When a scientist interprets Scripture

May 23, 2007 at 9:17 am 20 comments

Our homeRight about the time I entered grad school, I discovered that simultaneously being a physicist and a literalist Christian was difficult. A religion that relied on revelation by faith, and a discipline that relied on investigation and logic made strange bed-fellows. I was outspoken in my Christian beliefs before entering grad-school and intent on becoming a physicist, but science had forced me into silence. I had to keep my Christian convictions held to Sunday morning, and I completely separated my beliefs from daily life. I discovered for myself that religion and science simply do not mix. This was over 10 years ago, but it was probably the beginning of my gradual slide away from being “on fire” for Jesus.

One of the first things I began to do was to allegorize the Bible, or read into it things that were not there to make it fit my scientific worldview. I think most educated Christians today do this, and for the same reasons. We now understand that the universe is ~13.7 billion years old. How does the educated Christian square this with the literalist Biblical reading of 6000 years? When Genesis says “day”, what it really means is a “long age”? God provided a spark to initiate life, and guided the process of evolution by natural selection? Posit a long gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2? Genesis says, “and the Earth was without form and void”, but it really says, “*but* the earth *became* without form and void”?

Uh yeah, that’s the ticket! A day is a long age. Now let’s just sweep that nasty problem under the rug and not deal with it anymore.

I once brought an unbelieving friend to church the night our pastor was going over Genesis chapter 5. She burst out laughing when our Pastor described the Patriarchs as living in excess of 900 years. I mean she laughed LOUDLY. Boy was that embarrassing. I don’t mean I was embarrassed for her, rather I was embarrassed for our pastor having to explain this stuff to an obvious skeptic who found the whole thing hilarious. The pastor looked in our direction and said, “and for those of you who may think these long lives sound strange, please check out our library. We have books that show how ancient peoples actually had extended lives”. To which she started laughing again – LOUDLY. After the service, which was like a Comedy Club show to her, she asked me if I really believed ‘that stuff’. I said yeah, but maybe the long lives not so literally – totally unconvincing. The fact that I had to believe this kind of stuff to keep my Christian faith legitimate was pretty embarrassing to me. So much for witnessing to her!

Did Methuselah really live to 969 years? Or did year mean something else? If ‘day’ can mean ‘age’ in Gen 1, can ‘year’ mean …er…‘month’ in Gen 6? Or something? Anything? Maybe Methuselah was a prominent tribe of people who flourished for 969 years? Sure, yeah that sounds good. But how can a tribe begat sons and daughters? Was the entire tribe of Enoch caught up to God? A literal reading of Gen 6 makes the most sense from a literary standpoint, but … but it just *must* mean something else!

I have not even started on the biggest headaches for the modern educated Christian, namely the Adam and Eve story, the origin of languages in the Tower of Babel story, the flood of Noah, or pretty much anything else in Genesis 1 through 11. I swear, I think I can write a book on this subject, and I think someday I just might do that. Because unless you are a member of ICR or hang around the Answers in Genesis crowd, the modern educated Christian must compromise his or her beliefs in a literal Bible to have any credibility within our current scientific understandings. As a scientist, I had to do it for years, and frankly I think it is a cheap cop-out. But it is an understandable cop-out. A Christian Scientist must compromise his or her views either toward the scientific discipline or biblical literalism. Which side usually wins?

-HeIsSailing

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20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. agnosticatheist  |  May 23, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    If you want to LOL (as HIS’s friend did) or even ROFLOL, please check out the site HIS Posted:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/qa.asp

    Here you will find answers to the following questions:

    – Darwinism—it teaches human female inferiority?
    – Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?
    – Is ‘interracial’ marriage biblical?
    – Where did Cain find his wife?
    – Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?
    – Is there really a God?
    – Why couldn’t God have used evolutionary processes to create?
    – Was Noah’s Flood global or local?
    – What’s the best ‘proof’ of creation?
    – How can we see distant stars in a young universe?
    – What about the big bang?
    – How long were the days of Genesis 1?
    – How accurate is the Carbon-14 dating method?

    Enjoy!!!!!

  • 2. Justin  |  May 23, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    I don’t see a big problem with what you mentioned HIS. It only makes sense that, just like scientific knowledge is expanding, that religious knowledge happens as well – in the end the overlaying consistences of the Bible remain true; the message transcends science.

    Apparent problems begin to occur with the text is read with strict literalism. Some people feel that any translation less than literal means inserting the translator’s own opinions about the meaning of the original. But this is not true. A translator does not make up the meaning of the original; he discovers it through commonsense study of the language patterns of the original text. It also is beneficial to think/read spiritually, that is when the truth of the scripture is revealed.

    Good post and God bless.

  • 3. Simen  |  May 23, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Justin, I think that’s what the post is about. You reinterpret and reinterpret, just so you don’t have to face the unpleasant truth. Here’s what understoodr to be the core of this post (of course, Hels Sailing is welcome to point out otherwise):

    A literal reading of Gen 6 makes the most sense from a literary standpoint, but … but it just *must* mean something else!

    [...]
    Because unless you are a member of ICR or hang around the Answers in Genesis crowd, the modern educated Christian must compromise his or her beliefs in a literal Bible to have any credibility within our current scientific understandings. As a scientist, I had to do it for years, and frankly I think it is a cheap cop-out.

    A rule of thumb is that when your facts are fitted to the theory and not the other way round, you’ve passed into the realm of wishful thinking.

  • 4. Karen  |  May 23, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    One of the first things I began to do was to allegorize the Bible, or read into it things that were not there to make it fit my scientific worldview. I think most educated Christians today do this, and for the same reasons.

    This reminds me of Dan Barker (Losing Faith in Faith), who said that his god got more and more abstract until basically it evaporated of its own accord!

    HIS, I agree that many non-fundy Christians do exactly what you did: Find non-literal interpretations of the bible so they can retain belief while making their religion compatible with the rest of their reasoning.

    (I was a fundy, so we firmly believed in a literal interpretation – except when we decided that a particular passage wasn’t literal, of course! ;-) )

    But many of those non-literalists can go on for the rest of their lives either “interpreting” away the nonsensical or distasteful passages in the bible, or compartmentalizing belief. Why do you think you were not content to stay that way? Why did you take the next step (if you’ve managed to suss that out yet)?

  • 5. HeIsSailing  |  May 23, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Justin sez:
    “I don’t see a big problem with what you mentioned HIS. It only makes sense that, just like scientific knowledge is expanding, that religious knowledge happens as well – in the end the overlaying consistences of the Bible remain true; the message transcends science.”

    Hi Justin. I agree that problems do arise when the Bible is taken literally, either/or scientifically, theologically, literary or historically. Maybe in a couple of other ways that I missed too. The problem is that when you start to allegorize or reinterpret scripture, you are juggling at least these separate sciences, and you have to maintain integrity in each. Christianity has many legs that it must stand on.

    Here is a very simple example taken from my article. Consider Genesis 5:25-27 from NASB –

    Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.

    What do we, as educated humans in the 21st century, interpret this? There is the literal interpretation. Methuselah was a man who became the father of Enoch at 782 years old, and died at 969 years old. Does this make sense scientifically? Historically? No reliable evidence exists that humans ever lived that long, so we have to say ‘No’.

    But it does make sense in a literary sense, in other words the literal reading makes a logical and coherant story. Enoch, his son, was a man who walked with God and was taken up by God. Later in the chapter, Noah is described as being 500 years old with 3 sons. So I don’t think we are talking about tribes or generations here. Enoch and Noah were individual human beings, it makes sense for Methuselah to be also. Any other interpretation makes no sense from a literary standpoint.

    So you see, if this story is true we have a dichotomy either historically, scientifically or in a literary sense.

    I can find little theological significance to this passage, so that is one less plate that we have to juggle. This passage is very simple in that regard. Trying to juggle the vast literary and theological significance of the Adam and Eve story with known history and science is, in my reading, wholly untenable.

    Justin, how do you interpret the Methuselah passage, picking a very easy example, and how do maintain consistant integrity such as I have described?

  • 6. HeIsSailing  |  May 23, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Thus asketh Karen:
    “many of those non-literalists can go on for the rest of their lives either “interpreting” away the nonsensical or distasteful passages in the bible, or compartmentalizing belief. Why do you think you were not content to stay that way?”

    Hi Karen – I had to think about this question for a bit. I was pretty fundamentalist – I think you and I once had a conversation about our relationships to Calvary Chapel. Basically it was my studies in science, then in history that got me to compartmentalize. My Christian beliefs were forced to stay in church, and since I could not mix my beliefs with what I knew science to be saying, I kept the disciplines separate.

    I also switched churches. The town were I attended university did not have a church that was hellbent on biblical literalism, so I attended an Assembly of God just up the road from me. The homily was usually based on a verse or two maximum, so that kept the troubling passages far away.

    Then I got married to a woman who was interested in learning more about the Bible. So we started hosting Bible studies in our house. The academic in me came out, because I prepared and researched rigorously for each Bible study. And those problems then resurfaced. When I caught myself *intentionally* avoiding troublesome passages of scripture so not to embarrass myself in front of my wife, I knew there was a real problem.

    There were a couple of other events in the mix, plus a book that pushed me over the edge (a Martin Luther King Jr biography of all things), but that is the quick answer to your question.

  • 7. Justin  |  May 23, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Hi HIS,
    I hate to sound so Christian cliche’, but who is to say that these individuals did not live the life as described? No one but God knows the truth behind that. I found this website (although bias) that does an interesting analysis of the ages: http://www.worldwideflood.com/general/noahs_age.htm

    You see, I notice that it can be easy for people to make “logic” the ultimate virtue. We must be careful in the use of what we believe to be logical. That’s why I mentioned reading spiritually. Many un/former believers have trouble with this concept.

    When one starts thinking spiritually, it isn’t that they are thinking unclearly or illogically (i.e. that age doesn’t logically make sense). They are simply thinking from a different perspective.

    Many principles, such as love, kindness, unselfishness and mercy, which are readily accepted as good by both Christians and non-Christians, can be destroyed by logic. For example, examine the following logical argument:

    1. To be just, one must give to another exactly what that individual deserves to get, no more and no less.
    2. To be fair, one must treat everyone equally.
    3. To be merciful is to give an individual more than what they deserve to get (in reward) or less than what they deserve to get (in punishment).
    4. Being merciful is therefore unjust.
    5. Unless everyone can be treated with the same degree of mercy or kindness, to be merciful or kind to any one person is to be unfair.

    The consequence of attempting to live by this logical, sound and valid conclusion wouldn’t be desirable. The above argument would demand that we not give to one person in need if we couldn’t give the same amount to every person in need. Before we gave anything to anyone, they must be worthy of it. We would find ourselves living in a world without grace, without mercy, without forgiveness and without kindness. We would find ourselves justifying revenge and holding grudges and keeping score, all in order to be fair and just. How can logic result in such a world?

    What is wrong with the argument presented?

    Because logic or surface thinking can destroy that which is good and logically justify both good and bad behavior, the spiritual mind is not only useful when it comes to discerning that which is good, but it is necessary to have in order to actually do that which is good, especially when a person finds themselves outside of the influence of societal pressures.

    I can give you all kinds of logical reasons not to give any of my hard-earned money away to charity. In fact, years ago, when I had an excellent salary, I managed to not donate a dime to anyone and I felt totally justified. But in loving Jesus Christ, I acquired His spirit of giving. This spirit became me; I owned it, I didn’t have to act it. Spiritual thinking allows a person to be changed from the inside. Our minds and our laws might obligate us to do good, but our spirit desires us to do good.

  • 8. Justin  |  May 23, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    oops, that last part doesnt make sense seeing how I didn’t have a job “years” ago haha…it’s from a former post on my blog that I pasted over because my fingers got tired.

    God Bless!

  • 9. HeIsSailing  |  May 24, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Justin sez:
    “When one starts thinking spiritually, it isn’t that they are thinking unclearly or illogically (i.e. that age doesn’t logically make sense). They are simply thinking from a different perspective.”

    First, I must disagree with you on semantics. Thinking spiritually does not merely mean thinking from a different perspective. You can do this with science and history just as well. Things that seem logical in science often turn out to have a surprising twist upon further investigation, and we must look at things from many perspectives.

    Thinking spiritually, with respect to Christianity, means thinking with theological significance, or Applied Theology.

    Here is an example. Let’s assume that Methuselah and his kinfolk did in fact live in excess of 900 years. Let’s just put that up front and say that is so. OK, now we must explain how that can be so, and see if it is a reasonable assumption to make. We check historical records for signs of similar long life in other ancient records. We check environmental conditions of the time, through ice core samples or something similar. What physical mechanism could have been present that allowed these guys to live so long – and which is now absent, preventing us from living so long? If you are familiar with ICR’s work, you understand the Ice Canopy Theory – that at one time, a canopy of ice enveloped the earth in a protective layer.

    That is natural thinking, in terms of history, environmental science, archeology, what have you. We can look at it in as many angles as you want, but that does not make it spiritual thinking. This is purely naturalistic thinking.

    Spiritual thinking in this case is one of two things:
    1) We investigate the theological significance of Methuselah living 969 years. Does it contain some messianic prophecy or allusion? Is it somehow a model or type for Christ’s atonement? Is there something significant in this that God would use to speak to us for our spiritual benefit? Will we have better relations with God and our neighbor because of the Methuselah passage? Thinking spiritually will answer these questions.

    2) Thinking spiritually short circuits a scientific, historical or any other natural explanation for Methuselah living 969 years. You just say, “God did it by some miracle”. Maybe that miracle itself has spiritual significance.

    These are all fine, and it is valid when reading Scripture. Scpriture is, after all, applied theology. But for it to have any valid Divine Authority (ie: is it really true?), it must also square with other natural disciplines: History, physics, astronomy, literature, archeology, etc.

    The reference that you cited is a quick example of how not to do this. It assumes that Genesis 5 is literally true, then plots a graph of decreasing lifespans, fits a power law function to it.. and .. and that’s about it. Now I have read and heard plenty over the years about vapor canopies and ice canopies (first made popular in Whitcomb and Morris, ‘The Genesis Flood’ from 1961) which protected the Earth from radiation and induced long lives. Your article also references another article by Barry Setterfield, who wrote a book some years ago that took Immanuel Velikovsky one step further. Basically, Setterfield proposed a model in the late 1980s in which Mars occassionally (I think every 157 years if memory serves) crosses the path of Earth’s orbit causing catastrophies of various sorts. To explain Noah’s Flood, Setterfield claims Mars once passed too close to Earth, shattered the ice canopy, the ice heated causing the deluge, the ice which acted as a protective layer against aging was destroyed – and there you go. The explanation for Methuselah’s long life, and why we now die so young today.

    OK, this is the best physical explanation that I have heard of to explain Methuselah. We can test that explanation physically, in terms of its structural integrity, its heat properties, etc. Let me tell you, as a physical model – it sucks. An ice canopy over the earth’s atmosphere large enough to deluge the planet would be too unstable a structure, give the Earth’s surface crushing pressures, not to mention the runaway greenhouse effect such a canopy would create.

    And on it goes. So I can look at these passages spiritually, no problem. But they have to make sense on other levels as well for them to have any Divine Authority.

    Sorry this ran long. Like I said, I think I could write a book on this topic.

  • 10. Simen  |  May 24, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Justin, you’re confusing logic with scientific disciplines, such as biology and physics. There is no logical contradiction in the idea that some people lived to be a thousand years. For there to be a logical contradiction, there must be some preposition, p, that is entailed by this idea, while its negation, ~p, is also entailed by this idea.

    Instead, we must ask, “does physics and biology allow for humans to live so long?” And they don’t. Aside from the obvious flaws in this idea, there’s the problem with cells that simply don’t spawn new ones after a certain age. There’s the heart that simply doesn’t beat once it’s turned some inherent milestone. These are questions that won’t go away. Humans wouldn’t live that long because of a special climate. There would need to be fundamental differences between these humans and current day humans, possibly so large that the two couldn’t even interbreed. And all this has simply gone away in the blink of an eye, leaving no traces behind but some lines in a single book?

    Perhaps it’s because my experience with Christianity has always been cultural, and the fact that I never was really into any religion besides its cultural impact, but I simply cannot see what this “spiritual thinking” has that elevates it from wishful thinking to valid reasoning. If you applied the same principles to The Lord of the Rings, you would get much the same results: magic, evil lord, gods and heroes. There’s even a great flood that sinks an entire civilization (Numenór), if I remember correctly from the time I used to read Tolkien’s mythology religiously (haha!). And you’d get the same kind of inconsistencies with the proven record of history. And you’d get around it in much the same way, by spiritually reinterpreting the inconsistencies as allegory or using far-out ideas such as this ice canopy thing.

  • 11. agnosticatheist  |  May 24, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Justin,
    Interesting and entertaining link:

    Misconceptions:
    “The numbers are months, not years”.
    Since the longevity appears to be about 10 times the modern lifespan, a natural conclusion is to doubt their authenticity. Converting the pre-flood figures to months seems to bring the ages within comfortable limits – Methuselah’s 969 years becomes 81. But there are some fatal flaws with this theory.
    – The fathering age is too low. Enoch was 65 when he fathered Methuselah, and 65 months makes him a father at the grand old age of 5. In fact most of the lineage would have been fathered by children who had yet to reach puberty!

    Don’t you think it interesting that they’re arguing positively for people living to be very old despite some of the biological issues Simen laid out but they’re using those same biological argument to judge the age of puberty.

    It’s just as probable (using faith not science) that they could have reached puberty at 5 as it is that they lived 900+ years.
    aA

  • 12. Justin  |  May 24, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Simen,
    you mentioned that logic implies that p exists at the same time as -p, which creates logical contradiction. According to the dictionary, logic is defined as, “The science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference”.

    In this case, p is the inference that the various biblical characters lived extensive lengths of time, and -p is the inference that they did not. I would contend that scientific disciplines such as biology and physics are not different from logic, but rather are very much so intertwined with it in that they set the paradigm and principles for supposed logical inferences. In regards to the actual ages of these individuals, I don’t look at the issue as black and white. Simply put, our logic/reasoning/knowledge is really stupidity compared to God’s. Is the age in years? Is it something else? Was the bible entirely inspired by God, or were just the events His doing (and man became responsible for recording them)? When arguments about the Bible or religion come up, they usually address only one area of belief; perhaps one or two “camps” of thought. In other words, there are countless questions with no definite answer unless you have faith (i.e. faith in religion, faith in God, faith in science).

    Unfortunately, this is the type of thing we could discuss day in and day out, and really not get anywhere.

    in regards to the ages of the characters, feel free to check out this link for a possible explanation: http://www.noahs-ark-flood.com/ages.htm

    God Bless.

  • 13. Simen  |  May 24, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    You mentioned that logic implies that p exists at the same time as -p, which creates logical contradiction. According to the dictionary, logic is defined as, “The science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference”.

    Logic is a science in the way mathematics is a science. It’s not empirical reasoning. All the sciences employ logic, of course, but it is a separate field of study itself. I didn’t say that logic implies both p and its negation, I said that that’s the definition of a logical contradiction. If an inference contains a contradiction, it’s obviously invalid.

    In this case, p is the inference that the various biblical characters lived extensive lengths of time, and -p is the inference that they did not. I would contend that scientific disciplines such as biology and physics are not different from logic, but rather are very much so intertwined with it in that they set the paradigm and principles for supposed logical inferences.

    That’s wrong. No result in biology or physics can change logic.

    In regards to the actual ages of these individuals, I don’t look at the issue as black and white.

    You don’t? How about this: did Metuselah live 969 years? That is a simple black/white, yes/no question. We’re not interested in its spiritual or allegorical value, but its truth value. Is the question true? Is this how it really happened? No amount of interpreting will lead us away from that.

    Simply put, our logic/reasoning/knowledge is really stupidity compared to God’s.

    God’s logic works in mysterious ways?

    Is the age in years? Is it something else? Was the bible entirely inspired by God, or were just the events His doing (and man became responsible for recording them)?

    Why would God be so stupid as to write/inspire/whatever his grand work in a way that is so easily misunderstood if he wanted it to be understood?

    In other words, there are countless questions with no definite answer unless you have faith (i.e. faith in religion, faith in God, faith in science).

    Name one such question, please.

  • 14. cragar  |  May 24, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Justin–I find it interesting that you give us a link to a site that theoretically explains the problem with ages in the Bible but on the same site also pretty much debunks the Noah flood story as being a localized flood, probably copied from Gilgamesh or one of the other authors.

  • 15. Justin  |  May 24, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    woops Simen, sorry I misunderstood your descirption of logic. I am happy to see that we agree that all sciences employ logic.

    You’re right, biology and physics cannot change logic, but they can lead to illogical explanations (earth is the center of the universe). In this case, the sciences were not utilized correctly which resulted in a illogical explanation of how the solar sytem worked. I am confident that mistakes in our sciences do exist still, and years down the road we will discover the flaws (like we have of our previous generations).

    The answer isn’t black and white because who can really say for sure what it is. What you or I believe doesn’t change what really was the case, and, we can’t know it with 100% certainty without employing a degree of faith (in God, science, etc.).

    One question without a 100% verfied answer? Easy – how did creation come to be? Evolution is still a theory but people will use faith to say that it (the big bang and the like) is for certain. Similar to the way the believer does in reference to God.

    For another question, we need only to return to your last post: “Why would God be so stupid to write/inspire/whatever his grand work in a way that is so easily misunderstood if he wanted to be understood?

    Perhaps there is a greater truth that He wishes us to seek for (similar to gnosticism maybe) – perhaps we are reading wrong (spiritually vs. literal vs. poetic vs. allegorically). Maybe we are being the “stupid” ones? I don’t have all the answers, I’m not God nor pretend to be.

    God Bless.

  • 16. Simen  |  May 24, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    You’re right, biology and physics cannot change logic, but they can lead to illogical explanations (earth is the center of the universe). In this case, the sciences were not utilized correctly which resulted in a illogical explanation of how the solar sytem worked.

    Again, there is no logical contradiction in the idea. Geocentrism is logically valid, it just happens to be wrong. Do you see the difference between logically valid and true? All true claims must be logically valid, but all logically valid claims must not be true.

    I am confident that mistakes in our sciences do exist still, and years down the road we will discover the flaws (like we have of our previous generations).

    True.

    The answer isn’t black and white because who can really say for sure what it is. What you or I believe doesn’t change what really was the case, and, we can’t know it with 100% certainty without employing a degree of faith (in God, science, etc.).

    The answer is indeed black or white, there is no middle ground. It is our understanding of the answer that is lacking, but for practical purposes, we know it.

    One question without a 100% verfied answer? Easy – how did creation come to be? Evolution is still a theory but people will use faith to say that it (the big bang and the like) is for certain. Similar to the way the believer does in reference to God.

    Every time someone brings up this, I feel like I’m slamming my head into a stone wall. Evolution is a theory the same way the earth is round is a theory. Faith in evolution is on the same level as faith that gravity will still work tomorrow. It is not, I repeat, not in any way similar to belief in God.

    It is a testable hypothesis about the world, one that we will reject if its predictions turn out to be untrue. They haven’t.

    “Just a theory” is an incredibly weak defense. It’s utterly wrong. There is no “just” in it. How do you know of the existence of other minds? Just a theory. How do you know the earth is more than a week old? Just a theory.

  • 17. Justin  |  May 25, 2007 at 12:49 am

    I guess I don’t know what to say Simen, I feel the same way (the head slamming thing) when people contend the theory is fact. On a side note, the fact that God is not subject to the scientific method does not exclude Him from existence. In fact, using the scientific method in regards to God is really a poor decision – I wrote a post on the subject on my blog, but aA and I have talked and I think he will be putting it up on here sometime in the future. Until then have a great long weekend!

    God Bless.

  • 18. Simen  |  May 25, 2007 at 7:29 am

    I guess I don’t know what to say Simen, I feel the same way (the head slamming thing) when people contend the theory is fact.

    Here’s some recommended reading for you: Evolution is a Fact and a Theory.

    On a side note, the fact that God is not subject to the scientific method does not exclude Him from existence. In fact, using the scientific method in regards to God is really a poor decision – I wrote a post on the subject on my blog, but aA and I have talked and I think he will be putting it up on here sometime in the future.

    The existence of a personal god is very much a scientific issue. I’ll grant you, a deistic god that creates the universe and runs off isn’t exactly within the reach of science. However, a god that is active in the world will leave evidence, and that evidence can be studied scientifically. Now, the reason you don’t see much research about gods is that believers aren’t willing or able to make accurate predictions that would render their gods falsifiable. If Christians compiled a list of predictions that would be true if their god existed, we might be able to test them and falsify your god. But since no Christians are doing it, we can’t falsify the Christian God. We can reasonably assume this god would leave some evidence, though, and we have yet to see evidence that e.g. prayer is effective.

  • 19. Justin  |  May 25, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Simen,
    thanks for the link, I checked it out. I should have clarified that I do believe in evolution to a degree (hey, I was a psych minor), so I am familiar with many of its tenets. While researching the website you suggested, I came across the following page:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-god.html

    I believe there are many important truths said on this site that strict evolutionists need to consider! In particular:

    “If the question is whether evolution disproves the basic underlying theme of Genesis, that God created the world and the life in it, the answer is no.” (I couldn’t agree more with that).

    Anyway, I’m off to get some lunch, have a great holiday weekend.

  • 20. Simen  |  May 25, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    “If the question is whether evolution disproves the basic underlying theme of Genesis, that God created the world and the life in it, the answer is no.” (I couldn’t agree more with that).

    Oh, I agree with that. Evolution says nothing about either the creation of the world or the creation of life itself. It deals strictly with what happens after the world exists and there is life in it.

    It does, however, rule out intelligent design.

    Anyway, I’m off to get some lunch, have a great holiday weekend.

    You too.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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