In light of some of our recent discussions, I thought this is interesting.
Doubt and the Vain Search for Certainty
2006 –Å“ Summer
We cannot see God; we cannot touch him; we cannot demand that he give a public demonstration of his existence or character. We know of God only through faith. Yet the human mind wants more. “Give us a sign! Prove it!” It is an age-old problem. Those who heard Jesus’ teaching wanted a sign (Matthew 12:38) — something which would confirm his authority, which would convince them beyond any doubt.
This is not a post to critique the different forms of Atheism. I want to address specifically PZ Myers’s definition of Atheism.
As I was puzzling over how to answer such an odd question, I realized why I thought it was odd. The scientist and atheist positions are the same. It doesn’t matter which hat I’m wearing, the answers won’t change.
The emphasis is his. Most likely Myers is not even aware that he is resurrecting a form of logical positivism. Logical positivism was originally forwarded by men such as Moritz Schlick and A. J. Ayer to eliminate metaphysics. Logical positivism is the idea that anything outside of sense perception is not real and therefore meaningless. If an idea or thing can not be subjected to empirical testing and verification then it is meaningless. Does this sound familiar? Essentially logical positivism is making a truth claim through tautology.
PZ Myers on Godless Science
I do think that the processes of science are antithetical to the processes of religion — personal revelation and dogma are not accepted forms of evidence in the sciences … The whole philosophy of critical thinking and demanding reproducible evidence arms its proponents with a wicked sharp knife that is all too easily applied to religious beliefs
Posted by: David Harmon
Do you think that science sometimes erodes those non-rational, non-objective human relationships that are, I suppose from your description, also not part of the scientific worldview?
Posted by: PZ Myers
No, not usually, because they generally do not contradict science, and are instead apart from it. Similarly, people can adopt some ethical philosophy like Buddhism or Taoism, or that Deism that was popular in the early days of the Enlightenment, fairly easily — that kind of stuff coexists independently of science.
The problem lies in beliefs that demand you accept the existence of invisible immortal superbeings that nonetheless manage to impregnant young women, for instance. That should make a mind used to thinking scientifically sputter and choke and seize up…so you have to really maintain a dichotomous way of thinking.
PZ Myers continues to show his ignorance and his inability to form a coherent and consistent thought process. In the same breath that he criticizes the beliefs in miracles and “immortal superbeings”, he accepts Buddhism, Taoism and Deism as not contradictory to science?
How much more ignorant of religion and science can you get? I would like to see Myers reconcile the conflict between the reincarnation of Buddhism, or the casting of spells and incantations of Taoism with the scientific methods. Even Deism accepts that there is a super being or intelligence inherent in nature that was or is involve at some point in the creation or workings of the universe. Is Myers now acquiescing Intelligent Design?
The problem with atheists is they are incapable of reconciling the reality of the intangibility of existence with their dogmatic worship of materialistic naturalism. This kind of self-contradicting logic from Myers is enough to cause any scientific mind to convulse in epileptic seizure.
Mike Gene makes a good argument against Keith Miller’s article Evolutionary Theory And Continuous Creation. However, I think the argument against Miller’s thesis is much simpler than that. But before I get into my rebuttal, am I the only one who is noticing the TE are on the rise to bash ID? You have people like Kenneth Miller, Francis Collins, SC Morris, and now Keith Miller, all advocates God uses Darwinian evolution as a method of creation.
Let’s take a look at Keith Miller’s theological reasoning.
I accept the Bible as authoritative and true in what God intends it to communicate. … The question for the Christian is then – What is the best interpretive framework for any given passage of scripture? I am convinced that the best interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis is a literary one in which neither time nor chronology are part of the intended message.
On what textual basis does he make that determination. Certainly, Genesis contains many literary techniques, including symbolism, metaphors and documentary devices. Although it does not contain specify dates and length of time it does specify the order of creation. There is no indication the creation account is metaphorical. Just as there is no indication to think this paragraph of mine is anything but a straight forward account of my critique of Miller’s quote. The question is why he chose that framework for interpretation. Is it based on his vast knowledge of ancient manuscripts and literary styles and techniques of documents in that period? Or is it base on his commitment to Darwinian evolution and in fear for a crisis in his faith?
Denyse O’Leary just posted on some YEC’s criticism of ID. Well, having had first hand experience with the strident attack from young earth creationists, I can say their criticism toward ID is mild by comparison. I wonder if the strident attack that YEC have toward other Biblical Creationists is not due to an inferiority complex. They have established themselves as the Pope of Biblical Orthodoxy. They will readily acknowledge that many OEC like myself is Biblically sound in many (if not all) other doctrines except the day/age interpretation. For that we are Bible compromisers and adhere to heresy. Although not calling OEC heretics but just promoting heresies, is a distinction without a difference. AiG claims that this is just an inconsistent interpretation of Genesis. Now who is being inconsistent? Doesn’t AiG know (or purposely ignore) that this strident rhetoric will produce a group of young earth followers that makes ‘big bang’‚ adherence the test of orthodoxy? I know. I’ve been questioned about my salvation due to my acceptance of the big bang theory.
The problem with the YEC charge that OEC are Bible compromisers is arrogant to say the least. They would acknowledge many OEC like John Ankerberg, J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Gleason Archer, and Walter Kaiser is faithful defenders of the Bible other than their inconsistent interpretation of the word YOM in Genesis. YEC can legitimately disagree with these scholars without resorting to name calling. Considering preeminent scholars like Walter Kaiser and Gleason Archer, both knowing eight to ten Old Testament languages.
The creation of the universe is dated in Genesis 1:1 as being “in the beginning.”‚ Of that we can be as certain as we are of revelation itself. The creation of Adam came six “days”‚ later, but one must be warned that right there in the first chapters of Genesis the Bible uses the word day with three different meanings: (1) daylight (Gen 1:5), (2) a twenty-four-hour day (Gen 1:14) and (3) an epoch or era, as we use the word in speaking of the “day”‚ of the horse and buggy or Abraham Lincoln’s “day”‚ (Gen 2:4; compare the RSV’s “In the day”‚ with the NIV’s “When”‚ ). I would opt for the day-age theory, given all that must take place on the sixth “day”‚ according to the Genesis record. Incidentally, this day-age view has been the majority view of the church since the fourth century, mainly through the influence of Saint Augustine. — Kaiser, W. C. (1997, c1996). Hard sayings of the Bible (Page 103)
You can disagree with it and you can criticize it but to refer to people like this as Bible compromisers?
I will make my comment to Krauze’s post here. I think between the YEC and TE, there is a spectrum of Christian positions on ID. Hugh Ross is a OEC with progressive underpinnings. There are also those who are OEC that does not subscribe to progressive creation. Where we stand in that spectrum is less important than how we view Scripture.
As a fundamentalist I view the Bible as the authoritative and inerrant Word of God. The problem comes from how we interpret that Scripture. Do we interpret it willy-nilly or do we apply certain hermeneutic principles to the perspicuous understanding of that Scripture. In other words, the Scripture was written to be understood and followed by its adherents. In that sense it follows the same construct and literary principles of all other ancient documents.
Per DonaldM’s suggestion
Most likely we’ve all heard the oft quoted mantra “extraordianry claims require extraordinary evidence.” When it comes to the ID/evolution debate, the question is, what is the ‘extraordinary’ claim? Of the two claims below, which is the extraordinary one and why? What would constitute the ‘extraordinary’ evidence to support it and why?
1. An all powerful supernatural being with both the knowledge and the will purposefully brought all things into existence, including life on planet earth through means that we have not yet discovered, may never discover and do not understand, but did leave behind hallmarks of this intelligent design in the bits of nature we can observe, most notably CSI and IC in certain kinds of natural artifacts.
2. The blind purposeless forces of matter and energy, acting over eons of time through chance and necessity (or their combination) produced all the bits of nature we can observe, including all life on planet earth through the means of random mutation and natural selection.
ID critics have long prevaricated ID as Creationism. The Darwinian PR campaign is certainly effective with the initiates. There are many fronts to the Darwinian PR campaign. We’ve seen their deception in the mainstream media and in pop culture TV programs.
Since I believe that Darwinian evolution is essentially an atheistic philosophy and not real science, the current ID debate has prompted certain ancillary criticism on Christianity. A recent example of such an attack was promoted in the science fiction series Stargate SG-1. This post is intended to defend against such attacks raised by the Stargate SG-1 program.
In season 9 of the Stargate series, it has introduced a race of Ascended beings called the Ori. The Ori are extremely powerful beings that once had physical bodies but now have evolved to an incorporeal plane of existence, giving them a godlike quality. (For more information on the Ori follow the above link.) The Ori are evil beings because they deceive their followers to worship them for their own benefits, in essence they gain strength from the worship of their followers. Anyone who refuses to worship them would be killed. The Ori also give false hope to its’ followers of the promise of Ascension, which provides immortality and enlightenment.
The worshippers of this Ori are portrayed as dupes who reject science and rationality. The worshippers would blindly annihilate an entire planet full of people at the whim of the Ori. These worshippers have been brainwashed to fear and obey the Ori with unquestioning loyalty and contrary to all moral discernments.
The subject of origins inevitably brings up questions about where we came from, why we are here, and what the purpose of life is (if such a thing exists). When it comes down to it, these are the only questions that are ultimately worth asking or seeking answers for.
When people ask why the unsolved mysteries of chemistry and physics are not the subject of debate when it comes to public education, I ask myself, What planet are these guys living on? These questions have no bearing on anything of ultimate significance.
If the atheistic/materialistic worldview is correct, there is no reason why one should not commit suicide when things get tough. Once you are dead and the biochemical processes in your brain shut down, there are no consequences, there is no accountability, there is no memory.
One day our sun will become a red giant and its outer atmosphere will expand beyond the orbit of the earth. When that happens, the earth’s atmosphere will be stripped away, the oceans will boil away, the sands will fuse into glass, and our planet will be sterilized of all life for all eternity. There will be no record of anything that anyone has ever done.
If the atheistic/materialistic worldview is correct, life is ultimately absurd. And the worst part is, this tragic, nihilistic, dark, cold, depressing philosophy doesn’t even make sense, and requires an unreasonable amount of blind faith. My favorite definition of reasonable faith is, “putting your trust in that which you have reason to believe is true.”
I have come to the conclusion that atheism/materialism requires blind faith, and that theism only requires reasonable faith. In order to be an atheist one must believe that nothing produced everything for no reason, that inert matter spontaneously generated life, that the personal came from the impersonal, that consciousness came from unconsciousness, that the equivalent of typographical errors turned rocks, atmospheric gasses and unspecified liquid concoctions into Chopin in 1017 seconds (and this list could be expanded). It seems to me that this is “unscientific,” magical thinking if ever such a thing existed.
I don’t have enough blind faith to be an atheist.
I do not propose that atheism makes people bad, but that it is destructive because it logically destroys any ultimate sense of purpose in life. Without a sense of self-sacrificial purpose, life loses meaning, and at that point untold miseries are destined to abound.