Michael Ruse is back with another post over at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Let’s take a look:

I have written before about Calvin College in Western Michigan and its troubles. I have now to tell you that things have wended their way to their expected and sad conclusion.

To give the background once again, starting with the College’s own words.

As a college that stems from the Reformed branch of Christianity, the bulk of what we believe is held in common with the Christian church around the world and throughout the ages. Three confessions adopted by Reformed Protestants centuries ago summarize important tenets of the Reformed faith: the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort. College faculty members are required to sign a Christian Reformed Church synodically-approved Form of Subscription in which they affirm these three forms of unity. Faculty pledge to teach, speak, and write in harmony with the confessions.

Now, at one level this is all fine and dandy. Calvinists started and run the college, so that their kids can get educated in the way that they want, and it seems to me that they have every right therefore to expect the faculty to toe the line. The college wouldn’t employ me and no more should it. Obviously not all church-connected colleges insist on exact subscription to their own particular beliefs. Alvin Plantinga is a strong Calvinist, yet for many years he was a professor at the University of Notre Dame. But if a college does want exact subscription, so be it.

For the purposes of this post I will avoid ranting about the propriety of requiring your faculty to make such pledges.

As suggested by Ruse’s opening, we are soon going to learn the fate of one Calvin College faculty member who was thought to be in violation of his pledge. He continues:

But equally obviously, insisting on exact subscription may bring a cost. If your religious beliefs conflict with science–deny absolutely and completely basic claims of science–and if you insist on the religion over the science, then don’t expect respect from the rest of us. Don’t expect us to think that your students are properly educated. Don’t pretend to be as good as you might like to think you are. And expect special scrutiny if ever you apply for funds from public sources, like the National Science Foundation.

Stirring words. I agree completely, of course.

The problem–and in this day and age it is embarrassing even to have to say this–is over Adam and Eve. Now let it be understood clearly and loudly. Menstruating girls are not sick. The earth is not flat. Adam and Eve, understood as literal individuals who were the first humans, created miraculously, the parents of us all, originally sinless, did not exist. Humans are part of the overall tree of life, our species may have gone through bottlenecks but we never dropped below several thousand and perhaps more, we today are descended from many co-existing ancestors, and our moral nature is part of the picture. We were not one day all nice and friendly and then the next horrid and mean.

As we know, this at odds with traditional Christian teaching about Adam and Eve and their fall into sin. Ruse now quotes the Heidelberg Catechism to show the contradiction. We have science saying one thing and tradition saying exactly the opposite. What are we to do?

So what’s to be done? Both Augustine and Calvin offered a way forward. The essential elements of faith remain unchanged but we must recognize that new thinking, new philosophy, new science, may call for reinterpretation. Augustine was strong on this. The ancient Jews did not understand science and it would have been silly of God to have spoken to them literally. In Calvin’s words, God &lldquo;accommodates” his language to the common people.

So if modern science says that a literal Adam and Eve do not exist, start thinking of ways that one can keep a good creating god, sinful humans, and the need for Jesus to die on the cross for our salvation.

Finally, we come to the meat of the matter. We have discussed this before, but portraying Calvin and Augustine as theologically moderate, fully prepared to ask “How high?” every time a scientist says jump, is a serious distortion. Neither of these gentleman believed that doctrine was infinitely malleable, or that science must always be deferred to on questions of natural history. As they saw it, where central truths of the faith were involved it was science that had to yield.

For example, in Augustine’s view, as expressed in The Literal Interpretation of Genesis, the mechanics of how God created the world were irrelevant to the central claims of the faith, and they would be incomprehensible to human beings at any rate. That is why he accepted a largely figurative interpretation of Genesis 1. But, in his view, the reality of Adam and Eve was absolutely central, and was a topic on which the Bible spoke with the utmost clarity. His understanding of Genesis 2 and 3 were very literal indeed. Augustine was a product of his time, so it is pointless to ask how he would have reacted to modern findings of science. What we can say, however, is that he viewed Adam and Eve as central and did not believe that doctrine had to yield whenever science flashed a stern look.

And this is precisely what John Schneider, until the end of last month a member of the Religion Department at Calvin, has been doing. Drawing on theology even older than Augustine, he has been speculating that perhaps we should understand human nature as something developing gradually and (from a moral viewpoint) always in need of improvement and help. He has been arguing that perhaps the coming and suffering of Jesus is not “Plan B,” a fix-it solution by God to mop up after the mistakes of Adam and Eve, but something always part of the Divine Intention.

It is this that has got him into hot water with the president of Calvin College, who thinks that Schneider has been violating the terms of his employment. You will note that I said that Schneider used to be a member of the Religion Department for he has now taken early retirement. He and the College have issued one of those po-faced statements that say everyone is concerned to work things out for the good of the group and no one is blaming anyone for anything, but goodbye and good luck.

A few paragraphs ago Ruse was telling us that it was fine and dandy for Calvin College to force its faculty to pledge their fealty to the religious authorities. Apparently, though, this approval was contingent on the College never enforcing the pledge. I have no doubt that the administrators of the College are wiling to tolerate some amount of dissent, so long as, in their judgment, it remains within the pale of orthodoxy. But, again, the doctrines are not infinitely malleable. There comes a point where the conflict is intractable and you must simply pick a side. The administration decided they were not interested in Ruse’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach to theology. At some point you are no longer reinterpreting a doctrine, but are simply discarding it and replacing it with something else.

Ruse concludes with:

As it happens, Schneider’s next stop is going to be Notre Dame, just down the road, where he has a year’s fellowship to explore in more detail some of the ideas that led to his early exit from Calvin. More importantly, he leaves his home with his head held high, a man of integrity who believes that being made in the image of God means using one’s abilities fearlessly wherever they lead. And Calvin College, an institution that in so many ways rightfully deserves to be considered a jewel in the crown of American higher education, is stained. Once again in America, dogmatic biblical literalism trumps modern science. The Enlightenment founders of this country, men like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, must be weeping in their graves.

A jewel in the crown seems a bit much, but the basic point is well-taken. Prior to this embarrassment, Calvin College would have been generally considered a serious university. This is not like Patrick Henry College, say, which is just a right-wing indoctrination center masquerading as a university. But even for them, when push came to shove, and they had to choose between the facts and evidence produced by science and the hegemony of religious authority, they chose the latter. Not only did they make that choice, but they cared so much about it that they ended the career of a scholar who suggested, not that the doctrine be discarded, but merely that it be reinterpreted. That was too much for them.

This is what religion is. This is why many of us are so suspicious of religious institutions generally, and look askance at people who endlessly try to prop them up. The remarkable intolerance Ruse is reporting on comes not from crazed, ignorant, fundamentalists, but from well-educated scholars in the administration of an institution of higher learning. This sorry incident puts the lie to the breezy rhetoric we often here about how most Christians have no problem with modern science, with only a few extremist blowhards dissenting.

Comments

  1. #1 Valhar2000
    July 21, 2011

    Oh dear! But don’t you see that by saying these things you are just as intolerant as the Fundamentalists you criticize, and that you are alienating potential allies?

  2. #2 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 21, 2011

    Let’s take Ohio State University as a “shining example” of academic excellence. Student “A” is a born-again evangelical has his masters in philosophy. (OSU is a first-tier institution in that field.) He understands it all quite well. Well enough to be accepted into the philosophy department at OSU. He studies for two years and submits his project. But his project is rejected. It was not the substance of his project per se, though it might have hinted @ his evangelical faith. At least not on the surface. After his orals they said that he was not “nimble” enough. Hints of something there.

    Student B works through his PhD in (iirc) biology education. He knows the subject completely. As well as anyone else. He has completed and had his dissertation work accepted. Sort of. You see, even though he knows the material he still accepts some form of special creation. And OSU does not want its name attached to *any* student with that belief system. So they do not grant the PhD despite the work being completed.

    I might find more examples. (Oh, and I know these two personally. No rumors involved.)

    Ohio State University has placed itself squarely in the rationalist camp in these departments. Fortunately OSU has not performed any sort of purge (I have friends who are evangelical who work/teach there), and I do not expect one. Still, I’ve submitted multiple resumes and applications for jobs for which I am fully qualified (software development) and have yet to get an interview at any level. In that context I do wonder …

    You are correct, Jason, about what was not stated: This is a question of authority. (It is not about tolerance. Scientism is quite intolerant.) Rationalism (science as you call it) claims authority over all. It is that which we challenge.

  3. #3 healthphysicist
    July 21, 2011

    @2

    Rationalism is a component of science as is empiricism. Constructivism is the outcome for some.

    I don’t think Jason would claim science is rationalism alone.

  4. #4 RBH
    July 21, 2011

    Collin Brendemuehl wrote

    Student B works through his PhD in (iirc) biology education. He knows the subject completely. As well as anyone else. He has completed and had his dissertation work accepted. Sort of. You see, even though he knows the material he still accepts some form of special creation. And OSU does not want its name attached to *any* student with that belief system. So they do not grant the PhD despite the work being completed.

    If that is meant to be a description of the Bryan Leonard debacle, it’s s wholly inaccurate description. The story is quite different from Brendemuehl’s representation. For the genuine story, see here and for the Discovery Institute’s misrepresentation of it see here.

    Leonard attempted to game the Ohio State system by composing a Ph.D. committee that did not meet the requirements of the program from which he was seeking a degree. What Ohio State didn’t want its name attached to is the award of a degree that by-passed the requirements of the program from which it would be awarded. Put plainly, OSU declined to award a degree based on academic fraud.

  5. #5 tgt
    July 21, 2011

    @2

    I would like actual evidence of your two anecdotes, otherwise, Tom Johnson comes to mind.

    As for your personal comment. As a fellow software engineer, I was turned down for jobs I was qualified for numerous times. Can I say that the Christian dominated Software Engineering field was discriminating against me? Of course not.

    The mention of scientism and attacks on rationality show your lack of the latter.

  6. #6 eric
    July 21, 2011

    Collin: I might find more examples. (Oh, and I know these two personally. No rumors involved.)

    Your truth is my urban legend. Your primary source is my secondary source. I am not calling you a liar, but I am pointing out that without verifiable details, these anecdotes may not be as convincing to us as they are to you, because we are further removed from the source.

    I’ve submitted multiple resumes and applications for jobs for which I am fully qualified (software development) and have yet to get an interview at any level.

    Its a tough market. Just a thought – you might want to take the space on your resume you currently use to discuss your religious affiliation, and use it to talk more about your software development work experience, instead.

  7. #7 no
    July 21, 2011

    Nobody ever thought the world was flat. Nice strawman.

  8. #8 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 21, 2011

    I kept the names private since I have no permission to mention them. I will not disclose them.

    Eric,

    Its a tough market. Just a thought – you might want to take the space on your resume you currently use to discuss your religious affiliation, and use it to talk more about your software development work experience, instead.

    The only thing mentioned in 4+ pages is my undergrad degree. Or is a slur your favorite response?

    With 25 years doing everything from embedded systems to international db applications, I do get calls from many shops. But never from OSU. Never. Even the Washington Post *admitted* that they researched me and noted by religious/philosophical background. Though they did bring me on for a month, even mentioning such borders on illegal hiring. There are subjects not suited for mention in interviews. So I have a foundation for my statements. No specific evidence, but an understanding of regular business practices.

    tgt & healthphysicist,
    Do not confuse rationality with rationalism. The former is methodological; the latter, a philosophical foundation.

  9. #9 eric
    July 21, 2011

    The only thing mentioned in 4+ pages is my undergrad degree. Or is a slur your favorite response?

    So why, in your first post, did you imply that your rejection must have something to do with your religion?

    I have to tell you frankly that I don’t even bother looking at the undergraduate institution of someone with 25+ years post-degree experience. I think you are being a bit paranoid if you think people are rejecting you based on your undergrad alma mater.

  10. #10 healthphysicist
    July 21, 2011

    @8 Collin

    I didn’t confuse the two. Rationalism, in essence, is the philosophy that knowledge is acquired through reason.

    However, that’s not science at all.

    Science requires empiricism, which is the philosophy that knowledge is acquired through experience (in science, manifest through observations and experiments).

  11. #11 Deepak Shetty
    July 21, 2011

    Colin
    Still, I’ve submitted multiple resumes and applications for jobs for which I am fully qualified (software development) and have yet to get an interview at any level. In that context I do wonder ..
    As a person who has taken interviews , I do not remember ever seeing any candidate mention their religion or religious beliefs or lack of beliefs in their resume (atleast the one that is provided to the technical team).
    If you are not getting calls perhaps you need to see what your resume states and how well you know your stuff. You also need to see what the internet says when I search for your name and the particular platform/language you say you are qualified for.

  12. #12 Nick (Matzke)
    July 21, 2011

    The remarkable intolerance Ruse is reporting on comes not from crazed, ignorant, fundamentalists, but from well-educated scholars in the administration of an institution of higher learning.

    Calvin College, while not quite a fundamentalist Bible college (although it might have started that way, IIRC), is definitely a conservative evangelical institution. E.g. more conservative than Baylor.

    A jewel in the crown seems a bit much, but the basic point is well-taken. Prior to this embarrassment, Calvin College would have been generally considered a serious university.

    Not so sure. There have been some very serious and good people at Calvin, e.g. historians Mark Noll and George Marsden (the latter a witness on the good side of the McLean v. Arkansas trial). On the other hand, IIRC there is a long history of harassment of faculty who go to far in accepting reality on the question of evolution. I believe that Terry Gray and Howard Van Till are somewhat recent examples from the 1990s, and I think there are others.

  13. #13 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 21, 2011

    Eric,
    Did you not read further? All employers google to find out something about whom they interview. And I’m still waiting for some evidence to the assertion that I have a resume of religious material. But I will probably wait a long time.

    healthphysicist,
    When “science” becomes judge (the final arbiter of truth), it exits what is called empirical methodology and becomes Scientism, a euphemism for Rationalism.

  14. #14 healthphysicist
    July 21, 2011

    @13 Collin

    It’s a bad euphemism.

    I share your concerns regarding the growth of scientism, especially among gnu atheists, and I have criticized it on this particular blog recently. I have treated scientism as the erroneous belief that science supports atheism over theism, which is does not.

    But if you want to play in the science world, you have to obey the science rules. No one is forcing anyone to play.

  15. #15 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 21, 2011

    healthyphysicist,
    Play by the rules? Your rule is one thing; this post, another.

    We have science saying one thing and tradition saying exactly the opposite. What are we to do?

    That was not a statement about empirical methods. That was the neo-Platonist character of Scientism/Rationalism expressing itself in opposition to Christianity.

  16. #16 tgt
    July 21, 2011

    @8 Colin,

    By keeping the names private, your information can not be supported or falsified. Basically, it’s useless. All you have left is a belief that you were not hired for positions you were qualified for, specifically at OSU. Oh, and the Washington Post noted your background, and still hired you. I don’t really see any campaign against Christians here.

  17. #17 healthphysicist
    July 21, 2011

    @15 Collin

    HA! Last time I checked Adam and Eve are included in Jewish and Islamic scripture. Christianity doesn’t own them.

    The statement:

    “We have science saying one thing and tradition saying exactly the opposite.”

    Is empirically correct. It wasn’t being argued against Christianity specifically, and it was science-based, not scientism-based.

  18. #18 Robert Hagedorn
    July 21, 2011

    Adam and Eve? For a surprise (scientific) do a search: First Scandal.

  19. #19 eric
    July 21, 2011

    @13: Did you not read further? All employers google to find out something about whom they interview.

    You didn’t say THAT was what you expected was happening. What you said was: “I’ve submitted multiple resumes and applications for jobs for which I am fully qualified (software development) and have yet to get an interview at any level. In that context I do wonder …”

    So, in that context I assumed you were talking about them judging you based on some religious affiliation mentioned on your resume and/or application.

    Incidentally, I am not sure you can blame science or scientists for the value modern humans place on empirically-based knowledge. Everyone is free to place as much value on revelatory knowledge as they choose. Most choose to place little value on it, and a lot of value on the sort of knowledge that will build them a better refrigerator. I would say your real beef is not with science, but with the worldliness and practicality that underlies/is implicit in that choice.

  20. #20 Frank Merton
    July 22, 2011

    I can’t help but think that no evangelical, nor any other fundamentalist, has the mental equipment that is needed for scholarship. This has also been my personal experience with them. Sometimes they are smart enough, but smarts are a small part of what makes a scholar.

  21. #21 Valhar2000
    July 22, 2011

    Collin: Your preference of superstition over reality, which you so clearly demonstrate in very few words, marks you, in my view, as unsuitable for many jobs. Fear not, however: I hear there are plenty of exciting career opportunities in the sweat-shop industry!

    On a more serious note, I do not think this counts against you as much as you claim (beware the Christian Persecution Complex!). There are a lot of people in the USA today who are as enamored with superstition as you are, and many of them are in positions of authority.

    Perhaps the problem is that the superstitions they pay homage to are different from those you pay homage to? Maybe if you adopted more mainstream delusions you would attract more job offers.

  22. #22 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 22, 2011

    Jason,
    You certainly do bring out the bigots.
    Empirical evidence:
    Maybe if you adopted more mainstream delusions you would attract more job offers.
    I can’t help but think that no evangelical, nor any other fundamentalist, has the mental equipment that is needed for scholarship.
    … and still hired you

  23. #23 tgt
    July 22, 2011

    @22

    My comment was bigotted? Your reading comprehension skills are pretty poor. You were the one claiming your religion was keeping you from jobs. I pointed out that your example was actually a counterexample. Oops.

  24. #24 Rob Monkey
    July 22, 2011

    Poor poor Christian, all you have supporting you is the majority of people in this country, a vast majority of the ones in political and economic power, religious freedom, AND the right to sue if you can actually prove that you’ve been discriminated against. You can’t hear it through the intertubes, but I’m playing a quantum-sized violin for you right now. As far as all the ‘scientism,” rationality vs. rationalism, etc., well, it’s not often you see Christian fundies using Postmodernism to defend their position. You’re just spewing words with no meaning, trying to attack the position that reality is real and follows rules that don’t include magical sky wizards. It’s a losing position.

  25. #25 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 22, 2011

    rob,
    Poor little atheist.
    You run most of higher ed. You run most of entertainment.
    You run most of government. But you act like you have no power.
    Your knowledge of theology is limited to pasta monsters or similar.
    Your life is limited to your senses.
    Your teleology is empty.
    It is you who are without hope.

  26. #26 tgt
    July 22, 2011

    @25 Colin

    You run most of higher ed. You run most of entertainment. False and false.
    You run most of government. But you a.ct like you have no power. Horribly false.
    Your knowledge of theology is limited to pasta monsters or similar. False.
    Your life is limited to your senses. No more than yours is.
    Your teleology is empty. More like we deny teleology is true.
    It is you who are without hope. false

    Good job!

  27. #27 Rob Monkey
    July 22, 2011

    Seriously dude? You can call my non-existent theology empty all you want, and I’m pretty fine with my life being “limited by my senses” whatever the fuck that means, but give me a goddamn break we “run” higher ed and entertainment. And if you seriously think we run govt., then apparently you’ve managed to miss how every single politician running anywhere in this country is almost certain to not only be Christian, but bleat it from the rooftops how Christian they are. Are you really this ignorant as to think most politicians in this country aren’t Christian, or are you just another Liar for Jesus?

  28. #28 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 22, 2011

    you who have no substantive knowledge of theology but think you do might consider actually reading theology sand the bible instead of accepting Jason’s misinformed remarks.
    There are some simple epidemiological issues with the proposed empiricism. For instance you can not empirically prove, ironically, math. Why? Because it is a priori. Empiricism is a posterior. The assumptions of scepticism are a systematic violation of the premise put forward.

  29. #29 Rob Monkey
    July 22, 2011

    Sure, sure, I bet the 18 deluded years I spent as a Christian didn’t teach me anything about the shitty system of “knowledge” you call theology. I do, however, know enough to say that you probably meant “epistemological” (dealing with knowledge) rather than “epidemiological” (dealing with distribution of disease). Ready to concede your superior theological knowledge yet? You know what else is funny? If you knew anything about science you would understand that as a system based on empiricism, science doesn’t prove anything, it merely disproves ideas that don’t work. Math, on the other hand, is a system that is entirely based on logic and proofs, and you can use rationality to prove concepts, making it a system not based on empiricism. Unless you think mathematicians do experiments with their numbers to find out the answers? This, incidentally, is why science and math are often separated (esp. in Europe).

    Maybe you would care to learn a little bit about philosophy of science and the nature of knowledge before coming in here and acting superior with your total misconceptions of how this shit actually works. But don’t worry, the rest of us scientists will continue making amazing advances and technological leaps that’ll make you live longer and enjoy life more. Don’t worry about it, we just love learning, we weren’t doing it for people like you in the first place.

  30. #30 Koray
    July 22, 2011

    I don’t know which software industry you are in, but the one I am in has plenty of people from all over the world, so there are plenty of Buddhists, Muslims & Christians of all sorts. I don’t buy that you’re being discriminated against for being a local vanilla Christian.

  31. #31 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 22, 2011

    Rob,
    I hate my new android spelling correction.
    Thanks.

    You repeated me wrt math and empiricism.
    The implication is that empiricism cannot empirically prove itself because of its contingencies. It is a method and that’s all it is.

    Likewise there is a great deal of science which is non-empirical. Of course if you believe that all there is to science is what is measurable, then the abstractions of mathematics escape that definition. Mathematical properties exist apart from empirical proof. Empiricism is thus an inadequate explanation of reality. modus tollens.

  32. #32 Rob Monkey
    July 22, 2011

    Empiricism cannot prove itself? Again with the Postmodernist Jesus! Sorry, but yet again you miss the most important point: natural science does not prove things. I’ll say it again: natural science does not prove things. It’s one of the most basic concepts in science, that even if we “prove” that gravity works in a certain way (like the Law of Universal Attraction), we might find out later that our understanding doesn’t work in other conditions (quantum gravity, etc.), and therefore we will have to modify our theories. So, in essence, you can’t “prove” how things work in natural science, you have to develop the best descriptive theories and test them against all sorts of conditions, and then modify accordingly. Until you learn to separate the fields of natural science (empiricism) and math (logic and rationalism), you will never understand this concept. So hopefully you can see why saying something like “empiricism can’t prove itself” makes you look like you don’t even understand the basics. Seriously, that shit is on the same level as people who say, “Evolution is just a theory” without ever bothering to look up what “theory” means in scientific language.

    Now, assuming we separate math and science, one as an internally consistent set of rules and logic and the other as a way of understanding the natural world, then what science is left that’s non-empirical? I’m honestly curious, other than math I can’t think of anything other than physics, which is non-empirical part of the time, but then they use those models to develop ways of empirically testing their ideas (Large Hadron Collider for example).

    As far as empiricism being an inadequate description of reality, well I’d question as to whether math “exists” or not. Sure we can use its tools to describe patterns and figure things out, but it remains a system that we invented, it follows only the rules we make, etc. I get that everything can be described using math in a way, but you’ll have to make a brilliant argument to get me to believe it’s actually part of the natural universe as opposed to a human-made system of logic and reasoning.

  33. #33 eric
    July 22, 2011

    Rob Monkey: As far as empiricism being an inadequate description of reality…

    …however much Collin complains about it’s faults, it remains true that it’s the best one we have.”

    Which is another point that Collin and folk like him miss. They essentially want to set an objective bar, and say that if some theory doesn’t jump it, we shouldn’t believe it. But there’s no such bar. Science and scientists are always going to use the best available approximation to the part of reality they’re studying they can find. No matter how many warts that approximation has. Some theory can’t prove math? So what? You believe that it’s got some untestable bits? Who cares? If you want me to abandon it, propose something better to replace it. Until you can do that, get out of my way – I have experiments to do and things to discover.

  34. #34 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 23, 2011

    Monkey,
    Unless of course I’m not using “prove” with a mathematical sense of certainty.
    The whole discussion of abstract objects can be interesting. Does X exist without there being humans? I think not. This is my reformed epistemology: Everything is interpreted. (The PoMo says everything is interpreted through other filters such as culture. We don’t go that far. There is coherence that is discernable.)
    Again, I am the furthest thing from PoMo.

    Eric,
    But that bar (measurable v theoretical) is the same as Coyne sets in Why Evo Is True. Go argue with him.

  35. #35 The MadPanda, FCD
    July 24, 2011

    Burden of evidence is on you, Colin.

    Last I checked, your side has a very, very poor track record of providing actual evidence as opposed to (say) word games, gotcha moments, and slippery thinking.

    Want to convince us? Provide evidence. Not anecdotes. Not this continual mishmash of ‘tu quoque’ and ‘no true Scotsman’ and ‘courtier redux’. Not ‘other ways of knowing’ that can’t be verified unless someone agrees with the presuppositions contained therein.

    And do stop whining when people remind you that you’re playing Calvinball instead of tennis: the net is up for both sides. It is not our fault that you can’t handle playing by the rules.

    Also, go look up the definition of bigotry. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. I suggest also a more careful examination of your side’s track record in this regard, but your comments here seem to lack the requisite self-reflective streak that would make such an exercise worthwhile.

    As for empiricists running the entertainment industry, et cetera? Citations needed.

    The MadPanda, FCD

  36. #36 ArtK
    July 25, 2011

    @Collin

    The only thing mentioned in 4+ pages is my undergrad degree.

    Your inability to support your assertions about the OSU students aside, let me give you some advice from someone with 38 years in software development. A 4+ page resume goes straight in the trash if hits my desk. If you can’t explain to me who you are in one page (possibly two), I’m not interested in you at all.

    You aren’t that special that I care about every program you ever wrote and every lemonade stand you ran. Brevity is the soul of wit, son. Hit the highlights and expand on them in your cover letter and in interviews.

    Did you not read further? All employers google to find out something about whom they interview.

    Pull up your pants, your paranoia is showing. It’s hard for anyone to get a job in software these days. My team just got cut from 55 to 15 and I can’t even hire a summer intern; Cisco’s about to lay off 6500 people. There’s a recession on in case you weren’t paying attention. Using your lack of employment as evidence of bias against Christians is lazy excuse-making. I’m sure that your faux-martyr pose doesn’t endear you with potential employers, and attitude like that does come through.

    You run most of entertainment.

    If being hard-assed business people is a symptom of empiricism, then you’re probably right. But I very much doubt that the people who run the ‘biz’ think that deeply about it. Or were you obliquely referring to some systemic anti-Christian bias in the business? Like software, entertainment is another place where nobody cares what your religion is as long as it doesn’t get in the way of doing your job.

    It is you who are without hope.

    Pretty bold statement based on wishful thinking as far as I can tell. I’ve got lots of hope. Funny thing, hope doesn’t depend on having any religion whatsoever. But don’t mind me, you’re welcome to beat up a strawman any time.

  37. #37 Lenoxus
    July 26, 2011

    From the quoted Ruse, paraphrasing Augustine:

    The ancient Jews did not understand science and it would have been silly of God to have spoken to them literally

    I’ve seen this argument several times before, and it always strikes me as deeply weird. It portrays God as just sort of happening upon the Hebrews instead of, you know, interacting with them on a personal level, tossing miracles hither and yon, and more or less (it would appear) sculpting their whole culture from the ground up, from promoting patriarchs to forbidding foods.

    The idea that God was forced to simplify his language for an unscientific people rather than enhance their scientific understanding with proper explanations (or better yet, an exhortation to do science) would make sense if God bound himself to a sort of Prime Directive of minimizing interference with the Hebrews’ beliefs. That’s obviously not a priority of the Bible’s deity.

    [Schneider] has been arguing that perhaps the coming and suffering of Jesus is not “Plan B,” a fix-it solution by God to mop up after the mistakes of Adam and Eve, but something always part of the Divine Intention. It is this that has got him into hot water with the president of Calvin College, who thinks that Schneider has been violating the terms of his employment.

    This surprises me — wouldn’t that notion actually be entailed by the Calvinist doctrine of predestination?

  38. #38 Collin Brendemuehl
    July 28, 2011

    Your inability to support your assertions about the OSU students aside, let me give you some advice from someone with 38 years in software development. A 4+ page resume goes straight in the trash if hits my desk. If you can’t explain to me who you are in one page (possibly two), I’m not interested in you at all.

    Hmmm. Every manager and every pro recruiter that I talk to has a differing set of criteria. I end up altering it to suit each application. And that also depends on the purpose of a resume — is it what I’ve done or who I am that you look for?

    Or were you obliquely referring to some systemic anti-Christian bias in the business?

    Apparently you were not following the thread.

    Pretty bold statement based on wishful thinking as far as I can tell. I’ve got lots of hope. Funny thing, hope doesn’t depend on having any religion whatsoever. But don’t mind me, you’re welcome to beat up a strawman any time.

    There is a difference between a feeling of hope and a hope with a foundation in history. Christianity is an historical system. It is history which yields eschatology. Read any prophet in the Bible and you will see as many references to the past, often more, than references to the future. Only our modern Hegelian world is a-historical.

    Now back to my Android work. Enjoy.

  39. #39 Owlmirror
    July 28, 2011

    There is a difference between a feeling of hope and a hope with a foundation in history. Christianity is an historical system. It is history which yields eschatology. Read any prophet in the Bible and you will see as many references to the past, often more, than references to the future.

    “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
    The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.” — some historian

    Only our modern Hegelian world is a-historical.

    Sigh.

    Once again, you present a statement that makes no sense whatsoever.

    I’d ask what you mean, but your attempts at clarification rarely succeed, and often make things worse.

  40. #40 JSC
    July 28, 2011

    I will never understand why people feed the Brendemuehl troll.

  41. #41 Wow
    July 29, 2011

    “There’s a recession on in case you weren’t paying attention.”

    For the weathly, the recession ended two-three years ago. They’ve seen their wealth move back to super-inflational increases almost immediately.

  42. #42 Wow
    July 29, 2011

    “Which is another point that Collin and folk like him miss. They essentially want to set an objective bar, and say that if some theory doesn’t jump it, we shouldn’t believe it.”

    Oddly enough, their explanations don’t even manage to jump TO the bar they set, yet that doesn’t mean they are going to give up believing THEIR explanations.

    Reality doesn’t have to match their explanations because, they’re well, special. As in “special needs” I suspect.

  43. #43 Wow
    July 29, 2011

    “I kept the names private since I have no permission to mention them.”

    Collin, absent a prior agreement, there is no need for permission to name them.

    What your assertion makes more apparently true is that you DO NOT HAVE those names or that those names would explain your inability to get a job with them for factors not to do with religion.

  44. #44 JDE
    July 30, 2011

    If two creationist students were denied degrees for promoting nonsense, I’d take that as a positive sign. In recent years, the opposite has been the case – secular universities have, increasingly, been awarding PhD’s in science to creationists.

    I’d like to see a little more “discrimination” in that arena. A lot more, actually.