Tuesday, March 19, 2019

How Judaism (through Christianity) improved the view of human dignity in the Pagan world.

The Christian theologian David Bently Hart has written a short essay explaining how Christianity improved the view of human dignity in the Pagan world.  It did so by spreading the Jewish view that every human being has been created in the image of God.

Human Dignity Was a Rarity Before Christianity.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Settling the Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Teleology Debate

Philosophers who favor Aristotle and other ancient views of Nature, see it as more of an organism, while philosophers who favor modern views see Nature more as machine.  Intelligent Design theory has come about in the modern age and is usually framed within the modern view that Nature is a machine, and that God or whoever the designers were had to manipulate life, much as an engineer or mechanic has to manipulate the parts of a machine.  This causes all sorts of hostile reactions from the first group of philosophers, who reject the idea that living organisms are mere machines.

What's interesting is that the Biblical view straddles the fence.  Nature is an organism that God has created, with potential capacities.  But she can only exercise these capacities at God's command.  God tells her to make light, and she does.  He tells her to bring forth life and she does.  He tells living organisms to be fruitful and multiply, and they obey.

So on the Biblical view, it sounds as if Nature has the ability to evolve new living organisms, but only at God's command.  Once he tells her to make new phyla, she will.

Does God's command include the information that Nature needs to produce new organisms?  Or is the information already inherent in Nature, waiting for God's command to put it to new use?

In his book, Darwin Devolves, Professor  Michael Behe  mentions that Eugene Koonin thought the first bacteria and archaea already contained all the different kinds of genes that all organisms use up to the present day.  If so, then it sounds like the information was already present, just waiting for God's command to bring forth new forms of life.

So is teleology intrinsic or extrinsic?  Yes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Seeing the Pentagon Plane

Though 9/11 Truthers pretty much agree that WTC buildings 1,2, and 7 were brought down by controlled demolitions on 9/11, there has been vigorous debate among them about what crashed into the Pentagon on that day.  The problem is that there hasn't been incontrovertible photographic evidence of a plane crashing into the building...until now.  Using a technique that astronomers use to identify changes in the night sky, by quickly shifting back and forth between two photographs, it has now been made rather obvious that yes, indeed, it was a plane that crashed into the Pentagon on that fateful day.

Seeing the Pentagon Plane

Friday, March 8, 2019

A Very Proud Moment for Democrats

Of the 430 or so members in the House of Representatives, 407 voted for this resolution.  The only ones who opposed were 23 Republicans.

Anti-Hate House Resolution

If you're having trouble with that one, try this one:

Full Text of Anti-Hate House Resolution

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Who is the Fool? How Christians misread the Bible to attack atheists.

A great excerpt from Randal Rauser's excellent book, Is the Atheist my Neighbor?