Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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ID could not have come from "demonstrably unbiased scientists" because it is an idea that has no evidence save intellectual meandering, no falsifiable premises, and hence no scientific validity whatsoever. Any truly unbiased scientist who came up with the concept would have been laughed out of the conference.

Darell you label as a "centrist" above, I see nothing centrist about someone who describes the evidence for evolution to be minimal. The only reason evolution will not be "proven" is the same reason why gravity has not been "proven" - it is in the definition of the word theory. In the sciences, proofs only occur in mathematics. Overwhelmingly supported theories occur elsewhere.

He also suggests that ID is in fact true until and unless science can prove it, which is utter bunk, and completely opposite the scientific method.

His wistful, philosophical closure also has nothing to do with science, and goes yet further to prove that ID belongs at best in the soft social sciences, where disagreement between experts is common, or more appropriately in the philosophy and theology departments.

The very fact that Bush is pushing ID is enough to show that the religious right is nearly its entire cheerleading section. He's throwing the scientists to the slavering evangelical lions.



He also suggests that ID is in fact true until and unless science can prove it *false*


Disagreement between experts isn't common in the hard sciences? Excuse me -- look at the competing theories in cosmology . . . Lockstep has no place in science. Violent controversy often leads to revolutionary innovation. In medical science, the guy who discovered that a bacterium causes most stomach ulcers was almost laughed out of town for over a decade. . . . The vituperative response of what really ought to be called small-s "scientologists" reveals some sort of dogmatism, which is always the other face of insecurity.


Yeah, these angry responses to ID have the ring of ideology to them.

Of course, if I saw what I saw was the truth staring us all in the face, and a significant number of people, including the President, said it wasn't the truth, my comments would have the ring of ideology, too.

And that's using "ideology" as a euphemism.


I accept that disagreement in the hard sciences occurs. However, generally it occurs on small points of theory, not over the entire theory itself, at least since the maturation of modern scientific methodology. Whether that means creativity and original thinking is stifled, or if it means that the finer points have been settled to most people's satisfaction is a question for the philosophers.

The problem that I keep pointing to with ID is that it has NO evidence. There is *no way* to test it to provide convincing evidence. The only way it can be accepted is by faith, which takes it squarely out of science and into religion.

It is similar to stating that there is a planet somewhere in a galaxy 7 billion light years away that contains a race genetically similar to humans. Sure, it is possible, but we have no means of generating any evidence whatsoever about their existence or nature. Technically this claim is superior to ID in its scientific validity, because it actually makes falsifiable predictions. We could eventually travel 7 billion light years away and see if that planet exists, and who lives there.

ID cannot be proven or disproven, and is thus by definition nonscientific. If ID could come up with even ONE laboratory testable hypothesis, and if that test were to show measurable results supporting ID, then I would accept that it could be treated in a scientific fashion, but even then it would be far behind the remainder of evolution in scientifically proven validity.

Seth Chalmer

I agree with Captain Frogbert.

And I insist that the whole debate is taking place on the wrong level. It isn't a question of what happened. Both happenned. Not metaphorically...Really, both happened.

The Divine is beyond the capacity of our brains. To define it down to definable terms is simpleminded foolery--or even, from a religious standpoint, blasphemy.

Of course there was evolution. Of course there was Divine guidance of it. But you can teach the former in logical, concrete terms. You just can't teach the latter well without being emotional, poetic, humble and religious. Just as with love, you can write poems and songs about the Creation, but not essays. It was beyond logical, reaonsed description.

Science classes aren't for pondering the ineffable--they're for studying things falling firmly within the grasp of reason, logic and evidence. Excluding intelligent design from science classes isn't degrading the concept--it's keeping it in th proper context.

Bring up intelligent design in philosophy class, or comparitive religion class, or Bible class. (And yes, there's a way to teach thre Bible without preaching it. You just have ot be careful.)

I refer anyone the least bit interested to two posts from my own modest blog:


And there you will find that Rav Abraham Joshua Heschel said:

"Even the very act of thinking baffles our thinking, just as every intelligible fact is, by virtue of its being a fact, drunk with baffling aloofness..."


/applaud Seth - very well said.

I have no objection to the idea as a philophical or religious concept. It is when it is described as science that I get my rant on.

And Amba - my liberal literal scientific left-brained mind responds to Heschel's quote with..."huh?"


My feelings about science is, science doesn't explain everything. Science doesn't explain dowsing, but we know it works. Science also doesn't explain God, but people believe in him.

Brad DeLong

Re: "If the idea had come from demonstrably unbiased scientists, who thought they saw evidence of a creative and responsive rather than blind mechanism at work in life's intricate variation and adaptation, then religious people could have welcomed the new theory without being suspected of having cooked it up to comport with their faith..."

But that's not where the idea came from, is it?

What's the ID explanation for the hipbones of the blue whale?


Spud, bravo!! I love that Heschel fella, too. I'm right-brained :) It reminds me of a madrigal we sang in high school... Sophomoric something or other.
" The more you study, the more you know. The more you know, the more you 4get. The more you 4get, the less you know... SO, why study?

I never have linked science to God, but have always linked God to science. I also have a bito patience and like my panties un-twisted, so my dog is now outta this ... game. :)


sleipner and Seth have already pointed out the fault with treating ID as science, and advocate the position I support of considering ID only in non-science (philosophy, etc.) classes. I'd love to see a high school class which treats everyone from St. Augustine to Thomas Aquinas to Martin Luther to William Paley (the original proponent of ID over 200 years ago; it amazes me that it's so successfully passed off as a modern concept).

All I would add is a comment toward your quoted passage from ID proponent Darrell. The history of science is not merely one of "theory and conjecture." It is also about *evidence.* Scientific theories are not proposed on a whim. They are based on an examination of the evidence. No theory ever explains every piece of evidence perfectly, but any new theory must explain at least as much of the evidence as the old theory did in order to have a chance at acceptance. Competing theories exist in science, but no scientific theory exists prior to the evidence. ID is exactly the opposite: it is a "theory" that stands regardless of evidence, and attempts to direct evidence toward itself. It represents exactly what science is not.


Karen - I always thought it was the more you drank the more you 4got ;) I'm on #2 at the moment so all happy & cheery with the world. Alcohol seems the only way to instill any level of optimism in this country for me, at least til the next election.

And Brad - good point about hipbones. Plus the appendix on humans (a throwback to our herbivorous ancestors), nipples on men, wisdom teeth that don't fit in our mouths, and innumerable other oddities that are quite unintelligent in design. I recall a post recently here that discussed a number of those irregularities...kinda suggests if intelligence was involved it was just as an initial spark & then let things run off on their which case, why suppose intelligence at all? name is Brad too.


Ahhah! Out of the Brad closet!

Sleip, as for the "unintelligence" of male nipples:

1) Men and women are made from the same basic body plan, with different hormones thrown in. That's actually more efficient than making two completely different models. Every unique structure that is found in the body of either sex has either a transformed or a vestigial equivalent in the other sex.

2) As a bonus, males can actually do backup nursing of babies who've lost their mothers. Yeah, really!

It may not have been intelligently designed, but stupid it ain't.

Seth Chalmer

P.S. Can we all agree that Sam Harris is just plain nasty?

Marc Schneider

I'm not a big fan of the "anti-anti-theists" like Dawkins. I think they do more harm than good in expounding science. What makes him think that people want to replace the Gideon Bible in hotel rooms? Dawkins illustrates the kind of arrogance that emanates from some scientists--that science is the only reasonable way to think about existential issues and that philosophy, religion, and literature are simply a waste of time. So, in a lot of cases, the scientific community cuts itself off from the general public and makes the public susceptible to anti-scientific explanations like Intelligent Design. (I sort of hestiate to capitalize it.)

We should also remember that it's not just the political right that has been anti-science and for much of the same reason that the religious right rejects it today. During the 60s, much of the left was anti-science (in part because of the role science played in buidling nuclear weapons). And, in fact, today, you still have a post-modernist approach that treats science as a social construct.

The point is, people are looking for meaning in their existence. Religion, philosophy, literature--these give meaning that science often cannot. And I say this as someone who is not a believer.

Having said that, I have little patience with this movement that tries to conflate science (evolution) with non-science (intelligent design). They are not the same thing. Intelligent Design is simply unprovable. And the fact that science cannot currently provide an explanation for all phenomena is not evidence that it will not someday. Gravity wasn't a theory until someone developed it. it is unacceptable to me to conflate science with religion and try to pretend that religion is science. Intelligent Design is not science and never can be. As others noted, let people discuss it in philosophy or religion classes, but don't teach it as an alternative to evolution.


Is religion still taught in public schools? I'm sure Bush just wants equal coverage, not necessarily calling the two equal. It's his way of offering religion back into schools(oh, no!!)

Isn't evoluto=ion a theory?


"Unbiased" Science

amba said:
"If the idea had come from demonstrably unbiased scientists..."

I'm wondering if you could provide a definition of what an "unbiased scientist" is.

The fact of the matter is that we all have biases and predispositions--not the least of which includes extreme ideologues like Dawkins, whom you reference in your piece.

Implicit in your disclaimer, (and explicit in many of the articles written contra-ID), is nothing other than the ad-mominem fallacy: so and so has a certain philosophical perspective; therefore, his/her argument is "not science" or "suspect" or laced with "an agenda."

In my experience, people make these kinds of fallacious arguments because they can't make other, more substantial ones.


The other interesting thread involves proof, testability, falsifiability. For example, Seth says "Intelligent Design is simply unprovable," and sleipner bemoans it's lack of "falsifiable premises."

There is a certain amount of truth to such criticisms. I am aware of no one who has successfully proved ID to be either true or false.

But the same holds true for any other world view--including the philosophical naturalism that undergirds Darwinism. Thus, it seems like this argument is little more than a red herring.

I'm wondering if anyone can provide the means by which Darwinistic Evolution might be successfully falsified?

Note: By this I mean Evolution with a capital E (ie, the Grand Naturalist Creation Story), not the micro-evolutionary changes (fruit flies, moths, finches...) so often cited as the basis for the Grand Extrapolation.


Steve: simple. By an unbiased scientist I don't mean just any scientist. I mean one with an open mind. There are a few. Most scientists are biased in favor of "blind materialistic forces" explanations. My ideal "unbiased scientist" (who may not exist) would be one who didn't come to the question of evolution with a religious predisposition, who saw design not because he was already looking for it, but because he was looking at what was there. But maybe we can only see what we're already looking for.

I'm not traditionally religious, but before I'd ever heard of Intelligent Design, "random mutation" was the part of evolutionary theory I couldn't believe. First of all, most random mutations are deleterious. Second of all, it's the "enough monkeys on enough typewriters for enough eons would write Shakespeare." Uh-uh. I was wondering, what if there's an intelligence intrinsic to evolution that somehow perceives the environment and makes DNA mutate in a directed way.


Steve: suggest you read this post at Thoughts of an American Centrist.


Amba, to give you an extreme example of evolution, I just read an article recently about the HIV virus.

Did you know that 10 out of 11 virus copies infected cells churn out are nonviable due to mutations? That means that mutations are happening VERY frequently, and is thus the reason why the HIV virus is capable of mutating so quickly and gaining drug resistance so quickly. Mutations in certain areas related to the viral shell and other vital areas generally cause nonviable results, but mutations elsewhere can create a new variant of the disease.

In this particular case (if I recall) the mutation rate is much higher than for bacteria and above, or for some other kinds of viruses, because HIV is an RNA based virus, and RNA is more susceptible to mutation than DNA.

There are some who suggest that the first life on this planet was based on RNA or some other variant of DNA, because they would have created more possible variation more quickly, and would have been easier to generate randomly than full DNA.

Chris Hallquist

On random mutations: yes, they're random, but don't get this confused with evolution being completely random. Natural selection is decidedly non-random. Also, most mutations are small and neither very helpful or hurtful, as opposed to the things we tend to think of when we hear "mutation" (cancer and genetic diseases).

As for falsifiability: I don't know what Steve means by "philosophical naturalism that undergrinds Darwinism." Naturalism sometimes gets mixed up with testability. Testing ideas, I'd argue, is our only way of knowing anything, and if there are other ways (like metaphysical arguement), I think we can all agree they are outside science.

Here's an example of what might falsify macro-evolution: a species not related to any other. However, no matter how many species we discover, they're all related. (See's 29 evidences for macroevolution for more on this). This can be explained by saying it pleased the creator to make things that way, but it could also please the creator to make creatures with no conections to eachother. Evolution, however, only allows for apparently related organisms, and is at least more testable than the alternative.


This might just be that "objective scientist" I was looking for.


Oops, I should tip my hat to ID The Future for that. And here's that scientist's main home page.


The question you think he's objective because he believes in ID, or because he truly is? Frankly I think that if a scientist opens by suggesting creationism is a viable option he is most likely using that as his goal and "fixing the data" to suit his purposes.

Nick aps

First off, y’all should look at this brilliant satire by the editors of Scientific American. I admit, I’m basically stealing their material and fouling it up by using my own words.

Every time I have a debate with somebody about ID and we go over the whole non-testability deal (which sleipner has succinctly dealt with), they inevitably bring up the power of explanation: If one theory explains so much more than another, aren't we bound by reason to accept the more powerful scientific framework? ‘Cause theoretically, ID explains the whole kit and kaboodle.

This argument, at first glance, ain't the craziest hat in the haberdashery - why not try the theory that explains more? There are a lot of issues that science has yet to settle on, both at the beginning of life and at those epochal moments of creation. However, beyond laying down the God fiat, there seems to me a glaring weaknesses in this view:

Yes, more explanatory power is good, but ID doesn't explain, it vagues away the question. Evolution, through a combination of archeology, modern cellular biology and chemical analysis, can provide a very accurate, very precise look backwards in time. It has mechanisms and timelines, ways and means. Intelligent Design? What exactly does ID say? That someone, somewhere, sometime, did something and now we're here? You can blame it on the newness of the field (except that new car smell of ID is a bit deceptive) but frankly, for all the buzz it seems to get, do its proponents have any agreed framework? Some idea that is universally agreed upon that extends beyond the idea that evolution doesn’t explain complexity? I fail to see what we’re getting by tossing away evolution. And then, to teach in public schools that modern science is about endorsing vague critiques of rigorously tested science? Well, to be honest, there is one parallel - kids reading Das Kapital in their poli-sci classes.

Nick aps

Damn, the link didn't post right. Let's try this again.

Nick aps

The things I do for you people.

Add this to the end of the previous URL:


And this to the end of that



Chris says, 'Here's an example of what might falsify macro-evolution: a species not related to any other.'

That's a false assumption already within the context of your statement. Bone, skin, arms, legs does not put one in the same species. That's just the theory of evoulution in qualifying similar looking subjects. What we have found is the phyla and the tree not only grows new branches all the time, many times it loses entire branches and roots. It all depends on the next big discovery by paleontologist. But then with the genome comparisons, they're finding out that spinach has more in common with the monkey than the human(being satirical).

I'm different from any other species due to my intelligence and ability to comprehend complex logic in order to debunk the theory of evolution. Just because I have bone, skin, hair, eyes does not make me similar to a monkey anymore than a lima bean is to a cat.

I AM able to contemplate such scary subjects as 'intelligent design', negotiate large financial contracts, enjoy the scent of perfume with specific memory to an event which has divine intent and save for a rainy day, plus build a complex structure which can withstand any rain that may fall, delve into the meanderings of Robin Williams, sing silly melodies like I get knocked down, but I get up again only to enjoy the lilting tunes of a Bach concerto in E minor while holding the hand of my dearest whispering sweetest rythmic intonations of poets lullaby's while contemplating the next move onto the dance floor, reminding myself to call a client the next morning regarding the cost overrun's on a network matrix which I collaborated with a team of 5 people across the earth for a new internet communications protocol that will enable real-time robotic engineering qa analysis and repairs under the deepest of waters for the express interest of keeping people afloat in the economy based upon oil products that are located with satellite radioscopic geothermal technology to look deep into the earth's surface while Joe sets above the surface listening to his latest IPOD tune by Bono and the boys while his wife awaits him at home onshore with a decision to make about little Johnnie's future enrollment plans in a public or private school which may or may not teach divine and design.

No, your right, we're all just like monkeys. Joe will drop the IPOD in the ocean which will drift down and fall into the equipment that is analysing the current drift, causing a fluctuation of the electric current which shuts down the system overriding the generators which pump the oil, which feeds the cars and the homes which leaves us all in the dark, sitting in our trees.

Well... a little liberty of imagination, I pause to ask myself what my dog thinks. Oh yeah, I don't have a dog and if I did, he'd more than likely be sniffing his balls right about now.

OK, now I see what we have in common, except I cannot reach mine.

Gee, its good to know we all came from the same place. I feel like a deep dive into primordial soup just to get back to my real essence of being.

I wonder if 'the real scientist' over at SETI can help me find 'another intelligent world' with which I might fullfill this magical moment.

Then again, its more scientific to think of green men and spaceship than a man who says, 'love your enemies' or 'you are fearfully and wonderfully made'.

I get the logic now, of course. We're here by chance so that we can discover another civilization just like ours which evolved over billions of years except somehow they are either more evolved or less and their skin is green.

If this is too overly simplistic and satirical you must forgive me I only just evolved the ability to type coherant words and sentences and was not aware that evolution described with any reasonable saneness why man can clone sheep, a cat and a dog, but another intelligent being cannot clone us. Although I am unable to prove at the moment God is looking down at you, while you set in a chair, reading this message over a network attached to hundreds of millions of other users with some that can be seen by mini-cams and can-cams, with rfid chips and gps locational tracking and the governments big shoulders scouring through billions of lines of text, voice and data records searching for any clue that might give them a live chat or text from terrorist orgins of which this one small post might now be captured, raptured and snaptured(gingoism), therefore I cannot possibly see how a higher intelligence could possibly see me in the future or the past as it may be today.

Chris says, "This can be explained by saying it pleased the creator to make things that way, but it could also please the creator to make creatures with no conections to eachother. Evolution, however, only allows for apparently related organisms, and is at least more testable than the alternative."

Truth is QP has been tossing around the idea of multi-universes for sometimes like little bubbles that may contain entirely different laws and matter of which different realities may be taking places and therefore we have not a clue what is outside our known universe and therefore cannot limit our 'monkey-like' imaginations to one universal round donut fits in a square.

Woof, woof, oh gosh, there I go again, transporting back to historical haeckal like features of prior evolutionary steps from my four-footed forefathers of fierce focalized phyla.

Truth is, I have found a new way to pick my nose and therefore I expect the evolutionary genesis of this matter to produce a new survivability ratio of offspring with small noses, leading eventually to no noses which would leave just a patch for the sense of smell, in the commonsense approach that a whale first had to crawl out of the ocean to make it back in the ocean was first a bear, a fish, a cell and eventually its what I will hopefully be, reverting back to my one cell life of blissfull existence in my yellow submarine.

Ohhhhhhhhhh man... flashback to maryjane days are a real bummer. Where's my jar of monkey jerky. Nothing like eating up bits of dried smoked meat to hold me over til I get back to the cave.

Evolution in fact can account for any and all things related and unrelated through mini, micro, macro, punctuated, convergence, divergence, contrivance and avoidance, but never intelligence.

It is in fact the very being of my typing to you right now that disproves evolutionary theory's most basic concepts - that of disorder, random mutations and natural selection or whatever the new neo-darwinist shift of logic might be todays brand cereal which was dismissed as junk DNA prior to the discovery of new patterns which will open up even broader discussions for the design phase of human intelligence.

but hey, what do I know... I just eat grits and toast.... and my next door neighbor is not piltdown man, nor do I sleep next to a nebraska pig farm, but I've been told they both make good wood for the fire.

all in fun and humor...


Sleipner --

Did you actually read what that scientist said? He didn't say he "believes in ID." He was instrumental in the publication of a normally peer-reviewed paper by an ID advocate, which was approved by others as well. He said that what he studies isn't a theory of origins, it's a theory of the interrelationship among structures (at least, that's what I think he said), and that therefore he is able to talk to people who have various different theories of origins (apparently there are more variations on that theme than we layfolks know).


LOL!!!! What a great riff! I'll have what he's having . . .


So many ideas...
First, Falsification.
Thanks to sleipner for the following: “Here's an example of what might falsify macro-evolution: a species not related to any other…”

Allow me to disagree. Simply picking a virtually impossible hypothetical scenario and saying, “when this happens, my theory will be falsified,” is not falsification. What you suggest certainly isn’t testable in any real way based on the data we have available to us. If an IDer/creationist were to make a similar suggestion (“When God writes across the sky in indellible marker, then macroevolutionary theory will be falsified”) he would rightly be laughed out of the room.

So, my objection stands. I will admit that ID isn’t directly testable, but neither is Darwin’s Grand Claim.

Second, Randomness.
Sleipner again says: “On random mutations: yes, they're random, but don't get this confused with evolution being completely random. Natural selection is decidedly non-random.”

Indeed. Now, I’ll fully admit that I’m a layperson, but what would be a positive synonym for “non-random:” Intentional? Planned? Engineered? Or--perish the thought--the D-word?

Thus, its always interesting when people use design-laden language to argue against design. You’ve probably heard it before, but its worth posting Whitehead’s quote here: “Scientists animated by the purpose of proving that they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study.”

Lots more to say but I’m out of time. BTW, thanks for amba for the link to Richard Sternberg’s web page. I agree that he--as far as I can tell--constitutes an objective scientist. Very sad what the Darwinist establishment did to him, although I suppose to their credit, they were only acting consistently with their own world view and “selecting out” a perceived barrier to their own survival.



Thank you for the Whitehead quote, that's great.

"when people use design-laden language to argue against design": I wrote a whole post about that, here.


amba said:
Steve: suggest you read this post at Thoughts of an American Centrist.

Thanks for the advice. I have done so and posted my response here:


Whew! What a comment. I recommend it to my readers. Here, I'll even make it easy for you by turning it into a live link!

I am a true agnostic. The part of this I emphasize, therefore, is how much we really don't know. I am comfortable with that for only one reason: I think it's the truth. The vast majority of even what goes on in our own bodies is outside and beyond our awareness. Science is best at piecing together the "how it works" part, but the nature of the forces that drive and animate it remain a mystery and a topic of conjecture.


And, I sometimes think all our conjectures are based on emotion. Whether we feel the universe is pitiless and indifferent, or powerfully loving, seems a matter of our own temperament or state of mind.

Chris Hallquist

I'm happy with the word non-random. Just because we don't have a good word for something doesn't mean it's an invalid concept.

Plenty of things that are not (obviously) directed by an intelligence happen in a non-random manner. The earth does not move randomly through space, but follows a path that is the natural consequence of the law of gravity. Water does not evaporate at at random, but does so according to laws regarding temperature and pressure. Unless you assume the universe was designed, randomness and design is a false dichotomy. On the other hand, if you do assume that, everything random is also designed (like dice).

Let me elaborate on the relationship arguement. If you were given a job of putting human vehicles in taxonomic categories, what would you do? Would you group planes with gliders and motorcycles with bicycles? Or could planes and motorcycles be together (since they both have engines)? The problem here is that they were designed, when the internal combustion engine was invented for ground vehicles, it was quickly applied to air vehicles.

Now consider languages. Even if you didn't know that Spanish and French were both derived from Latin, you would be able to tell they are, beyond any question, more similar than either is to German. This works because languages descend from eachother.

Long before Darwin, biologists knew creatures could be objectively classed in nested taxonomic categories. Darwin explained why. If a creature came along that could not be so classified, his theory would be in trouble. If life was created ex nihlo, such a discovery would be far from impossible. I suppose you could argue its unlikely that the facts this explains so well would change, but this is true of any theory; one might as well complain that Newton's laws could only be falsified if the planets began moving in a way different than how they do.


The theoretical suggestion about a new species is an interesting little tidbit, but it absolutely cannot be put forth as a possible falsification because it is not testable in any way. Wasn't before. Isn't now.

But even if we read the headlines tomorrow about your hypothetical new species, I suspect that the experts would simply add another branch to the so-called tree of life and trumpet, "Look what evolution can do!" Problem solved.

More about the homology stuff when I have time.


Chris Hallquist

The taxonomy bit, realize, is just one piece. I really should have posted this link earlier:29 evidences for macroevolution.


Hey amba,

Wanted to get back to you.

Couldn’t agree more that there’s a whole heck of a lot that we don’t know. Along these lines, I like the old chestnut: “Hire a teenager while he still knows everything.”

Having said that, there are some things that we can know, at least to a certain level of confidence. So, I like the word faith rather than mere conjecture. Namely, faith is evaluating and consequently believing or accepting that the information available to us is worthy of trust. So, even though our knowledge is miles from being either compelte or exhaustive, and even though, like you I came from a perspective of agnosticism, I’ve elected to place my faith in the God of the Bible. Here are a couple brief reasons why:

The christian description of human nature matches what I see everyday both in and outside myself. The Bible describes a world that was made by a personal God whose image we bear. But that image has become tarnished by our decision to essentially flip him off and live life our own way. Thus, people are capable both of fantasic acts of love and self-sacrifice on the one hand, and horrific crimes on the other; and the universe is, as you say, both pitiless and powerfully loving at the same time. Along with this, people universally have a conscience and an understanding of right and wrong. This is a reflection of the latent image of God that exists in all of us.

The work of scientists like Michael Behe (one example of many that could be given) gives me confidence that being a dissenter from the darwinist party line is intellecually defensible.

The bible is historically reliable document…

…that tells a story of God’s work through history to reconcile us to him. The sacrifice of X on my behalf makes the restoration of my relationship with God a real possibility. This reconciliation happens, ”by grace… through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works…” (Ephesians 2:8ff). It is a real possiblity because my only role is to reach out and say “yes” to the offer of relationship that he makes to me. A damn good deal.

Thanks for listening,



And thanks for testifying, if that's the right word (I don't mean that facetiously at all).

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