A commenter, for no good reason, suggested I visit SermonAudio (I discuss religion frequently, so there is good reason to mention such a site, but this was a post about sharing soup, not the body of Christ or Loaves and Fishes or the like). The link was broken but I looked around while I was there. I am uninterested in theological issues in general, but searched for evolution and found a few sermons on the subject.EDIT: The link was probably fine. Comments cannot exceed a certain number of characters or they get cut off. I could probably read it from inside Blogger and I may do so. My commenter and I need to use 'tinyurl.com' to make the address fit on the blogger comment page.
February 12th is Darwin Day. Charles Darwin (and Abraham Lincoln) were born one hundred and ninety-nine years ago.
I listened to one sermon and considered trying to tear it apart, as a good atheist should, but in honour of Darwin Day, let me instead go over the sermon and point out one particular group of errors in it: evolution is not purely atheistic.
I started listening, intending to hear the whole thing before commenting or the putting finger to keyboard but I felt I wouldn't be able to take another time through. I started writing quotes then started listing where the quotes were as I wrote them down. The first few quotes, then, have no time-stamp, but later ones do.
Dr. Griswold died in 1982 and I don't know when these recordings were made. I still find them relevant because the site felt they were relevant, posting them in 2004. The claims and points of the sermon are similar to those that could be found today. The final third is mostly about the evolutionistic worldview -which he thinks is the same as an atheistic worldview. As I am not defending atheism today, I left that part out.
Selected quotes from the sermon with my commentary in blue:
"Maybe the most subtle, and the dangerous satanic forces to undermine [Christianity] is evolution."
Without question as a believer, as a Christian, we accept what the bible says on the subject about creation.
[scientists] brag about their belief in evolution, not realizing that they are placing their faith in religious and philosophical principles and not in scientific fact.
They are opposed. You can not believe in both.
"The most logical and reasonable place to deal with an atheistic, evolutionary worldview is in the pulpit."
The evolutionary worldview is a non-theistic conception of reality.
Let's start here: evolutionary biologists reference God in their observations just as frequently as other scientists do (which is to say, not at all). I wanted to mention a situation here where a mathematician was explaining his calculations to royalty, but I can't find the details online, I don't remember enough of the story to search for it. Anyway, the King said something like, "you forgot to add God into your explanation", whereupon the mathematician replied, "God wasn't necessary".
Science cannot disprove God. It may be able to disprove certain specific claims made regarding a deity but not against the idea of God. Even disproving specific claims is challenging.
In 2005, there was a trial in Dover, Pennsylvania about Intelligent Design. In it, Michael Behe suggested an experiment that could test his claims for ID. He never actually performed the experiment.
The idea was to culture a group of flagellum-less bacteria and hold them in conditions that would encourage them to evolve flagella. The problem with this experiment is in interpreting any results. Let's see: No flagella appear- that could mean that evolution did not work or that flagella were evolving but the intelligent designer caused a miracle and removed the flagella. Flagella appear - either they evolved or the designer felt they needed them and created flagella for the bacteria. If we accept that no one can know the mind of God or that God works in mysterious ways, no result in such an experiment is meaningful. (Thank you, Richard B. Hoppe )
I suppose that scientists can (and do) argue that no flood of the proportions necessary for Noah occurred. That event might be argued for or against, but if God created such a flood and hid the evidence, we will never know.
Wherever evolutionists give any place to God, it is an abstract, cosmic mind, or cosmic hand that exploded an egg that came out to be the universes of the world.
A common error for creationists; he is mistaking evolution for all of science – here wants to argue against the Big Bang – that’s the realm of physicists, not biologists. I cheerfully accept his “…the universes of the world” remark – everyone makes little slips and such. Remember, my choice to not comment negatively means you can’t comment negatively on whatever spelling errors and non-content-related problems are found here!
12:___ But wherever evolutionism is accepted the God of the bible, biblical theism must of necessity and logic and philosophically be rejected. God must be eliminated from man's understanding of the world. But, you say, isn't that the scientific view. My dear friends, I do not know of a more loaded world view than evolution.
Any knowledgeable and reasonable evolutionist knows that he operates on presuppositions. That is presuppositions that he accepts by faith which cannot be proven scientifically.
- Some slime or mud became protoplasm...
Not exactly evolution. Abiogenesis in some form (God’s hand would be fine) had to occur before evolution had material to work on.
teachers act like red-seated baboons and its hard not to imagine that they might not have evolved from one.
I am reminded of Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce:
…the Bishop rose, and in a light scoffing tone, florid and he assured us there was nothing in the idea of evolution; rock-pigeons were what rock-pigeons had always been. Then, turning to his antagonist with a smiling insolence, he begged to know, was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey? On this Mr Huxley slowly and deliberately arose. A slight tall figure stern and pale, very quiet and very grave, he stood before us, and spoke those tremendous words [Kwandongbrian says legend has reshaped the words so often that I don’t know what he said exactly, but it boiled down to “If you use such a cheap debating technique, I would rather have a monkey than a Bishop for a father”]
The evolutionary worldview is not only non-theistic, ruling out god, but it is an irrational conception of reality. Irrational.
If a scientist should arise on Monday morning, dress himself, drive to his laboratory, or to his university chair, or to his theological field, or whatever endeavour in the name of science and operate on the principles of his evolutionary pre-supposition, he would take his clothes off, go back to bed, take an overdose of sleeping pills and go to Hell. Why? Because, with his concept of reality, the world is irrational. It was only by chance, by luck, that the sun came up. He goes down to that laboratory, its only by chance that it'll be there. And its only by chance that the mathematical formula he used to solve yesterday won't work today.
Here is where I am pissed off. A man totally ignorant of science should be more carefully making arguments based on scientific research.
The main point of this post is to correct creationists on this matter: evolutionists can be religious. See more after the quoted section.
[he is still talking about evolutionary pre-suppositions]...if he is a physician, the prescription he writes today that was usable for a man yesterday for a certain illness will kill him dead: because it is an irrational universe. In a universe without God, without rationality, things will go wild.
Again, I don’t know when this sermon was first given. When did scientists and physicians learn about evolved immunity resistance? Quinine was once an anti-malarial drug. Now it has no effect. I still take frequent quinine supplements in a juniper-berry distillation, just in case. They make me feel better; I guess you could call them a ‘tonic’ or some such thing. Anyway, this is a crazy-bad example.
presupposition ...blind laws that can not think, they might not know they are laws, and so they might not operate.
“They might not know they are laws so they might not operate.” A wonderful argument.
Here ends the quoted section
There were a few things later in the sermon I wanted to comment on. Probability. It doesn’t directly relate to my main point but creationists misuse probability so much that I must mention it.
Dr. Griswold states that a scientist stated that for humans to evolve from the first living cells was very unlikely. The odds against it were two billion to one. I have heard other, much higher numbers and always the point is to show that evolution couldn’t have happened.
Well, outside my apartment building are a row of cars. Let’s look at ten of them. Each car has a four digit license plate (there is another set of digits and a Korean syllable, but I will leave them out as I don’t know the bounds of those terms). Forty digits then. The odds of guessing, of predicting, what those forty digits are come out to one times ten to the fortieth power against. One followed by forty zeros.
Those odds are so bad that no one could ever guess them. No guess would ever be right. The odds of any forty digit number being right- well, it’s impossible.
Does that mean the ten parking spaces are empty? No. I could go down there and record those numbers and bring them back to my computer. Lets say they are 4,3,7,5,7,9,3,3,4,1,5,…..5. What are the odds of those numbers being right? One hundred percent. I am not predicting anything. It already happened.
Back to evolution, the scientist Dr. Griswold was quoting was not making a prediction at all. Things evolve, occasional catastrophes occur, and certain animals are given a lucky break. The weather is basically random, asteroid hits are random. Although Natural Selection is not random, it is affected by random occurances. There is no reason to expect people to be inevitably created by evolution. We are one possibility of, well, two billion, I guess.
Near the end of the sermon, Dr. Griswold again mistook evolutionists for atheists and atheists for bad people. He claimed Hitler was an evolutionist and that euthanasia was an evolutionist scheme. He apparently never heard of animal husbandry, which was ongoing long before Darwin and which was tied more tightly to these events than evolution (and was misused as well – I don’t want the animal husbandry people after me). Despite being a clergyman, I guess he never studied Martin Luther - the guy didn't like Jews much and Hitler didn't have to look outside of religion to invent an excuse for his monstrosities (I'm saying Hitler could have misused religion).
Dr. Griswold died more than twenty years ago. He could not have learned of the Clergy Letter Project, in which more than 11,000 Christian clergyfolk signed a letter accepting that evolution and Christianity and evolution are not in conflict and that evolution appears to be the best explanation for life’s diversity.
He did touch on theistic evolution at the end of the sermon, claiming that such a compromise was unacceptable. He is entitled to his view but this brings me back to my point of being unable to know the mind of God. The evidence is clear, the Earth is billions of years old, flowering plants occurred before bees and other pollinating insects did and there was no world-wide flood. There was also no Tower of Babel but I don’t know if that is, um, a bible myth, or a no bible myth.
The evidence is compelling: the bible, taken literally, and the evidence don’t match. Trying to claim that they do is only going to create atheists.
Happy Darwin Day, everyone!