An answer from the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society

Last Friday, I paid a visit to the Manawatu Christian Apologetics society, commenting on “What would it take for a Darwinist to change his mind.” To my delight, the “admin” approved my comments, and responded:

By admin on Sep 14, 2007 | ReplyDear Professor. You personally believe many things without verifiable evidence. In Jesus’ day, people saw miracles firsthand but later rejected them.

Evidence is somewhat of an excuse because however much evidence you are given, you will always demand more because of your underlying presuppositions and bias against the supernatural. Enjoy the debate.

As for evolutionists changing their minds — so why do you believe them if their evidence keeps changing? Do you have sufficient evidence that it is true or are you taking it on faith? If so, I would point out that perhaps a double standard is at work

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A visit to the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society

I notice the Manawatu (New Zealand) Christian Apologetics Society has a post entitled “What would it take for a Darwinist to change his mind?” Even though the post is just an announcement about a debate between Paul Nelson and Michael Ruse (at Biola, which is not in New Zealand), I thought it would be fun to drop by the comments box and leave an answer to the title question.

For a Darwinist to change his mind, all you need to do is give him verifiable evidence. Most of the quotes used by creationists come from discussions in which evolutionists examine the evidence and change their minds to fit the new evidence. This is how they arrive at views that “contradict” earlier conclusions. If they didn’t do that, where would creationists get their quotes?

The comment is flagged as “awaiting moderation.” Let’s see if they (a) ignore it, (b) delete it, or (c) try to respond to it.

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Samson vs. Goliath (a preschool intro to Christian practice)

Chicago Tribune is reporting on a new line of Bible-oriented action figures.

There’s something for the testosterone-charged tot too: the mighty Samson and pumped Goliath (both 13 inches tall)…

“The idea [of Samson fighting Goliath] catches people’s attention,” Livingston said. “If they had fought, I’m sure Samson would beat up on Goliath.”

One Christian thinks this is a great idea.

One person who is sold on the line is Samantha Tetro, founder of Samantha’s Lil’ Bit of Heaven” ministry in East Northport, N.Y…

“There are so many negative, violent toys out there,” Tetro said. “These are great to play with or as teaching tools. The Moses doll gives the 10 Commandments.”

Get the whole set, so your kids can re-enact the killing of all the first-born children and the drowning of Pharoah’s entire army (great bath-time Christian fun!) instead of playing with all those negative, violent toys.

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Science Avenger: Bethell vs Derbyshire

Science Avenger has some good stuff on Bethell vs Derbyshire:

The IDers have proposed the designer hypothesis, thus the onus is on them to devise falsifiable experiments to support that position. It has long been the position of scientists and philosophers who have examined the ID claims that no such experiments are possible, because the Designer could do anything at any time for any reason. This is why ID fails to qualify as science.

Have a look at the whole post, it’s a good one.

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XFiles Friday: Stacking the deck (again)

As we continue our look at I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, authors Geisler and Turek continue setting the stage for their apologetic. They claim to hold all the winning cards, and you’d think they’d be eager to show their hand, but here we are on our sixth XFiles post, and up to page 22 in the book, and they’re still fiddling around trying to stack the deck in their own favor.

Most of the worlds major religions fall into one of these three religious world-views: theism, pantheism, and atheism.

A theist is someone who believes in a personal God who created the universe but is not part of the universe… Major theistic religions are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

By contrast, a pantheist is someone who believes in an impersonal God that literally is the universe… Major pantheistic religions are of the Eastern variety such as Hinduism, some forms of Buddhism, and many forms of the “New Age.”

An atheist, of course, is someone who does not believe in any type of God. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mosey on over…

A new Skeptics Circle just rode into town over at Unscrewing the Inscrutable. Y’all oughta mosey on over there for a look-see, if’n you ain’t come here from thar in the fust place.

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The deathbed of Darwinism

In every disease, especially in a lingering one, there are times when life’s flickering embers glow with an unnatural brightness. Hence, it would not be a all surprising if a similar phenomenon were to be observed in the case of dying Darwinism; for it cannot be doubted that its disease is chronic. It has, in fact, been dying this long time. Certain indications render it very probable that we are at present witnessing such a phenomenon, for to-day we behold once more a few naturalists stepping before the public in defense of Darwinism… The reader may … decide for himself whether this treatise should not still bear the title, “At the Death-bed of Darwinism.”

The naturalist in question is the zoologist, Professor F. von Wagner. In the “Umschau” … he published an article, “Regarding the Present Status of Darwinism,” which is highly instructive and important in more respects than one.

We wish, in the first place, to call special attention to the following statements embodied in the article: “It is not to be denied that in serious professional circles the former enthusiasm has considerably decreased and a scepticism is gaining ground more and more, which betrays a widespread tendency towards revolutionizing current theories. The fin de siecle therefore, finds Darwinism not with the proud mien of a conqueror, but on the defensive against new antagonists.” And again: “It seems, in fact, as if Darwinism were about to enter a crisis, the outcome of which can scarcely be any longer a matter of doubt.”

A quote from At the Deathbed of Darwinism by E. Dennert. English translation copyright 1904.

(Hat tip to predelusional.)

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Atheists, 9/11, and Christian apologetics

So I’m headed into town, running an errand or two, and I flip through the local radio stations looking for something to listen to while I drive. It’s just after 6pm on September 11th, and the local Christian station is running The Bible Answer Man show. Hank’s guest this week is famous apologist and writer Lee Strobel, but before introducing his guest, Hank says a word or two about the terrorist attacks 6 years ago. I continue flipping through the stations, so I don’t hear everything Hank has to say, but before long I’ve looped around and am back at the Christian station again as Lee starts to speak.

Lee, not surprisingly, is there to plug his latest book, which Hank’s ever-vigilant “resource staff” is always ready to sell you via telephone order or on the web. First, though, Lee wants to thank Hank for remembering 9/11, which gave America and American Christians a much needed call to awake from their ease and luxury to confront the growing menace threatening us all. Lee then goes on to draw a parallel between the 9/11 terrorists, and atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, saying that just as the 9/11 terrorists attacked America and dealt us a serious blow, so too atheists were attacking the very foundations of Christian belief.

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What “Faith-Based Initiatives” do to faith-based ministries

The New York Times is reporting a predictable side-effect of the Bush administration’s approach to church and state.

Behind the walls of federal prisons nationwide, chaplains have been quietly carrying out a systematic purge of religious books and materials that were once available to prisoners in chapel libraries. The chaplains were directed by the Bureau of Prisons to clear the shelves of any books, tapes, CDs and videos that are not on a list of approved resources.

Step one is to persuade the credulous that religion needs government help. Step two is to give government help to the church and get them to depend on it. Step three is to start eliminating people’s access to religious views that are not “on the approved list.” Continue until religious freedom is relegated to a historical footnote.

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XFiles Friday: Is any religion the right one?

(Continuing our look at Geisler and Turek’s book,.)

Having argued that only religion can provide the “box-top” view of the jigsaw puzzle of life (more or less by simply ignoring the alternatives), Geisler and Turek now turn to the question of whether or not any one religion can claim to be the answer to life’s puzzle.

So which world religion, if any, answers the God question correctly? Does any religion provide the true box top for life? The common wisdom says no, for a number of reasons.

Wait a sec. The “common wisdom” says religion is not the answer? Since when did atheism/agnosticism/liberalism become the majority view?

That’s a pretty big whopper to start off with, but it does fit in well with the pseudo-martyr pose favored by Christian supremacists. “Oh, poor us,” they moan, “everybody persecutes us by failing to endorse the exclusive supremacy of our religion over all other alternatives.” Never mind any actual statistics about how many people think religion gives them the answers to life’s most important questions.

But notice the other subtle assumption that slips in: “Which world religion, if any, answers the God question correctly?” It has to be a world religion, does it? Presumably we’re not going to find the true answer in the religious views of some trivial minority, then? Why not? Could it be that even Geisler and Turek can see how reasonable it is to expect a true religion to have a significant and measurable impact on the real world? In three short sentences, the authors manage both to complain about the minority status of their own faith, and to imply that minority beliefs are probably not true anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 2 Comments »