Terry Scambray, friendly to design in nature, reviewed Paul Johnson’s Darwin: Portrait of a Genius , and received some interesting correspondence:
From Laszlo Bencze
As Terry Scambray makes clear in his review of Paul Johnson’s Darwin: Portrait of a Genius (May), Charles Darwin was hardly the scientific giant of present-day adulation. In fact, flattery of Darwin has reached its apogee now that he is often called the greatest scientist of all time, the man who had the “best idea” in the history of mankind.
Yet the truth, as Scambray points out, is that Darwin was very much a man of his time — and a dull plodder at that. He spent eight years writing a four-volume study of barnacles. Yet, oddly enough, barnacles are never mentioned in The Origin of Species. Why? Was it impossible to discern evolutionary evidence in these complex and obscure creatures he knew so well? Instead, he devoted almost every bit of his magnum opus to tedious examples of artificial selection in domestic animals. He brushed away the glaring advantage of artificial over natural selection with rhetoric along the lines of “I see no reason why” natural selection might not have fashioned the eye or any other organ or living thing. For such schoolboy ineptitude he was roundly criticized by his contemporaries, all of whom are now consigned to history’s dustbin, regardless of their skills and biological competency.
All true, but if the money shot is to claim that the mind is not real (so rationally perceived facts do not matter, but political power does), which is the big push today, then Darwin is the great liberator.
Then one of Darwin’s defenders pipes up:
Flogging Darwin with all the old accusations of plagiarism, intellectual dishonesty, blah, blah, blah, is an unproductive and tiresome exercise. By most contemporary accounts, Thomas Jefferson was not a terribly likeable man and was probably a profound hypocrite on racial matters, but that should not detract from his brilliance and the importance of his legacy. The interesting question is indeed a matter of legacies. As one of the pillars of modernism, Darwin’s concept of evolution by natural selection did indeed change the world — and that is what Terry Scambray is truly exercised about. …
It changed the world immeasurably for the worse, as anyone affected by eugenics or any kind of race theory has cause to know. And it stalks again in new glitzy Darwinian race theories reborn.
Laszlo Bencze’s and Arthur M. Shapiro’s letters are good examples of the way the Darwin debate proceeds — the first offers an informed critique of evolutionary theory; the second changes the subject, mentioning assorted extraneous matters while assuming that evolution is true.
Mr. Bencze, for his part, shows that Darwin, contrary to the uncritical devotion he enjoys, was merely a product of his time; in other words, paraphrasing Voltaire, “If Darwin didn’t exist, it would have been necessary for the 19th-century intelligentsia to have invented him” — so desperate were they for a completely materialistic explanation for life. Not to mention, as an inseparable part of this desire, the political necessity for progressives to discredit the ancien régime; in this case, the Tories and their hoary traditions thought to be synonymous with a discredited Christianity.
Intellectual historians, even the great Paul Johnson, appear to understand that Darwin was merely one among many who have tried to show how the world made itself. But for some reason, these historians can’t muster the will necessary to point out his abject failure to do so.
Either one wishes to be seen of men or to be seen in the eye of reality. Only the latter count.
See also: Reviewer [Terry Scambray]: Non-materialist atheist philosopher’s book“flawed but valuable”
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37 Replies to “Someone tries telling the truth: Darwin wasn’t that great but he met an elite need”
As Darwin of his day was criticized as being scientifically inept,,
Here is the letter from Adam Sedgwick to Charles Darwin:
Since Darwin’s book ‘Origin of Species’, besides being bad science, is also rife with bad theology, it is not surprising that the liberal ‘unscientific’ clergy of Darwin’s day were very eager to jump on the Darwinian bandwagon from the beginning whilst the conservative ‘scientific’ clergy were not:
,, Moreover, to this day Darwin’s defenders are to be regarded as scientifically inept,,,
Darwinism is a Pseudo-Science – Part II
What the vast majority of Darwinists fail to realize (or ever honestly admit to) is that Darwinian evolution is not even a ‘real’ physical science in any proper sense but that Darwinian evolution is more realistically thought of as a pseudo-science. Even Jerry Coyne himself, the self-appointed Grand Inquisitor of Darwinian evolution, admits that Darwinian evolution lacks the rigor of a proper physical science:
The main reason why Darwinian evolution is more properly thought of as a pseudo-science instead of a proper science is because Darwinian evolution has no rigid mathematical basis, like other overarching physical theories of science do. A rigid mathematical basis in order to potentially falsify it (in fact math, in so far as math can be applied to Darwinian claims, constantly shows us that Darwinian evolution is astronomically unlikely),,
Another primary reason why Darwinian evolution is more realistically thought of as a pseudo-science rather than a proper physical science is that Darwinian evolution does not have a demonstrated empirical basis to support its claims (in fact empirical evidence also consistently shows us that Darwinian evolution is astronomically unlikely),,
Another reason why Darwinian evolution is more realistically thought of as a pseudo-science rather than a proper physical science is that the two foundational pillars of Darwinian evolution, Random Mutation/Variation and Natural Selection, are both now shown to be severely compromised as to having the causal adequacy that Darwinists have ascribed to them.
,,, in regards to ‘random’ mutations, although Darwinian evolution appeals to ‘unguided’ random mutations/variations to DNA as the main creative source for all evolutionary novelty, there are now known to be extensive layers of error correction in the cell to protect against any unguided “random” changes happening to DNA in the first place:
Moreover, for the vast majority of times that changes do happen to DNA, they are now known to be ‘directed changes’ by sophisticated molecular machines, not unguided random changes from a cosmic ray, chemical imbalance, or some such entropy driven event as that:
What should be needless to say, having ‘cell-mediated processes’ direct changes to DNA is in direct contradiction to the ‘undirected randomness’ which is held to be foundational to neo-Darwinian thought.
Moreover, Natural Selection, that other great pillar upon which Darwinian evolution rests, has also been undermined as having the causal adequacy that neo-Darwinists have attributed to it. First off, to the extent that Natural Selection does do anything, Natural Selection is found to be a eliminative force not a generative force:
As well, Natural Selection is grossly inadequate to do the work required of it because of what is termed ‘the princess and the pea’ paradox. The devastating ‘princess and the pea’ paradox is clearly elucidated by Dr. John Sanford, at the 8:14 minute mark, of this following video,,,
Dr. Sanford points out, in the preceding video, that Natural Selection acts at the coarse level of the entire organism (phenotype) and yet the vast majority of mutations have effects that are only ‘slightly detrimental’, and have no noticeable effect on phenotypes, and are thus far below the power of Natural Selection to remove from genomes before they spread throughout the population.
Here are a few more notes on this insurmountable ‘princess and the pea’ problem for natural selection:
Moreover, as if that were not devastating enough as to undermining any credibility Natural Selection might have had as to having the causal adequacy to explain the highly integrated levels of overlapping functional information found in organisms, dimensionally speaking, Natural Selection is not even be on the right playing field in the first place:
Here is what a Darwinist termed a ‘horrendously complex’ metabolic pathway (which operates as if it were ’4-Dimensional):
And remember, Darwinian evolution has yet to explain even a single gene/protein of those ‘horrendously complex’ metabolic pathways.
The reason why ‘higher dimensional’ 4-Dimensional structure, such as a ‘horrendously complex metabolic pathway, would be, for all intents and purposes, completely invisible to a 3-Dimensional process, such as Natural Selection, is best illustrated by ‘flatland’:
I personally hold that the reason why internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional instead of three dimensional is because of exactly what Darwinian evolution has consistently failed to explain the origination of. i.e. functional information. ‘Higher dimensional’ information, which is bursting at the seams in life, simply cannot be reduced to any 3-dimensional energy-matter basis:
Dr. MacIntosh’s prediction for information, transcendent of matter and energy, to be constraining life to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium has been born out empirically. It is now found that Quantum entanglement/information ‘holds’ DNA (and proteins) together
Verse and Music:
Darwin used to be my hero, but I’ve evolved since then.
I’ve been wondering — What if America’s founders had been Darwinists rather than Christians? How would they have framed the foundational logic of the American revolution?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
From a Darwinian perspective, how could this claim have been framed? How would have King George III have replied, from a Darwinian perspective? Or was his actual response a more Darwinian than Christian move? A ‘might makes right’ sort of thing.
Perhaps: “Evolution progresses by the ascendance of the superior over the inferior. The aristocracy is the naturally selected expression of that rule, and to interfere with it would be to interfere with the creative powers of nature.”
This would seem like a relevant question when talking about the worth of the contributions of Charles Darwin.
Bornagain:Thanks for your well said and reasoned, information-rich posts.
Thanks leodp, I don’t know how well said it was, but I’m glad that, in spite of me and my mistakes in grammar and punctuation, you found it useful.
Of related interest to lack of scientific rigor in neo-Darwinism:
Video: Stephen Meyer on How Charles Marshall, in Defending Darwinism, Was Forced to Violate a Key Scientific Tenet
Responding to Critics: Marshall, Part 2
of related interest, if a sixth grader can spot your philosophical bias, but you can’t, perhaps its time for you to examine your philosophical assumptions?
Junk DNA: Darwinists Say They Are “Largely Free from Assumptions or Hypotheses” – Jonathan Wells – July 30, 2014
According to a recent Science Daily news item, Oxford University researchers say that only 8.2% of our DNA is likely to be functional. The rest is “junk.”
The 8.2% figure contradicts the conclusions of the ENCODE Project (for “Encyclopedia of DNA Elements”), which was established after the Human Genome Project to make sense of our newly sequenced DNA. In September 2012, the results from over a thousand experiments — involving dozens of laboratories and hundreds of scientists on three continents, published almost simultaneously in dozens of articles in five different journals — provided evidence that 80% or more of our DNA is functional.
The results were consistent with The Myth of Junk DNA, which I published in 2011. But the ENCODE research had been going on for about five years. Why were the articles published almost simultaneously? Perhaps because the authors wanted to present a united front against the reaction they anticipated from “junk DNA” advocates. And what a reaction they got! Darwinists Larry Moran, Nick Matzke, and P.Z. Myers (among others) lit up the blogosphere with their denunciations.
Near the heart of the controversy is the definition of “function.” The ENCODE researchers defined function biochemically: A DNA segment is functional if it “participates in at least one biochemical RNA- and/or chromatin-associated event in at least one cell type.” The Darwinists define function in terms of evolutionary theory: A DNA segment is functional if it is subject to natural selection.
The Oxford researchers took the evolutionary approach. To determine what percentage of human DNA is subject to selection, they compared published sequences from humans, mice, rats, cattle, dogs, horses, guinea pigs, rabbits, bushbabies, pandas and rhinos. One of the researchers, Gerton Lunter, explained: “Throughout the evolution of these species from their common ancestors, mutations arise in the DNA and natural selection counteracts these changes to keep useful DNA sequences intact.” The researchers looked for places in the DNA where insertions and deletions were far apart, reasoning that the intervening DNA sequence was constrained by purifying selection because it was biologically functional. They found that about 8.2% of our DNA is constrained in this way, and thus likely to be functional (though less than 2% of our DNA is protein-coding). They concluded that DNA that differed substantially among the species they studied — DNA that was non-conserved — had not been subject to purifying selection and was thus non-functional.
But while sequence conservation may imply function, non-conservation does not imply non-function — as biologists have long recognized. Indeed, to whatever extent DNA differences play a role in distinguishing different species, non-conserved sequences must be functional.
Furthermore, biologists now know that as much as 30% of the protein-coding DNA in every organism consists of “orphan genes” that bear little or no similarity to DNA sequences in other organisms. While the functions of most orphan proteins are not yet known, few people would be so foolhardy as to suggest that they are non-functional. Yet in a search for evolutionary constraint such as the Oxford researchers used, these protein-coding regions would be judged non-functional.
Why do Darwinists find evolutionary speculation more reliable than biochemical experimentation? A clue might be found in a presentation given by Dan Graur at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution in Chicago. As Graur — a vocal, even nasty, opponent of ENCODE — reasoned in his presentation:
“If the human genome is indeed devoid of junk DNA as implied by the ENCODE project, then a long, undirected evolutionary process cannot explain the human genome. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, then all DNA, or as much as possible, is expected to exhibit function. If ENCODE is right, then Evolution is wrong.”
So while the definition of “function” is close to the heart of the controversy, adherence to Darwinian evolution is even closer. And it seems that adherence to Darwinism has a way of blinding people to the assumptions they make. Perhaps this is why Gerton Lunter, quoted above about the role of evolutionary theory in the Oxford study, told Science Daily that “our approach is largely free from assumptions or hypotheses.”
Looked at another way: Natural Selection is so efficient that it leaves only a purified DNA code, with little or no junk (forget about what we said before). Evolutionary theory is so flexible that it cannot be falsified… or so brilliant that it predicts any possible finding. “We have a consensus, and it must not be disturbed” (Dr Atheist).
FWIW, 7 year old corn: http://vimeo.com/user3904018/dratheist
Reminds me of my comments on UD some time ago regarding Darwin’s magnum opus:
and, on another occasion:
Most of his ardent fans probably haven’t waded thorough it themselves. After all, evolution is fact. Why study it’s founding opus?
When are you guys going to finally admit that ENCODE’s findings about junk DNA were wrong? Even they have back tracked and admitted that they were too hasty in their assestment. Wells and the DI lost this battle. Stop claiming it as a victory.
“It changed the world immeasurably for the worse, as anyone affected by eugenics or any kind of race theory has cause to know.”
Yes, the world was such a racially tolerant place before Darwin. Almost every scientific discovery has been misused. Why would you expect natural selection to be any different?
Leopd: “I’ve been wondering — What if America’s founders had been Darwinists rather than Christians? How would they have framed the foundational logic of the American revolution?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.””
Is this the same constitution that stated that a black man was worth less that a white man? That approved of slavery?
JLAfan2001, as the article from Wells, at 10 which I listed, clearly shows, Darwinists flip empirical priority around in science and allow their philosophical bias dictate how they will interpret the evidence instead of letting the evidence potentially falsify their philosophical bias. ,,, The 8.2% study is laughable. They readily admit that functionality does not determine if a sequence is actually functional in their scheme of things, only ‘conservation of sequence’ determines what is functional in their scheme!:
So basically, only if Darwinian evolution is assumed as true from the outset will Darwinists accept that a given sequence of ‘junk’ DNA may be functional! This is called a circular argument, or ‘assuming your conclusion’ in your premise, and is a horrible, even a fraudulent, way to practice science!
Moreover, two other studies recently came out, at about the same time as this severely biased 8.2% study, studies that have drastically different conclusions on the supposed junk DNA myth of Darwinists:
Moreover, despite what atheistic Darwinists would prefer to believe beforehand, it is simply insane to presuppose that the DNA will be mostly junk. The multiple levels of functionality discerned, thus far, in and around DNA is simply far, far, beyond anything man has yet encountered. up to and especially including far surpassing any machine man has yet designed:
Acartia_bogart: “Is this the same constitution that stated that a black man was worth less that a white man? That approved of slavery?”
My quote was from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. However, the Constitution grew from the principles stated there. In the concessions made to the southern states to get their united help in fighting off the most powerful army in the world, they also set themselves on a collision course with their own stated premises (and several knew it and spoke of it). Later 300,000 white soldiers gave their lives to rid the country of this contradiction; and the objective moral wrong of slavery. You might read-up on William Wilberforce, who from an explicitly Christian Theistic view, fought and won the battle to end slave trade in the British Empire: a first in human history. Till then slavery had been the norm throughout human history, and not just in the British Empire.
From a Darwinian perspective, tell me how you’d argue against slavery? Or, in favor of the equality of all races.
After that, please tell me how you’d argue for the universally endowed and binding human rights that transcend the authority of any government or king.
Leopd: “From a Darwinian perspective, tell me how you’d argue against slavery? Or, in favor of the equality of all races.”
From a societal perspective. Humans, for whatever reason, evolved to be social animals. We also evolved a brain that allows us to reason. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that slavery is not a winning strategy in the long run. In fact, I challenge you to point me to any verse in the bible, or other religious texts, that state that slavery is wrong. So please don’t tell me that, without religion, we would still have slavery.
LoL! Obviously not.
Acartia_bogart: “From a societal perspective. Humans, for whatever reason, evolved to be social animals. We also evolved a brain that allows us to reason. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that slavery is not a winning strategy in the long run.”
For the slave owner it’s a winning strategy, and why should he care about the long-run if it that means after the end of his own existence? “For whatever reason…” is not a compelling or binding moral basis to say slavery is wrong. (Or to say anything is morally wrong against a transcendent standard). Whether or not something is, “Mistaken” it is not the same thing as morally wrong. To say it is “instinctual” or “counter-instinctual” also fails because humans, above all, are the least bound to instinct, and most capable of repressing and willfully acting contrary to it.
As products of chance, selected for the ability to reproduce in greater numbers in an impersonal, mechanistic universe I could better argue as Nietzsche that Christianity, with it’s notions of compassion, forgiveness, love and mercy, only impedes evolutionary progress. Helping the needy, infirm or weaker. Evolution is furthered by the selective elimination of the weaker. Better, a ‘Will to Power’.
Acartia_bogart: “I challenge you to point me to any verse in the bible, or other religious texts, that state that slavery is wrong. So please don’t tell me that, without religion, we would still have slavery.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but receive eternal life” John 3:16
The “world” is all people regardless of skin, culture or ethnicity. Our Creator (who needs nothing) values us all enough to take on a human body and suffer abuse and painful death at our hands in order to redeem us back to himself.
Therefore, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
And, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;” Romans 10:12
In this equality there is no room for one person dominating another. There is no room for one enslaving another. In fact we’re told to serve one another in humility and love.
“let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” Revelation 22:17
The only distinction between humans now is between those willing to drink the life freely offered, and those who are not.
In a Darwinian scheme however, progress is achieved by one ‘race’ ascending over another. Darwin’s claims went down well with the aristocrats, racists and slave owners of his time. Darwin himself considered black Africans inferior and a step down on the evolutionary ladder. The ‘Preservation of Favored Races’ after all…
As a Christian I find the whole notion of superior and inferior races both false and repugnant. There is one race: human. There is one God and Creator of all. And he makes no class distinctions among humans. That’s where Jefferson and Adams and the others got the notion that, “All men are created equal…” in both worth and rights.
leodp @ 22
Well stated. Direct quotes from the scriptures that completely answer the posed questions. Thank you.
The same One who humbly washed the feet of His disciples, whom He had created, asked us (insignificant mortal sinners) to imitate Him and do the same to others. If He who created everything, lowered Himself to that level, who are we to make distinctions between races or ethnicities?
C. S. Lewis said that there are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’
But not all can see that so clearly. Mysteriously you leodp can see it, but praise God for revealing it to you. Without His grace, you could not have written what you wrote.
Such knowledge does not come from any kind of worldly education or intelligence. True wisdom only comes from God. Rejoice and sing hallelujah!
This does not suggest that slavery is bad. It just says that everyone who believes in him will have life after death.
Again, this did not say that slavery is bad. It just says that nationality and station in life are immaterial if you believe.
But then ther is this:
Bear in mind that by the time the Bible began to be written, humans had already established social structures and economic systems. These didn’t always harmonize with godly principles or values. While some practices were condemned, others (like slavery) were tolerated by God.
Regarding the social structure of the ancient nation of Israel, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states: “It was meant to function as a brotherhood in which, ideally, there were no poor [and there was] no exploitation of widows, waifs, or orphans.” Hence, more than simply allowing an already established social and economic structure, God’s Law regulated slavery so that, if practiced, slaves would be treated in a humane and loving manner. This can be seen from the scriptures you posted, particularly Colossians 4:1.
Since you cited scriptures, I’ll do the same. Consider the following regulations in the Mosaic Law, provided to the Israelites:
– If an Israelite found himself deeply in debt, he had the option to sell himself as a slave (Leviticus 25:47-52).
– Hebrew slaves could be held for a maximum of 6 years. In the 7th year, they were set free. Nationwide, every 50 years, all slaves were set free (Leviticus 25:40,41).
– A person found guilty of stealing could be sold as a slave to pay off his debt (Exodus 22:3). When his debt was fully paid, he was set free.
– Cruel and oppressive treatment of slaves was not allowed. A slave killed by his master was to be avenged, and if he was severely maimed (losing an eye, for example), he was set free (Exodus 21:26, 27).
– Slaves were set free and given donations to help aid them start their new lives (Deuteronomy 15:13,14)
It works for army ants. Didn’t they evolve?
Don’t humans own slaves from other species? Don’t you own one of these slaves, a feline? How can you morally justify this?
The laws governing Israel’s life should be interpreted in light of their cultural and social setting. They restrained exploitation and oppression in recognition of man’s “hardness of heart”
While indentured slavery was accepted in the Old Testament, the clear implications of the Christian gospel led to its removal.
The vast majority of such servants were slaves and were treated as property.
To a large extent the economy of the ancient world depended on slavery.
Like other New Testament writers, Peter does not condemn slavery, and slaves are commanded to obey their masters.
Nevertheless, the New Testament requires that slaves be treated with respect, and masters are not to mistreat their slaves (Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1).
Furthermore, the spiritual equality of slave and free in the church community is strongly emphasized (Gal. 3:28; cf. 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 3:11), and slaves are encouraged to seek their freedom by lawful means (1 Cor. 7:21–24).
In the late 1700’s, when slavery came under attack, these teachings helped to undermine the institution of slavery.
Be subject . . . to every human institution. This introduces the theme of voluntary submission and obedience to those in authority developed in 1 Peter 2:13–3:6.
for the Lord’s sake. A person should submit to ordinances because this will commend Christ to others and keep reproach from His name. Submission to others also in itself is a service to Christ (Col. 3:23, 24).
the emperor as supreme. Chiefly the Roman emperor, at this time Nero (a.d. 54–68). The king is supreme, relative to governors and other rulers. Though Peter does not discuss the origin of kingly authority (cf. Rom. 13:1–7), Scripture teaches elsewhere that submission is required as long as it does not involve violation of the law of God (Matt. 22:21; Acts 4:19; 5:29).
[Reformation Study Bible by Ligonier Ministries]
I think I should give a spot of balance.
One of the things I notice with the snip and snipe tactics of village atheism [recently done 2.0 by so-called new atheism . . . ) is failure to address context and especially balance, while manifesting a rage driven sophomoric attitude that needs correcting.
Let me begin with the man who personally fused the heritage of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome, and as such became a pivotal — but often unacknowledged — founder of our civilisation.
Paul often wrote chained to a soldier doubtless one ordered to report signs of sedition, and the like. Including harbouring escapees or provoking uprisings. Death penalty issues, of course. You need to temper your accusations with a dose or two of reality. Never forget how the Spartacus uprising ended, with thousands of crosses lining the road to Rome. Nor should you forget who was on the throne c. 54 – 68 AD: Nero, with Burrus and Seneca pushed aside c 59 AD. he it is who falsely accused the Christians of burning Rome July 18, 64 AD, in order to try to divert suspicion from himself; on grounds that the Christians were viewed with suspicion and contempt. That cluster of circumstances overturned the implications of Seneca’s brother Gallio making a favourable decision that Christianity was a matter of uninteresting disputes among Jews, in Corinth c 51 AD, and Nero’s madness ushered in ~ 250 years of bloody persecutions — on the flimsiest of grounds. Context counts.
(And FYI, getting closer to my own context, the history of Jamaica includes that the Dissenter/Evangelical missionaries were put on trial for their lives after the 1831 uprising, as triggers. The slaves testified that they understood the implications of the Gospel teachings on spiritual liberation for social liberation and equality so no they were not provoked to rebel by the Missionaries, who actually tried to counsel patience and reform. Not too surprising as the two main mottoes of the antislavery society come from Philemon 15 – 17 and 2: Am I not a man/woman and a brother/sister? When released, the missionaries sent a representative to England who spoke the suppressed truth, and when in May 1832 the Governor’s report on burning of fifteen Dissenter Chapels reached [in the context of upheavals in Britain that put the Dissenters there in a pivotal position . . . ], the end was in sight as the British establishment was NOT about to go through the chaos of the conflicts associated with the Reformation era again. Delay tactics, as usual, were used in the face of the challenges led by Buxton, but on the night of July 31/Aug 1 1834, the slave population of Jamaica went to the Dissenter chapels to stand with those they knew had stood with them; precisely because of the teachings of the gospel. In Falmouth (Trelawny), Knibb — standing at the pulpit — counted down the seconds to midnight as “the monster” died. And though “gradualism” had put in an apprenticeship system, in four years its failure was evident and full free was passed.)
I have already alluded to the verses that were almost verbatim the mottoes of the Antislavery movement.
Let me now cite a pivotal text that is ever so often left off the table by those who would accuse:
In other words, Paul is not calling for a radical overthrow, he is willing to let dynamics play out in across time reformation, laying out the principles and in the meanwhile refusing to counsel folly. But, he makes no doubt whatsoever as to his stand on liberty. And by injecting Christ into the matter, he established that liberty in Christ takes priority, and that the principles of Christ directly point to amelioration. Where also the point that a Christian ought not to be a slave implied that slavery was to be abolished as if one can be come a Christian he so also ought to be free.
There is more, much more but this one should soak in, especially in light of Philemon, which is in effect a letter of instruction to manumit and charge the costs to the apostle; written with a chain to a Roman soldier and in the light of an escapee slave coming to Paul for refuge and int eh process becoming a convert — and likely, a later Bishop of Ephesus of the same name Onesimus. A powerful example.
Now, too, there is something implicit in attempts to distort the God of the OT into a Bronze Age moral monster, that should give pause.
This is usually used by village atheists 2.0 to attack Evangelical Christians, whom they despise and imagine to be inevitably ignoramuses and potentially violent fanatics.
The problem is, the OT texts are in fact substantially the same as the Hebrew Scriptures (though, for historical reasons differently organised).
So, in a nutshell, unless you are willing to look a Rabbi in the eye, one whose parents or grandparents had Auschwitz tattoos on their forearms, and accuse him of the same things you would tax Christians who take the OT seriously, you are doing the moral equivalent of antisemitism and blood libel.
A saner view is to understand that the OT scriptures were written for the benefit of in the first instance, escaped slaves from a major successful uprising, understood as Yahweh liberating from slavery, oppression and the stereotyping brand of aliens and fair game for any notion that took in the head of the king, including a genocide attempt. That is a key dynamic that pervades the whole and gives a very different picture to our understanding than many are wont to take up by snipping and sniping tactics.
Yes, there are some regulations of slavery there, which we all will find troubling, as we will find similar regulations in a situation so alien to our own today. But those must be understood in the trajectory of the history in the text, and — especially in dealing with Christians — in light of the culmination manifested in Jesus and preached across the nations by his apostles.
And that tendency is plain: there is a fundamental equality in men, women and children, across races, social classes and circumstances, which radically relativises distinctions, leading to the moral implications of the fundamental equality and quasi-infinite worth of the individual:
The transformational principle of reformation rooted in fundamental equality and worth manifested in the love of God to each of us that opens the door of redemption, is plain. Save, to those whose vision is warped by hostility.
Which points to the pivotal importance of the gospel, which in turn highlights the importance of understanding and responding appropriately to its authenticity, cf here on in context.
You sought to play at atmosphere poisoning and at the oh it’s all fundy religion in a cheap tuxedo tactics designed to denigrate the scientific substance of the design inference, but that opens the door to a counter-challenge on an even more important matter that we all need to address.
And BTW, that smear is a lie, please do not further propagate it. The inference to design on FSCO/I is a straight up matter of inductive reasoning. But then, we have been seeing assaults on LOGIC and first principles of right reason, coming consistently (but not solely) from the hyperskeptics.
Our civilisation is in deep trouble with basic rationality and responsiveness to evidence.
And BTW, today is August 1st, a hallowed anniversary. Please don’t taint it!
Exactly. Let’s note the rising popularity of internet-based social media that operate on short text messages, many times frivolous and lacking deep meaning. Thinking does not seem popular these days. Sad reality.
History shows sad examples of gross misinterpretation of the biblical precepts, or even ignorance of the message, by people claiming to be Christians. That is certainly misleading and thus damaging.
The Christian Gospel leaves no doubt about the fact that in Christ two persons of different ethnic backgrounds are closer related than they are to their respective ‘flesh’ relatives. Only in Christ two former enemies can embrace in true peace. There’s no lasting peaceful solution to the middle east conflict, or to any conflict, except through Christ. There’s no real peace except the one offered to us by the Prince of Peace, the True Light that gives True Life.
kairosfocus @ 28
Thank you for giving such a well stated ‘spot of balance’ and for reminding all about this anniversary.
Ann anniversary of civilisational importance. Let us all reflect.
This weekend too marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the horror of mud and blood that shaped the past 100 years. Another anniversary we should mark. With tears.
You have obviously never had a cat if you think that we “own” them.
Hmmm. A perfect example of self-justification by pet owners, “pet” coming from the act of coerced physical stroking of an animal.
No, I’ve never “had” a cat, although I’ve participated in many interspecies friendships at a level of mutual equality and respect.
Did this cat choose the name “bogart” or did you impose a name of your own choosing? Have you ever had one of your cats “put down”?
You see, you’re completely insensitive to this civil rights issue—just as the slaveholders of the past considered enslaved people as “property” to do with as they pleased.
Querius: “Did this cat choose the name “bogart” or did you impose a name of your own choosing? Have you ever had one of your cats “put down”?”
No and yes, respectively. I gave him his name, but he has never answered to it. I have had an earlier cat put down because he had cancer and was paralyzed from the shoulders down, after spending thousands of dollars trying to make him feel comfortable. And in both cases, they were outdoor cats, free to come and go as they desired. So I fail to see your analogy to slavery.
Exactly my point!
Would you put your mother down if she had cancer and was paralyzed just because you had to spend thousands of dollars?
– New World slaveholders considered their slaves as property, not people.
– Many people in history considered (and still consider) Jews to be sub-human. They’re called “offspring of apes and pigs” in many countries.
– Ever read about Ota Benga, a Congolese Pygmy who was displayed at the Bronx zoo?
– Both Native Americans and Australian Aborigines were hunted down and killed like game animals, because every Darwinian knew at that time that they were not evolved enough to be considered human.
– A fetus is simply excess tissue that can be surgically removed. One of my college professors advocated post-natal abortion rights up to the age of two. Would you agree?
– Animals can be owned, abused, experimented on, and put down at the whim of their owners.
I’m sure none of the perpetrators would see the analogy either. My point is without an authoritative source (which is NOT your own uncritical opinion), you have no grounds to judge any of these practices.