I once had a business associate, who during a break from our task at hand, told me about his educational background. He had an MBA from Stanford, but no undergraduate college degree. It seems that the "liberal" (meaning open and accepting, not to be confused with the left-wing bigots who usually go by that term) educators there wanted to test the left-wing hypothesis that the racial discrepancy in advanced business degrees was due to systemic racial prejudice. So they put together a special MBA program for disadvantaged young people who had not made it in/to college. It was obviously aimed at blacks -- that's what they were called back then; now they are hyphenated...
Which brings to mind an interesting and not entirely irrelevant commentary on labels, first expressed in my essay "Thinker-Feeler Differences" a few years back. The highest value for a Feeler is affirmation, so when a descriptive term is used as a label for a less-than prestigious group of people, it takes on the negative connotations of their lack of prestige, which the Feelers begin to see as a disaffirmation unrelated to the truth of its description. Therefore, they try to find another label that sounds more prestigious, such as "sanitary engineer" for "garbage collector". But it's a lost cause. As soon as this new label becomes recognized as synonymous with the previous term, it acquires all its negatives also. It's not the label confering disaffirmation on the person, but the other way around.-- Anyway, to make this a proper scientific study, the Stanford educators needed some white folks as a control group. My friend "Dave" for reasons he probably didn't tell me (and I certainly don't remember), did some military time but not college, and was chosen as part of this control group. His social status and experience were essentially identical to the others, except for race. He was very carefully treated exactly the same as all the others, by people who wanted to believe it was purely social pressure that made or failed achievers. The experiment was an utter failure: the only people who finished the program were the control group, particularly my friend and colleague. So they hushed it up. That's what happens to politically-charged scientific experiments that don't prove the desired point, they hide the data. He had his degree and went on to become a business success. I guess he thought the experimental outcome humorous. I certainly did.
The original residents of sub-Saharan Africa all had very dark skin. They also were not well-educated and had religious values that did not forbid selling their brothers (or the next tribe over) into slavery, so that's what happened. It consequently became a despicable part of American history. It is the nature of slavery that the slaves are at the bottom of any prestige ranking. You see that is still true in Islamic countries where their religion (which permits slavery) dominates the government, except that the lowest rung of prestige there is "Christian" not "African". The Africans were brought to the Americas by Spanish traders, so the Spanish word for "black" became the common label. After we abolished slavery, but before the social values changed to reflect the political reality, the common label was deemed derogatory, and the English equivalent word was substituted. That soon came to acquire all the negative baggage of the previous term, so it has been replaced by a hyphenated term. It will probably get replaced again in the next decade, for the same reason.
Me, I prefer to refer to myself by terms that I consider significant in describing who I am. Skin color and ancestral origin are not among them. Religion had and has a huge effect on world wealth and power, as well as the lack thereof in original African cultures. It's still true, even in Africa, as one astonishing recent study has shown.
We Americans live in a far more egalitarian and meritocratic culture than pretty much anywhere else in the world and in all time, but it's always more comfortable to blame others than it is to take responsibility our personal failures. The others weren't stupid, they were differently motivated. All her life my sister cultivated and projected an image of being a bubble head, but five years ago she was trying to help her kid in math, and called on her "smart brother" (me) for help. I didn't have to try very hard, because she got it. I was astounded. Everybody has the same number of brain cells, it's just what we focus them on. She was motivated to get him through class without failing. He wasn't motivated, but she was. Dave was, and the others in his experiment were not. Motivation is internal, largely related to religion.
So I got to thinking about why I am a Christian, not an atheist. I like to think it's because of the weight of the evidence -- and it is! -- but why do so many atheists think the same of their own preferred religion? It's not like they have no access to the evidence, but more like they refuse to look at it. Well, maybe some (or many) of them do look at the evidence, and they are no longer atheists. That would be scary (to the atheists). If there were a block of information that sucked people away from Christianity into atheism, I guess the Christians would similarly vigorously warn their young people to stay away from it. Actually, that is what is happening with Darwinism, but the Darwinists have a monopoly on higher education. The Christians and the atheists are in a death struggle, and the atheists have won all the power structures. It's our fault, we have let them win.
I also got the Darwinist brainwash in high school, but I think too slowly to follow its consequences before I escaped its influence, and I was lucky enough to have a teacher (in grad school, 20 years later) who challenged me to "look at the evidence." So I did. I was astounded. There isn't any primary evidence for Darwinism. The actual evidence dragged me "kicking and screaming" into the Creationist camp, and now almost 40 years later it still holds me here, despite that I continually and vigorously keep looking for something, any primary peer-reviewed evidence supporting Darwinism. I never found any, and I never was offered any.
My point is, like so many other young Christians heading into a secular college, I was a prime candidate for becoming an atheist. I was the same cocky know-it-all from the same Christian background that fell apart the same as all the other Christian parents who couldn't live their stated religion, and got the same atheistic brainwashing -- but it didn't take. Why? This week it occurred to me that (like Dave) I am the control group.
We are told that "not many wise and powerful" make it into Christian
faith. Jesus said it's really hard for a rich person to get in. Why me,
and not all them? Is it that God doesn't want us? I don't think so, and
I am the proof of that. God wants everybody, but (unlike the Muslims
and maybe the atheists) He will not force anybody against their will to
become a Christian. The evidence is there, but you must be motivated to
look at it.
The Records. Everything that was ever written first came out of the fingers of some person. We make mistakes. We don't have the original manuscripts of the Bible written by the eyewitnesses themselves (because they wore out from continual use), but we have very early copies, a lot of them. Mistakes happen, but not that many, and different mistakes show up in each copy, so we can compare them to get back pretty much to what they copied. The atheists claim the Church changed the story long after all the eyewitnesses were dead, but they have no evidence of that. There was no monolithic "Church" with the power to do that until after Constantine, and we have entire Bibles dating before then (and fragments dating long before that), in different parts of the empire. Other than minor (obviously accidental) typos, there are no changes. It doesn't even make sense for people who claim to be teaching "truth" to alter the records while people are looking. They didn't.
The Message. Christianity teaches a message of moral absolutes. There is no tolerance for lying, ever. Obviously we can't lie to you while saying this, it would make us look stupid. There have been smart (by atheists' own admission) Christians, including the inventors of modern science, therefore at least they were not lying. Christianity also teaches that our God is so great, He can fight His own battles, so we do not need to -- indeed must not -- kill any infidels. Not all Christians acted that way, but the Bible teaches it. Muslims do not believe their own god is that great, so they must fight his battles for him. Atheists obviously don't even have anything they call a god, so ditto. The result is that only a Christian-controlled government can allow political or theological dissent. The Muslim and atheist governments cannot grow except by conquest, but Christianity can grow by exposing everybody to the Truth -- even if they refuse it (today), there's always tomorrow. We did grow that way. The atheists claim to be worried about the Christians persecuting them, but I think they only know that's what they would do if they got into power. It's what they (atheists like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, etc., and also other religions like Islam) have always done.
The Influence. This isn't so much an evidence, but a good effect. Even if Christianity were wrong (which it isn't), it has made the world a better place. Our egalitarian theology made modern democracy possible. The Greeks invented the notion, but they couldn't make it work because only the nobility could vote. It's an easy step from there to only the king can vote. Both the Greeks and the Romans did that. Christian humanitarian theology made universal education and modern medicine possible. It was the Christians, not the atheists nor Muslims, who abolished slavery. It was the Christian idea of a God of reason that made modern science possible. Atheists have no reason to believe in any such thing as natural law, everything is chance and random quantum fluctuation, so what is there to study? But even atheists and Muslims, if they follow the Christian logic, can do science and build airplanes that fly and medicines that cure.
Science. Yes, the best scientific evidence favors the Biblical model. The atheists and the Muslims don't want you to know that, but it's true. Entropy combined with astronomical measurements proves the universe had a beginning, which the Christians (and before them, the Jews) had been saying for thousands of years. Copernicus figured out his solar system by reasoning from his Christian faith. Genetic evidence now favors a common human ancestor, possibly as recently as 10,000 years ago (consistent with Biblical dates). Despite the best efforts of Darwinists to prove common ancestry across larger groups of organisms, there are no fossils providing any better connection than the link platypus offers between birds and mammals (although nobody claims birds evolved into mammals nor the other way around). Lenski's long-term experiment with E.coli is now up past 50,000 generations, but they stopped evolving around 20,000 generations. It's not unbounded. Wiki used to have a graphic that showed the rising curve taper off and head back down, but the Darwinists decided it was too damning, so they replaced with a graphic that stops at 10,000 generations. The text still tells the truth (today; besides, older texts are always available on Wiki, but apparently not older graphics). Occasionally new contradictory "evidence" comes up that makes Darwinism look better, but it always disappears after a few years. Piltdown is gone. Neanderthal is now known to be fully human. The family tree constructed from DNA is different from the one constructed from the fossils.
The longer explanation is in my essay "What's
They can invent a plethora of just-so stories to explain how we got here, but they are much more complex and unsatisfying than the simple Biblical message. One atheist claims to believe in "material determinism" without actually thinking about what that does to his Darwinism (atheists are required to embrace Darwinism, because the only other candidate is special creation, which requires a Creator; Christians have no such impairment). Modern (neo-)Darwinism requires random mutations to drive their natural selection, and random quantum fluctuations to create the Big Bang. Non-determinism is no better, because a god might be hiding in those quantum fluctuations. Then they must invent multiple universes without a scintilla of scientific evidence to accommodate all the vast number of improbable cosmological constants, the tiniest variation in any one of which would make the Big Bang and Darwinist evolution and life as we know it impossible. Otherwise, they end up with bigger probabilistic miracles than a simple God saying "Let there be light!"
2015 May 13
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