Ken Gilmore's Flawed Attack on Wilfred Alleyne

Contributed by John Bedson.

This note is a reply to Ken Gilmore's posts "Wilfred Alleyne's Flawed Attack on Evolution" at: http://berea-portal.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1155

It is written in a spirit of brotherly love and is in no sense combative.

A recent discussion in the comments section of this Ex-Christadelphian blog between myself and "Asyncritus" (Christadelphian Wilfred Alleyne) concerned the Creation/Evolution theories. As an Atheist/Agnostic Ex-Christadelphian I was putting forward my view that the natural physical laws of the Universe were adequate to explain the origin of the Universe, the origin of life and the development of life into the various species that we now observe. I was giving a simplistic "overview" of the subject because the blog article that we were discussing concerned something else entirely and I was not in a mood to get bogged down in a scientific debate about Evolution.




Wilfred was advocating an opposing view, which appears to be the majority belief of Christadelphians, that God created all of these things. His main line of evidence for this belief was what is known as the "argument from personal incredulity". In other words, because he found it hard to believe that complex and wonderful living organisms could have originated over huge amounts of time by a process of evolution by natural selection; he preferred to believe that these things were created in a finished state by a divine creator.

Despite the fact that the thinking of Asyncritus and I was about as far apart as it was possible to get, I was surprised to find that we concluded our long debate of over one hundred posts by reaching an agreement. We finally agreed that the wonders of the Natural World did indicate the creating hand of some form of god, but not necessarily the God of the Bible. We agreed that this "god" might be anything from a word that describes the physical laws of the Universe, (my preference) all the way up through the spectrum of faith to the God that the Christadelphians worship; which would be Asyncritus's position.

My pure Atheist readers will doubtless scream "heretic" at me for agreeing to use the word "god" to describe the physical laws of the Universe; especially as I didn't even mean it in a theistic sense. I was using it as a label to describe inanimate and unconscious things. But I figured that it was a card that I could afford to give away in exchange for Asyncritus making the substantial compromise that his "argument from personal incredulity" could point to something other than the God of the Bible.

Moreover I have to confess that I am only an Atheist in the sense that Richard Dawkins is a "Six point nine Atheist on a scale of one to seven, with one being a fundamentalist believer in God and seven being an Atheist." (sic)

You could argue that I am therefore an Agnostic. But I prefer to label myself "Atheist" because that description, despite its many shortcomings, most closely describes my position. I don't know of a word that accurately describes what I believe. "Atheist-Agnostic" would not be right; but the made up word "Agnostotheist" satisfies me. In Greek "Agnostos" means "I don't know" and "Theist" means "God." So I would translate "Agnostotheist" as meaning something like "I really don't think that there is a God" as opposed to "Atheist" which means "I am absolutely convinced that there is no God."

So the agreement between Asyncritus and myself was that we will both leave our philosophical doors one inch ajar. I like that compromise.

But to get back to Ken Gilmore:

In the middle of the "pillow-fight" between Asyncritus and me, Asyncritus hurled a few stones at the lads over at "Berea Portal" http://berea-portal.com/forums/ and they picked up some mud and threw it back at the both of us; which considerably added to the fun. Ken (Super-Geek) Gilmore from Berea then exploded into creativity and authored a long, three part rebuttal entitled "Wilfred Alleyne's Flawed Attack on Evolution." http://berea-portal.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1155

My new found mate Asyncritus will hate me for saying this, but I thought that Ken's work was quite brilliant. I only wish that I had Ken's brain to be able to write stuff like that. Ken did what I could not do and neatly answered many of Asyncritus's concerns about Evolution for me.

It's not often that anyone comes to the aid of John Bedson, ESPECIALLY a Christadelphian. Most Christadelphians are too busy arguing about who gets to push me into the Lake of Fire following the return of Christ. (They have decided that my ex-wife will get that privilege.) So he's left me rather speechless for the past few days. Nevertheless, I have regained my composure and I want to thank Ken by giving him a few thoughts of my own. Our readers might find this interesting.

Ken (and the rest of you brilliant guys over at Berea):

Twenty five years ago, I, was an enthusiastic, middle aged Christadelphian with a CLAS diary stuffed full of speaking appointments across the UK and beyond. After twenty years in The Truth I was at the top of my game. We used to regularly meet up with the Cambridge University set led by brother (professor) Arthur Gibson in the Post Graduate Centre and at Arthur's home. We thought ourselves to be on the cutting edge of Christadelphian thinking and practice. I held Christadelphian seminars on science, archaeology and other subjects in my home and weekly Greek and Hebrew lessons in my lounge. Sunday lunch at my home was always a "Pot Luck" with at least thirty and sometimes fifty Christadelphians attending from various Ecclesias. On Christmas day there were more Christadelphians in my home than belonged in an average sized ecclesia. I gave public lectures without hymns, prayers or Bible readings. I produced a film and over a dozen booklets for Christadelphian outreach work. I produced and publish several million full colour leaflets advertising Christadelphian public lectures. My thinking was so progressive that after one talk on the age of the Earth at my (Solihull) ecclesia the Arranging Brethren met to discuss the suggestion that they withdraw from me. (They didn't and I transferred to the Shirley ecclesia the following week.)

I could tell you a lot more ........... but I won't.

Like you I had a keen interest in science and getting to know the truth of things. I strongly believed in the Scientific Method and I increasingly came to apply that method to my beliefs and to the Bible. The result was that like a receding galaxy, God was pushed further and further into the distant parts of my mental Universe and like a galaxy, the acceleration in the velocity of his estrangement steadily increased.

At first this expansion of my Universe did not trouble me. I had spent half my life apologizing for the Bible as an apologist and the other half scratching around to find tangible "evidence" for my belief in the family (Christadelphian) religion. But increasingly I was becoming suspicious of the prophetic "evidence" because it was too contradictory and only worked if I "cherry picked" the verses that worked and ignored the rest.

The archaeological "evidence" was also mixed and increasingly tended to disprove large sections of scripture as historically accurate.

It concerned me that the moral teaching of the Bible appeared to have no beneficial effect on my brethren and sisters, who actually seemed to me to be ethically below the standard of my business colleagues. I found large parts of the Bible and it's teachings to offend my conscience and natural human standard of good morality. 

I became increasingly convinced that Satan in the Old Testament and the Devil in the New Testament did not always mean "sin in the flesh" but instead mostly reflected an existing belief in a literal Devil; just as "Demons" meant literal demons. In other words, the Bible was condoning a belief that I firmly rejected.

My growing, but basic, stumbling understanding of the Hebrew language alarmed me that the "different stories stitched together in Genesis" thesis of the Higher Critics was probably correct. If they WERE right, the entire basis of my faith was blown out of the water. There was no Adam; no sin; no salvation. There was NOTHING left, except my extensive collection of fossils; and they pointed in a completely different direction.

Then one day I woke up and looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and realized that God had passed beyond the "Event Horizon" of my Universe and that his light could no longer reach me.

So what has all this biography of an insignificant Christadelphian back in the early Nineteen Eighties got to do with Ken Gilmore's rebuttal of our beloved brother Wilfred Alleyne and why do I say that it was "flawed"?

I say this to Ken, to the guys at Berea and to all right thinking, intellectually minded, free spirited Christadelphians (of which there are very few):

Ken's rebuttal of Asyncritus was flawed in that it did not go far enough. It pulled it's punches. Ken went so far along the path to truth with his proof for Evolution, and then his nerve failed him; because the personal consequences of moving much further would have been psychologically catastrophic to himself. He should have kept going to the logical conclusion of his argument. The conclusion is that there is no evidence in science for God. That's what those millions of fossils are screaming to us.

Ken's work and the wonderful work of others at Berea and the work of other brave minds in rare corners of Christadelphia are breaking down the walls of Christadelphian ignorance and superstition and laying the foundation for a better philosophical understanding of life, morality and the nature of our Universe. You are doing what I did quarter of a century ago and pushing the "God of the gaps" out of his hiding holes and further out into the Cosmos and backwards in time towards the Big Bang.

You do this because you have brilliant minds and the addictive, mentally enslaving power of your family religion is weaker than your own powerful intellects. Deep inside yourselves you KNOW what is right in this World and you are working to reveal truth. You know that Genesis is not right; even if we allow for the nature of its genre which is not historical. You know that large sections of the Bible are hanging by a thread and you are killing yourselves trying to keep it stitched together by straining your intellects to the uttermost.

That is exactly what I did back in the early Nineteen Eighties. That is EXACTLY what I did and that's how I behaved back then because you guys think like me. We are the same; except that I was so strong minded that when I came to the point where God was about to slip over the Event Horizon, I held my nerve and watched him fall. I stopped trying to save him. I realized that my "savior" could not save me and that instead, all my life I had been trying to save him from oblivion.   

Ultimately my brethren, the only way that you can keep your show on the road is by apologizing for God and the Bible by using such mental gymnastics that even you will start to realize that you are performing on extremely thin ice. Some of you, and I don't know who, or how many, are going to follow me to freedom. The more we can get out, the more will follow and the more we can save.

I'm not going to present the "evidence" why the Bible is the work of mere mortals. You people are smart and you know it as well as me. You can read it on this website. It already troubles you deep down in the recesses of your minds when you doubt your own faith. I can see brief, momentary glimpses of it in your own writings, as for a fleeting moment a hiccup of doubt passes through your thinking before you chase it out with yet another band-aid of apologetic jiggery pokery.

Ultimately there is not much to be gained by stacking up the "evidence" for and against what I am saying to you. It's a question of your personal genetic disposition, your own knowledge base, your own environmental influences from birth to now and how that fusion of input comes together in your individual minds to create that illusion of free-will that we fool ourselves into thinking makes our decisions and guides our actions.

As I said in my recent blog article "How to UN-convert Christadelphians", all we Ex-Christadelphians can do is map out the path that you need to tread to reach freedom, warn you of the awful trauma that you are likely going to suffer as you make the transition and do all that we can to support you through making the most difficult decision of your lives.

You will be coming out of a cult.

Yes, I KNOW that you don't think that it's a cult any more than I realized that I was in a cult when I was trapped thirty years ago. But it is a mild form of a cult and like all cult escapees you are going to go through hell if you try to leave.

Not hell from the remaining members, although you will get a certain amount of that. But the hell of having your entire thinking turned inside out and upside down. It will take you years to get over it and it will be incredibly painful. You will have to come to terms with the fact that your entire lives up until that point have been mostly wasted following a bizarre addiction and a weird enchantment. I know because I have been through it all and it was not nice.

It does not trouble the air-heads who leave. Many of those who leave are not intellectual and some are downright cranks. You don't have to see yourselves like them. But for those of us who are cerebral; those of us who fought a fierce, rearguard withdrawal from the defensive positions of our faith until we finally turned and ran; for us it is so bitterly disappointing that we fought for nothing; for a leader that did not even exist in reality.

When I left I was entirely on my own. There were no Facebook forums to comfort me and no Ex-Christadelphian blog to outline the rational, philosophical basis for what I was doing. But it's not like that for you people. You have Corky and me and a hundred+ other brave souls who have made it out beyond the wire to help you. In a spirit of compassion and brotherly love we will welcome you into the Ex-Christadelphian fellowship (there's no such thing - it's a joke) and invite you to join our work in rescuing Christadelphians and getting them mentally back on their feet.

And the purpose of all this trauma that I am proposing that you endure?

The purpose is to get you to a place where your minds are free. (And trust me on this, they aren't free now; no more than mine was in 1984.) To a place where those brilliant minds can soar to new heights of philosophical understanding. To a place where you do good because your own intellect and conscience tells you that it is the right thing to do. Not because of a carrot of eternal life, or a stick of Christ's rejection drives you like a mouse in a maze to behave appropriately. To a place where you no longer have to invent contorted reasons why the Bible does not mean what it is plainly saying, when it makes yet another of its myriad mistakes. To a place where you take control of your own minds for the very first time in your lives and follow evidence and truth to wherever they may lead.

And you can take it from me. From one who has been through it all and emerged triumphant. It is a brilliant place to be. I would not swap this for ANYTHING.

I say again: Don't look at the air-heads and cranks who leave. That is not your destiny. They easily join the religion and easily leave. They will probably join another church to waste even more of their lives.

The smarter you are, the harder it is to leave; because your brain knows the cataclysm that awaits and does all that it can to protect you from that mental pain.

So here is my promise to you. This is what I'm offering if you trust me and make the jump:

- You just get one thing and it makes it all worthwhile:  You get your mind back. It is the finest thing in the World. Because although you don't realize it, you DO NOT have it right now. It is firmly held by a high-control group. I urge you to take it back.


Email: bedson@pacific.net.au

15 comments:

  1. Thanks John,I'm 57 and at the age of 16 decided not to be baptized or take up a a Christadelphian. Family accepted this,all from Rowley regis and devout,but they are now all so blinkered,stubborn and unable to think outside the box.It saddens me to watch how their ecclesia has dwindled, and such a waste of life and knowledge. You have renewed my beliefs in fact.Yes the universe is amazing and I will continue to wonder at it.Thank you, Judi

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  2. Judi: Thank you for your kind words. You made the right choice and avoided a life of futility and wasted effort. You did well.

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  3. You sound like you've come from somewhere on the lunatic fringe of Christadelphia, and seem obsessed with the lake of fire and future judgement for someone who doesn't believe in it. Either that, or you are reading your own imaginings into Christadelphian discussions.

    I've never heard discussions and debates about "who will push X into the lake of fire" and they sound singularly unprofitable to me (judgement is with Christ, and he will decide what happens at judgement. Revelation seems to be the only place which talks explicitly about the lake of fire, and its only concern is the ultimate outcome, not who does the pushing).

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  4. Thank you anonymous for your contribution and for your interest in the Ex-Christadelphian community.

    I come from Coventry Grosvenor Road, Solihull and Shirley ecclesias; not noted for their "lunatic fringe" reputation.

    My "Lake of Fire" comment was in humour. Like 100% of the Bible, some of my remarks are not meant to be taken literally. For example the Christadelphians did not "literally" decide that my ex-wife is going to push me into The Lake of Fire and in any case Hilary would never do that. It was a joke.

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    1. John, if your now an athiest why should you expect Theists to still like you? Did you want a Christadelphians for athiests? (I am not CD btw). but you lost faith in Bible or CD community?

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  5. John,

    Thanks for the comment. I actually thought it was probably "humour", but then I've heard enough ideas I think crazy from ecclesias that otherwise would be considered "conservative" and "Bible based" that I couldn't be sure this wasn't one of them. Some of the things I've heard about personal guardian angels, for example, would best be described as "not substantiated in the Bible". Sometimes also I think people don't think through the full implications of what they believe (and yes, you can apply that to me if you feel so inclined - as far as judgement goes you seem quite happy to point out lots of implications, not all of which I would agree with).

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  6. Anonymous: Thanks. What's on your mind? I am open to discussion. bedson@pacific.net.au is my email if you want to discuss in private.

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  7. Anonymous May 15, 2012 7:10 PM:

    I LOVE the Christadelphian community. They are my family. I have a great deal of respect for them. If I call for reform, it is through love, not through anger.

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  8. I am impressed with the fact that an honest look at the Bible, not cherry-picking or fudging easy words, leads to belief in a literal Satan and demons.
    It is a large error to deny a whole dimension of scripture! But it is quite another thing to deny the resurrection of Jesus. I spent a life time and profession examining these issues and invite you to my website at restorationfellowship.org. The Gospel IS about the Kingdom and non-violence is a teaching of Jesus but denying the Devil and demons' existence is a terrible twist.

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  9. I agree with you. I think that the Bible does teach and condone a literal Devil and Satan and literal demons. I don't believe in such things, and I think that the Bible is wrong. But it clearly teaches it. Christadelphians kid themselves that it is not taught in the Bible.

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  10. Hey John

    Until today, I had no idea that Gilmore had produced this inane, irrelevant, so-called 'rebuttal' of my views.

    You're right, he didn't go far enough. I utterly fail to see why they remain members of the Christadelphian community, knowing full well that by far the majority of sane, rational and faithful members of the community absolutely reject, and with good reason, the evolutionary nonsense they purvey.

    In a word, they should leave, and go contaminate some other church, and maybe join your organisation.

    He attacks me for not having professional evolutionary qualifications - and in reality has none himself, and yet pontificates profusely at every opportunity on the subject on BTDF - admiringly regurgitating the garbage spewed by the evolutionary school.

    There is a biblical word for this, and it is not a nice one - so I will leave it unsaid.

    I note with no surprise that he has failed utterly to even MENTION my principal argument against evolution: the phenomenon of instinct, and the total inability of the theory to account for even one of the great examples of instinctive behaviour that abound in nature, as recorded on my blog.

    Not even a mention, I said : and yet, the title of my blog, plain for all to see, and which he has obviously visited, is, unsurprisingly, ]HOW DOES INSTINCT EVOLVE? Do you think he missed it?

    How could he have missed that? I suggest that he didn't, and prefers to concentrate on the trivial.

    Instinct is at the heart of every living process in every living cell on the planet. Evolution can account for the origin of not one of them - and therefore fails utterly as a theory of origins. It's garbage truck fodder.

    Now missing all that is remarkable - and demonstrates one or more of a few things:

    1 He has no answer to give

    2 He hasn't read the information I have placed on the blog

    3 He is out of his depth when it comes to this particular subject

    4 Is totally ignorant of any way the phenomenon can be accounted for in evolutionary terms

    On the blog, I challenged anyone who felt that they had an answer to the origin of instinct question to come on to the blog and defend their views.

    Gilmore has read that challenge, but is unable, or unwilling to do this, and has totally failed to emerge from his hiding place, preferring the safe portals of Berea.

    Why is that Gilmore? Why is that? Why did you not publish your 'rebuttal' on my blog where I could see it and treat it as it deserved? Where I INVITED you to publish?

    Could you possibly be afraid that the Sword of Instinct will savage your poverty-stricken theory, and render you incapacitated? Come out my ;'friend' Come out!

    Stop lurking on Berea, and come on to my blog and say what you have to say. I will say to you what I have to say, with no fear of being thrown off the blog, as you engineered on BTDF.

    Remember?

    You had no answer to the questions on instinct that I posed then. You ducked, dived and quit ignominiously but nothing like an answer was forthcoming.

    So I say, COME FORTH, AND GIVE ANSWER, like a man.

    Choose any one of those magnificent instinctive phenomena on my blog, and produce your answers.

    I wait - but I fear in vain.

    Come out, I say. Come out.

    You may think of that as a challenge.

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  11. Hi John

    I didn't know, till yesterday, (16/1/14) that Gilmore had mounted a 3-piece attack on me in Berea, nice safe hidey-hole Berea, a place I cannot visit, because they will not give me the right of entry or reply, and in any case they espouse everything subversive to Christadelphianism that can be thought up.

    Ranging from higher criticism (so-called) to that biological train wreck known as evolution.

    You said that he hadn't gone far enough. I think you're right.

    That bunch, in the name of decency, upholding so many teachings, theories and opinions so grossly contrary to everything normal, sane, intelligent, and most of all, faithful Christadelphians hold dear, should really join your party, and leave.

    They'd be doing themselves a favour, and us a favour.

    They should go join another church - you know, one where anything goes - and pollute the waters there. We'd all be much happier. They won't be able to lead the gullible young astray, as they are doing now.

    Before I get down to business, just a point of correction of your article above.

    quote

    In the middle of the "pillow-fight" between Asyncritus and me, Asyncritus hurled a few stones at the lads over at "Berea Portal" http://berea-portal.com/forums/ and they picked up some mud and threw it back at the both of us; which considerably added to the fun. Ken (Super-Geek) Gilmore from Berea then exploded into creativity and authored a long, three part rebuttal entitled "Wilfred Alleyne's Flawed Attack on Evolution." http://berea-portal.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1155 endquote

    I threw no stones at them. You may recall that I stated that I pitied them, and forgave them for pouring their vitriol on me. I do pity them and I do forgive them. You actually commended me for doing so, as you'll probably recall now that I've jogged your memory. Perhaps I can ask you to delete those comments from your article above, and from this post when you've done so?

    Now to business.

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    1. Pity and forgiveness can both be throwing stones. Sounds generous, but often isn't.

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  12. Have you visited my blog John? If you haven't, then please have a look to confirm what I'm going to say next.

    Here's the link: http://belligerentdesign-asyncritus.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/ervs-function-discovered.html

    What do you first notice?

    Answer the TITLE of the blog: in pretty large letters too:

    Asyncritus' HOW DOES INSTINCT EVOLVE?

    Gilmore has clearly visited the blog. He has read it, and even copied the Tiktaalik drawing from it.

    So that makes my next point somewhat surprising.

    In the whole 3 pages of his 'rebuttal', the word 'instinct' is not mentioned even ONCE. NOT A SINGLE TIME - or, of course, I may have missed it, but I don't think I did. (correct me if I'm wrong, bro. Gilmore).

    Why do you think that's so, John?

    How can 3 pages of tortuous, turgid tripe be called a 'rebuttal' when it fails entirely to mention the case I am making?

    There are only a few possible answers available:

    1 He knows that he has no answer to offer.

    2 He can't conceive of an answer to the thesis I present (no evolutionist can, to be fair)

    3 He's got to say something - and so answers other, frivolous points of no significance whatsoever.

    4 He is incompetent to produce any argument which have the faintest semblance of validity.

    He goes on at length about my not having 'qualifications' in evolutionary biology. Of course I haven't. I would not spend years swallowing that garbage and regurgitating it in order to put a few miserable letters after my name.

    But the fact is, he has no qualifications in evolutionary biology either. He's a doctor, and has some qualifications in evolutionarily unrelated subjects.

    Yet he demands that I, and others like me, should not speak without such qualifications.

    The Bible has a nasty word for that - but I won't use it here: you know exactly what it is, though.

    So where do we go from here? I'll tell you.

    On my blog, I challenged anyone who felt that they had some kind of accounting for the instinctive phenomena I described on the blog, to come forward, and be slain by the 'Sword of Instinct' as I picturesquely call it.

    Gilmore slunk away to Berea to write his 'rebuttal'. I have no access to Berea, and as I said above, I would not have anything to do with the subversives congregated there. I far prefer talking to someone like you, who is completely open about your rejection of what we stand for.

    So, Gilmore my boy, if you read this - and I've no doubt that you will - then COME FORTH, and defend the indefensible.

    Come to my blog, and explain to us how a handful of little birds with brains the size of peanuts, could 'evolve' an instinct which brings them 7,800 miles from Goya in Argentina to Capistrano in California, arriving on exactly the same date every year.

    Or if that's too difficult, perhaps you would like to tell us how the Pacific Golden Plover managed to 'evolve' the instinct which takes the parents 2,800 miles from Hawaii to Alaska across the trackless Pacific ocean to breed.

    Then, the fledglings leave Alaska, about 2 weeks AFTER THE PARENTS HAVE GONE back to Hawaii, and without a guide of any sort make that same trip. One degree off course, and they're finished, as a species, because all the individuals go.

    Think you can handle that?

    In case you can't, perhaps you'd like to explain how the eels can migrate from Europe to the Sargasso Sea - all 3000 miles of ocean - breed there, AND THEN DIE.

    The young then find their way back to the starting point where they grow to maturity.

    Failing all that, you might like to explain how the phenomenon of sexual reproduction evolved: and from what? Can a cell count?

    Those are items I have on my blog, waiting for you and your cohorts to embarrass yourselves.

    COME FORTH, I say.

    You may think of that as a challenge.

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