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The End of Secularism Hunter Baker, formerly a colleague of mine at Baylor and now associate provost at Houston Baptist University, has just published a book with Crossway titled THE END OF SECULARISM (go here for the Amazon.com listing). It provides a far-sweeping historical analysis of secularism within western culture. His critique of secularism is solid:

Secularism is not neutral, nor is it something that simply happened thanks to the growing maturity and rationality of human beings. It is an understandable reaction to the various tragedies of church-state alliances in Western history. It is not, however, necessarily more rational nor more harmonious than any number of alternatives. It cannot claim the authority of science. It cannot escape the need to look beyond materialism in order to discover values. Secularism, like realism, is more of a boast or a way to score rhetorical points than it is a concept that performs any actual work. [p. 193]

His alternative to secularism is a non-partisan pluralism, one that privileges civil discourse and sets aside ideology. Baker thinks that pluralism is the best we can do. I suspect we can do better, but even if Baker’s answer to secularism is not entirely satisfactory, his analysis of it is valuable and I would recommend the book simply for that. Also, on issues of interest at UD, Baker writes:

Avid advocates of evolution, particularly popularizers such as Richard Dawkins who carry a brief for atheism, practice their own brand of partisanship. They value evolution as an instrument for blunting the influence of religionists who hope to employ their faith in regulating public life. Evolution creates enough doubt about religious authority to justify liberalization of social mores. And there is little question that the advent of Darwinism has significantly improved the standing and number of atheists in society. Thus, evolution has its champions because it is the dominant explanation of human origins and also because it carries a vast social and religious significance.

For some citizens, the face-off between Clarence Darrow as the prophet of the Enlightenment and William Jennings Bryan as the withered apostle of a spent Christian faith stands as a holy moment in history. Jews have Mount Sinai. Christians have Calvary. Convinced secularists have Darrow brilliantly cross-examining Bryan in a courthouse in Tennessee. In their version of the national myth, people of learning finally overcame the fearsome faithful through the triumph of cold, hard, liberating reason. Moments like that, properly interpreted or not, are hard to let go. That’s why evolution has always been much more than a scientific issue in America. Darwin’s legacy is fully bound up in the broader American culture war between the enthusiasts of Promethean enlightenment and those who insist there is something else waiting for us behind curtain number three. [pp. 164-65]

Frost said:
I don't believe evolutionary theory was designed to destroy people's interest in religion, as you claim. Going back to Darwin’s day, and using the facts that they had available, it wouldn't be unreasonable to come to the conclusion that he did. However evidence may be interpreted, it's important to understand that just because facts & figures point in one direction, that doesn't necessarily mean that the truth will be there as well. Like a cup-swapping trick - just because you checked underneath 2 of 3 cups does not mean the ball is under the last one. It could just as well be held in the hand of the entertainer. Also, not all religions could appeal to all people, so claiming that evolutionary theory implies certain religions is simply wrongheaded. Evolution makes some beliefs easier to accept, but it doesn’t rule out anything unless you simply want to say that animals either never change, which would be a very odd position. Also, ID is not a science because it is, in essence, a circular argument. The argument never adapts, it simply is – new evidence will not modify the theory at all, if it can be called a theory at all. A theory must be falsifiable. Find a fossilized human hugging a trilobite would be the end of evolution. What set of conditions would prove ID wrong? And many people do have something against god, but it's a separate issue. Can you blame them? Just six months ago we had a president who claims god wanted him to invade Iraq - one of the biggest blunders since Vietnam. And that's off the top of my head. The bigger problem for ID is that people are pessimistic and skeptical of everything today. The future outlook is bleak, and far right religious groups have "guilt by association" with the GOP. ID is one of their babies, so it hasn't emerged unscathed. Meanwhile, most people are much more comfortable with authority, and science has a very authoritative position in modern society. And with no way to break into this arena at the moment, ID seems doomed to wait on the outside looking in. And that's it in a nutshell.
Clive Hayden @ 29
That’s your version of the Judeo-Christian ethic in American history? I agree with HousStreetRoom, your statement is a distraction. Typical.
Rude wrote as if this "Judeo-Christian ethic" were some kind of widespread monolithic dogma that has been held unchanged and unchallenged over the centuries since before the country was founded. Yet, as I pointed out, the Quakers were treated harshly by the Puritans in New England. Even though they no doubt considered themselves to be devout Christians, they committed acts that, by today's standards, were decidedly un-Christian as I'm sure you would agree. The Founding Fathers, although nominally Christian, held a range of beliefs with some leaning towards a non-specific deism. Whatever those beliefs might have been, there seemed to be general agreement it was not a good idea to allow one faith to gain control of government. The Baptists split into the Northern and Southern Conventions over the issue of slavery. The Southern, until it repudiated the belief much more recently, held that slavery was mandated by Scripture, the Northern was diametrically opposed. Both sides were Christian; both, as far as we can tell, were equally convinced that they followed the true belief yet they found themselves at loggerheads. The two contemporary examples of the Westboro Baptist Church and Pastor Steve Anderson make the same point. I'm sure their beliefs are repugnant to everyone here but, as far as we can tell, they are absolutely convinced they represent the true faith. Now, let us imagine an alien intelligence arriving on Earth for the first time. They have no knowledge of Earth religions, apparently having nothing directly equivalent in their own culture. The great range of human belief systems is explained to them in detail. Having absorbed the information, they then ask which of them is considered to be true or the truest. How would you answer? How would you persuade them that the "Judeo-Christian ethic" was the best? Seversky
Rude @ 25
What we have to do is prevail in der Kulturkampf. The Judeo-Christian ethic worked well in American history.
Undoubtedly, from the warm welcome given to Quakers by the Puritans of New England, through the immense respect accorded the life and cultures of native peoples throughout North America to the enlightened attitude towards gay rights displayed by the Westboro Baptist Church or Baptist Pastor Steve Anderson who prays thus for President Obama each night: I’m not gonna pray for his good. I’m going to pray that he dies and goes to hell. When I go to bed tonight, that’s what I’m going to pray. And you say, ‘Are you just saying that?’ No. When I go to bed tonight, Steven L. Anderson is going to pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.
That's your version of the Judeo-Christian ethic in American history? I agree with HousStreetRoom, your statement is a distraction. Typical. Clive Hayden
Rude, "Paul Burnet: The trouble with a non-secular multicultural world is that the most strident voices are the ones that will prevail, which today tend to be atheist and/or in support of Sharia." Do you think Muslims are out to destroy America? lamarck
Seversky, I'm sure you're aware that just because one professes certain beliefs (or faith for that matter) doesn't mean he/she is necessarily following them. Rest assured, any man that prays for the damnation of someone's soul is acting in complete discordance with the Judeo-Christian ethic. If you're going to criticize the ethic, should it not be based on the ethic/standard itself? I mean no offense, but your comment seems more of a distraction than anything. HouseStreetRoom
Rude @ 25
What we have to do is prevail in der Kulturkampf. The Judeo-Christian ethic worked well in American history.
Undoubtedly, from the warm welcome given to Quakers by the Puritans of New England, through the immense respect accorded the life and cultures of native peoples throughout North America to the enlightened attitude towards gay rights displayed by the Westboro Baptist Church or Baptist Pastor Steve Anderson who prays thus for President Obama each night:
I'm not gonna pray for his good. I'm going to pray that he dies and goes to hell. When I go to bed tonight, that's what I'm going to pray. And you say, 'Are you just saying that?' No. When I go to bed tonight, Steven L. Anderson is going to pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.
Paul Burnet: The trouble with a non-secular multicultural world is that the most strident voices are the ones that will prevail, which today tend to be atheist and/or in support of Sharia. Certainly it would be no improvement for the government to marry the church---that's been tried and found wanting. Remember the Inquisition! What we have to do is prevail in der Kulturkampf. The Judeo-Christian ethic worked well in American history. Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Evangelicals, Jews---though they may not care for one another's theology (hashkafah), they all pretty much share a similar ethic---respect for life, family values, the rule of law, etc.---all of which are not shared with other groups---namely leftists and other totalitarians secular and religious that haunt our world. Rude
Off topic: STUNNING global warming news. http://www.infowars.com/scientists-debunk-un-global-warming/ Worthy of a UD article? lamarck
Frost, I don't see where we disagree, my post wasn't an argument against yours. You seem to be saying there is a church and state separation in the first amendment but it's worded differently? lamarck
"Rude" (18) wrote: "Let’s hope it really is the end of secularism, and inasmuch as pluralism equals multiculturalism let’s hope we soon see the end of that too. A non-secular multicultural world would have room for a multiplicity of cultures and religions, but I feat that a non-secular non-multicultural world would not. So do you have any particular religion in mind that everyone will be forced to subscribe to? And what plans do you have for those who won't go along with your theocracy? PaulBurnett
PB & Cabal: I have been on record for decades that EVOLUTIONARY MATERIALISM -- as opposed to "evolution" -- is by its very definition an attack on the Judaeo-Christian worldview, and also as a system that subverts science to serve atheism and amorality, an attack on science too. And indeed, it can thus easily become an attack upon civlisation, through its amorality and corruption of the value of truth, and its censorship on knowledge. Judging by the excerpted remarks from Plato, I may be in pretty venerable and good company in thinking such. (Observe evo mat is nothing new, and started out as and remains primarily a PHILOSOPHY, one that now has subverted science through imposing materialism on the way dominant institutions now try to redefine science in the teeth of history and sound philosophy.) Mr Bryan, c 1921 and c 1925, as well as Mr Chesterton c 1931, agree with me. They give reasons. You may find it profitable to take time to look at the reasons, starting with Plato and the career of Alcibiades -- the principal "corrupted youth" concerned when Socrates was put on trial as a menace to Athens. In fact he had tried to save Alcibiades from himself, but the spoiled young man would not listen. Alas, the Areopagus was too angry with Socrates to heed the truth, before it was too late. And BTW, you would be amazed to see what Bryan has to say about dominant ideas in some of the propaganda for Kaiser Bill's Germany. Herr Schicklegruber did not come up in a vacuum. We need to do some sober reading, and thinking about what is happening to our civlisation. Starting from 360 BC, as excerpted. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
But to help balance out the dialogue here- I would like to say that I am not really against true secularism. That is I don't mind some refereeing in the public square to protect people from religious harassment. I also think ID is a secular theory and that in books like Steve Meyer's Signature In The Cell you have ID decisively argued for in purely secular terms. What the problem is - is when secularism is forced on people against their own free wills. People have a right to religion and the public square is not a bastion for atheism or even agnosticism as many secularists would like to believe. I am ok with a secularism that politely leaves religion as off limits in certain forums. For example there really is no reason to talk about the bible in biology class- nor any other religious book or doctrine- but on the other side there is no reason to bash those doctrines either. ID however should be taught about in public school because I think the evidence for it now is pretty straightforward and has been developed enough now that that is would be appropriate and beneficial for students to hear about it- and not just in a philosophy class or as some ridiculously think "a comparative religion class" (ID is not even close to a religion). ID should be taught and mentioned in science classes- from cosmology/astronomy to biology and especially any class regarding origins. But I do think people have the right to be free of coercion from religion, atheism and agnosticism and that they should be free to choose to be which ever creed they desire. Basically I don't believe in controlling people's spirits and that is why I am against the black listing of ID. Frost122585
Mahoney, I agree with you. I did not put what I was trying to say exactly accurately. Thanks for correcting me. What I meant was the "false Church" in Rome right now posing as the Catholic Church- and obviously not the bride of Christ as you correctly described the true Catholic Church that is indeed still standing through Chirst's word and in the hearts of the faithful-- though the seat of the Pope is basically vacant. I am glad to see that someone else here knows what's been going on. Frost122585
Let’s hope it really is the end of secularism, and inasmuch as pluralism equals multiculturalism let’s hope we soon see the end of that too. The vacuum of an ideologically neutral society cannot last, therefore it is essential that the right ideology dominate the culture. So if and when Darwin is finally put to rest and secularism fades I see no solution but a return to the Judeo-Christian ethic of America’s past. It is precisely that ideology that spawned our liberties and freedom of religion in the first place. The sages drew a distinction between halachah ‘ethics’ and hashkafah ‘religious doctrine’ with the proviso that whereas the former was nonnegotiable the latter was wide open to disputation. It derives from the Scriptures themselves where ethics/morality is made mindnumbingly explicit but philosophy and theology (the soul, the afterlife, etc.) are shrouded behind the veil of biblical imagery, typology and symbol. This was pretty much the picture of American society up until “the Sixties”. There was a broad concensus on moral issues—the sanctity of life, marriage and the family, crime and punishment, etc.—and a general toleration of aberrant theologies. It did not come easy, of course, but the push for freedom and justice was from religion. The anti-slavery and civil rights movements, and stand against the culture of death—it has come—not from the left—but from the devout. Unless the world’s lone superpower returns to those roots there remains on the world stage only moral confusion and the totalitarian temptation. No church can be trusted with this sacred task---only Darwin's demise and the rise of a broad Judeo-Christian concensus. Rude
Frost122585: Mea maxima culpa. I share your opinions as to the mumbo-jumbo coming from Rome since that senile fool Roncalli somehow found his way to the throne. But you must distinguish between the Church, which, as the Bride of Christ, is not apostate, and the posturings and deviations of what I can only describe politely (why bother?) as the Current Management. That, I think we agree, is not 'the Roman Catholic Church'. P. Mahoney
Mahoney, I have never written to you before- I too am a Catholic- and comparative religion is not what this site it for- but I used the Catholic Church's current state of apostasy as an example to support my point about how the secular problem is not merely a Church and state issue but a church and church- or church and anti-church issue. I will not respect you desire to silence by criticism of the current leadership in the church. I think the Vatican two has perverted the catholic faith and turned it into something that it historically never was- and in fact they are dissolving Christ though a liberal theology. My father is 65 and has lived in the same area all of his life and he knows that when he was young the Church was full of people- so much so that you would have trouble even finding a seat- and then with the Vatican two came around attendance began to dissipate- and I think the seriousness of the faith eroded. Pope Benedict also said recently that the human race must listen to “the voice of the Earth” or risk destroying its very existence. This is the kind of pagan earth worship political stuff that the church needs to stay away from because it alienates those who are interested in the truth of the scripture and the dogmas and not in "modernism" which is akin to the secularism that this book is apparently concerned with. The pope is not an expert on evolution or ID or creationism and should not be declaring things about listening to the voice of the earth. I could give plenty of other examples of why the Vatican two is warped but only out of respect for this forum's intended purpose-which is scientific dissent against materialism- I will mostly refrain from these kinds of topics. If however I didn't bring up my view on this I would be essentially committing a sin of omission- and I don't mean to offend you personally, but obviously I wont hide the truth as I perceive it just because someone doesn't want me to shed light on that controversy they are uncomfortable with. Honestly though I mean no intentional offense. I only see these issues are relevant to the totality of the secular movement. As the Church and faith erodes, secularism grows. Frost122585
Secularism generally is a flaccid excuse for not having the spine to acknowledge that Truth exists independently of human judgement. It is a placebo employed by those having debased motives to pawn off those who have been failed by leaders and teachers who lack the will or inclination to show what is right. Frost122585 @4: In a post concerning the benefits of an approach that "privileges civil discourse", it is ironic, at least, to read about "the apostasies of the Catholic Church" (I hold no brief for Anglicanism). The errors of Luther, Calvin et al are well known but out of respect for your stance I shall not rehearse them. In corresponding courtesy to me and other Catholic visitors, please refrain from argumentative language. P. Mahoney
I don’t know where to begin; whatever a person wrote in 1921 is just that person’s opinion. So what? You won’t like this, but it’s the way that it is: The Bible contains truth, but mostly it is not the literal truth that orthodox Christians; literalists or fundamentalists believe. It is written in symbolic language; symbols that was intuitively understood by the ancients before written language had been invented. Man was created by God, in God’s image. Before man took it upon himself to be like God; to define what is good and what is bad, he was virtually living in the Garden of Eden. But now his innocence was lost, the gate closed to the primordial state before the invention of morals – good morals and bad morals, i.e. passing judgement on the life that God had created in his image; that is man’s original sin. And that is how it all came about. The Bible is explicit: “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given…. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” All men have ears, don’t they? The point obviously is that a physical ear is not enough; it takes a mental ear too, an ear of understanding. “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” If the Bible is to be read like a computer programming manual, no ‘opening of our understanding’ is required. But it isn’t like that. Amoral means ‘without moral judgement’. Take care that you do not judge your brother; it may be that you see the splinter in your brother’s eye but not the beam in your own. The problem with Christianity is literalism, the failure to understand the Bible. Cabal
"kairosfocus" (#13) quoted Bryan: "It is for the jury to determine whether this attack upon the Christian religion..." Does this remain your position, that evolution is, in and of itself, an "attack upon the Christian religion"? Is biology an "attack upon the Christian religion"? Is science an "attack upon the Christian religion"? PaulBurnett
Folks: Pardon a painful intervention. Maybe, we need to take a sober, balanced look -- a la Plato in Book X of The Laws, c. 360 BC -- at the intended closing summation by Bryan; which was never delivered because Darrow played the game of pretending to submit to an exchange with mutual cross examination then when he thought he had done enough RHETORICAL damage to Bryan [an old, overweight diabetic trying to answer to barbed questions in 100 degree heat . . . ], suddenly cut off the case. [Legal manipulations like this have been the stock in trade of ACLU-led Darwinist teams ever since.] Here is Bryan, in a condensed form of the main theme of his 1921 book, here: ______________ >> The closing speech Bryan never got to make: Science is a magnificent force, but it is not a teacher of morals. It can perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. It can also build gigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for the control of storm tossed human vessel. It not only fails to supply the spiritual element needed but some of its unproven hypotheses rob the ship of its compass and thus endangers its cargo. In war, science has proven itself an evil genius; it has made war more terrible than it ever was before. Man used to be content to slaughter his fellowmen on a single plane--the earth's surface. Science has taught him to go down into the water and shoot up from below and to go up into the clouds and shoot down from above, thus making the battlefield three times a bloody as it was before; but science does not teach brotherly love. Science has made war so hellish that civilization was about to commit suicide; and now we are told that newly discovered instruments of destruction will make the cruelties of the late war seem trivial in comparison with the cruelties of wars that may come in the future. If civilization is to be saved from the wreckage threatened by intelligence not consecrated by love, it must be saved by the moral code of the meek and lowly Nazarene. His teachings, and His teachings, alone, can solve the problems that vex heart and perplex the world.... It is for the jury to determine whether this attack upon the Christian religion shall be permitted in the public schools of Tennessee by teachers employed by the state and paid out of the public treasury. This case is no longer local, the defendant ceases to play an important part. The case has assumed the proportions of a battle-royal between unbelief that attempts to speak through so-called science and the defenders of the Christian faith, speaking through the legislators of Tennessee. It is again a choice between God and Baal; it is also a renewal of the issue in Pilate's court.... Again force and love meet face to face, and the question, "What shall I do with Jesus?" must be answered. A bloody, brutal doctrine--Evolution--demands, as the rabble did nineteen hundred years ago, that He be crucified. That cannot be the answer of this jury representing a Christian state and sworn to uphold the laws of Tennessee. Your answer will be heard throughout the world; it is eagerly awaited by a praying multitude. If the law is nullified, there will be rejoice wherever God is repudiated, the savior scoffed at and the Bible ridiculed. Every unbeliever of every kind and degree will be happy. If, on the other hand, the law is upheld and the religion of the school children protected, millions of Christians will call you blessed and, with hearts full of gratitude to God, will sing again that grand old song of triumph: "Faith of our fathers, living still, In spite of dungeon, fire and sword; O how our hearts beat high with joy Whene'er we hear that glorious word--- Faith of our fathers--Holy faith; We will be true to thee till death!" >> ________________ Only a few days later, the old lion was dead. As to the issue of the foundation of morality that he raises, it is notorious that materialistic views have an is-ought gap. There is no "is" in matter and energy acted on by chance and necessity and evolving to no purposeful plan or goal, that can ground OUGHT. Evolutionary materialism is inherently, inescapably, A-moral. And amorality soon enough leads to the deadly principle: might makes "right," where "right" has been reduced to the perceptions, feelings and views of the moment in a given culture, subject to further manipulation by whoever has the clout to push the margins a little further. In short amorality enables immorality and paves the way for chaos and injustice. (if you doubt me, why not browse through what is in the textbook Darrow was defending, Civic Biology, here. Hint: "civic" indicates that the book is a Eugenics tract. And the eugenics is announced as a direct application of "science." We might also find interesting reading in this excerpt: "Although anatomically there is a greater difference between the lowest type of monkey and the highest type of ape than there is between the highest type of ape and the lowest savage, yet there is an immense mental gap between monkey and man."] The above sounds harsh, and is indubitably painful; but we must face the truth if we are to understand what is fundamentally wrong in our time. (And we may as well lay a strawman to rest right off: materialists can be moral in behaviour from time to time, even as the rest of us also struggle with consistently living up to moral principle. The key problem with materialism is that it undercuts the premise of morality, the foundation of oughtness. And, on that alone, many people who have a lot more confidence in the binding nature of oughtness as conscience communicates than in metaphysical speculations and reconstructions of an unobservable remote past, conclude that materialism MUST be wrong, as it contradicts a prime, undeniable reality: OUGHT.) GEM of TKI PS: having made an initial disclaimer on pagan religious thought, Plato made some key points about avant garde, triumphalistic evolutionary materialism c 360 BC, thusly: ______________ >> . . . The [materialists hold that the] elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals [recall, we are "rational animals"] and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. Art sprang up afterwards and out of these, mortal and of mortal birth, and produced in play certain images and very partial imitations of the truth, having an affinity to one another, such as music and painting create and their companion arts. And there are other arts which have a serious purpose, and these co-operate with nature, such, for example, as medicine, and husbandry, and gymnastic. And they say that politics cooperate with nature, but in a less degree, and have more of art; also that legislation is entirely a work of art, and is based on assumptions which are not true . . . . [For, they claim] the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them. [Spell that: ALCIBIADES] >> ______________ kairosfocus
Also from from the above linked questions Intelligent Design advocates can’t answer
It is true that ID advocates can’t answer these questions; but not because they don’t have good answers.
Are public schools the right or the best place to answer the questions? Why doesn’t the author, retired Ada programmer(!) try to answer some of them instead of telling us things like The existence of something that must have been designed is evidence that a designer exists. I would have expected he would take the opportunity to tell us how we can know that ‘something must have been was designed’, when that is the only question that needs a firm answer for ID to replace Darwin? Cabal
Speaking of William Jennings Bryan, it seems that Nebraska man was a scam concocted by H.F. Osborn et al., to ridicule Bryan, who was from Nebraska. see here.
It is an irony of fate that what certain anthropologists consider the fossil remains of a primitive member of the human family, or of a new higher genus of the primate family, should have been found in the State of Nebraska. It is as if the anti-evolutionary protagonist were judged out of his own State... The poet has long used the "tooth of time" figuratively, but here in a riverbed in Nebraska it has become literally more enduring than SHAKESPEARE imagined who found in brass a "forted residence" against it and the "razure of oblivion." And sharper than a serpent's tooth must it seem to Mr. BRYAN. Perhaps he will insist, with some other paleontological authorities, that it is only a Pliocene bear's tooth, after all. But an English professor of anatomy. Dr. ELLIOTT SMITH, after reviewing the evidence, says that one can place implicit trust in the claims that the tooth found in the Pliocene beds of Nebraska is "really that of a primitive member of the human family." [NY Times, 1922] Three years ago William Jennings Bryan made a pledge which he has not fulfilled. This pledge was published on the Lord's Day, February 26, 1922, and was read by a million people. It was so sincere in tone and was accompanied by so earnest a statement that I for one took it at its face value... To those serious and earnest seekers after the Truth, from 500 B.C. to the present time, we have the contrasting attitude of the Great Commoner; if all the evidence for the Truth were piled as high as Ossa upon Pelion, if proof were heaped upon proof, the Truth would not prevail with him, because all the natural avenues of the Truth are tightly closed... It is noteworthy that shortly after his pledge to accept the Truth appeared in 1922, the Earth spoke to Bryan and spoke from his own native state of Nebraska, in the message of a diminutive tooth, the herald of our knowledge of anthropoid apes in America... The world-wide interest aroused by the discovery in Nebraska of Hesperopithecus, "the ape of the western world", is in widest possible contrast to the dimunitive and insignificant appearance of the single grinding tooth ... this little tooth speaks volumes of truth, -- truth consistent with all we have known before, with all that we have found elsewhere... [HF Osborn]
Vladimir Krondan
Quote from the above linked: questions Intelligent Design advocates can’t answer.
Part 1: The Practical Issues 1A. How can I.D. be applied to medical science, to help us fight diseases?
This one made gave me a LOL because we've all heard how important evolution (equivocated) is to medicine and I had just finished reading the prerequisites for the MD course at the University of Washington School of Medicine. It lists required and recommended courses and you see the expected topics of chemistry, physics, biology, anatomy, ethics, etc. And then it says this: "Courses such as evolution, ecology, bio-diversity,.... will not satisfy the prerequisites" :-) steveO
Clarence Darrow was a communist. The Scopes trial transcripts show that Bryan took the stand so that Darrow could have a chance at raving like an atheist. The court could then see that this was about atheism, not science. Vladimir Krondan
I hope you don't mind me posting a link to this interesting piece at Science Against Evolution: Unanswerable Questions There are some questions Intelligent Design advocates can’t answer. Davem
Lamarck it's NOT in the first amendment. All the first amendment says is that there should be no laws respecting a particular establishment of religion- and in respect to what was going on in England at the time this made perfect sense. You need to understand things in their chronological context. Of course as I pointed out the constitution's bill of rights also ensures that no law should be enacted prohibiting the free exercise of one's religious faith. Basically this goes with the modern saying that the constitution does not grant people freedom FROM religion- it only protects people from religious authority. This can be circumvented however if a religion just made secular pronouncements - like in my view the modern radical environmentalism is a false religion similar to a pagan or sun worshiping religion. It can enact laws that basically bind citizens to it's dogmas- of course all the while it will be mascarding as some kind of perfectly unbiased secular progressive movement. My point is that the anti-ID movement is more about anti-God to the extreme that they don't even want secular theories like ID to be accepted because it might bring people to the faith or it might inspire the already faithful. The same goes with modern secularism in the sense that this author is describing it. He is basically correctly asserting that modern secularism is not about being conservative or moderate on socially controversial issues like religion and it's exponents- but it has basically evolved into a kind of anti-spiritual faith- or more exactly, a dogmatic materialistic doctrine self declaring to be the unbiased objective truth. Frost122585
Church and state separation is there to ensure both are preserved. It's also a logical extension of the freedom of thought and expression, so it's all in the first amendment. Christians which harp on this point America being founded on Christian principles are mislead and it's not an attractive argument. The same could be said when atheists stretch it. They weren't trying to preserve Christianity but freedom of expression. The Dover decision combined church and state. The ruling was the antithesis of the purpose of the separation. lamarck
No offense Bill I know you are trying to promote your friends book here but I would like to make a couple of points. On the first passage you quote:
"Secularism is not neutral, nor is it something that simply happened thanks to the growing maturity and rationality of human beings..."
Ok so far I agree in total.
"...It is an understandable reaction to the various tragedies of church-state alliances in Western history..."
I disagree here. I think the apostasies of the Catholic Church and the bad actions of the Church of England and others are not sufficient reasons for secularism to be so dominant. I understand that there is much more clarity and information and that is quote was taken out of context but I think it is a propagated misnomer that the Founding Fathers and the like in the US forged a "secular" constitution because they were so worried about separation of church and state. I am one of those who is first to point out that the words Church and State never occur in the US constitution and despite the very few lines that lay out the relationship between Church and State we should not forget they also saw it was paramount to include the stipulation "nor limit the free exercise thereof"... If you read Newt Gingrich's book on God and America you will see the founders were very religious and saw it as part of a healthy society so long as it is kept in reasonable check. The 10 commandments form in fact the main ethical conceptual backbone of the constitution. God makes man unique with certain purposes and gifts and it is not the purpose or right of government to infringe on his individual rights and sovereignty and a citizen. Marx was an atheist and Marxism easily flows from an anti-spiritual world view. So I would say people become anti-religious or pro secular first for personal reasons and then secular government and society fallows. This is why ID is so important- because it clarifies the misconceptions of theories like Darwinism which seek to destroy people's rational interest in religious or spiritual (transcendental) avenues. The public schools and such have been hijacked by radical secularists- who oppose theories like ID (which are actually even secular!) simply because they are just "Too Close" to a religious view. What sociological secularism actually is - is not a progressive philosophy, worldview, or even doctrine- but it is an ANTI or negative movement again theistic or religious interests. I simply think that a lot of people in general just have something against God. Plain and simple- and it is not the theory of ID that they really oppose but it's support for it's meta-physical implications- God being the big one.
"It is not, however, necessarily more rational nor more harmonious than any number of alternatives. It cannot claim the authority of science. It cannot escape the need to look beyond materialism in order to discover values. Secularism, like realism, is more of a boast or a way to score rhetorical points than it is a concept that performs any actual work"
I agree with this part in total. Frost122585
The Scopes Trial is surrounded by misconceptions, and their exposure provides as good a way as any for recounting the basic story. In the heroic version, John Scopes was persecuted, Darrow rose to Scope's defense and smote the antediluvian Bryan, and the antievolution movement then dwindled or ground to at least a temporary halt. All three parts of this story are false. ~ Stephen Jay Gould bevets
Clarence Darrow was beaten handily by G.K. Chesterton in a debate after the Scopes Trial. http://chesterton.org/qmeister2/darrowdebate.htm Clive Hayden
There is a typo in your first paragraph: "His critique of secularism solid...." You comment, "I suspect we can do better [than pluralism.]" In what way? Learned Hand

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