knowledge and suppress the truth, something that is relevant to the Council’s statement.

This Society has therefore long operated according to the view that religion and science only become incompatible with each other when one attempts to trespass upon the domain of the other.

The fact is that the Bible and evolutionary science are making competing claims within the same domain. The Bible says that this world was created by God in six days about 6,000 years ago; the Geological Society of London says this world formed by itself by natural processes over millions of years and that no supernatural activity was involved.

Clearly these two claims are incompatible, which is why the Council says that science is ‘incompatible’ with religion. But the Council is confused on this issue because it promotes resources (in its ‘Further information’ section below) that say the exact opposite—that science and religion are compatible. This confusion arises because the Council uses the word religion in two different ways.

But beware of such claims about ‘domains’—see who decides where the boundaries lie! Christian should be suspicious about antitheists deciding the scope of Christianity’s domain. In practice, this allows the antitheists to shrink the boundaries all the time. Of course, God owns the entire universe, so nothing lies outside His domain. See further discussion in Is evolution compatible with religion?

Further, the Council does not appreciate that there are two different kinds of science, ‘experimental’ and ‘historical’, or operational and origins. Statements about the origin and evolution of the earth are questions of ‘historical’ science—ideas about what happened in the past. Everyone has a belief about how the world came into being and everyone interprets the evidence based on that belief—their worldview. That is why we think it is better to use the term ‘worldview’ instead of ‘religion’. When the Council uses the term ‘religion’ they imply that some people have a religion and are biased, and that some people don’t. But the fact is that everyone has a worldview and everyone is biased. Atheistic evolutionary philosopher Michael Ruse explicitly admitted, ‘Evolution is a religion.’

Radar - I have been asserting that which is contained in the above paragraph since I began blogging. Some of my commenters have either failed to comprehend this concept or preferred to ignore it but I know they are smart enough to understand it. Can any of them deny the truth of the paragraph above?

The incompatibility the Council refers to only arises because they are comparing apples with oranges—things that are not the same. If you assume naturalism/atheism as your worldview you end up with the ‘science’ of evolution over billions of years. However, if you assume that the Bible records accurate history (biblical Christianity) you end up with a young earth and a global Flood. Different worldviews lead to different scientific explanations.

The Council rightly recognizes that naturalistic science is incompatible with the biblical worldview. They also recognize that some worldviews (i.e. some religions) are compatible with evolution over millions of years. And remarkably, the Council is promoting those ‘compatible’ religious views in the section below ‘Further information’. Could this activity by the Geological Society of London be described as their ‘attempt to trespass upon the domain of the other’?

The idea that the Earth was divinely created in the geologically recent past (‘Young Earth Creationism’); attempts by Young Earth Creationists to gain acceptance for what they misrepresent in public as corroborative empirical evidence for this view (‘Creation science’); and the allied belief that features of the universe and of living things are better explained as the direct result of action by an intelligent cause than by natural processes (‘Intelligent Design’), represent such a trespass upon the domain of science.

We don’t think it is becoming of the Geological Society to use derogatory terms like ‘misrepresent’ as a way of discrediting people who hold different views. All the ideas they cite here are alternative views that should be aired and discussed—not censored and suppressed.

The Geological Society of London is the oldest national learned society for the Earth sciences in the world, and embodies the collective knowledge of nearly 10,000 Earth scientists worldwide.

The Council is here using an argument from authority, which is a logical fallacy and has no place in scientific debate. Copernicus and Galileo challenged the consensus view of the scientific establishment when they promoted the radical heliocentric scheme. Alfred Wegener fell foul of the geological establishment for decades when he proposed his idea of continental drift, first proposed by the creationist Antonio Snider in 1859. I’m surprised that Geological Society would actually use this argument from authority.

Furthermore, we suspect the Council is not aware of the range of views held by its own membership. If they checked we think they would find a percentage of their membership were young earth creationist and disagreed with this policy statement—unless those members felt too intimidated to say.

On their behalf it wishes, during the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth, to place on record the following facts as being long established beyond doubt.

‘Long established beyond doubt’! It’s a standard political tactic to declare that the debate is over. That way you do not have to defend your position. Surveys have shown that more than 40% of the population of the USA would not accept the following statements as fact, so the debate is not over.

  • Planet Earth, along with the other planets in the Solar System, was formed approximately 4560 million years ago.

This is said to be a fact but it is not. It is a subjective opinion based on personal worldview, albeit held by a large number of geologists. To recognize that this is not factual, ask yourself how all this was observed scientifically. Where were these 10,000 geologists standing to see it happen?

This statement is based on the Nebular Hypothesis for the origin and formation of our solar system. Note the word hypothesis! A hypothesis is a speculation, and in this case it is a speculation about what may have happened in the unobserved past—discounting the historical account of the Bible. There are plenty of problems with this, such as:

  • Although the sun has over 99% of the mass of the solar system, it has only 2% of the angular momentum. This pattern is directly opposite to the pattern predicted for the Nebular Hypothesis. Evolutionists have tried to solve this problem, but a well-known solar system scientist, Dr Stuart Ross Taylor, has said in a recent book, ‘The ultimate origin of the solar system’s angular momentum remains obscure.’4
  • Earth and the other inner planets were allegedly formed from fragments that collided and fused together. However, the fragments would have bounced off each other, rather than melted and clung.5
  • There should have been insufficient material for the cores of Jupiter6 and Saturn7 to form. And even if it could form, they would have spiraled in towards the sun.
  • Uranus

    Photo of Neptune: NASA

  • The Ice Giants, Uranus and Neptune, should not have been formed at all! One evolutionary astronomer admitted:
‘Pssst … astronomers who model the formation of the solar system have kept a dirty little secret: Uranus and Neptune don’t exist. Or at least computer simulations have never explained how planets as big as the two gas giants could form so far from the sun. Bodies orbited so slowly in the outer parts of the solar system that the slow process of gravitational accretion would need more time than the age of the solar system to form bodies with 14.5 and 17.1 times the mass of Earth.’8
  • Life has existed on Earth for thousands of millions of years. It has evolved into its current form by a combination of genetic variation and natural selection-and is likely to go on doing so for as long as it continues to exist.

Again, the idea of life existing on Earth for billions of years is one interpretation of the geologic strata. There are other ways of interpreting the same evidence. Further, no one knows how the first living cell could have assembled itself from non-living chemicals. In fact, there is no scientifically defensible explanation for how life originated, or how the many biochemical systems within cells and multi-cellular organisms arose. There is no evolutionary mechanism that can provide the needed increase in genetic instructions. The fossil evidence is lacking. The genetic evidence is confusing. So this dot-point is simply story telling, not fact.

  • Close study of the structure and organisation of living animals and plants clearly indicates their common ancestry, and the succession of forms through the fossil record, as well as the genetic record contained in every living organism, provides powerful evidence of the reality of evolution.


This is not a fact but an assertion, and it is based on hope rather than evidence. There are gaps in the fossil record and in the molecular record. Similarity of form can be explained using the concept of common design, which would bring great honour to the Designer, an explanation that avoids many of the problems that the common-ancestor explanation has. Evolution is simply one explanation for the evidence but there are others.

Further information

  • For a statement on this subject by the Royal Society, the UK national academy of science, go to

The Royal Society statement is similar to this one by the Geological Society. It contains many unsubstantiated assertions and arguments from authority. If those who drafted these statements had read a critique of evolution such as Refuting Evolution they would realize that their arguments have been long refuted.

  • For a recently updated (2008) version of the US National Academy of Sciences booklet Science, Evolution and Creationism, go to: . This document will tell you what is and is not science, summarises the scientific evidence for evolution by natural selection, and highlights repeatedly how leading religious figures have spoken out in favour of evolution as being consistent with their world-view.

This document has been thoroughly refuted at: Science, Creation and Evolutionism: Response to the latest anticreationist agitprop from the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Science, Evolution and Creationism.

This dot-point also illustrates the inconsistency of the Council. Their main statement above says that science and religion deal with different domains and that incompatibilities arise when one domain trespasses on the other. But here they do their own trespassing by saying that evolution is consistent with religion.

Of course people who hold an evolutionary worldview (whether atheist, agnostic, Christian or Hindu) find that evolution is consistent with their worldview. But evolution is not consistent with the worldview of those who believe the Bible records real history.

The question is, ‘Which worldview is correct?’ This debate should be in the public arena and open for intelligent discussion. The Council’s attempt to silence and suppress debate is counter productive.

  • For a statement on Intelligent Design issued by the International Society for Science and Religion, the main academic international society dedicated to the relationship between science and religion, see www.issr.org.uk/id-statement.asp.

The International Society for Science and Religion is an example of a religious group that does not take the Bible as history. The article essentially promotes naturalism and its thrust would be contrary to the attitude of many pioneers of modern science.

  • For an account of evolutionary knowledge, see vertebrate palaeontologist Prof. Kevin Padian's evidence, given in trial (Kitzmiller v Dover): http://tinyurl.com/2nlgar. This destroys the bases of young-Earth creationists' assertions regarding critical gaps in the fossil record.

For information on the problem the fossil record presents for evolution see:

See also: Fossils Q&A and Refuting Evolution: The Links are Missing.

For books and DVDs that deal with the fossil problem see: Bones of Contention, Evolution the Fossils Still Say No and Artistic Ape Anecdotes: The Art of Deception (DVD).

  • For a clear account of evolution given by one of the world’s leading geneticists, showing how it is compatible with religious belief, see The Language of God by Francis Collins (Free Press, 2006). Francis Collins is Head of the Human Genome Project.

Francis Collins is an evangelical Christian but does not take Genesis as history, which is an inconsistent position. This is why the Geological Society again trespasses into religion here—to promote a ‘religion’ that agrees with their view. The inconsistencies within Collins’ book have been discussed in the Journal of Creation review, Harmony and discord.

  • Alexander, D. & White, R. S. (2004). Beyond Belief: Science, Faith and Ethical Challenges, Lion, Oxford, 219pp. Gives an accessible account of science and its interaction with religious views, including sections on evolution (with a critique of intelligent design), the age of the Earth and global environmental issues.

Once again the Council is promoting a religious view that opposes the plain teaching of the Bible. More trespassing. For information on the other view see:

  • Gould, Stephen J. 1999. Non-overlapping magisteria. A succinct and entertaining exposition of the lack of conflict between science and non-literalist religious thought. Published in: Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms. Jonathan Cape, pp. 269–283.

This concept is refuted at: Stephen Jay Gould and NOMA and Who’s really pushing bad science?

  • Pope Pius XII 1950, Papal Encyclical Humani Generis

Why not cite one of his predecessors, Leo XIII, incidentally quite a strong chessplayer, in the the Encyclical Providentissimus Deus (1893):

Inspiration Incompatible with Error
‘… It is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. The system of those who restrict inspiration to things of faith and morals cannot be tolerated. All the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.
‘… And the Church holds them as sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author. Hence, because the Holy Ghost employed men as His instruments, we cannot therefore say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write-He was so present to them-that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. Otherwise, it could not be said that He was the Author of the entire Scripture. Such has always been the persuasion of the Fathers.’

See 15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History and Creation and Change.

See also The Great Turning Point: The Church’s Catastrophic Mistake on Geology—Before Darwin which documents how anti-biblical geological ideas undermined the Christian church in the UK. It also documents how some of the prominent members of the fledgling Geological Society deliberately politicked to compromise the authority of the Bible among the leadership of the Church of England. So, trespassing by evolutionary geologists to tell Christians how to read the Bible is not a new phenomenon.

ENDS

This statement by the Council of the Geological Society of London suggests it is governed by people who are hostile to the biblical worldview (the historic-grammatical view that has been the orthodox view of Scripture in the Christian church until the advent of a new geological philosophy in the early 1800s). The Council is not used to defending their naturalistic worldview against alternatives, and it’s clear that they do not want to start now. Perhaps they imagine that by throwing their weight into a council resolution they will be able to silence discussion before it starts. However, their problem is not going to go away because people today are becoming more informed (and concerned about the effects of evolutionary philosophy on our culture). If the Council is going to be prepared for the ongoing battles with creationists we suggest they read some of the links and literature mentioned here, and engage with what creationists are actually saying.

Related articles

Radar - In part two of the Peer Review postings, I have shown that, using this article as an example:

1- Orthodox naturalistic materialistic science (ONMS) is hostile to all worldviews other than their own, which is more of a religious or philosophical question than it is one of science.

2- ONMS uses derision rather than evidence as a reason to exclude YEC and ID scientists and their findings from consideration.

3- ONMS does this because they cannot support their own positions factually and observationally.

4- Therefore ONMS seems to consider censorship a valid and integral part of the pursuit of scientific truth. I vehemently disagree!

Allow me to present a way science SHOULD work. Michael Brooks presented an overview of "13 things that do not make sense" in the New Scientist Magazine. He may not be a YEC or a ID guy, but he is willing to admit he doesn't know and that study is required to understand some very interesting quandries of science. Would it surprise you that YEC scientists have discovered evidence to answer some of these? But I will leave it at this for now. It is scientific to question and test and hypothesize. It is even scientific to theorize. It is censorship to shut off discussion and turn hyphothesis into fact on religious/worldview grounds.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Peer review review, or, Creationists? Back of the bus!


The questions should be addressed to the Darwinist community. Why are you so afraid of even listening to the voices of dissent? How can you be so fearful of information? How can you call yourselves scientists?


Time to really address this subject. For the sake of brevity, I will use the terms Darwinist or naturalistic materialistic even though there are those who prefer different terminology or whose philosophy is somewhat different. I know there are NeoDarwinists and Theistic Darwinists and so on and so on so I will acknowledge that at the start and then move on.

First of all, from Answers Research Journal (ironically, a peer-reviewed publication).

"

Abstract

Despite the centrality of peer review to the development of a scholarly community, very little is known about the biblical basis and Christian conduct of peer review. We find that peer review is rooted in several Christian virtues, such as reflecting Christ, being honest, seeking wisdom, humbly submitting, showing Christian love, correcting error, and being accountable. Given these principles, we recommend that creationists use a double-blind peer review system, wherein the identities of the author and peer reviewers are confidential. Additionally, we recommend that creationist publishers develop a regular public audit of their peer-review process.


Critics of creationism and Intelligent Design (ID) often note that creationist or ID research does not appear in peer-reviewed literature (e.g., Crawford 1982; Scott and Branch 2003; Max 2004; Bottaro et al. 2006). Creationists complain that we are excluded from the peer-reviewed literature (Anderson 2002; Kulikovsky 2008; see also Tipler 2004) and are therefore required to publish in our own peer reviewed-literature (Morris 2003). Critics view creationist peer review as not “real” peer review. For example, recent attempts to launch new creationist peer-reviewed journals have been met with scorn or dismissal (Sparks et al. 2007; Brumfiel 2008).

The irony of this conflict over peer review is that peer review is poorly understood and criticized even in conventional journals. Over the past 25 years, the process of peer review has come under increasing scrutiny, especially in the biomedical community (e.g., Lock 1986; Godlee and Jefferson 2003; Rennie 2002). The efficacy of peer review to improve the quality of manuscripts and to minimize bias has been questioned. Some studies show benefits, while others show no benefits or negative influences from peer review (e.g., Armstrong 1997; Jefferson et al. 2002a; Jefferson et al. 2002b; Overbeke and Wager 2003). For every one of these studies, however, there are enthusiastic editorials defending the value of peer review (e.g., Gannon 2001; Tobin 2002). What seems certain at this stage is that peer review is no guarantor of the accuracy or scientific quality of a published paper (Callaham et al. 1998; Altman 2002; Horton 2002)."


The entire post - Toward a Practical Theology of Peer Review by Roger W. Sanders, Kurt P. Wise, Joseph W. Francis, and Todd Charles Wood April 9, 2008

While I may have posted the Thunderbolt point of view previously...

"

There once was a time when to have a scientific paper published, it had to be - well, - scientific. Not so any more it appears. Peer Review has become more like Snob Review or Mate Review, and the so-called "prestigious" journals are making a mockery of themselves and of science.

Whilst discussing Electric Universe concepts on public forums one often comes across self-appointed xspurts* in cosmology who dismiss EU for its lack of publication in Peer-Reviewed journals. When for example, items published in the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science are cited, then the IEEE is not considered "prestigious" enough or sufficiently qualified to comment on cosmological matters. Yet paradoxically cosmologists think themselves qualified to comment on plasma physics. They want to have their cake and eat it too. And they're not willing it seems to share the cake around.


[*x = an unknown quantity, spurt = a drip under pressure...]

Why does this matter to anyone? Because, Joe Average, not only is it your tax dollars which pay for this outrageous elitist regime, but your children are being slowly brainwashed into believing that some of the most inconceivable theories ever devised by man are now established fact. Take the so-called Big Bang for instance, which for all intents and purposes goes something like "Once upon a time, nothing went BANG!". Whilst that may seem a simplistic summary, it is none-the-less how the Fairy-Tale goes. But after years of intelligent people questioning the validity of such a concept, we now have the cosmologists answering "Oh no, it wasn't nothing which went bang, it was another universe which had contracted down to a singular point...". I kid you not. Take this recent release from that bastion of all things scientific and true, Physorg.com. Before the Big Bang: A Twin Universe?April 09, 2008 By Lisa Zyga"

You have the link. I will spare you the experience of reading the fairy tale of twin universes unless you choose to do so. But feel free...

The recent book by Dr. Jerry Bergman is found here - The Slaughter of The Dissidents.

Here are some review excerpts:

Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters
by Dr. Jerry Bergman
(Leafcutter Press, 2008, 477 pages)

"If Ben Stein's 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was the tip, then Dr. Jerry Bergman's Slaughter of the Dissidents is the rest of the iceberg. With clarity and thoroughness, Bergman provides detailed accounts of 17 of the over 300 scientists and educators he has interviewed, all of whom have advanced degrees. Though their views range from creation science to intelligent design to evolution, all of them expressed some doubt regarding neo-Darwinism, observing that selection of mutations is not creating life's diversity. And all of them have received some form of discrimination.

Dr. Bergman has observed that evolutionary elitists incorrectly lump all "Darwin Doubters" into one group, "creationists," who are then categorically ridiculed. Though highly qualified, these scientists and educators are verbally and physically threatened, lose privileges, lose opportunities for promotion, and lose jobs and whole careers, just for expressing some measure of doubt about the standard evolutionary story."

Uncommon Descent says, in part,

" The first chapter, “A Context for Discrimination Against Darwin Skeptics” deserves special recognition. Kevin Wirth, who authored it, did an excellent job providing a background and context for this book, especially for those not familiar with the debate or why it generates so much controversy. It almost deserved to be an entire book unto itself. It described why (a) Darwin skeptics are skeptical, (b) Darwinists are skeptical of the skeptics, (c) why ID’ers and Creationists are often lumped together in a single category, even when completely inappropriate to the context, (d) the relationship between the source, the justification, and the effects of ideas (and why it matters), and (e) the relationship that religion has with this whole debate.

Honestly, if someone who wasn’t familiar with the issues asked for a short introduction to the whole issue, I would recommend that they buy the book if only to read the first chapter. That would give a good background on what the disagreement is over and why it is so heated."

A free chapter is available for download for those who go to the booksite and register.


The GSR site Posted this:

"Is peer review broken?

1/2/06: Is peer review broken? Article by Alison McCook in The Scientist, (20)(2),26 says that submissions are up, reviewers are overtaxed, and authors are lodging complaint after complaint about the process at top-tier journals. Cites Peter Lawrence, who has been publishing papers in academic journals for 40 years. His first 70 or so papers were "never rejected," he says, but that's all changed. Now, he has significantly more trouble getting articles into the first journal he submits them to.

Lawrence, based at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, UK, says his earlier papers were always published because he and his colleagues first submitted them to the journals they believed were most appropriate for the work. Now, because of the intense pressure to get into a handful of top journals, instead of sending less-than-ground-breaking work to second- or third-tier journals, more scientists are first sending their work to elite publications, where they often clearly don't belong. Lately, academia seems to place a higher value on the quality of the journals that accept researchers' data, rather than the quality of the data itself. In many countries, scientists are judged by how many papers they have published in top-tier journals; the more publications they rack up, the more funding they receive.

The recent discrediting of stem cell work by Woo-Suk Hwang at Seoul National University sparked media debates about the system's failure to detect fraud. Authors, meanwhile, are lodging a range of complaints: Reviewers sabotage papers that compete with their own, strong papers are sent to sister journals to boost their profiles, and editors at commercial journals are too young and invariably make mistakes about which papers to reject or accept.

The article says that, despite a lack of evidence that peer review works, most scientists appear to believe in peer review. Indeed, an abundance of data from a range of journals suggests peer review does little to improve papers. In one 1998 experiment designed to test what peer review uncovers, researchers intentionally introduced eight errors into a research paper. More than 200 reviewers identified an average of only two errors. That same year, a paper in the Annals of Emergency Medicine showed that reviewers couldn't spot two-thirds of the major errors in a fake manuscript. In July 2005, an article in JAMA showed that among recent clinical research articles published in major journals, 16% of the reports showing an intervention was effective were contradicted by later findings, suggesting reviewers may have missed major flaws.

Some critics argue that peer review is inherently biased, because reviewers favour studies with statistically significant results. Research also suggests that statistical results published in many top journals aren't even correct, again highlighting what reviewers often miss. Moreover, peer review can also err in the other direction, passing on promising work: Some of the most highly cited papers were rejected by the first journals to see them. There is also a suggestion that reviewers were less likely to reject a paper if it cited their work, although the trend was not statistically significant.

The article, with associated articles, can be viewed in full on The Scientist website."

Jonathan Safarti pointed out the following-

'Hmm, ‘peer review’ is merely an excuse to reject creationist arguments, as pointed out in a previous feedback, because some of them break the ‘rule’ that science must be materialistic. It really boils down to another stipulative definition with all that entails about circularity:

Creation isn’t real science because it isn’t peer-reviewed.
Creation isn’t peer-reviewed because it isn’t real science.

But peer review does have the merit of passing the Piltdown Man and Hwang Woo-suk’s embryonic stem cell claim. "


As I also pointed out earlier, Iowa State University astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez lost his tenure for daring to co-author The Privileged Planet after being a coming star in the field of Astronomy previously. Frankly, the aftermath reminds one of the days of the Inquisition. Gonzalez managed to avoid being burned at the stake and presumably escaped the rack, but not metaphorically.

Naturalistic Materialistic scientists mock or ignore or seek to stifle those who disagree but I do think the joke is on them.

From a post by Dr. Sean Pitman:

"Richard E Smalley, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry, as asked to present the keynote address at Tuskegee University's 79th Annual Scholarship Convocation/Parents' Recognition Program. In his address he discussed the increasing lifespan of humans as a result of cures and treatments for various infections and diseases. He urged his listeners to seriously consider their role as "higher species" on this planet. He also mentioned the ideas of evolution versus creation, Darwin versus the Biblical Genesis account, noting that the burden of proof is on those who do not believe that "Genesis was right, and there was a creation, and that the Creator is still involved". (1)

After reading the book "Origins of Life" by Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross (2), among other books by Rana, Richard Smalley make the following endorsement: " Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading Origins of Life, with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred." (3)

Toward the last days of his life, in an interview with William Dembski, Smalley predicted that ID would be mainstreamed in five years and that evolution, in its conventional materialistic sense, would be dead within ten. Although I am personally just a bit skeptical as to the time frame, it will be interesting to see if his predictions are eventually borne out. (4)

  1. http://www.tuskegee.edu/Global/story.asp?S=2382961&nav=CcWvRbj5
  2. http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Life-Biblical-Evolutionary-Models/dp/1576833445/ref=pd_rhf_p_1/105-8093794-4249248
  3. http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/oct/05100605.html
  4. http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/1737


Five years? Nah, Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation in 1861 and yet pure Darwinists must believe it in order for their beliefs to make any sense. Hey, if God was capable of starting life then wouldn't He be capable of giving us a Bible to tell us about it? He wouldn't need gagagazillions of mutations and years to bring the world to its present state. I am thinking maybe at least ten more years and more likely twenty. I mean, isn't continuing to re-try some form of Miller-Urey experiment over and over again something like the definition of insanity? Har.

Darwinism is an alibi that is being exposed as fraudulent. Before naturalistic materialistic scientists can give it up, they need to think up another one. Something other than God, because the anything-but-God motive has driven Darwinism for several decades now.

I am willing to give Darwinists the benefit of the doubt before the intricate nature of the cell became apparent and before we discovered the amazing wonder of DNA. But now that we understand the obvious design features of life they are now without excuse. I don't write this to convince those desperate to hang on to failed and laughable science, no matter how orthodox and widely taught. I say this to those who still have open minds. Look into this carefully for yourselves...don't take the pat answers at face value.

Peer review amongst the orthodox crowd is a failed and prejudicial system. Like the old Jim Crow laws, unbelievers are forced to use their own figurative fountains and motels and restaurants because the "No Creationists or ID'ers" have been hung up over the ones frequented
by the "superior" Darwinist crowd. Mockery. Derision. Segregation. A scientific apartheid exists in that good scientists who are of the wrong point of view are forced to seek to be "separate but equal." It is to the shame of the majority of the scientific community that dissension is stifled and careers ruined and it is also contrary to the advance of scientific knowledge.

~~~~~~~

Addendum in another key...

Acclaimed American writer John Updike died this morning at the age of 76.

I do not know his spiritual state (he was born Lutheran and later became Episcopalian), but I rejoice in the truth that he saw. For example, here is his “Seven Stanzas at Easter”:

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.





Sunday, January 25, 2009

On Creationist/ID sources, on motivations

Hell might not be frozen over, but how about the UAB? Global warming, my camel's hump!

~~~~~~~

MAIN TOPIC - SOURCES AND MOTIVATIONS


Do I only get information from Answers in Genesis? Am I some whacko living in my Mom's basement on Cheetos and Diet Dr. Pepper and friends only with a cat and a bunch of online sycophants?

Actually I have multiple certifications and about six years of University training plus another couple of years of technical schooling. I was vetted to receive and did have a Top Secret clearance by the US government. I am a professional with six kids, three grandkids, one awesome wife, three dogs and two fishtanks. I am a youth leader and, gee, people I know like me! It is within the realm of possibility that I am not a whacko...then again I am my point of reference.

Let me go around the corner to get to where I am going here. Give me some time to set the stage.

Two of my favorite authors during my formative years were Bernard Malumud, who wrote perhaps the most wonderful and terrible baseball book of all time, The Natural (the book being both quite different and better than the movie) and Herman Wouk, whose The City Boy (about a grade school kid) spoke to the very depth of me as a grade school kid. Malamud was a Brooklyn boy, the son of Russian Jews and Wouk was of similar heritage, from the Bronx. I was an inner-city kid but from a smaller city and different heritage but it did not matter. They spoke to my soul.

Schohen, I want you to know that I believe that the world of the New York Jew brought out the best in some remarkable people, like Malamud or Herman Wouk, as creative young people raised in a cauldron of cultures being boiled together in a stew that was part of the making of America. Is it racist to think that Jews in (late 19th and) 20th century New York produced an inordinate number of great writers and probably the environment of the tenements flung an inordinate amount of athletes and authors and singers and actors of all nationalities and religions out into the world of fame like corks from a bottle of champagne. I am not prejudiced against Jews as individuals or as a nationality/creed, the opposite if anything. I hope you readers who have never discovered either Malamud or Wouk will now go and read. Some of their works have been made into movies but never have movies been able to capture the flavor of a good Malamud or Wouk.

In any event, Malumud wrote a short story called The Magic Barrel and there is a passage within that story that describes the state of my mind not long before I discovered faith in Christ, a time of personal crisis as I saw what was truly within my heart. In this portion of the story, a rabbinical student about to become a Rabbi reconsiders his very faith and his avowed profession:

"

Her probing questions had somehow irritated him into revealing—to himself more than her—the true nature of his relationship to God, and from that it had come upon him, with shocking force, that apart from his parents, he had never loved anyone. Or perhaps it went the other way, that he did not love God so well as he might, because he had not loved man. It seemed to Leo that his whole life stood starkly revealed and he saw himself for the first time as he truly was—unloved and loveless. This bitter but somehow not fully unexpected revelation brought him to a point of panic, controlled only by extraordinary effort. He covered his face with his hands and cried.

The week that followed was the worst of his life. He did not eat and lost weight. His beard darkened and grew ragged. He stopped attending seminars and almost never opened a book. He seriously considered leaving the Yeshivah, although he was deeply troubled at the thought of the loss of all his years of study—saw them like pages torn from a book, strewn over the city—and at the devastating effect of this decision upon his parents. But he had lived without knowledge of himself, and never in the Five Books and all the Commentaries—mea culpa—had the truth been revealed to him. He did not know where to turn, and in all this desolating loneliness there was no to whom..."

That passage sums up my state of mind when I had a similar moment of self-revelation. I quit my college classes taken that semester and fell into a world of debauchery and lawlessness as I saw no reason or sense to existence and no one to turn to or depend upon other than my fallible self. It was a quest for Truth that led me first to despair before one day finally coming to know God.

It is simply not true that I mindlessly was indoctrinated into Christianity. My realization was a part of a long journey in search of meaning and truth that I will continue to take until I take my last breath. If I am no longer wondering and searching and thinking, why am I breathing? Some are smarter than me and some not, no matter, we are all called upon to take who and what we are and do are best. This I now believe because I believe now I am here for a purpose and was created rather than simply happened.

I post this because I have been accused of being rather shallow, as I only post articles from one or two sites to bolster my claims in the scientific realm. Think me shallow if you will, but I cannot allow the idea that my sources are few and unreliable go unchallenged. On the contrary, I post articles from a vast array of sites and there are many organizations and many associations of good scientists who are somewhere between smart and utterly brilliant and who stand for Intelligent Design if not creation by God. My side may have goofs like "Dr. Dino" Hovind and the other side might have the ridiculous Richard Dawkins but there are always people on the fringe. The ID/creationist world is filled with great minds who go against the evolutionist flow.

It is not true that I get all my information from Answers in Genesis or the Institute for Creation Research, even though both are great sites. That accusation marginalizes so many of the terrific resources available and the thousands upon thousands of scientists who do not blindly fall into lockstep with the herd. Here are just a few other organizations/site of note:

Apologetics Press Online

True Origins

Creation Research Society

Creation Ministries International

IDthefuture

The Bible Creation Society

CARM

Access Research Network

Darwin's Predictions

Intelligent Design

Creationism.org

Darwinism Refuted

Discovery Institute

Revolution against evolution


Darwin Busters

Leadership U

Creation Wiki

Cornwall Alliance

Watts Up With That (voted 2008 best science weblog)

Detecting Design

Biola U

Conservapedia

Planet Daily

Science and Environmental Policy Project

...and many, many more. I subscribe to monthly and quarterly peer-reviewed digests and publications as well as magazines and bulletins online and in print from various scientific sources. I also access NASA and National Geographic and other standard science-related sites so I can keep up with the latest propaganda, er, information.

The creationist point of view fits the scientific and historical evidence to explain our existence and that of the Universe better than the naturalist materialistic "just so" stories of evolution. I would not insult my readers by having only one source for material. Of course, much of what I know is based on the Bible. I believe the Bible is the best, most reliable source of the early history of man and the only account of the creation of the Universe. I believe creation itself is evidence of design, not chance. There are many thousands of great scientists and scholars and journalists and professionals from related fields who would generally or completely agree with me.