Andrew Loke: Does the Bible Affirm Scientific Errors? A Reply to Denis Lamoureux


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

This article by @Andrew_Loke is an important one to read.

In recent years a number of scholars have argued that numerous biblical texts affirm what we now know are erroneous scientific notions. The sort of arguments they use and the biblical texts they cite have been well summarised in the writings of Denis Lamoureux. Lamoureux argues that these texts affirm erroneous notions concerning a three-tier universe, the movement of the sun across the sky, a solid firmament, flat earth, the mustard seed being the smallest seed, the death of the seed during germination, preformatism and creation de novo. I show that Lamoureux has not adequately considered Beale’s distinction between what the texts affirm and what the author believes. I develop various arguments based on this distinction and demonstrate that Lamoureux’s arguments fail to refute Beale’s position concerning biblical inerrancy and rule out an alternative view of divine accommodation which uses ancient common ways of expression without affirming scientific errors.
https://www.scienceandchristianbelief.org/view_abstract.php?ID=1404

I highly recommend this article to those who are with BioLogos, and would like to hear what they think about it. For example, Lamoureux book is currently begin discussed there (https://discourse.biologos.org/t/lamoureuxs-evolution-scripture-and-nature-say-yes/39326 and https://discourse.biologos.org/t/lamoureuxs-evolutionary-creation/39249/2), and I know @Randy has enjoyed his work.

I like Lamoureux too, but think he is wrong when he claims the Bible teaches scientific errors. It appears that he is reading errors into Scripture for the purpose of saying this. Any how, it will be helpful to talk about specific examples when they arise. I can put a few quotes up from the article if anyone wants to engage.


#2

Dr Swamidass, thanks for this. It looks like a good resource. I am sure I will learn a lot by reading it. I’m going to have to read more tonight or this weekend, as today is a very full one at work. However, I invite all who want to comment on those discourses at Biologos, as well as here–to correct or add, as you like. Sharing opinions is very good to get to the bottom of things–and God knows that all of us have good intentions.

Dr Lamoureux was considering having a live question and answer when I emailed him recently, but I have to contact him again to ask what his plans are. Would you think inviting him to talk would be a good idea? You can reach him at dlamoure@ualberta.ca. God bless.


#3

Dr @Andrew_Loke writes, “I develop various arguments based on this distinction and demonstrate that Lamoureux’s arguments fail to refute Beale’s position concerning biblical inerrancy and rule out an alternative view of divine accommodation which uses ancient common ways of expression without affirming scientific errors.”

Thanks. I’m not sure I understand the difference, and I’m willing to learn. I thought that God talking in terms of a raqia and 3-tier universe was the same as my remarking to my 5 year old daughter, “look at how the sun rose beautifully today.” I thought that was what Dr Lamoureux said.

This likely goes to another thread, but to affirm our common belief, I would like to remark on this Christianity Today posting about a modern day Ecclesiastes:

Regarding scientism and intellectualism, I just read this quote by David Foster Wallace, a writer I had never heard of. I’d be interested in your reactions.

"’[I]n the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship…is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. … Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.’

"As he recites this laundry list of things not to worship, he interjects a telling comment, born of wisdom gained during substance-abuse recovery. “On one level,” he observes, “we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

"He concludes his speech with a simple and heartfelt benediction: “I wish you way more than luck.”
this is for my review from Christianity Today.

Phil is posting a new thread on going beyond tunnel vision regarding Genesis. It sounds good. Maybe you can comment. https://discourse.biologos.org/t/tunnel-vision-regarding-genesis/39355


#4

If it is legal would you please post as much as possible or email it to me? I emailed Dr Lamoureux about this and he would like a copy too if possible. Thanks @Andrew_Loke or @swamidass