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Nature Editorial Attacks Christianity of Francis Collins

Casey Luskin reports : Nature Immunology Editorial Botches American Law and Science Education

May, 2010 editorial in Nature Immunology makes it clear that they don’t trust religious persons–even those who are neo-Darwinian evolutionists like Francis Collins–in positions of scientific authority. The editorial (written by the journal’s editors) states:

The openly religious stance of the NIH director [Francis Collins] could have undesirable effects on science education in the United States. … In the introduction and in interviews surrounding [Collins'] book release, he describes his belief in a non-natural, non-measurable, improvable deity that created the universe and its laws with humans as the ultimate aim of its creation. Some might worry that describing scientists as workers toiling to understand the laws and intricacies of this divine creation will create opportunities for creationism adepts.
….
Strikingly, despite being a world leader in science, the United States still struggles when it comes to scientific education. Creationism is creeping back into the science curricula of public schools. And although intelligent design, the latest form of creationism, suffered a major defeat in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial (Nat. Immunol. 7, 433–435, 2006), when the US Supreme Court ruled that including it in science curricula is unconstitutional, creationists are making a comeback.

(“Of faith and reason,” Nature Immunology, Vol. 11(5):357 (May 2010).)


The real issue is not creationism (in my humble opinion). They just hate people of faith, period! Francis Collins is a Darwinist, he defends Darwinism. Francis Collins has a PhD in Physics and Chemistry. When I heard him speak at George Mason, he listed his PhD in “Quantum Mechanics” which accords with his biographies elsewhere that list him as follows:

He went on to attain a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale University in 1974. While at Yale, however, a course in biochemistry sparked his interest in the molecules that hold the blueprint for life: DNA and RNA. Collins recognized that a revolution was on the horizon in molecular biology and genetics. After consulting with his old mentor from the University of Virginia, Carl Trindle, he changed fields and enrolled in medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning there an M.D. in 1977.

Collins has a PhD and MD, and he went on to head the human genome project. He’s 10 times more qualified than Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, and Jerry Coyne to do the work he is doing. But that’s not enough because in the eyes of some Darwinists (like Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne), believing in God disqualifies someone from being a leader in science.

The one encouraging bit of news is it appears the Darwinists really don’t think Dover has stopped the advance of intelligent design or “creationism”.

Addendum:
It just occurred to me that the editorial may be encouraging illegal activity. In the US, it is considered a violation of civil rights to discriminate against people of faith with respect to employment. Especially in the case of Francis Collins, there are hardly few, if any, more qualified for his job.

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53 Responses to Nature Editorial Attacks Christianity of Francis Collins

  1. Indeed, people of faith are the real target here. I would highly doubt the editors would decry an outspoken atheist like Richard Dawkins in that position. This quote from above says it all “…he describes his belief in a non-natural, non-measurable, improvable deity.”

  2. I also highly doubt I’d ever see the following modification of the editorial’s headline were an atheist to take the position:

    The openly irreligious stance of the NIH director could have undesirable effects on science education in the United States

  3. I just added the following to the posting:

    Addendum:
    It just occurred to me that the editorial may be encouraging illegal activity. In the US, it is considered a violation of civil rights to discriminate against people of faith with respect to employment. Especially in the case of Francis Collins, there are hardly few, if any, more qualified for his job.

  4. Wait, the Supreme Court ruled in Dover? I thought it was never appealed from District Court.

  5. The one encouraging bit of news is it appears the Darwinists really don’t think Dover has stopped the advance of intelligent design or “creationism”.

    Yep, a judge reading verbatim a Darwinist-supplied verdict apparently does not actually have any bearing on an on-going argument, especially when the judge almost certainly does not understand the core argument of one of the sides.

    And yes, what the editors are attempting to do is certainly illegal. I don’t think they’ll succeed, though. If they do get him ousted, the lawsuits will rain down on them.

    n the introduction and in interviews surrounding [Collins'] book release, he describes his belief in a non-natural, non-measurable, improvable deity that created the universe and its laws with humans as the ultimate aim of its creation.

    i.e., his faith fails the screening of Strong Rationalism. But then again everything does, including strong rationalism!

    Since they have the faith to think that natural evolution can constantly create engineering masterpieces that dwarf what we are capable of, I can’t say that I’m surprised to read something like this from them.

  6. In case some Theistic Evolutionists haven’t noticed yet….materialists make strange bedfellows. They will only tolerate theistic evolutionists (like Collins) because they object to ID. However, they will not endorse theistic evolution either.

    In the theistic evolutionist’ naive attempt to make peace with both sides, he is blind to the reality that one of those sides will, by necessity, try to silence the theistic evolutionist someday at sometime.

  7. This one is as plain a case of ideological antipathy imposed by overweening arrogance of evolutionary materialists as it gets.

    let’s hear Lewontin inadvertently let the cat out of the bag again:

    _________________

    >>. . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [which is of course a philosophical truth and knowledge claim, so it refutes itself]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [yup, triumphalistic circular thinking can seem self-evident] that the practices of science [cf below on just how he wants science practiced, and ask yourself whether a priori materialist censorship is going to help with unfettered truth seeking] provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [surely, you mean self-refuting evolutionary materialism?]. . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997.] >>
    __________________

  8. I’ll answer my own question. The supreme court never heard the case. There is a huge difference between the District Court and the US Supreme Court.

  9. The real issue is not creationism (in my humble opinion). They just hate people of faith, period!

    Really? Have you met any of them? Have you seen that look of pure hatred in their eyes every time they talk to a Christian?

    They may not like the idea of Christianity creeping into the classroom, but to accused them of hating all people of faith is nothing short of ridiculous.

    I would wager that there is at least one Christian on their own editorial board, or failing that, there are no doubt several Christians working in close proximity to them at the journal. Do they hiss and spit every time they walk past one of them?

  10. This is just disgusting, I’m sorry.

    What place do these charlatans have in attacking an appointed NIH director on religious grounds? Is this even legal?

    But the again, how does faith in materialism along with the dogmas of the new atheist religion qualify all these charlatans in having a place in the sciences? And who is the real religious fundamentalist here?

  11. If belief that God organized the universe is a matter of faith, why isn’t the materialist belief that the universe came together by some accidental, mechanical process also a matter of faith? (Or, the Buddhist belief in self-organization.) How does faith in recognized authority differ from religious faith?

    http://30145.myauthorsite.com/

  12. David Heddle points out Sam Harris behavior on the issue. It is applicable to the Editorial:

    Sad Case of Sam Harris

    People like Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, and P.Z. Myers are bigots. Polished and educated for sure, but bigots nonetheless. In other times and in other places we have heard their vile arguments in different forms. Yes he is a qualified scientist but he is a evangelical Christian… was Yes he is a qualified scientist but he is a Jew… Or I have no objections to interracial marriage, but think of how hard it will be for the children… etc.

    and

    Sam Harris has written yet another iteration of his same-ole, same-ole argument that Francis Collins is unfit to serve as director of the National Institutes of Health. Why? Because Collins is a strong, vocal, evangelical Christian. A don’t-ask-don’t-tell Christian would be OK, so it’s *cough* not about Collins being a Christian. It is about him being an uppity, arrogant, loud-mouthed, in-your-face Christian who is not a credit to his religion and doesn’t know how to keep in his place. Why someone who is open about his beliefs is not acceptable while someone who keeps them in secret is acceptable is only understood when you realize that Harris hates Christianity. When it cannot be ignored, he goes on the offensive.

    It is said that northern racists don’t care how far blacks make it, as long as they don’t live near them. Harris (and Coyne and Myers) are more like the southern racist who doesn’t mind living next to a black man, as long as he remembers his proper station in life.

    Although making the same case he always does, this particular essay by Harris is uncharacteristically poorly written. Consider this non sequitur near the beginning:

    Even religious extremists value some of the products of science—antibiotics, computers, bombs, etc.—and these seeds of inquisitiveness, we are told, can be patiently nurtured in a way that offers no insult to religious faith.

    Yeah—so what? This is akin to the there are no atheists in a foxhole aphorism. It has absolutely nothing to do with Collins’s qualifications to lead the NIH.

    Harris expresses, with grave concern:

    Just imagine how scientific it would seem if Collins, as a devout Hindu, informed his audience that Lord Brahma had created the universe and now sleeps; Lord Vishnu sustains it and tinkers with our DNA (in way that respects the law of karma and rebirth); and Lord Shiva will eventually destroy it in a great conflagration.

    First of all this is a fallacious (and common, in this debate), good-for-the-goose, good-for-the-gander argument. It is of the form: Those damn hypocritical Christians would be apoplectic if a devout Moslem was nominated for the NIH position. Yes, some of them would—but their postulated error cannot be recycled (pre-cycled?) as a reason to argue against Collins. Sammy—you have heard the one about two wrongs not making a right? Right?

    It truth, if Collins were a Hindu (to take Harris’s example) it would make not a bit of difference. As for any government job, the relevant criteria can be summarized as 1) Are you the most qualified applicant? 2) Are you permitted to work, legally, in the United States? 3) Do you currently engage or have you engaged in any disqualifying illegal activities? and 4) Are you engaged in any secret financial or personal hobbies that might render you a national security risk?

    Science more or less dispenses with all criteria except number one. Science is a meritocracy, one of the few true meritocracies. What has always been relevant in science is: what is the quality of your work? and, to a lesser extent, what is the volume of your work?

    On the sole count of what is actually relevant for holding a scientific position Harris, in a rare display of integrity, or more likely a calculated display of faux integrity, writes, (in what should be the entirety of his essay):

    One must admit that his [Collins’s] credentials are impeccable: he is a physical chemist, a medical geneticist, and the former head of the Human Genome Project

    You can just about detect the regret and reluctance with which Harris must concede this inconvenient fact—which he never mentions again and treats as totally incidental. He only turns his head aside and burps it out, one can speculate, for CYA purposes. I wasn’t unfair to Collins. I mentioned he was qualified. Aren’t I the even-handed one?

    The rest of the Harris’s essay is devoted to Collins’s Christianity.

    Show, don’t tell

    What about evidence? Anyone have any actual evidence that Collins’s religiosity renders him unfit to lead the NIH? Harris? Coyne? Myers? Anyone?

    I have repeatedly asked, on some enormously popular websites such as Myers’s own Pharyngula, for someone, anyone, to demonstrate the science/faith incompatibility charge. The people making this claim are supposed to be scientists or at least scientifically literate. They should understand that that a hypothesis than cannot lend itself to testing is inherently unscientific. As many of you know, I proposed a test: I would provide ten peer-reviewed scientific papers, five from believers and five from unbelievers. If the charge that religion and science are incompatible is more than just words, we can posit that it should be possible to detect which papers are polluted by the author’s religion. No one has ever accepted the challenge.

  13. This strikes me as similar to what happened with Sir Fred Hoyle. Richard Dawkins coined the term “Hoyle’s Fallacy”, discrediting him, even though Sir Fred was an evolutionist and very well respected scientist. Sir Fred advocated panspermia, rejecting the idea that life originated on Earth, but promoted the idea that life ‘evolved’ in space (hence his work Evolution from Space), and also believed in biological evolution on Earth once life arrived from space. So, Sir Fred may not have been a ‘purist’ evolutionist from a conventional (neo-) Darwinist perspective today, but was an evolutionist nonetheless. Today’s evolutionists have generally and unfairly discredited Sir Fred as an evolutionist because his ideas sound too much like intelligent design for their inflexible naturalistic comfort zone.

    One doesn’t even have to be a person “of faith” to be kicked out of the naturalist camp, if their ideas give any credibility at all to the existence of God! For more on what leading evolutionists observe, along with how and why they refuse to believe the obvious, see Intelligent Design vs. Evolution — The Miracle of Intelligent Design.

  14. 15

    So how many great (iconic) scientists of past centuries would have been excluded from positions of scientific authority because they believed in God? Many I would suggest.
    Do applicants for science positions now have to tick a box on application forms marked – Do you believe in God? What a joke.

    Search for Truth in nature from my experience is motivated by religious belief not stiffled by it.

  15. deric davidson (13),

    I disagree with the Nature editorial and the perception that those of faith ought not be in charge at origanisation like NIH, provided their faith doesn’t interfere with their work. But I also disagree with your statement:

    “Search for Truth in nature from my experience is motivated by religious belief not stiffled by it.”

    This implies that atheists aren’t motivated to search for truth in nature. I assume you don’t mean that?

  16. The editorial seems to echo Dawkins sentiments.

    Dawkins takes such exception to Collins’ Biologos that he insist that if Collins doesn’t disavow some of the articiles published at Biologos, that Collins is unfit for office:

    Dear Dr Falk
    Certainly, I am happy to suggest that our website people might post your article, and I am copying this letter to them to call it to their attention. But I didn’t misunderstand Daniel Harrell’s essay. It never for a moment occurred to me that he, or Biologos, could possibly be supporters of Option #1. Of course I understood that he was advocating the marginally less fatuous Option #2. It was Option #2 that I was referring to as ‘ridiculous’, because it is an attempt to reconcile science with the book of Genesis. Why on Earth would anyone want to reconcile science with Genesis, given that there is no historical reason to suppose that the author of Genesis, a scientifically illiterate scribe writing probably as recently as the 8th century BC, had any knowledge or authority to pronounce on the subject of human origins? I still earnestly hope – and believe – that Francis Collins would disown the article, or at least feel embarrassed by it. If he would not, he is unfit to hold high office in the scientific establishment of the United States.
    Yours sincerely
    Richard Dawkins

    see:
    http://biologos.org/blog/on-li.....dle/</a?

    and

    http://richarddawkins.net/arti.....the-middle

  17. when the US Supreme Court ruled that including it [creationism] in science curricula is unconstitutional, creationists are making a comeback

    That was referring to:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwards_v._Aguillard

    Dover vs. Kitzmiller was dealing with ID which is not the same as creationism.

  18. The principle ought to be fairly clear.

    If one’s basic approach to any line of scientific enquiry is ‘God did it’ then you’re not being scientific (until the existence of God is proved, rather than assumed).

  19. Gaz,

    Not at all. Atheist use science to push their religion all the time. I assume they also are motivated to pursue what they view as truth.

  20. Why does UD present such an inconsistent attitude toward Collins? He’s been singled out for not signing the Manhattan Declaration, criticized for misunderstanding ID, and called incoherent for being a TE. Now he’s being lauded as a potential martyr for the Faith, one of the smartest people to ever walk the Earth. One wonders if some of you are talking about the same person.

  21. He’s been singled out for not signing the Manhattan Declaration, criticized for misunderstanding ID, and called incoherent for being a TE. Now he’s being lauded as a potential martyr for the Faith, one of the smartest people to ever walk the Earth. One wonders if some of you are talking about the same person.

    He’s all of the above. I don’t see a problem.

    I point out where I disagree with Collins, and I point out when someone’s civil rights (even though I disagree with them) are being infinged on.

    See:

    I greatly respect William Dembski

    The Big Bang cries out for a divine explanation. It forces the conclusion that nature had a defined beginning. I cannot see how nature could have created itself. Only a supernatural force that is outside of space and time could have done that.

    Francis Collins

  22. 23

    LouAnLai,

    If one’s basic approach to any line of scientific enquiry is ‘God did it’ then you’re not being scientific (until the existence of God is proved, rather than assumed).

    How many times, seriously, how many times, I would really like to know, must ID claim that the designer could’ve been many other things other than God? How may times before this argument stops being used? How many times must you and everyone else hear that the designer could’ve been many things before it sinks in? How many? I really want to know…..

  23. Clive Hayden,

    How many times, seriously, how many times, I would really like to know, must ID claim that the designer could’ve been many other things other than God?

    If the designer can be many other things than god, why is there no effort being made to identify it? Why does the Discovery Institute explicitly say that the identity of the designer is a religious, not a scientific question?

  24. 25

    lastyearon,

    If the designer can be many other things than god, why is there no effort being made to identify it? Why does the Discovery Institute explicitly say that the identity of the designer is a religious, not a scientific question?

    Where is this said by DI? And there are religions that don’t include any notion of a separate creator God, such as pantheism, and there are religions that have a notion of aliens and there are religions that have notions that nothing exists except a blind caprice of material movements, such as atheists. Nevertheless, the designer isn’t claimed to have to have been God, no matter how you wish to define “religion”. It’s a tired old argument that keeps getting roused out of bed and made to stand around while everyone looks at its senility. All it wants to do is be put to rest once and for all….

  25. @LuoAnLai,

    If one’s basic approach to any line of scientific enquiry is ‘God did it’ then you’re not being scientific (until the existence of God is proved, rather than assumed).

    Your premise doesn’t apply to IDers in general, but if we turn it around, it seems to apply well to evolutionists:

    If one’s basic approach to any line of scientific enquiry is ‘nature did it’ then you’re not being scientific (until the ability of nature to do “it” is demonstrated, rather than assumed).

    By nature here I’m referring to undirected causes, a.k.a. non-intelligent agents.

  26. The folks at Nature Immunology had it exactly right. Everyone who’s Brite and Enlightened knows that only those with Orthodox worldviews can perform experiments and accurately interpret the results. Other considerations—professional qualifications, for example—might be important, but only after the ideology test is met. There really can be no question about this.

    Their only mistake was in limiting their scope to just one person. Given the stated reason for Nature’s proposal, certainly the NIH Director isn’t the only person who should be Publically Criticized and Purged. Without any question, there are many, many others—in all kinds of lines of work at every level—whose “openly religious stance… could have undesirable effects on science education in the United States.”

    Given these undeniable facts, I invite all who are Loyal, Patriotic and Enlightened to submit their lists of names to the Nature Immunology editorial board as soon as is reasonably possible.

    With your help, we can achieve a Pure and Right-thinking America in our lifetime!

  27. I notice in this thread and in many other places that the word “faith” is used to refer to a way that “religious people” people think and come to conclusions and it is typically juxtaposed against “science” and “reason.” In other words, I, a Christian, am a person of “faith” and they, the “scientists” are people of “reason.” The really, really big problem here, which I can only wave at in this space, is that “faith” today bears about as much relationship to “faith” as used in the New Testament as “gay” today means as opposed to what it used to mean. You know, happy.

    Thus, the straw man has been set up. The word “faith,” a perfectly respectable New Testament word has been destroyed in modern usage to the extent that it is no longer recognizable. Yet many Christians still use the word and worse, do not correct the “scientific” community when they use it. Only a fool would believe anything without good reason to do so. So to set up the debate with the initial positions established as Christian=fool and scientist=rational agent is to mischaracterize the discussion from the beginning.

    In the New Testament, faith typically has one of two meanings. It is principally used to indicate an act of the will (not the intellect) as in making a choice (based upon reason and evidence). In other words, to translate “your faith has made you whole” from the NT into modern English we would write something like “your decision or your choice (based upon sufficient reason and evidence) to trust Me or rely on Me has made you whole.”

    The other meaning typically associated with the NT word faith is a body of doctrine which is believed, based upon reason and evidence. In other words, it is a collection of truth claims that one holds to, based upon reason and evidence. For example, in modern English, the Christian “faith” or the neo-Darwinian “faith” would refer to the systematic body of truth claims held to by each group. (Except of course, for the glaring absence of both reason and evidence from the darwinian faith.)

    In the online M-W dictionary, we find one of the meanings of “faith” to be: “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” Does this sound anything at all like what the NT word means? No. In fact, Christians are NEVER told to believe things without evidence. That is a lie and it must be exposed as such.

    In the end, there are only two ways to know, reason and evidence. I don’t care if you are a philosopher, a Christian, a scientist, or all three, in the final analysis, reason and evidence carries the day. We live in one UNIverse. There is one way that things are regardless if one is making scientific or religious claims. And the way to know how those things are, ultimately, is by reason and evidence.

  28. 29

    Lastyear,

    This is all very simple. There is nothing in the evidence that makes a suggest whom or what the designer is. In other words, the ID position is appropriate to the evidence. Full stop.

    LuoAnLai,

    If the position is held that only unguided forces are at work in the universe, please explain how that might be falsified so we may call it scietific.

  29. 30

    tgpeeler,

    In the end, there are only two ways to know, reason and evidence. I don’t care if you are a philosopher, a Christian, a scientist, or all three, in the final analysis, reason and evidence carries the day. We live in one UNIverse. There is one way that things are regardless if one is making scientific or religious claims. And the way to know how those things are, ultimately, is by reason and evidence.

    You should like this essay, if you haven’t already read it:

    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

  30. If the designer can be many other things than god, why is there no effort being made to identify it? Why does the Discovery Institute explicitly say that the identity of the designer is a religious, not a scientific question?

    Even if the designer is God, it is an invalid inference to say merely because something is designed that God necessarily did it.

    The sky is blue today where I am, and 2+2=4. Both statements are true, but one logically infer the other. Just because 2+2=4 it doesn’t mean the sky is blue today (even though indeed the sky is blue today where I am). And just because the sky is blue, it does not mean 2+2=4 (even though indeed 2+2=4).

    The conclusions don’t follow from the premises, even thought both statements are true.

    The Explanatory Filter may detect design, but even if the Designer is God, it is still and invalid inference from the premise (i.e. “if the EF detects design, then God made the design” is a false statemet since there are cases where the EF can detect man-made design).

    As far as efforts to identify the Designer, I’ve suggested one based purely on scientific (not religious) considerations.

    See:

    The Quantum Enigma of Consciuosness and The Identity of the Designer

    I’m not saying that my argument is correct, but I’m merely offering an example that exploration of the identity of the designer can be within the inferential speculations of legitimate science. But answers to such questions do not proceed directly from the design inference nor can they logically do so.

    To identify the Designer, another line of reasoning (outside of ID proper) must be employed, and I gave an example of one such line of reasoning to show how one might possibly go about it.

    The question is interesting and important, but it cannot be logically answered by ID even if the Designer is God (which is my personal belief by the way).

    Incidentally, Stephen Meyer in an interview said who he thinks the designer is, but he pointed out the same issue with logical inference that I did.

    I’m with Clive. This is repeating ground that has been already discussed many times.

  31. tgpeeler @ 28

    if your understanding of the word faith were adopted, it seems that it would become superfluous as a word, because it would mean the same thing as the word conclusion (try it out by replacing faith as you used it with conclusion);

    the following problem in your reasoning appears to be at the root of this strange effect:

    “It [Faith] is principally used to indicate an act of the will (not the intellect) as in making a choice (based upon reason and evidence).”

    Intellect, by its very definition, is the overall term describing properties of the mind such as reasoning and recognition/interpretation of evidence. If the intellect is not involved in making a choice, how do you reckon that that choice could possibly be based upon reason and evidence?

  32. 33

    molch, aka madbat,

    Well, that sums it up, and concludes my visit to this forum, because there is clearly nothing left to see here (apart from spontaneous interjected song recitals :) )
    I want to thank all those who engaged in serious, respectful discussion!
    Bye!

    I thought your visits to this forum were concluded?

  33. Last time I looked this was a different forum. The other one, that you copied the above comment from (which you deleted, before you banned me) was titled “Fuller vs. Ruse”, as far as I remember.

    But, I guess, in the blogging world, this might just be a different conversation? thread? on the same “forum”? I don’t know, I am very new to blogging.

    If my naivete to the precise meaning of blogging terms was your prompt to banning me then: I am guilty! Go ahead and ban me again! Wouldn’t surprise me in the least…

  34. “If the intellect is not involved in making a choice, how do you reckon that that choice could possibly be based upon reason and evidence?”

    But TGPeeler stated that the intellect is involved. The willing is based on evidence.

    Vivid

  35. Hi molch. “Intellect, by its very definition, is the overall term describing properties of the mind such as reasoning and recognition/interpretation of evidence. If the intellect is not involved in making a choice, how do you reckon that that choice could possibly be based upon reason and evidence?”

    There are two things going on here. First is the act of the intellect in evaluating evidence. Second is the act of the will, or choice, concerning the evidence.

    For example, I walk up to a taxi and before I get in I take a look. Let’s say the driver is obviously impaired, the inside looks shabby, the body is a mess, scrapes, dents, etc… I evaluate this evidence and decide whether or not I want to get in the cab. There’s the mental act and the volitional act. They are two separate things

    Or let’s say that one looks at the very existence of the universe, the fine tuning, the existence of earth, the fine tuning, the existence of many kinds of life, the exquisite design and beauty of that life, the existence of human life, consciousness, a moral law, laws of logic, mathematics, language, etc… and says “there is no God.” I’d refer that person to Psalm 14:1a.

  36. Clive @ 30. I’ve read a fair amount of CS Lewis but not this. Thanks. When he makes the point that reason isn’t merely human reason I think of Exodus 3:14 (I AM sent you) where God revealed Himself to Moses as the personification, if you will, of the first principles of reason, being and identity. Part of the character of God is Reason. Not enough people remember that. Thanks again for the link.

    p.s. Jesus says the same thing in John 8:58 “before Abraham was, I am.”

  37. scordova@31

    “Even if the designer is God, it is an invalid inference to say merely because something is designed that God necessarily did it.”

    I agree that one can’t use the fact that something is designed to be a proof of God. If such were demonstrated then maybe it is supportive of or even weaker only in accordance with the theory that I accept that there is a God. However, as a Christian I am quite at liberty to say that God did something or allowed something to happen. God is sovereign over all. One case deals with proximate causes and the other with ultimate causes.

    ===

    Generally I think this thread is a hopeful sign of at least some cooperation between ID and BioLogos or ASA. Ted Davis on the ASA a while back defended at least one scientist of the ID persuasion and I am glad to see this turn about.
    Dave W

  38. tgpeeler @ 36

    “First is the act of the intellect in evaluating evidence….. I evaluate this evidence and decide whether or not I want to get in the cab.”

    So, we both seem to agree that intellect needs to be involved in any decision making process? so far so good;

    “Second is the act of the will, or choice, concerning the evidence…..There’s the mental act and the volitional act. They are two separate things”

    So, on the one hand you state that the choice (volition act) is based on the evidence, but on the other hand you still assume that the choice is not a necessary consequence of the intellectual evaluation of the evidence. Which does make sense if you only consider the evidence immediately surveyed (e.g. the obviously impaired driver and the messy inside of the cab). By itself, this is not enough evidence to decide if it is a good idea to get into the cab. I need to put it in context with my repertoire of already accumulated evidence that impaired drivers are likely to cause accidents, etc. And I need to reconcile the recognition of all these factors with current circumstances. If I need a ride to the next hospital because I have a punctured artery, and if the cab in question is the only ride available, these two pieces of evidence will likely outweigh all the negative evidence in the final decision.

    However, this means that the choice is a direct and necessary consequence of the evaluation of evidence, and that the will to make that choice is a combination of all the evidence evaluations (which are commonly described as motivations) that factor into that choice.

  39. oh, and tgpeeler:

    “I’d refer that person to Psalm 14:1a.”

    thanks for clarifying that you are a religious segregationist who thinks that everybody whose world view does not include your god is “morally deficient, vile, corrupt and incapable of doing any good.”
    I am surprised you even write to satanic monstrosities like me – don’t we belong in concentration camps?

  40. Hey molch, I’m pretty much good with your post at 39 until you get to the last paragraph. People decided to ignore overwhelming evidence all the time. It’s not a new phenomena. See the end of the post for an illustration.

    I’m not a religious segregationist since I am talking to you. That much should be obvious. As far as satanic monstrosities go, join the club. Hey man, if you read much of what I have to say you’ll realize that I bear no malice toward you or pretty much anyone, although I am unfortunately certainly capable of that. I am interested in discovering what is TRUE about the universe we live in. If I am correct in my deductions and inferences and God exists and Jesus is the Messiah then anyone who doesn’t believe that is certainly a fool. If I am wrong, then I am the fool. It’s a pretty easy system. So if I offended your sensibilities by pointing that out by means of Psalm 14:1a, then I apologize. Maybe then we can get back to arguing about what is actually true.

    p.s. How’s this for an ancient response to overwhelming evidence???

    Matt. 12:9 And departing from there, He went into their synagogue.
    Matt. 12:10 And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they questioned Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” — in order that they might accuse Him.
    Matt. 12:11 And He said to them, “What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out?
    Matt. 12:12 “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
    Matt. 12:13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” And he stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.
    Matt. 12:14 But the Pharisees went out, and counseled together against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

    Doesn’t seem rational to me…

    p.p.s. He’s not “my” God. That sounds suspiciously like post-modern BS. You know, what’s true for me is true for me and what’s true for you is true for you. There is one universe that we both live in and it’s a certain way. I am pretty sure that understanding how that way is serves my best interests. That’s the only reason I care.

  41. 42

    molch,

    You might want to take stock in 40 and 41 and ask yourself of the demonstrations of balance. You might conclude there is plenty of ill thought in all directions, some of it you’ve demonstrated here.

    That being said, I am intersted to know: who where and when did someone suggest that you should be segregated for your beliefs, who where and when did someone call you a satanic monstrocity, and who where and when did someone seek to put you in a concentration camp?

  42. Tgpeeler,
    maybe you should make it a habit of looking a little more closely at the actual contents of what you cite as a testimony to your convictions, because the meaning of:

    The fool* says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.
    *The Hebrew words rendered fool in Psalms denote one who is morally deficient.
    (cited from BibleGateway.com)

    is quite clear, and quite contrary to your mild, apologetic representation at 41… You did not offend my sensibilities (I am a lot more robust than that), but your choice of testimony cast doubt on your interest to have any kind of sincere discussion with a non-Christian. But since this apparently was not your intention, I accept your genuine apology and look forward to continuing a respectful discussion.

    “He’s not “my” God.”

    He is your god in the sense that the Judeo-Christian god is the one you believe in – in contrast to the hundreds of other gods of millions of other people adhering to other religions or philosophies – and to the absence of deities in yet another set of religions and philosophies. That’s all I meant by the use of the expression “your god”, and I apologize for my part if you found that offensive.

    On to the actual discussion on evidence and choice:

    “Matt. 12:14 But the Pharisees went out, and counseled together against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
    Doesn’t seem rational to me…”

    Really??? I think in this context we have a pretty good idea what the evidence was that motivated the Pharisees to “counsel together against Him, as how they might destroy him”: By actions like the one described Jesus was undermining the established political structure of a religious and legal system that the Pharisees held leadership over; they meant to stay in power, so this faith healer and his revolutionary ideas had to be stopped! A simple political move – despicable? Maybe – but nothing irrational about it…

  43. Upright BiPed @ 42

    you know, you’re not doing tgpeeler a favor by asking me to hand you a shovel so you can dig that hole deeper that you just jumped into after tg climbed out of it…

  44. tgpeeler – continuing from 43:

    Extrapolating from the two examples (the messy cab / Jesus & the Pharisees) we have been discussing, my point might become more clear:
    You say:

    “People decided to ignore overwhelming evidence all the time.”

    I agree, because the evidence that is overwhelming from one person’s perspective is not overwhelming from another perspective, because the sets of evidence evaluations, or motivations, between the two persons are not the same. The person who is not overwhelmed by the presented evidence has evaluated OTHER evidence that in it’s turn overwhelms the first set of evidence in the path to decision making. Do you agree? If you don’t agree, then what do you suggest weighs into the decision to disregard one set of evidence, if it is not another set of evidence?

  45. molch @ 43

    I believe the original referral was to Psalm 14:a1 (the first phrase) was it not? In any case, I’m delighted that I did not irretrievably offend your sensibilities so that we may continue this conversation.

    “That’s all I meant by the use of the expression “your god”, and I apologize for my part if you found that offensive.”

    Not at all. I was merely pointing out the nuance that God is either God or He’s not, whether or not I believe in Him.

    “A simple political move – despicable? Maybe – but nothing irrational about it…”

    I see your point. I viewed it as irrational in that the man claiming to be the promised Messiah (God) performed a miracle right in front of them and their response was not worship or acceptance, even, but rather how to destroy Him. That’s what I meant by irrational.

  46. tgpeeler

    “I see your point. I viewed it as irrational in that the man claiming to be the promised Messiah (God) performed a miracle right in front of them and their response was not worship or acceptance, even, but rather how to destroy Him. That’s what I meant by irrational.”

    I agree that from the viewpoint that only takes the performed miracle into account as evidence, it appears irrational to reject this evidence as sufficient for worship of the performer of the miracle and acceptance of him as the Messiah. But adding the evidence of political motivations of the Pharisees, and probably other components in their repertoire of evidence that for example might allow them to dismiss the miracle as a magic trick, makes their choice quite rational. You seem to agree with that.

    So, bearing all this in mind, do you we agree on 45?

  47. 48

    44

    Tom is quite capable of taking care of himself, and I will be the last person you put in a theological hole. My question had to do with whether you earned the position you painted, or if you were just borrowing it for fun, again.

    In any case, I don’t argue religious text on this forum, so I am happy to be silent.

  48. 49

    They are saying that belief/conclusions about a existing God and the Christian faith etc are in fact not ideas for people in science and so most people in anything.
    They are attacking religious belief. Simple.

    they show the true motivations behind the jurisprudence that tries to say the original Yankee/Southern protestant people put in their constitution banns about teaching as true or options that God/Genesis in public schools.
    Absurdity.
    Its a failure of recent jurisprudence.
    Creationism just needs lawyers and cases to take them on.

  49. Upright, I am happy for you to defend me anytime! :-)

    molch – concerning 45, somewhat. I don’t have time tonight to post but I’ll ask a question if you don’t mind.

    I would be interested in your fundamental epistemological commitments. That is, how do you determine what exists and what is true? Thanks.

  50. Upright @ 48

    I am quite aware what your question was about, and that Tom is capable of taking care of himself – but unless you insist in dragging the discussion back into the hole (which is an ethical one, not a theological one), you might just look at the first part of 43 to have that question answered. I consider the issue settled with tg’s apology.

    “In any case, I don’t argue religious text on this forum, so I am happy to be silent.”

    Sounds like everybody is happy and we can get back to business!

  51. tgpeeler @ 50

    “how do you determine what exists and what is true?”

    that’s obviously a big and fundamental philosophical question – I’ll try my best to describe to you my current understanding:

    The first part of the question – what exists – is a lot more straightforward. I determine it by experience. Experience in this context encompasses direct observation and it encompasses the accounts of other sources in combination with my judgement of the reliability of these sources based on previous observation, record and reputation.

    On to the second part: what is true? Partially, the answer to that question is exactly the same as to the first part – I determine it by experience. However, the kind of thruth I can determine by that process is a subjective truth, and, I suspect, not the kind of truth you are talking about. You are probably talking about an absolute, or objective, truth. It is my opinion that an objective truth is not accessible to any subjective observer. And I am, by definition, a subjective observer.
    I’ll illustrate that with an example: I look at a daffodil and find its blossom is yellow. Most humans would agree that it is true that daffodils have yellow blossoms (an interesting and important exception would be color-blind, color-deficient, ore entirely blind people). However, as biologists have discovered, from a bee’s perspective a daffodil is not just yellow – it has a complex arrangement of all sorts of colors. And from a bird’s perspective, that blossom again looks very different. We can represent the ways that bees and birds see a flower by translating our current interpretation of what they see into a spectrum of colors visible to humans and get a better understanding of their version of the truth. This helps us to get closer to a MORE objective truth about the color of daffodils. However, since we don’t actually see ultraviolet, our representation is just an approximation to the bees’ and birds’ true picture of a daffodil. On top of it, for every new subjective perspective we do discover and encompass in our description of the truth there is almost an infinity of perspectives that we are missing.
    So, in my perspective, any being (or, per definition, subject) lives in a world of entirely subjective truths, which obviously mostly serve them well to successfully interpret and navigate the world. The closest thing to an objective truth would be the combination of all subjective truths from the perspective of all the subjective beings in existence.

  52. tgpeeler?
    Any comments?
    45?
    52?

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