“Oh, you’re no fun any more.”

Gosh, it seems like it was just the other day that Anthony Horvath was telling us how much he was enjoying our discussion, and boasting about having me “on the ropes.” Now it appears that he’s changing his tune (again). In the new version, I’m not a participant on the losing end of a lively and enjoyable discussion, I’m supposed to be a stalker. And this post is so juicy, he’s put it in a special category so that it does not show up on his front page.

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The problem with “Bible-based”

Over at the Siris blog, Brandon has an interesting post, in the form of an imaginary (but realistic and well-thought-out) dialog between a Catholic and a Protestant on the subject of the “plain meaning” of Scripture. It’s intriguing not only for its remarkably unbiased presentation of how each side would defend its views, but also for what it reveals about the fundamental problem with Bible-based theology.

The big problem with Bible-based theology is, of course, that God does not show up in the real world to clarify what the intended meaning of any particular passage of Scripture might be, and in His absence, the “plain sense” of the Bible does not, in fact, produce any significant theological unity among Christians. That’s why separate groups of Catholic Christians and Protestant Christians exist to have such a debate in the first place. Brandon obliquely acknowledges this problem, and refers to Protestant attempts to address it, but, as discussed below, such answers are not quite adequate.

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Catholic League hates new film, guess why?

FOXNews is reporting that the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, is complaining about the new movie The Golden Compass because–are you sitting down?–it’s not atheistic enough.

“They’re intentionally watering down the most offensive element,” Donohue said. “I’m not really concerned about the movie, [which] looks fairly innocuous. The movie is made for the books. … It’s a deceitful, stealth campaign. Pullman is hoping his books will fly off the shelves at Christmastime.”

Strangely, I’m having trouble finding any reference to the Catholic League complaining about the stealth Christianity in the kid’s film The Chronicles of Narnia, or its implied message that the way to deal with unbelievers is to kill them. With swords.

CAM on NBC’s Heroes

Here’s another fun post from Anthony Horvath, this time tackling the insidious atheistic agenda he sees as lying behind the NBC TV show Heroes.

In this series, we are given to believe that evolutionary processes have allowed a class of people to emerge with special gifts like mind reading, flying, instantaneous regrowth, memory stealing, time travel, etc. But at no point does the series try to explain how exactly a genetic mutation can allow a human to fly.

And guess what? Atheists have the exact same objection to the whole “magic mutant” genre (X-Men, etc). But that doesn’t stop Horvath from trying to imply that the whole thing is a sneaky atheist plot.

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CAM on the Evolutionary Origins of Religion

Quite apart from our discussion on Watson and racism, Horvath has an interesting discussion of the evolutionary origin of religion, about which he has a question or two.

[I]n Dawkins’s The God Delusion, he argues that religion is a ‘misfire’ of an evolutionary trait, much like how a moth is drawn to its death by a flame because it is used to the sun being a very safe distance away. The problem with the ‘misfire’ way of thinking, however, is that all moths are attracted to the flames. What we want to know is how our atheistic friends managed to rise above their ‘misfire.’ Are they claiming that they are evolutionarily superior to the rest of us? Perhaps they are a new species? If not, they should be subject to the same ‘misfire’ that the religionists are drawn to. We can then turn the tables on them and suggest that perhaps their version of reality is likewise a ‘misfire.’

Mr. Horvath, like so many other believers, has mistaken the existence of the question for the non-existence of the answer. Let’s have a look at these, shall we?

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That’s one way to do it

Anthony Horvath has an 1100-word-plus response to my last post, in which he still cannot give any kind of explanation for why he thought Watson would “not fare very well” if he “were to go evangelizing in Africa today,” or why he thought Watson’s remarks were “putting your foot in it,” or what he thought Watson’s remark had to do with “[raising] awareness of the fact that scientists are people just like the rest of us and there is no reason to believe that they are especially more logical or rational than anyone else… or more ethical.” [Update] Or why he originally thought it was “terribly ironic that Darwinists have been defending themselves from the charge that evolutionary theory does not provide a basis for racism and here we have Watson doing just that,” or why he thought he was being called a racist when I pointed out that he was essentially agreeing with Watson. [/update] He claims (now!) that it was never his intention to portray Watson as having said anything amiss, but his recent arguments seem to studiously avoid any attempt to explain the real (revised?) meaning of what he originally did say about Watson being an example of scientists lacking ethical reliability.

Meanwhile, though the bulk of my post was about the absence of God and its effect on the possibility of Christian morality, he makes only a passing mention of its existence, dismissing it as a nonspecific “…rant?” and making no attempt whatsoever to deal with the issues it raises. Instead, he spends his entire post trying to spin my comments into something plausibly culpable. Somewhere, somehow, I must have done something wrong. My first reaction was to shrug. After all, I’m of no real importance, and if it makes him feel better to accuse me, that’s fine. But on further reflection, I realized that there was something very interesting about his reaction.

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Horvath’s “own loose ends” and why Christian morality does not work

Anthony Horvath is back for more. Apparently he has now decided that he never even intended to talk about there being anything wrong with what Watson said, and thus I was just making a big issue out of a misinterpretation of his point.

You can find the original article here.

I think that you will see that I was really working on a whole different set of points. Namely, I was arguing in relation to the Maine birth control incident that we have got to be careful in our deference to scientists and ‘experts.’

Which of course is why he spent the first four paragraphs talking about Watson putting his foot in it and this just goes to show that you shouldn’t give scientists “undue regard.” He was talking about the school board in Maine. Of course, how silly of me.

While Horvath is trying to figure out what Watson’s allegedly innocent remarks have to do with scientists getting undue regard, I’d like to turn to the more interesting topic that came up during our conversation: why all morality has an atheistic foundation, and why Christian morality can’t work without turning to atheistic principles.

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Turn off irony meters if you’re on your way to townhall.com

Mine died laughing. Writing for townhall.com, Marvin Olasky has come up with the ultimate slam against modern evolutionary theory: Darwinism is “Too Old-Fashioned To Be True.”

Reporters pretending to referee the origin debate used to have it easy: slick evolutionists vs. hick creationists, progress vs. regress. Now, Darwinism is looking fuddy-duddy, and sophisticated critiques of it are becoming more diverse.

Yep, the reason why we ought to reject modern science and go back to believing Bronze Age creation myths is because “Darwinism” has become “old-fashioned.”

I warned you about turning off those meters…

Key Words: More on Evolution

Daniel MacIntyre wants to continue our discussion on evolution and racism.

I have never stated that there is no evolution. fully believe that species change and that natural selection is a great way to winnow out the defects that crop up. My argument has been that Darwinists haven’t shown that this is sufficient to explain the full picture. Specifically, that the Intelligent design is still a valid competing theory. The link the Professor either failed to follow or ignored is but one example of my arguments in this area. Oh, and as far as ID being a “stupid design that was inferior to what unbelievers could come up with,” not knowing the reason for the design is not the same thing as knowing that the design was inferior.

Notice the careful word choice here. “I fully believe that species change,” not “I fully believe that new species can and do arise by descent with modification from common ancestors,” and “natural selection is a great way to winnow out…defects” not “variation plus natural selection is a powerful mechanism for generating novel structures and behaviors.” Not to read too much into what he didn’t say, but it does sound like he’s appealing to the guarded and reluctant admission by creationists of the fact that some evolutionary mechanisms do exist. The typical creationist demurral, however, is that these mechanisms are much more limited, and far less capable, than evolutionists describe them as being.

And that’s my point. It’s not that the creationist design is inferior because we don’t know what purpose a designer might have had in mind. It’s inferior because anti-Darwinism is defined by the idea that Creation lacks the sophisticated capabilities that make it possible for new and innovative species to evolve. Read the rest of this entry »

XFiles Friday: The “free will” argument for why there is no evidence of God

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, p. 30-31)

Ok, we’re 30 pages into the book, and so far Geisler and Turek have worked hard to stack the deck in their own favor whilst confidently boasting that it is non-believers who suffer from that most shameful of disabilities, having faith. You might think by now they’d be ready to start showing us some of the incontrovertible evidence they claim to have, but no, we’re still stuck trying to spread the insinuation that non-Christians secretly know that Christians are right, and simply refuse to admit it because they’re not willing to live moral lives.

While many non-Christians have honest intellectual questions, we have found that many more seem to have a volitional resistance to Christianity. In other words, it’s not that they don’t have evidence to believe, it’s that they don’t want to believe…

The skeptic might then ask, “But why would anyone want Christianity to be false? Why would anyone not want the free gift of forgiveness?” Good question, but we think the answer lies in the volitional factors we touched on earlier. Namely, many believe that accepting the truth of Christianity would require them to change their thinking, friends, priorities, lifestyle, or morals, and they are not quite willing to give up control over their lives in order to make those changes.

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