Science

Academic freedom at Ball State University: the case of Eric Hedin...

Ball State University is a state school in Muncie, a small town just north of Indianapolis. According to Indiana Public Media, Ball State administrators recently cancelled an honors physics and astronomy course taught by tenure-track prof Eric Hedin because Hedin's course syllabus included the concept of "Intelligent Design."

Ball State president Jo Ann Gora justified the cancellation to her faculty and staff:

Teaching intelligent design as a scientific theory is not a matter of academic freedom – it is an issue of academic integrity.

Right.

Ms. Gora should be rebuked by her peers at the next...


Scholars and the Fall...

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.  - 1Corinthians 2:12-16

Regularly, I warn academics that reason is not the one faculty of man that has escaped the Fall. To err is human, and institutions of learning both lower and higher are equally subject to this fruit of Adam's sin.

Reason and logic have been corrupted by the Fall. So, although we can say that all truth is God's truth, we must keep in mind that all man believes to be true is not. True.

The Fall's determinative impact on man's intellectual work is quite obvious to readers of Paul Johnson's Intellectuals. Again and again, Johnson demonstrates the connection between famous intellectuals' private sins...


Nye vs. Ham: Witnessing to scientists...

After watching the recent Creation/Evolution debate between Bill Nye, an atheistic scientist, and Ken Ham, a young-earth creationist, I was challenged to think about how I, as a scientist, should witness to my colleagues. As a six-day creationist working at a secular University, what is my "strategy?"

First, I want to thank God for the work of Ken Ham and others. While I don’t agree with much of his approach, I was reminded recently that the “wrong” evangelism that he does is better than the “right” evangelism that I don’t do.

With that said, though, there are some dangers in trying to learn lessons for our own witnessing from what Dr. Ham and Answers in Genesis do.  It is easy to come away from a debate like that and think, “I wish I knew a lot more science! Then I could really witness to a scientist. Oh well, I better leave it to the experts.” But the truth is that none of that science is needed in witnessing. In fact, it is a hindrance. God has given us all we need in His Word.

Here are a few Biblical points to keep in mind if you want to witness to a scientist...


Michael Horton gives us space to maneuver...

A week or so ago, I read this from Escondido Westminster Seminary's Michael Horton:

Instantaneous creation of Adam and Eve is not explicitly required by the text or its subsequent interpretation, but the historicity of a first human couple with whom God entered into covenant is indispensable to theology at significant points in almost every locus. (from Horton's Lord and Servant, p. 118; quoted by Daniel Wells)

How scandalous this should be among the people of God. Westminster Escondido's Michael Horton joins Covenant Seminary's Jack Collins in declaring that "the text" of Genesis does "not explicitly require" that Adam was created by God "instantaneously" from the ground, or that Eve was created by God "instantaneously" from Adam's rib. Rather, Horton says the Bible would allow for—what? Adam and Eve's extrusion, evocation, emanation, or evolution over a period of time?

And what of the water Jesus changed into wine?


Covenant Theological Seminary's C. John Collins dismisses the numbers of Scripture...

It's the first rule of journalism to "follow the numbers." C. John "Jack" Collins is a prof at the Presbyterian Church in America's Covenant Theological Seminary, and recently Jack published a book and article purporting to defend the historicity of Adam. Both are dangerous pieces of work because both are carefully wrong in a very soft and seductive way. But the numbers don't lie.

Collins writes:

The story of Adam and Eve, and their first disobedience, explains how sin, the alien intruder, first came into human experience, though it hardly pretends to explain how rebellion against God (as expressed in the serpent’s speech) originated to begin with.

Note that Collins speaks of the Fall as the responsibility of both "Adam and Eve." He uses the plural: "their first disobedience." This is directly contrary to the Word of God which explicitly declares the Fall and Original Sin to be solely the responsibility of...


In Manhattan, defending creation is woman's work...

Here's a delightful piece written by Virginia Heffernan, a former fact-checker for The New Yorker who's written for Talk, Harper's, Slate, The New York Times, and The New York Times Magazine. Clearly Heffernan understands why no Manhattan pastor would admit to believing in creation. 

In New York City saying you’re a creationist is like confessing you think Ahmadinejad has a couple of good points. Maybe I’m the only creationist I know.

How poverty-stricken New York City is, that while PCA pastors promote Darwin and the high priests of Science, a female journalist is left to defend the Word of God. Like they say, "a woman can do anything an ordained man can't do."

A teaser...


The global warning of Wheaton and Calvin biologists...

Here's a letter to Congress signed by a bunch of Evangelical academics who are on the global warning bandwagon and tell us the salvation of Gaia is at stake. Starting with the overpopulation mania of the seventies, I've noted Calamity Jane fads and Christian author fads have about the same half-life—ten years.

Some time ago in Madison, Wisconsin, I used to protest the genocide of over a billion infants with one of the guys who signed this letter, but now he's climbed a couple socioeconomic brackets and is protesting anthropogenic global warming. It might help to explain his new commitments that he's since moved from Madison to Wheaton where he teaches biology.

Which brings me to a couple observations. First, note how many of the signatories are from Wheaton and Calvin where profs live in mortal dread of appearing insufficiently progressive. They should get out more. 

Second, note that only five (2.6%) of these guys have the terminal degree in Atmospheric Science, Climatology, or Meteorology...


Evolution: "Choose you this day whom you will serve..."

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. - Joshua 24:15

Astronomer John Byl has posted his review of Rev. Paulin Bedard's new book, In Six Days God Created: Refuting the Framework and Figurative Views of the Days of Creation, and here's a teaser..


Charles Hodge, the Presbyterian pope (part II)...

A Review of Paul Gutjahr's Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy.

As a teacher of theology I knew a fair bit about Charles Hodge, generally speaking, but reading Paul Gutjahr's biography gave me an inside view.

I knew Hodge used Turretin's text for his theology courses and didn’t publish his own Systematic Theology until the 1870s. Why did he wait so long? Gutjahr fills in the details. It turns out Princeton Seminary's governing board asked Hodge not to take his three-volume systematic theology into print because they thought it would cause a decline in enrollment if anyone could buy his theology text.

I knew his Systematic Theology was thin on the doctrine of the Church. I didn’t know ...


Nullifying the Word of God for the sake of academic reputation...

This is a post showing how (it seems to me) shame over the Bible's history of Creation has led to the (maybe) decline of Covenant Theological Seminary. But first, a short back-story...

Some time back I had a man in my congregation who had grown up Baptist and was pursuing graduate studies in science. One weekend he was home visiting his childhood church and he came under the influence of John Armstrong who--whether through preaching or conversation, I don't know--convinced him to stop graduate studies in science and begin graduate studies in theology. Being PCA at the time, I encouraged him to go to the PCA's Covenant Seminary over in St. Louis and he matriculated there a year or so later.

Watching him across the years is part of the reason I've warned people to avoid Covenant. There's more to say than this, but two things are worth highlighting... 


Fungus, yeast, and children...

National Geographic breathlessly announces: "Even after centuries of effort, some 86 percent of Earth's species have yet to be fully described, according to new study that predicts our planet is home to 8.7 million species. That means scientists have cataloged less than 15 percent of species now alive—and current extinction rates mean many unknown organisms will wink out of existence before they can be recorded."

So let me get this straight...


From Dark Ages, Galileo speaks of literal interpretation of Scripture...

(Tim) It's central to our chronological conceit to reassure ourselves the Middle Ages were the Dark Ages crammed full of religious bloodshed, religious oppression of scientific progress, and the Plague. So we've all learned the lesson to keep church and state separate to the end that we won't have as many wars or as many people die in those wars.

Doing well are we? Paganism is the state religion almost everywhere and more people were sacrificed on the altars of paganism's idols (Communism, Zionism, Feminism, etc.) this past century than ever died from all the religious wars of the Medieval world combined.

But what of science? Our modern morality play smugly assures us the Enlightenment busted truth loose from the religious ignoramuses who had oppressed the great minds across many centuries. Finally we know it's not wrong to take the Pill, unborn babies aren't persons and can't feel the knives, the iPhone is cool, washing hands saves lives, you can make babies in the lab, you can end the war by blowing up the women and children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Earth isn't the center of the Universe.

"Poor Galileo! If only he'd lived today when every man finally knows religion has nothing to say to the state or the high priests of Science. The Bible's true when it talks about spiritual things--not political or sexual or scientific things. It's no history book or textbook on cosmology. It tells you how to feel--not what to think. Poor Galileo! He had it right and the church tried to shut him up. Stupid ignorant church. Stupid Dark Ages...


Merry Christmas: science isn't all it's cracked up to be...

(Tim, w/thanks to Pastor Curell) The scientific method is coming in for some hard knocks, recently, as efforts to replicate a number of critical studies fail. Some would prefer to put it that "replication is proving difficult," but after reading some of the stats, "failure" seems the right description. In discipline after discipline, scientists doing experiments over again find themselves unable to replicate earlier findings that minted academic superstars and set the standard for medical practice, for instance.

Some of the inability to replicate is likely attributable to the very old problem we all fall into of looking for proof that we're right. The problem is too widespread, though, for that alone to be the answer. Thus the New Yorker subtitled its article reporting on this crisis under its Annals of Science: "The Truth Wears Off: Is There Something Wrong with the Scientific Method?"

After reviewing hundreds of papers and forty-four meta-analyses, Australian National University's Michael Jennions found "a consistent decline effect over time, as many of the theories seemed to fade into irrelevance. ...Jenions admits that his findings are troubling, but expresses a reluctance to talk about them publicly."


Global warming: everyone who's anything agrees...

(Tim) It wasn't until my thirties that I learned scientists lie, too. They just use different techniques. So no surprise tonight when I read that someone hacked the servers of a global warming advocacy group called the Climatic Research Unit of University of East Anglia and posted thousands of their e-mails, papers, and other correspondence on a Russian server for all the world to read. It's caused big problems:

Global warming alarmists are scrambling to save face... The messages ...reveal correspondence between British and American researchers engaged in fraudulent reporting of data to favor their own climate change agenda.

Summing up the damage the documents have done, climatologist Patrick J. Michaels said: "This is not a smoking gun, this is a mushroom cloud."

The report...


Hitchens + Dawkins = Ditchkins

(Tim, thanks to James) Alright, alright; I'll say something good about Stanley Fish. Check out two posts (one and two) he recently did for the New York Times' web site in review of Terry Eagleton's Reason, Faith, and Revolution. To whet your appetite, here's an excerpt from the first post...


Darwinists throw their own monster's ball...

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

(Tim) If our Lord tarries, this coming Thursday, February 12th, will be the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. As her holy day approaches, Annie Laurie Gaylor of Madison's Freedom from Religion Foundation is plastering buses and billboards with intellectual cheesecake for fellow misanthropes. Real creative stuff like, "Imagine No Religion" and "Praise Darwin - Evolve Beyond Belief."

The president of the Skeptics Society (which publishes Skeptic magazine), Michael Shermer, isn't waiting for the holy day to celebrate. He assures fellow homo sapiens that his cult's high priests have a "pretty good outline" of the origin of life. But then he goes and spoils it all by saying something stupid like...