Hear this this one recent morning.
“You know, given how the situation here in Christchurch and how often the people living on the good side of Christchurch have been getting services while the people on the poorer side, who are often Maori, are still to a large degree being ignored.”
When I heard that, I thought that it was referring to the earthquake recovery efforts.
Were that the case, it would be idiotic thing to say. It was the east side of the city that had (and still has) the disruptions. It’s also had massive efforts put in place by both government and volunteers to fix it. To suggest that one one was helping is a massive slap in the face of hundreds of people who willingly gave both time and money, simply because helping people was the right thing to do.
But then I listen to the report again and I’m not so sure. In the wider context he seems to be talking about lack of schools and doctors etc.
What say you?
What Hawking appears to have done is to confuse law with agency. His call on us to choose between God and physics is a bit like someone demanding that we choose between aeronautical engineer Sir Frank Whittle and the laws of physics to explain the jet engine.
Incidentally, I was debating the existence of God (for some unknown reason it’s something I usually avoid online!) and someone recommended Hawking’s book as having all the answers. Well, since then I’ve heard a lot about his book from various sources, and one one (usual suspect) seemed to think it any good at all. Most in fact think it’s a pretty poor effort from someone who was once a great thinker.
Here’s a hypothetical.
Let’s say I have a reputation as an honest person. One day, I murder someone. The crime is never solved.
By the time I get around to confessing my part, four decades have past.
The question is, having confessed, can I be regarded as an honest person?
Over at Open Parachute, there’s a video making the case for evolution. I suppose it’d be a good opening salvo, but it didn’t address a lot of creation objections and thus didn’t convince me – a fact that I relayed in comments.
One reason (among many) is the “it can’t be designed, it has flaws” argument.Thing is, I was trying to take notes throughout the presentation, but my pen refused to write correctly.
But as simple as a pen is, you’re never going to convince anyone it isn’t designed and happened via natural forces. The fact that it had a flaw merely meant that it had worn out – as things do. For a guy who says he taught a creation vs. evolution course, he had a very poor understanding of creationism.
I would recommend that people watching the video watch it right to the end. Christians will understand what I mean when they see it. :)
Found this old video of Wilder-Smith while I was looking around.
It’s quite long, about 1:20.
As a true pioneer of the alternatives to evolutionary theory, Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith fearlessly confronted the seemingly all powerful theory of evolution in the unversities and churches all over the world. With over 10 scientific publications and numerous patents to his credit, Dr. Wilder-Smith was a much sought-after lecturer and professor. Universally popular with his audiences–students, scientists, laymen, and military alike– he won many awards for his speaking activities.
Thought this was an interesting debate – does anyone actually believe evolution is true?
Ok, please read this slowly. Evolutionary biology is a Scientific Theory. Scientific theories are frameworks that let us understand how the natural world works. They are not guides for how would should live….
[Reply]Hi, David. We have read your latest post very, very slowly. Unfortunately, it does not improve the slower you get.
Nevertheless we will attempt one last herculean effort to work through the issues with you.
Our debate is over evolutionism. Our contention has been that no-one really believes it. Your contention is that evolutionism is both true and is a fact and that you for one most certainly do believe it to be true.
Now, if evolutionism is true your statement, “it is not a guide for how we should live” has no meaning whatsoever. There is no “should” in evolutionism, and evolutionism, as a cosmogony accounts for all there is. This is to say there is no “should” in being and the natural world. To pretend that there are such things as “morals” “ethics” or to believe that there is a right way that “society should be run” has absolutely no meaning within the cosmogony of evolutionism. Such language and such concepts are inconsistent with the way the natural order actually is. They are falsehoods or myths or fairy tales. You, as the representative and exponent of evolutionism, cannot be allowed to use such language without recognising that you are implicitly denying the very cosmogony you are trying to espouse.
Now we realise that this may be a bit painful, but thems the facts.
Nor is it reasonable to imply that evolutionism partially accounts for everything there is, such that we must look elsewhere for things like ethics.
I suspect that the point has some truth – that few people actually believe evolution. It depends on the level – a lot of people (like me) believe it’s poppycock, other people believe it’s possible but not likely, and some people believe it’s probably true but don’t realise that they don’t follow through on this belief, leading to the suggestion that they don’t either.
Comments are off on this thread. I think it would be more appropriate for people to comment on the thread over at Contra Celsum, but I suspect that some people would like abuse me here anyway either on an issue I don’t have a fixed position on or on the truth or otherwise of evolution – and that’s not one that’s not covered by this post.
This is a good story from The Times.
THE scientist who led the team that cracked the human genome is to publish a book explaining why he now believes in the existence of God and is convinced that miracles are real.
Francis Collins, the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, claims there is a rational basis for a creator and that scientific discoveries bring man “closer to God”.
His book, The Language of God, to be published in September, will reopen the age-old debate about the relationship between science and faith. “One of the great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that science and religion have to be at war,” said Collins, 56.
“I don’t see that as necessary at all and I think it is deeply disappointing that the shrill voices that occupy the extremes of this spectrum have dominated the stage for the past 20 years.”
For Collins, unravelling the human genome did not create a conflict in his mind. Instead, it allowed him to “glimpse at the workings of God”.
“When you make a breakthrough it is a moment of scientific exhilaration because you have been on this search and seem to have found it,” he said. “But it is also a moment where I at least feel closeness to the creator in the sense of having now perceived something that no human knew before but God knew all along.
“When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery about humankind, you can’t survey that going through page after page without a sense of awe. I can’t help but look at those pages and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God’s mind.”
Collins joins a line of scientists whose research deepened their belief in God. Isaac Newton, whose discovery of the laws of gravity reshaped our understanding of the universe, said: “This most beautiful system could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.”
Indeed, the thought that there might be conflict between science and Christianity to me is laughable given how much of our modern science is founded on the work of those who believed that both were in perfect harmony.
Those that disagree please generate comments using a random letter generator then select phrases that will survive in your mind. :)
NRT gets a bit hot about the evolution of moths into… different coloured moths!
For decades, industrial melanism was held up as the textbook example of evolution in action. Practically every biology textbook (except possibly those published in Kansas) had the example of the peppered moth, whose dark form had become dominant in response to increased levels of industrial pollution (well, technically due to the light ones being more likely to be eaten as they were more easily seen when sitting on soot-darkened tree-trunks).
It’s a great example all right.
If you had a car that changed colour due to it’s background, would you consider that an accident, or would you wonder at the design that allowed that to happen?
Frankly, this sort of change can even be due to an elimination of genes from the pool, which hardly counts as part of a process that can build an entire new species, let alone eco-system. No serious creationist denies changes within species – they’re very common, but there are plenty of evolutionists who will pull out small stuff like this as “examples” of how a single celled organism could change into the living world we have today.
It’s silly claims like this that tell us creationists that evolutionists are still not yet ready to tackle the rather obvious problems within their theory, and until they do that, they’re hardly likely to persuade anyone of anything.
TBR.CC mentioned the movie “Inherit the Wind” the other day. I’d heard of this movie, and I thought I’d look it up on Wikipedia. One thing about this movie is the blatant demonisation of Christians, and the article documents this quite well.
Inherit the Wind has been criticized for unfairly stereotyping Christians as hostile, hate-filled bigots. For example, the character of Reverend Jeremiah Brown whips his congregation into a frenzy and calls down hellfire on his own daughter for being in love with Bertram Cates. In fact, no such event took place, simply because Scopes had no girlfriend. The 1960 film depicts a prayer meeting during which some express hostility about Drummond and Cates, but Brady intervenes to calm the situation, urging a gentler and more forgiving strain of Christianity than the minister’s.
In reality, the people of Dayton were generally very kind and cordial to Darrow, who attested to this fact during the trial as follows:
- “I don’t know as I was ever in a community in my life where my religious ideas differed as widely from the great mass as I have found them since I have been in Tennessee. Yet I came here a perfect stranger and I can say what I have said before that I have not found upon any body’s part — any citizen here in this town or outside the slightest discourtesy. I have been treated better, kindlier and more hospitably than I fancied would have been the case in the north.” (trial transcript, pp. 225–226)
The film does justice to this fact in the scene where Drummond first meets the Hillsboro town mayor, and also in Drummond’s interactions with Cates’ students.
- (P) = the published play
- (M) = the 1960 film
- (M/P) = both versions
- (M) When Bertram Cates is arrested in the classroom and the sheriff asks his name, Cates replies “Come off it Sam, you’ve known me all my life.” In reality, Scopes was born and raised in Salem, Illinois and moved to Dayton only in 1924, after graduating from university.
- (M/P) Brady, in answer to Drummond’s question about the Origin of Species, says he has no interest in “the pagan hypotheses of that book”. In reality, Bryan was familiar with Darwin’s writings and quoted them extensively during the trial.
- (M/P) Brady was opposed to Darwinism only on religious grounds. Moreover, while Bryan was a fundamentalist in his theological views, his political and economic views were quite progressive. He opposed eugenics, and rejected the way in which Social Darwinism and its doctrine of “only the strong survive” had been invoked to justify the cutthroat tactics of many a Gilded Age Robber Baron.
- (M/P) In answer to a question from Drummond, Brady declares that the original sin of Adam and Eve was their discovery of sexual intercourse. In reality, the confrontation between Bryan and Darrow never mentioned sex, and almost all forms of Christianity approve marital intercourse for reproduction.
- (M/P) Brady betrays Cates’ girlfriend, the local preacher’s daughter, by questioning her in court about information she told him in confidence. In real life, Scopes did not have a girlfriend, and Bryan did not ask anyone who was under oath to betray any confidences.
- (M/P) When the verdict is announced, Brady protests, loudly and angrily, that the fine is too lenient. In reality, Scopes was fined the minimum the law required, and Bryan offered to pay the fine.
- (M/P) Drummond is portrayed as involved in the trial out of a desire to prevent Cates from being jailed by bigots. In reality Scopes was never in danger of being jailed. In his autobiography and in a letter to H.L. Mencken, Darrow later acknowledged that he took part in the trial simply to attack Bryan and the fundamentalists.
- (M) The plot line regarding Mr and Mrs Stebbins and the death of their son by drowning is allegedly based on a true incident. In fact the event occurred several years earlier — before Scopes ever moved to Dayton — and is believed to have motivated George Rappleyea to turn against fundamentalist Christianity.
- (M/P) After the trial and Brady’s death, Drummond says that Brady had once been a great man. E.K. Hornbeck brushes that aside saying that the man had died of a “busted belly.” According to Jeffery P. Moran’s The Scopes Trial, it was Darrow who claimed that Bryan had died of a busted belly, with Menken gloating “We killed that son of a bitch!”
- (P) Hornbeck is depicted as an atheist. H. L. Mencken was in fact an agnostic whose writings attacked only certain aspects of Christianity, such as infant damnation, Biblical literalism, predestination, and hostility to Darwin. But he had no real quarrel with the Protestant mainstream of his day, and admired Catholic ritual. Mencken was no progressive paragon and did not trust democracy based on universal suffrage. His German sympathies were so strong that he opposed American participation in both world wars, and dismissed criticism of Hitler in the 1930s.
Most people have no idea how large Noah’s ark actually was. Well, a guy has built a scaled down replica in Holland, and it’s still huge:
Visitors on the first day were stunned.
“It’s past comprehension,” said Mary Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape.
“I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big.”
In fact, Noah’s Ark as described in the Bible was five times larger than Johan’s Ark.
In fact, modern boat building only reached the scale of the Ark with the building of the SS Great Eastern. She was launched in 1858.