I’ve never really been a supporter of this – and I’m not a pastor to make these decision – but maybe there is a way that Church could participate in a Graceful way.
Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. An ongoing goal has been to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic, and to show that religion and science are not adversaries. Rather, they look at the natural world from quite different perspectives and ask, and answer, different questions.
Indeed, the world’s various faith traditions routinely find themselves in harmony with the tenets of modern science, including evolution. Many participants in Evolution Weekend 2012 have opted to discuss the ways in which these various faith traditions have similarly embraced evolution. One important facet of Evolution Weekend 2012, therefore, is to explore how science in general and evolution in particular can help draw diverse religions together. Finding a shared purpose while respecting difference will help promote broader understanding among religions.
But, what about discussing ways in which the Adam narrative may be Scripturally interpreted that is different from the usual “plain sense” reading? You know, discuss what Creation and Covenant actually means in Scripture by looking into context of Scripture… And putting to rest the flat-out lie that Scripture and Science cannot co-exist.
A biologist with scientific interest in the evolution-creation debate attributed a recent LifeWay Research poll reporting that three-fourths of Protestant pastors reject evolution, and nearly half believe the earth is about 6,000 years old, to a commonly held but false idea that science and faith cannot be reconciled.
Michael Zimmerman, academic vice president and provost at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., said he doubts that the 73 percent of pastors who told the Southern Baptist Convention research department that they disagreed with the statement “I believe God used evolution to create people” are a representative sample. Either way, Zimmerman said, “It is a shame that the respondents find that their religion demands that they turn away from the facts of the natural world.”
Richard Dawkins’s theological/philosophical dilettantism aside, I would gladly hoist a pint in celebration with him over this news:
Leading scientists and naturalists, including Professor Richard Dawkinsand Sir David Attenborough , are claiming a victory over the creationist movement after the government ratified measures that will bar anti-evolution groups from teachingcreationism in science classes.
To my mind, the biggest question anti-creationists should be exploring is “How do we stop this thing?” Contrary to expectations, creation ‘science’ has spread out of the United States and broken through geographical, political and religious lines. The burgeoning British creationist movement is an example, although things are certainly still worse in the States: some 46% of the American population doesn’t accept evolution, and among clergy the percent is an astounding 70%.
Decades of science education hasn’t affected these percentages significantly, and when you control for religious background and beliefs the effect of education is actually a non-significant predictor of an individual’s acceptance of evolution. The implication here is that education may not be the best way to combat creationist propaganda: the real place where this debate is being affected is through religious authority, which makes the statistic I mentioned earlier about clergy acceptance of evolution all the more troubling. It also implies that the news from Britain, while certainly good news, may make very little practical difference in the growth or decline of creation ‘science’ influence.
Still, we can consider measures that governmental bodies can take to press back against creationist nonsense, and even though education in and of itself doesn’t do anything the levying of social sanctions related to education may very well be the most effective thing a non-religious presence can do. Britain has decided to keep creation ‘science’ nonsense out of government-funded schools, which I applaud. Here in the States the University of California school system doesn’t allow creation-based ‘science’ education in religious high-schools to count as a science credit for potential admittents, another course of action I heartily endorse. The latter measure is closer to a potentially effective move against creationism, as it actually raises the cost of disseminating creation literature in an educational setting.
There are a few other ways to raise social sanctions against creationism. Removing accreditation of Universities that teach it is an example. Spreading the UC policy to other states would be terrific. The point is to make sure that creationist education incurs some kind of social cost, and the loss of potential educational opportunity is the best way I can come up with to do so. It simply isn’t enough to keep it out of public schools; so long as there is no social penalty attached to creationist belief it will continue to thrive.
If only God hadn’t intelligently designed mycobacterium tuberculosis to adapt to our advances in medical treatment!
The appearance of design is one of the more potent weapons in the creationist arsenal, probably because it appeals to some aspect of common sense. But if creationists can infer design from such things, perhaps we should insist they take their inferences to the logical end: the designer is intelligent, and cruel. They never will, of course, keeping in line with a long history of shoddy interpretation of cherry-picked ‘evidence’. But this nicely illustrates the double-edged sword of appealing to the appearance of design- creationists must account for 1) Bad design and 2) Designs for evil.
The first problem is simply the less-than-ideal ‘designs’ that can be found in nature. The fact that we breathe through the same tube that we swallow through is one- we risk choking. The common problem of back pain is another: human spines are mechanically configured for quadrapedal movement, not bipedal. There are certainly instances where we might think we can infer design, because things seem to work so well, but there are also many instances where we see less-than-ideal systems. Must we infer that God is a designer, but a shoddy one?
The second problem for creationists is dealing with the appearance of design in nature when that design is made to do evil. Creationist literature is replete with images of elegant giraffes with long necks and beautiful butterflies with camouflage colors- surely only a designer could explain this? Of course, nastier examples exist as well. Why not use the image of a cheetah, capable of speeds exceeding fifty miles per hour, with claws and teeth capable of rending flesh to pieces. Even better, we can look at the Ichneumonidae wasp, as described by Karl Giberson in his book “Saving Darwin”:
“So here we have an insect laying eggs inside a caterpillar. The newly hatched parasites live inside the caterpillar, consuming internal organs. And, in a most amazing illustration of intelligent design, the Ichneumonidae eat the internal organs in a specified order that keeps the host caterpillar alive as long as possible” (161)
Giberson is being sarcastic of course; no creationist points to this as intelligent design, although they should if they were to be consistent. It would force them towards untenable conclusions about the nature of the designer- apparently the designer is unusually malicious and revels in suffering.
The simple point is this: inference to design from complexity is a good argument for stubborn creationists, but not for Christians. It leads to an understanding of God that is simply at odds with scripture and church tradition. Don’t grant the argument; push back, and force the creationist to consider the paths they must take to hold onto their appeal to design. Whether they will honestly confront it is doubtful, but you’ve dulled one of the few weapons available to them.
America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly reject the theory of evolution and are evenly split on whether the earth is 6,000 years old, according to a survey released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention.
When asked if “God used evolution to create people,” 73% of pastors disagreed – 64% said they strongly disagreed – compared to 12% who said they agree.
Asked whether the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, 46% agreed, compared to 43% who disagreed.
First… Young Earth Creationism is on the rise in the United States
Second… American Christianity is on the decrease
Third… YECers point to the rise of evolution as the reason that the European Church fell
Okay… Do you see the problem with their logic? Good. I hope so.
Now…. as American Protestantism dies, and the Catholic Church in the US grows (albeit slowly), one should begin to ask themselves if maybe Young Earth Creationism, among other unScriptural theological trends, aren’t causing some major issues… and if you need some help in making this decision, look at the recent Barna poll which actually tells you that one of the top reasons that people are leaving the American Church is because of YEC.
Then why does he quote 1937 science? I mean, honestly, does our good friend have nothing better to do expect fight Ham’s battles for him? At that point, one can easily detect Tony’s presuppositions about science, that it never changes, never gathers evidences, never formalizes a hypothesis into a theory… and then he goes on to quote Darwin… tisk tisk tisk…
Just as he tries to poison the well by saying that the Bible teaches geocentrism and a flat earth. These straw man arguments concerning the Bible have been so oft-refuted. He insists on a woodenly literal interpretation of Scripture when those who actually affirm a literal interpretation allow for figures of speach, round numbers, etc. In essence, he’s creating a straw man argument. Interestingly enough, in stating that the Bible teaches that the universe revolves arouns a flat earth [it doesn’t], is Brother Joel upholding or undermining Biblical authority?
Here’s the issue – the authors of Scripture actually believed in a flat earth and geocentricism, although this is often overlooked as mere poetry (not Genesis 1, of course, just everything else that one doesn’t agree with, like genocide). So, no, it’s not a straw man argument. Further, by upholding Scriptural Authority as I do, contrary to deistic view held by Ham and Tony, we are able to actually move to the real authority of Scripture, which, albeit this may come as a shock, isn’t dependent upon either Ham or a false view of Genesis 1.
He goes on to write,
Rather than placing our own personal interpretation on the Bible, we are letting it speak for itself; rather than reading into it what we want it to say, as Bible doubters like Brother Joel do, we creationists draw the meaning out
Now, these bible idolaters who think that the pages actually speak aloud still have no real clue the subjectivity which they themselves apply to Scripture. Those who read the text 2000 years, or more, saw it differently. Cultures and people change. This means that if one were to allow that Scripture ‘speaks,’ then one must allow that Scripture will speak differently to each culture. Instead, we follow those who have gone on before and try to get back to the sources, beyond the subjective interpretations of modern people, like Ham.
He then shows his theological ineptitude and further, boldly lies about the Apostles,
We believe that God revealed His Word and wanted it to be understood plainly. Our position on special creation in six calendar days and a world-covering Flood in the days of Noah is the traditional, apostolic teaching of the Church; novel views that allow for millions of years of microbes-to-man evolution are not. So who is willfully ignorant of Church history here?
First, unless he is prepared to state that Christ suddenly appeared out of the blue, then he should rethink his appellation of Word to Scripture, because if we are to remain Scriptural, then the misuse of Word applied to Scripture should stop. Remember, even Scripture was never ‘revealed.’ Scripture is not a revelation of God – only Christ is. Scripture is a deposit of the human witnesses to God’s revelation. Further, the Apostles have not yet been shown to believe in the false superstition which Tony and Ham believe. They are, again, reading anachronistically.
Now, Tony further shows that he has no clue as to Scriptural Authority or Science,
Science is an interpretation of the evidence and if science has refused to begin with the Bible, if it has rejected the truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, and seeks instead to find all-natural answers in defiance of the obvious design of the universe, these wrong assumptions will lead it to wrong conclusions.
The issue is, is that the natural world existed long, long before Scripture. Second, Scripture is not a scientific text book. Theology begins with Scripture, not Science, and neither, obviously does our dear friend and lost brother Tony. To say that one has to ‘begin with Scripture’ (no such thing, really, as ‘the Bible), is to deny history, Tradition, biblical studies, theology and of course, God. Am I saying that Tony, Ham, and other Creationist Apologists are false teachers who would rather destroy the Church and hold on to their selective interpretative liberalism? Yes. Have been, actually.
Now, as he often does, he tries to quote Scripture, but fails in his attempt to hold on to a certain straight line, and as a result shows that he is inept at all things theological but he does so to go on bit of a rant again me, calling me more than a few names and suggesting some awful things about me. That’s fine. God bless him and forgive him. God forgive me for the things I say and do just to spite. Let us pray that Ham and Tony and others come to the marvelous light of the Truth, the wonderful Grace of God. There is such a mystical beauty here, in the Truth, in the Garden where I can commune daily with God. It is not filled with concreteness of one’s own manufacturing, but of the abstract mystery of God where wonder is uplifted, and grace is given. God is no longer just a has-been Creator for me, but one which every day is creating, so that God is every day Father, Judge, Saviour. Thank God for the revelation that God is.