Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Whining Entertainers

    Can you imagine an industry that blames it's customers for not buying it's product? Imagine an ad saying "My product is great, and if you don't buy it, I'm not going to change it because there is something wrong with you for not buying it. Now get with it."

    As the arts and entertainment industry degenerates into social and political debris at the expense of quality writing and acting, it becomes apparent that writers and singers feel like they have a right to our money. When the Dixie Chicks got "political" in their stage shows, former VP Al Gore complained that they were being denied a right to make a living when people stopped buying their music (Maybe they could get real jobs). Now, the producer of the Darwin biography film "Creation" is complaining that American "religion" has caused his film to flop in the US.

    See 'Creation' Producer Blames American Evolution Flap for Film's U.S. Flop

    "People have been saying this is the best film they've seen all year, yet nobody in the U.S. has picked it up,” he added. "It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America...It's quite difficult for we in the U.K. to imagine religion in America,” Thomas stated. “We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the U.S., outside of New York and LA, religion rules."

    Mr. Thomas, you produced a flop. How about making a quality film that people want to see? It's your job to sell movies, not my job to buy them.

    25 comments:

    swordbearer said...

    Let them keep whining ...

    My money won't go to support their propaganda.

    Job reveals the arrogance and the folly of those who possess a “growing belief in a world where God has no place,” when he states:

    ""Yet they say to God, 'Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him? BUT their prosperity is NOT in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked." [CAPS, my emphasis]

    Unifex said...

    Wow... This post has just so much wrong with it.

    The producer doesn't "blame" anyone.

    At best he gives the rather loopy religious views of the country as an explanation for it not finding a distributor. When you get down to it, given that every other country has picked it up actually says more about the blinders America is wearing than anything about the movie.

    Given the great minds that have come out of the US I find it rather a sad state for them to have fallen so low. :/

    Puritan Lad said...

    Unifex,

    If you think that the religious views of the US can cause a movie to flop, all you have to do is look at the success of the DaVinci Code. American religion has little if anything to do with the failure of this movie, and to suggest otherwise shows an ignorance of Hollywood.

    As for the rest of your post, it is mainly groundless assertions. Calling something "loopy" is not a valid argument.

    swordbearer said...

    Unifex: "given that every other country has picked it up actually says more about the blinders America is wearing than anything about the movie"

    Response: Argumentum ad populum

    Unifex: "Given the great minds that have come out of the US I find it rather a sad state for them to have fallen so low. :/"

    Response: Fallen?? or Making a Powerful Statement?

    Gold said...

    Puritan Lad:
    The major difference there though is that the Davinci Code is quite definately a work of fiction whereas Creation is based on the life of an actual person who has played a major role in shaping modern scientific thinking.

    Gold said...

    swordbearer:
    Re: Argumentum ad populum

    I wasn't arguing a point, it was an observation

    Re: Fallen?? or Making a Powerful Statement?

    No, I think I got that right. "Fallen" fits the observation I was making a lot better.

    Puritan Lad said...

    Gold,

    Trust me, Christianity has no influence over Hollywood, fiction or otherwise. See recent Jack Black post for verification. Where else can a movie like Brokeback Mountain garner all sorts of awards despite the fact that no one watched it?

    If "Creation" was as great as the producer claims, Hollywood would jump on it in an instant, especially if they feel they can insult and offend Christians.

    swordbearer said...

    Seems by using the word "blinders" you must have some standand you're basing that on, do you not???

    Gold said...

    swordbearer said... Seems by using the word "blinders" you must have some standand you're basing that on, do you not???

    Evidence based science would likely be that standard.

    Gold said...

    Puritan Lad:
    Hollywood is more a production house than distributor though. This movie wasn't produced locally. It was the attitude of the distributors that the producer was talking about.

    Puritan Lad said...

    Oh, I see. So the distributors are all religious (like the ones that wouldn't take Gibson's "Passion"), and dont want to pick up a great film in order to make money?

    I'm so relieved...

    Gold said...

    PL:Oh, I see. So the distributors are all religious (like the ones that wouldn't take Gibson's "Passion"), and dont want to pick up a great film in order to make money?

    Now you're making shit up. :) I never made any such claim. You're making an assumption here. Did you consider verifying your claim before saying this in public?

    swordbearer said...

    Gold: "Evidence based science would likely be that standard."

    Response: So, I was right. You were trying to make a point (in view of a standard)...that is, unless you are suggesting that your appeal/suggestion to "every other country" having it right and the "blinders" of America having it wrong is independent of evidence, at which point your whole observation/point fails.

    Besides this,...
    1. Just because other countries are willing to play the film doesn't mean they all believe in Darwin's view
    2. Your "evidence based science" comment doesn't prove your view of the interpretation of the evidence is the correct one and not the one with blinders

    Gold said...

    swordbearer:So, I was right. You were trying to make a point (in view of a standard)

    Not really. Like I mentioned earlier, it's just an observation. I have no real need to be "right" or "wrong" because I'm not making any points to be right or wrong about.

    swordbearer:Besides this,...
    1. Just because other countries are willing to play the film doesn't mean they all believe in Darwin's view


    Agreed. Such a broad generalization would be incorrect. Saying a country holds a common view on this is absurd. Most will have some proportion of it's populace that doesn't believe in Darwin's view. Education on basic scientific principles can fix that though.

    swordbearer:2. Your "evidence based science" comment doesn't prove your view of the interpretation of the evidence is the correct one and not the one with blinders

    Actually "evidence based science" does say exactly that. If the evidence supported an alternative view point that would be the point that "evidence based science" would be supporting.

    This is all pretty basic scientific theory.

    swordbearer said...

    Gold: Actually "evidence based science" does say exactly that. If the evidence supported an alternative view point that would be the point that "evidence based science" would be supporting.

    This is all pretty basic scientific theory.

    Response: So what does your "evidence based science" say when it comes to:

    The law of biogenesis
    The presence of uniformity
    The fine tuning of the universe
    The basis for logic
    The missing links
    etc.?

    Gold said...

    swordbearer:So what does your "evidence based science" say when it comes to:

    Err... It's not "my" evidence based science. It's just the way science works.

    swordbearer:The law of biogenesis

    From what little I've heard on this the literature tends to support Redi's and Pasteur's findings which pretty much boils down to modern organisms not spontaneously arising in nature from non-life.

    swordbearer:The presence of uniformity

    This is kinda vague. The presence of uniformity where? Or the presence of uniformity with respect to what?

    swordbearer:The fine tuning of the universe

    There are many theories being postulated. At this point we just don't have the knowledge to nail it down to any one theory as the supporting theories are yet to be fully determined.

    swordbearer:The basis for logic

    Huh?

    swordbearer:The missing links

    What about them?

    swordbearer said...

    Seems with these answers you might have been a little quick to assume America is the one with "blinders" on, don't you think?

    Let me encourage you to "go beyond" the cliche of "evidence based science" and examine the issues along with the arguments and positions not only from those who hold naturalistic presuppositions (and bring them to the evidence) but also from those who possess supernatural presuppositions and also bring them in approaching the evidence.

    Gold said...

    swordbearer:Seems with these answers you might have been a little quick to assume America is the one with "blinders" on, don't you think?

    No. I don't. I'm not saying all Americans have blinders on, but the vocal few are loud.

    Nice, if ineffective, attempt to dodge the previous questions though. Common enough tactic from true believers.

    swordbearer:Let me encourage you to "go beyond" the cliche of "evidence based science" and examine the issues along with the arguments and positions not only from those who hold naturalistic presuppositions (and bring them to the evidence) but also from those who possess supernatural presuppositions and also bring them in approaching the evidence.

    'the cliche of "evidence based science"'...

    Oh dear... My initial, unspoken, impression of this blogs title was correct. "Christian Skepticism". Here was I thinking that there may finally be someone of faith that was trying to understand and reconcile the contradictions between reality and faith.

    Instead I found an oxymoron.

    This site may claim "Christian Skepticism" but I think you've missed the point. You don't seem to understand what the word "skeptic" actually means.

    There is so much evidence out there for the points you mention above. But for some reason you seem to think that these are controversial topics, that there is actual debate over these things. Among the scientific community these things are well understood.

    This is the best description of what it means to be a skeptic that I've come across to date.

    "A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion." - Dr. Steven Novella of The New England Skeptics and The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast.

    swordbearer said...

    Gold,

    1. I'm assuming your problem is not just with the "vocal few" but with all those who oppose evolution.

    2. Seems from your posts:
    a. You are not very familiar with the arguments for and against evolution yourself.
    b. You have (without significant study and consideration of the issues) adopted the mindset that says the scientific community backs evolution ... perhaps without understanding the evidence requires interpretation and since a large portion of the scientific community are naturalists, it's only "natural" that they have brought their naturalistic presuppositions to bear.
    c. You claim there is no controversy. If so, answer the questions:

    1 If evolution is true, how do you explain the great absence of intermediate fossils ?
    b. If evolution is true, how did the bacterial flagellum evolve?
    c. If evolution is true, where did the laws of the universe come from, and how are they sustained?
    d. If evolution is true, how did life come from dead matter?
    e. If evolution is true, how can mutations produce new varieties?
    f. If evolution is true, give me examples (not of changes in species, but) of changes in kinds
    g. If evolution is true, how do you explain the laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the law of probability, etc.?
    h. If evolution is true, how does the genetic information for new codes and structures arise?
    h. etc.

    The truth is science has not answered these questions and hence controversy exists and will remain.

    (Let me refer you to the following website to simply for an "introduction" as to why controversy exists: http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers#the-origin-of-genetic-information

    swordbearer said...

    Gold,

    Tell me... which is more reasonble:

    a. Life comes from no life; or life comes from one who possess (& is) life?

    b. Laws of nature arose from nature; or laws of nature origninated with a law giver

    c. etc.

    Yes, we are skeptical (and reason-ably so...)

    Gold said...

    swordbearer:1. I'm assuming your problem is not just with the "vocal few" but with all those who oppose evolution.

    Yes. Like I said. The vocal few.

    swordbearer:2. Seems from your posts:
    a. You are not very familiar with the arguments for and against evolution yourself.
    b. You have (without significant study and consideration of the issues) adopted the mindset that says the scientific community backs evolution ... perhaps without understanding the evidence requires interpretation and since a large portion of the scientific community are naturalists, it's only "natural" that they have brought their naturalistic presuppositions to bear.


    Now who's making assumptions? ;)

    swordbearer:c. You claim there is no controversy. If so, answer the questions:

    1 If evolution is true, how do you explain the great absence of intermediate fossils ?


    Now this is where you're lack of understanding is making itself known. Every fossil is transitional. Until you actually understand that you'll never really grok evolution.

    swordbearer:b. If evolution is true, how did the bacterial flagellum evolve?

    Not being a boichemist I couldn't say. But an argument from ignorance is no defence for any point.

    swordbearer:c. If evolution is true, where did the laws of the universe come from, and how are they sustained?
    d. If evolution is true, how did life come from dead matter?


    Err... These are unrelated to evolution. This is like saying "If it is true that the sky is blue, explain why we get bellybutton lint." It's a nonsensical question.

    swordbearer:e. If evolution is true, how can mutations produce new varieties?

    You do realise that you just (clumsily) described the process don't you?

    swordbearer:f. If evolution is true, give me examples (not of changes in species, but) of changes in kinds

    Qualify "kinds".

    swordbearer:g. If evolution is true, how do you explain the laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the law of probability, etc.?

    Again, unrelated topics.

    swordbearer:h. If evolution is true, how does the genetic information for new codes and structures arise?
    h. etc.


    Mutations and survival of the fittest.

    swordbearer:The truth is science has not answered these questions and hence controversy exists and will remain.

    Not quite true.

    Evolution has been demonstrated in the lab. Instead of giving a biased link, I'll instead point you at Google.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=e.+coli+evolution+lab

    As for the rest, I believe the logical fallacy you're falling into is "Ad ignorantiam"

    swordbearer:(Let me refer you to the following website to simply for an "introduction" as to why controversy exists: http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers#the-origin-of-genetic-information

    This is hardly an unbiased reference. Can you supply any unbiased peer-reviewed journals that back up your claims?

    You suggested that I'd not made myself familiar with the arguments for and against evolution. I'd like to suggest that you may not have made yourself familiar with the current research.

    I've often found that the research is better study materials than the arguments.

    Regards,
    Gold

    swordbearer said...

    Gold: Yes. Like I said. The vocal few.

    Response: Accepted. (though I assume you would regard the others as having "blinders" on as well??)

    Gold: Now who's making assumptions? ;)

    Response: Based on the answers (or lack thereof) you gave earlier on evolution.

    Gold: Now this is where you're lack of understanding is making itself known. Every fossil is transitional. Until you actually understand that you'll never really grok evolution.

    Response: Let me clarify and make it more pointed:
    1. Where are the millions of transitional fossils which should be present between the pre-Cambrian and Cambrian stage?

    2. Where are the fossils (or lines) which display links betweens kinds?

    As it's been put... the claim of everying fossil being "transitional" doesn't cut it "since the types of changes evolution requires to give rise to the various animal kinds over millions of years would be expected to provide ample examples in virtually every layer of the geologic record. This is not the case."

    Gold: (on bacterial flaggelum) Not being a boichemist I couldn't say. But an argument from ignorance is no defence for any point.

    Response: Take a look at the complexity and design, & then think about whether evolution accounts for it. (but I appreciate your honesty)

    Gold: (on laws of nature, etc., & does life come from dead matter)
    Err... These are unrelated to evolution. This is like saying "If it is true that the sky is blue, explain why we get bellybutton lint." It's a nonsensical question.

    Response: Depends on what level of usage you use regarding 'evolution'. Some refer simply to the changes observed, while others openly imply that evolution does away with God, intelligent design, etc.

    Gold: (on mutations producing new varieties)You do realise that you just (clumsily) described the process don't you?

    Response: That was clumsily put. Let me put it differently - Do mutations result in new kinds (not changes within kinds, but new kinds themselves? And do mutations produce the amount of new information needed for evolution's claims?

    Gold: "Qualify "kinds".

    Response: Kinds as described by scripture (dogs, cats, humans, horses, etc.) as opposed to changes within a kind (either varieties or species ... such as finches having longer or shorter beaks).

    Gold: "on laws of logic, uniformity of nature, etc.)Again, unrelated topics.

    Response: see above.

    Gold: (on the rise of genetic information for new codes and structures arise?)Mutations and survival of the fittest.

    Response: So you suggest information comes from matter? (not only bits of data, but also the ability to decode & understand that data?)

    Gold: (on evolution's proof0

    Not quite true.

    Evolution has been demonstrated in the lab. Instead of giving a biased link, I'll instead point you at Google.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=e.+coli+evolution+lab

    Response: This isn't adaptive evolution but adaptation. Here's a site that addresses it - http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v2/n1/a-poke-in-the-eye

    Gold: As for the rest, I believe the logical fallacy you're falling into is "Ad ignorantiam"

    Response: I disagree. There are issues involving lack of expected evidence, inability to prove and repeat / test, etc.

    Gold: This is hardly an unbiased reference. Can you supply any unbiased peer-reviewed journals that back up your claims?

    Response: Biased or not, it presents issues which evolution does not answer.

    Gold: accusing me of unfamiliarity with current research

    Response: I admit ignorance in the area of research, however the Christian scientists who raise the issues and arguments are not.

    Gold: I've often found that the research is better study materials than the arguments.

    Response: With all respect, I find it hard to believe your study to be very extensive in this area given some of the answers and ommitances you've provided.

    Regards.

    August said...

    Gold, (Part 1)

    Ok, let me see. I am one of those that you "hold no hope for". So be it. Let me state to start with that you have been long on assertion and short on argument ever since you showed up here.

    Let's start with your base worldview of skepticism:
    1. Please define "truth".
    2. Please describe how you come to know truth using your worldview.

    Given this definition that you provided: ----
    "A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion." ----

    1. Please prove that statement/definition to be true using the method described there-in, since the method is valued over conclusion. Be sure to show the hypothesis, the data gathered, the analysis and the syllogism that leads that leads to that definition being necessarily true, and therefore valid as a worldview.
    2. Please prove the validity of the scientific method, which you stated several times you adhere to, by using the principles of the scientific method.
    3. Please describe how the inductive method, which is the cornerstone of the scientific method, can lead to what can be considered truth. Be sure to include your assumptions, major and minor premises and conclusion.

    Since you stated: "Here was I thinking that there may finally be someone of faith that was trying to understand and reconcile the contradictions between reality and faith.", please describe what "reality" is, and how you come to know it. Be sure to put your argument forth in a valid syllogism so that we may use a common language for discussion.

    (part 2) follows

    August said...

    Gold, (part 2)

    Ok, now on to the topic of evolution.

    1. You stated:"Every fossil is transitional." Oh really? Why don't you then give us the reference where the ancestors and descendants of all the known fossils are definitively shown? Be sure to include evidence of genetic interdependence, and the biochemical pathways by which the ancestors passed their beneficial characteristics to the other. If they are all transitional, then this should be no problem.

    2. Sword asked: "If evolution is true, how did life come from dead matter?"

    You stated: "Err... These are unrelated to evolution. This is like saying "If it is true that the sky is blue, explain why we get bellybutton lint." It's a nonsensical question." Oh really?

    Please describe when evolution started. If it is your assertion that it started with "first life" then please explain how a series of informational increases can be described without accounting for the first in the series. Be sure to include why an arbitrary starting point should be considered valid.

    3. You requested:"Qualify "kinds".

    Sure. Kinds are the equivalent of phyla. There are 35 known phyla, which appeared in the Cambrian, and maybe the late pre-Cambrian. Given your earlier statement of all fossils being transitional, I guess Sword is asking you here to provide the ancestral fossil and/or genetic evidence for the appearance of phyla during that time period. Please comply.

    4. Sword asked:"If evolution is true, how does the genetic information for new codes and structures arise?"

    You said:"Mutations and survival of the fittest."

    That does not answer the question. Please show how mutations can add information to the genome while maintaining fitness, leading to speciation in a non-teleological environment. Be sure to include the biochemical pathways and genetic markers for all ancestor/descendant examples quoted.

    Also please provide evidence for the mutation/survival of the fittest mechanism as opposed to something like pure genetic drift.

    (part 3) follows...

    August said...

    Gold (part 3)

    5. You stated: "Evolution has been demonstrated in the lab. Instead of giving a biased link, I'll instead point you at Google.http://www.google.com/search?q=e.+coli+evolution+lab

    E-coli that have been reproducing for ~31,500 generations is your proof? It ended up still being e-coli, despite what was the equivalent of several million years of evolution in human terms. One "new" trait was observed, the ability to metabolize citrate when glucose was slowly used up. This means a single, or maybe two, mutations leading to what is maybe one adaptive change. Given the time period and relative simplicity of e-coli bacteria, this gives no evidence of e-coli being on the way to be something else than just e-coli. This sort of adaptation is generally accepted in Christian circles as well, and demonstrates quite well how limited the proposed evolutionary mechanisms are as an explanation for biodiversity.

    In addition, the adaptation that the e-coli made was probably functionally deleterious in nature, since e-coli always had the ability to oxidize citrates. This ability was limited to anaerobic conditions through a transporter gene that codes for a transporter protein embedded in the cell wall which allows for the entry of citrates under anaerobic conditions.

    The mutation in all likelihood either prevented the normal functionality of that operon, or modified it such that osmosal specificity was lost, functionally deleterious in both cases and therefore inadmissible as evidence for macroevolution, while remaining consistent with random mutational hypothesis.

    You said:"You suggested that I'd not made myself familiar with the arguments for and against evolution. I'd like to suggest that you may not have made yourself familiar with the current research."

    Uhm, yes, we do, we look at the same research but do not come to the same conclusions.

    You said:"I've often found that the research is better study materials than the arguments."

    Even if we accept that as a necessarily true statement, it does not prove anything. Your starting assumption of Christians being scientific heathens who will all become skeptics if they "just look at the research" is not only profoundly ignorant, but also insulting.

    It does not start and end with the research, it starts and ends with your worldview. Therefore, unless you can justify your worldview as requested in the early part of this comment, why should we believe anything you have to say?