Manawatu Round 3: Can we interpret the evidence reliably?

As always, it is a pleasure to hear from the Admin of the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society. In response to my last post and comment, Admin replies:

Professor, Apologetics breaks into at least two streams: evidentialism and presuppositionalism. No evidence is interpreted in a vacuum; it always comes thru a filter of some type.

Apparently this was intended to address my question about the goal of his apologetic if he truly feels that evidence is “somewhat of an excuse.” What he overlooks here is that there is more you can do with the evidence after it “comes through a filter of some type.”

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XFiles Friday: The resurrection and the “historical evidence”

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, pp. 23-24)

Geisler and Turek have defined their terms (or stacked the deck, if you prefer), and are now ready to discuss faith and religion, in the context of the claim that “religion is simply a matter of faith.”

Facts are also central to all religions because all religious worldviews–including atheism–make truth claims, and many of those truth claims can be evaluated through scientific and historical investigation…

The alleged resurrection of Christ presents another example. Christians claim that Jesus rose from the dead, while Muslims say that Jesus never even died. Again, one of these views is right and the other is wrong. How can we know which one is right? By evaluating each of these conflicting truth claims against the historical evidence.

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Bad news for the “family friendly”

Ed Brayton over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars has some really bad news for “pro-family” (code word for “anti-gay”) organizations like Dobson’s mob and the AFA: they’re all going to have to stop buying stuff. Seems that more and more big companies are realizing that hiring gays (and thus “advancing the pro-gay agenda”) is good business. A couple hundred of them got high scores and even perfect scores on a survey of gay-friendly hiring practices. Look for some major Christian boycotts to be announced soon, even if it does hit the boycotters harder than the boycottees:

[E]ating and drinking could be a bit difficult as well. No Coke or Pepsi, they both got 100. Nothing from Kraft or General Mills, which wipes out about half the products in the supermarket. No Budweiser. For crying out loud, even Coors, typically a friend to conservatives, has been corrupted by the forces of buggery and scores a perfect 100. And even that old American standy, Campbell Soups, got a 95.

If you haven’t already, be sure and stop by Ed’s blog for the full story.

An answer from the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society

Last Friday, I paid a visit to the Manawatu Christian Apologetics society, commenting on “What would it take for a Darwinist to change his mind.” To my delight, the “admin” approved my comments, and responded:

By admin on Sep 14, 2007 | ReplyDear Professor. You personally believe many things without verifiable evidence. In Jesus’ day, people saw miracles firsthand but later rejected them.

Evidence is somewhat of an excuse because however much evidence you are given, you will always demand more because of your underlying presuppositions and bias against the supernatural. Enjoy the debate.

As for evolutionists changing their minds — so why do you believe them if their evidence keeps changing? Do you have sufficient evidence that it is true or are you taking it on faith? If so, I would point out that perhaps a double standard is at work

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A visit to the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society

I notice the Manawatu (New Zealand) Christian Apologetics Society has a post entitled “What would it take for a Darwinist to change his mind?” Even though the post is just an announcement about a debate between Paul Nelson and Michael Ruse (at Biola, which is not in New Zealand), I thought it would be fun to drop by the comments box and leave an answer to the title question.

For a Darwinist to change his mind, all you need to do is give him verifiable evidence. Most of the quotes used by creationists come from discussions in which evolutionists examine the evidence and change their minds to fit the new evidence. This is how they arrive at views that “contradict” earlier conclusions. If they didn’t do that, where would creationists get their quotes?

The comment is flagged as “awaiting moderation.” Let’s see if they (a) ignore it, (b) delete it, or (c) try to respond to it.

Samson vs. Goliath (a preschool intro to Christian practice)

Chicago Tribune is reporting on a new line of Bible-oriented action figures.

There’s something for the testosterone-charged tot too: the mighty Samson and pumped Goliath (both 13 inches tall)…

“The idea [of Samson fighting Goliath] catches people’s attention,” Livingston said. “If they had fought, I’m sure Samson would beat up on Goliath.”

One Christian thinks this is a great idea.

One person who is sold on the line is Samantha Tetro, founder of Samantha’s Lil’ Bit of Heaven” ministry in East Northport, N.Y…

“There are so many negative, violent toys out there,” Tetro said. “These are great to play with or as teaching tools. The Moses doll gives the 10 Commandments.”

Get the whole set, so your kids can re-enact the killing of all the first-born children and the drowning of Pharoah’s entire army (great bath-time Christian fun!) instead of playing with all those negative, violent toys.

Science Avenger: Bethell vs Derbyshire

Science Avenger has some good stuff on Bethell vs Derbyshire:

The IDers have proposed the designer hypothesis, thus the onus is on them to devise falsifiable experiments to support that position. It has long been the position of scientists and philosophers who have examined the ID claims that no such experiments are possible, because the Designer could do anything at any time for any reason. This is why ID fails to qualify as science.

Have a look at the whole post, it’s a good one.