Category Archives: Uncategorized

5 Hebrew words every Christian should know – Premier Christianity

A useful blog looking briefly at the value of knowing even a miniscule amount of Hebrew

 

Melissa Briggs explains how an ancient language revolutionised her walk with God

Source: 5 Hebrew words every Christian should know – Premier Christianity

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Guest post: Save the Fylde – keep the earthquake safety limit at 0.5

A poor guest blog from the invariably inaccurate Mike Hill

Well-demolished by the lady expert Judith Green in comments (along with some by Ken Wilkinson;
She writes
Mr Hills guest post seems to suggest that he’s a complete charlatan. Maybe he could take time from all of his advising to such eminent bodies to clarify a few points in his article:-

1) “To be clear I did not set the limit but did review the value with the DECC and have first hand knowledge of the debate that took place.”

Could Mr Hill tell us which experts that he discussed this with and whose opinions he heard at “first hand”?

2) “But after long discussions and some mathematical modelling,”

Could Mr Hill give some details of the mathematical modelling? I for one would like direction on which mathematical models can be used to predict induced-seismicity.

3) “the science and engineering that led to the introduction of the 0.5 ML”
Could Mr Hill provide some indication of which science and engineering experts contributed to this decision and whether or not they’re respected by others in their field of expertise?

4) “To raise the seismic threshold now has no basis in science or engineering. It will reduce safety and could lead to a catastrophic incident.”

Could Mr Hill provide an example of where such a catastrophic accident has occurred previously? Given that over 2 million frackjobs have been conducted, one would assume that if such a catastrophic incident was likely to occur then there would be evidence for such an occurrence within the pool of knowledge that has being built on this subject.

5) “The cement surrounds the steel tubes inside the borehole (casing) and it fills the gap between the casing and the borehole wall – the actual rocks that have been drilled through. It is the only thing that is stopping (to date) up to 11.5 million litres of fracking waste from vertically migrating up the side of the borehole. It can do this in the annulus between the cement and the casing and can move up to the higher areas and eventually the aquifer.

Why would fluid move upwards against gravity? The reason is twofold. Firstly it is understood by hydrogeologists that fracking fluids are less dense than surrounding formation fluids and hence rise; and secondly the pressures during and immediately after fracking are huge (in the range 2,000 – 15,000 psi). The fracking fluid will find the path of least resistance. Due to repeated and increasing energy earthquakes, the gap around the casing and between the cement and the formation wall could have increased.”

Could Mr Hill explain how the huge pressure would push 11.5 million litres of water to the surface? Surely as an engineer he knows that water is very incompressible and that a very small amount of water would be forced to the surface due to decompression. If he’s thinking about the gas pushing the water from >2km maybe he could explain how this would happen given the mobility ratio of brine and gas. Also, could he provide a model as to how density driven advection in a microannulus could result in significant movement of fracking fluid to the surface?

6) “But annular pressure is a very crude tool. It will tell an operator if well integrity is lost – but an entire string of cement must have failed before you will know anything. As you typically only have three strings in an entire well then this represents a very significant failure before you are aware of it. Annular pressure checks on their own are not enough to guarantee well integrity.”

Could Mr Hill provide an example of such a failure mechanism in a shale gas well with the same design as those of the wells at PNR

7) “As a Chartered Engineer, heavily involved in this topic for a long period, I feel it would be reckless to raise the 0.5ML limit. To do so would be putting the public of the Fylde at even greater risk of severe damage to health and the environment than they already are. The 0.5ML limit is there for a reason and that reason has not changed. Safety must always take precedence over commercial viability.”

Given Mr Hill’s complete ignorance of this subject, do he really think he should be chartered as an engineer?

DRILL OR DROP?

Save the Fylde slogan

Chartered Electrical Engineer, Michael Hill, stood as an independent candidate in the 2015 general election on a “Save the Fylde” ticket, highlighting his concerns about the fracking industry. In this guest post, he argues that his message seems more relevant now than ever as he makes the case why the safety limit on fracking-induced earthquakes should not be altered.

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Noah’s Flood, and how to talk to creationists about it

A good account bringing in Gilgamesh

My worry is that Creationists would ignore that . They need to see that Genesis was written in c1000BC in terms that were understoood THEN and is thus not science of today.

Primate's Progress

“Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren” Saint Augustine of Hippo, Commentary on Genesis, ca. 400 AD

How do you discuss evolution and Earth science with biblical creationists, in such a way as to lead them to question their beliefs, rather than reaffirming their commitment to them? This is the central problem for the book that I am now at last writing, and I would greatly value comments.

If we want to engage biblical literalists in meaningful discussion, we need to use arguments that make sense from the literalists’ point of view. As Lakatos pointed out, scientists will not abandon a position, despite anomalies, until a more satisfactory one is offered. Why should the creationist be any different? It is not enough to point to the scientific evidence. It is not even enough to point out that Noah’s Flood…

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The three best arguments against a knowledge rich curriculum, (and why I think they’re wrong).

A rebuttal to both poor educational ideas and the scourge of fact-free assessments of complex issues

Pedfed

I’ve been listening to a lot of Sam Harris, the neuroscientist, philosopher and public intellectual behind books such as The Moral Landscape, The End of Faith, Lying and Waking Up. Harris invites other intellectuals onto his podcast to discuss topical and contentious topics. A recent episode featured the Vox editor Ezra Klein on the explosive subject of race and IQ. Despite both men maintaining that they were trying to see the other’s side, it was a disaster in terms of reaching any kind of consensus or establishing common ground. They talked past each other for two hours, growing increasable frustrated as they did so.

Both men are aware of Rapoport’s Rules to encourage civil discourse, though they didn’t seem to do them much good. They are summarised by philosopher Daniel Dennett as thus:

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target…

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SlimeGate 2/7: Predatorts 2/4: Applying the Plaintiff Playbook

A rather stringent attack on predatory lawfirms on green issues.

We see the same in the UK over fracking and other climate issues

The Risk-Monger

Part 1 of the Predatort section examined how the tort law firms had to become creative in fabricating new case leads in the late 1990s when the honeypots of tobacco, lead and asbestos lawsuits started to dry up. There was a clear strategy of tobacconising other industries, articulated in the report from a legal strategy workshop in La Jolla in 2012. Part 1 demonstrated how, in the following years, lawyers worked with NGOs and scientists to systematically undermine the credibility and viability of companies through a relentless, coordinated wave of litigation, activist campaigns, bogus studies and government collusion. I have argued that the two decades of Predatort victim trawling has also resulted a series of emerging risk and public fear phenomena as a consequence of their attempts to manufacture jury-ready outrage.

This Plaintiff Playbook worked (accidentally) to bring Big Tobacco to its knees and is now being applied to evict…

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Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy forty years on

In late 1978 evangelical theologians met in Chicago to discuss the inerrancy or not of the bible. Inerrancy was a hot topic in the 1970s as Harold Lindsell pushed it so far as to have SIX denials of Jesus by Peter to retain Inerrancy. Others were questioning it.

It was more of an American issue as British evangelicals were less concerned about it. In Britain it is the most conservative evangelical who insist on it.

What follows is my largely historical discussion in my book Evangelicals and Science.

For myself I was encouraged to believe it but by 1978 had come to reject inerrancy.

This issue is still worth considering as it lies beneath so much evangelical understanding of the bible and especially science and the bible,perhaps less so in Britain.

INERRANCY

Most evangelicals today hold that the Bible is Inerrant. This means that

the Bible is absolute truth and does not err in its statements. It is easy

to conclude that evangelicals, who believe in biblical inerrancy, equate

it with literalism and thus YEC. Though this is often the case, there are

many exceptions. Evangelicals who espouse YEC adopt both literalism

and inerrancy and this is often written into credal statements of evangelical

churches and colleges, as well as YEC groups like AIG and ICR. However

to leave it at that would be misleading.

Answers magazine, Oct-Dec 2014 issue

It is a matter of debate whether inerrancy has been the main protestant

doctrine of the Bible since the Reformation or not. In 1979, at the height of

the inerrancy debate centered on the writings of Harold Lindsell, Rogers

and McKim (Rogers and McKim, 1979) argued that inerrancy was introduced

by the Haldane brothers in 1828 and developed by the Princeton

theologians Hodge and Warfield after 1860. Calvin along with most Reformers

and Doddridge, Thomas Scott and others in the eighteenth century

allowed some error in the Bible,without questioning its absolute authority.

The classic nineteenth-century expression of inerrancy is in Hodge’s Systematic

Theology of 1870 (Hodge, 1870) and Warfield’s (1851–1921) many

writings (Warfield, 1951) on the authority of scripture. Hodge likens the errors

in the Bible to tiny specks of sandstone in the marble of the Parthenon

(Hodge, 1870, vol. 1, p. 170). Both theologians accepted geological ages and

Warfield reckoned himself a Darwinian. Thus in its classic formulation, Inerrancy

embraced a nonliteral interpretation of Genesis. Biblical inerrancy

became a central belief among the early twentieth-century American fundamentalists,

often with an acceptance of geological time.

400px-Geo_time

With the growth of the “New Evangelicals” after 1950, some, like E. J. Carnell and others

from Fuller seminary, began to question inerrancy. D. P. Fuller put forward

the case for a limited inerrancy, in which the Bible is not inerrant on

matters of history and science (Marsden, 1987). This came to a head in the

1970s with Lindsell’s books, notably The Battle for the Bible (Lindsell, 1976),

followed in 1978 by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy which met

in Chicago in October 1978.

 

The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy

 

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was signed by nearly 300 noted

evangelical scholars, including James Boice, Norman L. Geisler, Carl F. H.

Henry, Harold Lindsell, John W Montgomery, J. I. Packer, and Francis

Schaeffer. Most of these accepted geological ages and Packer accepted

Evolution (with reservations).

Article 12 of the Chicago Statement refers to earth history:

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood,

fraud, or deceit.

We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy is limited to spiritual, religious, or

redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science.We

further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may be properly used

to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and flood.

 

In 1982 the council met again to discuss the hermeneutics of the Bible and

produce a second report—the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics.

This contained twenty-five articles and the twenty-second dealt with the

early chapters of Genesis.

WE AFFIRM that Genesis 1–11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.

WE DENY that the teachings of Genesis 1–11 are mythical and that scientific

hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may be invoked to

overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.

Since the historicity and the scientific accuracy of the early chapters of the Bible

have come under severe attack it is important to apply the “literal” hermeneutic

espoused (Article XV) to this question. The result was a recognition of the factual

nature of the account of the creation of the universe, all living things, the special

creation of man, the Fall, and the Flood. These accounts are all factual, that is, they

are about space-time events which actually happened as reported in the book of

Genesis (see Article XIV).

The article left open the question of the age of the earth on which there is no unanimity

among evangelicals and which was beyond the purview of this conference.

There was, however, complete agreement on denying that Genesis is mythological

or unhistorical. Likewise, the use of the term “creation” was meant to exclude the

belief in macro-evolution, whether of the atheistic or theistic varieties.

This affirmed the factuality of Genesis and denied that it could be either

mythical or that “scientific hypotheses” could “overthrow what Scripture

teaches about creation.” The article seems to point to a literal Genesis, but

Norman Geisler made it clear in his commentary that “The article left open

the question of the age of the earth on which there is no unanimity among

evangelicals” but “the use of the term ‘creation’ was to exclude macroevolution.”

In the volume Hermeneutics, Inerrancy and the Bible produced

for the Council, Walter Bradley and Roger Olsen claimed that Progressive

Creation was the best combination of “the biblical and scientific particulars,”

thus giving semi-official support to the refusal to espouse YEC.5

However responding to Bradley and Olsen, Henry Morris called progressive

creation an “old time-worn, compromising hermeneutical system”

and refused to sign the declaration.

The_Genesis_Flood

Thus on early Genesis the 1982 Council failed to resolve anything, as

evolution was stated to be contrary to inerrancy but old-earth ideas were

not excluded. This, in itself, marked a considerable hardening of the definition

of inerrancy from that of Warfield a century earlier and also James

Packer, who wrote a classic defense of inerrancy in the 1950s. Though

the statement was equivocal, it undermined those who accepted evolution

and gave YECs confidence. Since then, if not before, YECs have insisted

that the only right view of the Bible is inerrancy and inerrancy implies

YEC. This is a powerful debating tactic and gives immediate advantage to

the YEC, who can then charge any “Old Earther” as “Liberal”

 

Inerrancy Today

In the United States, the majority of evangelicals hold to inerrancy today,

Which makes the total acceptance of geology and evolution extremely

difficult.6 Where the Chicago Statements are regarded as authoritative,

evolution is out. There are some evangelicals who hold to both evolution

and inerrancy but that goes against the general opinion. For many

evangelicals, to accept evolution is to reject inerrancy and thus to have a

weakened belief in the Bible. This outlook is increasingly being accepted

throughout the world, including Britain.

Definitions of inerrancy vary considerably. At the popular level inerrancy

is assumed to imply literalism and a young earth. Thus scientific

evangelicals may reject inerrancy for scientific reasons, being oblivious of

more nuanced treatments. Among those who have gone through Evangelical

seminaries, there is a considerable range of opinion but most will

recognize the literary nature of the Bible. Even so, seminary professors

may disturb students’ notions of inerrancy by pointing out that there are

many grammatical errors in the Greek of Paul’s letters. After all, if the

Bible is inerrant, the grammar must be also!7

Today Inerrancy is held in a variety of forms. Some evangelicals continue

in the tradition of Hodge and Warfield, which recognizes the variety

of literary forms in the Bible and accept evolution. These include both theologians

like Jim Packer and John Stott and scientists like Oliver Barclay

and Denis Alexander.

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This is not by shared by many YECs who argue that

acceptance of an old earth is “theological compromise” as it destroys inerrancy.

As the correct hermeneutic of the Bible is to read in it a literal way

This means that Flood must be universal and that Creation took place in six

24-hour days.

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However as no one can deny that the earth is spherical, then

all references in the Bible to the shape of the earth must be inerrant. Thus

every biblical passage in the Old Testament, which can possibly be taken

to imply a flat earth, must be taken to support the earth’s sphericity, or else

inerrancy would be denied. Thus the natural meaning of passages like Genesis

1 vs 6–8, Exodus 20 vs 4, and Isaiah 40 vs 22 is ignored (see below) and

taken to support sphericity contrary to the usage of Hebrew words.

storehouse-300x165

This is the logical conclusion of attempting to extend inerrancy to “scientific”

matters and not recognizing that the Biblical writers were limited to the

“scientific” understanding of their day and in the words of Calvin “Moses

wrote in a popular style” for “the unlearned and rude as of the learned.”

Because of these types of questions, some evangelicals avoid the use

of inerrancy and prefer to speak of the supreme authority of Scripture.

Others simply reject inerrancy altogether and happily affirm that the Bible

though authoritative contains minor errors. That in turn elicits opposition

from those who adopt the extremer forms of inerrancy and so the

internecine conflict between evangelicals continues. Because of the voices

for inerrancy, especially in America, the large number of evangelicals who

either reject it are often not heard. Howard Marshall, professor emeritus

of theology at the University of Aberdeen, discussed inerrancy at length

and rejected it as unhelpful as it tends to make people expect the Bible to

be “literally” true. (Marshall 1982, p. 49ff) Gerald Bray, a British scholar at

Beeson divinity school in Birmingham, Alabama, has similar reservations

(Bray, 1996, pp. 539–563). It is also true to say that most evangelicals in

Britain reject or avoid inerrancy. Risking oversimplification evangelicals

can be divided into three groups:

  1. Those who do not accept inerrancy and prefer to speak of the trustworthiness

of scripture. This includes a large minority of evangelical scholars, who would

not be found in the most conservative schools.

  1. Those who accept a nuanced form of inerrancy and allow for accommodation.

This would include most evangelical scholars in more conservative schools.

  1. Those whose inerrancy is decidedly not nuanced and dependent on the scientific

accuracy of the Bible. This is the stance supported by colleges affiliated to TRACS

and includes many “popular” evangelicals.

The most strident defenders of Inerrancy come from the third group,

who as Noll says often have “lush but eccentric interpretations” (Noll,

1994). Some will be discussed in the chapter on Young Earth Creationism.

They are probably the largest group in the United States. It is important

to realize the differences among evangelicals to understand the “biblical”

reasons evangelicals have for adopting particular attitudes to science.

The whole subject of inerrancy may seem to a side-show on evangelicals

and science, but it is crucial in the understanding of controversies over

evolution, issues of medical ethics (like stem cell research) and the nature

of what it is to be human and whether a body–soul dichotomy is tenable. It

is surely no accident that the earliest attempts at ID from Olsen and Bradley

came shortly after their attempts to harmonize the Chicago Statement,

which tentatively allowed an old earth but not evolution.

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This raises the main issue whether the earth is ancient and whether we are evolved.

All the evidence points to both!