Posts for Sep, 2005.

9/29/2005 11:11:00 AM

Deep (Space) Doo-doo

A paradigm red-shift on the origin of galaxies

Posted Thursday, September 29, 2005 by Gerald Vreeland
Categories: Humor   Comments: 1
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Hi, friends!  I hope you won't forget me while I'm trying to kick-start my regular job.  I have a higher student load this year and that not only takes priority, I'm lovin' it!  But so that you don't forget why I was supposed to be here, you might want to take a look at
New Scientist Space - Massive young galaxy surprises astronomers
the new (ancient) Galaxy that they found buried in the Hubble Deep Field montages.  It is way out there on the edge of our ability to apprehend (they estimate only 800 million years after the Big Bang) and yet it is super-massive (several times the mass of the Milky Way) and it just blows their paradigm to smithereens.  So, we ask, how did galaxies form?  The old fashioned way: massive followed by disintegration; or simple to complex the super gravitational way?  The answer is "up in the air," no?

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9/27/2005 10:14:00 AM

We Interupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2005 by Brian Beers
Comments: 1
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 There is nothing like an authoritative voice speaking from the pulpit. So for the next two weeks we will publish the other two sermons in Dr. Vreeland's series on grumpy old men. This hiatus from his ongoing review of The Privileged Planet is due to the dearth of public acclaim that has befallen the good doctor. Yes. He has chosen to fulfill his responsibilities at the seminary rather than devote himself solely to improving the writing quality here at I am sure that this is not because he considers that task to be a lost cause.

For those of you who wish to continue thinking about Intelligent Design (ID), I point you to a couple of interesting posts.


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9/26/2005 9:37:00 AM

Introduction to Biblical Grumps: Jacob

Round One: Jacob From The Joseph Narrative

Posted Monday, September 26, 2005 by Gerald Vreeland
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When I did another “Biblical Grumps” series out at Silverdale, I used the slash and burn method on a DC Talk rap.  This had the simultaneous effect of proving, once and for all, that I could get down with the medium and their need for a real pastor.  So, thanks to me, they now have a real pastor; remember: no matter how bad this gets, you will thank me someday as you look back over your shoulder with a shudder and think of the continuing oratorical nightmares you might have had!  Apparently, you’ve heard the word, since you hired a pastor a week before my first message.  You are wise and take warning well.  Be that as it may, I won’t plug in the keyboard or put on the do-rag – there are some things that are simply more appropriate for the evening service; but here’s the rap. 




Grump Is A Noun

(With Apologies To Toby McKeehan, et al.)


Pullin’ out my big red book

‘Caus when I need a word defined that’s where I look

So I move to the “G”’s quick, fast in a hurry

Threw on my specs, thought my vision was blurry

I looked again but to my dismay

It was black and white with no room for gray

Ya see a big “N” stood beyond my word

And yo that’s when it hit me that grump is a noun


Introduction to Jacob the Grump

After that we should probably attempt to better redeem the time; so, take out your Bibles and turn to Genesis chapter 37.

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9/26/2005 9:32:00 AM

Introduction to Biblical Grumps

Introduction to the Series

Posted Monday, September 26, 2005 by Gerald Vreeland
Comments: None
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When it comes to grumps, the gene-pool, I’m told, runs deep.  My nephews used to call my dad, “Gramps” which we, not so subtly, modified to “Grumps.”  What’s in a vowel, after all?  I thought my dad was a pessimistic cynic . . . until I grew up and became what I now dispassionately and objectively refer to as a realist.  My dad was an optimist compared to his youngest son – that would be me.  Although I have considerable faith in God’s word and that His will most certainly will be done, I have very limited faith in human beings separately or in the aggregate.  I am reminded of Mr. Jones’ response to Mr. Smith’s comment in “Men in Black I” that people are bright and could understand something beyond themselves.  K says to J: “A person is bright; people are stupid.”  Well, he was half right – I’ll let you judge which half is correct.  Is the glass half full, or half empty; or is the glass on the floor, smashed to bits? 


Being something of a student of history, modern and ancient, I find that the heroes of history are often also the rapscallions of history.  I have found it that way with regard to biblical historical heroes as well.  I must admit, however, and as I’ve often said: “It is dreadfully difficult to dredge up much dirt on the likes of Daniel, Job or even Jonathan.”  But be that as it may, one has no trouble finding grumps in the older testament of the Bible.  The three that I will mention in this Old Testament series are guilty of single episodes of grumpery, iterative – repeated acts of – grumpery, and even longitudinal grumpery – that is, a veritable lifetime of grumpiness.  The three I have selected for this three-part exposé are Jacob, Moses and David.  These are three of the greatest heroes of the nation of Israel.  Jacob, whose other name is Israel, is the progenitor of the 12 tribes called Israel; Moses was the great Legislator of Israel; and David was the great king and mini-emperor of the United Monarchy of Israel.  Yet, they were all given to bouts of grumpiness the effects of which often survived them. 


Along the way, I will attempt to prove the following three things:

With respect to Jacob:


Even The Grumpiest Of Grumps Can Reform. 


With respect to Moses:


Even Reformed Grumps May Suffer The Consequences Of Their Grumpery. 


With respect to David:


Some Grumps Get Worse And Even Grump At Us From Beyond The Grave. 
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9/22/2005 5:06:00 PM

What Do We Have Here?

Reconsidering the Nature of Scripture

Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 by Brian Beers
Comments: 10
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I grew up in Protestant, usually Baptist, churches. I have heard the Bible preached nearly every Sunday of my life. And there I learned to cherish the Bible and read it. During this time I also observed the ongoing battle over the inerrancy (truthfulness) of the Bible. I find that this habit of reading my Bible created dissonance even between me those who vigorously defend the inerrancy of my Bible. Their methods distort the nature of the Bible. Over the past several years, I have discerned flaws within the methods of those defend the inerrancy of the Bible, and I seek to correct their methods.
I realize now that if I am to succeed I must do more than try to dismantle current methods of defending the truthfulness of the Bible, I must offer an alternative. These methods have been used for generations now. In the future I will attack those methods directly, but expounding on those can only be half of the process. I want to provide a positive statement about the nature of the Bible not based on the elaborate, unstable arguments in vogue.

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9/19/2005 7:00:00 AM

Gonzalez and Richards Chapter Twelve

Assumptions and implications are not the same thing

Posted Monday, September 19, 2005 by Gerald Vreeland
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One of the alternatively more annoying or more entertaining things you can do is read letters to editors in scientific publications. Some letters to the editor are simply laughable. In any case, with a little reflection you can determine if the authors and editors are open to honest, constructive criticism, or only print the most mindless presentation of the opposing position to make themselves look brilliant. You can learn if the editors are interested in advancing the cause of science or attracting sycophants – a.k.a. increasing circulation, hence revenues. You can tell if thought or marketing are the highest virtue. Read more of Gonzalez and Richards Chapter Twelve

9/16/2005 10:12:00 PM

Theology and George MacDonald

Posted Friday, September 16, 2005 by Michael Noland
Comments: 2
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Most readers will be familiar with George MacDonald from the many references C.S. Lewis makes to him.  Lewis viewed him as his mentor and guide (chapter 9, The Great Divorce) and much of Lewis’ style and form has been influenced by George MacDonald.  More importantly, however, Lewis’ imagination and spiritual journey has been guided by the writings of MacDonald. Read more of Theology and George MacDonald

9/12/2005 7:00:00 AM

Gonzalez and Richards Chapter Eleven

Assumptions and implications are not the same thing

Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 by Gerald Vreeland
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Chapter Eleven, of The Privileged Planet is entitled, “The Revisionist History of the Copernican Revolution.” 


Originally, I was going to give up and quit with chapter 9.  As my children will attest, book-report-style evaluations are time consuming.  In the present case, they are tedious and difficult as well.  Sometimes doing the hard things is its own reward.  Where I have misrepresented the authors or given them short shrift, I guess I have to apologize.  Where I have kicked a reader’s puppy, as it were, or their sacred cow for that matter, I care a lot less.  Cosmology is not, at its heart, science; it is philosophy and should probably be treated as such.  A few years ago, I read a Geographic article on the cosmos wherein the author even gave the candid admission that whatever happened before the Big Bang was the domain of Philosophers and Theologians.  Cool!  I have a Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies and so I am uniquely qualified to hack and slash at the subject from two angles.  However, what science cannot seem to admit is that when it makes observations and begins to reason backward through instrumental causes to formal causes, they have entered the domain of metaphysics and philosophy.  That is a game we can all play.  Every human being is a philosopher – that is they will have certain rules of engagement about life and existence – even if it is only their own personal survival and pleasure!  Also every human being (that I’ve ever met) is a theologian.  That is to say they will have certain ways they view supreme beings or a Supreme Being.  Even atheists have to know enough about God to know what it is they deny the existence of. . . . 


I was going to quit at chapter nine because it was just too hard.  Chapter ten was even worse!  That done, I looked with dread to Section 3 “Implications.”  However, I discovered that I had much more training in this area and it was actually much more fun to read and to comment on.  I hope it will be that way for you.  I’m much more familiar with the vernacular and so I may gloss over technical nomenclature that will be difficult for you.  Hopefully, we will be able to arrive at some consensus of meaning along the way.
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9/11/2005 11:18:00 PM

How Paleo Is Your Orthodoxy?

A question: how significant should orthodoxy be, and how stringent should the demand for orthodoxy be in the modern church?

Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 by Adam Mattison
Comments: 4
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Finally, a chance to have your every question about paleo-orthodoxy definitively answered. This is a moment for which you have waited far too long. Read more of How Paleo Is Your Orthodoxy?

9/1/2005 11:38:00 AM

Jonathan Edwards endorses

From the sermon: The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth

Posted Thursday, September 01, 2005 by Sam Yeiter
Comments: 2
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Yes, in a statement issued by Jonathan Edwards in 1739, is said to be one of the seven ways he "entreats [us] to consider" pursuing divine knowledge.  Read on for more details.    Read more of Jonathan Edwards endorses