Nov 282006

The mysterious and ubiquitous Sam Harris, author of Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith has been a busy boy lately. What with major news network interviews, magazine interviews, radio show interviews…its a wonder the buy gets time to think any thoughts as at all, let alone ponder the deep mysteries of the cosmos to arrive at the ‘scientific’ and ‘rational’ conclusion that religious faith in all forms is irrational and dangerous.

Consider the following from a recent interview with Sam Harris by L.A. Times writer Gina Piccalo: Continue reading »

Nov 252006

Over at UD Francis Backwith said:

No longer can we assume that our most accomplished scholars in a particular field are truly educated, that they are able to understand and communicate in an even rudimentary way the most important questions with which their civilization has wrestled for millennia. What we have produced are intellectual barbarians, deeply knowledgeable of their subject, but unwise about the intellectual patrimony of the universities they inhabit.

You can read the whole discussion here.

Nov 212006

Few thoughts by Leonard R. Brand on relationship between science and religion, which I think, is quite relevant at present. I would appreciate your comments?

With Christianity there are many different attitudes toward the authority of the Scriptures, but this paper is built on a conviction that there are many lines of evidence indicating that the prophets do indeed speak for a loving and all-knowing God whom we can trust, and whose prophetic messages we can trust. Within that framework, an effective working relationship between science and revelation can result if we proceed through the following steps in our attempts to understand truth:

1. The accumulating data from scientific research suggest new ideas or hypotheses that we might not have thought of if the research had not been done.
2. If the new idea involves a subject that we think the Bible may speak about, we would examine all relevant Bible texts, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and using the Bible as its own interpreter. In doing so, it is important to make use of all the latest information that helps us to research a correct understanding of the original meaning of the words used in the biblical manuscripts. In this way, we attempt to understand exactly what the Bible does or does not say about our new idea. Is the idea compatible with the Bible or not? Do the relevant Bible statements say what we thought they said, or have we been incorrectly reading something between the lines?
3. We then make one of the following decisions, or some appropriate variation of one of these:
a. It is evident that revelation does not speak to this issue at all, and does not help us in our research.
b. We conclude that revelation does address this topic, but does not say anything against the new idea; there is no biblical reason not to accept it as a valid possibility. We then proceed with further scientific research to rigorously test it. This research may give us increased confidence in the idea, or it may lead to even better hypotheses which would also need to be compared with the Scriptures.
c. Our study indicates that revelation clearly contradicts the new idea, thus telling us to go back and do some more research because there is something wrong with our interpretation of the data.

If we follow this process, the Bible is maintained as the standard for religious doctrines, and yet science and the Bible shed light on each other. Science suggests ideas that may help us to recognize that we have been reading some preconceived idea into the Bible that really is not there. In other cases the Bible can help us to recognize incorrect scientific theories, so that we can turn our efforts toward developing more accurate interpretations of the data.

The whole article can be found here.

Nov 202006

There are two explanations for these passages in the Christian Scriptures:

Joshua 10:13

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped

2 Kings 20:9-11

9 Isaiah answered, “This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called upon the LORD, and the LORD made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

The best explanation is given by Barry Setterfield: Long Day

About 10 years ago, in a store in Blackwood, South Australia, there was a sophisticated gyroscopic toy for sale. The toy consisted of a central gyroscope suspended by circular loops of metal that were able to move freely in any direction. Idly, I set the toy spinning, then shortly after I gave it a push, corresponding to an “impact” . The gyroscope heeled over, and then in that new position started oscillating. I was amazed at what happened next. At specific points in the series of oscillations, the whole gyroscopic device underwent a figure-of-eight roll and then returned to the oscillating behaviour it had exhibited before.

Let’s look at this. Dodwell had determined the axis tilt curve from the 2345 BC impact. He had also determined the oscillation curve from the data. That curve potentially suggests that at certain key dates a change in oscillation direction will occur. Those dates roughly correspond with Joshua’s long day, Hezekiah’s sundial event, events at the time of the Crucifixion, and others. At the corresponding times, the gyroscopic toy underwent a figure of eight roll. It is possible that the earth may have behaved similarly, or at least in such a way that the objects in the heavens traced an S-shaped path in the sky. This would have a variety of effects depending where on earth the observer was when it occurred. Thus for Joshua the sun and moon remained visible in the heavens while the S-shaped path was followed. At the time of the Crucifixion, “the sun went down at noon” as Amos indicated, and then returned to resume its normal motion. There is also a reference in Job to this effect. Job was writing as an eye-witness to events in his own day. In Job 9:7 he states that God “commands the sun and it rises not”” . This is referring to the results of a similar axis tilt change due to massive impacts at the time of Peleg “when the continents were divided” (Gen. 10:25). This impact was the one that gave the earth’s axis its high tilt that resulted in the ice-age as well as drifting continents. The motion of the earth’s axis after that event in 3005 BC was similar to that from the 2345 BC event. Job was writing about 2800 BC.

This is a good explanation. I hope you all are aware of the really bad explantion which was a hoax about NASA research, an account of which was at Talk Origins.

Nov 192006

One of the arguments that Darwinists often raise to “disprove” ID is the argument from dysteleology, more commonly referred to as the argument from sub-optimal design. The basic form of the argument usually goes something like this:

P-1: If biological systems were the result of intelligent design, then those systems would exhibit optimal design
P-2: Many, if not most, biological systems exhibit sub-optimal design features
C-1: Therefore, biological systems are not intelligently designed.

The late Stephen J. Gould wrote in his book “The Panda’s Thumb” that “funny solutions and odd arrangements are not the stuff of a wise creator.” So stated, it ought to be fairly obvious that the entire argument entails a hidden theological premise. Continue reading »

Nov 092006

Over at The Panda’s Thumb, blogster RBH (Richard B. Hoppe), had this to say about the results of the Ohio school board election results this past Tuesday. One of the claims RBH makes is:

As readers of the Thumb no doubt already know, honest science won big in the Ohio State Board of Education elections yesterday. Four of the five candidates endorsed by Ohio HOPE won their races. In the fifth race, Ohio HOPE endorsed two of four candidates who unfortunately split 51% of the vote between them, allowing a third candidate to win with 38% of the total vote. Ohio HOPE was organized by scientists in Ohio a few months ago to support teaching honest science in K-12.

My comment in response was: Continue reading »