Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Evol. Establishment and Their Consensus

I can’ remember the number of times that I’ve heard theistic (Christian) evolutionists accusing the church for having blindly and ignorantly ignored the findings of science, namely evolution. However, I just read an illuminating rebuttal on the subject in the Institute For Creation Research (ICR) journal (May 2009), entitled “Consensus Science: The Rise of the Scientific Elite.”

While the evolution establishment would have us believe that their consensus agreement, regarding evolution, was un-coerced, ICR has another story to tell. Instead, the “consensus” seems to be the product of carefully selected and promoted allies. In addition to this, while we hear much about the alleged safeguards to insure objectivity through critical peer examination and replication of experimentation, ICR exposes it as “an incestuous style of peer review” – the promotion of a in-group worldview by a group of insiders who rigorously hold tight to the reigns. Here are some quotations cited by ICR that should give us some hesitation about this “consensus”:

1. “The tendency to succumb to group-think and the herd-instinct…is perhaps as tempting among scientists as any group.”
(Professor John Christy, University of Alabama)

2. “With the explosion of scientific knowledge…the expertise to master even a small corner of the scientific field has made the necessity of collaborating with other scientists a virtual necessity, requiring a good deal of trust among researchers…. The pressures to publish not only increase the risk of mistakes made in haste, but more menacingly, raise the rewards of outright manipulation of data. Critics argue that the scientific community is generally unprepared to recognize such fraud.” (Science writer,
William Allman)

3. “Unfortunately, although the ability to replicate results is one of science’s strongest defenses against fraud, few experiments are repeated exactly…As a result, fudged data that conform to prevailing scientific wisdom…can easily slip into print.”
(Sharon Begley)

4. “Our [scientists’] ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of the fully rational and objective ‘scientific method’ with individual scientists as logical and interchangeable robots, is self-serving mythology.”
(Stephen Jay Gould)

5. “People need to realize that scientists are human beings like everybody else and that their pronouncements may arise from their social prejudices, as any of our pronouncements might. The public should avoid being snowed by he scientist’s line: ‘Don’t think about this for yourself, because it’s all too complicated.’” (Gould)

However, this is just what has happened. The evol. establishment has paraded itself into court on numerous occasions, always insisting – based upon their manufactured consensus – that evolution is the only scientific explanation for the origins of life and demanding a virtual monopoly to teach science. Sadly, the courts have ignored Gould’s warning and have granted them just about everything that they’ve demanded.

The question that we must ask is this: “Is science best served – and has it historically been best served – by an enforced monopoly or by safeguarding a free and competitive marketplace?”

Friday, January 29, 2010

Are We Sexist?

According to Nicholas D. Kristof, the church is sexist and must repent:

“When religious institutions exclude women form their hierarchies and rituals, the inevitable implication is that females are inferior…Religious groups should stand up for a simple ethical principle: any human rights should be sacred, and not depend on something as earthly as genitals” (NYT, 1/9/10 – quoted from Time Magazine, 1/20/10).

What then should role distinctions depend upon? Normally, it’s a matter of “achievements.” If Kristof is rejecting sex-related role distinctions, why not also all role distinctions? Don’t they also imply “inferiority?” Kristof is a NYT editor, a very prestigious and influential position. By comparison, I would think that his position might make others feel inferior? Perhaps it would be best if society would rotate these “superior” positions so as to prevent the formation of an “inferior” underclass?

I would guess that Kristof might answer this way: “I worked hard to get to where I now am.” He might even be correct about this, but didn’t he come from a position of privilege, which enabled him to attain his lofty status? Perhaps he had more nurturing parents than others? Why then should he benefit from these incidentals if they serve to reinforce the “inferiority” of others?

Of course, I’m being absurd, but if Kristof is concerned about the status of women in religious institutions, shouldn’t he also be concerned about the question of status in general?

In addition to this, there is also his notion of “superiority and inferiority” itself which he is prejudicially wielding against the religious. Isn’t he uncritically imposing his Western status-laden values? Why does he assume that the pastor’s role is superior, while the church secretary’s role is inferior? Or that the breadwinner’s role is superior to the child-raiser’s role?

I choose to believe that Kristof’s intentions are pure, and that he genuinely believes that he is championing the cause of women. Instead, however, the implications of his charge are both insulting and dismissive of the very vital roles traditionally performed by women, roles in no way inferior to those of men, as he implies.

Perhaps, because of his Western bias, Kristof fails to perceive the way that he is demeaning the very roles where women have performed best and in which they experienced the greatest sense of fulfillment. The other side of the story needs to be told. Western propaganda has deprived many women of motherhood by luring them into careers which promised to rescue them from their “inferior” status. In general, it has been contemptuous of the traditional role of the woman, causing her to loose face.

Shouldn’t we have long left this na├»ve, radical egalitarianism behind? Haven’t the disciplines of neurology and physiology firmly established the profound differences between the sexes and therefore, their variant needs and abilities? If these have been scientifically established, why then does Western culture continue to insist on the elimination of any role distinctions? Doesn’t this insistence simply represent an attempt to exalt a secular religion over traditional religions?

I haven’t done any empirical studies on the subject, but I’d venture to say that countries that have been strongly influenced by the Bible demonstrate the best track record regarding their treatment of women. Yes, I’m aware that secular and communistic societies are good about talking the feminist talk, but I’d also like to observe their “walk,” especially over the long haul. Meanwhile, I think that it might behoove Mr. Kristof to reconsider his indictments while he reexamines his own religious commitments, along with their implications.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Old Testament: God’s Word

The Wellhausen Hypothesis (The Documentary Hypothesis) had asserted that the OT had been nothing more than the product of numerous editors who cut and pasted the OT together from a shabby assortment of previously existing documents in order to suit their political agendas. However, this hypothesis has been overturned by numerous forms of evidence.

One line of evidence argues that the OT reflects a Divine agenda rather than a human one. Here are just a very limited number of evidences that we might consider:

1. Our Patriarchal forefathers are shown to be scoundrels – pimps, cheats and liars – not the heroes that the Jewish commentaries portray them as being. They are hardly the role-models that we’d invent in order to make our religion appealing to perspective buyers.

2. The future monarchy (Deut. 17), rather than being presented as God’s ideal, appears to be God’s reluctant concession to His stubborn people. Furthermore, kings are warned that they are no better or more deserving than others and are subject to the same laws. This legislation does not reflect the interests of the monarchy or ruling class whose interest it would have been to promote a strong monarchy.

3. The laws protecting the poor and marginalized could not have been the product of the rich and privileged. The poor could glean grapes and grain from the vineyards of the rich (Deut. 24:24-25). Such a law could not protect the interests of the rich and powerful who characteristically make such laws to protect their own interests,

4. Whenever soldiers feared for their safety, the law encouraged them to go AWOL (Deut. 20) – hardly the legislation of a ruling class wanting to protect its interests.

5. The Levites would not legally be entitled to any inheritance. Why would the priestly caste ever institute or allow such legislation unless it came from above!

6. The ordained holidays do not commemorate any historical event -- the Passover is the one clear exception – but instead seem to be prophetic. However, nations do not establish such holidays. No one would embrace them!

7. Instead of encouraging Israel that they had a winning religion that would make the Israelites successful, Moses assured them that they would fail (Deut. 30:6). This is something that human designers of a religion wouldn’t do lest their people mutiny.

8. Instead of giving the Israelites a sense of superiority, Moses and the Prophets consistently revealed how utterly unworthy they were of anything from God. Why would Israel accept such a revelation unless the hand of God had been so manifestly present!

In contrast to the Documentary Hypothesis, all of these teachings are anomalous. I don’t think you will find them in other religions or legislation. They reflect the landscape of a transcendent God and not human interests.