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Comment: Intelligent Design is not science (Score 1) 669

by flyhigher (#48260603) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Isaac Newton was a brilliant scientist. Newton is upheld by the Intelligent Design community as a great example of how Christians should engage science because he mentioned God in his book, the Principia Mathematica. But he is also an example of the very problems that become apparent when we use God as a pseudoscientific tool to close a gap caused by our own ignorance. It’s a good lesson for us today. For all his brilliance, Newton made a critical error in reasoning, and that was to apply an “Intelligent Design” answer to a problem he had with gravity. Newton’s laws of motion predicted the orbits of the planets around the Sun. Because he used approximations when calculating the forces of the planets upon each other, he came to the conclusion that the orbits are unstable and would decay after thousands of years. Newton suggested that God occasionally intervened with a miracle, by sending a comet or other object with just the right direction, size, and velocity, to gravitationally nudge the planets back into their correct orbits.

Years after Newton, Pierre Laplace found better methods to solve Newton’s equations, showing that the planetary orbits are indeed stable. When asked by Napoleon, “Monsieur Laplace, why wasn’t the Creator mentioned in your book on celestial mechanics?”, Laplace replied, “Sir, I have no need for that hypothesis.” Laplace was likely an atheist, but we now know that his findings about planetary motion were true. If he were a believer, he could have just as well said, “We don’t need to explicitly invoke God’s miraculous intervention when describing planetary motion.”

In the one area where Newton inserted God’s supernatural action as part of a scientific explanation, he was later shown to be wrong, and to add insult to injury, he was shown up by an atheist. Intelligent Design proponents leave out this detail when they talk about Newton.

Source: http://truecreation.info/

Comment: St. Augustine got it right... over 1500 years ago: (Score 1) 593

by flyhigher (#46204545) Attached to: Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

“If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

– St. Augustine of Hippo, 5th Century AD (considered by some Protestants to be one of the theological fathers of the Reformation)

- See more at: http://truecreation.info/

Comment: St. Augustine had it right... over 1500 years ago. (Score 2) 770

by flyhigher (#45987097) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

“If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

– St. Augustine of Hippo, 5th Century AD (considered by some Protestants to be one of the theological fathers of the Reformation)

(from http://truecreation.info/)

Comment: Einstein was met with similar criticism. (Score 1) 770

by flyhigher (#45987067) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools

Over 300 years ago, Isaac Newton discovered the laws of gravity which describe the attractive force between all objects. Newton’s laws of motion predicted the orbits of the planets around the Sun. Because he used approximations when calculating the forces of the planets upon each other, he came to the conclusion that the orbits are unstable and would decay after thousands of years. Newton suggested that God occasionally intervened with a miracle, by sending a comet or other object with just the right direction, size, and velocity, to gravitationally nudge the planets back into their correct orbits. Years after Newton, Pierre Laplace found better methods to solve Newton’s equations, showing that the planetary orbits are indeed stable. When asked by Napoleon, “Monsieur Laplace, why wasn’t the Creator mentioned in your book on celestial mechanics?”, Laplace replied, “Sir, I have no need for that hypothesis.” Laplace was likely an atheist, but we know that his findings about planetary motion were true. If he were a believer, he could have just as well said, “We don’t need to explicitly invoke God’s miraculous intervention when describing planetary motion.” Two hundred years prior, John Calvin wrote, “If the Lord has willed that we be helped in physics, dialectic, mathematics, and other like disciplines, by the work and ministry of the ungodly, let us use this assistance. For if we neglect God’s gift freely offered in these arts, we ought to suffer just punishment for our sloth.”

To this day, Newton’s law of gravity and his equations of planetary motion hold true, but we have a much better understanding of them through Einstein’s special and general relativity, and a much richer understanding of cosmology from hundreds of years of subsequent research, much of which was done by Christians. Interestingly enough, Einstein’s theory was also met with pseudoscientific criticism [XIII-3]. In a 1920 letter to a colleague, Einstein wrote, “This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.”

  - Excerpted from the online book at: http://truecreation.info/

References:

[XIII-1] Haarsma, Loren. Does Science Exclude God? Perspectives on an Evolving Creation. 2003, William B. Erdmans Publishing Company. Grand Rapids, Michigan. pp. 88-94.
[XIII-2] http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v3/n3/history-of-ideas
[XIII-3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_relativity_theory#Hundred_authors_against_Einstein
[XIII-4] Van Dongen, Jeroen. “On Einstein’s Opponents, and Other Crackpots.” Essay review of “Einsteins Gegner. Die àöàÇffentliche Kontroverse um die Relativitàößtstheorie in den 1920er Jahren” by Milena Wazeck. (arxiv.org/pdf/1111.2181)

Comment: St. Augustine had it right over 1500 years ago. (Score 5, Interesting) 611

by flyhigher (#45853603) Attached to: Bill Nye To Debate Creationist Museum Founder Ken Ham

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

“If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

– St. Augustine of Hippo, 5th Century AD (considered by some Protestants to be one of the theological fathers of the Reformation)

- See more at: http://truecreation.info/

Comment: St. Augustine nailed it... over 1500 years ago. (Score 1) 1010

by flyhigher (#45826647) Attached to: New Study Shows One-Third of Americans Don't Believe In Evolution

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

“If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

– St. Augustine of Hippo, 5th Century AD (considered by some Protestants to be one of the theological fathers of the Reformation)

- See more at: http://truecreation.info/

Comment: There are some.... (Score 1) 1293

by flyhigher (#44902729) Attached to: Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

Christian organizations which understand that the Christian faith and evolution (or science in general, when practiced with integrity) are not at odds:

http://biologos.org/
http://truecreation.info/
http://asa3.org/

An excerpt from TrueCreation.info:

In general, the scientists who dissent from the basics of evolutionary theory are driven by ideological goals, usually based on faith, whether or not it is faith in the God of the Bible. In many cases, they do not hide the fact that they use presuppositional logic when formulating their “theories”; that is, they start by selecting their desired outcome and then seek only evidence that supports that outcome. They readily and openly admit that they sift facts through a filter, discarding any facts that do not fit with a literal interpretation of the Bible because they “simply cannot be true.” Presuppositional logic may be fine for understanding some foundational parts of the gospel message. It is of dubious value when used as an apologetic tool. But it fails miserably and completely as a scientific method. Let’s be clear — this is not science. If you seek answers to questions about the natural world using presuppositional logic, you will open yourself up to any number of incorrect answers. This goes a long way toward explaining why the results disseminated by the various “creation science” and “intelligent design” organizations rarely agree with each other! Which “Bible-based” outcome would you like? You can choose from many different ones, simply by believing the results from the various organizations I will describe below. I say “believe” rather than “accept”, because your reception of these results will be based on faith, not reason, nor trust in the practice of reason. Some evangelical Christian educators lambaste the teaching of evolution and “materialistic” science, claiming that it is an example of a heinous relativism that pervades the American educational system. They are encouraging relativism by using presuppositional logic.

Even extremely intelligent persons who are trained in the scientific method, with degrees from prestigious universities, may fall into the trap of thinking that yielding the scientific method to presuppositional logic is acceptable if done under the guise of Christian education. After all, the end justifies the means, right? Author Michael Hawley, in his book Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight, explains the psychology of this trap. In short, people will believe what they want to believe, and when they let this drive their approach to science, they will construct all sorts of flawed arguments to prove it to themselves. In many cases, they simply let themselves submit to the argument from incredulity. The human mind excels at both of these logical failings. Some will turn this around and say that this is exactly why scientists accept evolution and other theories; they want to “believe” in evolution. They completely miss the point of how and why the modern scientific method has been applied since its inception almost 200 years ago. When the scientific method is practiced using deductive and inductive logic with integrity, the impact of individual beliefs and human failings such as confirmation bias is minimized. When over 99% of scientists from different specialties and a variety of backgrounds (including many evangelical Christians) practice the scientific method with integrity and objective reasoning and come to agreement on a theory, you can trust that the theory is a solid one.

Comment: Excuse me? (Score 1) 813

by flyhigher (#42884975) Attached to: Missouri Legislation Redefines Science, Pushes Intelligent Design

It is incredible that a post like the one above would get modded to a '5'.

It's this type of attitude that FUELS the kind of legislation that you see before you. It's like you're trying to douse the fire with petrol. Announcing to the world that Christians have "idiotic beliefs" only reveals yourself as a bigot, and if you proudly parade science as the reason for your bigoted attitude, Christians will gladly target science in all its forms. And that's exactly what you see happening.

There are plenty of Christians, even evangelical Christians, who have no problem with any field of science -- including evolutionary biology. For example, the American Scientific Affiliation (http://www.asa3.org) is a 70-year-old organization of Christians in science. They adhere to the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, and they accept everything that science reveals about the world. They have a peer-reviewed publication, Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith, which is quite good. They have sister organizations in the UK and Canada (http://cis.org.uk and http://www.csca.ca./

The BioLogos Foundation (http://www.biologos.org) is an evangelical organization which is attempting to reach out to fundamentalist Christians to persuade them not to treat the Bible as a science textbook. The Faraday Institute (http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/Institute.php) is another organization of scientists who adhere to a faith, not necessarily Christian.

And of course, there's the Clergy Letter Project (http:/www.theclergyletterproject.org).

There are personal blogs such as http://www.truecreation.info/ http://www.letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/ and http://www.theistic-evolution.org/ which are reaching out in the same way -- specifically targeting the anti-science beliefs of Christians, and NOT their faith as a whole.

If you're really trying to solve the problem at hand (anti-science legislation) wouldn't it be far more wise to encourage Christians to review the work from the organizations listed above, rather than ramming your own atheist belief down their throats?

Comment: Far more widespread... But there are solutions. (Score 2) 640

This phenomenon may have started in the US, but they know very well they'll eventually reach some point of saturation in such a politically divided country. That's why creation science proponents are on an all-out assault on science throughout the world, especially in developing nations.

http://www.nwcreation.net/international.html

Oh, you thought it had something to do with missionary work and spreading the Gospel message? NO. These organizations (Institute for Creation Research, Creation Ministries International, The Discovery Institute, and a few other smaller ones) are big business. Look at their Web sites. From the very first page, they're either asking for donations or they're selling you their wares. Homeschooling textbooks, tracts, videos. Yes, the missionary work is integral to their purpose -- they need a wide audience of buyers. They're happy to do that too.

You aren't going to be able to counter this movement with any kind of science education. They have their own "science" now, any science from any other source will be viewed with tremendous suspicion if it conflicts with their view of creation. You need to work this at its source -- by educating people on the history of creationist thought, and the reasons *why* they believe what they do -- educate them on the *reason* why they have a certain *interpretation* of the Bible. If you're an atheist, you'll think it's easy enough, just discredit the Bible. But attacking a person's faith at its core is NOT going to help, it only adds fuel to the fire. So please DON'T take that approach. Seriously, it will make things much, much worse.

The only way forward is to educate Christians on creationism as a movement itself, in a way that is NOT abusive to their faith. Get people to learn specifically about the history of the three organizations mentioned above! There is a tremendous amount of dirty laundry there (see http://truecreation.info/ or the book Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight) Better yet, find respected Christians who they trust, who understand science -- and geology, cosmology, and evolutionary biology in particular. It can be done:

http://biologos.org/
http://truecreation.info/
http://theistic-evolution.com/

Books:
The Language of Science and Faith, Karl Giberson and Francis Collins
Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design, and Evolution, Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma
Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight, Michael Hawley
Beyond the Firmament, Gordon J. Glover
Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, Kenneth Miller
The Passionate Intellect, Alister McGrath
I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution, Denis O. Lamoureux
The Lost World of Genesis One, John Walton

Comment: Re:False Dichotomy (Score 1) 1226

by flyhigher (#40150475) Attached to: Debate Over Evolution Will Soon Be History, Says Leakey

Besides BioLogos (http://biologos.org), there are other Christian organizations which advocate conducting real science according to the scientific method, evolution and all:

http://asa3.org/ (The American Scientific Affiliation)
http://www.cis.org.uk/ (a UK organization similar to the ASA)
http://www2.wheaton.edu/ACG/ (The Affiliation of Christian Geologists)
http://bibleandscience.com/

http://truecreation.info/ has numerous references, a science advocacy site for evangelical Christians.

By the way, BioLogos's new documentary is due out this week:

http://fromthedustmovie.org/discussion/

Comment: Chapman University.... (Score 1) 1226

by flyhigher (#40143107) Attached to: Debate Over Evolution Will Soon Be History, Says Leakey

is a top-ranking Christian university which promotes a correct scientific understanding of evolution. They recently opened an Evolution Education Research Center in conjunction with Harvard and McGill.

Pepperdine University and Wheaton College are two other prominent Christian colleges which teach evolution.

Sites such as http://truecreation.info/ http://theistic-evolution.org/ and http://biologos.org/ illustrate that there are Christians out there who have reconciled faith and science.

Sounds good, right?

That said, I still believe that the problem won't go away any time soon. Why? Power and money. The organizations behind the modern-day creationism movement (Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis, Creation Science Evangelism, and The Discovery Institute) are multimillion-dollar Christian textbook publishing houses -- or they supply the "science" for other homeschool textbook publishing houses.

Even when it lands them in jail for tax evasion, they have a cult-like following:

http://freehovind.com/

As much as it seems like they're a united front, they love to criticize and sue each other:

http://www.icr.org/article/intelligent-design-or-scientific-creationism/

Legal controversy between AiG and CMI

It's not about the individual believer anymore. It's not about worldviews. It's not even about the churches! It's about the money-driven organizations that are feeding them. They've sucked people in using slick propaganda, books and Web sites, and encourage people to not just teach this stuff, but to teach other people to teach this stuff.

In short, it's not any different from any modern political movement.

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