Are Testicles Proof Against God?

Religio-Political Talk (RPT) is proud to be a part of defending
“manhood” from the wiles of the secular/evolutionary worldview.

Jerry Bergman is one of the most accomplished creationists around. His passion for his Lord and for sharpening his mind are, well, legend in the ID and creationist sub-culture. The few times I have written to him he has responded with humbleness — which is saying a lot considering his learning curve noted below. In the past I have responded to persons and articles based on his book he co-authored with Dr. Howe, “Vestigial Organs Are Fully Functional: A History and Evaluation of the Vestigial Organ Origins Concept.” This book could use an update and republishing… which the article does in the micro.

The article in the Journal of Creation, vol. 31(2) 2017,  entitled, “The Not-So-Intelligent Professor,” is a review Abby Hafer’s book, “The Not-So-Intelligent Designer: Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and Intelligent Design Does Not.” However, BEFORE going to her favorite example, let’s review Jerry Bergman’s academic background, which is useful for the article:


  • M.P.H., Northwest Ohio Consortium for Public Health (Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio; University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio; Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio), 2001.
  • M.S. in biomedical science, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio, 1999.
  • Ph.D. in human biology, Columbia Pacific University, San Rafael, California, 1992.
  • M.A. in social psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, 1986.
  • Ph.D. in measurement and evaluation, minor in psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1976.
  • M.Ed. in counseling and psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1971.
  • B.S., Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1970. Major area of study was sociology, biology, and psychology.

Okay, here is the excerpt:

Abigail (Abby’) Hafer has a doctorate in zoology from Oxford University and teaches human anatomy and physiology in the nursing programme at Curry College, a small private college of 2,100 students. Her goal for this book was to document what she argues are the many examples of poor design in the human body. From this evidence, she concludes that the body was not designed, but rather it evolved.

All of her examples have been carefully refuted in both the secular and creationist literature. Having taught anatomy for 30 years, I have reviewed many anatomy textbooks in preparation for my classes and am not aware of a single one that makes the claims she does. Rather, they consistently show most of her claims to be erroneous.

She also shows little evidence of reading the Intelligent Design (ID) or creationist literature, as indicated by her false claim that those “who are likely to be persuaded by ID arguments don’t read scientific journals, or lengthy books about evolution, and they never will [emphasis in original]” (p. 1). The irony here is unmissable.

She speaks widely to colleges, universities, and sadly even churches (although she’s a rabid atheist, listed as an American Humanist Association speaker). Her focus is consistently on mocking creationists and ID supporters, as is obvious from the titles of her talks, such as “Who does the Creator like better—us, or squid?” and “Why do men’s testicles hang outside the body, but elephants have their testes inside the body?” As usual, these are really pseudo-theological arguments rather than scientific ones. She spends much time on the mudskipper, which she claims ID advocates say could not exist. Her major poor design claims are reviewed below.

I wish to take a quick break in the text here and note that the best book I have read on Dr. Berman’s notation that Dr. Hafer’s arguments “are really pseudo-theological arguments rather than scientific ones,” is Cornelius Hunter’s book, “Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil.”

Human Testicles

Her claim for human testicles is that

  • “…if testicles were designed, …why God didn’t protect them better. Couldn’t the Designer have put them inside the body, or encased them in bone, or at least put some bubble wrap around them? Is this the best that the Designer can do?” (p. 5).

Concluding that a structure is poorly designed instead of asking why the existing design exists is a science stopper. The ‘why’ question motivates research into the reasons for the design. When this approach was applied to the human appendix, the tonsils, the backward retina and other examples, good design reasons for the existing design were found in all cases.

She explained that when she was looking for new approaches to refute ID she knew she “had a winner when inspiration hit me in the middle of an Anatomy and Physiology lecture…. The male testicle is a great first argument against ID” (p. 2). She then stated that when she got what she needed for a “political-style argument”, she did “what any sensible woman would do”, email her minister (p. 2). As chance had it, her (Unitarian Universalist) `church’s’ Darwin Day celebration was that Sunday, and her minister used the testicles example to introduce his sermon in honour of Darwin (p. 2). Her main argument is that male testicles are outside of the body, thus are prone to injury, noting that for many animals, including reptiles, the testicles are inside of the body.

If the author were to apply just a modicum of logic, though, she (and her cohort) would realise that male testicles are outside of the body for several important reasons, such as to regulate scrotal temperature for optimal spermatogenesis development.1 When testicle temperature drops, a complex system causes the cremaster muscle to contract, which moves them closer to the warm body. When their temperature rises, the cremaster muscle relaxes, allowing them to move away from the body, insuring that their temperature is kept within a very narrow tolerance. Their temperature is also regulated by increasing or decreasing the surface area of the tissue surrounding the testicles, allowing faster or slower dissipation of their heat.2

A major reason for their close temperature regulation is because humans are fertile year round, and most animals with internal testicles are not. Most animals need to be fertile only for short times, often when outdoor temperature allows maintenance of their proper temperature.

She also ignores the fact that testicles are a secondary sexual trait, similar to female breasts, which are also prone to injury. A parallel argument is the claim that, for this reason, the female breast is poorly designed. Therefore, because its size does not affect either milk production or breast feeding ability, it would be advantageous not to protrude from the body. However, because the baby’s face is quite flat, it’s advantageous that the breast protrude somewhat so the baby can get good suction. Baby mammals with snouts can suckle on flat breasts with teats. That the breast is a major female secondary sexual trait is documented by the fact that mastectomy is a very traumatic operation for most women, and reconstructive surgery is often used to normalize the breasts’ appearance.

[1] Werdelin, J. and Nilsonne, A., The evolution of the scrotum and testicular descent in mammals, J. Theoretical Biology 196(1):61-72, 7 January 1999.

[2] Van Niekerk, E., Vas deferens—refuting `bad design’ arguments, J. Creation 26(3):60-67, 2012;

The article goes on to respond to Abby’s discussion of: the backward retina, the female birth canal, the human pharynx, blood clotting mechanisms, teeth, the appendix, and the like. Here is a good video mentioned on my Facebook by a friend (R. Ingles-Barrett) that deals with some of these supposed “bad designs”

Was Giordano Bruno the First Martyr for Science?

This is a large excerpt from an article that was VERY informative, and lays to rest many of the challenges sometimes presented to the believer regarding Giordano Bruno, the “first scientific martyr.” While this is not the COMPLETE article, it is enough of it to squash any misuse of history.

I start two pages in. If you wish to read the entire article, you can go to CRS’s store to purchase back issues. This is an article found in: Creation Research Society Quarterly 2014. 50:227–236.

Here is the abstract followed by the article:

The martyrdom of the sixteenth-century philosopher and professor Giordano Bruno is widely regarded by scholars as the beginning of the war between science and religion. A review of the case documents that Bruno’s difficulties were not due to his science, but rather to the clear, open theological conflicts he had with Christianity and his attitude toward authority. Bruno also experienced numerous major conflicts with professors and philosophers of his day, which did not help his case.

I held off on posting this article for a while. I wanted the article to run it’s course, but in posting this article I hope to get some apologists plugged into an excellent Journal on various topics dealing with science and creation. I hope to put in the minds of like minded people the consideration of all the resources at CRS to be part of the apologists armory.

Giordano Bruno: The First Martyr of

Science or the Last of the Magicians?

by Jerry Bergman

….The First Scientific Martyr

Bruno is so important to many critics of the church that his death is commonly listed as the “first scientific martyr” and an “example of the inevitable collision between rigid theological dogma and freedom of speculation within natural philosophy, the precursor to modern science” (Shackelford, 2009, p. 60). Its importance is so critical that Bruno’s death is used by historians to mark the transition from the “Renaissance philosophy” era to the “Scientific Revolution” era (Ingegno, 1998). A scientific think tank in Germany committed to debunking religion is named after Bruno (Higgins, 2007, p. A11). Another recent reference penned to support the claim that Christianity has long repressed science and free inquiry concluded that the best examples of this repression were “the religious censorship of Bacon in the 1200s, the burning of the heliocentrist astronomer Bruno and the censure of Galileo in the 1600s” (Aliff, 2005, p. 150). In fact, as I will document, none of these examples supports Aliff’s claim of church suppression of science (see Bergman, 1981).

Repeating the same erroneous claims about Galileo, Kevin Phillips wrote that the “papacy found Galileo guilty of heresy—and placed him under house arrest for seven years until he recanted—for propounding the Copernican argument that the earth revolved around the sun,” and then added that “in 1600 philosopher Giordano Bruno had been burned in Rome for much the same offense” (Phillips, 2006, p. 227). Harvard Professor David Landes wrote that Galileo was not the first, nor will he be the last, to suffer at the hands of the church over science progress:

Equally momentous, if less remembered, was the burning in Rome in February 1600 of Giordano Bruno … whose imaginary concept of the universe came far closer to what we now think than that of Copernicus or Galileo: infinite space, billions of burning stars, rotating earth revolving around the sun, matter composed of atoms, and so on. All heresies, linked to mysteries and magic. In effect, by burning Bruno, the Church proclaimed its intention of taking science and imagination in hand and leashing them to Rome. (Landes, 1999, p. 181)

For an excellent review of why these claims about Copernicus and Galileo are erroneous, see Moy (2001).

Bruno not a Scientist

Although, historically, the lines between what we call science and religion were not clearly drawn, it is clear that few professional science historians, if any, consider Bruno a scientist. Both his masters and doctorate were in theology. The major histories of science, including Dampier (1949, p. 112), Lindberg (1992), North (1995), Heilbron (2003), Grant (2004), and Singham (2007, p. 28), never mentioned Bruno even once. Some historians of science, such as Goldstein (1988, pp. 85–86), mention him as a philosopher.

As far as is known, he never collected data, never did scientific experiments, or made testable scientific observations, as did Galileo; rather, his many books were based solely on philosophical speculation. Although Bruno was neither a scientist nor an astronomer but a theologian and philosopher, he did cover cosmology as part of his lectures. Furthermore, Bruno saw himself as a philosopher of religion, not a scientist (Boulting, 1972, p. 272). His long career as a college professor and as a tutor at several leading universities is extensively documented in a sympathetic biography titled Giordano Bruno: Philosopher, Heretic (Rowland, 2008).

Bruno’s occult involvement especially caused him difficulties with both the church and state. For this reason, “many historians of science have rightly denied to Bruno a place in the history of science” (Peters, 1989, p. 243). Thus, Bruno biographer Dorothea Singer concluded from her extensive study of his life that Bruno was “in no sense a man of science” (Singer, 1950, p. v).

It is commonly implied, or openly stated, that the reason Bruno was executed on February 16, 1600, by the Italian government was because he challenged church dogma, such as claiming that the earth moved around the sun (heliocentrism), and not the sun around the earth (geocentrism). The long paper trail in his case, though, clearly shows that it was not his Copernicanism that got him into trouble, but his theological beliefs, such as his teaching that there is “no personal God” but rather “we are in God, and God is in us” (White, 2002, pp. 7, 48).

In the words of Rowland, Bruno reasoned that “God would be nothing without the world, and, for this reason, God did nothing but create new worlds” (Rowland, 2004, p. 197)—this was the essence of Bruno’s infinite worlds theology. Bruno did support Copernicanism but only to advocate “Hermetic religion as a corrective for the woes of Reformation and Counter Reformation Europe” (Shackelford, 2009, p. 61). This position put him not only in the religious sphere but in the political arena as well, which was central to his later problems.

His rejection of the orthodox Christian view of the Trinity, which he held as a young man, and his conclusion that Jesus “could not have been the son of God” were probably even more important reasons for his troubles and branding as a heretic (Rowland, 2008, p. 57). Nonetheless, Bruno made an extraordinarily difficult defendant because “his uncanny ability to put orthodoxy itself into a historical context made the certainties of dogma look uncertain” (Rowland, 2008, p. 58).

Dorothea Singer (1950, p. 5) concludes that Bruno’s whole philosophy was based on his belief in an infinite universe and infinite inhabited worlds— both ideas widely rejected then and still today, even by most big-bang cosmologists. Bruno believed not only in an “infinite universe,” but also one that “carried the seeds of its own propagation everywhere” (Rowland, 2004, p. 197). Most scientists in Bruno’s day were not supportive of Bruno’s ideas. Many prominent scientists, including Galileo and Johann Kepler, were not sympathetic to Bruno, partly because he espoused a Copernican system for mystical rather than for scientific reasons (Lerner and Gosselin, 1973).

Bruno’s Early Life

A precocious boy, Bruno became a Dominican at age 14 and wrote a total of over 60 works, mostly on theology, metaphysics, philosophy, the art of memory, and esoteric mysticism (Brinton, 1890, p. 12). His writings made him a “maverick, a misanthrope, and an extreme intellectual radical,” who “actually courted danger and controversy” by openly “confronting his enemies head-on” (White, 2002, p. 48, 9). Rowland wrote that “Bruno’s keen wits were never tempered by charity toward his weaker colleagues,” and he often referred to his peers in very disparaging terms (Rowland, 2008, pp. 113–114).

He was “at first welcomed” during his 16 years of wandering over Europe from university to university as a professor, tutor, or author. But it was never for long because he was so radical and uncharitable. Although as a lecturer he held his listeners spellbound, it was not long before “his presence always led to embarrassment” (Rowland, 2008, p. 132; see also, Singer, 1950, p. v).

This view is well recognized by Bruno scholars. Lerner and Gosselin conclude that “the common claim that Bruno challenged an ignorant and obscurantist Catholic church in a modern spirit of freedom” is largely a myth (Lerner and Gosselin, 1986, p. 126). The claim that Bruno was a “failed Galileo” was “congenial to the worldview of the 19th-century liberal” who opposed Christianity (Learner and Gosselin, 1986, p. 126), and it has been enshrined in twenty-first-century mythology. Bruno “regarded himself as … [the] prophet of a new religion,” and interest in his works was especially strong among those trying to fill the “spiritual void” left by their disillusionment with organized religion (Berggren, 2002, p. 30).

Bruno’s Problems in Society

A prolific and popular author (some of his works are still in print today—see Blackwell, 1998), Bruno was also a rebel who, when still a young man, was accused of Arianism, iconoclasm, and the possession of heretical books. After he left the Catholics, Bruno joined the Calvinists at Geneva (De Leon-Jones, 1997). He soon encountered problems with them—evidently mostly because of doctrinal disputes and his strongly worded attacks against Aristotle (White, 2002, p. 105). The church, both Catholic and Calvinist, was so wedded to Aristotle that professors in their lectures rarely deviated “even the slightest bit from the opinions of Aristotle” (Rowland, 2008, p. 100). Brinton reports that when in Geneva, Bruno was “thrown into prison for defamatory libel” (Brinton, 1890, p. 12).

According to Ernan McMullin, the Oxford professors were also outraged because they believed one of Bruno’s lectures was plagiarized from Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499). The “opprobrium of the university dons and many of the students” was so strong in England that Bruno “was all but physically expelled from the city” (White, 2002, p. 110).

Bruno next went to France, where he became a professor at the Sorbonne. Soon problems developed there, and after only two years, he was forced to move to England. After three years, he was also forced to leave England because (among other allegations) he repeatedly insulted the professors at Oxford University, claiming that they “knew much more about beer than about Greek” (Singer, 1950, p. 33; Boulting, 1972, p. 85).

Bruno soon migrated to Germany and was again excommunicated in 1590, this time by the Lutherans. Much, if not most, of Bruno’s problems were with university faculty, one example being the rector of the University of Marburg. The rector wrote that Bruno:

“went so far as to insult me in my home as if I had acted against the public interest, the custom of all the universities of Germany, and the good of knowledge.” The rector erased Bruno’s name from the university register, noting in the margin that the erasure had been done “with the unanimous consensus of the faculty in philosophy.” One of those faculty members, in turn, erased the rector’s note; apparently the faculty was not so unanimous after all, nor the rector so universally popular. (Rowland, 2008, p. 198)

In Marburg “he was obliged to flee in order to escape the ‘malevolence’ of the rector of the University” (Brinton, 1890, p. 14). Brinton opined that Bruno fled from the Lutherans of Marburg and Helmstedt to save his life. Bruno next went to Tübingen University, where he was paid to move elsewhere (Rowland, 2008, p. 209). He was forced to hastily depart from a total of ten cities in ten years, not due to his views on science, but because he managed to alienate not just the Catholic university faculty in both France and Italy, but also their Lutheran and Calvinist counterparts in other countries. His “combative personality, both in public and in print” often was at the center of many of his conflicts (Rowland, 2008, p. 202).

Returning to Rome, he was excommunicated yet again by the Catholic Church, not for teaching the theory of Copernicus, but for heresy and blasphemy by denying the divinity of Christ and asserting that Christ did not perform miracles but was actually a magician who only appeared to work miracles. His teaching that most, if not all, heavenly bodies were populated by life and that all stars and planets were themselves living also caused him major problems (Rowland, 2008, p. 174). He could not have been in trouble for espousing a moving earth and an infinite universe because “Copernicanism was not declared a heresy until 1616 [Bruno died in 1600] and, as for the infinite universe view, he was simply echoing Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa” (Hannam, 2009, p. 309).

Contemporary reports added that Bruno was “quick in temper, bitter in debate, violent in language, impatient with ignorance, full of scorn for prejudices; not a pleasant, easy-going fellow by any means; given at times to vainglorious boasting” and his prose was “so coarse that it sometimes passed beyond buffoonery into what to us seems indecency” (Brinton, 1890, pp. 17–18). The record is clear: his “views brought him into conflict with the Orthodox academics” in the university of his day (Shackelford, 2009, p. 61).

His ideas were not based on scientific observations but on his philosophical worldview. Rather than being a brilliant scientist martyred for truth, Bruno has been described by some as a misguided quack. Lerner and Gosselin describe his most important work, The Ash Wednesday Supper, as follows:

It appears to be a compendium of nonsense—a disorganized display of gross error connected by incomprehensible passages. Bruno has the Copernican model of the solar system wrong. He demonstrates total ignorance of the most elementary ideas of geometry, let alone geometric optics. He throws in scraps of pseudoscientific argument, mostly garbled, and proceeds to high-flying speculations that seem disconnected from the preceding or subsequent arguments. Even the diagrams do not always correspond to the accompanying discussions in the text. (Lerner and Gosselin, 1986, p. 126)

Under the subheading “Strange Cosmologies,” John Grant wrote that Giordano Bruno’s “version of Copernicanism” was really “incidental to his own mystical, theistic cosmology.” In fact, Bruno evidently

despised Copernicus as a mere mathematician, and … accepted the planets’ revolution about the Sun for reasons more associated with magic than with science. Bruno’s cosmology is hard for the modern mind to understand, but appears to have had strong connections to animism. The Universe was of infinite extent, and contained an infinite number of inhabited worlds. There was no deity who could be regarded as an individual; instead, the magic of Nature was the deity, present in all things. This deity was reflected in human beings in the form of the creative imagination. (Grant, 2006, pp. 88–89)

It was clear at his trial that his writings were “purely philosophical” (Boulting, 1972, p. 267). One example was his belief in the “infinity of worlds,” the existence of an endless number of worlds like our earth (Boulting, 1972, p. 268). Bruno’s speculations on an evolutionary theory of the natural world, which he called “progressive development,” were no doubt developed by reading the Latin poet Lucretius, whom he often quoted (Boulting, 1972, p. 139). Brinton wrote that Bruno’s view of evolution was developed

to the full extent of the most advanced evolutionist of to-day. “The mind of man,” he says, “differs from that of lower animals and of plants, not in quality, but only in quantity.” “Each individual,” he adds, “is the resultant of innumerable individuals. Each species is the starting point for the next.” Change is unceasing. … He extended these laws to the inorganic as well as the organic world, maintaining that unbroken line of evolution from matter to man which the severest studies of modern science are beginning to recognize. (Brinton, 1890, pp. 21–22)

In short, “the combination of newfangled and absurd theology with an unerring ability to rub people the wrong way meant that he could rarely stay put for long” (Hannam, 2009, p. 307).

Bruno’s Nonclerical Enemies

Many of Bruno’s problems involved his nonclergy enemies, such as the wealthy Venetian businessman Giovanni Mocenigo. Mocenigo personally strongly disagreed with Bruno’s ideas and was so determined to convince the church to convict Bruno of heresy that he used entrapment and then deception to get the church to act against him (Berggren, 2002, p. 31). White wrote that Mocenigo was actually desperate to convince the Inquisition that Bruno was a first-class enemy of the church. In his second statement to the Inquisition, Mocenigo became so involved in his claims that he told

Bruno he will not report him if the magus will finally submit to teaching him the occult arts. In most ways, though, this second statement is little more than a reiteration of the first [statement], for Mocenigo had clearly run out of ideas or accusations to pin on Bruno. (White, 2002, p. 94)

By this time Bruno had enough enemies, both secular and sacred, that the authorities in Italy were convinced they should imprison him. His “cosmological opinions… were never questioned,” and he was delivered “without the slightest opposition of the civil government… to the Inquisition of Rome” (Brodrick, 1961, pp. 207, 339). Bruno compounded matters by lying to interrogators—during his trial he “denied any link with the mystical arts, but the evidence for his close association with magic could be found in his books and through his known connections with Hermeticists [the followers of Hermes]” (White, 2002, p. 38). Hermes was believed to be an Egyptian priest who lived not long after Moses, though recent scholarship places him after the beginning of Christianity. His works often focused on the occult, especially astrology and alchemy. Bruno’s writings reveal that he rejected many of the scientific advances of the Middle Ages and wanted to return to the ideas of the pre-Mosaic Chaldeans and Egyptians (Heilbron, 2003, p. 718; McMullin, 2005, p. 177; Huxtable, 1997).

Boulting wrote that Bruno’s trial was conducted with moderation, and all of the depositions were “carefully and accurately recorded” (Boulting, 1972, p. 281). A major problem was Bruno’s attitude. Bruno once said, “Often have I been threatened with the Holy Office and I deemed it a joke” (Boulting, 1972, p. 264). A review of the court transcripts makes it clear the whole issue was theology, especially his rejection of the Trinity (Rowland, 2008, p. 265). Bruno was accused of theological heresy, praising religious heretics, and even fraud (Rowland, 2008, pp. 288–289).

Bruno rejected many of the central Catholic doctrines, such as transubstantiation and the virgin birth. He even called the pope the “Triumphant Beast” (Boulting, 1972, pp. 299–300). His morals were also problematic. He once told a friend that the “ladies pleased him well; but he had not yet reached Solomon’s number; the Church sinned in making a wickedness of that which was of great service in Nature, and which, in his view, was highly meritorious,” namely sexual promiscuity (quoted in Boulting, 1972, p. 266).

Bellarmine did draw up a set of eight doctrinal propositions, of which Bruno admitted he violated four—including denying that sins of the flesh were mortal sins (Rowland, 2008, p. 257). The Inquisition in Bruno’s case was at first very lenient. When the charges were proven, all Bruno had to do was show repentance and renounce his heresy, but he steadily refused (Boulting, 1972, p. 297). Of note is the difficulty of proving the Inquisition’s case—at least two witnesses were required and, in this case, both were questionable, requiring more extensive research. Rowland notes the “fact that Bruno’s trial dragged on year after year suggests that Santori and his fellow inquisitors could find no plausible way to obtain a conviction” (Rowland, 2008, p. 252). He was also accused of founding and leading a new sect, a concern then because the Catholic Church was fighting the Protestant schism in several nations (Boulting, 1972, p. 298).

When sentence was pronounced, “his life, studies and opinions were recounted, as well as the zeal and brotherly love of the Inquisitors in their efforts to convert him” (Rowland, 2008, p. 299). Bruno was given eight more days of grace to “repent” but again refused, remaining obstinate, “notwithstanding the theologians visit[ed] him daily” to convince him to mend his ways; and “when the crucifix was held out to him, he turned his face aside in disdain” (Boulting, 1972, pp. 301, 304). Nothing in the surviving record indicates heliocentricity or science had any part in the issues of concern—doctrinal matters were the heart of the church’s concern (Rowland, 2008, p. 258). Adamson wrote that Bruno

possessed no remarkable scientific knowledge, for his own writings condemn him of a degraded materialism and show that he was entangled in commonplace errors. He had no splendid adornments of virtue, for as evidence against his moral character there stand those extravagancies of wickedness and corruption into which all men are driven by passions unresisted. He was the hero of no famous exploits and did no signal service to the state; his familiar accomplishments were insincerity, lying and perfect selfishness, intolerance of all who disagreed with him, abject meanness and perverted ingenuity in adulation. (Adamson, 1903, pp. 307, 23)

In one of the most sympathetic biographies of Bruno, Rowland wrote that his “radical defiance, both of Christian doctrine and of the Inquisition’s right to enforce it and even ‘to acknowledge the inquisitors authority’” is what forced them to “respond by showing him their power” (2008, p. 268, 273).

Bruno was eventually handed over to the secular authorities, and it was the state that burned him at the stake in the style of the times as a traitor, a man judged dangerous to the welfare of the people. Mercati claimed that this decision was not made hastily:

Pope Clement VIII kept him confined for seven years, always in the hope of winning him back to the Church and to the order he had abandoned. He was well treated by the Inquisition, given a comfortable room, all the writing materials he requested, and a change of towels, bed and personal linen twice a week. He was allowed out of papal funds a pension of four crowns a month, which enabled him to order whatever food he liked. (Angelo Mercati, Il sommario del Processo di Giordano Bruno. In, Studi e Teste, 101, 1942, pp. 126 ff., quoted in Brodrick, 1961, p. 207)

 A further problem is that Bruno recanted his major heresies early in his imprisonment and then later reaffirmed his original views, making him a relapsed heretic with immolation the normal penalty. Furthermore, his Spaccio de la bestia trionfante made the pope into the beast of Revelation, an act beyond heresy and into sedition because the pope was also a secular ruler.

A Martyr for Science?

In the end, Bruno’s problems were summarized by Berggren as follows: “There is little doubt that he saw himself as prophet of a new religion—or at least of a new kind of religious insight” (Berggren, 2002, p. 30). Eminent science historian Sir William Dampier wrote that Bruno “openly attacked all orthodox beliefs, and was condemned by the Inquisition, not for his science, but for his philosophy and his zeal for religious reform” (Dampier, 1949, p. 113). Professor Yates, in an entire book on the subject, argued that although often portrayed as a martyr for science, Bruno was no such thing. Rather, he was a magus who traveled across Europe preaching a gospel rooted in mystical Egyptian pantheistic texts, especially the so-called tradition of Hermes (Yates, 1991).

Yates concluded that Bruno’s teaching was neither orthodox Catholic nor Protestant doctrine but rather Egyptian magical doctrines (Yates, 1991, p. 239).

His magical, mystical alchemy probably alienated scientists more than the clergy. Francois Russo concluded that modern science would not “have been possible without the recognition that in nature” exists

certain constants, that natural phenomena are connected by permanent relationships. It will be remembered that sixteenth-century Humanism showed one trend that was in complete opposition to this, and that at one time it almost carried the day—when men like Cardan and Giordano Bruno lapsed into a naturalistic pantheism, a panpsychism, according to which the universe was a hodgepodge of uncoordinated wonders. (Russo, 1963, p. 305)

One explanation for Bruno’s portrayal as a martyr of science lies in postmodern thinking.

The orthodox story portrays Galileo too much as the rational man of modernity for him to be wholly satisfactory as a postmodern hero. Fortunately there is an alternative at hand: Giordano Bruno, who appeals more to postmodern sensibilities. Bruno combines Copernicanism with the cabala and with a supposedly ancient Egyptian form of magic. Moreover, he was executed by the church in 1600, allegedly for teaching Copernicanism, so he makes a good substitute for Galileo. This story of Bruno, the martyr to science, combines science with mysticism and is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, Bruno is even less the martyr than Galileo was. (Sampson, 2001, p. 155)

Bruno was not alone in holding to some, or even many, of his mystical ideas (Rowland, 2008). The best example is Isaac Newton, who indulged not only in alchemy but also in the mystical arts. Johannes Kepler also based some of his astronomy on mystical ideas, such as his belief that the planets and other bodies emitted musical harmonies. One critical difference is that both Newton and Kepler did not stop at philosophical speculations but did empirical research and collected data to support their theories, whereas Bruno did neither; instead, he “relied on mental geometries that are strange to us” (Rowland, 2008, p. 282).

Furthermore, Bruno carried his mystical arts far beyond many, if not most, other men of science in an age when most scientists were abandoning such ideas. Newton and others were able to work on their alchemical ideas in relative obscurity. Only recently has the extent of Newton’s involvement in the mystical arts been documented and become widely known. Kepler’s musical harmonies hypothesis served as a means of developing theories that could be empirically tested. Their philosophical speculations clearly influenced their work but did not dominate it. It was their data that made their reputations as scientists. Ironically, in spite of Bruno’s conflicts with the universities, the scholars, the state, and the church, he claimed

everything he had discovered about the immensity of the universe only strengthened his awe at creation and his joy at coming closer to its source. His attention was fixed not on what he had done wrong in his life but on what he had learned in its course, and he was consumed with eagerness to communicate those discoveries. Furthermore, he observed repeatedly that in deepening his knowledge of the universe, he had also deepened his communion with religion’s most basic truths. He quoted Psalm 19 in support of his philosophy: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.” (Rowland, 2008, p. 190)

Why the Bruno Myth Persists

The main reason for the perpetuation of the Bruno myth is because “post-Enlightenment historical essayists sought to exalt Bruno as an exemplary figure in the struggle for free thought against the confining authority of aristocratic government supported by religious authority” (Shackelford, 2009, p. 63). Another reason is because his case served as a means of discrediting the Catholic Church in particular and Christianity in general. An example of this is Professor Ira Cardiff, who, first, incorrectly averred that Copernicus “proved the earth NOT to be the center of the universe” by his “mass of astronomical observations,” which were not published until he died, a fact that “certainly saved him from martyrdom.” Then Cardiff claimed that no progress in science occurred for about 50 years, until “Bruno constructed a philosophy embodying the ideas of Copernicus.” Cardiff mockingly concluded that the “Church showed its appreciation of this great work by burning Bruno at the stake” (Cardiff, 1942, pp. 54–55).

Several recent references have endeavored to correct the myth. For example, Grant wrote that “one of the classic tales within the history of science is that of Giordano Bruno (1548–1600), burnt at the stake for his support of the new Copernican cosmology … the story of Bruno as a martyr in the name of science—with the implicit corollary that the Church condemned scientific progress—is false” (2007, p. 151). Grant adds that in “more modern times Bruno would have been regarded as a (probably) harmless lunatic.” Unfortunately, the myth was made secure by many widely read and respected scientists and authors from John Tyndall to Henry Fairfield Osborn (Shackelford, 2009, pp. 63–64).

One positive result of the Bruno affair is that it “influenced the Church away from a policy of punishment toward a policy of persuasion” (Rowland, 2008, p. 283), partly because, in spite of his numerous violations of both church doctrine and moral law, many high-level church leaders saw what happened to Bruno as a major injustice. If Bruno had acknowledged the authority of the church and state, he likely would not have been executed.


The evidence demonstrates that the common belief that Bruno was the “first martyr of science” is historically inaccurate (Pearcey and Thaxton, 1994). One reason for this misperception was the “fact that Bruno had been an advocate and popularizer of heliocentricism [which] may have led to the later perception that he was the first martyr of the new science” (Singham, 2007, p. 28).

University of Wisconsin science historian Ron Numbers in a PBS interview on his research about Galileo stated that not only is there “no reason to believe that Galileo at any point faced the threat of death,” but also there “was never any indication in the court records of death being a possible penalty, and no other scientists were put to death for their scientific views” (PBS, 2006). In answer to the question, “Is it the case then that there have been no scientists killed for their scientific views?” Numbers replied, “I can think of no scientist who ever lost his life for his scientific views” (PBS, 2006). None. Thomas Kuhn stated flatly, “Bruno was not executed for Copernicanism” (Kuhn, 1985, p. 199). Angelo Mercati wrote that Bruno, a former

Dominican friar, had long ceased to believe in Christianity before he was imprisoned by the Roman Inquisition. His cosmological opinions, borrowed anyhow from Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, were never questioned. To make him a martyr of science, as some have done, is merely silly, as he never engaged in any kind of scientific activity. (quoted in Brodrick, 1961, p. 207)

Olson states bluntly that it was “because of his advocacy of Hermetic magic and his claim that Moses and Christ were magi and not for any astronomical views that Giordano Bruno was condemned by the Holy Office of the Inquisition” (Olson, 2004, p. 58). Edward Peters added that the Galileo and Bruno cases became so widely publicized that they

shaped much of the early social and cultural self-perception of modern scientists. The execution in Rome of Giordano Bruno in 1600 and the penance imposed on Galileo Galilei, also in Rome, in 1633 constituted the core of … the myth of the martyrology of science and the role of the Church, specifically The Inquisition, in creating martyrs of science and opposing the progress of scientific discovery. … The names of Bruno and Galileo were frequently linked and the cause for which they both suffered was identified as the cause of reason and science, opposed to superstition and obscurantism, represented by theologians and directed by The Inquisition. (Peters, 1989, p. 243)

This essay shows that the claim (copied below) made by Dr. Tiemen De Vries’, a popular Freethinker author of the early 1900s, is worse than irresponsible:

And almost the last martyrs [of science] were Galilei, Copernicus and Giordano Bruno, the last of whom was burned at the stake in Rome in the year 1600, because of his scientific researches [that were] in conflict with the guesses of the church which were articles of faith. The murder of Giordano Bruno is one of the most atrocious and most blasphemous crimes of the Papacy and we may add of the whole world’s history. Bruno was teaching in accordance with Copernicus that the earth did not stand still but moves on its axis and around the sun, which as the whole world knows now, was right. The Pope was commanding the faithful to believe that the earth stands still, which was not true. (De Vries, 1932, p. 141)

De Vries then condemns the pope for putting the Bible above science.

From a modern vantage point, what Bruno did does not in any way justify either the actions of the state or the Inquisition. Much of Bruno’s fame and influence resulted from the way he met his end, which created both sympathy and much curiosity about him (Singer, 1950). Bruno read widely and synthesized what he read to produce many ideas, some of which can be interpreted as providing insight on scientific ideas accepted today, but much that he wrote was clearly foolish.

If he had died a natural death, his ideas and writings may well have been buried in history, of interest to no one. His inglorious death made him a martyr, even a hero, to many. The event was seized on by the anticlerical movement and anti-Christian rationalistic skeptics to discredit the Catholic Church (Sánchez, 1972).

Many myths still exist about Bruno, including claims about his support for righteous causes. The myth briefly examined in this paper, that Giordano Bruno was the first martyr for science, is not supported by history. The common claim, such as by Stephen Jay Gould that sciences’ “true martyrs—Bruno at the stake, Galileo before the Inquisition—or, in better times, merely irritated, as Huxley was, by ecclesiastical stupidity” is historically false (Gould, 1991, p. 400). The fact is, in the words of Cambridge-trained historian of science James Hannam, “Contrary to popular belief, the Church never … burnt anyone at the stake for science ideas” (Hannam, 2009, p. 3).


For references, you can purchase back-issues here.

Slaughter of the Dissidents ~ Dr. Jerry Bergman (Serious Saturday)

From video description:

The title of his presentation is “Slaughter of the Dissidents,” which is the title of a recent one of his books (Get it at… ). In the book, Dr. Bergman exposes viewpoint discrimination, which is directed at those in academia who are Darwin Doubters or Darwin Skeptics. Several case studies are offered which document the stories of victims, who are routinely denied the treatment and benefits afforded to their colleagues; educators are denied tenure, students are denied degrees, and scientists are denied the opportunity to conduct scientific experiments or publish their findings in many mainline peer reviewed science journals. Many other tactics are also employed to ensure that the credibility, careers, and influence of these people is thoroughly destroyed.

Dr. Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at the college level for over 35 years. He has over 800 publications in 12 languages, mostly in science, 22 books and monographs, and over 100 scientific papers presented at professional and community meetings in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Among his books is a Fastback on the creation-evolution controversy published by Phi Delta Kappa, a college textbook on measurement and evaluation, and he has contributed to dozens of other textbooks.

Visit Rocky Mountain Creation Fellowship’s website at http://www.YoungEarth.Org for more video, audio & info on upcoming speakers and events.

Biography of Benjamin Carson

The following is an extract from a letter written in 1984 by Professor James Barr, who was at the time Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford. Professor Barr said,

“Probably, so far as l know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

Thus, according to the Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, Tim is completely deceived in his wish to read Genesis figuratively. Let it be emphasized that according to professor Barr, virtually every professor at a world-class universities believes Gen. 1-11 are intended to convey the six 24 hour day creation and universality of Noah’s flood. (Planet Preterist)

Just a few updated notes on this — mainly an — import of an older post from my old blog. Firstly, the above is Dr. Carson at the prayer breakfast which Obama and his lovely wife had to sit through. Dr. Carson lays into their policies forcefully ans well as politely. It has caused the Wall Street Journal to call for his Presidency, pointing out that, “The Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon may not be politically correct, but he’s closer to correct than we’ve heard in years.” I will also post at the end of this Bio by another young-earth scientist a quote from an atheist on intelligent design that has ruffled a few skeptics feathers, so-to-speak. I will include Dr. Carson’s appearance on Hannity as well as my call and great commentary from Dennis Prager when I told him and his listening audience about Dr. Carson’s creationist views.

  • Dr. Robert Hartzler writes to add: “Ben Carson’s book Gifted Hands is worth noting… I read it when I was about 10 years old and it inspired me to become a surgeon. He has a great life.” The film version starring Cuba Gooding is also available on DVD. (Via Powerline)

Dr. Carson spoke of taking risks while trusting in, one example is below of this risk taking that makes a difference in peoples lives:

Of course the movie, Gifted Hands, is Dr. Carson’s biography of triumph over life, here is a bio of him by Dr. Bergman:

Benjamin Carson: The Pediatric Neurosurgeon with Gifted Hands
by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D. [Bio of Dr. Bergman]


Benjamin S. Carson, M.D., one of the world’s foremost pediatric neurosurgeons, is professor and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.[1] Born on September 18, 1951, in Detroit to a single mother in a working class neighborhood, Ben showed promise from a young age.[2] A graduate of Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School, he was rated by a Time issue titled “America’s Best” as a “super surgeon.”[3] Dr. Carson was also selected by CNN and Time as one of the nation’s top 20 physicians and scientists, and by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “living-legends.”[4]

Dr. Carson is a leading research scientist. A “voracious reader of the medical and scientific literature” from his graduate school days, he has long been very interested in scientific research and has been very active in this area for his entire career,[5]-[6] with over 120 major scientific publications in peer reviewed journals, 38 books and book chapters, and grant awards of almost a million dollars. His achievements have so far earned him 51 honorary doctorates, including from Yale and Columbia Universities.

A Master Surgeon and Scholar

Ben Carson revolutionized his field in several areas, including hemispherectomies (removal of half of the brain to prevent untreatable severe seizures, such as those caused by Rasmussen’s encephalitis). He dramatically increased the safety of the procedure by developing several major surgical innovations, which include better ways of controlling bleeding and infection, as well as an innovative system of incrementally removing specific brain parts as units rather than in whole sections.[3]

Dr. Carson has also contributed to new techniques used for conjoined twin separation[7] and accomplished one of the most complex surgical feats in history as the lead surgeon of a team that separated twins joined at the back of the head in a 22-hour-long operation. Known as the doctor who takes cases that no other doctor will risk, Dr. Carson has had outstanding success in spite of this challenge. For example, he has achieved an amazing 80 to 90 percent success rate for difficult-to-treat trigeminal neuralgia.[8]

A Creationist

After Dr. Carson reviewed in detail the evidence for design in nature, he concluded, “I just don’t have enough faith to believe” that the living world happened by evolutionary processes.[9] He added that 150 years after Darwin, there is still no evidence for evolution.

It’s just not there. But when you bring that up to the proponents of Darwinism, the best explanation they can come up with is “Well…uh…it’s lost!”…I find it requires too much faith for me to believe that explanation given all the fossils we have found without any fossilized evidence of the direct, step-by-step evolutionary progression from simple to complex organisms or from one species to another species. Shrugging and saying, “Well, it was mysteriously lost, and we’ll probably never find it,” doesn’t seem like a particularly satisfying, objective, or scientific response.[10]

Carson concluded that the “plausibility of evolution is further strained by Darwin’s assertion that within fifty to one hundred years of his time, scientists would become geologically sophisticated enough to find the fossil remains of the entire evolutionary tree in an unequivocal step-by-step progression of life from amoeba to man.”[11]

As a neurosurgeon, he stresses the “factors that contribute to the failure to utilize fully the most amazing God-given resource, our brain, such as peer pressure and political correctness, which often limits our willingness, even as objective scientists, to have thoughtful, rational discussions about evolution versus creationism.”[9] It is even harder for him to accept how so many people who can’t explain how evolution can account for all life claim that it is a fact, while at the same time “insisting anyone who wants to consider or discuss creationism as a possibility cannot be a real scientist.”[10]

Taking the Risk

In Dr Carson’s latest best-selling book, Take the Risk, he discusses the need to balance the risks and benefits of any activity that one considers undertaking. For example, although Dr. Carson has addressed students and general audiences hundreds of times, he took a big risk to explain his creation views as the keynote speaker at the National Science Teachers convention in Philadelphia. He told the science teachers that “evolution and creationism both require faith. It’s just a matter of where you choose to place that faith.”

I find it as hard to accept the claims of evolution as it is to think that a hurricane blowing through a junkyard could somehow assemble a fully equipped and flight-ready 747.…Which is why not one of us has ever doubted that a 747, by its very existence, gives convincing evidence of someone’s intelligent design.[12]

He then stressed the fact that the human body and brain are “immeasurably more complex, more versatile, more amazing in a gazillion ways than any airplane man has ever created.” In short, only an intelligent creator explains “how such a complex, intelligently designed universe could come into existence.”[13]

Talking to 15,000 science teachers about evolution and creation was a challenge, yet the most formidable audience Dr. Carson has ever faced was the ultra-prestigious Academy of Achievement, which invited him to be part of a panel discussion on “Faith and Science” during its annual International Summit. Dr. Carson writes that the membership was so imposing he had to ask himself whether he really wanted to discuss his spiritual beliefs in front of an organization that included every living former president of the United States, “along with numerous other heads of states and Nobel Peace Prize recipients.”

My years of membership in the Academy had provided some wonderful experiences, and I had made a lot of friends whose opinions, goodwill, and respect still matter to me. But did I want to risk all that to share honestly with them my views on faith and science?[14]

He felt that the stakes were higher this time than in all of his previous lectures because of the possibility of embarrassing himself in front of numerous Nobel scientists.

Still, the same positive potential–the chance that this opportunity could open objective discussion and might help others find the courage to talk about what they truly believe–also seemed like a better best. That wasn’t…because I thought anything I said would change the thinking of the Academy’s distinguished members, but because we invite as guests to our summit each year three hundred or so of the next generation’s best and brightest (Rhodes Scholars, Fullbright Scholars, White House Fellows, and the like).[14]

The experience proved to be both very challenging and rewarding. One reason was that the noted paleoanthropologist Dr. Donald Johanson was one of the other panelists.

[Johanson] is famous for his claims that the fossilized specimen he discovered in Africa named “Lucy” represented an extinct species from which the human race descended. In the course of our discussion, he made…a condescending remark when he asserted that “true scientists” base everything they do and decide upon facts, unlike those people who choose to depend on God. So when it was my turn to speak, I made the point that “true scientists” often overlook many, many gaps in what they purport to be fact…when in reality some of their own theories require a great deal of faith to accept.[15]

The paleoanthropologist responded by jumping out of his chair and rudely interrupting Dr. Carson, who calmly responded by noting that he was

“only making a general observation based on my experience. But if the shoe fits ….” Laughter rolled through the audience before I went on to say that religion and science both require faith, that the two disciplines don’t always have to be mutually exclusive, that people have to choose where to put their faith, and that choice doesn’t make you superior to those who believe differently.[15]

Dr. Johanson’s arrogance was apparent in view of the fact that we know “next to nothing about” how the living brain actually works, not to mention that of our putative evolutionary ancestors.[8] Dr. Carson concluded that the most affirming responses came from the graduate students who thanked him for his presentation. One scholar from Oxford even told him that, although an atheist, after hearing Dr. Carson’s talk he is now seriously rethinking his atheism. Carson concluded, “That seemed reason enough to risk talking about faith.”[16]


Ben Carson, one of the most respected and successful neurosurgeons in the world today, is a creationist who is not afraid of openly voicing his conclusions to august audiences the world over. Called the man with gifted hands for his surgical skill, his example of overcoming poverty to become a leading scholar and scientist has inspired millions.[6] His openness about creation may inspire millions as well.

Note: I wish to thank Dr. Ben Carson for reviewing and correcting an earlier draft of this paper.


[1] Bishop, R. 1999. Beyond Brain Power. Christian Reader. July-August, 19-28.

[2] McMurray, E. 1995. Benjamin S. Carson. Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists. New York: Gale Research, 320-321.

[3] Gorman, C. 2001. Super Surgeon. Time. 158 (7): 34-35.

[4] Asimakoupoulos, G. 2003. Ben Carson: A Doctor in Patients Clothing. Focus on the Family Physician. 15 (4): 4-6.

[5] Green-Bishop, J. February 2004. The Healing of a Healer. Dallas Weekly.

[6] Carson, B. S. 1990. Gifted Hands. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[7] Ryan, M. If You Can’t Teach Me, Don’t Criticize Me. Parade, May 11, 1997, 6-7.

[8] Dreifus, C. 2001. Scientific Conversations. New York: W. H. Freeman Book, 200-201.

[9] Carson, B. S. 2008. Take the Risk. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 126.

[10] Ibid, 130.

[11] Ibid, 129.

[12] Ibid, 128.

[13] Ibid, 128-129.

[14] Ibid, 137-138.

[15] Ibid, 138-139.

[16] Ibid, 140.

Of course there are many scientists who were or are leaders in technology/science, literature and the like that are believers in some form of Intelligent Design.

◆ 1) The guy most credited in getting us to the moon, Wernher von Braun: von Braun began work at the US Army Ordinance Corps testing grounds at White Sands, New Mexico. In 1952 he became technical director of the army’s ballistic-missile program. It was in the 1950’s that he produced rockets for US satellites (the first, Explorer 1, was launched early 1958) and early space flights by astronauts. He held an administrative post at NASA from 1970-1972 as well. We would have never made it to the moon if it were not for von Braun.

◆ 2) Dr Raymond V. Damadian is one that’s invention was key in diagnosing me with Multiple Sclerosis. He invented the MRI and his first working model is forever in the Smithsonian Institution‘s Hall of Medical Sciences

◆ 3) Benjamin S. Carson, M.D., one of the world’s foremost pediatric neurosurgeons, is professor and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Born on September 18, 1951, in Detroit to a single mother in a working class neighborhood, Ben showed promise from a young age. A graduate of Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School, he was rated by a Time issue titled “America’s Best” as a “super surgeon.” Dr. Carson was also selected by CNN and Time as one of the nation’s top 20 physicians and scientists, and by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “living-legends.”

These three men are young earth creationists (YEC) and support their claims by evidence and faith. One last point here are lists found on my blog

Creation Scientists [AiG List]:




Read more:

Fuller Interview on Hannity