Posts Tagged With: creation

Reclaiming Science: Stop the Abuse

We often equate science with facts and laws of nature, therefore we tend to hold writings couched in scientific lingo in high regard. To a fault we have become too trusting and forget that people write or say these things and people have agendas (purposefully or not). Yes, this is going to be one of those critical thinking posts (I know, it doesn’t quite fit with the theme of the site anymore, but I still occasionally touch on these topics).

Not that the abuse of science is anything new, but it seems to me like it’s becoming more prevalent. With technology so pervasive, we think we know science and trust anything that sounds vaguely like it. That can be a mistake. Take this article on “Finding Israel’s First Camels.” Innocent sounding enough, isn’t it? But very quickly we see an agenda materialize when we read, “Their findings further emphasize the disagreements between Biblical texts and verifiable history.” So is this on an archaeological find or a theological debate?

Reading further we don’t really learn about claimed “disagreements” other than, “archaeologists have shown that camels were not domesticated in the Land of Israel until centuries after the Age of the Patriarchs (2000-1500 BCE). In addition to challenging the Bible’s historicity, this anachronism is direct proof that the text was compiled well after the events it describes.” This is quite the statement and one would expect serious proof, yet the authors of this report don’t do this. The careful reader will note that they base their claim on the assumption that they have found the oldest camel remains.

The rational reader then will ask, “How could they possibly know they have found the oldest remains?” Well, they cannot, but these finds support their particular view of the Bible, so why bother with logic? Amazingly, this article actually waves a couple of red flags on its own:

“In all the digs, they found that camel bones were unearthed almost exclusively in archaeological layers dating from the last third of the 10th century BCE or later…The few camel bones found in earlier archaeological layers probably belonged to wild camels…the origin of the domesticated camel is probably the Arabian Peninsula…In fact, Dr. Ben-Yosef and Dr. Sapir-Hen say the first domesticated camels ever to leave the Arabian Peninsula may now be buried in the Aravah Valley. [emphasis added]”

Almost? Probably? May? And so they did find “earlier” remains that are “probably” wild?

Wow. This is the “science” that leads to the proclamation that “the Bible’s historicity” is challenged?

I don’t think the Bible has much to worry about here (and others have pointed out that the researchers above have ignored other research outside of Israel). My goal here isn’t to start a fight between “believers” and “non-believers,” but to show that conclusions couched in science or coming from scientists doesn’t mean we should not test their claims. Often, as with this example, it is not that hard. Another recent example was the recent Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham spectacle, portrayed as some great intellectual moment between science and religion.

It was more between two people who promote the “science and religion” aren’t compatible myth, albeit from different ends of the spectrum. One thinks science can’t see into the past (Ham), the other thinks science too dumb to detect design (Nye). Funny, I look at the Sun and see it as it was eight minutes ago and archaeology and forensics detect design every day.

These are the best we have to debate serious issues? They are not, but serious doesn’t sell.

We should be concerned that science and theology are so easily hijacked. Those who are well-schooled in the issues often don’t want to jump into the fray, they have better things to do. We cannot, however, give up on science, critical thinking and flushing out those who abuse these things and other higher fields of learning such as theology. We’ve let the few, the entertaining, and the media take over our learning for far too long.

Pope John Paul II said it best with, “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.”

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Categories: Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Exactly Were the Neanderthals?

The status and sophistication of the hominid species Neanderthal has been a matter of debate for decades. Once thought to be an ancestor man, genetic studies show it to be unrelated, though some studies have shown possible limited interbreeding. But how advanced were they? They existed for over a 100 millenia and went extinct about the same time man was making his big push across the globe. One recent study concludes they were building boats. They are the only other known hominid to ever approach man’s abilities.

Like all other hominids and primates, they pose a bit of problem for evolution in that they appear suddenly in history. The “family tree” of man is technically made up of assumed connections between bone fragments. Even though largely not considered man’s ancestor, they are often still referred as a “cousin” or such to fit into the evolutionary paradigm. This why some creationists still pretend they are humans in spite of the evidence. Taking this track instead of focusing on the more obvious problems doesn’t make a lot sense. I suspect this is just to fit this mysterious species into their own flawed interpretation of Earth’s history.

So where do neanderthals fit into the picture? How advanced did they get? Were they simply the latest in a long line of increasingly advanced primates, as some have suggested, designed to prepare the world for man? No evidence of religion or similar levels of sentience is known among them. Their use of simple tools is not unheard of in the animal world. But boats?

We pretend we have explained man’s past and the other beings we share the planet with. It takes only a quick glance to find that each new discovery has only proven we know very little.

It was religion that first said we all originated from the same ancestors, in one location and that intelligence and religion existed from the beginning. Science and history have caught up and verified these claims. Yet many still close one eye to the flaws and holes in evolution and young-earth creationism.

Perhaps someday people will allow facts lead to where they may without trying to bend them around a preconceived conclusion.

[For more on man’s past, see Who was Adam?.]

Categories: Mysteries, Origins of Man, Prehistory | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Job’s Scientific Revelations

The books of the Bible are the most studied of all ancient writings. We’ve discussed the Book of Job and how it is believed to be the oldest in the Bible and contains hints of the past. Usually Job is only referred to in passing concerning suffering and faith. However, this unique and old writing is full of insights into questions of the natural world. Its details on origins predate the writing of Genesis and add much more depth while showing understanding predating future science discoveries. From the sequence of life’s appearance to the nature of the heavens, how does such an old book contain so much fact while contemporary cultures were steeped in myth?

The new book Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job is a fascinating study of Job’s story from antiquity. It explores and uncovers what few studies of Job have.

If you have never read Job, this book will compel you to do so.

Categories: Ancient Documents, Bible | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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