Riposte: Christians for Sanity

bq. I’ve said it many times before: creationism is just wrong, and one group that should be fighting it hardest is Christians. They are letting a vocal minority usurp their religion, and if they don’t speak up they run the risk of letting those people speak for them. (Source: “Bad Astronomy Blog”:http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/02/10/christians-for-sanity/)

Seriously? No, really – _seriously?!_ The group that should be fighting creationism the hardest is Christians? I disagree — vehemently. The folks who should be _supporting_ creationism most ardently are Christians – despite the claim made above, I don’t believe that creationists are even remotely in the minority of Christian faith (though I suppose I could be wrong – a lot could have changed while I wasn’t paying attention).

Now, while I wouldn’t say that the Bible should necessarily be “interpreted literally”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2005/03/24/thursday-march-24-2005-at-0241-pm/#comment-1288 (there’s a lot of metaphor, poetry, and storytelling in there where literal interpretation would actually cause understanding to break down), I _do_ believe that it is inerrant. I also believe in a literal six-day creation cycle – the original texts are quite clear on this point. The Hebrew is very specific about the intended meaning. There is no cultural context would force a different interpretation of the events described in the first chapter of Genesis. There’s no poetry, no storytelling, no figurative speech contained in those first few pages.

Scientific claims run counter to the Biblical explanation of the universe and mankind’s origins. It’s been a continual source of contention for decades — and it always will be. But the folks over at “Answers in Genesis”:http://www.answersingenesis.org/ provide solid apologetical responses to the claims of secular science, answers that, despite secular science’s claims to contrary, are well-thought out, answers that take science facts, data, and evidence into consideration, and yes, answers that are even rational and logical.

I know how antagonistic secular science is toward all concept of creation and intelligent design — and I’m even fine with that. You can please everyone, and people who ardently believe a certain ideal become very angry and hateful toward people who believe differently than them (and sadly, this also applies to many Christians). I respect the belief that Christians should be on the front lines opposing creationism; it’s an opinion, but nothing more. But those Christians who “celebrate Darwin Day”:http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11145-christian-faith-in-the-iotheri-good-book.html are, I believe, grossly and dangerously in error. I believe that a Christian _can_ believe in evolution and the Big Bang and still be a Christian, but I believe that their beliefs with regard to origins theory are very, very wrong.

Call me a goofy whacko, if you will (oh, you already have?), but you simply can’t tell me all this around us came about by accident, not even by citing the “2nd law of thermodynamics”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/01/26/presuppositionalism-science-and-faith/#comment-10675 at me. I recognize the value of science and acknowledge its importance. But I don’t believe that traditional secular science has a prayer (I just love irony) of explaining the origins of this universe or of mankind. It’s simply too limited and conducted by a creature that is itself far too limited to explain or understand something that big and complex.

5 thoughts on “Riposte: Christians for Sanity”

  1. There’s nothing in the least bit accidental about evolution. The chances of life beginning and then thriving are infinitesimally small, but don’t forget that there are trillions of possible planets on which it might have happened. After all, if you buy enough lottery tickets then sooner or later you will win the lottery. Similarly, it is well understood how evolution can create complex entities from simple ones, but this isn’t the place to get into scientific details.

    If a world as complex, diverse and beautiful as ours popped into existence overnight due to random chance then that would take some explaining. Unless you believe that god would go to the trouble of creating 4.5 billion years worth of fossil life and geological evidence to give the Earth the illusion of age, then clearly the Earth did not just pop into existence fully formed, or even in six days.

    Sure, we are only beginning to take the first faltering steps in understanding the origins of life, but why not follow the evidence rather than just accepting one account in one book as the literal truth?

  2. The half-life of carbon is aproximitly 5,730 years(Severak sources, cited at http://hypertextbook.com/facts/1997/MargaretKong.shtml) so that makes me highly doubt the validity of carbon dating. I also highly suggest reading
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v1/n1/radioactive-dating
    Like Jim said, there are sane reasoning behind Creationism.

    You don’t beleive, that’s fine. All I ask is you not treat me like I’m insane for believing what I beleive I will in turn do the same for you.

  3. I don’t think that anyone is insane for believing either alternative. Like Neil, I’m more inclined to listen to science than a religious text, but I am perfectly well aware that science does not explain everything. However, equally I find that the religious texts (be they Bible, Koran or something else) are unsatisfactory at times too. At this point in time, I simply find the scientific explanation makes more sense to me. That is a personal decision on my part and one I do not expect everyone to agree with.

  4. Yeah, so we talked about this in Logic class today.
    There’s a few elements going on here:
    1) we MUST look at the arguments presented by “ID”ers to see whether they are internally consistent; that is valid– “proving” the conclusion of their premises.
    2) only after internal checks should we then check soundness, whether the premises correspond with reality.
    3) All the while we must remove emotive language from their arguments and JUST look at the content.
    4) Another caveat is the nature of the terms used. They’re usually ambigious. I’ll explain in a minute.
    Any objections so far?

    Now, while I agree with Jim, I also disagree with him. I do believe there’s lots of places in the Bible where a NON-literal (note the ambiguity of this term!) approach is legitimately more valid than not. I won’t go into detail, since it’s Jim’s argument.

    But if we look at the arguments at AIG, (according to my prof who has spent too much time on such things) they’re:
    1) originally conceived by an amateur geologist (but that says nothing of validity or soundness, so I shall continue)
    2) Consistently take small occurances and make them the norm.
    3) More emo than anything
    4) full of informal fallacies.

    Now the joy in all this is that since American Christian have had ZERO formal training in logic, they’re BEYOND easily swayed by a half-argument.
    And most of these arguements have BECOME increasingly more rhetoric than logic. I noticed it throughout the years at a Christian uni, and again confirmed today on authority by my prof.

    So while I have not spent time addressing any of the arguments at AIG, what I do remember, I find to be a hideous mess(note the emotive language, not logic) of pet-ideas which have rightly been flayed by scientists as not being science at all.

    Christians, if you’re going to play with the “big boys”, bring your guns. Learn your logic. Learn your science. Drop your presumptions and BUILD AN ARGUMENT already!

    (let it be known that I am slowly working on building arguments in OTHER camps, and thus have little time to address the creationism arguments in depth. Call me ‘bunk’ if you will. This has just been my experience as well as my prof’s.)

  5. I’d love to see you spell out a little more specifically some of the complaints you have with AiG’s arguments. I’ve always respected your analytical take on these kinds of things, so I’d love to get your perspective a bit more in detail.

    I’m sure you’re right, and I know _I’d_ love to do a bit more research on the claims of AiG, as well. I wonder if I could swing a paid 3-month sabbatical from the office to go and do some research… ;-)

    Oh, and I love your cryptic parenthetical there at the end. :)

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