John Robbins Not So Quick Quote

In light of Covenant Seminary professor of Old Testament Dr. “Jack” Collins’ reply to a review by Rachel Miller that I linked below, and some of the subsequent discussion to the blog where his reply was reprinted, I thought the following not-so-quick quote from John Robbins was in order. I think it is also pertinent to some of the discussion following my post below; “Van Til and Natural Theology.”

There are two basic forms of Christian apologetics: evidentialism and presuppositionalism. The evidentialist form holds that Christians ought to try to prove the existence of God and the veracity of the Bible on the basis of premises that all men will accept, such as the reliability of sense perception. The presuppositionalist method holds that the existence of God and the inerrancy of Scripture are to be assumed as indemonstrable axioms; they cannot be proved, and it is both impious and stupid to try.

Involved in the evidentialist method, although the evidentialists may be reluctant to admit it, is the necessity of redefining key terms. We have seen how the scientific creationists have attempted to  redefine “academic freedom” and “creation,” emptying the latter of almost all Biblical content. But this redefinition of terms may also be clearly seen in the best evidentialist apologete of them all, the thirteenth-century Roman Catholic Thomas Aquinas. Thomas held that one could prove the existence of God in five ways, and the first and more manifest way was the way of motion: “It is certain, and evident to our senses,” Thomas wrote, “that in the world some things are in motion.” From this axiom that he considered indubitable, Thomas at tempted to deduce an Unmoved Mover. He concluded his proof by saying, “And this everyone understands to be God.” But Thomas’s unmoved mover is the unmoved mover of the pagan Aristotle. It is no more the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it is no more Jesus Christ, than scientific creationism is the Genesis account of creation. Writing in Latin, Thomas referred to his unmoved mover and his first cause as neuters. They are “It.” God is not neuter. God is not an “It.”

The reason that both philosophical giants like Thomas Aquinas and lesser men like the scientific creationists must redefine their terms is their common method of apologetics evidentialism. One cannot deduce the God of the Bible from any secular axioms, whether those axioms be common sense, scientific evidence, or simply sense perception. It is logically impossible. One of the first rules of logic is that terms must not appear in the conclusion of an argument that did not first appear in its premises. If the terms are not in the premises, they logically cannot show up in the conclusion. Even Thomas Aquinas admitted that he believed in creation only because God revealed it. But the scientific creationists are not quite so wise as Thomas.

… It has taken only a decade for Biblical creationism to turn into scientific creationism. Many Christians are not yet aware of the change. The scientific creationists have a pecuniary interest in keeping them uninformed of the change. But the ramifications of the change are extensive, and its implications are lethal. Once the axiomatic acceptance of Scripture as inerrant is abandoned, the surrender to paganism is sure and swift. The Bible and the Bible alone is the source of truth. It is in the Bible alone that we read about creation. Neither science nor Aristotle has anything to say about it. Science is ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth. [Read the rest of The Hoax of Scientific Creationism]

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4 Comments on “John Robbins Not So Quick Quote”

  1. Hugh McCann Says:

    But, Sean, the New York Times has proven evolution in New York! You’ll probably want to retract the Robbins quote, eh?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/science/26evolve.html

    ‘Evolution Right Under Our Noses’

    …Dr. Munshi-South and two graduate students, Paolo Cocco and Stephen Harris, climbed out of the 168th Street station lugging backpacks and a plastic crate full of scales, Ziploc bags, clipboards, rulers and tarps. They walked east to the entrance of Highbridge Park…

    White-footed mice, stranded on isolated urban islands, are evolving to adapt to urban stress. Fish in the Hudson have evolved to cope with poisons in the water. Native ants find refuge in the median strips on Broadway. And more familiar urban organisms, like bedbugs, rats and bacteria, also mutate and change in response to the pressures of the metropolis. In short, the process of evolution is responding to New York and other cities the way it has responded to countless environmental changes over the past few billion years. Life adapts…

    Evolution is one of life’s constants. New species emerge; old ones become extinct. Environmental changes have often steered evolution in new directions. And modern cities like New York have brought particularly swift changes to the environment…

    New York, in other words, is an evolutionary experiment — one that some scientists find fascinating to observe. “It’s some new thing emerging around us,” Dr. Dunn said.

    Now THAT, we already knew!

  2. Denson Dube Says:

    New York, New York! Adaptation is not evolution. Any given living organism, such as a human being or a plant can exist in a form within a limited range of potential or possible biological systems already present in the DNA code. The best way to see this is to do an experiment on the simplest organism such as a single cell bacteria. This can be done in a petri dish(google this). By controlling the environment, one eliminates those bacteria whose biological form or functions are less effective in that environment. What you are left with is a subset of the original set. One can continue this way changing environment parameters until one has whatever characteristics they have filtered using environment parameters. Extremes in the environment will kill all organisms showing that biological variability is not infinitely elastic.

    There is simply noway any new organism has emerged from the original population. It was there from the beginning. There are no changes, in the DNA. There is just an amplification of the population of those organisms with favourable characteristics to survive in the new environment.
    Stupid people see ‘evolution’.
    http://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/issues/2006_05/evolution.html
    http://libserver.wlsh.tyc.edu.tw/sa/pdf.file/en/e071p022.pdf

  3. Hugh McCann Says:

    DD,

    You obviously have never been to New York, or you’d know that evolution is true! 😉

  4. Denson Dube Says:

    Hugh,
    I’ve been! Ah, that queer accent! That explains it! -:)


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