Friday, October 05, 2007

Owen Perry- Pig Ignorant and Proud Of It

Mr. Owen Perry has written two short articles concerning what he calls “evolution”and “humanism.” There are an impressive number of errors of fact and logic. So many that it would be a major undertaking to correct each and every one. Rather than devote a major part of my day (or week) to the task, I’ll point out a few of the more glaring stupidities.

Perry claimed on the 24th of September to have read “with an open mind” “various theories of evolution” and then staggered into an incoherent discussion of cosmology. Cosmology is the study of the origin of the universe- it is not part of biology nor particularly relevant to evolution. Interested readers should visit the excellent websites Foundations of Big Bang Cosmology by NASA, and Professor Ned Wright’s Cosmology Tutorial which are hopefully accessible to most high school graduates and Mr. Perry. And in passing, we should point out to Perry that there are not “various theories of evolution.” The various sciences Perry actually referred to - cosmology, abiogenesis, and geology- are not evolutionary biology.

Following more nonsense, Perry makes up a quote from thin air regarding an imaginary “foremost proponent of evolution.” This mystery man was supposed to have said, “If there was ever a cataclysmic event, worldwide, then all our theories are "out of the window.” The sciences are well acquainted with several worldwide cataclysmic events, the best known popularly is probably the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary impact event that precipitated the end of the great dinosaurs. There were others and this does nothing to invalidate the theory of evolution.

There have been several scientific discoveries that have radically changed how believers understand the Bible. This is not a new problem for the faithful. Over eight hundred years ago, Thomas Aquinas wrote regarding science and the Bible,
"In discussing questions of this kind two rules are to be observed, as Augustine teaches. The first is, to hold to the truth of Scripture without wavering. The second is that since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular explanation only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it if it be proved with certainty to be false, lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers, and obstacles be placed to their believing." - Thomas Aquinas, c.a. 1225 - 1274, Summa Theological (1273).

Aquinas refers to the Christian father, Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) who advised Christians trying to interpret Scripture in the light of scientific knowledge in his work The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim). The following translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. {Augustine here has refered to 1 Timothy 1.7}

The active promotion of ignorance by Mr. Perry is not merely a threat to America’s security, but brings shame to the larger Christian community as well.

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