Ben Stein is now officially one of the most hated people in America…

…and since he’s not a criminal, he has become one of my mostest favoritest people in America.

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63 Comments

Filed under blogginess, evolution, science, worldview

63 responses to “Ben Stein is now officially one of the most hated people in America…

  1. It’s very obvious, based on the comments, that many people have bought into the theory of evolution as fact. A real shame that the “church” has allowed this to happen. Once people believe in evolution it’s very hard to convince them there is a God. One must first persuade them that everything was created through design.

    But, I will give Mr. Stein kudos for trying.

  2. Evolution has been proven as much as any other scientific theory has – the evidence for it is truly overwhelming. It is only those people who are ignorant of that evidence who disagree with the theory for the most part.

    Whereas, so far, ID and Creationism has no independent evidence to support it.

  3. Bad

    I’m sort of embarrassed for Stein. He’s now going to be forever wedded to the Intelligent Design movement and a bunch of highly deceptive arguments. The whole premise of the film is very savvy as far as a PR campaign goes, but ultimately extremely misleading.

  4. The evidence for evolution is not overwhelming. Your interpretation of that evidence may seem overwhelming to you, but that is a whole other thing. Evidence can not speak for itself. It must be interpreted. So the question is then, how to best interpret the evidence. That is the issue that first must be addressed.

  5. Bad

    pilgrim, you miss the fact that interpretations get TESTED. That’s the whole point of legitimate science: you keep putting theories up against evidential tests. Claiming that it’s all just interpretation is the tactic of those who don’t really do science: who just want to toss out a few claims, interpret them as evidence for their own pet ideology, but then fail to look into them any further (because of course, they already know the answer they want). Real science never stops testing, and it doesn’t start out with a pre-decided conclusion. Evolution is considered valid science because it conforms to that process and has successfully held up against all of the evidence.

  6. h3nry

    Quickly adding to Bad’s comment, don’t forget the evidence and Darwinian theory i.e. the “interpretation” is tested over and over again in a myriad of fields of studies: palaeontology, biogeographical distribution, classification, morphology, embryology, genetics and so on.

  7. nini

    No way, no one is hated more than GW.Bush……………………………n

  8. It’s very obvious, based on the comments, that many people have bought into the theory of creationism as a real part of Christianity. A real shame that the “church” has allowed this to happen. Once people believe in creationism as Christian doctrine it’s very hard to convince them there is a God. One must first persuade them that God was the Creator and that reality is reality.

    But, I will give Mr. Stein brickbats for continuing such distortions of the faith. Of course, he’s Jewish, isn’t he? Funny that Christians are not careful about where they get their theology — nutballs on television, nutballs in best-selling novels, nutballs in the movies — almost anywhere but the Bible, or a seminary where real scholarship takes place.

  9. No, evidence does not need to be “interpreted,” except, perhaps, by charlatans. Evidence needs to be understood — but there is a huge difference between interpretation and understanding. If someone tells you that science needs to be interpreted to be understood, keep your hand on your wallet. Stop getting your religion and other information from bad television.

  10. I believe strongly in the right of people to their faith. However, in the science class science must be taught not theology. If creationism is to be taught there should be a separate religious studies course.

    Ben Stein talks about how the great minds were religious. Copernicus published his findings on his death bed to avoid religious persecution. Galileo was threatened with excommunication. Newton was fortunate enough to be in a country where church and state were separate. Einstein was an atheist who believed in a determinist universe. Stein’s understanding is very shallow.

  11. Alright Ed, Matt and Bad,

    Name one new animal or plant that has evolved as a completely new species in the last 2000 years. Not a deriviative that has adapted to it’s environment in ways that apply to camouflage, or a hybrid animal or plant. Those don’t count anymore than a chameleon is one animal when it’s green and another when it’s red.

    Explain how eyes and ears developed from scratch in EVERY mammal, fish, reptile, bird and amphibian? Let’s not even delve into insects having them. Isn’t evolution about trial and error? How did something as complex as a bat’s ear develop simultaneously with it’s prediliction to use high frequency sound? Before it developed the ability to produce HF sonar, it would have had to have accidentally developed the receptors. Otherwise the one makes no sense without the other. That’s design….not evolution!

    What about petrified trees growing up through “millions of years” of geologic strata? Were they just growing very slowly and the strata were deposited at the same speed as the tree’s vertical growth? That’s one slow growing living plant!!

    You fellows have faith just like we do. Only you have faith that we are an accident. We believe everything is so intertwined it can’t be anything but by design. And we believe in a Creator.

  12. Brian Macker

    What makes you think he’s hated? I don’t hate him. I just think he’s sad.

  13. Well, here we go again–the issue of presuppositions.

    I never said it’s all about interpretation–it’s about presuppositions–and yes evidence needs to be interpreted.
    Everything needs interpretation–otherwise how do you know what I am writing?

    Yes interpretations get tested–but then you must interpret the results–and your presuppositions affect that. If you are looking for evolution you can find it in the results, if you are not looking for it you find it in the results.

    It is important to note that there isn’t one set of evidnece for evolution and another for creation–there is one set of evidence period. Our presuppositions affetc how we view that evidence. This does not invalidate the evidence, nor does it in itself invalidate our interpretations. My intent is never to ignore the results because it’s all interpretations. No, we need to look at our presuppositions and test those. You have rpesuppositions and so do I. We can not live without them. Otherwise how we we make decisions? We need some basis for those. Why did you eat what you did today? Convenience, taste, cost, nutrition, other reasons or a combination? Those reasosn are absed on your presuppositions on how to eat.

    Sam thing in creation and evolution. The evidence doesn’t speak for itself–it can’t.

    Oh, and I don’t get my religion, theology, or science from TV–bad or otherwise.

  14. Bad

    “I never said it’s all about interpretation–”

    Reallly? Maybe then you shouldn’t have repeated over and over that how things are interpreted is a big sticking point. Someone might get the idea that it’s all about interpretation!

    “Everything needs interpretation–otherwise how do you know what I am writing?”

    Via an understanding of English and what words are defined as meaning, and thus what sort of grammatical constructs are made when they are strung together.

    “Yes interpretations get tested–but then you must interpret the results–and your presuppositions affect that. If you are looking for evolution you can find it in the results, if you are not looking for it you find it in the results.”

    Nope. Not if your presuppositions are actually based on empirical science rather than pre-believing this or that conclusion.

    “You have rpesuppositions and so do I. ”

    Sure: but when it comes to science, my presuppositions are to base things on evidence and what theories hold up against all the different possible ways to look at that evidence. The presuppositions of creationists are basically to just assume right off the bat what the answers SHOULD be, and then cobble together some plausible sounding arguments based off a few scattered bits of evidence that they rarely understand very well, let alone are in context of all the evidence.

    People that argue for things like flood geology aren’t just interpreting things differently: they over and over just get the basic facts wrong, ignore evidence, don’t bother to test their claims from multiple angles, and so on.

  15. Funny, I could reverse the argument–but I won’t make it about you, because I don’t know you. You don’t me, yet you seem to be an expert–thanks for telling me all about myself!

    My presuppositions are tested and can change. They are based on the evidence. Evolutionists–in general–will look for explanations that don’t involve creation ofr God–and I have read works where they admit that–see I will read the other side–to see what they’re saying.

  16. Name one new animal or plant that has evolved as a completely new species in the last 2000 years.

    Evening Primrose, Kew Primrose, Tragopogon, Raphanobrassica, Hemp Nettle, Madia citrigracilis, Brassica, Maidenhair Fern, Woodsia Fern, Stephanomeira malheurensis, Maize (Zea mays), Yellow Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus), Drosophila paulistorum.
    I think I’ll stop there. Add to that list a notable list of bacteria and other micro-organisms (whose short lifespan allows evolutionary changes to happen quick, in a time frame more easily observable).
    And that is just for starters.

    Explain how eyes and ears developed from scratch in EVERY mammal, fish, reptile, bird and amphibian?

    This has been answered many times and a long, long time ago.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB301.html

    There are a LOT of examples in nature of poorly evolved eyes or eyes which work differently to our own.

    What about petrified trees growing up through “millions of years” of geologic strata?

    This old chestnut has been answered many times before, to such an extent I’m surprised it’s still brought forth as an argument.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/polystrate/trees.html

    Talkorigins.org, by the way, is a properly researched and fully referenced website which actually uses science. Unlike places like AiG and the Discovery Institute.

  17. Wes

    to rule out the possibility of Divine intervention even before the data is evaluated is not a genuinely scientific behaviour.

    Just as a Christian’s acceptance of revelation as legitimate is an example of “a priori belief” (belief without evidence); so is the athiest’s (or darwinist’s or secularist’s or materialist’s etc) rejection of the existance and participation of God in matters of the origin of the universe.

    Science and philosophy cannot definitavely disprove the presence of God any more than theology and philosophy can prove it.

    Believing one (or the other) explanation to be more pallatable to one’s personal beliefs is no substite for dispassionate review of the facts.

    Evolotion is not so straightforward as some of you may have us believe, or there would not be so much tension between various explanations or difficulty getting theories to fit multiple scientific disciplines.

  18. Brian,

    The reason I think he’s hated is that I read about 100 of the 750 comments on his blog.

  19. Nobody’s ruling out divine intervention, Wes — it’s just that the evidence shows evolution. If you think divine intervention must be by some other means, you’re out of luck on the evidence side. I believe you err when you assume, without any scriptural support, that divine intervention must take a form other than what nature shows. We Christians believe that God’s creation is truthful, and we can trust what it shows to be an accurate chunk of information since creation is directly from the hand of God.

    What evidence were you looking for? From which other deity?

    Name one new animal or plant that has evolved as a completely new species in the last 2000 years.

    Beef from the aurochs; brocolli, Brussells sprouts, radishes and Canola from mustard; grapefruit, and especially red grapefruit, which are the result of a sport mutation (you know, the kind that creationists say can’t happen). Matt covered this much better than I — but you surely know of most of these species.

    As to the petrified trees in Yellowstone that are buried standing up: Yes, but they are buried in volcanic ash, not mud or water.

    Worse for creationists, it’s not just one forest that is so buried. There are several different stands — and even worse, in one case there is a forest buried, soil that developed on top of it, another forest which grew in that soil, and then that second forest was buried by volcanic ash.

    In a few cases (not all), where the by-then-stone trees grow up through many annual layers, the evidence indicates the forest was buried in ash, the trees petrified, and then the ash was eroded away; the layers of sediment then were deposited where the ash had been. Generally, in the Yellowstone Caldera, most of the layers are punctuated by new volcanic eruptions. No flood. Millions of years. Clear explanation for anyone who makes a basic study of geology and then sees the trees.

    I gather you’ve never been there yourself, right? You should go.

    The only reason there is “tension” between science and a minority of Christian cultists is because the creationists choose to deny the evidence God’s creation presents. Then they yell loudly that they should be able to teach that folderol to innocent children. Jesus said “suffer the children,” not “make the children suffer.” They’re bad at English, too.

  20. NWPRodigal

    Ed,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    However, what sound did a Auroch make? Cow = domesticated cow!
    Mustard family = Rapeseed, Canola, etc. (no evolution, these have existed simultaneously and are lumped together because they are similar)

    And, of course grapefruit = red grapefruit.

    None are new vegetables or animals. Just a different variety. The first and last examples did not occur naturally, but through cultivation and breeding by humans. Unless you consider that evolution!?

    As for the petrified trees; I won’t contest that since I haven’t been there myself.

    In fact, since you guys are obviously intelligent enough to figure these things out for yourselves, I will not waste my time trying to prove anything that you don’t want proven. I’m obviously not an expert at it, but I agree with Paul when he says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    (Romans 1:18-21 ESV)

    Only God can change your hearts to believe in Him. I pray He will see a spark of honesty and let you see more clearly that He is the great designer. Everything we need comes from outside the body. Therefore everything we need is supplied to us by a generous God who is not willing that you be deceived and perish. But, he will give up you eventually.

  21. Ed,

    It seems that you don’t believe the Bible is inspired. From where do you derive your ‘Christianity’?

  22. What? What’s going on here?

  23. I was running down Matt’s list of new species to understand what he’s talking about, and there are two very interesting things happening in the articles I found which attempt to substatiate the claims he is making.

    The first is that there is a distinct move toward dividing the genetic definition of “species” from the biological definition of “species”. Exhibit “A” there would be this pdf document.

    The second interesting factoid is that with this trend, the distinction between “hybrid” and “species” is being blurred. Also evident in the literature is a trend which applies experimental results in plant hybrids to any living thing in spite of the fact that animal hybridizations turns out to be more complicated than plant crossings — especially from the genetic standpoint.

    Last, the most interesting attempt to endorse the idea of experimental speciation comes from a set of experiments where two populations of like fruitflies are bread in separate colonies on distictly-different diets — and 8 generations later they will not breed with each other. This is an interesting way to think of evolution — because these results do not indicate that the flies were genetically unable to mate: it indicates they were not attracted to each other through the normal fruitfly mating triggers.

    If that’s the direction of the definition of species by science, I think there’s a big problem on the horizon for science.

  24. None are new vegetables or animals. Just a different variety. The first and last examples did not occur naturally, but through cultivation and breeding by humans. Unless you consider that evolution!?

    What did you expect evolution to do? You can’t say evolution doesn’t work because it doesn’t provide a Warner Bros. cartoon style of changes. You asked for evolution of new forms — if I had not told you radishes and broccoli were related, you would not have guessed.

    And, grapefruit appears to be a natural innovation; there is no record of anyone breeding it. The red grapefruit was completely spontaneous, as I indicated before: A sport mutation. No cultivation or breeding by humans to get it.

    If it’s not evolution, what would you call it? By your definition, I suppose, you believe chimpanzees to be cousins, and not a different species?

  25. Romans 1:20: ” For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”

    Well, there you go: God has made evolution plain, and creationists deny it.

  26. The Bible is inspired scripture. It’s not a science text. Whatever would make anyone think differently?

  27. Ed,

    I’m sorry, I got the idea that maybe you didn’t believe the Bible to be inspired since you never quoted from it. The fact is, you can’t use the Bible to support your claims of evolution because it is so explicitly ‘Creationist’.
    Romans 1:19, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them,” doesn’t prove evolution. It proves the existence of God. You would understand that if you had read the verse for what it says. It says that we can know that there is a God because His existence is plainly seen from His Creation.
    Instead, we have explicitly stated in Genesis 1 that God created everything in six days. One of my heroes, the late Meredith Kline, attempted to take a different view of the first couple of chapters of Genesis to allow for evolution. The problem is, when we do that, the rest of Scripture makes no sense. The whole rest of Scripture, which was written by men who were inspired by God, assumes the six day creation, especially the special creation of man in God’s image. Christianity is founded upon this fact. God created the first man from the ground, the first man sinned, all his descendants are sinners by birth, therefore, we need a Christ, which is, by the way, exactly what is promised right after the fall of Adam.

    Now the two facts of the inspiration of Scripture and the fallen nature of humanity make me wonder why we would rather believe God rather than man? In other words, God is omniscient and sinful man is the enemy of God. Man suppresses the truth, but God reveals the truth. So, I’ve got this presupposition that says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.”

    Which translates into this discussion like this…No, the Bible is not a science book. It’s not a history book. It’s not a geography book. and it’s not a math book. But do I accept the historical sections of the Bible as factual, or depend upon fallible man to tell me my facts? Do I believe that the people who wrote the book knew more about their own geography than modern archaeologists? Do I believe David knew how to count, or that the writer of 1 Samuel knew how to measure the height of Goliath, or do I believe the guy who wasn’t there and hates God? Do I believe that the God who inspired the book knows more about the world He has created than the scientific minds of humans?

    That’s not to say that I just ignore modern science. I don’t go running to my Bible if my son asks me the nuclear number of ______ is. Most likely I go to my computer, get on the internet, and find the answer from a scientist. But if I have an infallible source of information at my disposal, and this infallible source explicitly says that God created in six days, and then this infallible source just assumed that fact for the rest of it’s information, shouldn’t I believe the infallible source?

  28. Bad

    Frank Turk: I think you might have a misconception about how evolutionary change works: it isn’t a process by which one thing turns into something different. It’s a process by which a given form diversifies into sub-groups. As I recently noted, some of the things creationists object to in evolution are actually accurate in ways they don’t quite appreciate.

    pilgrim: “Evolutionists–in general–will look for explanations that don’t involve creation ofr God–and I have read works where they admit that”

    Then you misunderstood: scientists look for testable explanations: things that can be put to the test of evidence. “God did it by magic that left no evidence” is not a testable explanation, so it’s useless as science. You could say that about ANYTHING, and hence it explains nothing.

  29. Jeremy,

    The Bible is infallible as to theology. Where it is the Word of God, it never misleads. Nowhere does the Bible claim to be infallible in all things. Nowhere does scripture claim we should take Genesis 1 as accurate over Genesis 2, or Job, or John, or any of the other creation stories in the Protestant or Catholic canon. You’re making claims for scripture which scripture just doesn’t make.

    If the 6-day creation story in Genesis is correct, I suppose the words God speaks in Job, describing the fight with the dragon and its ultimate defeat, are inaccurate? If that is your claim, then God is lying in Job, or at best telling a fiction. Saying the Bible is literal where it was never intended to be produces such conflicts. And producing such conflicts diminishes the glory of the scripture and detracts from the message of the text.

    For that matter, Genesis 1 conflicts with Genesis 2. Oh, yeah, there are Darbyists who argue the two can be reconciled — but that’s not the traditional interpretation of the scriptures. The Lilith story grows out of the recognized conflicts in those scriptures, and that story is thousands of years old. Can you tell me what prophet showed up in the 19th century to say that the traditional interpretation of scriptures is in error? If there is no such prophecy, why not stick with the understanding that each of the creation stories in scripture is theologically correct — God is the force behind creation (in the Genesis 1 mashup, even the creator of the things the Babylonians worshipped as gods), and God created out of love. What’s wrong with that message that we need to add to it or detract from it?

    Did I misquote Romans? No. It says that God lays out the evidence. In Christian tradition, we accept that the universe is another testament of God. It represents itself accurately, and when we study it, we can get close to seeing the fingerprints of God.

    Creation presents a powerful story of evolution in biology, and a long history of geological change for our planet. The stars, Sun, Moon, other planets and rocks of the Earth tell of great age, long creation periods, and a majestic creation that is awe-inspiring in every way — except being a quick, magical trick. If we accept, as Christianity urges, that God does not deceive, we are led to understand evolution in biology. That would be consistent with the theological message of the creation stories, too: God is the motivating force. Such an interpretation doesn’t require us to invent miracle after miracle to explain what otherwise appears as deceptions from God, according to the way some men claim we should interpret scripture.

    I’ll take God’s handiwork over Man’s invented stories any day.

    If the nuclear numbers of atoms are correct — and they are — some atoms provide clocks by which we can accurately measure the age of rocks, planets and stars. If you trust God to get the nuclear number right, why not trust God to get the rest of the story right, scientifically, too?

  30. Ed,

    I’ll direct you now to a series of posts I did about six months ago titled, Inspiration, In errancy, and the Internet Monk. You can find them here.

  31. They’re long posts, but I think you will benefit from them.

  32. Bad:

    What I find interesting is the evolution of the theory of evolution. When you guys have a theory that stabilizes in terms of what it says it describes, I think I’d be willing to take you a little more seriously.

    And before you get all “ig’nant fundie” on me, I’m a Christian who spent 27 years as an agnostic and atheist — and I couldn’t buy evolution then, 20 years ago. While evolution welds the door shut for most atheists, I always want to know whether they mean the distribution of allele frequencies (which is a statistical description of populations), or about the mechanism which causes the variations over time (because a math formula does not change any population), or if they are talking about something else like hybridization and the effects of environmental conditioning.

    Because when I say “intelligent design”, I am talking about something specific. Let’s hope you are, too.

  33. When you guys have a theory that stabilizes in terms of what it says it describes, I think I’d be willing to take you a little more seriously.

    Understanding of the theory has improved a lot — Darwin didn’t know about genes, though he noted something must exist that does the work genes do.

    I’m curious: What is it you think has changed in evolution theory since 1859? Why should it not be used to describe new things as they are discovered? Gravity is used to describe new phenomena about the cosmos as things are discovered — black holes, for example — and no one suggests that gravity theory is any the less reliable for describing new phenomena.

    Evolution is much better understood than gravity. One wonders what firm things anyone could hold to if not such solid theory.

  34. And, what, specifically do you mean by “intelligent design?” The “official word” from ID central in Seattle is that there is nothing specific about intelligent design, so it can’t be taught in schools. What do you know that the Discovery Institute does not?

  35. Who said God did anything by magic?
    Who said He left no evidence?

    I never did.

    God didn’t do anything by magic.

    And He left lots of evidence. I see some of it every day.

    Stop putting words in my mouth that I never said, or ever would say.

    Of course scientists look for testable explanations–or at least they should. I never said anything against scientists as a group. There are good and bad scientists–just like any other pursuit of man. And I am not defining good or bad scientists as to whether they believe in evolution or creation. There are scientists who have excellent credentials and have done amazing things that benefit mankind, and they also hold to evolution. There are others who fit that description who believe in creation. There are bad scientists of both sorts as well. This is not science vs religion.

    There are many scientists who are Christian and who believe in Creation, because of the evidence and scientific study.

  36. Dear Ed,

    Where does God speak about a fight with a dragon that results in it’s ultimate defeat?
    Are you talking about Revelation? If you are refering to Job chapters 40-41, God is describing what I believe to be a creature that no longer exists, but was truly a dragon.

    Why do you think almost every culture has a story about dragons that look like flying reptiles, breathe smoke and fire, and fly? From ancient China, where Marco Polo reported the emporer actually had living dragons that pulled carts during festival parades, to the Aztec and Mayan cultures whose renditions of dragons in stone and pottery mimic that of those from a country a half world away, dragon legends are everywhere!

    I disagree with the scholars who say God is making an exaggeration about Leviathan. I believe that just as there are fireflies, platypuses and giant squid who can flash through many colors in seconds, that God is speaking about a creature that existed. Even if it weren’t mentioned in the Bible, I’d believe it based on a dragon heritage shared with almost every culture just as the story of the flood is.

    Behemoth makes me think of a very large dinosaur, not a hippo, as some would suggest. Man and dinosaur co-existed at some time not that long ago. Wooly mammoths being found in Siberia, intact without becoming fossilzed, proves the ice age was pretty recent also. Maybe not to you, of course, but that’s beside the point. I believe the Bible is truth. You believe it is correct only in theology? Theology is based on how inerrant you consider all the details to be.

    I realize you are a big advocate of evolution, but it is hard for me to believe you have any beliefs outside of science. Belief in evolution says God didn’t do what His Word says He did. So, if that’s debatable, then what part of the Bible is true and which parts are fables? How can you tell, especially considering you think a monkey is your grandaddy and a primordial soup mixed with rocks is where it all began?

    Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

  37. That is a horrible, horrible misunderstanding of Evolution you’re espousing there, NWProdigal.

  38. The first is that there is a distinct move toward dividing the genetic definition of “species” from the biological definition of “species”. Exhibit “A” there would be this pdf document.

    The definition of “species” has been a serious issue at least since Linne. Part of the problem is the assumption — unwarranted, as it turns out — that there is little variation within a group called a species. When Darwin realized that species are not clustered around one “type” for the species, but instead vary dramatically from place to place and generation to generation, he had a rebuttal to one claim of Paley’s, that species are fixed. When Darwin realized that this variation is heritable — that is, that it can be passed on to the next generation — he was knocking at the door of discovering evolution.

    And you just realized there’s a problem there? That the problem exists at all is a refutation of creationism, which argues species don’t vary like that.>/b> As Darwin noted, the variation within a species is often greater than the variation between species. Life is a continuum, not neat, separated chunks.

    Most field biologists think the best definition of species is when two individuals cannot produce fertile young together — so that a mating of a horse and donkey indicates the two are separate species, since the mule is infertile, usually in both the jack and jenny.

    Genetics is a part of biology. You’re not talking two separate sciences, and you’re not really talking separate definitions — you’re confronting the problems of reality that refute creationism, and which are subjects of study in biology.

  39. Jeremy, am I wrong? Your series of posts just concludes that the Bible is right?

    In traditional Christianity — say, up to about 1750 — “infallible” scripture was considered correct theologically, and not intentionally misleading. But “infallible” did NOT mean that the history was exactly correct in any given story — especially since at various times there are different people writing from their own, quite distinct viewpoints of the same events — and not exactly correct when some obiter dicta conflicted with reality — such as the claim that Jesus saw the “four corners” of the world, an impossibility since the world is a globe. The statement is not intended to mean the world has four corners. Nor should we assume that Jesus was simply wrong about the botany when He said the mustard seed is the “least” of all the seeds, since it’s not the least in any way among seeds, and especially not if we count spores. Jesus wasn’t giving a lesson in botany. If one takes a botanical lesson out, one has abused scripture, really, since it was never intended to be a botany lesson.

    Sure, the Bible is infallible — about the faith. It’s still an abuse of scripture to stretch it past that boundary, and to insist it’s absolutely correct in all aspects when it mentions history, and especially science. Pi is not equal to 3, and that wasn’t the point of that verse. No mustard seed is the “least” among plants (or whatever diminutive your translation says). Bats are not birds. Insects have six legs, not four. Unicorns never existed. The Earth was not created before the Sun. Creation took longer than 144 hours — God doesn’t do slapdash work, and I’m offended you make that claim.

  40. When God speaks to Job (the chapters vary depending on the translation you’re using), God starts the conversation by reminding Job of God’s power. God starts out asking Job if he were there when God laid the foundations of the Earth (no). Then God goes on to discuss the great fight God had with the dragon that ruled the Earth, to see which would have power. Excuse me, but that’s not in Genesis. The story is truncated in most translations — it’s a story of a deity, Marduk in the best versions we have (“Marduk” is a another local dialect’s name for “God”) and a creation story in which God has to conquer a dragon in a great fight. There are a couple of different endings to the story; in one version, God slices up the dragon, and her body becomes the land upon which humans can live; in the more common version, God subdues the dragon, effectively tames or breaks her, puts a ring through her nose and hangs on to her as a symbol of God’s power, and to keep her to feed the righteous in the end times.

    You can say that creature no longer exists — but you’re not a prophet, so excuse me if I don’t follow your interpretation which clashes with 3,000 years of scriptural tradition. It doesn’t matter, really — in this creation story, there is no Adam, no Eve, no Eden. There is no six-day creation. And, just be sure you understand the impact to this argument: It is a story from the lips of God. Now, you can say the story the priests in Babylon wrote down, which became Genesis 1, is God’s Word. But you have put it up against the words Job recorded from the lips of God — you do believe Job got it right, don’t you? — and I think I’ll take God’s words over the words of the priests in Babylon. Especially, since we know those priests were in Babylon because they had been untrue to the covenant God had with them, shouldn’t we take God’s words over their words?

    You may fall back on tradition that calls the Torah the books of Moses. Great title. Moses didn’t write them. The scholars tell us that Genesis was not the first book written down as a scripture (oddly enough, that book was Amos — do the calendar math). Genesis 1, and Genesis 2, are not as old as Exodus or Deuteronomy. Tradition doesn’t get us around the fact that we have a radically different creation story in Job, from the lips of God, and you say it’s apostate.

    What’s a thinking, faithful Christian to do?

    Might it be possible that the message of the texts is in the fact that God created, and His motivations, and not in the methods described in any of the stories? If that was the case, the infallibility of the scriptures is preserved for each and every creation story and book in the canon.

    I like Job, and I don’t want to toss it. Same with John. If you insist that I must toss them to be a good Christian, I’ll shake the dust off my sandals and join the church in a different place. You’re not giving me good theology.

    And just to put a sharper point on it, according to many scholars, Leviathan is not the dragon God wrestled (her name was Tiamat); Leviathan is the Nile crocodile. Of course, the description is a bit fancy for a croc. It’s not a dinosaur, either (unless you regard crocodiles as dinosaurs; they are old, but not dinosaurs).

    Think about this: Job does not say, “Hey, wait a minute, God: What happened to Adam and Eve? Where is Eden in this story?” Instead, Job answers as if he knows this story and knows it to be true: “I know you can do all things, and that no purpose of your can be hindered.”

    If Genesis is an accurate description of creation, God lies to Job, and Job obsequiously lets the lie pass in order not to incur God’s wrath. If Genesis is correct as to the how of creation, God is a liar (as portrayed in Job), and Job merely a frightened minion.

    It’s at this point that most creationists start talking about how we can’t take Job literally.

    Now you’ve got the point. Use your head — Jesus came to take away our sins, not our minds — and think about how that principle should apply through all scripture. Why would that not apply to Genesis?

    Mammoths are mammals, by the way. Dinosaurs, in the classic sense, were gone 65 million years when the mammoths walked. The evidence humans and mammoths co-existed is strong — spear points in the carcasses, butchering marks on the bones — and there is not a shred of similar evidence for human coexistence with dinosaurs.

    I think it’s difficult to be a creationist and a Christian. Christianity takes on faith that God is the creator, and that creation itself is a second testament of God, closer to God’s Word than many of the words in the Bible simply because it’s unfiltered through humans (and untouched by councils with political agendas). Creationists elevate Genesis over the rest of scripture, dismiss the known and widely recognized conflicts between Genesis 1 and 2 in a fashion that makes most high school kids question their sanity and consequently the sanctity of scripture — and often creationists put up Genesis as an idol in place of God.

    How can we tell which scriptures are true? They are all good for study, we learn in the book of Timothy. Why do you doubt scripture? Why would anyone try to replace Timothy’s statement with a stronger claim? Anything beyond Timothy’s claim produces conflicts with other scripture than cannot be resolved inside Christian behaviors, and often produces conflicts with reality.

    Jesus didn’t come to urge we depart from reality. That’s not the message. Since creationism ultimately rejects more scripture than science ever thought to, since creationism requires a departure from reality, I must conclude that creationism is not what Christians should follow.

    Your mileage may vary — stay away from my kids if it does, and post a warning sticker so I won’t mistake you for a competent physician, farmer or researcher.

  41. NWProdigal

    Dear Ed,

    I didn’t even hint that a wooly mammoth was anything but a mammal!
    And you are positive Leviathan is a crocodile? I didn’t go so far as to say I was positive it referred to a dragon, but admitted that is what I see when I read “His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn. Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth. Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, and a flame comes forth from his mouth.” (Job 41:18-21 ESV)

    I simply don’t buy the claim that God was exagerrating. Why should He?
    If it didn’t exist He could easily have created such an animal to fit His representation.

    What version of the Bible ARE you reading, anyway?

    Marduk??? Tiamat??? Just because you buy into the Babylonian version of creation doesn’t mean Genesis wasn’t written by Moses. Most reputable scholars agree that he did write it. Moses wasn’t Babylonian, God doesn’t describe a fight with a dragon except in Revelation (I think you are getting your Alpha and Omega reversed), and Creationism rejects which scripture(s)??

    Actually Ed, I think you are very, very prone to rambling and not realizing it. Please tell me where you think Genesis 1 and 2 conflict? They aren’t exactly chronological you know. Actually I don’t know if I really want you to tell me…I don’t think I can help you here.

    You ask why I doubt scripture? I don’t and have never said anything like that. If anything, I take it much more literally than most. I fear, Ed, that you are deluded because you will not accept the whole Bible as God’s Word. I’m sure you were a big fan of the Jesus Seminar where junior “scholars” thought they were wise enough to determine, by voting using a colored bead system, which sayings of Jesus were believeable and which were not. They simply made a Jesus they could live with and rejected everything that conflicted with that. Of course, you are probably comfortable with that. I am not.

    Another suggestion, if I may: Please use actual scripture to buttress your references to it please? And be so kind as to advise us which version you are using. Thanks!

  42. Marduk??? Tiamat??? Just because you buy into the Babylonian version of creation doesn’t mean Genesis wasn’t written by Moses. Most reputable scholars agree that he did write it. Moses wasn’t Babylonian, God doesn’t describe a fight with a dragon except in Revelation (I think you are getting your Alpha and Omega reversed), and Creationism rejects which scripture(s)??

    I’d like to see some scholars who make the case that Moses wrote Genesis. It’s outside the command God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai (the command was to record the laws, not the history). There is no record of Genesis 1 prior to the Babylonian captivity; Genesis 1 details the Babyolonian creation story exactly (ancient science, that is), with the added twist that what the Babylonian’s called gods were created instead by the God of the Israelites. There are at least two different voices writing Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 — they don’t even use the same word for God. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a serious scholar argue that Moses actually wrote either one of them. Got a citation?

  43. I did use actual scripture. Astounding that you don’t know these stories.

  44. NWProdigal

    Ed,

    It’s astounding that you think I should know what you are talking about!
    What you state is not in the scripture I read and I use many versions.

    You deny Moses wrote the Pentateuch, which essentially means you pick and choose what parts of the scripture you wish to believe.

    Sorry, but I cannot debate someone who cannot use the same ground rules as to what sources we are trying to understand.

    As for citations about who wrote the Pentateuch? I refer you to check out http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_tora.htm. But, for me, the most authoritative reason to believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch is the words of Christ “And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? (Mark 12:26 ESV)

    That’s all the proof I need!

  45. It’s astounding that you think I should know what you are talking about!
    What you state is not in the scripture I read and I use many versions.

    No version of the Bible in the Christian tradition does not have the book of Job. Still astounded.

    You deny Moses wrote the Pentateuch, which essentially means you pick and choose what parts of the scripture you wish to believe.

    The only thing I’m contesting there is the claim that Moses wrote it all. I did not say one should ignore any part of it. You make amazingly gymnastic gyrations to leap to unwarranted conclusions. What in the world does authorship have to do with it? You reject the Torah unless it’s written by Moses? That would be contrary to the counsel in 2 Timothy.

    Sorry, but I cannot debate someone who cannot use the same ground rules as to what sources we are trying to understand.

    Nor can I. If you have no evidence, I refuse to grant it credence. If that’s a problem, it’s yours alone.

    As for citations about who wrote the Pentateuch? I refer you to check out http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_tora.htm. But, for me, the most authoritative reason to believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch is the words of Christ “And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? (Mark 12:26 ESV)

    That’s all the proof I need!

    That your standards of proof are so low is part of the problem, as I see it. Why shouldn’t Jesus call it the “Book of Moses,” since that’s how it is known in Judaic tradition? Would you expect Jesus to call it by some other name? Mentioning the book, as Jesus did, is not an affirmation that Moses wrote it. You stretch scripture to try to make it do things it is not intended to do. I find it difficult to discuss things with people who think a text doesn’t mean what it says.

  46. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a serious scholar argue that Moses actually wrote either of them.”

    What this usually means is that if the person making this sort of claim is shown work by a scholar who does make that argument they can’t be a serious scholar. I won’t say it always means that–but even if the person saying it doessn’t intend it that way it can often work that way in practice.

    It’s faulty argumentation.

  47. NWProdigal

    Once again, and for the last time, Ed:

    Where is this story about God fighting a dragon in the book of Job?

    And referring blithely to Genesis isn’t the same as quoting actual scripture, my friend.

    The reference I gave you was the first I came across that had opposing views, which I thought you’d appreciate as fair. Whatever…..I didn’t want to do all your work for you.

    I reject the idea that Moses didn’t write the books of the Law, because Jesus Christ affirmed that he did. That doesn’t mean I disagree with Paul’s advice to Timothy which I will assure you was based on Paul’s acceptance of the authorship of Moses. I only gave you one example where Christ affirmed Moses was the author of the “Law”. If you want more, please look it up in an accepted version of God’s Word.

  48. Once again, and for the last time, Ed:

    If only. Or else, what? I suppose I’ve been unfair — I’ve been treating you as most strip-quoting Christians treat me. My apologies. But as we see later in your post, I was probably justified in doing so. Alas.

    Where is this story about God fighting a dragon in the book of Job?

    Job 38: “Then the Lord addressed Job out of the storm . . .” (in both the NAB and NRSV — verses and chapters in the end of Job differ in some translations, I forget why). Over this chapter and through chapter 41 God describes creation. It’s a jumble of stories, most of which are not otherwise part of the Judaic canon. The specific language of Marduk’s fight with the dragon is largely left out, but starting at 40:25, with the reference to Leviathan, other than the name used what we have is almost verbatim from Canaanite stories the end of the fight — with the dragon’s description (too bold for a crocodile someone said — and you wondered about a dinosaur) sprinkled through the end of the chapter. In the Marduk/Tiamat story the dragon ends up “with a hook” in its mouth and its tongue “curb[ed] with a bit” (Job 41:25).

    I had thought with the earlier references to dragons you were familiar. My apologies.

    And referring blithely to Genesis isn’t the same as quoting actual scripture, my friend.

    Well, my friend, referring blithely to anything in the NT isn’t quoting scripture, either. I thought your references plain, though misquotings. Stay close to a mirror on this criticism of me, will you?

    The reference I gave you was the first I came across that had opposing views, which I thought you’d appreciate as fair. Whatever…..I didn’t want to do all your work for you.

    Nor will I do yours. I resent the holier-than-every-other-Christian viewpoint that dismisses most Biblical scholarship, particularly the modern stuff that is aided by science. I’m well aware that tradition says the first five books of the Bible are the Mosaic books. You should be well aware that, even in tradition, in the Talmud and other discussions, the fact that Moses could not have been the author is readily acknowledged. Genesis 1 was reduced to a writing in about the 6th century BC, during or shortly after the Babylonian captivity. That the creation story there is an exact parallel of the Babylonian creation story, that the seven-day nature parallels the seven-day festival of creation of the Babylonians, should pack a lot of weight in determining whether the book is for the glory of God or merely a science text. I do not know of any scholar who claims the story is from the lips of God, or from the hand of God, or anything more than what 2 Timothy tells us: Inspired. Creationists go way beyond the sanction found in 2 Timothy, “blithely” as you put it. Those claims are unjustified, unwarranted, and lead to error especially when they are held up as opposed to God’s creation in authority.

    I reject the idea that Moses didn’t write the books of the Law, because Jesus Christ affirmed that he did.

    There you go again with those blithe references (citation? — oh, no, that’s just for me, because you don’t grant credence to others’ claims as you expect yours to have automatically — don’t react to the apparent snark, but pay attention to what I’m saying; you’ve got a double standard on references there). Jesus did not “affirm” Moses wrote Genesis (which technically is not a book of the Law). Jesus called some scripture, generally, the “Book of Moses.” You are aware, I hope, that the canon as we have it was not then assembled in the form we have it. We cannot say with any authority that Jesus meant anything other than a general reference to go look in the scriptures known as the Book of Moses. To read into that statement that Jesus affirmed their veracity, authorship and authority is reading much more than can be justified into a short phrase a librarian or an orator uses to point to a body of knowledge. Jesus made an allusion to literature. Such references do not vouch for authorship or authority.

    Let me be clear: Jesus was not talking about who wrote what. Here’s the passage in most of its context (NIV):

    18Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19″Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. 20Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

    24Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

    These verses address the issue of resurrection, or life after death. Nowhere is there a question about who wrote the book, and to claim that Jesus’s statement goes beyond the issue Jesus was addressing is particularly mendacious.

    I’ll let Jesus get away with it, but not you. No offense, but you’re not Jesus. Jesus’s statement goes beyond the scriptures He’s probably referring to (Jesus doesn’t list chapter and verse, ever — Jesus does not commit the modern sin of “proof texting”). Here’s what I mean. In the verses I cited above, Jesus concludes that God is the God of the living only, not the dead — and since God claimed to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to Moses, and since those three were long dead physically in Moses’s time, Jesus concludes that God means Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive at that time, which means they must have been resurrected.

    That is not in the text. Jesus probably was referring to Exodus 3:

    1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

    4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
    And Moses said, “Here I am.”

    5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

    7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

    As all can see in those passages there is no mention of God’s ministry to living or dead, no mention of resurrection.

    Now, I mention this specifically because this is exactly what happens in Job. When God describes creation, there is no six-day creation (with one day of rest), there is no order of creation that corresponds to anything in either Genesis account, there is no Adam, no Eve, no creation of a woman from dust or mud or rib, no Eden, no naming of animals — it’s clearly not the account from Genesis. If Genesis is the foundation of the faith, surely Job would have noticed that. But when God delivers this account that you don’t put stock in (which is why you challenge me to list where the dragon is, ignoring all the other inconsistencies which you don’t even think about, let alone count and catalog), Job does not protest. Job does not say, as your interpretation would justify: “Hey, you-who-claims-to-be God: That’s not the account of creation from my God. Justify yourself.” This could be because even the most faithful man loses his faith and perspective when a voice speaks out of a whirlwind — but that would nullify the entire point of the story of Job’s faithfulness through thick and thin. Rational thinkers might conclude that the non-Genesis story of creation God relates to Job is the one Job knows as true and accurate, and therefore is the true and accurate version; or they might conclude that the creation stories throughout the Bible are not scientific, blue-print versions of how God did it. The former conclusion means Genesis is wrong, and by your account, all justification for your agnosticism is gone; the latter conclusion allows us to understand that the Bible is not a science text, that the creation stories are literature with a point other than telling us that Darwin was in error.

    After all, as I noted, the creation account in Job is from the lips of God, according to the story.

    But you keep harping on literal interpretations: Understand that literal interpretations means much of the Bible itself is in error; that squares not at all with what 2 Timothy tells us.

    And if you claim that Job is “poetic,” parable, “not translated correctly according to the now lost autographs” or in any other way not literal, in order to keep Genesis as your preferred creation account, then excuse me while I shake the dust off my sandals and move on.

    That doesn’t mean I disagree with Paul’s advice to Timothy which I will assure you was based on Paul’s acceptance of the authorship of Moses.

    I don’t want your assurances. Got a scriptural citation? No, I don’t believe you do.

    I only gave you one example where Christ affirmed Moses was the author of the “Law”. If you want more, please look it up in an accepted version of God’s Word.

    Which version is “an accepted version?” Who gets to decide which scripture is “acceptable?” Why should we trust people who pick and choose which parts of God’s Word to “accept?” (I’ll wager your Bible doesn’t include the Book of Esther, nor the Book of Baruch; do you know why?) I have quoted to you from the KJV, from the NIV, from the NAB, from the NRSV — and, incidentally, none of them makes the claims you do about a literal interpretation of Genesis over all other scripture, or at all. None. Which of those versions do you allow as “accepted?”

    Let me invite you to read 2 Timothy 3 — in any version, “accepted” or not:

    10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    That last sentence is the one upon which most who argue for a literal interpretation hang their case. Read it well — it does not say that any part of the Bible is directly from God. It does not say that the entire Bible is infallible. It does not say any part of the Bible is infallible. “God-breathed” is this translation’s wording, other versions say “inspired.” No version says “God-dicated.” No translation of this verse says “infallible.” And salient to this discussion, no translation even gets close to saying “Genesis is the preferred creation story over all the others in scripture, and, by the way, this is a science text, too (forget about what Romans 1 says).”

    Jesus no more affirmed Moses as the author than Job affirmed the non-Genesis creation story with vague references to a dragon. And while Jesus would have had the authority to do so, and Job may not have, Jesus didn’t do it, while the very fabric of the story of Job demands that Job, the paragon of faith in the face of adversity, repudiate the non-Eden story, if Genesis were indeed the preferred version.

    Don’t lecture me about “accepted version of God’s Word.” That’s for God to decide, and for us to discern. Accepting everything some nice guy says from a pulpit is not the discernment required, even if the guy has a well-viewed television ministry.

    Creationism is not central to Christianity, and in its requirements that we ignore reality departs from the ways of Wisdom, and in its insistence on elevating Genesis to idol status is a rejection of too much scripture for my taste. IMHO, creationism is counter to Christian belief.

    Plus it makes crabby those who advocate it, and that make me crabby. The fruits of creationism tell us to avoid it.

  49. I said: “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a serious scholar argue that Moses actually wrote either of them.”

    Pilgrim said:

    What this usually means is that if the person making this sort of claim is shown work by a scholar who does make that argument they can’t be a serious scholar. I won’t say it always means that–but even if the person saying it doessn’t intend it that way it can often work that way in practice.

    It’s faulty argumentation.

    I’m pointing out that claims that Moses wrote all five of the books have been disputed, with scripture, for more than 2,500 years, and probably as long as Judaism has been out of Egypt. It’s clear Moses didn’t write the account of his funeral, for starters, and since there is no way to separate that account from the rest, we need to use our brains about this matter.

    The best accounts we have of the history of Genesis 1 places its being reduced to paper to the 8th century BCE at the absolute earliest, but more likely during the Babylonian captivity. Now, one doesn’t have to be much of a Bible scholar to figure out that Moses, who died before the Israelites passed over into Canaan (now Israel), was probably not around hundreds of years later to write it down. (As a pragmatic matter, the text does not appear in anything prior to the writing of the Book of Amos, which was the first book to be written down in a form corresponding to the modern canon.) So we have some difficulty in making a claim that Moses wrote it down, when he would have had to have been resurrected to do so — and somebody probably would have noticed that, resurrections being a pretty big deal.

    Claiming “that’s faulty argumentation” is almost always shorthand for “I have absolutely no way to contradict that; I know of no scholars who support my criticism.”

  50. Thanks, Pilgrim.

    Your critique of my posting is guilty of fallacies 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 12 and 17. Especially and most importantly, you fall victim to fallacy 19, the burden of proof.

    One fallacy not listed there is the failure to make a prima facie case — though you may wish to argue that is part of the burden of proof. Have you got any evidence, anything to back up your claims? No.

    Another fallacy not listed is what we can term a “Scout Law” fallacy. In arguing these issues, one should be trustworthy, the first point of the Scout Law. One should not make claims for scripture that scripture does not make — such as a claim that it is infallible, or a claim that Genesis is scientifically correct, or that without Genesis, all of Christianity falls. None of those claims is really very rational, and none of them comply with Christian tradition or scripture.

    Was that what you wanted to show me?

  51. Let’s see, all I did was post that you were guilty of faulty reasoning and that’s guilty of all those fallacies?

    Huh? How?
    I pointed out a fallacy you used–primarily #17 from that list (also 3 & 4 to a degree), and somehow that is guilty of all those?

    All the evidence I need for the only claim I made is quoted by me from your post.
    You argued that you know of no serious scholar who doesn’t believe what you believe–that’s at least # 3, 4 & 17 on that list.

    My case is closed.

  52. NWProdigal

    Ed, I give up.

    I have searched the scriptures and no where do I see the same things you do. No dragon in Job 38. Either I am deluded, or you are. Since you use the example of Christ’s answer to the Saducees concerning the resurrection to say that the Patriarchs are already resurrected I’ll refer you to your error, per the Apostle Paul:
    “who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened.” (2 Timothy 2:18 ESV)

    Jesus was only using scripture to prove His point, that there will be a resurrection. Of course, as you must know, He didn’t use chapter and verse because that is only a very recent introduction to scripture. I see no purpose in continuing this debate, because you refuse to acknowledge what Christ makes very clear: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. (John 5:46 ESV) What perchance is He speaking of?

    I believe most honest people concur that Geneis 3:15 refers to Christ. I will not debate you or any of the modern scholars who wish to infer that Jesus didn’t mean what He said or that we should rethink what we believe. I simply believe that God’s word is what He has preserved for us over the last 3,500 years beginning with the Pentateuch and ending with Revelation. I am very aware that the Bible, as we know it, is not chronoligcally arranged, but it agrees with itself consistently.

    You accuse me of things I didn’t say or infer, then forget to credit me with the things I did say. I would list these, but there seems to be no point in my taking the trouble. It is very confusing to try and follow your train(s) of thought. I’m sure that this admission will not elevate your opinion of me, but frankly I am past caring what you think about me, God, or whether we should follow the wisdom of men (modern scholars) vs. the words of Christ. I am not a KJO advocate; I prefer the NASV and ESV and appreciate the contributions that textual criticism have brought to our understanding of origins and cultural influences. But, when this criticism goes to the point of attributing Genesis to Babylonian priests and making reference to things that don’t exist in traditional scripture, it has gone too far.

    Wes, in the Creationism discussion satisfactorily rebutted you with scripture, I believe. If one cannot determine what they believe based on God’s Word alone, then why even pretend to believe any of it?

    I am done trying to reason with you sir, and I wish you only light from God. If I am wrong, I certainly wish the same for myself.

  53. NWProdigal, I give up.

    I have searched the scriptures, even the Catholic version with the extra few books, and I can find absolutely nothing that says Genesis should be considered science. There is nothing that says we could get an accurate estimate of the age of the Earth by counting the begats, and Bishop Ussher warns us that he knew of an error at least at least 400 years big, which he thought might be considerably larger. No science in Genesis, and the conflicts between Genesis 1 and 2, ensconced and discussed as they are in the Talmud in writings more than 2,000 years old, tell me that the conflicts are there even though you deny them. There’s nothing anywhere in scripture that says either of those versions is right — or wrong.

    If I misspoke about resurrection, it’s no matter — the scriptures Jesus referred to ALSO DO NOT SAY that the prophets are living; if they are not resurrected, they are dead. You seem to think this is no problem, but since resurrection occurs from the dead, then Jesus must be lying, by your account that the prophets were not resurrected. Or, perhaps you are Catholic, and you’re arguing that they were in Limbo?

    We in the evolution discussion satisfactorily rebutted you with scripture, but you refuse to recognize Creation as being done by God, and being of God and true. That’s not so much a religious issue as one for your counselor and maybe psychiatrist. But I do note that you grant no credence to any scripture you disagree with, while telling me I pick and choose. Amazing power of denial.

    That you are unaware of the archaeological evidence on the origins of Genesis doesn’t make it untrue – and I didn’t say Babylonian priests wrote Genesis (you could easily have missed it; I assumed you knew that the Israelites were in Babylon at the time), but that we can trace its origin firmly to that time. It’s fascinating that lacking all evidence to support your claim it was written by Moses (not even Moses makes such a claim), you stick by it. Again, this is a departure from reality I find difficult in discussion.

    Traditional scripture? You invoke creationism, which did not exist prior to 1824, and you accuse me of violating tradition? Wow.

    If one claims that every word in scripture is God’s Word despite the many warnings in scripture that such a claim is not so, then why pretend you disbelieve anything in print, anywhere?

    I hope you’ll seek the enlightenment you think I think you might need.

    If you think this is about you and whether I care about you, you missed the point.

  54. Wes

    Ed,

    Found this on your article “More Latin You should know”. (It was the opening line.)

    “Oh, I admit it. Sometimes I troll the blogosphere looking for provocation. And sometimes my trolling nets turn up good stuff.”

    Discourse based on ego is seldom productive, or instructive, as it is rooted in the carnal mind.

    Since you are a self-described troll, I will no longer “feed the trolls.”

    Too bad… if you were interested in sincere conversation, it may have been interesting.

  55. NWProdigal

    Thanks Wes… for taking the time to track this one down.

    I noticed from a previous search that Ed was BIG on evolution, especially an advocate to have it taught in schools. I just couldn’t rationalize his logic.

    BTW, Ed. If you are checking, this is my last comment on this topic :>

  56. Tell you what, Wes: You ignore Latin, your ego will be protected.

    If you were interested in sincere conversation and real science, you wouldn’t be taking things wholly out of context.

    You don’t know the difference between “a troll” and trolling, do you.

    Big on the truth. Bigger on keeping creationists from polluting the faith. God is not a deceiver, and no one should be allowed to teach children that God is.

  57. Wes

    1) Trolling = looking for fish etc.
    2) looking for provocation = behaviour of ‘trolls’.

    (see, I DO understand the difference, my mistake was in thinking you could, too.)

    You make assumptions about my character, as well as what I do / do not ignore.

    Your willingness to comment on what you THINK you know about me only underscores your tendancy to mischaracterize those you do not agree with. (This is further evidenced by the language used in your blog.)

    This sort of pride, and intellectual dishonesty is not the basis of constructive conversation.

    (Pride, because those who do not disagree with you are “stupid” or worse. I suspect you realize that holding one’s own convictions as a means of measuring the intellect of others is foolish. My ability to find an idiot that agrees with you neither affirms or disproves your intelligence. Neither is it an accurate measure of the validity of your argument.)

    Genesis states that each organism produces after its own kind. (This is an elementary biological claim, which obviously predates Punnet Squares and the naming of genus and species).

    Macro-evolution (yes, I understand the difference) runs contrary to the scientific experiment which disproved the theory of “Spontaneous Generation”. Micro-evolution, — ie: adaptations within a species — are readily accepted as a normal biological process by most who accept the Creation account.

    You claim I have difficulties with science. I find no disagreement between science and my Creator, so long as science does not project its assumptions about Him into its theories. Or, similarily, use assumptions about His nature, to rule out Divine agency simply because they prefer (emotionally, not factually) a materialist explanation for Nature’s existance.

    Feel free, however, to keep building your straw men, as I no longer have an interest in refuting you.

  58. Intellectual dishonesty? I’m not the one claiming evolution doesn’t work.

    If you had refutation, I suspect you’d have interest. Instead, you’re finding bizarre reasons on other issues to claim I am unworthy of your concern.

    You’re right, we’re not discussing. But I am not the one who started snarking with erroneous assumptions about the other. I merely point out that I look for things to make me think on the internet (“provocation”). I suppose you don’t look for things that make you think, which is why you can’t state evolution theory accurately, and why you oppose as somehow incorrect a theory that we use to cure cancer and treat diabetes — two things Jesus would do. By the fruits of evolution, we know its good. Reject it at your own peril.

  59. NWProdigal

    Very well said, and refuted Wes!

    I suspect reasoning with Ed is very much like running and changing ones socks at the same time.

    Placing evolution into the same spectrum as theology is ludicrous. It may be something we disagree on, but understanding HOW God created everything is not a requirement for salvation, as Ed seems to think. Denying that God’s word means what it says and doubting that it IS the word of God falls into a totally different area of responsibility.

  60. I suspect reasoning with Ed is very much like running and changing ones socks at the same time.

    And I suspect that’s just how you think reasoning works. In any case, you have a wonderful justiciation for never changing your socks, don’t you? People who do illogical things to get to illogical conclusions won’t be reasoned away from those conclusions.

    It may be something we disagree on, but understanding HOW God created everything is not a requirement for salvation, as Ed seems to think.

    I see, you’re misunderstanding things by 180 degrees. You’re the one defending creationism, not me. It’s no requirement for salvation, and most Christians don’t care, except when they get cancer or an infectious disease. There are no creationists in the cancer and infectious disease wards.

    Denying that God’s word means what it says and doubting that it IS the word of God falls into a totally different area of responsibility.

    Right! Doubting creation is foolish. Creation demonstrates evolution, some fool claims the Bible disagrees. A rational, faithful Christian would dismiss the creationist.

  61. He’s wrong. He gives evolution much unearned credit. And, no, I don’t think he speaks for God. Neither do I or you. God doesn’t really need anybody to help Him prove He is.

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