Tuesday, 30 September 2014

In Their Own Words - Christadelphians Against Fundamentalism - 1

“Never be afraid of results to which you may be driven by your investigations, as this will inevitably bias your mind and disqualify you to arrive at ultimate truth. Investigate everything you believe: if it is the truth, it cannot be injured thereby; - if error, the sooner it is corrected the better” - Foreman, “Rules of interpretation and directions for investigating the scriptures”, Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come (1859) 9:180

Monday, 29 September 2014

Pseudoscholarship and how to detect it

NT scholar James McGrath has promoted a comment by Paul Regnier on the definition of pseudo-scholarship to full post status:
What defines a theory as pseudoscholarship is not that it goes against the consensus. Pseudoscholarship tends to:
  • Denigrate entire scholarly fields
  • Largely ignore established academic channels
  • Largely ignore or parody academic conventions
  • Reflect a narrow range of ideological perspectives
  • Reject entire meta-narratives, not points within them
  • Make sensationalist claims
  • Appeal to dubious methodological privilege BUT
  • In reality employ flawed methods
  • Rely on supernatural over natural explanations
  • Be developed and supported disproportionately by non-specialists.
The upshot of this? Next time you hear an amateur with zero professional background in evolutionary biology, geology, textual criticism, ancient languages, archaeology or any area directly relevant to the subject about which they are pontificating, and hear them peddle nonsense such as YEC, the alleged evils of the historical-critical method, or the alleged primacy of the AV, you can safely ignore them and place their views in the dustbin with other nonsense on stilts.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Morton's Demon and the Dunning-Kruger Effect

Given the sheer weight of evidence which confirms both the fact of evolution and an ancient Earth, it may seem bizarre that people who possess some post-secondary academic qualifications nonetheless reject these facts in favour of a view which has not been taken seriously by any credible life scientist for over a century. Sometimes however, it requires above-average intelligence to maintain the elaborate web of self-deception which allows a person to maintain a dogmatic position held on emotional, rather than rational reasons. In that case, no amount of reason or logic will disabuse this person of their irrational position, until at such times the cognitive stress of denying reality becomes too much.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Poor arguments against evolution are counter-productive.

While I have received plenty of feedback from grateful people pointing out how my articles have helped them accept the fact of evolution while remaining a faithful Christian, I am also aware that one of the most effective mechanisms to convert people from evolution denialism are the appallingly bad arguments against evolution used by anti-evolution crusaders in our community.

The evidence against YEC covers most of modern science. Here's why.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

YEC is a marked deviation from original Christadelphian teaching

Christadelphians who assert that the Earth is only 6000 years old and that the creation of the entire universe took place in six literal consecutive days are advancing a view that not only is flatly against an overwhelming volume of evidence from the natural world, but one that was comprehensively rejected by the early generation of Christadelphians who had the intellectual honesty to accept the evidence for an ancient universe, and recognise that a hyper-literal reading of the creation narratives was theologically unsustainable. C.C. Walker argued persuasively against creation in six literal days:
‘The term “day” obviously signifies an indefinite period in Gen. 2:4. “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” Truly there is no mention of evening and morning in this case; but for the reasons given in the notes above-named we do not feel shut up to the conclusion that the Lord God occupied only twenty-four hours in making the firmament. It has been thought that the law of the Sabbath necessitates six literal days in creation; but on second thoughts this does not seem conclusive, since the millennium is a “Sabbath” of a thousand years duration, and “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:9).’, Walker C.C., 'Genesis', The Christadelphian (1910) 47:361
‘Yet it does not seem necessary to confine the allusions of this first chapter of Genesis to six literal days on the last of which man appeared. We may take that view (the literal) and yet admit an allusion to six periods of great length preceding the appearance of man, just as we do in the other direction when we speak of “The Great Mediatoria Millennary Week of Seven Thousand Years,” the last “day” of which is God’s Sabbath of Rest for a tired world.’, ibid., p. 362
Furthermore, he pointed out what was undeniable well over a century ago, namely the Earth was far older than 6000 years:
‘Ten years ago the average scientist would have asserted that our habitable globe had not existed for more than a hundred million years. Now it would be hard to find a competent physical specialist who would fix a definite maximum below a thousand million years:’, Walker C.C.,, ‘The Age of the Earth’, The Christadelphian (1911) 48:450
Walker was not alone in rejecting YEC or the belief that the entire known universe was created in six consecutive days 6000 years ago.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Wolfhart Pannenberg on Creation and Evolution

Wolfhart Pannenberg, one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century died earlier this month. Apart from his defence of a historical resurrection, Pannenberg should be of interest to any serious Bible student due in no small part to his acceptance of the fact of evolution:

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Atheists have their creation myths too.

Twinned with the conflict model of the relationship between science and Christianity is the belief that the advance of science inexorably leads to the extinction of religion. Nick Spencer, writing in Politico magazine frames this belief nicely:
Once upon a time, so the story goes, people believed that the world was young and flat, that God made everything including people in a few, frantically busy days, and that earthquakes and thunderstorms were examples of his furious rage, which you ignored at your peril. Into this sorry state of affairs, emerged a thing called “science” and, despite the best efforts of ignorant, self-serving clerics who wished to keep the people in utmost darkness, “science” proved that none of the above was true. Gradually, wonderfully, the human race matured, with every confident scientific step forward pushing our infantile, crumbling ideas of the divine closer to oblivion. “Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science, as the strangled snakes besides that of Hercules,” as Thomas Huxley, the English biologist known as “Darwin’s bulldog,” memorably put it.
Trouble is, as Spencer observes, the facts don't neatly align with this story, which relies more on plausibility and the anti-theistic prejudices of many who blindly swallow it,  for its persistence: