Monday, July 31, 2017

The Self-Contradictory Absurdities of “Liberal” Transgenderism Public Policy, part 2

                Perhaps the most primary blunder in the agenda behind these policies entails the dishonest commission of a double standard by its utter neglect of (indeed outright disregard for) environmental considerations in the social arena.  Despite the present bureaucratic imposition of environmental impact studies prior to the construction of even the tiniest bridge, building or landscape development, virtually no thought is given to the obvious environmental ramifications which follow from opening girls showers to men and boys.  Even the vocabulary that is typically employed (“restroom facilities”) serves (in contra-diction to the recent feminist mantra, “my body, myself”) is dismissive of the degree of the violation endured by females of all ages in terms of the loss of their personal sense of modesty and the deprival of their self-determination.  At the same time the determination on the part of the proponents of this agenda to advance the same, come hell or high water, is so resolute as to lead them to throw rationality itself to the wind.  As I introduced the theme earlier, so now I will briefly summarize where it is in the current agenda that its proponents entangle themselves in four self-contradictions: Their program logically entails both 1) a profound perversion of the concept of justice and 2) a superficializing (dumbing-down) of the concept of compassion.  It also entails both 3) the illegitimate subordination of objectivity under subjectivity, despite the specifically inter-personal nature of the context, and 4) it dismisses decisive relevant scientific data insofar as it undermines their ideology.  It is these incongru-ities which I name in the following letter to the editor I submitted for publication on May 17, 2017 to the Everett Herald.  In keeping with the Herald’s guidelines I adhered to the specified limit of 250 words.

Dear Editor,

                The “Madman” in atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s parable by the same name, declared that the denial of God leads logically to the denigration of humanity.  Yet, although morality is one indicator of societal dissolution, other formative aspects of our culture are also deteriorating today.  St. Paul anticipated this same inevitability in Romans 1:18-32.  Assumptions behind that agenda which is driving the overthrow of protective boundaries concerning feminine modesty undermines rationality itself with respect to justice, compassion, logical reflection, and the authority of scientific truth.  Indeed it is built on a house of cards.

                Any concept of “justice” which overthrows the protection of girls and women by opening their showers to men and boys cannot bear the scrutiny of its own rhetoric.  Such a travesty of justice can be maintained only by perverting the definition of justice.
                What entitles promoters of this agenda to vilify their opponents as “intolerant” when they are the ones imposing such humiliating consequences onto defenseless females?  Their posture restricts privilege to only a few while depriving the remainder of fundamental “rights to privacy.”

                By what theory of intellectual formation should students be required to address transgenders with pronouns that contradict their anatomy?  The classical goal of education as the pursuit of truth is thereby perverted into deceitful brain-washing.

                Finally, the fact that the new criterion for identifying one’s gender has become their “inner self-identity” as opposed to genitalia and genetics, indicates that “educators” will even pragmatically dismiss science as expendable insofar as it hinders their agenda.

Sadly, the newspaper chose not to print the letter.
The Self-Contradictory Absurdities of “Liberal” Transgenderism Public Policy, part 1

                This posting is NOT a challenge to the legitimacy of the personal experiences of self-identified transgender persons (TGP).  As a Christian who is by definition also a sinner, I acknowledge my own brokenness, including susceptibility to temptation in matters sexual.  Consequently I am in no position to dismiss the weight of the experiences of TGPs with respect to their sexual self-identity.  It is indeed my conviction that every last person experiences a disparity between what we in our own ways deem to be appropriate standards of sexuality which we nevertheless do not keep (Romans 2:1f), at least within our own thoughts.  Secondly, I am NOT seeking to impose roadblocks that would hinder TGPs from receiving either equal justice under civil law, or the extravagant grace which God offers them at this very moment and within their present state (the process of sanctification is a separate aspect of our new life in God -- Rom. 6:4).  Romans 4:5 correctly summarizes the entire point of the whole Epistle by stating there that God “justifies the ungodly” (notice also the latter half of Rom. ch. 7 where Paul concedes his own sinfulness by his describing his personal experience in the present tense).  Two New Testament Greek words further clarify this liberating reality (John 8:58).  Firstly, the word “justify” means to declare sinners righteous before God in spite of the actuality of our brokenness.  Secondly, the seemingly ominous word “repent means to open our heart to the authority of God through His revealed Word, namely the Bible; which is an entirely different proposition from attempting to stop sinning (which we simply cannot achieve).  As with me, so also with TGPs, there is nothing standing between us and the grace of God other than our own refusal of His loving invitation to come to Him just as we are.

                I write the above with full understanding that certain TGPs may have no interest in receiving the grace of God.  That is, of course, their choice.  But what I have sought to do is dismantle the false notion that Christianity either excludes the invitation of God’s forgiveness to TGPs, or imposes such conditions as would render His invitation impossible for them to qualify.  Indeed, such alleged conditions would likewise disqualify every last one of us!
                For Christians, in the present deliberation over transgender policy it is therefore urgent that we maintain both a conceptual distinction and a clear demarcation between the following two aspects of this challenge: 1) how one ought to relate to TGPs in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and 2) how social policy ought to be framed in a manner that is consistent with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights so that such rights are safeguarded for every single citizen and not merely for members of certain special interest groups.  In terms of the former, Christians are to minister to TGPs with the level of love and humility that acknowledges we are fellow sinners before a holy God who nonetheless extends grace to all people.  On the other hand social public policy as it currently stands entails damaging consequences which extend across the entirety of society so that multitudes of non-TGPs suffer unnecessarily.  The damage I identify, however, is not the direct result of TGP realities, but instead of gross incompetence on the part of the very framers of the current laws they alleged they are constructing in the name of justice.  I pronounce such strong judgment on such policies for the reason that they contradict their own assertions at every turn.  The simplest solution to accommodating TGP needs, and the fairest one to all others who are impacted, is to provide restroom and shower facilities that are either single-use, and/or designated specifically for TGPs only.  But it is a travesty of justice to instead insist on the imposition of TGPs into facilities that are designated for those whose anatomy is opposite their own.

To be continued…

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Truth is Falling Everywhere, Except

Part 3 of 3.  Footnotes may be accessed in this same essay at my website:
               When such a celebrated thinker as Stephen Hawking declares, to the contrary, that the cosmos can easily be accounted for apart from the existence of an all-powerful and intelligent creator, secular culture is very quick to suppose that the case for God’s existence is thereby further discredited.  Such pronouncements also tempt believers in God to suspect that the security of Christian belief requires insulating our convictions from the scrutiny of the facts of science.  Yet in actual fact, Dr. Hawking isn’t appealing to science, but instead to a philosophical commitment, and that of a kind that is deeply flawed.  While the brilliance of his mathematical mind cannot be contested, two things need to be understood:  Firstly, his competence in math does not automatically carry over into his philosophy.  And secondly, mathematical conjectures that are coupled with theoretical physics don’t necessarily equate with empirical reality.  Hawking’s attention is focused on conjecturing over abstract conceptions which cannot be proven by scientific observations, even in principle.

                Observational and measurable data from Big Bang cosmology indicate, to the contrary, that the entire cosmos (matter, energy, space, and time) had an absolute beginning out of nothing in a manner that is entirely consistent with the opening declaration of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  Consequently this miraculous creation-event, fully documented as it is by scientific methodology, utterly overthrows atheism even as it powerfully affirms the existence of the God of the Bible.  On the other hand, Dr. Hawking’s fixation on theoretical as opposed to empirical physics is merely a further example of employing data selectively in service to a preferred materialistic paradigm which in the end cannot be sustained by the empirical data. 
            This ploy is furthermore an indicator of that logical outcome which follows from denying the existence of a standard-bearer of truth (God); namely that PMs effectively exempt themselves from obligation to follow facts where they lead.  In response to their illegitimate tactic Christians dare not join them by diving into the same miry abyss in which the concept of truth is digressing into irrelevance and dissolution.  For the fact is there remains a place where truth continues its marching onward with full conviction.  Building as we do on the foundation of God’s Word of truth (John 17:17) which embraces both His own revelation and His works (Psalm 111:7), we can expect these two to harmonize.  With respect to the proclamation of the Gospel, the biblical grounds for our knowing our message is true lies not merely in the fact that God says so, but because His very Word demonstrates this epistemological methodology all the way from Genesis through the Book of Revelation.  Consequently, in the name of the God of all truth, we may boldly emphasize the reality of this relationship between word and world under the actuality of the providence of God.  Take notice of three essays of mine which illustrate that the unvarnished facts of science and history indeed point to the truth of God’s revealed Word by indicating that He is both Maker and Redeemer.  Christians have nothing to fear from the unity of truth, while we have everything to gain by highlighting it in our proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Truth is Falling Everywhere Except

Part 2 of 3.  The entire essay, including footnotes, can be found at my website:

                Now I anticipate strong objections to my earlier suggestion that YECs are neglectful of scientific evidence.  It is obviously true to the contrary that in some manner they do appeal to scientific data.  But as I stated in my opening sentence, this happens only selectively in the sense of “cherry-picking” for those “fruits” they deem desirable.  Yet the filter they employ for discriminating between good and bad fruit  is Genesis ch. 1.  In other words, on their assumption that that passage teaches a 6-10 thousand year old earth, then only scientific evidence that is consistent with their time-frame is afforded consideration.  This effectively means that only evidence of a kind that is already supported by Scripture is admitted.  Yet this entails two logical fallacies.  Firstly, it commits an oxymoron in that the “facts” they allege support Gen. 1 are intrinsically under girded by the very passage they seek to substantiate.  Yet in order for an argument to qualify as evidence, it needs to stand independently from the authority that it is intended to support.  Secondly, it commits the bait and switch fallacy in that it claims to herald as truth an interpretation of Genesis 1 which is attained by the dubious means of redefining truth.

                As I stated earlier, no other means for substantiating a given assertion as true exists than by submitting it to the scrutiny of the data it purports to address.  My suggestion that even God obligates Himself to that challenge, then, is not disparagement of His majesty.  To the contrary it is a profound affirmation of the very character of the Triune God of Truth (John 16:13) in that, what His word declares will in actuality correlate with the facts of the real world.  And so it demonstrably is the case, that “The heavens declare the glory of God [even as] the firmament proclaims His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

To be continued...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Truth is Falling Everywhere, Except

I have finally returned to blogging after having completed my MA in Science and Religion through Biola University

Part 1 of 3.  My footnotes are accessible in this same essay at my website

               Young-earth creationists (YEC) and philosophical materialists (PM) ironically share one common posture with respect to scientific knowledge; they both employ it selectively insofar as it advances the agenda behind their respective isms.  To give just one initial example here, even though PMs commonly boast of their rigorous commitment to scientific facts and reason, their silence in the current disputation over transgenderism-shower arrangements implies their tacit approval of the redefinition of sexual identity according to the candidate’s subjective “self-awareness,” in violation of the objective scientific data of both genetics and genitalia.  At the same time, although YECs eagerly embrace scientific data on the condition that it is perceived to support their interpretation of Genesis 1, they dismiss out-of-hand other data which indicates that the cosmos is much older than 6,000 years.  Each party then, despite the disparate motives which drive them, effectively demotes the authority of scientific knowledge to that of a pragmatic tool that may or may not be useful in a given instance for advancing their disparate agendas.  The consequence of this ploy is that they each uniquely further the disintegration of the authority of objective truth in our day; the former by their denial of truth as a legitimate binding category of thought; while the latter by the revision of the very meaning of the term.  Yet for Christians especially, this ploy is self-defeating.  What both parties (PM and YEC) fail to understand is that the Bible forbids such wariness toward scientific facts.  The Apostle Paul notes in Romans 1:18-20 that, in terms of the convicting aspect of the law (Rom. 3:19-20), the testimony manifested by “the things that have been made” must not be suppressed for the reason that they constitute a standard by which unbelievers will be judged to be “without excuse” for reason of their rejecting the Creator.  Consistent with this point, St. Paul states that God additionally employs the facts of nature for the purpose of witnessing to the entire world of His own existence and power (Psalm 19:1f.).  Consequently, to the extent that this evidence is suppressed or marginalized, the case for God’s existence is weakened. 
                Whenever personal beings, irrespective of their status, make assertions about phenomena and events which can in principle be investigated, the only possible means by which such claims can be substantiated is to measure them against the pertinent empirical facts of the case.  Not even the God of Holy Scripture exempts Himself from this necessity. For this reason it is futile for Christians to seek, as they frequently do, to shield the Bible from the scrutiny of the knowable facts of science and history, especially since it addresses both of these aspects of reality.  Of course it isn’t Christians who are glee-fully announcing that truth as a category of thought which demands our moral submission, is now dead, but instead secularists of every stripe.  In actuality PM by definition has no conceptual room for truth as a metaphysical entity that elicits obligation.  As surprising as it may seem, the concept of truth as a standard that is to be obeyed has its foundation not in science (even though science depends on the commitment of scientists to that criterion), but instead in religious convictions of a theistic kind.  In spite of this, however, Christians in their peculiar fashion commonly fail to embrace truth according to this full-bodied definition as it follows logically from biblical theology.  Indeed, insofar as YECs insist on submitting both scientifically and historically-attestable facts to the “final” authority of the Bible so long as the latter appears not to be able to accommodate the former, they are violating a first principle of logic identified as “the law of non-contradiction,” by their employing a strategy which entails commit-ting an intellectual transgression that Scripture itself never practices.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sean Carroll's Sleight-of-Hand Evasion of the Creator Part IV

Sean Carroll’s third sleight-of-hand ploy involves his ultimate failure not only to provide positive grounds in favor of the position that he so confidently asserted, but as we shall see, to overtly acknowledge at the conclusion of the debate that the beginning of the universe out of nothing remains altogether unexplained according to naturalistic means.  Notice, for example, that near the end of his presentation he conceded that the universe had a beginning in time, that the newly-existent universe obeys laws, and that he offers not even the slightest hinting of a rational accounting of this reality.  Take not my word for this.  I invite you to read it for yourself. 

Near the very end of the debate a questioner from the audience asked him why we should be forbidden from considering a personal agent (God) as the cause of the universe.  Carroll replied as follows (2:22):

This is the kind of issue that tugs at our ability to make sense of these large cosmic questions given our everyday experience with reality.  But I will give you a frustrating answer to it by denying your premise.  I do not think that if a universe has a first moment in time that means there is any sort of eternal or preexisting conditions or rules or laws or anything like that.  It simply means that our best and maybe the correct description of the cosmos is one that had a first moment in time.  The question is, can that be self-contained in the sense that I am using it? … Which is that if I write down the equations and the conditions and so forth that describe the universe at its earliest moment, am I done?  Are there questions that I might have about that universe that cannot be answered by that formalism?  I think there is no obstacle whatsoever to coming up with such models.  So I would simply un-ask the question.  I would say that, no there aren’t preexisting or eternal rules.  There is the universe and the universe has a first moment.  And the universe obeys rules during those moments when the universe exists.  During those moments when the universe does not exist there are no moments, there is no time, and there are no rules.”




Sean Carroll's Sleight-of-Hand Evasion of the Creator Part III

I first of all must apologize for my absence from posting on my blog.  I am a student in the “Masters of Science and Religion” degree program which, in addition to my position as a fully-time pastor, takes an enormous amount of my time.

Carroll’s second sleight-of-hand ploy involved his categorical rejection of personal agent causation (God as creator) in favor of scientific causality on the grounds that only natural causes “play by the rules” of science.  For example, he charged that deity-like causes (Genesis 1:1) belong to the “artist” category instead of the category of physical laws which conform to consistent and predictable patterns of a kind that scientists can study by means of their investigational tools.  The problem with this line of argument, however, is that it fundamentally changes the goal of the investigation (“How did the universe come to be?”).  Instead of seeking after the actual truth of that matter it instead limits the investigation to the question: “What are the tools in my ‘kit’ (such as a screwdriver) capable of accomplishing?”  When it comes to the question of the origin of the universe it becomes all the more important to broaden the range of investigational tools to employ in search of the answer to that question.  Prejudice in the form of refusal to consider a potential answer (God) because of personal naturalistic preferences disqualifies the investigator from claiming adherence to either the scientific spirit or its methods.  Imagine a forensic scientist refusing to consider murder as the potential cause of a dead man bleeding at the end of an alley from a knife wound because the former was committed to a naturalistic-causes view of events.

Not one of the reasons that Carrol cited in the debate for his disdain of personal agent causation stands up to the scrutiny of logic unless one is completely committed to a mechanistic world view.  Aligning himself with that position, Carrol indeed claimed that he (i.e. we all) has no free will.  Yet for a host of reasons, that philosophical position results in an array of self-contradictory absurdities.  For example, if it were really true that he (and we) have no free will, that proposition undermines all logical reason why even his arguments should carry any weight.  Scientific explanation rests on the validity of at least four assumptions.  The human investigator must be capable of ascertaining the truth about the natural order, must understand the ramifications of that data, must purpose to communicate to others the concepts which rationally follow, and have an audience capable of processing such truths for themselves.  The naturalistic view of reality that he espouses effectively underlines every last one of these assumptions. 

Now let me be clear, nothing I have said so far demonstrates that Carrol’s naturalistic view is false or that my theistic view is true.  What I am specifically challenging is a prejudice on his part which philosophically inhibits a proper openness to the entire array of options on the question of origins.  When all is said and done, a personal agent cause of the universe is at the very least a live option.  That became the view of former atheist (he died believing in God), Antony Flew when, as he described it, he embraced Socrates’ dictum to “follow the evidence where it leads(­There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind. (Harper One, 2007), p.89).  Indeed, so persuaded was Flew by the evidence for a beginning of the universe out of nothing, he conceded that it overthrew the premise of his famous essay, “The Presumption of Atheism” (Ibid, ch. 8).    
To be continued...