Friday, October 28, 2011

Random Bits #9

Jim Kidder has yet another post on parallel culture, and he makes an amazingly important point. He's specifically reacting to the essay "The Evangelical Rejection of Reason" at the New York Times, co-written by Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens, who identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. Giberson, you might recall, is the author of Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution and the co-author with Francis Collins of The Language of Science and Faith. Writing about their NYT essay, Jim says that by mixing evolutionary biology with beliefs typical of liberal Protestant theology, their message about evolution will be lost. Or to quote Jim,
After reading Giberson's and Stephens' New York Times essay, why would your average evangelical even think about changing their minds about evolution?
He's completely right about that. Go read what he has to say about it. It's definitely worth it.

Some of you might recall last year that I had a series of posts about the alleged discovery of Noah's Ark by a Chinese group. See here:

Not Noah's Ark
Absolutely not Noah's Ark
More on not Noah's Ark
Randall Price's official statement
Update on not Noah's Ark
Not Noah's Ark update

Apparently, the group that made the "discovery" is still trying to promote it as the real thing, and this week, Carl Wieland posted a pretty devastating report about the C-14 dating based on information he got directly from the Chinese promoters. According to Wieland, multiple samples were subjected to carbon dating by at least three different labs. Most of the dates were recent. Only one sample came back dated as very old (2800 B.C.). Wieland charitably concludes, "it is overwhelmingly likely that these good folk have been misled." But in my view, they've been told by experts even within creationism that what they're promoting is bogus, and they keep doing it. I'm having trouble understanding how that's just good folk being misled.

Finally, here's an interesting exchange between Scientiic American blogger Janet Stemwedel and Liberty University paleontologist Marcus Ross:

Is being a good scientist a matter of what you do or of what you feel in your heart?
Methodology versus beliefs: a comment from Marcus Ross

The comments on these posts are odd. Despite openly identifying himself as a creationist, Ross is still accused of being a liar because he presents research at scientific conferences. I find that attitude completely baffling. If science is about the search for TRUTH, and what scientists say must be TRUTH, then sure, Ross is a liar. But I can't think of anyone (any thoughtful person anyway) who actually believes that science is about discovering TRUTH. Science is about developing the best explanation for data, until such time as that explanation is falsified. So why would it matter whether a scientist actually believed his argument?

I also found it interesting that Stemwedel, despite her mostly neutral discussion of Ross, still concludes, "I think it’s harder to pinpoint the crime he is committing here." So Ross is a criminal now? Nice. See why it's so hard to resolve this debate? It just keeps coming back to name-calling, even when we try not to.

Here's a nice verse from Jeremiah for your weekend:
This is what the LORD says:
The wise must not boast in his wisdom;
the mighty must not boast in his might;
the rich must not boast in his riches.
But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me —
that I am the LORD, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
[This is] the LORD's declaration. (Jer. 9:23-24, HCSB)
Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.