Monday, 31 December 2012

Monday quote

Cronyism isn’t a zero-sum game that takes from some and gives to others; it’s negative-sum. The losses to the losers substantially outweigh the gains to the usually less numerous winners.

David R. Henderson

Monday, 24 December 2012

Monday quote

Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Steve Maraboli

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Shields of the earth

Timothy Dalrymple published a guest post by Peter Wehner calling out James Dobson over his comments on the mass shooting in Connecticut, USA. Dobson, in the midst of a much longer broadcast, said,
Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I'm not talking politically, I'm not talking about the result of the November sixth election; I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.

I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.

And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.
It is important to note the larger context of his talk. Dobson replays a talk from 30 years ago talking about the breakdown of the family. The entire talk is on the problems for children without stable families. Divorce gets most of his ire, though he is concerned about absent parents and several other negative influences on the family. He surmises that the murderer was likely affected by a negative family background. Dobson's words above about about the larger picture of the problems in the USA including, but not limited to, mass killings.

In Dobson's comment we can see that his comment about a redefinition of marriage refers to his prediction that things will become worse. Further that he believes that the USA is under judgment from God. Dobson goes on to say immediately after the above comments,
We're seeing things happen that didn't happen just a few years ago. And there's a reason for it, something has gone wrong in this country.

In Shirley's book Certain Peace in Uncertain Times she quotes a scripture from Psalm 47:9 that comes to mind and it says, "For the shields of the earth belong unto God." The shields of the earth—he protects his people and cares about them. And when we are faithful to him, when we revere him, when we read his word and try to apply it, when we are committed to our spouses and to our children, the Lord blesses us. And that's been the source of the greatest prosperity and the greatest blessing on this country of any nation in the history of the world. It didn't happen because we're just nice folks, it happened because we followed biblical principles. And if we walk away from them as we are doing now, and turn our back on the fundamentals of the faith that has guided our forefathers, there will be consequences.
I quote this to show that Dobson sees the problem as being at a national level. This is a corporate problem, not an individual one.

Wehner takes Dobson to task for trying to diagnose evil,
Some Christian conservatives seemingly cannot help themselves.  They have to try to find some deep theological explanation for the evil we witness in places like Newtown, Connecticut.  But often in doing so, they injure the very faith they seek to represent. 
My concern with the post is that it is confused.

Starting with the issue of suffering, Wehner is correct when he points out that the Christian life in the New Testament is intimately connected with suffering, ignoring that the Old Testament says the same things. Paul says that followers of Christ share in Christ's suffering (2 Corinthians 1:5). However, that the righteous may suffer does not negate that the wicked may suffer also. Peter tells us that we are to suffer for righteousness not wickedness (1 Peter 3:17). More importantly however, the argument conflates individual suffering for righteousness in an unrighteous world with God's judgment of nation and the resultant strife. God can certainly judge a nation and scripture testifies to this, both in the case of Israel and many other nations. As such, a righteous person within a nation may suffer if God judges a nation as we see with Elijah.

This appears to be what Dobson is saying above. Rejection of God at a national level will lead to God's judgment. Dobson is not claiming that the children killed (or their parents) were being specifically judged by God.

Wehner expands to this level and asks why the nation is not deteriorating if they are under God's judgment.
Violent crime rates in the U.S. are reaching historic lows. Since 1993, for example, the rate of violent victimization has dropped by more than 70 percent. Those findings undercut the Dobson thesis. If America has gotten less godly, why would God’s judgment (which Dobson believes manifests itself in violent crimes) be getting less, not more, severe? On the flip side, the number, rate, and ratio of abortions in America are lower today than in the past. So why would God lash out now, when the abortion rate is going down, rather than before, when it was going up? And how would Dobson explain why the murder rate was higher when same-sex marriage wasn’t even being discussed and more people believed in God? One can see how terribly confused Dobson’s argument is once it’s actually scrutinized.
What this suggests to me is that Dobson can read the story but Wehner cannot. One needs to have a longitudinal not a cross-sectional view of things, especially history. It takes time for fruit to develop. The consequences of behaviours take some time to work out. We need to look at several decades worth of data and a range of metrics. Accurate data for murder and violence, but also theft, sexual immorality, selfishness, nacissism; and economic issues such as debt. Further, in terms of judgment we need to remember God's patience. God refused to judge the Amorites for 400 years as their sin was not yet full (Genesis 15:16). Repentance would have brought relenting of such judgment as it did for the Ninevites (Jonah; Jeremiah 18:7ff). But repentance and the behaviour that follows has to be real. Wehner's link mentions an 8% drop in the abortion rate 2000–2008; while an improvement, at more than 1,000,000 abortions per year this is hardly a change in heart of the nation.

Wehner makes some other misguided claims. In his third rebutal he says,
Dobson assumes he knows the mind of God and what most grieves, angers and moves His heart.  But surely Dobson knows that Jesus mentions divorce more often than he mentions homosexuality (which Paul addresses but Jesus does not).  So why is same-sex marriage on Dobson’s list but divorce is left off?  And what about the other things that concern God – like indifference to the poor, not caring for the stranger and alien in our midst, a haughty spirit, and riches?  When I listen to James Dobson and I read the gospel accounts, two jarringly different portraits emerge.
Well we can know the mind of God as he has showed us in his word. We may certainly weigh the issues incorrectly as Wehner rightly says; though he then gives a questionable method: counting. While it is true that an issue that the Bible addresses repeatedly is probably important, failure to address things is not condoning them. Jesus addresses divorce a few times, as does Dobson thru-out the broadcast. Jesus does address homosexuality (Matthew 19:4), Dobson does once, and in the context of defending the institution of marriage. Jesus addresses the question of marriage as it was occasional; he was responding to a question. Homosexuality was condemned in Jewish society. It wasn't as if the various Jewish parties were disagreeing over the issue so they brought it Jesus. If homosexuality was condemned and divorce allowed in some circumstances, then if Jesus censures people for being too free with divorce how much more does Jesus reject homosexual practice. If a man may not even look at a woman lustfully he may less look at a man, let alone lie with him.

Other vices may also be a cause of judgment; when people reject God they reject a range of virtues, not just family. The other problems may be of concern to God in the activities of American citizens, though it is the love of riches, not riches, that should be in the above list.

Lastly, Wehner conflates truth and sensitivity.
Now, assume you were a parent of one of the children who was gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School and you heard a well-known Christian figure like Dobson declare that the worst thing you could possibly conceive of – the murder of your first-grade daughter — was a result of the wrath of God.  If you believed this, it would only add to your grief.  And if you didn’t believe it, it would only add to your anger.  And what would Dobson say to the father of the boy who had just dedicated his young life to the Lord?  Why was he the target of God’s judgment?  Because Washington State passed a same-sex marriage initiative?
Truth is not sensitivity. It is fine to discuss the wisdom, or lack thereof, of saying these things at this time. Whether a grieving parent may find Dobson's comments hurtful does not tell us if they are correct or not. This is merely an emotional appeal by Wehner, made worse by misrepresenting a specific death as being due to God's wrath. Nor is this what Dobson said.

I am not a Dobson champion, I disagree with some of his ideas. Nor do I necessarily disagree with Wehner otherwise, I had not previously heard of him and found a couple of his other articles reasonable. Dobson's theology may not always be correct, but it is hardly callous.

Hat tip: MzEllen

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Climate assertions malapropos

Several scientists have sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General disputing climate change claims and asking him to abandon costly, unnecessary, misguided, and costly policy.
The U.K. Met Office recently released data showing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years. During this period, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations rose by nearly 9% to now constitute 0.039% of the atmosphere. Global warming that has not occurred cannot have caused the extreme weather of the past few years. Whether, when and how atmospheric warming will resume is unknown. The science is unclear. Some scientists point out that near-term natural cooling, linked to variations in solar output, is also a distinct possibility.
There are 134 signatories to this letter, most of whom appear to have doctorates.

There is no consensus. And the lack of warming over the last decade should have made changers at least question their theory. In as much as it has not had this effect, tossing around the label "denier" is misdirected.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Did Charles Darwin recant his theory of evolution? has an interesting article about Charles Darwin's (1809–1882) last days. Russell Grigg reviews the idea held by some that Darwin recanted his theory and became a Christian before his death. Grigg reviews Lady Elizabeth Hope's (1842–1922) recounting of her meeting with Darwin in 1881 (which was first published in 1915), and two books about the topic: Darwin and Lady Hope: The Untold Story by L. R. Croft and The Darwin Legend by James Moore.

It is a thought-provoking read. Grigg concludes that Hope's recount is honest, though the account does not necessarily say that Darwin recanted his ideas, nor can it be concluded that Darwin became a Christian—the article does not mention it, but it is useful to remember Darwin studied theology as part of his arts degree; this may be relevant in interpreting what Darwin was saying to Hope.

Grigg does not think it is likely Darwin became a Christian. He also thinks Darwin subscribed to his theory of the origin of species by natural selection and the descent of men from apes till his death.

Thus Hope's account is accurate from the conversation had, further Darwin may have vacillated in his conversations.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Monday quote

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

James Madison, The Federalist No. 51: The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments.

Friday, 14 December 2012

DNA in dinosaur bones

A recent study published in Bone (doi:10.1016/j.bone.2012.10.010) shows evidence of residual dinosaur DNA in dinosaur bones. They retrieved osteocytes (bone cells) from the bone and stained it for DNA.

The dinosaurs were Tyrannosaurus rex and Brachylophosaurus canadensis.

Row 1 (ABC) is T. rex. Row 2 (DEF) is B. canadensis. Row 3 (GHI) is ostrich.

Column 1 (ADG) is a anti-DNA antibody stain. Column 2 (BEH) is propidium iodide, a DNA stain. Column 3 (CFI) is 4′,6′-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride, a DNA stain.

Note that the stains are limited to the nucleus of the cell.

They also identified several proteins including histones which are closely associated with DNA.

They have not yet sequenced the DNA, though that would be of considerable interest.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

What does Bart Ehrman really know about Jesus?

Bart Ehrman, textual critic, has written an article disputing the biblical accounts of Jesus' birth. In it he disputes traditional beliefs, apocryphal claims, and biblical claims. I have no interest in discussing non-canonical writings here, though I am likely to concur with Ehrman about this, but wish to clarify popular belief and refute his antibiblical assertions. I will list the claims here but it is worth reading the article in full first.

Ehrman claims that the Bible does not mention
  1. What year Jesus came into the world;
  2. That Jesus was born on December 25;
  3. An ox and an ass in his manger;
  4. That it was 3 (as opposed to 7 or 12) wise men who visited him.
Ehrman suggests the following equivalency:
  • The Proto-Gospel of James is incredulous;
  • The New Testament gospels are incredulous.
  • He suggests that if we disbelieve the Proto-Gospel of James we should also disbelieve the New Testament gospels.
He also complains that
  1. Matthew and Luke are the only two (New Testament) gospels that contain infancy narratives;
  2. Matthew and Luke are inappropriate to use as historical sources.
He mentions that the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke are historically problematic because they appear irreconcilable. Specifically
  1. Luke and Matthew give genealogies of Jesus’ father, Joseph but they are different;
  2. Joseph and Mary make a trip from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to register for a census that never occurred;
  3. A star—or other celestial body—cannot lead anyone to a particular town or stop over a particular house;
I will consider each of these claims in turn.

Many of the modern ideas about Christmas are not entirely correct. Unfortunately Ehrman has not entirely identified popular misconceptions. The Bible does specify when Jesus was born. It states that the birth was at the time of Augustus' registration (Luke 2:1), that Herod was still alive, and that Jesus was about 30 in Tiberius' 15th year (Luke 3:1, 23). There are several other pointers in the Bible as to the time of Jesus' birth which narrows it down to a year or two as we are not fully certain concerning the intersection of the biblical dates with the Julian calendar.

Ehrman is correct in that we are not clearly given an exact date when Jesus was born, though there are clues that may allow specifying the day. The choice of December 25 may be a reasonable day to celebrate Christmas as there is some evidence that it may correspond to the Magis' visit.

The next item one presumes Ehrman means near the manger rather than in it. There may or may not have been animals around the time of the birth. It is of little consequence, but given that a manger is a feeding trough for animals their presence would not be remarkable. He would have been better to argue that Jesus was not born in a stable.

The 3 Magi possibly derives from the 3 gifts, but Ehrman is correct in that the Bible does not specify their number, or the number of their retinue.

Ehrman's comparison of the Proto-Gospel of James to the New Testament gospels fails on at least two accounts. Firstly, if a work on a topic is palpably false, it does not mean that every work on that topic is just as false. Demonstrating errors in James does not bring Luke into disrepute. Secondly, it seems there is some (unintentional) equivocation around incredulous. To the materialist all miraculous stories are incredulous. It is the miraculous that seems incredulous. Of course if God exists, the miraculous is hardly unbelievable—as if God is constrained by his own creation. To the theist, incredulity has little to do with miracles and everything to do with plausibility of the story. Jesus turned water into wine because they had run out of wine, he healed the crippled and the blind to make them well, and he frequently used such events to teach about the kingdom of God. Compare James' angels feeding Mary, Jesus walking immediately after birth, Mary's hymen remaining intact post-partum. It is not that miracles like these are beyond God's power: ravens fed Elijah. The problem is the miracles are to what purpose? This is the miraculous solely for the sake of miracle. It is incredulous not because there are miracles in the story, it is incredulous because it lacks meaning.

His next two complaints are a non-issue. There are only 4 New Testament gospels, only 2 gospels having material about Jesus' infancy is fully half of all the gospels. His statement that Matthew and Luke are inappropriate historical sources is just assertion. Luke is frequently regarded as a pre-eminent historian.

For all the length of the article Ehrman only identifies three problems specific to what is actually written in the Bible. He is wrong on all three counts.

The genealogies are not both of Joseph. Matthew's (incomplete) genealogy is of Joseph who is married to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Luke's is of Jesus via Mary. Jesus was the son as it was supposed of Joseph. Jesus was in fact the son (decendent) of Heli, Heli being the father of Mary. Luke has earlier told us that Mary was a virgin and Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and not Joseph.

Next, there are a couple of problems with the census dismissal. The first problem is Ehrman fails to find corroborating evidence for such census and uses this missing information and reason to dismiss Luke's claims as fiction. Even if Luke were to contradict another historian this does not disprove Luke, if Luke is otherwise more reliable then he deemed more likely to be telling the truth. Yet in this passage it is not even Luke versus others, it is Luke versus no one. Why can we not believe Luke here? Luke is an impeccable historian. And he lived during this era. The second problem is that it probably was not a census. Luke says registration. A census is assumed by some interpreters but not mentioned by Luke. There could be other reasons to register. Some have suggested this registration was to offer an oath of allegiance to Augustus, about the time he was named Pater Patriae.

Lastly, the clue to the star is that it appeared to the Magi. Although God could have made a dazzling light appear in the sky to guide the way this would have been visible to everyone. The Magi saw meaning in various stars that others did not see. It was the conjunction of stars and planets (wandering stars) that led them to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem.

Reconciling the gospel nativities is not that difficult. Though some difficulties may exist in the texts, others difficulties seem to arise from an assumption that the gospels are errant.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Monday quote

Reading and reflection are the rational pleasures of wise men.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christianity and homosexuality. Part 3

Natural law speaks to man's heterosexual design; Scripture declares sodomy verboten. This evidence is enough for obedience, though questions as to why this may be the case can be addressed. To do so we need to ask the right questions such as what is the intent of sexuality? What is marriage? Why do we have marriage? How does the Fall affect these things? What will be the situation in the resurrection?

The original question included the comment,
It’s not a matter of homosexuality means the population won’t grow or be able to look after us in our old age – as was the case in Biblical times.
And elsewhere in the email was the request not to list verses but to explain why this remains the situation millennia later.

I am not certain one can do this staying away from Bible verses per se. Perhaps one can refrain from quoting proof-texts, but defence requires explaining actual texts.

It is not just that we know what God has commanded—though obedience without full understanding is an aspect of faith—he has told us much about why the world is.

Therefore the creation mandates must be considered in any approach to sexuality, we learn much of God's intent for the world. God's creation of humans was the culmination of his all his works of creation; we are made in his image, we are given dominion over the rest of the world, we are told to procreate and fill the earth.

Adam does not find himself a companion amongst the animals, but on meeting his wife:
This at last is bone of my bones/
and flesh of my flesh; (Genesis 2:23)
He recognises his need for companionship. God wants relationship, and shows Adam his need. Adam's need for companionship cannot be meet in caring for animals, it needs to be in something—which turns out to be a someone—who shares the image of God. Yet also we see God's intent in creating a woman. God makes her human to share the imago Dei, but makes her female to compliment him as a person. Jesus confirms God's intent by quoting this passage
Jesus answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The two were to be one.

This is primary, and without the added consideration of children. Marriage is for complimentary companionship: humans not animals, two not many, male and female. God has created us like this, and the intent of design is such that intimate relationship will occur in such a situation. Of course the Fall quickly affected this and continues to do so, which I will address at a later stage.

So what of children as a part of family? Filling the earth was an early command (Genesis 1:28) and was repeated (Genesis 9:1). Homosexual relationships are sterile and cannot obey this command. Neither can barren women who are married, nor persons who choose not to marry including those who do so for the sake of the kingdom. Not having children can be an acceptable situation and need not imply sin. Of course sin is defined in terms of intent. It is certainly not the intent of a barren woman to fail to bear children. Her situation is usually a source of grief. And the man or woman serving Christ and staying unmarried has chosen a calling where they should not be becoming (biological) parents. I am not certain that married couples voluntary refraining from having children is a reasonable option (in most situations). So the issue of a homosexual couple entering a sexual relationship needs to be compared to, at minimum, heterosexuals who marry with the permanent intent of not having children. And though the dominion mandate includes populating the earth, something that will happen despite not everyone contributing a child or two, it is not lots of people that is the predominant reason for parenthood. Malachi tells us the why of having children,
The LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” (Malachi 2:14-16)
It is godly children God wants, not lots of people. Failing to have a growing population is not the primary issue, it is not having faithful children.

Caring for parents in their old age is not the primary reason for family, though it is something that is important for children (1 Timothy 5:4). As parental care is not the reason for marriage, a perceived lack of necessity for children in senility is not an argument in favour of homosexual unions.

The difference in the contemporary social situation compared to the ancient Near-East is not an argument allowing homosexual unions. Needing children to care in infirmity was not the reason for marriage; and having children is command for the sake of godly people, a command that cannot intrinsically be obeyed by two people of the same gender.

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Did Moses write the Pentateuch?

Several authors of Scripture thought so.
  • Exodus 17:14; 24:4–7; 34:27;
  • Numbers 33:2;
  • Deuteronomy 31:9, 22, 24;
  • Joshua 1:7–8; 8:32–34;
  • Judges 3:4;
  • 1 Kings 2:3;
  • 2 Kings 14:6; 21:8;
  • 2 Chronicles 25:4;
  • Ezra 6:18;
  • Nehemiah 8:1; 13:1;
  • Daniel 9:11–13;
  • Matthew 8:4; 19:7–8;
  • Mark 7:10; 12:26;
  • Luke 16:31; 24:27, 44;
  • John 1:17; 5:46–47; 7:19;
  • Acts 6:14; 13:39; 15:5;
  • 1 Corinthians 9:9;
  • 2 Corinthians 3:15;
  • Hebrews 10:28.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Monday quote

We live in a strange period in history when the idea of affordable food is considered a lamentable condition.

Joe Carter

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Atheism's religion

Is atheism a religion? Is evolutionism a religion? Is secularism a religion?

Subscribers to various positions try to prejudice their own beliefs by claiming that religious beliefs should be excluded from the public square, or that such beliefs represent a conflict of interest, or a bias—often implying an unacceptable bias.

Of course if religion is (reasonably) defined as belief in a deity or, more broadly, the supernatural, then materialism is not a religion. Unfortunately for the materialist he is not off the hook. Firstly the debate is over truth. And if God exists, as the majority of the world has believed since creation till now, then the premises of the atheist are false and his conclusions are more likely to be errant.

Even ignoring this, the relegation of religion to second tier prominence is unjustifiable. What is it that people believe? It is their worldview. Consistent or not, events are interpreted according to an underlying belief structure. It is not more logical to justify a course of action based on considerations that deliberately deny divinity rather than affirming it.

One may categorise a worldview by topic. Say, how does one view economics or philosophy? Within such a system the atheist has a view on theology. His claim is atheism, the Christian's claim is theism. Other particular worldviews include pantheism.

The atheist wishes to allow his denial of theism to influence his views, yet deny his theology (atheism) shut him out of the marketplace of ideas; the very reason he gives for banning the theist. He labels a theistic worldview "religion," which is enough to disparage ideas influenced by it, but somehow not have the same effect on areligious reasoning. He wants to eat and keep his cake.

Some atheist and evolutionist thinkers are more aware of the influence of worldview, and can see how such premises affect their ideas in ways analogous to religion. From their mouths....

Hubert Yockey (1916–), evolutionist. Journal of Theoretical Biology (1977), doi:10.1016/0022-5193(77)90044-3.
One must conclude that, contrary to the established and current wisdom a scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written.
Boyce Rensberger, evolutionist. How the World Works.
The fact is that scientists are not really as objective and dispassionate in their work as they would like you to think. Most scientists first get their ideas about how the world works not through rigorously logical processes but through hunches and wild guesses. As individuals, they often come to believe something to be true long before they assemble the hard evidence that will convince somebody else that it is. Motivated by faith in his own ideas and a desire for acceptance by his peers, a scientist will labor for years knowing in his heart that his theory is correct but devising experiment after experiment whose results he hopes will support his position.
Richard Lewontin (1929–), evolutionist. The New York Review of Books (1997).
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
John Dunphy, humanist. The Humanist (1983).
I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism … .
Michael Ruse (1940–), agnostic.
Evolution, akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically.


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