Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Response to a Comment

I like Jeremy’s comments. They really make me think and I always look forward to considering what he has to say (btw, he‘s one heck of a singer as well).

His latest comment was particularly interesting and my response is too long to put in the comment section, so here we go...

Jeremy writes:
Forthekids wrote:
"ID is something that all people of faith should embrace...I simply cannot understand why people of faith are so adamant to reject it".

Well, here is one of several reasons why I reject ID:

It is clear that many ID supporters are looking to science to validate their personal faith in God. In my view, this desire for scientific validation unnecessarily blurs the distinction between science and faith as two separate ways of understanding our world. Even worse, it encourages the subordination of faith to science because it makes science the ultimate authority in establishing the validity of faith.
I’m glad you brought this up, Jeremy. This is where our views differ considerably, and it’s still a bit unclear as to whether you completely understand my position.

I don’t “look to science to validate my faith”. For me, God comes first...“thou shalt have no other gods before me”.

Obvious to most, there had to be a first cause to our existence. Hence, everything we explore in our world can be viewed through the lens of what this creator had in mind for us and in turn what our purpose is within it’s creation.

Blind faith opens the door to anything. Blind faith will set a person square in the hands of an atheist agenda. Scientists who oppose those who believe there was a designer love the concept of “faith“.

From the Wired article I mentioned in a previous post:
The most active defender of faith among scientists right now is Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project. His most recent book is called The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. In defiance of the title, Collins never attempts to show that science offers evidence for belief. Rather, he argues only that nothing in science prohibits belief. Unsolved problems in diverse fields, along with a skepticism about knowledge in general, are used to demonstrate that a deity might not be impossible. The problem with this, for defenders of faith, is that they've implicitly accepted science as the arbiter of what is real. This leaves the atheists with the upper hand.[my emphasis]

This is very true, Jeremy. Theist evolutionists are merely opening up the door to atheism. They are quite willing to allow for a complete “distinction between science and faith as two separate ways of understanding our world“. When science and theology converge or butt heads, theistic evolutionists will side with science every time. At that point they will always fall back on the idea that science and faith are two separate issues. This is nonsensical in my opinion.

I’ve read Ken Miller and Francis Collins' books, and they stand firmly with the consensus of the ~scientific community~ on every matter. Yet, they state that whereas many scientists reject a creator, they hold fast to their faith in God.


That’s the question I keep waiting for them to answer. Maybe some day they will write a book that gives us detail and insight as to ~why~ they have faith in God, and why choose Christianity in particular? From where I’m standing, they laud scientists who clearly reject God and seem to state that science trumps any belief in scripture or any other theological arguments.

If theistic evolutionists want us to embrace their views that science and faith are “two separate ways of understanding the world”, they will have to give us a better understanding of how this works and why they believe in God if those in the scientific world (who’s science they agree with) reject a Designer when discussions of origins converge between theology and science.

You wrote:
I know that you think your faith can be scientifically justified, but basing one's faith on "scientific" arguments only makes science, instead of God, the object of your faith. It essentially leads to a form of scientism, the belief that science alone has the power to establish ultimate truth. In my opinion, this is dangerous for both science and faith.

Here is where you are still misunderstanding me. Science cannot become the “object of my faith” or give the “power to establish ultimate truth”. Science is a tool in which to uncover the inner workings of the universe God created.

When discussing origins, both science and religious beliefs rely on “faith”. For instance, Dawkins states that science ~will~ find answers to describe the origin of the universe in purely physical terms, and he believes those answer are just around the corner. This type of supposition if referred to as ~faith~. Faith in science. Faith is not only found in theological suppositions, but in scientific ones as well.

You wrote:
Faith in God requires people to have hope, even in the face of evidence that might leave others hopeless. To truly be a "person of faith" requires courage in the face of doubt, not certitude.

So real faith is to believe in something that has been proven to be wrong by scientific evidence? In other words, the creator has set up a world in which His Word is in opposition to the world He created in order for us to have to rely strictly on faith in Him. How would one choose who or what to believe in terms of a Creator if the creator is tricking us at every turn? Why consider any particular religious belief at all? I would think that in this light, the only choice would be a form of deism.

After considering the insight which the Bible provides, I can no longer support the notion of some vague form of deism.

Personally, I believe that scripture provides tremendous insight into our creation and the creator. There are themes and threads that run throughout that cannot be reconciled as mere thoughts of man.

But, in the end I, like all people of various religious beliefs or non-beliefs, find that our faith is a variable in which we come to our conclusions about the world. I choose to put my faith in God and His Word. I don’t believe that “science alone has the power to establish ultimate truth“. I believe that men use a tool which they refer to as science in which they explore our surroundings which were established by the ultimate Designer.

There cannot be “two separate ways to view the world”. There can be only ~one way~ in which our universe was brought into existence. There cannot be two separate ways in which to view the world, because that clearly makes one of those ways incorrect.

One can make a choice between the two or consider the incredible way in which they overlap and support one another. The choice lies within each person as to where they are going to place their faith. And, it is a choice that everyone should be allowed to make based on all available evidence. I have no intention of ever insisting that Dawkins form of faith be relinquished from scientific thought, yet on the other hand I believe that IDists should have their clearly ~scientific~ inferences shared with students as well. Lay it all out on the table, don't teach science dogmatically.

Mike Hall and PZ Myer

Okay....wow....this is an interesting article. I remember reading PZ Myer's screed about Mike Adams lecturing at the University of Minnesota. Myer's choice of adjectives are always so colorful and they really say something about the man uttering them, and highlight his intolerance of opinions in opposition of his own.

Anyway, I like Mike’s ending comment:
But it is a shame that Dr. Myer lacked the courage to ask me a single question. I certainly had a couple to ask of him. And I’ll bet the audience would have liked to hear him explain how an evolutionist who deems the universe to be accidental can be so full of moral superiority. Or perhaps how the accidental moralist can be an atheist and yet so angry at God.

It takes courage for a man to admit that he is sometimes afraid. But that courage is not a gift of random mutation. It is a gift from a God who loves even the most hardened atheist.[my emphasis]


I'm feeling particularly witchy today, so perhaps I'll spend a little extra time peering into my witches brew in order to seek some answers for Jeremy's latest comments.

Stay tuned...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Too many philosophers

I stumbled across this link today, and contemplated how many times I’ve heard the same type of philosophical arguments posed to discredit the reality that there is a supreme being which created our very existence.

These type of philosophical arguments are apparently considered “sophisticated” and tend to be postulated by those who are “enlightened” or have acquired an impressive “intellectual” ability to understand these matters. Apparently this acquired intellect surpasses those of us who are still apparently archaic in our approach in questioning whether there is a supernatural force which has designed the universe in a purposeful manner.

My approach is to let these philosophers argue themselves in circles while I consider the evidence for and against the accuracy of scripture and then compare that with religious history and holy books from other religions. Simple, perhaps, but I recognize that truth does exist and there can only be one “right” answer as to how we arrived at where we are today. Either there is a designer of the cosmos or there is not. We cannot know who or what the designer is by considering scientific arguments so we must consider historical accounts and discern which, if any, religious avenues lead down the correct path to who or what designed our universe.

I’ve heard some people say they have no want to search for evidence for something they feel is a faith driven belief. Well, they are missing out on a fascinating journey.

From the link:
Special pleading that the universe is essentially different from its constituents, and (by nature of its unique status as all that there is to the physical world) that it could not have either (1) just existed forever, nor (2) come spontaneously into existence all by itself, is groundless. The only sensible response such skepticism is “Why not?” It’s certainly true that we don’t yet know whether the universe is eternal or whether it had a beginning, and we certainly don’t understand the details of its origin. But there is absolutely no obstacle to our eventually figuring those things out, given what we already understand about physics. General relativity asserts that spacetime itself is dynamical; it can change with time, and potentially even be created from nothing, in a way that is fundamentally different from the Newtonian conception (much less the Aristotelian). And quantum mechanics describes the universe in terms of a wavefunction that assigns amplitudes to any of an infinite number of possibilities, including — crucially — spontaneous transitions, unforced by any cause. We don’t yet know how to describe the origin of the universe in purely physical terms, but someday we will — physicists are working on the problem every day. [my emphasis]
“The only sensible response to such skepticism is “Why not?””


Atheists always attest to their strong reasoning skills, but is it truly reasonable to believe that something originated from nothing?

Personally, I think it’s all quite simple. Either someone created something out of nothing, or no one created something out of nothing. What’s that song? “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could“. To attain something from nothing is simply not a reasonable deduction.

I think for many non-believers, their non-belief stems from their inability to deal with a God who allows pain and suffering. The other reason is due to what the author of the post linked above states:
And once you start attributing to God the possibility of being interested in some way about the world and the people in it, you open the door to all of the nonsensical rules and regulations governing real human behavior that tend to accompany any particular manifestation of religious belief, from criminalizing abortion to hiding women’s faces to closing down the liquor stores on Sunday.
It’s difficult for some to think about having to answer to their creator. Live and let live is their motto and for some reason they believe that living a godly life will cramp their style. I’ve found that to be a false assumption. I lived ~my way~ long enough to know that following His way is far more rewarding.

But, the bottom line for me is this... I have no problem with the Dawkins and Harris’ of the world proselytizing in the public square. But, their skepticism is based on faith, not deductive reasoning. We should not have to subject our students to only one view of origins in the science classroom. ID is a viable inference and should be acknowledged as such. I’m convinced the only reason ID is not accepted is due to unwarranted fear of separation of church and state issues.

So, yeah, I’ll remain quite content in my “unsophisticated” world, rather than becoming so “enlightened” that my ability to reason is no longer intact.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Another Atheist Evangelist

Sam Harris is the topic of a Washington Post article. Like Richard Dawkins, Harris is definitely an atheist evangelist. His two latest books, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation have landed on the best sellers list. The thing that really shocks me about these two individuals is that they display the bigotry, hatred and intolerance that they seem to blame religious communities for. Do they really believe that if we were to eliminate belief in God, that war and hatred would cease? They seem to be lacking logic. Are they aware that there are gang fights happening all over the nation on a daily basis which the majority of time have nothing to do with religion whatsoever?

From the article:
Harris has grossly oversimplified scripture, they say. He has drawn far-reaching conclusions based on the beliefs of radicals. As bad, his stand against organized religion is so unconditional that it's akin to the intolerance he claims he is fighting. If there is such a thing as a secular fundamentalist, they contend, Harris is it. Even some who agree with his conclusions about the dangers of fanaticism find his argument ham-handed.
Exactly. I have to wonder what his intention is when he writes and says the things he does. Obviously, he wants everyone to turn away from God, but what then? Three-quarters of all Americans believe the Bible is God’s word, and religious groups have done a tremendous amount of good for people throughout the world. I have to wonder if Sam is living in denial that the word of God can provide extreme comfort to those who accept the truth of scripture?

...not only has Harris picked a fight with those who could be on his side, but his solution -- let's all ditch God -- is laughable given the role that religion plays in so many lives. Others say that he has taken these "Old Books" at their literal word, instead of studying the way that the faithful actually engage the scriptures. Put more simply, he doesn't know what he's talking about.
I’d certainly agree with that. I watch Dawkins and Harris get agitated with people who believe in God and biblical truth. They pull verse after verse from the Bible out of context and with no regard to the meaning of the passages or to the time they were written within the biblical narrative and what they mean to the book as a whole. It shocks me that people follow guys like this.

I often wonder just what it is that makes people so determined to reject something so solidly supported by evidence before giving it thorough consideration. Religious belief is not something that one must accept on blind faith, and I believe that questions about who or what our creator is are the most important questions a person can ever ask. Why don’t people take it more seriously and examine the evidence for various faiths? Is there one that stands out as having more supporting evidence?

"Religion doesn't make people bigots," says Reza Aslan, author of "No God but God," a history of Islam. "People are bigots and they use religion to justify their ideology."
Amen to that, and some atheists I know are every bit as bigoted as they claim people of religion are.

"I'm an agnostic," he says, after getting an autograph, "but I found what Harris said kind of juvenile. By discounting all religion the way he does, that's basically like saying, 'All of you are idiots.' I feel like he ought to extend some kind of olive branch. Otherwise there is nothing to talk about."
That is another thing that hurts these very outspoken atheists. They seem to think that even though they are in the minority, everyone around them who believes in God is simply ignorant or delusional. I’m afraid that is highly improbable.

This gets back to the question of Intelligent Design. Do we let the Dawkins/Harris crowd run over our students with their misguided and ill informed agenda to eliminate religion altogether, or do we stand our ground and allow our students the chance to consider a Designer? ID is something that all people of faith should embrace. The design inference is by far the best inference we have when considering human origins. I simply cannot understand why people of faith are so adamant to reject it.

Quinn/Dawkins transcript

Here is the transcript of the interview with Quinn and Dawkins on the Ryan Tubridy Show.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I have officially had enough of the negative campaigning

I'm afraid if I hear or read one more campaign add, I'm going to become physically ill. And, if I hear anything more about stem cell research or abortion, I'm going to scream loud enough that I will be heard for miles.

I will now don my "politics suck" t-shirt until elections are over...

'Politics SUCK, I'm a disgruntled voter and I approve this message.'

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Okay, I’ll admit that I have a serious love for these new energy drinks on the market....my favorite being the Monster drink.

But, check out this new one. It’s called Cocaine. What in the world were the makers of this drink thinking??? I guess it’s already been pulled from the shelves of 7-Elevens.

I mean look at that can! The word Cocaine is spelled out in what looks like lines of white powder, and it's marketed as “the legal alternative“. This just seems wrong on so many levels.

Evidently the caffeine content is off the charts. Some of these energy drinks simply cannot be good for us.

Man, I need to find another crutch to keep me awake during the day. Perhaps more sleep versus staying up all night blogging might do the trick?

Is an “exodus” from public schools wise?

Last week, I ran across this article from the Christian Newswire.

From the article:
The call for an “exodus” from the public schools continues to build momentum within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

...The Exit Strategy Resolution is based on Dr. Albert Mohler’s recommendation in a 2005 op-ed article that, in light of the spiritual, moral, and academic decay in the government schools, Southern Baptists develop an exit strategy from the public schools. Dr. Mohler is President of the SBC’s flagship seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, and is also one of the SBC’s leading theologians.
Hmmm...my first thought was that I’m not sure this is the best idea. There are many very good public schools, yet I understand the concern that at some schools, we are seeing spiritual, moral and academic decay, especially at the university level.

My fear is that if Christians start pulling their children out of the public schools to send them to private schools, we may be causing an even more daunting division between those of various worldviews. It seems as though this would display an elitist attitude. But, the alternative is to throw our lambs out to the wolves and hope they survive.

I feel very strongly that students who are subjected to evolution as a basis for our existence along with secular religion and philosophy of religion classes are being set up for disaster.

Most religion classes at public universities are taught by agnostics in order to ensure that no particular ideology is imposed on the students (as if agnosticism or atheism isn't an ideology itself). KU is a classic example of this. We are all aware of the Mirecki episode. If you are not familiar with this fiasco, please read the link carefully.

Mirecki commented that:
But the religious-studies department may not be the healthiest environment for any kind of retreat: “The majority of my colleagues here in the dept[ment] are agnostics or atheists, or they just don’t care,” Mirecki wrote in explaining, correctly, that it wasn’t the job of the department to make converts. “If any of [the other professors] are theists, it hasn’t been obvious to me in the 15 years I've been here.”
So, our students are taught that all religions have similar concepts and that they all boil down to mythical beliefs held by various groups of people for whatever reasons. I took one of those courses in college and it made quite an impact, but that’s another story.

From the Christian newswire:
Anyone who thinks that a few hours of youth group and church will have more influence on a child's faith and worldview than 40 to 50 hours a week of public school classes, activities, and homework is simply not being honest with himself.
This is true, and that is why it is vitally important to teach our kids not only ~what~ we believe, but ~why~ we believe it. If we send our kids off to college without giving them evidence and reasons why we believe what we do, then there is a good chance that they will graduate from college and reject their Christian faith at the same time. We base our Christian beliefs on faith, but the basis for our faith is based on facts that can and, in my opinion, should be investigated.

For examples of this, start your kids out with Lee Strobel’s, "The Case for Christ, student edition". Then show them the DVD of Strobel’s "Case for a Creator". Before sending them off to college, have them read Frank Turek and Norm Geisler’s, "I Don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist".

Frank Muncaster has written a series of booklets, titled "Examine the Evidence". These booklets lay out the reasons why the Christian faith is based upon facts. Information regarding biblical manuscript reliability, along with archeological, prophetical, statistical, and historical data supporting biblical facts are provided. Josh McDowell’s A Ready Defense is also an excellent source. There are many more along these lines, but those mentioned above provide a great starting point.

Parents also need to become more active in their church life (vs. being a Sunday morning church goer), and encourage their kids to become involved in activities and biblical instruction so that they are equipped to answer questions when non-believers question their faith.

If we work hard within our churches to equip our children with the answers to the questions coming from non-believers, perhaps we’ll find that our children are persuading the non-believers toward faith in Christ rather than the opposite occurring.

[Yikes, after writing those last few paragraphs, I’m mildly concerned that Richard Dawkins is going to send out the secret atheist police to put a stop to my attempt to teach my children the truth.]

From the Christian newswire:
Roger Moran states, “Although changing the hearts and minds of people is often a slow process, attitudes about how we educate our children are changing within Southern Baptist life. Increasingly we are recognizing that if we are going to profess the name of Christ, then our lives should be a testimony to authentic Biblical Christianity. Yet, how can we expect our children to have that testimony when they are “trained up” in secular public schools to have a secular mindset that excludes the acknowledgement of God and the Word of God at every point?
We need to work harder at equipping our kids with answers. After all, isn’t our calling to spread the good word to all nations? Our children have a marvelous opportunity to do that during their school hours, and by that I don’t mean handing out Bibles and shoving their beliefs down their friend's throats. I mean through their attitudes and the way they live, and when they are asked about their faith or their faith is being questioned in class, they can speak with conviction about the truth that they find in scripture.

Hopefully, our kids will be the persuaders versus the ones being persuaded to reject their faith, though it doesn’t always work that way. One word....prayer.

Email from a reasonable Kansan

I received an interesting e-mail from a fellow reasonable Kansan the other day. I was given permission to post it below. The email was in response to this post and the comments that followed.

Excellent FTK,

We should give you the recognition Drudge has received for changing people's perception and incorporate it into the new media since the old media has done such an abominable job.

In regards to Jeremy's repeated position that he reiterates on his 7:02 response:

"And, again, I contend that we have a difference in definition. It is not “new” information that is added, but information that has been granted success from pre-existing elements. Nothing new has been added."

And when that gene copy mutates, then what? You have a gene that did not previously exist, one that can potentially produce a novel protein. This is one way that evolution of new traits can occur."
Are those “new” traits actually greater complexity that would permit an organism foresight to develop techniques to protect them from new environmental hazards? Many environmental hazards have a history of occurring quickly. We have a pre-existing genetic capability to withstand a certain amount of change in conditions (like up to 8 degrees change in body temperature), but can we evolve to cope with extreme conditions? I'd find it interesting to break down how much science can be applied to their belief. Jeremy does list symbiotic transfer among his descriptors, but be aware that other evolutionists say there isn’t much chance in what many of the evolutionists claim as enough genetic variation to bring about macroevolution—Margulis and Sagan, in their book, Acquiring Genomes, argue from a evolution position that only through symbiotic exchange of genetic information in soil microbes could you possibly get enough exchange of genetic information to bring about the changes that has to occur in order for evolution to proceed. They also state, p. 28,
That Darwin invented, in the end, a Lamarckian explanation—his "pangenesis" hypothesis to explain how heritable variations arise—tends to be forgotten, as described in Mayr's book (1982). By his reckoning, "gemules," theoretical particles borne by all living beings and subject to experience during the lifetime of their bearers, send representatives into the offspring of the next generation. Darwin's view, scarcely distinguishable from Lamarck's, was absolutely a statement for "the inheritance of acquired characteristics." Ultimately, however, Darwin equivocated on where these "sports," "mutants," or "heritable variants" came from. He simply did not know.

Going a bit further with terms, when saying no “new” genetic information, one could say no “greater complexity” genetic information is added to the genome, because like Jeremy says, they can show that genes mutate and recombine, but I have yet to find any evidence that the genes have recombined to form greater complexity to enable an organism to speak or acquire a conscience. There isn't science empirically documenting this kind of complex reformatting of genetic information, however, reading Jeremy and Jack’s comments makes me think that they think that since science can empirically show mutations, recombination of genes, and lateral gene transfer, it should be permitted to hypothetically deduct complex reformatting of genetic information. I didn’t bookmark it well enough to return to it now, but when I looked this up a year or two ago, there were evolutionists claiming hypothetical-deductive science several hundreds of years ago opposing empiricists Bacon, Kepler, and Newton. And how should science treat the empirical evidence of a frog maintaining its DNA for as long as frogs have lived and the empirical data on DNA polymerase, DinB DNA polymerase, and the corrective function of what was earlier thought of as “junk” DNA.

The question we all ask is how did the complexity we have today, come about? Do we defer to the science textbook or do we include other sources to answer the question. The problem with science today, they have convinced themselves that we are not endowed with unalienable rights from our Creator as it states in our Declaration of Independence and Newt so succinctly points out in his new book—that is what makes us American—we’ll end up giving up our rights when we no longer have: We the People—forming (a more perfect union) government that gets its’ authority from God. So we in America are left with a big question, do we subject our future to science or do we subject our future to God? The left-wing media and too many Republicans and especially Democrats, don’t want to subject our future to God, and that is why sitcoms, news stories, and too many other venues support gay rights, Darwinism, abortion, relinquishing family authority, and other God deleting practices to gain ground in our culture—and if you take a stand against these practices—you get politically tarred and feathered.

What’s really been working on me is the consciousness and awareness of God that this country was known for and now it is rapidly trying to erase that consciousness and awareness—and what better way to erase all that than to believe that we came from a primordial slime that didn’t need a God to breathe life into it.

You taking those guys to task on making Kansas sound like a hick state because of the misinformation was awesome and you should be recognized as new media for this country.

Thanks again and have a great day,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sebelius is at it again...

From an article in today’s Topeka Capital Journal:

The candidates also disagree on whether the State Board of Education should retain its power of education policy, with Sebelius saying again Monday that she would support a change.

The governor said the current school board isn't accountable to taxpayers, parents and business leaders. Its 10 members are elected and pick a commissioner to run the department of education.

"Frankly it has become somewhat of an embarrassment as I travel across the country. People often know about the work of our school board -- and they don't think very highly about it. It is not very good economic development," she said. "I'd like to see a school board that works more closely with the Legislature."
She means she would like the board under the complete control of a liberal governor. Many people think very highly of our school board, but others have had the wool pulled over their eyes by the media. If the truth regarding the issues the board votes on were circulating throughout the state versus the misinformation being pushed by the media, the Governor would hear more praise for the board's actions.

Barnett, a state senator from Emporia, said he would make some changes to the board, including giving it an odd, rather than even, number of members to avoid tie votes. But he said he supports the current system and doesn't want to disenfranchise Kansans any further on the issue of education.

"I do not support taking the right to vote away from people, and to me this is a fundamental issue," Barnett said. "We may or may not like some of the discussions, some of the decisions, but the system works."
Thank goodness someone is using the good sense God gave him. Kansans should have a vote as to who they want making decisions on issues concerning their children’s education. We should not have that right taken away! This type of decision is something that would make me really consider whether my kids belong in a public school. I have always supported public schools, but I want a vote in what and how my kids are being taught.

Sebelius has criticized the board of education's conservative majority for drafting science standards last year seen as anti-evolution.
UGH!!! They are not anti-evolution. Many of them feel molecule to man is questionable (Darwinian evolution) and should be critically analyzed, but they certainly did not take the theory out of the standards. What on earth is it going to take to get the truth to Kansas citizens? It just seems hopeless.

Sebelius has said she will propose a constitutional amendment to allow the governor to appoint a secretary to oversee the department of education and make the 10-member board advisory.
I cannot believe that she wants to take away our right to vote as to who we, as parents, want running our state board of education. Unbelievable.

I have to wonder what the liberals will think of this idea when a conservative governor is again appointed to office, or God forbid, an ID sympathizer!!! Yikes.

Wired magazine: Battle of the New Atheism

Care to take a peek at what the leaders of the atheist fundamentalist movement have to say about religion?

I find it fascinating that atheism is making such a strong push to get people to stand up against religion at the same time that there is such a strong debate regarding evolution and intelligent design in this country.

Supporters of evolution keep trying to reassure me that evolution is not the basis for atheist beliefs, yet everywhere I turn, major players in the atheist movement are using science and evolution to try to negate all religious belief.

If we have atheist apologetics being played out in the science class, shouldn't we give equal time to religious apologetics?

In the article, Dawkins is quoted as suggesting that:
"Highly intelligent people are mostly atheists," he says. "Not a single member of either house of Congress admits to being an atheist. It just doesn't add up. Either they're stupid, or they're lying. And have they got a motive for lying? Of course they've got a motive! Everybody knows that an atheist can't get elected."
Is this guy for real??!

He also says:
"How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?" Dawkins asks. "It's one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?"
????? Is he suggesting that the government should get involved when it is confirmed that parents are instructing their children in various religious beliefs? Should one notify the Gestapo, or what? I’m sorry, but this guy is downright scary.

The author of the article (who is also an atheist/strong agnostic) comments that:
While frontline warriors against creationism are busy reassuring parents and legislators that teaching Darwin's theory does not undermine the possibility of religious devotion, Dawkins is openly agreeing with the most stubborn fundamentalists that evolution must lead to atheism. I tell Dawkins what he already knows: He is making life harder for his friends.
No kidding. Though some of us already know that “secular” schools don’t always mean secular. They mean agnostic or even atheistic. It's fine to mention religion as long as it's taught as myth. Our kids come out of the universities brainwashed that religion has no meaning and random chance evolutionary explanations account for our existence.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Is the title of this book for real????

Darwin Loves you, written by George Levine.

From amazon.com:
His main premise is that a close reading of Darwin disproves Max Weber's contention that a "rational scientific" outlook "expels meaning and value from the world." Levine argues persuasively that an understanding of Darwinism can lead to a secular enchantment of the sort experienced by Darwin himself as he worked to make sense of the world around him: "an attitude of awe and love toward the multiple forms of life" in all their extraordinary diversity. Enchantment of this type, Levine explains, is no less important or meaningful than enchantment arising from religion.[my emphasis]
Good grief, I wish Darwinists would make up their mind. Is Darwinian evolution the basis for a type of humanist religion, or not??

Is it sinful to look for evidence of design?

Denise O’Leary provides the links to a few reviews of Richard Dawkin’s book, The God Delusion, over at Uncommon Descent.

She made an interesting comment at the conclusion, which I must say I tend to agree with:

If I were Microsoft billionaire Charles Simonyi (an atheist who funded Dawkins’ chair at Oxford), I would try to get Dawkins to retire, in favor of a mild-mannered science prof who holds down a pew at the local tabernacle and is firmly convinced that we sin when we look for evidence of God’s work in the universe. To be truly faithful, we must ignore evidence in favour of blind faith. Such a scientist would do far more than Dawkins to limit the growth of ID, because he makes it a positive sin among religious believers to wonder whether the heavens really do declare the glory of the Lord.
I often wonder why a person who believes that there is more to our existence than mere chance would not support the Intelligent Design movement. The majority of people in this world believe that a Designer had a hand in the creation of the universe. Why then is there so much animosity toward Intelligent Design?

I’ve heard various responses to this question, and some Christians have even told me that we cannot detect design in nature. That statement goes against biblical scripture which states that, "The Heavens declare the glory of God". His fingerprints are everywhere.

Some claim that evolution is God’s creative mechanism. Yet the theory of ID does not invalidate the theory of evolution. Certainly, there are many in the ID camp who believe that molecule to man is a fallacy, but the theory itself does not negate even Darwinian evolution.

Unlike Dawkins, who is very outspoken about his atheism, Eugenie Scott has recognized what O’Leary is alluding to in her quote above. In an earlier entry, I pointed out Scott’s statement during an interview:
"I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!"
She puts this idea to good use. I’ve seen her at presentations alongside preachers and Jesus Seminar advocates telling the flocks that evolution doesn’t go against biblical teaching and then the Jesus Seminar folks will follow up with their idea that Jesus was not a deity and was never meant to be considered as such. They state that Christ was a mere man, and that the supposed resurrection was merely an analogy of something that gives our Christian lives meaning. They basically reject the good news of the gospel, yet claim to be Christians.

I’ve just started reading Eugenie Scott’s book, Not in our Classrooms, which she has recently written along with Glenn Branch. Reverend Barry W. Lynn wrote the forward for the book. I have to wonder whether she considers this gentleman a “Clergyman with a backward collar”.

In his foreword, he states that...

“Intelligent design represents a religious viewpoint, but this does not mean that all leaders of the faith community support it; in fact, many do not see any conflict between the evidence for evolution and their own theological views about divine purpose in the universe.”
I very much disagree with this statement. The theory of ID, in and of itself, does not represent any particular religious viewpoint. Intelligent Design states that "it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than by unguided processes."

The theory has religious ~implications~ in that it could be assumed that the "designer" is a god of some type, or it could also support the idea that aliens created our particular universe through natural means. ID does not play favorites, nor does it attempt to describe or put a name to the Designer. That is something best left to theologians, not scientists.

So it’s not the theory itself that has some of these clergymen up in arms, it’s that they feel their philosophical and theological positions are being questioned and they don’t care for that. Hence, they fight the ID movement and instead of looking at what the theory actually says, they focus on what they feel is an attack on their evolutionary beliefs.

Anyway, Eugenie’s on the right track in her goal to squash ID. If she can convince those of religion to follow her footsteps, she furthers her humanist/atheistic goal which is:

...to defend and promote metaphysical naturalism, the view that our natural world is all that there is, a closed system in no need of an explanation and sufficient unto itself.”
The Humanist Manifesto III also professes that:
“Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.”
These statements are based as strongly on faith as any religious belief may be.

I have no idea why anti-religious philosophical positions are given free reign in the classroom, but support for Design is completely rejected. Even Dawkins, a strong atheist, states that the universe gives the "illusion of design". Follow the evidence where it leads, Dawkins. I thought that was what science was all about.

But, between the two of them, I would certainly state that Scott is more of a threat to Intelligent Design, and religion for that matter, than Dawkins is. Dawkins is so vocal about his atheism and his hatred toward religion that he actually hurts science. Scott on the other hand often works within the church to further her cause against Intelligent Design. Many churches have accepted her view of science, which in part is based on faith and inferences, to the extent that they have turned their backs on the truth of scripture because they feel that they can no longer hold their belief in God on anything more than blind faith. What a shame.

Facing the Giants

Several friends have mentioned that the film, Facing the Giants, relays an outstanding Christian message. It’s currently playing in theatres throughout the country.

From the film’s website:
From the award-winning producers of FLYWHEEL comes a new, action-packed, family-friendly drama about a high school football coach who draws up a new game plan for his team … and himself.

In his six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never had a winning season. Even the hope of a new season is squelched when the best player on his Shiloh Eagles decides to transfer schools. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, Coach Taylor has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure.

However, an unexpected challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, Coach Taylor and the Eagles discover how faith plays out on the field … and off.

With God, all things are possible …
My brother and his wife watched the film Friday night, and they enjoyed it so much that my brother took his four kids to see it the next day. They loved it as well. It sounds like it’s an uplifting family film. I can’t wait to see it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Christmas cards are just around the corner

I found an awesome Christmas card to send out this year. Check it out:

Matthew 2:9 is featured on the inside along with the words, "May the Maker of Heaven and Earth light your way this Christmas".

Even some of you theistic evolutionists can probably get away with this one. But, I’m thinkin’ you probably won’t want to order them from AIG.

Well, looky here...

Today’s Topeka Capital Journal Letters to the Editor section features a letter submitted by our Chairman of the Board of Education. Cool. Abrams let Governor Sebelius have it again.

I bet we’re going to have a long wait for that apology though.

Apology due

The governor owes the Kansas State Board of Education as well as the citizens of Kansas an apology.

Personal insults from this liberal governor are the only arguments she can make, due to the lack of her own accomplishments.

It is predictable to have differing political beliefs and policy beliefs. I expect a big government liberal like our governor to oppose conservative politics. But to infer that the State Board of Education is responsible for the lack of economic development in Kansas is laughable. The state board has authority regarding education policy and teacher accreditation, but none regarding economic development.

Trying to place her own lack of success in economic development on the state board by comparing us to Fred Phelps is another one of the governor's liberal red herrings, similar to her claiming on TV ads that she held the line on taxes.

To find the true reason for Kansas' comparative lack of economic development, she might look at the high growth rate in state employees, as well as the high tax structure in Kansas -- items that she has a direct influence upon.

Her demand to place the Kansas State Board of Education under the authority of a secretary of education, who would be on her staff, is nothing more than an unadulterated power grab from the voters by an elitist. But that is typical of an elitist, thinking they know better than the voters.

We on the board have differing visions about education in Kansas, but at least we have a vision. The governor has yet to talk about her vision for Kansas. She apparently prefers innuendo, name-calling, deflection of responsibility and an attempt for a power grab.

STEVE E. ABRAMS, chairman, Kansas State Board of Education Topeka
VERY WELL SAID! Abrams is an outstanding board chair, and Kansas has been very blessed to have him advocating for what is best for our children.

The New Seven Wonders of the World

This link provides the opportunity to participate in choosing the “New Seven Wonders of the World”.

Teachers could put this link to good use.

One of my favorites was Machu Picchu. Very cool.

Philosophy and theology in the science textbooks??

I just read an interesting article over at Uncommon Descent written by Gil Dodgen. The article gives special thanks to Casey Luskin (there’s that name again).

Anyway, check out what we can find in our biology textbooks:

“[E]volution works without either plan or purpose — Evolution is random and undirected.”

(Biology, by Kenneth R. Miller & Joseph S. Levine (1st ed., Prentice Hall, 1991), pg. 658; (3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 1995), pg. 658; (4th ed., Prentice Hall, 1998), pg. 658; emphasis in original.)

“Humans represent just one tiny, largely fortuitous, and late-arising twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life.”

(Stephen J Gould quoted in Biology, by Peter H Raven & George B Johnson (5th ed., McGraw Hill, 1999), pg 15; (6th ed., McGraw Hill, 2000), pg. 16.)

“By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous.”

(Evolutionary Biology, by Douglas J. Futuyma (3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc., 1998), p. 5.)

“Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless–a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us.”

(Biology: Discovering Life by Joseph S. Levine & Kenneth R. Miller (1st ed., D.C. Heath and Co., 1992), pg. 152; (2nd ed.. D.C. Heath and Co., 1994), p. 161; emphases in original.)

“Adopting this view of the world means accepting not only the processes of evolution, but also the view that the living world is constantly evolving, and that evolutionary change occurs without any ‘goals.’ The idea that evolution is not directed towards a final goal state has been more difficult for many people to accept than the process of evolution itself.”

(Life: The Science of Biology by William K. Purves, David Sadava, Gordon H. Orians, & H. Craig Keller, (6th ed., Sinauer; W.H. Freeman and Co., 2001), pg. 3.)

“The ‘blind’ watchmaker is natural selection. Natural selection is totally blind to the future. … Humans are fundamentally not exceptional because we came from the same evolutionary source as every other species. It is natural selection of selfish genes that has given us our bodies and brains … Natural selection is a bewilderingly simple idea. And yet what it explains is the whole of life, the diversity of life, the apparent design of life.”

(Richard Dawkins quoted in Biology by Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reese. & Lawrence G. Mitchell (5th ed., Addison Wesley Longman, 1999), pgs. 412-413.)

“Of course, no species has ‘chosen’ a strategy. Rather, its ancestors—little by little, generation after generation—merely wandered into a successful way of life through the action of random evolutionary forces …. Once pointed in a certain direction, a line of evolution survives only if the cosmic dice continues to roll in its favor. … [J]ust by chance, a wonderful diversity of life has developed during the billions of years in which organisms have been evolving on earth.”

(Biology by Burton S. Guttman (1st ed., McGraw Hill, 1999), pgs. 36-37.)

“It is difficult to avoid the speculation that Darwin, as has been the case with others, found the implications of his theory difficult to confront. … The real difficulty in accepting Darwin’s theory has always been that it seems to diminish our significance. Earlier, astronomy had made it clear that the earth is not the center of the solar universe, or even of our own solar system. Now the new biology asked us to accept the proposition that, like all other organisms, we too are the products of a random process that, as far as science can show, we are not created for any special purpose or as part of any universal design.”

(Invitation to Biology, by Helena Curtis & N. Sue Barnes(3rd ed., Worth, 1981), pgs. 474-475.)

“The advent of Darwinism posted even greater threats to religion by suggesting that biological relationship, including the origin of humans and of all species, could be explained by natural selection without the intervention of a god. Many felt that evolutionary randomness and uncertainty had replaced a deity having conscious, purposeful, human characteristics. The Darwinian view that evolution is a historical process and present-type organisms were not created spontaneously but formed in a succession of selective events that occurred in the past, contradicted the common religious view that there could be no design, biological or otherwise, without an intelligent designer. … The variability by which selection depends may be random, but adaptions are not; they arise because selection chooses and perfects only what is adaptive. In this scheme a god of design and purpose is not necessary. Neither religion nor science has irrevocably conquered. Religion has been bolstered by paternalistic social systems in which individuals depend on the beneficiences of those more powerful than they are, as well as the comforting idea that humanity was created in the image of a god to rule over the world and its creatures. Religion provided emotional solace … Nevertheless, faith in religious dogma has been eroded by natural explanations of its mysteries, by a deep understanding of the sources of human emotional needs, and by the recognition that ethics and morality can change among different societies and that acceptance of such values need not depend on religion.”

(Evolution by Monroe, W. Strickberger (3rd ed., Jones & Bartlett, 2000), pg. 70-71)

“Nothing consciously chooses what is selected. Nature is not a conscious agent who chooses what will be selected. … There is no long term goal, for nothing is involved that could conceive of a goal.”

(Evolution: An Introduction by Stephen C. Stearns & Rolf F. Hoeckstra, pg. 30 (2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2005).)

“[A]s E.O. Wilson puts it, a chicken is really the chicken genes’ way of making more copies of themselves. … [A]s an evolutionary biologist I believe that in some sense we exist solely to propagate the genes within us.”

(Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, by John Alcock, pgs 16, 609 (Sinauer Associates, Inc, 1998).)
Interesting...and they say Darwinian evolution doesn’t support a ~theological~ stance for atheism. Darwinian evolution is without a doubt a form of religion. The only difference is that the advocates of this religion claim to have no god. I’m not sure I agree with that, but I’ll keep those thoughts to myself.

What’s sad is that our students take this information to heart. Just the other day, a graduate student who describes herself as a "proud Darwinian Dawkobot", added her 2 cents in my comment section:

“Dawkins is advocating the ultimate overthrow of the final, unnecessary king-deity in a relationship that has become maladaptive to our species.”
It’s sad to watch what is happening to our youth.

Isn't it interesting that we allow this type of philosophy into our science classes, yet Darwinists feel it is inappropriate to mention the theory of Intelligent Design. ID, in and of itself, makes no religious claims whatsoever. There are obviously religious implications to the theory, but we certainly find religious implications within the theory of Darwinian evolution as well.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dawkins and Quinn debate the issues

Via the Discovery Institute, evidently Dawkins got creamed in a debate with David Quinn. The DI gives the link so that you can decide for yourself. I haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, but I’m certainly anxious to hear what they have to say.

Maybe Eugenie Scott is right in suggesting that evolutionists shouldn't debate IDists. They may just get handed their hat.

Let me know what you think of the debate...

Intelligent Design? NO!! -- Porn? YES!!


Here's what really kills me...

The Dover school board supported a 4-paragraph statement suggesting that Darwinian evolution be considered with a critical eye, and mentioned a book that gives insight to the theory of Intelligent Design. Mind you, they were not going to teach the kids anything in the class about Intelligent Design, nor did they remove evolution from the curriculum.

But, on the other hand, some states allow porn classes to be taught at the university level

Good grief...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Case for a Creator

I watched the DVD, The Case for a Creator, last night. It was outstanding.

There was a tremendous amount of scientific information relayed in this 60 minute flick. It was a nice change from the Darwinists tactics of late.

The Discovery Institute fellows are front and center providing us with amazing detail about Intelligent Design. Illustra Media puts together an awesome film, very eye-catching and educational.

Comparing this to Dawkins' spoof on The Colbert Report, I actually feel sorry for our university students. They love the comedy, but they aren't learning a thing. It's the same thing with the KU lecture series. Dawkins and Miller are providing lots of laughter, but the science being relayed is about nil. But, hey, they get a good laugh.

I sure hope Behe comes packed with some solid science rather than trying to be a comedian.

More negative and misleading coverage for Kansas

The Washington Post gives Kansas more negative and misleading coverage. Why am I not surprised?

The article makes this statement about Phil Kline:
His most controversial moves were subpoenaing the medical records of more than 80 women and girls who received abortions in 2003 and seeking to require health workers to report the sexual activities of girls under 16.
My goodness, it sounds awful in that context. But, why is Kline actually subpoenaing medical records?
Planned Parenthood of Indiana, under investigation by the Attorney General's Medical Fraud Unit, has denied investigators access to the medical records of 12- and 13-year-old child abuse victims. In Kansas, abortion clinics have failed to turn over court subpoenaed medical records to Attorney General Phill Klein's investigation of unreported child rape and illegal late term abortions. Child rape is a serious crime, and when a girl under 14 is pregnant, under Kansas law and Indiana law, she has been raped. And abortion clinics routinely cover up child rape as was previously proven by Life Dynamics.
Kline should be applauded not demonized.

They quote some interesting comments from Sebelius:
"These are people [former Republicans] who felt banished," Sebelius said in an interview before crowing to Democratic campaign workers: "We have some remarkable conversions. My favorite kind of revival is going to a place where someone says, 'I've been a Republican all my life, and I've seen the light.' " Sebelius, who has a solid lead over Republican challenger Jim Barnett, is the daughter-in-law of a Republican former member of Congress, and she likes to say the first Republican she converted was her husband. She has shown, notably in debates over school funding and the state budget, that she can negotiate compromises acceptable to both parties. Kansas has had a balanced budget for four straight years after six years of deficits.[my emphasis]
Is she talking about politics or a religious conversion?? The first thing that came to my mind was Ann Coulter’s Book, Godless, where Coulter supposedly “confronts the high priests of the Church of Liberalism”.

Granted, Coulter is certainly not building any bridges with her constant digs, but some of the Sebelius quotes above have an odd ring to them considering we are talking about political positions here.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Steve Abrams takes Governor Sebelius to task...

Abrams let Sebelius have it, but good...

“The governor owes the Kansas State Board of Education as well as the citizens of the state of Kansas an apology,” Abrams said in a statement sent by e-mail to news organizations across the state. “Personal insults from this liberal governor are the only arguments she can make due to the lack of her own accomplishments.”

“I expect a big-government liberal like our governor to oppose conservative politics. But to infer that the State Board of Education is responsible for the lack of economic development in Kansas is laughable,” he added.

Laughable is right.

If Sebelius thinks that the ID/evolution debate going on in Kansas is a contributor to the lack of economic development in Kansas, I’ll tell you exactly who we have to blame for that...

1. The media
2. Darwinian evolutionists

Why, you ask??

Because for the last year, all we’ve had is a replay of ‘99. The media throughout the country, and internationally as well, has repeatedly stated that Kansas has “taken evolution out of the curriculum” or “out of the science standards”. If that were true, I'd be up in arms as well. But, it's NOT TRUE!

Where do they get this information? Darwinian evolutionists!

Darwinists are so put off with the fact that the board allowed a few statements that would suggest that critical analysis of the theory of evolution at the macro level is acceptable, that they threw a huge fit. The fact is that this actually allowed for our students to learn ~more~ science, not less. Shoot, even Kenneth Miller stated during his KU lecture last month that the KBOE took evolution out of the standards and the curriculum!

This misinformation has been spread repeatedly throughout the nation!

The last article I read went as far as to say:
They replaced the teaching of evolution with intelligent design, or ID. Parents in Dover, Pa., even sued the school board to restore the teaching of evolution to the curriculum—arguing that ID is based on a biblical view of creation and isn’t science. [my emphasis]

Neither the Dover nor the Kansas BOE’s “replaced the teaching of evolution with intelligent design”. And, parents in Dover didn’t “restore the teaching of evolution to the curriculum”.

Here is a summary of the changes made to the Kansas science standards.

The Dover board merely wanted a 4-paragraph statement to be read to the class before the theory of evolution was presented. They certainly did not replace evolution with intelligent design, neither did they eliminate it from the curriculum in any way, shape or form.

So, if we are going to blame anyone for the “lack of economic development in Kansas”, we can point the finger at the media and the Darwinists. They wanted to make a big stink about the board questioning their theory so they started something that has come back to bite them in the butt.

Oh, and I guess we can also blame Governor Sebelius for spreading this misinformation as well. So look in the mirror, love. You’re hurting your own state.

Evidently, she also made a comparison between the KBOE and Fred Phelps:
Abrams also attacked Sebelius for saying that the state has to deal with negative publicity created by the board, just as it does with the anti-gay picketing of the Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. and his followers.

Unbelievable. I’m not going to comment further on that statement. It wouldn’t be productive.

Luskin comments on Dawkins...

I knew I could count on Casey for some remarks about the Dawkin’s lecture.

Richard Dawkins told a crowd in Kansas, “I know you here are in the front-line trench against powerful forces of darkness… Fight the good fight” against the “the ‘rotten logic’ of intelligent design and creationism,” which he claims argue the religious viewpoint that “God did it.”
I left those quotes out of my review because it was just too creepy to think about the implications of that type of attitude.

Hey, Casey, I’m still workin’ on that fan club!!

Go Casey! Go Casey! Gooooo Casey!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I’m going to try very hard not to let my emotions take over as I write this entry. I hope that will be possible.

I arrived a half hour early at Lied Center tonight and stood in a very long line while waiting for the doors to open. The gentleman in front of me was waiting for a friend and we made small talk regarding the large crowd. I wondered how many in attendance were supporters of Dawkins.

When the gentleman’s friend arrived, he was thrilled with the large crowd and made the comment “and, it’s sure not for Billy Graham!”. Obviously, these men supported Dawkins. The new arrival mentioned that he didn’t have anything to do while he was waiting for the 7:30 presentation, so he hung out at Baby Dolls. I don’t know how many Baby Dolls there are in Lawrence, but evidently Kristy is quite something to see if that kind of thing flips your switch.

Paul Mirecki, from the KU religion department and staff support for the Soma (Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics) group at KU, was in the line next to me. The two gentlemen in front of me recognized him immediately and had a good laugh over Mirecki’s idea of teaching ID as a myth. The Baby Doll guy actually went over and shook Mirecki’s hand. I’m not sure what he said, but Mirecki said thank you. I also heard a woman say, regarding Dawkins, that now we would hear from a “real theologian“.

Once inside Lied Center, it was obvious that this was going to be a standing room only crowd. Later, it was also clear from the applause and laughter that I was probably one of only a handful of people who did not laud Dawkins as the bearer of truth.

Then there was a very heartfelt introduction by Leonard Krishtalka. Mr. Krishtalka is the Director of the Biodiversity Institute at KU. It has been very clear from Krishtalka’s introductions and questions throughout this series of lectures that he is a staunch supporter of Dawkins, and his introduction certainly displayed that feeling. There was almost a reverence in his tone.

Dawkins entered the stage to great applause.

He stated that natural selection can account for everything in the universe and that those who do not agree with that simply do not understand natural selection. He explained that through natural selection we start with simple beginnings which raise up gradually to complex ends. Though he believes there is a need for better education of this phenomena, he never explained to the audience exactly how natural selection works and accounts for everything we observe in nature. I’m assuming that he must have felt that since everyone was applauding him, they were all quite familiar with the process and how it accounts for the vastly complex universe we live in. Either that, or he has absolutely no idea himself.

He also said that if people understood natural selection, they would undoubtedly accept Darwinian evolution. That is interesting, because I’ve heard and read an incredible amount of information regarding natural selection and I’d have to say that if that is his smoking gun, then he is delusional. There are thousands of scientists and millions of people who understand natural selection and find it lacking in regard to what it can accomplish. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand NS, and even a student in junior high can fully understand the concept.

Many times throughout the night I wondered if he was actually destroying his own case. He talked of the high improbability of descent from that first living cell, the anthropic principle, and mentioned at least a half dozen times that nature gives the appearance of being designed. He said that every human organ is good at what it does, and that this gives a powerful illusion of design. He said that this “illusion of design” is, of course, natural selection.

It was quite clear throughout the presentation that he was in reverent awe of natural selection. In fact, I will go as far as to say that natural selection is his God. Everything he accounts for in his life was a byproduct of natural selection. He holds this belief as one would hold a belief in God. We feel we have enough evidence to support our belief, yet in the end, what we can’t explain we must hold on faith.

He mentioned that though the universe is perfectly suited for life, as the anthropic principle states is support for the improbabilities that our universe evolved by chance rather than design, the argument against that principle is that “We are here”. So evidently, since “we are here“, natural selection must work well enough to account for the astronomical complexity of the universe! This is considered logical? Goodness, and they say that ID is an argument from ignorance. Consciousness seemed to pose a problem for him as well, but that too he felt was somehow due to natural selection.

He spent quite a bit of the lecture poking fun of IDists, Creationists, and people of religious beliefs. He gave a power point presentation and showed slides that brought great laughter from the crowd. One depicted “the stork theory”: to be taught along side pregnancy theory in Kansas schools. “ Another depicted a cartoon with the caption “Avian Flu scare forces”. There were many others along the same line. The idea was that Kansas is anti-science due to the fact that many Kansans do not adhere to the idea that the universe evolved through common descent via the first living organism. I’m still trying to find out how that particular theory is beneficial to science. IDist and creationists, for that matter, view commonality between species and adaptation within species as solid fact supported by empirical evidence. The common descent via that first living organism inclusion is irrelevant to science.

He also mentioned that creationists argue from personal incredulity, which he accounts to being “lazy”. Interesting, though I would reply that he argues against the likelihood of a designer in the same manner. He can’t believe it, so it’s not true. He said as much when he was asked whether you have to be a theologian to speak on matters of whether there is a God or not. He mentioned that he doesn’t need to read a book about fairies to know that they do not exist. So, in other words, he is the one who is lazy because he doesn’t see the point in studying something he doesn’t believe exists. He believes there is no evidence for God, though many theologians will tell you that there is, and they have written numerous books which support that belief.

He told us that religion is indoctrination, and it is a form of mental child abuse to label a child as a Christian, a Muslim or any other religion. Interesting. I wonder if he has children. I have no doubt that he has “indoctrinated” them with his beliefs as well.

During the Q&A, he was asked why people “deny the power of natural selection“. His answer was that it was not due to stupidity, but to ignorance. People don’t understand it because it is not taught correctly. I would argue that natural selection is quite easy to understand, but the reason some people don’t revere it as Dawkins does is because he holds natural selection as sacred just as religious people hold God sacred.

We cannot possibly understand Dawkins' feelings regarding what he believes natural selection is capable of because we know what the evidence shows NC is capable of, and we realize that the rest of what Dawkins ~believes~ is based on faith alone. ~Faith in the God of natural selection~. Likewise, Dawkins cannot understand our faith in God because he is missing a vital element - faith and the spirit of understanding. Dawkins does have a spirit that allows for him to see all that he envisions natural selection is capable of, but that is an opposing spirit to the spirit that those who hold God’s word as truth possess.

He believes that there is no purpose or meaning in life from a scientific perspective, considering how our world evolved, but that we as individuals certainly create our own purpose and desires in life.

I must say that this speaker was the polar opposite of Os Guiness. Os tried to bring those of opposing views closer together and suggested building bridges and trying to work together with those whose views we oppose. He never once made fun of those who do not believe what he does. He didn’t show demeaning cartoons or poke fun of various groups of people who opposed his views. He did mention that Sam Harris and Dawkins were illogical, insulting, and misguided in a few of the Q&A questions. And, I’d have to agree with him. Dawkins is very insulting, and many of his arguments were quite illogical. I would never consider standing up in front of thousands of people and poke fun of his atheist perspective like he did about people who hold various religious viewpoints. I couldn’t live with myself if I did something like that.

He mentioned that evolution probably accounts for the need for religion, and that in some people that need just doesn’t evolve. Well, if natural selection can account for that need, I would hope that it continues to evolve in the future. Dawkins shows very little compassion for those who do not display the “intellect” that he accredits himself for. He feels that more people need to stand up for their beliefs that God does not exist. He believes that will better our future and the future of science.

I have to wonder what would become of us if we were all under the influence that Dawkins seems to be under. He is an extreme bigot, very prejudice, and quite divisive, which surprisingly are all the attributes that he seems to loath and attribute to those who support religious beliefs.


Okay, I made it through without loosing it, and I think for the most part I held my emotions at bay. It may not seem that way to some of you, but believe me when I state that as fact.

Now I will get emotional and say that as I left Lied center and crossed the parking lot to my car, I shed a tear for those who allow people like Dawkins to influence their worldview. That was one of the hardest lectures I’ve ever sat through in my life. For a man to stand there and state all the awful things that people do in the name of religion, and then turn around and commit the same acts that he is supposedly against, was so very sad and disheartening. What was even worse is that he received two standing ovations. That tells me that everyone in attendance very much agreed with his views. I have no problem with him stating that he doesn’t believe in God, but for his shear disregard and disrespect for those who oppose his views. If he wants to make a difference, it seems that he would not make the exact same errors that some over zealous religious factions do. But, evidently he is no better as far as how he is going to treat people, he’s just different in his beliefs as to what or who god is or isn’t.

This is the type of thing that worries me about our secular universities. Many feel it is a necessity to do away with religion, but if we are to replace it with the beliefs that attribute to the attitude of Dawkins, we may find ourselves in a situation that is even worse.

I’m going to go have a good cry now....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dawkins speaking at KU!!!!!

Difficult Dialogues at The Commons - Upcoming Event

Mon., Oct. 16, 2006, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Difficult Dialogues at The Commons
Richard Dawkins
"The God Delusion"
Lied Center Auditorium

How exciting...

Normal people get excited about going to concerts, parties, or similiar outings. I, on the other hand, would pass those up in a heartbeat in order to attend these lectures covering the ID/evolution debate.

I'm not sure what that says about me...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Lutheran Witness on evolution

Since I provided an article from the viewpoint of a member of the ELCA church, I’ve decided to share an article from the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod’s publication, The Lutheran Witness.

You can read the article, By Design, Not by Chance, for yourself at this pdf file. You will have to scroll to page 10 for the article.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Lutherans and evolution

I was brought up in the Lutheran church, Missouri Synod. The more liberal denomination of Lutherans are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

This month the ELCA publication, The Lutheran, features quite a few articles on the Intelligent Design/Evolution controversy.

One article in particular caught my eye.

It was titled 'God allows the universe to create itself—and evolve', written by Mark Hollabaugh. Mr. Hollabaugh teaches physics and astronomy at a College in MN.

I feel compelled to comment on various parts of his article. First he writes:
Science, religion and politics collide in public-school classrooms. In the past few years, conservative Christian groups in some communities have gained control of public-school boards.

They replaced the teaching of evolution with intelligent design, or ID. Parents in Dover, Pa., even sued the school board to restore the teaching of evolution to the curriculum—arguing that ID is based on a biblical view of creation and isn’t science. [my emphasis]

Actually, no state that I am aware of “replaced the teaching of evolution with ID”. The Kansas school board made some changes to the state science standards, but certainly did not mandate the teaching of ID, and DID NOT “replace” evolution with anything.

The Dover school board merely expressed the desire to have a four-paragraph statement read at the introduction of the evolution curriculum defining ID as "an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view". It also mentioned that the textbook, Of Pandas and People, was available for those students who have an interest. Likewise, this statement did not “replace the teaching of evolution with ID”.

Neither was the Dover trial initiated to "restore the teaching of evolution to the curriculum". The trial was initiated by a few families who did not want that particular 4-paragraph statement read to their children.

I have to wonder if the author of this article is aware of these facts?

As an astronomer, everywhere I look in the universe—from the largest galaxy to the smallest organism—I see evolution.

I wish he would elaborate on his definition of “evolution”.

Opposition to evolution, especially biological, is a hallmark of many proponents of intelligent design. The ID movement heavily influenced the 1999 Kansas school-board decision to remove references to evolution from science curricula. Those against evolution focus on what ID adherents call “irreducibly complex organisms” that can’t be explained by evolutionary theory. [my emphasis]

I’ve been over this false statement at length in previous blog entries. The board did not include ~macro~evolution references in the ’99 standards. Knowing that these issues had never been addressed in the standards before ‘99, they saw no need to add them. They left the decision to the districts just as it had been in the past. That ~does not~ mean that Kansas schools didn’t teach those concepts. All aspects of evolution have always been in the textbooks and taught in Kansas science curriculum.

Moreover, ID is poor theology. ELCA member and Minneapolis Star Tribune commentary editor Eric Ringham wrote: “[Intelligent design] attempts to define, and limit, the mind and power of God.” Why couldn’t God just let the universe evolve?

Interesting statement. God could “just let the universe evolve”, but there is ample evidence for a different interpretation of the data.

Even Richard Dawkins, who rejects the idea of religious thought, freely admits that nature gives the appearance of design. We should be following the evidence where it leads, rather than excluding a theory merely because it may have religious implications. I don’t find it necessary to dismiss the word of God for a theory that is extremely questionable. Why not support further research of Intelligent Design?

In Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press, 2004), Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross demonstrate how conservative Christian groups promote intelligent design for political purposes. Many of the movement’s spokespeople, they claim, spend time influencing public policy and not doing scientific research. Creationism, a much older viewpoint, depends directly on a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation.

Why is it that theistic evolutionists often support the efforts of atheist and humanist scientists in their attempt to dismiss our Creator, but demonize the supporters of Intelligent Design? Clearly, Barbara Forrest is biased against anything that may resemble the possiblity of a Designer due to her prior commitment to naturalism. She serves on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association which describe themselves as “an affiliate of American Atheists, and members of the Atheist Alliance International”. Their mission is "...to defend and promote metaphysical naturalism, the view that our natural world is all that there is, a closed system in no need of an explanation and sufficient unto itself.”

As believers in the common truth that God created our universe (through whatever means), shouldn’t we be working together to support and search for further evidence of His design in nature? The bible tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God“. His fingerprints are obviously everywhere and it seems that scientists who hold various religious beliefs should take that into consideration at all times (even in the science lab).

Based on the results of experiments and observations, scientists modify their theories and laws when change is necessary to explain some new data. We scientists actually relish the contradictions, inconsistencies and unknowns. The essence of being a scientist is curiosity and skepticism—and having an unending drive to solve problems and search for answers.

In that case, students should be encouraged to critically analyze the questionable areas of the theory in order that they might hopefully fill the gaps, rather then having us tell them that the theory is iron clad and we must change the meaning of God’s word to fit to the ever-changing ideas in the world of science.

I believe biological, geological and astronomical evolution is a fact. I have personally witnessed astronomical and geological evolution.

Do tell...what was your definition of evolution again???

In 1975 while traveling from Holden Village, a retreat center in Chelan, Wash., to my seminary internship in Denver, I saw the sudden brightening and death of a star known as Nova Cygni. Events like this are evidence of the evolution of stars—responsible for creating the chemical elements necessary for life.

The problem with that thought process is that we have never witnessed the birth of a star - only the death. There are theories regarding the birth of stars, but they are far from solid fact. Consider the information in these two links.

When I visited Costa Rica in 2000, I was awakened at 2:45 a.m. by a moderate shaking of my hotel. The evolution of the Earth’s crust had caused an earthquake as continental plates slid past one another. We may owe the existence of life on Earth to such movements, creating ocean basins where water could collect.

Hmmm... Somehow, the occurrence of an earthquake doesn’t seem to provide earth shattering support for the idea that all of life sprang to existence through evolutionary mechanisms from that first single living organism.

Oh, btw, those continental plates are an interesting subject to research. Take the time to do some reading about the Hydroplate Theory.

As a St. Olaf freshman, I took the same “Introduction to the Bible” course that I later taught. I was fascinated as my professor explained the multiple authors of Genesis, why certain books were in the Bible and that every translation is an interpretation. Some other students had a great deal of difficulty accepting the idea that Moses didn’t write Genesis or that there were two versions of the creation story (Genesis 1:1-2:4a and 2:4b-3:24).

Much of the current debate about ID and creationism in science classrooms is due to different methods of interpreting the Bible. Most of us in the ELCA aren’t literalists. We understand the Bible has layers of meaning and importance.

And the question that theistic evolutionists never answer is which of those “layers” contain the truth of God’s word, and which do not. If God's word is filled with inconsistencies and contradictions, why bother with it at all? How do we know what to believe and what to reject?

In regard to the two versions of the creation story - the first is chronological, while the second is from man’s perspective (literary). A close study of the Hebrew words show no conflict. Christ, who in a single sentence mentioned both descriptions, knew they referred to the same creation event. (Mt 19:4-5)

Per my footnotes in my NIV Bible: 1:1-2:3 is a general account of creation, while 2:4-4:26 focuses on the beginning of human history. Ch. 2 also sets the stage for the fall. It tells of the scene and circumstances of the fall, supplementing the terse account of man’s creation in ch.1 with only such data as comes into play in the ensuing tragic-drama.

I think we’d all agree that the writers of the Old and New Testament were not idiots. There were approximately 40 writers over a 1,500 year period. Even those who have done only a small amount of research on the subject will have to admit that the writers were pretty bright individuals. (Take for example Moses as he wrote in regard to principles of quarantine, waste disposal, sterilization, agricultural requirements etc.)

Now, having said that, the fact that those 2 chapters are worded the way they are, in my mind, make the chapters all the more convincing. Moses and other early writers would have caught an “error” like that. I think if chapter 2 was meant to be a chronological account, Moses would have said "Whoa, hold the phone! We can’t have this - people will think we’ve made an error!!!" In that light, we have to consider the reason for the two accounts.

My favorite part of the day when I was on the St. Olaf faculty was the morning chapel service and faculty coffee time that followed. One day the chair of the biology department, Arnold Peterson, and I sat with Gordon Rasmussen, a beloved religion professor. Gordon told us a student had come to his office in tears because of what she had learned in biology class about evolution. Her faith had been shattered. Arnie, a man I knew had a deep Christian faith, said: “I just can’t understand the fuss. Why is it creation or evolution? Why can’t it be creation by means of evolution?”

Well, when it comes down to it, faith in God’s word and the message of Christ’s literal death and resurrection for the sin of the world is the message throughout the entire biblical narrative. If one follows the evidence in prophecy, archeology, and writings from secular history that support accurate historicity of the Bible, we can rest assured that the His Word provides truth for those who accept it.

In that sense, whether you accept evolution or the biblical account of creation doesn’t matter. My personal opinion is that I see no reason to disregard portions of God’s word for current scientific theories that are certainly questionable. Scientific theories postulated by mere human intellect are always changing.

Call it personal incredulity, but...

Every time I visit the zoo with my kids, I am awe struck by the amazing design of each animal that we see. Since I’ve been researching the subject of evolution and intelligent design, I find myself looking for all the similarities between animals and trying to make sense of the idea that we all evolved from the same first organism.

The last visit we made to the zoo was on the same day a baby giraffe had been born. He was just a few hours old when we were allowed a peak at him. When I think about how the giraffe evolved from that first living organism and time, it just doesn’t seem possible. Call it personal incredulity, but it seems every idea regarding the evolution of the giraffe centers on a certain feature evolving, but doesn’t take into consideration everything about the animal that is so unique.

A adult giraffe's heart weighs over 24 pounds and pumps 16 gallons a minute. Due to the giraffe’s heart being much larger than it’s head, a series of special one-way, back-flow preventer valves are needed in the neck to regulate the flow of blood to the head. This is especially important when the giraffe is bending down to drink water. Elastic blood vessels in the giraffe's head hold enough blood to prevent the giraffe from passing out when bent in this position.

Scientists have found that the giraffe's tight skin and the muscles in its legs keep blood from pooling in its lower body, and the arterial pressure near the giraffe's heart is about twice that in humans to provide adequate blood pressure and blood flow to the brain.

Darwin commented on giraffe evolution in the sixth edition (1872) of his seminal book, Origin of Species:
The giraffe, by its lofty stature, much elongated neck, fore-legs, head and tongue, has its whole frame beautifully adapted for browsing on the higher branches of trees. It can thus obtain food beyond the reach of the other Ungulata or hoofed animals inhabiting the same country; and this must be a great advantage to it during dearths.... So under nature with the nascent giraffe the individuals which were the highest browsers, and were able during dearth to reach even an inch or two above the others, will often have been preserved; for they will have roamed over the whole country in search of food.... Those individuals which had some one part or several parts of their bodies rather more elongated than usual, would generally have survived. These will have intercrossed and left offspring, either inheriting the same bodily peculiarities, or with a tendency to vary again in the same manner; whilst the individuals, less favoured in the same respects will have been the most liable to perish.... By this process long-continued, which exactly corresponds with what I have called unconscious selection by man, combined no doubt in a most important manner with the inherited effects of the increased use of parts, it seems to me almost certain that an ordinary hoofed quadruped might be converted into a giraffe. (Darwin 1872, pp. 177ff.)

Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma , wrote:
"It is speculated by neo-Darwinists that some ancestor of the giraffe gradually got longer and longer bones in the neck and legs over millions of years. If this were true, one might predict that there would be fossils showing some of the intermediate forms or perhaps some living forms today with medium-sized necks. Absolutely no such intermediates have been found either among the fossil or living even-toed ungulates that would connect the giraffe with any other creature.

Evolutionists cannot explain why the giraffe is the only four-legged creature with a really long neck and yet everything else in the world [without that long neck] survived. Many short-necked animals, of course, existed side by side in the same locale as the giraffe. Darwin even mentioned this possible criticism in The Origin, but tried to explain it away and ignore it.

Furthermore it is not possible for evolutionists to make up a plausible scenario for the origination of either the giraffe's long neck or its complicated blood pressure regulating system. This amazing feature generates extremely high pressure to pump the blood up to the 20-foot high brain and then quickly reduces the pressure to prevent brain damage when the animal bends down to take a drink. After over a century of the most intensive exploration for fossils, the world's museums cannot display a single intermediate form that would connect the giraffe with any other creature."—Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin's Enigma (1988), pp. 83-84..
Darwin’s natural selection idea regarding the length of the giraffe’s neck is interesting, but there is so much more to the giraffe than the length of his neck. Taking evolution back to first causes, I find it incredible that we are to believe that this animal evolved, along with everything else in our universe from a common first organism. Considering the evolutionary process of that 2 foot long heart branching from a lower life form, it seems nonsensical to imagine these elaborate systems evolving through time.

Here is an evolutionary hypothesis:
Giraffes have caused controversy in science as there is very little evidence found on its long neck. A new hypothesis is Here.
Giraffes: Branched off from the deer just after Eumeryx. The first giraffids were Climacoceras Drawing (very earliest Miocene) and then Canthumeryx(also very early Miocene), then Paleomeryx (early Miocene), then Palaeotragus (early Miocene) a short-necked giraffid complete with short skin-covered horns. From here the giraffe lineage goes through Samotherium (late Miocene), another short-necked giraffe, and then split into Okapia(one species is still alive, the okapi, essentially a living Miocene short-necked giraffe), and Giraffa (Pliocene), the modern long-necked giraffe.