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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Christianity and Darwinism cannot mix. J.R.R .Tolkien edition.

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"'Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,' said Gimli. 'Maybe,' said Elrond, 'but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.'"
The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South" from Tolkien Gateway

Last post I included a generous number of quote by one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis.  Lewis, famed for writing the Chronicles of Narnia series which is now being intricately converted into high-quality movies, the first of which being The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was also a well-known Christian apologist and a close friend to J.R.R. Tolkien.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
The crownless again shall be king.


J.R.R. Tolkien
How many hours I spent with a Tolkien book hidden behind a textbook while a boring lecture was being presented in class?   I probably read the LOTR a half-dozen times before entering college.   I doubt if I read any other book more than twice in my young years with the possible exception of Robinson Crusoe or one of the shorter Sherlock Holmes mysteries.   Tolkien was my favorite because he invented a cohesive and magical WORLD.  More on the illustrious Tolkien later.

Why am I taking time out from creation science?  Well, I have spent years proving to my own satisfaction that Evolution is not even a theory.   It is part and parcel to a religion.  I believe it is time to present Christians with a mandate to make a decision.   One cannot have both Christ and Darwin, they do not coexist.  

To summarize, an excerpt of just a bit of this linked article from Answers in Genesis and then back to Tolkien and the subject at hand:

"Although some Christians have attacked evolution as “just a theory,” that would be raising Darwin’s idea to a level it doesn’t deserve.

A theory has its genesis in a hypothesis, which is a working assumption as to why we observe something—an educated guess. To test this assumption, scientists conduct experiments that either disprove or correlate with the hypothesis.

Over time, if a hypothesis continues to stand up to scrutiny and many different experiments, the scientific community may begin referring to it as a “theory.” In essence, this means that because the hypothesis has not been disproved over many years and no other known hypothesis works, then we can be reasonably sure that it’s accurate.

Theories, however, are not imperishable. If new technology allows better experimentation, for example, a theory may need to be discarded. (See Louis Pasteur’s Views on Creation, Evolution, and the Genesis of Germs).

Where Evolution Falls Short

Two problems prevent anyone from legitimately calling evolution a theory. First, there’s no direct, observable experiment that can ever be performed. Scientists can measure bones, study mutations, decode DNA, and notice similarities in morphology (the form and structure of animals and plants), but they can never test evolutionary events in the past.

Some point to natural selection as a form of “evolution in action,” but natural selection can only act upon the genetic potential that already exists. What we do observe from natural selection fits perfectly with a recent creation and does not point to common descent.

Secondly, and related to the above, evolution misses the mark as a theory because all the supposed “tests” to confirm Darwinism do not necessarily and distinctively correspond to the idea. In other words, each has an alternate and equally viable explanation. A theory requires that the confirming experiments correspond to one specific hypothesis. Otherwise, the experiment cannot establish legitimacy. Evolution has no such legitimacy.

So What Is It?

Free online book: Evolution Exposed: Biology
Check out this free online book that reveals and refutes every instance of evolution in America’s most popular biology textbooks, or purchase a copy.

Evolution, at its core, is a necessary requirement of naturalism. Since naturalists cannot allow a higher power, they must rely on a form of spontaneous generation and the unguided development of life. Either someone or something created, or nature created itself.

Because naturalism depends on this assumption, evolution artificially carries the weight of a theory for naturalists—without meeting the requirements. Evolution has been grafted in simply out of the desire to deny the Creator or to deny His power and authority..."

~

Evolution is generally referred to as Darwinism in these parts to cover the entire philosophy in one succinct word.   Darwinism is about religion rather than science.

Now, Lewis and Tolkien had both served in WWI and had wound up in the hospital because of it.   Both were brilliant students who formed a tea club in their younger years with other like-minded young men and later this club would be the basis for the "Inklings" at Oxford, where their friendship grew.  Lewis was an Irishman who had been born into a Protestant household and later taken on atheism.  Tolkien had been born in South Africa as a Britiish citizen to Baptist parents and would later join the Roman Catholic Church.  Although Lewis was the writer who would become best known as a Christian apologist, it was Tolkien and another friend, Hugo Dyson, who actually led Lewis to become a Christian a few years after the writings of George MacDonald had brought him to the theism brink. Both men were students of Norse genealogy and mythology and both were students of Beowulf.  Both were considered great scholars and outstanding professors. 

In fact, an entire novel could be written on the long and winding friendship road of Tolkien and Lewis, oft-times forking apart and encountering potholes but never entirely broken even as Lewis embraced Protestant ecumenical Christianity while Tolkien adhered to his Catholic church. I rather like this article about the two of them if you care to go read more, rather than depending upon some wikipedia droning.  

"...The two soon became fast friends --- even though Lewis had established himself in the literature faction of the English faculty, while Tolkien placed himself firmly on the linguistics and history of languages side. (Tolkien disliked most literature and found little use for any work penned after the medieval era). Together they helped revise the English syllabus, and for the first time, the Oxford English School created a dialogue between the philology and literature camps.

Intellectually, they craved each other's companionship. But their relationship had emotional depth as well. They bonded over their harrowing experiences in the trenches of World War I. They shared the loss of their parents, which they had both endured as children. Sorrow over their pasts and their retreat from modernity gave them no where to go but their imaginations. They lost themselves in anachronistic tales and created make-believe places --- engaging in what today we might disparagingly call "escapism." Of course, the realms of Lewis' Narnia and Tolkien's Middle-earth are fraught with troubles, wars, and imperfections, at least as much as our so-called real world. "

Lewis actually was the man who sought to write works other than academic from the beginning while Tolkien wrote for his students and largely on topics such as Beowulf and seemed to be content with his studies, his lectures and his students along with a full family life with his beloved Edith and four children.

Tolkien's The Hobbit was meant to amuse his children and frankly fantasy writing was only a hobby and private pleasure for Tolkien.  The story goes that Tolkien wrote the book for his children but The Hobbit was a discovered by a publisher and Tolkien allowed them to  publish it.   The Hobbit was such big success that a request from the publisher for a sequel prompted Tolkien to take some of his personal research and musings and writings (including the first two books already largely written for his own pleasure) to become the basis of the trilogy known as the exquisite Lord of the Rings trilogy and present it to the public.   One suspects he might have planned to eventually try to publish his writings one day in any event but it makes for a good story.  

The odd pairing of friends were both named as among the most outstanding English writers post-1945 and both were horrified at the idea of their fantasy novels being translated to the screen, although eventually it did happen and certainly Peter Jackson's treatment of Tolkien's classic trilogy was a wonderful attempt at presenting the entire story without making 36 hours of film.   Thus far I cannot complain too much of the treatment of Narnia at Hollywood's hands, either.

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Both men chose fantasy as their favorite mode of writing and with their experiences in battle and their thorough knowledge of Northern and European history and mythology plus experiences in travel they could create and portray intricate fantasy worlds with all the conviction of historians and fortunately with the skill of a master storyteller. Fantasy is quite easy to write but it is quite difficult to write well.   The entire literary world has proclaimed both Lewis and Tolkien as masters of the craft, now sadly passed from this earth to enjoy the wonders of the other side.

My own personal favorite genres as a writer are science fiction and mystery, both of which allow for a great deal of latitude for an author. Were I hit with a money bomb I would devote much of my time to finishing at least three novels that I have begun and prodded and poked in my spare time for a few years now.  Writing is a great love but I chose the love of wife and children over writing and have never regretted the choice.  The world may never know the brilliance or absurdity of even one of my novels for I may never be able to retire and finish them.  But a real author writes because he is a writer and not in order to produce a book.   To create and explore the choices and thoughts and crises of the men and women and children that spring from the imagination is wonderful fun for me. 

Science fiction has been a favorite of several scientists, such as Isaac Asimov, by which they presented their own views of possible futures and imagined alternate Universes.  Robert Heinlein was a favorite of mine in my youth and I had a special love of most of Phillip K Dick's stories.  Science fiction has all the freedom of fantasy to create various "little black boxes" and use them as tools to advance a story, although in the end all stories are about the choices we make and the results thereof, whether the be clothed in spacesuits or sport coats or animal furs. 

But now much of the science fiction being published in the United States is in our Biology textbooks.  I know that Tolkien and Lewis would stand on either side of me and join me in declaring that science fiction has no place in SCIENCE FACT!  DARWINISM is as factual as Perelandra, as supportable scientifically as is the existence of Middle Earth and evolution via mutation and natural selection is no more possible than Scotty's beam.


Not happening!

Stay tuned for part three.   In part three I intend to tell you why there is no possible way Darwin and Christ can share the same brain without insulting logic and intellect.   But first, Christian, why do you even bother?  Why are you willing to let these Darwinists tell you their science fiction stories and take them as fact?

Try reading some descriptions of Darwinism.   Animals are constantly "adapting" new features.  Have you seen any genetic adoption agencies listed in the papers?  Me either.   Think about the Darwinist party line.
  1. The Universe magically appeared with no cause, having created itself.
  2. The Solar System had no designer but simply was a coincidentally accumulated by chance.
  3. The Earth is perfect for habitation by carbon-based life forms.
  4. Life just created itself.
  5. Information magically appeared and stuffed great quantities of itself into organisms
  6. Intricate processes and forms are "adapted" by organisms because they want them.  (I sure wish that worked for my bank account.  I would love to "adapt" a few more zeroes behind the balance sum.)
  7. Amazing and inexplicable behaviors by many thousands of types of organisms that no one would imagine could work do happen because of wonderful design features and/or brilliant processes.
  8. Wonderfully efficient micro-machines have been great teachers for human designers
  9. Organisms also have taught us great lessons about flight and moving through water and many other things, how marvelous that statistically impossible accidents have simply happened untold billions of times to help billions of blobs of mud to become sharks and giraffes and people and redwoods and ferns and plankton.   
  10. Best of all, the billions upon billions of miracles have been by no causal agent and are entirely without meaning, thus, we have no reason to live and no purpose in life and are not bound by any rules we can get away with breaking.   We are all random accidents.
Now that is to me complete fantasy, poorly written and not believable.  Frankly Darwinism is an insult to the intelligence of the logical being.  It's lacking in any proof whatever.  Pasteur and Newton and Galileo and Bacon would stand up and call Richard Dawkins a religious nut rather than a scientist and they would be right. They'd all say he was a bad sci-fi writer as well.   No heroes, no villains, no damsel or world or race of beings to save?  Nothing but things dying and magically getting longer or shorter and moving in and out of the water and things like that.   Boring.

Christian, there is no need to adjust your beliefs to agree with the secular world of science because they are religious zealots who believe in an Iything but God and are therefore untrustworthy.   Lies are not just winked at, they are part and parcel of the Darwin presentation.    Do some research at some of the Christian science sites I have linked or study subjects presented in my blog.   Usually I present scientific facts and then the commenters ignore the hard parts and try to take me down rabbit trails or just plain lie.   Be responsible for your own education, don't let atheopathic boneheads tell you what science says.  So today I tell you that you should not believe them.  
Next post I will tell you why YOU MUST NOT BELIEVE THEM!!!

19 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

Quoting a philologist on the subject of science, evolution, and religious belief? My, my, such a fine example of argument from authority and argument from irrelevance!

[snicker.wav]

And to make it even funnier, it's the Master of Fantasy, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, whose entirely-made-up Creation story makes more sense and is more internally consistent than the Bible's story of Genesis.

[jokerlaugh.wav]

Don't ever change, Radar. For if you ever stop lecturing with such confidence about subjects you don't understand, a great source of unintended humor will go out of the world.

highboy said...

"John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, whose entirely-made-up Creation story makes more sense and is more internally consistent than the Bible's story of Genesis."

Except its not.

Jon Woolf said...

Apparently you've never read The Silmarillion, highboy.

AmericanVet said...

I would be completely amazed if Jon Woolf had read either Tolkien or the Bible to the extent that I have. Also few people would classify Tolkien as merely a philologist, which is rather like classifying Benjamin Franklin as merely a tinkerer.

In the academic world, Tolkien was widely admired for his scholarship and the publishing of his books were something of an aside to his career. He was held in high personal esteem by the most brilliant men of his age with the exception of those who sympathized with Nazis, Communists or racists.

Furthermore, the Genesis account of creation is far superior to anything that Darwinists apparently might believe in, which would be something like "Nothing became a bunch of hydrogen atoms, which then turned into everything including people. Just add time and random chance."

The Genesis account is logical and straightforward. Therefore it is somewhat incomprehensible to those blinded by religious fervor such as Jon Woolf.

When Jesus Christ spoke to the crowds in parables, His intention was to cause those open to the Spirit of God to comprehend while either puzzling or angering the Pharisees and Sadducees. Since my short series concerning Christianity versus Darwinism is directed towards Christians, Jon Woolf will find the ideas either puzzling or maddening. Therefore he laughs.

"It's not enough to speak, but to speak true."

Jon Woolf said...

Radar, you never fail to disappoint.

Yes, Professor Tolkien was a philologist. He was a very, very good philologist. Good enough to teach at Oxford, and that's no small honor. It is, after all, the oldest and most-respected university in the entire English-speaking world. He was a master of medieval literature, whose translations of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are still used today. He understood the tradition and the power of Anglo-Saxon oral literature as well as anyone who ever lived. One can make a good case for calling him the last great Anglo-Saxon sage.

But that doesn't mean he knew anything about science or evolutionary theory.

Personally, I consider The Lord of the Rings to be among the great works of English literature, drawing on moral concepts as old as history and literary themes older than humanity itself. The Silmarillion is a lesser work primarily because it was never truly finished, and that shows in its somewhat incoherent, inconsistent structure and content. Yet it remains a powerful work in its own right. The two of them together are easily equal to the Bible in many ways. Perhaps that's one reason why I find the claim that the Bible is infallible divine revelation to be absurd: the Saga of Middle-earth is just as vast, far-reaching, and powerful, and yet we know beyond a doubt that saga sprang entirely from the mind of a single man.

Jon Woolf said...

Radar's doppelganger emoted: The Genesis account is logical and straightforward.

Which one? There are at least two: the J account and the P account.

highboy said...

"Perhaps that's one reason why I find the claim that the Bible is infallible divine revelation to be absurd: the Saga of Middle-earth is just as vast, far-reaching, and powerful, and yet we know beyond a doubt that saga sprang entirely from the mind of a single man."

Which is why to those with common sense its not absurd to put so much stock in the Bible, since we know at the very least it contains 66 books written by at least 43 different authors spanning a time period of a couple thousand years and despite your unsubstantiated and undemonstrated claims to the contrary, remains internally consistent.

"Which one? There are at least two: the J account and the P account."

Its comical how you ask this as if it hasn't been explained in previous threads that this has come up, especially in light of how much criticism is thrown radar's way for supposedly "ignoring" explanations presented by you and others.

radar said...

The J and P hypothesis has long ago been discarded by all but the most ardent haters of God. There was never a good argument FOR the idea of multiple authors, simply a few "higher" textual critics who could not conceive of any reason why more than one name of God might be used other than differing authors.

As Highboy indicated, I had already addressed that subject, which is equivalent to someone asking why there are still apes if man evolved from apes. I think evolution is preposterous, but even if it was true there would be no reason why apes would not find their own niche and a branch could have evolved up to humans. It would be the wrong argument.

Multiple authors for Genesis is a discredited argument and does not address the issues that we are approaching in more detail on Thursday night. The issues are specific to Christianity, that is, how Christianity does not have room within its walls to contain Darwin nor does Darwin actually wish to accommodate Christ.

radar said...

Let me make this clear to the commenters. This mini-series is designed to convince Christians or those who would be called Christians that they must choose to believe EITHER Darwinism or Christianity and there is no possible way to logically mix the two.

Darwinists want to cook Christianity like a frog in a pot, slowly increasing the heat until the Christ is cooked out of the frog entirely. They will convince liberal theologians to embrace Darwin until they have given up on actual Christianity entirely and have become merely religious. Liberal theologians hardly needed help to run away from the Bible as inerrant anyway, but normal Christians need not walk that same path. I will make this abundantly clear.

Then we can get back to the science part of all of this again and I can post my wonderful stuff that you can disparage just like we usually do.

radar said...

...and one more time ad nauseum I have a different identity from my primary work computer. I am not trying to fool anyone because I have identified myself as using American Vet so the doppelganger stuff is really not necessary. What is the point? So many of you just post anonymously and I do not continually harp about it.

Jon Woolf said...

Aye, through this before we have most certainly been. And through it again we probably will be, until you acknowledge that you're wrong. Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 contain two different accounts of the Creation, from different source-material.

"... since we know at the very least it contains 66 books written by at least 43 different authors spanning a time period of a couple thousand years..."

We know nothing of the sort. There is no independent evidence for the authorship of any book of the Bible. The Tanakh is clearly a written compilation of tales that were passed down in oral form for many generations, containing elements from many older stories, from a variety of sources. The various books of the New Testament may or may not be authentic; without independent confirmation, it's impossible to tell.

Anonymous said...

"Which is why to those with common sense its not absurd to put so much stock in the Bible, since we know at the very least it contains 66 books written by at least 43 different authors spanning a time period of a couple thousand years and despite your unsubstantiated and undemonstrated claims to the contrary, remains internally consistent."

I don't understand how the number of different authors is supposed to contribute to the credibility of the whole. It's an anthology, yes, but that doesn't mean that it's all true.

Jon: "Which one? There are at least two: the J account and the P account."

Highboy: "Its comical how you ask this as if it hasn't been explained in previous threads that this has come up, especially in light of how much criticism is thrown radar's way for supposedly "ignoring" explanations presented by you and others."

Not so fast, Highboy. "Explained in previous threads"? If memory serves, you were unable to concoct an explanation for the different Genesis accounts. All you did was restate the problem.

The issue was that the two creation accounts in Genesis differ from each other. Unremarkable from my perspective, since both are orally transmitted myths that were eventually committed to written form. Bit of a problem if you insist that the Bible is infallible in every last detail seeing as it's supposed to be the word of God.

The difference between the two: events take place in a different sequence in the two accounts.

Your "explanation": one of the two events is not in chronological order.

Sorry, but that "explanation" hardly warrants you mocking it as "comical" when someone points out this problem even though it was supposedly "explained".

-- creeper

highboy said...

"Aye, through this before we have most certainly been. And through it again we probably will be, until you acknowledge that you're wrong. Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 contain two different accounts of the Creation, from different source-material."

1. I'll admit I'm wrong when you post something that demonstrates you've done a smidgen of actual research involving anything Biblical, along with verifiable evidence of the following:

2. "different source material" um, explain?

creeper:

so far no one on this site that's questioned the reliability of the Gospels or the Bible on the whole have done anything more than point a few seemingly "contradictions" that were easily explained and when done so, your only answer has been "if it were truly infallible it wouldn't need an explanation". That's simply absurd. As for the Genesis accounts, its simple unless you're trying like all get out to discredit their validity. One of the two accounts is indeed not in chronological order, and as Genesis was never intended to be a timeline of a sequence of events, its really not a problem, regardless of it being handed down orally. You keep harping on this as if the method in which it was passed down in and of itself means its unreliable and that is simply fallacious. Be that as it may, the Creation account is not about when something happened, but what, which is why special emphasis is placed on the "what" not the "when" in the Creation story. This is actually a common tactic taken in Hebrew literature. The importance of the concept waxes and wanes with the amount of emphasis and detail placed on the concept.

Anonymous said...

hb, you should take up your "what, not when" interpretation of Genesis with Radar, as he clearly disagrees with you.

Oh and you'll be happy to know that us atheists/agnostics do pretty well when it comes to "religious knowledge", especially when it comes to you religious types. Don't believe me? Check this out.
http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/undergod/2010/09/america_fails_religion_pop_quiz.html
Here's an excerpt,
"Out of 32 questions, atheists and agnostics, on average, answered 21 questions correctly, making non-believers the top performers."

- Canucklehead.

Jon Woolf said...

higboy: "2. 'different source material' um, explain?"

Not much to explain. Textual critics say that the Tanakh, what Christians call the Old Testament, shows many textual signs of having been assembled from several older documents or story-collections. Each such collection would be a different source. I understand there are such signs in the New Testament as well, mainly differences between the various Gospels.

Anonymous said...

"As for the Genesis accounts, its simple unless you're trying like all get out to discredit their validity."

You don't need to question my motivation - the contradictions are plain to see, and the differences are not explained by one being a more detailed version of the other: They are in fact different sequences.

Here are the pertinent bits:

In the first account, it is very clear that God created all living things other than Man first (plants on the third day (and it clearly says that "the land produced vegetation"), creatures of the sea and winged creatures on the fifth day, land creatures on the sixth day). Only once all that was finished did he create Man ("Then God said").

In the second account, the land has not yet produced vegetation when God creates the first man, Adam. Only once he has done this does the land produce vegetation. So Adam then takes care of the garden and is told not to eat of the fruit etc.

And then God decides that Adam needs a companion, and he makes Eve out of Adam's rib.

I understand what you're saying about one being a chronological account and the other being a more detailed account. But surely the two must at least be compatible, since together they describe the same sequence of events, right? How would you stitch them together to form a coherent narrative without anything in either account not fitting in?

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

"You keep harping on this as if the method in which it was passed down in and of itself means its unreliable and that is simply fallacious."

How so? If it is clear that the Bible is an anthology of tales passed down orally that have changed in the transmission, then it follows logically that the text as a whole can not be considered infallible. What fallacy did you have in mind?

"Be that as it may, the Creation account is not about when something happened, but what,"

Er, no. Genesis 1 is clearly about when things happened.

"which is why special emphasis is placed on the "what" not the "when" in the Creation story."

You mean that constant "on the first day", "on the second day" etc.? I'd call that emphasis.

"This is actually a common tactic taken in Hebrew literature. The importance of the concept waxes and wanes with the amount of emphasis and detail placed on the concept."

Fair enough as a general principle, but that doesn't make the contradictions here go away.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

"so far no one on this site that's questioned the reliability of the Gospels or the Bible on the whole have done anything more than point a few seemingly "contradictions" that were easily explained"

Incidentally, you were also still short an "easy explanation" for the different sets of ten commandments, making your earlier mockery even more unjustified.

-- creeper

Amanda Vanecko said...

Both Lewis and Tolkien accepted that evolution was an acceptable theory. In Lewis's The Problem With Pain, he describes the evolution of man, in a way, concluding that man ruined his own species.

In a few of his other writings, Lewis suggests that evolution was God's hands-on way of slowly developing the perfect creature to which he would bestow upon a spirit. While this is only a speculation, it does seem in character with God to do such a thing.

Also, Tolkien's The Silmarillion, describes Eru Iluvatar (God) directing the Ainur (angels) in the Music of Ainur which is creating the world. The process appears to be slow and gradual, and a slight change in note could change the shape of a beast. This sounds like a beautiful analogy for the creation of the universe and earth.