Strategy

Many Christians do not believe that Scripture supports the Young Earth Creationist position. This moderated forum is for good natured scholarly debate.

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Re: Strategy

Postby Peter Henderson » Thu May 05, 2011 1:15 am

dannyno wrote:
Peter Henderson wrote:From a well known scientist, who's also a Christian:

http://www.starcourse.org/jcp/testing_god_3.htm

Jocelyn Bell Burnell:
One of the things that I can never answer is whether my feeling that there is a god is simply some kind of neurological pattern in my brain. I have no answer to that, I just do not know. But the evidence would lead me to think otherwise, because I’m not the only person who feels this, who has the same experiences. And I can recognise what I call god in other people as well, it’s not just in me.



I won't post any further on this, lest the thread get locked, but I'm fascinated by this.

A "feeling that there is a god" probably is a "neurological pattern", like any feeling. The question is whether there is a God, and it would seem difficult to demonstrate that by showing that other people apart from yourself also think that there is. But then recognising "what I call god in other people" seems to be a different claim again. And perhaps this recognition itself is "simply" a neurological pattern. Which then leads to me thinking, "is my feeling that there isn't a god simply some kind of neurological pattern in my brain? I'm not the only person who feels this, and I can recognise the same experiences in others, not just in me..."

But even more interesting to me is whether Jocelyn recognises god - or rather, "what I call god" - in everyone or just some other people, or indeed lots of other people but not everyone. Does Jocelyn recognise "what I call god" in people who feel that there is a different god, or who recognise in Jocelyn what they call god? Does Jocelyn recognise "what I call god" in people who don't feel that there is a god, or feel that there isn't?

Juicy stuff. But I'll say no more here.

Dan


Indeed Dan, the discussion is philosophical, not scientific.

For some unknown reason, the new Atheists cannot get their heads around this fact.

Perhaps if we were all new Atheists it would be OK.

P.S without googling I do assume you know who Professor Bell is and, the contribution she as an accommodationist, made to science ?
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Re: Strategy

Postby Peter Henderson » Thu May 05, 2011 10:50 am

Here's another interresting letter that Richard Dawkins sent to New Scientist over the Michael Reiss affair:

http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2008/09/ri ... ffair.html

The Reverend Michael Reiss, the Royal Society's Director of Education, is in trouble because of his views on the teaching of creationism.

Although I disagree with him, what he actually said at the British Association is not obviously silly like creationism itself, nor is it a self-evidently inappropriate stance for the Royal Society to take.

Scientists divide into two camps over this issue: the accommodationists, who 'respect' creationists while disagreeing with them; and the rest of us, who see no reason to respect ignorance or stupidity.

The accommodationists include such godless luminaries as Eugenie Scott, whose National Center for Science Education is doing splendid work in fighting the creationist wingnuts in America. She and her fellow accommodationists bend over backwards to woo the relatively sensible minority among Christians, who accept evolution.

Get the bishops and theologians on the side of science – so the argument runs – and they'll be valuable allies against the naive creationists (who probably include the majority of Christians and certainly almost all Muslims, by the way).

No politician could deny at least the superficial plausibility of this expedient, although it is disappointing how ineffective as allies the 'sensible' minority of Christians turn out to be.

The official line of the US National Academy, the American equivalent of the Royal Society, is shamelessly accommodationist. They repeatedly plug the mantra that there is 'no conflict' between evolution and religion. Michael Reiss could argue that he is simply following the standard accommodationist line, and therefore doesn't deserve the censure now being heaped upon him.

Unfortunately for him as a would-be spokesman for the Royal Society, Michael Reiss is also an ordained minister. To call for his resignation on those grounds, as several Nobel-prize-winning Fellows are now doing, comes a little too close to a witch-hunt for my squeamish taste.

Nevertheless – it's regrettable but true – the fact that he is a priest undermines him as an effective spokesman for accommodationism: "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he!"

If the Royal Society wanted to attack creationism with all fists flying, as I would hope, an ordained priest might make a politically effective spokesman, however much we might deplore his inconsistency.

This is the role that Kenneth Miller, not a priest but a devout Christian, plays in America, where he is arguably creationism's most formidable critic. But if the Society really wants to promote the accommodationist line, a clergyman is the very last advocate they should choose.

Perhaps I was a little uncharitable to liken the appointment of a vicar as the Royal Society's Education Director to a Monty Python sketch. Nevertheless, thoughts of Trojan Horses are now disturbing many Fellows, already concerned as they are by the signals the Society recently sent out through its flirtation with the infamous Templeton Foundation.

Accommodationism is playing politics, while teetering on the brink of scientific dishonesty. I'd rather not play that kind of politics at all but, if the Royal Society is going to go down that devious road, they should at least be shrewd about it. Perhaps, rather than resign his job with the Royal Society, Professor Reiss might consider resigning his Orders?


Like Coyne, he seems to have changed his tune over Christians who accept evolutionary science. Last time I heard him on BBC Radio Ulster, Dawkins was saying it's OK to be a Christian and accept evolution, and was pointing such Christians in the direction of Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins. The letter sounds uncannily familiar.

The Reiss affair was a gift on a plate to the YECs, in my opinion.
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Re: Strategy

Postby cathy » Thu May 05, 2011 11:32 am

dDannyno you seem to have misunderstood several points I've made so can I clarify points from two of your previous posts.

Yes Coyne and Dawkins have written brilliant popular books on evolution. Nobody has denied that. However they won't sell many if the creationists get their way and children are confused after having been fed some teach the controversy b@@@@@ks. Nor will they be much use if kids think the contents are just the opinions of Coyne and Dawkins rather than hard science. The issue is moot if this battle is lost, as are the abilities of children to understand the world.

As for burning bridges and making it clear Coyne and Dawkins weren't wanted? As far as I can see Coyne was the author of the letter and an article saying bcse was basically crap etc. And Dawkins was the one endorsing that view. It looks to me like they were making it clear that bcse wasn't wanted and that they were the ones who didn't want to be on board. Not as you suggest the other way around. I don't recall anyone having much of a view at all about Dawkins before this and there was certainly no official policiy. most of us liked some things he did and not others I suspect, and I doubt that has changed.

And I doubt Dawkins reads the bcse forum so it looks to me, from stuff he said on pharyngula like someone was feeding him stuff out of context. So someone was making sure the bridges were really well burnt by fanning the flames and it wasn't bcse.

As for explaining what Dawkins is really saying, it seems to be self explanatory. However when he has been genuinely misrepresented in the past bcse has stuck up for him. Our occassional creationist nutter for example, recently posted a you tube clip of him saying ID was possible. I said I doubted it was true and others searched hard to put it in context, find the original clip and correct the lie being told. Hardly anti Dawkins and hardly the work of a group wanting to misrepresent him.

As for suggesting Dawkins self censor himself. NOBODY has suggested that. They have said his views are used by creationists-they are. That that is not helpful-it isn't. But nobody has suggested he stops saying it at all. If you are suggesting otherwise than you clearly haven't understood what I wrote. Sorry I thought it was clear that it was a specific statement of fact not an order.

As for losing the support of the new/gnus like yourself. That really depends on whether they are hard line idealogues or not. If they are ideologues they will refuse to help any cause that doesn't totally fit their ideology. If not they will help causes that are only partly in tune with their philosophy-eg fighting creationism even if christians are allowed to join in. I suspect many gnu/news aren't hard liners and would be happy to help if they hadn't been fed so much Coyne inspired crap. If you don't understand that, look at it this way, I protested against Iraq despite being a labour voter and religious folk and atheists have joined together to fight many things like creationism or as a different example faith schools or the making of RE a nat curriculum subject. You don't want to join because it doesn't suit your ideology-fine nobody is forcing you.

Re preaching and free speech I was simply pointing out that preaching is preaching whether it is a new atheist telling some old dear she's stupid for going to church or a born again christian on the streets. I don't want to stop either, but neither do I particularly want to listen to either.

As for your second post. I would not be in the bcse if it made any concessions at all on the teaching of evolution in science nor any concessions to creationism being presented as in any way scientific in RE. That is because unlike whether or not there is a god (which is still philosophical), evolution is so well supported by evidence it is a fact. Creationism is utter dishonest drivel. Evolution is scientifically true whether you are Richard Dawkins, Behe or arch creationist Ken Ham. Whether or not there is a god currrently depends on your beliefs and philosophical arguments.

If you are suggesting bcse is making any concession then you really are mistaken. How folk reconcile facts to their beliefs is the business of religion as long as they do not lie about those facts.
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Re: Strategy

Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu May 05, 2011 12:54 pm

Peter Henderson wrote: Peter quotes Richard Dawkins as saying "
Scientists divide into two camps over this issue: the accommodationists, who 'respect' creationists while disagreeing with them; and the rest of us, who see no reason to respect ignorance or stupidity.


If that is Richard Dawkin's definition of "accomodationists" then the BCSE is not even remotely accomodationist. Nobody involved in the BCSE thinks that creationism is anything but ignorance and stupidity. nor do we respect creationists. Indeed, we go a lot further and say it is only sustainable with systematic, repeated and habitual lying, manipulation and deceit. Breach of the ninth commandment if you want to view things that way.

Perhaps where we differ is that we see our battle with creationism as an objection to religious fundamentalism rather than religion in general. Perhaps of all the books written in the last few years that have influenced me personally, it is Chris Hedges work "Christian Fascists" which concludes that the American Christian fundamentalists are proto-fascists. Not far short of Christopher Hitchens view of Muslim fundamentalists as "Islamofascists".

However, it's pretty clear to me that once anyone starts associating the majority of religious believers with proto-fascism, then the argument becomes deeply offensive and absurd. Intellect has become detached from reality on the ground.
Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities - Voltaire
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Re: Strategy

Postby Peter Henderson » Thu May 05, 2011 2:42 pm

If that is Richard Dawkin's definition of "accomodationists" then the BCSE is not even remotely accomodationist.


Exactly Roger. Even I wouldn't want to be a member of the BCSE under those circumstances (I have no respect at all for young Earth creationists).
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Re: Strategy

Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu May 05, 2011 3:42 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:
If that is Richard Dawkin's definition of "accomodationists" then the BCSE is not even remotely accomodationist.


Exactly Roger. Even I wouldn't want to be a member of the BCSE under those circumstances (I have no respect at all for young Earth creationists).


IIRC Chris Hedges is a Christian with a masters from Harvard in theology - and a distinguished war correspondent. I also recall that he has been attacked by the New Atheists.
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Re: Strategy

Postby dannyno » Thu May 05, 2011 9:25 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:
Indeed Dan, the discussion is philosophical, not scientific.


Oh, for sure that particular point is philosophical, not scientific.

For some unknown reason, the new Atheists cannot get their heads around this fact.


Well, I think it bears some further unpacking. I don't agree that science is irrelevant to either philosophy in general or the question of the existence of god in particular. Nor would lots of theologians, of course.

P.S without googling I do assume you know who Professor Bell is and, the contribution she as an accommodationist, made to science ?


Not at all. I had vaguely heard the name, but I had to look her up to find out what she had done. I note that in her interview with Joan Bakewell (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/belief/scripts/jocelyn_bell_burnell.html), her position is ambiguous. On the one hand she says that for her "god is a hypothesis", and talks about evidence and data. And on the other hand that she agrees it's not a scientific statement. Allowing for the fact its a conversation rather than something written down and corrected, her position seems problematic to me.

She says that the evidence - whatever that is - convinces her but may not convince others and may not be intended to convince others. There's not really anything there for science to test.

I reject arguments from authority, so I don't really get that I should be impressed by her supposed "accommodationism" merely because of her scientific contributions. Moreoever, she does say that "as an astronomer, I do not believe in a God who was the prime creator of the universe."

Emphasis; as an astronomer. Does that not imply that science does in fact have an impact on her religious beliefs? Again, this is a conversation, and perhaps imprecise, but the implications of that statement for the idea that god is a hypothesis of some kind are quite interesting.

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Re: Strategy

Postby dannyno » Thu May 05, 2011 9:42 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:
Like Coyne, he seems to have changed his tune over Christians who accept evolutionary science. Last time I heard him on BBC Radio Ulster, Dawkins was saying it's OK to be a Christian and accept evolution, and was pointing such Christians in the direction of Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins. The letter sounds uncannily familiar.


I wish Dawkins would write something more detailed about this issue, but as he hasn't I only have my interpretation. I think he says a couple of things, which easily get confused. He says that clearly there are very good scientists who are religious: what he doesn't understand about that is why they don't apply the same standards to their religious beliefs as they would to their scientific research. Secondly, he acknowledges that it is theologically possible to reconcile evolution and Christianity. I guess since evolution is true, he would urge that believers, if they want to stay believers, have to find ways of doing so. However, he takes the view that evolution does have theological implications for traditional Christian belief at the very least - so things like origin sin, the reason why Jesus had to be crucified etc: evolution does have quite clear implications for beliefs like that. I presume that if he were to talk about this in more detail - and I don't recall that he has, though he may have done (I haven't bothered to check) - he would say that clearly you can reconcile Christianity and evolution, but only at the cost of dumping quite a lot of traditional theology. And not just, the key point being, the story of the creation. Now, my understanding is that Anglican theologians (IIRC) have long since taken a view of the crucifixion sacrifice that detaches it from original sin completely. And that helps insulate them from evolution: but let's be clear that it is a radical break from other theology.

The take home point is that evolution has theological implications beyond the Genesis story of the creation of life.

That's what I think Dawkins would say. I don't know what he would actually say. Trouble is, he's usually quoted making one of those points, and doesn't usually get to put it all together.

Atheists may also draw on the insights of evolution in two other ways: 1. to inform a Darwinian version of the problem of evil, and 2. to demonstrate how the illusion of design could develop naturally (quite important for atheists - was it not Dawkins who said that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually coherent or fulfilled atheist? He has a point, though evolutionary ideas existed prior to Darwin). You can use science to support atheism, without expecting science to prove atheism.

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Re: Strategy

Postby dannyno » Thu May 05, 2011 9:49 pm

Roger Stanyard wrote:IIRC Chris Hedges is a Christian with a masters from Harvard in theology - and a distinguished war correspondent. I also recall that he has been attacked by the New Atheists.


You say this like he was mugged, minding his own business. Hedges thinks that the "new atheists" are too critical of religion and have the same attitude to Islam as Christian extremists do. He wrote a book, I don't believe in atheists, which isn't very good.

Rather than say that someone like that has "been attacked by the New Atheists", it would be more accurate to say that he's argued with them. It's pretty obviously a two-way thing.

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Re: Strategy

Postby dannyno » Thu May 05, 2011 10:05 pm

Roger Stanyard wrote:
Peter Henderson wrote: Peter quotes Richard Dawkins as saying "
Scientists divide into two camps over this issue: the accommodationists, who 'respect' creationists while disagreeing with them; and the rest of us, who see no reason to respect ignorance or stupidity.


If that is Richard Dawkin's definition of "accomodationists" then the BCSE is not even remotely accomodationist.


The letter is not precise enough on this - it contains three distinct definitions of "accomodationist" that I could identify. Almost as bad as the word "gene" :-)

The one quoted above isn't really what anyone means by "accommodationism" at all, including Dawkins in God Delusion!

The second definition is contained in this quote, about Eugenie Scott:

She and her fellow accommodationists bend over backwards to woo the relatively sensible minority among Christians, who accept evolution.


That's more along the lines of what people seem to mean by "accommodationism". But it's not the recruitment of Christians as allies that is seen as the problem, but the way in which they are then "accommodated".

Which brings us to definition three:

the mantra that there is 'no conflict' between evolution and religion


And that's really more what is objected to. Agreement to bury the philosophical hatchet in pursuit of a common goal is one thing ("alright, so we'll work together and leave the arguments about god to another time/place"), but to abandon a perfectly arguable position (conflict between evolution and religion) - or rather to make its contrary the official line - is a step too far.

Or, not just do you have to bury the hatchet within the organisation or during the campaign, but you have to bury the hatchet as a matter of principle...

That's really where the fault line is.

Perhaps where we differ is that we see our battle with creationism as an objection to religious fundamentalism rather than religion in general.


.... and yeah, this is another fault line. Now it ought to be possible for someone with the wider objection to see value in the narrower campaign - part of the same fight, after all. And it ought to be possible for someone with the narrower objection to work with them on that basis, so long as the attempt isn't made to hijack the narrow campaign. But what seems to happen is that the narrow campaigners either complain that the broad campaigners are harming the narrow campaign when they object to religion in general, or they complain that objection to religion in general is - if not harmful to the narrow campaign - just plain wrong or daft or counterproductive or impossible. And that then becomes a batter about who is welcome where.

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Re: Strategy

Postby Peter Henderson » Thu May 05, 2011 10:13 pm

He says that clearly there are very good scientists who are religious


and he's also saying that Christianity isn't compatable with evolution (which really means most of modern day science). He's recently stated that these Christians are deluded, and that YECs (such as Dr. Marc Surtees) have "kind of got it right".

He's either contradicting himself, or is confused and doesen't understand what he's saying, or else he's changed his mind. This isn't the line he was pushing on BBC Radio Ulster a while back, when he directed those Christians that accepted science in the direction of Miller and Collins (he dfinitely didn't say those Christians were deluded on that occasion, even though Paul Taylor was)

Next time he's interviewed about this on the station, I hope he comes clean and says he agrees with the YECs on this point. Otherwise, I'll definitely phone in and call him a liar.
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Re: Strategy

Postby dannyno » Thu May 05, 2011 10:44 pm

cathy wrote:
they won't sell many if the creationists get their way


Well, no, they won't.

It looks to me like they were making it clear that bcse wasn't wanted and that they were the ones who didn't want to be on board. Not as you suggest the other way around.


This is not my battle. For my purposes it doesn't matter who, to put it childishly, started it. Evidently Coyne's letter didn't fall from the moon. Stuff happened, people said stuff. Not edifying. I'm talking about where we now are: bridges appear burned, committee members are saying so be it.

As for explaining what Dawkins is really saying, it seems to be self explanatory.


I don't think it is, actually.

Hardly anti Dawkins and hardly the work of a group wanting to misrepresent him.


Entirely irrelevant. Focus, please, on the particular point being made.

As for suggesting Dawkins self censor himself. NOBODY has suggested that. They have said his views are used by creationists-they are. That that is not helpful-it isn't. But nobody has suggested he stops saying it at all.


The logic is quite clear. If Dawkins says stuff, which creationists then use and which is not helpful to anti-creationism, then the clear implication is that it would better if Dawkins either hadn't said, or didn't say, stuff like that. It would matter, wouldn't it?

It doesn't makes sense to me to imagine that someone might say "Dawkins said X, the creationists use this to do Y, the effect is to harm Z, but that's all great".

If it's true that what Dawkins says could lead to the defeat of anticreationism then clearly it can't be great, and you want him not to say it.

If you are suggesting otherwise than you clearly haven't understood what I wrote. Sorry I thought it was clear that it was a specific statement of fact not an order.


False dichotomy.

I understand what is being said. I don't interpret it as an order, which you are not in a position to give in any case. But nor is it merely a statement of fact. It's a criticism. There's no need to get upset by me saying that. It's true, and furthermore it's presented as a criticism. It is problematic for you that Dawkins talks like this. That's why you draw attention to the fact, not just because its of academic interest.

That's fine, it's a perfectly arguable point. There's nothing wrong, in principle, with criticising Dawkins for saying stuff which creationists use to recruit.

My contention, though, is that the criticism is incompatible with real neutrality and that other means of contesting what I accept could be a problem should be sought. I just want that point understood clearly, I don't want to launch into that debate again.

As for losing the support of the new/gnus like yourself.


Could I point out, one more time, that I do not in fact identify myself as a new/gnu atheist.

You don't want to join because it doesn't suit your ideology-fine nobody is forcing you.


Wasn't quite sure what you meant at that point. If this refers to me, I don't want to join mainly a) because of the attitude I've been greeted by, and only secondarily b) because I disagree with what appears to be the consensus strategy for dealing with certain issues. I have no ideological objection to campaigning alongside religious people, and nor, as you say, do most even of the gnus. I just don't think alliances require me to adopt or endorse the ideology of my allies; nor even to give up criticism of my allies. Slightest whiff of that, I don't like it.

Re preaching and free speech I was simply pointing out that preaching is preaching... I don't want to stop either, but neither do I particularly want to listen to either.


That wasn't what you said, but the clarification makes sense.

As for your second post. I would not be in the bcse if it made any concessions at all on the teaching of evolution in science nor any concessions to creationism being presented as in any way scientific in RE...Creationism is utter dishonest drivel....Whether or not there is a god currrently depends on your beliefs and philosophical arguments.


Yes, but my point was that you were wrong to make a moral equivalence between gnus and creationists merely on the basis of their (in your view) shared unwillingness to concede ground. That's why I asked the question, which you've answered but without addressing the actual point.

If you are suggesting bcse is making any concession then you really are mistaken.


To emphasise: this wasn't the point I was making at all.

I was objecting to the equivalence you were setting up between gnus and creationists on the basis that neither seemed to compromise much. Rhetorically what you were saying was "gnus and creationists are as bad as each other". I think that is ridiculous.

How folk reconcile facts to their beliefs is the business of religion as long as they do not lie about those facts.


Well, it is the business of religion. But it's also the business of anyone interested in how folk reconcile facts to their beliefs. You can imagine atheists might be interested in that. The BCSE should stay out of it, if it is neutral.

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Re: Strategy

Postby dannyno » Thu May 05, 2011 11:28 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:
He says that clearly there are very good scientists who are religious


and he's also saying that Christianity isn't compatable with evolution (which really means most of modern day science). He's recently stated that these Christians are deluded, and that YECs (such as Dr. Marc Surtees) have "kind of got it right".


The two points are not necessarily contradictory, if you don't stop where you stopped.

Oh dear, I'm gonna get the thread closed at this rate.

Peter, did you read the rest of what I said? I didn't just end at the bit you quoted and have ripped brutally out of context. It looks like you just finished there and either exploded or just fell asleep due to my deathless prose. I went on to - more or less - cover the points you've made.

Now you've put me in the position of having to restate what I was saying, which does not make me popular but appears to be necessary.

Dawkins, remember, comes from what I think is quite a traditional religious background in many ways. Big fan of the King James Bible, all of that.

When he thinks about Christianity, what he has in mind is something he feels to be its traditional teachings. And these, I think he would say, includes notions like original sin, the sacrifice of Jesus relating directly to original sin, and so forth.

Now, if Genesis is not true, then the story of Adam and Eve is not true, and the story of The Fall is not true, and therefore Original Sin is a problematic notion. And if Original Sin is a problematic notion, why did Jesus need to come back to die for us? And if that is in doubt, then what do you have left of Christianity at all?

When Dawkins talks about Christians who accept evolution being deluded, I think he probably has something like the above in mind.

He's either contradicting himself, or is confused and doesen't understand what he's saying, or else he's changed his mind.


That doesn't exhaust the possibilities. You missed out the possibility that he is right, or arguably right. I suspect actually it depends what angle he's approaching the issues from, and he hasn't synthesised it all into a clear position.

This isn't the line he was pushing on BBC Radio Ulster a while back, when he directed those Christians that accepted science in the direction of Miller and Collins (he dfinitely didn't say those Christians were deluded on that occasion, even though Paul Taylor was)


I would advise creationist Christians to check out the example of Miller and Collins too, but Miller and Collins are not exempt from criticism on that account. They don't lose anything by checking out Miller and Collins, they'll still be mistaken, but at least they gain accurate knowledge of the world.

Next time he's interviewed about this on the station, I hope he comes clean and says he agrees with the YECs on this point. Otherwise, I'll definitely phone in and call him a liar.


What's the lie, exactly?

Dawkins would say, I think, that the alternatives to what he takes to be the traditional Christian teaching actually don't leave much left of what seems to him to be authentically Christian teaching. It doesn't matter whether he's right about that or not, for my purposes.

Imagine a young earth creationist who said, "yeah, I believe the earth and all life including human life were created 6000 years ago in the form we see them now, but I also believe in evolution". What would you think? You'd think they were deluded, and you'd probably be right. It might, however, be an interesting or ingenious theological innovation, and it would enable BCSE to tell YECs that actually there were YECs who accepted both the literal word of genesis and evolution, so what's their problem? Religion and science, after all, do not conflict :-)

Back in the real world, Dawkins isn't much of a one for metaphorical interpretations (and why should he be?). The bible says that God created the world and everything in it, and so if you're a christian who wants to accept evolution, you have to abandon what the Bible says to that extent. So lots of Christians do, some my claiming that the bits they abandon are metaphorical. But what grounds, other than that otherwise they're in conflict with science, do they have for that claim?

No, Dawkins can legitimately point to Christians who have found ways to reconcile evolution and Christianity, without committing himself to agreeing with them that doing so can be justified or leaves anything left of Christian teaching.

I should perhaps end by noting that implicit in my attempt to unpack and intepret Dawkins is the criticism that he hasn't clearly articulated all of this himself (so far as I know), and he should do.

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Re: Strategy

Postby jon_12091 » Fri May 06, 2011 6:20 am

dannyno wrote:Imagine a young earth creationist who said, "yeah, I believe the earth and all life including human life were created 6000 years ago in the form we see them now, but I also believe in evolution". What would you think? You'd think they were deluded, and you'd probably be right. It might, however, be an interesting or ingenious theological innovation, and it would enable BCSE to tell YECs that actually there were YECs who accepted both the literal word of genesis and evolution, so what's their problem? Religion and science, after all, do not conflict :-)

Actually it would not provide any kind of 'accommodation' because, unless you now something I don't or accept creation science, the age of the Earth has been scientifically determined to be a damn site older that 6000 years. Also some creationists do believe (and I use that word with a purpose) in evolution and they've adopted it to their cause calling it "adaption within kinds" or some such.

As for the rest of your thesis regarding the Bible you seem to be deliberately picking a somewhat literal reading of the text, which flying in the face of secular Biblical scholarship leads me to believe your motives are intellectually disingenuous. I also find it a bit rich that a Gnu is telling people how they should interpret their religious text and I wonder just why some atheists are so keen on believers accepting a more 'literal' reading. Ah' is it because it means they conform better with an easily attacked and discredited sterotype?
Now, if Genesis is not true, then the story of Adam and Eve is not true, and the story of The Fall is not true, and therefore Original Sin is a problematic notion. And if Original Sin is a problematic notion, why did Jesus need to come back to die for us? And if that is in doubt, then what do you have left of Christianity at all?

And that just makes me think your actually a creationist troll!
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Hywel Francis
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jon_12091
 
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Re: Strategy

Postby rich99 » Fri May 06, 2011 11:53 am

jon_12091 wrote:As for the rest of your thesis regarding the Bible you seem to be deliberately picking a somewhat literal reading of the text, which flying in the face of secular Biblical scholarship leads me to believe your motives are intellectually disingenuous. I also find it a bit rich that a Gnu is telling people how they should interpret their religious text and I wonder just why some atheists are so keen on believers accepting a more 'literal' reading. Ah' is it because it means they conform better with an easily attacked and discredited sterotype?


That's certainly not what dannynos said - (IMHO) he is saying that christians have a choice of either reading the bible literally (which contradicts science) or throwing away parts of the bible (or making them metaphorical) in order to reconcile the bible with science. The problem is, how do you know to throw which bits to claim are metaphorical? If you just decide that anything that contradicts science is metaphorical, that's simply the old 'god-of-the-gaps' argument, a weak argument, especially since the gaps get progressively smaller as time goes by. That's not 'telling people how to read their text' nor is it 'attacking a stereotype.' It's a logical argument which makes perfect sense to me - I'd be interested to hear answers or suggestions if you think that argument is wrong - but he certainly did not say what you claim.

jon_12091 wrote:And that just makes me think your actually a creationist troll!


Again, I don't see where you get this claim from - the argument makes sense to me. If you reconcile the bible with science by stating that adam & eve were metaphorical (as many religions do), then that must surely cause problems for the a large number of core christian beliefs that follow directly from the fall? Again, to me (as a layman, theologically speaking) it's a logical & coherent argument - if you have a good reason why it's wrong then say so, but it's certainly not trolling.
rich99
 
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