Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The First Animal

Scientists used to think that the first animal on earth was something very simple like a sponge, but that assessment has recently been revised. The new thinking is that the oldest animals were comb jellies. This is quite significant since unlike sponges, comb jellies have connective tissues and a nervous system, and are more complex. This means that the earliest animals in the evolutionary tree were already highly developed creatures. This is not what one would expect given the evolutionary view of things, and it's yet another example of nature's propensity for sticking its thumb in the eye of Darwinists' expectations.

The Darwinists are not without explanations for this anomaly, of course, because evolution is a rubbery theory that can be flexed to cover every conceivable observation. Contrary to what one might think, though, this flexibility is not an asset because a theory which can explain everything really explains nothing. It is not falsifiable and is, therefore, not a scientific hypothesis.

Intelligent design is disallowed in public schools on the grounds that it's not falsifiable, but Darwinism, which also seems impervious to empirical falsification, is considered mainstream science. It's very puzzling, to say the least.

At any rate, in honor of the comb jellies' newly-bestowed exalted status we feature this video:

HT: Telic Thoughts


Easy Way Out

In Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity, David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, has done research among non-Christians and has, according to Christianity Today magazine, "learned that their perception of Christians is that they are too often identified by what they stand against, rather than the hope which they stand for. According to the research, believers are seen as too judgmental, too political, and often hypocritical."

Huh. Let's unpack this. First, it's pretty hard to stand for something like, say, traditional marriage, without being against those innovations like gay marriage which threaten it. It's hard to be for peaceful resolution of conflict without being opposed to violence. So I don't know how Christians can avoid giving the perception that they're against things rather than for things when to be one means you have to be the other also.

Kinnaman finds that believers are seen as being too judgmental, but what does that mean, and what should we do about it? Does it mean that Christians are prone to making moral judgments? If so, why is that bad? Should Christians join the rest of society and abandon the idea that some things are right and others wrong? Of course, if there is no right or wrong, then making moral judgments can't be wrong and one wonders then why the critics even bring it up.

He also learns that believers are too political. Evidently, non-Christians must think it is somehow unChristian to have an opinion on political matters and to vote. Are Christians supposed to suspend their citizenship as long as they remain Christians? Perhaps the non-Christian is made uncomfortable by the fact that Christians sometimes vote as a block, but why is this offensive? Are blacks, gays, women, Democrats and Republicans, Jews, men, the wealthy, the poor, the middle class, union members, teachers, lawyers, and others who frequently vote their common interests also too political?

Kinnaman reports, finally, that Christians are perceived as being hypocritical. No surprise there. Ask 100 people why they resist the gospel, and 99 of them will say that Christians are hypocritical. I don't know how many of them could actually name something they witnessed someone doing that was hypocritical, but it's an article of faith among the unchurched that churches are chock full of people who do hypocritical stuff.

This seems, like the others, to be an odd complaint. If the critic means merely that churches are full of sinners then who would disagree, since that's what churches are for. If he means that Christians fall short of what they claim to be their moral ideal then most of them are surely guilty as charged. But why is this a complaint properly lodged against the church? It's like criticizing a rescue mission because there are too many wretches there.

I wonder how many of those interviewed by Kennaman are really just trying to rationalize the fact that the reason they are put off by Christianity has nothing really to do with the reasons they gave him and everything to do with the fact that they just don't want to acknowledge that Christianity might be true. The reasons they offered are designed, perhaps, to cover themselves with a patina of moral righteousness that enables them to indulge their wish not to submit to the authority of the Gospel without having to do any serious thinking about whether or not their refusal is really wise or intellectually warranted. They give those who invoke them an easy way out.