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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back on Connect '09

So 09, and its 'connect' draws to a close.

Let's see: what has been achieved?

It is time for the 'told you sos' from all and sundry.

Now, I hope that people have repented at a greater rate than without Connecting '09, but I haven't seen much evidence.

I hope that churches are now connecting to their communities more than they did. But where I live, I don't see it...same old same old. But I hope that I'm wrong, and not seeing much that is happening.

I guess the test is; what are the headlines now saying about the Anglican church...let me check recent papers.

Here we are; in the Herald's business section a few days ago; the Anglican Diocese of Sydney memorialised as the crowd that gambled over a hundred million...and lost! That's the connection: the SAD connected with debt; foolishness; arguably greed; and connected with trust in mammon over God! Great record Peter. In politics even the NSW ALP would resign government under such a performance, what do archbishops do?

I guess its a case of 'do it again in two thousand and ten!'

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sydney Anglicans Airing Ignorance to the World

As we approach Christmas 2009 it seemed reasonable for The Sydney Daily Telegraph to seek a statement from religious leaders in which they were to testify to the existence of God.

In a preview of this exercise The Daily Telegraph journalist said both the Roman Catholic Cardinal Pell and Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen believed in Theistic Evolution.

However, when it came time for Archbishop Jensen's statement to appear on 23 December 2009 there was no mention of Theistic Evolution. Perhaps it is something he prefers to conceal from general understanding or maybe it was edited out by newspaper.

One thing published that I found quite disturbing was "Furthermore, he [God] delights in his creation. He calls it very good."

How could the former Principal of Moore Theological College and now Archbishop of Sydney make such a faulty statement. Yes, God did say His creation was very good but that was the creation that is no more. That utterance of God was before His creation rebelled against Him, thus introducing death, suffering and continued acts of rebellion against Him. It was also before sin had become so great that God destroyed that world with a global flood.

Nowhere in Scripture does God call post Fall and Flood creation "very good". Even after the Flood, sin and death has continued unabated. You just can't call that creation "very good". Indeed when someone spoke to the Lord Jesus with the opening "Good teacher" our Lord corrected the man with the words "No man is good but God alone". Now, you just cannot deduce from that reply that a creation populated by men who are not "good", is a "very good" creation.

Archbishop Jensen went on to say "He [God] can be relied upon to speak the truth, to always do what is right, to be consistent."

Well now Archbishop, why don't you believe that God was speaking the truth when he said "for in six days I created the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them" (Exodus 20:11). There is no possible way in which such a statement of God accommodates a Theistic Evolution view of creation. At this point then, being a Theistic Evolutionist, the Archbishop must believe that God is not speaking the truth or, for that matter, nor is God being consistent. But, God is being consistent here with his record of creation in Genesis 1 and in Exodus 31:17.

One can only stand back and wonder what a tangled web compromisers spin for themselves when they start pushing their ideas onto the clear Word of God.

Surely Archbishop Jensen stands on shifting sand and is vulnerable to Atheist argument when he mishandles Scripture as he does in his statement to The Daily Telegraph.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 24 the six days

Taking this creation account as a whole, how shall we arrange the work of the six days? Is there any possibility of grouping within the six days? Most schemes that are advanced are not entirely perfect, but they may yet contain a generous element of truth. It seems as though the best pattern or the categories that man employs are not of a big enough mould to serve for the creation as God brings it about. Let a few of these subdivisions be submitted. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), mentioned by Strack, suggested two triads of days, the first three concerned with works of division, the second three with works of embellishment. Yet the third day's work in its second half certainly comes under the head of embellishment. A second suggestion notices the manifest parallel between the two triads of days, pointing to the fact that both the first and the fourth days are concerned with a work that begins on high with light (or light bearers). Then in the work of the second and the fifth days the work drops to a lower level, namely, to the firmament and to the birds of the air. Lastly, on the third and the sixth days the creative work moves on the level of the earth and accomplishes a double objective, namely on the third, separation of dry land and water and the production of green things, whereas on the sixth day comes the creation of land animals and man. The correspondence of the two triads from this point of view cannot be denied, but to try to imagine it as entirely adequate would overlook the work of the fifth day, which is double in character and drops not only to the level of the creation of the birds of the air but also, unfortunately, to the submarine level of the creation of fishes of the sea. More satisfactory is Koenig's arrangement which sees four deficiencies or four instances of relative incompleteness listed in a definite order and sees the successive creative acts as removing these four in inverse order, as we shall presently demonstrate.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Darwin and Wallace

John, thanks for the link across to Nagel's award to Meyer's book.

A piece from the post on Science and Values deserves to be surfaced here:
Michael A. Flannery, in his book ‘Alfred Russel Wallace's Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace's World of Life Challenged Darwinism’, shows that Darwin's exclusion of God from any involvement in the development of life was well entrenched in his mind long before he wrote ‘Origin of Species’. In other words, his belief that evolution could happen all by itself was not a product of his science but his philosophical position.
After many years of research, Wallace, second only to Charles Darwin as the 19th century's most noted English naturalist, came to the conclusion that evolution could not have happened without being guided by a higher intelligence, whereas Darwin held to the concept of randomness in evolution.
Writing in Forbes magazine, Flannery explained: "Darwin's own theory could hardly be called objectively scientific. Early influences on Darwin's youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism [the exclusion of supernatural explanations] long before his voyage on the Beagle.
"In short, Darwin's metaphysic compelled his science. Wallace, on the other hand, was a tireless investigator who increasingly discerned design in nature. Unlike Darwin, Wallace's science compelled his metaphysics."

A useful statement to bear in mind when we hear the usual doffing of hat and tugging of forelock in the direction of Darwin by our pals in the SAD, who are, of course, functioning at the intellectual level of gnats when it comes to creation and evolution.

And while we're on intellectual performance, have a look at the quote on Behe's blog from Joseph Thornton who has a very confused take on probabilistic calculus. On his line of argument, the probability of any event, or chain of events is so vanishingly small that nothing could have acutally happened. But we know that things do happen. Thornton I think takes actual events as inhabiting a probability density function, which in fact exists theoretically and prospectively. What actually happens is a different thing. So could we argue this way for evolution? Well, see below, but also we know the mechanism by which baseball teams win games. There is as yet no mechanism for 'grand scale' evolution, let alone the origin of life materialistically.

By way of contrast, have a look at On Probability and Systematics: Possibility, Probability, and Phylogenetic Inference Matthew H. Haber in Systematic Biology 2005 54(5):831-841

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Battle for the Truth

There's just no let up is there? Scientists who are Biblical Creationists are continually excluded from having research published in major scientific journals then confronted with charges of not having research peer reviewed; often denied data by their opponents; accused of taking their opponents' research or statements out of context or, when flaws in their opponents' research are exposed, cover-ups are employed to guard the primary axiom of Evolution against criticism.

The battle for the truth on Origins is fought with many tactics and strategies. Biblical Creationists are even, at times, likened to "Holocaust Deniers" so as to put them 'way out there' in their belief.

The tactics have all been on display in recent days commencing last Sunday on a Sydney radio program. Comments along the lines of the following were aired:

"Scientists had their research published but leading scientists of the opposing view contacted the publisher, ridiculed their work and had them dropped from the science magazine."

"The scientists are dismissed as having no credibility because their work is not peer reviewed."

"Exposed mistakes of their opponents are covered up."

"Their opponents' work had data cut off when it showed a contrary view to that which they wanted known."

"Freedom of Information requests for their opponents' data were denied and email requests were destroyed."

"The leaking of emails revealing all these tactics resulted in a response from their opponents' to the effect that the emails were taken out of context."

So what's new? Well, in this instance the subject was not Creation/Evolution Debate but Climate Change and the battle for the truth between advocates of human induced Climate Change and those labelled as Climate Change Skeptics.

"The George & Paul Show" on Sydney Radio Station 2UE last Sunday afternoon interviewed Melbourne journalist Andrew Bolt who is a critic of human induced Climate Change. The discussion centred on the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and the tactics employed by advocates of human induced Climate Change against critics within the scientific community.

Biblical Creationists will chuckle at the 'goings-on' because they are quite familiar with the tactics employed.

However, human induced Climate Change Skeptics are outraged. Sydney Daily Telegraph journalist, Piers Akerman, entered the fray yesterday. I provide an extract of his column:

"Excerpts of the emails detailing deception practised by the scientists, the methods they used to ensure no voices other than theirs were heard, that only those who agreed with their theories would be included in peer reviews, are circulating widely on the internet.

They illustrate a contempt for science or at least an abuse of practice.

They are the work of true deniers. They are the work of vandals. They are like indelible graffiti left by idiots.

They betray the work of the Renaissance. They undermine the Enlightenment.

A disgusting venality is also revealed in the emails, a vile spirit of hatred for those who hold the truth to be dear."

Welcome, Piers Akerman, George & Paul and Andrew Bolt to much of what passes for science today. The truth is not pursued with rigor or is not received with objectivity if it does not conform to the Primary Axiom.

Be prepared for a long fight and for many and varied insults cast your way. Be prepared for people to give you 'short shift' as you attempt to present your argument. You may even, as recently occurred in Australian Federal Parliament, be referred to as "Holocaust Deniers".

Biblical Creationists are battle hardened, fit for their long fight and will prevail because the "truth will out". It remains to be seen whether there is as much fight in Skeptics of human induced Climate Change.

Just as an aside, I wonder what's going on in the minds of those groups in many nations who formed themselves into associations many years ago and called themselves "Skeptics" (or "Sceptics") and focused their attention on denying the supernatural. Right now, in Australia at least, the term "Skeptic" is the subject of much ridicule and scorn.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Question Darwin: should Christians embrace evolution?

An interesting blog over at Question Darwin: worth a look for the worthies at SAD.
Question Darwin: should Christians embrace evolution?

Dissenter's comments are worthwhile, but I don't think that they start to plumb the theological depths of dancing with death (courting theistic evolution). I've touched on a few in recent comments, IMO, (see this post, for example) but I'm sure that there is much more to say.

Leupold Genesis part 23 history scriptures

The Scriptures themselves treat this account as pure history. Note the following passages: (Ex 20:9-11; 31:17; Ps 8; Ps 104; Mt 19:4-6; 2Pe 3:5; Heb 4:4)

When the question is raised as to the sources of the truths set forth in this Introduction, we must freely admit that we know nothing about them. There are several possibilities. That Moses himself received the whole chapter by direct revelation is possible. Equally, if not more, reasonable is the assumption that divine revelation communicated to our first parents the account of creation. From them it came by tradition to Moses, who recorded the whole under divine inspiration, purging it from errors or inaccuracies, should any have begun to creep into the traditional version of it by this time. That, however, such tradition may have continued relatively, if not entirely, pure appears from the following three facts: first, the number of links in the chain of persons from Adam to Abraham was very few because of man's longevity at this time, and Abraham's time was already one of intense literary activity; secondly: godly men who perpetuated this tradition would have employed extreme care to preserve it correct in all its parts; thirdly, the memory of men who trusted more to memory than to written records is known to have been unusually retentive. But whatever explanation an individual may devise to make plain to others that tradition may have played a part in bringing this priceless record to us, and even if he grant the possibility of written records of this tradition prior to the time of Moses, all such supposition dare never be construed as conflicting with the very basic fact that Genesis 1 is revelation.

Suppositions like that of Dillmann and many others that the Israelitish mind was equipped with a better understanding of God and let the light of this insight, be trained on the problem of the origin of all things and devised this which is to date still the best solution; are not satisfactory. Such claims are an attempt to dispose of immediate revelation as well as of plenary inspiration and are besides hardly reasonable. How could human ingenuity ever have penetrated into the divine order and manner of creation, when no witness to these works could ever be found? In any case, such explanations as to how the account was derived make of it a series of surmises and remove entirely the possibility of the objective correctness and the complete reliability of this record. All that remains is that of all speculations man ever elaborated about the origin of the world this is still by all odds the best. The claims and the attitude of the Scriptures, however, are met only by the explanation that says: This chapter was received by divine revelation; it contains full and absolute truth and only truth.

In order to make this scriptural account appear as just one more cosmogony it has become a common procedure to make more or less extensive Comparisons with other cosmogonies as they are found here and there in the records of the traditions of the nations. We offer, however. a more extensive examination of these so-called "creation accounts" above in our Introductory Remarks (p. 27). A fair comparison with such materials makes our remarks above appear all the more reasonable.