Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Humble And Respectful Response To Neil deGrasse Tyson

Science is not an absolute truth, it is a paradigmatic process of discovery. Plus the scientific method is not meant to lead to dogmatic assertions by which all other claims must be subjugated or even eliminated, although that is often how people perceive it.
Believe it or not, evolution is still a theory, not a proven fact. Many issues in the field of molecular biology must be solved before anything more on the mechanisms of evolution can be understood (or as of yet even identified). Anthropological observations and paleontological discoveries are used to develop speculative hypotheses that cannot possibly be reproduced in controlled environments. Evolutionary theories (there are actually several) are attempts to contruct explanations of the evidence, a kind of best educated guess. The real frontier for research into evolution lies in the field of genetics, not digging up more bones of prehistoric creatures.
Simple views on evolution happen to be the en vogue understandings in our culture in North America and Europe, and it is indeed a disservice to evolutionary theory and to Darwin's own intentions when people try to squelch other attempts to explain the same evidence. A good theory is meant to challenge others to develop better support for its central tenets or find alternative theories that provide better explanations, not just make an inquisitional decree that all must bow down to it or be declared unclean and reprobate.
So, it is important to be aware of the innate tendency of people (even scientist themselves, and even the most brilliant ones) to misuse science for imposing their own philosophical biases on others. This is scientism, not science. Of course, the discoveries of science are fair game for use in supporting one's own philosophical beliefs, but this means being open to discussion and debate, and relying on means other than science (such as logic, phenomena, metaphysics, etc) to advocate for a particular truth assertion.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

And A Trumpet Shall Sound

These are just a few comments on where I am at in my present thoughts regarding our new president. It seems that lately I have had some people (who are members of pastor search teams) look over my blog posts, and apparently the piece I did on the Donald is drawing some comments (made directly to me, since I hardly ever get a comment on this blog).  One person even called to tell me that, no only did he not like what I said, but that there was "no way we are going to allow something like that here."  While this is definitely an aberration from most reactions, it does point out that I need to provide some kind of update to the post.  After all, it was written very early in the primary campaign, and, as we all know, a whole lot has changed since then.

While I am not yet sure where President Trump is going and what he will actually accomplish, I have joined the wary majority that did elect him to office.  This does not make me a fan, but I have come to be a supporter.  He is the president, duly elected by the will of the people (despite desperate claims to the contrary), and just as I prayed for and sought to support Barack Obama (with whom I disagreed quite regularly and drastically), I do the same for Donald Trump.  Like many during the campaign who found themselves caught in the proverbial place that is "between the devil and the deep blue sea," I had the same choice everyone else had: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  While I had many  aforeposted misgivings about Mr. Trump, I had ten times more regarding Mrs. Clinton.  One claimed to be pro-life (most likely for public consumption), the other was blatantly and boastfully proud of not only supporting abortion, but made it clear she would do everything in her power to expand its devastation. One would appoint activist judges who want to dictate a judicial tyranny on any who disagree with their progressive or liberal views, and the other promised to appoint constructionist judges who would give allegiance to the constitution as the Founders intended.  Both had personal lives that were far from exemplary, and both were marked by glaring moral failures. So, given my personal views on abortion and the courts, I had very little alternative than to vote for Mr. Trump, hope for the best, and pray a lot.

The bigger issue is the rancor that has happened between some Christians who chose to support Trump and some who chose to support Clinton.  I've read numerous articles on both sides accusing the other of not truly being Christian, and saying that supporting one or the other is tantamount to rejecting the Word and betraying what it means to follow Christ.  One good friend of mine, who does wonderful work (ironically in a ministry reconciling cultural and political enemies), has taken to publishing in Facebook that people like Franklin Graham and others who are willing to identify with Trump's agenda are in fact not really Christians at all.  That is, as our new President would say, "very bad - very, very bad."  I will go one farther, and say it is yielding to the influence of Satan who seeks to divide the church and fracture the ministry of Christ in this world.  While who is a political leader and what they do is, of course, important, and has definite long lasting effects on our lives, our nation, the world, and history, it is far more important to affirm and celebrate the unity we have in Christ, who is, as St. Paul says, "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."  (Ephesians 1:21)

So, that is where my political predilections are at this time, for what that is worth (not much).  I don't know yet if President Trump is going to be a good thing or a bad thing.  I pray for him, and I pray that he will seek God's direction every day.  My own sense is that there will be great difficulties, but none so large and devastating to a free and hope-filled America as a Clinton administration would have been.  We are all in the same boat right now, Democrat and Republican, socialist and libertarian, liberal and conservative, and if we don't all pull on the oars together in rhythm, we may very well sink.  Thankfully (and I am talking about gratefulness to God), there is One who walks on the turbulent waves and who can calm the storm, and it isn't Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, or even Donald Trump.