Sunday, October 5, 2014

Young Earth Creationism vs. Jesus Mythers

I've seen some Christians make the comment that being a Jesus-Myther is about as respectable as believing in Young Earth Creationism. I'm not a YEC, but I put together these two lists for fun recently.

Here's a selection of YEC Biologists, all of whom have doctoral degrees:

The recently deceased Norman Nevin, former emeritus professor of medical genetics at Queen's University in Belfast, author and co-author of 300 peer reviewed articles, former Head of the Northern Regional Genetics Service and president of president of the UK Clinical Genetics Society, awarded an OBE for Services to Gene Therapy Research.

Raymond Jones, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and the Tropical Grasslands Society of Australia. Author of approximately 140 research papers and recipient of the CSIRO Gold Medal for Research Excellence.

Ian MacReadie, Associate Professor at RMIT, former research scientist with the CSIRO for 24 years, Fellow of Australian Society for Microbiology, co-recipient of the 1997 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal and author of more than 70 peer-reviewed articles.

John Kramer, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada from 1970 to 2010, author of 230 peer-reviewed articles, 25 chapters and 4 books.

Geoff Barnard, former Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Veterinary Science, University of Cambridge, author of 50 peer-reviewed research papers, nine chapters for science textbooks and holder of five patents.

Geoff Downes, Fellow of the International Academy of Wood Science, researcher for 20 years with the CSIRO, author of 75 peer-reviewed articles, co-recipient of the 2004 Josef Umdasch Research Prize for Forestry and Timber Science

John Sanford, former Professor of Horticultural Science at Cornell University, author of over 70 peer-reviewed papers, holder of 32 patents.

Alan Walker, former associate Professor at Ohio State University, authored or co-authored 28 Crop Science articles and cultivar registrations, one Phytopathology article, and one Canadian Journal of Crop Science article, and authored or co-authored three patents.

D.B. Gower, emeritus Professor of steroid biochemistry at the University of London, United Kingdom, fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and of the British Institute of Biology

Robert W. Hosken, author of more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and senior lecturer in food technology at the University of Newcastle.

Jeffrey Tomkins, former Associate Professor at Clemson University, head of the Clemson University Genomics Institute and author of 56 peer-reviewed papers and 6 book chapters.

Don Batten, former research scientist with the Queensland State Government for 30 years and author of 13 peer-reviewed articles.

Macei Giertich, Professor of Dendrology at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, member of the Forest Sciences Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Angela Meyer, former research scientist at the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, recipient of the 1994 New Zealand Science and Technology Bronze Medal for excellence in kiwi fruit research and service to science.

Kevin Anderson, former Professor of Microbiology at Missisippi State University and author of 20 peer-reviewed articles.
Here's a list of the only Jesus Mythers with a doctoral degree in a relevant field:

Richard Carrier, who seems to have spent virtually his entire career and intellectual efforts thus far as an activist for atheism.

Robert M Price, whose publications seem to be largely to confined to popular magazines and a journal he co-founded.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Clarification on "I Believe in Miracles."

Recently, I wrote a post in which I sought out to address a common objection to miracles.

Tildeb, the commenter to whom the post was originally directed, was good enough to respond in the comments section here:

However, given the misunderstandings which have cropped up in that thread, I feel it necessary to make some clarifications.

My argument isn't meant to show:
a. That the Resurrection occured.
b. That any other miracles have occured.

It is meant to show that:

A common objection, “If we consider miracles as a possible explanation, then doing science will become impossible, because it’s always possible that God might be miraculously interfering with the results of the experiments.” is false.

In my first reply to tildeb, I noted "The rest of your reply states various reasons why a particular miracle claim might be unlikely. I agree that if these things (e.g. the alleged absurdity of masturbation being sinful, the untrustworthiness of the historical data etc.) really are compelling, this would be a good reason not to believe in this claim. However, despite my use of the Resurrection in my post, I wasn’t actually wanting to discuss any particular example."

This is why I originally wrote:

“I’d like to cordially invite tildeb to show (in the comments section of this post) what he thinks the implicit contradiction(s) between these two propositions are.

As opposed to:

“I’d like tildeb to give me his best arguments about how he thinks the historical evidence for the Resurrection isn’t reliable etc.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Aborted foetuses used to heat UK hospitals.

"When the Carthaginians were prevailed upon to cease sacrificing their babies, at least the place vacated by Baal reminded them that they should seek the divine above themselves; we offer up our babies to "my" freedom of choice, to "me." No society's moral vision has ever, surely, been more degenerate than that."
David Bentley Hart - Christ and Nothing

Monday, March 17, 2014

Quote: D.B. Hart

 “Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call 'after-birth abortion' (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”

Abstract from "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?" by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva

“... the autistic or Down syndrome or otherwise disabled child, for instance, for whom the world can remain a perpetual perplexity, which can too often cause pain but perhaps only vaguely and fleetingly charm or delight; the derelict or wretched or broken man or woman who has wasted his or her life away; the homeless, the utterly impoverished, the diseased, the mentally ill, the physically disabled; exiles, refugees, fugitives; even criminals and reprobates. To reject, turn away from, or kill any or all of them would be, in a very real sense, the most purely practical of impulses. To be able, however , to see in them not only something of worth but indeed something potentially godlike, to be cherished and adored, is the rarest and most ennoblingly unrealistic capacity ever bred within human souls.

David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

I Believe in Miracles. So where ya from?

A common objection to the possibility of miracles is the following:

“If we consider miracles as a possible explanation, then doing science will become impossible, because it’s always possible that God might be miraculously interfering with the results of the experiments.”

One commenter named "tildeb" (with whom I discussed abortion here) has recently, along these lines, accused Christians of "denying science" by believing in the Resurrection.

Consider two potential miracles:

1. You leave a cake with blue icing on the table. You go out of the room. You come back in and see your four-year-old child with crumbs and blue smudges around their mouth. The child says “An angel told me that God has miraculously destroyed the cake.”

2. A man claims that God will miraculously levitate the Sydney Opera House 100 metres into the sky in one month’s time. 10,000 eyewitnesses report that the Opera House did indeed levitate.

Now, some might say that we could never ultimately be epistemically justified in postulating a miracle in either situation. But I think most people would recognise that, in the 1st situation, it certainly is less likely that a miracle has occurred. Why? Because of our background knowledge. If somebody said “I’ve only set my oven to 200 degrees Celsius, but my thermometer says that it’s 210 degrees inside the oven. It must be a miracle!” I think I would rightly reject that explanation, not because it is miraculous, but because it is contrived. Even if we allow for the possibility of miracles, we are still able to examine each case on its own merits.

Thus, a person can indeed consistently affirm the results of modern science concerning cell biology, the carbon cycle, etc. without necessarily excluding miracles from their possible pool of explanations.

Unless he's been convinced by this post, I'd like to cordially invite tildeb to show (in the comments section of this post) what he thinks the implicit contradiction(s) between these two propositions are:

1. We have very good reasons, drawn from modern medical science, to believe that a human body cannot return to life via the processes which normally operate in our world.

2. Jesus rose from the dead, by a miraculous act of God.