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Christianity and Science

This tag is associated with 74 posts

Really Recommended Posts 10/9/15- Gospels, Domestic Abuse, Dinosaurs, and more!

postI am pleased to present this wide range of topics to you, dear readers! I hope you enjoy the reads as much as I did. We have posts on the origins of the Gospels from an atheistic perspective, domestic abuse, the ontological argument, soft tissue in dinosaurs, and Bill Nye on abortion. Let me know what you think, and be sure to thank the authors as well!

Where the Gospels Came From– This is a satirical post that highlights how broad swaths of internet atheism tend to view the origin of the Gospels. It’s well worth reading as it highlights some of the major errors.

When Staying in an Abusive Relationship is Part of Your Theology– It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this post from Christians for Biblical Equality highlights one major difficulty with some theologies- they argue that one should stay in an abusive relationship from theological reasons.

The Probability of God’s Existence is Either 0% or 100% (video)– Kenneth Keathley offers this analysis and presentation of Alvin Plantinga’s ontological argument. He defines terms and answers some major objections, with the objections offered by atheists themselves.

“Soft Tissue” Found in Dinosaur Bones– Creationists sometimes claim that the finds of “soft tissue” undermine the possibility for an old earth perspective. Is that the case? Here is some analysis of this claim and some more recent findings regarding allegations of blood and other soft tissue found in ancient fossils.

Responding to Bill Nye’s Abortion Video– Bill Nye “The Science Guy” made a lot of claims about science and abortion in a video recently. Here’s a thorough analysis and refutation of his claims.

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Really Recommended Posts 9/25/15- Biblical language preaching, mosques, “War Room,” and more!

postHello dear readers! I have put together another list for you to peruse. This week, we’re looking at mosques and churches, using biblical languages in preaching, dealing with aggression in apologetic interactions, the age of the earth based on coral reefs, and “War Room.”

3 Tips for Using Biblical Languages in Preaching– How should pastors make use of that great seminary education and the biblical languages? Well, for one, they should use it big time for research and also doing apologetics. For another, here are some tips about how to use it in preaching in such a way that it won’t go over people’s heads.

The Mosque Denied Today Could Be the Church Denied Tomorrow– When we speak of “religious freedom” we should be aware that that freedom stands or falls for people of different faiths together. That’s why, for example, several Lutheran groups stood with several Native American groups on getting the rights to use various natural drugs in their ceremonies: one day it is trying to make those illegal, the next communion wine might not be served. Here’s a post reflecting on that reality in a time in which a mosque has been denied.

Greg Koukl Explains the Right Way to Deal with an Angry Aggressive Atheist– Unfortunately there are times when people think the way to interact with others is to simply try to “steamroller” them out of the conversation. This doesn’t apply only to angry atheists but can be applied to even theological discussions in which people don’t want to allow for genuine interaction.

Coral reefs are too old to be young!– When we look at the various methods for dating coral reefs, it becomes pretty clear that a Young Earth Creationist understanding of their age cannot hold up under scrutiny.

An Egalitarian War Room Review– I have seen many theological critiques of War Room, from its apparent allowance for people to stay in abusive (verbally) relationships to a kind of God as divine vending machine mentality. Here is one coming at it from the angle of egalitarianism.

Really Recommended Posts 8/28/15- The Socratic Method, Planned Parenthood, science, and more!

postI have put together another slew of reads with which you, dear readers, can engage. Here we have evidence for God, Planned Parenthood, Peter Boghossian’s “Street Epistemology,” evaluating scientific discoveries, and boys and girls. I hope you enjoy them! Let me know your thoughts, and be sure to let the authors know as well!

Can the Evidence for God Have Other Explanations?– Natasha Crain, a Christian apologist focused on putting together apologetics for parents and children, answers a question from a skeptic about the evidence purporting to show the existence of God having other explanations. Short answer: of course it might have other explanations; the problem is whether these explanations are better. Check out her post for elaboration.

A Response to “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You F*****g Idiots”– In the typical, well-reasoned manner of those who support abortion on demand, a”Skepchick” published a profanity-laden video and a shortened blog-version of the same response to those asking questions about Planned Parenthood. Here is a response to said video.

Boghossian’s Street Epistemology is Not the Socratic Method– Peter Boghossian attempts to reason believers out of their faith, largely by defining faith however he wants. Here is an analysis of his “Street Epistemology” and its attempts to use the Socratic Method against believers.

Girls’ Area– All the recent discussions about boys and girls and whether we need labels for boys’/girls’ toys and bedding has some farther reaching consequences. Here’s a post which highlights how perceived gender roles can impact children.

How to Evaluate Certainty in Scientific Discoveries– A good discussion of the use and importance of error bars in calculations, with the expansion of the universe as a case-study.

Really Recommended Posts 8/21/15- Science Fiction, Debate the New Testament, and more!

postAnother week, another round of fresh reads for you, dear readers, to enjoy! This week we have posts on a science fiction author you may not have heard of, a debate between an atheist and a New Testament scholar, theology and miscarriages, a pro-life post with some good arguments and advice for advocates, and creationism.

Cordwainer Smith– Cordwainer Smith was a science fiction author who was also an Anglican. He developed a unique and compelling world full of intriguing insights into humanity, religion, and free will. Here’s a post that develops some of his thought and reflects a bit on his body of work.

How Not to Argue Pro-Choice: Eleven Completely Misguided Arguments– Clinton Wilcox has written a valuable piece here responding to a pro-choice article that alleges to discredit 11 common pro-life arguments. Not only does he respond to each of the 11 attacks on pro-life arguments, but he also clarifies some arguments that we probably shouldn’t be using.

Fact-Checking Dan Barker from Our Recent Debate [with Daniel B. Wallace]– Here’s a meaty read that will help you dive into some of the extra-biblical evidence related to Jesus Christ, among other things.

Miss Carry: The Theology of Unrealized Motherhood– Miscarriages happen to anywhere from 10%-50% of all pregnancies. Yet we don’t often talk about the emotional impact these can have on families. Here’s a post reflecting on the need for a theology of unrealized motherhood.

Billions of Stone Artifacts: Witness to the Ancient Occupation of the Saharan Desert– Joel Duff continues his series responding to an Answers in Genesis argument about the sheer volume of stone artifacts in Africa. The basics are that the fact that billions of artifacts exist means that human occupation must have been much longer than a young earth creationist timeline allows for.

Really Recommended Posts 7/10/15- Kangaroos, Cosmology, Fidelity, and more!

postMy apologies for missing the “Really Recommended Posts” last week, we just moved to Iowa and it was a very hectic week. We’re back in action now with a list of great reads for you. Be sure to let me know what you think, and let the authors know as well!

Dear Ken Ham: About Those Kangaroo Fossils…- Ken Ham’s response to why we don’t find kangaroo fossils from Ararat to Australia is another example of poor reasoning. Here, a response is offered to his argument.

So you think you understand the cosmological argument?– A lot of mistakes are made when evaluating the cosmological argument. Here’s a post by Edward Feser that explains several of these mistakes and answers some criticisms of the argument.

Think the “Billy Graham Rule” would have saved Tullian? Think again– There has been much commentary on the sexual infidelity of a fairly prominent church leader, Tullian Tchividjian. A lot of it has focused on how he should have stayed separate from women in general and avoided being along with women, as the “Billy Graham Rule” argues. But what does this say about women and men? Read on. My thanks to a friend on Facebook for sharing this.

Sci fi, free will, and the problem of evil– what might the resonating themes about free will in science fiction have to say about reality? Here, Clay Jones analyzes several aspects of science fiction with an eye for a greater metanarrative. My thanks to a friend on Facebook for sharing this.

Review: Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… and Why it Mattes by David Kinnaman– This is a book I really enjoyed, though I share some of the concerns raised in this review. It’s worth reading the review to get an overview of the book’s content and some of the issues it raises. If I may be permitted a somewhat brief story here:

This was actually a pretty formative book for me when I read it some time ago (6+ years?). I remember finishing the book and feling supercharged to try to spread the truth of Christianity in a winsome manner. And quite seriously minutes after I finished and felt this supercharge of missional energy, a man showed up at the door of the house I was staying at at the time (a pastor’s house) and said he needed spiritual help. He entered the house right when I cracked open the door and kept saying he needed prayers.

I prayed with him and then thought he was going to leave, but he would not. He kept looking at the cat and saying he wouldn’t hurt a cat, and that he’d tried to kill himself a couple times that night by speeding and going through stop signs. I kept a short distance between he and I because he seemed clearly disturbed in some way.

Finally he did leave, answering the prayer I was saying over and over in my mind to God to protect me. I called the police but nothing ever came of it that I know of.

I’m still not sure how or why that happened, and I’m hoping I made an impact, but I don’t think I’ll know until the hereafter.

But I can’t help but think on it once in a while and wonder if what I did made a difference; if somehow that was God leading someone who needed help to where they needed to be.

“Jurassic World”- A Christian Perspective: Gender, Dinosaurs, and Genetic Engineering

See this? This is what would have happened if we'd lived with dinosaurs.

See this? This is what would have happened if we’d lived with dinosaurs.

I had the chance to watch “Jurassic World” this weekend. It was pretty cool to see the dinosaurs back in action on the big screen. I enjoyed the tie-ins to the previous movies as well. Here, I will reflect on some of the worldview issues the movie raised. There will be SPOILERS in what follows.

Genetic Engineering

I’ve reflected on genetic engineering of humans in the past, but Jurassic World brings up some other difficulties that would perhaps be brought about by such a practice. Unintended side-effects were part of what created the Indominus Rex, a truly terrifying beast that had aspects of all kinds of different dinosaurs mixed into it to make it scarier.

I am by no means an expert on genetic engineering, but I do wonder whether tampering with the human genetic code could lead to some unintended side effects as well. Is it possible that our messing around with certain factors could deeply impact others? If so, what might that suggest about the moral status of genetic engineering?

Dinosaurs Would Kill People!

Jurassic World is not a friendly place for humans. Carnivorous dinosaurs–and even herbivorous dinosaurs–would be extremely dangerous to humans to say the least. Sure, the Velociraptors would have been smaller, and there is no Indominus Rex, but there were Ultraraptors and Giganotosaurous and the like. Why care about this from a worldview perspective? Well, most simply, because it seems that any worldview which would suggest that humans and dinosaurs managed to survive alongside each other has some serious difficulties with which to deal if it is to be believed. The young earth creationist position does hold to this exact view: that humans and dinosaurs at one point lived alongside each other.

Perhaps the young earth creationist would simply argue that the really powerful and dangerous dinosaurs did not exist alongside humans. The Earth is indeed a massive place–perhaps God simply ordered things such that the T-Rex and the human were not living in the same area. This counter-argument has some power to it, but then we must consider the very foundation of the young earth perspective: that this view is allegedly based on the Bible. Yet the authors of the Bible are allegedly aware of dinosaurs, according to some young earth creationists, and used words like behemoth to describe them [I do not think this is a legitimate interpretation; the behemoth is not a dinosaur]. In that case, it seems that such dinosaurs did indeed live alongside humans.

Moreover, the question would have to be asked of what biblical evidence there is for such convenient ecological sorting that would keep dinosaurs from utterly obliterating humanity.

Men and Women

There are a number of issues with statements or assumptions about gender that come up in the movie without being addressed. Why does Claire keep her high-heels on the whole time and how do they not break? Is it for the sake of the viewer? What about Zach’s continual lusting after the young women his age when he has a seemingly loyal girlfriend back home?

Interestingly, it is Claire who ultimately saves the day, despite Owen seeming to be the hero throughout. Her quick action to grab T-Rex to fight Indominus was a good turnabout on the expectations the movie built up regarding men and women.

Are You Not Entertained?

The investors in Jurassic World were worried that the profit margins weren’t as high as they had hoped. The answer was, as argued by Claire, was to genetically modify the dinosaurs to make them more fearsome and interesting. There was something deeply ironic about this because the movie almost seemed to be referencing itself: perhaps people have gotten bored by seeing T-Rex doing stuff: they need INDOMINUS!

I was thinking about how this might reflect on our culture and our insatiable need for newer, bigger, and better. But is this a true need or is it something that we are using to fill the voids in our world? I think too often we try to fill the holes in our view of reality with the wrong things, and the ironic commentary here–intended or not–was well-taken.

Conclusion

Jurassic World is not a movie made for deep reflection on the various issues it raises. But the fact that it does raise this issues is, in itself, interesting and worth thinking about. What are your thoughts on the movie? What of genetic engineering, gender issues, or humans living with dinosaurs?

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Movies– Read other posts on this site about movies written from a worldview perspective. (Scroll down for more.)

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Really Recommended Posts 6/19/15- Creationism, memes, masculinity, and more!

postAnother week, another round of excellent reading from around the web for you, dear readers. We have analysis of creationist scholarship, a look at an exciting new book, historical apologetics, pro-life method, and analysis of a meme that attacks Christianity. As always let me know what you think, and let the authors know you enjoyed their posts as well!

The Dangers of Poor Scholarship: A Creationist’s Take on Feathered Dinosaurs– How do Young Earth Creationists often interact with science stories? Is there method consistent? Here, there is an analysis of creationist methodology when it comes not only to feathered dinosaurs but also to how the evaluate faulty arguments and lack consistency.

Malestrom: Swept up in the Currents of a Changing World (Review)– Color me delighted to see a book like this coming out. Our perceptions of what it means to be masculine are deeply embedded in our cultural norms. I have often engaged with complementarians who inform me of exactly what they think men ought to do or what men are “at their core.” But this they do without even acknowledging that even today there are cultures with differing understandings of what is masculine. How might we separate the good from the bad when it comes to talking about masculinity? This book seems to offer a way forward.

William Warburton’s 18th Century Defense of Christianity– It’s amazing how many historical defenses of Christianity are effectively lost in our time. The study of historical apologists is a continually fruitful one that yields great rewards for those who pursue it. Here, Doug Geivett highlights how even arguments that seem tied to their own time periods may provide us with new insights into controversies of our day.

John Reasnor Fails to Show that Incrementalism is Unbiblical– Clinton Wilcox engages in a debate over method when it comes to pro-life reasoning. Some have been arguing that we must do pro-life activism in such a way that only those laws or methods that ban all abortion may be supported. Is this reasonable? Wilcox analyzes the argument. I have provided a lengthy overview of and review of a debate on the same topic.

Will Your Murderer Be In Heaven?– Nick Peters offers an analysis of a meme floating around recently that attacks the goodness of Christianity because one’s own murderer might be in heaven. How does this attack hold up under scrutiny?

Sunday Quote!- Darwin and Design

god-design-mansonEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Darwin and Design

I’ve recently started reading God and Design, a collection of essays from both proponents and skeptics of the teleological (design) argument in both its biological and cosmological forms. In the introduction, Neil Manson outlined numerous versions of design arguments whilst also offering some analysis of each version. In his discussion of the biological design argument, he considered whether the argument could even get off the ground:

It should be possible to define a biological system such that, if it were to exist, its existence could not be explained in Darwinian fashion. If it is impossible to define such a biological system, then it will be impossible to formulate an empirical test that might disconfirm Darwin’s theory. Darwinism’s claim to be a genuine scientific theory would suffer a serious… blow. (11)

The reason Manson argues that the bare possibility of such a definition is required is because of the notion of “falsifiability” in science. While it is debated as to whether falsifiability is an actual criterion for “true” science (at least in the philosophy of science I have read), it has become largely assumed that, in some sense, a theory must be at least in principle falsifiable in order to avoid being question begging or too broadly defined.

Granting that, Manson’s point seems to be a valid one: in order for Darwinism to be viable, it must also be falsifiable. If we can’t even imagine a system that would falsify it, then that may have extremely broad implications. Whether we have imagined such systems–and whether we have discovered them–is a matter of no small amount of debate.

What do you think? Is falsifiability a required criterion for science? Are we able to such a defined biological system to challenge Darwinian evolution? Do such systems actually exist?

God and Design is shaping up to be a really solid read with differing perspectives on design arguments.

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Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Neil Manson, “Introduction,” in God and Design ed. Neil Manson (New York: Routledge, 2003).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- Hidden Science in the Bible?

lwae-waltonEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Hidden Science in the Bible?

Some see the Bible as a source of all knowledge. When we come to the very beginning of the Bible, what is it trying to teach us? Might it tell us what to believe about evolution? Could it reveal truths about science that no one knew until they were discovered later? These types of questions come to us very frequently in this age of science in which we invest so much into questions of a material nature.

John Walton, in his latest book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve, argues that these questions are largely misguided:

[God] did not hide information of that sort [scientific] in the text for later readers to be discovered. An assumption on our part that he did would have no reliable controls. For example, in the days when people believed in a steady-state universe, people could easily have gone to the Bible to find confirmation of that science. But today we do not believe the steady-state theory to be true… Such approaches cannot be adopted within an authority framework. (18, cited below)

Walton’s argument is compelling. The notion that the Bible necessarily has hidden throughout scientific insight just waiting to be found can never be arbitrated. Thus, it makes the Bible the tool of one generation and the laughing stock of the next. As we attempt to use the Bible to support various scientific notions, we may do much damage to the text.

How might we best approach the text in a way that does not leave us open to this uncontrollable theorizing? Is it possible to maintain the notion that the Bible does teach us about science? If not, why not? If so, to what extent?

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

John Walton, The Lost World of Adam and Eve (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Academic, 2015).

SDG.

Really Recommended Posts 3/27/15- Star Wars, Aesthetics, Feminism, and more!

postAnother Friday, another dose of great reading for the weekend. Check out this week’s Really Recommended Posts which include aesthetics, Star Wars, feminism, science and Christianity, and David Hume.

How Modern Art Led Me To God– Can we derive anything objective from aesthetics? What might beauty tell us about the nature of reality? Here’s an interesting exploration of these and related topics. I’d like your thoughts on this one!

Star Wars: This Is Madness– How about some Star Wars themed March Madness? I’m in! Star Wars is hosting a battle royale to crown this year’s tourney champion among Star Wars characters. Now get over there and vote against anyone not in the original trilogy!

Second Wave [feminism]– Here’s an evaluation of Second Wave feminism from an evangelical viewpoint. Check out the Junia Project for all kinds of awesome posts!

Hume on Skepticism– Some brief insights into Hume’s evaluative tools for reason and whether they can stand up to his own skepticism.

Suggested Readings on the Relationship between Science and Theology/Religion– Here’s an interesting list of some recommended books to read on this issue. My own list would have some similarities but many differences as well. Maybe I’ll make one! Would you enjoy that? Oh! And I could annotate it! Well anyway, for now check out Eric Chabot’s list!

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