Battles and Confusion About Theistic Evolution

Differences of opinions in the Christianity community is nothing out of the ordinary because Christians grow at different spiritual levels. The Bible points out in Romans 15, there are two sets of Christians,  those who are stronger and then those who are weaker. The ones stronger in the faith,  happily “bear their infirmities of the weak.”

A pro-evolutionist publication which I have mentioned a number of times in this blog, “New Scientist” has been delighting in an emerging battle between those who believe evolution can be reconciled with religion, and those who say the two should be kept separate.

The Discovery Institute who heads the intelligent design movement claims one cannot be a Christian and also believe in evolution. There is a problem with the Discovery Institute taking on this issue because their organization doesn’t use the Bible as a foundation for it’s investigation on how nature works.

They are certainly not a ‘Christian’ organization but has a worldview with a mixture of an unknown supernatural or natural (as it believes in possible alien life forms) as source for the origin of life. This is just as bad as the NCSE, with their Faith Network Coordinator which has printed a curriculum for adult Sunday School classes.

So the question remains, can one be a Christian and still believe in evolution. The answer is “yes.” As stated earlier in Romans 15, there are strong and weaker Christians. Does that mean the two go together in harmony, so one can  actually come closer to God using “Theistic Evolution?”

The answer is a resounding “no” because a Christian would be sinning if he/she believed evolution was compatible with the Bible. A worldview and the Bible are two different things (which Discovery Institute would be right)  so it would not bring them closer to God.

An example, a new convert might still have many errors, and still might be sitting in a false ‘church’ or still holding on to evolution. It might be years before they realize their errors and come out, or they might die before then but they still go to heaven.

Now on to Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and the launch of their new website, claiming evolution is compatible with religion. This site does indeed attempt to use the Bible to make their claims. Although they wrongly try to fit the story of evolution within the framework of the Bible and then adds to it.

For instance, the fall of Adam they claim is compatible with evolution because they believe there were animals living before Adam’s time. Not only that but claiming human’s came into the earth’s history very late because the story of evolution says so.  This mixture or a worldview is not biblical nor practical.

What about using evolution to justify atheism like Dawkins promotes? Evolution is not neutral like some have tried to claim and certainly cannot be fitted into the framework of the Bible, but evolution can be fitted into the framework of atheism because that is where it’s actually compatible.

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87 thoughts on “Battles and Confusion About Theistic Evolution

  1. Firstly, the Discovery institute is religious, have you heard of the Wedge strategy document? If they’re not religious why do they want to “reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions”. Notably most of the members claim to be Christians.

    Secondly, I would maintain that a Christian can accept the evidence of mainstream science and the doctrines of their faith simultaneously (I do). Christians were the last to accept that the sun, not the earth was the centre of the solar system. This is because it came into conflict with a overly literal and simplistic interpretation of scripture. I think the current “controversy” is no different.

    Science is: “The investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced by such investigation. Science makes use of the scientific method, which includes the careful observation of natural phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis, the conducting of one or more experiments to test the hypothesis, and the drawing of a conclusion that confirms or modifies the hypothesis.”

    Nowhere does the definition mention the super-natural because science doesn’t comment on it. Those who use science to bolster either an atheistic or theistic approach aren’t using science as it is supposed to be used.

  2. You cannot say that the “Discovery” institute is not a christian institute. It is run by, and funded by, christians.

    In 2005, a federal court ruled that the Discovery Institute pursues “demonstrably religious, cultural, and legal missions”, and the institute’s manifesto, the Wedge strategy, describes a religious goal: to “reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions”.

    OK, Christian AND theistic at the same time. Whatever that may mean.

  3. Certainly the Holy Bible leaves no room for the Evolutionary fable; indeed it completely and fundamentally contradicts it.

  4. @Dom:
    Most christians on this planet do not agree with you.
    But it all depends on whether you take your particular holy book literally or not. As yours is full of internal contradictions (this is well-known), the former approach seems not very sensible. But I guess any sort of religion does not make sense to me anyway …

  5. Hi Eelco.

    The teaching of the Holy Bible is not determined by majority opinion. And many Christians do in fact recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible.

    And were you better informed about Biblical interpretation you would realise it is not about some vague notion of whether or not one takes the Holy Bible literally or not, but about whether one is able to correctly understand what is literal and what is not.

    And there has never been a proven contradiction within the Holy Bible; much opinionated dismissal and supeficial presumption, but never a proven contradiction.

    Remember, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean you’re right about everything.

  6. “And many Christians do in fact recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible.”

    But that is still a minority. That’s plain statistics.

    “And were you better informed about Biblical interpretation you would realise it is not about some vague notion of whether or not one takes the Holy Bible literally or not, but about whether one is able to correctly understand what is literal and what is not.”

    Well, from my point of view nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours (remember, there are lots of religious books in the world, so why would yours be any better than others ?).
    But I guess *you* are the one who knows how to interpret your holy book “correctly”, whatever that would be ?

    “Remember, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean you’re right about everything.”
    That’s too obvious to comment on. Of course I do not think I’m ‘right’ about everything. That would be arrogant.
    But it is also arrogant for you to say that I don’t understand something. Why would I not understand this ?

    As for contradictions in your particular holy book: google comes up with this nice list, for example:
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

    The Quran has a its own list, of course, and so do other religious books. I’m not trying to pick on yours in particular, as that would not be right.

  7. Eelco,

    You say, “But that is still a minority. That’s plain statistics.”In regards to people who believe in evolution. In American, less than 4 out of 10 believe in naturalism. Many surveys were done in honor to Charles Darwin’s birthday and none of them indicated “minority.” It is not surprising to see many atheists in Germany, why? Because there once was east Germany which was communist and there was no freedom of religion.

    Since you think you know about the Bible, what manuscripts is the Bible based on? The Quran was badly complied, indications of that shows how it’s organized. Suras are arranged by size not by chronological order. And even it’s didn’t have any “contradictions” it still contains a false message that is anti-christian. Archaeology in such places as Israel, give evidence for the Bible that even secular outlets have reported on. In your way of thinking, this research should not be conducted because it’s one of the things outside your black box. But of course, your wrong.

  8. People who say the Discovery Institute is religious cannot get it thought their thick skulls that Intelligent Design is NOT the same as Creationism

    Intelligent Design, unlike Creationism, doesn’t care if the Designer is natural or supernatural.

    Also, there are several ID proponents that agree with evolutionists that all organisms had a common ancestor.

    Considering those two facts, Intelligent Design and the Discovery Institute are not religious.

    I give more detail here: http://explanationblog.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/two-reasons-why-intelligent-design-is-not-creationism/

  9. @Michael:
    I said most christians on the planet, not just those in the US.
    I was just reacting to ‘Dom’ who maintains that “many christians do in fact recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible.”. This is a minority, planetwide.

    Your comment on East-germany is nonsense. Poland has the same history (communist state) and is now one of the most catholic countries in Europe.

    “It’s one of the things outside your black box.”
    Which black box ? I do not think in boxes. You do.

  10. @krissmith777:

    Thick skulls ?
    No. The discovery institute is run by christians, and funded by christians (Ahmanson is one of them).
    And intelligent design is simply creationism in a different package. I do not find your blog particularly convincing, as I have read an lot of other literature on the history of creationism and ID. Only the packaging is different.

    What you call ‘facts’ are not facts at all.

  11. @krissmith777:

    Intelligent design is creationism’s Trojan horse. The vast majority of it’s advocates are Christians who see the designer as the God of Christianity. Both include the same arguments from ignorance and personal incredulity.

    Have you heard about the book “Of Pandas and People”? This was the first textbook on intelligent design but it was originally written as a creationism text book. All the authors did was change words (badly) like creation to intelligent design. You can read more from a court transcript here.

    Both Eelco and I have mentioned the Discovery Institute’s “Wedge strategy” which clearly discloses their religiously motivated agenda. Please, don’t ignore this because it is very telling.

  12. Ah yes, thanks for reminding me, rmbrowning: the nice story about the creationist book that was turned into a ID book by changing words. Particular words.
    A big red flag, I’d say!
    But this is only one giveaway to show that ID is simply creationism in a new package.

  13. “As for contradictions in your particular holy book: google comes up with this nice list, for example:
    b>

    I’ve read that page before. A lot of the “contradictions” are details like how old someone was when he died. Those are minor and can be easily explained away as simple typos which crepr in over time, but are irrelevant to the actual message.

    It can still be assumed that the typos were not in the original autographs that were written, considering the fact that the Biblical writters often sourced and borrowed from eachother.

    It accuses the Bible of contradicting itself by saying Joseph had a different father in Luke than in Matthew. — It is largely blelieved that one was actually Mary’s father. — According to Jewish law at the time, if a man had no son then he would legally become the father of the man who married his daughter. — So provided Mary had no brother, this is actually not a contradiction.

    It also says that the Bible contradicts itself about Jesus’ last words. — But when one reads the four gospels (which I did) none of them say explicitly that Jesus said one thin and nothing else. So the accounnts do not contradict eachother. They complement eachother.

    When it says that Jesus said he was lesser than the father, later he said the two are one — the writter shows a fundamental ignorance of Christian teaching. — They are one because they both make up the one God. — Jesus said the father was greater than him only because when he came to earth to die on the cross, he was placed in a lower position than the father.

    Think about it this wat. — Colossians 1 says Jesus created everything (which included the angels), but the Bible says that when he came to earth he was “Made lower than the angels.”

    Whoever wrote your link apparently thinks that just because Luke and Matthew have a different number of Beatitudes that therefore that is a contradiction. — That’s not a contradiction. All it means is one has more detail than the other.

    It claims there are differences in the census figures of Ezra and Nehemiah, but it leaves out one important detail: The two are actually different censuses. One was taken after Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Jesusalem, and the other was taken by Nehemiah some years later. — That’s hardly a contradiction.

    As for how Judas Iscariot died, that one is more complicated, but here’s a good haromization: http://www.tektonics.org/gk/judasdeath.html

  14. No worries mate, I’m more than happy to help out :D
    I remember there’s one part where someone made an absolute hash with the word processor leaving the words “cdesign proponentsists”. Very funny stuff which undoubtedly left a few people red in the face during that court case.

    Alternatively, for anyone who is interested there is a very good videos on the subject:

    Blessings,

    R

  15. Eelco:

    “Thick skulls ?
    No. The discovery institute is run by christians, and funded by christians (Ahmanson is one of them).
    And intelligent design is simply creationism in a different package. I do not find your blog particularly convincing, as I have read an lot of other literature on the history of creationism and ID. Only the packaging is different.

    So even if it allows for God not to be the Creator and it still allows for Common descent, that is still Biblical Creationism?? That’s crazy.

    What you call ‘facts’ are not facts at all.”

    Thanks for proving my point about “thick skulls.”

  16. rmbrowning

    Intelligent Design was grosely misrepresented at Dover.

    It went with Ken Miller’s strawman arguments that “if components of an organ have their own functions, or if components of an organ can be used for something else then IC is wrong.” — For the record, ID never made such claims.

    When a court ruling is made because of strawmen arguments, then that makes the entire episode irrelevant.

  17. Besides, there are Atheists that are simpathetic to Intelligent design and agree that it is not necessarily theistic.

    For example, Atheist Professor of Philosophy Bradley Monton says

    “I agree with the claims of Intelligent Design proponents that the doctrine of Intelligent Design is not inherently theistic.”

    Link: http://spot.colorado.edu/~monton/BradleyMonton/ID.html

  18. krissmith777:

    That’s hardly a strawman! Are you sure you understood his argument? (I’m not being rude but I genuinely think you may have missed something.) Ken Miller took Behe’s own definition and objectively showed that it was incorrect. Co-option and adaptation of structures is exactly what evolution would predict. The bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex because if you break it down into parts they have a function! Futhermore, the bacterial flagellum can still function fine with a number of it’s proteins missing. If Behe was correct they should work at all.

    You’ve also completely ignored my example of the book “Of Pandas and of People”. Can you address that?

  19. krissmith777:

    You might find a handful who agree with ID. However, most recognise that ID is not a scientific hypothesis but at best a philosophically based critique of evolution. I’m more concerned with the statements made by the wedge strategy and the like though.

  20. rmbrowning

    “The vast majority of it’s advocates are Christians who see the designer as the God of Christianity. Both include the same arguments from ignorance and personal incredulity.”

    Just becasue many ID proponents believe in the Christian God, that doesn’t make ID religious.

    There are ID sypathizers that don’t. For example, Bradley Monton who is an Atheist.

    Even if ID were based on arguments of ignorance, evolutionists are guilty of their own fair share of “god of the gaps” arguments as well.

    For example, I hear the “Science will discover it in the future” which is just as much of a statement of faith as saying “God did it.”

    Also, many “explanations” as to how complex organs could have evolved are not scientifically testable and are not observeable, and so they are not science. — When a heory has to be salvaged by the metaphysical, what does that say about the theory?

  21. rmbrowning

    That’s hardly a strawman! Are you sure you understood his argument?

    Actually, yes, it is a strawman. Ken Miller has shown time and time again that he doesn’t understand IC.

    “Miller took Behe’s own definition and objectively showed that it was incorrect. Co-option and adaptation of structures is exactly what evolution would predict. “

    Actuall, Ken Miller rewords it. He reworded it as:

    “Here’s the argument in very simplified form: If you have a complex multi-part biological machine composed of many parts its function, everyone agrees, can be favored by natural selection. But the argument is that evolution can’t produce them, because the individual parts have no function of their own. That’s what Irreducible Complexity means.”

    Yes, this is a Strawman. Behe never claimed this. He never said that individual parts of an organ have no function without the entire organ being intact. All he said was the organ itself wouldn;t work properly.

    Behe himself responded to this saying:

    “I never wrote that individual parts of an IC system couldn’t be used for any other purpose. That would be silly–Quite the opposite, I clearly wrote in Darwin’s Black Box that even if the individual parts had their own functions, that still does not account for the irreducible complexity of the system.”

    He later said in a in a debate in 2002, he told Miller about this, but that Miller still refuses to revise his talking points.

    Link: http://www.discovery.org/a/1831

    “The bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex because if you break it down into parts they have a function!”

    And Behe agrees with this. So do I.

    Again, this is a strawman.

    The argument isn’t whether the pieces when separated have a function, but rather if the organ as a whole can still function properly when dismantled.

    Here’s a good discussion: http://www.discovery.org/a/3718

    “You’ve also completely ignored my example of the book “Of Pandas and of People”. Can you address that?”

    I didn’t becuase all it proves is that some ID proponents are creationists, but the fact is manu ID proponents AREN’T creationists.

  22. Michael,

    When skeptics of Intelligent Design only have strawman arguments against ID, what does that say about the skeptics?

  23. @krissmith777:

    (I still think Ken Miller’s assessment is accurate. He devotes an entire chapter to the subject in his book “Finding Darwin’s God”, complete with direct quotes from “Darwin’s Black Box”. However, I’m going to focus on what you’ve said.)

    “Yes, this is a Strawman. Behe never claimed this. He never said that individual parts of an organ have no function without the entire organ being intact. All he said was the organ itself wouldn;t work properly.”

    So you’re saying a bacterial flagellum missing a bit, won’t function as a bacterial flagellum? Why do some function perfectly well with many of their proteins taken away? Taking away a third of the amino acids should make it non-functional right? Turns out we have examples where that isn’t the case. The bacterial flagellum is not even irreducible.

    Even if this was true how on earth does this prove it couldn’t have evolved? By taking bits away obviously you could reduce a structures function but does this mean evolution couldn’t produce it? No.

    If we still have functioning intermediates and other structures to be co-opted by evolution, why should I accept that the bacterial flagellum couldn’t have evolved?

    “I didn’t becuase all it proves is that some ID proponents are creationists, but the fact is manu ID proponents AREN’T creationists.”

    It shows that it’s founders are attempting to re-hash creationism and get it into science classroom. The intelligent design arguments in the book are identical to creationist arguments (which are not good science). This combined with “The Wedge strategy” and the history following the Edwards vs. Aguillard clearly shows intelligent designs true roots.

    I wouldn’t agree that many cdesign proponentsists are atheists. You might be able find a couple but the vast majority are creationists. I doubt they’d be scientists though as ID has not offered a testable hypothesis and makes no predictions.

  24. “I still think Ken Miller’s assessment is accurate.”

    So I guess you think the proponents of ID don’t even know what they believe.

    Nice one. — IF you want to stick with an irrelevant straw, be my guest.

    I suggest you e-mail Michael Behe that he doesn’t know his own proposal.

    “Why do some function perfectly well with many of their proteins taken away? Taking away a third of the amino acids should make it non-functional right? Turns out we have examples where that isn’t the case. The bacterial flagellum is not even irreducible.”

    Another Miller argument, right?

    It should be mentioned that Behe made the more absolutist claim of IC when IC was in it’s infancy. — But some missing protiens do not disprove IC, though at first glance it appears to.

    What the argument fails to consider is that the function of flagellar motility is still irreducibly complex regardless of other subsystems functions are or are not maintained with various flagellar system reductions. Without a sizable number of specifically arranged protein parts the function of flagellar motility cannot exist. In fact, all systems of function are irreducibly complex. It doesn’t matter if subsystem function is maintained. This is like arguing that the motility function of an automobile is not irreducibly complex because the lights still work even if the engine or tires or drive shaft are removed. (Taken from: http://creationwiki.org/Irreducible_complexity#Cooption)

    To be more accurate, IC cares more about a minimum amount of an organ’s components — not always ALL of them.

    “Even if this was true how on earth does this prove it couldn’t have evolved? By taking bits away obviously you could reduce a structures function but does this mean evolution couldn’t produce it? No.”

    You can believe it did evolve if you want, but there is no evidence that it did. Created scenerios of how it could have happened are not testable nor observable. They are metaphysical (i.e., not scientific.)

    Again, you can believe it if you want, but it cannot be demonstrated to have happened. There is no evidence for it.

    “It shows that it’s founders are attempting to re-hash creationism and get it into science classroom. The intelligent design arguments in the book are identical to creationist arguments (which are not good science). This combined with “The Wedge strategy” and the history following the Edwards vs. Aguillard clearly shows intelligent designs true roots.”

    No, it doesn’t. — All it proves is that the drafter of the manuscript likely held the views of ID and Creationism simoteniously like me. — But ID is not religious. It’s ONLY religiously friendly, like the Big Bang theory.

    “I wouldn’t agree that many cdesign proponentsists are atheists. “

    I never said that many were.

    “I doubt they’d be scientists though as ID has not offered a testable hypothesis and makes no predictions.

    That’s not true. ID have made predictions that seem to be comming true recently.

    For example, ID predicts that “Junk” DNA isn’t really junk, and that it will turn out to have uses.

    Link: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2007/april25/med-dna-042507.html

    For more details, here’s a good link: http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1156

  25. rmbrowning,

    About Ken Miller’s strawman. — I sueggest that when Every leading proponent of ID says that he mischaracterized what IC is, that you learn what the ID arguments are from the ID proponents themselves, and not from Miller, Dawkins, and Talk.Origins.

    I suggest you read this to understand why ID proponents say that Miller’s characterization of IC is invalid: http://www.discovery.org/a/3718

  26. @krissmith777:
    “So even if it allows for God not to be the Creator and it still allows for Common descent, that is still Biblical Creationism?? That’s crazy.”
    I’ve not said that ID is the same as Biblical Creationism: I said it is the same as creationism. There are lots of flavours of creationism (islamic as well, for example). But your sentence, that ID needs a creator, already admits it is creationist.

  27. @krissmith777:

    “When skeptics of Intelligent Design only have strawman arguments against ID, what does that say about the skeptics?”

    Now THAT is your perfect strawman argument. Your are putting up the strawman that skeptics of ID only have strawman arguments, which is not true at all (you would have to prove that first, and you will find this very hard indeed !). So your question is nonsense.

    “Thanks for proving my point about “thick skulls.””
    You just insist on your “thick skulls” insult, right ? My skull is perfectly fine, thank you very much.

    “Intelligent Design was grosely misrepresented at Dover.”
    How come if Behe himself was there ? Did he completely screw up ?

  28. “I sueggest that when Every leading proponent of ID says that he mischaracterized what IC is, that you learn what the ID arguments are from the ID proponents themselves, and not from Miller, Dawkins, and Talk.Origins.”

    That’s an interesting line of reasoning. We should *only* listen to the ID people themselves, but not to others ? We should not listen to critics ?
    That is very weak indeed.

  29. “So I guess you think the proponents of ID don’t even know what they believe.”

    I know what they say (or used to say), I’ve seen their arguments in writing and on videos. Curiously, they seem to have changed tack with these arguments. I’d never heard of the stuff you’d said because they weren’t arguing this stuff years ago. When shown that their argument is false they redefine it and say they were arguing something else (that’s honest). My take on the current “No fair!” outcry is that they are trying to portray that the Dover trial was wrongly decided in an attempt to cover the massive wound that the trial left.

    ‘All it proves is that the drafter of the manuscript likely held the views of ID and Creationism simoteniously like me. — But ID is not religious. It’s ONLY religiously friendly, like the Big Bang theory.

    Look, they first published the book using words like “creation” and “creationists”, then a later edition comes out replacing them with “intelligent design” and “design proponents”. Why would they do this? The ruling in the Edwards vs. Aguillard case was that creationism was religious and therefore couldn’t be taught as science. This left our creationists with a problem, they could no longer get their “science” into the classroom and stop evilution destroying the world. I think Charles Thaxton came up with the term “Intelligent Design” which is a bit vaguer. Looking at this history, The Wedge document and the fact that they want to redefine science to include the supernatural (thus making it non-science) one can clearly see it’s true nature.

    Religiously friendly?! What? Science describes natural phenomena it doesn’t care about anybody’s religion. If modern cosmology is so “friendly” why do so many young-earthers spend so much time mouthing off about it? (Hovind is an obvious example.) What makes you so sure that it is impossible to accept evolution and be religious at the same time? Many people such as myself do so.

    “I wouldn’t agree that many cdesign proponentsists are atheists. “
    “I never said that many were.”
    Yes you did, I quoted you! I’ll do it again just so we’re clear, you say: “…but the fact is manu ID proponents AREN’T creationists.”[sic]

    I don’t think I know enough about “junk” DNA to accurately answer what you’ve said.

  30. Hi Eelco.

    In reply to your post further up replying to my previous one.

    Not sure why you feel the need to repeat your point about ‘Most Christians on this planet’ not agreeing with me. Is your statistical analysis supposed to be a method of determining what is true? Most people think ‘x’; therefore ‘x’ is true? I would suggest that is a markedly inadequate way of investigating any given subject.

    But though you merely repeat your point, it does nothing to challenge my points, which still stands as valid. Many Christians do in fact recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible. They recognise that the Holy Bible leaves no room for the Evolutionary fable, and that the fable is completely and fundamentally contradicted by Biblical teaching.

    And further, indeed, it is not only a substantial number of Christians who recognise these points, (evident in the scale and substance of challenges to Evolutionary ideas from Biblical Creationists in the public domain), but it should also be noted that the Biblical Creationist challenge to Evolutionary ideas has been persistent and consistent throughout the period Darwin’s ideas have gained prominence, and that long centuries prior to this period the Biblical Creationist challenge to Naturalistic ideas was persistent and consistent.

    The Biblical Creationist interpretation of the Holy Bible, then, has a long, robust, persistent and consistent history. Christians who have adopted Evolutionist ideas might fail to recognise the substance that has constituted that history or decided to reject it, but that does not mean they are interpreting scripture correctly.

    You try to make me seem very arrogant when you say – “But I guess *you* are the one who knows how to interpret your holy book “correctly”, whatever that would be ?”

    But the subject of the correct interpretation of scripture is a subject with a long history of discussion and debate, and the Biblical Creationist understanding of scripture has robustly withstood that long history to this very day for one very good reason – it is widely recognised as the correct interpretation.

    So, regardless of your statistics (from whatever source they may be), it is superficial and cheap of you to try to imply that I regard myself as the exclusively correct interpreter of scripture; because I do not so regard myself. Indeed, scripture explicitly states that interpretation of scripture ‘is no private interpretation’. A principle I recognise along with many other Christians. I am not interested in my private interpretations and opinions. I am concerned to correctly understand the objective teaching of the Holy Bible. And I am but one of a long history who has recognised the Biblical Creationist position to be that correct, objective interpretation; and am but one of many today who continue that history.

    Indeed I used to try to combine Naturalistic ideas with scripture, but as I became more and more familiar with the teaching the Holy Bible, I came to realise that the two are completely and fundamentally incompatible. Which experience of mine Michael’s post actually reflects on very astutely.

    Now, you may like to tell me how many disagree with me, but that does faze me in the least, because I am certain of my ground. I have studied scripture, I know what it asserts, and I rest my confidence in its teaching. And also, happily, many, many others, whom I have never seen or corresponded with, also recognise the Biblical teaching for what it is and recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible.

    Moving on, concerning your opinion that ‘nothing should be taken literally from any religious book’, you merely illustrate your dire ignorance of history and your appalling atheistic prejudice which leads you into that ignorance.

    The Holy Bible is a reliable historical record attested to by various means. The fields of history, archaeology, the study of ancient manuscripts amongst them.

    Regardless of your list of supposed contradictions, it remains true that there has never been a proven contradiction in the Holy Bible. Having studied this area somewhat I can report that what are cited as errors or contradictions are accusations constituted variously of basic ignorance of methodology in fields of history or study of ancient manuscripts, complete disregard for principles of Biblical study or astoundingly indulgent presumption.

    The Holy Bible has long been recognised and argued as reliable historical document. The literature defending its historical reliability is substantial and conclusive, though, of course, conveniently ignored by those who prefer who espouse their prejudices without the hindrance of the conclusions of disciplined study.

    Here are just a couple of examples of scholarship which ably demonstrate Biblical historical reliability, ignore at your leisure –

    http://www.amazon.com/Reliability-Old-Testament-K-Kitchen/dp/0802803962/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243854139&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-Documents-They-Reliable/dp/0802822193/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243854246&sr=1-1

    And there is plenty more readily available for you to completely ignore too. These books below provide useful starting points for further research –

    http://www.amazon.com/Examine-Evidence%C2%AE-Exploring-Case-Christianity/dp/0736912959/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243854367&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-That-Demands-Verdict-McDowell/dp/185078552X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243854428&sr=1-2

    Continuing on, the fact you do not know what makes the Holy Bible stand out amongst ‘religious books’ generally, as you call them, indicates how very little you know even about the basic history of the Holy Bible, let alone trying to make pronouncements on how it should or should not be interpreted.

    Remember, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean you are qualified to make sweeping pronouncements about it to make yourself feel more intellectual.

    But for you to assert it is arrogant of me to say you don’t understand something shows just how highly you regard your intellectual prowess, to the point even of feeling it is arrogant of someone to suggest there is something you don’t understand. O forgive me, forgive me for not sharing your highly exalted opinion of yourself.

    But (oh dare I?) I feel obligated to point out that just because you know very little about the history of the Holy Bible and don’t understand the basics of Biblical study does not mean you are right in your sweeping, ill-informed judgements about it.

    I hope the logic of this statement is not too low for you to grasp.

  31. “I know what they say (or used to say), I’ve seen their arguments in writing and on videos.”

    Give a source for that, and I mean a Pro-ID source that dates from before the Dover trial. Nothing from Ken Miller or Talk.Origins.

    AS far as I can tell, what they say is the same. In a Pre-Dover debate in 2002 (at the American Museum of Natural History), Michael Behe corrected Miller on his assesment saying exactly what they say now. — So as far as I can tell, they haven’t changed anything.

    “Look, they first published the book using words like “creation” and “creationists”, then a later edition comes out replacing them with “intelligent design” and “design proponents”. Why would they do this?”

    I already told you. All it proves that the textbook drafter embraces both ID and Creationism. So, this is the last time I will repeat myself on this point.

    And it wasn’t “published” copies. As I remember, they were revising the drafts of the book.

    Besides, it’s just one drafter and one textbook. It cannot be argued that it necessarily represents the views of ALL ID proponents.

    “If modern cosmology is so “friendly” why do so many young-earthers spend so much time mouthing off about it? (Hovind is an obvious example.) “

    What many YECs don’t get is that the implication of the Big Bang itself is religiously friendly. Besides, the Bible doesn’t negate the Big Bang — All it says is “God Created” the universe, but not how.. It’s perfectly religiously freindly:

    See: http://www.harunyahya.com/presentation/creation_of_universe/index.html

    “Yes you did, I quoted you! I’ll do it again just so we’re clear, you say: “…but the fact is manu ID proponents AREN’T creationists.”[sic]”

    I was objecting to your wording of what I said. You said:

    “I wouldn’t agree that many cdesign proponentsists are atheists.”

    You intersted the term ATHEISTS into what I was saying which totally changed my meaning. — All I said was that many ID proponents ARE NOT CREATIONISTS. You misrepresented what I said.

    NOT CREATIONIST is not the same as saying ATHEIST, unless Evolution is inherently Atheistis.

    Besides, Michael Behe is not a Creationist. In his Book, he says certain things that run contrary to creationism. — For example, he himself says:

    “As commonly understood, creationism involves belief in an earth formed only about ten thousand years ago, an interpretation of the Bible that is still very popular. For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. Further, I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it.” (Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, pg 5)

    He believes in “common descent.” Does it look like he’s a Creationist? Hell, no!!

    And yet he is an ID proponent. This is proof that ID is not the same as Creationism at all.

  32. “I know what they say (or used to say), I’ve seen their arguments in writing and on videos. Curiously, they seem to have changed tack with these arguments. I’d never heard of the stuff you’d said because they weren’t arguing this stuff years ago.”

    Source please. And I mean one from a pro-ID source that dates from before Dover, not a citation from Miller or Talk Origins.

    As far as I can see, what Behe says now is exactly what he said before. — In a debate in 2002 (before Dove) at the American Museum of Natural History he corrected Miller’s definition of IC saying exactly what he says now. — So as far as I can tell, the definition of IC has not changed in the ID community, rather the Darwinist community has tried to redefine it.

    “Look, they first published the book using words like “creation” and “creationists”, then a later edition comes out replacing them with “intelligent design” and “design proponents”. Why would they do this?”

    I already explained all it proves is that the drafter embraces both ID and Creationism. I won’t repeat myself anymore on this one.

    And as I remember it, they didn’t find the typo in a published copy of the book, it was in a draft.

    But still, it’s just one book, so it cannot be argued that it therefore represents the views of ALL ID proponents.

    “If modern cosmology is so “friendly” why do so many young-earthers spend so much time mouthing off about it? (Hovind is an obvious example.)”

    So many YECs miss the bigger picture of the Big Bang. It is the implication of the Big Bang that is religiously friendly.

    See: http://www.harunyahya.com/presentation/creation_of_universe/index.html

    Also, to answer your question on how cosmology fits well into Creation, I’d recommend you read the book “I Don’t have Enough faith to be an Atheist.”

    “What makes you so sure that it is impossible to accept evolution and be religious at the same time? Many people such as myself do so.”

    When did I say it was impossible? It isn’t.

    “Yes you did, I quoted you! I’ll do it again just so we’re clear, you say: “…but the fact is manu ID proponents AREN’T creationists.”[sic]”

    Woah, Woah Woah!!!!! —–

    Your own quote of me shows that I didn’t say “MANY ATHEISTS” are ID proponents.

    I said “many ID proponents AREN’T CREATIONISTS.” — Big difference!! — That is, unless not being a Creationist is the same as being an Atheist, but I know you don’t believe that.

    Besides, by statement is true. Many ID proponents ARE NOR CREATIONISTS!! — For example, Michael Behe in his book says things that are contrary. For example, he says:

    “As commonly understood, creationism involves belief in an earth formed only about ten thousand years ago, an interpretation of the Bible that is still very popular. For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. Further, I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it.” (Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, pg 5)

    Just be reading this, does it look like Behe is a Creationist? No! He is not, an yet he is one of the biggest proponents of ID. This is hard proof that ID is not the same as creationism.

  33. “I know what they say (or used to say), I’ve seen their arguments in writing and on videos. Curiously, they seem to have changed tack with these arguments. I’d never heard of the stuff you’d said because they weren’t arguing this stuff years ago.”

    Source please. And I mean one from a pro-ID source that dates from before Dover, not a citation from Miller or Talk Origins.

    As far as I can see, what Behe says now is exactly what he said before. — In a debate in 2002 (before Dove) at the American Museum of Natural History he corrected Miller’s definition of IC saying exactly what he says now. — So as far as I can tell, the definition of IC has not changed in the ID community, rather the Darwinist community has tried to redefine it.

    “Look, they first published the book using words like “creation” and “creationists”, then a later edition comes out replacing them with “intelligent design” and “design proponents”. Why would they do this?”

    I already explained all it proves is that the drafter embraces both ID and Creationism. I won’t repeat myself anymore on this one.

    And as I remember it, they didn’t find the typo in a published copy of the book, it was in a draft.

    But still, it’s just one book, so it cannot be argued that it therefore represents the views of ALL ID proponents.

    “If modern cosmology is so “friendly” why do so many young-earthers spend so much time mouthing off about it? (Hovind is an obvious example.)”

    So many YECs miss the bigger picture of the Big Bang. It is the implication of the Big Bang that is religiously friendly.

    To answer your question on how cosmology fits well into Creation, I’d recommend you read the book “I Don’t have Enough faith to be an Atheist.”

    “What makes you so sure that it is impossible to accept evolution and be religious at the same time? Many people such as myself do so.”

    When did I say it was impossible? It isn’t.

    “Yes you did, I quoted you! I’ll do it again just so we’re clear, you say: “…but the fact is manu ID proponents AREN’T creationists.”[sic]”

    Woah, Woah Woah!!!!! —–

    Your own quote of me shows that I didn’t say “MANY ATHEISTS” are ID proponents.

    I said “many ID proponents AREN’T CREATIONISTS.” — Big difference!! — That is, unless not being a Creationist is the same as being an Atheist, but I know you don’t believe that.

    Besides, by statement is true. Many ID proponents ARE NOR CREATIONISTS!! — For example, Michael Behe in his book says things that are contrary. For example, he says:

    “As commonly understood, creationism involves belief in an earth formed only about ten thousand years ago, an interpretation of the Bible that is still very popular. For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. Further, I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it.” (Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, pg 5)

    Just be reading this, does it look like Behe is a Creationist? No! He is not, an yet he is one of the biggest proponents of ID. This is hard proof that ID is not the same as creationism.

  34. Eelco.

    “That’s an interesting line of reasoning. We should *only* listen to the ID people themselves, but not to others ? We should not listen to critics ?
    That is very weak indeed.”

    What I’m saying is that the proponents of the idea are the ones to define is, not the skeptics. — Everything else is up for debate

    I’m only talking about the definition itsell, not that you shouldn’t listen to others when they argue against a theory.

    Again, this is the third time you took what I said to mean something else.

    I guess Evolutiuonists quote-mine to.

  35. @krissmith777:
    No, you were not talking about the definition itself! You said:
    “… that you learn what the ID arguments are from the ID proponents themselves, and not from Miller, Dawkins, and Talk.Origins.”
    You said “arguments”, not “definitions”. That is what you said, and that is what I responded to.

    You did not say something else, and I did not quote-mine.
    And there is not “third time” either.

    If the last word in your previous post was actually ‘too’, then that is an interesting admission!

  36. @Dom:

    No, I never said that because most christian think X, therefore X is true. I just refuted your ‘many christians’ point. You were coming up with this (implying lots of christians believe Y), I was merely responding to this. Of course majorities don’t count in science, that is rather obvious.
    But you again seem to insist on ‘many’. I’d say ‘few’. And that is percentage-wise, not absolute numbers.

    “you merely illustrate your dire ignorance of history and your appalling atheistic prejudice which leads you into that ignorance.”
    Yes, keep those insults coming ! Are these supposed to convince me of some point you are trying to make ? I’ve had a very good education, thank you very much, and no ‘appaling prejudice’ of any kind, let alone ‘atheist’. I do have *opinions*, though, which I am very much entitled to, and, to quote you, “happily, many, many others, whom I have never seen or corresponded with”, have such opinions too.

    “Continuing on, the fact you do not know what makes the Holy Bible stand out amongst ‘religious books’ generally, as you call them, indicates how very little you know even about the basic history of the Holy Bible.”
    Sure, you would say that, wouldn’t you. You have picked that particular book as your favorite one, after all. Or …. hold on …. perhaps you were raised with this book ? Did you actually pick it yourself ? Most religious people do not. Perhaps you are the exception, I do not know that, of course …

    “O forgive me, forgive me for not sharing your highly exalted opinion of yourself.”
    That’s quite allright – I do not have such an opinion of myself. Where did you get that idea ?

    “But (oh dare I?) I feel obligated to point out that just because you know very little about the history of the Holy Bible and don’t understand the basics of Biblical study does not mean you are right in your sweeping, ill-informed judgements about it.

    I hope the logic of this statement is not too low for you to grasp.”

    Nah. But good to know you can do sarcasm ! Well done !
    But why do you assume that I know very little about your bible ? I have lots of christian friends, was educated in all major religions at my high-school (not a biased one), so I actually know quite a bit about it. Does knowing the history of something automatically mean I endorse it ?? Well, no.
    Feel free to disagree with me, by all means, but do not just shout that I am ill-informed, and make sweeping judgements.

    My choice of words “your particular holy book” was very specific: I was implicitly making the point that there are lots of holy books to choose from, and all of them make lots of claims. Which often contradicts each other. And I also maintain that many holy books contradict themselves. Including yours.

    And I maintain that a statement like “the fact you do not know what makes the Holy Bible stand out amongst ‘religious books’ generally” is arrogant. It might make it stand out for you personally, which is fine, and that is why you like this one in particular. But you can not make this statement ‘in general’.

    “let alone trying to make pronouncements on how it should or should not be interpreted.”
    I do not know that, and I do not pretend to know that. *you* made that claim: *you* pretend to be the one that “knows” how to best interpret your holy book.

  37. Eelco

    “No, you were not talking about the definition itself! You said:
    “… that you learn what the ID arguments are from the ID proponents themselves, and not from Miller, Dawkins, and Talk.Origins.”
    You said “arguments”, not “definitions”. That is what you said, and that is what I responded to.

    Okay, what I meant is that we shouldn’t let the skeptics of the idea to define the very idea they oppose because skeptics don’t tend to give fair representation of their opposition.

    “You did not say something else, and I did not quote-mine.
    And there is not “third time” either.

    You did at least twice in the other post we commonted on.

    The first time was when I told you not to preach to me about impartiallity. — — You then turned what I said into something different by basically saying it is hypocritical for a creationist to say not to preach.

    The second time was when you accused me of supporting censurship when I said that people shouldn’t use wikipedia. — I didn’t mean that, and you know it. I was only saying that wikipedia has been admitted by its founder to be inaccurate and that it shouldn’t be used.

    “If the last word in your previous post was actually ‘too’, then that is an interesting admission!”

    And this makes “quote-mine” # 3. — You know I wasn’t admitting to quote mining. I was just recalling when Evolutionists accuse Creationists (sometimes accurately and sometimes falsely) of quote-mining. — I have made no such admission of quote-mining myself.

  38. I’m not quote-mining at all, krissmith777. I don’t think you know what quote-mining really is? I did not even provide a quote! I was reacting to your statement in the post just above, for all to see. That is part of the discussion on this blog, not a quote …

    As for the alleged other two: one was misspoken on your behalf (nothing upsetting about that …), but for the first one I do not see what you are referring to, to be honest.

    But anyway, back to the discussion: you said “Okay, what I meant is that we shouldn’t let the skeptics of the idea to define the very idea they oppose because skeptics don’t tend to give fair representation of their opposition.”
    I do not get this statement at all. Why can skeptics not oppose ideas ? Of course they cannot misrepresent and idea and then oppose that (the strawman argumentation technique), but that is not what is happening. Skeptics simply reject the idea of irreducible complexity (with very good arguments), so there is no need to redefine it !
    Bad ideas get rejected in science all the time (that’s how science works), and this is one of them. And there is no shame in getting your idea rejected, this is perfectly normal!

    Your last part, “skeptics don’t tend to give fair representation of their opposition”, is not true in my experience. Most skeptics actually try to think along the lines of the proposer of the new idea, until they see a problem which they then point out. That’s all. Usually the proposer then sees the problem as well, and tries something else. All good scientists do that. And hard work it is.

  39. “I’m not quote-mining at all, krissmith777. I don’t think you know what quote-mining really is? I did not even provide a quote! I was reacting to your statement in the post just above, for all to see. That is part of the discussion on this blog, not a quote …”

    Whatever. The fact remains that you took statements or partiall statements I made and twisted them into something else.

    “I do not get this statement at all. Why can skeptics not oppose ideas ?

    I never said they couldn’t oppose an idea, just that they shouldn’t be the ones to be appealed to for the argumentsd in favor of what they oppose.

    “Of course they cannot misrepresent and idea and then oppose that (the strawman argumentation technique), but that is not what is happening. Skeptics simply reject the idea of irreducible complexity (with very good arguments), so there is no need to redefine it !”

    Actually, that is what’s happening, and I posted linked responses to it, so I won’t repeat myself here anymore.

    “Bad ideas get rejected in science all the time (that’s how science works), and this is one of them. And there is no shame in getting your idea rejected, this is perfectly normal! “

    True, bad ideas get rejected all the time. But ID is not a bad idea. A lot of the rejection of it is based on implications it has agaisnt materialism.

    FYI, the Big bang poses problems for materialism, which is why it first got rejected when it was first proposed.

    “Your last part, “skeptics don’t tend to give fair representation of their opposition”, is not true in my experience. Most skeptics actually try to think along the lines of the proposer of the new idea, until they see a problem which they then point out.”

    In my experience, they don’t. I can only appeal to that.

  40. To Michael,

    Sorry for accidently duplicating comments. I sent them a couple oif times because they wouldn’t go through.

  41. Eelco,

    More back-tracking and evasion? Don’t you get tired of that?

    You didn’t ‘just refute my ‘many Christians point’, you begun that point when you said in your initial reply to my first post – ‘Most Christians on this planet do not agree with you’. I stated that many Christians recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible in response to YOUR point. So, you weren’t ‘just’ refuting anything. You raised the issue of majority views. You, not me.

    And now you pretend you were merely refuting something I said.

    But it was you who raised the point about majority view for some reason. In questioning why you raised that issue I asked if you think the majority view equals truth by default. So, as you have now been seen trying to back-track and deny it was a point you raised, and as you now admit that a majority view does not mean it is a correct view, perhaps you will explain why you raised the matter.

    In point of fact, then, my point that many Christians recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible was in response to your point that most Christians disagree with me.

    And now you insist not even a minority, but only a ‘few’ would agree with me. But that is not what you were saying previously. Previously you said ‘most’. Now you change to a ‘few’.

    But, your shifting of points aside, it should be pointed out that a minority is not necessarily a few. And a minority can still be many. And there are many Christians who recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible. I would say that is obvious just from the amount of time and energy Evolutionists feel they have to expend trying to belittle them in order to try to defend Evolutionism.

    And you might get insulted by statements I make, that is up to you; but my stating your obvious ignorance and prejudice is not in itself an insult, just an observation. It is you who clearly demonstrates that ignorance and prejudice.

    It is futile to claim a good education as defence against such ignorance because you yourself have already said that ‘nothing should be taken literally from any religious book’. That point is your own demonstration of your own ignorance. And of your appalling prejudice. You make the case against yourself.

    And yes, you are correct; you do not know the history of my personal relationship with the Holy Bible; so why start making pompous comments, like “Sure, you would say that, wouldn’t you”? If you don’t know, you don’t know; why make pronouncements on something you don’t know about? Just pure prejudicial habit?

    My point remains perfectly valid, being that the fact you do not know what makes the Holy Bible stand out amongst ‘religious books’ generally indicates how very little you know about the basic history of the Holy Bible. Simple, straight-forward logic.
    And you certainly were making pronouncements about how the Holy Bible should be interpreted; you said – “Well, from my point of view nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours.”

    And now you say, concerning how the Holy Bible should be interpreted – “I do not know that, and I do not pretend to know that.”

    You just say whatever you feel sounds good from moment to moment, don’t you? Regardless of what you have even just written in black and white.

    I pointed out that my position as a Biblical Creationist is an historically robustly defended view. You seem to like to portray my view as somewhat peculiar, implying arrogance on my part. But to make it seem like I claim to know better than anyone else is just misrepresentative. I do not hold a view at odds with every other Christian; I hold a view that is in agreement with many Christians today and historically.

    As to how you can ask where I get the idea you possess a highly exalted opinion of yourself, again you merely show yourself unable to follow any stream of thought for too long. I said perfectly clearly where I got that idea – because you to assert it is arrogant of me to say you don’t understand something. For you to assert it is arrogant to say you don’t understand something indicates a remarkably high opinion you have of yourself.

    I do not assume you know very little about the Holy Bible, you ably demonstrate you know very little about it, regardless of what friends you have or what you learnt at school about ‘all major religions’. That you can say on the one hand “I actually know quite a bit about it” and on the other “nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours” shows how woolly and self-indulgent your thinking can be. For the Holy Bible is full of literal history. Anyone who knows anything about the Holy Bible knows that.

    I do not ‘just shout’ that you are ‘ill-informed, and make sweeping judgments’, Eelco; Indeed, I do not shout at all, but merely make observations about your statements. It is your sweeping, ill-informed judgments. If you don’t want them to be pointed out, don’t make them.

    And I realise there are different religious doctrines taught by different religious books, and that these are contradictory to each other. That’s what makes them different, isn’t it. But your claim the Holy Bible contradicts itself is incorrect.

    And had you a better grasp of the historical nature of the Holy Bible, you would realise why the Holy Bible stands out as a reliable historical source. Not rocket science. Its just that you seem to prefer to ignore the evidence, and then delude yourself you ‘know quite a bit about it’.

  42. To Don

    I agree with you. Eelco has show a lot of ignorance about the Bible. — Reading his responces to you are all the indication I need that he knows next to nothing about it.

    I remember hearing this story about two history professors. The young professor said a lot to demean the Bible as inaccurate. — The older professor said “I wouldn’t rule out the Bible.” The younger professor said “Why.” The older professor replied by saying “Because the Bible has a nasty habbit of turnung out to be right.”

    And that has happened several times. For example, historians once thought Belshazzar (in the Book of Daniel) never existed because there was no record of him. But later, tablets with hi name turned up.

    Also, people once thought King David never existed. The Tel Dan fragment proved them wrong.

    And also, there was a King mentioned in Isaiah names Sargon (we know him as Sargon II) — It was thought he was a myth of the Bible. But his palace was found with tablets. He is now one of the best known Kings of Assyria.

    Also, the City of UR, where Abraham was from was thought to be a myth,. — It was found at the turn of the last century.

    Earlier, Eeclo posted a link from INFIDELS.orf with alleged contradictions in the Bible. I responded to several of them and got no answer.

    My responce is just earlier in this very thread. The link for the comment is below:

    https://thebibleistheotherside.wordpress.com/2009/05/30/battles-and-confusion-about-theistic-evolution/#comment-758

  43. @krissmith777:

    “Whatever.”
    OK, that is a good argument.

    “so I won’t repeat myself here anymore.”
    Sounds good to me. I won’t repeat myself either.

    “FYI, the Big bang poses problems for materialism, which is why it first got rejected when it was first proposed.”
    Eh ? Could you bother to explain this to an astrophysicist (I am one …) ? I have no idea what you are talking about here …

  44. @Dom:

    Fair enough, I have missed that it was actually me who started the majority argument … my excuses for acusing you wrongly on that point (and that point alone). It is indeed not a very strong argument, even though it is true that most christians have no problem at all with evolution.

    But you cannot just state the evolution is incompatible with your holy book, as that is still a question of how literally you take your book. That was my stronger argument in the *same post* (https://thebibleistheotherside.wordpress.com/2009/05/30/battles-and-confusion-about-theistic-evolution/#comment-746), which I maintain is a very valid observation. Most christians do not take the bible literally. That is just an observation, whether you like it or not. Which of course proves nothing, one way or the other !

    “And you certainly were making pronouncements about how the Holy Bible should be interpreted; you said – “Well, from my point of view nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours.”
    And now you say, concerning how the Holy Bible should be interpreted – “I do not know that, and I do not pretend to know that.”
    You just say whatever you feel sounds good from moment to moment, don’t you? Regardless of what you have even just written in black and white.”

    No, I was saying that the bible should not be interpreted literally. How it *should* then be interpreted, I do *not* know! That is a perfectly valid point of view. One of the many alternatives (for how to interpret this book) I think is invalid, but I cannot favour any of the remaining ones. I do not just want to “sound good”, I have thought this through.
    However, you say you know for sure how to interpret your holy book. Even though discussions have been raging for centuries.

    “But your claim the Holy Bible contradicts itself is incorrect.”
    No, it is correct, in my opinion. We continue to differ on this, I suppose.

    “And had you a better grasp of the historical nature of the Holy Bible, you would realise why the Holy Bible stands out as a reliable historical source. Not rocket science. Its just that you seem to prefer to ignore the evidence, and then delude yourself you ‘know quite a bit about it’.”
    Sure. I’m just deluding myself. Poor me.
    As far as historical names of cities, countries, and persons are concerned, much of it is fine. Clearly historians use it as source material, along with other books (incl. other religious books) available. But as a source of modern scientific knowledge it badly fails – obviously things like biology and cosmology cannot be learned from the bible (although some history of these topics can be found). The body of modern scientific evidence really contradicts the bible strongly, as you well know. So which evidence am I supposed to be ignoring ?

  45. ““Whatever.”
    OK, that is a good argument.”

    There you go agian, only taking partial quotes.

    What I really said was: ““Whatever. The fact remains that you took statements or partiall statements I made and twisted them into something else.”

    You just did it again. Thank you for proving my point.

    ““FYI, the Big bang poses problems for materialism, which is why it first got rejected when it was first proposed.”
    Eh ? Could you bother to explain this to an astrophysicist (I am one …) ? I have no idea what you are talking about here …”

    Because it shows that the universe had a beginning out oz zero mass. — That’s the same as saying the universe was created out of nothing. That isprefectly consistent with the God hypothesis:

    See: http://www.harunyahya.com/presentation/creation_of_universe/index.html

  46. Eeclo

    ““Whatever.”
    OK, that is a good argument.”

    There you go agian, only taking partial quotes.

    What I really said was: ““Whatever. The fact remains that you took statements or partiall statements I made and twisted them into something else.”

    You just did it again. Thank you for proving my point.

    ““FYI, the Big bang poses problems for materialism, which is why it first got rejected when it was first proposed.”
    Eh ? Could you bother to explain this to an astrophysicist (I am one …) ? I have no idea what you are talking about here …”

    Because it shows that the universe had a beginning out oz zero mass. — That’s the same as saying the universe was created out of nothing. That isprefectly consistent with the God hypothesis:

    See: http://www.harunyahya.com/presentation/creation_of_universe/index.html

  47. Eeclo

    ““Whatever.”
    OK, that is a good argument.”

    There you go agian, only taking partial quotes.

    What I really said was: ““Whatever. The fact remains that you took statements or partiall statements I made and twisted them into something else.”

    You just did it again. Thank you for proving my point.

    ““FYI, the Big bang poses problems for materialism, which is why it first got rejected when it was first proposed.”
    Eh ? Could you bother to explain this to an astrophysicist (I am one …) ? I have no idea what you are talking about here …”

    Because it shows that the universe had a beginning out oz zero mass. — That’s the same as saying the universe was created out of nothing. That isprefectly consistent with the God hypothesis

  48. As far as I can see, what Behe says now is exactly what he said before. — In a debate in 2002 (before Dove) at the American Museum of Natural History he corrected Miller’s definition of IC saying exactly what he says now. — So as far as I can tell, the definition of IC has not changed in the ID community, rather the Darwinist community has tried to redefine it.

    To be fair I don’t think I have a source that states anything explicitly. However, I encourage you to look at the Behe’s own definitions. (Most of this is going to be a recapitulation on my part.)

    He says irreducibly complex structure is defined as “. . . a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”

    and goes onto:

    “An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly by numerous, successive, slight modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. …. Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on.

    Note the line in italics, what Behe says is that the bacterial flagellum must have been created fully formed and instantaneously for natural selection to find it advantageous. (It makes me think of the old creationist rhetoric of “what good is half an eye” etc.) What scientists see though is that the flagellum can be broken down into functioning parts which could be co-opted to form the flagellum gradually. Therefore, it wouldn’t have to arise as “an integrated unit, in one fell swoop” and could have evolved.

    The fact that it can still function with large amounts of it’s proteins missing it still works is also completely daming. It’s called “irreducible” complexity, the fact that we’re able reduce it to a working simpler form proves the idea wrong.

    The idea that if you takes parts away something functioning is also a pointless argument. This is supposed to demonstrate systems can’t evolve not stuff with missing bits won’t work. By the same token EVERYTHING is irreducibly complex because any system missing enough parts stops working. My eye would stop working if you took parts away but how does this demonstrate it couldn’t have been produced by natural selection? No, the evolution of the eye can be explained by gradual and successive changes.

    “I already explained all it proves is that the drafter embraces both ID and Creationism. I won’t repeat myself anymore on this one.

    “Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc.”

    “Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc.”

    Notice how they defined them exactly the same way?
    If it’s not religious why would they seek to include supernatural explanations in the definition of science? The only difference is that they do not explicitly state WHO the designer is and some cdesign propensists accept more mainstream science. Intelligent design is creationism’s illegitimate child (who happens to be ashamed of it’s parents.)

    So many YECs miss the bigger picture of the Big Bang. It is the implication of the Big Bang that is religiously friendly.

    Miss the bigger picture?! They freak out because it doesn’t show the formation of the universe the way Genesis does and it’s stated that it happened 13.7 billion years ago, as opposed to their literal 6000 years. Science reports what happens in our universe and what happens does so independently of whether you find it “religiously friendly”.

    As an aside, to answer something you mentioned in another comment: some scientists did think the big bang was religiously motivated initially. However, where the big bang differs from ID is that it has been very well confirmed with evidence and it does not provide a supernatural explanation. If ID proponents want to be taken seriously they should be doing the same.

    “Just be reading this, does it look like Behe is a Creationist? No! He is not, an yet he is one of the biggest proponents of ID. This is hard proof that ID is not the same as creationism.”

    He doesn’t look like a young earth creationist. However, he believes in God (stated in court he believes the “intelligent designer” to be God) and is trying to fit a supernatural cause where it doesn’t belong (i.e science). That to me is creationism, it’s just not the usual brand.

  49. “To be fair I don’t think I have a source that states anything explicitly. However, I encourage you to look at the Behe’s own definitions. (Most of this is going to be a recapitulation on my part.)”

    I did. I read Darwin’s Black Box.

    “Note the line in italics, what Behe says is that the bacterial flagellum must have been created fully formed and instantaneously for natural selection to find it advantageous.”

    So what? ID predicts that some organisms are too complex and are therefore unevolveable. — Every ID proponent believes that, whether he believes in “common descent” or not.

    “The fact that it can still function with large amounts of it’s proteins missing it still works is also completely daming. It’s called “irreducible” complexity, the fact that we’re able reduce it to a working simpler form proves the idea wrong.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding of Miller’s argument is that since it doesn’t lose all of its function, that therefore IC is wrong.

    Irreducible Complexity does not say that there will be NO function. — Behe said that the “BASIC FUNCTION” will cease.

    I want to emplesize that on page 39 of Darwin’s Black Box, an extra careful reading actually allows for some function with reduced/complex organs. — He says:

    “By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function [not “complete function”], wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. “

    Note: The brackets in the quote are my insertion.

    He is talking about the basic function, not the entire function absolutely. There is a difference.

    “However, where the big bang differs from ID is that it has been very well confirmed with evidence and it does not provide a supernatural explanation. “

    ID does not care if the designer is natural or supernatural. There ID proponents that believe that natural extraterrestreal beings designed us, much like how some Darwinists. — Such an explanation, if true, would be perfectly natural.

    As for the big bang, it has absolutely no possible natural cause. — Beore it happened, there was no matter, space or even time (and therefore there was no “before.”) IF we only argue from natural causes, there is no way it could have happened because the laws of nature began at the big bang.

    This is not God-of-the-gaps. Whatever caused it is outside of the limits of time and space, and therefore as far as natural causes are concerned, there are none because the laws of nature came into existence at the same time, not before.

    “He doesn’t look like a young earth creationist. However, he believes in God (stated in court he believes the “intelligent designer” to be God) and is trying to fit a supernatural cause where it doesn’t belong (i.e science). That to me is creationism, it’s just not the usual brand.”

    I don’t see why it matters that he believes God is the designer. Ken Miller believes the God is a designer as well, but that doesn’t make him a Creationist.

    In my former response to you, I quoted Behe as saying he believes in “Common descent.” (Darwin’s Black Box, page 5) — By clear defiition, he is not even an old earth creationist because they do not accept such an idea.

  50. ‘So what? ID predicts that some organisms are too complex and are therefore unevolveable. — Every ID proponent believes that, whether he believes in “common descent” or not.”

    That’s all very well but it’s not the point I was trying to make.

    “What scientists see though is that the flagellum can be broken down into functioning parts which could be co-opted to form the flagellum gradually. Therefore, it wouldn’t have to arise as “an integrated unit, in one fell swoop” and could have evolved.”

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding of Miller’s argument is that since it doesn’t lose all of its function, that therefore IC is wrong.”

    More or less, though I don’t know if it’s exclusively Miller’s argument.

    ‘Irreducible Complexity does not say that there will be NO function. — Behe said that the “BASIC FUNCTION” will cease.

    No, he said the interacting parts contribute to basic function. Overall though “removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”. Bacteria flagellum without the L- or P-rings can get along just fine, therefore it’s reducible. Even then the basic function is still retained because the flagellum still works but it’s missing two parts.

    “ID does not care if the designer is natural or supernatural. “

    Yes they do, because they want to change the definition to include supernatural causes (to include their God obviously). This would also be consistent with the ideas contained within the “wedge” document.

    “There ID proponents that believe that natural extraterrestreal beings designed us, much like how some Darwinists. — Such an explanation, if true, would be perfectly natural.”

    I agree, however if it’s natural it should be testable. What are the mechanisms for this design and how do we detect it?

    As for the big bang, it has absolutely no possible natural cause. — Beore it happened, there was no matter, space or even time (and therefore there was no “before.”) IF we only argue from natural causes, there is no way it could have happened because the laws of nature began at the big bang.

    What? Noone knows what was before the big bang. That’s as far back as we can go (at the moment). The big bang describes the initial conditions and the rapid expansion of space time. It doesn’t say “God did it”, maybe he did but we cannot test that. Scientists examine the forces and do calculations regarding how it happened without invoking supernatural explanations (because they cannot be tested).

    ‘I don’t see why it matters that he believes God is the designer. Ken Miller believes the God is a designer as well, but that doesn’t make him a Creationist.”

    Unlike Behe, Miller doesn’t invoke supernatural explanations in the place of scientific study. They do not belong in science.

  51. @krissmith777:
    “There you go agian, only taking partial quotes.”
    No, because everybody can read your post on this very page, and I was not quoting out of context.
    It is only quote-mining when you quote someone out of context, and where the quote comes from elsewhere (where it is no easily checked).
    Your “whatever” was a disinterested sneer to my previous post, which I reacted to, by making an ironic remark.

    Also note that when blogging, the point of the quotation marks around a sentence or word is to indicate which statement one reacts you, not always to quote someone.
    Why do bloggers do this ? You surely have noticed that various people are putting posts here. If one would always react to the previous post, one would not need to repeat statements from previous posts. But as post get in, and appear in chronological order, with several discussions going on at the same time, one does need to repeat the statement of the person one reacts to.
    If I would simply say “That is a good argument”, you would not know what I am talking about unless it would be a reaction to a post directly above. Which is never guaranteed, especially not in moderated blogs like this one.

    But on the cosmology. You state:
    “Because it shows that the universe had a beginning out of zero mass. — That’s the same as saying the universe was created out of nothing. That isprefectly consistent with the God hypothesis”

    No, cosmology does not say that at all. Cosmology does not make any statements for t=0, as physics breaks down at that point: we do not know how to described the singularity itself, only the part after that (from about a Planck time onwards).
    Indeed, there is no matter just after the singularity (“Big Bang”, which is a bad name), but there is lots of energy! As you know this is equivalent (E=mc^2 and all that) to matter. When the universe starts to “cool down” some of that energy is transformed into matter (and some into photons).

    Now obviously there does not have to be a beginning, one could ‘cycle’ the universe as well. We would not know the difference, as the early universe would still behave the same way. Current cosmological models are not good enough to discriminate just yet, but it does look like (from current measurements) that the universe will not collapse again, which would probably rule out a cyclic universe.

    Then there are other options, like the multiverse and all that, but it might well be that observations will be good enough to rule out anything but a model that does show a beginning, where current physical models break down. The best hope there is a GUT (Grand Unified Theory), but even that does not need to be good enough.

    “As for the big bang, it has absolutely no possible natural cause. — Beore it happened, there was no matter, space or even time (and therefore there was no “before.”) IF we only argue from natural causes, there is no way it could have happened because the laws of nature began at the big bang.”
    Indeed, if it was a true singularity, there is no ‘before’, as that is what a singularity implies (you cannot even get to t=0, only arbitrarily close). But as argued above, there are alternatives, if you do not like singularities, which currently cannot be ruled out.
    For cyclic universes: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model for a nice summary.
    The scientists involved are perfectly normal, respected ones, although that says nothing about the ideas themselves, of course.

    But saying that “the Big Bang has absolutely no physical cause” is pretty crass: you would actually have to prove that. Again, note that physics is not well-understood at all near the ‘Big Bang’, to say the least. Our current understanding breaks down there, but that does not mean on cannot describe it physically only because we haven’t succeeded so far !

  52. @Eelco:

    I like your concise thoughts on the “big bang”. You’ve said some good stuff without bogging anything down. I’m not that big on cosmology and theoretical physics. I spent a lot of time during the summer reading and watching things on string theory. Sadly, I think I’m no better off than when I started.

  53. @krissmith:
    That movie you linked to is very bad scientifically, I have to say as a professional astrophysicist … (and I hate the music they picked!).

    Just a few simple mistakes:
    – Hubble did not observe ‘stars’ giving out a ‘reddish’ light, he observed galaxies being redshifted.
    – the ‘big bang’ is NOT an explosion (this is said many times)
    – a universe created by Allah was not ‘discovered by physicists’
    – it does NOT originate from a single point of zero volume, that is not what a singularity means

    This islamic creationist movie is truely aweful, from a scientific point of view. Funny though that ‘big bang’ cosmology is seen to argue *for* creationism, instead of against as most christian creationists usually take it.

    The major argument in this movie is that ‘explosions’ (which the big bang isn’t) can only destroy, and not create structure like stars, planets, animals.
    Funny though that most heavy elements, including gold etc., are formed during …. explosions ! Supernovae, that is.
    Our own solar system, based around a 3rd generation star, would not exist in this form without supernovae explosions.

  54. “Just a few simple mistakes:
    – Hubble did not observe ’stars’ giving out a ‘reddish’ light, he observed galaxies being redshifted.”

    It was talking about the red shift. And you are mistaken. Hubble did observe that.

    Hubble used the wavelengths of light to determine whether galaxies were moving towards or away from us. Galaxies with wavelengths in the red regions are moving away while those with wavelengths in the blue regions are coming towards us. Original diagram by The Online Planetarium Show.

    Link: http://library.thinkquest.org/3461/hubble_i.htm

    “the ‘big bang’ is NOT an explosion (this is said many times)”

    I often just hear it as not an explosion of matter into space, but of space ITSELF. Or an expansion. — Either way, the final argument is the same even if that particular detail is wrong.

    http://www.everyjoe.com/articles/the-big-bang-was-an-explosion-of-space-not-in-space-191/

    “a universe created by Allah was not ‘discovered by physicists’”

    Yes it was. But like all naturalists, when they stare God in the face, they ignore it.

    “it does NOT originate from a single point of zero volume, that is not what a singularity means ”

    Again, you are mistaken.

    As described by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, the origin of the Big Bang is a mathematically nonsensical state — a “singularity” of zero volume that nevertheless contained infinite density and infinitely large energy.

    Link: http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/bojowald6-2007.htm

    Really? When I googled it, I coukd only confirm it.

    “Funny though that ‘big bang’ cosmology is seen to argue *for* creationism, instead of against as most christian creationists usually take it.”

    The first Creationists that used it as an argument were Creationists, so it’s not unusual at all.

  55. “No, he said the interacting parts contribute to basic function. Overall though “removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”. “

    As far as the BASIC function goes, yes, it would essentially stop. — But he never says that there aren’t lesser non-basic functions. His OVERALL wording still allows for that.

    Think about it this way: If you remove an engine from a car, it loses it’s basic function, but the headlights and the radio will still work. — It effectively “ceases to function,” but some lesser non essential functions are left.

    “I agree, however if it’s natural it should be testable. What are the mechanisms for this design and how do we detect it?”

    I don’t know how to put it into words. So, if’t okay, I’ll refer you to this link which does a much better job of explaining it than I can:

    http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1203

    Unlike Behe, Miller doesn’t invoke supernatural explanations in the place of scientific study. They do not belong in science.

    And neither does Behe. All he said was that he personally believed God was the designer, but he only gave that answer when he was asked about it. He never makes that claim in hs publications.

  56. Well, if you care not to listen to me at all, and keep on saying that I am ‘mistaken’, which I am not, and that I am supposed to be ‘staring god in the face’, then we are not getting anywhere.

    I listened to the movie, which clearly stated that Hubble observed ‘stars’ emitting a ‘reddish’ light. Perhaps you care to see it again ? Stars are not the same as galaxies. Stars are part of our own galaxy, and are hardly redshifted or blueshifted at all. Other galaxies are (except for example out neighbour M31, which is slighty blueshifted).

    And it matters an aweful lot whether you treat the big bang as an explosion (which it isn’t) or as an expansion of space. If you want to call it an “explosion of space itself” then that would be OK too, but that is not generally what people have in mind with an explosion, which is usually in space, not of space.

    This is not a detail at all. The whole argument of the movie, that an explosion only destroys, but does not lead to the creation of anything (which is wrong anyway, as I illustrated with the supernova example), falls flat on its face by not seeing the difference.

    This difference between the expansion/explosion of space and the expansion/explosion in space may seem subtle but has important consequences for the size of the universe, the rate at which galaxies move apart, the type of observations astronomers can make, and the nature of the accelerating expansion that the universe now seems to be undergoing. In short, it matters quite a lot!

    Then you quote a physicist saying:
    “As described by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, the origin of the Big Bang is a mathematically nonsensical state — a “singularity” of zero volume that nevertheless contained infinite density and infinitely large energy.”

    Indeed, a singularity is a *mathematical* contruct, an asymptotic limit that cannot be reached by the Universe if you would play back time, as physics starts to break down below about a Planck time or so (around 10^-43 seconds). So you cannot simply extrapolate back to zero volume (the mathematical nonsensical state). That is nonsensical, indeed, as one cannot have infinite density and/or energy !
    But I suppose I was not clear enough in my earlier explanation.

    “The first Creationists that used it as an argument were Creationists, so it’s not unusual at all.”
    I guess you forgot a word here ! This sentence does not say anything like this … care to fill in which creationists were using the big bang as an argument for their ideas ?

  57. @krissmith777:

    To be clear about what I said: “Hubble did not observe ’stars’ giving out a ‘reddish’ light, he observed galaxies being redshifted.”

    So he DID observe galaxies being redshifted (my last part of the sentence), but he did not observe ‘stars’ giving out a ‘reddish light’ (the first part of your sentence).
    Which is what your quote says as well.

    So where am I mistaken ? The movie said ‘stars’ and ‘reddish light’, me and the quote are saying ‘galaxies’ and ‘redshifting’.

  58. Eelco

    In that case I stand corrected. But it is still a minor error when compared to the point being made.

  59. Eelco,

    The comment I posted bofore this one here was a response to the last one you posted.

    ““The first Creationists that used it as an argument were Creationists, so it’s not unusual at all.”
    I guess you forgot a word here ! This sentence does not say anything like this … care to fill in which creationists were using the big bang as an argument for their ideas ?”

    Yes, I did miss a word or two. I meant to say “The first to use the argument were creationists.” But I think you already understood that.

    I typed it in a hurry. When you type in a hurry, you are bound to make mistakes.

  60. “As far as the BASIC function goes, yes, it would essentially stop. — But he never says that there aren’t lesser non-basic functions. His OVERALL wording still allows for that.”

    What? A bacterial flagellum missing l- and p- rings can still work as a flagellum, producing motility. It still has it’s “basic function”. Read it again.

    “…wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”

    The l- and p-rings contribute to it’s basic function but without them the bacterial flagellum can still work. We’ve reduced it to a simpler form by removing them and therefore it’s not “irreducible”.

    “I don’t know how to put it into words. So, if’t okay, I’ll refer you to this link which does a much better job of explaining it than I can:”

    This link doesn’t even try to explain a mechanism. Do you know why? They haven’t got one. The founder Beheism admitted this in court when he said, “I don’t have a mechanism to substitute for the Darwinian mechanism, that’s true.” Without a mechanism intelligent design explains very little.

    The arguments for design essentially boil down to: if something is complicated, you don’t know how it evolved and you don’t personally believe it evolved, it must be design! This isn’t good science.

    Besides the only design we’re good at recognising a human designs because we can compare patterns to prior examples and look for artificiality. We can’t do that with intelligent design, we can only assume it’s designed because it’s complicated.

    “And neither does Behe. All he said was that he personally believed God was the designer, but he only gave that answer when he was asked about it.”

    Right, he believes God is the designer. What’s this intelligent designer supposed to be doing? Creating irreducibly complex systems and the like. So he’s essentially saying that God made the bacterial flagellum. That’s a supernatural explanation and therefore it has no place in science.

  61. rmbrowning

    This response will have to be the last one for a while because I have a Geology lab test to study for tomorrow.

    “The l- and p-rings contribute to it’s basic function but without them the bacterial flagellum can still work. We’ve reduced it to a simpler form by removing them and therefore it’s not “irreducible”.”

    Actually, my understanding isn’t that all flagella have the L and P-rings, but that some naturally have then while others do not.

    I looked up the Talk.Origins to Irreducible Complexity which says:

    Some bacterial flagella function without the L- and P-rings. In experiments with various bacteria, some components (e.g. FliH, FliD (cap), and the muramidase domain of FlgJ) have been found helpful but not absolutely essential (Matzke 2003).

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200_1.html

    Some have it, and some don’t. And Talk.Origins, while using this as an argument to say the flagellum is reducible, admitts that it is NOT essential for the fagellum’s function.

    So, if it is not essential then, (what Tallk.Origins seems to miss) is that this doesn’t help to refute IC at all.

    Let me explain: In the quote you gave me, Behe clearly is talking about the well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function. — And considering the fact that TO says that the examples you gave aren’t essential. — To refute IC, they have to be.

    For more details: http://creationwiki.org/(Talk.Origins)_Bacterial_flagella_are_irreducibly_complex

    Cheers.* — Have a geology test.

  62. @krissmith:
    “In that case I stand corrected. But it is still a minor error when compared to the point being made.”

    Not really minor, as stars are part of our galaxy, which is not expanding (but rotating), while galaxies are (mostly) co-expanding with the universe. Quite different!

    But the main point of the movie was explosions. So I explained in quite some detail in my previous post (which you chose to mostly ignore!) that:
    – the big bang is NOT an explosion
    – the universe does not originate from a single point of zero volume

    Then you said: “I meant to say “The first to use the argument were creationists.””
    But that cannot be right, as most christian creationists usually argue *against* big bang cosmology. So my question stands: which creationists use big bang cosmology to argue *for* their ideas ? The movie was islamic creationist, so I guess that is the answer ? Even though they show a gross lack of understanding of modern cosmology ?

  63. Eelco,
    I’m sorry, but you really are all over the place. It’s very difficult debating anything with someone who just evades logic at their convenience and refuses to recognise perfectly valid arguments just because you don’t like the implications. You seem to need to squash out debate by imposing your opinion no matter someone else’s response.

    Thank-you for acknowledging it was you that raised the majority argument. Why do you feel the need to merely repeat it yet again? Yes, I get your point – you assert most Christians do not agree with me that the teaching of the Holy Bible and Evolutionary theory are incompatible. Okay I get your point.

    But even you say your assertion “is indeed not a very strong argument”; so why hammer it through the wall? I understood your point the first time, and my response then is just as valid now – many Christians do in fact recognise Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are incompatible.

    And now you continue to tell me what I can or cannot assert about Biblical teaching on the basis of how literally I interpret the Holy Bible, whilst at the same time you are telling me you are not saying anything about how the Holy Bible should be interpreted. You are confused, contradicting yourself completely.

    And you are also wrong. As I have already pointed the first time you made the point that it is all a question of interpretation. If you are just going to completely ignore what I say, what is the point trying to debate with you? Let me quote my response to you the first time you made the point – ‘It is not about some vague notion of whether or not one takes the Holy Bible literally or not, but about whether one is able to correctly understand what is literal and what is not.’

    It is not about how literally one takes the Holy Bible, it is about whether one correctly understands which parts are to be understood literally or otherwise. Can you grasp the distinction I am making? Or will you just ignore my point?

    To present the matter as a choice between literal interpretation or non-literal is inadequate. It misses the point. If one tries to interpret everything in the Holy Bible literally, one will soon run into huge problems; likewise if one tries to interpret everything non-literally. It is NOT a question of whether or not one interprets the Holy Bible literally or not. It is a question of recognising what to be taken literally and what is not.

    You call it ‘your stronger point’, but you present an inadequate criterion. Yes, ‘literal six-day creation’ is how the Biblical Creationist view is described, but even then not absolutely everything in the first chapters of Genesis is taken as literal, for there are instances of allegory; but to bring Biblical interpretation down to the criterion of between literal or non-literal is inadequate.

    You might find these books form a useful introduction to issues of interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis –

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creation-According-Scriptures-Presuppositional-Defense/dp/1891375121/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244156994&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creation-John-Metcalfe/dp/1870039718/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1244157080&sr=1-1

    Regardless of what ‘most Christians’ may or may no think, I, along with many other Christians, certainly can say that Evolutionary theory is incompatible with Biblical teaching because it is, fundamentally, completely and obviously.

    Try these basic points for starters –

    Evolutionary theory asserts life began through natural processes from inorganic life. The Holy Bible asserts life was created by God.

    Evolutionary theory asserts all life arose via common ancestry from a single original life form. The Holy Bible asserts that different kinds of life do not have common ancestry.

    Evolutionary theory asserts all variety of life as we know it today developed very slowly from other forms over many eons. The Holy Bible asserts the various kinds of life were created perfect instantaneously.

    Here is access to some other points –

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/06/13/feedback-bible-evolution-incompatible

    Now since you yourself say your ‘majority’ point “is indeed not a very strong argument” and “proves nothing, one way or the other”, perhaps you might consider stopping trying to ram it down my throat.

    The Biblical Creationist view has indeed withstood debate through the centuries. It has long been recognised as the correct interpretation. And it is not difficult to see why. The Holy Bible does not in fact allow of any other interpretation. You can tell me as many times as you wish that some Christians think Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are compatible; but the reality is the Biblical teaching itself rules out any notion of Evolutionism. That was my original point. If you wish to dispute that then logically you would need to try to show how you think Biblical teaching can accommodate Evolutionary theory, not just say many or even most Christians disagree with me, because that “is indeed not a very strong argument” and “proves nothing, one way or the other.”

    But your claim the Holy Bible contradicts itself is incorrect; for there are no proven instances of contradiction. No matter your opinion. Can you prove any such instance?

    Yes, poor you , Eelco. You assert you “actually know quite a bit about” the Holy Bible and on the other “nothing should be taken literally” from it. But anyone with a basic knowledge of the Holy Bible knows much of it contains literal historical records. You’re just going round in circles again. And back-tracking furiously again too.

    Now you say “As far as historical names of cities, countries, and persons are concerned, much of it is fine”, whereas you initially said nothing should be taken literally.

    But it is not only names of places and people, it is events and cultures too. And not just ‘much of it… fine’, but rather, all of it continuing to be verified as historically reliable.

    http://www.bible-history.com/

    http://www.christiananswers.net/archaeology/

    http://creation.com/archaeology-questions-and-answers

    http://www.biblearchaeology.org/

    http://www.ancientdays.net/

    http://allaboutthejourney.org/

    For someone to say that nothing in the Holy Bible should be taken literally is just such a fundamentally ignorant statement to make. And no matter how much you try pretend otherwise, you said it. You do indeed evidently delude yourself if you think you “actually know quite a bit about it”.

    Moving on, obviously the Holy Bible is not a science text book, and in that sense is not “a source of modern scientific knowledge”; that’s something of a straw man argument on your part there. But you are again very wrong when you say that “The body of modern scientific evidence really contradicts the bible strongly.” Certainly the Holy Bible contradicts Naturalistic theories, but it withstands scientific scrutiny and upholds a number of points which accurately reflect the natural world about us.

    Some useful starters –

    http://www.carm.org/christianity/bible/scientific-accuracies-bible

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/365092/is_the_bible_scientifically_and_historically.html?cat=38

    Why don’t you try actually reading these. Perhaps then you might feel a little less inclined to tell me in your usual condescending way what I “well know.” I know you Evolutionists find it convenient to confuse theory with fact, but it is remarkably indulgent of you.

    You ask – “So which evidence am I supposed to be ignoring ?” To which I feel I must respond by asking if you actually take any notice of anything anyone ever says to you?

    In my post of June 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm, I said – “had you a better grasp of the historical nature of the Holy Bible, you would realise why the Holy Bible stands out as a reliable historical source. Not rocket science. Its just that you seem to prefer to ignore the evidence, and then delude yourself you ‘know quite a bit about it’”.

    And had you read my previous post to you (June 1, 2009 at 6:23 am) you would have seen the examples I provided of scholarship which ably demonstrate Biblical historical reliability.

    There is the evidence you ignore. Evidence of the historical reliability of the Holy Bible. Only by ignoring the evidence can you come out with such ridiculous nonsense as “from my point of view nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours.”

    Why don’t you consider reading and taking in some of the points people make to you in debate rather than just ignoring them and going round and round in circles?

  64. @Dom:
    “And now you continue to tell me what I can or cannot assert about Biblical teaching on the basis of how literally I interpret the Holy Bible, whilst at the same time you are telling me you are not saying anything about how the Holy Bible should be interpreted. You are confused, contradicting yourself completely.”
    I am not confused, and I have expressd myself perfectly well, without contradictions. You claim you know how to interpret your bible for sure, which is the literal one. I am saying that whatever might be the best way for interpretation (I don’t know which would be), I am quite sure it at least is not the literal one, certainly from a scientific point of few.
    Nothing confusing about that, and I am not contradicting myself.

    “t is not about how literally one takes the Holy Bible, it is about whether one correctly understands which parts are to be understood literally or otherwise. Can you grasp the distinction I am making? Or will you just ignore my point?”

    I am not ignoring your point. You are actually saying the same thing that I did, I think. Choosing which parts of your bible to take literally and which ones not is of course an interpretation in its own right! Your “understanding” is an interpretation as well!
    I said that it “all depends on whether you take your particular holy book literally or not”. That includes deciding this for each claim it makes (I guess I should have added ‘on evolution’ or something like that, but we are talking about evolution on this blog here, so I assumed that was obvious).
    Most creationists make the point that the Genesis part should be taken literally, which I’ve never understood, as they are happy taking other parts not so literally. So that is an interpretation one chooses.

    “The Biblical Creationist view has indeed withstood debate through the centuries. It has long been recognised as the correct interpretation.”
    By whom ? Not by the majority of christians, just by ‘many’ christians, as you say yourself.

    “And it is not difficult to see why. The Holy Bible does not in fact allow of any other interpretation.”
    Now that is something I totally disagree with.

    “You can tell me as many times as you wish that some Christians think Biblical teaching and Evolutionary theory are compatible;”
    Well, they do, whether they are right or wrong. But they do think that.

    “… but the reality is the Biblical teaching itself rules out any notion of Evolutionism.”
    That is your reality, not ‘the’ reality. That is your interpretation.

    “That was my original point. If you wish to dispute that then logically you would need to try to show how you think Biblical teaching can accommodate Evolutionary theory, not just say many or even most Christians disagree with me, because that “is indeed not a very strong argument” and “proves nothing, one way or the other.”””
    Personally I think one should not even try to accomodate the theory of evolution with the bible, the Quran, the Torah, or any other religious book. These are not science books, after all (they usually do not get updated when new evidence comes in, for example).
    I treat it as a historical book which reflects the thinking at the time it was written (including politics etc., not just science), and when the enormous body of scientific evidence we have now was simply not available.

    “Now you say “As far as historical names of cities, countries, and persons are concerned, much of it is fine”, whereas you initially said nothing should be taken literally.”
    Indeed, my ‘nothing’ was related to scientific knowledge, not history, which I was not clear about. That is why I later said that historical names etc. are of course fine. But this blog is about evolution, not history, and so was my comment.

    “And no matter how much you try pretend otherwise, you said it”
    I’m not pretending. I did say it. But again, I wasn’t clear that the ‘nothing’ was related to science. That is what this blog is (mostly) about, and that is what I was talking about, not history. I’ll try to be clear on that.

    “I know you Evolutionists find it convenient to confuse theory with fact, ”
    That is rubbish. Creationists usually do not see the distinction between the two (though not all, of course).
    I would loose my job if I did not know the difference.

    “To which I feel I must respond by asking if you actually take any notice of anything anyone ever says to you?”
    Of course I do. Just keep on insulting me. Very convincing.

    So the evidence I am supposed to ignore is in the links you provide on June 1, 2009, at 6:23 am.
    Let’s have a look at the evidence in these links then, which point to four books on sale at amazon.com.
    The first book seems mostly on history, the second one as well, and the third seems to have a bit on biology. The fourth one seems to be a bestseller, and seems the more interesting one.
    Now remember we are talking about evolution on this blog here, not history. I was asking for evidence which I am supposed to be ignoring, and -perhaps I was not clear- I was asking for evidence on biology, and evolution in particular. I was not asking for evidence on history. That is not what this blog is about, and I thought this was clear to all.

    But let’s focus on the best known of the books, the fourth one, which I haven’t read. The customer reviews on amazon.com were quite revealing. First of all, they are fairly polarized! Roughly half in praise, and the other half very critical.

    One of the more interesting reviews I found was this one:

    “McDowell’s book changed my life. Upon reading it 17 years ago, I lost my faith in Christianity. Up until then, I had a strong confidence in Christianity, for I believed that Christianity had strong evidence in favor of it. I purchased McDowell’s book in the hope that it would help me to become better educated and more articulate in my presentation of this evidence.

    But when I read the book carefully I was shocked. For the first time I became aware of how weak and illogical the arguments in favor of Christian faith really were. What I had always been told were iron-clad arguments turned out to be, on close inspection, empty sophistry. Especially revealing were all the Old Testament prophecies that McDowell claimed were fulfilled by Jesus. If I recall correctly, McDowell listed about 70 or 80 of these. But when I saw how unpersuasive the vast majority of these really were, I saw the foundation of my faith crumble.

    I realized that if this was the best evidence Christianity had to offer, my faith in Christianity was merely arbitrary, with little to offer to compel one intellectually to believe in it.

    Christians often claim that they have powerful evidence on their side. If you are interested in seeing just how empty this claim really is, read McDowell’s book. ”

    So should I really read this book ?

  65. Eelco,

    Yes, The New Evidence: That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell, is a good read for you instead of bits and pieces. Science progresses so does the evidence for the Bible. Perhaps you will have a better understanding. It will be like DNA. A structured identity which was discovered between the genetic message of DNA and the written human language itself. We know by experience, written messages are designed by intelligence. It’s not the historical science we see in evolution which assumptions cannot be tested nor observed. Yes, the Bible is testable for reliability, and it’s has verifiable positions.

  66. @Michael:
    well, the verdicts on this book are very polarized, and the reviews (if one should take those seriously) do not look very encouraging to me. The books seems to have an interesting format, though.
    However, here is a comprehensive “Ruling” on the book (to stay with the format of the book !):
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/

    It has links to other reviews as well.

  67. BTW: before you start complaining that I link to infidels.org again, this was just the first one showing up in my google search for reviews. You can stick to the amazon.com reviews, but this one is far more comprehensive. Feel free to disagree, of course, with the conclusions.

  68. Eelco,

    “But that cannot be right, as most christian creationists usually argue *against* big bang cosmology. So my question stands: which creationists use big bang cosmology to argue *for* their ideas ? The movie was islamic creationist, so I guess that is the answer ? Even though they show a gross lack of understanding of modern cosmology ?”

    It is true that many Christian Creationists argue against the Big Bang, but there are several that are very supportive of it.

    To list a few:

    1. Patrick Glynn (Author of: God: The Evidence)
    2. Norman L. Geisler (Co-author of “I don’t have enougn faith to be an Atheist”)
    3. Frank Turek (Co-author of “I don’t have enougn faith to be an Atheist”)
    4. The website: PreventingTruthDecay.org
    5. Kenneth Samples
    6. Hugh Ross
    7. Fazale Rana
    8. David Rogstad
    9 Jeff Zweerink
    10. Kathy Ross.

    All Creationists, and all believers in the Big Bang.

    Personally, I don’t find any problem with the Big Bang Theory any more than I do with Plate Tectonics. I think both of them are well substantiated.

    The theory itself doesn’t bother me because we are not told how God created the universe. All it says was he created it.

    I’m not bothered by the fact that several Christians do not believe in the big bang or not.

  69. Are you stating here that the big bang theory says that a supernatural power created the universe ? I’m asking because that is what you seem to say here:
    “The theory itself doesn’t bother me because we are not told how God created the universe. All it says was he created it.”
    Where I guess you still talk about the big bang theory.

    A statement like that is completely new to me. The big bang theory certainly does not say anything like that!

  70. “Are you stating here that the big bang theory says that a supernatural power created the universe ?”

    I guess that just depends on your interpretation of the Big Bang.

    Personally, yes I do believe that . . . . . IF the laws of nature came into existence when the Bang happened which would indicate that there would be no natural way for it to happen. — But, that depends on if the natural laws didn’t exist before the big bang.

    — I’m not very good at explaining it.

  71. OK, you are talking about the big bang itself (which obviously is a bad name, as said many times before, because it is not an explosion at all), as a scientific observation, then you can interpret that the way you think is best.

    But the commonly accepted (well, so far) big bang *theory*, i.e. cosmology, does not say anything at all about supernatural creators. Nada.

  72. @krissmith777:
    Ah, and by the way, I did post lots of things on cosmology at another post here, including alternatives like cyclic universes where there is no beginning. These would look the same, and have a rapid initial expansion (that’s what the “big bang” is, nothing more than that !) as well.

  73. Eelco.

    I reiterate, you are contradicting yourself. And for all your denials and smoke-screening, it is obvious that you are doing so.

    You said, concerning how the Holy Bible should be interpreted – “I do not know that, and I do not pretend to know that.”

    You also said, “whatever might be the best way for interpretation… I am quite sure it at least is not the literal one.”

    So you clearly are, and have consistently been, making pronouncements about how the Holy Bible should be interpreted whilst denying you do so.

    Moving on – No, Eelco, I am not making the same point as you. You presented a literal v non-literal argument; I pointed out that that is inadequate because it is about whether one correctly understands which parts are to be understood literally or otherwise.

    In truth, Biblical teaching requires some things bee understood literally, some things allegorically.

    So, whilst you present a choice between literal v. non-literal, I present the point that both literal and non-literal are required.

    Not the same point. And you are merely showing more evidence of your fuzzy thinking by saying it is the same thing.

    The creation account for example, is self-evidently mainly literal history with some things in it which are to be understood allegorically rather than as literal history.

    Next point – You put it all down to interpretation, as if subjective opinion is all that one can assert. Well, you may believe that in your fuzzy, convenient, uncritical kind of way, but actually, as I have already pointed out, subjective opinion is inadequate when it comes to interpreting the Holy Bible. It is the objective teaching which one should seek to identify.

    I realise you haven’t a clue how to begin to identify that, but it nevertheless remains that that is what the text itself demands. You simply remain having to assert it all comes down to subjective opinion. Another incorrect assertion on your part.

    Next point – again you go on and on and on with your ‘majority’ point which you yourself have already dismissed as weak and proving nothing. If it is weak and proves nothing why do you keep trying to ram it down my throat? Let me reiterate for you Eelco – it is not a very strong point and it proves nothing.

    And in point of fact, I’m not sure where you get your stats, but I think you will find that actually historically the Biblical Creationist view has been held by the majority of those professing Christ.

    And even today, many, many Christians hold to the Biblical Creationist view because that is the Biblical teaching.

    And how can you assert you disagree with my statement that ‘it is not difficult to see why. The Holy Bible does not in fact allow of any other interpretation” when you also assert you ‘do not pretend to know’ how the Holy Bible should be interpreted?

    Next point – nothing of scientific fact contradicts the Holy Bible; Evolutionary theory, however, may say whatever it will, regardless of the facts. You merely present a tired, misrepresentative, prejudiced and ill-informed view of the Holy Bible.

    And despite your back-tracking about what you meant by ‘nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours’, nevertheless, you now merely show your ignorance of the correspondence of the Biblical commentary on nature with scientifically observable fact. A point I have already made with further information linked to above.

    And that you can assert that Evolutionism is somehow disconnected from matters of history again demonstrates your very fuzzy thinking. Evolutionism is a theory about the history of life on Earth. You cannot consider Evolutionism without considering issues of history.

    And it is not rubbish that ‘Evolutionists find it convenient to confuse theory with fact’; you Evolutionists commonly present your assumption of Evolution as fact. Biblical Creationists, recognising this, are actually very carefully to discern between the two things.

    And I suggest you are probably much more likely to hold onto your job by maintaining the Evolutionist confusion of theory and fact.

    As for your blathering about evidence you ignore, all I can say is you demonstrate the typical Evolutionists evasiveness and intellectual dishonesty perfectly.

    The original point pertained to the evidence that the Holy Bible is a reliable historical record. You now seek to change the point to being about evidence for biology. But you were ‘asking for evidence on biology’, but that is false.

    Let me review the discussion for you –

    1) from June 1, 2009 at 6:23 am, I said:

    ‘Moving on, concerning your opinion that ‘nothing should be taken literally from any religious book’, you merely illustrate your dire ignorance of history and your appalling atheistic prejudice which leads you into that ignorance.

    The Holy Bible is a reliable historical record attested to by various means. The fields of history, archaeology, the study of ancient manuscripts amongst them.

    Regardless of your list of supposed contradictions, it remains true that there has never been a proven contradiction in the Holy Bible. Having studied this area somewhat I can report that what are cited as errors or contradictions are accusations constituted variously of basic ignorance of methodology in fields of history or study of ancient manuscripts, complete disregard for principles of Biblical study or astoundingly indulgent presumption.

    The Holy Bible has long been recognised and argued as reliable historical document. The literature defending its historical reliability is substantial and conclusive, though, of course, conveniently ignored by those who prefer who espouse their prejudices without the hindrance of the conclusions of disciplined study.

    Here are just a couple of examples of scholarship which ably demonstrate Biblical historical reliability, ignore at your leisure –

    http://www.amazon.com/Reliability-Old-Testament-K-Kitchen/dp/0802803962/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243854139&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-Documents-They-Reliable/dp/0802822193/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243854246&sr=1-1

    And there is plenty more readily available for you to completely ignore too. These books below provide useful starting points for further research –

    http://www.amazon.com/Examine-Evidence%C2%AE-Exploring-Case-Christianity/dp/0736912959/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243854367&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-That-Demands-Verdict-McDowell/dp/185078552X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243854428&sr=1-2

    2) June 1, 2009 at 11:58 am, you completely ignored the point and the evidence.

    3) June 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm, I said –

    ‘And had you a better grasp of the historical nature of the Holy Bible, you would realise why the Holy Bible stands out as a reliable historical source. Not rocket science. Its just that you seem to prefer to ignore the evidence, and then delude yourself you ‘know quite a bit about it’.’

    4) June 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm, I said –

    ‘And had you a better grasp of the historical nature of the Holy Bible, you would realise why the Holy Bible stands out as a reliable historical source. Not rocket science. Its just that you seem to prefer to ignore the evidence, and then delude yourself you ‘know quite a bit about it’.’

    5) June 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm, you attempted to shift the topic the evidence related to –

    ‘The body of modern scientific evidence really contradicts the bible strongly, as you well know. So which evidence am I supposed to be ignoring?’

    6) June 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm, I said –

    ‘You ask – “So which evidence am I supposed to be ignoring ?” To which I feel I must respond by asking if you actually take any notice of anything anyone ever says to you?

    In my post of June 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm, I said – “had you a better grasp of the historical nature of the Holy Bible, you would realise why the Holy Bible stands out as a reliable historical source. Not rocket science. Its just that you seem to prefer to ignore the evidence, and then delude yourself you ‘know quite a bit about it’”.

    And had you read my previous post to you (June 1, 2009 at 6:23 am) you would have seen the examples I provided of scholarship which ably demonstrate Biblical historical reliability.

    There is the evidence you ignore. Evidence of the historical reliability of the Holy Bible. Only by ignoring the evidence can you come out with such ridiculous nonsense as “from my point of view nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours.”

    Why don’t you consider reading and taking in some of the points people make to you in debate rather than just ignoring them and going round and round in circles?’

    7) Now you say –

    ‘Now remember we are talking about evolution on this blog here, not history. I was asking for evidence which I am supposed to be ignoring, and -perhaps I was not clear- I was asking for evidence on biology, and evolution in particular. I was not asking for evidence on history. That is not what this blog is about, and I thought this was clear to all.’

    This review of our discussion shows that we were actually talking about history, specifically the historical reliability of the Holy Bible. You attempted to change the subject matter and then misrepresent the previous discussion.

    Concerning the review you quote, whilst I am sorry the reviewer cannot recognise the evidence for what it is, it is sometimes the case that individuals who profess a faith in Christ turn out not to have such. This was recognised even in the New Testament itself. But the evidence of the historical reliability of the Holy Bible is not a basis for faith, it is factual confirmation of God’s dealings with men throughout history. Faith is a gift from God, not the fruit of man’s comprehension.

    And I recommend further first-hand study for yourself of the evidence of the reliability of the Holy Bible, because it is expansive and conclusive. And it may help you avoid in future such asinine comments as when you said ‘nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours’.

    The sources I provided in previous comments above are useful starters. There is much more available.

    For now, I have to draw a close to this discussion. Say what you will, your record here speaks for itself. You prove yourself evasive; whimsically self-contradictory; extremely woolly, self-indulgently convenient in your assertions; ill-informed and disinterested in the facts; and incapable of maintaining a logical argument.

    All in all, you have demonstrated that it is pretty well pointless trying to engage you in reasoned debate.

  74. Wow, you have a lot of time available – I am almost flattered by the amount of time you spend on my posts.

    Starting off with biblical interpretations. You now present a false dichotomy, in the sense that you claim there are only two possible methods for interpretation: literal and non-literal.
    I think there are more, which is why I made my point that I do not subscribe to the literal one for sure, but don’t know about the others.

    So have a look at http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_inte.htm
    They list four methods, *one* of which is the literal one. Then there are three others: historical, midrash, and folklore. There is a link with some nice examples. So my point is that I reject the literal one from a scientific point of view, but do not pretend to know which of the other three is best.

    “So, whilst you present a choice between literal v. non-literal, I present the point that both literal and non-literal are required.”
    No, that is your false dichotamy. Non-literal still encompasses various options, between which I cannot choose. That’s what I was trying to say.

    “The creation account for example, is self-evidently mainly literal history with some things in it which are to be understood allegorically rather than as literal history.”
    Self-evidently ? I do not think so.

    “And in point of fact, I’m not sure where you get your stats, but I think you will find that actually historically the Biblical Creationist view has been held by the majority of those professing Christ.”
    Now *you* keep on hammering about this … but your use of the past tense is probably accurate. And you keep on coming back to this even more:
    “And even today, many, many Christians hold to the Biblical Creationist view because that is the Biblical teaching.”
    Sure. Many. But not most. Shall we stop now ?

    “And despite your back-tracking about what you meant by ‘nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours’, … ”
    I was not backtracking, I was explaining myself as I was indeed not clear enough. I’ve already said before that my ‘nothing’ was not clear, and was aimed at the scientific content (which is what this blog is about !) of your holy book. And I’ve also already elaborated that I was not clear in saying that one should indeed not apply the same interpretation method to the whole book. I still think we agree on that.

    “And I suggest you are probably much more likely to hold onto your job by maintaining the Evolutionist confusion of theory and fact.”
    Sure, Dom. YOU are confused between theory and fact, not me. But this is getting tedious.

    “The original point pertained to the evidence that the Holy Bible is a reliable historical record. You now seek to change the point to being about evidence for biology. But you were ‘asking for evidence on biology’, but that is false.”
    NO! The original point was about the theory of evolution (i.e. biology), not about history. This ‘interpretations discussion’ we are having started before June 1 at 6:23 !
    The original point was:
    “Certainly the Holy Bible leaves no room for the Evolutionary fable; indeed it completely and fundamentally contradicts it.”
    (your statement of May 31, 2009 at 7:51)

    This is what I reacted to (on May 31, 2009 at 11:23 am), and which started the ‘interpretations discussion’. You have been shifting this to history instead of biology (evolution).

    So my question about evidence I am supposed to be ignoring was of course about evolution, as that is what this blog is about, and what started the discussion!

    “This review of our discussion shows that we were actually talking about history, specifically the historical reliability of the Holy Bible. You attempted to change the subject matter and then misrepresent the previous discussion.”
    So no, you changed to the topic of history, we actually started with evolution. The record (this blog) is clear enough, starting from your first comment at May 31, 2009, at 6:23.

    I’ll assume for now that you will not give me the biological evidence that I am supposed to be ignoring.

    As for you closing remarks:
    “For now, I have to draw a close to this discussion. Say what you will, your record here speaks for itself. You prove yourself evasive; whimsically self-contradictory; extremely woolly, self-indulgently convenient in your assertions; ill-informed and disinterested in the facts; and incapable of maintaining a logical argument.
    All in all, you have demonstrated that it is pretty well pointless trying to engage you in reasoned debate.”

    I’m not going to return these insults, that is too cheap. I will leave it to the reader to make their own judgement on what you are claiming here about me (I think one calls these ad-hominem attacks). The record speaks for itself, indeed !

  75. In my last post, the “May 31, 2009 at 6:23” timestamp should read “May 31, 2009 at 7:51 am”

  76. Eelco, I am not surprised it has slipped your attention that the four methods of interpretation you refer to fall into two categories – literal and non-literal.

    As for the rest of your waffle – you merely continue to demonstrate you are unreasonably obstinate, evasive and incapable of maintaining a logical argument.

  77. Eelco,

    Perhaps “Big Bang” is a bad name. I hear you on that. I

    hear cosmologists call it an “big expansion” instead of a great “kaboom.”

    As for cyclic universes, I’m curious s to how they can detect that sort of thing. But, oh well. (shrugs)

  78. @Dom:
    “Eelco, I am not surprised it has slipped your attention that the four methods of interpretation you refer to fall into two categories – literal and non-literal.”

    That still is a false dichotamy. I showed you there are four (perhaps even more ?) methods of interpretation, not two.
    I can also play the game of categorizing them like this: folklore, and non-folklore. That would also be false.
    My statements were based on four (or more ?) methods of interpretation, one of which I claim can be excluded. My claim, my opinion. But there are not just two choices, as you make it out to be.

    “As for the rest of your waffle – you merely continue to demonstrate you are unreasonably obstinate, evasive and incapable of maintaining a logical argument.”

    Yet more ad hominem … not convincing.

  79. @krissmith777:

    Well, the term ‘big bang’ was coined by Fred Hoyle, who at the time he said this on a BBC radio show did not believe a word of it. So it was meant as a sneer to the people proposing the ‘initial rapid expansion’ (which is not as catchy, clearly).
    I think most scientists use the (mathematical) term singularity.

    “As for cyclic universes, I’m curious s to how they can detect that sort of thing. But, oh well. (shrugs)”
    I gave a reference a wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_Model )to get started, but it is certainly a hard thing to detect, one has to imply this from the available evidence. A cyclic model helps to explain dark energy, for which there is some evidence (this is not conclusive yet, though !). The relevant parameter w is the aim of several large observational programmes currently proposed. This is all fairly new, so do not expect results soon …

  80. Eelco –

    Yeah, literal or non-literal. You can have as many ways of interpreting in a non-literal way as you wish, if its non-literal, its non-literal. Its really perfectly straightforward logic.

    Or both literal and non-literal, as appropriate; as I said.

    And what you call ad hominem (“As for the rest of your waffle – you merely continue to demonstrate you are unreasonably obstinate, evasive and incapable of maintaining a logical argument”) is actually just my pointing out the obvious.

    Trying to conduct reasoned debate with you is exasperating.

  81. @Dom:

    No, not just “literal or non-literal.”. That is a false dichotamy, as explained. Which I will not repeat.

    And you are not just “pointing out the obvious”. Saying that I “waffle”, and all the rest of it, is an “ad hominem”.

    Trying to conduct reasoned debate with you is tedious.

    I quit (without conceding).

  82. Eelco –

    Yup, literal or non-literal. You can have as many ways of interpreting in a non-literal way as you wish, if it’s non-literal, its non-literal. The four methods you referred to constitute either literal or non-literal interpretative approaches. They are, as specifically delineated on that site you referred to (not necessarily normal usage of the terms), and quoting from that site –

    1. Literal – literal: ‘The Bible is recording real miracles.’

    2. Historical – non-literal: ‘No miracles probably occurred in ancient times as the Bible describes. The stories may well have been mythical. That is, they contained important spiritual information, but described events that never actually happened.’

    3. Midrash – non-literal: ‘Whether these events happened or not was not important.’

    4. Folklore – non-literal: ‘Ancient stories were circulated for decades or centuries via an oral tradition before being fixed in written form. Some were legends and myths; others were accounts of real events. Various groups within a religion or culture passed on different versions of the story. By the time that multiple versions of the same story were written down, many discrepancies had developed.’

    It should be pointed out that the above is not the normal usage of the term ‘historical’ in reference to the Biblical record. Both Bible-believing Biblical study and non-believing Biblical study recognise the documents as historical documents; that they are such is beyond contesting. The thing is whether or not they are regarded as reliable historical documents or otherwise.

    And the use of the term ‘literal’ on that site is also not the normal usage. They use the term thus: ‘Interpreting passages of the Bible literally as the Word of God’. But whilst Bible-believers do indeed view scripture as the word of God, the term ‘literal’ normally refers to how one interprets the text, not to how one views the nature of the text. Many professing Christ believe scripture is the word of God but do not interpret it literally. And many who recognise scripture is the word of God recognise that some is literal, some is allegorical.

    For the fact remains that, as I pointed out previously, the notion of whether the Holy Bible should be interpreted literally or not is an inadequate criterion. The crucial issue is recognising what is literal and what is non-literal.

    My point stands.

    You just evidently know nothing about Biblical interpretation. As is evident from your earlier comment ‘nothing should be taken literally from any religious book, including yours.’ Such ignorance of history and of Biblical interpretation is reprehensible indeed for someone who makes such sweeping assertions about these issues in supposedly serious debate.

    Little wonder I find it exasperating trying to conduct a reasoned debate with you. You just say whatever you think sounds good at the time.

    I reiterate, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean you’re right about everything.

  83. I had said I quit.

    But you keep going on about my ‘nothing’, which I have already explained. Now you say that I know ‘nothing’ about biblical interpretation, and repeat your false dichotamy.

    So for fun, here is another false dichotamy, using the same four (not two) interpretation methods from the website I guoted:

    1. Literal – non-folklore
    2. Historical – non-folklore
    3. Midrash – non-folklore
    4. Folklore – folklore

    So there are two ways to interpret the bible: folklore and non-folklore.

    Not hard to produce the other two false dichotamies one can create …

  84. That’s an ad hominem again, not an argument for discussion.

    I guess quitting is the best option, after all.

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