Tom Gilson
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28 thoughts on “Single-Issue Anti-Intellectualism?

  1. Young earth creationism isn’t a single issue. To accept YEC, you have to reject large portions of well-established geology, biology, chemistry, and physics. This is so obvious it shouldn’t need saying.

    And anyway, my original challenge to your article mentioned a variety of topics where conservative evangelicals just toss the evidence in a hole and ignore it in favor of their reading of the Bible. The ones I mentioned were common with old-earth creationists, since I assumed (inaccurately, I guess) that you and your commentators would agree that the young-earth view was beyond the pale, intellectually speaking.

  2. Try to stay on the subject, Nick. It’s whether single-issue anti-intellectualism is defensible.

    I don’t agree with YEC, and I don’t agree with single-issue definitions of anti-intellectualism. I don’t call YECs anti-intellectual just on the basis of that position of theirs, and I don’t call you (globally) anti-intellectual even though you try define anti-intellectualism according to a single issue. I haven’t even called you (globally) anti-intellectual in the face of your ignorance of your ignorance of some pretty important evolution-related philosophy of science.

  3. So I guess your position is that conservative evangelicals should fight back when people say they are anti-intellectual, but they shouldn’t actually correct the major intellectual sins for which they are well known, like considering YEC a reasonable idea, endorsing the special creation of humans, arguing for a global or huge local flood, etc. Good luck convincing anyone of that!

  4. There you go again, Nick.

    1. Where did this discussion begin? I’ll give you a hint. It’s linked at the top of this blog post. What is the point of that open letter?

    2. This post was about one topic: single-issue accusations of anti-intellectualism. You have somehow morphed that one topic into my entire position on everything that was discussed in these two threads. If I didn’t think you were doing it on purpose I would consider it dense. I don’t think you’re that dumb, though; I think you know what you’re doing. Rather than being stupid, it seems more likely that it represents intellectual irresponsibility, arguing in bad faith, and dishonesty.

    3. You’re trying to duck the issue I raised here: the indefensibility of your single-issue litmus test for anti-intellectualism. Did you learn that ploy in PR school when you worked for the NCSE? Did the NCSE consider ducking the question to be a great way to follow the truth wherever it leads?

  5. Most Christians start with Jesus Christ as ground-zero of their beliefs. His stature and words are compelling, convicting, and convincing. Did Christ believe in Noah’s flood? Yes. Did he believe in an “in the beginning”? Yes. So, in the face of apparently contradictory evidence, Christians opt for who they know and trust rather than what they are being told by the through-a-glass-darkly moving target of the historical sciences. As for Adam and Eve: Cain and Abel require parents. Adam and Eve are they. It’s not that difficult.

    If you want to try to harmonize this fact with current science, you could posit that Adam and Eve were the first primates recognized by God as human beings and endued by God with his divine imprint of rationality, creativity, and moral sense accompanied by freewill agency. I also suspect that they were designed to be and were filled with the Spirit of God, but haven’t studied this idea.

    As for the flood, I have no idea how the details of fitting all the species on board works out — maybe it was a local flood, and earth should be translated land; maybe the animals on board were more symbolic than comprehensive; I have no idea. But, I believe there was a catastrophic flood, a mere eight souls were saved, and that persons that ignore this data do so at their own peril.

  6. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that there is a very high correlation between people/groups that are anti-intellectual (as Tom defines quite well above) and Young Earth Creationists.

    I wouldn’t argue that holding to YEC makes one anti-intellectual de facto, nor would I argue for the “single issue” definition that Tom presents above. Instead, I think I’d argue that the type of thinking/believing processes that lead one to believe that YEC is true tend to be the same (or at least similar) thought processes that also make one anti-intellectual, at least as far as Evangelical Christianity in America is concerned.

  7. brgulker:

    Instead of speculating, perhaps some empirical evidence would be in order to support your “betting man” approach… because you might just lose your shirt based on weak definitions.

    The convenient YEC-vs.-“anti-intellectual” labeling game being played here by narrow-minded pseudo-intellectuals like Nick has a long pedigree associated with a proper term of art: fideism (Widipedia: Fideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths). YEC-ers believe the Bible alone (echoing Luther’s heresy of “faith alone”) validates knowledge of the natural world. That’s fideism, but it’s not anti-intellectual. Point one.

    Point two: Atheism invariably suffers a kind of fideism as well: at best it has faith in its own improvable subjective opinion that there is no God. While the existence of God is demonstrated (not just proved!) by reason, nonetheless we humans are often deluded by our sinful natures (usually lead by arrogance and pride) to deny the claims of reason that demonstrate God’s existence.

    The ultimate aim of Nick’s opinionated unscientific rants (the reason he’s annoying) is not so much YECism, but faith as such. The great irony is Nick refuses to acknowledge the power of the human capacity to reason to higher-order verities (while all knowledge starts on the senses, not all knowledge is sensory knowledge): for him all reliable knowledge stops at empirical (sensory accessible) knowledge. That’s dumb because it itself is not an empirical claim… but that is the story of atheism itself, isn’t it? Occasionally, Nick will toss out some Gould-esque NOMA-type nonsense that strongly implies philosophers and people of faith should go argue in the corner so as not to complicate the lives of atheists with inconvenient observations and truths…

    I’m putting my eggs in the basket of Fides et ratio and Fides quaerens intellectum… because we are, by our created natures, rational animals in need of a Savior.

  8. Instead of speculating, perhaps some empirical evidence would be in order to support your “betting man” approach… because you might just lose your shirt based on weak definitions.

    Just a blog comment, friend. I’m not submitting a topic for a dissertation proposal. I’m not aware of a study that addresses my claim, otherwise I would have at least mentioned it. That’s my experience, which is fairly broad, within the Evangelical YEC community. Don’t take it for more than what it is: anecdotal.

    Regarding your point one: I’ll use your terms for the sake of conversation with the caveat that this feels like it could turn into an endless tango in semantics.

    My response: If the net result of fideism a rejection of empirical knowledge of origins on the basis of a handful of biblical passages, how is that not anti-intellectual as Tom defined it?

    In other words, if a commitment to fidiesm (as you’ve defined it, Bible alone over and against every other form of knowledge) results in that rejection, how is that not this? No, to be anti-intellectual is to be opposed to things such as learning, study, and knowledge, taken broadly and deeply.

    At the end of the day, fideism is opposed to at least the knowledge produced by the empirical sciences as it relates to origins.

    It’s one thing to have an informed dissenting opinion on origins — that’s not in my view here. It’s another to completely reject an entire epistemic category (that is always considered to be quite reliable) altogether, which is precisely what YEC’s must do insofar as origins are concerned. And to me, that seems like the very definition of anti-intellectual.

    Regarding your point two: Atheism invariably suffers a kind of fideism as well: at best it has faith in its own improvable subjective opinion that there is no God.

    I suppose we could do the semantic tango and hash out the agnostic vs. the atheist, but I’m guessing we’ve both had that conversation a time or two before. Again, anecdotal, but the atheists that I know would have more than a few issues with how you’ve defined them. Most atheists I know would simply self-define by saying something like, “I don’t believe in a god or gods because I do not see sufficient evidence to support the claim.” To charge said person — one who lacks belief — with fideism is puzzling to me.

  9. Hi brgulker

    Iwould, respectfully, take issue with your definition of anti-intellectualism. Anti-intellectualism is the refusal to honestly consider the evidence. There are many learned and studied individuals whose knowledge is tainted by their limited point of view. They begin with an assumption and discard all evidence which contradicts the initial assumption. As often as not we refer to these individuals as “intellectuals” because they appear learned but they are, in fact, anti-intellectuals whose only goal is the destruction of certain ideas and the promotion of their own prejudice.

  10. Hi brgulker:

    Re my first point: it wasn’t so much you I was chasing as obliquely Nick–who is hyper-empirical. Pardon the confusion: it was meant as a spring board.

    Re the definition: I still don’t believe YEC is ANTI-intellectual as it is PSEUDO-intellectual because of its fideism. After all, I don’t believe YEC-ers (or us, for that matter) could characterize them as being OPPOSED to learning, study, knowledge but rather narrowing the scope to only one source. And, by the way, this is the reason I believe Nick is better understood as a pseudo-intellectual: smart, but disordered and narrow-minded and permitting unscientific personal opinions and hatreds animate his “thinking.”

    Re your final point: my only response would be that atheists always take issues with definitions that don’t suit their personal opinions. Of course, this may be true of a great many of us… but a commitment to not imposing upon reality a narrow epistemic (and ontological) ideology is a healthy attitude… unfortunately, an approach not generally shared by atheists. Cases in point: “the immaterial is impossible or irrelevant because we can’t know it” or “MES-knowledge is the only or best form of knowledge.” If these are not question-begging on at least several levels, I don’t know what is.

    Faith, even if superficial, is at least at some level open to more (but it needs a “fides quaerens intellectum” approach); atheism, on the other hand a priori shuts out–quite unscientifically and deeply pseudo-philosophically–most of reality. What is it that animated the formation of the universities, of anti-slavery, of [que almost endless list]? Faith. What has atheism animated: hatred, arrogance, pseudo-intellectualism… and millions upon millions of bodies. What is the lasting contribution of atheism to human civilization? Genocide.

    Finally, I’ll concede, to a certain extent, that semantics and agreed-to definitions must be first established.

  11. Dave,

    I really like your definition. However, the one I proposed wasn’t mine. I was simply using Tom’s for the sake of conversation. I think yours is simpler and gets to the heart of the matter more quickly and concisely.

    I think there are plenty of YEC groups and individuals that do exactly that (more below).

    Holopupenko,

    After all, I don’t believe YEC-ers (or us, for that matter) could characterize them as being OPPOSED to learning, study, knowledge but rather narrowing the scope to only one source.

    I would take issue with this given my experience in Fundamentalism. Have you ever met Fundamentalist sects that insist that the KJV is the only translation of the Bible that’s accurate? And would you care to guess how many of those sects have any knowledge of the original languages and manuscripts upon which the KJV was based? (I intend these to be honest quetsions, not rhetorical flair).

    Isn’t that a textbook definition of anti-intellectualism? Refusing to study the original languages, refusing to study other translations and how they were derived, refusing to study the scholarship regarding manuscripts, etc., etc. Refusing to consider the evidence for alternative points of view.

    If you had to guess, do you think that such a group/individual would also be a YEC?

    That’s all I’m getting at. I think there are specific ways of thinking within American Evangelicalism that lead to specific conclusions. And as I see it, it’s the same ways of thinking that would lead one to believe that the KJV is the one true bible and that the Earth is 6,000 years old. The two ideas go hand-in-hand.

    Certainly, there are Evangelicals who do not think either of those things. And certainly there are YECists who are not that extreme. But “extreme” groups do exist and are larger than one might think. Pentecostalism in America is filled with clergy and laity that believe these things, as one easily available example. Tom is defending Evangelical Christianity, and while some Evanglicals would want to distance themselves from groups like this, the majority of these groups would self-identify with the tenants of Evangelicalism (and would be correct in doing so).

    In my opinion, it takes all sorts of linguistic and semantic gymnastics to argue that these types of groups are not anti-intellectual when it comes to science generally and our example origins specifically. That’s why I’m pushing back on your points. It seems so obvious to me that this is textbook anti-intellectualism. I can’t figure out why you (or anyone else who understands the terms and how they’re being used) would object.

    Would you agree or disagree with what I’ve written thus far?

  12. Hi brgulker:

    Yes, I guess I would disagree with you.

    I distinguish between the following two: (1) “pseudo” is employed as the qualifier when a narrowing is imposed upon the human capacity for reason–intentional or not–which you describe and under which Dave’s definition fits; (2) “anti” is employed when reason itself is the target (see Luther’s unfortunate statements on this, but he is joined by today’s New Atheists: Dennett’s facile opposition to the existence of the capacity for free will, Dawkin’s silly moralizing against morality (with which DL is infected), Rorty who so nicely showed us how not to philosophize, the Churchlands, etc. as nicely enumerated earlier by Crude).

    When goofy secular scientists claim that science is not the pursuit of truth (Singham at Case Wester Reserve) or that there is no meaning in the universe (hence undermining their own appeal to meaning) or those who, wait for it… intentionally claim there is no purpose in the universe, etc., etc. ad nauseum, these (to me) are true anti-intellectuals. YEC-ers, on the other hand, don’t decry reasoning per se but a priori limit its scope. In other words, the former group either directly or indirectly goes after reasoning because they go after human nature and the capacity for human reasoning (and free will); the latter group artificially limits human nature’s capacity to reason but does not attempt to destroy it. The former is anti-intellectual; the latter is pseudo-intellectual.

    Fides ET ratio. Love the Lord your God with all your HEART and with all your SOUL and with all your STRENGTH and with all your MIND. (Luke 10:27) That admonition is anything but a call to be closed-minded (of which atheist so ignorantly accuse Christians): it is to OPEN one’s heart AND mind to all of reality’s wonders and truths, to rejoice in their glorifying the Maker (Psalm 19:1), and to never be afraid because faith cannot contradict reason… unless, of course, either one is disordered. Like Crude said, I’d take a YEC-er in the trenches any day compared to an atheist: limited thinking is better than no thinking at all.

    (Well, okay… maybe I did overstate the latter… but, in terms of ultimate things, only a little.)

  13. So to be clear, and I’m not sure I can say much more until I understand you on this point, you would argue that the the following type of person is NOT approaching the issue of the origin of the Earth anti-intellectually:

    A person who refuses to study relevant Science, the original languages of Scripture, any translation of Scripture other than the KJV, the scholarship regarding manuscripts upon which biblical translations are based, etc.

    If not, I would appreciate knowing how you define the term “anti-intellectual” more clearly, as it relates to a person or a characteristic, etc.

    If it is as simple as anti-reason, I fail to see how the above person isn’t anti-reason.

    limited thinking is better than no thinking at all.

    In my view, in order for that argument to hold any water, you’d have to prove to me that the person I just described above is actually thinking (autonomously or critically as a conversation starter) at all. After all, you can get a parrot to say the words “I believe in God,” or “The Earth is six thousand years old.”

    Please note that I’m talking very specifically about specific subsets of Evangelicalism here. I’m not trying to argue that all Evangelicals are anti-intellectual or even that all YCEs are anti-intellectual.

  14. Hi brgulker:

    I’m not sure I can be more clear than my first paragraph.

    However, I think you’re stretching your view of ANTI-intellectualism to include those who LIMIT or EXCLUDE some but not all sources/evidence. I can’t accept that because I’m trying to be careful not to reduce it to a label that is typically used against those with whom one doesn’t agree.

    (Nick is quite guilty of this: for him, Christians are anti-intellectual by definition. How ironic: atheists intentionally and quite unscientifically limit what they emotionally feel is evidence and knowledge; Christians celebrate an expansive vision of reality and the power behind the gift of reason within the framework of human nature.)

    Again, that’s why I don’t believe YEC’ers can be properly characterized as “anti-” but are better characterized as “pseudo-” intellectuals: they don’t deny reason, they deny its scope or put it into conflict with their “faith” (be that religious or secular “faith”).

    It’s admittedly a fine point, and I’m aware my distinction is not common to coffee table discussions of these topics. I’m just trying to be careful. Someone who intentionally decries meaning, free will, purpose, reason while appealing to these is truly anti-intellectual. Someone who intentionally or unintentionally limits the scope of reason (whether to meet some preconceived notion or out of ignorance or fear) nonetheless still believes they’re reasoning. For the latter, their reasoning may be flawed… but at least its not against reasoning itself or fundamental aspects of human nature.

    I hope that helps.

  15. Actually, right over on Jerry Coyne’s blog, you can find some blatant anti-intellectualism. Basically Coyne talking about how he realizes his position (“atheism” + materialism) about minds leads to moral nihilism and undercuts reason itself. His practical solution is that he prefers not to think about such things, because that way lies madness.

    Against thinking like that (Which, by the way, isn’t exactly uncommon or unheard – as has been pointed out), YEC looks only a little less intellectual than the claim that the earth revolves around the sun.

    Anyway, I’d point out that YECs seem to be doing precisely what guys like Matzke and some of those yokels over at Biologos are telling them to do: To believe the testimony of experts rather than to decide for themselves what is or isn’t true. Of course, the problem is YECs believe they have the testimony of God Himself, which rather easily trumps the credentials of any academic or combination of academics.

    That’s a key point to remember here. Matzke, the NCSE, etc really could care less if a person actually understands the science behind evolution, or the age of the earth, or the philosophical questions related to knowledge, even specifically scientific knowledge. They’re after simple, unconditional assent and belief. Don’t understand how natural selection is supposed to work? Lateral gene transfer? Origins of information? That’s okay. But when you’re asked if you believe in evolution, you better say yes. Do that and you’re aces.

    This isn’t about “intellectualism”. Never has been, likely never will be. One look at that mighty selective, narrow standard should clue in most people.

  16. Dawkins does the same when he talks about determinism and free will. He chooses to pretend he has free will even though he doesn’t. It makes as much intellectual sense to punish a thief as to strike your faulty automobile, according to Dawkins, but let’s do it anyway.

    Matzke, the NCSE, etc really could care less if a person actually understands the science behind evolution, or the age of the earth, or the philosophical questions related to knowledge, even specifically scientific knowledge. They’re after simple, unconditional assent and belief.

    Bam!
    I’ve been on blogs where teens have been lauded for their “intelligence” and sophistication on this issue merely for toeing the line, even though they can’t articulate anything about evolution.

  17. Now that I think about it, Darwin did it as well. He lamented that maybe he couldn’t trust his mind at all – derived as it was from that of a monkey.
    Of course he reserved this humility for those instances when that simian mind compelled him to consider the necessity of an Architect of the cosmos.

  18. Hi brgulker

    I would take issue with this given my experience in Fundamentalism. Have you ever met Fundamentalist sects that insist that the KJV is the only translation of the Bible that’s accurate?

    Anti-intellectualism comes in many flavors, some are Christian and some are not.

    I happen to consider myself an “intellectual” in the sense that I study the critics looking for tough arguments which oppose my beliefs. I do this because, as a former atheist, I am curious about what I once thought unassailable truth. In a way, I was more anti-intellectual when I was an atheist for that very reason. The more I study the matter the more convinced I am that Christianity is the only truly intellectual worldview.

    Most people forget that we reason from assumptions to conclusions. At some point we begin with a first principle (assumption) about the nature of the universe, or the nature of man, or the nature of reason, and from that assumption we draw conclusions about what is true and false. If we begin with incorrect assumptions we ultimately draw absurd conclusions. (an example of one such conclusion is the determinism cited by Charlie)

    I began my quest with a certain amount of trepidation; what if I was wrong? what if I had backed the wrong horse? I have found, much to my surprise in some ways, that there are no sustainable arguments which refute Christian theism. There are sustainable arguments which refute most other philosophies (at least, the ones I have investigated). Matzke’s argument to ‘scientism’ is not sustainable by its own philosophical standard – a condition which has been pointed out as often by its supporters as its opponents.

    Such being the case, I have changed my default position, the position I tentatively hold as true barring the advent of new information, from old earth evolutionist to young earth creationist. The reason for this change of mind is the internal consistency and external verification of the biblical account of nature and humanity. I have come to the conclusion that the inconsistencies in the theories of origins proposed by naturalistic ‘science’ are not sufficient to overule revelation. This viewpoint is one I put to the test daily.

  19. Hi Dave,

    This viewpoint is one I put to the test daily.

    Then you are certainly not among the group I have in mind it seems to me. I applaud you for doing what you do! I do my best to do the same!

    Holopupenko,

    However, I think you’re stretching your view of ANTI-intellectualism to include those who LIMIT or EXCLUDE some but not all sources/evidence. I can’t accept that because I’m trying to be careful not to reduce it to a label that is typically used against those with whom one doesn’t agree.

    As best as I can tell, in order for this argument to work, then Genesis 1-2 must qualify as evidence as it relates to origins, right?

    And I still don’t feel like we have the same groups of people in mind here. Have you ever heard of the movie Jesus Camp? It’s a flawed movie from start to finish, and I know that. But I grew up in a home exactly like the ones portrayed in this movie.

    I was homeschooled and taught that evolution was literally a lie and the science to support it was not only unreliable but was a fabrication. Would you consider that to be a type of anti-intellectualism?

    I was taught — literally, not using exaggeration or hyperbole here — that the one and only reliable source of evidence for ALL types of knowledge is the bible. That is a complete rejection of philosophy, science, etc., etc.

    It seems to me that one has completely overhaul common understandings of what “anti-intellectualism” means in order for these types of thinking to not count. Yes, I think I am including people who exclude science as a reliable source of konwledge in my definition of anti-intellectual, but at most I’m piggy-backing off of what Tom proposed above, and I may be simply copying him and applying to a situation that didn’t enter his field of view.

    To restate it once more in an attempt at clarity: To explicitly reject the conclusions of science because they conflict with Genesis 1-2 and for no other reason than that conflict is to reject reason, or at least it seems to me, and would thus be a textbook example of thinking anti-intellectually. Again, here is Tom’s definition:

    It’s not just about being wrong; all the greatest thinkers have been wrong about some things—especially the scientists. No, to be anti-intellectual is to be opposed to things such as learning, study, and knowledge, taken broadly and deeply.

    If a Christian sect is completely opposed to studying and learning science and thus is directly opposed to the knowledge that science may generate, how is that not taking an anti-intellectual approach? Couple that with the fact that they reject NT scholarship, manuscript evidence, all translations of the bible except one, etc., etc., and it becomes even harder to exclude them from the definition proposed above.

    To do a little word play on an above paragraph:

    These christian sects really could care less if a person actually understands the language and cultural context behind Genesis 1-2, or the age of the earth, or the philosophical questions related to knowledge, even specifically scientific or biblical knowledge. They’re after simple, unconditional assent and belief.

    By simply swapping in a couple words (fairly, IMO), I’ve accurately described the Christian sects I have in view with words that were originally intended to describe “anti-intellectual” atheists.

    To be perfectly honest with you, it seems to me that you are avoiding what seems to be the obvious conclusion here so that you can reserve the term “anti-intellectual” strictly for atheists. I don’t mean this as a shot at you, and I could be wrong here. I’m basing this strictly on our convesration above. I simply don’t understand that; moreover, I agree with you in regards to heart and mind. What I’m saying is that there are Christian sects that totally and completely reject loving and serving God with our “mind.”

  20. Hi brgulker:

    I’m on a weekend road trip, Wi-Fi-ing from a McDonalds, so I’ll try to be brief…with a follow up later. I find myself deeply sympathazing–if not empathizing–with you. I really do feel your concern. Nonetheless, even those who reject either reason (e.g., through the fideism you’ve encountered) or reject faith (we see plenty of that nonsense from atheist commenters here) reject as a LIMITATION rather than an overall rejection. I draw that fine distinction because to me there is a deep and important difference between limiting the bounds of reason (or subsuming it per your example–the sects you describe nonetheless believe only the Bible is the true source of human reason, I.e., they don’t reject all reason but rather they reject or denigrate human reason without properly locating it within human nature as created by God) and rejecting it utterly (while hypocritically appealing to it). More later.

  21. brgulker,

    I was homeschooled and taught that evolution was literally a lie and the science to support it was not only unreliable but was a fabrication. Would you consider that to be a type of anti-intellectualism?

    Hope you don’t mind my jumping in here.

    Wouldn’t that in part depend on what those teaching you had themselves read and believed regarding the subject? Now, I can imagine all kinds of things they could have read and believed that would have amounted to anti-intellectualism, sure. But there seems to be in this case a difference between the belief and the (anti-intellectual) mode of thought that leads to said belief.

    I was taught — literally, not using exaggeration or hyperbole here — that the one and only reliable source of evidence for ALL types of knowledge is the bible. That is a complete rejection of philosophy, science, etc., etc.

    Again, wouldn’t that claim of “rejection” depend in part on how this belief was arrived at? Frankly, and admittedly this may be some Catholic bias on my part, I find it very hard to believe that anyone even can rely on the bible for all knowledge to the exclusion of ALL other types of knowledge. They’d have to bring certain extra-biblical knowledge, and quite a lot of it, for their project to even get off the ground.

    I’d also mention that there is a key difference between saying the bible is “the one and only reliable source of evidence for ALL types of knowledge”, and saying that the bible is the supreme source and trumps all other types of knowledge in case of conflict. You say you speak without hyperbole, but I can’t help but suspect you do here, however slightly.

    These christian sects really could care less if a person actually understands the language and cultural context behind Genesis 1-2, or the age of the earth, or the philosophical questions related to knowledge, even specifically scientific or biblical knowledge. They’re after simple, unconditional assent and belief.

    By simply swapping in a couple words (fairly, IMO), I’ve accurately described the Christian sects I have in view with words that were originally intended to describe “anti-intellectual” atheists.

    Woah, hold on here. You think my words here were aimed only at atheists? That’s flat-out wrong. I specifically mentioned Biologos as having a hand in this schtick. I’ve been coming down on the NCSE, who promote things like the Clergy Letter Project and who explicitly seek, and at times get, Christian and religious ties. Yes, I’ve been pointing out the NCSE’s, and Nick’s, atrocious track record when it comes to defending science from particularly atheist and naturalist varieties of abuse. But my claim that all that is desired is unconditional assent is a different charge.

    What’s more, I certainly don’t doubt that Christians, individually or groups, can be anti-intellectual. But A) I think the people throwing around that charge have a track record which indicates insincerity as regards their stated concerns, and B) I think it’s important, as Tom has done, to take stock of what is really meant by that charge, to see if what is meant accurately reflects the words, and to see if those accused of it qualify.

  22. Hi Crude,

    Again, wouldn’t that claim of “rejection” depend in part on how this belief was arrived at? Frankly, and admittedly this may be some Catholic bias on my part, I find it very hard to believe that anyone even can rely on the bible for all knowledge to the exclusion of ALL other types of knowledge. They’d have to bring certain extra-biblical knowledge, and quite a lot of it, for their project to even get off the ground.

    I have a strong Protestant bias and agree totally with you.

    I’d also mention that there is a key difference between saying the bible is “the one and only reliable source of evidence for ALL types of knowledge”, and saying that the bible is the supreme source and trumps all other types of knowledge in case of conflict. You say you speak without hyperbole, but I can’t help but suspect you do here, however slightly.

    I agree completely here again. Would anyone claim the Bible tells us how to assemble our latest purchase from IKEA or which fork goes on the outside? Would anyone?

    Woah, hold on here. You think my words here were aimed only at atheists? That’s flat-out wrong. I specifically mentioned Biologos as having a hand in this schtick.

    I saw the “original” as the swap around. I figured the presumption here was already that Nick et al were thinking in terms of brgulker’s reinterpretation and that Crude’s formulation was a statement demonstrating how the shoe fits both feet. That’s how I read and treated it anyway.

  23. In other words:
    The point was not that some Christians, or some groups, could be anti-intellectual, or arrive at a belief or defend it in an anti-intellectual manner, but that by holding a certain belief they are, prima facie, necessarily anti-intellectual.

  24. By the way, with regard to another thread, I have not found out what the definitive views of Dr. Dean Kenyon are on the age of the universe.
    But in my questioning I have been informed that he is not in good health and would like to pass that on to those who will remember him in their prayers.

    Thanks

  25. Would anyone claim the Bible tells us how to assemble our latest purchase from IKEA or which fork goes on the outside?

    I think that’s in Domestications 2:12-25 😉

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"Too Good To Be False is almost too good to be true!" — Josh McDowell

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