dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish


On Specious Origins

Today is Darwin Day, the big day within Darwin Week, all just a part of the great Year of Darwin. Darwinism, it would seem, is as popular as ever.

I, however, am a skeptic. And I have plenty of reasons why.

People point to Charles Darwin. They say that the guy was born 200 years ago. Today they want to commemorate the anniversary of his birth. They say that they have facts about his origins: the year, the location, the name of his father and mother. All of these, apparently, are derived from first-hand accounts or early documents. But seriously, since when can centuries-old documents purporting to record birth accounts be counted trustworthy?

Perhaps I will give mental assent to the existence of Darwin the man. That he existed, however, does not necessitate that I believe all of the "Darwin said" nonsense. No doubt he was a kindly man with good intentions, but I will not subject myself to his ideas of life and purpose. My problems with Darwin the man begin with "his book."

People point to On the Origin of Species. They say that it was written 150 years ago. This year they want to commemorate the anniversary of its publishing. They say it has facts about our origins--though the year, the location, and the existence of first father and mother cannot be confirmed. None of these, apparently, can be derived from first-hand accounts or early documents.

People can wave copies in my face; they can point to the earliest manuscripts. They can talk all that they want about how accurate our current copies are. But I ask, Does it really matter? What of the textual variations over the years? How can we be sure that the "latest" really is the truest form? What if parts were wrongly changed? If some was changed, why should we trust what we now have?

For that matter, how do we know that this venerable tome is complete? Just because a compilation of the author's words were labeled as a complete book does not necessarily mean that they contain all of his thoughts on the subject.

But aside from all of this, there are fundamental doubts which no amount of textual examination can resolve. How do we know that he really wrote what he meant? If he did write what he meant, how do we know that we understand it? People will talk about scientific evidence. Our evolving minds, however, have dubious qualifications for rightly interpreting the evidence. And should the data interpretation be accurate, there's always the chance that future discoveries will controvert today's findings.

Perhaps we can just accept the parts of it that make the most common sense, and leave everyone to their own interpretations for the rest. Just don't try to force your interpretation down my throat. For instance, let's not get too excited about the implications of these "creator" references. I'd prefer that we stick to the book's feel-good moral statements.

Beyond all of this, there is the issue of changing times. Even if what Darwin taught was applicable in his day, to say that we should be subject to his ideas and theories is ludicrous. We have progressed far beyond the limited understanding of his day--enlightened as he may have been for his time. We have seen exponential scientific advancement since his time. One has difficulty arguing that his simple description of cells, for instance, is even scientific in this modern world.

And this all relates to his thoughts on the continuing process of evolution. If he resorts to unenlightened descriptions of scientific phenomena that are now more fully understood, how can we believe him when he begins to propagate theories of origins?

Even if he manages to describe the process by which whole kingdoms rise and fall--whether he labels it natural or otherwise--does it give him the right to speak authoritatively and to influence complicated moral issues?

In summary, one last appeal. Please keep your science out my religion, and I'll keep my science out of yours.

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200 Years Ago Today

Abraham Lincoln was born. He famously stated his belief that "all men are created equal."

Charles Darwin was born. He famously popularized the theory that no men were created (never mind equal).



When a Dream Dies

Phil Vischer spoke at the Moody Bible Institute's Founders Week 2009. "Phil Vischer?" You say. "As in the Veggie Tales guy?" Exactly.

Whether you loved or hated Veggie Tales, listen to Phil share what God taught him about dreams through the bankruptcy of his own Big Idea. (He also has a few laughs about being a storyteller in a lineup of preachers.)

So listen to it, and share your thoughts. (Scroll down to the Wednesday, 10:30am session, and click "Listen to Audio")

A few quotes:

"If God gives you a dream and breathes life into it and shows up in it and then it dies, it may be that God wants to know what is more important to you: the dream or Him."

"We are not called to be a people of vision; we are called to be a people of revelation."

"The impact God has planned for us doesn't occur when we're pursuing impact; it occurs when we're pursuing God."

"The most important thing is not the work I can do for God. The most important thing is to make God the most important thing."



February's Quote to Ponder

"Divine grace does not trample on human personality. Rather the reverse, for it enables human beings to be truly human. It is sin which imprisons; it is grace which liberates. The grace of God so frees us from the bondage of our pride, prejudice and self-centredness, as to enable us to repent and believe."
--John R.W. Stott, The Message of Acts