Monday, April 28, 2008

Feed the World - online article by Sean Corrigan

Since most of the Christian clergy has been educated in Socialist or Marxist institutions, they (as a group) have no true understanding of economics or business. This had led them to issue a plethora of ignorant and fallacious comments about the current food crisis. For this reason I've linked to this article by the free market economist Sean Corrigan.

"At the beginning of the eighteenth century, fifty years before the time of Quesnay, Bandini of Sienna had shown, both from reason and experience, that there never had been a scarcity of food, except in those countries where the government had itself interfered to supply the people.
– Jean-Baptiste Say, Treatise on Political Economy

Quotes and comments;

1. 'As is by now well known, the current crisis has arisen, in part, because of the strain imposed by a global population which is not only increasing numerically but which is one, more importantly, beginning to enjoy an even more rapid rise in wealth, an advance which has brought with it an associated enrichment of dietary expectations and tastes.

2. 'This has been accelerated by the signal shift to the subsidized overconsumption which the whole mummery of the biofuel movement represents — a folly akin to Joseph telling Pharaoh to set light to the surplus spilling out of his granaries, in order to economize on firewood.

- in this sad episode we've seen the stupidity of politicians on magnificent display. Would that these clowns would stay out of the real business of life, and stick to making idiot comments about world peace, throwing out the 'first pitch' and other important things in societal life.
- What do politicians know about business? How about nothing; how about less than nothing. (All politicians know how to do is collect votes by lying to people.)

3. 'Like many commodity businesses, the simple truth is that global agriculture has suffered for years from chronic underinvestment; a shortfall for which the politicians' feather-bedding of relatively well-off Western farmers is greatly to blame (not that such programs have been too effective in assisting its intended smallholder beneficiaries, rather than the giant agribusiness concerns, mind you).

4. 'Furthermore, Western "aid" — usually a naked ploy to buy the support of both foreign elites and domestic farm lobbies in the same cynical transaction — has stultified entrepreneurial efforts across the Third World, disincentivizing local development and demoralizing good husbandry in the recipient nations. This has perpetuated a sorry dependence on the self-serving ranks of professional, Dior-clad Donorate and has made misery chronic among the poor, especially where those poor are unfortunate enough to come from the "wrong" party or tribe.

5. 'Water, we are frequently told by the viridian Ultras, is in "short supply" — and this on a planet that contains the greatest known concentration of the stuff in the universe! The truth is that, for lack of capital investment, irrigation practices on the bulk of the world's acreage remain woefully primitive and wasteful and thus susceptible of a vast improvement in their efficacy.'

6. 'While it is impossible not to sympathize with people complaining that their children's bellies are empty, it would nonetheless be a failure of rationality not to point out that that none of the political "fixes" so far promulgated in this crisis will do anything other than exacerbate the problem.

- what is need is less political interference, not more. Politicians have caused this problem; a problem that does not need to exist. They have worked hard to destroy 'third world' agriculture; they have thrown billions at rich landlord farmers not to farm, etc. What farmers need is property rights, not influence peddling politicians.

7. 'It is also fine for well-nourished, tax-sheltered Über-eaucrats like World Bank President Zoellick and IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn to call for hundreds of millions of dollars to cobble together a "New Deal" on food, but it should not be overlooked that this call is effectively one that Western taxpayers should face even more pain in order to mitigate past mistakes committed by the very same governing class which is now sanctimoniously affecting to save the world.'

- as usual we have the absurdist spectacle of the people who caused the problem now telling us how they're going to solve it. If these fools were so clever why did they cause the problem in the first place? (Can anyone be so clueless as to think communism is the answer to food problems. The mind boggles. Have these charlatans not read any history at all? Have they been too busy skiing and buying shoes?)

8. 'Make fuel from corn, by all means, if the free market signals that this the most pressing need and, hence, the most lucrative use for the crop.
Otherwise, let farmers plant for food and feed and let the fruits of their labors circulate unhindered around the world, absent tariffs, quotas or subsidy payments, so ensuring both their most equitable distribution and the least possibility of giving off false signals and creating perverse incentives to mislead either consumers or producers.

- gov. subsidies had created very cheap food. (With the result many small farmers, and the unsubsidized farmer, went broke.) This had led people to abandon their own gardens; to leave the country and head for the city. (When I was a lad almost everyone had a small vegetable garden and some fruit trees; even in the suburbs.) Now we increasingly see that single family plots are turned into condos, and people have no ability to even have gardens.

Feed the world? — Then free the market!

1. Daily Article at| Posted on 4/21/2008 by Sean Corrigan
2. We could reduce the problem a little if we forced all politicians to grow their own food. Yes; it wouldn't make much of a dent in the food supplies, but one could hope the experience would teach them a little about life in the real world.
- you don't think that's a good idea? Well, maybe not, but it's still better than anything our vote buying politicians have come up with.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Big God, big science - audio lecture by John Houghton (Online at the Faraday Institute)

Quotes and comments;

1. As far as I can ascertain, the gist of the lecture is that if we want to have 'big science' we have to have a 'big' idea of god. (I take this to mean we must reject the 'simple' God of the bible, for the 'god' of the Liberal theologians. This means we must replace the 'simple' creation of the Fundamentalists, with the God of the big bang and evolution.) I take it he has some fear that this 'American' belief in creation will somehow limit what scientists can do. (And I take it his view is that there is Nothing scientists shouldn't be allowed to do.)

2. He wants to convince us that ID is anti science. The ID people are just reacting against Richard Dawkins. (I assume he means they're offended by his aggressive atheism, and so want to go to the 'extreme' position of actually (if one can believe it) of attacking Darwinism. (Which as you know is a criminal offense in Great Britain.)
- why then is ID anti science? Well, he tells us because it gives up the search for natural explanations in favor of some 'mystical' solution. (i.e. god did it)

3. Houghton admits that many things in 'science' can't yet be explained... but he has faith that one day all things will. (i.e. will have a naturalistic explanation.)
- this is sometimes called the promissory view.
- he seems to confuse description with explanation. Just because you can describe X, doesn't mean you've explained it. A person whose never heard of, or seen a computer, could describe it, but that in no way would explain it.

4. I don't know how you can say (as H. does) that all science is god's science and then be against ID.
- I don't think he's in any way familiar with the people he slanders. (Has he no duty to know what he's talking about?)

5. His rebuttal of ID is so weak as to be laughable.
- To say god created the universe, but it's impossible to see any design in it is more than a little strange. Doesn't this amount to saying God is irrational? But maybe he's blind? Or maybe he had no idea what he was doing? There he was one day in the lab.... playing around with things and lo and behold a universe exploded into being :=) I really fail to see how these claims can be put together. The picture he gives us isn't one of a creator, but of some mindless bungler, that didn't have a clue what he was doing. If he did, we would see design... wouldn't we?

6. H. talks of Stephen Hawking who looks forward to a single theory of the universe.
- This is nonsense. The only single theory (explanation) of the universe is God. I wonder how people can be so foolish as to believe in a single theory. Do they really imagine they can explain gravity, prayer, light, science fiction, poetry, art, planet formation, music, ethics, etc. by a single theory? It's simply not possible. (But this is the kind of delusionary thinking one falls into when one rejects a personal Creator.)

1. Why is Houghton so down on Biblical creation? Well I think it's easy to see. His fear is that if people believe in creation this will limit what the social elite can do in the area of science. If one has a 'literal' view of creation, then genetic engineering (etc.) depends to be seen as a 'defamation' of what God created. If on the other hand one believes that all we see is just an accident, well then 'tampering' with things isn't a destruction of god's creation at all.
- just yesterday I read the following; 'Even though ethicists have called it “a monstrous attack on human rights,” to blend human embryos with animals, UK scientists created the first chimera of cow and human genetic material, reported PhysOrg. (From Creation/Evolution Headlines)
- he's down on any orthodox reading of the bible because this obligates man to conforming to God's moral law. This is anathema to any liberal, as man must be autonomous in all things. Man cannot be limited by any commandments from God. (In other words, the political elite must be free to do exactly as they please.)

2. Liberals like Houghton don't want a 'big' god of course; they want a god so 'small' he (it?) won't 'interfere' with man's autonomy in all things.

3. The lecture is poor; both in sound quality and in content. I'd give it a 2/5.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Triumph of Idealism - audio lecture by Keith Ward (online at Gresham college)

Quotes and comments;

1. We might subtitle this lecture; 'Using Kant to ward off biblical Christianity'

2. 'Immanuel Kant is widely thought of as the philosopher who undermined the possibility of metaphysics, showed that morality is completely independent of religion, and destroyed all rational arguments for God. Yet in fact his aim in philosophy was to set metaphysics on a firm foundation.'

- a firm foundation! That's rich.
- does it matter what his aim was? In a sense it does; but his intentions need not have anything much to do with what actually resulted from his efforts.
- Ward in this lecture wants to deny that Kant has had the negative influence outlined above.

3. 'Kant never went to church.... he thought it was demeaning to human dignity to kneel down... ' (despite all this he's been a big influence on protestant christianity)

- when you listen to liberals like Ward you hear a lot about various things being demeaning. To some of his crowd, the very idea of God is demeaning. The idea the bible is the word of god is demeaning to man's reason. Christ's atonement is demeaning to man's ability to save himself. God's law is demeaning. The miracles are demeaning to man's reason. And on and on it goes. To these sophisticates Christianity is just one long belittlement of man; it's utterly demeaning. The only way man can regain his self-respect is to 'demythologize' the bible and to turn Christianity into Deism or Unitarianism. To pray is demeaning. Predestination is demeaning. The creation account is demeaning. The idea of hell is demeaning. What the bible says about homosexuals is demeaning. And on and on and on it goes. Marriage is demeaning. Fidelity is demeaning. Having children is demeaning. The only escape from this horror is to embrace Humanism. (And that best way to do this is to take the Kantian hiway out of Jerusalem and to head for the humanist hills.)

3. Kant claimed we need the idea of god for morality to have weight, any influence...

- but Kant's god of course is a nothing burger. (That's technical theological lingo.) It's meaningless; a mere word. He offers us a generic god; a god that doesn't exist. It shows us Kant's naivete that he thought this view of god would have any influence on people. (Your average lib talks as if he believed in god and in the tenets of Christianity, but of course he doesn't. For a long time they fooled people, but then people caught on to the game and emptied the churches.

4. Ward tells us Kant was a transcendental idealist; and that this means he thought matter was ultimately unreal.

- I take it this means we only know are perceptions; or appearances.... of a reality very different from appearances.

5. 'You can't have knowledge of god... but you can still believe in god' ward says of Kant's view.

- Yeah right; you can believe in a god that doesn't exist. (Liberal theology in a nutshell.)

6. Liberals like Ward deny we can know god because they don't like the god presented in the bible... By adopting the mysticism of Kant they've invented for themselves an escape from god. This has the purpose of throwing the bible in the rubbish can. ("Well since we can't know god or what he wants us to do we have to do whatever we like....'') This is practical atheism, despite the weak protests of people like Ward.

7. Ward tells us Kant believed that we must use our reason to see if what the bible says makes sense; that if something strikes us as wrong we must reject it. (i.e. in favor of a 'deeper truth.) ''The bible says a wife must always obey her husband,'' Ward says, to illustrate this idea. (The audience titters at such a barbaric idea, as Ward knows they will.)

- I find repulsive all these little digs at scripture; all these twistings and distortions of what the bible says; of what orthodox biblical theology says. (You expect this of a Richard Dawkins, but not of someone whose a member of a supposedly Christian church.) He's utterly wrong in what he says. Biblical Christianity teaches that a woman is under No compulsion to break the law of god; no matter what her husband tells her.
Getting married doesn't give her the right to break the law. It's obvious to any normal person that what is being referred to are lawful commands. (Are we to believe Ward doesn't know this?)
In biblical theology (as opposed to the peculiar views of the church of england) all relationships are mediated by god's moral law, by the commandments of god. A man has no right to demand anything unlawful of his wife, and if he does it's her responsibility to defy him; nor anything immoral. (Another way of saying this is that while the husband is the head of the wife, god is the head of the man. If this language seems odd; let's say both man and wife are under the authority of god. The idea the man has some autonomous authority in the home is a pagan idea, it is not remotely christian; in fact it is anti-christian to the core. There is no room for autonomy in the christian home; not for anyone.

- ward assures us that the deeper moral truth (than the horrid vulgarities of the new testament) is that women should Not obey their husbands. (How he can pretend he's talking as a Christian I have no idea. Clearly he sets himself up as a judge for god... as did Adam and Eve.... and all rebels ever since.)
- the joke is this 'deeper' truth idea. If there is no truth how can there be 'deeper' truth? It makes no sense. If you destroy the standard nothing can be compared to it; surely that's obvious. Kant's peculiar views destroy the idea of absolute truth, of standards, and even of reality. If taken seriously he leaves a person not an inch of ground to stand on. The libs like Ward just ignore all this of course, and talk as if nothing much has happened. They still talk of truth though it doesn't exist. If all we can know is our perceptions there is no truth.

- There is no basis for any authority in the liberal model. If it's demeaning for wife to obey a husband, it's demeaning for a husband to obey a wife, and if that's demeaning it's obviously demeaning for anyone to obey anyone. But no! cries the lib; everyone must obey the liars and cheats we call politicians. Everyone must obey the State! But why? why isn't that considered demeaning? This is just arbitrary on the part of the libs. What they really want of course is for the masses to obey the educated elite. (But why isn't that considered demeaning?) They don't think wives should obey their husbands, but they want us to obey them.
But what do you get if no one obeys anyone? Anarchy. And what is the lib solution to that? Totalitarianism. (But that, apparently, is not demeaning.) If there isn't authority and hierarchy there is anarchy and chaos. The biblical solution to authority is obvious; the only alternative is political tyranny. (Liberal theologians were of course big supporters of communism; and to this day they haven't owned up to their part in the murderous carnage of those regimes.) You might think it's a tad demeaning to be a slave of the State, but you'd never know it by listening to people like Ward.

1. Not only can a man not issue illegal commands; the husband cannot make sinful commands. As he must do all things in love that leaves out any unloving commands; a man must treat his wife as himself, he must meet her needs, and have her welfare at heart, he must not provoke her to anger, he must speak only in love.... I don't know exactly what feminists like Ward are worried about then.
Let's take a real example of where this issue comes into play. A man gets a job offer in another city; he wants to go... he talks it over with his wife... and she doesn't want to go. The man says; ''well we're going anyway.... I'm sorry you don't want to go, I understand that, but we're going anyway." Should she obey her husband? The answer is yes. If she refuses to go, and he gives up the job offer, he has obeyed her. (And what if she refuses to go, should he go anyway? I don't think so.)

- so the only real objection left is this; why should it be the man who gets to make all the choices? (As if :=) i.e. 'why should it be the wife who obeys the husband, and not the husband that obeys the wife?' or 'why should it be either?' Well, the simple answer is; 'that's what god's word says.' (Some might say that this is what is natural; that it's more natural for the man to lead the woman than the woman to lead the man.) All one can say if one still wants to protest is ''I don't believe the bible is the word of god.'' If one doesn't one is not a Christian. At this point there's only one escape route left open, ''I don't believe the verses (not verse) that say this are inspired. I believe the men who wrote these things were just repeating the prejudices of the day.'' This is sometimes called the smorgasbord approach (or the pick and choose) to the bible; and again I have to say it's not an option for the christian. To say this one must have a 'higher' standard than the bible by which to judge the biblical text. But such a position is an explicit denial of what the bible says about itself. (Sorry about the grammar.) To have a higher standard is to have rejected the bible as your highest standard, and that is to deny the faith and to show that you are not a christian.

- the doctrine of wifely submission is not some onerous thing. The fact is that the bible presents us with the best (by far) model of marriage we have. Not only was it unsurpassed in ancient times, it remains so. Nowhere can you find such a sensitive, beautiful, loving view of marriage. There's nothing timid or prudish about biblical writing. The husband is to treat his wife as 'care-fully' as he would his own body. (He's commanded to love his wife as his own self.)

- I guess there's one final complaint, ''well, yes... if men Would treat their wives like this, in this ideal fashion, then wives couldn't complain about having to obey.... But they don't, do they! And it's because they don't that wives shouldn't be asked to obey." What can I say to this? I can admit its force as an argument, but I still have to insist that being a Christian means living in conformity with the commandments of God; and that means wives are required to obey their husbands.

- at this point there can't really be any arguments left. (What do you mean I'm kidding myself :=) All the feminist can do ridicule the issue with some ad hominem arguments. e.g. "Are you telling me (indignant tone of voice) that if some slob watching bowling on tv orders his wife to get him a beer from the fridge she has to obey him?"
"I don't know how that situation would arise. Remember that I'm restricting this to Christians."
"Well, let's say he's having a bad day. He's usually a nice guy, but he's mad at the world and he wants to put his wife in her place, he doesn't like the way she's been treating him lately... "
''Okay. I'm not pretending by any means that your average Christian husband is always Christ like in how he treats his wife. But let's take your scenario. Is she under an obligation to get him a beer, even though he could easily get it himself? I don't think so, but I do think she should.''
''You know what I think? I think she should tell him, ''get your own beer, and while you're there get me one."
- and there you have it; we let women have the last word.

2. Liberals pretend that the idea a woman should obey whatever her husband says (even if it's evil, venal, etc.) comes from the bible. It does not. The bible gives us a wholly different idea of both marriage and authority. It was the pagan cultures who believed this liberal caricature. (And again I ask; why is it these people want to fly under the Christian flag when they mock everything the bible says, and that orthodox theology teaches. Is it some kind of perversity?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Science and Religion: Belief or Commitment? - audio lecture by Peter Lipton (online at Faraday Institute)

Quotes and comments;

1. Lipton introduces his lecture in a way I found refreshing. He tells us he's a member of the 'progressive' Jewish community in Oxford.

2. He's a rarity in that he actually slows down enough to define religion. He defines it as believing the words of religious texts are true. I think this is an inadequate (and partial) definition; but I appreciate any definition at all. Of course an obvious question is, 'what is a religious text?' - although one can assume he means the old and new testaments and the Koran.

3. He talks about our 'best' science; but how do we know what that is? Obviously we don't. (I guess it's what people say at Oxbridge :=)

4. The lecture deals with the 'contradictions' between science and religion. He outlines several methods of dealing with contradictions that he doesn't like.
- he doesn't like the metaphorical solution (i.e. that Gen. is mainly metaphor) although he doesn't deny all metaphor.
- he doesn't like the religion is a value zone and science a fact zone (e.g. Gould) Obviously science isn't value free; nor is 'religion' fact free.
- he doesn't like the 'pick and mix' method either (i.e. take and reject what you want... he refers to A. Plantinga)
5. Onward to Kant;
''After a scientific revolution the world changes...'' - Thomas Kuhn
- Lipton goes on to wonder what Kuhn meant by this enigmatic remark.

Lipton seems to be saying; that if one takes a 'Kantian' position (Kuhn is somewhat different) what we study in science is a 'mix' of the raw data, and what the human mind brings to to the data. Therefore; science can never be solely about raw data. (There is no raw data for human beings.) This is the great pretense of secular scientists; they (and only they) deal with 'reality' while 'religious' people deal with fantasies. (To simplify; the 'science' apologist imagines he's dealing with reality... when he is not.) I hope that's close to being right. The naive scientist then imagines the phenomena he observes is in fact noumena; ie. he thinks he's observing reality when in fact he's observing a human 'interpreation' of the data. (I take kant to mean Reality doesn't exist; that all we have is our human perceptions of some other realm.)

6. Lipton wants to take a 'seperate worlds' approach to this 'conflict.' I think he means by this that 'science' is one world (ie. raw data) and 'religion is another world (the human 'input' into our phenomenal experience) He then claims that there can be no contradiction between the two.

- I assume he means that without the human input there would be no phenomena for scientists to investigate. An obvious objection would be; 'why then does the E. and the C. see the world differently?' I guess the answer is that there is no such thing as generic input; that the 'world' is more complex than a rainbow... that while the E. and the C. both see a rainbow other things are more complex. ie. it's not simply physical organs that are involved, it's ideas, world views, desires, etc.

- if I'm right he's saying there is no such thing as our ability to know things in themselves; i.e. the E. will see things one way and the C. another. It's not that the E. sees correctly and the C. incorrectly (or vice versa) but that we see an expression of who we are so to speak. i.e. we cannot know the noumenal realm.

7. He talks about the view of Bas van Fraassen (who I've tried to listen to, but find confusing) who claims the function of science is not to be revelatory about some unseen world (i.e. raw data) but to be useful? (VF calls his view constructive empiricism?) VF sees theories as 'computers' that make predictions....? (The realist thinks theories are maps of reality) The instrumentalist asks not is it true but will it give us good predictions?
- see notes for a link to online lectures by Fraassen.

8. VF talks about 'immersion' - that you don't have to believe a theory is true to be able to use it... He also says scientists should never believe that their theories are true (but merely that they work?)
- I take it L. wants to apply VF to religion.

9. in the Q+A Lipton wants to make it clear he's not a fundamentalist, (horrors) that he believes some of the text but not all.

- This is what I've come to call the fallacy of abstractionism. i.e. while people talk about religion, in reality there is no such thing as religion; no such thing as text; etc.)

10. A questioner wants to play the old game of science giving us facts and 'religious' people giving us fantasies. He accuses Lipton of taking away the one thing religious people want; namely certainty.

- You can listen to the lecture to hear Lipton's reply but let me say that people like this young man can't seem to understand that its utterly useless to talk in these vague terms! A christian must speak as a christian... not about some vague thing called religion. It's impossible to speak meaningfully about 'religion.' (I would dispute his claim that the Bible is full of untruths, and I would point out that Materialism is full of them.) A generic debate is the most useless thing on earth. (It's like throwing marshmellows at one another :=) It will Never get anywhere.

11. the Q. person compares 'true belief' to a drug. He apparently doesn't have the wit to see his belief in materialism is true belief as well... in fact a far more certain belief than 99.999 percent of religious' belief. I don't think he doubts the materialist world view for a second. That's the kind of true belief he has!

12. Lipton wants to strip the supernatural out of religion. I'll always wonder, '' why bother then?" I don't get it.

13. L. seems to suggest that VF takes a fundamentalist approach to religion, and an instrumentalist approach to science... as a way of dealing with the tension between the two. (He at least suggested a person could do this he might not have had VF in mind.)

14. It seems to me that he misconstrues kant when he says, 'we can't know the noumenal realm when we talk about 'religion' but we can when we talk about 'science.' I don't think this is what Kant said. I'm the furthest thing from a kantian scholar there is but I think it was kant's view that one couldn't know the noumenal realm in any sense at all. I don't think he agreed with this pretense 'science' gives us facts and 'religion' gives us warm fuzzies. (It seems to me Lipton was very much a liberal and wanted to keep 'religion' but as a nice fuzzy; but is really keen on keeping the 'facts' of science which he claims are real.
This just is not Kant. (If it is... I reject it.) The fact you can see a rainbow doesn't make it any more real than god. Perhaps a bad illustration; VF uses it; i.e. we see a rainbow because of the way our 'brains' are constituted... not because it exists. In other words, our perceptions are very often illusory... no rainbow exists. So to say our perceptions of a 'physical' world are real and what the bible says about the 'supernatural' is unreal is just naive. I want to say that we cannot know the noumenal at all; certainly not if we are just mindless products of chemical Accidentalism.
A Christian believes on faith that god has given him a glimpse into the 'noumenal' realm; ie. without revelation he cannot know it all. If Lipton is saying 'I'm only talking about things we experience as physical' I would say that the physicicsts deny there's anything physical to the table I'm pounding on... that it's just particles. So here too the perception is illusory.

15. On reflection he might be right about Kant; but it's a joke. If what Kant says is true... there's NO reason to take perceptions to be snapshots of reality.

16. It's false to say only 'religion' has metaphor; modern science is shot through with metaphor... (ie. the big bang, natural selection, etc.)

17. After listening you might want to compare this lecture with one given by another Jewish fellow, this time at the evil (hisssss) Discovery Institute. (see notes) I remember he also talked about the Torah (or was it the commentary on it?) and how the rabbis had so much respect for what was said that they never rejected it outright, no matter how strange a comment seemed. They would just try (even for centuries) to figure out some way a seemingly 'fallacious' statement could be understood. Lipton on the other hand admits to rejecting various things in the Torah.

1.Bas van Fraassen, Terry Lectures ; lectures on science
1a. Ernest Nagel Lectures; 3 lectures on 'Trying to be an empiricist'
2. Benjamin Rosenblum; 'Is Darwinism Kosher?'
3. Lipton died in 2007, a year or so after this lecture (video) was given.
4. Let me admit that I'm over my head when dealing with Kant. I begin by thinking I get it, and then end up confused.
5. Lipton sounds very much like a liberal christian theologian; a kind of higher critic of the Torah.
6. I would think every true Christian ought to at least hold out a possibility the 'difficult' passages (claims) in the bible might be true; that he or she should reject nothing in an absolute sense. Let's take that favorite topic of controversy; the creation of the earth in 6 days, 6 thousand years ago. To anyone familiar with modern astronomy this seems impossible. Out of respect for scripture I want to believe that this is a true account; but it's very difficult to do. But rather than reject this claim outright I want to say instead that I don't understand how it could be true, that it's a mystery I can't account for. I don't want to say it cannot possibly be true. The universe of our perceptions may be quite different in reality (or at a deeper level) than we know, or can even imagine. The 'world' may not be what it appears. But I don't need to reject a 'literal' reading of Gen. to do astronomy. I can hold out a possibility a 'plain' reading of gen. could be true, and still suppose it's more likely the universe is billions of years old. I can admit that it seems to be the case that the universe is very much older than gen. would lead us to believe. At the same time it's necessary to point out that the 'old' age of the universe is based upon theories. It is a theory that the universe is 15 (or however big the number is today) billion years old. We can't prove that it's that old, or that young.