"Re: If Behe believes in common descent, how does he explain the transition from a more "primitive" blood-clotting system?" after promising to do so in a separate post. My apologies. I was reminded by someone else's comment on your comment. Although you probably have long since stopped checking, I will now answer your comment. Your words are in bold to distinguish them from mine.
----- Original Message -----
From: tom quick
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:56 AM
Subject: [CreationEvolutionDesign] New comment on Re: If Behe believes in common descent, how does h....
>I'm not a biologist. I'm a chemical engineer who reads Packer and Proust.
Presumably that is J.I. Packer (1926-), the evangelical Christian theologian, some of whose books I own and have read. I am unfamiliar with the works of Marcel Proust (1871-1922) so I won't comment on him.
>But a few months ago I saw the great joust on PBS over irreducible complexity in Pennsylvania.
Being an Australian, I did not see that program. I have taken a `sabbatical' from Creation/Evolution/Design, my interests having shifted over to my other blogs The Shroud of Turin and
[Above (click to enlarge): Negative of a negative and therefore positive photograph of the face of the Man on the Shroud of Turin: Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara: London, p.28:
"`Were those the lips that spoke the Sermon on the Mount and the Parable of the Rich Fool?'; `Is this the Face that is to be my judge on the Last Day?'" (Wilson, I. , 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.189).]
Jesus is Jehovah! The Shroud of Turin indirectly defeats atheistic evolution (i.e. Darwinism) because the evidence is overwhelming that it is the burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of His flogged, crowned with thorns, crucified, dead, buried and resurrected body! See my post, "The Shroud of Turin is the Burial Sheet of Jesus!"
>Judging from the minutiae under discussion, the discussion seemed less relevant compared to the superior attitudes shown by the so-called scientists.
This is a problem for Irreducible Complexity (IC). The average person (including even the average scientist) probably cannot understand "the minutiae" or is bored by it.
But the average person can understand that an arrogant attitude is probably a mask to cover an underlying insecurity about the correctness of one's position.
>So I took it upon myself to read a good bit of Dobzhansky and Darwin (Origin of the Species) in order tho try and learn what made these scientists so pontifically wise.
There is no doubt that Dobzhansky and Darwin were wise, and they certainly knew their biology. The problem was their naturalist (anti-supernaturalist) and therefore anti-Christian philosophy. If Christianity is true (which Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks and the Shroud of Turin (to mention only two of many other Christian lines of evidence) prove beyond reasonable doubt that it is, then Naturalism and Darwinism are false!
>... In the greater sense what does it matter? On the one hand, selection occurs. It's the basis of agriculture as we know it. But it's in the past, and there's nothing useful gained in debating it, that I can see. On the other hand, what makes Darwin worthy of such laud and honor?
Darwin is indeed "worthy of ... laud and honor" but only to the extent that he was a great scientist who discovered truth about the natural world that God put there in the first place.
But the operative word is "such laud and honor." Darwin is lauded and honoured by those with the same anti-supernaturalist and therefore anti-Christian philosophy that he had because they falsely think that Darwin confirmed there was no need for God in creation and therefore Christianity is irrelevant.
But Darwin assumed as a first principle of his theory that there was no Christian God who could or would intervene supernaturally in chains of common descent. Both he and his modern disciple Dawkins admitted, that if there was such a God who did intervene supernaturally in chains of common descent, then it "was not evolution at all":
"Darwin ... wrote in a letter to Sir Charles Lyell, the leading geologist of his day: `If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish...I would give nothing for the theory of Natural selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent.' [Darwin, C.R., Letter to C. Lyell, October 11, 1859, in Darwin, F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," , Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. II., 1959, reprint, pp.6-7]. This is no petty matter. In Darwin's view, the whole point of the theory of evolution by natural selection was that it provided a non-miraculous account of the existence of complex adaptations. For what it is worth, it is also the whole point of this book. For Darwin, any evolution that had to be helped over the jumps by God was not evolution at all." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, pp.248-249. Emphasis original)
but a form of "divine creation":
"At first sight there is an important distinction to be made between what might be called 'instantaneous creation' and 'guided evolution'. Modern theologians of any sophistication have given up believing in instantaneous creation. ... many theologians ... smuggle God in by the back door: they allow him some sort of supervisory role over the course that evolution has taken, either influencing key moments in evolutionary history (especially, of course, human evolutionary history), or even meddling more comprehensively in the day-to-day events that add up to evolutionary change. ... In short, divine creation, whether instantaneous or in the form of guided evolution, joins the list of other theories we have considered in this chapter." (Dawkins, 1986, pp.316-317. Emphasis original)
>Now for Packer. I'm in the middle of reading his PhD thesis on Baxter.
I assume you mean Packer's PhD thesis on Baxter which has been published in a book, Packer, J.I., "The Redemption and Restoration of Man in the Thought of Richard Baxter," Paternoster, 2003. There is an online review of this book which I don't agree with, having read Packer's Introduction to Baxter's "The Reformed Pastor," in which Packer is well aware of Baxter's faults.
>I often see Baxter seeking a unity - trying to reconcile the incongruities of Calvinism (such as double predestination making God the author of evil), or trying to thread a line between Antinomianism and legalism. Controversial in his time, tremendously well educated, yet bound to overreach. A hundred years later what he did was forgotten in the details, but remembered in a holistic sense, and he became a touchstone for both Wesleyans and Unitarians.
Although I own Baxter's "The Reformed Pastor," I haven't read it (except now the Introduction by Packer). I am not really up on Baxter or his attempts to "reconcile the incongruities of Calvinism (such as double predestination ...)." But I am aware that Baxter was a 17th century Puritan who by pastoral visitation converted almost an entire town (Kiddderminster) to Christianity!
But I myself am a life-long Calvinist and I don't believe in "double predestination" i.e. God not only positively predestined some (the elect) to salvation (which I do accept) but also God positively predestined the rest (the reprobate) to damnation. I regard that position as hyper-Calvinism, even though it may well have been what "Calvinism" meant in Baxter's day (i.e. it was the majority position).
The Calvinist position which I hold (because I believe it is the Biblical one) is single predestination, i,e. God only positively predestined some (the elect) to salvation and so negatively passes over the rest (the reprobate) leaving them to the consequences of their sin, which is damnation.
[Left: John Calvin (1509-1564): Wendel, F., "Calvin: The Origins and Development of His Religious Thought (1963)." ]
while he calls "predestination the eternal decree of God by which he ... ordains some to eternal life, the others to eternal damnation," he clarifies the latter as being that God "lets go of the others and leaves them":
"But Calvin gave forcible emphasis to the distinction between predestination and foreknowledge. `We say rightly that [God] foresees all things, even as he disposes of them; but it is confusing everything to say that God elects and rejects according to his foresight of this or that. When we attribute foreknowledge to God, we mean that all things have always been and eternally remain under his observation, so that nothing is either future or past to his knowledge: he sees and regards them in the truth, as though they were before his face. We say that this foreknowledge extends throughout the circuit of the world and over all his creatures. We call predestination the eternal decree of God by which he decided what he would do with each man. For he does not create them all in like condition, but ordains some to eternal life, the others to eternal damnation.' [Inst. III, 21, 5] The distinction was vital to him, for we find him frequently returning to it even in his sermons, in order to throw into relief the absolutely gratuitous nature of election. Election, like reprobation, is an entirely free act of the divine will. `If we ask why God takes pity on some, and why he lets go of the others and leaves them, there is no other answer but that it pleased him to do so.' [Sermon on Ephesians 1.3-4]" (Wendel, F., 1963, "Calvin: The Origins and Development of His Religious Thought," , Mairet, P., transl., Fontana: London, Reprinted, 1965, pp.272-273).
That is, God actively predestines the elect to salvation but passively passes over the non-elect or reprobate. God does not actively elect the reprobate to damnation. Note that if any of the reprobate wanted to be saved God would not reject them:
Rev 22:17. The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Jn 6:37. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
This is confirmed by leading Reformed (Calvinist) systematic theologian, Louis Berkhof (1873-1957), that "Predestination includes two parts ... election and reprobation" with "Election" being . "the election of individuals unto salvation" and "Reprobation" being "God's eternal purpose to pass some men by":
"Predestination. Predestination is the plan or purpose of God respecting His moral creatures. It pertains to men, both good and bad, to angels and devils, and to Christ as the Mediator. Predestination includes two parts, namely, election and reprobation." (Berkhof, L., 1960, "A Summary of Christian Doctrine," Banner of Truth Trust: London, Third Impression, 1968, p.43)
"Election. The Bible speaks of election in more than one sense, as (1) the election of Israel as the Old Testament people of God, Deut. 4:37; 7:6-8; 10:15; Hos. 13:5; (2) the election of persons to some special office or service, Deut. 18:5; I Sam. 10:24; Ps. 78:70; and (3) the election of individuals unto salvation, Matt. 22:14; Rom. 11:5; Eph. 1:4. The last is the election to which we refer in this connection. It may be defined as God's eternal purpose to save some of the human race in and by Jesus Christ." (Berkhof, 1960, pp.43-44)
"Reprobation. The doctrine of election naturally implies that God did not intend to save all. If He purposed to save some, He naturally also purposed not to save others. This is also in harmony with the teachings of Scripture, Matt. 11:25, 26; Rom. 9:13, 17, 18, 21, 22; 11:7, 8; II Pet. 2:9; Jude 4. Reprobation may be defined as God's eternal purpose to pass some men by with the operation of His special grace, and to punish them for their sin. It really embodies a twofold purpose therefore: (1) to pass some by in the bestowal of saving grace; and (2) to punish them for their sins." (Berkhof, 1960, p.44).
The bottom line is that "all men have forfeited the blessings of God" by their sin and God does not "owe... man eternal salvation":
"Objection to Predestination It is sometimes said that the doctrine of predestination exposes God to the charge of injustice. But this is hardly correct. We could speak of injustice only if man had a claim on God, and God owed man eternal salvation. But the situation is entirely different if all men have forfeited the blessings of God, as they have. No one has the right to call God to account for electing some and rejecting others. He would have been perfectly just, if He had not saved any, Matt. 20:14, 15; Rom. 9:14, 15." (Berkhof, 1960, p.44. Emphasis original).
But as for damnation, since having read Clark H. Pinnock's "Conditional View" chapter in "Four Views of Hell," 1997), I am persuaded by the weight of Biblical evidence that Hell is not everlasting conscious punishment, i.e. "the experience of endless torment ... eternal punishing" but rather it is "a divine judgment whose results cannot be reversed" and which finally, after each person receives no more and no less than the just punishment due for their sins, terminates in "annihilation":
"Nevertheless, the Bible does leave us a strong general impression in regard to the nature of hell-the impression of final, irreversible destruction, of closure with God. The language and imagery used by Scripture is so powerful in that direction that it is surprising that more theologians have not picked up on it before now. The Bible uses the language of death and destruction, of ruin and perishing, when it speaks of the fate of the impenitent wicked. It uses the imagery of fire that consumes whatever is thrown into it; linking together images of fire and destruction suggests annihilation. One receives the impression that `eternal punishment' refers to a divine judgment whose results cannot be reversed rather than to the experience of endless torment (i.e., eternal punishing). Although there are many good reasons for questioning the traditional view of the nature of hell, the most important reason is the fact that the Bible does not teach it. Contrary to the loud claims of the traditionalists, it is not a biblical doctrine. .... The Bible gives a strong impression to any honest reader that hell denotes final destruction, so the burden of proof rests with those who refuse to believe and accept this teaching." (Pinnock, C.H., "The Conditional View," in Crockett, W.V., ed., "Four Views on Hell," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1992, Reprinted, 1996, pp.144-145).
In "the Old Testament ... the basic imagery overwhelmingly denotes destruction and perishing and sets the tone for the New Testament doctrine":
"The Old Testament gives us a clear picture of the end of the wicked in terms of destruction and supplies the basic imagery of divine judgment for the New Testament to use. In Psalm 37, for example, we read that the wicked will fade like the grass and wither like the herb (v. 2), that they will be cut off and be no more (vv. 9-10), that they will perish and vanish like smoke (v. 20), and that they will be altogether destroyed (v. 38). One finds the same imagery in an oracle from the prophet Malachi: `Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,' says the LORD Almighty. `Not a root or a branch will be left to them' (Mal. 4:1-2). While it is true that the point of reference for these warnings in the Old Testament is this-worldly, the basic imagery overwhelmingly denotes destruction and perishing and sets the tone for the New Testament doctrine." (Pinnock, 1992, p.145).
Also in "the New Testament ... Jesus said many things that support the impression that the Old Testament gives of hell as final destruction":
"Turning to the New Testament, Jesus' teaching about the eternal destiny of the wicked is bold in its warnings but modest when it comes to precise description. Refraining from creating a clear picture of hell, he did not dwell on the act of damnation or on the torments of the damned (unlike the Apocalypse of Peter). Jesus' words on the subject are poised to underline the importance of the decision that needs to be made here and now and not to deal in speculations about the exact nature of heaven and hell. He did not speak of hell in order to convey information about it as a place beyond present human experience and then use that data to press the decision the gospel calls for. At the same time, Jesus said many things that support the impression that the Old Testament gives of hell as final destruction. Our Lord spoke plainly of God's judgment as the annihilation of the wicked when he warned about God's ability to destroy body and soul in hell (Matt. 10:28). He was echoing the terms that John the Baptist had used when he pictured the wicked as dry wood about to be thrown into the fire and chaff about to be burned (Matt. 3:10, 12). Jesus warned that the wicked would be cast into hell (Matt. 5:30), like garbage thrown into gehenna-an allusion to the valley outside Jerusalem where sacrifices were once offered to Moloch (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6) and where garbage may have smoldered and burned in Jesus' day. The wicked would be burned up just like weeds thrown into the fire (Matt. 13:30, 42, 49-50). Thus the impression Jesus leaves us with is a strong one: The impenitent wicked can expect to be destroyed by the wrath of God." (Pinnock, 1992, p.145).
As did the "apostle Paul create... the same impression when he wrote of the everlasting destruction that would come upon unrepentant sinners":
"The apostle Paul creates the same impression when he wrote of the everlasting destruction that would come upon unrepentant sinners (2 Thess. 1:9). He warned that the wicked would reap corruption (Gal. 6:8) and stated that God would destroy the wicked (1 Cor. 3:17; Phil. 1:28); he spoke of their fate as a death that they deserved to die (Rom. 1:32), the wages of their sins (6:23). Concerning the wicked, the apostle stated plainly and concisely: `Their destiny is destruction' (Phil. 3:19). In all these verses, Paul made it clear that hell would mean termination." (Pinnock, 1992, p.146).
Likewise the apostle "Peter spoke of the `destruction of ungodly men' " and "throughout ... the New Testament employs images of death, perishing, destruction, and corruption to describe the end of the wicked. ... final destruction":
"It is no different in any other New Testament book. Peter spoke of the `destruction of ungodly men' (2 Peter 3:7) and of false teachers who denied the Lord, thus bringing upon themselves `swift destruction' (2:1, 3). He said that they would be like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that were burned to ashes (2:6), and that they would perish like the ancient world perished in the great Flood (3:6-7). The author of Hebrews likewise referred to the wicked who shrank back and would be destroyed (Heb. 10:39). Jude pointed to Sodom as an analogy to God's final judgment, being the city that underwent `the punishment of eternal fire' (Jude 7). Similarly, the apocalypse of John speaks both of a lake of fire that will consume the wicked and of the second death (Rev. 20:14-15). Throughout its pages, following the Old Testament lead, the New Testament employs images of death, perishing, destruction, and corruption to describe the end of the wicked. A fair person would have to conclude from such texts that the Bible can reasonably be read to teach the final destruction of the wicked. " (Pinnock, 1992, pp.146-147).
See also Pinnock, C.H., 2005, "The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent," 11 May; and Fudge, E., 1984, "The Final End of the Wicked," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 27.3, September, pp.325-334 (PDF).
>I see similar overreaching with Darwinism, as well as that halo effect a century after. Darwin's Origin of Species collection of animal stories implies evolution in a macro sense.
This is another point about Darwin being "worthy of such laud and honor." Darwin's observations only helped establish one mechanism (the natural selection of chance variations) of micro-evolution, i.e. change at or within the species level. Darwin then (as Darwinists have continued to do), pursuant to his (their) anti-supernaturalist and therefore anti-Christian philosophy, extrapolated his limited observations to the whole of nature, past and present.
>This is what launched Jack London and Adolph Hitler, and it carries the poison of racism. Yet all this detail is forgotten, and Darwin has now become a friendly bust in the bourgeois "scientist's" library. He is given credit for scientific advances in genetics and biology which occurred in spite of him (Dobzhansky points out that he was generally discarded as useful to science by 1900, and is immortalized in the selection coefficient named for him).
Darwin has been largely superseded and even discarded as wrong in biology. But Darwin's value is as a token symbol, indeed a totem, in anti-supernaturalism's war against God and especially Christianity with its God who supernaturally intervenes in His creation.
But I would be interested in a reference to where "Dobzhansky points out that he [Darwin] was generally discarded as useful to science by 1900."
>So what hath Darwinism (aka Origin of Species) wrought? Death camps, gulags, modern racisms, World War 2, etc. - in short, a collection of nihilisms.
It has been so swept under the carpet that it is not realised that Darwin gave scientific support to not just racism but racial extermination, when he predicted that "A some future period .. the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world:"
"At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, 1874, Second Edition, 1922, reprint, pp.241-242)
In the above, Darwin, writing in 1871, especially singled out the "Australian" aborigine as lying between " the Caucasian" and "the gorilla" and so he provided scientific support for the then British Government's (there was no Australian government until 1910) policy of exterminating the Australian aborigines.
>While it is claimed now that Darwinism answers everything (and it goes without saying that those nihilisms should be ignored for the sake of polite conversation with the "scientists"), in reality it answers nothing.
When it is said, or implied, that "Darwinism answers everything" what is meant is that Naturalism, i.e. "nature is all there is" (Wikipedia), there is no supernatural, no God, and Christianity is false, is itself false. That is because :Christianity is true as proven by: 1) the resurrection of Jesus; 2) Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks (Dn 9:24) and 3) the Shroud of Turin, which all defeat all naturalistic explanations. .
I'm happier with what Christ has wrought: hospitals, an end to slavery, literacy and schools, etc. And always hope.
You could have added science itself, because as the non-Christians Alfred North Whitehead and Loren Eiseley admitted, "it is the Christian world which finally gave birth in a clear articulate fashion to the experimental method of science itself".
"Although we may recognize the frailties of Christian dogma and deplore the unconscionable persecution of thought which is one of the less appetizing aspects of medieval history, we must also observe that in one of those strange permutations of which history yields occasional rare examples, it is the Christian world which finally gave birth in a clear articulate fashion to the experimental method of science itself. Many things undoubtedly went into that amalgam: Greek logic and philosophy, the experimental methods of craftsmen in the arts as opposed to the aristocratic thinker-all these things have been debated. But perhaps the most curious element of them all is the factor dwelt upon by Whitehead-the sheer act of faith that the universe possessed order and could be interpreted by rational minds [Whitehead, A.N., "Science and the Modern World," Mentor, 1948, pp.4-15]. For, as Whitehead rightly observes, [Ibid., p.17] the philosophy of experimental science was not impressive. It began its discoveries and made use of its method in the faith, not the knowledge, that it was dealing with a rational universe controlled by a Creator who did not act upon whim nor interfere with the forces He had set in operation. The experimental method succeeded beyond men's wildest dreams but the faith that brought it into being owes something-to the Christian conception of the nature of God [Ibid., p. 14]. It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today-is sustained by that assumption." (Eiseley, L.C., 1958, "Darwin's Century: Evolution and the Men Who Discovered It," Anchor Books: Doubleday & Co: Garden City NY, Reprinted, 1961, p.62).