A criticism of Stephen Palmer's talks at the Coventry Creation Day - 14

By Ken Gilmore

Editor's Note: Ken is Christadelphian Theist, NOT an Ex-Christadelphian. He does not support or condone the Atheist position of this website and we do not support or condone his Theism. Nevertheless there remains a considerable amount of agreement between us and we consider his work to be of the utmost value.

Stephen Palmer’s series of anti-evolution lectures break no new ground in Christadelphian evolution denialism.... To see leading figures in our community give credence to a nonsensical view such as YEC is disturbing, given that this position was clearly seen as false by our community prior to the mid-20th Century. Click here to read the rest of this article.

10 comments:

  1. Full marks to Ken Gilmore for a fantastic fourteen part series criticising the Stephen Palmer Creation day at Coventry.

    On his blog Ken has exposed Stephen Palmer, Bernard Burt, Don Pearce, John Hellewell and all of the other Christadelphian Creation speakers as being seriously mistaken. He has shown their profound ignorance of the subjects of Evolution, Genetics and Geology, and their propensity to base their talks on material sourced from such dubious Evangelical publications as Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International.

    Christadelphians are without excuse. Both Ex-Christadelphians and informed Christadelphians like Jonathan Burke, Ken Gilmore and others are demonstrating that Christadelphian teaching about Creation is false. It is time for the Christadelphian community to reform this area of their thinking, because right now they are teaching falsehoods which contradict all of modern scientific discovery and understanding.

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  2. I am sorry to say that i can only give Ken a rather mean 8/10 for this piece. If only Palmer had taken as much effort as Ken did, there would be hope.
    I take issue with this paragraph:
    "The former is readily seen in the atrocious misrepresentation of evolutionary biology by fundamentalist extremist organisations such as Answers in Genesis, while the latter is painful evidence when prominent New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne step outside of their area of competence and embarrass themselves on theological matters, a point that biochemist and theologian Alister McGrath (who accepts evolution) has made when he refers to Dawkins as “embarrassingly ignorant of Christian theology.” Fundamentalist Christians ignorant of the details of evolutionary biology and fundamentalist atheist grossly ignorant of Christian theology are hardly the sort of people who should be defining the parameters of the discussion."
    For the Atheist "Christian Theology" is simply an invented term to justify a belief in one aspect of the supernatural.
    Next year, Palmer is a leading speaker at the Swanwick Bible School. It remains to be seen how much his defective teaching on evolution has affected his thoughts on other matters.
    His piece in this months "Christadelphian" is equally flatulent.

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    1. I doubt there are more than a handful of Christadelphians who understand what Ken is on about, let alone want to discuss it. I did notice that in Palmer's "Christadelphian" article he is exceptionally vicious about theistic evolution, I'm pretty sure that he sees this as the main threat, his usual conflation of evolution with atheism is a particularly sad effort.
      Palmer's claim that [the theistic evolution] movement is influencing many others through internet discussions. Is a bold one: How does he know? You can smell the fear that these elderly people have.

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    2. "Fundamentalist Christians ignorant of the details of evolutionary biology and fundamentalist atheist grossly ignorant of Christian theology are hardly the sort of people who should be defining the parameters of the discussion."

      Lol, Ken. Really? What discussion?
      You need theology to discuss evolution now?

      And what is this "Christian theology" you feel so confident that Richard Dawkins is apparently so ignorant of? I wonder if you'd consider yourself equally as ignorant of it since you're no more qualified in theology than Mr Dawkins.

      In fact there is no single "Christian theology" and there never has been. I wouldn't be surprised if what McGrath really meant was "my theology" since Christian views are quite diverse between sects.

      See, the simple fact is that the only thing you have to declare people ignorant of theology is other people's opinion. There is no benchmark or test that could be done to determine one's competency in theology. There are no correct answers and no way of knowing if one is correct. The whole field is a joke. It has been described as possibly the only field of study that has been completely unproductive for humanity.

      It's laughable that Ken needs to use arguments from authority to bolster his case. In science the evidence speaks for itself. But in theology there is no evidence so all he has is authority figures. If they said it, it must be true.

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  3. Also from the article:

    "Conversely, militant atheists argue that Christianity has been falsified because evolution falsifies fundamentalist Christianity."

    Firstly, the term "militant atheist" is simply a cheap shot intended to demonise atheists. All it really means is atheists who don't keep their mouth shut. Apparently Christians don't like it when atheists are outspoken about their views so they call them "militant" even though Christians have been openly preaching for millenia. On the other hand, "militant christian" conjures up an entirely different picture. Because there actually have been christian militant groups who killed in the name of their religion. The worst these "militant atheists" do is exercise free speech. See the difference?

    But don't worry Ken. When atheists are the majority, we'll treat you a lot better than you've treated us.

    The idea that evolution is the only argument atheists have against Christianity is downright absurd. Richard Dawkins wrote an entire book against Christianity and evolution isn't even a big part of that. Evolution is just the start. Dawkins knows and has spoken with many theologians who accept evolution. He knows what they believe.

    The way Ken refers to the "New Atheists" all the time instead of just "atheists" smacks of fear. I don't know why he feels so threatened by them, but it seems obvious to me that he does. The only difference with the "new" atheists is that they call religious people out on their nonsense. Otherwise there's not a lot of difference. They still don't believe in any gods or goddesses.

    Ken uses every imaginable tactic to discredit them except for the one thing that would actually work. You know, provide real evidence for his beliefs. Until then, he doesn't have a case. And perhaps he knows it.

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  4. John, I thought you had managed to kill off comments, but apparently not.

    I see Ken makes some of the same comments about social media and which subjects to study as I did when you posted some of the videos in May. Are we going to get back the April - June comments?

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    1. The comments are all safely backed up. But we are having lots of work done to the home recently and I'm not getting much time to work on this website. As soon as I get an hour free I will restore them all.

      However I would encourage Ex-Christadelphians to NOT make comments any more on this blog. We should all try to get over our Christadelphian experience and move on leaving all of this unpleasantness behind. If you have not got over it yet then by all means discuss here. But by doing so we are merely re-entering the Christadelphian madhouse and that is not a good thing to do.

      I'm only running this blog for the sake of those who need it, both inside and out of the CD religion. But the truth is that I'd much rather that someone else takes over and I can move on myself.

      Christadelphianism is merely a group delusion. Once you realise that fact there is no more necessity for anyone to remain in contact with it.

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  5. Ken's style has a lot of appeal to authority. Similar is his appeal to how old or new a view is. To me, that's a red herring. If we were determining truth claims based on how old the claim was, many denominations have older ones than Christadelphians, and Greek and Chinese philosophers have older claims than Christianity itself. If YEC were correct, it would be correct whether or not John Thomas believed it. If it were wrong, it would be wrong whether it was introduced 50 years ago or 5,000 years ago.

    It also seems Ken judges old criticisms of his view as irrelevant, while old criticisms of the other side's view are obviously relevant. While he appeals to old Christadelphian teachings, his view is actually new. A simple substitution would criticise not YEC, but Theistic Evolution:
    "To see leading figures in our community give credence to a nonsensical view such as Theistic Evolution is disturbing, given that this position was clearly seen as false by our community prior to the mid-20th century."
    (a fair percentage would "clearly see theistic evolution as false" now. Before 1950 I would expect it to be almost everyone).

    Similarly, he can write off anti-evolution arguments from 30 years ago as "hopelessly dated", but just accepts anti-YEC arguments from more than 30 years ago as correct. Why? Because he believes these things to be true.

    I'm happy with him arguing they are true, but as Steve says, evidence is required. It doesn't matter whether the argument has appeared from nowhere in the last ten years or was accepted by early Christadelphians. All that matters is whether it is true or not.

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    1. ^^ This. Some fantastic points there, JJ.

      One of the strengths of science is that it has built-in methods to show exactly how we know what we know. In order to convince people that something is true, we appeal to the evidence, not the credentials of the person who made the claim.

      Theology has no such method. All they have is credentials. How is any of that going to be objective? What value does it provide to humanity? What value could it possibly provide to humanity?

      In the words of Dan Barker, "Theology is a subject without an object". And also, and “Theologians don’t have an object to study, so they just study what other theologians say.”

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  6. For Ken to argue that "an Atheist grossly ignorant of Christian theology is hardly the sort of person who should be defining the parameters of the discussion" is like saying that "an Atheist grossly ignorant of Astrology is hardly the sort of person who should be defining the parameters of a discussion about Clairvoyance."

    Theology, Astrology, Clairvoyance, Water Divining, Voodoo Magic, Spiritualism, Norwegian Trolls that live under bridges, Monsters that Lurk in Scottish Lochs and Irish Leprechauns that live underneath clover leaves are not subjects that require relevant Ivy League degree qualifications before an informed observer can make the comment "You've got to be kidding!"

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