Wednesday, August 31, 2005 

Helping Those Hurt by Katrina


In response to Hugh Hewitt's call for bloggers to unite in an effort to push for donations to Disaster Relief organizations helping those effected by Hurricane Katrina, I have decided to post this in a hope that many of you will be moved to help through your giving.

I second Dr. R. Albert Mohler's suggestion to give to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund, which can be done by clicking here. Additionally, I have found WWL TV's blog to be one of the best sources of up-to-the-minute information on what is happening on the Gulf Coast. Also, here are a couple of blogs you should check out:

Howie Luvzus -- A friend who lives in the New Orleans area
A View From A Pastor's Study -- A pastor who will be dispatched with the SBC DR Team

Thursday, August 25, 2005 

Should Evangelicals Get Out of Politics?

I have never really liked politics. Really I haven't. I have political positions, mind you. And I generally agree with one political party, which often holds to certain stances on particular "social issues" such as abortion and religious liberty. However, I have been growing more and more irritated with the current state of Evangelicalism as it relates to the political landscape. With the recent comments of Pat Robertson and the always controversial Dr. James Dobson, I am beginning to think that we as Evangelicals are missing the forest for the trees.

Now I haven't always been this way. Not long ago, I considered the possibility that a career in politics might better suit a born-debater like me. But, a few months ago, as God would have it, I stumbled across a blog by Steve Camp, the Christian music artist, turned theologian. He impressed me with his depth and in-your-face commentary on issues such as the contemporary Christian music scene. Here is his "107 Theses to CCM," which is well worth a read. A couple of months ago he started a new site here at blogger where he has posted a large number of articles against the movement he has (or at least someone has) labeled "Evangelical C0-Belligerence." Basically, he is saying that the Gospel was never meant to be sent by means of the vehicle of politics. He abhors the new alliance between Catholics and Evangelicals, by which they have both seemingly thrown out 500 years of theological debate, and united in a hope that politics can change the ethical and moral landscape of America.

I personally think he is on to something. I am sick of Evangelicals spending the majority of their time on political issues. Now, you might say, "D.R., didn't you just write three blogs on the Intelligent Design controversy? Isn't that a political position? Aren't you being a bit hypocritical here?" Well, my answer is "yes" and "no". First, I think ID shouldn't be politicized, but I acknowledge that it has been. I think it is better served as a powerful new tool in the hands of competent apologists. It is something that shows the deficiencies of a system that has never been well thought out in the first place. However, I really don't care if it is ever taught on a wide scale in public schools. I just want teachers to quit having their First Amendment Rights trampled upon by the ACLU and The Americans United for Separation of Church and State for even mentioning that evolution is anything less than pure scientific law.

But I will be the first to say that my theological position excludes the possibility that Christians will ever be able to influence this country enough, by political maneuvering, to revert it back to a time when pornography wasn't so readily available, when children weren't able to be killed by their mothers because they simply didn't want the inconvenience, and when the name of Jesus Christ invoked respect instead of hostility. The only way America will ever see a revival is by Christians seeking the face of God, being conformed into the image of Christ, and living incarnationally in the world in which they temporarily reside. We cannot compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ and expect to influence a world of lost men and women with the very truth that alone can set them free from sin and death.

Brothers and Sisters, let us press on for a prize won not by human efforts through man-centered debating, but rather for one taken hold of by means of the grace of God through living out our call, namely to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. I thank God for men like Steve Camp, Phil Johnson, and Tom Ascol, whose dedication to the Gospel is not clouded by the politics of men. May we be men and women who seek the Glory of God, not the glory of a political system which will soon fade away. Remember there is no democracy in the heavenly realms.

Monday, August 15, 2005 

Intelligent Design and Antony Flew

I found this article while doing a search on Antony Flew, the great 20th century atheist. He is now a Deist due to Intelligent Design arguments. For all those who say how anti-intellectual ID is, I thought it fitting that one of the greatest atheists of our time would be persuaded by the views presented by ID scholars to abandon his position of over 50 years. If ID can be judged to be intelligent enough (no pun intended) to persuade such a mind as Flew's, why are some Christians who don't have near the philosophical vigor of this man so quick to dismiss it without reading a single book by an ID advocate? It makes you wonder why anyone believes the charges being doled out by the religious left against all sorts of Christian education.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 

Intelligent Design Links

I am very excited to say that because of the media coverage and articles such as Mr. Prescott's and Mr. Baerren's (albeit all negative presentations), Intelligent Design is getting a lot more attention lately. Unfortunately, that means that more and more people are taking pot-shots at it and building strawmen that are easily knocked down. Thus I have decided to offer some links to Intelligent Design sites and organizations, as well as to lists of books about ID that are well worth reading. While I will not be offering any anti-Design links, I will say that many exist and anyone who wants to view these need not go any further than Google to find them.


Links to ID sites:

The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center

Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Club TM

The Access Research Network (ARN)

The Discovery Institute

International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID)

Design Inference Website The Writings of William A. Dembski

Center for Science and Culture (CSC)


Blogsites:

Intelligent Design: The Future

Jonathan Witt

William Dembski

Lawrence Seldon

Evolution News Blog

Denyse O'Leary

Telic Thoughts

iDesign at UCI

Kevin Miller


Books on Intelligent Design:

Jonathan Witt's List

Creation and Revelation's List

Reading List from Access Research Network

List from IDEA

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 

Bruce Prescott: A Lesson In Irresponsible Blogging

After a long absence I am finally back. Sorry to all my regular readers. My wife and I are in transition these days as she will be starting school and I will be starting a new job. Please pray for us that God provides and helps us through this time.

Until my recent absence from the blogging scene I was reading somewhere around 30 blogs a day and keeping up with at least 20 others sporadically. I think that the blogosphere offers a great opportunity for people to connect and interact with others and to ingest large amounts of diverse information. However, it is also a dangerous place where many false prophets and charlatans lie in wait to deceive and to mislead. Unfortunately, the next set of civil lawsuits will probably be against bloggers. Many newspapers around the country are either prohibiting or policing their reporters' and columnists' blogsites. And as I have found there are a number of blogs that have popped up that exist solely for the purpose of pushing an agenda, whether truthfully or not.

One blogger that I have been cautiously reading for sometime now is Dr. Bruce Prescott. His blog can be accessed at http://mainstreambaptist.blogspot.com. This is a guy who definitely has an agenda. He is director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. As a former Southern Baptist, he is now very active with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate to liberal separatist group that in recent years severed itself from the SBC due to theological differences (though there are many churches who consider themselves to be dually-aligned with both the SBC and CBF). Politically he is far to the left, supporting everything from abortion and embryonic stem cell research to gay marriage. He calls himself a "mainstream" or "traditionalist" Baptist and maintains that inerrancy is foolish as well as many other historic Baptist positions such as the belief in the absolute sovereignty of God and the rejection of evolution as a realistic understanding of the Biblical texts. And it is this last position that is the reason for my post today.

You see, Bruce and I have clashed many times over many issues ranging from the economy to Dr. Albert Mohler's position on voluntary childlessness of married couples. And in the past there have been times when he has deleted my comments charging that I have personally attacked him, all the while allowing himself to misrepresent the positions of others like Dr. Mohler and Dr. Russell Moore, both of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY (where I currently reside). But it was during this recent "discussion" on Intelligent Design Theory, a viable alternative to evolution that I felt I should call attention to his behavior.

Now, first before I go into this, let me offer a short polemic for why I am writing about this man. After all we are supposed to be brothers in Christ and we should not judge our fellow believers, right? Well, not necessarily. You see the Bible teaches in various places that we are to correct and reprove our neighbors at times when it is appropriate. Jesus spends quite a while teaching on what to do when our brother sins against us in Matthew 18. Paul mentions discipline in regards to the church in several places and seems to indicate that reproof is not only Scriptural, but essential to the Body of Christ. Thus I feel that because I have been silenced by this man repeatedly for trying to show his own error to him that I should point this out in the midst of many witnesses and let the record speak for itself. If I am wrong, then let me know. I welcome your comments and ask that you pray that this matter would bring about glory for God. I invite Bruce to come and defend himself and his action on this blog and I promise to not delete any comment he makes as long as he does not use profanity (a courtesy that he has not provided to me).

Now, what exactly is going on here. Well, this is the first article that I commented on that Bruce published on his weblog concerning Intelligent Design. In it he links other articles that seem to indicate that he believes ID is non-scientific and only has to do with the legal debate concerning teaching creationism in schools. Here is my un-edited response:
Bruce,Not suprisingly, after reading all of your articles on Intellegent Design I am completely floored by your lack of serious discussion on the subject. You treat it flippantly as if evolution is a not a theory, but a law. Just in case you didn't know, it's not. It is only one means of explaining the universe. The other means is that an intellegent being created it. Those are the only two theories that make sense. Hence, both should be given air time in our schools. I found one statement you made quite interesting. You said, "The easiest way to discover this [that ID is just trying to teach creationism] is to ask the proponents of "Intelligent Design" to explain how their "theory" can be tested to prove its veracity or falsity and how the theory expands our understanding of nature." I find your "test" interesting since evolutionists cannot test evolutionary theory. What Darwin discovered was adaptation, but not macro-evolution. No scientist has ever caused or observed a change in the structure of DNA such that would bring about the evolution of a monkey into a man. Nothing even close has been observed or repeated. Hence, your test is not comprehensive because even evolutionists cannot do such a thing. That is why it is still called a "theory" -- because it is not repeatable like say the Law of Gravity. Thus ID taking evolutionary arguments and showing serious flaws is a legitimate concern. It is science to show such propositions to students such as the theory of Irreducable Complexity set forth by Michael Behe a respected and leading ID scholar. So in essence you has silenced free speech by denying the right that the Scopes Monkey Trial provided, which was to legally allow both sides to be taught in the public schools. Creationism or not, there are serious flaws in evolution that students have the right to know about.
I went on to post the link to Stephen Meyer's response to a similar question that Bruce had regarding a "test". It can be accessed here. I felt it more than adequately answered his objection. Still he continued to show his lack of understanding of ID by suggesting it had nothing to do with science, despite the fact that I pointed him to Michael Behe's book. He did not and still does not indicate he has read anything by any proponent of ID. What followed next was what I would consider irresponsible. After we wrangled a bit about what exactly ID was and how it did or did not have anything to do with science, I posted the quote that I felt best answered Bruce's objection, but he deleted it and then said this: "You're [sic] posts have become the equivalent of electronic graffitti [sic]. I'm removing them from now on. Troll on someone else's blog."

To me this is irresponsible blogging. First, Bruce suggests to his readers (who by the way may not know anything about ID -- which he is fully aware of), that ID has nothing to do with scientific research. Then, when it is pointed out to him that ID scholars are indeed scientists and do take on evolution from a scientific perspective, he continues to belligerently maintain his erroneous position. When he is shown his objection has been answered, he doesn't try to interact with it, but simply denies it is there. Then when I post the answer, he removes it. Absolutely irresponsible!

And if that is where the story ends, that would be enough for me to prove he that he was irresponsible with his handling of this topic. But, he continued to post on the subject. Here is another post he wrote just days following. Basically, he found someone to agree with him and thus felt that was enough to prove his point. Only problem is that the guy who wrote the article is just as uniformed as Bruce is about ID. He's not even a scientist, but rather a news editor. At least get some credible source to support you. Here's an article by another blogger regarding Eric Baerren's rather poorly researched commentary on ID. When I commented regarding this post, Bruce once again went back to his same ole' tired argument, even stating rather ignorantly that "exceedingly few scientists ascribe any credibility to ID theory." This is a completely false statement and when I challenged him on this and basically said he still had not proven that ID had nothing to do with science, he deleted my comment and offered this interjection: "Discussions with you are ended. Your arrogance is insufferable." Arrogance! Now that is quite a charge. Here I am trying to set the record straight and Brucey charges me with arrogance. I told him in no uncertain terms how unprofessional that was.

You see, as bloggers we have a responsibility to tell the truth and to admit when we are wrong. We are a part of the media as well. Though we might not get paid and we may not have the credentials or the degrees, we must be careful to teach our readers and inform them on the issues. We cannot settle for strawmen arguments and deleting comments we don't like because someone disagrees with us. We must debate our critics and stop speaking when we are ignorant of the real facts at hand. I know I am not perfect in this regard, but we must strive for perfection. Propaganda and censorship just will not do in this media reformation. Hopefully soon I will publish more on Intelligent Design and let people know the real story behind its scientific foundation and Evolution's glaring flaws.

About me

Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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