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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Creed’

As used on this blog, I provide the following definition of “theistic materialism”:

The belief that God exists, but God did not intervene supernaturally in the history of biological life on earth until the miracles recorded in the Bible pertaining to salvation history.  God did not intervene supernaturally in the creation of Adam and Eve and did not intervene supernaturally in any significant way in the history of humanity from its origin until the Bible makes reference to miracles such as the virgin birth of Jesus.

Please see the category Theistic Materialism for more posts and examples of scientists articulating this position in their own words.

In a previous post I described it this way:

RJS is a theist and accepts God’s miraculous workings in some contexts. But she rules out the miraculous in biological history and biological origins. There are certain spheres where she is a materialist. I see no basis in Scripture or the scientific evidence for this a priori philosophical position.

RJS then put it in her own words:

I think that, until proven otherwise, there will be a “natural” explanation in general, because God created the world in a rational manner. If you want to call this theistic materialism – ok. . . .

I think that God is outside of the natural order and can certainly intervene. But the evidence suggests (including the evidence of scripture) that he only does so for a purpose and in relationship with his creation. Intervention is almost always, if not always, in relationship with humans created in his image.

 

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My recent comment to RJS at Jesus Creed on the fossil record (with revisions):

It seems to me that what you often do is “fossil-mining” which is analogous to “quote-mining.”  You bring up individual fossils that you think are “transitional” but you take them out of context in a way that is somewhat misleading.  The context is the overall pattern in the fossil record, which is sudden appearance of species and stasis over time.  The fossil you mention does not change that pattern at all.  Moreover, the fossil may or may not be a “transitional” fossil.  We would need to know more to know if it was part of a step by step pattern showing gradual change from one animal to a significantly different kind of animal.  We generally don’t have those kinds of transitions in the fossil record, so there is reason to be skeptical that this particular fossil was part of that kind of progression.

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Here are some comments that were deleted from this post at the Jesus Creed blog.  I am not sure what rule I broke.  It rather seems to confirm that certain theological circles are getting more narrow-minded:

No mention of Mark Galli’s?  Denny Burk’s [review of Love Wins]?

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/april/lovewins.html

What continues to strike me is Bell’s hostility to traditional views.  He does not just set forth an alternative viewpoint.  He denounces (as “misguided and toxic”) what mainstream evangelicals believe.  And what he denounces is a straw man, as Mark Galli well notes.

The evangelical left seems to be getting more narrow-minded.

And this:

Ben #30,

Strongly agree.  I see Lewis’s “position” as dramatically different than Bell’s.  Lewis defends “narrow” orthodoxy in chapter 5.  And the liberal theologian in that chapter bears a lot of similarities to Rob Bell– including being successful in selling lots of books.

“I took every risk.”

“What risk?  What was at all likely to come of it except what actually came?  Popularity, sales for your books, invitations . . .”

“We didn’t want the other to be true.  We were afraid of crude salvationism, afraid of a breach within the spirit of the age . . .”

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Update: These comments have now been posted.

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This is my tentative critique of the review series by RJS at the blog Jesus Creed.  I hope to supplement this with additional quotes, links and comments in the near future.

1.  She is wrong in her attacks on Meyer’s science.  She asserts:

On the question of the origin of the first cell, Meyer has not carried out a thorough search evaluating the evidence – he has presented a cursory search and he has not done justice to the current state of knowledge and understanding.

RJS does not provide a single specific example of what she thinks Meyer has left out, or how he has “not done justice” to the current state of knowledge.  On  the contrary, she has admitted that scientists currently have no idea how life began despite centuries of exploring this idea.  Her attacks on Meyer’s presentation of the relevant science are always general and vague and she does not give any specific example of a specific scientific claim that Meyer is wrong about.

2.  She repeatedly accuses Meyer of using ridicule (in his discussion of Henry Quastler  on pages 277-279), but an honest and fair reading of Meyer shows that this is clearly false.  He uses calm and reasoned arguments to show how Quastler suffers from the “displacement” problem.

3.  She focuses on certain illustrations that Meyer uses, but misrepresents how these fit into Meyer’s overall argument.  She cites Meyer’s lock example (pp 349-351), but fails to disclose that this is merely an introductory illustration that leads into a detailed discussion of Dembski’s alternative methodology for detecting design.  It was not intended by Meyer to be a complete argument in itself and is not even used to introduce Meyer’s own argument.

4.  She misunderstands what constitutes an “argument from ignorance,” and unfairly accuses Meyer of this, despite his clear explanation of why his argument is not an argument from ignorance.  To her credit, she corrected her error in one place, but she has never corrected her error in many other places in her series and other previous posts.

5.  She dismisses  Meyer’s argument by claiming that the timing of the design may have been at an earlier time, but she doesn’t seem to realize that she is actually confirming one of Meyer’s key points:  that scientists who claim to solve the problem of the origin of information often merely “displace” the timing of what needs to be explained, rather than explain it.

6.  She claims that Meyer’s “best explanation” argument fails.  However, Meyer’s argument is that intelligent design is the “inference to the best explanation,” and RJS does not even bother to suggest any other explanation, let alone provide a reason why such explanation is better.  She seems to suggest that Meyer’s explanation should be rejected on the basis of a personal hope that a non-design explanation may be found in the future.

7.  By spending 9 posts on Meyer’s book she gives the false impression of doing a thorough review, but her “review” consists of highly selective discussions of limited topics and focusing on certain elements of the book that she found interesting.  She ignores huge sections that go to the core of Meyer’s argument and could provide a foundation for healthy civil discussion on the relevant issues.

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