Tag Archives: evolution

Bill Nye, Ken Ham Debate February 4, 2014 — Post by Michael J. Findley

Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate

The debate, for those who did not watch it, took over 2 1/2 hours. The format was two brief opening statements, followed by a thirty minute statement by each man. Tom Forman from CNN was the moderator. The entire debate was very civil and Tom Forman did a very professional job. The debate is available on Youtube, http://youtu.be/_04S0fYU7FI
or http://debatelive.org/ 
After the 30-minute opening speeches, each man had a five-minute rebuttal speech. These were followed by written questions from the audience, alternating evenly between the men. They each had 2 minutes followed by a one minute response from the other man. At the end there was one question directed to both men, so they each had two minutes. Then each man had a closing statement. Ken Ham won a coin toss and went first. Bill Nye closed the debate.

The debatelive.org site has a link in the lower right corner to Answers In Genesis articles. These articles answer most of the technical questions Bill Nye brought up during the debate.

Bill Lovegrove’s blog http://pilgrimworks.com/blog/?p=128 has a much briefer point-by-point refutation of Bill Nye’s comments from his thirty-minute opening comments. It is in laymen’s terminology and we highly recommend it.

My comments are not going to cover the same ground these other people covered.

1) Answers in Genesis has a page of positions creationists should not use because it makes the person using the fallacious argument look foolish. Bill Nye hammered on “what Ken Ham believes”, attempting to make creationism some kind of Ken Ham cult. He opened with such a statement. He closed with such a statement and he repeated this kind of nonsense throughout the debate. He should learn from Answers in Genesis that these comments simply make Bill Nye appear foolish. Creationists follow Jesus Christ and the Word of God. While we are thankful for the ministry of Ken Ham, Ken Ham has nothing to do with what we believe.

2) Ken Ham correctly pointed out, from his opening statement to his closing statement and everything in between, that the argument is entirely about two different belief systems. He constantly used the terms operational science and historical science. That is, science as used by engineering to make things contrasted with science attempting to explain the past with naturalism. He clearly pointed out the bias against any belief in the supernatural. I personally do not like the terms operational and historical science. What is now condemned by people like Bill Nye is the historic, classic position of science and clearly defined by men such as Isaac Newton, Maxwell, Galileo and Albert Einstein. The modern vision of naturalism in science to exclude God or any form of the supernatural is based in the public mind on Karl Popper’s concept of falsification. So Creationism is actually historic or classic science and Bill Nye represents moral relativism or naturalism. It can also be called Secular Humanism.

3) Bill Nye desperately attempted to divide faith/religion/ belief from science. He constantly attempted to claim that he could accept the billions of religious people worldwide as long as they kept their religion separate from, in Bill Nye’s thinking, “the real world of science.”

4) While Bill Nye never used the term religion to describe his naturalistic view of science, he clearly understood that it is supported by taxation and government mandates. He repeatedly attempted to deny the religious aspects of his belief system and insisted that we must continue to support a belief in deep time and evolution to continue to advance in technology. The truth is just the opposite, as Ken Ham repeatedly pointed out. People who reject the consequences of naturalism are the inventors who improve our lives for the Glory of God and the benefit of mankind.

5) One of the most interesting comments Bill Nye repeated throughout the debate was his insistence on using phrases such as “you people here in Kentucky.” It is difficult to know whether he was simply belittling and demeaning the audience or if Bill Nye was so ignorant that he failed to grasp that there was a worldwide audience in the millions. While I certainly do not have access to the exact numbers, it is possible that this was Bill Nye’s largest audience ever for a single broadcast.

6) Ken Ham used videos of accomplished scientists who are also Creationists. He repeatedly referred to many more accomplished scientists who are also Creationists. Yet in spite of this well-documented evidence, Bill Nye repeated throughout the debate that Creationism was not science.

7) Ken Ham very early in the debate presented a list of predictions Creationists made. Each prediction was not believed at the time it was made, yet has proven to be true. One example is the 19th century evolutionary belief that humanity was divided into five races. The Bible teaches that we are all descendants from Adam and Noah, therefore equal. That prediction has certainly proved to be true. Yet Bill Nye throughout the debate and in his closing statement continued making the false accusation that Creationists do not make valid predictions.

The debate closed with Bill Nye claiming that he could be convinced if Creationists would simply “show him the evidence.” The truth is that evidence which Bill Nye ignored was presented throughout the debate. The evidence which Bill Nye claims would convince him exists. It was presented to him and he ignores it.
The issue is not evidence, but what you choose to believe.

Image is from the official debate promotional graphics.

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Secular Humanism: America’s Establishment of Religion Part Six: Secular Humanism Is A Religion

liberal friends reagan meme

“The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion.” Edward v. Aguillard, 1987 SCOTUS Antonin Scalia

It seems impossible to deny that Secular Humanism is a religion, yet millions do just that. Their shallow thinking is “we do not worship a deity, therefore we cannot be a religion.” They have a system of beliefs stronger than most who worship a deity and dedicate their lives to forcing others to follow their belief system. And they strongly believe in self-indulgence. Most, though not all, secularists put self-indulgence on a plane no different from any worship service. For these Secularists, they elevate themselves to the position of a deity.

They use the power of government to both take from unbelievers and to force unbelievers to follow their beliefs. At this point in time, one of the most obvious ways they practice this is mandatory financing of contraceptives. Secularists not only want to practice unrestricted sex outside of marriage, they force unbelievers to pay for the consequences.

Under secularist control, public education becomes public indoctrination. One common example that happens over and over is teachers who dare to read the Bible in private on their own time. Though these teachers often continue these private readings for years, whenever a dedicated Secularist finds out, the teacher is fired. Yet condoms are handed out free as bogus “public health.” Truancy officers, “family” courts and welfare caseworkers constantly assail parents who object and make the tremendous sacrifice of pulling their students out of the public indoctrinations. These same “officers of the court” who file charges against parents who use corporal punishment because it is taught in the Scriptures and it works never seem to have enough time to prosecute parent who kill their children because the parents are drunk or high on drugs.

A flood of regulations make driving to work increasingly expensive while wages are depressed through public spending and business regulations. Amish and other religious businesses are singled out for “resisting the state.” That is the same state controlled by the religion of secularism.

Modern government officials act more and more like the guardians of Plato’s Republic. Secularists cry that Plato was not a Secularist because he worshipped “the goddess,” a vague unnamed (in the Republic) deity that is never worshipped directly. We classify Plato as a secularist because Secular Humanism is a belief system and the Republic describes those beliefs in great detail.

Plato’s guardians were thugs whose sole job was to keep the elite in power and the lower classes in their places. How is that different from secularists today? Every day I hear or read comments like “It’s a good thing you’re not allowed to (spew, corrupt, some expletive) your beliefs anywhere except on facebook.” Yet these same censors turn right around and demand to know “What censorship?”

I am far from perfect. I have many sins which I have yet to overcome. Yet, in my personal opinion, the overriding characteristic of the religion of Secular Humanism is hypocrisy. And these are the same people who call others hypocrites.

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The Problem with Dates in History: Hammurabai’s Law Code

In 1901-1902 AD a French team excavating in Susa, one of the ancient Capitals of Elam, then Persia, now modern Iran, discovered pieces of a basalt stele. It was completely reconstructed and now sits in the Louve, in Paris. The head of the French team, M. de Morgan used the surroundings where it was found to date the stele, the now famous Law Code of Hammurabi around 1100-1200 BC.

An American/German team headed by the German born American Hermann Hilprecht was excavating in Nippur at the same time. Nippur is in ancient Mesopotamian, an area ruled over by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Ottoman Turks and is now modern Iraq. They found a kings list with the name Hammurabi on it. This list made Hammurabi a ruler in the 24th century, BC. Hermann Hilprecht immediately (January 1903) proclaimed the Hammurabi stele as the oldest law code ever found in a lecture at the University of Pennsylvania.

A book entitled The Oldest Code of Laws in the World, by Hammurabi, King of Babylon was immediately published in early 1903 and is available as an ebook through Project Gutenberg. It proclaims that Hammurabi ruled from 2285-2242 B.C. The forward is by C.H.W. Johns, M.A. of Cambridge. The book was printed in Edinburgh.

Since 1903, several other Sumerian kings lists were discovered. A rather brief but thorough article in the Roman Catholic online encyclopedia New Advent describes the major positions mainstream archeologists take on the time Hammurabi actually ruled. Most 21st century archaeologists hold to some type of a “middle” position, that Hammurabi ruled around 1700 B.C.

It is very important to Liberals and Secular Humanists that the law code of Hammurabi be older than the Law Code of Moses. They insist that the Mosaic Code “evolved” from the lower Hammurabi Code, and that our laws today have “evolved” beyond the Mosaic Code. Since the Law was divinely given by God, it makes no difference if Hammurabi wrote his Law Code before God gave Moses the Law on Sinai. Since God revealed His Law to Noah, Hammurabi’s Law code is still a corruption of God’s revealed Law. God saw that man had corrupted His Law and needed to reveal it once more in writing to Moses.

If the 1700 date for Hammurabi is correct, then Hammurabi ruled while the Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt. They would remain slaves for another 250+ years before Moses would lead them out.

However, if the original date of M. de Morgan is correct, then Hammurabi’s Law Code was written about 250 years after God revealed His Law to Moses on Sinai. While this seems to make very little difference, it is anathema to Evolutionists.

The important point is how can the uncertain date of Hammurabi’s Law Code be a “backbone” on which to base history? “Human history has become too much a matter of dogma taught by professionals in ivory towers as though it’s all fact. Actually, much of human history is up for grabs. The further back you go, the more that the history that is taught in the schools and universities begins to look like some kind of faerie story.” (Graham Hancock Fingerprints of the Gods

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Nature Red in Tooth and Claw

The quote “Nature red in tooth and claw” comes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s very long series of poems “In Memoriam A.H.H,” completed in 1849. Many evolutionists quote this phrase in support of their ideas of natural selection. When he began to write this poem, Tennyson questioned God’s love and sovereignty over nature because of the death of a beloved friend. Parts of the poem comment on the pre-Darwinian writers who were beginning to promote man’s reason and to shove God out of the Life Sciences. Tennyson might not be the best person to quote on the subject of crowding God out of Science, however, and here’s why, from the appendix of our e-Book Antidisestablishmentarianism. The phrase “Nature red in tooth and claw” comes from In Memoriam, A.H.H., a long group of poems written over many years by Alfred, Lord Tennyson completed in 1849. In it Tennyson struggled with his grief over Arthur Henry Hallam, a dear friend who was engaged to Tennyson’s sister but died at age 22. The section containing the often-quoted phrase appears below. The complete work is many pages in length and can be viewed in various literature textbooks or online.

 

LVI
So careful of the type? but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, `A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go.

Thou makest thine appeal to me:
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit does but mean the breath:
I know no more.And he, shall he,

Man, her last work, who seem’d so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who roll’d the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law;
Tho Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed;

Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills,
Who battled for the True, the Just,
Be blown about the desert dust,
Or seal’d within the iron hills?

No more? A monster then, a dream,
A discord. Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime,
Were mellow music match’d with him.

O life as futile, then, as frail!
O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil.

For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness:
let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before, But vaster.

We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.

Forgive what seem’d my sin in me;
What seem’d my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.

Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.

 

These poems chronicle Tennyson’s struggle to understand how death fit in with the God of life. In them he also tried to deal with philosophical questions in areas including the newly-named science of Biology. Darwin had not yet made a name for himself, but other writers were beginning to put together theories of evolution. These were based on ideas like inheritance of acquired characteristics, spontaneous generation, and vital fluids flowing through living things that forced them to undergo evolutionary changes. All of these ideas were disturbing to thinking men like Tennyson, trying to embrace Rationalism and rely on man’s reason to solve life’s great questions. They also wondered how the so-called “discoveries” of randomness and chance could co-exist with the orderly Creator and loving Sustainer of the Bible. The theories listed above have all since been discredited but more have sprung up to replace them. Tennyson’s final conclusion in the same set of poems, finished in 1849, includes the section above. It is usually placed first in the published versions but was probably written last. The emphasis is added to show what Tennyson thought of his earlier doubts about how “Natural Law” fit in with a loving creator God. The text comes from http://www.online-literature.com/tennyson/718/).

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Writing and Reading Science Fiction and Fantasy

Science Fiction can glorify God if the writer can keep his facts straight. It’s a haven for uniformitarianism, the perfectibility of man, in short, secularism of all kinds. But since true Science is based in the Scriptures, true Science Fiction must be based in factual information and reasonable speculation based on what may happen.

Man is still compelled to work hard, suffer failures, setbacks and fears because of sin, and will not be able to become a god and fix everything. He will not evolve beyond the need for morality, self-control, personal sacrifice, or buying and selling what he needs to make a living and to live.

Science Fiction frequently gives man extraordinary power to do without money, having unlimited materials, knowledge and resources. Who pays the bills for all these Starship Enterprises, anyway? One time someone actually mentions “buying” someone a cup of coffee, and is quickly told that one cannot buy anything on the Enterprise. A visit to the past results in the query, “What does it mean, ‘exact change?'” Economics aren’t going to evolve away.

Neither is belief in and reliance upon the True God, because He is real and the Scriptures are true. The universe is not eternal. The world is not billions of years old. Those “vastly superior aliens” out there are angels and demons. They are real, but they are not from other planets. They live in obedience or disobedience to their Creator, God, just as men do, only they are powerful and capable of influencing man for good or evil.

Man cannot solve the problem of sin. Therefore he cannot cure all diseases, end all wars, or preserve primitive cultures in pristine “innocence” according to a “prime directive.” Technology can be used to advance culture but if it goes bad or evil and attacks us it is because sinful men created it, not because we live in a universe of random chance. Plan, purpose, order, and the Designer of all things must be foremost in the mind of the Science Fiction writer.

Many people lump fantasy and Science Fiction together. Sometimes we speak of Speculative Fiction, which can include both genres. C.S. Lewis, particularly in his adult Science Fiction books Out of the Silent Planet, That Hideous Strength, and Perilandra, talked about possibilities with planets untouched by the curse of man’s fall. He speculated on the mythologies of our ancient cultures even in the Chronicles of Narnia for younger readers. J.R.R. Tolkien did the same thing in his Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit.

Fantasy fiction in modern times usually glorifies magic and human strength and cunning. It often gives man a means to control his world. Though he may still struggle, stories like the Harry Potter series show a progression not unlike the mythology of evolution. Harry’s “ancestors,” his dead parents and the elderly wizards who instruct him, are not as evolved as he is. Fantasy borrows freely from the biblical concepts of a chosen one, a messiah, but gives no credit to the God who met the need of lost man by providing Jesus Christ as atonement for His sins. Rebirth is a common theme in fantasy, the warrior going through a deathlike experience and thereby growing in power and even fighting some form of ultimate evil. All of these things are stolen from the Scriptures without mentioning the true source of power, of rebirth, of the ability to defeat the enemy.

Man is the source of the power, says modern fantasy, or the earth or its personified elemental forces. Other movies have even gone back to the concept that the Greek and Roman gods are real and still give birth to demigod children with great powers to help the world. Mutants such as the X-Men skip the necessity to make or remake gods. They are just the next step in evolution, spewing pseudoscientific gibberish about how such nonsensical powers might be possible in a materialistic context. Many video games are based on this concept, that man can and will evolve into an all-powerful being who can right wrongs and save worlds without any spiritual force behind him.

Worlds peopled with elves, centaurs, dragons and dwarfs promise adventure along with the triumph of the human spirit without the true and living God. The message is the same. Man can overcome. He doesn’t need God.

But fantasy, not so long ago, centered on allegory, the adopting of a veil of mythical settings and creatures to teach Scriptural truth and explore man’s proper relationship with God. Tolkien did not claim to write a true allegory in The Lord of the Rings but hinted at elves who stood for angels, trying to help man but disgusted with his corruption, yet sometimes intermarrying with men. Wizards, goblins and orcs are spiritual beings trying to destroy man or in some cases cooperating with him, or pretending to do so. Magical powers frequently lead to an evil corruption. This is echoed in Star Wars. The temptation to the dark side is presented to Gandalf and to Luke Skywalker. Gandalf resists, and is even reborn in a sense to become a powerful spiritual helper. The person behind the “ultimate” power of good is vague in Tolkien, especially in the movies.

Tolkien was inspired by an earlier work, as was John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress. That work was the Faerie Queene, an epic poem by Edmund Spenser, contemporary to Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh. Few people even know of it today. It centers on the English hero Saint George and his quest to slay the dragon. Spencer envisioned both a patriotic and spiritual meaning in his work, but especially he meant to glorify God. The fairy queen Gloriana represents God’s glory, the young man chosen for the quest wears the armor of Ephesians 6, magic is condemned as corrupting and wicked, and life is a series of victories and setbacks in the process of Christian growth. Spenser rose to a height few other fantasy writers have even attempted, but he is the standard to reach for in Christian fantasy.

Watch the YouTube (Channel ffvp5657) videos of the Faerie Queene commentary to better understand this timeless epic.

The Space Empire Saga is a collection of stories around a common theme. Here is the future of persecution. Here is the tale, beginning in “City on a Hill,” of ordinary family man John Winthrop and a group of believers literally driven out of this world by government persecution. Their only hope for freedom is to restore and make prosperous a sabotaged Lunar Mining Colony.

In “Sojourner,” the Space Empire expands throughout the Solar System, but its godly foundations have eroded into government corruption. Michelle and Mark, pioneers to the outer planets, fear their leaders will steal the possible fruits of their giant, gas-collecting “balloon ship.”

In “Humiliation,” internal rebellion and forbidden romance complicate the godly but hamstrung King of the Space Empire’s plans to control his son Michael. “Repentance” sees Michael conflicted over his duty to his father and to his empire in an encounter with a mysterious “fourth Empire” on Earth. His adopted brother and best friend Randoph struggles with understanding how to have godly character while planning, against everyone’s advice, marriage to Aidan, an Earth woman. The King still sees hope for peace but the old specter of persecution rises again in “Sanctification.”

“Bonus features” for this book include YouTube videos of the complete 3D novella Sojourner. Check out the ten-minute segments on YouTube Channel ffvp5657. We also have a gallery called “Stills from Sojourner and the Space Empire Saga” linked at the top of the blog.

Here is a link to a video with background on Findley Family Video and the Science Fiction books.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnqKrJe05V4&feature=plcp&context=C3be7f63UDOEgsToPDskJ_sgWtDWK1QkY-hf_aNB1i

The Sojourner 3D video links, in five 10-minute segments, are as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-pAngIkV1w&feature=plcp&context=C3d8b432UDOEgsToPDskIhRt3-xw-5NlsRlv4Gz-M9

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__oPqb967Bg&feature=plcp&context=C310399cUDOEgsToPDskIN1bWGORY_qJcCO5Z4WlgW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIZuEKQ8qhM&feature=plcp&context=C3f841b9UDOEgsToPDskJrgfdJZGEFpHy_CdEiynih

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mNq21wioJ4&feature=plcp&context=C3f0c518UDOEgsToPDskIiZMEsvRukfXoCpcpRZYMq

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFqntYpSQuk&feature=plcp&context=C3bf0e61UDOEgsToPDskI5AYswoxF_–rey8_RkBsX

Here is a teaser for the Faerie Queene Teaching materials:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxdPx2XhFps&feature=plcp&context=C325bbfdUDOEgsToPDskIlefym7RFerXZ3T10Kjlme

You may also wish to watch the Faerie Queene summary and teaching video by following the links below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYIyM5TvE9E&feature=plcp&context=C31188b4UDOEgsToPDskKsufH-2BSF9d2_jdxN4Va7

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaF2WEXwduY&feature=plcp&context=C31002e0UDOEgsToPDskLwyT-1Xl4IbWpx0PYH3lNG

This is a link to our website, Findley Family Video Publications, with the Faerie Queene summary materials, more pictures like the one above, and even a game you can play if you wish. Let us know if you can put the pictures in the correct order!

http://findleyfamilyvideopublications.com/FaerieQueeneLinksandsummary1.html


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Principles of Science Teaching


There are only two ways to teach Science: to teach it as a unified subject or divide it into categories. Unified sounds good but can be overwhelming to students. Subatomic particles like electrons don’t divide themselves into disciplines according to how they behave. In Physics we study electrons in different ways from observing how they behave in Organic Chemistry as electrons generating electrical impulses. By the time they have traveled down nerves and crossed synapses and caused our muscles to move they have gone over into the study of Biology. In fact, a degree in electrical engineering is known as an EEE (electrical and electronics engineer) because electricity and electronics operate so differently on a large and a small scale.

To keep from overwhelming students on high school level and below the sciences are generally divided into different subject areas. In Jr High or Middle School they are simply taught as Physical Sciences and Life Sciences. In High School the subjects are usually broken down into Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Interrelationships are rarely explored in detail because there is no time.

The question often asked about science is, how do you make these subjects Christian? In Life Science, you can emphasize the fact that God created all life, and it did not develop by evolution. We can also study God’s requirements for treating all life, animal, plant, and human. In the hard sciences (those that are testable in a laboratory setting), the Bible speaks just as clearly.  “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Heb 11:3 NASB).

The spiritual created the material. The supernatural can intervene in and change the material world. Job got boils from head to foot from no physical cause. Jesus walked on water and healed people born blind and lame. Elijah was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot.

The material universe is finite, not infinite. Though God is in control, we are responsible as mangers. God will hold us accountable for the way we manage the material world. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26)

The world is relatively young, less than 10,000 years old. It is going to be destroyed by act of God’s judgment because of man’s rebellion. Man cannot destroy the earth.The Bible demands that we have wisdom and skill in handling material possessions but we should not spend all our time efforts and energy developing these things. They are secondary to worshiping God. The material world is not to become our god. We should not become obsessed with seeking material possessions or how to manipulate the material world. How we handle science will determine the quality of our life here on earth. We are limited in what it can do to the material world and it is finite and temporary.

Science is constantly changing, more than any other field. Whatever curriculum a homeschooling family chooses it must be a modern, comprehensive textbook acknowledging the principles God has set forth.

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Nature Red in Tooth and Claw

The quote “Nature red in tooth and claw” comes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s very long series of poems “In Memoriam A.H.H,” completed in 1849. Many evolutionists quote this phrase in support of their ideas of natural selection. When he began to write this poem, Tennyson questioned God’s love and sovereignty over nature because of the death of a beloved friend. Parts of the poem comment on the pre-Darwinian writers who were beginning to promote man’s reason and to shove God out of the Life Sciences. Tennyson might not be the best person to quote on the subject of crowding God out of Science, however, and here’s why, from the appendix of our e-Book Antidisestablishmentarianism.

The phrase “Nature red in tooth and claw” comes from In Memoriam, A.H.H., a long group of poems written over many years by Alfred, Lord Tennyson completed in 1849. In it Tennyson struggled with his grief over Arthur Henry Hallam, a dear friend who was engaged to Tennyson’s sister but died at age 22. The section containing the often-quoted phrase appears below. The complete work is many pages in length and can be viewed in various literature textbooks or online.

LVI

So careful of the type? but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, `A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go.


Thou makest thine appeal to me:
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit does but mean the breath:
I know no more.And he, shall he,


Man, her last work, who seem’d so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who roll’d the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,


Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law;
Tho Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed;


Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills,
Who battled for the True, the Just,

Be blown about the desert dust,
Or seal’d within the iron hills?


No more? A monster then, a dream,
A discord. Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime,
Were mellow music match’d with him.


O life as futile, then, as frail!
O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil.

These poems chronicle Tennyson’s struggle to understand how death fit in with the God of life. In them he also tried to deal with philosophical questions in areas including the newly-named science of Biology.

Darwin had not yet made a name for himself, but other writers were beginning to put together theories of evolution. These were based on ideas like inheritance of acquired characteristics, spontaneous generation, and vital fluids flowing through living things that forced them to undergo evolutionary changes.

All of these ideas were disturbing to thinking men like Tennyson, trying to embrace Rationalism and rely on man’s reason to solve life’s great questions. They also wondered how the so-called “discoveries” of randomness and chance could co-exist with the orderly Creator and loving Sustainer of the Bible. The theories listed above have all since been discredited but more have sprung up to replace them.

Tennyson’s final conclusion in the same set of poems, finished in 1849, includes the section below. It is usually placed first in the published versions but was probably written last. The emphasis is added to show what Tennyson thought of his earlier doubts about how “Natural Law” fit in with a loving creator God. The text comes from http://www.online-literature.com/tennyson/718/).

For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness:
let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before, But vaster.

We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.

Forgive what seem’d my sin in me;
What seem’d my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.

Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.

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