vendredi 28 mars 2014

Two Points on Asher’s Book – and a Third One

1) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Does Steven Dutch Know History?, 2) Creation vs. Evolution : Two Points on Asher’s Book – and a Third One

The first point is from CMI’s review of the book Evolution and Belief. I am even repeating an argument from John Woodmorappe, only adding myself that Dawkins has actually given an observation supporting it. The other one is from reading the excerpts on Cambridge University Press site. Or two actually.

Several recent studies show that enamel-encoding genes in toothed animals exist as pseudogenes in toothless mammals. Asher blows the trumpet of evolutionistic triumphalism, and then pontificates that God would not make it that way (pp. 137–138). Apart from its theological presumption, Asher makes some other tacit assumptions. He supposes that, since they cannot encode for enamelin, the pseudogenes are therefore useless. Actually, there is evidence, from a more recent work,11 that at least one of the parent genes, MMP20, has multiple functions, and therefore possibly its pseudogene ortholog has at least one. If so, this ‘absolves’ God of creating non-functioning genes.

Second, the enamelin gene is just as incapable of producing enamelin if partly omitted during Creation as it is incapable of producing enamelin if omitted entirely during Creation.

Asher presumes that a de novo design is always the most intelligent solution. It may actually make more sense to create, for a toothless mammal, the same genome as for a toothed one, except for built-in intentionally inactivated enamelin genes, than to design quite different genomes for toothless and toothed mammals.

Woodmorappe gives even more details, I will leave the reader to his review:

CMI : A theistic paleontologist with dubious theology and little-better science
A review of Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist by Robert J. Asher
Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012
by John Woodmorappe

However, as I promised, I will give you a Dawkinsian support for this:

Creation vs. Evolution : On Reading The Greatest Show by Dawkins - Parts of it! : Not blueprint but recipe.

Quoting myself from my summaries of the chapters I had read (since I do not have Dawkins' book at hand):

Saying as Dawkins does that our genes do not give a blueprint but a recipe for our bodies, one that is followed step by step during pregnancy, does not dispense of a wisdom ordering the process.

Here my point is not about the wisdom, but about the fact it is a recipe rather than a blueprint. Since Dawkins knows this, he would not have written that in the book if he hadn’t, I suppose he is able to refute for himself the argument from pseudogenes.

Now, to the distinction that Asher makes:
Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-19383-2 - Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist
Robert J. Asher

Please note that this process explains how biological change occurs. It does so in the same way that you might explain how a steam engine works, or the process by which its action is caused: water heated to 100 °C boils into steam, which rises and powers the rotation of a turbine, which then generates electricity at the local power plant, and spins the wheels of your nineteenth-century train, Mississippi riverboat, etc. As an analogy this is a bit dated, but the point should be clear: both explanations are about natural processes responsible for something we observe. It is equally valid to note that Thomas Savery designed the first steam engine, or that James Watt (among others) later improved it. However, the latter is an explanation of a different sort: it is one of agency, not cause. Riverboat passengers at some point may have expressed great admiration for Savery and Watt, the “creators” of their momentum. How does the engine work? Savery did it, helped by Watt. Such an interpretation is true in the sense that Savery and Watt deserve credit as the agency behind the steam engine. However, it says nothing about how the steam engine actually works. There is a materialist, or naturalistic, cause behind the function of their steam-propelled craft which is not changed by recognizing the agency of Savery and Watt in the development of its engine. This kind of natural causation is what I meant earlier when I referred to the “materialist orientation” of science.

Indeed, Asher has a kind of religion. One in which God is to the actual working of the Universe as Watt is to the actual working of a steam engine. I am not sure of his confession, Catholic or Protestant, but I am sure he is not a Catholic and would not be recognised as such by St Pius X or by St Thomas Aquinas. If he is nominally Catholic, he is so on the same heterodox terms as Miller. He may not have another Confession – at least this is true of Miller – than Roman Catholicism available, but that is only like for a certain time Martin Luther had for a certain time no other Confession than Roman Catholicism available.

What St Thomas Aquinas means by First Cause is NOT a parallel to Watt or Savery. What St Thomas Aquinas means by First Mover is ultimately to the steam precisely as the steam is to the navigation of the steamboat or as heat is to making water steam. That is something for which Asher no longer uses the word Cause or Mover, but the Neologism Agency.

St Thomas does not mean that God is inventor of a Universe working without him, as if secondary causes were secondary only insofar as once set moving by their inventor, but some of them actually primary in the analysis of each moment. He does not compare God’s making the Universe to an Architect making a House. He compares the work of the Six Days to the making of an instrument, and the work of Providence mainly after the Six Days to the same person playing on the instrument. The one he chooses is “harp” according to a very refined musical taste of those times. It is not quite the same thing as a bagpipe or an electrical guitar. But the point is, the Universe on this view is NOT made to be working on its own, it is meant to work as a tool for its Creator who also remains its Master. And to Universe as instrument being played God is not just Maker, but also actual Agency. That is the whole point of Theology between Trads and Evolution compromisers.

Actually Woodmorappe misses an occasion for a fine shade in another part of his review:

The fact that God operates providentially (operations science: Thomas Aquinas’ cited example of God providing heat through a fire) itself tells us nothing about how He had acted when He created the universe (origins science).

Now, it is not just that, but on Asher’s view, presumably, God provides us with fire when we need heat, through the fact of having created the parametres of natural laws such that fire would be at hand at certain times and not at other ones and perhaps (with very much determinism) intentionally made each item of a man finding a fireplace, dry firewood, sparks, to necessary results of conditions at Big Bang via necessities (including social ones) binding the acencies.

On St Thomas Aquinas’ view, God is not only at each point free to provide fire miraculously, but also every place there is fire results ultimately from a Divine Decision, including Decisions to respect Human ones, and a Divine Decision about that particular place, that particular time.

If Asher likes, God is “in the process”, as much as He is in Psalm 146. But He is not “in” the process so as to be subsumed by it or like the genius of Watt and Savery are in each steam engine. He is in the process as a free agency. Not as the only free agency, but as the highest and freest of them. Omnipotent does not mean everyone else is a puppet, but it means Creation cannot successfully rebel or stymie its Creator. It also means that even if others than God decide, God decides everything, including the fact of now or then giving the effective decision to this or the other created will.

Now, that is about the points most directly relevant for Creation vs Evolution. But Asher makes another one, and Woodmorappe is a bit unsuspecting when he brushes off points related to that one as “offensive” (and untrue) but ultimately irrelevant. Asher puts it in the first paragraph of the text, page 1:

A lot of disagreements between people are due to honest emphasis on mutually exclusive propositions, both of which have clear value. Examples include social responsibility versus personal liberty, or freedom of speech versus the protection of minorities. In other cases, one party to a debate is just plain wrong, misinformed, or invested in error for extraneous and/or personal reasons. This includes the “divine right of kings” and “separate but equal” racial segregation. Society makes its way along the centuries by recognizing, and dispensing with, the erroneous (e.g., divine right) while building up institutions that can justly scrutinize the real debates, hopefully reaching the right decision more often than not.

OK, “divine right of kings” is supposed to be erroneous. The “separate but equal” segregation between skin colours is erroneous. How does Asher know this? Because Society with a capital S along the centuries has recognised them as such. Because its Institutions (capital I, even if he did not do so himself) can be counted on as mostly reaching the right decision.

Asher is a deeply religious man, but he is not a Christian. He is off from adoring God, since God is not an Agency, neither in Creating the Universe any way He wanted to nor in making Providence as a free Agency. He is just a “cause” same way as Watt and Savery are “causes”. Not in a sense of the word that Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas would have recognised, but in a way “a cause”. He is giving Divine Honour, not indeed to Kings, which are a personal Institution, but to a non-defined or ill-defined set of Collective Institutions, since working over the Centuries.

He belongs to the University of Cambridge. Over the last Century the University of Cambridge has settled, collectively speaking, for Evolution being true and Creation in Six Days 7200 years ago false. He hopes that mostly the Institutions cut off from their roots in Christian Orthodoxy will nevertheless mostly produce the right decisions. ERGO accepting Evolution is the most probably right decision. That is not science, that is treating Human Institutions as living Idols, much as Mahayana Buddhists deal with the living idol called Dalai Lama (always forgetting the name but not face of the present bearer of the title, but he is a living idol).

Woodmorappe is wrong when saying:

He repeats hoary antibiblical myths, such as the one about it teaching that stars hang from a solid firmament (p. 22). He derides certain Christian social teachings, and makes an implied equation of the Islamic terrorists of 911 with Christian fundamentalists (p. 130). Apart from being false and offensive, they are irrelevant to the theme of his work, and only detract from it.

They are NOT irrelevant to the theme of his work , they are the theme of his work and the defense of Evolution as well as its compatibility with “religion” are just glosses on this theme. Very elaborate glosses, but nevertheless glosses. The ultimate reason of Asher is not “God is working within His Creation, not outside it” but “people who believe God is working as a Free Agency with His Creation are a menace to society, and Institutions that have decided that the Agencies usually at work in the Universe are not God are the hope for a better society in the future.”

I hope I have more tranquil reasons, but in a similar vein to that one, mine is that Institutions denying the God of the Bible have a very terrible track record, and are still engaged in doing great harm. And I put more things in that category than perhaps Asher would expect from Woodmorappe.

I also note that if enforced equal but distinct segregation is a mistake, so is affirmative action. And I have less faith in the Divine Right of Parliaments than in that of Kings. But is Asher even free enough to debate that? Or have his living Idols decided for him, as he up to now allowed them to?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
From Nanterre University Library*
Sts Priscus, Malchus and Alexander
Martyrs in Palestine under Valerian

Indeed, the Emperor Cult also was an idolisation of living idols, who were also counted on as usually reaching the right decision. Well, from Nero or even Tiberius to Constantine there were quite a few years, 280 in fact, during which on one precise point, they consistently reached the wrong one. Valerian being no exception.

* Was added in Georges Pompidou library after I took the train ... (without paying).

vendredi 14 mars 2014

Literal Sense vs Literalistic Approach, Allegoric Sense vs Figurative Approach

1) Creation vs. Evolution : If some pseudo-orthodox thinks Patristic and Literal interpretation of Genesis are incompatible ..., 2) CMI on Allegorical Method - Answered, 3) Literal Sense vs Literalistic Approach, Allegoric Sense vs Figurative Approach, 4) Great Bishop of Geneva! : Congratulating Lita Cosner on agreeing basically with StThomas Aquinas, 5) Mark Shea's Understanding of Scripture, 6) HGL's F.B. writings : Neither Sungenis nor Palm is totally right on Psalm 18 (Sungenis is less off)

It is commonplace that Church Fathers were not only talking about the Literal Sense but also about the Allegoric Sense of any given Old Testament passage. It is an exegesis which as a Catholic Christian I think God Incarnate, Our Lord Jesus Christ, during the Forty Days between Resurrection and Ascension gave his Apostles.

It would include an Allegoric Sense of Abraham's Sacrifice. As very detailed prophetic reference to the Crucifixion. Isaac and Christ both carry wood to where they are to be sacrificed. It would include Fleece of Gideon and Enmity between Woman and Snake as references to the Sinlessness (and in the case of the wet fleece on dry ground also Virginal Giving Birth to Christ) of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Any given sense might either be directly from what Christ said during those days, or derived from it by similarity of thought process.

Unfortunately, this has become mixed up with a very other question. Namely that of Literalistic or Figurative approach to things like Globality of Flood and number and length of Six Days.

Apart from the Allegoric reading, certain authors and fathers also had a Figurative approach, not to Globality of Flood, but to number and length of six days. Philo, Origen, Clement, St Augustine, and a question mark on whether the Stromatist should also be considered a Saint and a Father, are pretty often at least supposed to have endorsed a Figurative approach to the Six days. It has been dogmatised by the Palmarian Catholics, among whom I previously was. I will not condemn it.

I will however insist on this point: all figurative readings of length of days are clearly NOT in favour of an "old" universe.

None of them is anything like "day-age theory" (the people who think they find Patristic support for that one think wrongly, because they are really looking at St Ausgustine's Allegoric Parallelism between the Six Days of Creation and the Six Ages of History), none of them is anything like Cuvierist Barnes' "gap theory", none of them thinks it was never meant as a factual account at all, none of them take the genealogy of Christ in St Luke in anything but a literalistic approach in ist literal sense.

If Adam was created on a literal Day Six, and if "God's Spirit moved over the waters" for no long time ("in wenig Stunden hat Gott das Rechte gefunden")*, less than 24 hours at least, since a week has less than 200 hours, Adam was created less than 200 hours after Heaven and Earth. But if he was created in a single moment creation, obviously also he was created less than 200 hours after Heaven and Earth. A single moment that creates both Heaven and Earth and Adam and Eve cannot imply or even tolerate that Adam and Eve were created more than 200 hours after the Universe.

And the figurative senses (while exposing literal rather than allegoric sense, of course) that would come to mind to modern readers, not just contemporary ones, but contemporary minded ones, are precisely those that have no Patristic support at all.

If even Calvinists can get it right that Origen and St Augustine (notably in De Civitate Dei, which I read in a Swedish translation once) never ever as Christian wrighters admired Egyptian 40.000 year old universe scenarios but repudiated them as so much "bragging about profound knowledge of history" - profound in the eyes of their dupes - how come there are supposed Catholics who cannot get it right?

Some of them have perhaps not mastered that - supposing we assign arbitrarily the worth "16" to the Carbon 14 content of our athmosphere - a measured "2" (eight times less in sample than in athmosphere) is its same amount regardless of background, since 2 = 2, whether it be "16:8" (three halflives from an athmosphere same Carbon 14 content) or "4:2" (one halflife from an athmosphere with 4 times less Carbon 14 than ours at present). Too bad if they are as bad at basic mathematics as they are at exegesis of Church Fathers.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Mathilda of Halberstatt
Queen of Germany**

* Goethe was alas a freemason, but he was right on this one.

** Before that meant Prussia, of course!

jeudi 13 mars 2014

A Soft Spot for Jews?

Creation Ministries International prints this:*

We chatted for a while until the mother said, “We have suffered anti-Semitism and were told it was because the Jews killed Jesus. But why do Christians dislike us personally?”

I replied, “I don’t dislike Jews, in fact because of my Christian faith I have a soft spot for Jews. Any Christian who says they hate Jews is very unlikely to be Christian at all.”

I have some Jewish family background. When a Catholic friend of the family realised this, she exclaimed "Juden? Jesus Maria hilf!"** - I liked her and forgot it, but my grandmother who was no Christian remembered it. She repeated it until I had slim chances forgetting it.

In the Catholic Church, each Good Friday one prays for the conversion of the Jews. Basically: they killed God, God heal them from their blindness. Apart from that and certain Gospel readings the word Jews is not often mentioned.

In France, Catholics had a soft spot for Jews up to about the year 1000 or a little before. It was discoevered they were not just using the Old Testament. They were not Christians minus the New Testament. There was a thing called the Talmud.

But if a Catholic is reserved about Jews without being a Theologian Professional, the reasons for disliking Jews would normally be their behaviour. Let us analyse the words of the Jewish lady again:

“We have suffered anti-Semitism and were told it was because the Jews killed Jesus. ..."

Who told her exactly that? A Christian disliking her? Or someone whom she asked about that Christian's behaviour? Would it be a Christian she trusted enough to repeat that answer? Or would it be a Rabbi?

I guess it was a Rabbi. And if a particular Jewish community has, to take an exemple from France, from 1880 to at least 1914 been voting for the then and there equivalents of Obama, they might have then and there been disliked by people disliking equivalents of Obama. And even if some showed goodwill afterwards (in the eyes of such Christians), would it really be over the top to suppose some not very bourgeois Christians were a bit hard at forgetting and were a bit reserved about Jews after that?

I mean, by voting Jules Ferry and Combes, they had made sure that French pupils were being taught by teachers mainly despising Holy Mother Church. Would CMI consistently be Jew friendly in English countries if for 20 years Jews were consistently attacking both Homeschoolers and Christian schools? By voting Clémenceau they helped an attack on the Church: State and Church no longer working together. But French State acting as legal owner to Church buildings. And imposing on Catholic parishes (normally under a priest who is under a bishop who has succession from the Apostles who got the Holy Spirit from Christ) a constitution which might seem more normal for Jews, Moslems, Presbytarians and Congregationalists. By launching him they also helped to provoke the Versailles peace which launched one German "Clémenceau" whom I guess you know by name and moustache. One who recalled art trade in Vienna. One who had not become the painter I hope he wanted to have been, and I think he should have.

So, I guess the Rabbi who told her that was either simply wrong or positively dishonest. In either case she had been kept in ignorance about what Christian indignation against certain Jewish communities was really about.

Or usury. How often is it Jews take a stand for Deuteronomy 23:20 and for saying in addition to that that neither Christians nor Muslims are Canaaneans? In the Middle Ages it was guaranteed that where they lived they could commit this objectively sinful act, in respect of the fact that they and their Talmud allowed them to regard Christians as Goyim.*** That also explains why Jews are often against° the Creationist movement. Genesis is Torah. Talmud says Christians should not be allowed to study the Torah. Ergo, Christian pupils should not have access to Creationism. OR Talmud says Christians should not be allowed to study the Torah. Genesis is Torah, but Creationism is not Genesis. So, if Christians want to study Creationism it is not criminal, but it is no duty and so it is not a duty to help them either.

When I was twenty I had no idea this is what Jews could be reasoning like. Later I have come to sympathise with the Austrian lady. Does this mean I have no soft spot for the Jewish one in Bayeux? No. But it does mean I think she was getting away with no Jewish guilt at all at the expence of a kind of Christendom guilt which I resent. And I have been defending Christendom against Atheists as well as Christian Theology. I have more and more come to suspect that some Atheists loudly attacking Christendom are really Jews.

I have called Atheism a radical kind of Protestantism. But in some cases it is rather a radically Sadducee version of Judaism. In really bad cases (such as psychiatry, or much of it) it is a case of Talmud without the Torah. Now, that ideology I have no soft spot for.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Holy Martyrs of Cordoba
Ruderic priest and Solomon

* CMI : Being ‘ready to answer’
by Warwick Armstrong / Published: 13 March 2014

I am guessing this Antisemitism she referred to was things like reserve and lack of sympathy. If she meant things like certain Camps, it was obviously monstruously dishonest of whoever told her such a thing to imply that Eichmann and Himmler were indignated at the Deicide. They had some other fish to fry and were power hungry in a way forbidden to Christians most strictly. Assyrians took Samariah "oh the Jews launched them against us because they hate Jeroboam!" No, I do not think the inhabitants of Samariah were that stupid.

For French readers: Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Qui fut Dom Gaston Aubourg - et qui sauva Bayeux?

**"Hilf" = "help (us)!" in German. And no, it was not in the state called Germany, nor was she a German citizen. It was Vienna, Austria.

*** A little discussion of both usury and guilds here:

Guilds and Distributism, Defined, Defended
on one of my other blogs : HGL's F.B. writings

° Or indifferent to.

mercredi 12 mars 2014

Is it Antisemitic to Point Out that Stephen Jay Gould was No Christian?

You know, the "Apostle" of "punctuated equilibrium" in one variety of Neo-Darwinism. A guy who has often been cited as pointing out that "iôm can mean a longer period of time" and also insisted on the NOMa doctrine, that is on "Non-Overlapping Magisteria" between Theology and Natural Science?

Since he was no Christian, he did not care about God Himself speaking in Marc 10:6.

Let us take, for one minute, the account of Genesis at face value, and see if it saures with Marc 10:6. Assuming that Book of Henoch is correct, the pre-Flood year was 364 days (whether days were longer or year shorter, I do not know, in that case, but for calculus I assume it is year that was shorter). In that case Heaven and Earth were created less than 200 hours before Adam and Eve.

Creation to Flood = 2242*364*24=19,586,112 h.

Flood to Christmas = 2957*365.25*24=25,921,062 h.

All together = 45,507,174 h.

So, if we divide 200 hours by 45 and a half million hours (or rather the exact value I calculated), we get 4.3949... * 10-6 as the proportion. The time before Adam and Eve were created were in that case to the time overall between Creation and Incarnation as 4:1,000,000 - i e insignificant.

This is obviously in contradiction with a pretended Natural Philosophy according to which the 5199 years of Septuagint Chronology are to the History of "Planet" Earth as 1.155333... * 10-6 or 1:1,000,000, i e insignificant.

For Marc 10:6 you neither get Non-Overlapping Magisteria and therefore impossibility of contradiction between Holy Writ and Darwinism, nor between Holy Writ and Gay Marriage Laws, but instead Competing and Contradicting "Magisteria".

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Gregory the Great*

* Non Angli, sed angeli ...

dimanche 2 mars 2014

Provisional Caveat to Previous

1) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Abiogenesis and Evolutionist Ideology, 2) Creation vs. Evolution : The Abiogenesis Problem, 3) Provisional Caveat to Previous

Nature publishing group apparantly in 1977 published a paper by Hargreaves, Mulvihill, Deamer on abiotic synthesis of phospholipids.

Synthesis of phospholipids and membranes in prebiotic conditions
Letters to Nature
Nature 266, 78-80 (3 March 1977) | doi:10.1038/266078a0; Accepted 21 December 1976

same in pdf

The pdf here is a preview, as I access it, and for aaccessing a full view I would be required to make a payment. Here is the text of the preview:

IT is generally agreed that stable membranes were prerequisite to the assembly of the earliest self-replicating systems1–4. Phospholipids, which are ubiquitous in biological membranes and which self-assemble in aqueous environments into stable lipid bilayers and vesicles4, are obvious candidates for prebiotic membrane components. We report here the abiotic synthesis of various lipids, including membranogenic phospholipids.

To read this story in full you will need to login or make a payment (see right).

Now, the abiotic synthesis of lipids described in the hidden away article might be compatible with the conditions thought to have prevailed in the primitive atmosphere, as is assumed for parallel with the Miller Urey experiment.

Then again the conditions for that prebiotic or abiotic synthesis of phospholipids might also not be compatible with it.

In the latter case my conclusion stands.

In the former case, why has the information not trickled down to textbooks between 1977 and the present day?

Why is Nature not flaunting the article openly as a prime piece of evidence that abiogenesis is indeed possible?

Maybe for the same reason why three of the four links that Jonathan Sarfati gave (excepting the link to a mere resumé) disappeared from the sites of his sources. Maybe there as here the facts when better looked into show up abiogenesis as being as impossible as ever before. That is one guess. Another guess would be that Nature considers this kind of information to be too advanced for the common public. They want an exclusive and half esoteric readership. And a third guess is that the publication might be in the kind of trouble that makes them turn every penny and beware of generosities.

Here is the info about access:

I want to purchase this articlePrice: €30
In order to purchase this article you must be a registered user.
I want to buy this article via ReadCubeRent: $4.99*
Purchase: $9.99*
*Printing and sharing restrictions apply
I want to subscribe to NaturePrice: US$199
This includes a free subscription to Nature News together with Nature Journal.

Somehow the conditions on Creation . com seem a bit more generous. However that comes to be.

Anyway, I have been confronted with the report that abiotic synthesis of phospholipids is possible, I have had no substantiation that this report has stood the time since when it was made.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Holy Martyrs of Via Latina
Jovinus and Basileus*

*Which was also Quinquagesima Sunday ...

Update on phospholipids:

Phospholipid synthesis occurs in the cytosol adjacent to ER membrane that is studded with proteins that act in synthesis (GPAT and LPAAT acyl transferases, phosphatase and choline phosphotransferase) and allocation (flippase and floppase). Eventually a vesicle will bud off from the ER containing phospholipids destined for the cytoplasmic cellular membrane on its exterior leaflet and phospholipids destined for the exoplasmic cellular membrane on its inner leaflet.[8]

Common sources of industrially produced phospholipids are soya, rapeseed, sunflower, chicken eggs, bovine milk, fish eggs etc. Each source has a unique profile of individual phospholipid species and consequently differing applications in food, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and drug delivery.

[8]Lodish, Harvey; Berk, Krieger, Kaiser, Scott, Bretsher, Ploegh, Matsuaira (2008). Molecular Cell Biology. W.H. Freeman and Company. ISBN 0-7167-7601-4. [page needed]


Wikipedia : Phospholipid