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Ruse on Dawkins’ Delusion


Michael Ruse on Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” (heavily edited)

“God is getting a bit of a bashing these days. Above all, there is the smash-hit best seller The God Delusion, by the brilliant science writer Richard Dawkins. Why this sudden enthusiasm for atheism? The new skeptics are writing brilliant works, bringing reason and evidence to bear on the God question, and showing in altogether new ways why religion is false and dangerous to boot.

Dawkins is brazen in his ignorance of philosophy and theology (not to mention the history of science). Dawkins is entirely ignorant of the fact that no believer – has ever thought that arguments are the best support for belief. John Henry Newman wrote: “I believe in design because I believe in God; not in a God because I see design.”

Dawkins is a man truly out of his depth. Does he honestly think that no philosopher or theologian has ever thought of or worried about the infinite regress of the cosmological argument?

One person who comes in for withering scorn in The God Delusion is me. Even though I am not a Christian, I nevertheless think that one can be a Christian with integrity and that Darwinism does not in itself preclude Christianity. In fighting fundamentalism – from scientific creationism to intelligent design theory – one should be willing to work with liberal Christians.

Suppose it is true – that if you are a Darwinian, then you cannot be a Christian. How then does one answer the creationist who objects to the teaching of Darwinism in schools? If theism cannot be taught in schools (in America) because it violates the separation of church and state, why then should Darwinism be permitted? Perhaps, given the U.S. Constitution, the creationists are right and Darwinism should be excluded. ”

MICHAEL RUSE   ISIS volume 98, Issue 4, Page 814–816, Dec 2007

YEC There's no single thing I find most convincing. It's all the disparate things taken together that I find convincing. One can certainly contrive plausible sounding explanations for one observed phenomenon at a time but when contrivance must be heaped upon contrivance it becomes apparent that it's an informal logical fallacy of assuming the result. It's assumed that the universe was created 6000 years ago then any empirical data to the contrary is somehow made to fit that result. Little needs to be contrived to explain an old universe and the list of conforming things is vast from rates of radioactive decay, to radiative cooling of planets, to tree rings, to sedimentation, to erosion, to plate tectonics, to stellar evolution, to colliding galaxies, to matter collapsing under gravity, to the light from distant objects reaching us in a span of time constrained by a maximum speed of 300 million meters per second for electromagnetic wave propagation. I can't pick just one as the most compelling. It's the combined weight of all of them being handily explained by a few basic laws of physics. I picked the tree ring example as the first in the series because it was a good example of a process that requires not a whole lot more than 6000 years. I picked ice cores second because those up the ante to a million years and is a different process. I chose the formation of the Hawaiin island chain next because that ups the ante again to millions of years and is yet another process. I chose colliding galaxies next because the process is so different from any of the others and the example given ups the ante to hundreds of millions of years for shockwave from the collision to propagate as far as it did at 200,000 miles per hour. Even if the shockwave were somehow travelling at the speed of light it would still take 150,000 years to travel that far. Explanations for all these things happening in 6000 years or less will be highly contrived while the explantions for them occuring over longer periods of time require no contrivances. DaveScot
Dave, I remember being incredulous the first time I heard the notion of a young earth. It wasn’t until looking into the evidence for a young earth, and for an old earth for myself that my mind began to change. So I don’t blame you a bit for being skeptical and I wouldn’t expect your mind to be changed by anything less than rigorous examination of lots of information for yourself. I suspect at this point you probably aren’t the slightest bit interested in doing that because you think it would be a huge waste of time. I addressed the first item on the list of evidences you gave for believing in an old earth. Often people tend to list what they think is the strongest evidence first. Maybe that wasn’t the case for you, but my rebuttal of tree-rings didn’t seem to faze you in the least. Again, I don’t blame you if you want to have each and every evidence you can think up addressed, but I simply don’t have time to try to address every argument you could come up with. What I would ask of you is this: Would you mind taking just a little bit of time thinking about what you consider the MOST convincing single evidence for an old earth? Something that is so strong in your opinion that if someone were able show that it was possible to interpret this evidence from a young-earth framework, it would at least give you pause to think “maybe I should give this whole age-of-the-Earth thing a rethink.” I know you have asked about colliding galaxies, but I get the impression that it may been first thing that came to your mind, and may not be the most convincing evidence that you can think of. Frankly, it would probably take me some time to do some digging before I could address this one, and I have many things on my plate right now. I don't mind spending some time on this if you think you are willing to have your mind changed by the evidence, if you are not really willing, then I can put my time to better use right now. I would hate to spend a lot of time on it and have you say, “well that’s fine but what about this OTHER piece of evidence?” It may take to some time to research what ever you come up with, so please be patient with me. We can take this discussion off-line if you prefer. Hope you have a great day! YEC
allanius: That was thought provoking. I felt provoked even before finishing it. Wow. for Plato all matter was evil; the only thing of any value was pure intellect. Unfortunately theory leads to nothingness by negating existent values. Just as it was impossible for Plato to describe beauty in any concrete way after he had negated the beauty of actual things, so it was impossible for Russell and Sartre to give any concrete substance to their concept of value after negating the value of nature. "Shadows and dust, General Maximus, we are but shadows and dust...." I think the Gnostics held this also, which claims the body per se is evil. Human flesh, that is, misinterpreting Paul's warnings about the failings of the Flesh to mean not the Sin Nature but human bodies per se. S Wakefield Tolbert
Bertrand Russell's smug dismissal of nature as "cruelty" is characteristic of lovers of theory, from Plato to Calvin to Descartes to Sartre. Like Dawkins, if he had not been ignorant of Christian theology he might have been surprised to discover that he was not the first to see total depravity in nature. In philosophy, theory tends to appeal to those who have a psychological need for negation. They are unhappy, and they long for a transforming moment, and theory appears to make such a moment possible because of its capacity to negate the value of that which exists. Hence for Plato all matter was evil; the only thing of any value was pure intellect. Unfortunately theory leads to nothingness by negating existent values. Just as it was impossible for Plato to describe beauty in any concrete way after he had negated the beauty of actual things, so it was impossible for Russell and Sartre to give any concrete substance to their concept of value after negating the value of nature. A more mature view of nature sees it as a blend of goodness and things that are not so desirable. Clearly the design of the cell, of human organs, of the body itself, of a tree, of the galaxy, of our atmosphere and the ecosystem--clearly all of these things are "very good." They are very well designed. Clearly the overwhelming beauty of nature and her creatures is also good. To deny this self-evident goodness is a form of insanity. But nature is not "the good," as Aristotle came too close to claiming. Nowhere in the sacred text is there any claim that nature is the good--is equal in value or even approximate to God. Nature is a mortal thing. The instances of "creulty" cited by Russell and his fellow narcissists are not only anthropomorphic--are not only, as Lewis pointed out, a pathetic fallacy--but are also part of its mortality. In scripture, goodness is attributed to God only. Nothing in the mortal realm is "good" in the sense that God is good. The light of men is said to be life--the thing all men desire most. But men are mixed creatures. There is life in them--they are alive--and yet at the same time they are mortal. We have just come through a harrowing age of theory and unjustified optimism about the potential of man to save himself without God. When we were children, we reasoned like children. But now that it has become abundantly evident that the theories of Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx and Freud cannot save us, perhaps it is time to start reasoning like adults. Such reasoning requires a balanced view of nature and rejects the preening spitefulness seen in Russell and his friends, who care for nothing but making themselves seem wise. allanius
Post (90) Dave Scot said, in part: Wakefield Are lions evil? I’d think not. Evil to me entails malicious intent. Animal instinct as far as I know doesn’t have malicious intent. Real evil seems to be a uniquely human quality. Well in principle I agree completely, Dave S. I think evil, like all issues that must deal with intention (which is what I actually think the Cosmos is about, in answer to the question someone had if I were a darwinian or not..) Lions are no more "evil" than caterpillars munching on leaves if by "evil" we mean the intent to harm beyond filling the stomach. However, it is a keystone of Christianity, as Dr. Dembski pointed out at his Design Inference blog, that the term HAS been applied to unpleasant actions like predation and death or just falling off things and getting hurt. In tradition the "godhead of humanity" (mentioned by St. Paul, BTW) caused this at the Fall. One assumes that Paul, being a Pharisee, had a leg up on Hebrew scholarship about why bad things happen to good people and animals alike. While science cannot find the 8 person bottleneck in the Ark or the limited gene pool of the "two of every kind", the Scriptures do indicate that before the flood meat was not on the menu for human beings. Except maybe Abel's offering... Satisfied with neither the literalist interpretation of Genesis or the Lewis interpretation that acknowledged the time issues of a young earth and predation that preceded humans, Dr. Dembski comes up with a novel if unprovable assumption about God foreseeing this issue. So while lions nor bugs nor bats are evil per se, this unpleasantry is STILL the "side result" of mankind's Fall. I am not going to delve too much into this except to make the point that by "evil" we can't mean of course that animals cogitate on vengeance and anger or sin. Rather, while his approach is different in arrangement, Dr. Dembski seems to acknowledge that God foresaw that the contrast of the good with gore would cause people to understand their own actions and thus appreciate the light from darkness. Now--as to engineering or reverse engineering any creature, especially carnivorous, to meet human expectations. This is tricky. Dogs are not good examples due to their herd nature. Humans are now the masters. Not all killers like to kill humans on a regular basis (though wolves and dogs and other precusors to dogs no doubt preyed on humans at one time). An honest breeder will assure you that the German Shepard and Pit Bull are still killers, and the Victorian penchant for making little lap yappers has not taken all their aggressiveness away, though it has given many breeds hip displaysia and the need for Caesarian birth. My expertise is in crocodilians, actually. Perhaps not the best example, as they neither herd (though some are communal) nor have been bred by humans for any sport or protective purpose beyond leather and meat and cheapjack entertainment, they are the smartest of the reptiles and fiendishly clever hunters, looking for travel patterns before striking, sometimes weeks later. In captivity they have wide ranges of behavior of many of the same species that have killed or critically injured their keepers or some that let you rub their backs. They can and will learn patterns and people. My Alexandra is a small croc who won't mess with me due to the fact that I intimidate her. Women and chidren can't approach her enclosure. She won't mess with me as I won't give her the reaction she is looking for. I have shaved off about 20% of her aggressiveness. I have no illusions, however, that were she large enough she'd shave the meat off the fingers of anyone like a chicken wing if she had a bad scale day. It WOULD be interesting to see how far this "engineering" might work. In point of fact, there USED to be a veggie croc millions of years ago. A dead end completly--or is a linkage still there? I don't know. Most people who try and "tame" any wild animal generally end up in disappointment, even with mammals like the big felines and bears. She is not trustworty. Lions and bears and tigers have been known to be TV stars and cute pets one day and then after 25 years of living near master's sofa have killed other animals and even their owners in these crazy stories you hear about. Not trustworthy. Keep in mind also that dogs can be made to obey. What pleases the master pleases the pack. Alex knows I can ring her neck. Felines don't work this way. They are absurdly cute until the day the 400 pounder is large enough to crack your skull with its incisors, which has also happened. Or chew your neck (see Sigfreid and Roy on this one). S Wakefield Tolbert
"Jason Rennie, could you elaborate on your own theological views" This thread is too long already. Just shoot me an email thesciphishow@gmail.com and i'll be happy to talk. Jason Rennie
"Well, I don’t know. How could I? How could any human?" But that is the point. The argument requires more than educated guesses it requires knowledge. The quality of the argument will depend on how good you think the guesses are. But because it is based on guess work it undercuts the strength of the argument. Jason Rennie
Larry you should check our Wolfhart Pannenberg. He's a theistic evolutionist. I guess it's an ironic choice for a name on my part, but he is a vigorous defender (like NT Wright) of a physical resurrection of Jesus. Which I like. PannenbergOmega
We have discussed evil here many times and the same arguments seem to always come up. One of them is what is evil. There seemed to be a certain naivety as to what is truly evil. Many people describe evil as what makes them feel uncomfortable. The more squeamish we get, the more something becomes evil to us. The richer we get and more privileges we have the more we feel guilty at any harm to others including animals. The anthropomorphism of pets is a particular case. We look at our dog or other pet and put ourselves in their place and we do not like what we see when they are treated poorly. This feeling is doing wonders for the the pet care business as pet owners are making play dates for their pets. It is spawning businesses that are now supporting families and not just a way to make some spare cash. True evil is someplace else than how one animal treats another in the wild. jerry
I really hate to keep harping on this.. If certain ideas in quantum mechanics are true (I am no expert) and if we are the only sentient life in the universe. That means that our minds (let's not kid ourselves, apes and dolphins are not men) could be entangled with the cosmos. After all the universe is supposed to be mind-stuff right? So if our actions can effect the universe, then perhaps because of our sin there is natural evil. Could anyone express in a better way? PannenbergOmega
Wakefield Are lions evil? I'd think not. Evil to me entails malicious intent. Animal instinct as far as I know doesn't have malicious intent. Real evil seems to be a uniquely human quality. What intrigues me more is what it takes to overcome predatory instinct and turn a carnivorous predator into a gentle herbivore. Would selective breeding over thousands of years bring out a lion that eats straw as an oxen? I've photographic proof of two natural predators, two 70 pound dogs and one 10 pound cat, sleeping together by mutual choice. They were raised together in an environment where there was no death or destruction or hunger. I'm not about to test it but I presume that the dogs would no more eat the cat if they were starving than they'd eat me or any other pack or flock members. There's a rabbit in the pack too. But these are domesticated animals bred to perform jobs and one of those jobs is guard the flock don't eat the flock in the case of the sheepdog. Fend off large predators a wild dog would avoid, don't eat the low hanging fruit (the flock) but still hunt wild game to feed himself, all while the shepherd is gone for weeks and months at a time so all that responsibility is on the sheepdog. Sheepdogs are incredible animals. This is my first one and I was amazed by the instincts that run contrary to their wild ancestors. That behavior is now instinctive due to hundreds of generations of selective breeding. Hundreds of generations isn't much time for random mutation to produce novelty so I think the most likely explanation is the traits were already there, made recessive by millions of years (more or less) of necessity, but made dominant again in a comparatively small number of generations of different necessity. Both the dogs and the cat enjoy eating a surprisingly large range of fruits, vegetables (grains, legumes, tubers) and could easily survive without meat in their diets just as humans can easily survive as herbivores. Lions, while they might not have a digestive tract (but maybe they have the potential in their DNA!) such that they can literally eat straw as an oxen, still make me wonder how many generations of selective breeding it would take to breed the carnivore out of them and turn them into natural herbivores if hunger was never a factor and they were raised in intimate contact with their natural prey. Sort of like how easy it was to breed the natural instincts out of wild dogs (wolves or whatever) to make livestock guard dogs. Such an experiment with a lion, if it resulted in a herbivore, might be construed as supportive evidence that lions started out as non-predatory herbivores, a state of nature easily restored in the right environment because the traits are recessive but still in them, and something changed long ago to make them into carnivorous predators. Not that I'm reaching for evidence of a Garden of Eden or anything like it, but evidence is evidence and it must be followed wherever it leads. Being an agnostic isn't all that bad. We get to follow the evidence wherever it leads and leave the door open to any reasonable possibility. The downside is that few possibilities have the door slammed completely shut by the evidence so we kind of wander around in a constant state of wonderment. I guess after a while you learn to live knowing that you don't really know much with absolute certainty - the only thing you're sure of is that you don't hold many absolute truths. DaveScot
Post (76) Patrick says: Tolbert, Dembski actually wrote on this topic with this essay: http://www.designinference.com.....eodicy.pdf Well....OK...it was good. Very interesting, but when it comes to the anticipation of "evil" by a Creator or the traditional concept of the God of the Bible, this is now turning into guesswork. There seemed to be three major possibilities here and none of them seemed adequate IMO. The first problem is that compared to our general conception of the God of the Bible (and I DO understand that so far with modern science we can take the literal assumptions away from Genesis in some cases) makes him very weak and uncreative as a Designer. No human engineer would make the human eye as vulnerable to damage as it is, for example, and of course a tidy engineer would not have wired it backwards using hit or miss issues vast eons of time either. Second, I'm not convinced that all pain is evil. That's our word for destruction of living things for sheer convenience. I agree CS Lewis that not all "evil" can be attributed to human failings. If that's what such things as predation can even be called. Is it? "unpleasant things happening to animals" has traditionally been seen as part and parcel of the Fall, and Paul tells us that due to human sin all of creation is upset. But is this the same as the result of human sin, and evil per se? Are lions evil? Hmmm. But perhaps there is a different meaning here? S Wakefield Tolbert
Here's a nice one. Head on collision of a large galaxy by one of two possible smaller interlopers. The collision created a ring-like shock wave, like a pebble plopped into a pond, that sent material flying out from the point of impact at 200,000 mph. The shockwave is 150,000 light years across. How did that happen in 6000 years or less? http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/galaxies/Cartwheel.html DaveScot
Paul Giem: You might want to return to that thread to see my answer. I might be wrong, but I don’t think it is quite as cut and dried as you apparently implied. I posted a reply to your answer but, unfortunately, I noticed that most of my comments are being censored by someone (Dave Scot, most likely) with administration privilege of the Uncommon Descent blog. Somebody is letting me know in no uncertain terms that I am no longer welcome to post here. It's been fun. Gentle warning not to goad me. You know what you wrote. I'll take you back off the moderation list now. You're too well informed about the issues surrounding ID (scientific, political, religious) to let go so easily. -ds Mapou
YEC Let's grant for the sake of argument that tree rings might not be reliable enough in and of themselves. It's the weight of it all combined as I clearly stated. You still have to show that all these processes and observations from disparate sources are together so unreliable as to beggar belief. You have a number of processes and observations to go. I'm all ears. May I suggest you start by showing how astronomical observations of objects in motion that clearly disrupted each other in passing, the disruption is perfectly explained by precise laws of physics, and are now separated such a distance and moving at such a velocity that only the passage of millions of years can explain that separation. I think you'll have to discount the laws of physics there but I'm open to anything you want to propose. Astrophysics is a tough nut to crack. It explains observations with exquisite precision. I'll see if I can find some specific examples for you. Some of the Hubble photographs of galaxies that had made close encounters in the distant past are breathtaking in beauty and explained to many decimal points of precision by the laws of physics. DaveScot
RE # 39 “Trees produce annual rings of varying thickness. One can begin by taking the pattern in the oldest rings in living trees and unmistakably match the pattern with the youngest rings in petrified trees. You can go back farther than 6000 years by that alone.” Dave, it is interesting that you chose tree-ring chronologies as your first evidence for an old earth. Back when I was first becoming convinced that YEC was true, tree-rings were one of the remaining glaring difficulties for YEC in my mind. So I started studying the matter. I found that as with most bold simplistic claims made by evolutionists, the simplistic claim is not nearly as well supported by the evidence as you would be led to believe, and it ignores many inconvenient facts that point to something contradictory. Tree-ring matching is not an exact science by any measure. In the end you will find that a “match” is all in the eye of the beholder. In other words when a dendrochronologist has convinced himself that he is found a match, then he simply declares it is match. While measurements and statistics can be part of the consideration process, in the end it comes down to dendrochronologist’s own subjective judgement. Pilcher wrote a textbook on dendrochronology, in it he quotes Douglas -- the father of dendrochronology -- as saying, "There is no mechanical process, no rule of thumb, no formula, no correlation coefficient, to take the place of this personal comparison between different ring records; the operator does not dare to seek relief from his responsibility.” Pilcher then goes on to say, “The situation has not changed. There are many aids to cross-dating available, but the ultimate test remains the personal judgment of the dendrochronologist." When you consider that in Bristlecone pines (the most well-known chronologies) it is not uncommon for 5% of the rings to be “missing”. It is the thin rings of one tree that one usually uses to match with the thin rings of another tree, and it is the thin rings that are most liable to be missing. So you get a lot of wiggle room in your “match”. I could go on and on about the pitfalls of matching, but what about the “fact” that the “oldest living tree” was almost 5,000 years old? That puts it pre-flood, and I don’t find any arguments that it may have survived the flood convincing. This paper gives many of the reasons to believe that these rings probably aren’t annual rings – these Bristlecones are probably growing more than one ring per year. http://www.creationontheweb.com/images/pdfs/tj/j20_3/j20_3_95-103.pdf It has been demonstrated that many species of the same genus as Bristlecones (as well as species from vastly different genera - including angiosperms)) grow more than one ring per year in the same types of environments that these Bristlecones grow in, and it has been demonstrated that Bristlecones themselves can grow more than one ring per year. I have to go now … bottom line, tree-rings appear to be no problem for YEC. If you have questions feel free to ask. YEC
Hey, if we in the West can get rid of a Communist super power. I'm sure we can get rid of the Darwinist junta our societal institutions. PannenbergOmega
Thanks Jerry for that info. "Comment 61 by Jason Rennie" Thank you for pointing out that William Paley was never refuted by Charles Darwin or his minions. Rather there was a paradigm shift in the culture. PannenbergOmega
Jason R. (77) How much does an antelope suffer when taken by a lion ? At all ? A lot ? What is it like to be a bat ? Well, I don't know. How could I? How could any human? WE CAN MAKE some guesses based on the screaming and bleating and the fact that while there are exceptions, we usually find this stuff disturbing. If for no other reason than an evolutionary warning signal to leave the vicinity because predators are at work. This is the evolutionary explanation for being grossed out. If you see the insides of an animal you need to split. Predation is at work and best to split. Now some have taken the tack of actually using children's stories to demonstrate that this is not evil but merely UNPLEASANT. And its true there's a difference. Not all unpleasantries are wicked in and of themselves. Aslan is a good lion. He is not safe. Neither is the Leviathan in Job (probably a Nile crocodile). But contrary to the pollyannish stuff seen on some presentations, death is not always quiet or merciful. It is myth that animals usually dispatch their prey better and more humanly than....humans.... From the above article as evidence about what "animals" think it seems there are some refutations in the works that animals run on autopilot and don't think things through. The dark cloud in this silver lining that tends to refute the older Darwinian notion that the mind is an illusion caused by the cascade of neural synapses and pre-programmed responses is that now animals are known to percieve more than we might like to think. Of course this could still be good news for everyone. Maybe your little Fido and Muffin the cat actually DO understand you after a while? Paul Giem: Aye. And that would solve the issue. Yes, there can be tension between traditional Christianity and ID, and YES, this COULD refute the notion of ID being Creationism dressed in a tux for a night on the town. S Wakefield Tolbert
Mapou, (53) You say, "As I pointed out in a parallel thread, in an article I addressed to YEC Dr. Giem, how can you have a literal day having a literal morning and a literal evening three days before the sun was created?" You might want to return to that thread to see my answer. I might be wrong, but I don't think it is quite as cut and dried as you apparently implied. S. Wakefield Tolbert, (74) Your problem is one of the reasons why Darwin favored a process that did not require God for the apparent long ages of progressively more complex animals. However, its apparent implications can be ignored or resisted as long as the alternatives to OEC are unacceptable. Paul Giem
I guess what Dembski's paper is saying is that our minds and our actions influence the universe. When we rebelled against God, that changed our universe. Not only that but it changed the past too. This reminds me of an episode of Star Trek TNG where Q was messing around with different timelines. Anyway, I guess Dembski's ideas on the fall go along with his view that the Universe is more like a 'great thought' than a 'great machine'. PannenbergOmega
Jason Rennie, could you elaborate on your own theological views? I understand you are not a Theistic Evolutionist. PannenbergOmega
Patrick, what exactly is being said in Christian Theodicy? That actions (the fall) changed the universe (through quantum entanglement) from good to one where natural and personal evil reign? PannenbergOmega
"At some point ID will have to face up to what kind of Intelligence made the whole ball of wax and why certain gruesome methods were employed rather than just fiat, as described in all ancient texts including Genesis" I think the big problem you have with this is essentially a lack of facts in evidence. There are assumptions underlying the thinking that can't simply be assumed but must be demonstrated about the alleged "cruelty". How much does an antelope suffer when taken by a lion ? At all ? A lot ? What is it like to be a bat ? Jason Rennie
Tolbert, Dembski actually wrote on this topic with this essay: http://www.designinference.com/documents/2006.05.christian_theodicy.pdf Patrick
S Wakefield Tolbert:
I wonder if theologians or for that matter IDers have thought through the horrid implications of a deity that would use the methodology of death and terror and stings and poison and territorial bluff to make new species–mammals from reptiles, humans then, from common simian warriors on the savannahs of Africa, and man eating crocs out of the old archasaurs.
ID is not that great of fit with Christianity, is it? No better case can be made to challenge the propoganda that ID is "creationism in a cheap tuxedo". I concur with you that there is significant tension between Christian theology and ID. bFast
Bevets, from your link I came across a Betrand Russell quote I had heard of before but forgot the exact wording. Now I see it is just as I remembered: It appears that during those ages when animals were torturing each other with ferocious horns and agonizing stings, Omnipotence was quietly waiting for the ultimate emergence of man, with his still more widely diffused cruelty. Why the Creator should have preferred to reach his goal by a process, instead of going straight to it, these modem theologians do not tell us. Religion and Science (1961) p. 73 Contrast with Ruse from above, as quoted in part: Even though I am not a Christian, I nevertheless think that one can be a Christian with integrity and that Darwinism does not in itself preclude Christianity. I wonder if Ruse has thought this through. Come to think of it, I wonder if theologians or for that matter IDers have thought through the horrid implications of a deity that would use the methodology of death and terror and stings and poison and territorial bluff to make new species--mammals from reptiles, humans then, from common simian warriors on the savannahs of Africa, and man eating crocs out of the old archasaurs. Ruse sounds like he's trying to comfort people and have the best of both tasty cakes. He can't. At some point ID will have to face up to what kind of Intelligence made the whole ball of wax and why certain gruesome methods were employed rather than just fiat, as described in all ancient texts including Genesis. This is slightly different from the Classical Problem of Pain. The two could be intermixed, but for most human beings by pain we mean life's many trials and trevails and illness, death, disease, and other accompanying troubles all the way down to a thin bank account and bad hair days. We know there is no perfection and are not guaranteed such in some fallen state. But Russell's observation is a little different. It has less to do with "pain" for humans than the methods a Designer would employ in LEADING UP to mankind's creation from lower creatures. S Wakefield Tolbert
Good grief! I mean, "The Church of which He and I are members." (Yikes!) StephenB
For anyone who thinks that I have been too hard on the TE's, I offer a paradigm example. If you want to know what is really going on with the Theistic Evolutionists, just move to the next thread by DHL entitled, “Florida’s Darwinian standards evolve to a ‘scientific theory.’” Notice that section in the report in which Dr. Joseph Travis, from Florida State University weighs in on the controversy. Consider the following facts about him obtained from this article and other sources: ---- He is clearly in the camp of Theistic Evolutionists ---- He has been given the privilege of making policy decisions for the state (By playing it both ways, (God and Darwin) he has influence with atheists and Christians.) ---- He is a fierce anti-ID opponent. ---- He plays the religion card (one of several “Roman Catholics” who spoke) [“What! Me, an ideologue? Why, I’ll have you know that I am a Catholic” (Or Christian, or religious person, or whatever banner they can raise to appear oh, so reasonable.) ---- He insists that Darwinism and Catholicism are compatible (The Church of which he AND ME are members teaches otherwise) ---- He wants to force Darwinism down our throats. ---- He uses the generic term “evolution” and avoids the word Darwinism ---- He labels ID as “creationism” ---- He wants to upgrade the term “theory of evolution” to “the scientific fact” of evolution and make it mandatory This is the profile that I have been telling you about and Travis embodies it very well. This is not the exception, this is the rule. Richard Dawkins cannot create anywhere near the havoc or confusion as a man such as this. StephenB
Mapou, As YEC (in its American flavor) is highly theological, do not be surprised if there is a theological answer to your question: G-d himself, we are told, is light. The Shekinah (physical manifestation of G-d's Spirit) is also described as a light source in Torah: a pillar of fire. So your problem disappears as there was a light source hovering over the face of the waters. But this is what I simultaneously don't like about YEC and respect at the same time. On one hand, "scientific" arguments along theological lines are almost impossible to refute and therefore to me are not really evidence based - they're more faith based. But having the faith to take G-d at his word, even when you think you are smarter than his Word, is something I find respectable in the highest degree. It takes the greatest humility. So this is why I like ID - it keeps the evidence and arguments on an evidential basis without resorting to faith based arguments. As far as YECs can contribute to this evidentiary base, they are more then welcomed in the big tent. Their theological arguments and interpretations may not be agreed upon by the others in the big tent, but that holds for any other group within the big tent. If everyone agreed on everything it would be more of a cult than a science exploration. Atom
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