Tag Archives: evolution

Interesting links elsewhere (summer 2015 edition)


Summer break is over, and so is my blog silence, so I better make up for my IMG_1899missed link-list… The featured picture is one with 2 types of stuffed ‘olive cucumbers’ as we call them in Dutch, or achocha (Cyclanthera pedata on the right and under, cyclanthere brachystegia on the left). Which is a very interesting addition to our assorted tapas… These ‘stuffing cucumbers’ are an easy to grow and very cool but rather unknown vegetable…

So what did I see on the internet that was worth reading while in ‘inactive mode’?

In which she underfines femininity by Rachel Heston-Davis  on Jesus creed.

A very interesting impression of 2 wiccans at the hypercharismatic church of Bethel that I’m still processing and might blog about later. part I part II part III. Check also the prophecies she received at Bethel. (makes one think, not?)

The true story of Kudzu, the vine that never ate the South. Lies, media, tall tales and shifting baselines…

Heart-breaking piece by David Bentley Hart about a man who was able to see the spiritual realm until modern psychiatry and medicine messed with him. “Sometimes it is difficult to exaggerate how strange, barbaric, and superstitious an age ours really is.”

Are plants intelligent?

New plant species discovered via facebook. One of the biggest Drosera-species on the planet, and already almost extinct…

A church grown from trees…

Secret Belgian operation to save 244 Christians from Aleppo.

How C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien responded to ‘envirenmental holocaust’

Interesting angle from India: Yes, men get raped too, and they mostly  suffer in silence.

Sensationalist title, but interesting fossils nonetheless: Stunning Fossils Rewrite Evolutionary History of Life on Earth

20 priceless monuments lost in war.

When I came back on the internet, I learned what Ashley Madison was. I wishI had remained ignorant about the existence of that kind of  #@&% but now that I know about it I can as well share some perspectives by Tall Skinny Kiwi and Dan Brennan about it…

that’s it for now…

see you all later

Bram

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Some interesting things elsewhere IV


Yeah, it’s becoming almost regular now, my list of interesting things elsewhere…

Today we have a picture of an albatross to celebrate the release of my bandcamp single with that name. It has the original indie-folk versions, a trance version, a triphop version and another remix of my song ‘albatross’ and can be downloaded for free or for a chosen price if you like. so which version do you like most? ( The song might be based loosely on the dark island passage of the narnia book with the ship and all the islands…)

Btw, did you know that of 21 species of albatross recognised by scientists 19 are endangered? Long live progress I’d say…

Scot McKnight rethinks Near-death experiences (be sure to read the comments also.) A subject that I don’t have much opinion on, but I find it interesting nonethelesss….

American politics is something I don’t understand. One of the things I don’t understand is how certain ideas that are regarded ‘conservative’ can be seen as Christian. Morgan Guyton has an interesting article about how Ayn Rand and Jesus are completely uncompatible, according to a follower of Rand. I don’t know that much about Rand, but it’s seems quite evident to me that someone who hates altruism has nothing at all to do with Christ!

After my post on speaking about creation, it might be interesting to read the  opinion of your fellow-reader Eric, a scientist himself, on his blog the jawbone of an ass, with his views on genesis (read this first, and then gen 1 part 1 and part 2, genesis 2, genesis 3, genesis 4, and you can find a lot more interesting stuff over there…)

Also interesting is the last post from our Asian friend Vinoth Ramachandra, who clearly believes in evolutionary creation himself, and reviews a book from Raymond Tallis, an atheist himself, against ‘darwinitis and neuromania’, that looks quite interesting but also quite heavy… His review ends with the promising words “What a pity that so much effort has been devoted to lambasting the polemics of Dawkins and Harris, when Christians should be reading thoughtful humanists like Tallis.

Scott Morizot has (again!!) a must-read post, the third in his ‘pluralism and the christian gods’ series. Be sure to reas 1 and 2 too!

Roger Olson has an interesting article about panentheism, a word that is used in some corners of the emerging church, but that seems to have very different definitions depending on who’s using it…

And if you consider changing your religion, there’s always the terror of the Old Ones one can turn to. Read this tract and repent! (!!Do not read if you have a problem with sci-fi, horror, or religious propaganda!!) ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!! Looks like Jack Chick has some part-time job making flyers for other religions…

anything interesting that you read lately?

shalom

Bram

Mammoths, speed-evolution, and the Ark of Noah…


Let me start by saying that I don’t have any problem with Christians believing in either 6-day-creation or evolutionary creation, even though I might have a problem with making ‘isms’ out of this kind of ideas. My own position is that the Creation of the world is bigger than what we can investigate scientifically, and that we’ll never know all of the story, no matter how long we dig and measure and theorise, since the visible is not made out of what we can percieve, to paraphrase the letter to the Hebrews. That said I do tend to be convinced by an older earth, and by the general idea of evolution, but the most important thing is to acknowlegde that God is the creator… In the end all our theories about how He did create the world are probably cute and funny to Him, but not really to the point…

A problem can exist when people do have to believe a certain position on this subject to not be dismissed as either a false or at least compromising Christian (with the fundamentalist side) or a dumb idiot that cannot be taken seriously (the liberal side), and I see both of these on the internet all the time… Indeed, the problem is that there is a form of 6-days-creationism that runs rampant on the internet, which isn’t only rigily exclusive (all other views are heretical and make the bible worthless!) as scientifically completely nonsense for people who have done more studies than a simple secondary school curriculum… So people encountering this view might dismiss christianity completely, and I would do the same if let’s say Ken Ham or Doctor Dino would be able to prove me that his view was the right Christianity. I would just not at all be interested in Christianity… And it would have nothing to do with Christ… (Christ Himself should be the reason to accept or reject Christianity. All in Christianity should lead towards Him)

I once had an online discussion with a guy who was a strong believer in a very rigid form of 6-day-creationism. Unlike the view I had a teenager, which believed in an earth of at least 12.000 years, he believed in an earth of approximately 6.000 years. And he surely would have seen my former creationism model as compromised and not biblical, even though it was much more scientifically convincing, let alone more coherent. Which his model wasn’t if we went into details.

One funny discussion we had was about mammoths. As everybody knows, the Woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenus) is a hairy elephant which roamed most of the northern hemisphere, and of which a lot of fossils (and even intact frozen specimens) have been found. But somehow the species dissapeared, and now we don’t have any of those hanging around anymore…

In his view the earth had to be completely repopulated with animals and humans after the great flood, some 4000 years ago. And all the mammoths are too recent to be from before the flood, so they are from after the flood.

Especially because, according to a view that some call baraminology, all elephants come from one pair of proto-elephants on the ark. Including the woolly mammoth. Noah did not have much place to put more pairs of elephantids on the ark anyway, and anyway mammoths are actually closer related to the Indian elephant than the 2 living species of African elephants are… (if one can believe phylogenetics, a field of science that is not epmloyed much in the strict creationist camp)

In his time table, the ‘ice age’ was shortly after the flood. And the mammoths were wiped away by the ice age…

Now there are 2 problems:

first there is the problem that it takes a lot of time to fill the Northern hemisphere with mammoths. Elephants are slow breeding animals. To think that they would fill 3 continents in a few hundreds of years, and then all die out because of a climate change is quite extra-ordinary in my view.  Anyone who knows about population statistics will agree with me…

The second problem is the problem of micro/macro-evolution. According to baraminology God created the animals all ‘after its kind’, which later ‘evolved’ into a broader group of species. So a doglike animal would be the forefather of all dogs, wolves and jackals (and foxes?), just like the proto-horse would be the forefather of all of the Equus genus: horses, asses, zebra’s and probly the now-extinct 3-toed fossil specied too… Likewise all elephants are considered to be of one baramin. (the word itself is bad use of Hebrew) So the proto-elephant pair that came from the ark must have evolved really fast in Indian and African elephants, and our Woolly mammoths… So this kind of ‘micro-evolution’ must have gone really really fast just after the flood…

In the end the one pair of proto-elephants from the ark had to evolve really fast in the different species, of which the mammoths had to spread to almost everywhere on the northern hemisphere… And they had to fill those 3 continents, just to die out, and all of that in a few hundreds of years…

I have no idea how he’d explain the numerous exctinct elephantids that are known to man. Except with a theory that ‘micro’evolution happened very fast before and just after the flood, but for some reason slowed down a lot after that… And then the whole theorie sometimes seems to hang on the impossibility of macro-evolution…

All I can say is that I’m glad that my faith does not depend on this kind of weird theories…

shalom

Bram

atheists of all gods except for one?


Let’s start with a popular Richard Dawkins quote:

“We are all atheists about most of the gods humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” – Richard Dawkins

Now, this sounds plausible at first sight, given the fact that one of the accusations for which Christians were fed to the lions in the Roman empire was the charge of atheism, since they did not believe in the gods of the Roman empire.

But even then we need to bring more nuance, so here’s a second quote:

“If you are a Christian,” Lewis says, “you do not have to believe that all other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.” – C.S. Lewis in Mere christianity

I’m with Lewis here. It’s not because I’m an ‘atheist’ to Zeus or Odin, or ‘the God of the violent Jihad’,  in the sense that I don’t believe in them, that I have to reject all of the religion of the people who do believe in them in exactly the way Dawkins reject all religions. I do believe that their view on the spiritual world is wrong, but I will affirm with them that it exists. More like the way a Darwinist rejects Lamarckism than how she rejects Special Creation theory.

(a slightly irrelevant side-note: i do believe that Lamarckism is a valid theory for the evolution of most things without DNA, like cultures, musical genres and languages, mich more than Darwinian evolution…)

So I do disagree with muslims over the character of God (for whom some arabic Christians also use the name allah), but I affirm a lot of things they do believe about the monotheistic God of Abraham, creator of heaven and earth. I do disagree with a lot of the animistic worldview, but I will not say that all of their religion is placebo. I would say that the explanation they offer might be wrong, not that there’s nothing behind their faith… There are traces of the Creator all over creation, and seeds of light are likely to be found in every religion, mixed with human and other influence though… And every truth that can relly considered to be truth has its ultimate source in Him, wherever we find it. And truth is not just found by Christians or enlightened Westerners. We probably can learn from every human being and every culture, and even from most religions… Probably the most uncivilised Indian from the rainforrest can teach us a lot about a lot of subjects… there are seeds of light everywhere, Logos spermatikos as the church fathers called it.

I even do agree with some atheist critique on things done in the name of religion, or even in the name of Christ. Just like a lot of Christians had similar critique, and even Jesus was pretty harsh for the religious elite of his time. But that critique should be used by christians to re-evaluate, not to throw out the baby with the bath-water…

Atheism like the word is used today is not the rejection of a certain religion or God, but the rejection of all of them, even the slightest possibility of any spiritual entity even.  that’s way too drastic: I can say that I don’t believe in the Mokele Mbembe, but that does not mean that I have to reject all reptiles or the existence of living dinosaurs long ago…

shalom

Bram

postmodern origins-agnostic Creationism


Sometimes I am amazed how muc energy christians can put in ‘proving that the bible is right’, and ‘fighting the godless darwinism’ and other stuff. I’ve met people who saw the whole challenge of being a christian being summed up in the defense of ‘creation’ against ‘evolutionism’. so there was no time at all for the other 65 and a half books of the bible, or to try to follow Jesus and to try to love God above all, and our fellow humans as ourselves… such obsessions can be very unhealthy for christianity… But even by the unobsessed I’ve seen ideas circulating in evangelical circles about black or white, God or evolution, as if there are just 2 options….

I don’t buy the whole evolution-science dichotomy (and I always get tired of false dichotomies, must be my postmodern side…) The least we could say is that there is a continuum like the one on this chart:

continuum of evolution and creation

(it is stolen from steve martin, read the article here he has better alternatives than this chart)

But then still, I’m not really  on the chart.  My position on Creation may be called something like postmodern origins-agnostic Creationism or something like that.  Creationist, for surely I believe in the CReator who created all of this creation (and much more), and agnostic in the sense that we simply can not know how exactly the world was put into existence, so all our human storys fall short and will allways fall short to accurately descibe the how of creation…

The main thing is that I can’t believe that science (or even human languages and concepts) will ever be able to explain how the world was created, those things are bigger than all we can know and grasp and find traces off… Science is based op the parameters of the world now and language is based on concepts we can understand with what we can see and know in our 3D + one time dimension world… If Creation is bigger than anything our brains can understand, it is just a matter of logic the only thing we could have is an accomodation, like the creation poem in genesis. So in the end everything is an accomodation, the evolution model, the big bang, or any creation story is a way to say something that can not be said accurately.

The problems I have with Young earth Creationism (which I’ve believed in the first 20 years of my life or so) is firstly that I’ve encountered a lot of intelectual dishonesty and plain BS (look at our dear Dr dino…) and the idea that we have to prove (our modernist interpretation of) the bible to defend our faith is dangerous…

So to conclude: Creation is bigger than any story we can make out of it to explain it as humans… If science proves that the world is old and that there is some kind of evolution who am I to not believe that, but even then it will never be the whole story… The story is bigger and encompasses more than the material traces that it may or may not have left, so digging in the ground will never make us able to have all the details… I think in the original diagram with the continuum, I would be somewhere away from the diagonal black line but close to the red line. I’m closer than ever to being an ‘evolutionary creationsist’ right now; and I’m much more happy with that term than I ever was with the term theistic evolutionist, believing in Creation and the Creator comes before any idea how it might have happened..

But still it is all just fallible human theorie, like flatlanders in a 2D world discussing about the form my guitar…

All praises to the Creator of all things visible and invisible!!!

shalom

Bram

to read some more:

http://evanevodialogue.blogspot.com

http://biologos.org/

Scot McKnight and his regular guest blogger RJS  also have some interesting discussions about the subject, use the search function on http://www.beliefnet.com/Blogs/jesuscreed