One Book, One Dogma

A medieval bulgarian bibleTwo articles in the January Acts & Facts edition argue a similar point. According to them, the young Earth creationist approach of biblical literalism is superior to world-views influenced by observation of the actual universe. The articles aim their attacks primarily at fellow Christians who don’t take the YEC position, but take slightly different angles.

The first is by Jason Lisle, and is called The Two-Book Fallacy. It begins:

The founder of the scientific method, Francis Bacon, taught that God has written two books: the Scriptures and the book of creation (or nature). Today, many professing Christians affirm this view. After all, the Scriptures teach that God’s attributes are clearly seen in nature (Romans 1:20). So we can learn about God through both Scripture and science—the systematic study of nature.

Continue reading

The Star of Bethlehem

Supernova remnant N 63AIn 1955 Arthur C. Clarke published a short story titled The Star, about (spoilers!) a Jesuit astrophysicist investigating the remnant of a supernova referred to as the “Phoenix Nebula” that destroyed a civilisation when it exploded. This is revealed to have been the source of the star over Bethlehem, concluding:

[O]h God, there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?

Did I mention spoilers?

Anyway, Your Origins Matter has today posted an article called The Most Famous Star, about possible explanations for the event – supernova or supernatural. Continue reading

Countdown to Extinction

There are only a handful of articles left in the November 2012 edition of Acts & Facts that are worth close inspection. One of these, oddly enough, is by the prolific Brian Thomas. Most of Thomas’ Acts & Facts articles seem to be repeats of stuff that we have already covered, but his November article – Human Mutation Clock Confirms Creation – is a rare exception in that it seems to be largely new. Continue reading

One for the Car Fans

At long last the YOM election posts have ceased, at least for now. Today’s post is called Design & Precision: What is the World’s Fastest Car?

Needless to say, it’s a strange analogy that they make:

The 2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport currently holds the title of the world’s fastest production car, clocking in at 267.9 mph. It has a 1,200 horsepower 8.0 Liter W16-cylinder, 64-valve dual OHC engine with a quad turbocharger that can take it from 0-60 mph in 2.4 seconds and from 0-100 mph in just five seconds.

This speedster is a real gas hog, consuming 8 mpg in the city and 13 mpg on the highway. But if you can afford $2.4 million for the car, who cares about fuel economy! The car is 175.7 inches long, 78.7 inches wide and 47.4 inches high with a 106.7 inch wheel base and a 4.9 inch ground clearance. Total curb weight is a hefty 4,486 pounds.

I couldn’t begin tell you if any of that were true, though I must say it sounds excessive. Fuel economy, by the way, has more uses beyond expense – what if you just don’t like stopping for petrol? Oh, and there’s the small matter of the environment, but only atheist communists care about that kind of thing. Continue reading

False Counsel

Experts – who needs them? In the face of the sheer number of scientists and other educated people who agree with evolution, creationists need to find some way to dismiss their expertise. Andrew Schlafly has his “best of the public” concept, claiming that these people (generally, those that agree with him) are “better than a group of experts.” For his November 2012 Acts & Facts article James J. S. Johnson too asks What Good Are Experts?

Buried deep within his article Johnson does make some good points about not trusting arguments from authority, especially when the authority is talking about something beyond their area of expertise. But these small nuggets of wisdom – so easy to acquire elsewhere – are few and far between. The bulk of the article, as you might expect, is an entirely nonself-critical attack on the expertise on anyone and everyone who disagrees with the position of Johnson and the ICR. He begins his article like so:

How should we react to “experts” who smugly announce that the Bible is disproven? What about science “authorities” who have assured us that the Higgs boson particle “proves the Big Bang,” contradicting Genesis 1:1? Do experts ever jump to unwarranted conclusions? If so, how do we know? And do experts ever inflate their credibility by stretching their credentials—if a scholar holds an astronomy Ph.D. is that a qualifying reason to believe the man’s opinion about biblical Hebrew?

The Higgs boson reference is cited to Jake Hebert’s September article, covered here. I am yet to find anyone actually making the quoted claim, and it’s unfortunate that the ICR is running with it as if somebody actually did. All in all, not a great start. Continue reading

The Image of God

Today’s YOM quickie is called Imago Dei, which is the Latin version of the famous phrase from Genesis 1. No, not that one – this one:

1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

But what does it mean? God is, generally speaking, not claimed to have a physical form. Old Testament God isn’t all that nice either, so a metaphorical interpretation of the concept would really be all for the best. Continue reading

Frankenstein’s Morris

As you are probably already aware the feature article for the August Acts & Facts magazine is called It’s Alive!, by Henry Morris III. The point of the article is in fact rather muddled. On the one hand, he says:

The more we dig into the mechanics of molecular biology, the more our awe increases at the amazingly complex processes on which life is based.

And yet:

Plants are indeed marvelous, beautiful, complex, and able to reproduce “after their kind,” but they are designed by the Creator to be a source of energy to maintain life. Plants are food—they are not alive.

The point of Morris’ article is to argue, on the basis of flawed scientific arguments and likely equally flawed biblical ones, that only animals (and only some of them at that) are actually alive. Continue reading

The Bible, in HD

August’s scheduled crazy metaphor/analogy/tool of evangelism thing from James J. S. Johnson turns out to be high definition video recording. In Biblical Truth in High Definition he gives us some insights into the mind of God: specifically that He likes knitting, prefers splashing away His bathwater over pulling the plug, never learned even rudimentary grammar in school, and is just generally a lazy bastard. Continue reading

Is Jerusalem Bulla Really the Oldest Evidence of Bethlehem?

A vaguely contemporaneous bullaArchaeologists discovered a clay “bulla” in an excavation around the walls of Jerusalem. ICR News called this “the oldest indication of Bethlehem among archaeological artifacts.” But clear evidence shows that other artefacts hold the real record.

Researchers have gleaned a wealth of information from the small fragment of clay. For example, they have determined that the bulla had an administrative purpose, being used to mark goods being sent to Jerusalem as tax payment. They have also pinned down the date that it was used – the seventh year of a King, either Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah. This dates it to the seventh or eighth century BCE.

But mentions of a town called Bethlehem from even earlier have been discovered by archaeologists. The Armarna letters, from the 1300s BCE, refer to a rebellion in “Bit-Lahmi.” … Continue reading

Evolutionary Surgery: Changing Your Mind is a Bad Thing

A Tonsillectomy, as I know *everyone* likes looking at pictures of surgery...For his June 2012 Acts & Facts piece James J. S. Johnson talks about the ‘vestigial organs’ subject I last discussed with the That’s a Fact video on the subject. He begins his article, Tonsils, Forensic Science, and the Recent Fabrication Rule, with the following question:

Would God give us a body part that we don’t need?

Already we can see that he’s attacking a straw man. The importance of vestigial organs in evolution is not that they are entirely non-functional, but that they represent examples of organs that have fallen into disuse when it comes to their function in other animals, but are still used (or now used, as the case may be) for another, minor purpose. Continue reading