Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ken Ham's Exclusionist Theology: Can you reject a literal six-day creation and still be orthodox?

I have propounded my own theory of human development on this blog many times. I believe, as I have said, that the evidence suggests that human beings are evolving into creationists. There are many indications that creationism is on the rise, and that Darwinists are headed for extinction, the victim of their own theory that it is only the fit that survive. I have called their fitness into question on the basis of a disorder known as "Darwinian Intolerance" (DI), a malady which I attribute to close intellectual inbreeding and whose acronym, I am amused to note, is the same as that of the Discovery Institute.

But a monkey wrench, so to speak, has been thrown into the legitimacy of my theory by a prominent creationist, who appears to have contracted a bad case of a related malady. Ken Ham, the proprietor of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, a facility whose right to exist I have defended on a number of occasions against the Darwin Police who have sought to shut the place down, appears to have descended to the same level of intellectual intolerance to which he himself has been subjected by his Darwinist detractors. He has gone after a fellow speaker at a home school convention for not being sufficiently close-minded about the issue of creation.

Jay Wile, who I had the great pleasure of having dinner with a couple times last week at the Southwest Home School Convention, is a science teacher and the author of a set of widely used science textbooks--and a creationist. He blogged about this at Proslogion, defending Peter Enns, a well-regarded Biblical scholar against Ham's charge that, because he does not believe in a literal account of creation, Enns is a "compromiser" and a theological "liberal."

One of the things you find out pretty quickly from talking with Wile is that he is a practitioner of the arts of critical thinking, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion, things which the New Atheists and other militant Darwinists officially oppose. And he had the temerity to actually apply them to statements which didn't really deserve them.

And to top it off, Wile's defense of Enns itself was attacked by the Hamites, as evidenced by the now 141 comments on this post.

One of the points Wile makes is that, if you are going to categorize everyone who does not believe in a literal 6-day creation as a compromiser and theological liberal, then you're going to have to deal with the consequences, which consist of calling people theological liberals who clearly are not.

Here's the argument:
  • All people who reject a literal 6-day creation are compromisers and theological liberals
  • C. S. Lewis (and Norman Geisler, and Gleason Archer, and William Lane Craig, [provide your own name from the list of prominent orthodox thinkers throughout the history of the Church] rejects a literal 6-day creation
  • Therefore, C. S. Lewis (etc.) is a compromiser and a theological liberal
The major premise here, which is clearly the one on which the Hamites are operating, leads to obvious absurdity. It's enough to cause a retrograde kink in my theory of the linear evolutionary ascent of creationists over time.

I have a quick and easy way to determine whether someone is orthodox: Go over each point in the Nicene Creed. If they affirm them all (with the possible exception of the "filioque" clause, which was added after the Council and which, on that plausible ground, the Eastern Orthodox reject), then they're orthodox. That was the Church's way of doing it. Might as well get used to it.

[And we note that a literal six-day creation was not one of the things the early Church chose to make a criterion of orthodoxy]

And I have an equally quick way of determining whether they really believe in a literal reading of the Bible: Offer them a bottle of fine French wine. If they refuse on Biblical grounds (despite all those pesky positive portrayals of "wine" that cannot be explained away by tortuous cultural, moral, sociological, and theological reasoning), then they really don't believe in the literal interpretation they profess.

Is there something complicated about all this?

88 comments:

KyCobb said...

You mean that up until now you thought Ken Ham was intellectually tolerant?

Martin Cothran said...

KyCobb,

Well, you see, up until now, he hasn't been going around trying to silence people who disagree with him. So far, the Darwinists have had a corner on that market.

Art said...

LOL...

Lost in all the drama is the fact that most of the parties in this soap opera - Wile, Ham, and Cothran - are united in their aversion to scientific evidence. They actually hold to the same creed - that truth is determined by whatever tenets one's particular sect has invented.

What is worse - Ham's insistence on a 6000 year old universe, or Martin's "6000, 4 billion, whatever you want to believe" approach? Enquiring minds want to know.

KyCobb said...

On the contrary, Martin, you aren't allowed to join AiG unless you swear their loyalty oath to biblical literalism against all evidence to the contrary. Ham has always considered any deviation from his theology to be a dangerous threat to christianity.

BTW, since you have been defending the Creation Museum from being shut down, can you tell me exactly what legal actions were filed by Darwinists to forcibly shutter its doors? I'm surprised I haven't heard about them.

Singring said...

'One of the things you find out pretty quickly from talking with Wile is that he is a practitioner of the arts of critical thinking, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion...'

I quote Jay Wile's post you link to, Martin:

'...I thought it only right for another young-earth creationist (yours truly) to offer a different view.'

So Wile is a self-avowed young-earth creationist. This obviously leads to the conclusion that you, Martin, think of a person that holds the earth to be about 10,000 years old to be, I quote, 'a practitioner of the arts of critical thinking, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion'.

This strikes me as somewhat strange, Martin, seeing as you have previously stated the following:

'Despite what several commentators have implied, I have never argued that the evidence for the older age of the earth is problematic. I really don't have any problem with it, other than I think holding people to particular figures two or three places to the right of the decimal point in your millions of years figure is a little silly.' (July 10 2007)

and

'I even went to the trouble [...] to indicate that it seemed to me the earth was very old.'
(July 6 2007)

So apparently you either

a) don't know that Wiley is a YEC and thus made the comments about his thinking skills in error

b) have changed your mind on the age of the earth since July 2007 and now hold to a YE view

c) don't think of yourself as a 'critical thinker'.

I wonder which it is?

Singring said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Singring said...

Another golden quote, this time from the comments section on your own post you link to above:

'I don't ascribe to the belief that the earth is 6,000 years old, since I don't think that's what the text of Genesis necessarily implies.'

First of all, it is illsutrative of your approach to issues dealing with reality that you do not cite empirical evidence and scientific research as the reason you believe the earth is not young, but the fatc that it is 'not necessarily implied by Genesis.'

In other words, the way you decide important questions about reality is first and foremost by whether or not the answer agrees with the Bible. This is hardly a mark of excellence in critical thinking and objective debate, now is it?

But in connection with the other two of your quotes on the age of the earth, the one above being the most explicit (June 13 2007), the question becomes ever more intriguing:

What's going on here, Martin? Are you a YEC now? Were you unaware of Wile's YEC position? Or are you simply disqualifying yourself from being a critical thinker?

Thomas said...

I guess by Ham's view, Augustine is a theological liberal:

"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are."

"With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation."

Anonymous said...

Martin is #85
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/RationalWiki:Encyclopedia_of_American_Loons

Anonymous said...

Singring,

You sound like a person who considers themself a fair, openminded, objective type, so why don't you take a look at Wile's blog for yourself?

http://blog.drwile.com/

You may not agree with his theology, but he has an earned Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry. What are your credentials?

Wile makes it clear that he is a Christian who accepts the Bible as authoritative, but he is a young-earth creationist based on his understanding of the scientific evidence, NOT primarily on his understanding of the Bible. Wile fully supports other Christians who hold an old-earth view, and is open to changing his view based on sound scientific evidence.

I know it is hard for those who worship at the altar of naturalistic materialism under their high priest Dawkins to fathom the possibility that there might actually be some non-fabricated evidence in favor of a young earth, but just read Wile's posts on the age of the earth for yourself and see if he comes across as the uneducated idiot you think him to be....

One Brow said...

Dr. Wile is an intelligent, pleasant, principled, and polite person on his blog, from the few interactions I have had, and I am not surprised he rose to such a defense. He is not a critical thinker. Rather, he will insist on a particular point to support his position, even when that point is not valid.

Singring said...

'why don't you take a look at Wile's blog for yourself?'

I have. I have also commented on his blog in one instance where I maintain he misrepresented a scientific finding and subsequent dispute.

'You may not agree with his theology...'

I am not debating Wile's theology. I am not even debating Wile. I am debating Martin's own statements about the age of the earth and his subsequent statements about the qualities of Dr. Wile's intellect which seem to be at completed odds with his own position.

'...but he has an earned Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry.'

And that makes him an expert in Biology or Geology how exactly? In fact someone who has a PhD in nuclear chemistry has simply no excuse for believing in things so fundamentally opposed to the actual evidence in his and other fields of science.

'What are your credentials?'

I ahve just completed a PhD in Biology (Ecology, to be precise). That certainly doesn't make me an expert on evolutionary biology or geology - but then neitehr does Dr. Wile's PhD in nuclear chemistry make him an expert in any of these fields. In fact, you don't need any scientific credentials to figure out very quickly that believeing the earth is 10,000 years old is next to lunacy.

'Wile makes it clear that he is a Christian who accepts the Bible as authoritative, but he is a young-earth creationist based on his understanding of the scientific evidence, NOT primarily on his understanding of the Bible.'

As I pointed out above, I was quoting Martin, not Wile. Reading my posts carefully should nip such misconceptions in the bud.

'but just read Wile's posts on the age of the earth for yourself and see if he comes across as the uneducated idiot you think him to be....'

I have. He does not come across as an uneducated idiot at all and I never said he was. It takes a great deal of intelligence to mangle, distort and misrepresent scientific data to mislead an ignorant audience as well as he does.

KyCobb said...

Anonymous,

Dr. Wile sells textbooks to homeschoolers. If he admitted that the earth is billions of years old, his sales would disappear. Thus he has a very strong economic incentive to use his credentials to tell fundamentalists what they want to hear.

Our Founding Truth said...

I don't believe Ham went to seminary. If he did, he would understand Orthodoxy concerns the Person of Jesus Christ.

Creation, prophecy, etc. are non-essentials to salvation.

However, macro evolution is more ridiculous to believe than separation of church and state.

Singring said...

'However, macro evolution is more ridiculous to believe than separation of church and state.'

Hi OFT!

Could you please tell me what the difference is between 'microevolution' and 'macroevolution'? Thanks!

KyCobb said...

OFT,

If you believe that the church and the state are united in the U.S., I guess you'll believe anything.

Our Founding Truth said...

macro evolution is changing of species to species. Micro is a changing within species. We see there are many different strains of dogs, but not no change of dogs to cats.

KyCobb,

If you read my blog you will understand what the framers said, given all the quotes.

The separation doctrine you understand is not what the framers wanted, nor advocated.

They wanted to prohibit a National Church, like the church of england, not eliminate public religious expression which cannot be an establishment of Christianity. This is why the framers established Christianity in their States:


Constitution of the State of North Carolina (1776) until 1876, stated: There shall be no establishment of any one religious church or denomination in this State in preference to any other. Article XXXII That no person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.

Constitution of the State of Maryland (August 14, 1776) until 1851, stated: Article XXXV That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support and fidelity to this State and such oath of office, as shall be directed by this Convention, or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion.” That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God is such a manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested… on account of his religious practice; unless, under the color [pretense] of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality… yet the Legislature may, in their discretion, lay a general and equal tax, for the support of the Christian religion.

Constitution of the State of New Hampshire (1784,1792), required senators and representatives to be of the: Protestant religion. (in force until 1877)The Constitution stipulated: Article I, Section VI. And every denomination of Christians demeaning themselves quietly, and as good citizens of the state, shall be equally under the protection of the laws. And no subordination of any one sect of denomination to another, shall ever be established by law.

Martin Cothran said...

Art said: Wile, Ham, and Cothran - are united in their aversion to scientific evidence. They actually hold to the same creed - that truth is determined by whatever tenets one's particular sect has invented.

This, coming from a scientific materialist?

Martin Cothran said...

KyCobb,

you aren't allowed to join AiG unless you swear their loyalty oath to biblical literalism against all evidence to the contrary.

Requiring certain beliefs to join an organization has precisely nothing to do with what I said. Every organization has certain things requires of those who join it.

Martin Cothran said...

KyCobb,

BTW, since you have been defending the Creation Museum from being shut down, can you tell me exactly what legal actions were filed by Darwinists to forcibly shutter its doors? I'm surprised I haven't heard about them.

Why should I? Where did I say they You don't seem to be reading my posts carefully.

Martin Cothran said...

Singring,

Put the two statements on the age of the earth (statements I have never made, since I have never taken any position on this issue) you think are logically contradictory right next to each other so I can see what you're talking about.

I bet you can't find them.

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

Is citing a site that calls people names on the sole basis of one blogger who is a demonstrable liar supposed to constitute an argument?

Martin Cothran said...

One Brow says of Jay Wile, "He is not a critical thinker. Rather, he will insist on a particular point to support his position, even when that point is not valid."

What point?

Martin Cothran said...

Singring,

I have also commented on his blog in one instance where I maintain he misrepresented a scientific finding and subsequent dispute.

Which one? You're blowing smoke again.

Martin Cothran said...

Singring,

I am debating Martin's own statements about the age of the earth and his subsequent statements about the qualities of Dr. Wile's intellect which seem to be at completed odds with his own position.

How?

Martin Cothran said...

KyCobb,

Dr. Wile sells textbooks to homeschoolers. If he admitted that the earth is billions of years old, his sales would disappear. Thus he has a very strong economic incentive to use his credentials to tell fundamentalists what they want to hear.

So you're questioning his motives? Is that really the best you can do? Quite frankly, that pretty pitiful.

Singring said...

'since I have never taken any position on this issue'

Oh really? Having sudden lapses of memory and readiung ability, are we? Maybe you overlooked that I quoted two direct instances where you said that you thought thje earth was 'very old':

'I even went to the trouble [...] to indicate that it seemed to me the earth was very old.'
(July 6 2007)

and '

'...,I have never argued that the evidence for the older age of the earth is problematic. I really don't have any problem with it, other than I think holding people to particular figures two or three places to the right of the decimal point in your millions of years figure is a little silly.'

(July '07)

Are you now trying to tell me that you really didn't mean those things? Or are you honestly going to argue that 10,000 years constitues 'very old' in your book and that you were just kidding around about those hundreds of millions?

No, apparently you are trying the cheapest, most cowardly excuse of them all: 'I write posts quoting and lauding people because of their opinions on the age of the earth but I really don't have an opinion myself.' Never mind that you blog on global warming repeatedly despite lacking any expertise in the field, often making howling mistakes as myself and OneBrow have explained ad nauseam, yet suddenly you see no problem in using ignorance as an excuse for writing a blog post directly connected to the debate of the age of the earth.

Who do you think you're kidding, Martin?

You lauded Dr Wile as a 'critical thinker' directly in the context of the age of the earth! He said he was a YEC in the very post you link to.

So you were saying that his belief in an earth 10,000 years old is in perfect harmony with or even indicative of with being a 'critical thinker', no? I mean, what else are we possibly to take from those statements you made?

So we have to conclude that either you believe this nonsense yourself, or Dr Wile is not exactly as 'critical' a thinker as you would like to make him out to be?

Just keep running from your own words and the positions of those you laud as intellectual paragons, Martin. Its great entertainment.

Singring said...

'Which one? You're blowing smoke again.'

So you don't remember our little angiosperm sap debate which carried over to his blog?

http://blog.drwile.com/?p=3086

But yeah...instead of checking your own blog or Dr Wile's blog, just accuse me of lying for the sake of it.

'How?'

1.) You call Dr Wile - among other things - a 'critical thinker'

2.) Dr Wile is a self-confessed and proud YEC who believes that the earth is 10,000 years old.

3.) I'm pretty sure you think of yourself as a 'critical thinker' and yet you have 'no problem' with the earth being billions of years old, that you 'don't ascribe to the belief that the earth is 6,000 years old' and to whom it seems that the earth is 'very old'.

The only way to reconcile all of these statements is that either you think that 'very old' is 10,000 old and that all that other stuff (billions of years, evidence is not problematic etc.) was all just a bunch of nonsense you were making up as you went along or that either you or Dr Wile don't quite deserve the 'critical thinker' label after all.

Martin, you are now stuck in a position where you have said yourself that you see 'no problems' with the evidence for the age of the earth yet link to and laud the positions and arguments of a man who posts regularly about the supposed problems of the evidence for an old earth.

It's becoming quite a show and I suggest you just clarify your position for everyone's sake:

How old do you belive the earth is and do you think a scientists who claims it is 10,000 years old and teaches this to children is a 'critical thinker'?

Answering those questions would sort out these problems very easily.

KyCobb said...

Martin, you said in reference to the Creation Musuem,
"a facility whose right to exist I have defended on a number of occasions against the Darwin Police who have sought to shut the place down"

If the Darwin Police didn't take legal action to shut down the Creation Museum, perhaps you can be more specific about how they tried to shut it down, and what you did to stop them.

BTW, I saw in the Herald-Leader that the HomeSchool Convention is now censoring Ken Ham by permanently barring him from speaking there because they don't like his message of no compromise on Genesis. Are they now the "Creation Police"? Will you fight them in defense of Ken Ham as you claim you did against whatever it is the "Darwin Police" did?

KyCobb said...

Martin,

"So you're questioning his motives? Is that really the best you can do? Quite frankly, that pretty pitiful."

Well if you want to go into specifics, his argument about the variability of radioactive decay to attack the accuracy of radiometric dating is pretty weak, since the variance detected by some researchers is minor, and not on the orders of magnitude it would require to compress billions of years of earth history into 10,000 years. It appears that he is grasping at straws. I do think it is relevant to his credibility that he has an economic interest in disagreeing with the overwhelming majority of scientists on an issue that is not controversial outside of the fundamentalist community.

KyCobb said...

Martin,

"Requiring certain beliefs to join an organization has precisely nothing to do with what I said. Every organization has certain things requires of those who join it."

Would such organizations include schools and universities? Because I have gotten the impression that the Right thinks that anyone who dabbles in Intelligent Design should be exempt from traditional requirements to publish and obtain research grants and should instead be granted tenure automatically.

Martin Cothran said...

Singring,

So you're saying that the statements

"X is a believer in creation"

and

"X is a critical thinker"

are logically contradictory?

Singring said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Singring said...

Martin, I am just tired of your pathetic attempts at skirting the issue. Just for once it would be nice if you actually had the intellectual courage and honesty to come out and clearly state your position and answer those very basic questions I have raised, instead you go back to your old game of 'dodging the logical bullet'. Its a sad display indeed.

As to my personal opinion? I believe that anyone who touts a PhD in science and then claims that the earth is 10,000 years old has indeed relinquished any right to being called a 'critical thinker'. Especially since the idea of the earth being 10,000 years old can be readily falsified in dozens of ways with the education of a highschool graduate.

Do you want an example of Dr Wile's 'critical thinking skills'?

Look at this blog post:

http://blog.drwile.com/?p=108

'I'll cut right to the awesome conclusion:

'Given the fact that tree rings indicate the oldest living tree to be about 5,000 years old (roughly when you would expect the worldwide flood to have happened), and given the fact that the oldest tree ring chronologies (which are upper limits) extend only to a bit over 10,000 years, it is hard to believe that these kinds of trees have existed for hundreds of millions of years.'

So ignoring all the other dating methods that correlate with the resulst of dendrochronology, genetic phylogeny, paleontology and the multitude of other evidence that clearly indicates a history of land plants going back hundreds of millions of years, Wile just says:

'Hey, look...this here dendrocrochronology is only reliably covers about 10,000 years and that's roughly how old I think the earth is, so that just convinces me the earth can't be any older than 10,000 years.'

It is intellectual dishonesty on such a grand scale I have a hard time convincing myself he is beings erious when he says something like this.

It's as if I said: 'Hey...look at this, we only have written documentation of native Americans dating back to the 15th century! Therefore, I have a really hard time believing they were around before that!'

Come on , Martin...even you should feel embarassed faced with this kind of utter nonsense.

Martin Cothran said...

Singring,

Martin, I am just tired of your pathetic attempts at skirting the issue.

Once again (and I know I keep saying this), but your emotional state is not relevant to the issue.

But I will have to admit that I really do miss you when I have to leave town and ignore my blog for a few days. And I particularly miss your puffer fish routine wherein you blow yourself up to a tremendous rhetorical size in order hide all of the dogmatic assumptions I am supposed to accept in order to answer a question the way you want me to answer it.

I then point out that you are making dogmatic assumptions, which I don't accept, at which point you blow up again in order to hide the fact that that's what you're doing.

You have accused me of logical inconsistency. I gave you the two positions that you claim are logically contradictory.

Your response? The puffer fish.

Again, here are the two things I stated, somewhat simplified:

"X is a believer in creation"

and

"X is a critical thinker"

Please state the logical contradiction.

Singring said...

'You have accused me of logical inconsistency.'

This would only be true, if, like you, I was constantly attempting to reduce my statements to some kind of logical syllogism.

Apparently words like 'opinion', 'implication' or 'insinuation' have no meaning to you. You delight in making statements that any sane person will read and interpret in one way...but then don the dancing shoes of evasion by reducing your previous statements to premises in a logical sequence of statements, as if that was how you had intended them all along.

When someone then gives you the option to very unambiguously clarifying your position by answering somple questions that any high school graduate should be able to with one sentence, you ignore these options and keep insisting that others play along with your ridiculous little song and dance.

This is what I actually said, which, as usual, I have to point out to you once again:

'I am debating Martin's own statements about the age of the earth and his subsequent statements about the qualities of Dr. Wile's intellect which seem to be at completed odds with his own position.'

You see, Martin, you cannot hold that you are a critical thinker who believes in an old earth while at the same time holding that Dr Wile is a critical thinker who believes in a young earth. Therefore, your actual position must be that either a) one of you is wrong about the age of the earth or b) one of you is not a critical thinker when it comes to the age of the earth.

The fact that you are studiously avoiding even acknowledging this problem speaks volumes. Time and again you insist on having your cake and eating it, too.

Martin Cothran said...

Puffer Fish,

I'm sorry if my resort to logic is disquieting you. If there is something other than logic that you think we should use to have a rational discussion, then please tell me what it is.

1) If the two statements I stated do not represent the two things I said that are at odds, then give me the ones that are.

2) If you mean by "at odds" something other than that they are logically contradictory, then please tell me what logical relationship they have that you object to.

Singring said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Singring said...

Oh boy, so now we're devolving to the level of childish name-calling, are we?

Martin, you go play with the other pre-schoolers while I try one more time to explain why you are embarassing yourself here:

These are the claims you have made here, and in the past:

1.) Martin Cothran is a critical and logical thinker.

2.) Martin Cothran believes the earth is 'not 6,000 years old' and probably 'very old'

3.) Jay Wile is a a critical and logical thinker.

4.) Jay Wile believes the earth is no more than roughly 10,000 years old.

Now, assuming

5.) 'critical thinking' includes the capacity to accurately evaluate and interpret scientific data (I'd love to hear you argue against this assumption, Martin, give it a shot!)

there simply is no way of reconciling the above statements. At least one of the statements must be wrong.

So which one will it be?

Do you actually believe the earth is 10,000 years old? Are you in fact, not a critical thinker? Is Dr Wile not a critical thinker? Or is he simply lying about his position on the age of the earth?

One Brow said...

Our Founding Truth said...
macro evolution is changing of species to species. Micro is a changing within species. We see there are many different strains of dogs, but not no change of dogs to cats.

Under that definition, the Theory of Evolution does not teach macroevolution. They have something they refer to as macroevolution, but it does not match your definition. So, whther belief in it requires more faith than belief in the separation of church and state is not really relevant to anything.

If you read my blog you will understand what the framers said, given all the quotes.

The notion that the founders were a unified in their interpretation of the First Amendment is quite funny. It's almost as funny as your implied claim that Madison (who opposed Congressional Chaplains) wanted the US to be a Christain nation.

KyCobb said...

OFT,

"macro evolution is changing of species to species. Micro is a changing within species. We see there are many different strains of dogs, but not no change of dogs to cats."

Its no wonder you think macro-evolution is ridiculous. No scientist would expect to see dogs become cats. They have however, observed speciation occur. I suggest that you try to learn something about evolutionary theory from somewhere other than a creationist website, which will only feed you disinformation.

One Brow said...

Martin Cothran said...
One Brow says of Jay Wile, "He is not a critical thinker. Rather, he will insist on a particular point to support his position, even when that point is not valid."

What point?


In the one discussion I have had with him, the notion that a particular change from a chemical compound in one type of tree to a stereo-isomer in another kind of tree must be a multisite change, since producing two different stereoisomers of the same compound always requires different processes. I checked with one of the authors (I asked for approval to use his name, but received no response once he found out I was communicating with Dr. Wile), and it turns out that in this particular case, the change is simple enough that it might be accomplished by a point mutation. Dr. Wile refused to acknowledge this was a possibility for this particular pair of stereoisomers, but offered no support for that refusal.

Martin Cothran said...

Singring,

I had asked you to explain to me what logical relationship you were referring to by the use of the phrase "at odds." You scrupulously refuse to answer me. It is clearly not logical contradiction, but you refuse to tell me what it is.

You continue to fudge on this. This time you say "there simply is no way of reconciling the above statements. At least one of the statements must be wrong."

First of all, you seem to be completely unaware that one of two statements can be wrong without the two statements being logically contradictory.

The only way you can say that these statements are somehow logically inconsistent is according to some assumption about scientific creationism on the one hand and critical thinking on the other.

Now you have presented an enthymeme (a rhetorical syllogism--one which is missing a premise) that seems to go like this:

Jay Wile is a creationist

Therefore Jay Wile is not a critical thinker

Would you please provide the missing premise here and justify it?

Singring said...

'First of all, you seem to be completely unaware that one of two statements can be wrong without the two statements being logically contradictory.'

I am perfectly aware of this. Which is why I have gone to extreme lengths to spell where the logical problem with the FOUR statements that have been made lies.

It is YOU who is avoiding to point out which of these four statements is false - or if there is some other excuse (e.g. something like 'Wile made a typo - he actually believes the earth is 1 billion years old. Hardy har har.'). Instead, you keep deflecting, pretending to be incredibly obtuse - which you simply aren't. You know exactly the predicament you're in, which is why you won't dare answer very simple questions (e.g. how old you think the earth actually is).

'Now you have presented an enthymeme (a rhetorical syllogism--one which is missing a premise) that seems to go like this:

Jay Wile is a creationist

Therefore Jay Wile is not a critical thinker'

I did nothing of the sort! This is not the point of my argument and nowhere have I forwarded those two statements in isolation as a contradiction. You know this - so why do you play these games?

For the umpteenth time:

YOU say the earth is old, YOU think of yourself as a critical thinker, YOU say Wile is a critical thinker also (obviously based on the same standards upon which you judge yourself), but HE says he believes the earth is young.

FOUR statements. They cannot all be true since YOU made the first three statements. Therefore the possible excuse that everyone has different standards for what constitutes critical thinking doesn't work. You know that.

Now the question still dangles precipitously...which of those four statements is false or explain to me how you can possibly reconcile them!

Martin Cothran said...

Singring,

You keep saying that these statements "cannot all be true," but you give no reason why. I keep asking you to give the reason that they are not, and you keep refusing. We're all just supposed to take your word for it.

I ask you to tell me the logical problem and you keep refusing. What is it? It is obviously not a logical contradiction, so what is the logical problem?

Give me the reason these statements cannot all be true in one simple sentence. Just one. Don't give some long convoluted post; don't tell us your personal feelings; don't do the puffer fish routine.

Tell my why they cannot all be true.

KyCobb said...

OFT,

"The separation doctrine you understand is not what the framers wanted, nor advocated."

I am well aware that the First Amendment only applied to Congress when the Constitution was ratified. However the 1st Amendment is now applicable to the states via the 14th Amendment.

Martin Cothran said...

KyCobb,

In the one discussion I have had with him, the notion that a particular change from a chemical compound in one type of tree to a stereo-isomer in another kind of tree must be a multisite change, since producing two different stereoisomers of the same compound always requires different processes. I checked with one of the authors (I asked for approval to use his name, but received no response once he found out I was communicating with Dr. Wile), and it turns out that in this particular case, the change is simple enough that it might be accomplished by a point mutation. Dr. Wile refused to acknowledge this was a possibility for this particular pair of stereoisomers, but offered no support for that refusal.

Excuse me, but if you look at the discussion, your characterization if it seems quite misleading. It turns out that when you say "it turns out" you mean simply that you are simply reasserting your point with Dr. Wile, who does not accept your characterization of the matter that you based on an anonymous source in an area in which you admitted having inadequate expertise.

Wile certainly did respond to your point, and the discussion went on for several posts after that. In fact, you never responded to Wile's last post.

It was quite an technically intricate exchange to have with someone who lacks critical thinking skills.

You clearly (like Singring) are having trouble distinguishing between someone who disagrees with you and someone who is lacking in critical thinking skills. That is a distinction, by the way, that someone with critical thinking skills should be able to make.

Art said...

"X is a believer in creation"

and

"X is a critical thinker"


Let's try this:

A critical thinker can consider and evaluate scientific evidence and draw clear conclusions based on said evidence.

Someone who believes that the universe is 6000 years old has demonstrated that (s)he cannot evaluate scientific evidence and draw clear conclusions based on said evidence.

Therefore, someone who believes the universe is 6000 years old is not a critical thinker.

Martin Cothran said...

Hooray for Art!!! I think he is the first member of the Peanut Gallery here at Vital Remnants who has actually been able to construct a logical syllogism without my assistance.

He actually managed what, in traditional logic, is called a "BARBARA."

We may finally be getting somewhere.

Okay, so when we have a valid syllogism form like this, we can then look to see if the premises are true. We see that Art has asserted the following minor premise:

"Someone who believes that the universe is 6000 years old has demonstrated that (s)he cannot evaluate scientific evidence and draw clear conclusions based on said evidence."

Now, I happen not to hold to the position of the person referred to in the subject of this statement, but I am curious to know how Art knows the truth of this statement.

Is it because he has gone around and evaluated all of the people who believe this view, Socrates-like, and discovered that they "cannot evaluate scientific evidence and draw clear conclusions based on said evidence"? In other words, has he discovered this through some inductive procedure?

Or does he consider that anyone you takes a young earth creationist position by definition "cannot evaluate scientific evidence and draw clear conclusions based on said evidence." In other words, has he simply applied some a priori deductive process of demonstration to come to it.

Let's see what he says.

KyCobb said...

Martin,

One Brow had the discussion with Dr. Wile

Singring said...

'Tell my why they cannot all be true.'

Listen, Martin, you can go on playing your game, trying to get a rise out of me as long as you want. I have laid out expressly the four statemenst that are in contradiction, yet you play dumb time and again.

If you are not schizophrenic and use the same standard for judging yourself a 'critical thinker' that you use for calling someone else a 'critical thinker', then clearly there is a contradiction there if teh two of you hold vastly conztradictory opinions on the age of the earth.

This is precisely why Art's syllogism is beside the mark and you of course seized upon it, trying to dig your way out of this:

It is not Art who is defining the criterion of who is and who isn't a 'critical thinker' - its YOU. I haven't called Wile a 'critical thinker'. I haven't called you a 'critical thinker', it has been yourself who has been doing so.
So if anyone has to give a justification for how two supposed 'critical thinkers' can come to radically different conclusions about the age of the earth, it is you, not me or Art.

Of course there is a way out of this, as I stated several posts ago:

Simply claim that critical thinking does not include the skill of evaluating and interpreting data correctly, or go even further and claim that critical thinking does not imply the ability of making accurate statements about reality.

I think we all know why you don't want to go that route.

There are of course a whole host of other ways you could reconcile this dilemma - but none of the appeal to you, for obvious reasons:

You don't want to embarass yourself by stating that you are not a critical thinker, you don't want to insult Dr Wile by saying he isn't, you don't want to say that you believe the earth is 10,000 years old, you don't want to teall an ally like Dr Wile he's completely wrong.

You'Re in a bit of a pickle here, really.

TomH said...

Martin,

Art relies on an enthymeme:

"The ability to evaluate scientific evidence leads to the conclusion that one will necessarily reject the idea that the universe is 6000 years old."

TomH said...

Of course, "scientific" is vague and I have published an article which concludes that "science" has no meaning in a philosophical (hence epistemic) sense. This undercuts Art's enthymeme and therefore his whole syllogism.

TomH said...

Warning: shameless self-promotion

I thought that perhaps some of you might want to read my article that I referenced previously.

http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/46/46_3/CRSQ%20Winter%202010%20Hogan.pdf

KyCobb said...

TomH,

I can't read your article. Since there is no such thing as science, computers and the internet don't exist.

Singring said...

Tom, thanks for chiming in. I just read the abstract to your article and breezed through the rest of it. I don't have the time or energy to refute some the absurd, false and misleading claim littered throughout. However, I will give you full marks for brutal honesty. I quote the last couple sentences of the abstract:

'The corollary of the intractability of the demarcation problem is that anything and everything can claim to be science without fear of being proved otherwise and that, therefore, the term “science” has no meaning.
This has some clear implications for the creation project, including the renewed prospect for success in the courts and powerful answers to anti-creationist rhetoric.'

So, in other words, you are plainly arguing that the future strategy for Creationists should be to make the philosophical claim that the word 'Science' is meaningless and therefore anything and everything should be allowed to be taught in science class, from creationism to atrology to Flying Spaghetti monster theology.

Take a good look, Martin:

This is what Creationists want to do to American schools. Anything goes.

Anything. Goes.

One Brow said...

Martin Cothran said...
Excuse me, but if you look at the discussion, your characterization if it seems quite misleading.

Perhaps you should have pointed out how. You certainly didn't point to any false statements or implications, your usual standards when others say you have mischaracterized something.

It turns out that when you say "it turns out" you mean simply that you are simply reasserting your point with Dr. Wile, who does not accept your characterization of the matter that you based on an anonymous source in an area in which you admitted having inadequate expertise.

Dr. Wile could have certainly done the minimal legwork I did to investigate that, in this case, the change involved was not complex. Failing that, he could have addressed why he felt this particular change would be complex.

Instead, Dr. Wile does not specifcially address the processes involved in this change, asserting a general statement that the production of different stereoisomers is often quite different. However, general trends are not a response to a specific case.

I claimed no expertise and refused to name-drop without authorization, and thus am called incorrect. I know the truth and accept the result.

In fact, you never responded to Wile's last post.

The last couple of posts on both of our parts were quite repetitive, and I saw no further point in continuing. If you believe that I was convinced or cowed into silence, feel free to do so. However, and you may have trouble accepting this, I dont feel that "last poster wins". In fact, part of the reason I interchange more with you than Dr. Wile is because I consider you, and even more so Thomas, to be more willing to engage in a critical debate on occasion.

It was quite an technically intricate exchange to have with someone who lacks critical thinking skills.

I believe we would both agree that people with great technical knowledge can lack the ability to think critically, and could even agree on a handful of people this applied to.

You clearly (like Singring) are having trouble distinguishing between someone who disagrees with you and someone who is lacking in critical thinking skills.

If you choose to believe this, I will not try to dissuade you.

One Brow said...

Singring,

The missing statment among your four is this: different critical thinkers who examine the same evidence will always come to the same conclusion. As long as Martin Cothran holds that dritical thinkers can reach different conclusions, there is no contradiction.

One Brow said...

TomH,

Your abstract says that if there is no clear bright line between scientific and non-scientific, then there can meaningful way to call something scientific. I must disagree. While there is no bright line to draw when we say a man is tall, I think we call all agree Wilt Chaimberlain was tall, and that the term is not meaningless.

If I can find time, I will read the article in more detail, though.

Singring said...

'The missing statment among your four is this: different critical thinkers who examine the same evidence will always come to the same conclusion. As long as Martin Cothran holds that dritical thinkers can reach different conclusions, there is no contradiction.'

Thanks for spelling it out OneBrow, but I do hope I've been clear on this point: Of course Martin can hold that critical thinkers can reach different conclusions based on the same evidence. But then the term 'critical thinker' becomes devoid of value, for what other criterion might be used to distinguish a 'critical thinker' from an 'uncritical thinker'? Moreover, Martin clearly used the term to suggest Dr Wile has considerable credibility and reliability, but if he also holds that critical thinkers can arrive at different conclusions given the same evidence, he is clearly undermining the reliability of his own appraisal.

Martin could have just come out and used that excuse, of course, but so far he's balked at doing so, which is understandable given his track trecord of clinging to certain teminology and definitions. I suspect that Martin would rather sit this one out rather than devalue the term'critical thinker'.

As a final note, I may be persuaded that 'critical thinkers' can in fact disagree on some matters if the evidence is scarce and/or of poor quality (though I would hope that in this case they would withold judgement until better or more evidence is forthcoming). This is clearly not the case at all with the age of the earth. The evidence is abundant and has been analyzed extensively.

Our Founding Truth said...

One brow,

The framers were unified on it, which is why the Federalists went along with it. You don't have to believe the words of the framers; that's your problem.

KyCobb,

I don't need to read a creationist website. I have the Bible and the Apostle Paul refuting evolution:

"All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.:

--I Corinthians 15


I am well aware that the First Amendment only applied to Congress when the Constitution was ratified. However the 1st Amendment is now applicable to the states via the 14th Amendment.>>

This has absolutely nothing to do with the separation doctrine.

KyCobb said...

OFT,

If the Bible is your biology textbook, I've got nothing to convince you with.

KyCobb said...

OFT,

"This has absolutely nothing to do with the separation doctrine."

Yes it does, read Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947).

Thomas said...

Our Founding Truth,

"I have the Bible and the Apostle Paul refuting evolution."

I used this quote in a comment earlier, but it's again become opportune. It illustrates the general approach of the early church to the question of whether the Bible is to be considered a work of science or philosophy.

St. Augustine, from The Literal Meaning of Genesis:

"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are."

"With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation."

One Brow said...

Our Founding Truth said...
You don't have to believe the words of the framers; that's your problem.

I do believe the words of the founders. It's the interpretation by many people that does against those words with whom I disagree.

Singring said...

'I don't need to read a creationist website. I have the Bible and the Apostle Paul refuting evolution:'

Another critical thinker, I see.

Our Founding Truth said...

The founding fathers formed our nation, not liberals who don't have a clue about the Constitution.

Thomas,

No need to quote Augustine, the Bible is God's Word, not his.

Sinring,

You mean critical thinkers like: Newton, Kepler, Farraday, Morse, Grotius, Blackstone, Locke, Montesquieu, Washington, Adams, Hamilton, etc?

Please present the evidence/ data which demonstrates blind, undirected chemical processes can constuct functional multi-protein systems?

Thomas said...

Our Founding Truth,

You miss Augustine's point. Which is that those who interpret the Bible as a work of natural science not only don't understand natural science, but they don't understand the Bible. God didn't inspire Scripture in order to teach us about the planetary motions or the development of species over time; to even make this claim is to misunderstand what the Bible is for. And unless one understands what a thing is for, one cannot understand the thing.

So St. Augustine makes two criticisms: the first is that those who make the Bible out to be a scientific work substitute their own misunderstanding of the Bible for the Bible itself (the Scriptures are the narrative of the coming of Christ). The second is that, having substituted their misunderstanding of the Bible for the Bible itself, they present the faith as a form of ignorance that one would be right to jeer at.

Art said...

Now, I happen not to hold to the position of the person referred to in the subject of this statement, but I am curious to know how Art knows the truth of this statement.

Is it because he has gone around and evaluated all of the people who believe this view, Socrates-like, and discovered that they "cannot evaluate scientific evidence and draw clear conclusions based on said evidence"? In other words, has he discovered this through some inductive procedure?

Or does he consider that anyone you takes a young earth creationist position by definition "cannot evaluate scientific evidence and draw clear conclusions based on said evidence." In other words, has he simply applied some a priori deductive process of demonstration to come to it.

Let's see what he says.


Hmm...

I suppose that there are YECs who have yet to seriously consider the evidence (that leads to one unequivocal conclusion), and who would agree with the obvious and correct conclusion. These persons could be called critical thinkers.

Then there are those who would, in essence, look at a liquid, learn that it boils at 100°C, freezes at °C, has a density of 1 g/cc, has a molecular mass of about 18, and has a composition of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, YET would wave about some sacred text and proclaim that the liquid is olive oil.

This is the same sort of denial of plain-as-day evidence and facts that YECs are guilty of. These sorts cannot be considered to be critical thinkers.

Of course, I am aware that the term "critical thinker" is itself subject to deliberation. I suppose that someone who would insist that water is actually olive oil might, in some circles, be considered to be a critical thinker, an enlightened soul capable of providing authentic insight into the workings of the world. But this POV is ludicrous, since it is little more than an assertion that, when it comes to metaphysics, anything goes. Any whimsical and convoluted construct, no matter how far removed from reality, is equally valid and viable.

I find it richly ironic that the defenders of orthodox Christianity are so embracing of metaphysical relativism. And amusing that they do so without the slightest of an inkling.

Singring said...

'the Bible is God's Word'

Could you provide evidence for this outlandish claim?

'You mean critical thinkers like: Newton, Kepler, Farraday, Morse, Grotius, Blackstone, Locke, Montesquieu, Washington, Adams, Hamilton, etc?'

As I stated above, critical thinker are people that can correctly intepret and analyze scientific data. At the time all of the people you cite lived and worked, the data supporting an old earth was either poor or scarce, so its no suprise they arrived at the wrong conclusion.

'Please present the evidence/ data which demonstrates blind, undirected chemical processes can constuct functional multi-protein systems?'

1.) You are talking about abiogenesis now, not evolution or the age of the earth.

2.) The origin of life most likely is traceable to a self-replicating organic molecule. This may have been RNA, for example. You talk of 'functional multi-protein' systems is complete garble. I have so far not heard of any biologist or chemist working on abiogenesis who believes the very first 'life' consisted of 'functional multi-protein systems'. Could you cite your source?

David said...

So the question is "Can you reject a literal six-day creation and still be orthodox?" In regards to Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, it seems like the answer is "yes."

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v11/i4/christian.asp

Ultimately, everybody has an "exclusionist theology." Nobody includes every belief into their worldview, including the people with the "COEXIST" bumper stickers. The title of this article totally misses the point. Ken Ham's problem with Peter Enns is not just his interpretation of Genesis, but is really more what John Frame said, that Peter Enns writings say "nothing to promote confidence in the truth of the biblical text."

Thomas said...

Whereas Ken Ham's interpretation does everything to destroy confidence in the truth of the Biblical text.

David said...

Thomas, would you agree we all have our own "exclusionist theology?" Would you agree that the answer to the original question on this post is "yes", and that Ken Ham also believes the answer is "yes?"

Martin Cothran said...

David,

So the question is "Can you reject a literal six-day creation and still be orthodox?" In regards to Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, it seems like the answer is "yes."

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v11/i4/christian.asp


Ham says that you can reject a literal six-day creation and still be a Christian. But he also says that he thinks it's "bad theology," indicating that he does not think it is orthodox (since orthodoxy is constituted of good theology, not bad).

Martin Cothran said...

David,

I agree that everybody has exclusionist theology (that was probably a bad choice for a title). The question is not whether you are exclusionist, but what you're exclusionist about.

I think Augustine's remark is relevant here: "In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love."

As I mentioned in the original post, the essentials are set forth in the Nicene Creed. If someone goes south on one of those, then they're a heretic. If he goes south on something outside of those it should be handled very differently.

Ham accused Peter Enns of "attacking Christ" because of his position on Genesis at a convention whose rules clearly state that you are not supposed to criticize other speakers or vendors.

That was out of bounds.

David said...

Hi Martin,
I'm glad you agree "exclusionist theology" was a bad choice of words for your title. I hope I can press you further to admit the entire title was unreasonable. You said acceptance of the Nicene Creed is an indication of a person's orthodoxy, and I would agree. However, the Nicene Creed says nothing about accepting or rejecting a literal 6-day creation, which means you can be orthodox and reject a literal 6-day creation. So, based on your explanations, the answer to the question in your title is still "yes."

You can be orthodox AND have bad theology. And besides, I don't really think it is a black and white matter of "good vs. bad" theology, as much as it is "better vs. worse". No human and no denomination has a perfect interpretation of God's word, but some interpretations are definitely better than others. I accept the Nicene Creed, and I go to a church that uses real bread and real wine to celebrate the Lord's Supper. I think this is "better theology" than someone who also accepts the Nicene Creed, but goes to a church that uses gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and Diet Mountain Dew to celebrate the Lord's Supper. What do you think?

Martin, I like to think logically, but have nowhere near the expertise you have, which is why I am so surprised that a mere mortal like me could so easily spot the flaws in the arguments you are making. My only conclusion is that you jumped on a bandwagon without thinking things through.

Please consider retracting this blog and its flawed logic and attacks on "Hamites", and instead promote a debate between Enns and Ham. I emailed Great Homeschool Conventions last Tuesday about having a debate, but your opinion would pull a lot more weight than mine.
Semper Reformanda,

Lee said...

Martin, Lewis was something of a theological liberal. He did not believe that Christianity necessarily implies a believe in Hell, and he believed much of the Bible was myth. There are lots of Christians who believe the same things; we call them liberals.

Of course, the term "liberal" does not mean the same thing today as in the past. We have a female Episcopalian minister somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (I read an article about her) who also claims to be a Muslim, and says she sees no contradiction. Lewis is no liberal if liberal means "non-believer".

But compared to John Calvin or R.C. Sproul? Yes, Lewis was something of a liberal.

But don't get me wrong: I love C.S. Lewis. What he did, he did well -- namely, to write from a Christian perspective with style, wit, and substance.

Thomas said...

It's ironic that Lewis' theological views, which are much less "modern" than someone like Calvin or Sproul, is considered "liberal". I'm not even that big a fan of Lewis, but his theology is grounded pretty directly in the ante-Nicene and Nicene period.

If one is considered "conservative" by an adherence to a strain of Augustinian theology that John Calvin developed in the 16th century (a millennium and a half into Christian history), then I think your historical frame of reference is extraordinarily narrow.

In any case, Lewis' theology is nothing like real liberal theology, as founded primarily by Schleirmacher and including the likes of Bultmann and Tillich.

Lee said...

The notion that an inerrant perspective on the Bible is something new only matter if your frame of reference is Catholicism. Jesus and the Pharisees took the Old Testament as inerrant, and so as well do modern-day Reformed Christians.

Thomas said...

"if your frame of reference is Catholicism."

Do you mean to say if your historical frame of reference does not omit over a millennium of Christianity? And Lewis didn't deny inerrancy, nor does Catholic tradition. They do, however, deny the inerrancy of Calvin's Institutes.

Martin Cothran said...

David,

Thank you for your response.

In regard to my title, I would not abandon it. I would just tweak it: "Ken Ham's overly exclusionist theology" would do be a more accurate expression, I think.

You say you spotted a "flaw" in my logic, but I'm not sure what you are referring to here. You say:

"You said acceptance of the Nicene Creed is an indication of a person's orthodoxy, and I would agree. However, the Nicene Creed says nothing about accepting or rejecting a literal 6-day creation, which means you can be orthodox and reject a literal 6-day creation.

"You can be orthodox AND have bad theology."

But your argument depends on the assumption that a belief in a literal six-day creation is bad theology. This is a fine assumption, but it is a rather big one and can hardly be said to constitute some kind of logical refutation of what I said.

It also assumes that the difference in positions is always due to the quality of a person's "theology," when, in fact, it can result from differing assumptions regarding the text, differing interpretations of facts, differing metaphysical assumptions, or differing hermeneutical principles.

But part of the origin of our disagreement may be terminological. When I look up the definition of "theology" on my "onelook.com," I get two definitions: "The study of God and religion," and "a set of religious beliefs." In other words, under one definition it indicates the process whereby one derives his beliefs and the other is the set of beliefs has actually derived.

I was using it in the second sense. I think your argument has plausibility if you use the first. Maybe Ham was using it in the first sense, but if he was, he owes us an explanation of why Peter Enns theology (in the first sense) is bad.

And if he too believes that even an orthodox believer can have "bad theology", then he still needs to treat that person like a fellow orthodox believer. In this case, he did not.

You talk here as if you think the issue with the Convention was a difference over the age of the earth. It wasn't. They replaced Ham with another young earth believer. The issue was over Ham breaking a rule that has applied at every home school convention I've ever attended (and that's a few): You don't criticize another speaker or vendor from the podium. This was a stated rule at this convention as well.

Ham should have gone directly to Peter Enns, which he did not do. Instead, he divided the Christian home school community over a an issue on which there is room within an orthodox framework for disagreement. I think there was a better way for the convention to handle this than to disinvite him, but they had the absolute right to do it and Ham put the convention in a very uncomfortable position by violating this longstanding rule of decorum.

David said...

Hi Martin,

This really isn't that difficult, and I think you know it. According to your definitions of orthodoxy and theology, I bet Ken Ham's answer to the question in the title to this post would be the same as mine. It would be "yes." My original comment remains the same, that the title of this article totally misses the point. The Enns-Ham controversy has nothing to do with your title. Believe it, or not.
Cheers,

Martin Cothran said...

David,

I don't think it's difficult at all. And I can't believe you are seriously contending that Ham would call Enns orthodox.

Ham has called Enns a "compromiser," who engages in "outright liberal theology that totally undermines the authority of the Word of God," who "doesn’t have the biblical view of inspiration," and who has conducted "an attack on the Word—on Christ."

I can't believe you're serious about this.

Words like this used against a fellow believer who believes in the One God in three Persons, the Divinity of Christ, his death and Resurrection on the Cross, the Virgin Birth, and Christ's atoning death simply for not accepting a literal six day creation is overly exclusivist and divisive.

It has divided the Christian home school community and separated Christians who are now at each others throats.

I cannot imagine that you would think this was a good thing.

David said...

Hi Martin,
Have you asked Ken Ham "Can you reject a literal six-day creation and still believe the Nicene Creed?" That is your test of orthodoxy, right, the Nicene Creed? I am asking to make sure I understand you correctly, not to be sarcastic. If you want to know the answer to the question in your topic, you should just ask him.

The more you talk, the more you reveal that this post and it's title totally miss the point. You even quote Ken Ham, which is good, because his concern with Dr. Enns is just what you quoted, that Enns' teachings totally undermine the authority of the Word. THAT is the problem, not simply the acceptance of a literal six-day creation. If you really think the literal six-day creation thing is Ham's only concern, then you are being foolish and unthoughtful. Sorry if that offends you, but I hope you can take this as constructive criticism and "iron sharpening." I have already commended you on your superiority with logic, and I meant it. I believe you are a good teacher, and I know you will continue to help educate many to the glory of God. My concern is still the same though: your title to this post misses the point.

Ham believes a Christian can reject a literal 6-day creation. That is why I provided the link to Answers in Genesis in my original post so that you could see what they (and Ham) have to say about this. Ham's concerns are not much different than John Frame's concerns, or my concerns, or a whole lot of other folks concerns, including the seminary that he parted ways with.

Martin, this whole situation could have been handled better by A LOT of folks, including yourself. Calling people "Hamites" is not exactly what I would have done if I was interested in uniting the homeschool community. If anything about this situation is "overtly exclusionist," you seem to be leading the charge by inventing new names for Christians with certain beliefs. This is why I think you need to reform and rethink this post with faith and patience.
Cheers,

Martin Cothran said...

David,

"Can you reject a literal six-day creation and still believe the Nicene Creed?"

That is not the question I asked. I asked the question whether you can reject a literal six-day creation and still be orthodox. I believe the Nicene Creed is the clearest and most widely accepted criterion throughout the history of the Church on what constitutes orthodox Christian belief. If you can sign on to that statement in good conscience, then you're in. If you have trouble with one or more parts of it (but not necessarily all), then you are heterodox.

My argument is that Ham seems to have employed a standard of orthodoxy apart from and at variance with this. I supplied direct quotes from Ham's blog that included assessments of Enns that he is not orthodoxy.

My argument is also that he violated basic rules of decorum in doing so.

On the other matter that was not a topic of my blog, but is related, you said that "Enns' teachings totally undermine the authority of the Word." That is a serious charge to level. Can you back that up?

Martin Cothran said...

David,

Let me also clarify, in order to more completely answer your question, that what I am saying is that the Nicene Creed is the touchstone for orthodoxy, whereas Ham seems to be adding other things to that.

I also want to make clear that I don't agree with Enns on the issue of Adam and Eve, nor do I necessarily defend Enns on every point of doctrine, partly because I don't know the corpus of Enns teaching.

But Ham has misrepresented Enns on several charges he has made about his book. And he seems to be arguing that Enns is not orthodox because of his view of the creation.

I don't Enns other teaching, so I can't assess those. I am simply contesting that particular point.

Lee said...

> They do, however, deny the inerrancy of Calvin's Institutes.

That's fair enough.

> Do you mean to say if your historical frame of reference does not omit over a millennium of Christianity?

The amount of time invested in upholding an incorrect center of authority is irrelevant to the question of whether it is the correct view. In my profession, sometimes, we talk sometimes about people who have had twenty years of experience, as opposed to others who have had one year of experience twenty times. Something that is wrong is not made right by repetition and the weight of tradition.

Martin Cothran said...

David,

I'd rather not discuss this further here since the two sides are talking and trying to resolve things, which is what should happen. Feel free to message me privately. I think you know how to do that.