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Reflections on Biblical Interpretation and Evolution, Part 1

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April 8, 2013 Tags: Biblical Authority, Lives of Faith

Today's entry was written by Thomas Jay Oord. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Reflections on Biblical Interpretation and Evolution, Part 1

Note: How does my walk with God relate to modern scientific discoveries? Can I maintain biblical Christian faith even if I change my mind on an issue like evolution? Many Evangelicals today are pondering these questions. Finding the answers will involve more than a mere synthesis of scientific facts. We need to hear stories from others who have wrestled with evolution and Christian faith. What arguments made them change their views on science? How did they hold fast to their relationship with God? The essays in this series will eventually comprise a book, provisionally titled, “Evolving: Evangelicals Reflect on Evolution.”

Today we hear from theologian and “Evolving” co-editor Tom Oord about his developing thoughts on the interpretation of Scripture. Tomorrow we’ll hear how he came to believe that evolution actually reinforces central biblical truths.

The best place to begin the story of my exploration of evolution is with the Bible.

That may seem strange. Many people wouldn’t start with the Bible when talking about a scientific theory. But I’m a theologian, and I take the Bible with utmost seriousness. Talking about the Bible is a natural place for me to begin, both because the Bible was principally important in my youth, and because it remains so for me today.

I don’t mean to snub science. Science is important too. I read a lot in the sciences, and I think the evidence supporting the theory of evolution is strong. I try to take this and other evidence with great seriousness.

But the real story – for me – starts with the Bible.

Centrality of Scripture

Fortunately, my parents were committed Christians. Our family was one of those “attend-church-three-times-a-week-and-more” families. My parents were significant leaders in our local congregation, and I began following their footsteps early in life.

I doubt I missed more than a handful of Sunday school classes before I was twenty years old. And I always attended Vacation Bible School – even winning Bible memorizing competitions on occasion. (John 11:35 was my friend!) I participated on youth Bible quizzing team for a while too.

While growing up, I don’t recall anyone telling me that the Bible was the inerrant Word of God. But my passion for Scripture and my Evangelical community inclined me toward that position. Scripture was central in my life.

Besides, I wanted a failsafe foundation for my beliefs. And how could I convince my Mormon friends to become Christians if the Bible was not true in every sense, including literally true about what it said about the natural world? Witnessing to God’s truth seemed to require that I believe the Bible was without error on all matters, including matters related to science.

An Inerrant Bible?

My view of the Bible began to change when I went to college. It wasn’t that a liberal Bible professor brainwashed me away from the positions of my youth. Instead, I started reading the Bible carefully and the work of biblical scholars. I began to think it important to love God with my mind in a more consistent way.

And then I took a class in koine Greek, the language of the New Testament. In this course, I discovered several things. First, we have differing English translations of the New Testament, because the biblical text allows for a number of valid translation options. (When I later took Hebrew class, I found the diversity of valid translations even greater!) Second, we do not have access to the original biblical manuscripts/autographs. Our Bibles come from later manuscripts, the earliest of which are not complete. And, third, the oldest texts we have differ in many ways – although most differences are minor.

For another view on inerrancy, see Michael Horton’s post “The Truthfulness of Scripture: Inerrancy”.

I also discovered discrepancies in the Bible. For instance, in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus curses a fig tree and it withers immediately (21:18-20). But in Mark’s version of the same story, the fig tree does not wither immediately and the disciples find it withered the next morning (11:12-14; 20-21). Mark says that Jesus heals one demon-possessed man at Gerasenes (5:1-20), while Matthew says there were two demon-possessed men involved in that same miracle (8:28-34). Jesus tells the disciples to take a staff on their journey as recorded in Mark 6:8, but Matthew says Jesus told the disciples not to take a staff (10:9-10). Jesus says Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly. Then, making an analogy with his own death, he says the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Mt 12:40). But Jesus was not dead three days and three nights!

I mention only a few of the many internal discrepancies. Once I discovered a few, I noticed more. This, of course, made me question whether I should say the Bible is inerrant in all ways.

What’s the Bible For?

I’m persistent. I don’t settle for easy answers, ignore problems, or appeal to mystery at the drop of a hat. I want to give a plausible account of the hope within me.

My quest for better ways to think about the Bible prompted me to read theologians and Bible scholars from the past and present. What I found surprised me! I had assumed believing the Bible is inerrant in all ways was the traditional position of Christians throughout the ages. I assumed it was the position of my own Christian tradition. I was wrong.

Few if any great theologians argued the Bible was absolutely inerrant. Augustine did not affirm inerrancy in this way. Thomas Aquinas didn’t. Neither did Martin Luther or John Wesley – a least in a consistent way. And I discovered through reading and conversations that those considered the leading biblical scholars and theologians today also reject absolute biblical inerrancy.

I did find a few teachers who said the Bible was inerrant. But when I read their explanations of the Bible’s discrepancies and their views about the differences between the oldest manuscripts, I found they stretched the word “inerrant” beyond recognition. Their meaning of “inerrant” was nothing like the usual meaning. And it was certainly not what most Evangelicals meant when they called the Bible the inerrant Word of God.

Perhaps even more important was my discovery that great theologians and biblical scholars of yesteryear believed the Bible’s basic purpose was to reveal God’s desire for our salvation. Many giants of the Christian faith could agree with John Wesley who said, “The Scriptures are a complete rule of faith and practice; and they are clear in all necessary points.”

The necessary points of Scripture refer to instruction for our salvation. They indicate that, as the Apostle Paul puts it, Scripture is inspired and “useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The purpose of the Bible is our salvation!

I also discovered Christian leaders over the centuries did not feel required to search the Bible for truths about science. In fact, they sometimes used allegorical interpretations that seem silly to me now. The vast majority of Evangelical scholars with whom I talked also didn’t think the Bible has to be inerrant about scientific matters.

After my studies, I came to believe that the Bible tells us how to find abundant life. But it does not provide the science for how life became abundant.

Tomorrow, Tom will discuss what his evolving view of the Bible has to do with evolution.

 


Thomas Jay Oord, Ph.D. is professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University. He is the author and/or editor of about a dozen books, including Creation Made Free, Divine Grace and Emerging Creation, and Defining Love: A Philosophical, Scientific, and Theological Engagement. He blogs frequently on issues of theology, science, and philosophy at http://thomasjayoord.com.

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Seenoevo - #78291

April 8th 2013

Here’s a hypothetical.

What if one day very soon, virtually everyone became convinced that evolution was true and that Genesis 1-2 was very figurative, to say the very least. So, the Gallup polls would accurately say that creationists dropped from the 46% of today to far less than 1%. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/hold-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx) [For reasons I won’t go into, I’m quite confident the number would not go to 0%.]

How might the faith of these “converts” change, if it changes at all, regarding

1) Scripture (post Genesis 2or 3),

2) Historic Christian teaching, including,

3) Historic Christian morality?


Eddie - #78293

April 8th 2013

Seenoevo:

I have a practical suggestion for you regarding these bizarre formatting problems.

Don’t type your comments directly into the combox.  Don’t paste from MSWord, either; sometimes it generates problems.

If your operating system is Windows, you will have a free program there, under Accessories, called Wordpad.  Type your comments in Wordpad and then copy and paste them into the comments box here.  Stick to one font/size all the way through your Wordpad document.  You will find that all the glitches go away. 


Eddie - #78294

April 8th 2013

Seenoevo:

Ooops!  No sooner did I post my suggestion to you, than your gigantic brown-colored font turned into a normal font!  I don’t know if my reply caused that, or if it had some other cause.  Anyhow, for future reference, you have my suggestion.


Merv - #78300

April 8th 2013

Seenoevo, your question need not be seen as hypothetical.  According to a 2010 study (of the U.S. no less!) referenced here, of the 80% or so U.S. people who believe God created everything, about half of those believe God used evolution to do it.  I know that not all of those will be Christian, but still—40% of 300 million people make a pretty sizeable population of theists who aren’t threatened by evolution.  Teasing out how it has affected their faith as a whole is no small task.  But it wouldn’t be for lack of people to ask.

-Merv


Michael Faber - #78305

April 8th 2013

I am unclear as to how “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” refers to salvation.  This seems to me to point to spiritual maturity and Christian ministry.


Merv - #78382

April 10th 2013

That question struck me too as I was reading the essay, Michael.  

While Galileo’s flippant remark that “The Bible tells us how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go” makes its succinct point, the same oversimplifying fallacy shows up when any author is trying to speed their way to some other pithy point.  Perhaps that happened here too.  But the point may still apply as we look at the slightly more expanded list Paul offers (which you no doubt noted does not include salvation at all).  “Teaching” and “Correction” is vague enough to include whatever any reader wants it to include.  “Training in Righteousness” narrows it down to at least suggest that “modern science” would be misplaced in this list.  But “equipped for every good work” is all-encompassing including fields of science—perhaps not so much with a concern that science matches some religiously correct position as it is that science (and everything else) should be useful in the practical sense of helping enhance service to others.  So in that sense a Christian in science is doing good work if they develop some needed vaccine, using whatever science was at hand towards that goal. 


melanogaster - #78418

April 11th 2013

“So in that sense a Christian in science is doing good work if they develop some needed vaccine, using whatever science was at hand towards that goal.”

And in many cases, that science is evolutionary science.

What you and Eddie don’t seem to realize is that the vast majority of evidence supporting evolutionary theory was produced by biomedical researchers, a natural consequence of the vastly greater amount of funding available.


Lou Jost - #78353

April 9th 2013

The obvious first question Tom must have asked himself was “Why believe the bible in the first place?’ Surely not just because his parents taught him to…I wish he had covered that in this post, because unless one has a good answer to that, the rest is meaningless. 


Merv - #78378

April 10th 2013

Lou wrote:

Why believe the bible in the first place?’ Surely not just because his parents taught him to…

Well, yes actually.  Most anything anbody does or can do will be because of their parents at least initially.  There are exceptions, of course.  One hopes that by this point in our adult lives we have found our own footing for what we believe, either embracing or rejecting what our parents taught us (and probably doing a mixture of both).   You’ll have to remember, Lou, that this isn’t a site dedicated to convincing atheists there is a God or that they should believe the Bible.  Those elementary principles of faith are good to revisit, and perhaps I can go over them again with you here; but the intended audience here is Christians who are threatened by the way science is often wrenched from its own moorings and misapplied as an anti-religious tool.  Faith in God (the Christian God, no less) is already given.  It’s science that needs to earn its trust in the eyes of many here.

I and others have already shared with you the reasons we find faith in Jesus to be so compelling (the witness and testimonies of the many transformed lives historically from the new testament even to now and even into our very own lives.)  You can’t (or haven’t) found such evidence compelling before (nor will you apart from the action of the Spirit on your own life), so you may for the moment just have to be satisfied as one looking in through a window.   The only way to truly taste and see will be to crack open your fortress of unbelief and allow yourself to let go a bit.  I do pray that God will enable you to make those first steps.

-Merv


Lou Jost - #78384

April 10th 2013

Hi Merv, thanks for the response. Remember that I used to have that same faith. I did taste what you taste. Then I figured out that people who believed very different religions from my own claimed that their god transformed their lives in the same way. The simple act of believing  seems to have transformative power. It isn’t evidence for the divine.

But I appreciate your reminder that most people here already believe in a particular god and that this is taken for granted. I just hope these people will reflect a bit on the things they take for granted.


melanogaster - #78417

April 11th 2013

“...the intended audience here is Christians who are threatened by the way science is often wrenched from its own moorings and misapplied as an anti-religious tool.”

Not those who are cowed by those who wrench religion from its own moorings and misapply it as an antiscientific tool?

“Faith in God (the Christian God, no less) is already given.”

Do you believe in more than one God? If not, why the adjective? At least my church holds that Muslims and Jews worship the same God we do.

“It’s science that needs to earn its trust in the eyes of many here.”

I’d suggest that you might want to take a closer look at religious leaders in terms of trust. Virtually all Christians trust science in matters far sketchier than evolutionary theory.


beaglelady - #78441

April 12th 2013

You are correct in pointing out that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the God of Abraham.


Eddie - #78474

April 12th 2013

Fruitfly wrote:

“my church ...”

And which church is that?

“Christians trust science in matters far sketchier than evolutionary theory”

There is no branch of science sketchier than evolutionary theory.


melanogaster - #78510

April 14th 2013

“And which church is that?”

UCC.

“There is no branch of science sketchier than evolutionary theory.”

Perhaps you should attempt to grapple with the evidence before making pronouncements. I’m still laughing about you recommending a paper to Lou and then running away, saying you hadn’t even read it.


Eddie - #78517

April 14th 2013

I’m assuming that UCC means United Church of Christ.

Does the United Church of Christ endorse, encourage, or condone interactions with other human beings such as:  sneering, sarcastic jabs, insulting, bullying, boasting, calling people cowardly, calling people liars, misidentifying people as fundamentalists and then refusing to retract the misidentification when corrected, assassinating the character and work of publically known scientists while keeping one’s own identity hidden, etc.?  

Funny, I’ve been to a lot of Churches, and I’ve never heard a minister (or any lay Christian) endorse these forms of behavior as Christian in spirit or action.  But maybe the UCC has a different understanding of what it means to be Christian than the old-fashioned understanding I was brought up with.

 


melanogaster - #78560

April 15th 2013

“Does the United Church of Christ endorse, encourage, or condone interactions with other human beings such as: sneering, sarcastic jabs,…”

You mean like your claim above, “There is no branch of science sketchier than evolutionary theory”?

“…assassinating the character and work of publically known scientists…”

You mean like your claim above, “There is no branch of science sketchier than evolutionary theory,” delivered from a position of refusing to engage with any evidence yourself? How many thousands of scientists are involved there? Oh, I forgot. You pretend that we’re only dealing with a handful of scientists who write books for the public, right? But you even make many objectively false claims about that handful.

“… while keeping one’s own identity hidden, etc.?”

Gee, “Eddie,” “assassinating the character and work of publically known scientists” is precisely what claiming, “There is no branch of science sketchier than evolutionary theory,” is doing!

So who are you?


Eddie - #78589

April 16th 2013

Fruitfly:

Entirely wrong again!

It makes all the difference in the world whether someone is attacking a view, a theory, an enterprise, the conduct of an academic discipline, etc., or a person.

You have repeatedly attacked persons.  You have called persons cowardly, liars, violators of Biblical commandments, etc.  You have spoken to persons arrogantly, in a consciously belittling manner, etc.  

Does your Church endorse or condone such verbal behavior?  Yes or no.


Chip - #78439

April 12th 2013

Hello Thomas,

So, your view is that the text is essentially unreliable:  history, archaeology, anthropology, geography, politics…  lots of contradictions and inconsistencies.  So while it may be an interesting read, the bulk of it is essentially untrustworthy.  

Until we get to matters pertaining to salvation, in which case it’s spot on. 


Merv - #78462

April 12th 2013

I have on my desk, Chip, a repair manual for my car.  It doesn’t seem to have any reliable information in it about politics.  I’ve not been able to glean anything good on the history of the early church from it either.  Good information for me to pass along to my trig and geometry students at school—-maybe just a bit, but it doesn’t really seem reliable for that either (yet another strike).  But hey!  Regarding my car, it seems to have been spot on!    I guess it is, ummm,  a car manual.

I think you’re beginning to catch on, Chip!


Chip - #78440

April 12th 2013

I have limited time, but let’s just look at one of Oord’s “discrepancies.”  He says: 

But in Mark’s version of the same story, the fig tree does not wither immediately…(my emphasis)

Oord would apparently have us believe that in Mark’s version of events the tree is hale and hearty until the next day.  But, interestingly, that’s not in Mark’s account: 

(14) He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening….

(v20) As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded (presumably, of what they had seen the previous day), Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”

Here’s the excerpt from Matthew: 

(19) He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. (20) Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them…

In a nutshell, there’s no contradiction here at all.  Matthew emphasizes the immediacy of the event; Mark its long-term consequence.  If any of us experienced such an event on day one, which of us wouldn’t comment about it on day two, as Peter did?  Paraphrasing: “Wow. I didn’t imagine it—that event that I remember from yesterday.  The tree really is totally withered—from the roots up!”

Bottm line:  While the bible certainly contains various interpretive challenges, this isn’t one of them.  And such efforts to manufacture “discrepancies” where none exist say much more about the commentator than about the text itself. 


Merv - #78458

April 12th 2013

Chip, so would you go on to claim then, that there actually are no discrepancies or contradictions whatsoever in the Bible?

If not, then Thomas’s point still stands even if you think his particular examples of such inconsistencies are poor and easily resolveable.

If so, then that is a ‘whole nother’ issue to address.


Seenoevo - #78469

April 12th 2013

Melanogaster, I get the impression you say a lot with very few words. (You may even say more than you intend.) Please continue with your applaudable succinctness in answering my questions.  You wrote:

1) “… the vast majority of evidence supporting evolutionary theory was produced by biomedical researchers, a natural consequence of the vastly greater amount of funding available.”

Does that mean government funding, a.k.a. taxpayers’ money?

If so, I guess this is just one more thing for which I should be grateful to our massive government.

But wait.

Why should the government be paying for this? How does evolutionary theory benefit the government, and more appropriately, benefit its life’s blood, commonly known as tax payers?

 

2) “Virtually all Christians trust science in matters far sketchier than evolutionary theory.”

Do you believe evolution theory is sketchy? If not, why the adjective?

What are two examples of science matters which are even sketchier than evolution theory?


melanogaster - #78511

April 14th 2013

“Does that mean government funding, a.k.a. taxpayers’ money?”

Yes. You’re still missing what I actually wrote.

“If so, I guess this is just one more thing for which I should be grateful to our massive government.”

Conservatively, that investment returns >25% interest.

“Why should the government be paying for this?”

The public good.

“How does evolutionary theory benefit the government, and more appropriately, benefit its life’s blood, commonly known as tax payers?”

Try to read before responding. The EVIDENCE for evolution comes primarily from bioMEDICAL researchers doing bioMEDICAL research, not evolutionary theory.

Can you grasp the difference between theory and evidence?

“What are two examples of science matters which are even sketchier than evolution theory?”

Experimental medical treatments and many diagnostics.


Seenoevo - #78522

April 14th 2013

Melanogaster,

I have 7 or 8 more questions. (I’m not trying to be a quarrelsome quibbler. It’s just that I really seem to have issues or questions with virtually every sentence an evolutionist writes.)

You wrote: “Conservatively, that [government] investment returns >25% interest.”

Would you please supply the calculations supporting this 25%+ return on government investment in evolutionary theory (or evolutionary evidence?)? If it’s anywhere close to 25%, I’m going to investigate possible ways of getting in on this action. I like making money as much as the next mutant.

 

Me: “Why should the government be paying for this?”

You: “The public good.”

I don’t see what’s good about it for me or the public.

Would you please elaborate on these benefits?

 

“Try to read before responding. The EVIDENCE for evolution comes primarily from bioMEDICAL researchers doing bioMEDICAL research, not evolutionary theory.”

I’ve re-read your post several times. Still have the same questions, and some more:

1) What are your top two evolutionary evidences provided by these bioMEDICAL researchers?

2) How do you get 25%+ return just from EVIDENCE for evolution?

3) Would disbelief in evolution, or ignorance of evolution, have prevented the bioMEDICAL researchers from making the beneficial discoveries, if any, they made?

 

Me: “What are two examples of science matters which are even sketchier than evolution theory?”

You: “Experimental medical treatments and many diagnostics.”

I don’t understand. ALL medical treatments carry some risk, and some have less certainty of benefit than others. New or “experimental” medical treatments may be riskier. But time, and ACTUAL EXPERIENCE, WILL tell if they’re worthwhile. In contrast, where does evolution theory have such real-time, empirical feedback?

Same should go for diagnostics. They can be tested AND CONFIRMED. Example: “Sketchy” diagnostic procedure X is used to detect condition Y. OK. Conduct a blind test using patients known to have condition Y and patients without condition Y, and see how well the diagnostic procedure does. Again though, what in evolution theory would be comparable to this simple, AND CONFIRMABLE, AND REPEATABLE testing?

 

You never answered my other question: “Do you believe evolution theory is sketchy?”

(For the time being, I’ll assume silence is affirmation.)


melanogaster - #78558

April 15th 2013

I wrote:
“… the vast majority of evidence supporting evolutionary theory was produced by biomedical researchers, a natural consequence of the vastly greater amount of funding available.”

Seenoevo, apparently missing the point completely, constructed a false “issue” and wrote:
“Would you please supply the calculations supporting this 25%+ return on government investment in evolutionary theory (or evolutionary evidence?)?”

Seenoevo, I’ll be happy to answer your questions if you correct your (inadvertent, I hope) gross misrepresentation of what I wrote.

If I wrote, “…the vast majority of players in the NBA are African-Americans,” would you claim that I meant, “The vast majority of African-Americans are NBA players”?

I will address two of your questions, though. The genome project produced terabytes of data that overwhelm the data produced by those whose primary interest is evolutionary biology. All those data, and the software to analyse them, are available free on the web, financed primarily by the US government.

Now, a question for you: have you ever bothered to take a look for yourself?

To answer another question, there’s nothing sketchy about evolutionary theory, particularly when one approaches it from those terabytes of data. In fact, everyone who questions evolutionary theory avoids the sequence data or only pretends to deal with them. Will you be different?


Chip - #78595

April 16th 2013

Hi Merv (#78458): 

I would go on to claim that folks like Oord don’t have much credibility when they trot out a superficial list of easily-resolved “discrepancies” while at the same time claiming to not “settle for easy answers.”  Given the ease with which this particular “discrepancy” was debunked, it would seem that settling for easy answers is exactly what he’s about—at least in this case. 

Me on the other hand (simple and naïve as I am…) think that truth matters.  And consistency of testimony matters.  And if the portions of the biblical record that are tangible enough to be verifiable can be written off as unreliable fluff (as Oord would have us believe), why should I listen to the parts that can’t be verified (i.e. the “salvation” parts)? 

Allow me to take your (quite snarky…) Chilton’s manual illustration and make it a little more accurate:  If I determine that the instructions it contains for the repair of my carburator are flat out wrong, why trust it when it’s time to replace the transmission? 


Seenoevo - #78598

April 16th 2013

Melanogaster,

Your “answers” are as slippery as a serpent.

You “answered”, if you want to call it that, perhaps 1 of my 8 questions. That was on whether you considered evolution theory “sketchy”. You responded it’s not sketchy. But then, my original question remains - Why did you use the adjective “sketchiER when you wrote “Virtually all Christians trust science in matters far sketchier than evolutionary theory”?

And I don’t see that I’ve misrepresented anything. So, let’s get back to it.

Please explain exactly what you meant by “Conservatively, that investment returns >25% interest” and show how that number was calculated.

I wasn’t sure why you noted the “genome project”. If that is supposed to be your answer to my query (“What are your top two evolutionary evidences provided by these bioMEDICAL researchers?”), then, thanks. Thanks for nothing. The human genome project is as much evidence of evolution as a pair of jeans is. [By the way, Francis Collins is now asking for money for the next great thing, Obama’s brain project! http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/person-week-braniac-chief-18893023 ]

 

“All those [terabytes of genome project] data, and the software to analyse them, are available free on the web, financed primarily by the US government.”

There’s probably no end to the things you can find on the web that were financed by the U.S. government. That doesn’t mean that they’re “good” or really advancing the “public good”. [“#27 The National Institutes of Health once spent $800,000 in “stimulus funds” to study the impact of a “genital-washing program” on men in South Africa.” http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/30-stupid-things-the-governemnt-is-spending-money-on ]

 

You ended with “Now, a question for you: have you ever bothered to take a look for yourself? To answer another question, there’s nothing sketchy about evolutionary theory, particularly when one approaches it from those terabytes of data. In fact, everyone who questions evolutionary theory avoids the sequence data or only pretends to deal with them. Will you be different?”

Will I be different? I guess not, in the sense that, for the time being, I’m not going to wade through the terabytes of data, which I suppose you would consider part of what’s been called the “mountain of evidence” for evolution. How many have been converted to belief in evolution so far as a result of these terabytes and the analysis thereof? If you know of any, tell me their stories.

Will I be different? Each of us is different. Each of us tends to specialize. I’ll rely on specialists like you for now. Analogously, I don’t specialize in building in houses, but I can trust in the expertise of those who do. And when they build me a house, and I live in it successfully and so come to trust in it, then I confirm my belief in the expertise of those building specialists.

But I haven’t yet found an evolution specialist (or a genome analyst) who has built anything I’d trust living in.


melanogaster - #78619

April 16th 2013

“You “answered”, if you want to call it that, perhaps 1 of my 8 questions.”

I wrote, “I’ll be happy to answer your questions if you correct your (inadvertent, I hope) gross misrepresentation of what I wrote.”

You didn’t.

“That was on whether you considered evolution theory “sketchy”. You responded it’s not sketchy. But then, my original question remains - Why did you use the adjective “sketchiER when you wrote “Virtually all Christians trust science in matters far sketchier than evolutionary theory”?”

Because you clearly regard evolution as sketchy at best, correct?

“And I don’t see that I’ve misrepresented anything.”

That’s not surprising. You might figure it out if you answered my simple question: If I wrote, “…the vast majority of players in the NBA are African-Americans,” would you claim that I meant, “The vast majority of African-Americans are NBA players”?

“Please explain exactly what you meant by “Conservatively, that investment returns >25% interest” and show how that number was calculated.”

When you correct your false claim about the antecedent of “that investment,” I’ll be happy to.

“I wasn’t sure why you noted the “genome project”. If that is supposed to be your answer to my query (“What are your top two evolutionary evidences provided by these bioMEDICAL researchers?”), then, thanks. Thanks for nothing. The human genome project is as much evidence of evolution as a pair of jeans is.”

And that’s based on your personal analysis of what evidence, exactly? A survivalist web site?

“There’s probably no end to the things you can find on the web that were financed by the U.S. government. That doesn’t mean that they’re “good” or really advancing the “public good”.”

I’m sure you know that I didn’t claim that they were good merely because they were on the web, and you know it. I’m pointing out that you can analyze them for yourself, if you have the courage to do so.

“Will I be different? I guess not, in the sense that, for the time being, I’m not going to wade through the terabytes of data,…”

You’re putting words in my mouth again, which shows that you have no faith in your own position.

You can analyze a tiny sample of the data. You’d have to expend some intellectual effort in choosing which sample so you can’t accuse me of cherry picking, but I doubt that you have that in you.

“… which I suppose you would consider part of what’s been called the “mountain of evidence” for evolution. How many have been converted to belief in evolution so far as a result of these terabytes and the analysis thereof?”

Again, I’m not demanding that you analyze terabytes.

“Will I be different? Each of us is different. Each of us tends to specialize. I’ll rely on specialists like you for now.”

But you’re not relying on me. You’re only relying on those who say what you want to hear. You are afraid to look with your own eyes.

“Analogously, I don’t specialize in building in houses, but I can trust in the expertise of those who do.”

And if you notice that a part of your house is neither plumb nor square, but the builder tells you you’re wrong, do you sheepishly agree or do you make measurements?

“But I haven’t yet found an evolution specialist (or a genome analyst) who has built anything I’d trust living in.”

Do you accept the results of paternity testing?


Seenoevo - #78645

April 17th 2013

Melanogaster,

After reading #78619 I feel like I need to take a shower. But before I do, and considering that you won’t or can’t answer my 8 questions, how about one more try on just one question? We don’t need to talk about “antecedents”, we don’t need to talk about what may or may not have been misrepresented. We just need to talk about what YOU said. So, for about the third or fourth time: What did YOU mean when YOU said “Conservatively, that investment returns >25% interest”. WHAT is “that investment” and WHAT is the CALCULATION supporting the claimed 25% return or interest?   P.S. We’re not talking about genomics in general, but genomics in regards to support for evolution theory. I trust in paternity testing but paternity testing is not support for evolution.  
melanogaster - #78660

April 17th 2013

“We don’t need to talk about “antecedents”, we don’t need to talk about what may or may not have been misrepresented. We just need to talk about what YOU said.”

That’s what we’re talking about. We can’t communicate if you continue to misrepresent what I write.

“So, for about the third or fourth time: What did YOU mean when YOU said “Conservatively, that investment returns >25% interest”. WHAT is “that investment” and WHAT is the CALCULATION supporting the claimed 25% return or interest?”

Why do you say we don’t need to talk about antecedents, then immediately ask what the antecedent of “that investment” is? I stated it clearly, while you misrepresented it.

“P.S. We’re not talking about genomics in general, but genomics in regards to support for evolution theory.”

You’re missing the point, apparently deliberately.

The point is that in testing entirely biomedical hypotheses, particularly in genetics and genomics, we generate vast amounts of data confirming evolutionary theory, particularly common descent. So let’s pare it down. Do you dispute common descent of all mammals?

“I trust in paternity testing but paternity testing is not support for evolution.”

How could paternity testing demonstrate descent by mathematical analysis of genomic differences between individuals, while mathematical analysis of genomic differences between species, genera, orders, phyla, etc. not demonstrate descent? Because you say so?

The data you get aren’t only applicable to one hypothesis.


lancelot10 - #78675

April 18th 2013

TWO OR ONE DEMONIACS - not really a discrepancy - it also shows that the bible is not “contrived” to agree - that the gospel accounts have been obtained from independent witnesses.  The gospels only appear to differ but it is because the witnesses have been looking from different angles.

Matthew tells us there were two demoniacs, while Mark and Luke only mention one of the two. It is unclear why they chose to mention only one, but that does not negate the possibility of a second demoniac being present. Mark and Luke do not say there was “only one” demon-possessed man. They simply state that one of the two met Jesus and spoke to Him. For whatever reason, Matthew simply gives us more information than Mark and Luke.

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/one-two-demoniacs.html#ixzz2QgPQh4Ls

 



lancelot10 - #78676

April 18th 2013

THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS

The solution is simple when we learn that according to Jewish custom any part of a day, however small, is included as part of a full day.1 “Since the Jews reckoned part of a day as a full day, the ‘three days and three nights’ could permit a Friday crucifixion.”2 This phenomena is exemplified in scripture in the book of Esther. “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way,” (Esther 4:16 ).


lancelot10 - #78679

April 18th 2013

TAKE A STAFF OR NOT  - Again shows the gospels are not contrived - some may have had staffs already - Jesus could have been telling them not to buy one for those who had no staff.  What he meant was make no preparations but trust in God. Different words are used for take or buy.  Dont see it as a discrepancy that woul lead someone into eg denying the truth of Jonah being in a whale which I believe he was.


lancelot10 - #78680

April 18th 2013

A STAFF OR NOT A STAFF

* So, can Luke’s airo be used in the sense of Matthew’s ktaomai (=‘acquire’)? If it can, then the issue is resolved, since we know that Mark’s airo is NOT the same as Matthew’s ktaomai, and that Mark’s airo is closer to Luke’s bastazo that to Luke’s airo. So, the last piece of the puzzle is why Luke used airo in 9.3. We know why he didn’t use ktaomai (it would have mislead his readers) and we know why he didn’t use bastzao (because Matt and hence Luke, was not talking about Picking up and CARRYING luggage—an immediate act, but about LOCATING/ACQUIRING/SECURING something—taking a longer period of time to do, delaying the mission).


Seenoevo - #78727

April 18th 2013

“Conservatively, that investment returns >25% interest.” – Bernie Madoff, a.k.a. “Drosophila”

  The real drosophila has a life cycle of only a week or so. Oh, that Bernie’s machinations lasted only that long.
Chad Arneson - #81807

July 9th 2013

Actually…you need to have the theological virtue of faith.

“Since revelation is supernatural in its cause as well as in the knowledge that it presents about God and creatures as seen in relation to God, human reason alone cannot know that revelation is true.” http://www.faithfulanswers.com/the-role-of-the-theological-virtue-of-faith-in-scriptural-interpretation/


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