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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Stanford Debate: Jay Richards vs. Chris Hitchens - not the usual piffle

I never got a chance to say much about the debate the other day between Jay "Privileged Planet" Richards and Christopher "god is not great" Hitchens, sponsored by the Stanford IDEA Club and a few other groups, and moderated by Expelled's Ben Stein: "Atheism vs. Theism and the Scientific Evidence of Intelligent Design."

One friend notes that from this account in the Stanford rag, you would hardly know that the two men were in the same room together. (I wasn't there. You decide.)

The universe is clearly fine-tuned for life, and - as I like to say - if God didn't do it, his replacement from the celestial temp agency is pretty Good. If Richards made that clear, it is a nice change from the "no-conflict-between-science-and-religion" piffle we so often hear.

Piffle? Yes, because ,as another friend notes, in much of academic life today the terms are decided in advance by functional atheists - you know, facts support atheism but feelings support theism, and we all respect each other's feelings ... UNTIL any theist actually cites facts that support his view. Then watch the temperature drop 50 degrees Celsius in, like, a second..

Here are Tom Magnuson's thoughts, over at Access Research Network.

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Dhimmis for Darwin? Well, we do live in strange times ...

Canadian journalist David Warren, who is a Catholic like me, writes to say that
American Protestant clergy prepare annual "Dhimmis for Darwin" weekend ("Evolution Sunday"), in which they present themselves to be eaten by the Natural Selectors:

He is referring, of course, to the upcoming Evolution Sunday, on which American liberal Protestant clergy will try to sell Darwin's theory of evolution to their congregations. It's unclear to me why that should be their business, but in any event, Warren also notes the Houston Chronicle's puff, and sums up Evolution Sunday as follows,
The conflict, as I have been at pains to stress, is specifically between Christianity, & Scientism. Surrendering to Scientism is one way to end that conflict, but not my preferred way.

Update!: Readers who wish to know what kind of theology results from any prolonged immersion in Darwinism should see this most interesting story by Jeremy Manier in the Chicago Tribune. If you are a Christian and Evolution Sunday is coming to your church soon, this theology probably will be too:
"If your faith requires supernaturalism, or a God who wields overpowering control over nature, then yes, evolution will challenge that," says Van Till, who took early retirement from Calvin College in 1999."The key is to correct your portrait of God," he says.

My advice: Compare it to the New Testament and make your choice. Because it IS a choice.

Frankly, I can't really blame Evangelicals for not taking part. Even if an Evangelical church and pastor were comfortable with the relationship between evolution and a specifically Evangelical expression of the Christian faith, I doubt they would be comfortable with a) identifying with a group that includes many Christian congregations and pastors well outside of Christian orthodoxy (& from the website, it looks like the group is now broadening the scope to other religions as well) and b) signing a statement that may forcefully support the science of evolution but which waters down the faith component to make it almost unpalatable for Evangelicals. (For eg., Christ is not mentioned in the formal statement see [linked here]

Martin has ideas for doing what Darwin himself could not do, and knew he couldn't do: Make materialism coincide with theism.

Oh, and while you're here, a book for your school library, if you are an American who prefers Darwin Day to Lincoln's birthday. Hat tip

Also, today at Access Research Network: Freud, Marx, and Darwin - this time by Theodore Dalrymple

Update February 7, 2008: Steve Martin, a supporter of Evolution Sunday admits


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