Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Part Two: Paleo Comics, Creationist/Intelligent Design comics, etc.

Read yesterday's post first, if you're just stepping into this one -- thanks.

The balancing act between "our understanding" of science and religion is indeed a tightwire walk, but the tipping point is inherent in that phrasing of "our understanding."

Basically, as all 56 pages (60, if you count the covers and inside covers) of Pinkowski's comic makes abundantly clear, "our understanding" is a loaded term that is divisive by nature: "our" is inclusive if you share the belief in God as an all-powerful being, and exclusive if you do not (or, more precisely, do not share that belief in the manner and mode of Pinkowski and his fellow Christian Creationists).

There is a conversational "common sense" devotional pragmatism at work throughout A Creationist's View of Dinosaurs that carries a seductive momentum (typical of this comics genre: it's part of what gives the Jack T. Chick tracts their curious potency). The fact that science is inherently founded upon constant questioning is immediately presented as a flaw, a chink in the armor. This is almost immediately defined (on page 6) in opposition to the absolute validity of Biblical verse, which should not be questioned.

Thus, after asserting and expanding briefly upon the notion that we as a species only "use" 10% of our brain, Pinkowski's surrogate narrator says (use of bold text and ellipses reflect the complete text as it appears):

"Now, you may have noticed that I said that this 'mindless' condition includes all of us -- so it includes me, too! So you might ask, 'Well then, what makes you think that you finally have the right answers??' And that would be a good question! And I'll answer it by first quoting this Bible verse:
"But the path of the just is as shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day"! (Proverbs 4:18) (And see Daniel 12:4!)"

In this first decisive wielding of Biblical verse, Pinkowski tips his hand: the narrator/author may not have all the answers, but the Bible does. Thus, science (herein, the sciences of paleontology, biology, geology, and the theories linked to Darwinian evolution) is suspect because it is not an absolutist belief system, whereas the Bible is unquestionably the word of God, and thus "true" in a way science never can or will be.

Thus, if you share the author's clearly devout and passionate religious beliefs, A Creationist's View of Dinosaurs and the Theory of Evolution may seem a completely rational and reasonable dissection of those issues.

If you do not, the comic comes across as a screed -- a well-drawn, beautifully lettered, and professionally executed screed, but a screed nonetheless.

Having dealt the first blow against evolution by tapping Biblical truth, however anecdotal, the narrator continues:

"Accordingly, the longer we keep investigating the evolution-creation controversy, the more light will come to shine upon it, and we will get closer and closer to the truth! And that truth is that a master designer created everything!

One of the simple, basic principles of science is this: 'The MORE we learn, the more we admit that we DON'T know"! Yet today's evolution scientists arrogantly choose to ignore this truth -- instead they prefer to thnk they 'know it all'!"

In a nutshell, then: unquestioning devotion to a literalist reading of the Bible (specifically Genesis) is truth, and any who do not share that absolutist literalist devotion are arrogantly denying the truth.

Now, this is a profound testimonial to faith -- specifically fundamentalist Christian faith -- but it is not, by definition cannot be, and never will be science.

On page 7, the narrator continues:

"Does it really matter who's right? YES! IT DOES! This is a matter of life or death... ETERNAL life or death!! Why? Because one of these belief systems --"

(Note the rather sly insertion of the term "belief systems" -- continuing:)

"-- embraces God and salvation in Jesus Christ, and the other belief system leads to doubt, emptiness, and a GODLESS UNIVERSE!"

Thus, in a short span of four word balloons and one slippery, barely discernable use of a term that equates science and religion, the implicit falsity of the "debate" becomes explicit: this is not a matter of religion and science, it is -- in the eyes of the Christians who maintain this struggle -- a conflict of belief systems, one (their own) founded on absolute devotion to literalist Biblical truth, the other (science, in their view of "science") on a Godless belief system that is inherently threatening and necessarily demonized.

What follows is a kangaroo-court procession of increasingly nonsensical attacks upon misrepresentations of biology, various scientific disciplines, and Darwinian evolutionary theory. Its a fascinating read, all the more for it's increasingly surreal deviations from any version of the Bible I've ever found or read. If mathematical attempts to enumerate how many animals could/might/did fit on Noah's Ark doesn't prompt confusion, the leaps of logic that follow ("When the animals got off the ark, God evolved changes into the animals so they could survive in this new world!") undoubtably will. Blithe redefinitions of terminology add to the confusion ("...for the rest of this book I will use the term 'evolution' to represent 'endless progression'", a caption footnoted thus: "Micro-evolution is perfectly OK! Macro-evolution is error!" Pinkowski neatly garbles, manhandles, then reconfigures and redefines into nonsense Darwinian theories by page 9). If your patience isn't tested beyond endurance by the subsequent pages of full text, in which the principles of mutation, the functions of organs, gender issues, etc. are further transmuted into battering rams against the Creationists's gross, glib misrepresentation of evolutionary theories and science, you'll arrive at increasing attempts to bring geological "evidence" of the Biblical flood to the fore.

The inconsistencies and lack of a coherent doctrine in Creationist belief is eventually acknowledged in a dizzying word balloon that neatly meshes Creationism, pseudo-science, Cryptozoology, and fundamentalist sect divisions: "Not all Creationists believe the same way in regard to 'dinosaurs' -- perhaps some dinosaurs did go onto the Ark (there have been reports of small brontosaurs [sic] living in Africa); and other Creationists believe that the dinosaurs were 'amalgamations' wherein the Antediluvians messed with the genetics of God's original animals, which was why God destroyed them all in the flood. It would be nice if all Creationists could agree on one and only one scenario -- but it probably won't happen. So maybe all we can do is focus on the 'high points,' like how evolution defies all logic and how there's tons and tons of evidence that supports the creation story that is told in the Bible's Book of Genesis!"

Sooooooo, inconsistencies in scientific disciplines are suspect and relentlessly demonized; inconsistencies of theology and Biblical interpretation are, well, uh, too bad.

The only imperical "truth" referenced time and time again herein, as with all Creationist texts, is that of the Biblical Word as truth, God as truth.

The problem is, the Book of Genesis and the Bible really don't say much about all this. Thus, an increasingly bizarre series of sects have arisen, each proferring their own interpretive scenarios that speculate about matters that are neither explicit or implicit in the Bible, nor relevent to any genuine fossil or archeological record. Thus, statements like "in reality even that one 'evolved life form' would never make it all without God's help!" and "'Cavemen' are NOT links between apes and mankind, they are DEGENERATED HUMAN BEINGS! They are 'de-evolved' imperfect human beings that were genetically damaged by the curse of sin and the pervasive effects of CELLULAR ENTROPY!" are delivered with matter-of-fact urgency, though there's no specific Biblical verse to reference such speculative claims.

Thus, A Creationist's View of Dinosaurs eases further and further into faith-based science fiction of an increasingly delerious nature. It makes for neither good science or religion, but it does make for great comics by the time we reach page 36.

The cumulative weight of these arguments, absurdist as they often are, arrives at a truly staggering spectacle: Pinkowski's "Time for some FUN" sequence in which he illustrates a dinosaur attack upon Noah's Ark in three glorious double-page spreads (credited to "Pinkowski & Riolo"). Jim initially presents this as unabashed fantasy, but can't resist tipping back into Creationist rhetoric. Thus, captions like "The evil fallen angels stampede the dinosaurs toward Noah's Ark, hoping to destroy it...!" ultimately give way to "The Flood was REAL!! The flood waters drowned and killed the dinosaurs! This event is NOT a fable and NOT a 'myth'... it is a verifiable scientific FACT!"

Alas, Pinkowski lapses immediately into the nonsensical non-science emblematic of too much Creationist and Intelligent Design literature. He adds a caption to his eye-popping illustration of the Ark floating atop water peppered with shrieking saurian and dinosaurian heads that reads: "NOTE: The fossil remains of numerous dinosaurs have been found with their heads and necks arched upwards, as if in their death throes they were straining to keep their heads above water!"

Sigh.

As I observed as a mere lad, little layman child scientist-wanna-be I once was, during repeated visits to a chipmunk carcass drying on a patch of rock in Duxbury, VT, the neck muscles of drying animal bodies shrink and contort the body, pulling the neck back. This very phenomenon is indeed characteristic of some fossils that have been found intact enough to recognize the positioning of the neck and body. It is emphatically not evidence of drowning animals "straining to keep their heads above water" -- it's what the muscles and skeletal structures do when exposed to certain conditions of dessication, shrinkage, and the elements. What a curious child (in more ways than one!) observed and recognized in nature is now (completely misinterpreted) codified in the non-scientific gibberish embraced by Creationist and Intelligent Design advocates. This may not prove the interaction of dinosaurs and Noah's Ark, but it does demonstrate a woeful lack of biology studies or rudimentary grasp of forensic science, if nothing else.

As with all Creationist (and, now, Intelligent Design) literature I've read to date, Pinkowski inherently misunderstands and misrepresents what "science" is: among other things, science is an exploration process, a process of observation, experimentation and inquiry, rather than an absolutist system of belief. Observation, categorization, analysis, and a fundamental adherence to asking questions without prior assumptions of "truth" -- in fact, asking questions that may not have answers within reach, as yet -- are among the fundamentals of science. Science is not religion, much less organized religion -- hence, the ongoing conflict between the two, particularly from fundamentalist religious persons whose center is their faith.

Faith can be tested, of course, just as theories can, but that does not make the two interchangable. Religion is grounded in belief; specifically, belief in something that inherently resists imperical analysis, assessment, or proof. Belief in God, or Buddha, or Allah, or etc. is a powerful force, but that does not inversely make "belief" in a given theory -- in this case, Darwinian evolution -- by proxy a religion.

But there's the crux of the matter, in the deceptively simplistic phraseology: If belief in God is religion, and belief in a particular theory is science, doesn't that make religion a science?

As my buddy Rick Bates would say, "Why get into the argument at all?"

Well, damn it, because it still is thrust into our faces, time and time again. Here we are in the new Millennium, 80 years after the Scopes trial, still forced into the same obfuscating debates and legal battles that by their very nature avoid the real issue at hand:

Some of us accept the Bible as a literal truth; some of us do not.

Those that do insist that those of us who don't are, by definition, a threat.

Freedom of religion means freedom from religion.

For that sector of the American populace that finds that reality in and of itself heretical and threatening, I can only say you do not truly believe in freedom of religion if you cannot tolerate and support your religious beliefs, however "obvious" to you, not being foisted upon others.

Religion will never be science, and "science" founded upon religious doctrine is by definition not a science.

Still, the battle makes for some great comics.

(Continued tomorrow: Finally, real science! Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards reviewed...)

23 Comments:

Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Hi Steven -- Jim Pinkoski here -- if I can get signed up OK here I will try to post a reply!

10/21/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Hi again, Steven! Well -- amazing -- it worked! (When I tried to sign up to post a reply the website tried to make me post my own blog page, so I had no idea if I would be able to just post a reply! But I seem to be able to do so ...)

Steven, it's nice to see that you still have my Dino book that I sent to you back in 1997! When we reprinted it a couple years later I made changes on 26 of the 56 pages -- send me your address and I'll send you a copy of the 2nd edition! And I think that you may be unaware that I have a webpage -- www.Pinkoski.com -- check it out and you can see a lot of the other things I've done over the years! Hey, there's even a page there where I talk about my doing cartoons in 1988 or so for Carl Sagan when I lived in D.C.!

I became a Seventh-day Adventist in 1984 and since then I have been able to work with some of the most amazing things! As you can see on my website, I spent 10 years working with the late Ron Wyatt and managed his 1st museum -- and Ron's discoveries are being seen all over the world by millions of people! Check it out -- then write and say "Hi!"

10/21/2005  
Blogger SRBissette said...

Howdy, Jim -- good to hear from you, and thanks for posting your site info here.

I'm glad you understood my comments on your work as not being directed personally at you; I've always enjoyed your comics work and art, though we don't share religious/political philosophies. As we say here in New England, "Live and let live," and I'll be sure to visit your site this weekend and get in touch.

Thanks for the invite to send the revised edition of A CREATIONIST'S VIEWS ON DINOSAURS... -- I'm at PO Box 47, Marlboro, VT 05344.

Since it isn't stated as such in the 1997 edition of your comic, for the purposes of my blog article I didn't identify the comic's narrator as being Ron Wyatt, though that was my impression (prompted, no doubt, by the other comic you sent me in '97 which was co-authored with, and clearly 'narrated' by, Ron Wyatt, concerning his archeological discoveries/beliefs). Is that Ron in A CREATIONIST'S VIEW, or am I incorrect?

10/22/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Nope, you guessed wrong -- Ron was never bald, plus Ron had a full beard -- the narator in my Dino book was not Ron Wyatt -- my narator resembles the late painter/illustrator Harry Anderson! I managed to visit Harry back in 1986 in Connecticut around the same time I began my series of books, and I opted to use a more "mature" looking gentleman who looked like Harry, but with a mustach. There's a page on my website showing a lot of Harry's great paintings, plus last year I helped with the 19-page article on Harry Anderson that was run in ILLUSTRATION #12.

But I DID draw myself into each of my books *once*! Sort of like "Where's Waldo?" -- this time it's "Where's Jim?"

I'll send you a sampling of my various comics I've done, plus that 2nd edition of the Dino book -- and I look forward to discussing the whole Creationism/Evolution thing with you! This will be a unique and different approach, and hopefully very respectful on both sides because we are both cartoonists who admire each others work!

10/22/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve, as I mentioned elsewhere, there have been 2 editions of my Dino book -- but there is an update that has not been included in either of the editions that you need to be aware of!

On page 53 where I make my closing comments about Michael Crichton, I said, "Maybe someday he will change his mind" -- and guess what! HE HAS CHANGED HIS MIND!

About two years ago I saw an interview with Michael Crichton on one of the PBS programs, and the interviewer seriously asked Crichton if he could permit GOD to be involved in the creation of Life -- and Crichton "hemmed and hawed" and tried to avoid answering the question, but finally Crichton admitted that GOD could exist! Then he clarified that if GOD "did" exist, He used evolution to do it all -- but he admitted that GOD existed!!

Here's what I find so troubling -- why do we have to "twist peoples' arms" to get them to acknowledge that it is very logical from a scientific point of view for people to admit that GOD exists? It's my firm opinion that even a 10-year old STAR TREK fan can imagine the existence of a GOD-entity out there somewhere! It's not that big of a deal!

Michael Crichton finally admitted that there is room for GOD within the creation of the Universe and the creation of Life! As far as I know, he used to be an evolutionist who did not believe in GOD (but I am not sure) -- maybe you know some info about his past belief system?

Hundreds and hundreds of extremely brilliant scientists around the world are admitting that the Bible's story of Creation is perfectly acceptable within their various scientific fields -- so it's not just "me" trying to say that GOD exists, there are many people with PhDs involved in supporting Creationism!

I let GOD into my life back in 1984, over 20 years ago -- up to that point I would have been reluctant to go along with the biblical version of a Creator/GOD, so I can understand your reluctance, Steve -- maybe you could explain your way of relating to GOD and the Bible ala your involvement with the Constantine character? Do you believe in GOD? Is it just the GOD of the Bible that you disagree with? Which version of GOD do you currently believe in?

10/22/2005  
Blogger SRBissette said...

Howdy, Jim -- A little time to respond, more later, promise:

Re:
"...but finally Crichton admitted that GOD could exist! Then he clarified that if GOD "did" exist, He used evolution to do it all -- but he admitted that GOD existed!!"

Well, it's a leap to go from (in your own words) "Crichton admitted GOD could exist" to "he admitted that GOD existed!!," and though I get your point, Crichton is a popular author, neither a scientist nor a theologist. Continuing:

"Here's what I find so troubling -- why do we have to "twist peoples' arms" to get them to acknowledge that it is very logical from a scientific point of view for people to admit that GOD exists?"

Logic has nothing to do with it, to my mind, Jim -- faith isn't based upon reason, it's inherently non-rational (as opposed to irrational, please). I have faith in many things, none of it grounded in logic or reason, but rather "faith" in all meanings of the word. This is why faith and science are antithetical by nature -- matters of faith are not demonstratably provable, or (for instance) subject to experimentation per se.

That said, a man of faith can be a scientist, and a man of science can be a man of faith -- but that does not meld science and religion, or their respective conditions, realities, and definitions.

Re:
"It's my firm opinion that even a 10-year old STAR TREK fan can imagine the existence of a GOD-entity out there somewhere! It's not that big of a deal!"

No, of course not -- but your use of the word "imagine" is relevent. I have my own sense of God, and my own perspective, shaped in part by the Catholic dogma I was forcefed as a lad, my rejection of that dogma, my experiences with nature growing up in the backwoods of Vermont, and my experiences as a person living in this world. None of them are "provable," but they do make up my personal religious convictions, which are strong but not codified in a manner that aligns with any organized religion I know of.

That said, Jim, "the big deal" to me seem to be the ongoing struggle for some factions to attempt to impose their respective religious beliefs upon others, which interests me not at all as either imposer or recipient. Hence my statement, "Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion."

In all matters relevent to this -- science instruction, Creationism vs. Darwinian evolution, birth control, abortion, right to life, assisted suicide; choose your poison, so to speak -- seems to me the attempts to impose one religious doctrine upon all is the ongoing problem.

If you refute birth control, abortion, assisted suicide, etc., fine, DON'T embrace them. But in a true democracy, denial of services due to religious belief systems is dangerous, destructive, and antithetical to democracy. Those who don't believe in religious doctrines that do not sanction those practices/beliefs should not be the ones struggling with these issues -- those who DO hold devout religious beliefs that condemn such practices should live accordingly.

Re:
"Michael Crichton finally admitted that there is room for GOD within the creation of the Universe and the creation of Life! As far as I know, he used to be an evolutionist who did not believe in GOD (but I am not sure) -- maybe you know some info about his past belief system?"

I've no idea, nor does it matter to me much -- as I said, Crichton is a popular (and clever) novelist and occasionally clever filmmaker (Westworld, his first film, remains his best film), but I don't look to writers like Crichton for matters either scientific or theological. Stephen J. Gould, C.S. Lewise, etc. -- now you're talking. Gould wrote extensively in his lifetime on matters to do with evolution (brilliantly), science, and the clash between science and religion.

I have also read Gish and many, many others from the Creationist texts, going back to the first published attempts (in the 1880s) to wrestle through the discrepancies between geological science, the fossil record, and the Bible. It's all fascinating reading, some of it quite enlightening, but I must admit I find the contemporary writings lacking in many ways. The adversarial drive behind almost all Creationist and Intelligent Design writing since approximately 1965 fundamentally abandons the integrity of even the earliest texts, once the determination to twist matters of faith and theological thought into biological science began in earnest. It simply isn't science, Jim, once the issue of a creator enters the fray. It's theology, pure and simple, and the attempt to merge the two into something that presents itself as science serves neither.

Re:
"Hundreds and hundreds of extremely brilliant scientists around the world are admitting that the Bible's story of Creation is perfectly acceptable within their various scientific fields -- so it's not just "me" trying to say that GOD exists, there are many people with PhDs involved in supporting Creationism!"

I never said it was just you, Jim, ever. I chose your comic in the context of discussing two other comics (one past, one present) in order to get into this issue via comics. Your comic is unique, though, as one of the few (along with the Jack T. Chick tracts and comics) to engage with this debate, hence its inclusion and my interest.

However, while there are indeed "many people with PhDs involved in supporting Creationism," and that's relevent, there are not "hundreds and hundreds," as far as I can determine from all available texts and research, arguing that "the Bible's story of Creation is perfectly acceptable within their various scientific fields..." As I implied in the first of the three parts of this discussion (my comment on the article on the soon-to-open Intelligent Design museum, and the reference in that article to the poll numbers), this is not a matter of masses in agreement, Jim. That is beside the point. The issues of faith, religion, and science are not something to be voted upon -- science is science, religion is religion, and the separation of church and state in these matters is critical. Bringing the Bible into the science classroom is inherently problematic in a democracy; in a theocracy, that's another matter, but we do not yet live in a theocracy, nor would I choose to remain in the US should it become a theocracy.

There are many men and women of faith practicing in the sciences, but that does not support your (or other) claims to "hundreds and hundreds" of scientists backing Creationism or Intelligent Design. This kind of hyperbole is unnecessary and undermines the strength of your arguments, Jim, as it undermines that of those writers who have made the same sorts of unsubstantiated claims.

Re:
"I let GOD into my life back in 1984, over 20 years ago -- up to that point I would have been reluctant to go along with the biblical version of a Creator/GOD, so I can understand your reluctance, Steve -- maybe you could explain your way of relating to GOD and the Bible ala your involvement with the Constantine character? Do you believe in GOD? Is it just the GOD of the Bible that you disagree with? Which version of GOD do you currently believe in?"

Well, that'll need more time than I have today to go into.

Suffice to say (a)I relate to God and the teachings of Jesus Christ personally, without trying to impose my belief systems on anyone, including my children, save in my attempts to treat others with the same respect I wish to be treated in this world; (b) I have found all organized religions in some manner offensive and their practices contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ as detailed in the New Testament (all available versions/editions), and our current "Christian" government simply appalling in more ways than I can concisely summarize; (c) the Bible is a book, authored by men, not God, and exists in many editions and variations, all in some way effected/altered by the human beings involved in the scribing/translating/publication of those editions. It is also composed of many books and fragments, which belies a strict literalist reading of any coherence. While it is an incredible book by any definition, its archaic roots and language are open to many interpretations, which is inherently counterproductive in any attempt to "live by the word." Much of the Bible (particularly the Old Testament) includes many beliefs, doctrines, teachings, and what I consider parables (after all, Jesus often spoke in and taught via parables) that are often contradictory, proclaiming many rules and laws that are patently absurd and/or sociopathic in contemporary contexts. Thus, a selective 'reading' and application of the Bible is necessary -- which, again, makes any literalist, absolutist attempt to 'live by the word' quite dangerous, in my view.

I do not find the need to anthropomorphize God as a deity; the natural world I see all around me, experience in some way daily, is a world of great wonder, great beauty, and terrifying cruelty. In studying nature in many ways, from my childhood microscope explorations of our pond waters to my layman's journey into paleontology while creating Tyrant, I am stunned by the intracacies and interwoven fabric of nature and the universe. But the anthropomorphized God of the religion I was raised within -- Catholicism -- and that I read of in my admittedly sketchy catch-as-catch-can theology readings (most of which is in some way related to the entire Darwinian evolution vs. Christianity debates since the late 1800s) does not add up to the God most worship. However, I do not find the God I see reflected in the world I live in threatening, per se; but if you argue Intelligent Design, my friend, and believe in a compassionate anthropormophized God, be ready to confront some tough questions when you get into the reality of the life-and-death aspects of our planet's most fascinating lifeforms.

As for Constantine -- uh, I have no idea what you're searching for in that regard. As a writer and artist, I feel the need to explore and move with imagination whereever it leads me, Jim. I wear no blinders, and pursue any and all concepts to their bitter ends, particularly when I'm working in the horror genre. Those tales, however, do not necessarily reflect my personal religious beliefs or convictions: imagination, fiction, art are all fields of play to me, and anything goes, however abrasive or over-the-edge.

My role in the creation of the character of John Constantine during my Swamp Thing years emerged from a rather childish conceit -- "Hey, Alan, we're going to keep drawing Sting in the backgrounds whenever we can, so you better make him a character!" I've no direct relation with the character that eventually emerged or the theological underpinnings of Hellblazer or the film version. I find them neither offensive nor particularly persuasive, but that subgenre of horror fiction does fascinate me considerably (in fact, the Constantine film is essentially a remake of sorts of the excellent Prophecy, originally filmed as God's Army), which is another matter altogether.

If you wish, let's stick to what are my creations -- like Tyrant -- and I'm happy to dance those issues around.

10/23/2005  
Blogger Charles Reece said...

Glad to see your comments again on a regular basis, Steve. In case you didn't see Richard Lewontin's latest essay in the NYRB, he summarily defeats ID in a paragraph:

"God, the Bible, and religion in general are not mentioned in the doctrine of ID. Rather, it is claimed that an objective examination of the facts of life makes it clear that organisms are too complex to have arisen by a process of the accumulation of naturally selected chance mutations and so must have been purposefully created by an unspecified intelligent designer. An alien from outer space? But the theory of ID is a transparent subterfuge. The problem is that if the living world is too complex to have arisen without an intelligent designer, then where did the intelligent designer come from? After all, she must have been as complex as the things she designed. If not, then we have evolution! Otherwise we must postulate an intelligent designer who designed the intelligent designer who..., back to the original one who must have been around forever. And who might that be? Like the ancient Hebrews the ID designers fear to pronounce Her name lest they be destroyed, but Her initials are clearly YWH."

Link is: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18363

Later,

Charles

10/24/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve, thanks for the loooong post -- I'll respond to it in sections --

First, I myself am GLAD that you had the currage to leave the Catholic church! There are a million reasons why they are the wrong church to belong to -- Martin Luther correctly identified them as the Anti-Christ back in the 1500s, and they are clearly described in the Bible as being an enemy of God! So I'm very glad to hear that you were hounded out of the church by their behavior! You need to see my book that explains how the papacy fits into Bible prophecy -- the Seventh-day Adventists are about the only remaining "Protestant" church on the planet, and all the "Protestant" churches were created to do one thing: PROTEST the behavior of the Catholic Church! But most people nowadays are caught up in an "ecumenical" mode of accepting all faiths no matter how wrong or how evil they have been --

Regarding the "hundreds and hundreds" of scientists who believe in the Bible, here are two books that print essays by 90 scientists about how they believe in a lteral reading of Genesis:

"In Six Days" (50 essays) and "On the Seventh Day" (40 essays) edited by John Aston, PhD and published by www.MasterBooks.com -- and there's also a website that lists 100+ scientists, but I can't find the link address at this time -- I haven't tried to gather together "all" the people, I leave that to the guys who are running official Creationism ministries.

I'm sure that for every "one" scientist who we've heard about taking a stand for Creationism, there are 9+ more out there that we haven't heard about or haven't yet published their opinions!

The bottom line is that "Intelligent Design" really is INTELLIGENT design -- and when it comes to proving the "beginning" of Life, Intellignet Design far surpasses any theory that godless evolution has to offer!

10/27/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

The Charles Reece post of Richard Lewontin's essay is just shallow thinking that they have "proven" Intelligent Design is wrong!

The human brain is NOT able to understand GOD, i.e., YAHWEH -- and all these people who call GOD a "She" are just showing how ignorant they are!

Steve, I just mailed 4 of my books to you -- and in SF#1 you will read a section that deals with explaining GOD, and one of the main points I make is that GOD is waaaaaaaaay beyond being defined by sex or gender! The Bible describes GOD as being in the male gender, but that is just GOD relating to setting up "man and woman" on our world during Creation Week -- GOD made the male sex, and the female sex, and GOD also put a lot of Life on this planet that reproduces without needing separate sexes!

Any time I hear people calling GOD a "She" I know I'm dealing with a person who has been far too affected by pagan beliefs and has a "Mother Nature" complex -- because if I'm dealing with a truly intelligent person they will know that GOD is not dependent on being either male or female!

And then there's that silly idea of "Who made GOD?" Guys, you are trying to use your very small minds to find the answer to a very BIG question -- this GOD is able to create the entire Universe! And you think with your little pea-brain mind that "you" are going to be able to figure out and come anywhere near the full understanding of the true reality of *GOD*???

Ha! Good luck!

The most absurd level of man's misfunctioning mind is the idea he has in his little pathetic head is that "man created GOD" . . . what foolishness! What gall! What idiocy! The little tiny thing called "man" on the little tiny nothing planet in the little tiny nothing solar system thinks that he has "all the answers" and can run around proclaiming that GOD is a "she" and GOD could not be an Eternal Being with no beginning and no end, and man thinks that "he has created GOD" -- stupid man!

Our existence is an AWESOME mystery, and an AWESOME event -- and there is no way that any human being on this planet can "out-think" GOD or "out-know" GOD!

Even our best scientists admit that they don't even know how gravity works! Nor do they know everything about light and how it works! And yet man can run around proclaiming to "know" how GOD can or can't be Eternal???

Of all the "hints" that we have received on this planet that claim to be "communications from GOD," the Bible is the best and most reliable source of information about GOD.

Unless you guys prefer to listen to Uncle Fred, or witches, or psychics, or palm readers, or non-practicing Jews like Isaac Asimov, or your "know-it-all" biology professor at school, or other cynics or scoffers who profess the idiodic belief that "GOD is dead" or "GOD ain't out there," or the best one yet: "Hey, I must be GOD!"

DUH!

This planet is one very sad place, full of a lot of people who are trying to figure out the "big answers" to the "big questions" -- and most of them have it 100% WRONG!

10/27/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve, I wish I had recorded that TV interview with Michael Crichton so I could quote him exactly -- but the bottom line was that he admitted that GOD, a Creator, exists.

10/27/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve wrote, "Suffice to say (a)I relate to God and the teachings of Jesus Christ personally..."

Good!

But you need to be aware that many people would come forward and teach "another Jesus"! Human beings are fallible, and they get things "wrong" a lot of the time -- so Christianity is full of people teaching the wrong things about Jesus! The trick is to find the RIGHT teachings -- to find the right church that has the Truth!

Have you been offended by the "violence" factor on this planet? Do you agonize, "If GOD were really a kind and loving GOD, why would He let all this evil and violence exist?"

The Bible says that "It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment" -- so that means that ALL OF US are going to die, be it one way or another! And "dying" is not going to always be pretty or kind -- and when you add in man's inhumanity to man, then things can get really nasty. People can die of diseases, or war, or at the claws of animals -- but it is appointed to all of us that we are all going to eventually "die" one way or the other!

And GOD has told us "why" -- because we are sinners! Adam and Eve sinned, and the whole human race came into existence with a fallen nature and sinning -- man has broken ALL of GOD's laws, and man must pay the penalty: Death!

If you lie, you deserve Death. If you break the Sabbath, you deserve Death. If you commit adultery (or even think about it), you deserve Death. If you murder someone, you deserve Death. If you covet, you deserve Death. If you have any other gods before GOD, you deserve Death -- that's just quoting the Ten Commandments!

Which is why it is such an awesome and wonderful thing that Jesus came to die in our place! And if we believe in Him, and turn from sinning, we will inherit eternal life -- that is what the Bible tells us.

All of Darwin's observations pertain to the existing world -- but NOT the way it all started! When GOD started the world, everything was perfect -- so we now have two different belief systems vying for dominance: You can believe in GOD and obey the 1st Commandment of the Ten commandments, or you can disobey the 1st Commandment and let Darwin be your "god" whom you will listen to and obey?

If you truly don't like "violence" and "natural selection," then you need to side with GOD -- because GOD says in His Word that everyone who disbelieves in GOD and disobeys GOD is going to end up being destroyed in the Lake of Fire, the ultimate "violence" and "natural selection" outcome!

Steve, you need to read the RIGHT teachings about Jesus -- because they are out there, but the devil doesn't want people to find them! The devil loves it when people read the junk interpretations of the Bible's doctrines, etc. -- but just because the "false" teachings are out there, it doesn't mean that the REAL ones are not available!

My faith is firm, and my intellectual knowledge of GOD is firm, because I believe that I have found the right versions of the teachings.

Would you trust the opinion of the Head Librarian of the Religious Department of the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS? Would you think that this person would be an intelligent person and familiar with all the religious books in the Library? Several years ago that person was asked, "What in your opinion is the best book ever written about the life of Jesus?" That head librarian answered, "Without question it is THE DESIRE OF AGES by E.G. White!"

Ellen G. White received over 2,000 visions during her 80+ years of life (she died in 1915), and back in 1865 she was instrumental in founding the Seventh-day Adventist Church -- and her book, THE DESIRE OF AGES, without a doubt IS the best book ever written on this planet about the life of Christ! Millions of copies have been printed all over the world in dozens of languages -- if you would read this book, you would truly know who Jesus was and is!

10/27/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve -- I found that link to the page that lists another 100 scientists who ascribe to this statement:

"I am skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

www.objectivityinscience.org/dissent.html

These are not the same people who are in the books, IN SIX DAYS or ON THE SEVENTH DAY -- so I have just supplied you with around 200 names of scientists who believe in the Bible's story of Creation, and I am sure that there are many, many more out there!

10/27/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve -- I've sent you a copy of THE DESIRE OF AGES via Amazon.com -- hopefully you will find time to read it!

10/27/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve -- The October '05 issue of ANALOG magazine featured an editorial by Stanley Schmidt dealing with the Creation/Evolution issue -- and I began a thread that is 219 messages long discussing Intelligent Design, etc.! Check it out on the ANALOG website:

www.AnalogSF.com

Go to "Readers Forum" -- click on "General Discussion" -- then scroll down the list to "October '05 Issue Review"!

My post was the 2nd on the thread -- and you will also see a thread about my "Banking Solution," and its follow-up thread about "Alternate Realities" where my banking solution DOES work in an alternate Earth somewhere!

10/28/2005  
Blogger Charles Reece said...

The Charles Reece post of Richard Lewontin's essay is just shallow thinking that they have "proven" Intelligent Design is wrong!

That's easy to say, but you didn't rebut the problem that any thinking person has obviously encountered when discussing the supposed necessity of a first creator, namely who created it?

The human brain is NOT able to understand GOD, i.e., YAHWEH -- and all these people who call GOD a "She" are just showing how ignorant they are!

Although we're not able to understand this god of yours, we're supposed to believe that we can understand its sex? Uh, ok. Yeah, that makes me feel ignorant.

10/31/2005  
Blogger SRBissette said...

I've had little time this week to see to this; I'm not ignoring this conversation, just making time to weigh in with some ability to follow through properly. Stay tuned -- SRB

10/31/2005  
Blogger SRBissette said...

I'll give this my best shot this morning, Jim, and give what time I have to a followup response this AM:
__

Re:
"First, I myself am GLAD that you had the currage to leave the Catholic church! There are a million reasons why they are the wrong church to belong to -- Martin Luther correctly identified them as the Anti-Christ back in the 1500s, and they are clearly described in the Bible as being an enemy of God! So I'm very glad to hear that you were hounded out of the church by their behavior!"

Hmmm, actually, our President's behavior is fitting the revionist details of the Anti-Christ's behavior (as outlined for the pop culture in Hal Lindsey and C.C. Carlson's seminal The Late Great Planet Earth back in 1970, a book I've read twice but do not subscribe to) to a 'T', including fomenting war in the Middle East. But that's beside the point: my "currage" to leave the Catholic Church extended lifelong into an exploration and rejection of all organized religions, Jim, because any and all I explored were equally dogmatic, authoritarian, and absurd once I began to scratch more than the surface. I am not evangalizing for anyone else to share this view, but for me it's not so much that they're "the wrong church to belong to" as I find all denominations suspect once the superficial similarities (Christianity) are tabled to get to the interpretive ideosyncracies and dogma of each sect.

In the end, it all breeds intolerance and the kind of finger-pointing you're exhibiting, and I find all that contrary to Christ's professed beliefs as expressed in every version of the New Testament I've been exposed to (and there are many). In terms of comics (which is, after all, our springboard here), Jack T. Chick has venomously attacked the Catholic Church at every opportunity, too, which just emphasizes your point and my own. Former President Jimmy Carter said it best in the late 1990s when he gave his reasons for leaving the church he'd belonged to all his life, noting that religious intolerance breeding the kind of demonization you're indulging in, Jim, in which (I'm paraphrasing here, as I don't have the Carter quote in reach) "...anyone who believes otherwise is therefore 'less,' and therefore 'other'..." so contrary to the fundamental teachings of Christ that it's tragic.

Re:
"You need to see my book that explains how the papacy fits into Bible prophecy -- the Seventh-day Adventists are about the only remaining "Protestant" church on the planet, and all the "Protestant" churches were created to do one thing: PROTEST the behavior of the Catholic Church! But most people nowadays are caught up in an "ecumenical" mode of accepting all faiths no matter how wrong or how evil they have been --"

Every religion claims to be the "only" something-or-other, and again, that leads clearly to intolerance and demonization of other religious beliefs, which is neither "ecumenical" of me nor intolerant. Believe as you wish; if it helps shape your life in beneficial ways, and prompts you to do good onto others, bless you. But banter about "how wrong or how evil they have been" (choose your "they") implies your belief system is absolute and thus required for all to share, and I'm sorry, Jim, but that immediately does it for me.

I've had friends from almost every religious denomination and have read all I come upon that were wellsprings for religious faiths based on individuals having and sharing their visions, including Seventh Day Adventist (and I have read Ellen G. White's The Desire of Ages, but thank you for the copy coming in the mail nonetheless). Much of this literature is moving and profound, much of it is as risible as George Adamski's UFO travelogue books (another 20th Century faith, that), and it all interests me. But none of it persuades me to tether to that particular church or faith -- it's all human interpretation, subject to misinterpretation, conflation, etc. For some individuals, like White, such visions become beacons, reshaping her life and creating what she felt was a true bond with the holy and divine; for others (like Philip K. Dick) such brushes with the infinite shatter their lives and leave them shaken, not inspired.

I'll not pursue this line of discussion further, as I realize White's writings are central to your faith, Jim, and it is not my intention to criticize or inadvertantly attack White or her texts. But understand that this thread is not about my religious conversion, either; you can evangelize all you wish, but in the context of my life and beliefs, I feel no need, nor have I ever, to tether to one church or the other or another.

In short, to my mind, all religious texts are filtered through their human agents -- their authors, and those who followed to perpetuate those texts (and thus, via interpretation and even extensive revision, altered the revered wellspring) -- and thus fallably human, not intrinsically divine. There is much that is beautiful and moving, much to be taken from all of those I've been lucky enough to read, but I can't take any as "The Word" of the Divine on faith alone. People are people, and thus fallable.

More later.

11/01/2005  
Blogger SRBissette said...

I've effectively shifted continuing conversation on this post over to today's relevent blog post (for Friday, November 4th), but want to acknowledge (if only for your sake, Jim) receipt of the promised gifts from Jim, for which am indeed thankful.

Jim, your comics projects are as beautifully executed and packaged as ever, congrats. FYI, constant reader, Jim sent me copies of his comics Christain SF #1 and 2, The Great Controversy: The Real "Star Wars"!, and a later edition of the comic reviewed in the blog text these comments are affixed to, A Creationist's View of Dinosaurs. If anyone is curious, or shares Jim's passion and interests and would like copies, jump over to www.Pinkoski.com which features ordering info, special deals, etc.

I also received, thanks to Jim, a nifty 1988 paperback copy of E.G. White's The Desire of Ages, which was originally published at the end of the 19th Century (White died in 1915). The quote Jim offered in his comments when he mentioned this book are indeed lifted from the introductory pages of this edition. White was indeed a prolific and passionate Christian writer in her day, and the book is an expansive (700+ pages!) interpretative text on the life of Jesus Christ -- essentially, Ellen G. White's adaptation of the relevent New Testament texts with her own passionate analysis and expansion on those texts and themes.

For instance:
"It was God's purpose to place tings on an eternal basis of security, and in the councils of heaven it was decided that time must be given for Satan to develop the principles which were the foundations of his system of government. He had claimed that these were superior to God's principles. Time was given for the working of Satan's principles, that they might be seen by the heavenly universe.

Satan led men into sin, and the plan of redemption was put in operation. For four thousand years, Christ was working for man's uplifting, and Satan for his ruin and degradation. And the heavenly universe beheld it all."
etc.

White is interpreting, in exhaustive detail, her understanding of the New Testament and the Bible as a whole -- but this is an interpretive text, scribed by an inspired human hand.

I thank you for the gifts, Jim, and will read and enjoy them all. But forgive me for not taking them as being somehow authoritative in and of themself. These are still founded on articles of faith -- I do not question that faith (on your part, much less on White's), but do not per se expect me to embrace or share that faith, or see my failure to embrace or share it as inherently a rejection of any level of engagement. Faith is faith, and that we each hold our own should not be a cause for intolerance, ire, or anything but celebration.

11/04/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve -- I'm glad you got my books, and took the time to respond to them. I appreciate that. And I was rather amazed that you had already read THE DESIRE OF AGES!

I have no intention of hounding you, and in my personal life while I occasionally witness as I have done here to you, my normal life is quite laid back just like President Jimmy Carter wherein I just sit back and let everybody go and do whatever they wish -- because it really isn't my job to coerse anyone into believing like me, I'm just to "explain" my own personal beliefs now and then when it is required. And then everybody is on their own.

But it is sad to have a pre-knowledge that the bulk of mankind will be "lost" and be eternally destroyed -- and while at this current time you and others may have a rather "what's-the-big-deal" attitude of things, when all of the lost are finally facing their punishment and facing GOD I think they will all at that time sincerely wish that they HAD believed differently when they had the chance!

I'm not going to quote Scripture endlessly to you, but Ecclesiastes 8:11 contains a pertinent truth here: "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" -- and that is why human beings can think that whatever they are doing is "OK" to do, but unfortunately in the end they will find out differently.

This concept relates to my centerspread about "TIME" that is in SF#2 -- I talk about how George Lucas was in my opinion inspired to do STAR WARS because in the future there were billions of people seeing and enjoying the movies, and how various zealous Christians choose to "believe" in GOD before having all the proof for believing in Him, yet they do so -- perhaps it all comes down to being "spiritually perceptive," or having a deep heart-felt longing to see GOD and be right with Him -- I too sense that future that is awaiting mankind, and I've chosen to respond to it seriously here and now -- you've chosen to respond to it less seriously, and you choose to spend your life doing things "your way" instead of GOD's way -- we each have free will -- we each get to decide -- and then one day in the future we will each meet up with our Creator and see whether or not He is "pleased" or "displeased" with what we chose to do with our lives!

Back in 1992 I did my Sodom & Gomorrah magazine for Ron Wyatt -- Sodom & Gomorrah was one of the "life lessons" wherein GOD performed a rather radical action upon human beings, this was some "serious shit" -- and seeing that WE HAVE THE PROOF that GOD did it the first time, I choose also to believe that this form of destruction is what awaits all of the people who choose to sin, and that includes ANY sin -- and I have personally decided that I really really do NOT want my existence to end that way!

Everybody gets to make up his or her own mind about being "lost" or being "saved" -- which in my mind DOES make this to be the #1 Most Important Topic on the planet, Steve! And Adventists have been given the job of warning the planet about it all -- and we try to do so with love in our voices --

The important thing to remember is that all the people who are in the process of heading for the Lake of Fire can CHANGE THEIR MINDS as long as they are still alive -- so I hope they do!

11/07/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

BTW, the DVD of STAR WARS III came out this past week, and I haven't seen you post any comments about it -- do you dislike STAR WARS?

11/07/2005  
Blogger Jim Pinkoski said...

Steve, what is your opinion of ANNE RICE?

On Nov. 1st her new book came out, CHRIST THE LORD: OUT OF EGYPT -- and I saw an interview with her on CNN saying that she will no longer write about vampires and witchcraft and demons! She has experienced a conversion and now has a strong believe in God and only wants to do the things that please God!

Interesting, eh?

11/09/2005  
Blogger Charles Reece said...

Sounds like one of those Stephen Baldwin conversions: failing career leads to a conversion where the audience will buy just about any derivative crap so long as it goes along with their fundamentalist ideology.

11/12/2005  
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