Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some Tantalizing Tidbits


As I am busy cramming for the examinations, do allow me to post a couple of links to some interesting news and blogs.

The first highlight of the day is none other than the (ir)religious fundamentalist, Richard. Some fundamentalists kill themselves with bombs, fire, and shrapnel. Others, like Richard, sink themselves with poorly thought out arguments and logical fallacies like those in his infamous, The God Delusion. Now who is the one who is truly deluded?

And due to the follies of Richard, the Intelligent Design lobby will have much to thank him for. And of course, the main problem with The God Delusion is this: If Darwinism logically leads to Atheism, then it is likely a pseudo-scientific, religious philosophy and should not be taught in schools due to the constitutional separation of Church and State.

Michael Ruse, a prominent Darwinian philosopher and agnostic based in the US, criticized,
"Suppose it is true - that if you are a Darwinian, then you cannot be a Christian. How then does one answer the creationist who objects to the teaching of Darwinism in schools? If theism cannot be taught in schools (in America) because it violates the separation of church and state, why then should Darwinism be permitted? Perhaps, given the U.S. Constitution, the creationists are right and Darwinism should be excluded." (Michael Ruse, "The God Delusion," ISIS 98 (2007): 814-816)
Ruse concluded, "If Darwinism equals atheism then it can't be taught in US schools because of the constitutional separation of church and state. It gives the creationists a legal case. Dawkins and Dennett are handing these people a major tool."

But the question for us today is this, “Is Richard Dawkins a Fundamentalist?” I’ll let the reader draw his own conclusions after reading this.

Rev David A. Robertson from Dundee (Scotland) commented,
“It is clear that Dawkins is using his post as Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science not to promote science, but rather his own atheistic materialist philosophy. Using the language he does in his letter does not advance his cause, and indeed makes him sound like a self-important and petulant fundamentalist whose only resort to those who disagree with him is mockery and accusation.”
Truly, it seems that Richard is indeed a religious fanatic and fundamentalist.

There is also an interesting series of blogs on the recent dialogue between Daniel Wallace (Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary) and Bart Erhman (Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) concerning the "Textual Reliability of the New Testament.”

Apparently, Bart Erhman sold many copies of his “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.” This book attempts to popularize his thesis that orthodox Christians, instead of heterodox-heretics like Marcion, were the ones who corrupted the Scripture with allegedly “orthodox” emendations. While it would definitely be engaging to listen to the dialogue between these two scholars - one an Evangelical and the other an apostate - I would also recommend the following very accessible book that refutes Erhman’s arguments in Misquoting Jesus - Timothy Paul Jones’ Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus. This is certainly one book for the layman.

Lastly, here’s a movie you ought to catch - “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” by Ben Stein. It's definitely better than watching those Hollywood nonsense.

The international distribution of the show has yet to be announced, and I personally do not know if it would be shown in Singapore.

Kevin gives us a brief description of the movie, “In the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Ben Stein narrates an expose of the narrow mindedness of the scientific elite. It reveals how even some who have barely considered the scientific arguments of Intelligent Design have lost jobs and been effectively excluded from the scientific community. Those who dare to question the sacred fact of Darwinism with profane questions rising out of their work in genetics or math are said to be unscientific.”

It is also interesting to read bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza's scathing critique of Dawkins' part in Stein's movie:
"Is it possible that living cells somehow assembled themselves from nonliving things by chance? The probabilities here are so infinitesimal that they approach zero. Moreover, the earth has been around for some 4.5 billion years and the first traces of life have already been found at some 3.5 billion years ago. This is just what we have discovered: it's quite possible that life existed on earth even earlier. What this means is that, within the scope of evolutionary time, life appeared on earth very quickly after the earth itself was formed. Is it reasonable to posit that a chance combination of atoms and molecules, under those conditions, somehow generated a living thing? Could the random collision of molecules somehow produce a computer?

It is ridiculously implausible to think so. And the absurdity was recognized more than a decade ago by Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix. Yet Crick is a committed atheist. Unwilling to consider the possibility of divine or supernatural creation, Crick suggested that maybe aliens brought life to earth from another planet. And this is precisely the suggestion that Richard Dawkins makes in his response to Ben Stein. Perhaps, he notes, life was delivered to our planet by highly-evolved aliens. Let's call this the "ET" explanation.

Stein brilliantly responds that he had no idea Richard Dawkins believes in intelligent design! And indeed Dawkins does seem to be saying that alien intelligence is responsible for life arriving on earth. What are we to make of this? Basically Dawkins is surrendering on the claim that evolution can account for the origins of life. It can't. The issue now is simply whether a natural intelligence (ET) or a supernatural intelligence (God) created life. Dawkins can't bear the supernatural explanation and so he opts for ET. But doesn't it take as much, or more, faith to believe in extraterrestrial biology majors depositing life on earth than it does to believe in a transcendent creator?"

1 comment:

Cikgu Screwtape said...

But God is an extra-terrestrial, right? After all, He's not of earth. And neither are angels. So they're all ETs, strictly speaking, right?

~ Edmund