Should the church ‘let the world set the agenda’ on ethics and doctrine? | Psephizo

How far should the church look to the standards of society to guide its own moral stance? Recently Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, did just that on marriage and sexuality saying that the church should let the world set the agenda. This is music to the ears of progressive Christians and discord to the so-called conservative. Here Bayes lays out his views  in his address to the MoSAIC group .  He says “want to see a gender-neutral marriage canon,” in Canon Law, which would make it difficult for any priest to oppose same-sex marriage. Perhaps those who do, would have to quit.

It is a dangerous thing to let the world set the agenda and the early church did not do that on matters of sex as Ian states. As the unknown author of The Letter to Diognetus memorably  wrote;

They share their food, but not their wives Diognetus 5 vs7

This has been a rallying cry for decades but ultimately dissolves any Christian claims into the contemporary zeitgeist. At least Barth and Bonhoffer did not do it in 1934 Germany.

Read his blog as it is one of his best  and I suppose anyone who agrees with Ian must be one of the many varieties of -phobe, if not all.

His pessimism at the end is well-founded

Source: Should the church ‘let the world set the agenda’ on ethics and doctrine? | Psephizo

Young-Earth Creationism in 2021: The Dawn of The New Creationists, Part 1

This is a good account of a less strident alternative to Ken Ham’s pugnacious Answers in Genesis and Sarfarti’s acidity in Creation Ministries.

He deals with the second generation of “Is Genesis History” and focuses on the people rather than the content.

Sadly knowing the work of the creation scientists involved, I fear that it will not be even passable science.

I have found Joel Duff’s writings on creationism to be very good, as he started by describing not criticising!!

Will there be a rabbit in the Precambrian?

Naturalis Historia

In 2017 the film documentary Is Genesis History? marked a significant moment in the history of creationism evangelism.  A professional-quality production defending the young-earth interpretation of Scripture and overview of the state-of-the-art in creation science—the attempt to conform the physical evidence of creation into the Young-Earth biblical framework.

Upon its release, I wrote several reviews of this important film including my reflections on its significance to the Young-Earth community including A Landmark Film for the Young-Earth Community: Reflections on “Is Genesis History? and Mountains, Meadows and Marmots: Creation or Judgement?. In the first of those reviews I wrote the following:

“I expect this film to become one of the most effective apologetics tools the young-earth movement has ever produced both because of who produced it—a group outside of the major creationist organizations—but also because of who is not in the film—AiG president Ken Ham. Ken Ham has become such…

View original post 2,162 more words

The practicalities of not cutting road verges

A good blog on ways of protecting flowers on road verges rather than thinking them pretty or untidy.

These two photos taken two days apart near Claughton, Garstang, Lancs show the damage of excess mowing

The Intermingled Pot

With the success of Plantlife’s rural road-verge campaign for more sympathetic vegetation management (100,000+ signed to the petition) https://plantlife.love-wildflowers.org.uk/roadvergecampaign and their excellent guidelines https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/our-work/publications/road-verge-management-guide  you might be wondering why it doesn’t just happen, after all it seems such an obvious thing to do and there are no down-sides, right?

Wrong, unfortunately, there are still large numbers of people complaining about the weeds/the grass not being cut and it looking a ‘mess’ particularly in urban areas and that makes a difference; scroll below the article to see comments  https://news.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/2019/06/17/our-roadside-verges-a-fine-balance-to-strike/

A good summary of the problems that councils have is here, https://connectingfornature.wordpress.com/2020/05/27/nomowmay-a-discourse-on-the-complexities-of-local-authority-grassland-management/  and in summary it is essentially no money, no time, the wrong equipment, and what do we do with the long grass when we do cut it?

In Middlesbrough the council was proposing to save money this year (£60k?) simply by changing the interval time between cuts in urban…

View original post 487 more words

We need to talk about race—and historical facts | Psephizo

There is so much talk about race with all the stuff from Black Lives Matter.

In 2019 a black pastor from London wrote “We need to talk about race” Many including the Archbishop recommended it, but this blog exposes glaring errors.

It is an excellent read and a warning that slovenly arguments on race will in fact increase racism. These apply to the history of the slave trade and colonialism in particular. Note little was made of the Royal Navy’s gunboat diplomacy against the slave trade after 1807 and how this killed the Transatlantic slave trade.

Knowing a little about the history I find the article is historically very good, though it goes against the trendy hymn sheet.

enough of me , so read it.

Source: We need to talk about race—and historical facts | Psephizo

Stop Spreading Chemophobia and Scientific Illiteracy: My contribution to the European Commission’s Consultation on the Revision of the REACH Regulation

Despite green claims, nothing is pollution-free. Riskmonger makes the point here and how this makes reducing pollution well nigh imposible.

don’t forget, even brushing your teeth or washing your hands ALWAYS causes pollution

The Risk-Monger

After seeing rampant chemophobia and fear-mongering influence the REACH process in the mid-2000s, I set up a satirical blog called The Risk-Monger to highlight how ridiculous and naïve the NGO campaigns were at the time. Fifteen years later, the embarrassing chemical illiteracy and scientific ignorance are no longer limited to the emotional scare-stories of environmental activists; such claims are now emanating from the heart of the European Commission via the architects of the European Green Deal.

I am going to use my contribution to the consultation to “help achieve a toxic-free environment” (their words) as a plea for the European Commission to stop dreaming of a world of rainbows and unicorns and start respecting basic scientific principles.

Scientists around the world are snickering at the lack of academic intelligence coming from European Commissioner Sinkevičius’ draft proposals. I am terrified by the consequences of such naïve chemophobia at the heart of…

View original post 1,477 more words

Hugh Miller and Me: Geology and Scripture Reconciled

Hugh Miller was a fascinating guy – geologist and evangelical.

Here Alex Staton, another 19th Century throwback of a geologist and clergyman (there are not many of us) writes about his life

This is good stuff and rock solid!!

Unconformable Views

I had promised myself (and you!) that I wasn’t going to allow myself to be drawn into interminable debates about the Bible and geology. There are two reasons for this. The first is that these kinds of debates go round in circles. They are frequently accompanied by a great deal of nastiness. The second reason is that there is no debate. We know that the earth is unimaginably old and that evolution is true(1). It doesn’t matter that some claim the Bible insists otherwise(2).

My reason for turning to geology and the Bible now is that I have been reading the excellent Hugh Miller, the Cromarty Stonemason. For those that may not know, here is a brief biography of the man.

Hugh Miller (1802-1856). Painting by William Bonnar (1800 – 1863). Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Highland Council.

Hugh Miller was born in Cromarty in October…

View original post 5,451 more words

TH Huxley’s legacy, a campus building renaming controversy, and appeal for signatures

A silly exercise as probably all in the 19th century were in a sense racist by our present standards, and terribly so by the woke! I doubt if the Wilberforce family would pass today’s test either.

Primate's Progress

Western Washington University, a well-respected publicly funded university in Bellingham, WA, is conducting a review of the naming of its buildings, in the course of which demands were expressed for the renaming of the [TH] Huxley Building, which houses the College of the Environment, and as a result the University’s Legacy Review Task Force has invited comment. Background information including links to solicited academic comment is available at https://president.wwu.edu/research-and-resources.

My own initial reaction was outrage, but closer examination convinced me that serious engagement is a more appropriate response, given aspects of Huxley’s legacy of which I was not aware. There is no doubt, however, that the movement to rename is seriously misguided, and can be traced back to the long-standing creationist tradition of pretending that evolution science is responsible for racism. The attack on Huxley, as spelt out in a submission by one member of the Task Force (

View original post 456 more words

Darwin’s Black Box, 25 years on. My 1997 review.

A quarter a century ago I was asked to review Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe for Science and Christian Belief. I was keen to do so, as some Young Earthers were raving about it.

Darwin's Black Box : The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution - Michael J.  Behe [Paperback], Books & Stationery on Carousell

An so I read about mouse traps,

Department of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University

blood clotting,  and other things in Behe’s book. i was not convinced and felt it would not survive and soon be forgotten. I was wrong. For the next five years or so ID made in-roads and got the support of philosophers  but not biologists and geologists. I’m still wondering how glacial moraines are intelligently designed.

Here is my review, and there is little I would change after 25 years.

Beherev1

Beherev2

Normally reviews get no response, but the editor of Science and Christian Belief got a flurry of letters, including one from Dr Emyr MacDonald of Cardiff University. He was very critical of me and the editor published his letter and my response, which came out in 1998.

https://www.scienceandchristianbelief.org/serve_pdf_free.php?filename=SCB+10-2+correspondence.pdf

After this I delved into ID along with my studies on Darwin’s geology and also considered Buckland’s wonderful stuff on design with “old Scratch” aka megatherium,

megatherium

along with his work on glaciation. However hard I tried I could never find a convincing case for ID and noted that the Intelligent Design activists were charging up a cul-de-sac dragging too many non-YEC evangelicals with them. Perhaps their refusal to commit themselves on the age of the earth made them ultimately acceptable to no one.

In the last quarter century ID has convinced no one of significance, yet their activists still come out with similar arguments and, of course, the Cambrian explosion. But that is another story.

Is Fracking Good or Bad? Even if it is from the USA!

For the moment there is no fracking in Britain, but, and it is a very big

but

most of the gas used in Britain today , whether for electricity generation, or cooking, or heating, is FRACKED gas imported from the USA. As it is imported here by ship, some gas is lost en route, thus contributing to greenhouse emissions.

The absurdity of electricity generation in Britain is that most is produced from imported fracked gas and when renewables go on strike (no wind or sun) the shortfall is made up by turning up the gas generators and switching on the COAL.

After most of last decade dominated by fracking, misinformation from green groups (my favourite are the pollutants in the fracking fluid – acetic acids and citric acids! If you don’t what hilarious about that, then you know nothing about fracking or fish and chips), and several minor tremors, which may have caused a couple of hairline cracks in plasterwork. However “quakes” from fracking are far, far smaller than those from hydrothermal energy.

The tremors are a concern and various geologists are studying them carefully, as in a recently published paper by geologists from Bristol and Oxford.

Rather than woffle on, here is a blog by a Christian fracking engineer from New Mexico considering the good and the bad  – and the negative hype.foeadvert

Is Fracking Good or Bad? Why Is it an emotionally charged issue for Americans? Fracking of oil and gas wells is a conundrum.

Source: Is Fracking Good or Bad?

Mere Ideology: The politicisation of C.S. Lewis

So often thinkers and activists of the past are co-opted for projects today which would make them turn in their graves.

C.S. Lewis | Biography, Books, Mere Christianity, Narnia, & Facts |  Britannica

Here Steve Hayes shows how the libertarian right of the USA are trying to co-opt C S Lewis for the weird right-wing semi-Trumpism.
In the USA many have tried to claim Lewis as a good conservative evangelical – when he was not – he was simply a sensible Anglican from a time when Anglicans were sensible!!

On a personal note I met Steve in Windhoek in 1969 while I was working for a mining company. At that time he was a radical Anglican priest who later got banned. He is now orthodox.

Study the post and consider how often we twist historical personages for our own ends

Notes from underground

I recently read a couple of articles that appear to me to be attempts to co-opt C.S. Lewis for the cause of American Libertarianism.

C. S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism, Part 1:

In comparison to contemporary ‘progressive’ Christians such as Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Ronald Sider, and Brian McLaren, who clamor for the foolish and disastrous notion of achieving ‘social justice’ through gigantic government powers, was Lewis just ignorant or naive about modern realities, or was he aiming at a deeper and more significant purpose? (See Robert Higgs’s book refuting the ‘progressive’ myth in American history, Crisis and Leviathan, and his book on the disastrous ‘progressive’ state since 1930, Depression, War, and Cold War; see also Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.’s The Decline of American Liberalism and The Civilian and the Military, and Jonathan Bean’s Race and Liberty in America.) In this article, I only…

View original post 2,002 more words