Previous month:
January 2011
Next month:
March 2011

Ryan, Sean Carroll, and the Leprechauns

“Of all the scientists in the world today, there is no one with whom Charles Darwin would rather spend an evening than Sean Carroll.” So says Michael Ruse, author of The Evolution-Creation Struggle. Hmmm....well, how does he know? Maybe if Sean met the Great Man, the latter wouldn't be able to stand him. Sort of reminds me of that passage in Up the Down Staircase where the student gets an F for wrongly interpreting a poem. He protests, but the grade stands. It even stands when he brings the poet himself to class, and the poet says yes..that's exactly what he meant when he wrote his poem. Nonetheless, the incident does change school policy. From that point on, only dead poets are the subject of essays. It's much easier to make assertions after someone has died.

But this is just idle chatter to fill up a paragraph. I've nothing against Sean Carroll. No doubt he's a great guy. Probably, Charles Darwin would indeed salivate over the prospect of meeting him. At any rate, a certain blogger named Ryan read Carroll's book The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution and was effusive in his praise. It moved him to marvel how he himself could ever have failed to march to the evolutionist drumbeat. Once, he had believed creation. But that's all history now. Science has simply come so far. Now it's evolution all the way!

See, scientists today have mapped the genome. They can read the DNA in existing creatures, even the “fossil DNA”. This DNA sequence is found here, and here, but not there. These two beings share x percent of their DNA, those two beings y percent. This critter has a certain sequence of DNA, and so does that critter from a faraway time and place! So like a giant game of Clue, evolutionists run numbers, and make deductions about the development of life.

The evolution theory is now firmly proved, Ryan concludes. “People who believe otherwise are no different in any major respect than flat earth proponents or people who believe in leprechauns.” To be sure, he says, “It is possible that a thinking person could have doubted evolution 100 years ago or even 50 years ago but now those days are past.” Sigh....presumably he, as a foremost example of both thinking person and one-time creation adherent, left the creation camp the last day it was possible for a thinking person to still believe it, and switched off the light on his way out.

I wasn't in the mood. I took him up on his “it is possible that a thinking person could have doubted evolution 100 years ago or even 50 years ago...” That point was not conceded 100 years ago or even 50 years ago, I commented. Then, as now, the mantra was “People who believe otherwise are no different in any major respect than flat earth proponents or people who believe in leprechauns.” We all know it. To these guys, evolution was unquestionable fact the day Darwin stepped off the boat. Will DNA analysis prove to be the silver bullet that, once and for all, establishes evolution? Should I lose my cookies when they claim - this time for sure - to have found the ultimate trump card? I'm not ready to bolt just yet. We've heard that claim many times before.

Still, I haven't exactly read anything by evolutionists lately in their own words. Ooh...wait. Yes I did. I read Carl Zimmer's Evolution: the Triumph of an Idea (2001). (and worked it into a post here) But that was a book on CD. Maybe that's not really reading. At any rate, maybe it's time for another book, especially since the evolutionists say they have new ammo.  What have these guys been up to since decoding the DNA? I picked up Sean Carroll's book, since he is Darwin's favorite.

And......upon reading the book, it seems to me that the biologists have made great strides in an aspect of evolution that Jehovah's Witnesses barely had any problems with in the first place, that of micro-evolution. That is, variation within that vague Biblical term “kind.” The stuff of animal husbandry, and selective breeding. The science behind the proliferation of superbugs, now that overuse of antibiotics has eliminated all the wimpy germs. They've found the workings behind such things, the mechanics of it, and.....does it indeed involve glitches in gene duplication culled by natural selection? Apparently, we are to be so awed by these findings, that we readily extrapolate them in macro-evolution (one “kind” emerging from another “kind”), where the footing is much less firm.

First, we begin with a discussion of the icefish, a significant variation within the fish “kind,” to be sure. These creatures live where it's too cold to exist without a form of antifreeze within their blood. The blood itself is not red, lacking hemoglobin. Then some explanation as to just how mutations occur. Breaking the genetic code has enabled scientists to track these things on a much more intricate level than ever before, and....well....you have to respect that. Then other chapters track, for example, the development of color vision. Here's a discussion of “fossil” DNA, remnants of one time functional genes which have deteriorated due to "use it or lose it" syndrome, their possessors entering new surroundings. And much discussion of the forensic record revealed.

But aren't people mistaking tonnage for proof? Like the time I strove to prove a matter of property ownership to the city, and my lawyer opined that submitted materials simply had to “weigh enough?” All this abundant stuff is consistent with evolution. But that's not the same as proving it, for it is equally consistent with creation. Yet these guys carry on as if every gene they discover is the final coup de grace to creation, as if created life would have Bible scriptures in their genes, and not DNA. Look, wheels are common to all vehicles, yet they were all manufactured. You might, by studying changes in design, figure out, in time, the order of the manufacture, the descent and relationships of various automakers, but you have nothing to suggest they were not manufactured.

But repeat anything often enough and forcefully enough and people begin to think there must be something to it. It's just the way we are. Precious little in this book deals with macro-evolution. And there's nothing at all mentioned, so far as I can see, with regard to the third leg of the evolution Trinity: that of origin itself from non-living materials. It's all micro-evolution, variation within a biblical kind. But there's little to suggest any......oh...wait....Sean addresses it here (pg192):

“Much of the resistance to Darwin's theories was or is based on doubts about the validity of such extrapolations (e.g, not accepting the “adding up” of effects over vast periods of time). To this point in the book I, too, have implied a degree of extrapolation.” Whereupon he devotes some pages, but not too many, to describe parallels of development in vastly different life forms, with the footnote that material about macro-evolution is to be found in another book of his....to be fair, one he has already written, not one he has yet to write. Then there follows on page 215 a certain “coaching” section climaxing in how to answer creationists, in which Carroll discouragingly leaves his research to turn political. Ah, well, he's the author, so I guess he can go anywhere he likes. Besides, he does liken this part to the after-dinner conversation, where the learned ones tilt back in their chairs while the less learned tend to the cleaning up or knitting, and say “now what are we going to do about these infernal creationists?”

You know, I will read that other book eventually. I doubt I'll get to it right away. Alas, I must go to work every day. And carry on my normal routine. And do my best to dodge Mrs. Sheepandgoats when she comes around to inform that this or that aspect of the house is falling down. In the meantime, jihad may strike, or WWIII, or the earth itself may fry from any number of always increasing man-made threats. Or the Great Great Depression might commence, since anyone who knows anything says forces which triggered the late financial meltdown are still firmly in place, entirely uncorrected. Moreover, the good news continues to be preached, of which I have a share, since unfolding calamities are all in accord with the Bible's overall message that human rule can end in nothing but chaos. An intense anti-religious air takes hold among the world's movers and shakers, a natural and Revelation-foretold (Rev 17:16) consequence of centuries of outrages in the name of God. Has anyone other than Jehovah's Witnesses pointed to such a occurrence?

So it will come, reading that second book, but in due time. Meantime, and ironically, Ryan has removed his post from the web, along with his entire blog, so far as I can see. You can no longer pull it up. But I remembered key words, and by googling them, and then googling again the results, I was able to reconstruct the original. Yes, I tracked forensic fossilized google snippets! You can do the same using key words like Ryan, evolution, flat earth, and leprechauns. But only if you are an evolutionist. Fossilized google evidence is not something creation people know how to handle and we don't believe in it for a second.

[edit...Update here.

**************************

Tom Irregardless and Me                     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Carl Jung, Job, and the Holocaust

I've said nice things about Carl Jung on this blog before. For example:

“The next time I need my head examined, that’s the kind of guy I’ll seek out, rather than some modern-day critical type who declares: 'first thing we have to do is get rid of this nutcake religion!'”

Not only does Jung, unlike most of his colleagues, acknowledge that there is a spiritual side of things, but he maintains that the spiritual side is the more genuine, the more real, the more 'true.' The “statements of the conscious mind,” he says, “may easily be snares and delusions, lies, or arbitrary opinions, but this is certainly not true of statements of the soul.” However, these latter statements “always go over our heads because they point to realities that transcend consciousness.”

The “inferior” statements of the conscious mind, which initially seem persuasive, but in reality may prove to be “snares. delusions, lies, or arbitrary opinions,” are not limited to the conscious mind of the individual, but include entire populations, movements, nations, and eras. Doesn't history continually bear this out? Nor do I think for one second that the modern day “age of science” will remedy this woe. Science gives us iPods and iPads, but doesn't teach us how to get along with each other.

I like Jung. I like his writings on extroversion and introversion. I like his analogy on how the perspective of the rising sun differs from that of the setting sun. I like his work on personality types. Did you know his insights are the driving force behind those ubiquitous vocational tests that counselors foist upon us, in which you answer nosy-type personal questions, and they tell you what you ought to do for a living? 

Moreover, you have to be careful critiquing Jung, since he is a Great Man, and you're not. If he writes something spiritual with which you disagree, upon what basis do you disagree? “The Bible SAYS what it MEANS and MEANS what it SAYS!"? Be careful. You don't want to come across as some Bible-thumping redneck.

But sometimes, even with Jung, a guy has to stand up and say “the emperor has no clothes!” Such is the case when Jung starts analyzing the Book of Job, which he does in  Answer to Job, published in 1952.

Now, you have to know going in that, if Jung believes in spiritual things, that does not mean he is believes the Bible. Rather, he maintains that certain spiritual legends and myths are universal; they are to be found in our “collective unconscious.” Furthermore, they pop up continually.....wisps and ghosts and hints....in various places, the Bible being but one. Now, I don't know why one need take this viewpoint; it seems to me but a manifestation of the “we are wise and learned adults....far too clever to be sold Adam and Eve...what's next, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?” syndrome. The Bible itself, far more simply, accounts for the fact that diverse religions, peoples, and cultures share common myths and legends: they all have a common origin and share a common spiritual past, as described in Genesis chapter 11. But that explanation requires acquiescence to “Adam and Eve,” for which we have grown “far too clever.”

You remember the story of Job, don't you? He's set up as an example....a test case, if you will, to settle the question of whether man can keep integrity to God under adversity. Satan, who appears only in the first two chapters of the book, charges that he will not:

 “Skin in behalf of skin, and everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul. For a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch as far as
 his bone and his flesh [and see] whether he will not curse you to your very face.”

 It's a challenge. God takes him up on it, and gives Satan permission to raise all manner of hell. In short order, Job loses everything he has. Too, he is struck by a painful sickness; chapter after chapter describes his suffering. Job's three pals come to visit, supposedly, to comfort him. As time goes on, though, the comfort turns into accusation. “You know,” they point out, “God doesn't punish people for nothing. If you've fallen on hard times, it must be your own fault. Yes, you may have seemed upright outwardly, but God knows a scoundrel when he sees one! He knows your true worthlessness and so he's “settled the score.” They merely hint this at first, of course, but as Job protests his innocence, they become more and more strident, till toward the end, they're fairly hurling epithets at the poor fellow. Just what a guy needs when he's on his sickbed.

Now, Job is unaware of the Satanic challenge. He hasn't the least notion why he is suffering, nor does he have any indication that it will end. But he does know that he's done nothing to “deserve” it. Goaded on by these false friends, he gets increasingly heated declaring his innocence, hinting at first, then hinting more strongly, finally outright accusing God of viciousness. Yes, if he could confront God face to face, he'd show Him who's in the right, who's moral! He'd argue his case....it was irrefutable.....and God would have no choice but to back down! Job really lets fly under intense suffering and the provocation of his pals. Who hasn't been there before: doing something we would never do otherwise but for the goadings of others?

Toward the end of the book, he gets his wish! God does speak to him! But not to be reproved by him. Rather, God poses a long series of questions to Job that serve to readjust his thinking. Afterwards, health and possessions are restored....Job has successfully answered Satan's challenge....a challenge he never knew existed in the first place!

…..................................

Now, there's a lot of things that annoy me about Jung's commentary on the book of Job. In fact, almost all of it does. But for now, I'll focus on only one or two. Maybe I'll revisit the subject later.

Why does Jung have to put the worst possible spin on everything? For example, with regard to when God manifests himself to Job, Jung writes:

“For seventy-one verses he proclaims his world-creating power to his miserable victim, who sits in ashes and scratches his sores with potsherds, and who by now has had more than enough of superhuman violence. Job has absolutely no need of being impressed by further exhibitions of this power.....Altogether, he pays so little attention to Job's real situation that one suspects him of having an ulterior motive.....His thunderings at Job so completely miss the point that one cannot help but see how much he is occupied with himself.”

But isn't it Jung who completely misses the point? Why not phrase matters as the Watchtower does (10/15/2010, pg 4)? “During his time of suffering, Job struggled with despair and became somewhat self-centered. He lost sight of the bigger issues. But Jehovah lovingly helped him to broaden his viewpoint. By asking Job over 70 different questions, none of which Job could answer, Jehovah emphasized the limitations of Job's understanding. Job reacted in a humble way, adjusting his viewpoint.”

There! Isn't that better? I mean, before you go telling God how to run the universe, ought you not be able to answer at least one of the seventy questions? Issues were swirling about which Job knew nothing. Isn't that always the case with we humans on earth?

“For the true God is in the heavens, but you are on the earth. That is why your words should prove to be few.”      Eccles 5:2

And don't carry on about God bullying Job while he is in abject misery, as though holding a captive tortured audience through a boring lecture! An appearance of God will always make your day. It completely overrides everything else. Besides, God is shortly to restore his health.

Furthermore, Carl Jung presents the entire matter as though it were a friendly wager between God and the Devil, serving no purpose other than their amusement, treating as nothing the intense suffering Job goes through! Why does he do that? It's Jung who completely misses the point that Job is a test case to establish that man can keep integrity to God under the most extreme conditions.

For, the fact is, people do suffer intensely at times. And when that occurs, some are inclined to blame God. Should they? In its opening chapters, the Bible spells out how mankind came to be in it's present sorry state. In its closing chapters, it spells out how matters will ultimately resolve. (Abundant) supporting details are in between. Make a search of these things , and you'll find why God is not to blame for human suffering.

Now, in chapter XVII of Answer to Job, Carl Jung observes regarding evil: “We have experienced things so unheard of and so staggering that the question of whether such things are in any way reconcilable with the idea of a good God has become burningly topical. It is no longer a problem for experts in theological seminaries, but a universal religious nightmare....” Carl Jung wrote this book in 1952. What unheard of and staggering evil do you think he had foremost in his mind? Take a guess. Hint: the Nuremberg trials, which brought justice to some Holocaust Nazi criminals, took place in 1945-46.

Perhaps the most sadistic example of mass suffering in history occurred in Nazi Germany a mere decade before Jung wrote his book. Entire populations were herded into concentration camps, where many were gassed, starved, beaten, or otherwise worked to death. Twelve million died. The ones who survived left as walking skeletons. When General Dwight Eisenhower liberated Germany at the close of World War II, the mayor of a certain German town pleaded ignorance. Enraged, Eisenhower made him tour the nearest camp, he and the entire town's population. Next day, the mayor hung himself.

Among those imprisoned were Jehovah's Witnesses. They were unlike all other groups in that they alone had power to free themselves. All they had to do was renounce their faith and pledge cooperation with the Nazis. Only a handful complied, a fact which, 70 years later, I still find staggering.

From the Watchtower of 2/1/92:

'In concentration camps, the Witnesses were identified by small purple triangles on their sleeves and were singled out for special brutality. Did this break them? Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim noted that they “not only showed unusual heights of human dignity and moral behavior, but seemed protected against the same camp experience that soon destroyed persons considered very well integrated by my psychoanalytic friends and myself.”'

Why didn't the well-integrated psychoanalytic-approved prisoners hold up? Probably because they read too much Jung and not enough Watchtower!! Not Jehovah's Witnesses! They weren't hamstrung by having been nourished on Jungian theology. Job meant something to them. It wasn't there simply to generate wordy theories and earn university degrees. A correct appreciation of it afforded them power, and enabled them to bear up under the greatest evil of our time, a mass evil entirely analogous to the trials of Job! They applied the book! And in doing so, they proved the book's premise: man can maintain integrity to God under the most severe provocation. Indeed, some are on record as saying they would not have traded the experience for anything, since it afforded them just that opportunity. (another fact I find staggering)

So Carl Jung, in Holocaust's aftermath, stumbled about trying to explain how such evil could possibly occur, and could do no better than endorse the view already prevailing among intellectual Great Ones that the God of the Old Testament is mean, whereas the God of the New Testament is nice. He ought to have spoken to Jehovah's Witnesses. The latter didn't experience the Holocaust from the comfort of their armchairs. Those in Nazi lands lived through it, due in large part to their accurate appreciation for the Book of Job.

***************************

Tom Irregardless and Me            No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)