Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ikhthus

Jonah Goldberg has an interesting essay in the online edition of the LA Times today, in which he puts the contemporary fad of Darwin Fish (the ignorant parodies of the 1st century Christian symbol that certain morons like to put on their car) into the context of the persecution of Christians in contemporary Islamic societies.

I see these Darwin Fish all over the place, but of course I see the regular Fish stickers, too. I'm not a fan of either, but the Darwin one is more irritating because it's both more puerile and more banal. Some of the people who put the regular Fish on their car may think that evolution is false, but, let's be real about this: a lot of Christians understand that evolution is one of the best confirmed scientific theories in history, but I doubt that any of the folks who put the Darwin Fish on their car have any idea that the truth of evolutionary theory is compatible with the truth of Christianity. These are people who are trying, in their own vapid way, to say something, and what, exactly, would be the point of that, in this particular context? There are two groups of people they could conceivably be targeting. One group would be the people who think as they do. I suppose it would be reasonable enough to expect people who think as they do to get their thoughts from the backs of cars, but I doubt that preaching to the choir in this way is really what they're after. It seems more likely to me that what they want to do is tweak the sensibilities of the regular Fish people.

So who is the bigger idiot: the person who believes that God created the world and who wonders at the same time whether any given scientific theory can really fully account for that, or the person who believes that having a high degree of confidence in a particular empirical hypothesis can give certainty (or even a very high degree of probability) about the falsity of a metaphysical thesis? Clearly the latter, and yet these ignoramuses think that by putting a Darwin Fish on their car they have made a really funny joke at some fundamentalist's expense.

While I agree that the fundamentalist view is silly and worth smiling at the way one might smile at a child's innocence, the other view is ridiculous for all the wrong reasons.

5 comments:

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

With all due respect-- which, counter to the usual use of that phrase, is no small amount-- do you really believe that evolution is "one of the best confirmed scientific theories in history?"

For pure evolutionary theory, we'd require a clear line of decent and/or an ability to predict accurately what the fossil record records.

Gravity, relativity, plate tectonics...those have a LOT of evidence for them.

Evolution...you can't even get just one theory out of folks. Punctuated evolution, a steady advancement, things "selected" always replace the prior species, things selected live WITH the prior species.... I suppose, if you take ALL of the theories as one, there is a lot of evidence "for" evolution. Just no one of the theories has all that much support....

John Farrell said...

Maybe someone can come up with a new lampoon, of the Darwin fish being eaten by a grinning Jonah's whale....

Jaibee said...

I don't think that evolution on a micro-scale is incompatible with God as Creator.

I also don't think that the laws of gravity or particle physics or any of this denies the existence of God.

One has to swallow a lot of incredible coincidences that things "just happened" in a certain way which led to our being sentient.

So, for the fact that Darwin Fish can be seen as an attack on faith, I do not have one of those little symbols.

I do find the thought of little fish with feet to be cute. :) I think this, more than actual belief in the original sentiment is what drives the majority of the placement of Darwin Fish on people's cars. That, or a vague identification with secular, as opposed to religious belief, without a strong examination of either argument -- there are a lot of lazy agnostics in the world.

Samuel S. said...

"While I agree that the fundamentalist view is silly and worth smiling at the way one might smile at a child's innocence" encouraged me to write the following for your examination, please read and respond.

I think of the Innocence of Christ, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor 5:21) And I think of a child, I think of God's holy child, Christ Jesus, and the adopted children who believe in Him. I note that He taught "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." And we are taught that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) And "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God" (Hebrews 11:3)
Yet the thief on the cross went to paradise, the Publican "went down to his house justified rather than the other"(Luke 18:14) and Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness, and the children of God have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, crucified for our sins, died for our sins, not 'some' not 'few' not 'little' but "our sins", and risen from the dead, "who became for us...righteousness"(1 Cor 1:30) And this Man, truly God, without sin, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, without stain, who nobody could convict of sin, who always did what pleased His Father, who obeyed the Law, Moses wrote that "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethen. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul that that will not hear that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people." And the blessed David, being a prophet spoke concerning His resurrection from the dead. And my Savior and Lord is at the right hand of God, as Stephan saw, as there is "One God and One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" where he rules over His Church, His Body.
And so this Jesus Christ said "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." (Mark 10:6) And His chosen Apostles taught "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made." And "whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" And "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him" And "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him" (John 1:10)
And remember that the Apostle preached to the Gentiles
"God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything" and he preached on Mars Hill in Athens,
"He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings" and the apostolic doctrine teaches "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" and "For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous." Yes, Christ's holy obedience to God, how holy and glorious is His righteousness! (Romans 5). After all, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith." Yes, the "the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"
Yes, the Creator Himself, the uncreated Son of the Father, Jesus Christ, who was
"killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10) And remember that after the Apostle Paul preached to the Gentiles in Athens, telling them of the Creator, told them that this God "now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
The Son who created the universe, who created Adam and Eve, is the same who rose from the dead. He taught this himself, as the Gospels show. Christ sent his Apostles, who received the Holy Spirit (who is true God, and there is none other God but one), and they taught the truth of creation and the truth of Adam - this is apostolic doctrine. Can the words of any man, or any tradition overthrow what was plainly taught by Christ and His Apostles? No. Of course, many agreed that God was Creator and Moses was His prophet in the 1st century, yet did not believe in Jesus "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." (John 5:38) Instead, let everyone everywhere repent and believe in that holy, innocent Man and Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, sinless, righteous, crucified and died for our sins, not for his own, and risen from the dead, never to die again, and "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10) and "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10) Amen.

Darwin said...

A good friend of mine, now in a position to know the truth of these disputes with the certainty of direct vision, used to have a Darwin fish and an Ichthus fish nose to nose on the lunch pail he took to work. (Actually, I guess being an aerospace working carrying a lunch pail puts a date on it right there...) He said it was a great way to get lunch time conversation going.

Cute though they are, though, (and despite having created a variant for my blog header) I too have always been a bit annoyed by the Darwin fishes, and the variants with a truth fish eating the Darwin fish, or the Darwin fish eating the Ichthus fish. Though I clearly agree with Dr. Carson's assessment of the solidness of evolutionary theory, the bumper art betrays a belief that explaining how something got the way it is within the near term of the last billion years of biological history somehow explains away Christian revelation. Even for the hard-core atheist, that would betray a massive lack of understanding of the issues.