Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Strong indications of design."

Nick Jackson of the Independent interviews Stuart Burgess who argues that there are "strong indications of design" in the four bar linkage of the knee joint. The report is here.

53 Comments:

Blogger Smokey said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:29 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

I don't see an argument there. In fact, Burgess simply assumes that Behe's hypothesis (IC eliminates evolution as an explanation) is true, a completely dishonest tactic.

Burgess claims, "An irreducibly complex organ is one where several parts are required simultaneously for the system to function usefully, so it cannot have evolved, bit by bit, over time."

Behe doesn't even do this.

Burgess claims, "Evolutionists have not been able to explain how the knee joint evolved step by step."

We've seen this dishonest tactic before, too. Will Burgess be explaining how the knee joint was designed, step by step?

Burgess notes, "We cannot prove that an intelligent being designed these, but at present no one can prove that they evolved, either."

This shows that Burgess has no clue about science, as nothing is ever considered to be proven in science.

What did you think about the Axe papers? Was there anything controversial about the papers themselves, as you claimed without reading them?

6:30 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

"Stuart Burgess is Professor of design and nature in the department of mechanical engineering at Bristol University"

Another blody engineer!

"Current scientific philosophy is to rule out completely the possibility that a creator was involved."
Not true. Science deals with the natural. If you can identify a natural creator.well done. If your creator us supernatural, then its not natural, therefore not science.

"Newton, Kelvin, Faraday and Pascal had no problem with a creator and with design."

So the creator is god? well admitted.

"Three hundred years ago, there was so much support for intelligent design that life could be difficult if you were an atheist."

Yes, they were murdered by the church. And scientists had to watch their backs as well..the good old days. eh?
"life can be difficult if you show the slightest sympathy for intelligent design."

Rubish. Priests preach a divine creator every day of every week. It's only if you lie and say your god is not divine really wink wink, that scientists get cross.

"Evolution cannot be taken as a fact of science because of the ambiguities in the evidence."

The ToE is the best explanation of evelopment of life. It is only a "fact" as long as no conclsive evidence comes to disprove it. then it stops being a fact...

"The fossil record can be evidence for and against evolution because of the gaps."
The fossil record can be evidence for evlution. The lack of evidence for is not evidence against..even I know that...

"Most significantly, scientists have failed to reproduce the spontaneous generation of life for 60 years."

Evolution is not about abiogenesis. And anyway, 60 years in not a long time. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old...

"I've seen a lot of irreducible complexity in engineering."

Yes, you designed it...we know who thedesigner is,,

"I have also seen organs in nature that are apparently irreducible."

Apparently. what does that prove?

"An irreducibly complex organ is one where several parts are required simultaneously for the system to function usefully, so it cannot have evolved, bit by bit, over time."

Or maybe we just don't know how yet..science could find the answer...religion never will.

7:49 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Sorry, I seem to have cocked up a post. How do I remove it?

8:07 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Burgess says: “Similarities in DNA code can be just as much evidence for a common designer as for evolution.”

How so? To take just one random example, why on earth would the Designer carefully place a broken sweet receptor pseudogene (each containing exactly the same 247 base pair deletion) in all species of cats? Whimsy perhaps? On this evidence, I doubt that Burgess would recognise a phylogenetic tree even if one fell on his head.

“I've been designing systems like spacecraft for more than 20 years. One of the lessons I've learnt is that complex systems require an immense amount of intelligence to design.”

To state the obvious, just because you’re an expert in spacecraft engineering doesn’t automatically make you an expert in biology. But hey, as it happens I’ve been working in biochemistry for more than twenty years. So by Burgess’s logic, maybe NASA should let me design their new moon-lander.

“An irreducibly complex organ is one where several parts are required simultaneously for the system to function usefully, so it cannot have evolved, bit by bit, over time.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. More often than not, so called ‘irreducible complexity’ isn’t, and even if such ‘irreducibly complex’ systems can be reliably documented, the theory of evolution can in principle account for their origins.

“Creationism is about who the designer is and why he created the world. For this reason, I don't think creationism should be taught in a science lesson. But the question of intelligent design is completely different. It only addresses the question of whether an intelligent designer is needed for life to have been possible. The possibility of a designer should be mentioned, however briefly.”

It took me less that five minutes to find this gem of a book called “He Made the Stars Also”, authored by er…Stuart Burgess.

Here are some samples from this book:

".. the Bible teaches that the stars were created in an instant of time at the verbal command of God (Psalm 33:9). It is an awesome thought that God needed only to speak a word and billions upon billions of stars instantly appeared." (p15)”

"... God supernaturally and instantaneously created the stars on the fourth day of creation" (p24)”

I’d say that was pretty unambiguous, wouldn’t you? So why then does Burgess suddenly come over all coy in his article in the Independent?

10:45 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,

An attempt to explain the problem of Stuart Burgess's two apparently different messages.

Christian theology recognises two strands of revelation- special revelation which is the bible ie revelation in a sacred book and natural revelation which is revelation of God in nature. Clearly the bible talks about both types. Greek and Roman philosphers discussed evidence for design in nature. Burgess is talking about the relationship of science to this "natural revelation."

Thus it is not inconsistent - there are two different strands of reasoning going on here.

I don't know if that helps at all...

11:59 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"Burgess is talking about the relationship of science to this "natural revelation."

Andrew, whatever Burgess is going on about, it isn't science. Science is about formulating AND TESTING hypotheses.

4:13 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,
What I said in the above comment is relevant to your comments about lack of faith. It is not lack of faith in the bible that leads to ID type arguments. It is faithfulness to the bible that has in it the idea of natural revelation. It is unfaithfulness to this teaching to drop the design argument.

9:10 am  
Blogger Mike said...

I know this might be a daft question - I'm sure you will shoot me down if it is – but:

How can you possibly re-create the exact conditions and test a hypothesis of something that happened 4.5 billion years ago?

And, how can you know if you have the exact conditions?

It seems to me, the exact conditions will be found when the pre-determined result/assumption is achieved whether it is ToE or ID/Creationism. A creationist will never factor in the possibility of evolution and similarly an evolutionist will never factor in the possibility of a creator. (I’m not talking about macro-evolution)

So surely both sides are acting according to their presuppositions. I am also assuming both are seeking a truthful (according to their presuppostion) explanation and are acting with integrity. Please try and avoid calling people dishonest/liars – it doesn’t help.

I would be interested in views from both sides of the debate. I am not a scientist, so please keep it simple.

I understand some Christians believe creation & evolution – but there are theological problems with this – so if we could avoid this and just stick to the two views/questions above I would be grateful.

Alternatively, you can tell me to take a running jump!

Thanks,

Mike

10:10 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"What I said in the above comment is relevant to your comments about lack of faith."

Indeed it is, but not in the way you wish it was.

"It is not lack of faith in the bible that leads to ID type arguments."

I agree. It is lack of faith in ID or creationism that leads to dishonest tactics like:

1) Burgess's lie in claiming that Behe's hypothesis is a fact.

2) Antony's lie in claiming that conservation of residues means that they are necessary for function.

3) Antony's total lack of interest in the data that falsify his claim.

4) False claims that ID is a theory or anything remotely close to one.

"It is faithfulness to the bible that has in it the idea of natural revelation."

But EVERYONE, without exception, who argues for ID or creationism rejects the idea of natural revelation. This is demonstrated every time they choose quote-mining over data, and every time they cite a book instead of the primary literature.

They are utterly AFRAID of looking at the natural world. That's why they don't test their own hypotheses. That's why they blog about other people's data instead of producing their own.

"It is unfaithfulness to this teaching to drop the design argument."

Wrong. At least I should give you credit for abandoning the false claim that there is design theory. ;-)

-----
Mike said...
"How can you possibly re-create the exact conditions and test a hypothesis of something that happened 4.5 billion years ago?"

You don't need to recreate exact conditions to test most hypotheses.

You seem to be confused about what a hypothesis actually is, which isn't surprising. For example, "RNA can have enzymatic activities" is a hypothesis that is important in addressing the origins of life, but requires no recreation of exact conditions to test. In fact, it was initially outside the field of abiogenesis.

"And, how can you know if you have the exact conditions?"

I can know that RNA can have enzymatic activities as long as I avoid its hydrolysis in the reaction conditions.

"It seems to me, the exact conditions will be found when the pre-determined result/assumption is achieved whether it is ToE or ID/Creationism."

Mike, ToE is about change in things that are already alive. It has nothing to do with the origin of life. There are no real theories in abiogenesis, just hypotheses. The difference is huge. You can't carry on an honest and intelligent discussion about this if you refuse to acknowledge this huge distinction.

"A creationist will never factor in the possibility of evolution..."

Creationists don't test their hypotheses. They lack the faith to do so. They are afraid of what they might find.

"... and similarly an evolutionist will never factor in the possibility of a creator. (I’m not talking about macro-evolution)"

Please explain why, and acknowledge that you're not talking about evolution at all--the macro/micro distinction is completely phoney, btw.

"So surely both sides are acting according to their presuppositions."

No, Mike. Scientists TEST their presuppositions. Creationists are afraid to test their presuppositions, and they falsely portray their presuppositions as facts.

"I am also assuming both are seeking a truthful (according to their presuppostion) explanation and are acting with integrity. Please try and avoid calling people dishonest/liars – it doesn’t help."

It does help--it's the whole key to understanding it. If it doesn't help, why is the Bible so clear about it?

Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.
Jeremiah 7:4


"I understand some Christians believe creation & evolution – but there are theological problems with this –..."

No, there aren't.

5:40 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew,

What did you think about the Axe papers?

5:41 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

Did you send 2 papers?
I have JMB 341,1295-1315 but that is all. I am slowly working my way through it.

6:48 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Yes, I did.

Hint: ignore the text as much as possible and look at the figures.

10:11 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Look at the tables, too, of course.

I sent the other Axe paper--I may have forgotten to click a button at the end of the process the first time. Sorry.

11:11 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

I have them both now.

Many thanks :-)

9:09 am  
Blogger Steven said...

Why do you constantly post images of cellular structures or diagrams of molecules? The dover trial proved intelligent design is creationism in disquise. Your other two blogs show that you want to talk about faith and christian education (whatever that means).

It has been shown that intelligent design is a god of the gaps.

I am not smart enough to figure this out and noone else can or ever will. It must have been god.

Concentrated arrogance.

10:18 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Steven,

Where and how has it been shown that ID is just a God of the gaps argument?

11:48 am  
Blogger Mike said...

Hi Smokey,

Thanks for your time in replying. BTW I don’t mean it to all be bold as if I’m having a go, I’m not, it’s the only way I could think of to distinguish the text.

Mike said...
"How can you possibly re-create the exact conditions and test a hypothesis of something that happened 4.5 billion years ago?"

You don't need to recreate exact conditions to test most hypotheses.

Thank you. You can never prove 100% your hypothesis then.

You seem to be confused about what a hypothesis actually is, which isn't surprising. For example, "RNA can have enzymatic activities" is a hypothesis that is important in addressing the origins of life, but requires no recreation of exact conditions to test. In fact, it was initially outside the field of abiogenesis. Isn't this just circular reasoning?

"And, how can you know if you have the exact conditions?"

I can know that RNA can have enzymatic activities as long as I avoid its hydrolysis in the reaction conditions.

"It seems to me, the exact conditions will be found when the pre-determined result/assumption is achieved whether it is ToE or ID/Creationism."

Mike, ToE is about change in things that are already alive. It has nothing to do with the origin of life. If it has nothing to do with the origin of life why do you pour so much meaning into something you can never prove. Ultimately you believe it rather than believe the alternative – God did it. There are no real theories in abiogenesis, just hypotheses. The difference is huge. You can't carry on an honest and intelligent discussion about this if you refuse to acknowledge this huge distinction. So, you are happy to swill around in a sea of uncertainty. Remember, if the Bible is true – and I believe it 100% - there is an awful lot at stake if you are wrong. For me, even if I’m wrong – and I’m not – what’s the worst that can happen, you think I’m nuts, or an ignoramus, so what.

"A creationist will never factor in the possibility of evolution..."

Creationists don't test their hypotheses. They lack the faith to do so. They are afraid of what they might find.

"... and similarly an evolutionist will never factor in the possibility of a creator. (I’m not talking about macro-evolution)"

Please explain why, and acknowledge that you're not talking about evolution at all--the macro/micro distinction is completely phoney, btw.

"So surely both sides are acting according to their presuppositions."

No, Mike. Scientists TEST their presuppositions. Creationists are afraid to test their presuppositions, and they falsely portray their presuppositions as facts.

"I am also assuming both are seeking a truthful (according to their presuppostion) explanation and are acting with integrity. Please try and avoid calling people dishonest/liars – it doesn’t help."

It does help--it's the whole key to understanding it. If it doesn't help, why is the Bible so clear about it?

Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.
Jeremiah 7:4
That’s quite a nice quotation – but what does it mean? Anyone can pluck out Bible verses. What I meant was it doesn’t help if the discussion just ends up as a slanging match – that is not helpful.

Obviously, from a Biblical perspective as far as I can tell – most of you are anonymous – you are following the father of lies who was a deceiver from the beginning. (John 8)

Joh 8:43 "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
Joh 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Joh 8:45 "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
Joh 8:46 "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?
Joh 8:47 "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."

And how about this one:

Tit 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
Tit 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
Tit 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Tit 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Tit 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.



"I understand some Christians believe creation & evolution – but there are theological problems with this –..."

No, there aren't.

‘I’m not sure which one you’re answering here (probably my fault) but Professor John Polkinghorne for example believes in creation and evolution of millions of years. The theological problem as I see it is that in order for evolution to take place something has to die, but death did not enter the world until after Adam & Eve had sinned in the garden. So, you either take the Genesis account as an historical fact or seek ways to reconcile it with scientific theory.

This is a report of a debate and according to this report ‘In his opening presentation, John Polkinghorne gave his reasons for accepting present-day scientific thinking as the authority through which the Bible should be understood. Basing his thoughts on the “Two Books” (Nature and Revelation) approach to science and Christianity, he argued that what is commonly believed to be revealed in the “Book of Nature” should prescribe how the Bible is interpreted, the earth’s history being most accurately understood through scientific research, not through reading what he considered to be the poetry of Genesis. In this light he considered it possible for a Christian to believe, as he does himself, in a creation which has evolved over billions of years.’ Available here: http://www.amen.org.uk/cr/debate/report.html To be honest I wasn’t specifically looking for a pro-creationist website but the info I was looking is at one – but I’m sure there are other websites with the same info.

I think in the end we will probably have to agree to differ.

12:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't help noticing this particularly choice response:

"Remember, if the Bible is true – and I believe it 100% - there is an awful lot at stake if you are wrong. For me, even if I’m wrong – and I’m not – what’s the worst that can happen, you think I’m nuts, or an ignoramus, so what."

The worst that can happen if you're wrong is that you waste your entire life propagating a lie, rather than doing something more constructive.

The worst that can happen if Smokey is wrong is that he doesn't get a personal relationship with God, which probably doesn't bother him overly.

Oh, you also asked "Isn't this just circular reasoning?" and the answer is no, it isn't.

6:07 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Mike wrote:
"Thank you. You can never prove 100% your hypothesis then."

Mike, you ninny, NOTHING IN SCIENCE IS EVER CONSIDERED TO BE PROVEN. EVERY CONCLUSION IS PROVISIONAL.

"Isn't this just circular reasoning?"

No, it's about predictions. ID proponents use circular reasoning, in that they concoct phony predictions when they comment on known data.

"If it has nothing to do with the origin of life why do you pour so much meaning into something you can never prove."

Because science, in which NOTHING IS EVER CONSIDERED TO BE PROVEN, is very powerful.

"So, you are happy to swill around in a sea of uncertainty."

Yep. It beats lying about my certainty.

"Remember, if the Bible is true – and I believe it 100% - there is an awful lot at stake if you are wrong."

You don't believe the Bible 100%. You pick and choose what you want to believe.

"That’s quite a nice quotation – but what does it mean?"

It means that we should watch out for those who claim the Lord's approval for their lies.

"Anyone can pluck out Bible verses."

Yes. And anyone can show the contradictions, disproving anyone's claim of believing 100% of the Bible.

"What I meant was it doesn’t help if the discussion just ends up as a slanging match – that is not helpful."

We slang data. You slang arguments from authority (always fallacious in science) and lies.

"So, you either take the Genesis account as an historical fact or seek ways to reconcile it with scientific theory."

Mike, you're theologically incompetent. There isn't a single Genesis account. There are two, and they disagree with each other. Now, you may now argue that they don't, but your avoidance of Biblical scholarship is more than evident in your deliberately deceptive use of the singular "Genesis account."

6:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smokey,
"There isn't a single Genesis account. There are two, and they disagree with each other."

Please point out the disgreements. Thanks.

4:33 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

They differ dramatically in sequence.

2:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Smokey for your thoughts that the difference is related to the chronology and I agree that a cursory reading can be confusing. The standard answer, and the one which seems to make sense, is that in certain languages the tense is determined by the context. For example, I recently undertook learning some Japanese. There’s only two tenses and you have to work things out from the context. So the present form doubles for the future and there is just a single past tense. Now I am no Hebrew scholar but I understand that the same is true of Hebrew. So , if we take Chapter 2 vs 19 as an example, some versions of the bible translate it as “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air;…” which chronologically comes after the creation of man would conflict with Genesis Chapter 1. However, the context correct translation (and the one the New International Version uses for example) is “Now the Lord God had formed ….” Hence the sense is one of reminding the reader of something which has already been noted (as indeed it has in Chapter 1). Hope this helps. Paul.

4:21 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Paul,

It just goes to show that true Biblical Literalism doesn't even exist. The idea of taking a translation of anything literally is simply idiotic, particularly when no one knows the number of times that the stories have been translated before they were written down.

It's just poetry, not science. However, Mike's pretending that there was only a single story in Genesis, regardless of whether one can reconcile them, was dishonest and/or ignorant.

5:30 pm  
Anonymous paul said...

Hi Smokey, Thanks for taking the trouble to reply. It's perhaps useful to remember that the Bible is actually more of a library than a single book. Written by around 40 different authors over a period of some 1500 years in 3 original languages. Some of it is poetry, some of it is narrative, some of it is legal, some of it is prophetic and so on. In fact given it's chequered nature it's amazing it is so coherent and as a Christian I believe that although the penmanship was human the inspiration for it was from God. To be fair to Mike most Christians I know would talk about the Genesis account (singular) taking Genesis 1 as the overview and Genesis 2 as the focus on where Man fits in to it all (a bit like how an Executive Summary often comes before a core part of a report and you find some repetition.) I realise that you believe (at least the early chapters of Genesis) are poetry and you are right it would have been oral tradition before being recorded. Ultimately believing the bible is God's Word and that God created the universe is a firstly matter of faith (as the Bible actually says - Hebrews 11.3 if you're interested) but I believe that the scientific observation is in harmony with that worldview.

PS I really enjoy reading this blog and apologise to all onlookers as I realise that I have gone way off topic .... Paul

7:47 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Paul wrote:
"It's perhaps useful to remember that the Bible is actually more of a library than a single book."

I am well aware of that. But is Mike?

"Some of it is poetry, some of it is narrative, some of it is legal, some of it is prophetic and so on."

Yes, and Jesus even chides his disciples for taking him literally when they should have been taking him metaphorically. Do you think there's a message for Mike there?

"To be fair to Mike most Christians I know would talk about the Genesis account (singular) taking Genesis 1 as the overview and Genesis 2 as the focus on where Man fits in to it all..."

To be fair, there are two stories that differ. One can't correctly and honestly say that there is only one.

"Ultimately believing the bible is God's Word and that God created the universe is a firstly matter of faith (as the Bible actually says - Hebrews 11.3 if you're interested) but I believe that the scientific observation is in harmony with that worldview."

And Mike doesn't, while he falsely claims to believe 100% of the Bible, which is impossible to do since the Bible contradicts itself.

9:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smokey,

Where does the Bible contradict itself? (other than Gen 1/2)

And what do you understand 'literal interpretation' means?

11:57 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Anonymous asked:
"Where does the Bible contradict itself?"
Dozens of places. You can start with the differences between the four Synoptic gospels.
"And what do you understand 'literal interpretation' means?"
It's an oxymoron. A literal approach allows for zero interpretation.

8:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smokey,

You have answered neither questions. Paul (& another anon) gave a reasoned explanation about Genesis 1 & 2, which you reject, with no explanation. You said the Bible contradicts itself in ‘dozens of places’. What places? As regards literal interpretation – or any interpretation, you clearly don’t understand.

10:46 am  
Anonymous merkur said...

"Where does the Bible contradict itself? (other than Gen 1/2)"

One of the best sources for a list of contradictions is the Skeptics Annotated Bible at http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html. While not exhaustive, it covers most of the main points that are raised in this area, although with no analysis. A non-literal view of the Bible has no problem with most of these contradictions.

"And what do you understand 'literal interpretation' means?"

I understand literal interpretation to mean that the reader does not believe that the Bible is anything other than a direct report of things as they happened. It does not allow that there may be different literary modes at work within the Bible, and frequently does not allow that human agency was involved in piecing together the different parts of the Bible.

11:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merkur,

Good answer (not surprised though) on the Skeptics Bible. In fact I nearly suggested it. I suppose it saves Smokey the bother of actually reading the Bible for himself. Nothing like an open mind, as long as it's only open one way.

11:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merkur,

Just a quickie on interpretation. There are several models of interpretation even within what is called the Literal approach.

What it means is this: Sections might literally be, prophetic/history/poetry/narrative/simile/metaphor etc etc. The Bible uses hundreds of figures of speech.

On human agency, this has a technical name, but I can't remember what off hand. It means God used human agency, including individual personality yet without error. You probably don't agree with the without error bit but that is what happened. Anyway, you are wrong on both counts.

As far as contradictions go - there are reasoned & scholarly answers to pretty well all them. I would think the website you refer to will have nothing new for Biblical scholars but trot out all the usual ones.

In the end, it depends on which view a person wants to believe. You see, it's a matter of faith that works both ways!

11:52 am  
Anonymous merkur said...

"In the end, it depends on which view a person wants to believe. You see, it's a matter of faith that works both ways!"

No, it isn't. You're setting up a false dichotomy between those who believe and those who don't believe. There has been an extremely wide range of opinions about the nature of the Bible within the community of those who believe, both historically and currently.

Smokey's claim is that it is impossible to believe 100% of the Bible, since it contradicts itself. This discussion demonstrates that there is uncertainty within the faith community of exactly what "100%" means in this context. So it's not "a matter of faith that works both ways", and to be honest I'm not even sure what you mean by that.

In any case, Mike's claim to believe 100% of the Bible is probably just a figure of speech for his complete faith in the Bible. But I could be wrong.

12:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merkur,

I thank you for your courteous response. They seem to be quite rare on this site.

You are right. There is considerable debate even amongst those that would call themselves Christians or Believers. My problem with not having confidence in the Bible as the authoritative final word undermines the very source of a persons belief. For me there is no false dichotomy – you either accept the whole Bible as from God – through human agency of course – or you don’t. Believers that can’t do that, I believe, are on very dodgy ground. I wouldn’t say they are necessarily not Christians/Believers – though this could be the case – but I do think it is a problem and often leads to other doubts. I’m just trying to be honest and fair here even though I know it will be jumped on. This is, I think you will agree, a massive subject and not really appropriate for this website. It is after all ID in the UK. People might find this site helpful: http://www.carm.org/

I don’t believe it does contradict itself. Therefore, I can believe 100% to quote Mike, but as you say it could also be ‘a figure of speech for his complete faith in the Bible’. What I meant by "a matter of faith that works both ways" is that both sides of a debate decide which one they will believe sometimes in spite of the evidence. For me, obviously I defend the Bible – not that it actually needs defending – and Smokey and others will make a conscious decision to not believe (faith) in spite of any evidence that he will not believe anyway – if you follow me. There already exists an assumption of belief or disbelief, both a form of faith. For example, someone might say ‘I will never believe there is a God’.

1:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smokey & Merkur,

just had a quick look at ths site: http://www.carm.org/bible_difficulties.htm

The Gen 1/2 is the first one. Check it out.

1:34 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

"There is considerable debate even amongst those that would call themselves Christians or Believers."

"Those that would call themselves"? Aren't you clearly claiming that YOU are equipped to judge the faith of others? Didn't Jesus Christ have a lot to say about refraining from judgment of others? Since you ignore the advice of Jesus Christ as written in the Bible, how can you credibly claim to believe in the Bible when you disregard it completely in this case?

"My problem with not having confidence in the Bible as the authoritative final word undermines the very source of a persons belief."

People differ in their spiritual approaches. Who are you to judge what is required for others?

"For me there is no false dichotomy – you either accept the whole Bible as from God – through human agency of course – or you don’t."

Your approach is simplistic and judgmental, and therefore contradicts the teachings of the Bible itself.

"Believers that can’t do that, I believe, are on very dodgy ground. I wouldn’t say they are necessarily not Christians/Believers – though this could be the case – but I do think it is a problem and often leads to other doubts."

Are doubts bad? Doesn't the Bible portray Jesus as having His own doubts?

"What I meant by "a matter of faith that works both ways" is that both sides of a debate decide which one they will believe sometimes in spite of the evidence."

But your view ignores the evidence that God shows us every day.

"For me, obviously I defend the Bible – not that it actually needs defending – and Smokey and others will make a conscious decision to not believe (faith) in spite of any evidence that he will not believe anyway – if you follow me."

Sorry, but you are bearing false witness (last time I checked the Bible, this is a no-no), as I am a Christian. Who appointed you as a judge? What did Jesus say about judging others, in that Bible you falsely claim to follow as a guide?

Do you see that by your rush to judgment, you are repudiating the Bible itself? All in a silly attempt to avoid looking at God's creation in nature.

"just had a quick look at ths site: http://www.carm.org/bible_difficulties.htm"

It's hooey, just argument by assertion.

4:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smokey,

It is obviously a complete and utter waste of time discussing anything with you. No wonder Mike has not bothered to reply.

Jesus said 'Do not cast your pearls before swine' so I think I will take His advice.

At least Merkur was polite.

Bye bye.

4:29 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

There's not much room for discussion if you've already decided that:

1) I'm not a Christian.
2) I don't bother to read the Bible.

It's obvious that you place your political leanings and desires above the crystal-clear teachings of Jesus Christ.

2:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smokey,

You said in a previous reply 'as I am a Christian'. Believe me, I sincerely hope you are. Could you just indulge me one more time and answer this question:

What is a Christian?

Thank you.

7:53 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Someone who follows the teachings attributed to Jesus Christ.

4:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smokey,

I'm a bit puzzled about my 'political leanings' that you refer to. I apologise unreservedly if I have given that impression, but frankly wasn't aware of any, and I certainly do not want to go down that road! I'm sure you don't either having been accused of it yourself on another thread. Slander, I think you called it.

Anyway, I've just had another look at what I said and it's a fair cop:

‘There's not much room for discussion if you've already decided that:

1) I'm not a Christian.
2) I don't bother to read the Bible.’

I certainly did infer 1) and on 2) did say you couldn't be bothered to read the Bible for yourself. Actually, I hadn’t decided that but I can see why you would think it. Obviously, I have no way of knowing for certain, but I merely infer – possibly wrongly – it from your own posts. Maybe I was using hyperbole to Smoke you out, but if you will take everything so literally! :-)

At least I’ve learnt 1) You may be a Christian and 2) You read at least some of the Bible, maybe even all it.

I think that’s some progress – don’t you.

Thanks for answering my previous question.

Let me ask you this then – are you a Biblical Christian? What I believe the Bible means by a Christian can be found here: http://www.the-highway.com/Gospel_Martin.html

I hope like me you think this is vitally important and so I would encourage you to look at the link above and let me know what you think.

Must go now - have a good evening.

4:50 pm  
Anonymous merkur said...

Anon: does it not bother you that Smokey's definition of a Christian - which I share, incidentally - is a single sentence that is almost unbelievably straightforward, while the definition of a "Biblical Christian" is several hundred words long and staggers under the weight of its own academic pretensions?

I don't claim to know the mind of God, but I believe that I know which version the man from Galilee would have preferred.

6:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merkur,

Just had a quick look to see if there was a reply.

I believe Smokey did not actually answer the question. His answer and yours if you agree with him was to the question: What does a Christian do?

My question was: What is a Christian? There is quite a difference.

So, how about this for a brief definition.

A sinner saved through the propitiation of Jesus Christ.

7:41 pm  
Anonymous merkur said...

"His answer and yours if you agree with him was to the question: What does a Christian do? My question was: What is a Christian? There is quite a difference."

Thanks for telling me what question you think I was answering. I was in fact answering the question "what is a Christian?" and the answer for me is somebody who follows the teachings. You are of course free to disagree.

10:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Merkur,

Thanks for the reply. I hope you don’t mind if I come back – maybe for the last time on this.

As you prefer to define a Christian as a person that does something, what do think to this: When the jailer at Philippi came in to Paul and Silas he said ‘What must I do to be saved? Paul answered him by saying ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. (See Acts 16:29-31)

This is in perfect accord with what the man from Galilee – as you call Him – said as follows:

John 6:27 "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." v28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" v29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

In another place The Lord Jesus – the man from Galilee – said this: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 & v6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

In other words, a change must take place. A new birth. So using the definition Jesus gives, it is what a person is, or rather what God makes them, that makes them a Christian. The Bible also calls it justification by faith and is a legal standing. Something has happened to a person from outside, they have been made anew. God has done something wonderful!

Can you see the difference? What I’m saying is in perfect accord with historic Christianity and would find agreement across a very wide spectrum of evangelicalism.

Ok, fine, we may disagree, and that is obviously your privilege. But the problem I have now is that I must seek to faithfully declare to you – and anyone that will listen on this website – the Gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ. Because if you cannot see the difference I fear you may not be a Christian and may not be saved. Imagine it were a burning building wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to rescue you. Would you rather I left you inside to burn. And so I say this: Call upon the name of the Lord and you shall be saved. If you are a Christian, you will welcome what I have said, if you are seeking the Saviour I trust He may be found. If neither applies then I will expect the usual response – a polite ‘no thanks we shall have to disagree’ and I will have to accept that and pray that God will open your eyes to the wonders of redeeming grace through the precious blood of Christ.

Have a good night.

11:50 pm  
Anonymous merkur said...

"As you prefer to define a Christian as a person that does something, what do think to this: When the jailer at Philippi came in to Paul and Silas he said ‘What must I do to be saved? Paul answered him by saying ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. (See Acts 16:29-31)"

I think that Paul isn't Jesus.

"John 6:27 "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." v28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" v29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.""

To start with, I would tell you that I don't want everlasting life. Then I would tell you that this doesn't conflict with what I have said. My point is that grace is not sufficient for us to identify somebody as Christian, since it is essentially a compact between God and the individual concerned. As per James 2: "A man may say, you have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

"In another place The Lord Jesus – the man from Galilee – said this: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 & v6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

This doesn't conflict with what I have said. This only says that one must be born again to see the kingdom of God; it does not help us to identify who is a Christian.

"In other words, a change must take place. A new birth. So using the definition Jesus gives, it is what a person is, or rather what God makes them, that makes them a Christian. The Bible also calls it justification by faith and is a legal standing. Something has happened to a person from outside, they have been made anew. God has done something wonderful!"

I know full well the difference between grace and deeds. My problem is that your definition clearly suggests that you somehow know what God has worked within somebody else; my definition says, the only way to tell if that change has been worked is to look to their works.

"the problem I have now is that I must seek to faithfully declare to you – and anyone that will listen on this website – the Gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ. Because if you cannot see the difference I fear you may not be a Christian and may not be saved. Imagine it were a burning building wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to rescue you. Would you rather I left you inside to burn."

It would be the right thing to do, but I'm not in a burning building and that metaphor is absolutely ridiculous. I'll stick with the original definition of Christian, thanks.

6:27 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,
>"Where does the Bible contradict itself?"
>Dozens of places. You can start with the differences between the four Synoptic gospels.

Where did the fourth synoptic gospel come from?

What would you say is the best example of contradiction between 2 of the 3?

9:33 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"Where did the fourth synoptic gospel come from?"

My bad. I was confusing synoptic with canonical.

"What would you say is the best example of contradiction between 2 of the 3?"

The descriptions of the Resurrection.

6:09 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

A wrote:
"I certainly did infer 1) and on 2) did say you couldn't be bothered to read the Bible for yourself."

And what does the Bible say about bearing false witness?

"Actually, I hadn’t decided that but I can see why you would think it. Obviously, I have no way of knowing for certain, but I merely infer – possibly wrongly – it from your own posts."

What did Jesus say about judging others?

"Maybe I was using hyperbole to Smoke you out, but if you will take everything so literally! :-)"

It wasn't hyperbole, it was false.

"Let me ask you this then – are you a Biblical Christian? What I believe the Bible means by a Christian can be found here: http://www.the-highway.com/Gospel_Martin.html

"I hope like me you think this is vitally important and so I would encourage you to look at the link above and let me know what you think."

As Merkur noted, it is theologically weak because it emphasizes the teachings of Paul over the teachings of Jesus.

Are you a Christian or a Paulist?

6:13 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,
The best example of contradiction...
>The descriptions of the Resurrection.
Can you be more specific?

9:21 pm  
Anonymous merkur said...

"Can you be more specific?"

Who first saw Jesus after his resurrection?

10:43 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Who were the women at the tomb?

At what place did the risen Jesus appear to the disciples?

This is a good resource for seeing the glaring differences:

http://www.utoronto.ca/religion/synopsis/meta-5g.htm

10:44 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

How many angels were in the tomb?

Did you read the papers I sent? Did I waste my time on a ruse? If you did, was there anything controversial about the papers themselves?

11:07 pm  

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