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5/6/2016 » 5/7/2016Atheism & the Christian Faith Conference, Edmonton, AB
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The articles may have been written in good faith. However, I recently pointed out the errors in the article. Now, the AJP is acting in bad faith. They are lying about science in order to discourage people from believing in the "Good News of the Bible.” The "Good News of the Bible” is not that we should love our fellow man and not tell lies. It is that we might have to pay for our sins when we die.
I am familiar with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as well as the logical leap involved in extending the implications of adaptation beyond the confines of each individual species. I am also familiar with complexity theories in general and the idea of irreducible complexity. There is this general problem we all face in the sciences of sorting out how everything we observe now came from what appears to us to be a Big Bang. I have done some thinking about these issues but I must admit in the following paragraphs I am going to trespass into territory that I do not have the qualifications to tread. I am happy to invite those of you with proper credentials to jump in with enhancements and corrections if necessary.
One observable phenomenon that I find to be fascinating from a common origins perspective is the way a number of oxygen atoms and twice as many hydrogen atoms can become constrained to each other in a very particular relationship and become something entirely different than anything suggested by either oxygen or hydrogen. Only a tiny portion of the properties of water can be induced from the properties of oxygen and hydrogen. Water is only one such substance that makes life possible. The relationships in the water molecule create whole new possibilities.
This instantaneous emergence of entirely new possibilities throws an interesting twist into the common origins discussion, because it introduces the notion that a vast range of possibilities that could not be anticipated do occur as a result of a natural process. Presumably some time after the Big Bang water did spontaneously emerge.
As I understand it there are surprisingly small differences in the DNA structures between apes and humans. If we focus not on the overall complexity but the relatively small number of differences, it begins to resemble the emergence of new possibilities from a few constraints found in the water molecule. Small differences in the relationships found in the DNA that result in huge differences in the resulting organism.
I probably would not include this idea as part of evolution, but another observed phenomenon that explains why relatively large increases in possibilities for an organism could happen quite quickly if the process is directed by something. I'm not sure that natural selection would be the directive mechanism here, or adaptation. On the other hand I don't think it needs to be a miracle of God as a typical creationist views it. Perhaps a search for such a mechanism would bear some fruit. Or perhaps someone has already discovered something.
Having reviewed one of the articles in AJP, I agree with you that the articles were probably written in good faith. I still fail to see how refusal to publish a rebuttal directly relates to an attack on the Bible and Christianity. It still feels like speculation to me.
I would suggest that relegating the Good News of the Bible to salvation from sin does not address the reason God decided to save us, why he decided to create us, or why he gave us the ability to sin in the first place. My reading of the Bible reveals the story of a God that created us as people to love, gave us the ability to sin so we could love him back, and sent Jesus to pay the penalty for sin, so our ability to love God back could be restored and we could become part of his family. This love relates to us through the authority of the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit and the sacrifice of the Son.
Again I fail to see how any discussion of common origins, thermodynamics or complexity theory challenges any part of the Good News.
Interesting that you would bring up John Dewey since ideas derived from his philosophy fall squarely within my field of expertise. I am known as a critic of Dewey because his emphasis on experience makes meaning a strictly social construction. I have never been labeled a humanist in any respect by those in my field and in my circles. I am honestly quite interested in your reasons for that label.
I believe that that the work of Jesus Christ on the cross restores the ability of man to love God back. Put another way, sin separates us from God's love leaving us subject to his judgement, eternal separation from him, hell. I do not except the notion found in the Westminster Confession that the "Chief end of man is to serve God and enjoy him forever." The angels were made to serve God. I think God loves us more than that. I think he made us to share a love relationship with him, to love God back. To love him we must be able to choose to reject him and his love, to sin.
Man is indescribably valuable to God. Each one of us is a "pearl of great price." God is willing to sell all he has so we can be his. We are so valuable to God that he gave his only son so he could make us part of his family. Just as Adam and Eve had the choice to obey God and remain in a loving relationship with him, because of Jesus we each have the choice to accept the invitation to join God's family or pursue our own way forever, eternally separated from him.
I think the kingdom of heaven is at hand, that we begin our eternal relationship with God as soon as we accept his invitation to be part of his family, to accept the atoning work of Christ. If we choose not to accept the invitation we remain under God's judgement for eternity.
For Dewey man's value lies in his relationship to society and the way they experience life. For me man has intrinsic value not derived from his relationship to society or to experience, but his relationship to God. I would argue that man's relationship to God separates him from all other creatures in the universe. Perhaps you can see why I have not been labeled a humanist.
Wow. I have obviously not been able to clearly communicate my understanding of the Gospel, who God is and what our relationship to him is like, if you still think I know God as a human construction of the imagination, experience or social interaction. Perhaps I have not understood you well enough. Also, I do want to clarify mistake I made in a previous post. The quote from the Westminster confession actually reads: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." I substituted the word "serve" in error.
Here are the ideas that I think we agree upon based upon our previous posts:
The confusion seems to lie come from just few differences that I seem to misunderstand. Perhaps I could better explain my thoughts if I first asked you to respond to a few questions:
Why did God make sin possible?
Can you walk me through how "perfect communication" works without at least two perfect communicators (send and receive)?
Why does our eternal relationship with God have to wait until we physically die?
Who essentially is God? What is his essence?
Jesus said, "If you love me you will keep my commandments." Were Jesus commandments new? If they were, how did they change things? If they were not, why did he call them "my commandments" rather than God's commandments?
To the question, "Why did God make sin possible?, there are three answers depending on who is asking.
These comments help me a great deal. I can now more easily see how we differ and perhaps that will lead to a better understanding of each other, at least for me.
Regarding #2 I would suggest from our previous posts that we both see the AJP article I read as a case being made against the creationist position that evolution violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. I realize that you see the argument as not only flawed but intentionally misleading. I can't honestly agree or disagree without investigating it further. But I still think we agree on #2, that the articles were written with the intent to argue against the typical creationist position.
I find this answer to be most helpful: "An example of perfect communication is when God reveals truths to mankind. The communication is perfect because all human beings believe exactly what God wants them to believe."
It appears to me from this passage that you take a more restricted view of grace than I. Essentially you seem to me to be saying that man cannot resist God's grace. If God chooses to make him believe, he will believe. Those that God does not choose are eternally doomed. If I am incorrect in this assumption I would appreciate an explanation.
If people believe exactly what God wants them to believe, why all the effort to convince the caretakers of AJP to change their position? Do they really have a choice in the matter?
In your discussion of God's essence, and throughout your most recent message, I see you saying that God is good . How do you do interpret 1 John 4? "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8)." and "And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16)."
I don't see that you have responded to a number of posts several of us made previously about your claim. Let me simply repeat as clearly as I can. It is not an error to say that evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. It is an error to say it does. I'd be happy to take you through the details of thermodynamics any time. For an open system, like biological organisms, which imports and exports energy, the second law of thermodynamics does not dictate whether entropy increases or decreases. There is no violation.
May I also suggest that one of your earlier posts calling into question the Christianity of the members of Christians in Science because they don't agree with your view on this issue, is out of order. In the ASA, we respect each other's diverse opinions in that we do not question each other's spiritual status because of differences in scientific matters.