(Video Description) Why are Islam and Mormonism so similar? Because the devil forgot to check Google Calendar for birthdays, apparently. Also, I recognize that most of the captions fly by too quickly to read, so go to the following website, and I’ll have them all linked THERE.
There are a few issues involved in this video via NBC and the victim mentality of the left, but first the video:
Firstly, many supposed “Trump” related “hate-crimes” have been shown to be false. We see headlines and stories like the following (published immediately by the Southern Poverty Law Center):
- A female Muslim student at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette claimed she was minding her own business when two white men, one wearing a “Trump” hat, tore off her hijab, assaulted her and took her wallet.
- Police announced on Thursday that a Muslim woman, 18-year-old Yasmin Seweid, lied when she claimed three white men assaulted her on a New York City subway while yelling Trump’s name because she was wearing a traditional Islamic head scarf.
- An unidentified 20-year-old man filed a criminal complaint in November claiming that he was confronted and accosted by at least two white men when he exited an MBTA bus in Malden, MA.
- In November, a Bowling Green University student claimed she was “walking down the street” when a group of white men wearing Trump shirts started shouting profanities and throwing rocks at her for no reason.
- Earlier in December, someone went on a “racist,” pro-Trump graffiti spree. Some of the messages scrawled around Philadelphia were “Trump rules” and “Black B***h.”
- A woman’s mailbox was marked with “KKK” and “Trump,” a brick was thrown through her car window, the back seat of the car was soaked in gasoline and set on fire.
- a black female student claimed that she was knocked down by a group of white men screaming “Trump.”
- An openly bisexual senior at North Park University claimed she was the recipient of a homophobic note and hateful emails following Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election.
- In a widely-shared Facebook post, an Asian student at the University of Minnesota claimed she was harassed by a white male as she was walking across a bridge in Minneapolis. The man told her to “go back to Asia,” Kathy Mirah Tu said in the post. She ignored him and kept walking across the bridge, but says he followed her and added: “Don’t you know it’s disrespectful to walk away from someone when they are talking to you?” He then allegedly grabbed her wrist, and she responded by punching him in the throat.
- In another viral Facebook post, a black woman claims she was harassed by a group of white male Trump supporters at a gas station in Rehoboth Beach, Del. “Just experienced one of the WORST THINGS in my entire life,” Ashley Boyer wrote in the post, saying four white men pulled up beside her while she was pumping gas and jumped out of the car. The white men “proceeded to talk about the election and how they’re glad they won’t have to deal with n—–s much longer,” she wrote, adding that one approached her and said: “How scared are u, u black bitch??? I should kill you right now. You’re a waste of air.” Another pulled out a weapon and said: “You’re lucky there’s witnesses or else I’d shoot you right here.”
- Chris Ball, a gay Canadian filmmaker alleged he was assaulted by Trump supporters on election night in Santa Monica, Calif. The Trump supporters hurled gay slurs at him while he was watching the results come in at a bar, he claims, then followed him out of the bar at the end of the night and assaulted him in an alleyway. Ball posted a photo of himself covered in blood in an Emergency Room as evidence, saying the attackers smashed a beer bottle on his head. “We got a new president you fucking faggots,” they told him, according to Ball.
I tend to agree with a comment posted at the PHILLY VOICE,
But in that NBC video I want to deal with two topics. One being the case of a female Muslim (Muslima) student at the University of Michigan. She claimed last month that a man had threatened to set her on fire unless she removed her hijab.
Horrible! . . . if it were true.
HOTAIR notes that “naturally, the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR] connected the alleged incident to President-elect Trump.” Continuing with a quote from [the terror supporting Islamic organization] CAIR…
- “’Our nation’s leaders, and particularly President-elect Donald Trump, need to speak out forcefully against the wave of anti-Muslim incidents sweeping the country after Tuesday’s election,’ CAIR Michigan’s executive director Dawud Walid said at the time.”
About the video above HOTAIR also relates that “A few weeks ago NBC News put together this report featuring a Muslim woman on the University of Michigan campus talking about her response to the election of Donald Trump. The video highlights the claim (now shown to be a hoax) about a woman on campus being threatened for wearing a hijab.” CREEPING SHARIA asks:
- Why isn’t her name and photograph being released? Why isn’t she being charged with a hate crime against white men? Her attention to detail suggests it was premeditated, as HotAir notes in Another hijab hoax.
ANOTHER issue with the NBC FAKE NEWS video is when they reference the 10,000 teacher survey:
The SPLC withheld some vital information in order to make the “narrative” fit better for the uninitiated public. The NEW YORK POST expands on this:
…The takeaway was that Trump-supporting white kids have been harassing minorities at the nation’s schools. And SPLC’s schools report, along with a broader report on alleged Trump-inspired hate crimes — “Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Election” — sparked breathless coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post and other major media.
The reports also triggered a statement Friday from the US Commission on Civil Rights, which expressed “deep concern” that “prejudice has reared its ugly head in public elementary and secondary schools.” The panel called for more federal funding to prosecute “hate crimes.”
But the SPLC didn’t present the whole story. The Montgomery, Ala.-based nonprofit self-censored results from a key question it asked educators — whether they agree or disagree with the following statement: “I have heard derogatory language or slurs about white students.”
Asked last week to provide the data, SPLC initially said it was having a hard time getting the information “from the researchers.” Pressed, SPLC spokeswoman Kirsten Bokenkamp finally revealed that “about 20 percent answered affirmatively to that question.”
Bokenkamp did not provide an explanation for the absence of such a substantial metric — at least 2,000 bias-related incidents against white students — from the report, which focuses instead on “anti-immigrant sentiment,” “anti-Muslim sentiment” and “slurs about students of color” related to the election.
“They left that result out because it would not fit their ideological narrative,” former Education Department civil rights attorney Hans Bader said. “It was deemed an inconvenient truth.”…
The CANADIAN FREE PRESS goes on to state that this “New Hate Category” is very lucrative:
At least some manufacturing industries haven’t moved offshore.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and “other civil rights groups” have scheduled a press conference for tomorrow morning (Nov. 29) at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The troublemaking leftists plan to call on President-elect Donald Trump “to immediately and forcefully publicly denounce racism and bigotry and to call on Americans to stop all acts of hate.”
At the press conference “the SPLC will release . . . [r]esults of a new survey, answered by more than 10,000 teachers across the country detailing the negative effect the election has had on school climates” dubbed “The Trump Effect”
Like every other activity the SPLC engages in, the point isn’t to actually disavow prejudice but to monetize it, and monetizing hate in the Trump Age requires Trump-style branding. It’s media gold whenever Trump reiterates for the umpteenth time his “forceful disavowal” of racism. Outlets from MSNBC to NPR then take to the airwaves to disavow Trump’s disavowal, and another entire news cycle becomes about ‘speaking truth to power’ regarding Trump’s supposedly persistent racism problem.
Thus: the Trump Effect. The SPLC claims to have stumbled upon the Trump Effect phenomenon after innocently polling 2,000 of the nation’s schoolteachers who spend their spare time trolling the SPLC website searching for confirmation that they’re living in Rachel Maddow’s Nightmare on Trump Street.
Unsurprisingly, after taking SPLC’s online poll, these 2,000 schoolteachers simultaneously arrived at the alarming conclusion that Trump has singlehandedly affected their school’s “climate,” and not for the better like global warming, which keeps the sidewalks free from snow.
In case anyone misses the point that Trump (and not teachers who rant about Trump to their second graders) is a social problem akin to the Black Plague, the Trump Effect report is decorated with a grainy close-up photo of Trump’s open mouth….
A recent purported “hate crime” was a burning of a black church with “vote Trump” spray painted on the side. Here is how SNOPES ended their post on the matter:
Greenville is a predominantly African-American community where the mayor described race relations as “fairly good.” However, attacks on churches is not a new development: it was used as a tactic of intimidation by white supremacists during the Civil Rights era. As noted by the fire marshal, a motive has yet to be determined. The fire broke out one week before the 8 November 2016 presidential election.
And the Mayor of Greenville called the burning of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville a “hateful and cowardly act,” Mayor Errick Simmons said this was “an attack on the black community.” “It appears to be a race crime,” Simmons said. “It happened in the ’50s. It happened in the ’60s. It shouldn’t happen in 2016.”
But as with most of these incidents in the past decade… they are hoaxes.
A black man has been arrested and charged with burning an African-American church in Greenville, Miss. last month and defacing its outer walls with “Vote Trump” graffiti.
The Mississippi state police arrested Andrew McClinton, 45, on Wednesday and charged him with first-degree arson of a place of worship, Warren Strain, a spokesman with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety told The Daily Caller.
McClinton allegedly set first to Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, where he is a member, on Nov. 1, a week before the election. The fire destroyed 80 percent of the church. A GoFundMe account raised more than $240,000 to repair the facility….
While in the past these churches have been burned by members of racist organization, nowadays it is a fostering of a grievance demographic via awards of victim-hood that has caused a significant increase in the hate-hoaxes. Magically however, this crime went from a hate-crime to just a regular crime — with the snap of a finger.
Two more VERY recent HATE-HOAXES
The first one Delta Airlines confirmed it kicked off the passenger for being rude and disruptinve, NOT for speaking Arabic….
In 2014, Adam Saleh published a video showing an NYPD officer profiling and harassing Muslims. It was sensational, it was shocking, it was clear evidence of NYPD “Islamophobia.” It went viral and made international news. There was just one catch: it was a hoax. Saleh had staged the whole thing. The incident was so embarrassing that even Ibrahim Hooper of Hamas-linked CAIR, a veteran purveyor of fake hate crimes against Muslims, demanded that Saleh apologize.
Now, coincidence of coincidences, Saleh claims that he was kicked off a Delta Airlines flight for speaking Arabic. Even aside from Saleh’s history as a hate crime hoaxer, his story just doesn’t ring true.
- Babson College has cleared two students of any disciplinary violations stemming from their controversial drive through Wellesley College to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory the day after the presidential election, their lawyers said Monday.
It turned out to be fabricated… but not before being…
…put through hell for a while and were kicked out of their fraternity, but despite doing nothing wrong they pleaded for forgiveness on Fakebook, so the college apparently figured they had been punished enough for indulging in thought-crime.
Even thinking certain ways is dangerous nowadays — apparently
Former U.S. Rep. ALLEN WEST had a Scripture to recommend to Kaepernick.
I would recommend a simple scripture from the wise King Solomon for Mr. Kaepernick, Proverbs 17:28 (NIV): “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues,”
Or, as the old folks down South would say, “best for a stupid person to keep their mouth shut and not open it and let everyone know they are.”
I will give more context to Alex Boone’s comments after the video:
This story is making more sense as we get a few days behind it. THE DAILY CALLER notes a recent change in Kaepernick’s worldview that is driving this support for a racist, black nationalist political movement [Black Lives Matter]:
A recent report indicates that Colin Kaepernick’s Muslim girlfriend Nessa Diab was behind his decision to not stand during the national anthem.
The report from sports gossip blog Terez Owens states, “As the entire world knows by now, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem in Friday’s pre-season game against Green Bay because he was protesting ‘black oppression’ in the United States. We’re now hearing that it was actually his girlfriend Nessa’s idea for Colin to protest. Colin and his girlfriend, Nessa Diab, an MTV DJ, are still planning an Islamic-style wedding.”
- Now we’re hearing he’s transitioning to become a Muslim, according to people close to the player. We received this in our tipbox, Colin’s girlfriend, Hot 97 DJ Nessa, introduced him to the teachings of Islam, and he’s ready to embrace it fully. Our tipster tells us Kaep and Nessa are going to have a traditional Muslim wedding. Colin seems to be all over the place lately.
So let’s have Miss Lahren have her say and then see if we can’t find anything on DJ Nessa, shall we?
This is the basic line so far:
- There are some facts about Colin Kaepernick that you should know. 1) He recently converted to Islam, 2) His girlfriend, DJ Nessa Diab, is a prominent activist in Black Lives Matter and is Muslim. She is also a fan of the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. (Uncle Sam’S Misguided Children)
We will build up to Nessa’s background, but first, she has posted a couple of things I would say also influenced Colin. For instance:
BABALÚ BLOG has some excellent commentary on the shirt:
We’re guessing his t-shirt statement wasn’t satiric. Instead we’re guessing that –owing much to modern American education–this black American athlete is (unwittingly) hailing the man who jailed and tortured the largest number of black political prisoners in the modern history of the Western hemisphere and who craved–and came within a hair of– nuking the nation that has made Kaepernick a multi-MULTI-millionaire.
“The Negro is indolent and lazy, and spends his money on frivolities, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent.” (Che Guevara)
THE WEEKLY STANDARD continues with the bottom line for Colin:
…However, there was one startling display of ignorance by Kaepernick that makes me think he’s not the best person to listen to on the topic of racial injustice. I’m referring to his attire at the press conference: a Malcolm X hat, and though it’s difficult to make out, his T-shirt is of photos commemorating Malcolm X meeting Fidel Castro.
One can revisit the great civil rights debate over using violence as a means to an end; suffice to say, America’s better off that Martin Luther King, Jr. and his commitment to nonviolence, not Malcolm X and his “by any means necessary” approach, won the day. And this divide is only highlighted by Castro’s harboring of a bunch of American cop killers, such as Assata Shakur and Eldridge Cleaver, who claim their unconscionable and murderous actions were done in the name of “racial justice”.
The biggest problem here is that Kaepernick is seemingly unaware of Castro’s legacy. Aside from Castro dragooning and executing Christians and gays, Castro’s record on racial justice is decidedly not “woke”, as the Internet likes to say. While Cuba’s legacy of racism predates Castro, it’s safe to say overt racism against individuals of African ancestry there remains far more pronounced than it is in the United States. In fact, racism is kind of an unstated official policy: “State-posts, government jobs, or positions in the tourism industry are often allocated on the basis of skin color. Take a look at the top office holders in Cuba. See any black faces there? No,” Mediaite’s AJ Delgado wrote.
Earlier this year, as the White House was normalizing relations with Cuba, the New York Timesdeclared “Cuba Says It Has Solved Racism. Obama Isn’t So Sure.” Obama even addressed the topic of Cuban racism explicitly during his historic visit. But there’s no evidence Obama used his leverage to extract any meaningful reforms to address the issue.
The fact remains that the Cuban government doesn’t deal with racism, because to talk openly about it would be to admit that Cuba’s not the socialist paradise it’s cracked up to be. But don’t take my word for it—Cuban editor Roberto Zurbano wrote an illuminating article about Cuban racism that was translated and published in the New York Times three years ago:
Racism in Cuba has been concealed and reinforced in part because it isn’t talked about. The government hasn’t allowed racial prejudice to be debated or confronted politically or culturally, often pretending instead as though it didn’t exist. Before 1990, black Cubans suffered a paralysis of economic mobility while, paradoxically, the government decreed the end of racism in speeches and publications. To question the extent of racial progress was tantamount to a counterrevolutionary act. This made it almost impossible to point out the obvious: racism is alive and well.
As a result of a critical article about Cuban racism being published in an American newspaper, Zurbano lost his job at the state-sponsored Casa de las Americas cultural center. Colin Kaepernick, on the other hand, appears to be in no danger of losing his decadent, capitalist, multimillion-dollar paycheck for speaking out against his government.
UNCLE SAM’S MISGUIDED CHILDREN notes the above in a powerful and personal way:
….Mr. Kaepernick, you have no clue what Oppression feels like. I know exactly what it feels like. I can tell you as a communist survivor who almost saw his family sent to prison because of bringing a drawing of the birth of Christ and telling my 1st grade kids about Jesus.
I remember clearly watching my father being beaten by Castro henchmen right in front of my grandma’s house… all because we were coming to America.
I remember having only a glass of sugar with water because no one would hire my father or mother for fear they would receive the same discrimination.
I understand you embrace communist/socialist ideas, yet I do not see you giving away all of your millions of dollars to charity. And if you hate it here so much, why aren’t you fleeing to North Korea or Cuba?
You are a new Moslem convert who supports an ideology that has kept women oppressed for thousands of years, without even the right to vote or participate in any leadership role without permission of their father or husband.
You talk about ‘oppression’ from the white men, yet your own white parents have given you a college education and life of “white privilege.”
History shows that blacks sold blacks into slavery. Today, the ‘human trade’ as they call it now is predominantly run by Moslem Arabs: the diamond slavery is a huge example.
It shows that no matter how many millions you have, you can still be a slave in your own plantation.
Nessa has been heavily influenced by contact with the Middle-East dues to her fathers job, as San Jose’s paper THE MERCURY NEWS notes:
- She was born in Southern California, but frequently moved between the U.S. and Middle East growing up, thanks to her father’s job.
STARCASM enlightens us further:
Nessa’s full name is Nessa Diab and she is originally from Southern California. As a child she moved back and forth from California to the Middle East because of her father’s job, and it was during this time that she first began writing songs. “Here is the thing, I was a young girl fearing for my life-I wore gas masks to school,” Nessa said of being present during the Gulf War. “I heard war sirens constantly and I knew at this point I had to break out of this lifestyle.”
I have spent hours looking for her father and why he would be in-n-out of the Middle-East. I contacted a couple fellow bloggers to help in the endeavor. But the connection with radical Islam and the Black Lives Matter movement and their anti-Semitism is unmistakable, CONSERVATIVE TREE-HOUSE:
- In the social justice arena, there is no daylight between the various BLM activism groups, and activist Islam. They are interwoven amid every controversial eruption over the past six years. We have tried to draw attention to it numerous times, but many don’t fully grasp the scope of the relationship between radical Islam and Black Lives Matter. It’s a symbiosis, a complete synergy in activism and intent.
Keep in mind some key questions remain about Colin and his girlfriend. Was her father connected to radical Islam in some way (say, the Muslim Brotherhood)? What was his job? Maybe she is an el–Sisi fan? Does she have connections to the Nation of Islam (NOI) or the Nation of Gods and Earths (5%’ers)?
Surely this will be continued!
Among the major differences between Islam and Christianity is that of the character and nature of God as understood by the Bible and the Qur’an. For the Bible, Yahweh is a relational God, a God who appears to his people throughout the Old Testament, who took on flesh in the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and who will be present, the Bible claims, in heaven with us once again: “For now we see through a glass, darkly,” wrote the apostle Paul; “but then face to face.”  This is very different from Allah in the Qur’an, a God who is distant and remote, transcendent and lofty, who does not deign to step down into his creation, and is not present in Paradise. As Muslim theologian Isma’il al Faruqi writes:
Allah does not reveal Himself to anyone in any way. Allah reveals only his will… Allah does not reveal himself to anyone… that is the great difference between Christianity and Islam.
Central, too, to the Christian understanding of God is that Yahweh is loving; indeed, the Bible goes as far as to boldly make the claim that God is love, the one whose character and nature define what love actually is. You will commonly hear people opine that all religions teach that God is love, but this is simply not true – for instance, nowhere does the Qur’an claim that “Allah is love.”
Finally, at the heart of Christianity stands the belief that, in Jesus, God has experienced suffering, paying the price of the cross in order to reconcile humanity to himself. Now atheists may choose to dismiss, laugh at, or even scoff at that claim, but it is a claim unique to Christianity. It is certainly not an idea found in Islam, where the Qur’an goes as far as to deny that the historical event of Jesus’ crucifixion ever happened.
It has long fascinated me that when Christianity talks about the cross and the suffering of God, it is doing something quite startling, namely reversing the traffic pattern of every other religion, world view, and belief system. All other religions of which I am aware tend to work in one of three basic ways: they claim that if you know the right things, do the right things, or experience the right things, then you will achieve paradise, nirvana, wisdom, a higher state of consciousness, good teeth — whatever it is you are looking for. Islam adopts this model (“Keep the commandments”), as does, incidentally, the New Atheism, whose message is that if you think the right way — think good, secular, scientific thoughts — you’ll be one of the smart ones, one of the brights, one of the elite, the elect.
 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV).
 Isma’il al Faruqi, Christian Mission and Islamic Da’wah: Proceedings of the Chambésy Dialogue Consultation, Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, 1982, pp. 47-48.
 1 John 4:16.
 And many Muslim theologians argue that Muslims should not use the word “love” when talking about Allah; see e.g. Murad Wilfried Hofmann, “Differences between the Muslim and the Christian Concept of Divine Love” in 14th General Conference of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Amman, Jordan, 2007. See also Gordon Nickel, “The Language of Love in Qur’an and Gospel” in Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala and Angel Urban, (eds), Sacred Text: Explorations in Lexicography, Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2009, pp. 223-248.
 If you wish to understand this idea (which, whatever you make of it, is the central claim at the heart of Christianity), a great place to start is John Stott, The Cross of Christ, Leicester: IVP, 2006.
 A nauseatingly self-congratulatory term coined by some of the New Atheists to mark themselves off from the rest of the world, whom they clearly perceive as dimwits. See Daniel Dennett, “The Bright Stuff“, The New York Times, 12 July 2003.
Andy Banister, The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: Or, The Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments (Oxford, England: Monarch Books, 2015), 62-63.
Many people who don’t read the Muslim sources assume that Muhammad was dark-skinned. However, according to Islam’s most trusted sources, Muhammad was white. These same sources show that Muhammad also owned black slaves. How can we reconcile these facts with the spread of Islam among African-Americans in recent decades? David Wood discusses the issue.
This is an addition to the recently discovered oldest piece of a Qur’an manuscript... dating to before Muhammad. Many will ask what the difference is between how the Bible and the Qur’an were “compiled” into the books we read today. Here is a bit of the difference.
This is the quote Dr. Wallace was roughly referring to via Ehrman in the video above:
In the appendix to Misquoting Jesus, added to the paperback version, there is a Q&A section. I do not know who the questioner is, but it is obviously someone affiliated with the editors of the book. Consider this question asked of Ehrman:
- Bruce Metzger, your mentor in textual criticism to whom this book dedicated, has said that there is nothing in these variants of Scripture that challenges any essential Christian beliefs (e.g., the bodily resurrection of Jesus or the Trinity). Why do you believe these core tenets Of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy based on the scribal errors you discovered in the biblical manuscripts?
Note that the wording of the question is not “Do you believe…” but “Why do you believe these core tenets of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy…?” This is a question that presumably came from someone who read the book very carefully. How does Ehrman respond?
- The position I argue for in Misquoting Jesus does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.
Suffice it to say that viable textual variants that disturb cardinal doctrines found in the NT have not yet been produced.
Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 54-55.
The below LARGE excerpt comes from: Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 34-40.
Ehrman has asserted, “If we have very few early copies—in fact, scarcely any—how can we know that the text was not changed significantly before the New Testament began to be reproduced in such large quantities?”38 I am not sure what large quantities he is speaking about, since there are more MSS from the third century than there are from the fourth or fifth century.39
But how can we know? It is a legitimate question. There is a way to be relatively confident that the text of the fourth century looked remarkably like the earliest form of the text. P75 has large portions of Luke and John in it—and nothing else. Codex B has most of the NT in it. If B and P75 are very close to each other yet B often has the more primitive reading, we can extrapolate that the text of B is pretty decent for the rest of the NT. When it agrees with a MS such as Codex Sinaiticus, which it usually does, that combined reading almost surely goes back to a common archetype from deep in the second century.40
Nevertheless, Ehrman has carefully and ably described the transmission of the text. He has detailed how the winners succeeded in conquering all with their views and emerged as the group we might call “orthodox.” What he has said is fairly accurate overall. The only problem is that his is the right analysis but for the wrong religion. Ehrman’s basic argument about theological motives describes Islam far more than Christianity. Recent work on the transmissional history of both the NT and the Qur’an shows this clearly. Consider the following points:
1. Within just a few decades of the writing of the Qur’an, it underwent a strongly controlled, heavy-handed editing, geared toward “orthodoxy” that weeded out variants that did not conform.
But the NT, as even Ehrman argues, did not suffer this sort of control early on. Instead, Ehrman has often suggested that the earliest decades were marked by free, even wild copying.41
2. Calif Uthman was in charge of the earliest segment of this heavy-handed editing of the Qur’an. He systematically gathered up any nonconforming MSS and destroyed them. The originals were destroyed as well.42 Uthman then claimed that his “canonical” text was the exact equivalent of the autographs.
There is no real evidence that inexact copies of the NT were destroyed by ecclesiastical authorities.43 Indeed, there is evidence that just the opposite took place: defective or deteriorating copies might be placed in a jar or storage room but not destroyed.44
3. The closest we come to heavy-handed control for NT MSS did not occur until at least the ninth century, long after the major Christological disputes had ended.45 Even then, we do not see defective MSS getting destroyed.
4. One cannot have it both ways; there cannot be wild copying by untrained scribes and a proto-orthodox conspiracy simultaneously producing the same variants. Conspiracy implies control, and wild copying is anything but controlled.
On the one hand, there was uncontrolled copying of MSS in the earliest period, but this was largely restricted to the Western text form.46 On the other hand, there was a strand of early copying that may appear to be controlled. This is the Alexandrian family of MSS. Yet the reason that MSS of this text form look so much like each other is largely because they were in a relatively pure line of transmission.47 There was no conspiracy, just good practices.
5. The reason why Islam has Qur’an MSS that so closely resemble each other is precisely because this was official dogma, there was overzealous control in the copying of the MSS, and there were severe repercussions to any who erred significantly in their scribal duties. All MSS ultimately derived from a single copy—a copy that was not identical to the original text.48
Contrast this with the NT: from the earliest times, the NT was translated into a multitude of languages.49 The transmission of the text was a growing, living thing, not constrained by ecclesiastical controls until long after Christianity became legalized. Even then, we know of nothing like what we see in Islam: scribes not only made plenty of mistakes, but they even complained in the margins of their manuscripts about the weather, the length of the MS they were copying, the clogging of the ink, and so on.50 This sort of living, hands-on, messy relationship of the scribes to their holy scriptures is unheard of in Islam. In short, the Qur’an copying practices were more related to apologetics, while the NT practices were more related to life.
6. Further, ever since canon was a term meaningfully applied to the NT, there was never a sense that only the Greek MSS were Scripture. To be sure, the Reformation sparked a return to the original languages of the Bible, but the reason was not only purity of the text but clarity in the proclamation of the message. It is no accident that the Reformers were the catalyst for the great European translations of the Bible—translations into the language of the people that could be considered the very Word of God by the average layman. By way of contrast, the only true Qur’an is the Arabic Qur’an. All translations are officially suspect. Thus what Ehrman is describing is right on target but for the wrong religion. He is describing what has occurred in Islam, not in Christianity.
7. What Westcott said over a century ago is relevant to this discussion:
When the Caliph Othman fixed a text of the Koran and destroyed all the old copies which differed from his standard, he provided for the uniformity of subsequent manuscripts at the cost of their historical foundation. A classical text which rests finally on a single archetype is that which is open to the most serious suspicions.51
What we see in the NT copies is absolutely nothing like this. Ehrman tries to make a case for significant theological alterations to the text of the NT by a group that did not have control over the text from the beginning, but the historical ingredients for his hypothesis are missing. It is like trying to bake a cake with romaine lettuce and ranch dressing.
As Small points out,
The original NT text (the autographic text-form in Epp’s categories) has been kept remarkably well, and one form of the Qur’an text, a strongly edited one (a canonical text-form in Epp’s words), has been preserved remarkably well. This Qur’anic text form (the one attributed to Uthman though probably a little later—ca. 700 AD) preserves authentic material, but not in the forms in which it was originally used or in the complete collection assembled in writing or orally during Muhammad’s lifetime. Instead, it is a very selective, heavily edited text. In contrast, the NT is not really the product of an official process of intentional editing and so preserves more of the original text within the extant manuscripts. This can be said just on the basis of Islamic tradition concerning the collections attributed to have been made by the companions of Muhammad. In the twenty years after Muhammad’s death until Uthman’s project to standardize the text, these versions were used extensively in other parts of the growing Islamic empire, apparently as authoritative scripture. Some of these are reported to have been in use into the 900’s AD until they were finally suppressed around 934. My research in the manuscripts also demonstrates that the majority of the earliest manuscripts contain this edited text, with the handful of palimpsests pointing to other textual traditions that were successfully suppressed. These palimpsests contain the same variety of textual variants that one can see between the Western and Alexandrian text-types in the NT tradition—showing that there was a period when the Qur’an text was more fluid than the majority of manuscripts and Islamic dogma would lead one to believe. Muslims assume and state that this Uthmanic text was the original text, though even their traditions go against the view. It contains original material, but the original form of that material cannot be reconstructed because Uthman destroyed the autographs and had his authoritative version written in a defective script which allowed the growth of competing written versions and oral recitation systems. Their theological view of mechanical inspiration keeps them from adequately engaging with their own historical sources. What they have done instead is selectively choose reports that they can use to construct a straight line of “perfect” transmission while ignoring the facts which disagree with the theological construct they want to hold of an eternal book perfectly transmitted. I think Uthman’s version does probably represent the main lines of Muhammad’s teaching, though for political reasons certain parts may have been left out. But we can’t tell for sure because the autographs were destroyed, not that they wore out in use. And the main point to get to in all of this is still that the NT and the Qur’an teach very different things. Also, for whatever integrity one wants to grant to the transmission of the Qur’an, the NT needs to be regarded as having more integrity in its transmission process since there was not such an official editing process after the books were written. In light of all of this, I think Bart Ehrman’s arguments are much more appropriate for the Qur’an because for it there can be demonstrated an official program of textual standardization which was maintained over three centuries, and in some respects to this day.52
Concerning conforming the text to the Medieval standard, though there is a general parallel to this situation to the Qur’an’s, I see it having a fundamental difference, that while the changes to the NT were gradual, relatively late in the history of transmission, and primarily for liturgical reasons and to improve the style, the Qur’an’s form of the consonantal text was determined and maintained from very early on (within 30-70 years after Muhammad’s death) for reasons which had a large ideological/dogmatic component at the outset, and then that form was further shaped and developed with diacritics and vowels to maintain and serve various agendas during the next 200 years until the Sunnis came out on top politically in the 900’s and were able to canonize their version of the text.53
In another respect, when Ehrman discusses whether God has preserved the text of the NT, he places on the NT transmissional process some rather unrealistic demands—demands that Islam traditionally claims for itself with respect to the Qur’an but that no bona fide Christian scholar would ever claim was true of the NT MSS. As is well known, most Muslims claim that the Qur’an has been transmitted perfectly, that all copies are exactly alike. This is what Ehrman demands of the NT text if God has inspired it. Methodologically, he did not abandon the evangelical faith; he abandoned a faith that in its biblio-logical constructs is what most Muslims claim for their sacred text. Or as C. S. Lewis put it,
The moment [the miracle] enters [nature’s] realm, it obeys all her laws. Miraculous wine will intoxicate, miraculous conception will lead to pregnancy, inspired books will suffer all the ordinary processes of textual corruption, miraculous bread will be digested.54
To sum up the evidence on the number of variants, there are a lot of variants because there are a lot of manuscripts. Even in the early centuries, the text of the NT is found in a sufficient number of MSS, versions, and writings of the church fathers to give us the essentials of the original text.
38) Lost Christianities, 219.
39) The next line, however, suggests that he is speaking about medieval MSS: “Most surviving copies were made during the Middle Ages, many of them a thousand years after Paul and his companions had died” (ibid.). The juxtaposition of this sentence with the one questioning whether we can know how significant the changes were prior to this time is, at best, misleading. Ehrman would acknowledge, as would most textual critics, that the MSS produced in the Middle Ages are hardly our most reliable witnesses to the NT text and that we have several sufficient witnesses prior to that time on which to reconstruct the wording of the earliest form of the text.
40) Cf., e.g., Metzger and Ehrman, Text of the New Testament, 277-78, 312. Hort believed that when K and B agreed, their reading went back to a very ancient common ancestor. That it was not a near ancestor was demonstrated by the thousands of disagreements between these two manuscripts, suggesting that there were several intermediaries between the common ancestor and these two majuscule documents (B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek, vol. 2, Introduction [and] Appendix [Cambridge: Macmillan, 1882], 212-50). Cf. also Metzger and Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament, 312: “With the discovery . .. of T66 and P75, both dating from about the end of the second or the beginning of the third century, proof became now available that Hort’s Neutral text goes back to an archetype that must be put early in the second century.”
41) Cf., e.g., Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, 124. I will discuss the nature of the early copying soon enough, but for now I simply point out that according to Ehrman, there was extensive uncontrolled copying of the NT in the earliest period.
42) Ehrman opines that perhaps the NT autographs were destroyed. Not only is there no evidence that this was the case, there is second-century evidence that the autographs would have been revered.
43) See nn. 34 and 44 for discussion.
44) Colin H. Roberts (Manuscript, Society, and Belief in Early Christian Egypt [London: Oxford University Press, 1979], 6-8) gives ample evidence that early Christians took over the practice of Jews to “dispose of defective, worn-out, or heretical scriptures by burying them near a cemetery, not to preserve them but because anything that might contain the name of God might not be destroyed” (ibid., 7). He was dealing with the earliest period of Christian copying but noted that the Nag Hammadi MSS (“outside our period”) seem to fit this pattern as well. In addition, he cited the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Chester Beatty papyri, as well as several other examples. In more modern times, it is noteworthy to mention the New Finds manuscripts at St. Catherine’s Monastery of Mt. Sinai. Discovered in 1975, quite by accident, was a geniza that housed about 1,200 manuscripts and 50,000 fragments of manuscripts. The latest date of any of the MSS was from the eighteenth century; the earliest was the fourth century (about two dozen leaves or fragments from Codex Sinaiticus). Among the less orthodox MSS were the Protevangelium of James and the Assumption of the Virgin. When I visited the monastery in September 2002, Archbishop Damianos expressed surprise to me that the Protevan-gelium was among the New Finds manuscripts. I discovered the Assumption of the Virgin inside the Protevangelium, occupying a new quire.
What the New Finds illustrate is that the practice of burying MSS at Mt. Sinai was taking place after the eighteenth century and sufficiently prior to modern times to have been forgotten by the monks. After Tischendorf’s last visit in 1859, the monastery became increasingly flooded with visitors. This suggests that the geniza was filled prior to this time. And the fact that leaves from Sinaiticus were buried there—both from the Pentateuch and from the Apostolic Fathers (i.e., the outer leaves of the codex, which would be most prone to be loosed from the book)—may imply that Tischendorf was mistaken when he said that the monks were burning leaves of this codex. For our purposes, it is enough to note that the normative practice of ancient Christians, even perhaps to modern times, was to bury or hide sacred texts rather than destroy them.
45) T. J. Ralston (“The Majority Text and Byzantine Texttype Development: The Significance of a Non-Parametric Method of Data Analysis for the Exploration of Manuscript Traditions” [PhD diss., Dallas Seminary, 1994]) notes (in agreement with von Soden’s assessment) that there was a large editorial push by at least one scriptorium in the ninth and eleventh centuries, resulting in carefully produced copies that were very close to each other.
46) It is not entirely insignificant that Ehrman’s preferred reading in several places that seem to impact Christology is found in the Western text (e.g., Luke 3.22; John 20.28). The burden of proof certainly rests with the one who would argue that such a textual tradition has the original wording when the carefully copied tradition of Alexandria does not. He admits that the Western text is less likely to preserve the best reading when it lacks support of the Alexandrian witnesses (Misquoting Jesus, 131). I do agree with Ehrman in at least one Western reading, however. But ὀργισθείς in Mark 1.41 has compelling internal evidence in its favor.
47) Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, 131.
48) This is not at all what the NT transmission was like. See the following discussion of the work of Uthman in canonizing the Qur’an by starting with his own MS as the progenitor of all that would follow. Ehrman speculates, without a shred of evidence, that this same phenomenon occurred for NT books: “[W]hat if only one of the copies served as the copy from which all subsequent copies were made…?” (Misquoting Jesus, 59).
49) Keith Small, a scholar in the United Kingdom who has recently completed his doctoral thesis on a comparison of the NT textual transmission and the Qur’an textual transmission (“Mapping a New Country: Textual Criticism and Qur’an Manuscripts” [London School of Theology, 2008]), noted in an email on March 25, 2008, “There was not a program of translation to spread Islam through having people read the Qur’an, like there was with the Christian Scriptures. Though one early jurist, Abu Hanifah (d. AD 767), did rule that a person could recite a vernacular translation in their prayers, he also is said to have retracted that ruling. The earliest extant translation I know of is one done into Persian about AD 956 (Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, World Bibliography of Translations of the Meanings of the Holy Qur’an, Printed Translations 1515-1980 [Istanbul: Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture], xxiii).”
50) See Metzger and Ehrman, Text of the New Testament, 29, for illustrations. Having this sort of marginal note in the Qur’an is unheard of. But some of the marginal notes in the NT MSS are rather impious, showing that the copying was meant more for the masses than for apologetic reasons.
51) Brooke Foss Westcott, Some Lessons of the Revised Version of the New Testament, 2nd ed. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1897), 8-9 (italics added). Credit is due to Keith Small for pointing this reference out to me.
52) Email from Keith Small, Mar. 11 2008,
53) Email from Keith Small, Dec. 30, 2007. For an excellent survey on the transmission of the Qur’an, see now Keith E. Small, Textual Criticism and Qur’an Manuscripts (Idaho Falls, Idaho: Lexingon, 2011).
54) C. S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study, 1st Touchstone ed. (New York: Touchstone, 1996) 95 (italics added).
This post is an important part of this post detailing the differences in how the Bible and Qur’an were transmitted.
(Via Jihad Watch) “This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Quran’s genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from Heaven.” Or that others later used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda — which is what I argue in my book Did Muhammad Exist?.
(Via The Telegraph) …The Prophet Muhammad is thought to have founded Islam sometime after 610AD and the first Muslim community was founded in Medina in 622AD.
During this time the Koran was memorised and recited orally but Caliph Abu Bakr, the first leader of the Muslim community after Muhammad’s death, ordered the Koranic material to be collected into a book.
The final authoritative written form was not completed until 650AD under the third leader Caliph Uthman.
Professor Nadir Dinshaw, who studies interreligious relations at the University of Birmingham, described the discovery as ‘startling’.
When it was found last month he said: ‘This could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam.
‘According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Qur’an, the scripture of Islam, between the years AD 610 and 632, the year of his death.
‘At this time, the divine message was not compiled into the book form in which it appears today. Instead, the revelations were preserved in ‘the memories of men’…
Prior to this new find, this fragment was the oldest:
(Via Breitbart) …Some academics now say that the impact of the text could be comparable to finding a copy of the Gospels dating back to before the time of Christ.
Historian Tom Holland told the Sunday Times that evidence was now mounting that traditional accounts of Islam’s origins are wrong.
“It destabilises, to put it mildly, the idea that we can know anything with certainty about how the Koran emerged — and that in turn has implications for the historicity of Muhammad and the Companions [his followers],” he said.
Other very old Korans also seem to confirm that written texts were circulating before Mohammed’s death.
Needless to say, Muslim academics have disputed the claims. Mustafa Shah of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) said: “If anything, the manuscript has consolidated traditional accounts of the Koran’s origins.”
“If the [carbon] dates apply to the parchment and the ink, and the dates across the entire range apply, then the Koran — or at least portions of it — pre-dates Muhammad, and moves back the years that an Arabic literary culture is in place well into the 500s.
“This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Koran’s genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from heaven.
“This would radically alter the edifice of Islamic tradition and the history of the rise of Islam in late Near Eastern antiquity would have to be completely revised, somehow accounting for another book of scripture coming into existence 50 to 100 years before, and then also explaining how this was co-opted into what became the entity of Islam by around AD700.”
In Starbucks I overheard a conversation mentioning Republicans not saying much against Trump’s position of a religious test for people coming into the U.S. I wanted to post some audio of Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina (from the Michael Medved Show) where they very clearly and strongly deny Trumps position. In fact, as of today, ALL the other Republican Presidential candidates have come out against Trump on this issue.
What Trump has right is that we can (and have) stopped immigration at times from countries… but what he has wrong is that we cannot [Constitutionally] ban people entry from the world who are Muslim. You could stop immigration (all immigration) Constitutionally from, say, Syria and Pakistan… but not, as Medved points out, from Saudi Arabi — who are our “allies.” Here is that audio that includes some challenging phone calls. Take note Zuhdi Jasser was the guest during this hour:
“…you can see this duty, or responsibility, laid out in scriptures clearly…” (Truth Revolt)
Via One News Now
Already under fire for many of his anti-Christian and pro-Muslim sentiments expressed during his relatively short time in serving under the Obama administration, United States Secretary of State John Kerry made another fairly recent assertion that has many Christians up in arms, as he attempted to interpret Scriptures to say that America is commanded by the Bible to protect the Muslim world from “global warming.”
America’s chief foreign diplomat contended that both religions scripturally share a common bond to the environment, asserting that because most Muslim countries are “vulnerable” to the effects of “climate change,” the United States is obligated to safeguard them by implementing green policies to protect them from the so-called effects of pollutants.
“Our faiths are inextricably linked on any number of things that we must confront and deal with in policy concepts today,” Kerry proclaimed late last year, according to Freedom Outpost. “Our faiths are inextricably linked on the environment. For many of us, respect for God’s creation also translates into a duty to protect and sustain His first Creation, Earth, the planet.”
Staying true to much of the environmentalist messaging and rhetoric used to promote the green movement’s endorsement of global warming-based policies and industries, Kerry used the Book of Genesis to imply that “Mother Earth” and nature should come before man.
“Before God created man He created Heaven and Earth,” Kerry stressed at the ceremony.
Fighting the greatest threat to humanity?
Kerry argues that fighting the highly contested global warming is perhaps the biggest threat to the world — and he attempted to use the Bible to prove his point, commanding America to use green technology and policies to “aid” Islamic nations.
“Confronting climate change is, in the long run, one of the greatest challenges that we face, and you can see this duty or responsibility laid out in Scriptures, clearly, beginning in Genesis,” Kerry insisted. “And Muslim-majority countries are among the most vulnerable. Our response to this challenge ought to be rooted in a sense of stewardship of Earth. And for me and for many of us here today, that responsibility comes from God.”
Here is the excerpt from Dr. Chapman’s book:
Christianities Advancement vs. Islam’s Stalling
…But what I would argue is that science entered early Christian and medieval Europe by a process of cultural osmosis. For one of the formative and enduring features of Christianity, from the AD 30s and 40s onwards, was its social and cultural flexibility. One did not have to belong to any given racial or cultural group, wear any approved style of clothing, cut one’s beard in a prescribed way, speak a special holy language, or follow essential rituals to be a Christian. Women in particular, amazingly, considering their limited social role in antiquity, were drawn to Christianity in large numbers, as the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles make clear, where they are shown as openly expressing their views. They were even the original witnesses of the resurrection, while St Paul’s first European convert was Lydia of Thyatira, a Greek merchant woman.
In fact Christianity moved into the pre-existing social, legal and administrative structures of Greco-Roman paganism, as Greek civic virtue became infused with Judeo-Christian charity. Roman legal objectivity absorbed key aspects of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes to create a concept of social justice; even the modes of dress of late Roman officials became the vestments of Christian priests; while words like “bishop” and “diocese” derived from classical administrative sources. Christianity, instead of overthrowing the genius of Greece and Rome, simply absorbed its best practical components, and allied them with the teachings of Jesus. The law codes of Christendom, moreover, came to develop non-theological components. The circuit judge system set up by King Henry II in the twelfth century, for instance, might have carried resonances of the assistant judges of Israel appointed by Moses in Exodus, or the judgment towns visited by the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel, but in practice it administered a new, practical English “Common Law”, and the judges often sat with that innovation of the age, a twelve-man lay jury.
This is how medieval students in Oxford, Paris, Bologna, or Salamanca came to study the pagan philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, the classical Latin poetry of Virgil, and the humane ethics of Cicero along with the Gospels. And very important for the rise of a civil society in which there was an acknowledged saeculum or non-theological exclusivity, the law students at the medieval Inns of Court in London, then as today, learned a pragmatic, case-based evolving civil law that was not especially theological in its foundation. For medieval Christendom was open to non-Christian ideas, provided that they could be reconciled in their broader principles with Christianity.
Exactly the same thing happened with science. The astronomy of Ptolemy, the physics of Aristotle, and the medicine of Hippocrates became part of the curriculum in Europe’s great new universities by 1250. Indeed, it was generally accepted that many honest pagans had glimpsed key truths of God’s creation, and who could blame the wise Socrates and Aristotle if they happened to have been born 400 years before Jesus, for their wisdom and honest contributions to learning were beyond question. This is how ancient science came to slide effortlessly into the Christian world, for it was useful for making calendars, treating diseases, and explaining the physical nature of things from the facts then available.
But, you might ask, when talking about science and Christendom, what happened in monotheistic Islam? It is an evident fact of history that, after its initial military conquests in the century after AD 622, Muslim scholars in Baghdad, Cairo, and southern Spain encountered the scientific and medical writings of the Greeks, which they translated into Arabic. And amidst a galaxy of figures such as Ibn Jabir in chemistry, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) in medicine, Ibn Tusi in astronomy, and Al-Haythem (Alhazen) in optics, Arabic science took the Greek scientific tradition further, research-wise, than anyone in Europe over the centuries AD 800-1200. But then, due to a variety of factors embedded within Islamic culture, it stalled and came to a standstill, especially after their last great scientist, the astronomer Ulugh Beigh of Samarkand, was murdered, it was said, by one of his own sons in 1449.
There has been much discussion among scholars as to why Islamic science declined as an intellectual and technical force, and why Christian Europe after 1200 developed a momentum which absorbed — with full acknowledgment — the achievements of the great Muslim scholars and scientists, and accelerated in an unbroken line of development down to the present day. For Islam, just like Judaism and Christianity, is a monotheistic faith, seeing the God of Abraham as the original and only creative force behind the universe. So why did the Islamic monotheistic tradition stall scientifically, while the Judeo-Christian tradition flourished? I think much has to do with a broader receptivity to classical Greco-Roman culture.
As was shown above, Christianity grew directly out of a combination of Judaism and wider Greco-Roman culture. Jesus the man was incarnated as a Jewish rabbi who preached in vernacular Aramaic and could read Hebrew, yet whose teachings, not to mention the commentaries of his disciples, were committed to posterity in Greek and, somewhat later, in Latin. The Jesus of the Gospels, moreover, respected Caesar, the Roman state and its officials; and his disciples even held an election to decide whether Barnabas or Matthias should be co-opted into the Twelve after Judas’s treachery; while St Paul, a Jewish native of the Hellenized “university town” of Tarsus in Cilicia (now Turkey), argued like a Socratic philosopher in his letters and was deeply proud of being a hereditary Roman citizen. Islam, on the other hand, came about in a very different way. The Prophet Mohammed’s roots lay in the essentially tribal society of the seventh-century-AD Arabian peninsula, east of the Red Sea. Tribal custom and not Greco-Roman “civic virtue” moulded its social and cultural practices, and Islam’s lack of a theology of free grace and atonement gave emphasis to an internal legalism that could all too easily generate centuries long sectarian disputes, such as those between the Shi’ites and the Sunnis. And while I fully admit that Christendom has had its own spasms of internal violent reprisal, most recently witnessed in the Troubles in Northern Ireland, I would suggest that Christendom’s classically derived constitutional, negotiated, approach to politics has always provided mechanisms for containment and reconciliation. This has been seen most notably in the active cooperation between the Roman Catholic and Protestant mainstreams, often on an overtly religious level, although splinter groups can remain active until changes in public attitudes eventually render them obsolete.
Islam took from Greco-Roman culture what it found useful in the territories it conquered. These included Greek astronomy, optics, medicine, chemistry, and technology, each of which it amplified and expanded, producing major treatises, often based upon freshly accumulated and carefully classified observational data. Chemistry came to owe an enormous debt to Arabic researchers, as would astronomical, medical, and botanical nomenclature. Indeed, well over a dozen major Arabic works made their way into Europe, where they were translated into Latin, influencing figures like Bishop Robert Grosseteste and Friar Roger Bacon of Oxford, and began to be widely studied in detail in the post-1100 European universities. (On the other hand, I am not aware of the foundational works of European science, such as those of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Vesalius, or Harvey, being translated into Arabic until recent times.) And among other things, that astronomical computing instrument known as the astrolabe, upon which the poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the first technical “workshop manual” in the English language around 1381, was a sophisticated Arabic development of a device first outlined by Ptolemy in the second century AD.
Yet while Greek ideas were profoundly formative upon Arabic concepts of the natural world, Islam did not absorb other key ideas of Greek and Roman culture which would become formative to Christian Europe. Greek democratic political ideals, “civic virtue”, and legal monogamy (divorce and mistresses notwithstanding) never became an integral part of Islam as they did of Christendom. Nor did the descent of kingship through holy anointing, which began with Samuel, Saul, and David in 1 Samuel in the Old Testament and entered early Christian kingship practices as the act of coronation, and is still enshrined in the person of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
It is for these reasons, I would argue, that modern science is a child of Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman parentage, and why I speak of Western science as becoming the dominant style of thinking about the natural world and humanity’s inquisitive relationship with it. Indeed, it is not just about the science and technology, but about the social, intellectual, and cultural assumptions and practices in which modern science is embedded. The very institutions within which science has grown up over the last 900 years, moreover, testify to this inheritance: universities with enduring corporate structures borrowed from Greek and Roman linguistic and civic practice; learned societies — such as the Royal Society of London after 1660 — which were self-electing, self-governing bodies modelled on the “collegiate”, “civic virtue” style Oxford and Cambridge colleges; and rich, free-trading merchant-driven cities such as London, Florence, Venice, Nuremberg, Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Hamburg.
As will be shown in more detail in the following chapters, historical Christianity has never been rigidly literalistic in its interpretation of the physical world of Scripture, and it is that very flexibility that has made the faith so versatile and adaptive in its social expression over 2,000 years. A faith that made its first utterance among Aramaic-speaking fishermen and farmers around Galilee (occupying a land surface area no bigger than modern Birmingham), quickly went on to enchant Greek-writing scholars, led to the conversion of the Roman Empire, encompassed people between Mesopotamia, Spain, Britannia, and Ethiopia by AD 600, would inspire the new Latin-speaking universities of Europe by 1200, would engraft onto itself the science, philosophy, legal and social practices of the high classical Mediterranean, would explore possible connections between the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Plato and Virgil, and whose Scriptures would be translated into the vernacular languages of Europe by 1550. Christianity would then go on to inspire the natural theology of the Royal Society Fellows, be the driving force behind the abolition of slavery, supply the moral and spiritual tools that constitute the best and noblest aspects of what we now call “human rights” — and become the prime target for some of the bitterest abuse that many twenty-first-century sceptics feel compelled to heap upon religious belief (and I have heard a good deal of that at first hand!).
Indeed, considering the magnitude of Christianity’s moulding influence upon Western civilization, and its provision of that rich soil in which post-classical science could flourish and grow, it is hardly surprising that, in this imperfect world, it has detractors…
Allan Chapman, Slaying the Dragons: Destroying the Myths in the History of Science and Faith (Oxford, England: Lion Publishing, 2013), 18-23.
ISLAM’s “Golden Age” revisited
…Victor Davis Hanson has taken down Obama’s version of the Golden age of Islam:
In his speech last week in Cairo, President Obama proclaimed he was a “student of history.” But despite Mr. Obama’s image as an Ivy League-educated intellectual, he lacks historical competency in both facts and interpretation. … Obama … claimed that “Islam . . . carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.” [In fact] medieval Islamic culture … had little to do with the European rediscovery of classical Greek and Latin values. Europeans, Chinese, and Hindus, not Muslims, invented most of the breakthroughs Obama credited to Islamic innovation. … Much of the Renaissance, in fact, was more predicated on the centuries-long flight of Greek-speaking Byzantine scholars from Constantinople to Western Europe to escape the aggression of Islamic Turks. Many romantic thinkers of the Enlightenment sought to extend freedom to oppressed subjects of Muslim fundamentalist rule in eastern and southern Europe.
Andrew Bostom has skewered the myth that Cordoba was a model of ecumenism:
Expanding upon Jane Gerber’s thesis about the “garish” myth of a “Golden Age,” the late Richard Fletcher (in his Moorish Spain) offered a fair assessment of interfaith relationships in Muslim Spain and his view of additional contemporary currents responsible for obfuscating that history:
The witness of those who lived through the horrors of the Berber conquest, of the Andalusian fitnah [ordeal] in the early eleventh century, of the Almoravid invasion — to mention only a few disruptive episodes — must give it [i.e.: the roseate view of Muslim Spain] the lie.
The simple and verifiable historical truth is that Moorish Spain was more often a land of turmoil than it was of tranquility. … Tolerance? Ask the Jews of Granada who were massacred in 1066, or the Christians who were deported by the Almoravids to Morocco in 1126 (like the Moriscos five centuries later). … In the second half of the twentieth century a new agent of obfuscation makes its appearance: the guilt of the liberal conscience, which sees the evils of colonialism — assumed rather than demonstrated — foreshadowed in the Christian conquest of al-Andalus and the persecution of the Moriscos (but not, oddly, in the Moorish conquest and colonization). Stir the mix well and issue it free to credulous academics and media persons throughout the Western world. Then pour it generously over the truth … in the cultural conditions that prevail in the West today, the past has to be marketed, and to be successfully marketed, it has to be attractively packaged. Medieval Spain in a state of nature lacks wide appeal. Self-indulgent fantasies of glamour … do wonders for sharpening its image. But Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch.
Serge Trifkovic also has a general take-down of the overblown account of the accomplishments and comity of the Islamic Golden Age in his FrontPage article, The Golden Age of Islam is a Myth.
And now we have Emmet Scott, in a soon to be released study, Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: An Introduction to the History of a Controversy, advancing the thesis that Rather than preserving the Classical heritage, the expanding Islamic empire destroyed it and brought about the Dark Ages.
Armed with new archaeological evidence, Scott makes the compelling case, originally put forward in 1920 by Henri Pirenne, a Belgian historian, that Classical civilization did not collapse after the fall of the Roman empire but was gradually attrited by the onslaught of Arab armies and raiders. The Islamic Golden Age came close to permanently destroying the classical humanistic culture of the West.
Hanson has pointed out the factual errors in Obama’s paean to Islam’s Golden Age. Andrew Bostom has skewered the myth that Cordoba was a model of ecumenism Trikovic has shown that the continuation of learning, science, technology of the “Golden age of Islam” prospered in spite of Islam and not because of Islam and now we have Emmet Scott skewering the myth that the Golden Age of Islam saved Classical humanistic Western culture. What is next? The glory of Sharia?
See also my past posts on the topic:
- Newton is a leading contributor to the scientific worldview, and yet he does not bind himself by the assumption of uninterruptible natural law ~ Bradley Monton
- The divine art of miracle is not an art of suspending the pattern to which events conform but of feeding new events into that pattern ~ CS Lewis
- Meredith’s whole argument about ID, miracles, and the so-called “breaking” of natural laws is nothing but a red herring. Again, the real issue is about the nature of causation not about natural law ~ Michael Flannery
In the most recent issue of First Things (February 2014), Stephen Meredith attempted to critique Intelligent Design theory, by, essentially creating straw-men arguments or by debating issues others have dealt with well.
Later in this “short” review of topics that caught my critical eye, we will see the similar vein John Derbyshire takes in the January/February (2014) issue of The American Spectator in comparing ID to Islam.
AT LEAST American Spectator had the foresight to have an alternative view side-by-side, so you get to see what an erudite, idea filled presentation looks like (Stephen Meyer’s)…
— a portion of which I will publish at the bottom from a magazine I recommend highly —
…alongside another filled with fallacious arguments, non-sequiturs, and a lack of intelligence in laying out a positive case (John Derbyshire).
If God is omnipotent—that is, can do all that is possible without self-contradiction—what is the relationship between God and causality? Is there any causality outside an omnipotent God? Or is anything in nature that seems to act as an efficient cause only carrying out the causality of God, with no agency of its own? These questions get to the heart of a philosophical problem posed by Intelligent Design: It supposes that natural law, which is the basis for science, operates most of the time but is periodically suspended, as in the Cambrian “explosion” and the origin of life itself.
…IT IS THE religious aspect that causes most scientists to shy away from ID. Not that scientists all hate God. Many of them are devout.…
…The metaphysics of ID is occasionalist. It holds, to abbreviate the doctrine rather drastically, that causation is an illusion; that everything happens because God makes it happen.
Why does ice float on water? Aristotle thought it was a matter of shape (see On the Heavens, IV.6). Science says it’s because ice is less dense than water. The occasionalist says it’s because God wills it so….
…But: Ice floats on water because God wills it so? Oh.
This straw-man built up by Mr. Derbyshire seems likewise heavily influenced by Hume, who said in his well known essay entitled, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, the following:
“A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience as can be imagined … It is no miracle that a man, seemingly in good health, should die on a sudden: because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is a miracle that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed, in any age or country. There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation.”
(David Hume: The Essential Philosophical Works, eBook, , pages 662 and 663)
John Lennox breaks down Hume’s argument thus:
A. Argument from the uniformity of nature:
1. Miracles are violations of the laws of nature
2. These laws have been established by ‘firm and unalterable’ experience
3. Therefore, the argument against miracle is as good as any argument from experience can be
B. Argument from the uniformity of experience:
1. Unusual, yet frequently observed, events are not miracles – like a healthy person suddenly dropping dead
2. A resurrection would be a miracle because it has never been observed anywhere at any time
3. There is uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise it would not be called miraculous
Dr. Lennox continues:
Are miracles ‘violations of the laws of nature’
Argument 1. Hume says that accounts of miracles ‘are observed chiefly to abound among ignorant and barbarous nations’ (op.cit. p.79).
Fallacy. In order to recognise some event as a miracle, there must be some perceived regularity to which that event is an apparent exception! You cannot recognise something which is abnormal, if you do not know what is normal. Example: 1) virgin conception of Jesus; 2) conception of John the Baptist.
Argument 2. Now that we know the laws of nature, belief in miracles is impossible.
Fallacy. The danger of confusion between legal and scientific use of word law. Why it is inaccurate and misleading to say that miracles ‘violate’ the laws of nature. It is rather, that God feeds new events into the system from time to time. There is no alteration to or suspension of the laws themselves.
‘If God annihilates or creates or deflects a unit of matter, He has created a new situation at that point. Immediately all nature domiciles this new situation, makes it at home in her realm, adapts all other events to it. It finds itself conforming to all the laws. If God creates a miraculous spermatozoon in the body of a virgin, it does not proceed to break any laws. The laws at once take over. Nature is ready. Pregnancy follows, according to all the normal laws, and nine months later a child is born’ (C.S Lewis, Miracles. p.63).
Continuing with CS Lewis and his relating to us this “red herring” of naturalism in rejecting the miraculous/metaphysical aspects of reality:
The first Red Herring is this. Any day you may hear a man (and not necessarily a disbeliever in God) say of some alleged miracle, “No. Of course I don’t believe that. We know it is contrary to the laws of Nature. People could believe it in olden times because they didn’t know the laws of Nature. We know now that it is a scientific impossibility.”
By the “laws of Nature” such a man means, I think, the observed course of Nature. If he means anything more than that he is not the plain man I take him for but a philosophic Naturalist and will be dealt with in the next chapter. The man I have in view believes that mere experience (and specially those artificially contrived experiences which we call Experiments) can tell us what regularly happens in Nature. And he finks that what we have discovered excludes the possibility of Miracle. This is a confusion of mind.
Granted that miracles can occur, it is, of course, for experience to say whether one has done so on any given occasion. But mere experience, even if prolonged for a million years, cannot tell us whether the thing is possible. Experiment finds out what regularly happens in Nature: the norm or rule to which she works. Those who believe in miracles are not denying that there is such a norm or rule: they are only saying that it can be suspended. A miracle is by definition an exception.
The idea that the progress of science has somehow altered this question is closely bound up with the idea that people “in olden times” believed in them “because they didn’t know the laws of Nature.” Thus you will hear people say, “The early Christians believed that Christ was the son of a virgin, but we know that this is a scientific impossibility.” Such people seem to have an idea that belief in miracles arose at a period when men were so ignorant of the cause of nature that they did not perceive a miracle to be contrary to it. A moment’s thought shows this to be nonsense: and the story of the Virgin Birth is a particularly striking example. When St. Joseph discovered that his fiancee was going to have a baby, he not unnaturally decided to repudiate her. Why? Because he knew just as well as any modern gynaecologist that in the ordinary course of nature women do not have babies unless they have lain with men. No doubt the modern gynaecologist knows several things about birth and begetting which St. Joseph did not know. But those things do not concern the main point—that a virgin birth is contrary to the course of nature. And St. Joseph obviously knew that. In any sense in which it is true to say now, “The thing is scientifically impossible,” he would have said the same: the thing always was, and was always known to be, impossible unless the regular processes of nature were, in this particular case, being over-ruled or supplemented by something from beyond nature. When St. Joseph finally accepted the view that his fiancee’s pregnancy was due not to unchastity but to a miracle, he accepted the miracle as something contrary to the known order of nature. All records
It is therefore inaccurate to define a miracle as something that breaks the laws of Nature. It doesn’t. If I knock out my pipe I alter the position of a great many atoms: in the long run, and to an infinitesimal degree, of all the atoms there are. Nature digests or assimilates this event with perfect ease and harmonises it in a twinkling with all other events. It is one more bit of raw material for the laws to apply to, and they apply. I have simply thrown one event into the general cataract of events and it finds itself at home there and conforms to all other events. If God annihilates or creates or deflects a unit of matter He has created a new situation at that point. Immediately all Nature domiciles this new situation, makes it at home in her realm, adapts all other events to it. It finds itself conforming to all the laws. If God creates a miraculous spermatozoon in the body of a virgin, it does not proceed to break any laws. The laws at once take it over. Nature is ready. Pregnancy follows, according to all the normal laws, and nine months later a child is born. We see every day that physical nature is not in the least incommoded by the daily inrush of events from biological nature or from psychological nature. If events ever come from beyond Nature altogether, she will be no more incommoded by them. Be sure she will rush to the point where she is invaded, as the defensive forces rush to a cut in our finger, and there hasten to accommodate the newcomer. The moment it enters her realm it obeys all her laws. Miraculous wine will intoxicate, miraculous conception will lead to pregnancy, inspired books will suffer all the ordinary processes of textual corruption, miraculous bread will be digested. The divine art of miracle is not an art of suspending the pattern to which events conform but of feeding new events into that pattern.
A miracle is emphatically not an event without cause or without results. Its cause is the activity of God: its results follow according to Natural law. In the forward direction (i.e. during the time which follows its occurrence) it is interlocked with all Nature just like any other event. Its peculiarity is that it is not in that way interlocked backwards, interlocked with the previous history of Nature. And this is just what some people find intolerable. The reason they find it intolerable is that they start by taking Nature to be the whole of reality. And they are sure that all reality must be interrelated and consistent. I agree with them. But I think they have mistaken a partial system within reality, namely Nature, for the whole.
CS Lewis, Miracles (New York, NY: Touchstone Publishers, 1996), 62-63, 64-65, 80-81, 81-82.
This is mainly the point Michael Flannery makes near the end of this portion of his critique of the First Things article, entitled: “Writing in First Things, Stephen Meredith Offers Confusion in the Guise of Critique“:
…He [Stephen Meredith] has
1) a faulty view of ID’s relationship to nature, miracles, and the supernatural;
2) no clear definition of what ID really is; and
3) an erroneous view of much of the history related to ID, evolution, and theology.
In company with John Derbyshire, Meredith, insists that ID proponents are “occasionalists,” holding to a particular theological understanding of causation. As occasionalists they do “not credit natural or physical law with enough causal power to enact evolution on its own.” Instead they “educe supernatural causes to do most of the heavy lifting in worldly events.” This is a fundamental misunderstanding. ID does not require the “breaking” of natural law or the notion that a natural law would have done X but instead Y happened. As William A. Dembski has pointed out, ID doesn’t need this “counterfactual substitution.” People act, for example, as intelligent agents not by “breaking” or “suspending” natural laws but by arranging or front-loading laws to suite particular ends (The Design Revolution, pp. 181-182). Meredith seems to argue that ID is incongruous with modern science because it invokes miracles and yields to supernatural causes. Here Meredith is making an old mistake, called out again by Dembski: “The contrast between natural law and supernatural causes is the wrong contrast. The proper contrast is between undirected natural causes on the one hand and intelligent causes on the other” (p. 189).
Furthermore, Meredith’s concern regarding miracles contravening natural laws seems to suggest a position of tension between the miraculous and science itself. However, this is not a scientific position. It is a philosophical one suggestive of methodological naturalism. “Scientists, as scientists,” Norman Geisler explains, “need not be so narrow as to believe that nothing can ever count as a miracle. All a scientist needs to hold is the premise that every event has a cause and that the observable universe operates in an orderly way” (Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 467). Meredith’s whole argument about ID, miracles, and the so-called “breaking” of natural laws is nothing but a red herring. Again, the real issue is about the nature of causation not about natural law…
Even atheist philosophers refute the idea that to incorporate a theistic view into nature is NOT anti-science, and works within the scientific paradigm:
FOLLOWING SUPERNATURALISM MAKES THE SCIENTIST’S TASK TOO EASY
❈ allowing appeal to supernatural powers in science would make the scientist’s task too easy, because one would always be able to call upon the gods for quick theoretical assistance…. Indeed, all empirical investigation beyond the purely descriptive could cease, for scientists would have a ready-made answer for everything.
This argument strikes me as unfair. Consider a particular empirical phenomenon, like a chemical reaction, and imagine that scientists are trying to figure out why the reaction happened. Pennock would say that scientists who allow appeal to supernatural powers would have a ready-made answer: God did it. While it may be that that’s the only true explanation that can be given, a good scientist-including a good theistic scientist—would wonder whether there’s more to be said. Even if God were ultimately the cause of the reaction, one would still wonder if the proximate cause is a result of the chemicals that went into the reaction, and a good scientist—even a good theistic scientist—would investigate whether such a naturalistic account could be given.
To drive the point home, an analogy might be helpful. With the advent of quantum mechanics, scientists have become comfortable with indeterministic events. For example, when asked why a particular radioactive atom decayed at the exact time that it did, most physicists would say that there’s no reason it decayed at that particular time; it was just an indeterministic event!’ One could imagine an opponent of indeterminism giving an argument that’s analogous to Pennock’s:
❈ allowing appeal to indeterministic processes in science would make the scientist’s task too easy, because one would always be able to call upon chance for quick theoretical assistance…. Indeed, all empirical investigation beyond the purely descriptive could cease, for scientists would have a ready-made answer for everything.
It is certainly possible that, for every event that happens, scientists could simply say “that’s the result of an indeterministic chancy process; there’s no further explanation for why the event happened that way.” But this would clearly be doing bad science: just because the option of appealing to indeterminism is there, it doesn’t follow that the option should always be used. The same holds for the option of appealing to supernatural powers.
As further evidence against Pennock, it’s worth pointing out that prominent scientists in the past have appealed to supernatural powers, without using them as a ready-made answer for everything. Newton is a good example of this—he is a devout theist, in addition to being a great scientist, and he thinks that God sometimes intervenes in the world. Pennock falsely implies that this is not the case:
❈ God may have underwritten the active principles that govern the world described in [Newton’s] Principia and the Opticks, but He did not interrupt any of the equations or regularities therein. Johnson and other creationists who want to dismiss methodological naturalism would do well to consult Newton’s own rules of reasoning….
But in fact, Newton does not endorse methodological naturalism. In his Opticks, Newton claims that God sometimes intervenes in the world. Specifically, Newton thinks that, according to his laws of motion, the orbits of planets in our solar system are not stable over long periods of time, and his solution to this problem is to postulate that God occasionally adjusts the motions of the planets so as to ensure the continued stability of their orbits. Here’s a relevant passage from Newton. (It’s not completely obvious that Newton is saying that God will intervene but my interpretation is the standard one.)
❈ God in the Beginning form’d Matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable Particles … it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages. For while Comets move in very excentrick Orbs in all manner of Positions, blind Fate could never make all the Planets move one and the same way in Orbs concentrick, some inconsiderable Irregularities excepted, which may have risen from the mutual Actions of Comets and Planets upon one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this System wants a Reformation…. [God is] able by his Will to move the Bodies within his boundless uniform Sensorium, and thereby to form and reform the Parts of the Universe….
A scientist who writes this way does not sound like a scientist who is following methodological naturalism.
It’s worth noting that some contemporaries of Newton took issue with his view of God occasionally intervening in the universe. For example, Leibniz writes:
❈ Sir Isaac Newton and his followers also have a very odd opinion concerning the work of God. According to them, God Almighty needs to wind up his watch from time to time; otherwise it would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion.”
Note, though, that Leibniz also thought that God intervened in the world:
❈ I hold that when God works miracles, he does not do it in order to supply the wants of nature, but those of grace.
Later investigation revealed that in fact planetary orbits are more stable than Newton thought, so Newton’s appeal to supernatural powers wasn’t needed. But the key point is that Newton is willing to appeal to supernatural powers, without using the appeal to supernatural powers as a ready-made answer for everything.
Pennock says that “Without the binding assumption of uninterruptible natural law there would be absolute chaos in the scientific worldview.” Newton’s own approach to physics provides a good counterexample to this—Newton is a leading contributor to the scientific worldview, and yet he does not bind himself by the assumption of uninterruptible natural law.
Bradley Monton, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design, (Peterborough, Ontario [Canada]: Broadview Press, 2009), 62-64.
How one can go from the above rational positions by a Christian (CS Lewis), and an atheist (Bradley Monton), to comparing floating ice as an unnatural event held in situ by God’s continuous miraculous intervention. And then compare this straw-man to the Islamic understanding of extreme fideistic occasionalism?
The claim that there is a God raises metaphysical questions about the nature of reality and existence. In general, it can be said that there is not one concept of God but many, even among monotheistic traditions. The Abrahamic religions are theistic; God is both the creator of the world and the one who sustains it. Theism, with its equal stress on divine transcendence of the universe and immanence within it, constitutes a somewhat uneasy conceptual midpoint between deism and pantheism. Deist conceptions of the divine see God as the creator of a universe that continues to exist, without his intervention, under the physical impulses that he first imparted to it. In pantheism, God is identified with the universe as a whole. Theism itself has numerous subvarieties, such as occasionalism, which holds that the only real cause in the universe is God; thus, all other causes are simply signs of coincidence and conjunction between kinds of events occurring within the created order. For example, heat is not what causes the water in a teakettle to boil but is simply what uniformly occurs before the water boils. God himself is the cause of the boiling.
An important object of metaphysical reflection is God’s nature, or the properties of that nature. Is God simple or complex? If omniscience, omnipotence, and beauty are part of the divine perfection, what exactly are these properties? Is timeless eternity part of God’s perfection? Can an omnipotent being will that there be a four-sided triangle or change the past? Does an omniscient being know the future actions of free agents? (If so, how can they be free?) Does an omniscient being who is timelessly eternal know what time it is now?
Nor do Christians suspend belief or do not question their own understanding or nature’s causes for events, like Islam has, historically:
We humans have an inner balance with which we weigh good and evil. This balance, in Muslims stopped working. The indicator is stuck on zero. Muhammad’s companions could no longer register right and wrong. Because it’s hard to envision how a human being could be this ruthless, they persuaded themselves that he must be from God. As for why this god is so demonic, they fooled themselves with the lies that he told them. He told them that it is not up to man to question God. This absurd explanation satisfied his benighted followers. They resorted to fideism and argued that reason is irrelevant to religious belief. The great Imam Ghazali (1058 – 1111) said: “Where the claims of reason come into conflict with revelation, reason must yield to revelation.” A similar thesis in defense of foolishness is presented by Paul in 1 Cor. 1:20-25 where he argues “the foolishness of God is wiser than (the wisdom of) men”. The statement “Credo quia absurdum” (I believe because it is absurd), often attributed to Tertullian, is based on this passage of Paul. In DCC 5 he said: “The Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd.” Upon this belief in absurdity fideism is founded and it is the position that has been adopted by Muslims. This fideistic attitude allowed the early believers to abandon reason and accept whatever Muhammad did, even his blatant crimes, without questioning him.
And when something “unnatural” is introduced into nature, this does not interfere one iota with science or the natural order of events, causality, or the like. As CS Lewis said many years ago, this is a Red Herring. Not to mention, that in reality, neo-Darwinian thinking IS A METAPHYSICAL PREMISE at its core. So often times it is the kettle calling the pot… well, you know.
IN a great presentation from True U. (http://www.trueu.org/), Dr. Stephen Meyer shows how — by using the supposition from Hinduism that the earth sits atop a turtle used by Stephen Hawkings — the materialist position differs little from any religious suppositions.
“We must ask first whether the theory of evolution by natural selection is scientific or pseudoscientific …. Taking the first part of the theory, that evolution has occurred, it says that the history of life is a single process of species-splitting and progression. This process must be unique and unrepeatable, like the history of England. This part of the theory is therefore a historical theory, about unique events, and unique events are, by definition, not part of science, for they are unrepeatable and so not subject to test.”
Colin Patterson  (Dr. Patterson was Senior Principal Scientific Officer of the Paleontology Department of the British Museum of Natural History in London.)
People think evolution is “science proper.” It is not, it is both a historical science and a [philosophical] presupposition in its “neo-Darwinian” form. The presupposition that removes it from “science proper and moves it into “scientism” is explained by an atheist philosopher:
If science really is permanently committed to methodological naturalism – the philosophical position that restricts all explanations in science to naturalistic explanations – it follows that the aim of science is not generating true theories. Instead, the aim of science would be something like: generating the best theories that can be formulated subject to the restriction that the theories are naturalistic. More and more evidence could come in suggesting that a supernatural being exists, but scientific theories wouldn’t be allowed to acknowledge that possibility.
Bradley Monton, author of Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design ~ Apologetics315 h/t
Likewise one of the most celebrated pediatric surgeons in the world, whom a movie was made after, “Gifted Hands,” is a young earth creationist. And the inventor of the MRI, a machine that diagnosed my M.S., is also a young earth creationist.
Evolutionary Darwinism is first and foremost an “historical science” that has many presuppositions that precede it, making it a metaphysical belief, a philosophy, as virulent anti-creationist philosopher of science, Michael Ruse explains:
Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. . . . Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.
Michael Ruse, “Saving Darwinism from the Darwinians,” National Post (May 13, 2000), p. B-3. (Via ICR)
….Nevertheless, there is a second, and arguably deeper, mystery associated with the Cambrian explosion: the mystery of how the neo-Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random mutation could have given rise to all these fundamentally new forms of animal life, and done so quickly enough to account for the pattern in the fossil record. That question became acute in the second half of the twentieth century as biologists learned more about what it takes to build an animal.
In 1953 when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery, namely, its ability to store information in the form of a four-character digital code. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotide bases store and transmit the assembly instructions—the information—for building the crucial protein molecules that the cell needs to survive. Just as English letters may convey a particular message depending on their arrangement, so too do certain sequences of chemical bases along the spine of a DNA molecule convey precise information. As Richard Dawkins has acknowledged, “the machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.” Or as Bill Gates has noted, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”
The Cambrian period is marked by an explosion of new animals exemplifying new body plans. But building new animal body plans requires new organs, tissues, and cell types. And new cell types require many kinds of specialized or dedicated proteins (e.g., animals with gut cells require new digestive enzymes). But building each protein requires genetic information stored on the DNA molecule. Thus, building new animals with distinctive new body plans requires, at the very least, vast amounts of new genetic information. Whatever happened during the Cambrian not only represented an explosion of new biological form, but it also required an explosion of new biological information.
Is it plausible that the neo-Darwinian mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations in DNA could produce the highly specificarrangements of bases in DNA necessary to generate the protein building blocks of new cell types and novel forms of life?
According to neo-Darwinian theory, new genetic information arises first as random mutations occur in the DNA of existing organisms. When mutations arise that confer a survival advantage, the resulting genetic changes are passed on to the next generation. As such changes accumulate, the features of a population change over time. Nevertheless, natural selection can only “select” what random mutations first generate. Thus the neo-Darwinian mechanism faces a kind of needle-in-the-haystack problem—or what mathematicians call a “combinatorial” problem. The term “combinatorial” refers to the number of possible ways that a set of objects can be arranged or combined. Many simple bike locks, for example, have four dials with 10 digits on each dial. A bike thief encountering one of these locks faces a combinatorial problem because there are 10 × 10 × 10 × 10, or 10,000 possible combinations and only one that will open the lock. A random search is unlikely to yield the correct combination unless the thief has plenty of time.
Similarly, it is extremely difficult to assemble a new information-bearing gene or protein by the natural selection/random mutation process because of the sheer number of possible sequences. As the length of the required gene or protein grows, the number of possible base or amino-acid sequences of that length grows exponentially.
Here’s an illustration that may help make the problem clear. Imagine that we encounter a committed bike thief who is willing to search the “sequence space” of possible bike combinations at a rate of about one new combination per two seconds. If our hypothetical bike thief had three hours and took no breaks he could generate more than half (about 5,400) of the 10,000 total combinations of a four-dial lock. In that case, the probability that he will stumble upon the right combination exceeds the probability that he will fail. More likely than not, he will open the lock by chance.
But now consider another case. If that thief with the same limited three hour time period available to him confronted a lock with ten dials and ten digits per dial (a lock with ten billion possible combinations) he would now have time only to explore a small fraction of the possible combinations—5,400 of ten billion—far fewer than half. In this case, it would be much more likely than not that he would fail to open the lock by chance.
These examples suggest that the ultimate probability of the success of a random search—and the plausibility of any hypothesis that affirms the success of such a search—depends upon both the size of the space that needs to be searched and the number of opportunities available to search it.
In Darwin’s Doubt, I show that the number of possible DNA and amino acid sequences that need to be searched by the evolutionary process dwarfs the time available for such a search—even taking into account evolutionary deep time. Molecular biologists have long understood that the size of the “sequence space” of possible nucleotide bases and amino acids (the number of possible combinations) is extremely large. Moreover, recent experiments in molecular biology and protein science have established that functional genes and proteins are extremely rare within these huge combinatorial spaces of possible arrangements. There are vastly more ways of arranging nucleotide bases that result in non-functional sequences of DNA, and vastly more ways of arranging amino acids that result in non-functional amino-acid chains, than there are corresponding functionalgenes or proteins. One recent experimentally derived estimate places that ratio—the size of the haystack in relation to the needle—at 1077non-functional sequences for every functional gene or protein. (There are only something like 1065 atoms in our galaxy.)
All this suggests that the mutation and selection mechanism would only have enough time in the entire multi-billion year history of life on Earth to generate or “search” but a miniscule fraction (one ten trillion, trillion trillionth, to be exact) of the total number of possible nucleotide base or amino-acid sequences corresponding to a single functional gene or protein. The number of trials available to the evolutionary process turns out to be incredibly small in relation to the number of possible sequences that need to be searched. Thus, the neo-Darwinian mechanism, with its reliance on random mutation, is much more likely to fail than to succeed in generating even a single new gene or protein in the known history of life on earth. In other words, the neo-Darwinian mechanism is not an adequate mechanism to generate the information necessary to produce even a single new protein, let alone a whole new Cambrian animal….
Of course, many scientists dismiss intelligent design as “religion masquerading as science.” But the case for intelligent design is not based upon religious or scriptural authority. Instead it is based upon scientific evidence and the same method of scientific reasoning that Darwin himself used in the Origin of Species.
In rejecting the theory as unscientific by definition, evolutionary biologists reveal a deep a priori commitment to methodological naturalism—the idea that scientists must limit themselves to materialistic explanations for all things. Yet, we know from experience that certain types of events and structures—in particular, information-rich structures—invariably arise from minds or personal agents. Indeed, no thinking person would insist that the inscriptions on the Rosetta stone, for example, were produced by strictly materialistic forces such as wind and erosion. Yet, by insisting that all events in the history of life must be explained by reference to strictly materialistic processes evolutionary biologists preclude consideration of a designing intelligence in the history of life, regardless of what the evidence might indicate.
This commitment to a wholly materialistic account of the origins of life also helps to explain the reluctance to criticize the Darwinian theory publicly. Many evolutionary biologists fear that if they do so they will aid and abet the case for intelligent design—a theory they disdain as inherently unscientific. Those of us who support the theory of intelligent design advocate a more open approach to scientific investigation. Not only do we think the public has a right to know about the problems with evolutionary theory, we also think that the rules of science should allow scientists to “follow the evidence wherever it leads”—even if it leads to conclusions that raise deep and unwelcome metaphysical questions.