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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friendly Fire? (Not really) continued...with a twist!

When I found myself becoming an octopus rather than a man and trying to do eight things at once, I realized priorities put work ahead of blogging.   Fortunately, it was a good time to discuss metaphysical aspects of the Darwinism versus Creationism debate.  

Intelligent Design is entirely an operational science-based attempt to analyze evidence without bringing a worldview into the discussion.  

Darwinism presumes Naturalistic Materialism must be the cause of all causations. 

Creationism assumes a Creator God.  

Today we give Dr. Charles Wood his part two of the dissertation and then bring a non-Christian in at the end to give yet another point of view.


FRIENDLY FIRE?  PROBABLY NOT!  (ADDENDUM)






     OK, lets’ admit it, I didn’t get finished on Tuesday, sensing that the post was growing too long.  So, here’s some more on the subject. I probably didn’t handle my references to professors past as well as I should have.  This is an area of memory from more than half a Century ago and is therefore subject to some potential unintentional inaccuracies.  Actually, I had about a half dozen teachers who allowed for (a very different word from accepted or embraced) the idea of the creative days being long periods of time.  There was one of them, who shall remain unnamed, that I really believe accepted the idea (but only as a plausible theory - and that was not Dr. Leon Wood).





     All of these men, however, were not motivated by the idea of making concessions to science or allowing time for the theory of evolution to work itself out.  So-called “Theistic Evolution” was around (and actually being taught at a well-known college that was considered a bastion of Biblical orthodoxy), but it was not the “hot ticket” item among evangelicals that it is today.  In fact, it was considered aberrant in the places where I was educated.  The motivation of my Professors, as nearly as I can remember, was that it did provide a possible answer to the questions raised by the apparent age of the earth - questions that still linger and now apparently drive some self-professed believers to embrace the “facts” of science as an explanation.

     It was some time after - I believe in 1961 - that The Genesis Flood first made its appearance. That sounds like yesterday, but it was fifty years ago, the year after I finally completed my graduate work.  I read it almost immediately upon publication and was generally impressed by it.  My main problems came in areas when Henry Morris, a Hydrologist by background, addressed Bible claims (particularly in the linguistic field) and when John Whitcomb, a widely-recognized Theologian (who is still living and speaking around the country) addressed scientific claims.  I did find in that work the best and most - to me at least - intellectually and practically satisfying explanation of fossils and the fossil record that I have seen since.  While not perfect, the book did provide a viable, generally intellectually consistent alternative to other theories that sought to explain the earth's apparent age.  Lacking in a solid scientific foundation, I found the general theme of the book a satisfying point of embarkation on my own journey to maintain my commitment to historic orthodoxy without dismissing those scientific claims that from time-to-time prove to have demonstrable validity.  Although I have a few areas of reservation, I would readily plead guilty to the accusation of holding a “Flood Geology” position in regard to the age of the earth.

     I mentioned my concern that there has not been more “push back” from solidly conservative evangelical sources.  As I said, New York Pastor Timothy Keller has spoken out, and a book has been written by a Professor at Covenant Seminary.  Al Mohler has also chimed in, and I am sure there are other opponents, of whom I am not aware, who have expressed themselves publicly.  There are, however, several organizations that are ”set for the defense” of the Bible against the inroads of the religion of Evolution, the best known of which are probably the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis.  Since my long-time friend, Duane Gish, is no longer an active principal in the Institute, I have not had much contact with it (I did notice on Amazon that Henry Morris Jr. has written a book that appears to update the original Genesis Flood and to treat the many issues that have arisen in the last fifty years, and they have a great web site with enough information to keep a blog surfer busy for half a day).  I am much more familiar with Answers in Genesis and the work of its leader, Ken Ham.  I have visited the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky and came away from that visit very impressed with what I saw and heard (and I do know enough about science to appreciate much of the intense labor that has been expended on making that the fascinating experience it really is).  I also get a weekly email from AIG which I do not devour but do scan and read articles that stand out to me as within the sphere of my interests.  I sometimes find articles that have a bit of intellectual arrogance about them, but generally speaking, I am impressed with the treatment of the subjects and the general intellectual competence shown by the authors.  I was especially gratified by the very sane answer given to a woman who wrote in a question that I considered almost below the level of being worthy of an answer.

     Some say that they are not impressed by the work of ICR and AIG, but I am not impressed with the work of BioLogos.  At least the former two institutions begin with the Bible and seek to interpret science in a way consistent with its teaching and historic theological evaluation, whereas BioLogos appears to begin with science and seeks to re-interpret Scripture in such a way as to conform it to the ever shifting “facts” of evolution.  Again, given a choice (which I really am not), I will chose Scripture over science every time.

     Mark Farnham, a Professor at Calvary Baptist  Theological Seminary (Lansdale, PA) has posted a quote from a leading theologian who would hardly qualify as a fundamentalist (or even to most as a conservative evangelical). that speaks quite eloquently to the controversy:

    “The Bible is thought of as authoritative on everything of which it speaks. And it speaks of everything. We do not mean that it speaks of football games, of atoms, etc., directly, but we do mean that it speaks of everything either directly or indirectly. It tells us not only of the Christ and his work, but also of who God is and whence the universe has come. It gives us a philosophy of history as well as history. Moreover, the information on these subjects is woven into an inextricable whole. It is only if you reject the Bible as the Word of God that you can separate its so-called religious and moral instruction from what it says, e.g., about the physical universe.” 

    The source?  Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, 4th ed. Edited by K. Scott Oliphint (P&R, 2008), 29.

    Ann Coulter is hardly a scientist (and I am not aware of her having claimed any faith in Christ as Savior), but she is very intelligent and extremely cogent in her writing.  Her Town Hall Column of today is worth reading.  Don’t let your presuppositions concerning her - or even her questionable status regarding the faith - keep you from catching her main points:

    “The definition of hell is being condescended to by idiots. It will probably be MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Contessa Brewer sneering at you for all of eternity for not believing in evolution.





    "Roughly one-third of my 2007 No. 1 New York Times best-seller, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, is an attack on liberals' creation myth, Darwinian evolution. I presented the arguments of all the luminaries in the field, from the retarded Richard Dawkins to the brilliant Francis Crick, and disputed them.  But apparently liberals didn't want to argue back.

    "Despite Matthews' obsessive fixation on the topic, manifested by his constantly asking elected Republicans if they believe in evolution, in a one-hour interview with me on Godless -- the very book that is chockablock with attacks on Darwinism -- Matthews didn't ask me a single question about the subject. No liberal did. Matthews doesn't even know what evolution is.

    "Just a year later, at a 2008 Republican presidential candidates' debate, Matthews asked for a show of hands of who believed in evolution. No discussion permitted! That might allow scientific facts, rather than schoolyard taunts, to escape into the world.

    "Evolution is the only subject that is discussed exclusively as a 'Do you believe?' question with yes-or-no answers. How about conservative journalists start putting mikes in front of liberal candidates and demanding, 'Do you believe in the Bible -- yes or no?' 'Is an unborn baby human -- yes or no?' and 'Do you believe teenagers should have sex -- yes or no?'

    "This is the flash mob method of scientific inquiry. Liberals quickly surround and humiliate anyone who disagrees with them. They are baffled when appeals to status (which would work on them) don't work on everyone else.

    "Now that Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has said there are 'gaps' in the theory of evolution -- or 'gas' as The New York Times originally reported, before issuing a correction -- we're in for another round of fact-free mocking of fundamentalist nuts.
In fact, however, it has not been advances in Christianity (which is pretty much settled), but in science that have completely discredited Darwin's theory of evolution.

    "This week, we will consider one small slice of the mountain of scientific evidence disproving this mystery religion from the Victorian age.  Most devastating for the Darwiniacs were advances in microbiology since Darwin's time, revealing infinitely complex mechanisms requiring hundreds of parts working together at once -- complex cellular structures, DNA, blood-clotting mechanisms, molecules, and the cell's tiny flagellum and cilium.

    Darwin's theory was that life on Earth began with single-celled life forms, which by random mutation, sex and death, would pass on the desirable mutations, and this process, over billions of years, would lead to the creation of new species.

    "The (extremely generous) test Darwin set for his theory was this: 'If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.'

    "Thanks to advances in microscopes, thousands of such complex mechanisms have been found since Darwin's day. He had to explain only simple devices, such as beaks and gills. If Darwin were able to come back today and peer through a modern microscope to see the inner workings of a cell, he would instantly abandon his own theory.

It is a mathematical impossibility, for example, that all 30 to 40 parts of the cell's flagellum -- forget the 200 parts of the cilium! -- could all arise at once by random mutation. According to most scientists, such an occurrence is considered even less likely than John Edwards marrying Rielle Hunter, the "ground zero" of the impossible. Nor would each of the 30 to 40 parts individually make an organism more fit to survive and reproduce, which, you will recall, is the lynchpin of the whole contraption.

    "As Michael Behe, biochemist and author of Darwin's Black Box explains, even a mechanism as simple as a three-part mousetrap requires all three parts to be working together at once. Otherwise, you don't get a mousetrap that catches half as many mice -- and thus might win a survival of the fittest competition -- you don't get a mousetrap at all.

    "The more we have learned about molecules, cells and DNA -- a body of knowledge some refer to as "science" -- the more preposterous Darwin's theory has become. DNA is, as Bill Gates says, 'like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we've ever created'(Plus DNA doesn't usually crash when you're right in the middle of reproducing.)  Evolution fanatics would rather not be called on to explain these complex mechanisms that Darwin himself said would disprove his theory.  Instead they make jokes about people who know the truth. They say that to dispute evolution means you must believe man walked with dinosaurs.  Galileo's persecutors probably had some good guffaws about him believing in Fred Flintstone.

    "This is why the brighter Darwiniacs end up sounding like Scientologists in order to cling to their mystery religion.  Crick, winner of the Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of DNA, hypothesized that highly intelligent extraterrestrials sent living cells to Earth on an unmanned spaceship, a theory he set forth in his 1981 book, Life Itself.  Thus was God narrowly averted!  But Crick's solution obviously begs the question: How did the highly intelligent extraterrestrials evolve?

    Harvard population biologist Richard Lewontin said the Darwiniacs tolerate 'unsubstantiated just-so stories' of evolution and ignore 'the patent absurdity of some of its constructs' because they are committed to coming up with a theory that excludes God. 'We cannot,' Lewontin said, 'allow a divine foot in the door.'

   "Maybe if we called the Intelligent Designer 'Louis Vuitton' to avoid frightening the Godphobics, they'd finally admit the truth: Modern science has disproved Darwinian evolution."

     Finally Michael Behe’s Evolution’s Black Box is a must read for anyone really interested in the subject.  Behe holds to the Intelligent
Design view, and is not - to my knowledge - a believer, but the book is devastating to conventional Evolutionary thinking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE WOODCHUCK'S DEN

The work of Dr. Charles "Chuck" Wood
Retired pastor and educator
Current husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather,
Bible teacher, writer and contrarian
Now hidden away in Mishawaka, Indiana
August 25, 2011

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Behe also wrote "The Edge of Evolution" in which he points out the limits that have been testable and repeatable in laboratory tests, limits of mutation as a possible agent of change in organisms.   Even presuming mutations bring a positive rather than a negative direction to organisms (which they don't) there is no way for a mass of mutations to appear and be passed on simultaneously.   Darwinism require this to happen and, not once, but millions upon millions of times.   It is not possible.

Credit

Now a word from the non-Christian side of things.   David Harsanyi is a blogger at times but his day job is journalist and columnist.

"Science" When It Suits Them



By David Harsanyi


By David Harsanyi

So every now and then, liberals are treated to a big self-righteous laugh at the expense of some backwoods Christian conservative candidate who "ignores science" by doubting evolution or global warming -- or, gasp, both.

Much, for instance, has been made of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's recent suggestion that evolution is a "theory that's out there" with "gaps in it." He even insinuated that evolution and creationism should both be taught in schools -- because folks are "smart enough to figure out which one is right."

Sanctimony to red alert!

Now, I have no interest in watching my kids waste their time with creationism, but unlike progressives, I have no interest in dictating what other kids should learn. Remember that these folks, bothered by the very thought of their offspring's hearing a God-infused concept in school, have no problem forcing millions of parents to accept bureaucrat-written curricula at government-run school monopolies. They oppose home schooling. They oppose school choice. They oppose parents choosing a religious education with their tax dollars.

As a voter, like me, you may find Perry's view on creationism disconcerting and a sign of an unsophisticated candidate. But the fact is that the progressives' faith-based devotion to government is far more consequential than Perry's faith-based position on evolution.

Despite the rare political dispute, in the real world, science -- real science -- is rarely controversial. It's politicized science that is prickly. And science is easy to politicize. Maybe if schools began teaching students that "life" begins at conception and that each zygote, embryo and fetus is a unique human being in some early stage of development just waiting to be born, liberals would see the point.

No, my kids haven't been chewing over Charles Darwin text or the Holy Bible in elementary school. There's simply no time. Not with global warming out there.

Perry, not surprisingly, was also recently asked about "global warming." He responded that "the issue has been politicized" and that pouring billions of dollars into "a scientific theory that has not been proven and ... is more and more being put into question" is not worthwhile.

It is interesting watching the nation's defenders of reason, empirical evidence and science fail to display a hint of skepticism over the transparently political "science" of global warming. Rarely are scientists so certain in predicting the future. Yet this is a special case. It is also curious that these supposed champions of Darwin don't believe that human beings -- or nature -- have the ability to adapt to changing climate.

Like 99 percent of pundits and politicians, though, I have no business chiming in on the science of climate change -- though my kids' teachers sure are experts. Needless to say, there is a spectacular array of viewpoints on this issue. The answers are far from settled. There are debates over how much humans contribute. There are debates over how much warming we're seeing. There are debates over many things.

But even if one believed the most terrifying projections of global warming alarmist "science," it certainly doesn't mean one has to support the anti-capitalist technocracy to fix it. And try as some may to conflate the two, global warming policy is not "science." The left sees civilization's salvation in a massive Luddite undertaking that inhibits technological growth by turning back the clock, undoing footprints, forcing technology that doesn't exist, banning products that do and badgering consumers who have not adhered to the plan through all kinds of punishment. Yet there is no real science that has shown that any of it makes a whit of difference.

So no doubt, it is reasonable for voters to query presidential candidates about their views on faith, religion, God, Darwin and science. It matters. Sometimes, though, it matters less than they'd like you to think it does.

Copyright 2011, Creators Syndicate Inc.

About


David Harsanyi is a nationally syndicated columnist and a columnist/blogger at The Blaze. He is Editorial Manager at Mercury Ink.

David’s writings on politics and culture have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Weekly Standard, National Review, Reason, Christian Science Monitor, Jerusalem Post, Toronto Globe & Mail, The Hill, Jornal O Globo, and numerous other publications. For nearly seven years he was a columnist at the Denver Post — and for three years a member the Post’s editorial board.

Harsanyi’s column, syndicated nationally through Creators Syndicate, is carried by newspapers, magazines and websites across the country, and has been featured by RealClearPolitics, TownHall.com, Reason.com, New Hampshire Union Leader, Arizona Republic, Detroit News, Salt Lake City Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, The Columbus Dispatch, Philadelphia Inquirer, and many others.

Harsanyi appears on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, National Public Radio as well as dozens of radio talk shows across the country, discussing political and cultural issues. His first book, Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children (Doubleday/Broadway) was released in 2007.

Harsanyi has held positions as a producer, editor and reporter at media outlets like the Associated Press, New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated Online and Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Extra credit information:  Access Research Network Michael Behe page...

Michael Behe


Professor of Biochemistry
Department of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University
  Michael J. Behe


Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box
The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
Audio Tape: Introduction to DBB
The Right Questions Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe



Video:
Intelligent Design

From the Big Bang to
Irreducible Complexity
Video:
Unlocking the
Mystery of Life
       
Video:
Irreducible Complexity

The Biochemical
Challenge to
Darwinian Theory.
Video:
Where Does the Evidence Lead?




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