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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Voters of 50B, Down From the Trees?

Seems our local leftist bloggers are having fun at the expense of Minnesota GOP legislator Tom Emmer, who was involved in a clumsy evolution vs. creationism discussion on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Of interest to the readers of this blog is the fact that his sparring partner was none other than our own 50B representative, Kate Knuth. Here is a YouTube of the exchange:



Putting aside the specifics of the debate (I'll leave that to G-Man), the whole episode causes me to wonder, what is Representative Knuth's position on evolution and the origins of Man? More specifically, what is her opinion regarding religion in general?

She seems very enamored of her status as a graduate of a biological sciences program (though I'm not sure I'd call her a scientist); that places her in a coterie of people who (in this day and age) generally hold religion in low regard. I also note that neither her campaign website nor any of her campaign literature made note of a religious membership or affiliation, a personal bit of information that most candidates feel it is in their interest to make public.

As she chose to engage Mr. Emmer in a theological debate, I think it's perfectly fair that her own religious beliefs become an issue, if only to help clarify her position on evolution. She played a little "gotcha" with Emmer - turnabout is fair play.

Perhaps she's a regular churchgoer; if so, I would like to know how she squares evolution with mainstream religious teaching. Seeing as the district she represents has a church about every three blocks, her constituents also might be interested in her viewpoint on whether or not they evolved from apes.

12 Comments:

Blogger Right Hook said...

Without casting any dispersions on what Ms. Knuth's spiritual religious faith may be, she nonetheless appears to hold the teachings of radical environmentalism as a de facto religious belief.

She is also on very shaky ground basing any position she takes on her grasp or knowledge of legitimate science or the scientific method. She is a big advocate of the bogus "science" that bastardizes the true scientific method in support of the theory of man-made global warming.

At best she is a socialist activist first and a political hack second, leaving very little room for being a practitioner of real science.

5/16/2007 6:55 AM  
Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

"At best she is a socialist activist first and a political hack second, leaving very little room for being a practitioner of real science."

Well put. She seems to think that reading a few politically loaded "peer reviewed" articles about global warming makes her some sort of learned scientist. She's only slightly more of a scientist than DFL Don Shelby.

5/16/2007 9:04 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I'm not sure if this comment is appropriate or not, please let me know if it is not and I won't say anything else about it.

1) Some of the most wonderful Christian men and women I know were scientists. Now, most were in the field of health care, maybe that makes a difference...I don't know. They weren't just doctors, but researchers as well. I interened (as a chaplain) at a leading cancer hospital, so ever doctor was also a reseacher. I would say that they qualify as scientists. Again, tell me if I'm wrong.

2) Why is the idea of God being the Creator, and Evolution being part of His plan not possible? Granted, no one said that it wasn't possible, so I may be out of line; but it seems that can be inferred from the YouTube post.

Again, please let me know if this comment is out of line with the integrity and intent of this blog-site.

Tim L. Dahl

5/16/2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

Your comments are perfectly welcome, though as I said, our G-Man is much better versed in this area and I would defer to him.

Regarding your second point, I would venture that most mainstream denominations might have a problem with the notion that man rose from the ooze.

Thanks for stopping by!

5/16/2007 4:29 PM  
Blogger Frake said...

Tim,

Thanks for stopping by.

For my part, I’d say that you are correct: belief in evolution is not necessarily out of line with faith. Let me expound on that a little.

In the past, the debate on the origin of life has been Creationist verses Evolutionist – or, religious verses secular view. But, I’d say in the past 15 years or so, the theory of Intelligent Design has made gains in both the scientific and religious communities. Its basic principle is that life, however it came into being, could not have happened by chance. Too many things had to be just right in order for life as we know it to exist. Something or someone is guiding it.

Although this theory is widely associated with the religious community, the truth is that many non-religious scientists are buying into this theory. The probability of life occurring on its own is just too high for this group of scientists to accept.

Within the religious community, Phillip E. Johnson author of “Darwin on Trial” believes in Intelligent Design that includes Evolution. (I picked up the book at Focus on the Family several years while visiting their Colorado headquarters). So, some well respected members in the religious community don’t see Evolution as incompatible with faith anymore.

For more information and past writings on this subject, refer to the “Intelligent Design” topic under “Quick Search” on the right side of our website.

By the way, I enjoyed your blog yesterday and I’ll try to make it habit to visit it more often.

Again, thanks for stopping by.

5/16/2007 8:26 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...

Was this exchange between Reps Knuth and Emmer over the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools?

If our objective is to produce educated high school students, then it is imperative that the theory of intelligent design be included with the theory of evolution during the study of the biological sciences.

First, both theories are just that – theories. Second, there are credible scientists aligned with each. Third, each theory has its supporters world-wide in very large numbers. Fourth, as we have demonstrated on this blog last year, those uneducated in the theory of intelligent design are unable to engage in an intelligent discussion about the merits of EITHER theory.

[Allow me to digress. Has anyone noticed that those who worship at the alter of evolution defend their faith by proclaiming that critics are not credible scientists? Isn't it interesting that this is the same defense employed by followers of Al Gore who worship at the alter of Global Warming?]

Regarding the exchange between Knuth and Emmer, it was rather silly and irrelevant. If God is capable of creating the earth, then He could have done so in six 24-hour days or over the course of billions of years. If Adam was created as an adult (as is often assumed), then the planet could have been created in its "adult" stage. (Time does not have the same meaning to God as it does to man.)

The notion that science and religion don't mix should be put to rest. If anything, I would argue that one who believes in a higher power would make a better scientist for he or she would be open to the possibility that intelligence beyond our comprehension might play a role in the world around us. In contrast, one who worships atheism MUST believe in evolution – and view all discoveries as evidence of evolution. Any other explanation for the origin of man would defy their religion.

Tim, your comments are indeed appropriate and welcome. Thanks for visiting our blog!

5/16/2007 8:32 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Hey Guys,

Thanks for welcoming me into the conversation.

Just so you know Frake, I don't post on my blog all that regularly. :)

Personally, I don't like the idea of us coming from ooze. I don't like the idea that we came from apes, or any other animal. I find it ever so interesting that we've never found the "missing link," you know that animal/person that is in the in-between stage of evolution. That speaks volumes to me.

However, the idea that God designed His creation to be able to adapt to a changing environment seems kind of appealing as well. The more we unlock the mysteries of the body, the more impressed with God as Creator as well.

Be Well~

Tim

5/16/2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

Frake and G-Man (or Tim)...

For my edification:

If I asked my pastor, "How old is the Earth?", what could I expect his answer to be?

5/17/2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger G-Man said...

So, you want to know how old the earth is? In human years or God years?

For Christians, there are questions of salvation and questions of wonder. The age of the earth is a question of wonder. One need not know the answer to be saved. Therefore different pastors may give different answers to this question.

All will say that God created the earth. Some may adopt the theory that in the original writing of Genesis, the word now translated into "day" was also used to describe "era" – a period of undetermined length. Therefore, "six days" could mean "six eras". Note that the Bible also says "with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8).

Others will suggest that God created the earth 6 thousand years ago as 4 billion year-old planet. If Adam was created as a mature adult in his 20's, then why not create the earth as a mature planet in it's 4th billennium?

This begs the question of perspective. Adam was created on "day 6". Let's presume that he was created as a 25 year-old man. On "day 7" was Adam a one day-old or a 25 year-old?

Does this mean that the science of dating the planet is bad? No. First note that the methodology for aging is often revised and not an exact science. Still, science can estimate the age of a rock, but it cannot say whether God created a 4 billion year-old rock 6 thousand years ago, or whether He created a 6 thousand year-old rock 4 billion years ago. [This is one of the reasons why Knuth's attempt at rhetorical gotcha with Emmer was a useless canard. Dating the age of the earth does not refute the validity of Intelligent Design -- assuming that I.D. was the subject of their debate.]

All too often we apply our limits in understanding things to our Maker. We presume that if God created something, then it was created in its "embryonic" state. We presume that we can date it back to its beginning within our understanding of time. But, this may either be our arrogance or simply thinking out of ignorance.

To further extend this line of thought, when was time itself created? God has no beginning and no ending. For humans bound by a mindset based on time, it is very difficult to comprehend the full meaning of the word "always". To us, everything must have a start and an end. Clearly, time benefits man for it gives man a means to keep order. What if God created time on the day He created Adam? Simply considering this possibility will put a different perspective on the debate over the age of the planet – let alone the concept of living in Eternity.

5/17/2007 5:45 PM  
Blogger Frake said...

I see G-Man beat me to it, so some of this might be repetitive.

I can think of 2 possible answers you would receive for 3 different reasons.

One answer is 6000 years -- the traditional Christian theological view. God created the earth in 6 days as it states in Genesis, and working forward to today, that comes out to 6,000 years. This would be the typical Creationist view point.

Second answer is billions. There are 2 theological doctrines that support this answer.

One comes from II Peter 3:8 (NIV) “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”. The idea being that a day in the creation account in Genesis may be more than 24 hours to God; it could be a thousand years or more. This squares theology with the geological record. I believe this doctrine gained ground during/after the Scopes Monkey trail of the 1920’s.

The other is what I’d call a Second Earth doctrine. It’s the belief that our current earth is not the first one that God created. It comes from Genesis 1:1-2 “1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” If the earth was created in verse one, why is it formless and empty in verse two? This doctrine believes that a judgment took place – possibly, the fall of Lucifer resulted in a destruction of the first earth. This theological doctrine attempts to square the fossil record with theology. Dinosaurs belonging to the first earth.

The last two beliefs wouldn’t necessarily imply that your pastor holds to a Creationist viewpoint, but he might. He could hold to Intelligent Design that incorporates Evolution that doesn’t contradict his faith.

Tim, if you are still watching this blog, and since you’re a pastor, what’s your perspective?

5/17/2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

Thanks, guys. That was very interesting.

5/18/2007 12:12 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Hey Guys,

We've recently found out we're pregnant, so I've been preoccupied lately! We're about 7 weeks along, or so the Doc says. :)

But, I'm back; and if it's not too late I'll add my 2 cents.

Yeah, the guys are right in what they say. Personally, I come from a Creationists viewpoint, in that however it happened, God is the one that started/did it.

You have the "Gap Theory," or also known as the "2nd Earth Theory" as Frake so excellently expounded on. I'm not a big fan of it. It seems more like an attempt to combine scientific dating with a very rigid-literalistic view of Genesis 1.

I'm also not a big fan of the idea that God created the earth already 4 billion years old. It's possible. God could have done it that way. If I find out that is what happened when I see Jesus in the great by-and-by, then I won't be disapointed. :)

I'll stick with the idea that 1 day in Genesis 1, isn't necessarily 1 24-hour day (for the same reason stated in other posts). Will I hazard a guess at how old the earth really is? No. I have no clues. There is no way to be 100% sure, because there is no current dating system that gives us 100% accuracy.

Also, I don't know of one First-Tier doctrine that relys upon the age of the earth. So, I don't get really worked up about it if someone disagrees with me. I can still work with him.

Tim Dahl

5/24/2007 7:27 AM  

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