The Curious Case of the Designer’s Bad Design

| 162 Comments

[Republished from Homologous Legs, from October 2010 - I think this topic is particularly relevant at the present moment]

You hear it a lot, the claim that bad design is evidence against intelligent design. Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins, two of the most well-known educators about evolutionary biology, regularly mention it in their books and other writings, and so do numerous other defenders of evolution, striking back at the apparently growing intelligent design (ID) movement that is threatening science education in the US and across the globe.

The argument from bad design is as follows. If life were designed by an intelligence, particularly a supernatural intelligence, organisms wouldn’t be observed to have redundant organs, clumsily constructed systems and life-threatening faults with the ways their bodies work. Vestigial structures, like the tiny hind leg bones of whales or the flimsy wings of flightless ratites, wouldn’t exist, and the vast portions of genomes that do nothing, such as the broken remains of ancient retroviruses, wouldn’t be there. Life looks nothing like it was designed by an intelligence.

Fortunately for intelligent design, some ID proponents have an answer to this problem, as expressed here by Robert Crowther, the Director of Communications for the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture:

All a response…this [bad design argument] really requires is to post a few photos of clearly designed items that have had amazing, spectacularly bad problems. (The Hindenberg for instance. Or any Toyota apparently.) How stupid, yes I said stupid, do you have to be to equate bad design with no design?

In other words, bad design is not a problem for intelligent design because, while many objects have problems associated with them, these problems don’t take away the fact that the objects were designed. Intelligent design is compatible with a spectrum of the Designer’s possible competence, so pointing out a biological system that has flaws does not constitute evidence that the system was not designed.

This is a powerful and intuitive argument to defend “pure ID”, a strain of ID I’ve defined previously. Pure ID does not identify any qualities or characteristics of the Designer, and as such does not, within itself, allow for the distinction between a natural designer (an extraterrestrial intelligence) or a supernatural designer (a deity). Bad design is not a problem for pure ID because the vague nature of the Designer encompasses any and all levels of competence, disassociating itself from the necessity of perfect design. It is probably because of this fact that the Discovery Institute puts forward the “pure” strain of ID:

…the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural.

Unfortunately for pure ID, its refusal to identify the Designer renders it unable to make predictions about any designs it is purported to explain. Pure ID proponents, like those at the Discovery Institute, cannot produce a list of attributes that an organism would have if it were designed, besides the presence of “complex and specified information” (CSI). However, this is not a positive prediction made by ID itself, but a veiled, direct argument against evolutionary theory, which they maintain cannot explain CSI. Their reasoning continues, often hidden in the background of the argument, that as evolutionary theory and ID are the only two options for explaining the characteristics of life, the presence of CSI must support ID. This argument is neither logically valid nor sound, but this is rarely acknowledged by ID proponents.

With pure ID unable to make predictions, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that the Discovery Institute doesn’t try to mislead the public into thinking that it does. However, this is not the case. Casey Luskin, the Program Officer in Public Policy and Legal Affairs for the Discovery Institute and one of its most prolific bloggers, often writes about new discoveries in biology, mostly to do with “junk DNA” (DNA that does not appear to have a biological function) that he claims are predicted by intelligent design.

In “The Positive Case for Design” (PDF), Casey claims that ID predicts:

Intelligent agents typically create functional things (although we may sometimes think something is functionless, not realizing its true function) [therefore] much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.

Ignoring for the moment the properties of pure ID, this runs contrary to the claims made by Robert Crowther, above. Either intelligent agents are required produce things that are functional, as claimed by Casey, or intelligent agents are not required to produce things that are functional, as claimed by Robert. Since neither of these ID proponents have ever critiqued each other and they write on the same blog, one must assume they are in agreement.

But how can this be so? For Casey’s ID prediction to be useful and scientific, intelligent agents (ie. the Designer) must always produce functionality. However, Robert puts forward his claim that intelligent agents do not have to produce functionality (ie. that bad design is acceptable) in order to counter the claim that bad design in biological systems is not evidence against ID. Both cannot be correct - either ID makes a prediction and is open to scientific criticism, or it does not make a prediction and is immune from scientific criticism.

Whoever is right depends on what definition of ID is being used. If pure ID, then Robert is correct and bad design is acceptable. But if it is “ID creationism”, a strain of ID that claims the Designer is an infallible, supernatural deity, Casey is correct and bad design is predicted to not occur at all.

The problem is that the Discovery Institute explicitly states that intelligent design cannot identify whether or not the Designer is supernatural, thereby forcing them to promote pure ID over ID creationism. This works well from a defensive perspective, as they are now safe from the obvious “design flaws” in many organisms, but it has the undesirable effect of rendering their idea completely unscientific - it cannot make predictions and it cannot be falsified, two important properties that it lacks when compared to properly scientific hypotheses.

What this means is that ID proponents cannot use scientific discoveries about the functionality of “junk DNA” to support intelligent design while at the same time claiming that ID is not affected by the existence of suboptimal systems and structures in organisms. The fact that the Discovery Institute continues to make both claims is evidence that they are not applying rigorous thought to their own ideas.

The next time an ID proponent mentions either functional “junk DNA” or bad design, inform them about the conflicting nature of the two ideas, and see how they react.

162 Comments

What this means is that ID proponents cannot use scientific discoveries about the functionality of “junk DNA” to support intelligent design while at the same time claiming that ID is not affected by the existence of suboptimal systems and structures in organisms.

Sure they can. It just shows, as you say, that they aren’t thinking about the inconsistency.

Another option you don’t mention, but probably should have mentioned, is that they are applying rigorous though to their own ideas, and they do understand the inconsistency. But they intentionally utilize inconsistent arguments depending on the audience because ID is, at heart, not a scientific argument. They don’t care about testing or validating any form of the ID hypothesis, they are trying to win souls for God.

To use a legal analogy, they don’t care about what actually happened, they care about getting their client off. If bamboozling the jury with “my client wasn’t there…besides which it was self-defense” will win the case, they’ll use it that defense - regardless of its impossibility.

A quibble, but wouldn’t Luskin (and yes, I’m being rhetorical here) just say all design has function, even bad design? I mean, a dam that’s poorly designed and doesn’t actually hold back water was still technically designed with that function in mind. I’m pretty sure that both Luskin and Crowther can spin their apparent disagreement into a non-issue. Weasel words and all…

Okay, life was designed, but God is incompetent. But the Bible says He is perfect and omniscient, etc., so therefore the God of the Bible isn’t the Designer. Must have been aliens.

What difference does “Intelligent Design” make? Can anybody give an example of something which is not intelligently designed? Something for which it is less likely that it would be designed? The example need not be something real (after all, God created all things). Maybe something impossible, just an example so we can get some idea of what difference design accounts for. I would offer this suggestion: A world of life as we know it, except for it not having common descent with modification (which would mean that so many of the features of life would just be extremely unlikely accidents).

First, apparently Adam and Eve were flawed from the beginning, right? So whichever designer made them, the design was flawed? Or acceptable? Doesn’t say much for the designer.

Second, the churchies don’t understand the argument presented, that’s not the message that’s passing through their heads, but only that there was a (supernatural) designer involved, and then they are placated.

To use a legal analogy, they don’t care about what actually happened, they care about getting their client off. If bamboozling the jury with “my client wasn’t there…besides which it was self-defense” will win the case, they’ll use it that defense - regardless of its impossibility.

This is exactly right, and critical to remember.

I’m not crazy about the “bad design” argument. Anything could always have been magically designed. I have abundant positive evidence that biological evolution explains the diversity and relatedness of life on earth. Of course it “could have been” the Flying Spaghetti Monster, magically creating everything last Thursday, but “making it look exactly like evolution”, vestiges, redundancy, contingencies, and all. Of course I can’t rule that out.

But there’s no evidence for the FSM doing it that way, and in fact, there can never be any evidence, if the FSM is going to use magic in a way that perfectly imitates non-magic. So I choose the parsimonious, non-magical explanation (I also save money this way, by not needing to buy pirate suits). As we have established here repeatedly, ID/creationist types have no positive evidence for “design” and no valid alternate explanation of the evidence for evolution. Why bother with a superfluous supernatural explanation?

Of course, “bad design” is a valid argument against an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent designer. “The Fall” is often offered as a YEC explanation of bad design. Everything was well-designed 6000 years ago, for a few weeks, until a talking snake caused Adam and Eve to taste an apple, and then everything magically and instantaneously became imperfect. As I have noted before, pure YEC lacks the logical incoherence problems if ID/creationism. Pure YEC is more or less internally consistent and testable (as a physical explanation - philosophically it still runs into “the problem of evil” and so on). The problem with “The Fall” 6000 years ago scenario is that the entire thing is at odds with the available evidence.

I hate to say it, but this ain’t exactly news. I recall having this very argument with some guy on talk.origins, more than 10 years ago. He kept insisting that intelligent design doesn’t imply perfect design, and I kept asking: So exactly what does it imply? (No answer, of course). It’s a rather obvious hole in Behe’s first book: we either claim we know something about the designer(s), thus can make some predictions about his/her/its/their work, thus can potentially start doing ID-informed science; or we claim (as Behe does) that the designer’s nature is unknowable, that ID might as well stand for “I Dunno” – and of course the only place to go from there is back into tired old “Evolution can’t produce X so I win!” arguments.

If pure ID, then Robert is correct and bad design is acceptable. But if it is “ID creationism”, a strain of ID that claims the Designer is an infallible, supernatural deity, Casey is correct and bad design is predicted to not occur at all.

Dembski has argued for both the positions espoused by Luskin and Crowther. I.e. he has claimed that ID can’t make predictions AND that ID predicts the non-existence of junk DNA.

While this might be an interesting topic to consider I just don’t think its terribly productive at combating ID. It doesn’t matter if you come up with a valid criticism, the IDers are perfectly willing to give ground on this. They’re willing to give ground on common descent for that matter, even though Luskin and others take occasional pot-shots at it. Their core argument is that the evolution of living things without the intervention of a designer is fundamentally impossible. It doesn’t matter that their alternative is ill-defined or incoherent. If they really have found a fatal flaw with evolution that would be significant so this notion has to be attacked head-on. All the effective rebuttals I’ve seen have come from non-biologists (most biologists don’t have the background necessary in Info Theory, Physics, Math etc) but the rebuttals are too technical and long-winded for stand up debates.

DavidK said:

First, apparently Adam and Eve were flawed from the beginning, right? So whichever designer made them, the design was flawed? Or acceptable? Doesn’t say much for the designer.

Second, the churchies don’t understand the argument presented, that’s not the message that’s passing through their heads, but only that there was a (supernatural) designer involved, and then they are placated.

According to some “churchies,” Adam and Eve weren’t flawed, they sinned, therefore, caused God to corrupt everything into the “bad designs” we see today as punishment for these two incompetent ne’erdowells.

Or something.

apokryltaros said:

DavidK said:

First, apparently Adam and Eve were flawed from the beginning, right? So whichever designer made them, the design was flawed? Or acceptable? Doesn’t say much for the designer.

Second, the churchies don’t understand the argument presented, that’s not the message that’s passing through their heads, but only that there was a (supernatural) designer involved, and then they are placated.

According to some “churchies,” Adam and Eve weren’t flawed, they sinned, therefore, caused God to corrupt everything into the “bad designs” we see today as punishment for these two incompetent ne’erdowells.

Or something.

Admittedly, this is a bit of a theological conundrum, to put it mildly. For those within Christendom who insist on logical consistency – including my own Reformed/Presbyterian brethren and sistren – it inevitably leads to the formulation that God decreed the Fall, in order to redeem the fallen (or some of them, anyway) and thus show forth His glory, wisdom, and power. I’ve always been a little confused on that last part…still not quite sure how it works.

I’m still a bit shocked and amazed when I think back on the intellectual contortions I put myself through in order to justify my former beliefs. I blew it all off with “well, it’s all a big mystery” until I just couldn’t blow it off any more.

flimsy wings of flightless ratites, wouldn’t exist

No. The flighted ancestors of ratites got “lazy” after the demise of the dinosaurs and lost their ability to fly due to the lack of competition on the ground. This is a case of degeneration due to.…..evolution. Same with blind cavefish.

http://news.discovery.com/animals/a[…]at-lazy.html

Bringing up the junk DNA argument, when the search for the functions of repetitive DNA is regarded as cutting-edge research in molecular biology, is pretty low - even by the Panda’s standards.

Btw, any inference of “bad design” is not a valid argument for non-design. You do realize that some manufacturers deliberately do not make their products perfect or else the customer will never replace them? Imagine if all us lived till we were as old as Methuselah on average and never got sick? The planet’s resources would rapidly be depleted.

Atheistoclast said: Btw, any inference of “bad design” is not a valid argument for non-design.

Of course. That is because there is nothing of substance to “intelligent design”, and therefore there is nothing which is less likely to result if “intelligent design” is involved. Can anybody think of a counter-example to “intelligent design”?

Speaking of the Discovery Institute and their blogging… is that all they do anymore? Are they still actively writing up model bills and pushing them onto legislators, or sabotaging school boards by feeding them nonsensical science standards?

-Wheels

TomS said:

Atheistoclast said: Btw, any inference of “bad design” is not a valid argument for non-design.

Of course. That is because there is nothing of substance to “intelligent design”, and therefore there is nothing which is less likely to result if “intelligent design” is involved. Can anybody think of a counter-example to “intelligent design”?

Ah, but most features do indeed have the appearance of being intelligently designed. I consider myself to be living proof of intelligent design and divine intervention in Nature. Those with low self-esteem think they are poorly constructed makeshift nd jerry-rigged adaptations. I feel sorry for them…I really do.

ksplawn said:

Speaking of the Discovery Institute and their blogging… is that all they do anymore? Are they still actively writing up model bills and pushing them onto legislators, or sabotaging school boards by feeding them nonsensical science standards?

-Wheels

Since the ID movement has disowned me for making allegedly anti-Semitic remarks over on TalkRat, I will admit that the DI contributes absolutely nothing to science. It just attacks Darwinism but offers no plausible alternative. I fully agree that, even if an inference for design is plausible, that doesn’t really help us very much. Science wants to know how something has emerged and who by. They haven’t discovered this and so they have no theory of their own.

harold said:

Of course it “could have been” the Flying Spaghetti Monster, magically creating everything last Thursday, but “making it look exactly like evolution”, vestiges, redundancy, contingencies, and all. Of course I can’t rule that out.

Right. The design is not so much “bad”, since these organisms can thrive, as it is misleading. The most obvious characteristic of the Incomprehensible Designer, from what we can observe in nature, is that he/she is trying to make it look like life evolved. I have no idea why the God of Israel would do this if He engaged in direct biological engineering.

So - ID does not point very strongly to God, as Michael Behe stated at the University of Colorado on April 11, 2003. Intelligent Design is not a good position for a Bible-believing creationist to advocate. The heavens are supposed to be telling the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-4), not pointing in another direction.

Carl Drews said:

harold said:

Of course it “could have been” the Flying Spaghetti Monster, magically creating everything last Thursday, but “making it look exactly like evolution”, vestiges, redundancy, contingencies, and all. Of course I can’t rule that out.

Right. The design is not so much “bad”, since these organisms can thrive, as it is misleading. The most obvious characteristic of the Incomprehensible Designer, from what we can observe in nature, is that he/she is trying to make it look like life evolved. I have no idea why the God of Israel would do this if He engaged in direct biological engineering.

So - ID does not point very strongly to God, as Michael Behe stated at the University of Colorado on April 11, 2003. Intelligent Design is not a good position for a Bible-believing creationist to advocate. The heavens are supposed to be telling the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-4), not pointing in another direction.

Then there is the problem of why God, as described in the Bible, would go through the trouble of making things look like they evolved, complete with blatant flaws, redundancies and over-all poor designs, while simultaneously Damn anyone and everyone who assumed that things evolved due to the evidence provided.

Atheistoclast said:

You do realize that some manufacturers deliberately do not make their products perfect or else the customer will never replace them?

Uuuuhhh…soooo…you’re saying some great cosmic “designer” perhaps intentionally created bad biological designs so that some great cosmic buyer would have to replace us biological beings every once in while?

LOL!

Imagine if all us lived till we were as old as Methuselah on average and never got sick? The planet’s resources would rapidly be depleted.

Uh…yeah…You do realize there’s a huge difference between chemistry and physics and bad design right?

I consider myself to be living proof of intelligent design and divine intervention in Nature.

This amusing but non-disprovable statement is not, in and of itself, of any relevance to science one way or the other. A fair number of prominent biologists are religious.

Those with low self-esteem think they are poorly constructed makeshift nd jerry-rigged adaptations. I feel sorry for them…I really do.

They may, and the “makeshift” and “jerry-rigged” parts are basically accurate, with regard to the human body (and all other modern organisms).

“Poorly constructed” is a value judgment.

As a completely non-religious person, I obviously don’t think that humans are only makeshift, jerry-rigged adaptations.

In fact, this is sort of an example of creationist (albeit a very unusual creationist) arguing against creationism, again.

Traditional Christianity does, in fact, teach that humans are wretched, sinful, and worthless unless the humbly accept salvation from Jesus Christ.

Historically, although plenty of humanists have also been religious, humanistic thought has often been condemned by the traditionally Christian as giving too much credit to wretched, sinful human beings.

It actually seems as if many creationists ascribe to some new, post-modern fallacy, which is, although it self-identifies as Christianity, neither traditional Christianity nor scientific and rational.

Atheistoclast said: I consider myself to be living proof of intelligent design and divine intervention in Nature.

Let’s see, you also consider yourself to be the Destroyer of Atheism, the Anti-Darwin, and the Decloaker of the Hidden Masonic Norman Rulers of England.

Did I get all that right, Theistoclast?

Atheistoclast said: Imagine if all us lived till we were as old as Methuselah on average and never got sick? The planet’s resources would rapidly be depleted.

I can think of several solutions (available to an omnipotent being) which allow humans not to die of old age yet not deplete the universe’s resources. So, either God is not as imaginative as me, or he’s not omnipotent, or he wickedly chose to give us old age and death even though he was aware of and could implement a better solution.

IOW your example highlights the “incompetent, impotent, or wicked” problem. It doesn’t answer it.

Atheistoclast said:

Btw, any inference of “bad design” is not a valid argument for non-design.

But it’s certainly a good argument for the designer’s incompetence. I don’t think many people who support ID are looking for an argument for design by “God the Bumbler”.

Atheistoclast said:

You do realize that some manufacturers deliberately do not make their products perfect or else the customer will never replace them? Imagine if all us lived till we were as old as Methuselah on average and never got sick? The planet’s resources would rapidly be depleted.

There’s a lot more evidence for bad design in life beyond the mere existence of mortality. Manufacturers may deliberately make a product that falls apart in a year, but they don’t usually make one that’s missing a key part and force you to machine it yourself.

The issue, whether it’s “good” or “bad” “design” in life is that it’s slavishly derivative “design.” This extremely derivative nature of life is predicated by evolutionary processes, while it is unexpected, unlikely, and unintelligent, from any sort of competent agent.

A modern bird is “well designed” while Archaeopteryx is not. But it really doesn’t matter much, they’re both derived from dinosaurs, which explains their homologies.

Life does not have the pick-and-choose, or derivation from first principles, nature expected from design (if not always, at least sometimes). That’s why the IDiots spend so much time trying to address anything but that fact.

Glen Davidson

John_S said: But it’s certainly a good argument for the designer’s incompetence. I don’t think many people who support ID are looking for an argument for design by “God the Bumbler”.

Sometimes in engineering you have to make a trade-off, balancing one thing against another. This is actually good designing, but it can the result may look sub-optimal.

There’s a lot more evidence for bad design in life beyond the mere existence of mortality. Manufacturers may deliberately make a product that falls apart in a year, but they don’t usually make one that’s missing a key part and force you to machine it yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I have all my parts in tact. I am, however, missing a tail. I blame evolution for that…so does the Manx cat.

Atheistoclast was designed all right. Here is the whole story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolling_motor

harold said: Traditional Christianity does, in fact, teach that humans are wretched, sinful, and worthless unless the humbly accept salvation from Jesus Christ. Historically, although plenty of humanists have also been religious, humanistic thought has often been condemned by the traditionally Christian as giving too much credit to wretched, sinful human beings.

We are sinners and we have a sinful nature. To sin is to err, and it is replication mistakes that are responsible for many diseases. We are designed to be imperfect.

Atheistoclast said:

We are sinners and we have a sinful nature.

Not me, Theistoclast. I have never sinned and never will.

To sin, there must be gods and punishment and that whole delusional complex, and there are no gods.

Or have you come up with some empirical evidence for your delusions?

phhht said:

Atheistoclast said:

We are sinners and we have a sinful nature.

Not me, Theistoclast. I have never sinned and never will.

To sin, there must be gods and punishment and that whole delusional complex, and there are no gods.

Or have you come up with some empirical evidence for your delusions?

You are sinful and liable to err by nature. You can redeem yourself only be rejecting evolution and embracing your divine origin. Who created you in your mother’s womb? Was it evolution? I don’t think so.

raven said:

According to some “churchies,” Adam and Eve weren’t flawed, they sinned, therefore, caused God to corrupt everything into the “bad designs” we see today as punishment for these two incompetent ne’erdowells.

The god of Genesis does seem pretty dumb. He left two naive humans in a garden with the Tree of Knowledge and a walking, talking smartass snake. Since they hadn’t eaten the apple yet, they didn’t even know it was wrong to eat from the tree or disobey god.

Things immediately started to unravel. God blames his creations for his own faults and curses the entire biosphere forever.

He could have put the Tree of Life on some planet 30,000 light years away or in Australia for that matter. And being omniscient, he should have know that the snake was going to cause problems. He could have made it less intelligent or mute. Why does a snake need to talk anyway?

This contradicts the claim that god is Perfect, All Powerful, and Omniscient. But the bible is so filled with contradictions that one more hardly matters.

Adam was told he could eat from any tree except from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying , Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat : 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die

Henry said:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die

And that, in fact, turned out to be a LIE by God!

Unless, of course, the word “day”, in the early chapters of Genesis, doesn’t literally mean a 24-hour day. How about it, Henry? Is God a liar, or might “day” not be intended literally?

By the way, the snake told the TRUTH about what would happen when they ate the fruit.

Just Bob said:

Henry said:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die

And that, in fact, turned out to be a LIE by God!

Unless, of course, the word “day”, in the early chapters of Genesis, doesn’t literally mean a 24-hour day. How about it, Henry? Is God a liar, or might “day” not be intended literally?

By the way, the snake told the TRUTH about what would happen when they ate the fruit.

Actually, they did died, just not physically yet. Their relationship with God was broken. They were dead in their trespasses and sins.

Bible Study Tools Ephesians 2 (King James Version)

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved ;) 6 And hath raised us up together , and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast . 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 11 Wherefore remember , that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby : 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Henry said:

Actually, they did died, just not physically yet. Their relationship with God was broken. They were dead in their trespasses and sins.

Well, if “to die” is more predicated upon one’s relationship to God than it is to their relatioship with actual metabolism, then all that anguished stuff about Jesus “dying for our sins” is worthless hair-rending.

As Jesus’ relationship with God did not change as a result of being crucified (he was, after all, equally one of the triumvirate aspects of God before, during and after the rather annoying and tedious events of the weekend in question) he did not, by your standards, die.

At least not in any really important way. He just stopped breathing for an inconveniently long period, but that’s apparently not terribly important to Ephesians.

Ah, how interesting. So the death of Adam and Eve in the day that they fell wasn’t a physical death, eh? Well, obviously not. They lived on, in a physical sense. So it was a metaphorical death that they suffered at the Fall.

So when Paul says, at Romans 5:12, “it was through one man that sin entered the world and through sin death”, he means this metaphorical death, the death of the soul, which entered the world because of the Fall. Which is to imply that physical death was there all along.

So all the song and dance about how Scripture says that evolution isn’t possible because Paul says death only entered the world at the fall, and hence natural selection isn’t real, all that’s a pile of fetid dingos’ kidneys, eh? Nice to know.

Henry said: Actually, they did die, just not physically yet. Their relationship with God was broken. They were dead in their trespasses and sins.

Yeah, and Pandora died when she opened that box releasing evil into the world, according to Greek myths. Same issue!

dalehusband said:

Henry said: Actually, they did die, just not physically yet. Their relationship with God was broken. They were dead in their trespasses and sins.

Yeah, and Pandora died when she opened that box releasing evil into the world, according to Greek myths. Same issue!

Pandora didn’t die: she slammed the box closed, partly in a futile attempt to stop the release of the rest of the evils, as well as to stop Hope from escaping mankind. She then wanders the Earth forever, in order to ensure Hope never escapes from her box, as well as to suffer the scorn of being the woman who set all the evils loose upon mankind.

Henry said:

Just Bob said:

Henry said:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die

And that, in fact, turned out to be a LIE by God!

Unless, of course, the word “day”, in the early chapters of Genesis, doesn’t literally mean a 24-hour day. How about it, Henry? Is God a liar, or might “day” not be intended literally?

By the way, the snake told the TRUTH about what would happen when they ate the fruit.

Actually, they did died, just not physically yet. Their relationship with God was broken. They were dead in their trespasses and sins.

You have to realize that you are changing the definition of “to die”

It is hypocritical of you to whine and argue that the Bible must be read literal, yet also reinvent the definitions of words in order to put forth your own misinterpretations.

stevaroni said:

Henry said:

Actually, they did died, just not physically yet. Their relationship with God was broken. They were dead in their trespasses and sins.

Well, if “to die” is more predicated upon one’s relationship to God than it is to their relatioship with actual metabolism, then all that anguished stuff about Jesus “dying for our sins” is worthless hair-rending.

As Jesus’ relationship with God did not change as a result of being crucified (he was, after all, equally one of the triumvirate aspects of God before, during and after the rather annoying and tedious events of the weekend in question) he did not, by your standards, die.

At least not in any really important way. He just stopped breathing for an inconveniently long period, but that’s apparently not terribly important to Ephesians.

Bible Study Tools Ephesians 2 (King James Version)

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved ;) 6 And hath raised us up together , and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast . 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 11 Wherefore remember , that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby : 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Paul was writing to the Ephesians, whom he pointed out were once dead in trespasses and sins, but now alive in Christ.

He wasn’t writing to physically dead people, but he pointed out that they were once dead in trespasses and sins. Obviously, he had another definition of death in mind, which we can see more clearly than Adam since we have the advantage of redemptive history in writing.

Henry said:

Paul was writing to the Ephesians, whom he pointed out were once dead in trespasses and sins, but now alive in Christ.

Well, if you’re going to be dead somewhere, dead in trespass probably beats dead in the ground.

He wasn’t writing to physically dead people

Good, that’s probably a better editorial choice, seeing as writing for the dead probably limits your paying readership quite significantly.

but he pointed out that they were once dead in trespasses and sins. Obviously, he had another definition of death in mind

Ahhh, I get it. So he was speaking metaphorically and hyperbolicly for effect.

But everywhere else in the Bible words are always mean exactly what they literally say.

Now I get it.

Perfect. An absolutely definitive demonstration of concept-blindness. Worse than blindness. What do you call it when the very existence of a concept can’t be detected by any means at all?

Anything that doesn’t fit into the extremely narrow space between Henry’s ears - or, more properly, into one of the even narrower and rigidly iron-clad compartments that he has installed therein - simply doesn’t exist for him. It’s not that he can’t read, it’s not that he can’t understand. It’s that he can’t detect any fact whatsoever unless that fact accords with his beliefs.

This is your mind on fundamentalist religion.

stevaroni said:

Henry said:

Paul was writing to the Ephesians, whom he pointed out were once dead in trespasses and sins, but now alive in Christ.

Well, if you’re going to be dead somewhere, dead in trespass probably beats dead in the ground.

He wasn’t writing to physically dead people

Good, that’s probably a better editorial choice, seeing as writing for the dead probably limits your paying readership quite significantly.

but he pointed out that they were once dead in trespasses and sins. Obviously, he had another definition of death in mind

Ahhh, I get it. So he was speaking metaphorically and hyperbolicly for effect.

But everywhere else in the Bible words are always mean exactly what they literally say.

Now I get it.

Paul says this in I Cor 15 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily

How could he die daily?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jack Scanlan published on October 21, 2011 8:32 AM.

How to examine the evolution of proteins was the previous entry in this blog.

Creationist at a community college is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter