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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Beware of Scientism and the Technocrats

At the beginning of the movie “Van Helsing,” Dracula, sounding much like a faithful member of today’s left, joyfully exclaims to Dr. Frankenstein that his monster, just brought to life, is a “victory of science over God.” Writing in the UK’s Guardian, Julian Baggini declared that any religion “that seeks to explain the hows of the universe…is competing with science. In such contests science always wins, hands down, and the only way out is to claim a priority for faith over evidence, or the Bible over the lab.”

Scientist and former White House senior policy advisor Jeff Schweitzer recently declared that “Religion and science are incompatible at every level. The two seek different answers to separate questions using fundamentally and inherently incompatible methods. Nothing can truly bring the two together without sacrificing intellectual honesty.”

Renowned Darwinist Jerry Coyne, who also believes that religion and science are fundamentally incompatible, recently made the asinine and ignorant conclusion that “all the achievements of both ancient and modern science have been made by explicitly rejecting the theistic view that God has a hand in the universe, and that religion, if it ever did inspire scientific research, doesn’t do so any longer.”

The word “science” is derived from the Latin word “scientia,” meaning “knowledge.” All knowledge is derived from certain governing presuppositions. In other words, each side of every issue that human beings debate ultimately has certain un-provable assumptions upon which they must eventually rely. As the late philosopher, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, put it, “At the most fundamental level of everyone's thinking and beliefs there are primary convictions about reality, man, the world, knowledge, truth, behavior, and such things. Convictions about which all other experience is organized, interpreted, and applied.”

Likewise, theologian, author, and pastor, R.C. Sproul, recently discussed the “lasting impression” that the book, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science, which he read over 50 years ago, had made upon him. He noted that the book was so influential to him because it “clearly set forth the importance of understanding that all scientific theories presuppose certain philosophical premises.”

The concept of “primary convictions” or presupposed “philosophical premises” is important when it comes to the nonsense that is religion vs. science. Religion and science are not mutually exclusive arenas where we must leave one completely behind as we cross over into the other.

Anyone can practice good science while operating from a biblical worldview (such as Pasteur, Pascal, Newton, Kepler, et al). If this is not the case, then how did Newton, considered by many the greatest scientist of all time, ever invent calculus and develop his laws of motion and universal gravitation while operating from a strict biblical worldview? Newton also calculated the age of the earth to be only a few thousand years old and declared, “For an educated man…any suggestion that the human past extended back further than 6,000 years was a vain and foolish speculation.”

If science and religion are “fundamentally incompatible,” how did Pasteur, the father of modern medicine and a firm believer in God and His Word, ever discover the principles of vaccination, fermentation, and pasteurization? If, as Coyne declares, Darwinian evolution is “biology’s greatest theory,” then why did Pasteur directly oppose Darwin and his theory, all the while conducting experiments to enhance the Law of Biogenesis?

Just as there were centuries ago, today there are scientists with a biblical worldview in every field of science. They go to school, study, graduate; they go to church, worship, pray, read (and believe) Scripture; and they go to work, conduct research, develop products, heal the sick; all the while operating completely unfettered (except by the opposition they endure from the enemies of faith) in their fields.

Likewise, some things involving matters of faith can be tested (observed, measured, and repeated). There is bountiful evidence (the field of archaeology has been a great friend to Christianity) for everything I believe about God and His creation. In other words, there is no battle between science and religion. The only competition that exists when it comes to our pursuit of knowledge and truth lies in our worldviews, or one might say, our presupposed “philosophical premises.”

Nevertheless, the idea that there is some battle between science and religion—especially Christianity—simply won’t go away. According to today's left, politicians, judges, military officers, policemen, teachers, and so forth are never to be guided by religion, but always by “science.” Thus, with their common liberal worldview (that is extremely hostile to religion—especially Christianity), we now have a disastrous marriage between the liberals who dominate “modern science” and those who dominate Big Government.

I wonder if “geniuses” such as Baggini, Schweitzer, and Coyne applied their massive intellectual powers to the merits of the disaster that is now Obamacare, or to the debate over when human life begins, or to the many dangers of homosexual behavior, or to the myth of anthropogenic global warming. Wouldn’t you want to wager that, in spite of what many see as clear moral and scientific evidence to the contrary, such “scientists” abandon almost all reason and tow the liberal line when it comes to issues such as health-care, abortion, homosexuality, marriage, guns, and “climate change”?

Writing about the “great issues” of his day, C.S. Lewis wrote in 1940, “Lord! How I loathe great issues…Could one start a Stagnation Party— which at General Elections would boast that during its term of office no event of the least importance had taken place?” Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, John G. West writes that “According to stepson David Gresham, Lewis was skeptical of politicians and not really interested in current events. His concern was not policy but principle; political problems of the day were interesting to him only insofar as they involved matters that endured.”

Nevertheless, West adds that Lewis did indeed have a “great deal” to say about politics, writing about such things as crime, obscenity, capital punishment, communism, fascism, socialism, war, the welfare state, and so on. West noted that, “It is precisely because Lewis was so uninterested in ordinary political affairs that he has so much to tell us about politics in the broad sense of the term. By avoiding the partisan strife of his own time, he was able to articulate enduring political standards for all time.”

Nowhere is this clearer, West states, than in Lewis’ writings on tyranny and morality. According to West, Lewis was particularly concerned with the tyranny that could result from the union of modern science and the modern state.

Lewis disputed the notion that we must rely on the counsel of scientists because only they have the answers to today's complicated problems. He did not dispute their knowledge, but concluded that most of it was irrelevant. In West’s words, “Political problems are preeminently moral problems, and scientists are not equipped to function as moralists.” Lewis added that, “I dread specialists in power [such as our now numerous political “czars”] because they are specialists speaking outside their special subjects. Let scientists tell us about sciences. But government involves questions about the good for man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man's opinion no added value.”

What such “specialists in power” do is give a Big Government, which is already too willing to encroach on our lives, even more of a reason for doing so. This is especially true in times of crisis. (“Never let a crisis go to waste,” right?) In such times many of us are far too eager to become what Lewis called in 1958 “Willing Slaves of the Welfare State.”

Typically, in order for any oligarchy effectively to rise and rule, it needs some “extreme peril,” something to cure, some desperate need that the rulers promise to fulfill. As Lewis asked, is this not “the ideal opportunity for enslavement?”

When a generation lives in fear or dread of some looming crisis or when a society is made to believe that someone else can provide the things that it cannot live without, is this not the opportunity for those who seek to rule over us to be seen as liberators rather than the tyrants that they are? Were not Stalin and Hitler first seen as saviors and deliverers? 

Following two world wars and in the midst of a cold war, Lewis wrote that “The increasing complexity and precariousness of our economic life have forced Government to take over many spheres of activity once left to choice or chance…The modern State exists not to protect our rights but to do us good or make us good…Read Montaigne; that’s the voice of a man with his legs under his own table, eating mutton and turnips raised on his own land. Who will talk like that when the State is everyone’s schoolmaster and employer?”

To “fix” our problems (whether real or perceived) and to exert the power and influence necessary, the new ruling class must more and more rely on the “experts.” This means that the politicians must increasingly rely on the knowledge and advice of scientists, until, in the end, the politicians become “merely the scientists’ puppets.”

Thus, we get the motto of the technocrats: “only science can save us now.” Whether it is global warming, stem-cell research, the beginning of life, healthcare, crime, homosexuality and marriage, or even gun control or economic policies, the technocrats have the answers. After all, as Lewis also noted, “If we are to be mothered, mother must know best.”

In other words, many of our politicians (and scientists alike) are surrendering themselves to scientism. Scientism is not science. It is an ideology that is often confused with science. It is, rather, an abuse of the scientific method and scientific authority.

Scientism can also be classified as a religion. It is a religion with many denominations: Darwinism, environmentalism, feminism, hedonism, humanism, Marxism, socialism, and so on. How many Americans now find their fulfillment and purpose in these movements? They celebrate Earth Day and Darwin Day. They boldly assert, “Science is my Savior.”

Also, scientism arrogantly attempts to lift itself above all other beliefs and disciplines—philosophy and theology included. “Philosophy is dead,” declared Stephen Hawking in his 2010 book The Grand Design. It is dead because, “Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics.”

Thus, as we see, scientism seeks to elevate the methods of natural science to a level where it is the bar by which every other intellectual discipline is held. Scientism ridicules faith and religion and tells us that “God is dead.” Scientism tells us that the “debate is over,” so shut up and get in line.

And, of course, scientism leads us to technocracy. “I dread government in the name of science,” said Lewis. “That is how tyrannies come in.” What a profound conclusion! How many of us have been duped in the name of “science”? How many of us cower and yield, because, well, if the “scientists” (and then the politicians) tell us so, then it must be so?

We can see the results: generations are taught that life began without God; that the use of fossil fuels is warming the earth; that homosexuality is genetic and unchangeable; that abortion is not really the taking of a life; that marriage is whatever we want it to be; that confiscating the wealth of some to give to others is “fair;” that guns are evil; and so on. Of course, we then get laws and official government policy based on such conclusions.

Sadly, too many of us then grow accustomed to our chains. We become children, or pupils of the State (like “Julia”). We continue to elect leaders who perpetuate the cycle of the “Welfare State” based significantly on the lies of scientism. It’s time for Americans to wake up to this perversion of science and return science, faith, philosophy, and by all means, common sense, to their proper place.

(A version of this appeared in American Thinker in 2012.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Walmart's (and America's) Lesson in Greed

Right up there with abortion, homosexuality, and man-made global warming, few things rally liberals like “corporate greed.” Writing for Salon.com earlier this year, Bill Moyers declared, “Corporate greed is poisoning America—literally.” The Huffington Post has pages and pages dedicated to it, and the whole Occupy Wall Street movement was founded upon it. And of course, who could forget, “In this world…where white folks’ greed runs a world in need.”

Financially speaking, my wife Michelle and I are disciples of the late Larry Burkett. Michelle worked full time for Larry’s ministry Christian Financial Concepts (now Crown Financial Ministries) from 1997 until 2002. After the birth of our first child, she worked part time from home and continues in that capacity today. My life was changed dramatically very early in our marriage when I went through Larry’s How to Manage Your Money (HTMYM) Bible study (which is now over 20 years old).

In the study, Larry spends a lot of time talking about debt. Of course, in our culture today, when it comes to financial matters, debt remains topic number one. One of the early chapters in HTMYM is entitled “The Perils of Money.” In this chapter, along with later ones such as “Motives for Accumulating Wealth,” and “How Much is Enough?” Larry also spends a lot of time dealing with the issue of greed.

When it comes to greed, Larry makes a great point that often escapes most people, especially those who think that only the rich or large corporations are capable of greed: an attitude of greed can creep in whether one is blessed with a great deal in the way of material possessions or very little. Case in point is the raid on the Walmarts in Springhill and Mansfield Louisiana by EBT (food stamp) card carriers.

As you’ve no-doubt heard by now, on Saturday October 12, due to a glitch that occurred during a routine back-up test, the EBT system went down in several states. According to Xerox, a vendor for the EBT system, as a result of the glitch, EBT card limits were erased. Most stores put a hold on EBT purchases, or at least called to verify balances, but not the Walmarts in Springhill and Mansfield.

Walmart executives told these stores to allow purchases to continue. As word spread of Walmart’s decision, the stores were flooded with those ready to take advantage. What resulted was a shopping frenzy that was reportedly worse than any Black Friday spree ever witnessed. Shoppers packed buggies to the rim, with some filling as many as eight to ten carts. Meat coolers were emptied and the store shelves were left bare (no small feat for anyone who’s familiar with today’s Walmart).

One observer, who took cell phone video of the shopping carnage, concluded that it was simply human nature that led the shoppers to fill their carts to overflowing. Another couple called it “plain theft, that's stealing that's all I got to say about it.” They’re both right.

The Walmart EBT raid is simply another example of the mentality and behavior that results from our entitlement culture. Left to ourselves, and enabled by Big Government that is ready and willing to buy votes, “plain theft” is the natural human reaction when one has been conditioned by out of control Big Government handouts. We see this behavior time and again (more often than a media replete with liberals would like to report).

As I noted last year, for several months after winning a $1 million state lottery jackpot, 25-year-old Michigan resident, Amanda Clayton, collected thousands of dollars in state assistance. Clayton reportedly received approximately $5,500 in food stamps and public medical benefits. She was exposed by a Detroit news station, WDIV-TV4, in March of 2012 and was arrested for welfare fraud.

When confronted by the Detroit station and asked if she felt that she had a right to the money, Clayton replied, “I mean I kinda do.” She further added, “I feel that it’s okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.” Clayton then declared that she intended to continue to use her benefits until she was cut off.

In June of 2010 Leroy Hick won $2 million in a Michigan state lottery TV show. In May of 2011, the Detroit News noted that, according to Hick’s attorney, Michigan’s state “Department of Human Services determined he was still eligible for food stamps.”

Fick declared, “If you’re going to try to make me feel bad, you’re not going to do it.” His attorney added, “I am not going to sit and debate the ethics of this…from his standpoint, he did what he was supposed to do — he informed the state, and the state said he could keep using the card. The problem is with the state.”

Do you think the Walmart raiders felt as if they had won the lottery? Do you think they “feel bad” because of their behavior? I doubt it. Of course, such behavior is often what results when human beings are perpetually handed things that they don’t have to work for. Of course, not everyone receiving welfare is guilty of greed, but make no mistake about it, with one-out-of-six Americans receiving food stamps, we are almost certainly dealing with a rampant culture of greed.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Saturday, October 12, 2013

L.A. Schools Celebrate Sin

As we continue our march towards Sodom and Gomorrah, the pagans leading the L.A. schools are trying to hasten our arrival. The second largest school district in the United States has decided that it wants its teachers to wear badges identifying themselves as LGBT "allies."

As they kicked off the event Thursday, L.A. school superintendent John Deasy said the effort was necessary to prevent gay students from being bullied. In a statement to the L.A. Times, Deasy said "We want all of our youth and staff to know that it is safe to be you (homosexual) in LAUSD."

According to the Daily Caller, "The front sides of the badges have the word 'ally' written on them in several different languages, which will help teachers celebrate the fabulousness of gay students, gay fellow teachers, and other gays, whose gayness automatically merits universal applause and celebration. Allies are straight supporters of gay people and gay marriage.

Deasy takes the normal liberal chant of "tolerance" even further as he told CBS News that he wanted the school staff to be not just tolerant, but accepting. "It is safe to be you. We are proud of who you are,” he said. “Our campuses don’t want tolerance, we want acceptance."

I wonder if LA schools are just as "tolerant" or "accepting" of those who deem homosexual behavior wicked and sinful? What if a teacher (or student) chose to wear a pro-family or pro-marriage badge? Would Deasy feel just as proud of such free-speech?

How many times does it have to be said that the same-sex marriage movement is not simply about marriage? (And for that matter, neither are anti-bullying campaigns just about bullying.) This is about sex and about legitimizing, through the American judicial system, a sexual lifestyle that the Bible deems, and many Americans find, immoral.

Whether or not same-sex marriage is the law of the land, government school systems that are run by liberals will take every opportunity to push the pro-homosexual agenda. Thus, children all across America that are cursed by being trapped in these liberal hell-holes will not only be taught that two mommies or two daddies (why limit it to two?) are okay, but that homosexual activity is normal and to be celebrated.

Of course, this is what happens when we are governed by Sodomites.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Making a god of Government

Recently, Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, and a leader of the so-called “evangelical left,” declared the government shutdown was “unbiblical.” On a video produced by Sojourners, Wallis said, “There is a deeper problem here than politics. There is a theological problem. As a Christian, I want to say, shutting down government is unbiblical.”

With his long-time, deep-seated liberal worldview, Wallis comes to this conclusion because the conservatives with whom he disagrees “don't believe in government per se. They want to destroy the House [of Representatives] and shut it down. That's not biblical.” He continues, “Secondly, because government has a biblical responsibility to care for the poor, they're against poor people. They get hostile to the poor because they are hostile to government. That's also wrong. It's unbiblical.”

In addition to being a complete lie (there are at least three in Mr. Wallis’ statement—is lying “unbiblical?”), it is a worn-out, but reliable, tactic of liberals to attack conservatives as uncaring, cold-hearted, uncompassionate, selfish brutes whenever the idea of shrinking government is broached. But “unbiblical?” Please. (As my website has declared for years, “It is no act of charity to be generous with someone else’s money.)

One really has to be committed to a Big Government worldview to use Scripture to try to shame conservatives. The GOP presidential debate of September 2011 provides a great example of Democrats, aided by their allies in the Mainstream Media, using this line of attack.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer presented Ron Paul and other republicans with a hypothetical: A 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly finds himself in need of six months of intensive care—Blitzer wanted to know what the “compassionate conservative” response would be.

Congressman Paul stated, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Thrilling liberals everywhere, Blitzer pressed the matter and asked whether “society should just let him die.” The New York Times’ Paul Krugman piously concluded that, “The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.”

Asking “Where Are the Compassionate Conservatives,” Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson, noted that Blitzer next turned to Michele Bachmann, “whose popularity with evangelical Christian voters stems, at least in part, from her own professed born-again faith. Asked what she would do about the man in the coma, Bachmann ignored the question and launched into a canned explanation of why she wants to repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act.”

Robinson then declared that, “According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told the Pharisees that God commands us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ There is no asterisk making this obligation null and void if circumstances require its fulfillment via government.”

The book of Luke records that, when Jesus is asked by “an expert in the Law” what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asks him what the Law requires. The man answers correctly: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Sounding like a liberal pundit or politician, or as Scripture puts it, “attempting to justify himself,” the man smugly asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor?” That is when Jesus launches into the Good Samaritan parable. Of course, the parable reveals that, as a true act of love, a Samaritan—whom the Jews of Jesus’ day generally despised—took care of an injured Jew on his own time and with his own resources. (Not quite the picture of Obamacare that today’s liberals would have us believe.)

Liberals love to quote Scripture when they think it might help them further their Big Government social agenda. They also love to talk about compassion and morality but would prefer it if you left Scripture out of it. Perhaps if more liberals were for posting the Ten Commandments in every public school and post office in the U.S., more Americans would feel comfortable putting health care in the hands of the federal government.

Perhaps if more liberals were willing to allow their morality and compassion to move them to protect the most defenseless among us—the unborn—more Americans would take them seriously when they talk in terms of “moral visions,” “compassion,” or “caring for the poor.”

Why would any sincere Christian want to put caring for the poor, or any other charitable act for that matter, in the hands of a godless secular government (the type of government that, of course, most of today’s liberals crave)? Is it Christ-like to support legislation that promotes servitude, dependence, and massively grows government—to the tune of trillions of dollars—all the while piling up more and more debt?

The bottom line here is that most liberals, at least those who end up getting elected, do not allow Christian morality to guide their politics. (Is that not the song-and-dance we get from Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, et al when it comes to abortion?) Instead, bowing at the altar of Big Government, they simply align their politics with whatever morality will get them elected or re-elected. (See the same-sex marriage debate.)

Good government should be rooted in Christian morality. (All law is rooted in some morality.) As I’ve said recently, good government must recognize what it means truly to come to the aid of those in need; what it takes truly to change bad behavior—something that “gets to the heart” of individuals—and, at best, partner with such efforts, or at least, do nothing to hinder them. Most importantly, good government should never enact laws that are contradictory to the laws of God. As Blackstone taught us, “[The] laws laid down by God are the eternal immutable laws of good and evil…This law of nature dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this…”

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What's Wrong with Incest?

The left-wing media, and no doubt the low-information voters who lap up their drivel, have got themselves in another faux tizzy over a GOP politician’s (this time it’s Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett) comments on same-sex marriage. You can tell that Corbett is near election time (he’s up for re-election this year).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Corbett “compared same-sex marriage to incest in a TV interview.” Actually, what Corbett did, was to say that an analogy, where same-sex marriage was compared to child marriage, that his legal team used while defending true (biblical) marriage, was not a good analogy. Responding to a reporter, Corbett said that “I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don’t you?”

The AJC piece (courtesy of Newsy.com it says near the top) doesn’t use the phrase “same-sex” marriage. While describing Corbett’s “profoundly sad and disturbing” comments it uses the phrasing “the marriage of gay couples.” Corbett never mentions incest or sex at all. Of course, for many liberals almost everything comes down to sex. Because, you see, for the left this debate isn’t really about marriage, it’s about homosexuality, and forcing its legitimacy upon us through any means necessary.

Apparently it continues to escape most, if not all, on the left, that eventually one must “discriminate” when it comes to defining marriage. I suppose, at least at this point anyway, that incest is a line too far for many liberals. But why? Why the moral outrage over incest? What’s wrong with incest? Who or what says that incest is wrong? What moral code are liberals using to condemn incest?

Apparently it also escapes most liberals that, whether people realize it or not, our objections to incest almost exclusively stem from a biblical admonition against it. Why else oppose it? Because of the likely genetic harm faced by children produced from such relationships? Since when does the left concern itself with the unborn? After all, we all know well their solution to such problems.

Make no mistake about it, if it became politically popular to support incest, the left would be all on board. Of course, such positions are easy when one has little to no moral standards at all.

(See the articles and columns I've linked to on homosexuality and marriage here.)

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World