Wednesday, July 13, 2011
What If They Held a War . . .
I've beem remiss in blogging of late for various reasons, so I thought I'd revive some older posts for those who don't obsessively comb through my previous efforts. Feel free to ignore this.
January 08, 2006:
There is a nice confluence in the news today. First there is an Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post by Alan Cutler, a geologist and author of The Seashell on the Mountaintop about Nicolaus Steno, a scientific giant who is too little known today. As Cutler explains in the article:
Steno was primarily an anatomist, but he is best remembered for his pioneering studies in geology. In 1669 he published in Florence -- Galileo's old stomping grounds -- a startling proposal: that the fossils and rock layers of the earth, if studied scientifically, gave a chronicle of the earth's history at least as valid as the accepted version in the verses of Genesis.
There wasn't a peep of official complaint. Steno wasn't criticized, much less condemned. In fact, he was put on a fast track to priesthood and then a bishopric. To top it off, in 1988 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II.
Meanwhile, we also have the story of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the oldest Evangelical Lutheran Church seminary in the U.S., offering a course on the legal case over the Dover Area School District's attempt to inject intelligent design into its curriculum.
The seminary has been especially interested in the Dover story because the Rev. Warren Eshbach, a founder of Dover CARES and one of the most prominent critics of Dover's revoked intelligent design policy, is also an adjunct faculty member.
The seminary touts Eshbach's involvement in the Dover case as one of its most important issues of 2005.
Both Eshbach and Eric H. Crump, an associate professor of systematic theology, have also signed the Clergy Letter Project, in which more than 10,000 clergy signed a petition in support of the teaching of evolution.
We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as "one theory among others" is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God's good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator.
The historical relationship between science and religion has been as complex as any human relationship. There is no reason to think that this will change. The warfare thesis suits the polemical purposes of partisans in certain social and political debates. But it harms religion by portraying it as overly dogmatic and reactionary. It also harms science by portraying it as hostile or at least indifferent to the average person's spiritual needs.
* Draper's book was a diatribe against the Roman Catholic Church's then recent claim of infallibility of the Pope when speaking ex cathedra and its attempt to exert authority over public institutions' instruction in science and literature. White wrote in response to criticisms of his charter for Cornell University as a nonsectarian institution, a controversial idea at the time.
If you think attacking religious beliefs is part of defending science education, then congradulations, you have adopted the gnu position.
-- pew sitter
you cannot expect me to support a statement that I believe has some falsehood(in my opinion) in it , now would you?
you cannot expect me to support statements that are deliberately vague - what does timeless mean anyway?
you cannot expect me to support misleading statements such as "believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist" - when they don't comfortably coexist. if they did comfortably coexist , you wouldn't have the issue we have and you wouldn't need to make the statement.
you cant expect me to support a sectarian statement(why only the bible?), would you ?
and you cant expect me to support pseudo Intelligent Design statements like Gods gift are human minds. What does "gifts" mean when it comes to evolution?
and better yet the clergy statement could have simply read
"We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as "one theory among others" is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children."
Then its something we could have signed up for along with the clergy , no?
if they had this version of the statement then yes I could say that the clergy is *mainly* interested in defending science education.
If you think attacking religious beliefs is part of defending science education,
I gave you the version of the statement that is acceptable to me. if you think that is attacking religious belief then so be it.
It is a very curious comfortable coexistence that gets shattered when a bunch of religious nuts use a bunch of poor creationist and ID arguments.
Exactly, and the Clergy Letter Project, etc. intend to re-assert that comfortable coexistence.
So one branch of religious authority asserts no comfortable coexistence and another branch asserts that it does - very effective, right?
Objections were made clear in my second comment.
Right now I only amuse myself with the irony inherent in tackling the logical fallacy of argument by authority with (drum roll) argument by authority.
Modern scholarship has shed a lot of light on origins and interpretations of scripture
Ha ha - so silly of that so many religious people down the centuries believed and interpreted the bible literally. They must be feeling pretty embarrassed in heaven/hell unless that non literal too.
And when two of the main gospels trace the path from the non literal Adam to the literal Jesus, I wonder how this transition is made? maybe you with your knowledge of Modern scholarship can enlighten us.
Now you're changing the subject.
Because I've already said whatever I need to say on my objections to the clergy letter.
I believed based on your last comment we had moved onto the non literal interpretation of scripture. I just want to know when the non literal become literal because you know two gospel writers do trace from Adam to Jesus , and I thought you with your grasp of modern scholarship would happen to know.
But either way the main point still stands: Those who support the Clergy Letter project and interpret genesis non-literally have a solid intellectual foundation for doing so, which is not the case for the young-earth creationists.