Apologetics: November 2005 Archives



Click on the picture for the full-size version. They've got Robby Steinhardt's photo above the Phil Ehart blurb, but otherwise this is pretty funny. One of the people on the discussion list where I found this spoke of Phil looking more and more like Robby every day!

What's funniest to me about this isn't intentional. It's that the members who would be most likely to favor ID aren't even in the current lineup, which is the group the picture shows. What follows close behind is that Kansas actually does have lyrics that deal with intelligent design. Then there's the fact that Kerry Livgren now thinks of Dust in the Wind as expressing the main theme of Ecclesiastes. It's not as if that song is contrary to Christian teaching, except in a couple of details ("nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky?" as if either would last forever anyway).

What's a little disappointing is the insinuation that intelligent design is about religion and the suggestion that it has anything to do with opposition to gay marriage. I'd guess that Kerry Livgren does oppose gay marriage, and I know he encourages all to become Christians, but this isn't about Livgren's current views and how he'd adjust the song in light of them. It's about how Dust in the Wind could be adjusted to sound like the ID proponents. Those would have been more important to put in the last box with those who prefer Foreigner to progressive rock. It's also a little unfortunate that ID is being held up against evolution, given what I argued in my last post on the topic. Good humor is good humor, but it still needs to be evaluated for its philosophical presuppositions.

It's occurred to me that a common complaint against intelligent design is a huge mistake. In particular, it misrepresents the ID movement. That's no surprise to regular readers of this blog, who should have been explose to numerous misrepresentations of the ID position by now. This one isn't a stupid mistake, though. I can understand why people might make this mistake, but it's a mistake nonetheless and a philosophical one.

I've seen ID opponents make the complaint that ID requires special creation even if the people making ID arguments claim otherwise. By special creation here, I don't mean the creation of the universe to begin with. Any theist will believe in special creation in that sense. Special creation here means miraculous intervention to create certain biological elements that we don't have explanations for at this point. Immediately, I already see one problem with this. Intelligent design requires no such thing, because some intelligent design arguments have nothing to do with biology. Some are about fine-tuning of the cosmological constants. But even leaving that issue aside, I think this misunderstands those who endorse the biological ID arguments, including most notably Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Philip Johnson.

Those who opposed invading Iraq in 2003 have often been accused of not being patriotic. I think it's a slimy complaint. Some of them surely are not patriotic. Some have demonstrated by their actions and statements that they prefer al Qaeda to succeed if that's what it takes for Bush to fail. I'm convinced that such a view is much more mainstream than some people think. But many people opposed the war because they considered it immoral and didn't want their country doing immoral things. That's patriotism. This is all old news, though. Why am I talking about it now?

Well, it occurred to me recently that this is the same general phenomenon that I've also talked about a number of times on this blog with respect to accusations of anti-semitism in the gospels (and in Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ). I've elsewhere argued that the gospels are Jewish works engaging in self-criticism of their own culture, much as the Hebrew prophets were. Jesus was particularly hard on his own people, but that didn't make him anti-semitic, and it doesn't make the recordings of his life and sayings in the gospels anti-semitic. They do indeed record harsh statements against the Jewish leaders, and John even directs these statements to what he calls the Jews (which careful scholars realize amounts to exactly the same thing). What was funny to me was realizing that those who are so inflamed at those who claim anti-war demonstrators to be undemocratic might well be exactly the same people accusing the gospels or Mel Gibson's use of them (which amounted pretty much to direct quotes of them) as being anti-semitic. It's the same error in reasoning in both cases. (Incidentally, it occurred to me after writing this post that this probably also applies to those who say someone is self-hating for criticizing the behavior of a contingent of their own ethnic or racial group, e.g. Bill Cosby.)

If you can be patriotic while engaging in self-criticism of your own culture, then it isn't anti-semitic to engage in self-criticism of your own culture if you're Jewish. But that's exactly what the gospels do when making the sorts of claims about the Jews of the time that the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and a few more liberal contemporary gospel scholars declare to be anti-semitic. People on the left make this sort of blunder as easily as people on the right do.

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Blogs4God has President George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789.

More Ethan pictures: Sam took him outside to play with the fallen leaves.

Proto-Kaw (the band Kerry Livgren of Kansas has reformed based on an earlier incarnation of Kansas that never released anything until this decade) has a new album coming out in February, called The Wait of Glory. We had the pleasure of seeing them and meeting them all this summer, and it was one of the highlights of the last decade for me. The lyrics for the Wait of Glory are up now. I can't wait to hear it. Everything I've heard is that it's even better than their last album Before Became After, which was one of Livgren's best works.

For some really perverse fun, see A Night at the Roddenberry. [Hat tip: The Gnu]

Speaking of the Gnu, he has a response to a few of Scott Adams's comments on Intelligent Design (see Abednego's post). I think his point about Crick and Watson is particularly interesting.

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Christian Carnival XCV is at Eternal Revolution.

Mark Roberts has finished his 30-part series Are the New Testament Gospels Reliable? I mentioned it before, when he started it. I haven't gotten through the whole thing yet, but what I've read so far has been excellent. I highly recommend it.

Here's an interesting study on the differences between men and women's responses to humor. Not at all what I would have expected. [Hat tip: Orin Kerr]

Eugene Volokh takes on the suggestion that Judge Alito thinks private ownership of machine guns should be legal. The best part is where the same line of reasoning makes Justice O'Connor out to favor violence against women.

Finally, Sam's put up a host of pictures since the last time I pointed any out. There's the salamander in the driveway. Sophia meets spaghetti. It's been warm, so we've still got some excellent fall foliage. Isaiah's still dodging cameras. Ethan enjoys the weather. Finally, Sophia's beginning to look a lot like Ethan did at her age.

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Christian Carnival XCIV is at Wittenberg Gate. Dory is in need of future hosts, so if you're interested follow her link at the top of the post. The Bible Archive is doing a series on Genesis. I especially want to direct your attention to his nice post on what Genesis 1 does say. All the debates about how to interpret the days and whether it's consistent with evolution easily distract from what the passage is about to begin with, and Rey brings our attention back to that. If you want to see his summary on those other issues, it's here, but why is our focus so often not what the focus of the text is? Walter Snyder has a good explanation of how it is that Bible publishers can justify charging royalties for the use of what is God's word (and thus should be free). [Hat tip: ESV Bible Blog] Belgium declares names and titles to be no longer capitalized. Well, I guess it's just politically incorrect names and titles. Actually, they've just singled out 'christ' and 'jew'* just to show how arbitrary they can be. Or is this arbitrary? [Hat tip: Sam] *Well, for 'Jew' it's only when the reference is religious rather than ethnic; if ethnic, it's still capitalized.

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