Monday, 17 February 2014

Staying with Father Murphy's God, part 2

1) New blog on the kid : Responding to Miller, Staying with Father Murphy's God, part 1, 2) part 2, 3) Correspondence of Hans-Georg Lundahl : Staying with Father Murphy's God, part 3 - Correspondence with Ken Miller, 4) Correspondence with Ken Miller (part 4 of Staying with Father Murphy's God)

From now on, I will take a more rapid touch, first quoting a very short wiki, which is in its turn based on an epitome which Miller has kindly confirmed is accurate and of which I will also adress some after the wiki.

Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution is a 2000 book by the American cell biologist and Roman Catholic Kenneth R. Miller wherein he argues that evolution does not contradict religious faith. Miller argues that evolution occurred, that the earth is not young, that science must work based on methodological naturalism, and that evolution cannot be construed as an effective argument for atheism. [Henry E. Neufeld. "Finding Darwin's God". Energion. Retrieved 2008-05-02.]*

"he argues that evolution does not contradict religious faith"
Perhaps not religious one, but what about the Christian Faith of the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed?

What about "qui locutus est per profetas"? Meaning the Third All Knowing, All Wise, Holy and Non-Lying Person spoke through Moses, and this not just when Moses was uttering or writing the revelations of which we know "and God spoke to Moses and said" but also whenever Moses wrote as a hagiographer, including when he was redactor of older material.

Precisely as St Luke was not just a hagiographer when writing his observation of St Paul resurrecting the boy who broke his neck, but also when acting as a redactor of all the testimony he researched. Including of course a Genealogy which says - very clearly - that Adam did not live 4.5 billion years ago. Or 13.5 billion years ago. And of course Jesus is more than a hagiographer, and he said that Adam and Eve were married from the starting point of creation.

"that evolution occurred"
Would that include evolution of Mammalian Chromosome Numbers? Including upwards? Well, a few months before Brown Alumni published the above extract from Miller's book, January 1999, he would have been contradicted in this aspect of above affirmation.

Changes in chromosome number during evolution
Post of the Month: January 1999

I have without knowing this article, merely stumbling on a list of chromosome numbers, mammalian and other (including plants like tobacco plant) given by Kent Hovind got hold of this problem, to say the least, for evolution theory. Back in November 2011 - 12 years after Miller published the above exstract - I wrote a blog post and sent in the link to Nature Genetics, with its linbks to my earlier essays and to a debate I had participated in under the blog post of one P Z Myers.

My blog Creation vs. Evolution : Letter to Nature on Karyotype Evolution in Mammals

The peer review I expressed eagerness for was obviously post publication peer review, and as the letter was short, even from a non-expert (meaning "peer reviewing peer" would technically have been "superior reviewing inferior") ... well, no, letter was not published.

Here is the P Z Myers article under which that debate was extant when I sent the above blog post link to Nature Genetics:

Science Blogs : Pharyngula : Basics: How can chromosome numbers change?
Posted by PZ Myers on April 21, 2008

"that the earth is not young"
If Ken Miller bases that on distant starlight (light arriving from stars 13.5 billion light years away would have been leaving the star 13.5 billion years ago, if light has a constant speed in "vacuum"), it is answered pretty easily by the fact that Geocentrism and acceptance of Divine and Angelic actions on stars dispenses both with parallax and with astrophysical "evidence" for stars being that far away. If he bases it on uniformitarian interpretation of fossil record, see below.

"that science must work based on methodological naturalism"
If factual naturalism is out of the question for a Christian, how then can a Christian agree that methodological naturalism is the best scientific protocol to arrive at facts?

"that evolution cannot be construed as an effective argument for atheism."
Why do they not teach logic in these schools? A sentence is not true because it proves a truth, but because a truth proves it. It is not false because a falsehood proves it, but because it proves a falsehood.

If he admitted that he found evolution (in the larger sense, even Kent Hovind admits Chihuahuas and Danes evolved from a common ancestor pair) true by using methodological naturalism, he basically also admitted that atheism is the only effective argument for evolution. I would add, as above: for Heliocentrism as well.

Now, let us suppose, as I do, that Miller is wrong and evolution in the larger sense is wrong. Miller still finds Theism, Christianity (of a sort), Catholicism (of a sort) by going by evolution. Let us at least suppose that is what he does since he claims so (at least implicitly by the title: "Finding Darwin's God"). Would that be a signal to reevaluate the assessment that evolution is wrong? No.

Earth is round. All paths, if pursued far enough and not blocked, will lead you back home (as one Innocent Smith found out in a novel by Gilbert Keith Chesterton, I thoroughly recommend Manalive) and will lead you to a geographically exact Rome.

Similarily, any doctrine has in itself truths (if accepted by men, Satan cannot feed anyone an intellectual diet of pure lies) and any truth will tend to lead to God.

I disagree very much with Kabbalah. I admit two ways of reading Scripture, and "reading" - very literally - "between the lines" or between the letters by skipping such is not one of the two. (Note I am not yet thoruoghly made up about "equidistant letter combinations" a k a Bible Code).

In the one sense Genesis chapter two tells us of Adam naming the animals, falling asleep and Eve came forth from his side. In another sense this refers to Christ dying on the Cross, Church born of his side in the shape of blood and water. I just found an argument that he actually also in a sense "named the animals" before that: he called the Jews who were taunting him Bulls of Bashan. This spiritual reading is even more apt, not less.

Nevertheless, if you condense the Torah in the sense of the Kabbalah, sooner or later you will find Jesus, as the recently dead rabbi did. He had condensed (in the usual kabbalistic way) the Torah into one sentence, and it spelled out Jesus in Hebrew. Both acronymically and in its theological content.

That one way leads back to God, if pursued far enough does not validate it as truth. Kabbalah is not a true reading of the Torah just because of Isaac Kaduri. And Darwinism is not a true reading of nature because Miller found Darwin's God in the Eucharist. Supposing he had come to Catholicism from Darwin, which as seen above was not the case.

Is Miller even approaching a true Holy Eucharist? I am not asking this as if I had a doubt about Christ's True Presence in general in Holy Mass, and even remaining to be insulted by a sacrilege if approached by someone "not among the elect" or someone unworthy and not yet saved even. I am not a Calvinist. What I am wondering is if the priest who habitually hears Miller's confessions and admits him to the Altar rail has the kind of credentials in Apostolic Succession according to the older rites of Episcopal Conecration and the kind of liturgy which would satisfy Father Cekada or at least the less stringent late Monseigneur Lefèbvre while he was alive, that Miller is attending a true Holy Mass. One AronRa introduced him as a "Traditional Catholic", I am sure Father Cekada and - if truly such - either Pope Michael or Pope Alexander IX - would not agree. At least not as to the Catholic part.

I actually checked, and he is prepared to use the words "traditional Catholic" with a total disregard for any Traddy Trad or for that matter general public using the words to mean the movement of opposition to novelties known as Traditional Catholicism. See more thereon in the part 3 which includes our correspondence with my take on terminology.

In the third chapter, titled GOD THE CHARLATAN, he demolishes the arguments of the young earth creationists. If you are looking for a short response to the basic claims of those who believe the earth is only 6,000 or so years old, this chapter is for you. He also makes clear that flood geology is a notion without foundation in science.

Maybe without foundation in the scientific ideology he endorses, but not without foundation in the facts that science studies.

Creation vs. Evolution : Three Meanings of Chronological Labels

The link is to a general introduction to the subject. In top part of the blog post there are links to other posts in same series, which deal with detailed spelling out of same idea.

The fourth chapter is given to the basic tenets of old earth creationists. I think that while Miller substantially answers the arguments of the old earth group, there remains the rather difficult question of where God might intervene in a long process of creation and what the evidence might mean.

He summarizes this position by suggesting that there are two possible approaches to such divine intervention-either God would have to create new species instantly, or he would have to manage a slow process of change. In the first case, the theory does not match the evidence found in the fossil record. In the second, we have to imagine God not merely creating new species, but doing so in such a way that anyone who studied the process would assume that evolution had taken place.

In either case, it would appear that God creates incompetently, because most species that have existed on earth are now extinct. His passage on the evolution of the elephant (94-99) and its relation to design is a masterpiece.**

One thing I can agree on. An old earth would make the Creator incompetent. But actually so does any old earth scenario, including Ken Millers, if competence means the kind of goodness which spares suffering when not motivated by punishment.

My answer, in every case, is that God need not have. Evolution is not rigged, and religious belief does not require one to postulate a God who fixes the game, bribes the referees, or tricks natural selection. The reality of natural history, like the reality of human history, is more interesting and more exiting. (238)

In essence, the God Miller believes in is a God who loves freedom enough to create a material universe separate from his moment by moment control, which allows real choice to His creatures at every stage of the game. The freedom is not a trick; it's real. The God Miller believes in is not truncated or limited; he believes in the traditional God of Christianity.**

Can matter enjoy freedom? Created spirits (embodied as men, or even, as angels are very often assumed, perhaps rightly so, without body) certainly can. But can inanimate matter, in other words bodies as suchn do so?

And giving the strictly material secondary causes as much "freedom" (from divine or angelic interference) as Miller does, will this preserve as much human freedom as Catholicism traditionally posits we have - or will it land us in a sort of case-by-case Calvinism?

I think the cooperation of Catholic Clergy with Psychiatry has shown that this naturalism disguised as "God granting freedom to secondary (corporeal) causes" does eventually lead to at least a case-by-case kind of Calvinism. Exactly like George Bernhard Shaw was a thoroughgoing Calvinist (in everything except what was still Catholic in it) and as Mr. Pym and Mr. Hibbs ("Hibbs However") are Calvinistic enough about Innocent Smith.

I also note how keen Miller is on using the word "referees". For one thing, he might not be assessing proof rationally on his own, he might be depending on the scientific community (excluding the creationist part, of course) to do so in a supposed capacity as referees (he is also using Benedict XVI alias Joseph Ratzinger as more or less a referee of what Traditional Catholicism means).

He thinks God would not plan Evolution beforehand, since he would not "bribe the referees". But why would a good and wise and all powerful God use death and animal lust rather than His own wisdom as referees for the approval of traits that went into man or cat or dog or flower? His presupposition about respecting the appointed referee (which God would) is an argument very much against God appointing Natural Selection as a referee for his Creation.

Part three will first contain our correspondence so far, then my comment about how he uses the word Traditional Catholic, when so it suits him.

* Wiki: Finding Darwin's God

** : Finding Darwin's God Reviewed by Henry E. Neufeld

This latter link was (as will be seen) explicitly approved by him as a fair epitome of his book.

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