Mediterranean Might Have Filled In Months

Slashdot is carrying the story. As it turns out, large-scale flood theories are not uncommon. The Black Sea deluge theory is well supported. Discussion, on the slashdot story, have some suggesting that these large-scale floods are most likely the source of the many flood myths around the world.

Slashdot is carrying the story. As it turns out, large-scale flood theories are not uncommon. The Black Sea deluge theory is well supported. Discussion, on the slashdot story, have some suggesting that these large-scale floods are most likely the source of the many flood myths around the world.

The problem with theories that try to avoid the global flood idea is that most flood myths explain that it was a global flood and the survivors had to repopulate the earth. One would expect large-scale yet localized floods to produce myths of mass migrations.

No large-scale flood theory appears to propose a situation where the flow of water would exceed the inhabitants ability to escape. These are not flash-floods which are very difficult to escape. They are theorized large-scale, sea-flooding events, which just don’t happen that quickly.

Whenever I see a headline like this in the news, about a new discovery or theory that is purely and naturally sound, I think back to the bible and wonder how it could apply to the tremendous events in the bible. How does Noah’s Flood relate to this theory that the Mediterranean could have filled in months?

The way I see it, these discoveries lend credence, ever more and more, to the biblical account of human history. Things we said in the past were absolutely impossible and out of the question we slowly begin to see they weren’t so far fetched. Still supernatural, yes, but impossible.

The reason it’s important is because it solidifies the bible’s foundation (in our minds) and requires more thought  before one can dismiss the bible as simply anti-science. One must begin to consider the bible a little more deeply before dismissing it. And that is critical for those considering the faith, or those young in the faith, to have a solid foundation to believe in.

This is not Religion versus Science

My recent and, likely, typical posts on this blog have obviously been with a bias toward Christianity. As to this blatant bias I hold no shame. The requirement I hold up for myself is truth. Bias may sway to one end or another, but bias is altogether a wholly different thing than truth, and the man who holds a bias and yet holds truth, that man is to be envied. I may not be that man but that is my goal.

My recent and, likely, typical posts on this blog have obviously been with a bias toward Christianity. As to this blatant bias I hold no shame. The requirement I hold up for myself is truth. Bias may sway to one end or another, but bias is altogether a wholly different thing than truth, and the man who holds a bias and yet holds truth, that man is to be envied. I may not be that man but that is my goal.

As to the bent of writing, the astute mind will immediately recognize that these things we speak on are not about sides. There is no us and them. There is no religion/faith/belief on one side and science/reason/logic on another. The intelligent individual will realize that the Christian is not anti-science, as I have been labeled in the past and will certainly be labeled in the future. Christianity is not anti-science. Nothing could be further from the truth.

That truth is this: The Christian has learned that, as Chesterton put it, God is a truth teller and we have learned to give him the benefit of the doubt. As we grow in the faith we see that God tells us the truth of things. Not because he says so and that’s that, but because he says so and, behold, we find it out to have been true. This benefit of the doubt is key. We give God the benefit of the doubt. We see His Word say one thing and creation tell us another. Yet time and again, given time, we see that He was right all along and it just took some time for modern research to see it.

I will take one example. In the story of Jonah and his preaching to Ninevah, the Bible makes the city sound great. In the past hundred years scholars have said it couldn’t possibly have been very big at all. Yet archaeologists come along and find the foundations of that city and see that it was easily as big as written about. This is just one example and there are more, some larger and some smaller.

This, though, is the crux of the resistance of Christianity to modern thought that contradicts what we know the bible to say. We know the track record of the bible is to come out right in the end. Therefore we resist. We do not resist beyond all reason, though. Prove something, such as the earth orbiting around the sun, and it will be considered and we will understand our own misunderstanding of the bible and we will correct ourselves.

Christianity has, time and again, resisted and then accepted new ideas but there are some ideas which, no matter how much time passes, can not be proven and can not be accepted. I write on a number of these, including creation and evolution, origins, and more. It is critical to understand than when an idea is resisted and then later accepted it is not because it still contradicts the bible yet we accept it because it is the “truth.” In actuality, we realize our own misunderstanding of what the bible was saying and come to see the truth in light of another truth. This has not occurred with evolution, however. We do not yet see that evolution is proven nor that there is any possibility of the scriptures writing it and we simply lacked the understanding before. We also do not foresee this changing. Evolution is not proven and, as much as we look, the scriptures do not speak to it. In fact, the scriptures speak to the opposite of it. That is why it is resisted.

I  hope it is clear to all that religion and science are not adverse. Science has its tools of proof. So too does religion. Each requires that a thing pass the test before it is accepted as truth. We must all hold up rationality instead of dogmas. We must all bridge divides instead of creating them. Any given side can be accused of these things.

The Unreasonable Doubt of Rational Deduction

Because science relies only on what we know to reliably reveal the truth, we call this objective inquiry or rational thought. But this is only rational if you’re blissfully innocent of all senses to the contrary of the result. In actuality, science, as the penultimate source of truth, is the abandonment of reason.

Science employs the five natural senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, or technological extensions or assistances of these, in order to understand the existence in which we reside. Because science relies only on what we know to reliably reveal the truth, we call this objective inquiry or rational thought. But this is only rational if you’re blissfully innocent of all senses to the contrary of the result. In actuality, science, as the penultimate source of truth, is the abandonment of reason.

By objectifying the senses, taking them out of the subjective, the man, we lose the qualities of the mind, which not only processes the data from the five senses, but also applies another sense to the compilation of all those data streams. It applies rational deduction.

Rational deduction is not simply an analysis of the five senses and a summary report, or we would find it difficult to call it the sense we instinctively know it to be. A sense it is, we gather, and it often tells us things contrary to what our individual senses would have us to believe.

We find we have an additional sense which can not be separated from the man. In separating the senses which can be separated from the man and ignoring what can not, science, well-meaning and profitable in cases it may be, has seen fit to conclude on a matter missing the most integral sense of them all. Science has seen it reasonable to objectify the senses that it can objectify while leaving out what it can not.  This it has not deemed unreasonable though the mind enables the most critical sense of them all, the rational sense.

In other words, the only thing that gives a man reason is his mind. Science has taken the mind out of the picture and has thus become unreasonable.

It should be clear that a complete, coherent perception of the existence which you inhabit requires not a simple, black and white analysis of the natural, but a complex arsenal of rational tools. Science has naively over-simplified its toolset and become irrational.

Well stated by one of the most prominent men of science, Einstein, “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

The Paradox In Which all Men Believe

There is a paradox to the Christian faith which concerns the origins of our existence. The paradox consists of realizing that everything has a cause, hence our existence was created by God. But everything has a cause; Then God must have had a cause; So, really, that cause is God; And that intermediate “God” wasn’t really God.

There is a paradox to the Christian faith which concerns the origins of our existence. The paradox consists of realizing that everything has a cause, hence our existence was created by God. But everything has a cause; Then God must have had a cause; So, really, that cause is God; And that intermediate “God” wasn’t really God.

We don’t talk like that. We say that God created our existence and that God simply is. He had no beginning and has no cause. He is self-existent.

Science, however, theorizes any number of ideas in which a natural existence can be the cause of itself. Hence, the infinite collapse and explosion of our universe in the big bang, or the multiverse theories.  In either case, existence, in which the universe collapses and explodes or in which the universe of the multiverse is created, can either be considered to have been already or “existence” and “universe” are considered one and so the existence simply is. Regardless, you can abstract, extrapolate, interpolate and extend what is further and further out and back but you must satisfy the law that all that is was caused. And that is the paradox. All things have a cause except the origins of what is.

One can see that this irrationality is actually the rationality claimed by modern thought.

I use here Christianity as the symbol for all religions, for the defining principle of all religion is faith, and Science as the symbol for rationality, at least the rationality modern thought has coined of it. It matters not that Christianity is different than Buddhism , but that modern thought differentiates itself from the religion because it perceives irrationality. It matters not that Science is not the only system of rational thought, but that we generally differentiate what is science and what is religion by considering one rational and one not. They represent the two halves of the great chasm separating man’s mind from himself.

Once you’ve gotten past the issue, of knowing the paradox  of whatever you think you know or believe in, you must rationally come to the conclusion that, because there is no reason for existence to be at all, there must be a cause of our existence. This cause, no matter how far back or how many iterations out you push this, must be final. This final cause has chosen to reveal itself not through natural test (our five senses; modern scientific inquiry), but rather through rational deduction. You must believe in a paradox to be reasonable. You must become irrational to become rational.

It is something significant to ponder that this ultimate thing should choose such an avenue of revelation.

Ignorance

We throw around the word “ignorance” quite a bit. It can mean lack of knowledge, it can be an insult, there can be willful ignorance, there can be innocent ignorance. Rarely does the word get used without surrounding connotations and implications.

We throw around the word “ignorance” quite a bit. It can mean lack of knowledge, it can be an insult, there can be willful ignorance, there can be innocent ignorance. Rarely does the word get used without surrounding connotations and implications.

I was just listening to Richard Dawkins, well known scientist, author, orator, and proponent of evolution, talking on CBC Radio 1. I’m not sure what the cental topic of the interview was but it seemed to be about his career and where the world stands on evolution right now.

Dawkins commented on an American politician making reference to young-earth age. He uttered something along the lines of  “staggering ignorance.” Fine. Whatever. He continued onto other subjects apparently meaning to back-up an old-age earth. So, he mentioned crystal isotopes and decay rates and transformations, etc. He also mentioned that a significant percentage of the British (50%+ as I recall) believed that humans lived with dinosaurs at one point.

The crystal example got me thinking about his comment earlier about ignorance. What level of ignorance was Dawkins operating from when he made the claim that the politician lacked critical information? That’s a rhetorical question. Maybe it’s a trick question. During the lifetime of that crystal, was Dawkins there to watch it? Indeed, what transformations did it go through? What was the nature of the original formation, the nature of the original environment? Could an alternate X, Y and Z have produced a similar result? There are probably good, scientific answers to all of these that would dispel all doubts. But the truth is we have to admit we operate in sheer ignorance about the fundamentals of this existence we inhabit. We were not there. We don’t know if some fairy jumped out, stole the crystal and replaced it with an old unwanted one.

“But we have our five senses!” Bobby cries. Susie exclaims, “But science can show without variation that there are laws which do not break under vast repetition in this reality!”

The tools of science are found in this existence. The fundamentals of science – are given to it. If we can call this existence “nature”, than science, as far as we know, has been given all that it needs to test what is natural. What is unnatural, if there is such a thing, is another existence and thus another science.

If you ask science to prove the existence of the unnatural, it will not be able to. It hasn’t been given the tools to undeniably prove or disprove the existence of the unnatural. If you can not answer this question then the depth and breadth of the ignorance you operate under is without limit.

This is why science can come to be a belief system. If you subscribe to the idea that science is the final answer on all questions then you make an unfalsifiable claim – an unscientific claim. If you hold, nonetheless, to science as absolute, it  has become a belief. A reasonable man, however, will see that this inability of science to answer all questions opens the door for a mutual arrangement of mental faculty and physical science. Neither can answer the questions which lie in the other’s realm and so the pair multiply understanding.

Note here that I have not mentioned religion or faith. You might presume that religion X, offering answers where science can not and yet verifying everything that science observes, would be the ideal combination. So, science is entirely correct and you’ve got answers to which science can not attest. You might think everything is quite rosy and peachy.  The truth, however, is that your faith must make sense for the reality in which you exist. To accomplish this, you must bring together and meld your heart, your mind, your faith and your science under an umbrella of sound reason. If your faith does not make sense according to what you see of the world, the people in it, its history, and of your own convictions, you have created an unreasonable belief.

In each of the heart, mind, faith and science, one is tempted to place more weight on one than the other. As such, a faith which seems to contradict science, the man of science may discard and keep searching for another faith. On the other hand, the man of faith may discard that portion of science and keep searching for another portion of science that satisifies.

Lest the knowledge of our ignorance become a fatalistic thing, remind yourself that your heart, your mind and your faith speak to things outside of this existence and so ignorance may come to knowledge and understanding via those avenues.

Genesis 1 (What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?)

Trust God’s Word. Trust God’s Word not because it says so, but because it says so and because it welcomes any and all skepticism with a voracious appetite.

I’m a few chapters into Genesis already but I’ve been finding it difficult to write about what I’ve already read. I had read Genesis 1 and actually had a huge piece written up but it wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. I went real long and in-depth about the importance of the first verse, about cosmologies, creation and evolution, and about approaching Genesis from another angle (which has produced some novel ideas from others). It didn’t feel right, though.

If I’m going to write about reading the bible, I don’t want to get caught up in detailed explanations, theories, wild-goose chases or other tangents. I really want to show readers the best parts, the parts that most show the bible as the solid truth that it is and that most reflect glory upon God.

So let me just get this whole ball rolling…

  1. Genesis 1:1 Is there any more simple, pragmatic way the book could open than this? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It’s the perfect introduction to history. There was a beginning to all of this and God was there creating all of it and us.
  2. Origins of the Universe. Look up Russel Humphreys and read up on Starlight and Time. His theory may not stand the test of time but others will take inspiration from his novel approach to the text of Genesis 1.
  3. Creation/Evolution. It may seem to you like there’s no evidence for creation. Mainstream media will rarely report anything to do with creationism, less still in a flattering light, so how would we know? It’s up to every believer to be familiar with the massive field of creationism. Many thousands of believers have spent their lives understanding the Genesis account of creation and going about showing that it is true. Answers in Genesis is an organization which I find provides solid, well-reasoned, rational answers to many of the questions we have about what mainstream science is telling us and what the bible is telling us. Their Get Answers section may help you if you, like many, ask why a biblical creation even matters.
  4. God created you and I, male and female, to have not only amazing relationships with each other, but to know our creator personally. God wants to know you and He wants you to know Him. You just wait. You’re going to learn incredible details about the character of God just by reading His Word.

The bible is jam-packed with goodness but I feel I would detract from it by writing too much so I’ll stop here and give you these points and links to ponder. Let me just say one more thing that came up just now.

As we begin reading the bible I do want to give you one bit of advice. Google is your friend. Wikipedia is your friend. Firefox is your friend. Googlepedia is your friend. Neither of these things has a Christian bent. In fact, Wikipedia can easily lead a weak Christian astray. But let me tell you what just happened while I googled the wiki article for Answers in Genesis, where I knew I was likely to find not only positive views but also criticisms.

What I found was a very unflattering portion of the wiki article entitled Controversy over interview with Richard Dawkins. It painted a very unsavoury picture of Answers in Genesis. Had I stopped right there, I would probably have dismissed Answers in Genesis forever after. But you know there’s always two sides to a story. And you know you have a brain for  a reason. So I went to the Answers in Genesis website and searched for “dawkins response” and their own search results gave me Skeptics choke on Frog, a response to critics about the controversy of the interview.

I hope the lesson is clear. You really need to have more than one side of a story before you can form your own positions.