Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Mar 20 2007 - 14:49:33 EDT

Message1st, I said nothing about a "village" - a minor error but an interesting 1 coming from someone so concerned about precision.

2d, the Bible often uses the singular to speak in a collective sense about a group. 1 example is when Amos (7:2 & 3) says "How can Jacob stand? He is so small!" when he's talking about the nation of Israel. That's connected with the idea of Jacob as the ancestor of Israel & the Hebrew idea of "corporate personality." I don't know that the author of Gen.2 had that concept in mind - accomodation is again relevant - but this shows that this is not outside the range of biblical usage.

3d, as usual Glenn makes the claim that what isn't historical or scientific narrative is untrue - a purely philosophical statement which is neither history nor science. The Cretan liar anyone?

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Glenn Morton
  Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:30 AM
  Subject: RE: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

  This will be my last post before unsubscribing.

  This thread started when I posted Collins observation that TE's don't confront the secular society out of fear of what their colleagues would say. The thread then devolved into the usual dispute about whether or not the Bible tells us anything real about history/ miracles or theology and how do we determine that. If we TE's hold that the miracles aren't real, that the history isn't real, that all is kabbalistic symbolism and theology, then no wonder we are reticent to confront secular scientists--we have nothing to offer them that they would want--and we know it.

  One of the interesting things I noticed was that there is a difference between interpretation of the Bible and re-writing of the Bible. I will pick on George, who offered his village as the site of the original sin. It requires re-writing the Bible, not interpreting it. The difference between interpreting and re-writing is an extremely important distinction. One must change the words from singular to plural. But there is a huge problem going this direction. In science, when we make up the data, we face a huge penalty for doing so. In deed, we get fired.

  Consider the Jan Hendrik Schon case. This young physicist was the author on a paper every 8 days in 2001, and claimed to have created a molecular scale transistor. But when someone noted that two different experiments, conducted at different temperatures had the identical noise, suspicions were aroused.

  The committee investigating him said found him guilty on 16 of 24 allegations of scientific fraud

  "They found that whole data sets were reused in a number of different experiments. They also found that some of his graphs, which purportedly had been plotted from experimental data, had instead been produced using mathematical functions."

  What about Cyril Burt? He apparently made up two of his collaborators and the error bars on multiple tests are identical to the 3rd decimal place.

  Now, if we denigrate making up the data when it comes to one half of the science/theology issue and rightfully would call for the heads of our scientific colleagues who manufacture or falsify the data, do we have an ethical right to ignore it when we do it on the theology side?

  We say we want to change society, but won't our scientific colleagues, with whom we work closely see through the fact that we are changing what the Bible says in order to make it say what we want it to say? Will they find that any more ethical? How can we tell them that they should believe the Bible is true based upon making the Bible say what it clearly doesn't say? Schon couldn't get away with saying that his conclusions are correct even though the data doesn't say what he says it does. So, why do we get to do this in theology? Yeah, I am just an ignorant scientist who doesn't really know theology, but doesn't theology teach us that we should be truthful about the data? And doesn't the data of the Bible have ONE man and ONE woman, not a village of sinners? Doesn't the Bible say miracles happened? What right do we have to re-write it to say the miracles didn't happen?

  One other thing we TE's can't offer to our atheistic colleagues and get away with it. This is the claim that what is false is to be deeply revered. Science is about rooting out falsehoods, matching the observational data. When we claim the Bible is historically/factually false in large portions of it, and then offer it as THE way to heaven, we all know in our hearts that our colleagues would laugh at us. So, my view of why TE's don't confront atheism and the secularization of society once again agrees with Collins reason--we fear their reaction to the lunatic conflation of illogic and falisty we offer.

  If a scientist were to suddenly start talking about phlogiston, admitting that it wasn't true, but that it was deeply meaningful and contained the meaning of life, our scientific colleagues would bundle us off the the padded cell where we could get in touch with our inner phlogiston. Yet this is precisely what we do and may at the root be why we are fearful of telling our colleagues how wrong they are to be atheists. We have nothing REAL to offer them.

  Here is Collins' quote again

  "While many scientists ascribe to TE, they are in general reluctant to speak out for fear of negative reaction from their scientific peers, or perhaps for fear of criticism from the theological community." Francis Collins, The Language of God, (New York: Free Press, 2006), p. 202

  In this thread, one has seen the criticism of the theological community for anyone who wants reality in their cup of tea. If I didn't want reality in my explanations of reality, I would be chewing peyote buttons somewhere in Northern Mexico. If we didn't want to know reality, why did we become scientists? And once scientists, why on earth do we settle for data falsification and illogic where it comes to theology? Are we like the school boy who, seeing that there are no teachers around to catch us, settle for reading Cliff Notes rather than the book--a cheap immitation of reality?

  I have to go to work now, but I will end this with my second favorite quotation from Tipler.

        "This advance of atheism can be documented in the history of twentieth-century biology. The Cornell historian of biology William B. Provine has pointed out that in the 1920s many, probably most, evolutionists were religious. At that time Darwinian evolution theory was in eclipse, having been temporarily replaced by the hypothesis of a purposive force which was evolving life toward more complexity. The dean of the American evolutionists, Henry Osborn, head of the American Museum of Natural History, called this force 'aristogenesis'; the French philosopher Henri Bergson called it elan vital; the French evolutionist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called it 'radial energy.' The terms were different but the evolutionary mechanism was the same: there was a nonphysical cosmic force guiding evolution. The existence of such a force was the consensus belief of evolutionists in the 1920s, and it was a small step to identify the force with God.

        "The consensus opinion returned to Darwinism in the 1930s and 1940s with the development of the Modern Synthesis, which invokes nonpurposive mechanisms-natural selection, random genetic drift, mutation, migration, and geographic isolation--to account for evolution. Organisms are created by blind deterministic mechanisms combined with others that are effectively random. (Here, I might add, is another example of science returning to a previously rejected theory. A return for which I am glad, since the Omega Point Theory presupposes the truth of the Modern Synthesis; indeed its truth is essential for the free will model developed in Chapter V.) By the end of the 1940s, all trace of God had been eliminated from evolutionary biology.

        "Provine remarks, 'My observation is that the great majority of modern evolutionary biologists are atheists or something very close to that. Yet prominent atheistic or agnostic scientists publically deny that there is any conflict between science and religion. Rather than simple intellectual dishonesty, this position is pragmatic. In the United States, elected members of Congress al proclaim to be religious; many scientists believe that funding for science might suffer if the atheistic implications of modern science were widely understood.' Provine's opinion is confirmed by Steven Weinberg's 1987 congressional testimony asking for money to build the SSC, a $10 billion device to be constructed in Texas. (Funding has since been cut off.) A congressman asked Weinberg if the SSC would enable us to find God, and Weinberg declined to answer. But eventually the atheistic implications of modern science will be understood by the general public, who will themselves become atheists. The majority of Western Europeans and a large minority of Americans have already become effective atheists: they rarely if ever go to any church, and a belief in God plays no role in their daily lives. The evidence is clear and unequivocal: if scientists have no need of the God hypothesis, neither will anyone else. Were theologians to succeed in their attempt to strictly separate science and religion, they would kill religion. Theology simply must become a branch of physics if it is to survive. That even theologians are slowly becoming effective atheists has been documented by the American philosopher Thomas Sheehan." ~ Frank J. Tipler, The Physics of Immortality, (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 9-10

  For those who wonder why I do this, truth is precious and too easily tarnished. If I can't live my life with the same rules at work as I have on Sunday, then I will change to one set or the other. What I see, is that we TE's have two sets of rules for what is truth, and we use our ad hoc picker and chooser to maintain two inconsistent views of truth. And because of that, we won't confront secular society and we become an irrelevant group of people as far as the culture is concerned.

  Let's drink to our irrelevancy!

  Carib, I will tell you when I start my debating with the atheists. My radiation ends Tomorrow, I want a week to get to feeling better (indeed, I shouldn't have done this debate feeling the way I do).

  They're Here: The Pathway Papers
  Foundation, Fall, and Flood
  Adam, Apes and Anthropology

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Received on Tue Mar 20 13:50:26 2007

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