quote: But scientists can show what has happened. They can show that John Smith was shot in the head. And they can do it without "repeating it in a controlled environment".
Yes, they can. But do they do so with the scientific method? I am suggesting they use other methods to prove this, per McDowell's point:
"The other method of proof, the legal-historical proof, is based on showing that something is a fact beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, we reach a verdict on the weight of the evidence and have no rational basis for doubting the decision. Legal-historical proof depends on three kinds of testimony: oral testimony, written testimony, and exhibits (such as a gun, a bullet, or a notebook). Using the legal-historical method to determine the facts, you could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you went to lunch today. Your friends saw you there, the waiter remembers seeing you, and you have the restaurant receipt."
quote: And guess what, time travel is not part of the scientific method.
Hence my point. If we don't have time travel, then the 'observation' part of the scientific method is tough to apply to historical events, right? And you'd have to use the legal-historical method McDowell refers to based on oral testimony, written testimony, and exhibits - correct?
All I am saying is that I agree with McDowell. The scientific method needs observation and repeated results, yet this doesn't apply well to events in the distant past, since you can't repeat historical events perfectly under normal circumstances.
My point is that we should be using different criteria, namely the legal-historical method historians use when determining the accuracy of historical documents, for evaluating the accuracy of the Bible. The scientific method won't work for proving whether the events happened or whether they didn't; and thus can't evaluate the historicity or document reliability of a historical document, aka the Bible.
Oral testimony, written testimony, and exhibits. Is the evidence there? That's a whole other debate - all I was doing was making the point that that's the evidence we should be evaluating the Bible by, and whether events written about by it occurred, not the scientific method.
quote: We observe the evidence. Which is what scientists always do.
Of course. Not debating that. Just quibbling I guess on what that involves. McDowell's point is just that rather than trying to decide in a controlled environment whether Jesus could turn water into wine, we should be looking at the manuscript evidence for the New Testament, the internal consistency for the Bible (does it contradict itself, and are the witnesses reliable?), and whether there are corroborating external sources supporting what it says, such as archeology or mentions in ancient literature.
One way is to look at repeating results in a laboratory setting. Another way is to take the court room approach, and evaluate probable cause for doubt, giving benefit of the doubt (innocent until proven guilty), and looking at witnesses and exhibits to evaluate probability. McDowell would make the point that for such a court room approach you do not need 100% certainty, rather simply a weighing of likelihood and reasonable certainty.
It's just different perspectives, and depends on what one's evaluating. If the likelihood of miracles, one might focus on the former - although if miracles are supernatural, one might question whether they can occur naturally merely by human effort. And if the accuracy of a document, probably the latter.
I suppose different people might hone in on different approaches even. Whereas a scientist might demand convincing via the former, a lawyer or historian might well get convinced via the latter. Simply trying to evaluate perspectives.
McDowell's point is just that rather than trying to decide in a controlled environment whether Jesus could turn water into wine, we should be looking at the manuscript evidence for the New Testament, the internal consistency for the Bible (does it contradict itself, and are the witnesses reliable?), and whether there are corroborating external sources supporting what it says, such as archeology or mentions in ancient literature.
Actually, what you seem to be advocating is better described as religious apologetics or creation "science" than real science.
When it comes to religious belief, evidence plays no role. Contrary evidence is either ignored, denied, or misrepresented.
See most any post by Buzsaw for examples.
Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
quote: When it comes to religious belief, evidence plays no role. Contrary evidence is either ignored, denied, or misrepresented.
Perhaps, but if so then Biblical belief is not by your definition 'religious belief' since evidence does indeed play some role. To prove my point, what better source than the Bible itself?
quote: Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
The Bible calls 'noble' those who questioned the Scriptures and examined them firsthand to decide for themselves whether they were accurate. Evidence and a thought process is indeed Biblical, so long as done with "all readiness of mind" and given it a fair shot to prove itself.
Paul himself stated he used different approaches based on his audience.
quote: 1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
This is seen from the book of Acts. Whereas Paul quotes scripture to make his points from prophecy to the Jews, he quotes philosophers, making points from reason and examination of the universe when talking to the Greeks.
quote: Acts 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
This is to be contrasted with Acts 13 or 26-27, where when speaking to those who believe the Scriptures, Paul quotes the Scripture and prophesy as well as Jewish history.
I think this is actually a matter of faith built up over time. Christians tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the Bible. They've seen God work in their lives and in their hearts, and how often the Bible is right about major truths of how the universe works. Thus when encountering a controversy surrounding the Bible, their inclination is to give it the benefit of the doubt unless all alternatives are exhausted, and even then to ascertain whether this is just an isolated case whereby they may not fully understand the whole picture and all alternatives.
Evolutionists give the benefit of the doubt to Darwin. He was indeed right about natural selection and adaptation to the environment in his book 'On the Origin of Species'. However, whether these alone are indeed reason to accept his admitted theorizings in the book about whether all species had a common ancestor (he himself admitted evidence for parent species - though he doesn't believe in them - can at times even be strong, and if shown true would render his theory wrong), or all life came about from a purely naturalistic basis (Lyell, who invented uniformitarianism and strongly influenced Darwin, the belief that the past was the same as the present and the basis for believing carbon 14 levels were the same then as now, did so to find an alternative to catastrophism and Noah's flood to deny that world-changing catastrophes occurred and suggesting long-term, purely naturalistic change over a long time period).
Darwin himself stated, "Naturalists continually refer to external conditions, such as climate, food, etc., as the only possible cause of variation". In doing so as a naturalist, he excluded from the beginning the possibility of anything but external conditions resulting in his observations, and thus was engaging in circular reasoning, seeking to prove a naturalistic basis while excluding all possible alternatives.
But I digress. Point is, Darwin related not only his findings, but also his personal theorizing in the book: "In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that each species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species."
His theories were picked up as fact. While we can observe natural selection and adaptation to the environment, this theory, that all species had a common ancestor, or that a cosmic collision of particles created, via a purely naturalistic basis all that now is, rely on circumstantial evidence open to interpretation. Darwin's credited co-discoverer of evolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, was even blackballed by the scientific community later for his publicly stated views that a spiritual entity was responsible for the inbreathing of life and creation of spirit in human beings. While Wallace was certainly no Christian and believed in mediums, it showed the clear agenda in the scientific community to exclude all non-naturalistic alternatives from even being considered, and to discriminate against even the most qualified proponents of such beliefs.
I would be interested in hearing what this contrary evidence involves. As someone who follows recent scientific discoveries, I see this pointing the other way. For example, discoveries in recent years have shown that:
A) The world's ancient marine life was simultaneously extinguished by an underwater volcanic eruption near China. This is interesting since in Genesis it talks about 'the fountains of the deep breaking up' which to me has always been suggestive of underwater volcanic activity. Such a flood has always seemed to me a plausible possibility for the breaking up of Pangaea, and it's a shame scientists have refused to consider that or even mention its possibility. Sources: New York Times, Bloomberg.com
Additionally, there is the mere act of fossilization, which requires covering something so fast bacteria can't destroy it. Sinking down gradually into swamps doesn't allow for this. And how do you fossilize footprints if not covering them rapidly from above? Josh McDowell in his book 'Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity' addressed these points as well as others, including the mixing of fossil deposits worldwide from different strata (one example given is a quote by Wilfred Francis about the Amber beds of East Prussia, "Within the lumps of amber are found insects, snails, coral and small portions of plant life. These are of modern type that are now found in both tropical and cold temperature regions. Pine leaves are present, of the types now growing in Japan and North America...").
I personally have also found interesting the similarities in flood legends worldwide, particularly those in North America compared to the Middle East. Often there are doves or ravens mentioned, extinction of the human race, survival in an ark-like object, a giant deluge, and few survivors. Particularly with the book of Genesis, the events are world history, so one would expect to see them mentioned elsewhere in ancient cultures.
I really don't know of any evidence contrary to the Biblical basis for a flood. The only lines of reasoning I can ever recall even hearing were along the lines of "there couldn't be that much water" or "there couldn't be that many animals on the ark" or "the earth couldn't repopulate that fast".
With the first, new discoveries are of course removing basis for such doubts. Not to mention the growth of mountains in recent years. Land would've been flatter then, right? So, less water height needed. Given no ice caps, an atmosphere disposing itself fully, and lower mountains, I could see this being explained readily.
With the second, I believe in microevolution, the idea Darwin ponders on pages 16-17 of 'On the Origin of Species', and parent species being the reality, as opposed to all species having a common ancestor. As Darwin there states,
quote:"When we attempt to estimate the amount of structural difference between the domestic races of the same species, we are soon involved in doubt, from not knowing whether they have descended from one or several parent-species. This point, if it could be cleared up, would be interesting; if, for instance, it could be shown that the greyhound, bloodhound, terrier, spaniel, and bull-dog, which we all know propagate their kind so truly, were the offspring of any single species, then such facts would have great weight in making us doubt about the immutability of the many very closely allied and natural species—for instance, of the many foxes—inhabiting different quarters of the world. I do not believe, as we shall presently see, that all our dogs have descended from any one wild species; but, in the case of some other domestic races, there is presumptive, or even strong, evidence in favour of this view."
Therefore, with these original parent species, you would not need many animals on the ark. You would need just these core parent species which then branch out into all the known varieties seen today, following the flood. Perhaps continental drift even occurred following the flood, so that animals went onto land masses as they were separating during that time after the flood.
And thirdly, population growth occurs much faster when there is more land and room to grow. For example, large families were more common in America's early days, with many having 10 or more children. I'd read before on how different factors affect this, but don't recall that well what all went into it. By all means feel free to elaborate on this.
A) The world's ancient marine life was simultaneously extinguished by an underwater volcanic eruption near China.
Your sources make it clear that the volcano was not underwater and that this happened a quarter of a billion years before the supposed flood.
This is interesting since in Genesis it talks about 'the fountains of the deep breaking up' which to me has always been suggestive of underwater volcanic activity.
Such a flood has always seemed to me a plausible possibility for the breaking up of Pangaea, and it's a shame scientists have refused to consider that or even mention its possibility.
This is obviously a usage of the word "plausible" with which I was previously unfamiliar.
It is not plausible to me that forty days of rain would move continents thousands of miles.
B) The inner earth may hold more water than the seas. Source: National Geographic
C) Huge ocean discovered inside the earth recently. Source: LiveScience, PhysOrg
What of it?
Additionally, there is the mere act of fossilization, which requires covering something so fast bacteria can't destroy it. Sinking down gradually into swamps doesn't allow for this.
Actually it does, as one can see by looking at swamps.
Josh McDowell in his book 'Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity' addressed these points as well as others, including the mixing of fossil deposits worldwide from different strata (one example given is a quote by Wilfred Francis about the Amber beds of East Prussia, "Within the lumps of amber are found insects, snails, coral and small portions of plant life. These are of modern type that are now found in both tropical and cold temperature regions. Pine leaves are present, of the types now growing in Japan and North America...").
That is not actually an example of McDowell's fantasies. Because, as Wilfred Francis says, the species found in Baltic amber are modern. They're coeval. They're Eocene.
I personally have also found interesting the similarities in flood legends worldwide, particularly those in North America compared to the Middle East. Often there are doves or ravens mentioned ...
... extinction of the human race ...
... uh, no.
... survival in an ark-like object ...
Or a non-ark-like-object, or by climbing to the top of a mountain, or clinging to driftwood, or sitting on the back of a giant fish.
... a giant deluge ...
Wow, who'd have thought that a giant deluge would be a common element of flood myths?