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Evangelicalism,  intellectual honesty and academic freedom

 

Evangelikalismus, intellektuelle Ehrlichkeit und akademische Freiheit

 

 

First of all it is vital to realize there are two types of Evangelicals.

1) Conservative Evangelicals believing that everything the Biblical writers intended is true and the Bible is the unique revelation of God to man.

2) Progressive Evangelicals holding the counter-intuitive view that the Biblical writers did mistakes but that everything that God intended through the text is without errors and that the Bible is the unique revelation of God to man.

It turns out that a considerable number of ID-creationists (proponents of Intelligent Design) are conservative Evangelicals.

ExpelledNoIntelligenceAllowed_883476004990_500

They complained very loudly about the alleged lack of academic freedom of defending their form of creationism within the Academia through their film Expelled.

This raises the obvious question: how well does academic freedom fare in Evangelical universities, seminaries and colleges?
The answer is: it is very far from being perfect (which is probably the understatement of the year).

Thom Stark relates the case of Dr. Rollston who got fired because he accurately reported that in most parts of the Bible, women get described as humans of second class (like in all other cultures of the Ancient Near East).

Even more baffling is the fact that Mike Licona got fired, tough he is himself a conservative Evangelical. He wrote in one of his books about the resurrection of Jesus that he believed that Matthew at end of his Gospel did not mean that an army of zombies invaded Jerusalem but intended this as an allegory.

Atheist anti-apologist John Loftus reports similar cases on his blog.

All this non-sense led progressive Evangelical Peter Enns to write a post about the intellectual suicide many honest academics have to go trough within Evangelical institutions because they have no other choice than holding fast to narrow views.

However one might disagree with progressive Evangelicalism, it cannot be denied that this does not lead to the intellectual disasters one sees in fundamentalist circles.

Before whining because they are not allow to teach ID-creationism in public schools, conservative Evangelicals would do much better to keep themselves in check.

Let Jesus have the final word.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

(Mattew 7.3)

Homepage of Lotharlorraine: link here
(List of topics and posts)

My other controversial blog: Shards of Magonia (link here)

 

Hauptseite von Lotharlorraine: Link hier
(Liste von Themen und Posten).

Mein anderer umstrittener Blog: Scherben von Magonia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does the progress of science vindicate naturalism?

Deutsche Version:  Weisen die Fortschritte der Naturwissenschaft auf die Wahrheit des Naturalismus hin?

 

Image

In the Secular Outpost at Patheos, the insightful atheist and naturalist philosopher Jeffery Jay Lowder wrote an interesting post criticizing theistic explanations.

One sentence at the end of the text caught my attention:

“At this point, the naturalist can hardly be blamed for comparing the track record of naturalistic explanations to that of theistic explanations and sticking with naturalistic explanations.”
The problem with that comparison is that it is very similar to a kind of black-and-white thinking.

He opposes naturalism (A) against everything incompatible with naturalism (B) and states that if on average science is much more consistent with A than with B, then A must be true.

But this is a fallacious dichotomy. Let us consider different theoretical supernatural models, whose existence as ideas is independent of the first time they came up in a human mind.

B1: Spiritism: everything we see around us is caused by invisible forces

B2: Intervention Theism: there are some automatic processes but God has to intervene all the time to fix things

B3: Lazy Theism: many things work automatically according to the laws created by God but he has to intervene for important things like the creation of new species

B4: Evolutionary Theism: God created the laws of nature in such a way he can work in the universe without violating them.

B5: Deism: God just created our universe and doesn’t care anymore about it, he has been from the very beginning an absent landlord.

B6: Panentheism (Phillip Clayton): there are strong emergent properties and phenomena which cannot be reduced to the sum of their parts. God is the greatest being this strong emergence can possibly produce.

If one adopts an epistemological version of Occam’s razor (which I don’t as I explain here) it is clear that B1 and B2 have been constantly pushed back as science progressed and from Darwin’s time, the same thing has been occurring for B3 despite all the efforts of ID creationists to show the contrary.

Now, many atheists (tough not necessarily Jeff himself) reason like this: on average, B has been constantly shoved away by the advances of science which is completely compatible with A, so since B4 and B5 belongs to B, they must also be much less likely to be true than A.

But that’s a clear example of a fallacious reasoning.

If you want to show that B5 is much less likely than A, you have to DIRECTLY compare them.

And the extraordinary success of science to find natural and logical explanations would have been a prediction of B5 (and even B4) three thousand years ago.

Therefore you cannot use the success of natural explanations to favor A over B4, B5, B6 because the three models predicted the same things.

All you can say is appealing to the epistemological razor of Occam: when two theories explain equally well the same data, the simplest one is always the most likely one.

But as I’ve explained, nobody has been able to prove this without begging the question and smuggling assumptions about the actual simplicity of the cosmos into the argumentation.

 

Homepage of Lotharlorraine: link here
(List of topics and posts)

My other controversial blog: Shards of Magonia (link here)

 

Hauptseite von Lotharlorraine: Link hier
(Liste von Themen und Posten).

Mein anderer umstrittener Blog: Scherben von Magonia.

 

Design Detection and Endless Space

Deutsche Version: Designdetektierung und endloser Raum

Design Detection and Endless Space

Intelligent Design is a controversial theory methodology aiming at identifying features of the universe bearing marks of an agency.  According to Bill Dembski and his fellow design theorists, two conditions must be present before detecting design:

a)      Complexity

b)      Specificity

Complexity is never enough for identifying a designed system: a heap of rocks randomly arranged near a mountain can have an extremely complex shape, yet it is a fully natural feature of nature.

ComplexRock

Specificity alone is also not sufficient:  if I randomly select four letters among four hundreds and find the word “h-a-n-d” on my palm, the information is specific, but not complex enough for being the product of design.

But if I choose out forty letters and read “The son of Lothar is of divine origin”, I have good grounds for supposing it is either true, or that someone is playing a trick on me.

For establishing the validity of criterion a),  IDists  try to prove there is no way such a structure could have emerged by chance in our universe.  One obvious problem concerns the well-known ability of natural selection to give birth to extremely complex systems displaying elegant functions.

Here, I shall shove this difficulty aside and take the infinity of the universe into consideration. According to numerous models of the multiverse or the Big Crunch, many cosmologists think there are no boundaries to the space we live in.

And if this is so, each event physically possible is going to happen somewhere due to Chaos Theory and the law of the great numbers.

Frightening examples are the famous Boltzmann’s brains, which are brains which pop into existence without having first evolved.

BoltBraINS

Even if the mechanism of natural selection were very weak, as extreme proponents of Intelligent Design assert, the most complex biological structures they worship would irremediably come into being within an infinite Cosmos, without any help from an intelligent designer.

 

 

Homepage of Lotharlorraine: link here
(List of topics and posts)

My other controversial blog: Shards of Magonia (link here)

 

Hauptseite von Lotharlorraine: Link hier
(Liste von Themen und Posten).

Mein anderer umstrittener Blog: Scherben von Magonia.

 

 

 

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