Category Archives: Politics and sociology
There’s an interesting, and rather long, podcast here in which philosopher Lydia McGrew calls out New Testament scholars, as an entire guild, on what she perceives as systemic errors in their basic methodology, and particularly in the field of what is called “redaction criticism”. I have to say I agree with most of what she says, but there has also been a backlash from evangelical NT scholars contradicting her, partly on the basis of credentialism, ie that since she herself is not a trained New Testament scholar, she has no warrant to criticize those who are.
Over at BioLogos, Joshua Swamidass has started a new discussion, entitled “The Lutheran Option”. In it, Joshua makes the point that the Lutheran voice has rarely been heard in origins debates in the USA, and calls for a more balanced discussion in which characteristically Lutheran theological emphases are heard, alongside the more commonly heard Calvinist/Reformed and “Wesleyan” points of view.
On two occasions in the last week, BBC radio scientific programmes have claimed to offer “evolutionary explanations” for observed human phenomena, though admittedly one might (memory is hazy) have been a food programme interviewing a scientist.
One of the frustrations of web discussions about theology and science is that so many of the participants in the discussions choose to argue with a vigor all out of proportion to their knowledge of the subject at hand. It is easy enough to summon examples of individuals from all camps (YEC, OEC, atheist/materialist, TE/EC, and ID) and from all sites (such as Uncommon Descent, The Skeptical Zone, BioLogos, and Panda’s Thumb) who are guilty of forming opinions about authors they have not read, of taking strong positions in advance of learning the subject-matter, of affecting to more knowledge than they have, etc.
The commenter “Bilbo” recently stirred up a very constructive hornet’s nest at BioLogos with his thread on the origin of life (OOL). I appreciated the way he held the feet of the materialists (and of those ECs who lean to a materialist portrait of nature) to the fire on this question. However, he doesn’t always achieve constructive results, as can be seen from his new thread on the alleged sneaky machinations of people associated with Discovery.
For most of my life I’ve tried to avoid the idea of Jesus as a moral teacher, both because of the gospel of grace and forgiveness versus moralistic self-help, and because of my awareness of C S Lewis’s famous argument in Mere Christianity: A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
I was listening to Bob Dylan’s Talking World War III Blues in the car last week. Those who were of responsible age back in 1963 may remember it’s about Dylan recounting his dream of being the only one alive after a nuclear war to a psychiatrist, who eventually interrupts him saying he’s been having the same dream, only he was the only one left alive (“I didn’t see you around”). It goes on: A lot of time passed and now it seems Everybody’s having them dreams
In my last post on plausibility and credibility I had reason to quote N T Wright on how Deism first divorced God from nature back in the eighteenth century. But I didn’t mention the event commonly identified as the trigger for this radical rejection of the immanence of divine action, a rejection which persists (as I tried to show) until this day. That event was the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
This post is an occasional (and I feel necessary) return to the concept, fielded by Christian sociologist Peter Berger, of the difference between the “credible” and the “plausible”, sociologically speaking. I can illustrate this from my recent recollection of Bishop John Robinson’s book, Honest to God.
The Intelligent Design biochemist Michael Behe not long ago critiqued laboratory evidence for evolution, based on instances of loss of function, as “devolution”, and as a result brought the disdain of many Evolutionary Creationists down on himself because, you see, “there is no such thing as devolution in science.” One poster at BioLogos escalated that by saying that nearly all ID scientists believe (equally stupidly) in devolution. We’ll pass by that entirely baseless hyperbole as typical of the man, but Behe did use the word, so let’s think about it.