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  • Probability War, er, Discussion cont'd

    February 14, 2008

    Whew. This probability discussion has probed the depths of my average brain and revealed probably more than a few problems in my own thinking. Given the significance of the issue, and the length of the last thread, I decided to post a fresh entry here. The bulk of this post comes from Mike, and is a response to Bob's claims. Note that there may be some overlap between comments from the last thread and this post. And I'd like to remind everyone of the principle of charity in argumentation. Treat others' arguments the way you'd like yours to be treated. The nature of apologetics can be combative, and that's fine, but be careful (for example) in assigning motives.

  • Is Probability a Problem for RTB?

    February 5, 2008

    A regular critic of Reasons To Believe recently sent a comment to the last post that I would like to quote here because of its significance and its focus. The critique centers on RTB's use (or alleged misuse) of probability theory. The skeptic goes on to say that events with zero probability indeed happen every day.

  • Chimps, Dogs, Humans: All People?

    January 24, 2008

    An update on a chimp whose caretakers sought "personhood" status for the animal brought to mind some thoughts and questions about how humans view other creatures, specifically our pets. While Christians in particular make a clear distinction between humans and animals, at times that line appears blurred by our behavior. In the case of the chimp named Matthew Hiasl Pan, an animal rights group had hoped an Austrian court would grant the chimp "personhood" status in order to save the animal from possible experimentation and exploitation, which he had been rescued from years earlier. The court denied personhood status. At this point I could envision a wary Christian response along the lines of "OK, they ruled properly. Animals are not humans and at least some aspect of our worldview has been validated." Maybe that's easier said than done.

    • Humans vs. Chimps
  • What Evidence Would Make the Case?

    January 3, 2008
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  • Questioning the Model

    December 4, 2007

    A critic of Reasons To Believe recently sent this response to another post, but perhaps it’s worthwhile to highlight the comment here and see if we can generate some discussion. The skeptic’s concern centers on RTB’s creation model.

    • TCM - Big Bang
  • ID "Trial" Lacked Key Witnesses

    November 15, 2007

    PBS’s two-hour NOVA documentary, Judgment Day:Intelligent Design on Trial (aired on November 13, 2007) demonstrated more than ever the necessity of Reasons To Believe’s presence in the marketplace of ideas. The program, which included a partial reenactment of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, effectively portrayed evolution as triumphant while demonstrating intelligent design (ID) to be unscientific. To be sure, RTB commented on the case when it first broke in 2005 (see here and here) and agreed with the judge’s decision. However, the way in which the conflict was set up was maddening to watch. On the one hand you had bright, well-spoken, calm, and pleasant people explaining what real science was.

    • Intelligent Design Movement
  • Is Lennon's "Imagine" Coming True?

    November 7, 2007

    A recent report from Europe brought to mind Beatles legend John Lennon's 1971 megahit, Imagine. You'll recall that Lennon's utopian song yearned for a world with "no religion," among other things. According to the UK's Guardian Unlimited, "[t]he Swedish government has announced plans to clamp down on religious education. It will soon become illegal even for private schools to teach religious doctrines as if they were true." You read that correctly. Ouch. Even from this side of the Atlantic, where we see Europe rushing headlong to rid itself of a rich Christian heritage, it seems stunning.

  • Does the Bible promote fascism?

    October 4, 2007

    A caller on a recent broadcast of the Michael Medved Show said that the Bible advocated fascism. He argued that the Old Testament called for an absolute theocracy administered by kings, and that such a system favored one group of people (Israelites) over others (non-Israelites). He also said that the Roman Catholic Church’s papal rule demonstrates a modern dictatorship—albeit a benign one since the Pope does not command an army.

    • Bible Difficulties
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  • Why do people gravitate toward religion as they age?

    September 7, 2007

    While waiting in a doctor’s office recently, I checked out an article in AARP The Magazine titled “Life After Death.” Its stated purpose: In an exclusive survey of 1,011 people 50 and over, AARP The Magazine sought to learn just what Americans in the second half of life think about life after death. In general, the survey reflected a high percentage of belief in the afterlife, increasing multiculturalism, and doctrinal inconsistency.

    • Naturalism
  • Does It Matter How One Lives?

    August 13, 2007

    I noticed the following quote on a plaque in the lobby of the hospital where my son underwent surgery last week.

    • Naturalism
  • More on the Gay-Gene Debate

    July 27, 2007

    Many of you have said that a gay-gene discovery wouldn't matter; God still expects obedience to his laws in spite of our genetic makeup. You could argue on the basis of a “slippery slope” defense. That is, how far do we go in justifying objectionable behavior? Will we eventually pardon the alcoholic, the criminal, or the pedophile? Can we dig up Hitler's remains (assuming you can find any) and discover a Jew-hating gene in his DNA? However, here's another argument to contend with.

    • Life Design
  • Another Survey Question: Homosexuality

    July 12, 2007

    A recent LA Times article titled 3 Former Leaders of Ex-Gay Ministry Apologize described the "wrenching human toll of...gay conversion efforts" rued by several former leaders of Exodus International.

    • Biochemical Design
    • Worldviews
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  • ET Survey Results

    July 2, 2007

    Your response to the question, Do you believe there is physical, intelligent life elsewhere in the universe?, yielded an unequivocal, unambiguous, indisputable, definite, and certain “I DON’T KNOW". That’s obviously a generalization, but most of the responses fell into that category. Some of you touched on the connection between ET life and other biblical doctrines (sin, atonement, the lordship of Christ over creation) and made some good theological and philosophical observations. Others commented on media, culture, and the power of persuasion. Several of you noted that even if physical intelligent life exists elsewhere, we will likely never encounter it. And, some lyrics from Larry Norman’s song, UFO, even made it into the mix.

    • Life on Other Planets
  • Extraterrestrial life? What do you think?

    June 15, 2007

    Your response to the question, Do you believe there is physical, intelligent life elsewhere in the universe?, yielded an unequivocal, unambiguous, indisputable, definite, and certain “I DON’T KNOW". That’s obviously a generalization, but most of the responses fell into that category. Some of you touched on the connection between ET life and other biblical doctrines (sin, atonement, the lordship of Christ over creation) and made some good theological and philosophical observations. Others commented on media, culture, and the power of persuasion. Several of you noted that even if physical intelligent life exists elsewhere, we will likely never encounter it. And, some lyrics from Larry Norman’s song, UFO, even made it into the mix.

    • Life on Other Planets
  • Origin-of-Life Research Pioneer Remembered

    May 30, 2007

    I like to read the obituary section of the newspaper occasionally to learn about recent history. I often don't recognize the names of the people who have left their mark, but I did when the LA Times reported the passing of renowned chemist Stanley Miller. Miller's seminal work in origin-of-life research in 1953—the famed spark-discharge experiments—catapulted the discipline into immediate respectability and popularity.

    • Naturalism
  • Nightline's "Does God Exist?" Debate

    May 18, 2007

    After watching ABC's online version of the debate on whether God exists, I realized more than ever the need for an organization like Reasons To Believe. The face-off pitted Brian Sapient and Kelly (no last name given) from the Rational Response Squad (RRS) representing atheism, against actor Kirk Cameron and author Ray Comfort from The Way of the Master representing Christian theism. Cameron committed (in my average opinion) a fatal error by stating at the outset that "the existence of God can be proven, 100 percent, absolutely, without the use of faith."Yikes! That's quite a claim.

    • Religious Pluralism
    • General Apologetics
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  • Will he have to pay taxes, too?

    May 9, 2007

    Are we talking human rights violations somewhere in the world? Or perhaps an exposé of Abu Ghraib? Another abortion diatribe?

    • Humans vs. Chimps
  • Lucy Falls out of Family Tree

    April 30, 2007

    Ever since the discovery of the skeletal remains of a female hominid several decades ago, Lucy has been widely publicized as a significant branch in the evolutionary tree of human ancestry. We've all seen the compelling textbook sketches and authoritative descriptions.

    • Lucy and Other Hominids
  • Stem Cells: Don't Bury the Story

    April 18, 2007

    I snatched my copy of the LA Times off the driveway as usual just after dawn on April 11 and saw the above-the-fold front-page headline: "Researchers use stem cells to rein in Type 1 diabetes." Jaded by story after story about the potential of embryonic stem cell research, I expected to read of yet another possible cure for some human malady by means of the controversial research. However, nothing on the entire first page indicated what kind of stem cell research had been cited in the study.

    • Stem Cells/Cloning
  • Hey, I didn't know you guys had a Webcast!

    April 10, 2007

    Honest, we weren't trying to keep it a secret. RTB has been webcasting since 2001 but new navigators even regular visitors to our site could have a tough time spotting the little icon near the top right or the light blue button near the bottom left of the home page. Apologies for not making it more obvious. We're working on a major overhaul to the entire site, so hopefully (very soon, I'm told) you will be able to find everything we've put on our site with ease.

    • Learning
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