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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Another Reader Responds

A reaction to Another Email Re Darwin’s Sand Castle.

The following thoughts were emailed by John DeMassa, who is a professional chemist and a well informed lay Biblical scholar.

A respondent wrote:
?“Ummmm…I see your point, that evolution isn?t truly a scientific theory. And it?s a good article. However, isn?t the same blind faith that the scientific community (and I think you refer to ?liberals? as well) somewhere similar to the same blind faith that the religious use to follow God?”

I wanted to respond to him:
?Actually, this writer presents a common misconception of proper Christianity, if he is attempting to establish that Christianity demands a form of “blind faith” to be followed or accepted.? The basis or foundation of Christianity is the historic person of Jesus of Nazareth who was (and is) called the Messiah (Christos or Christ) by his followers and who was (and is) accepted as God, according to biblical and extra biblical evidence.?
Further, the accepted sacred writings assembled centuries before Christ (at least in the protestant bible), the Old Testament in multiple places, promises the provision of a servant who would be a king and savior to the descendants of Abraham and to the Gentiles.? This servant would be accepted as a king but then mistreated and rejected.? However, he would one day sit as judge and king over all men and all nations.?

Jesus fits the profile of this servant. Actualized or fulfilled prophecy alone is a most compelling reason to accept the events of the New Testament but there is much more.? Many historians, religious leaders, bishops and people from the first and early second century lived for and died for the faith established by Jesus.?

The point is they lived and died for something tangible.? They lived and died for a person that actually lived in their estimation which was based on writings and testimonies they received.? Most in the 21st century believe and commonly accept the testimony of many writings that various historical figures lived.? We accept that Julius Caesar, Darius III, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Ptolemy I, all lived.? For some of these figures we have but a few inscribed stone tablets.? Is some 6000 copies of? biblical writings taken from original manuscripts, hundreds of ancient artifacts, verifiable persons, political and geographic testimony from the time of Jesus? inadequate to support the conclusion that Jesus lived?? Our faith is not blind but is based upon historically verifiable facts regarding a person from the past.? To say otherwise, is to portray ALL of history as mere legend and mythology, since much of our understanding of past events and people is based on so much less.

The scientific community does exercise blind faith in the sense that it first speculates a naturalistic framework, which is a philosophical position unsupported by certainty and then acts on that supposition through scientific and quasi scientific query.? I might also add that much of the scientific community REJECTS the historical testimony of scriptures.? Thus, the underpinnings of evolutionary investigation is an uncertain philosophical position strung together with debatable laboratory interpretation and observations.? The underpinnings of Christianity is biblical and extra biblical lines of evidence including multiple witnesses, documentation, and historical findings often supported by archeological and scientific studies.?

The critic also wrote:
?“While obviously Darwin didn’t?t intend what I?m about to suggest, your quotes prove this, why are evolution and creation mutually exclusive? Couldn’t?t evolution have been guided divinely?”

Evolution and Creation are “mutually exclusive” because of their definitions.? At least a contemporary definition holds that,
Evolution is “a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.”

That same author states that biological evolution can be defined as: “Genes mutate. [gene: a hereditary unit] Individuals are selected. Populations evolve.”

He also explains that “Evolution can be divided into microevolution and macroevolution. The kind of evolution documented above is microevolution. Larger changes, such as when a new species is formed, are called macroevolution. Some biologists feel the mechanisms of macroevolution are different from those of micro evolutionary change. Others think the distinction between the two is arbitrary—macroevolution is cumulative microevolution.”??

Taken together, we might ask does the Genesis account, commonly and historically accepted as the origins account in the West, present a story where for example fish are transformed over time into land animals (macroevolution)?? Can the Genesis account entertain a biosphere some 3.5 billion years old?? Of course some linguistic flexibility is allowable in the Genesis account but to stretch the language to accommodate macroevolution is damaging to the literature and overburdens and prejudices the debate to favor the philosophical syncretist.?

No the Genesis account cannot accommodate macroevolution in any way unless we interpret the Genesis account allegorically, a method that violates the canons of hermeneutics.? Rather it is interesting that the Genesis account directly teaches intelligent design, which is becoming a paradigm not easily dismissed by the scientific community.?
My own testimony is that the mechanisms of chance are incapable of supporting the hypothesis of abiogensis (creation of life without life or chemical evolution), the very foot of evolution.?

Thus, when the tables are turned and we ask if simple functioning proteins (which many materialists agree were the precursors to protocells) could be formed in a primordial soup, or ancient lagoon, or dry coastal beach, the answer demanded does not immediately employ a stochastic mechanism but the answer can easily accommodate intelligent design.? In short, the best interpretation of the available chemical evidence with respect to the question of origins seems to point to intervention by a super-being.?
?The argument presented above by your questioner, unfortunately collapses into “whatever” theology which is a most virulent and common form of neo-syncretism.? It wishes that we all just get along in thought,? but explodes rational thought and debate in the process.? It sees few distinctions and has little discerning capability.? The end of the road of this form of lazy thought is abandonment of books as fancy coasters on the coffee table.? I often wonder if the motivation behind such thinking is militant hostility towards faith, or apathy or child like ignorance or a combination of all.?

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Posted by Thomas E. Brewton on 06/22 at 12:41 AM
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