Archive for the ‘Religion of Science’ Category

The "Little Extra" of Believing the Word of God

January 27, 2011

Over at the interesting, and often thought-provoking, non-Calvinist blog “Diglot” (anonmyously authored), I found the following statement:

I think that today’s Christianity in large part has fused the basics of the Christian gospel message together with many peripheral beliefs. When you become a Christian in today’s Western culture, you are not merely “accepting Christ” but you are also accepting an entire package of doctrines and beliefs. All these little extra beliefs are implicitly touted as being inextricably wrapped up with the basic message of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

What are the “little extras” I am talking about? Things like being told that as a Christian you have to believe that the world was created 6000 years ago, that evolution is not true, that everything in the Bible (especially the Old Testament) actually happened, that the Gospel of John is a faithful record of what Jesus actually said and did, etc. However, it seems that when many Christians realize that these things are not even remotely true, their entire faith collapses. Not just their Christian faith, but even their most basic faith in any God.

But Jesus said:

John 5:47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

You cannot have Jesus and reject Moses, because Jesus bore witness to Moses. If you believe the words of Jesus, you will believe the words of Moses. If you don’t believe Moses, you don’t believe Jesus.

Believers are not simply those who “accept Christ,” but those who believe and trust in the Word of God. Thus, Scripture contrasts the two positions:

Psalm 106:12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

vs.

Psalm 106:24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:

And again:

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

vs.

John 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

And sometimes we see the two tied directly together:

John 12:46-48
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Unbelief in the Bible is unbelief in God. I wish I could offer hope to those who reject the Old Testament but claim to love Jesus, but I cannot. Perhaps God will have mercy on them (after all, we are all sinners and imperfect), but the fruit of the lives of such men is that they have not believed the Word of the Lord.

This is not a little extra, but the central issue – a line that divides heretics from orthodox Christians – those that accept the once delivered faith from those who create a new faith that excludes those parts that they do not wish to hold.

It is not a tragedy when unbelievers identify themselves as unbelievers. After all, it is better for an unbeliever to recognize his situation than for him to falsely imagine himself to be a believer.

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

So, dear reader, here is a challenge for you: do you believe the Word of the Lord? Is it your rule of faith and life? Do you measure the claims of your church by that standard, or do you interpret the Scriptures according to what your church insists it means? Do you measure the historical and cosmological claims of “science” by what the Bible says, or do you interpret the Bible in light of what “science” tells you? Have you accepted or relegated the Word of the Lord?

Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

-TurretinFan

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Radioactive Dating – a Problem

August 28, 2010

One of the assumptions behind the use of radioactive dating is the idea that the rate of decay of radioactive elements is essentially constant over long periods of time. There are a number of problems with this assumption. One of the problems is identified in the linked article (link to article). As identified in the article, the apparent rate of decay seems to have a connection to the Earth’s relationship to the Sun and perhaps the Earth’s relationship to a slowly spinning core of the Sun. I’m sure that some folks will be quick to point out that the variation that has been noticed is periodic and is small. This seems to be true. Nevertheless, the point is that there is already some observed variation, and (so far) the cause of this variation is not known. There is speculation that it is caused by neutrinos, but bluntly put the scientists who are studying this are just guessing what the cause might be.

Furthermore, while scientists can observe these short term trends, scientists don’t have the data to see whether there are long term (even on the order of 100 years) trends. They don’t really know that radioactive decay is constant – that is assumed based on an apparent constancy at the present time.

And that assumption is open to very reasonable doubt.

– TurretinFan

Mitochondrial Eve

August 26, 2010

One of the problems for Evolutionism is the discovery of mitochondrial DNA. This DNA is passed down maternally. In an article published recently, “scientists” indicated that using various assumptions they have calculated mitochondrial Eve (the female ancestor of all living humans) as having lived about 200,000 years ago (link to article). That number is probably one or two orders of magnitude to high, but the result is problematic for evolutionary science that wants to push back common descent significantly beyond 200,000 years.

As a result, we see resort to the following example of speculation:

“There is always some other female that predated mitochondrial Eve, whose DNA didn’t make it up to modernity,” said Marek Kimmel, a professor of statistics at Rice University. “So the age of the mitochondrial Eve is always less than the age of the true, first female modern human.”

How on earth could Professor Kimmel have access to that information? The only reason for making that kind of claim is the idea that naturalism does not accept the idea of a woman formed from the first man’s rib.

-TurretinFan

>Morphology vs. Genetics vs. Evolution

August 10, 2010

>Peter Pike made an interesting argument in the comment box of my previous post (link to post). The argument runs along these lines:

1) Evolutionism claims that common descent can be demonstrated via clading, where clading is broadly defined as grouping individuals in a family tree based on genetic similarity.

2) Clading is great for things like paternity testing.

3) Clading, however, is not great for predicting morphology. The Orangutan is morpholigically the most similar living animal to man, but is not genetically the most similar to man.

4) Virtually all that palentology can provide with respect to most specimens is bone morphology.

The conclusion: palentology does not support (whether or not it rebuts) the contemporary argument of evolutionism. Obviously, a good bit of the weight of the argument hangs on (3). I’m sure the typical response would be to argue that morphology is used because that’s all we have. The conclusion, however, still stands. The fact that it is the best you have doesn’t really mean it’s enough.

– TurretinFan

>Synthesizing Light and Darkness

August 7, 2010

>Christopher Benson has a new post called, “The Future of the Science and Religion Debate.” (link to post – not recommended) Benson argues that, “Christians can achieve a “synthetic middle ground” in the debate if they get a better handle on the vocations of science and religion and a more robust doctrine of creation.” But Benson, in a quotation from Giberson, defines this synthetic middle ground as a position “where one might simultaneously embrace a science shorn of its over-reaching scientism and a faith freed from a simplistic biblical literalism.

Why on earth would I want to compromise Biblical literalism? What good is a synthesis of truth (that God created the world in six days) and error (anything else)?

According to Benson, the apparent reason would be to avoid negative perception from unbelievers: “A Pew Forum poll conducted in 2007 showed that only 25% of evangelicals believe in evolution and 10% in evolution through natural selection––a statistic that puts them at odds with the scientific consensus, reinforcing the cultural perception of Christian anti-intellectualism. The New Atheists have emerged, defining the terms of engagement in the debate on science and religion. And the Intelligent Design crowd has lost its stamina, becoming a scientific embarrassment.

Guess what, there are some other things that are contrary to the scientific consensus:

1) Noah’s Flood

2) The Plagues on Egypt

3) The Crossing of the Red Sea

4) Manna from Heaven

5) The Crossing of the Jordan

6) The Battle of Jericho

7) The Virgin Birth

8) The Resurrection of Lazarus

9) The Resurrection of Jesus

I could list many more. The scientific consensus is that there are no miracles. It’s not there are miracles only about things less amazing than creating the world in six days. It’s worse than stupid to compromise the truth of Scripture for the sake of being more well-liked by unbelievers.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

-TurretinFan

In the Beginning …

April 14, 2010

God created the heavens and the earth. It’s the first doctrine of Scripture. It’s one of the first doctrines of the so-called Apostles’ Creed. God’s title of “Creator” is found in both Old and New Testaments. Adam is in Christ’s line and Adam’s very real sin is central to the need for Christ’s incarnation. That Adam and Eve were created by God as God claims is a matter of believing what God says. I’m disturbed that people think this doctrine is open to compromise.

Very briefly, the typical objections:

1) People used to think that the world was flat and/or the center of the universe.

Neither the flatness of the earth nor its gravitational relationship to the Sun is specifically a doctrinal matter. Some folks tried to make it a doctrinal matter, but they were mistaken in doing so.

2) You’re just employing “God of the gaps”

No, we’re not. God observed the creation of the universe and has accurately and truthfully reported it to us. Our conclusion that God created the world is based on his eyewitness testimony.

3) You’re backward to accept Scripture over Science

The question of origins is an historical question, not a scientific question. We have the best possible historical source, the very word of God.

4) But you are ignoring Science!

Scientists who are employing philosophical naturalism always do and always will yield naturalistic conclusions. Expecting anything else is like hoping that the “X” key of your typewriter will occasionally provide an “O” on the paper. That’s not how it works. If you press the “X” button, you get an “X”.

Conclusion

Belief in special creation is a central tenet of the Christian faith.

Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

There is not room for compromise on this subject, just as there is not room for compromise on the virgin birth (which purely naturalistic science does not accept) or the resurrection (same objection from philosophical naturalism).

-TurretinFan

The Proof Evolutionists Have Been Waiting For

January 13, 2010

This sea slug is (according to journalists, a huge qualification) part animal and part plant (link). Thus, the slug defies conventional clades. It does not fit into the evolutionary tree. Will any atheists accept this evidence and discard evolution? Probably not. Most will simply try to build a new tree and assume that one can be built until they succeed.

Incidentally, I suspect that this sea slug will turn out to have a parasitic plant living symbiotically with it, or something like that. If so, it will fall more or less neatly into the existing clades.

The explanation in the article is that by an unexplained mechanism (it sounds so much nicer than “magically”) the slugs steal genes from their food and pass those genes on to their offspring. If this is correct, then the slugs fit in the slug clade and simply have a very unusual distinctive trait of being able to steal genetic code from other organisms.

Of course, by the way, the ability to steal genetic code from other organisms is a great deus ex machina to avoid letting the clading system be falsified by the evidence of nature (much like the deus ex machina of parallel evolution).

-TurretinFan

Evidence for Recent Fossilization

May 29, 2009

That’s how I’d characterize the linked article, that describes alleged findings of dinosaur proteins, an unlikely event if the sample were really 65 Million years old (link).

Caveat: Scientists dispute findings all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see folks try to challenge these findings as well.

-TurretinFan

Another Broken Link in the Darwinian Chain

May 20, 2009

There has been much hubub about a supposed missing link that has been allegedly located in the form of what appears simply to be a lemur monkey skeleton. Less attention has been given to a serious problem for evolutionists: a newly discovered species of mega-shrew (link).

Why is this mega-shrew a problem? It has a characteristic found in snakes, but not in any allegedly common ancestors of both shrews and snakes: teeth capable of injecting venom.

What is so significant about that? It requires that naturalists hypothesize parallel evolution: two species coming to be by chance to have similar features through the process of random mutation and natural selection.

The chances of both a shrew and a snake developing a similar beneficial mutation by chance is extremely small. Although this cannot definitively disprove naturalism (nothing can – naturalism is by definition unfalsifiable), it does require a still higher degree of “faith” (if you will) by the proponents of naturalism.

This is, of course, not the first such instance. One of the most notorious examples is the eye of the squid as compared to the eyes of men. Again, no alleged common ancestor can be found to provide appropriate nesting for this common feature and consequently the hypothesis of parallel evolution must be invoked.

And that is the basic flow chart for neo-Darwinian naturalism:

1. Hypothesize that everything is the result of natural selection and random (sometimes beneficial) mutations.

2. Attempt to arrange species data using nesting to meet hypothesis.

3. If nesting cannot fit all the species data, allege parallel evolution of species.

4. Claim victory despite the vast statistical improbability of beneficial mutations happening in different species in parallel.

5. If necessary, sprinkle in the pixie dust of vast periods of time to explain away the inconceivably unlikely event you are alleging occurred.

6. Insist that any explanation that invokes the supernatural is just filling gaps, superstitious, or religion interfering with science.

How sad.

-TurretinFan

More Evidence of Creation and Providence

February 24, 2009

There is no lack of evidence that God created and rules all things. In this case, the evidence is a marvellously designed fish, which has a transparent dome on the top of its head, and tube-like eyes that can rotate up to look through the dome to look for prey above the fish (link). I realize that there will still be people who will try to attribute this technological wonder to chance and “natural processes,” but surely one whose eyes have been opened will recognize this as God’s Creation and Providence.

-TurretinFan


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