Saturday, July 18, 2009

rant 0000

i'm an old programmer, an alcoholic, and a former drug user who was headed for an early death and permanent residence in hell when Jesus pulled me out of my nosedive. my wonderful wife, whom i had just met, told me in no uncertain terms that she wouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior if i was to have a relationship with her. after our marriage, she dragged me to church; i went kicking and screaming the whole way. i was raised Southern Baptist and thought that i knew all about those 'silly fairy tales,' and i didn't want to have anything more to do with church. in spite of myself, the Holy Spirit reached me; now i belong to Jesus (praise God!).

i studied physics in school, and one of the things i learned to use was the scientific method. i know, i know, U know what that is; so did i. unfortunately, i didn't know that it is a tool to be used *every day*; instead, i thought of it as just one more 'fact' first taught to me in elementary school. the scientific method says that there are no 'facts;' instead, there is data and there are explanations of that data (sometimes called theories). any theory devised and tested using the scientific method is constantly subject to revision and possible abandonment when new or better data, or a better theory, comes along; that's why scientists keep testing known theories. the process *never stops*.

religion, OTOH, is an explanation of the world based on priori tenets which are not usually subject to revision or rejection. my salvation, for example, is mine because of my faith in Jesus. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Heb 11:1, NIV). in other words, i believe that Jesus has saved me, and that i will live forever with Him after this body dies ... *without proof*. i believe in Him, and that belief is not subject to revision or abandonment.

proponents of a 'theory' who will not accept possible revisions to it (or even its abandonment) are espousing a religious belief, not a scientific theory. don't get me wrong; as a born-again child of God, i see nothing at all wrong with religious beliefs, but in the current circumstances in this country, it can be dangerous to mix religion and science. i think most people in the U.S., like me, were never taught to *use* the scientific method as a tool to examine data (evidence) and discriminate among theories (explanations), and thus often confuse religion and science. there is a false religion of 'science' being unwittingly sponsored by the State in public schools. public schools teach 'scientific facts' (among which is the scientific method!), which everybody assumes are immutable. when Creationists in Dover, PA, USA tried to get the theory of Intelligent Design just *mentioned* as an alternative explanation (not actually taught) along with the theory of evolution, eleven parents sued the school board in U.S. District Court. the attempt to mention ID was rejected by the Court as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District). i haven't examined the transcript of the decision, but i do know that it is a *legal* one, not a detailed scientific examination of the data and the theories on both sides. looking through the wikipedia article, the decision appears to refer again and again to 'established facts;' it also says that ID is not science because it "... violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation[.]" one of the arguments used by the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller was that ID was not testable. the irony here is that the ID folks often use the same argument against evolution, because the events of interest occurred in the past and there is no way to test them. they forget forensic science, as do the Kitzmiller plaintiffs; the evidence will point to where it will, and if that includes God, then a scientist (a person who uses the scientific method) will accept that. the Court and the plaintiffs reject that possiblity a priori, and that is religion.

keep in mind that the scientific method says *nothing* about the *content* of a theory; therefore, a theory proposing that God created the universe exactly as described in Genesis is perfectly acceptable as a scientific theory. the only thing that would keep such a theory from being *scientific* rather than *religious* is the refusal of those proposing it to accept any revisions or the rejection of the theory. this is where the proponents of ID may fall down, but it need not be so. i am an 'evolutionist,' meaning that i accept evolution, the 'big bang,' et.al., as the (currently) best theories of beginnings. Genesis 1:1 (NIV) says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," but it doesn't say how. for instance, God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. was that instantaneous, or did it take 50 ┬ÁS? 27 aS? the writer doesn't say, and i believe it's for at good reason: it doesn't matter, or God would have made sure it was in there! my question to fellow believers is, do the exact details of the creation of the universe really matter to your faith in Jesus? they certainly don't to me! regardless of *how* God created the universe and caused life forms to exist, i know that He *did* create all things, and that all things were created for His glory. He forbade us to eat from the Tree of Life, but he didn't say that there were any limits into our enquiries into the way things work, or into the history of the universe. no matter how U slice it, God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit will always be glorified by all creation, and how things were created will never affect that.

that said, i am not 'married' to evolution and the big bang. because i strive to use the scientific method to discriminate among theories of beginnings, i am *100% willing* to drop it like a hot potato should the ID folks (or anybody else) be able to better explain the evidence. any other approach is religion, not science. i don't (currently) agree with the 'how' proposed by the ID theory, but the opposition of secular humanists to the teaching of Creationism in public schools is a religious rejection, not a scientific one. it's not an organized religion (or is it?), but the objection is still religious. when U come right down to it, the secular humanists want to have their cake and eat it, too.