Critical Thinking: So Often Ignored, It’s a Sin: A Few Thoughts on Kurt Eichenwald’s “The Bible-So Misunderstood, It’s a Sin.”

There are already a number of substantive refutations of the Newsweek article “The Bible-So Misunderstood, It’s a Sin” by Kurt Eichenwald (01.02.2015 – 01.09.2015), pp. 24-41. Indeed, Eichenwald’s points were already deftly refuted even before he put pen to paper. But if one’s sources are limited (either deliberately or through no fault of one’s own), then perhaps it is not surprising that Eichenwald would make some of the mistaken observations he made. However, I thought I would weigh in on just a few points I have yet to see in other analyses. I have my brother, Tom Howe, to thank for some of these insights.

First, Eichenwald uses the hackneyed example of how certain  Continue reading

ID, Science, and the Philosophy of Science: Some Thoughts by Philosopher Dr. J. T. Bridges

I have been reading Stephen F. Mason’s A History of the Sciences and at the end of the chapter on Galileo’s work in mechanics he juxtaposes Kepler and Galileo writing:

Kepler was primarily concerned with making astronomy more precise and accurate technically, whilst Galileo was mainly interested in propagating the intellectual revolution inaugurated by Copernicus….

The nature of Galileo’s interests helps to explain why he largely abandoned the mathematical method in astronomy, and concentrated upon making qualitative telescopic observations. Any person could see the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, and the mountains on the moon, with a telescope, but only skilled mathematicians could be convinced by Kepler’s findings that the heliocentric theory was essentially correct. (163-164)

If the analogy is not illicit, I believe I have found a crucial distinction between myself and many ID scholars here paralleled. In my research I have been concerned to place ID theory into a well-formed epistemology of science. In doing so, like Kepler, I have been concerned with the more technical, philosophical (rather than mathematical) elements of the theory. These technicalities are, perhaps, only convincing to those who are “skilled in philosophy.”

It seems that many ID theorists, concerned as they are to “propagate an intellectual revolution” desire simply to point to the empirical merits and mathematical cogency of their ideas. This makes them, in my experience, impatient with the more fine-grained philosophical technicalities that do not rise to the level of quantitative evaluation.

The danger of this unhappy dynamic is that if there really are subtle philosophical distinctions that shift the tenor of the debate, and these distinctions are persistently overlooked, then the ID theoretic has been artificially restrained from its fullest possible effect.

The above passage from Mason, for me, rang eerily familiar. Though I must admit that it was also comforting since I now recognize that my frustrating interactions with those I seek to aid have, at their core, something as commonplace as differing motivations.  [Dr. Bridges is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Ph.D. Program at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC.]

What Does This Verse Mean to You?—Verses Most Commonly Taken Out of Context 03: Immediate Context – How might the surrounding verses aid our understanding of a passage?

Because there are so many important examples of verses misinterpreted because the immediate context is ignored, it is a challenge to decide where to cut off with the examples and move on the next type of context. For the time being, I’ll stay on this section and explore a few more. The next passage is one whose Continue reading

What Does This Verse Mean to You?—Verses Most Commonly Taken Out of Context 02: Immediate Context – How might the surrounding verses aid our understanding of a passage?

In a previous entry of “What Does This Verse Mean to You,” I introduced the subject of biblical interpretation, especially with regard to the matter of context. With the preliminaries behind us, in the following entries I want to take a look at one or more examples from each of these five different kinds of contexts Immediate, Original Language, Grammatical, Historical/Cultural, and Theological. Continue reading

What Does This Verse Mean to You?—Verses Most Commonly Taken Out of Context 01: Some Thoughts about Understanding the Bible

Quite some time ago, I began to put together some thoughts regarding specific Bible verses or passages that I thought were often taken out of context. Those thoughts have taken the shape of a study that I’ve had the opportunity to conduct in various venues. Here, what I want to do is to take one verse or passage at a time from that study. I begin with some general thoughts about understanding the Bible.

Does Everything in the Bible apply to Us Today?  Continue reading

Young Earth Presuppositionalism

I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion/debate with K. Scott Oliphint (Westminster Theological Seminary) and Jason Lisle (Institute for Creation Research) on the relationship between apologetic methodology (presuppositionalism vs. classical apologetics) and the age of the Earth. I invite you to view the video here. Our discussion hit the highlights of our contributions to the Christian Apologetics Journal available for purchase here.

Forty-Seven Years Ago Today

I suppose that as long as there are March 3rds, I’ll do at least one blog a year (although it seems I actually did miss a few years). I don’t suppose I’ll never forget the date. Because of this, I feel compelled to re-post these musings.

(re-posted from previous years, mutatis mutandis) I remember being in the our front yard one afternoon after school on Marwood Dr. in Jackson, MS. One of my older brothers had had his telescope out looking at the cloud formations. It began to rain so my brother scooped up his telescope and he and I ran into the house. I sat down to watch television. It was about 4:30. We had a window over the kitchen sink that looked out into our carport. Suddenly, the rain and wind became so intense that the view from the carport window became obscured even though it was protected by the carport ceiling. Then the power went off. That was always frightening to a child, even in the afternoon. Then another brother came running into the den area where we were with our mom. (My youngest brother had been asleep on the couch.) Dad was away on one of his out-of-state business trips. My brother was yelling, “It’s a tornado! It’s a tornado!” None of us knew exactly what to do. The kids wanted to just jump in the car and flee but none of us knew exactly where to flee. Before we had time to really gain our composure (being only 10 years old, perhaps I was the only one who was actually panicked) the storm had passed. There was an errie calm that set in as we began to hear the scream of sirens. The tornado had passed at least a statue mile from our house and we sustained no damage. It was not so for Candlestick Park Shopping Center. Some sources say 13; others say 19 were killed in the shopping center. More were killed as the tornado tracked eastward across other parts of Mississippi and Alabama. Over 300 were injured. After the twister devastated Candlestick Park, it hit a power sub-station (which is what made our power go off). It then followed along Cooper Road for several hundred yards and lifted up, skipping over downtown Jackson. Another brother of mine (I have four) watched the storm from his office window in a downtown sky-scraper (or what would pass as one in those days). The duration of the afternoon and into the night was filled with the sounds of cars rushing to take the injured to the hospital. Someone came to our door and asked if we had a thermos he could borrow to render aid to the rescue teams. We sat around our kitchen table listening to a transistor radio. I was a Beatle fan. I heard for the first time their new hit “Nowhere Man.” Needless to say, every time I heard that song for many years after, it always took me back to those eerie and frightening feelings of that day. Finally, in what seemed like forever, our power came back on at about 10:00 that evening. We all hugged. It was Thursday, March 3, 1966.