Sunday, May 26, 2013

Here not much evolution, not much evolution here ...

(Above: an oldie but a goodie, reminding us all of the hell of high school).

Whenever the pond feels at a loss, it is the United States of America, and not the long absent lord, that provides ...

Come on down, school board of Springboro, Ohio, and take a bow in Springboro, Ohio, District Considers Teaching Creationism in Schools.

In particular, a special tip of the hat to one Jim Rigano for framing the issue the right way:

On Wednesday, Rigano said he sees the revision as “an attempt to ensure we’re not indoctrinating one point of view or another.” 

Yep, science is usually a matter of fanatical indoctrination, and it's really important not to indulge in fanatical indoctrination. Teach the controversy, the pond says, and all will be well.

 “What we’ve done is begin a list,” Rigano added. “We’re pointing out evolution is a controversial issue.” (Creationism debate back in Springboro)

Indeed. Well it might be to assorted mad mullahs and the good folk on the school board of Springboro, Ohio, but amazingly there are other parts of the world that have moved on from the Scopes trial.

Except in the good old USA.

What's amazing is that this snippet came with the main story:

In January, a study of 900 biology teachers done at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Science found only 28 percent of biology teachers focused entirely on evolution, as recommended by the National Research Council, while 13 percent advocated for creationism and devoted classtime to its study.

And people wonder why the USA is having trouble maintaining a cutting edge in science and technology.

But it does provide an excellent segue, or 'throw' to the Sydney Anglicans, still lurking behind the tragic black front page of their website, and more particularly Michael Jensen, who it seems has decided to leave Moore College to battle the demons on the frontline in Sydney ... as rector of St Mark's Darling Point (and for those who don't know Sydney, rest assured that Darling Point is a viper's nest of materialism and greed, and far more dangerous than anything you've heard about Auburn or Blacktown).

But once again the pond has got off the track - it's so easy to do with the Sydney Anglicans - and the real point of the discussion is Jensen's piece, in which the header points to the very obvious answer, Have evangelicals lost their minds?

Did they have any to lose? Tish boom.

Jensen is agitated - perhaps a little offput by the good folk of Springboro:

Lately, I have noticed a barely concealed hostility towards the intellect creeping into evangelical discourse. 

Uh huh. Jensen immediately proves his point by displaying a barely concealed hostility towards the intellect:

Now of course, intellectual pride is one of the worst forms of pride there is. And in 1 Corinthians 1-3, Paul makes a vigorous attack on the kind of worldly wisdom that fails to see the true gospel as anything but foolishness. It is in that very foolishness that God demonstrates his wisdom; by confounding the wisdom of the world, with its pride in its own insights, and with its self-congratulatory ‘holiness’. 
You don’t have to tell me about this kind of self-preening academic pride: I’ve seen plenty of it first hand, and it is pretty revolting to observe. Especially this is so when it comes to theology in the academy. It is one thing for a historian or a physicist to be intellectually proud, but for a theologian to be marked by such a vice is truly perverse. For one thing, it proves him or her to be an extremely poor theologian, since they understand nothing of the very subject they are trying to study.

Now it takes a special sort of pride to be able to dismiss so much self-preening academic pride, amongst historians and physicists and theologians, and no doubt biologists too ...

And the pride keeps rolling on out:

...what we know from simple observation is that the gospel encounters several plausibility problems in the minds of many Sydney-siders. Sydney-siders are a well-educated and skeptical lot, and they don’t have a lot to gain (they think) from belief in God. People now reaching adulthood are the first generation of post-Sunday School kids. Their unbelief is not even Christian unbelief. It is just unbelief. They simply do not comprehend us when we talk about sin or atonement (for example). Martin Luther’s question ‘where can I find a righteous God?’ is still a vital and basic question for human beings: it is just that our contemporaries couldn’t articulate it if they tried. So it doesn’t make a very effective basis for evangelism, humanly speaking. We just don’t always have the traction we used to have – at least with Anglo-Saxon Aussies.

Oh woe, what's left but for a righteous man to sit in judgment on these wretched, uncomprehending, unbelieving Sydney siders.

But the best bit came with a wag, who asked the obvious question, unanswered at the bottom of the page:

At the risk of seeming anti-intellectual or just plain stupid, can you explain to me what Luther's comment means. I honestly do not understand what he means by ‘where can I find a righteous God?’.

Indeed. What's more, if you google this question and attribute it to Martin Luther, poor old google takes you to only one source (omitted results included for your pleasure):

No, capitalising the "G" in the search doesn't make any difference, but it just goes to show that while you can find plenty of blather by Luther about righteousness and a righteous god, damned if the pond or google can answer the question ...

But no doubt the good folk of Darling Point will soon be wiser about it if they can only forget their atheist, materialistic inclinations ...

But thinking of these wretched prideful sinners does provide a good segue to the Pellists, ignored by the pond these past few weeks, and the week-old thoughts of Cardinal Pell blathering away in the Sunday Terror, this time under the header God Among Us.

Straight up, Pell shows us a flash of intellectual pride:

Is God with us? Was He ever? Or should we say "She" or "It"? Why bother to look for God? 

Now Pell doesn't answer the question, perhaps because She might take a view of prideful men with an inclination to wear frocks:

(Above: holy ferraiolo, Batman).

Instead he's keen to toss around statistics and data like a Greek salad:

More than one fifth of Australians today say they have no religion. A goodly percentage of these irreligious recognize God, the Supreme Being, in some form. 

How does he know this about the irreligious? Well because Pellists are gifted with ESP, the only sure way to decode the meaning of statistics and belief.

Obviously many define themselves explicitly and accurately as atheists, who do not believe in God. Some however are only denying mistaken concepts. God the Father is not human in any sense and certainly not an old man with broad shoulders, large eyebrows and a long beard. God is invisible Spirit, a bit like love, beyond our imagining. As the New Testament says "no one has seen God". (John 1:18) 

Indeed. Could someone please tell the icon and image-loving Catholic church about Luther and we could organise a right royal righteous riot of Iconoclasm.

But this is where it really gets tricky:

In the ancient Roman Empire Christians were sometimes called atheists, because they denied the existence of the numerous pagan gods. There is only one supreme Creator God. 

Which is a great throw, a segue to that old, old routine, most recently run up the flag by Ricky Gervais:

There are possibly 3,000 so-called deities. If we're talking about monotheistic gods, I believe in one less god that you. When they say, "Why don't you believe in God?", I often say, "Which one?"

But do go on:

Jews, Christians and Muslims are monotheists, believers who are described as having faith, which involves making a personal decision to believe. It is not like recognizing that 2 + 2 = 4, but a decision involving both heart and head. 
Any faith which tells us the truth about this life and the next is precious beyond all our reckoning.

Oh dear, not the right time, not the right time at all.

In the intervening week since Pell wrote that inclusive monotheistic line, the fundie Islamics have been sent to the doghouse once again, and with good reason. If their behaviour tells us anything about the truth in this life, it's beyond the ken of the pond.

Naturally it doesn't take long for Pell to get back to incredibly simple-minded imagery of God as Father. She didn't last long, did She?

The Christian response to Divine truth is a decision to accept the one true God as Trinitarian; Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the same God as accepted by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who is explained somewhat differently as the Father of Jesus Christ. 

No doubt with bonus beard and long hair. And yes, it's the same old judgmental clap-trap:

The ancient pagans did not believe their gods were interested in the moral behavior of humans, but the Jewish-Christian God requires us to follow human nature and love God and love one another within the framework of the Ten Commandments. More than this, God will evaluate our performance at the end of our life. 
Some fiercely reject the notion of a Supreme God who will judge human behaviour, rewarding the good and punishing the evil. They don't like facing up to the consequences of their sins. 

Indeed. Which leaves the pond just a little time to note that apart from the disgraceful, appalling behaviour of a couple of alleged Islamics this week, spurred on no doubt by alleged fundie Islamic preachers, locally we also have the sight of humans being forced to judge human behaviour, and it isn't a pleasant sight.

First there's the Anglicans, as in Archbishop's intervention led to the fall of Bishop (may be paywall affected or slow to load), and the same refusal to evaluate performance and care for victims on display in the Catholic church, as shown in Melbourne Catholic Archbishop admits 'awful blight on church'.

Perhaps it's about time for assorted churches to stop talking the talk, and getting with the walk, but in a world where creationism still rears its ugly deluded head, what chance of that ...

(Below: the Chicago Defender 13th June 1975)


  1. Darling Point, what a plumb job for the boy.

    Beautiful historic building, comfy rectory (though that word always sounds less than comfy), lots of rich bastards trying to buy their way to heaven, lots of rich bastards wanting a quaint backdrop for their weddings (Elton John got married there!)

    Michael finally gets to ditch the dross of Newtown and hob-nob with the glitterati of Australia’s 6th richest suburbs. A nice little parting gift from daddy!

  2. The dross of Newtown? Wash out your mouth Brian, Newtown is the jewel in the crown of the emerald city, and poor Mr Jensen is going to do the hard yards in struggle street, yards and yards from the glittering harbour, and a thousand times a tougher gig than trying to convert the heathens in Cabramatta ... only an appointment to Point Piper or Woollahra could have been tougher ...

  3. Oh yes, sorry Dorothy. The man is a saint. That I should make light of his sacrifice. By 'Newtown' I really only meant the eastern end of Carillon Ave.

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  5. Science education has bowed before JW Qld Education Minister -

    "Especially is it pleasing to find the books in the right sections of the libraries, under Science and History instead of Religion as the atheistic Dewey system would require... The impression on the educational system in Queensland has been significant and prayer has surely been the key."


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