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Britain’s Royal Society is considering casting out God … so who is surprised?

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Zoë Corbyn reports (25 September 2008) that in the wake of he uproar over the firing of Michael Reiss:

All references to “God” would be removed from the founding charter of the Royal Society under an idea mooted by some of its senior figures, Times Higher Education understands.

The society has three charters, drafted between 1662 and 1669, that set out its aims and that are used today. The 1662 charter refers to fellows’ “uprightness of character and piety”. The 1669 document requires the society’s president and deputies to take an oath “upon the holy Gospels of God” to faithfully execute matters of office.

Go here for more.

Related stories:

Intelligent design and popular culture: The BBC spin on British creationism

Will Brit “faith and science” heavyweights speak up after education director’s firing?

Failed Brit Darwinist Michael Reiss: “A Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God”: Synopsis of a Play in Three Acts

Intelligent design and high culture: Philosopher says teaching students about intelligent design should be okay – with qualifications

Darwinism and popular culture: The Anglican Church’s non-apology to Darwin

It’s dazzling that they can get taxpayers to fund it.

I was intrigued by several statements by Thomas Nagel in the article Intelligent design and high culture: Philosopher says teaching students about intelligent design should be okay. He states that, “Critics take issue with the claims made by defenders of ID about what standard evolutionary mechanisms can accomplish, and argue that they depend on faulty assumptions. Whatever the merits, however, that is clearly a scientific disagreement, not a disagreement between science and something else”. He then goes on to explain that if the disagreement between a theist and an atheist is scientific, it should be based solely on science rather than incorporating arguments outside the realm of the scientific discipline. In some ways, I very much support an objective debate focused only on one subject rather than a discussion trying to incorporate arguments of religion, philosophy, etc. On one hand, it would be interesting to see which sides would come up victorious if we categorized the arguments of the debate and deliberated each separately. However, I wonder how intertwined our arguments have become and if they are beyond separation. The debate between Lennox and Shermer explored the basic questions of whether God is exists, and Shermer continually tried to break down the arguments into independent segments of religion, culture, science, etc. Yet, Lennox continually intertwined these arguments by offering evidence from sources that Shermer does not approve of (such as quotes from philosophers and scientists from both sides of the argument, which Shermer interestingly states as being “irrelevant” to the subject of scientific evidence) (would not his own arguments then be irrelevant?). For me, the differing opinions and beliefs of experts, like Nagel, Lennox, and Shermer, show that the debate over the validity of ID has not been based strictly on fact, but on the differing views of experts. If the factual support for traditional evolutionary theory was supported without any scientific doubt, what respectable and honorable scholars would argue against it? Lawyer Ed Sisson is also cited in this article as stating, “Sophisticated members of the contemporary culture have been so thoroughly indoctrinated that they easily lose sight of the fact that evolutionary reductionism defies common sense. A theory that defies common sense can be true, but doubts about its truth should be suppressed only in the face of exceptionally strong evidence”. The proponents of evolution have argued that ID does not offer “exceptionally strong evidence”. Yet, the number and prestige of scholars offering great doubts over evolutionary theory leads to the conclusion that sufficient evidence has not been offered in support of Darwinism. azapril
I apologize if this is a bit off topic... There are three very good interviews by Casey Luskin of Professor Steve Fuller on ID the Future. Enjoy. http://www.idthefuture.com/ PannenbergOmega
This should not come as a surprise. As time progresses, more cultures, societies, governments and ultimately, individuals, will start to pick and choose that which is pleasing to them - not necessarily that which is right or just or pure. It's the new spirit of relativism and tolerance that is invading nations across the globe, especially in more developed countries. With less of a "need" for God - people will start to remove Him to gain their "independence". Removing the references to God from government documents is only an outward expression of what has already been done inside their hearts. An argument can certainly be made on a spiritual level that having it written in ink is more powerful than not, but removing God from their political process and government is merely a reflection of the path they've already chosen to follow. truthseeker
There are a few Brit churchmen, such as James D G Dunn and N T Wright, who have challenged church tradition in the pursuit of truth but at the same time maintained a high regard for Scripture and support for biblical miracles—such as here where N. T. Wright defends the resurrection. After seeing Wright’s contribution to Anthony Flew’s There Is a God, I read Wright’s Surprised by Hope. It’s a pretty good book in my opinion, though in the latter chapters he seems to bow to leftist politics. Nevertheless I do believe that as the churches self destruct this should bring out a few brave dissenters—people that ID would do well to cultivate. Rude
Denyse asks whether Brit 'faith and science' heavyweigths (on her blog she mentions Alistair McGrath and John Lennox under this designation) will speak out on the Reiss affair. Lennox has recently been appointed Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, a far more prestigious position than his previous Reader in Mathematics, equivalent to an Associate Professor in the US. So maybe he is just lying low for a while - head below the parapet. Then again, he debated Hitchens during the summer at Edinburgh. Alistair McGrath would be by far the most powerful voice against Darwinism in the UK if he spoke up. He is a brilliant historian and theologian, and presumably competent in his original field of science (molecular biophysics). Unfortunately, although he is willing to stand up to Dawkins' misrepresentations about Biblical concepts (particularly faith), he seems very weak-kneed about taking on Darwinism. I get the feel from his writings that he sees problems in the selectionist storytelling of the evolutionists and he does read some ID stuff (he footnotes Cornelius Hunter's book, Darwin's God in his anti-Dawkins book, Dawkin's God and he gave a positive blurb for Lennox's book God's Undertaker), but he either seems to want to keep his head below the parapet on selectionism for some strategic reason or he adopts a God-of-the-gaps view of the matter, thinking that perhaps the evo-worshippers will come up with some better mechanism sometime. I am just guessing - he just keeps so quiet its puzzling. andrew
Surely this just means any non-Christian presidents or deputies don't have to swear to something they don't believe in? What's wrong with that? Surely a non-sectarian Royal Society is a good thing? It's not 1669 any more. BGOG
The 'Royal Society' chucking out some of it's foundational stones? Removing a key element of its underpinnings? Well, why not! Soon it can relieve itself of the now superficial-and-should-be-retired-moniker 'Royal'. Who needs those outmoded throne-sitters? Now with the foundations gone and the title chopped, it can thus be called: THE SOCIETY Now that sounds much more Orwellian/Animal Farmish, doesn't it? Stop mucking around and fly your flags and tell us who you really are so we may bow before the new throne ... AussieID

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