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A video challenge to the evolutionary materialist world-picture that is often presented in the name of big-S Science

Our indefatigable Bornagain 77 has provided a link to a video documentary, The Signs:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

(NB: Cf. notices at the linked. Of course, this is a challenge, showing it is not tantamount to endorsing everything claimed therein — such as, some claims on the Golden Ratio. {Added, 01:16: At the 1 hr 43 min mark, there is an Islamic declaration of faith in a context of an excessively dismissive discussion of the fossil hominids, which we should take due note of, and note the response to here, here and here [more details].Also, from 1 hr 46 mins on there is an Islamic tract.} However, it is a refreshing shake-up to all too comfortable schemes of thought dressed up in the holy lab coat.)

We are doubtless familiar with the idea that Darwin’s theory provides a universal acid that eats up traditional worldviews and values, leading to a “Scientific” worldview in which Science is the fountainhead of knowledge, and values are radically relativised. We are then invited to enter the brave new world of atheistical scientism, and are told in school or college that anything else is mere superstition, a clinging to imaginary and dangerous demons that invariably lead us to savagery, for instance we are told that Science flies us to the Moon but Religion flies into buildings through terrorist attacks.

(What we are not told is how the leading Scientist in the Moon rocket programme had become an Evangelical Christian after moving to the USA. And of course the astonishing, moving moment when at Christmas 1968, the Apollo 8 Astronauts read the opening words of Genesis while orbiting the Moon, is conveniently forgotten. It is also not generally well-known that the Eucharist was celebrated on the Moon also. As to the long list of reformers and saints (I think here especially of Wilberforce and Buxton who led the Parliamentary fight against slavery, and of Gen. Booth of the Salvation Army as well as of Mother Theresa of Albania and India and the late Chuck Colson . . . ) who have helped soften our hearts and have led in movements of reformation, liberation and progress — including in science, we hear not the faintest trace. A telling, willful omission. The silence or diversionary tactics on the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot and the explicitly atheistical regimes they led, is also revealing.)

We need therefore, to understand that such evolutionary materialism (though it is now dressed up in the holy lab coat) and its corrosive effect on values, is nothing new. Hence, the significance of Plato’s critique in The Laws, Bk X, speaking in the voice of the Athenian Stranger:

Ath. At Athens there are tales preserved in writing which the virtue of your state, as I am informed, refuses to admit. They speak of the Gods in prose as well as verse, and the oldest of them tell of the origin of the heavens and of the world, and not far from the beginning of their story they proceed to narrate the birth of the Gods, and how after they were born they behaved to one another [he then subtly dismisses the mythology of the paganism of ancient Greece] . . . as to our younger generation and their wisdom, I cannot let them off when they do mischief. For do but mark the effect of their words: when you and I argue for the existence of the Gods, and produce the sun, moon, stars, and earth, claiming for them a divine being, if we would listen to the aforesaid philosophers we should say that they are earth and stones only, which can have no care at all of human affairs, and that all religion is a cooking up of words and a make-believe . . . .

[[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that . . . The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

[[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here],  these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

How does Plato answer the materialistic cosmological claims that were so boldly put forth, in those days in the name of the Sophists [roughly, wise men]?

By making a cosmological design inference, while also defining the first cause as being the self-moved soul:

Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle?. . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.

 [[ . . . .]
Ath.If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?
Cle.You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

Ath. I do.

Cle. Certainly we should.
Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?
[[ . . . . ]
Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?  

Cle. Exactly.  

Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?

[[ . . . . ]

Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

So, now, in this, the Year of Our Lord, 2013, let us reflect on the case presented in The Signs, in light of developments in Science across the past century or so. What grounds our worldviews, why, and with what consequences? END

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57 Responses to A video challenge to the evolutionary materialist world-picture that is often presented in the name of big-S Science

  1. The Signs HD (Atheism VS Theism) Full Documentary – Fibonacci picked up at 45 minute mark – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....7M#t=3042s

  2. F/N: Remember, the 23rd of Jan will mark four months since the 6,000 word Darwin essay challenge has been issued, with no answer to date. Petrushka, several weeks ago suggested she was willing, but to date no further contact or word. KF

  3. OOPS, wrong time in link: corrected link is here:

    The Signs HD (Atheism VS Theism) – Fibonacci number in life and the universe – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?l.....age#t=322s

  4. HMM blocked?, one more try from another angle:

    The Signs HD (Atheism VS Theism) – Fibonacci number in life and the universe – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....7M#t=2661s

  5. Not blocked for me.

  6. Wow! Quite a synthesis. No wonder atheists detest it. Though you’d have to go to Bornagain to get the detail! And some!

  7. The creationists were right all along, they just lacked the argumentative skills?

    That doesn’t quite fit the narrative that creationists always won in debates.

  8. So, now, in this, the Year of Our Lord, 2013, let us reflect on the case presented in The Signs, in light of developments in Science across the past century or so. What grounds our worldviews, why, and with what consequences?

    Amen, and all praise ID.

  9. G2:

    Your snide evasiveness of the issues raised in the CHALLENGE, speaks volumes. (And by the way, if you want a challenge, the 6,000 word darwinsist view support essay challenge is approaching four months old now, can you take it up?)

    The point of this post is not to endorse the sort of old earth creationist viewpoint that — I think [even there I am not sure, these are French folks we are talking of here not the usual Americans or even British . . . and, it turns out, Muslims] — is being advocated, but to stir our own thinking on what grounds our systems of belief?

    Are we simply drifting with the cultural tide and the cunning and craftiness of men in their manipulative scheming, or are we thinking on our own feet, on what grounds?

    Those are quite serious issues, and worthy of reflection on, starting where they do: what does the cosmological evidence of a beginning to the only observed cosmos imply? Does a beginning not cry out for a begin-ner?

    Then, as we find out that the beginning is exceedingly fine tuned locally, at a very precisely located operating point in the conceptual space of physical possibilities where parameters, quantities, rates etc are seen as credibly contingent, we are looking at something that would set an exceedingly difficult target for a random multiverse, unless it were in effect set up to search for a “resonance” that allows the setting up of a sub-cosmos like ours.

    Remember, thanks to a resonance, the first four elements are H, He, C, and O. Close up is N, indeed apparently 5th in our galaxy. That gets us to stars, the rest of the periodic table, organic chemistry, water, and the oxides that are the basis of so much of terrestrial planets. Hoyle’s monkeying with physics issue is not about to go away.

    Origin of life, after this, raises even more ticklish issues relating to the origin of specified complexity manifested as functional, information rich complex organisation to achieve evident purpose, i.e. per our strong base in experience of such things, it has signs that point to contrivance or design.

    You may not like the design inference, but deriding it on asserted theological insinuations is far different from addressing its inductive logic foundation, especially in a context where it is highly evident that we see an ideologically loaded a priori evolutionary materialism being injected into science and science education without sound historical or philosophical warrant. Indeed, in the teeth of it and in the teeth of the obvious point that one of the major sources of the credibility science has built up over the past 350 or so years, is that it seeks the truth about our world based on empirical evidence and inductive reasoning and empirical testing regarding such.

    In that context, the origin of body plans and of our own, with linguistic and abstract, verbal-logical ability, is a further instance of the significance of FSCO/I as a sign of design.

    Trying to snipe away with snidely dismissive polarising talking points that are loaded with a priori materalism and selective hyperskepticism, is not going to make these issues go away.

    If you have something serious, substantial and cogent to say, say it; otherwise, kindly leave the thread.

    KF

  10. Mung:

    These are French folks, here. I think first they have an entirely different order of magnitude in what they think “argumentative skills” means.

    What may have happened in debates in the backwoods of America between Morris and Gish et al and various interlocutors hardly counts to them. In addition, they are looking at the wider scheme of things, where the Creationists were obviously overwhelmed by the cultural tide and marginalised then largely dismissed among the elites and their media publicists.

    Do you not notice that to tag something as creationist, or to imply that it is, is largely enough to tag, smear and dismiss?

    Even, when it is obvious that the likes of a Dawkins are terrified to go on the same debate platform with the likes of a William Lane Craig? (And Dawkins — remember, the bright of the brights, the author of The God Delusion, and the confident declarer that “religion” is little more than child abuse and blind following of some bronze age sky tyrant — has been trounced twice in succession by Lennox, in America and on his home turf.)

    That speaks volumes.

    These folks are saying, I think: it is time to look on the actual merits, not the dismissive tags, hence the tactic of putting up a montage of advocates of cosmological design and natural evidence pointing to a Divine origin of our experienced and observed cosmos.

    Do you see out there a cogent reply to the cumulative point being made by Craig, Lennox and co?

    I don’t think so, and that alone is more than worth taking the time to watch the vid, as a challenge to our programming.

    (Back in my day of having to deal with those beguiled by cult-like groups, it was very important to break through the programming case structure and dismissal subroutines, and force the caught up victim to actually begin to think for him or her self, on his or her own too feet. That was hard, and it was typically painful, but it was vital, and once that happened, the case was over. Reality is too irreducibly complex to fit into neat little simplistic systems of propagandistic programming, and when the key fact sticking out broke the program, then the bugs in it started to come out as it crashed. But, the “simplicity” of such a program can be very beguiling, when it seems to be the magic key to understanding and succeeding in our world. Rule of thumb: if it is too good and too simple to be true, that is because that is exactly the problem.)

    KF

  11. NB: As I reached the 1hr 43 min mark, the mystery of where these are coming from was made plain. This vid is an Islamic product, there is an Islamic declaration of faith at that point, made in the context of a somewhat superficial and dismissive account of the fossil hominids. Then from 1 hr 46 mins the tone drastically and jarringly shifts to being an Islamic tract. I have duly notified in the OP in the note right under where the vid appears. There are also links on Islam (including the excellent Nehls-Eric critical survey) for those interested in addressing that secondary matter. I still think that the vid is useful as a challenge, and intend to use it, in light of the wider circumstances. KF

  12. kairosfocus posted this:

    What we are not told is how the leading Scientist in the Moon rocket programme had become an Evangelical Christian after moving to the USA.

    Who was that?

  13. Of course, that would be Wernher von Braun, the well-known Nazi SS Sturmbannfuhrer. From

    http://www.german-way.com/famo.....aun_2.html

    Although it was not public knowledge during most of von Braun’s heyday in the US, we now know that he joined the NSDAP (Nazi party) on 1 December 1938. In May 1940 he joined the SS, eventually achieving the rank of Sturmbannführer (equal to the army rank of major). Despite that, in March 1944 Himmler’s Gestapo accused von Braun of treason (and the intention of escaping to England). He was arrested and spent time in jail, only being released because of his special status and the intervention of his boss Walter Dornberger and armaments minister Albert Speer.
    At the ever-expanding Peenemünde facility, and later at the notorious underground Dora (Mittelwerk) complex near Nordhausen in the Harz mountains, von Braun and his team developed the V2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2), the world’s first liquid-fueled ballistic rocket weapon. The first successful test firing of the V2 took place on 3 October 1942 at the Peenemünde site. The V2 carried a 2,000-pound (980 kg) warhead and had an operational range of 320 km (about 200 mi). (There were plans for longer range rockets that could cross the Atlantic and strike the USA, but they were never developed.) The first V2 to be used against the Allies took off for London on 7 September 1944 (flight time: 320 seconds, about 5 minutes). Eventually over 3,000 V2s were launched against targets in England, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. (More V2s struck Antwerp [1610] than London [1358].) An estimated 8,000 people, most of them in Antwerp and London, died in the V2 attacks. Another 12,000 people or more, mostly slave-labor prisoners, died as a result of the horrible working and living conditions at the Mittelwerk V2 plant. Although von Braun had no direct control over Mittelwerk, he was well aware of the deplorable situation there and at the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. He later admitted shame that such things could happen in Germany, even in war.

    20,000 dead. Must have been one of those “liberal fascists” you referred to earlier.

  14. timothya, nothing like a little ad hominem to go with your coffee in the morning ehh? :)

    After the Apollo 11 success, for instance, a reporter asked him what he (von Braun) was thinking when he gave the final ‘yes’ for launch. The reporter must have been surprised at his unabashed answer, “I quietly said the Lord’s prayer.” Ordway comments that he could have been thinking of a dozen matters at that hectic moment, but his thought was, Thy will be done.
    http://www.ministers-best-frie.....I-420.html

  15. Bornagain posted this:

    timothya, nothing like a little ad hominem to go with your coffee in the morning ehh?

    Let me get this right . . . von Braun developed a terror weapon with no military value (one of those WMDs). A weapon that killed 8000 civilians in Antwerp and London, and whose production system killed at least 12,000 slave labourers.

    And you think pointing out this historical fact is an ad hominem? Do you think von Braun should have been prosecuted?

  16. timothya,,,, ad hominem, run with it buddy! :)

  17. Historical truth hurts . . .

    Should von Braun have been prosecuted as a mass murderer?

  18. Elephant in a living room questions though Timothya,,, why is it that we almost always find devout Christians at the head of cutting edge research and scientific breakthroughs? and 2, How do you ground objective morality in your atheistic worldview so as to condemn anyone?

  19. Truly an elephant, 20,000 dead elephants in fact. Von Braun develops a terror weapon, kills 20,000 people in the process, gets a free pass and then finds god. Objective morality obviously works for some people.

  20. H’mm: It seems that TA thinks that he can poison the discussion on trying to seize the advances of science for secularism, by diverting from the focal issue that the man who sent up the moon shot had become a Christian, to the questions and charges that can be put together and made against a great many people who lived through an awful time in Germany under the regime of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. Behind the cloud of polarisation, he evidently hopes the real issue at stake will be forgotten. KF

  21. kairosfocus posted this:

    H’mm: It seems that TA thinks that he can poison the discussion on trying to seize the advances of science for secularism, by diverting from the focal issue that the man who sent up the moon shot had become a Christian, to the questions and charges that can be put together and made against a great many people who lived through an awful time in Germany under the regime of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. Behind the cloud of polarisation, he evidently hopes the real issue at stake will be forgotten. KF

    Please explain this to me.

    Von Braun joined the Nazi Party in 1938. He joined the SS in 1940 (!) That was after the invasion of Poland and the deliberate slaughter of the Polish clergy, gentry, intellectuals and the country’s military and political leadership (ably assisted by Stalin); and the inauguration of the systematic extermination of Polish Jews.

    How is it that the only significant thing you can find to comment on about Wernher von Braun is his conversion to evangelical christianity late in his celebrated career as a moon rocket scientist?

    I’m not polarising the issue. Von Braun did that with his weapon of mass destruction, and his winking at working slave labourers to death.

    Let me repeat my question: do you think Wernher von Braun should have been prosecuted by the US military authorities as a mass murderer after his capture at the end of World War II?

  22. Timothya, I sympathize with your ‘objective’ moral outrage. But let’s bring a little perspective:

    “Christian” Atrocities compared to Atheists Atrocities – Dinesh D’Souza – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmrRC6zD4Zk

    From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
    I BACKGROUND
    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/bl.....de-master/

    footnote: the body count for abortion is now over 50 million in America since it was legalized, by judicial fiat not by public decree, in 1973 (legislation by liberal justices from the bench!):

    Abortion Statistics
    http://www.voiceofrevolution.c.....tatistics/

    At 1,200,000, Abortion is the leading cause of deaths each year in the USA – graph
    http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hp.....3487_n.jpg

    Perspective on Abortion compared to other causes of death in America
    http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/.....2116_n.jpg

    When factoring grandchildren missing due to abortion since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, the number escalates dramatically:

    Abortion Has Destroyed 117 Million People in the United States http://www.lifenews.com/2012/1.....ted-states

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    (Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)

  23. So Timothya, why are you not more morally outraged at the atheistic system of thought that allowed such unmitigated horror to be visited upon man as you are with von Braun’s infidelity to Christian morals in time of war [and at a time before he had become an Evangelical Christian, which can be seen in light of his reflection on the way to move forward with his life. KF] ?

  24. F/N: To help restore a healthy climate for discussion, I suggest that onlookers read Havel’s epochal essay here, understanding the price that was paid in the days of a “kinder gentler face” of totalitarianism, to spread its message and act on it. I hope that TA et al will have the decency to be ashamed. Meanwhile, notice that on the substantial matter involved in the video challenge we find nothing but the most profound silence. KF

  25. Bornagain avoided my question again.

    Let me repeat my first question: do you think Wernher von Braun should have been prosecuted by the US military authorities (the authorities who captured him) as a mass murderer at the end of World War II?

    And now a second question: was his conversion to evangelical christianity sufficient atonement for 20,000 deaths?

    Note: It is sad when Wikipedia — yes, Wikipedia — has a more fair minded and nuanced assessment of a man who at the relevant stage of his life was the prime mover of the moon shot and who had become an evangelical than the sort of objectors who try to deflect the focus of UD threads by thread jacking tactics — in this case the last time was by making insinuations that implied that leaving 1/3 of a cancer triggering problem on a table and communicating the impression of being safe if one took a vaccine that has that little defect was a good solution and having questions about it was reprehensible. Above, I responded to a claim advanced by I think it is Susskind, that Science flies man to the moon, religion into buildings, by pointing out the fact that at the time in question, after moving to the USA, von Braun had become an Evangelical Christian; by definition then Religion here was involved in the life of the man who was flying men to the moon at the time when he was so engaged, and this was manifest in the Christmas 1968 Apollo 8 reading from Genesis in orbit around the Moon. Something is out of balance here, and that raises the issue highlighted by Bernard Lewis, on getting a due perspective on the sins — real and imagined — of Christendom. Such then raises the issue that we should pause and consider: why it is not a crippling issue for secularist scientism that one and the same man under a Nazi regime, had been entangled with a system that used and murderously abused slave labour in its rocket programme? Especially, where the sort of racism that Nazism indulged was driven by in significant part the evolutionism-driven scientific racism that had been championed in Germany by the foremost Darwinist there — Haeckel — and had for generations shaped the intellectual climate far and wide? It seems that the bottomline is, that scientism is to be exculpated at all costs and “religion” — one of those suspect catch-all terms that tries to push into one boat the likes of a Mother Theresa or a Chuck Colson or a Wilberforce with a Mohammed Atta and a bin Laden as if there is and can be no material difference — is ALWAYS to be indicted. That imbalance speaks, volumes. Something is very wrong in the state of thought and discourse in our civilisation at this time, driven by a militant secularism that wants to scapegoat God and those who believe in him as to blame for the ills of the world. A fairer view will come to the conclusion I long ago have held: power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and great men are bad men, as Lord Acton summed it up. Further, the struggle we all face is that we are finite, fallible, morally struggling and fallen, too often ill willed. In totalitarian states, especially, the power of direct intimidation and the power to hold others hostage so that those who are brave for themselves face the dilemma of being held to blame for the torture, imprisonment and worse — even, murder — of those they care for, exerts a pressure that is beyond what too many sitting in comfortable chairs under the safety of a judicial system still by and large operating under the memory of the Judaeo-Christian tradition that the state exists to promote and defend the civil peace of justice, do not seem to have a clue about, and they are so eager to play at toxic talking point games that they do not do reasonable diligence and have the restraint to take time to understand that how people act when they are under the sort of ruthless intimidation of a totalitarian state is not a normal pattern of behaviour. Nor do they understand the consequences of refusing the “honours” proffered by such a state, nor how easily one can be almost inextricably entangled by such ruthless men in webs of evil. Do they understand that the man they are talking of, for the “crime” of wishing to be working on a spaceship found himself secretly informed against and gaoled by the secret police, only being rescued by interventions. The notion that a man in good health could pretend to be ill and thereby get out of the system, which I have seen, is laughable and stupidly naive. Such “defeatism” would have garnered a death sentence or worse death sentences for those one cares for. I strongly suggest that some folks out there take time and read just vol I of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag trilogy, or even Havel’s Power of the Powerless [cf my comment immediately above this one], in light of the knowledge of just what sort of ruthless nihilism and in some cases outright sick sadism dominates a totalitarian state. KF

  26. timothya, I will answer your question as soon as you provide an objective moral basis from your atheistic belief system for condemning him! Fair?

  27. TA: I am thread owner, and you are already in violation of an interdict because of your misbehaviour in earlier threads. You were warned on thread poisoning, not only by the undersigned but by the blog owner. You have been given adequate response on whatever merits there may have been in debating what Mr von Braun may have done while under the threat of a Nazi regime (which actually threatened him), but plainly wish to continue to divert the thread from its substantial focus — evidently on not having anything substantial to say. In none of what you have said is there any positive contribution. I therefore must now ask you to leave this thread, having tried AGAIN the poison and divert tactic that seems to be our trademark. If you do any more poisonous diversionary tactics in this thread or any others I own, I will take stronger measures, as you have repeatedly forfeited the privilege of being viewed as trying to make a positive contribution to matters of substance. The best I can say to you is read the Havel essay above, and then think very hard about what it is teaching you. KF

  28. REMOVED FOR CAUSE (and simply repeats what is already above), TA has now invited more serious action as a thread-jacker not a serious and positive contributor. KF

  29. BA; Enough has been wasted on this diversion from a serious matter. I will leave up the exchange above, but only to document for the public just how little the objectors have to say on matters of substance. On the issues regarding the Source of the cosmos, nil. On matters relating to the origin of life and of body plans and the signs of design therein, nil. On even the issue of the rise of Islamic arguments on design coming out of France, nil. All we are seeing is thread poisoning, that will not even acknowledge the force of the point that from the outset highlights that there was a change with Mr von Braun when he went to the USA, much less that there is something very wrong with the comparison made that tried to say secularism flies to the moon, but religion into buildings, in the teeth of the counter-evidence that the man who led the moon shot project was at that time an evangelical Christian, as were ever so many others connected with it. BTW, these tactics remind me of a case where someone speaking about the slave trade played the song Amazing Grace in the background emphasising that John Newton — its author — had been a slave trader. of course there was no acknowledgement that when he became a Christian, he went through a crisis of conscience, left the trade, became a minister and encouraged Wilberforce in his work against that trade, the song in question coming from that part of his life as a Christian minister. KF

  30. TA: You have been notified to leave this and all other threads I own, as one who seeks to poison and divert. The record above should be more than enough to show the lack of anything of substance to say, and the refusal to even address the side point that secularist advocates have improperly tried to seize technological triumphs such as the moon shot for secularism. As for the WWII issue on Mr von Braun, I think you need to ask yourself why the US Govt acted to him as it did, what the significance of his being arrested and threatened by the SS etc was, and the implications of his decision to surrender to the Americans and then his conversion in the US to evangelical faith all signify. In any case, you plainly are unable to address the matters of substance in the thread and have chosen instead the path of thread-jacking and atmosphere poisoning. I have a very limited tolerance for such tactics, on long experience of where they lead — nowhere productive or useful. KF

  31. TA: You have been told that you are not welcome in threads I own, on grounds of repeated and insistent thread-jacking. Sorry, the very tactic of trying to fight to keep a foot in the door to inject poisonous smoke, is a further sign of ill-will. You, for cause, have worn out your welcome. Good day. KF

  32. ta:

    1. Do you think Wernher von Braun should have been prosecuted by the US military authorities (the authorities who captured him) as a mass murderer at the end of World War II?

    No. He just designed the rockets, not the explosives. And he was following orders.

    2. Was his conversion to evangelical christianity sufficient atonement for the 20,000 deaths he caused?

    How did he cause theose deaths? Please be specific.

  33. ta:
    von Braun developed a terror weapon with no military value (one of those WMDs).

    1- He did NOT develop the WEAPON, just the ROCKET

    2- It had military value

    BTW, the Saturn V was a linear descendant of the A4/V2, in a multi-rocket configuration. KF

  34. Hey timmy- should the US have also prosecuted all German arms manufacturers, including the makers of the V1 and V2?

    Every person who worked in a ball-bearing factory should have been prosecuted too. Heck perhaps we should have put the entire German, Italian and Japanese populations in prison.

  35. Joe, TA is just trying to side track and poison the thread. The best response, after brief correction, would be to list the issues being raised in the ISLAMIC ID supportive video from France — and explain to us how that is connected to the mythical game of trying to subvert the US Supreme Court rulings of 1987? — that he and others of his ilk cannot answer, by the obvious evidence of seeking to side track and well poison. I think any fair minded onlooker will see that above there has been left enough that his point about Mr von Braun is there, and I took time to provide a balance. KF

  36. Yes, I understand that timmy is being a butthead. I am just pointing out just how much of a butthead he is being.

  37. I have a Butthead calculator. I’m turning it off now.

  38. Are you an imbecile, timothya? As a materialsit, you are not even even competent to frame moral questions. It’s all about survival and short-term, material expediency, isn’t it.

    Instead of rabbiting on, repeating a question that makes no sense at all from your mouth, you must explain to us what moral authority AT ALL you can possibly possess, as an inescapably immoral relativist.

  39. Interesting to hear the Moslem commentator towards the end repeatedly stress – or so it seemed to me – the clear nature of Moslem theology, tacitly, in contrast to the foundation of Christian theology on certain absolute mysteries, unfathomable paradoxes.

    Interesting, because even in physics – not merely metaphysics and theology, but physics – its practitioners have now long been obliged to incorporate paradoxes, the opaquest of mysteries to the analytical intelligence, in order to make further advances.

    So much so, indeed, that it is such a major embarrassment to the atheists among them that they cannot bring themselves to even acknowledge that such mysteries are definitively unfathomable paradoxes – preferring to cast them as ‘counter-intuitive’!

    The ‘protection’ of the sovereignty of reason, a charism they are so risibly pleased to arrogate to themselves in a special degree, must on no account be viewed as less than potentially omniscient. Unfortunately, this leads to endless folly within science, indeed, ultimately the fabled Promissory Note. As Chesterton put it, ‘Atheists don’t believe in nothing; they believe in anything.’

  40. Ah, Axel,

    The first thing we must observe is that in a France where the population — thanks to mass immigration from North Africa — is said to be 1/5 Muslim, we find issues of design and what seems to be a species of old earth creationism, emerging. Thus, we see a co-opting of design thought for the ends of the Dawah and Islamic apologetics. Notice, this video speaks in what seems to be native American and French accents, until the Muslim tract is brought up at the end. That looks like a new benchmark.

    BTW, I intend to use things from especially the first part — where it is strongest is where it does a montage of Craig, Lennox et al — for my own purposes.

    As just pointed out, I observe that the video uses snippets of debates, exchanges and presentations on design thought at cosmological and onward at biological levels, multiplied by Harun Yaha {sp?] style twists on objections to darwinist thought. At that point, it becomes much more summary, strident and I think a bit simplistic and conspiracy mongering. Majoring on Piltdown and suggesting fraud or in effect criminal negligence as the best explanation for the fossils on a thin sampling is I think a bit pushy. I don’t know if they felt there had been enough heavy lifting before or this is appealing to the conspiracy thinking mindset said to be common in some parts of the world. But then the appeal to programming at the outset sets that up, too. And let us not forget how much Dan Brown et al have sold while indulging crude conspiracist fantasies.

    Indoctrination is real enough but it is not by grand conspiracy, which inevitably fails. Instead, it is a product of ideological domination and failure of duties of care multiplied by appalling ignorance of philosophy, especially, logic, epistemology and ethics. As Dawkins et al all too abundantly and publicly exemplify, for all the boasting of being bright and educated reasoners using scientific facts, with all due respect the new atheists and fellow travellers are more noted for cringe-worthy sophomoric rhetoric than for profundity, insight and soundness. The caricatures of design arguments, the simplistic portrayal of phil issues, the appeal to rage and the failure to ground ethics etc are notorious. What is shocking is the widespread lack of depth exposed by the popularity of their writings.

    On the Muslim theology aspect, it uses some testimonies and the like which are again thin stew compared with the cosmological discussion which largely comes from western figures.

    In my own dealings with Muslim apologists I have found that a survey of the history of Islam, multiplied by reasonable evaluation of the gap between warrant for the NT documents and what too many of that ilk say (often by clipping skeptics) there is an adequate baseline answer. At the level you are picking up, the challenge is that worldviews must grapple with the multifaceted challenge of the one and the many. That which appeals to simplicity and “clarity” often pays a price of becoming simplistic in the face of irreducible complexity in issues.

    Let us not forget, even Mathematics is irreducibly complex.

    That is why I think a key signature of coming to grips with reality is unified wholeness that also has in it irreducible complexity and mystery, even paradox in the positive sense. (And that BTW is a characteristic feature of the Quantum picture, which sharply contrasts with Newtonian expectations.)

    KF

  41. 41
    englishmaninistanbul

    kf@40

    FYI the spelling is Harun Yahya, nom de guerre of Adnan Oktar. Low hanging fruit for Dawkins et al. if ever there was one.

  42. EII: Thanks, he’s in your neck of the woods. This production is a step up from what I have seen of that man’s stuff, save when it gets to the tacked on tract and to some extent the handling of the fossil hominids. Maybe the bit on the animals to the music is snicked from somewhere, but the production values are generally above that earlier in the vid. I ‘spect; some higher up insisted on the tract and some other things, on what was meant to be a good nat theol documentary from a Muslim perspective, using generic results. As in subtlety is lost on some but they may be paying the bills. KF

  43. The first thing we must observe is that in a France where the population — thanks to mass immigration from North Africa — is said to be 1/5 Muslim, we find issues of design and what seems to be a species of old earth creationism, emerging.

    The current estimate for people of North African ethnicity living in France is around 6%. There is no evidence of any creationist movement here. The numbers of practising Muslims according to recent surveys is under 4% here.

    Check your facts!!!

  44. P S

    Nobody at all here in France talks about “Intelligent Design”. It is unheard of.

  45. as to: “Nobody at all here in France talks about “Intelligent Design”. It is unheard of.”

    Didier Raoult, who authored the preceding paper, has been referred to as ‘Most Productive and Influential Microbiologist in France’. Here is what he had to say about Darwinism:

    The “Most Productive and Influential Microbiologist in France” Is a Furious Darwin Doubter – March 2012
    Excerpt: Controversial and outspoken, Raoult last year published a popular science book that flat-out declares that Darwin’s theory of evolution is wrong.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....57081.html

    Didier Raoult (born in 1952) is a French biology researcher. He holds MD and PhD degrees, and specializes in infectious diseases. He is “classified among the first ten French researchers by the journal Nature, for the number of his publications (a credit of more than one thousand) and for his citations number,,,

    A New Model for Evolution: A Rhizome – Didier Raoult – May 2010
    Excerpt: Thus we cannot currently identify a single common ancestor for the gene repertoire of any organism.,,, Overall, it is now thought that there are no two genes that have a similar history along the phylogenic tree.,,,Therefore the representation of the evolutionary pathway as a tree leading to a single common ancestor on the basis of the analysis of one or more genes provides an incorrect representation of the stability and hierarchy of evolution. Finally, genome analyses have revealed that a very high proportion of genes are likely to be newly created,,, and that some genes are only found in one organism (named ORFans). These genes do not belong to any phylogenic tree and represent new genetic creations.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....izome.html

  46. correction:

    Didier Raoult, who authored the following paper,

  47. AF:

    The evidence in front of us in this video — which has not come from nowhere at no price and without anybody behind it — says different, and last time I checked, Berlinsky lived in France.

    As to numbers of Muslims etc, I take your correction on numbers.

    Here is a clip I checked:

    France, which is home to an estimated six million Muslims, has the largest Muslim population in the European Union. There are now, in fact, more practicing Muslims in France than there are practicing Roman Catholics.

    Although 64% of the French population (or 41.6 million of France’s 65 million inhabitants) identify themselves as Roman Catholic, only 4.5% (or 1.9 million) of these actually are practicing Catholics, according to a separate survey on Catholicism in France published by Ifop in July 2009.

    By way of comparison, 75% (or 4.5 million), of the estimated six million mostly ethnic North African and sub-Saharan Muslims in France, identify themselves as “believers;” and 41% (or 2.5 million) say they are “practicing” Muslims, according to an in-depth research report on Islam in France published by Ifop in July 2011.

    Taken together, the research data provides empirical evidence that Islam is well on its way to overtaking Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion in France.

    This trend is also reflected in the fact that mosques are being built more often in France than are Roman Catholic churches; nearly 150 new mosques are currently under construction in France.

    The total number of mosques in France has already doubled to more than 2,000 during just the past ten years, according to a research report, “Constructing Mosques: The Governance of Islam in France and the Netherlands.” The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, has called for the number of mosques in the country to be doubled again — to 4,000 — to meet growing demand.

    By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church has built only 20 new churches in France during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which are destined to become mosques, according to research conducted by La Croix, a Roman Catholic daily newspaper based in Paris.

    In recent weeks, tensions have flared over the proposed conversion of an empty church into a mosque in the central French town of Vierzon. The controversy involves Saint-Eloi’s, a small church located in a working class neighborhood that has been taken over by immigrants from Morocco and Turkey.

    With six churches to maintain and fewer faithful every year, Roman Catholic authorities in Vierzon say they can no longer afford to keep Saint-Eloi’s. They now want to sell the building for €170,000 ($220,000) to a Moroccan Muslim organization that wants to convert the church into a mosque.

    In an interview with the French weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Alain Krauth, the parish priest of the largest Catholic church in Vierzon, said: “The Christian community is not as important as it used to be in the past. If moderate Muslims buy Saint-Eloi’s, we can only be happy that the Muslims of Vierzon are able to celebrate their religion.” His comments were greeted with outrage by local citizens who are now trying to prevent the church from becoming a mosque.

    Similar scenes are being played out across France . . .

    So, it seems there is a bit of smoke and some fire there.

    KF

  48. ‘That is why I think a key signature of coming to grips with reality is unified wholeness that also has in it irreducible complexity and mystery, even paradox in the positive sense. (And that BTW is a characteristic feature of the Quantum picture, which sharply contrasts with Newtonian expectations.)’

    KF, that is why I marvel that they have the gall to posture as scientists – at least in any theoretical sense. Following logic is optional, accepting paradoxes as optional (just a mite counter-intuitive, not at all impervious to reason, essentially!) and they have the gall to posture at the ultimate paragons of Reason. Enlightenment? Darkness visible, more like.

    Not a ‘grand conspiracy’, KF, but surely a Behemoth of a coalition of Mammon-worshippers and Moloch-worshippers, and Journeyman hirelings.

  49. @ KF reporting Berlinski

    …which is home to an estimated six million Muslims…

    That’s a tenth. Half your “one fifth”. That’s very high. People of North African origin amount to around 4 million and not all of them are practising Muslims. Surveys indicate a level of 40%. Berlinski should check his figures.

  50. Alan Fox:

    Nobody at all here in France talks about “Intelligent Design”. It is unheard of.

    That is expected-> It’s an INTELLECTUAL movement, Alan.

    No go back to watching the caravan.

  51. AF: Did you actually check the article, which is not by Berlinski? Do you recall that while the North Africans dominate, there are others in France from other areas, given France’s past (Some would question that tense!) as a major colonial power? KF

  52. Axel: We are seeing the play out of a major cultural trend, and it has some pretty serious implications and trends. Your imagery, on its face, is not utterly irrelevant, given some of what we have seen. KF

  53. I would hope my imagery wasn’t utterly irrelevant, period, KF.

  54. Well, maybe not formal Mammon and Moloch-worshippers, but certainly actual ones.

  55. I would probably have become a Moloch-worshipper, but going through the dictionary I came across Mammon first.

  56. p.s. I have it on good authority that Mammon pays better.

  57. What a lucky escape those Moloch-worshippers had, Mung! Their sensitivities would be harrowed at the thought of someone who invested outside of the military-industrial complex, wishing to join their fraternity.

    But they would surely admire your integrity, holding out for the highest bidder.

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