Unproven?

17 11 2009

This blog, by its name, is obviously a blog about faith and specifically about the Christian faith, but it’s also about all aspects of human life and behaviour that has ethical dimensions to it. Now I say this because I have often commented that I believe sin can also be equated with stupidity. We’re all guilty of that because we’re all sinners, redeemed or not. Yesterday the news was shouting about Gordon Brown’s possible intention to use the Queen’s Speech to kick off the Labour manifesto with a quote that seemed the height of stupidity.

Let me quote: “In a podcast on the Downing Street website, Mr. Brown said that Britons wanted world-class public services underpinned by “guarantees not gambles” Now, forgive me if this sounds a bit harsh and this is a completely non-political observation, but it seems that such a comment from a leader of a party that has been in power for over a dozen years, comes over as crass stupidity to us the watching public. In fact any pontificating by Mr. Brown about improving services seems to have a hollow ring about it. Excuse me, what have you been doing for the last however many years since Labour have been in power? This is the craziness of politics. If you had an ounce of integrity you would put your hands up and say, “Sorry chaps, we haven’t been able to achieve these things, it was beyond us, so we’ll move over and let someone else have a go.” But of course politics, it increasingly seems, isn’t about integrity any longer.

But that wasn’t the thing that pushed me into print again today. When things come up in threes I find it interesting. There were three things in the papers of the last two days which had similar rings about them. The first was the ongoing comment about the public’s disbelief about Global Warming. Quote: “in a recent poll for the Times, only 41 per cent of U.K. voters thought the case for man-made global warming had been proved.” That means that most of us have big queries about it. The pro-brigade speak about the FACT of global warming but the sceptics challenge ‘the fact’. It seems that ‘the facts’ need interpreting. One sceptic even recently suggested that an increase in carbon dioxide was helpful. An apparently unproven case!  Time may change that because it is an ongoing science.

The second thing was an article, following a science conference in Alexandria, that declared that “Muslim scholars and students have turned against Darwin”.  The bulk of the article referred to a Professor of Physics and Astronomy from a university in the United Arab Emirates who referred to a survey of 100 academics and 100 scholars at his own university, that showed that 62 per cent of Muslim professors and students believed evolution to be an “unproven theory” compared with 10 per cent of non-Muslim professors.  The professor obviously was an evolutionist and said it didn’t contradict Islamic beliefs, yet clearly for a number of people it was unproven. I have no problem with micro-evolution but macro evolution, according to what I hear a number of people say, is still ‘unproven’. Remember for something to be ‘proven fact’ in scientific terms means there are no doubts or assumptions, or questions or gaps! Start asking evolutionists about the evolution of sex and there seems to be a large silence. Some will feel negative about me daring to suggest this – but it is, despite claims of ‘fact’ from some, more real to come to an ‘unproven’ verdict. Perhaps one day that may change but for the moment the questions, doubts, assumptions and gaps deny the verdict of ‘proven’ partly, it seems, because of lack of evidence.

The third thing came up in a report from Italy that “Colonel Muammar Gaddafi invited hundreds of attractive Italian “hostesses” to a villa in Rome last night for an evening at which he urged them to convert to Islam and told them Christianity was based on a fraud.” According to the report, “He then observed — to “general incredulity” — that Christ had not died on the Cross and been resurrected, as Christians believe, because the person crucified had been “a look-alike” who was substituted for the real Jesus.” Again, according to such Islamists, the case for Christ’s resurrection is ‘unproven’. But this one is a much more simple debate than the environmental and evolutionary debates. This argument, which is often put forward by Islamic representatives as part of their teaching, fails to take into account the wealth of evidence which makes the resurrection logically most probable, but of course you have to read and examine the evidence with an open mind to come to that conclusion. ‘Unproven’ here means “Unproven in my mind because I refuse to examine the evidence.”

Each of these three debates involve history and history so often requires assumptions. The first two revolve around long-term history which is uncertain and which require various assumptions because the evidence is not always there, and that is where it becomes unclear and debatable. The last one is about the simple, straight forward evidence of a simple historical event which has world-changing consequences and which is easily resolved by careful examination of that clear evidence. The evidence, at least in Colonel Gaddafi’s case seems unpalatable because it raises questions about an alternative belief system and that is not easy to take.  Unproven? It depends on where you start from!

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