12th February is Darwin Day.
There is an International Darwin Day website that is currently making a special pitch at Americans for recognition. For good reason, no doubt, given that today’s newsletter from the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science contains the following (with my emphasis):
As a universal figure of such profound importance, his birthday should be a national celebration — a day to honor the advances brought about by reason and science.
But a resolution to this effect, introduced in the U.S. Congress, has little support outside a handful of Democrats. Frighteningly, Darwin is still considered a controversial figure, especially among conservative Republicans.
For anyone who does not yet know, just about everything we have that Darwin produced is available in digitized format at Darwin Online.
And I happily live in a suburb where the Beagle crew called in back in 1839 and work at a university that eventually took the name of Charles Darwin.
But here’s the highlight of this post, brought to us by Freethought Blog The Ace of Glades:
In my books an apologist includes any academic who defends some sort of privileged status for the veracity or contemporary relevance of the narratives and teachings of the Bible. N.T. Wright uses the historical methods of New Testament scholars to argue for the historical reality of the resurrection of Jesus. That ought to ring alarm bells to any serious academic. Evidently we need to question the reliability of methods that can be used to prove such nonsense; we also need to wake up to the confessional interests of a “scholarly” field that can even tolerate any of its members seriously arguing such a thing.
Scientists do not work with methods that allow one to prove God made Adam and Eve; and their guild would never give professional respectability to a member who member who argued dinosaurs were included on Noah’s ark.
Historians do not work with methods that allow for battles to be decided by mysterious angels appearing in the sky and nor would we expect them to grant professional esteem to a colleague who argued the angels of Mons decided the outcome of World War 1.
But it is quite common in New Testament studies to find scholars being highly respected academically even though their works amount to a litany of “proofs” for their personal confessional beliefs.
There are a few New Testament scholars who do speak out, however. One of these is Paul Holloway, Professor of New Testament at the University of the South. He protested against his university awarding N.T. Wright an honorary doctorate.
My complaint is that Sewanee has recognized Wright as a scholar in my discipline, when in fact he is little more than a book-a-year apologist. Continue reading “Strange Bedfellows in New Testament Studies”