Monthly Archives: January 2006

The Second Draft – Documenting Media Lies

The two videos on this site, Pallywood: According to Palestinian Sources and The Birth of an Icon: According to Palestinian Sources II, are a must see. Both documentaries are a serious indictment of mainstream media, who are so willing to deceive their viewers. If you are interested in seeing how media has plunged the depths of deception, watch both of these movies.
“Pallywood” is a documentary set in Palestine, on set (yes, you read that right, on set) for many of the violent conflicts that never really occurred. They were staged on a Hollywood-style set and sold to western news agencies.
“The Birth of an Icon” goes even deeper into the deception, exposing the so-called murder of a Palestinian father and his son at Netzarim Junction.
Both of these documentaries are utterly brilliant and their producer,
Richard Landes, deserves an award for exposing MSM lies.
We should be enraged. Tell your friends.

[HT: Irish Reformation]

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Challies Dot Com: There Was No One At All

I have been a fan of Leonard Cohen for years now; ever since some old friends whom I no longer know introduced his music to me. The album Songs From A Room has had a particular place in my memories, to the point where I have a hard time listening to it. In fact, I don’t even own it any more.
But reading
Tim Challies’ recent post about a certain song from Songs From A Room, I think I’m going to go out and buy it again.
On this amazing album there is a track called “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy.” It is a forlorn song with powerful imagery and deep emotion; it has the capacity for inducing intense self-reflection and melancholy. But it is a brilliant and beautiful song that was one of my favourites, alongside “The Partisan.”
It is the story of a girl named Nancy, who lived a sad life that she eventually took. Reading the lyrics, even without Cohen’s haunting voice, is enough to make you cry.
You can imagine my surprise this morning when I found out the song was about Tim Challies’ aunt Nancy, a lady that he never knew. Read the above linked post for a powerful story of loss and of redemption. For Christians, this should be an encouraging story of the marvelous grace of God. For non-Christians, hopefully it will be the starting point of a new relationship with Him.
Thanks Tim.

(See also Tim’s sister Susanna’s blogpost)

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“A Certain Giddy Imagination”: Tom Harpur and The Pagan Christ 2

Continuing on with my thoughts on Tom Harpur’s The Pagan Christ: Rediscovering the Lost Light (see previous posts here and here), I want to discuss a matter that Harpur brings up on his website. In a section called “The Response to The Pagan Christ,” he outlines four criteria, what he calls “a reasonable approach,” that must be met before anyone can review his book. They are:
1) The reviewer must not be a part of an established religious institution (“ecclesiastical apparatus” – i.e. a minister, a seminary professor, etc.). Harpur believes that anyone who fits into this category will harbour a bias against him, and an agenda against his work, thus tainting any of their critiques.
2) The reviewer has to have read all of Harpur’s key sources in The Pagan Christ. Namely the works of Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Godfrey Higgins and Gerald Massey.
3) The reviewer cannot complain about the lack of resources cited because The Pagan Christ is not a PhD thesis, but a popular work and therefore doesn’t need citations.
4) The reviewer can only be deemed credible if they are dealing with the main thesis of the book. Any other critique about the book is illegitimate.
Before evaluating The Pagan Christ itself, I believe it is necessary to evaluate Harpur’s “reasonable approach.” At times I will refer the reader to a helpful review of Harpur’s scholarship in the McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry written by Gordon Heath. He aptly entitled it “Neither Scholarly Nor A Solution: A Response to Tom Harpur’s The Pagan Christ.” In it, Heath also refers to Harpur’s “reasonable approach.” This post will deal primarily with Reasonable Approach 1no one from the “ecclesiastical apparatus” can review his books.
1) Harpur correctly recognises that anyone who reviews his book will approach it with a particular bias. If a Patristics scholar like Johannes Quasten or Jaroslav Pelikan were to review it, they might evaluate his use of the Church Fathers; if an historian like Paul Johnson or Christopher Hibbert were to review it, they might evaluate his historiography; if a member of the “ecclesiastical apparatus” such as Ben Witherington or Craig Blomberg were to review it, they might evaluate its theological accuracy, and so on. Each would come with their respective presuppositions, and each would focus on various aspects of his work. Yet, because it is in their best interest to maintain credibility within their field, they must deal with the facts that Harpur addresses in his work. Were they to reduce themselves to ad hominem remarks, they could easily be discredited for their bias. But if they engage Harpur’s points objectively, their work should stand as reputable. This is reasonable within academic scholarship, and Harpur, being a Rhodes scholar, should understand this.
As Heath questions, “is this a ‘reasonable approach’ to criticism?” (p. 127). In all other areas of academic discourse, scholars from various fields, beliefs and presuppositions interact with those whom they disagree. This is basic to scholarly interchange, even on a “popular level,” and is in the best interest of truth. So why should Harpur’s work be any different?
The best scholars recognise their biases and try to be as honest to their work as possible. Harpur must not forget that he too has biases (as is clearly seen from a casual reading of his book – he calls Christians “fundamentalists,” “ultra-conservatives,” “literalists,” etc), that must be met and challenged. If he is not willing to accept this, his credibility is deeply suspect.
As Heath rightly observes, “the argument can just as easily be turned around and used against Harpur. Certainly Harpur has a vested interest in his beliefs (who doesn’t have a vested interest in their own beliefs?), and it could equally be claimed that he is “deeply threatened” by any ideas that threaten his nontraditional beliefs” (p. 126).
This first “reasonable approach” is both highly unreasonable, and uncharacteristic of public discourse. It makes Harpur appear scared that his various arguments would be shown as faulty, which as we shall see in this series, they are. So maybe it is understandable that Harpur doesn’t want his book reviewed by anyone who doesn’t already agree with him, he’s fearful that his lack of scholarship will be brought to light and refuted.
Point two will be dealt with in a following post…

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Filed under apologetics, egypt, patristics, reviews, tom harpur, toronto

irish-reformation: John Owen conference in Manchester

Well, it appears that Manchester, UK will be the place to be in September if you’re at all a fan of John Owen. Crawford Gribben, who blogs at Irish Reformation, is planning a massive conference called “John Owen and the intellectual cultures of puritan England.” It looks like a phenomenal line-up including Paul Helm, Steve Griffiths, Sebastian Rehnman (click here for Crawford’s review of Rehnman’s book), Carl Trueman, Oliver Crisp and others.
All I can really say is, “Wow.”

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Johannes G. Vos – Lectures On Comparative Religions

Well, I have just, as they say, “hit the motherload.” In terms of providing a critique of Tom Harpur’s The Pagan Christ, these lectures on comparative religion by Johannes Vos will be very helpful. They can also be found in the comparative religions section at the Resource Center for Theological Research.

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Freedom Project Seminar in Windsor, ON.

This looks interesting. The Freedom Project, is holding their “Windsor Liberty Seminar” on Saturday March 11th, 2006 (9am-5pm) at the University of Windsor. Those who are into libertarian economics of the Austrian stripe might be interested in going, as well as those who appreciate individual freedoms within a democratic country (ala, National Citizens Coalition). The list of speakers are here and the agenda is here. To register go here. The event is sponsored by The Institute for Humane Studies.
Hopefully I can get to Windsor for this, I’d like to go.
And Keith Lozon, if you’re reading this, let me know your thoughts on going. Maybe we can carpool??

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Founders Ministries Blog: Homosexual activism and the SBC

Tom Ascol, director of Founders Ministries, provides a good example for Christians to follow when engaging with homosexual non-believers. In the above linked post Dr. Ascol recounts a telephone conversation that he had with a homosexual talk-show host that began with venom and ended with a mutual understanding.
I especially like what he said here:

It is foolish and very much unlike Christ to disdain someone because his sin is less culturally acceptable than your own. Sometimes we conservative evangelicals have sent the wrong message by the way that we have positioned ourselves on moral issues. It is as if we are saying that it is OK to be opposed to the living God (which all unbelievers are) as long as you are not opposed to God while being homosexual. We do not believe that and we must be careful that we do not miscommunicate that we do.

[HT: Historia Ecclesiastica]

***Also***
Carl Trueman’s newest “Wages of Spin” article at Reformation21 dealing with homosexuality in current culture is, as always, brilliant. Especially this line: “[T]hose with same sex orientation do not wish their identity to be reduced to a crude sexual preference; at the same time, it’s the only thing that unites them.” Oh and why not link to Derek Thomas’ thoughts on “Brokeback” culture as well! Equally as brilliant.
Check ’em out.

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What goes around comes around (or vice versa).

Well, Dan at Spudfiles tagged me. I guess I deserve it because I tagged him in the not-too-distant past. Now I feel obligated to answer this tag. Woohoo. :)
So here we go:
Four jobs I’ve had: 1) currently work at Toronto Baptist Seminary as the principal’s assistant, 2) worked at Campbell Baptist Church as a pastoral assistant, 3) worked for Mastec, installing cable TV and internet and 4) worked for the City of Windsor’s Leave A Legacy program. Unlike Dan, I didn’t lose a finger at any one of these jobs, or anywhere else for that matter!
Four places I’ve lived: 1) currently live in downtown Toronto, 2) suburban Windsor, Ontario, 3) Marten River, Ontario where I’ve vacationed every summer my whole life and 4) well, I can’t really say I’ve lived anywhere else. I must say though, I’m surprised that Dan lived in Niagara-On-The-Lake! I guess he ain’t as blue-blood an Albertan as I thought!
Four vacations I’ve taken: 1) as I mentioned in the previous post, I have gone to Marten River every summer. We have a cottage there, it’s where I get time to fish. 2) My gran and grandad used to own a trailer near Harrow, Ontario where I used to spend a lot of time in the summer. I have grande memories of time spent with family there, 3) Although I’ve travelled around a bit, I don’t know if the rest of my travels should be considered vacation, so I can only go this far.
Four vehicles I’ve owned: 1) currently own a Ford Escort wagon (it’s Royal Plum, not purple!!!). Vicky and I call it “Skub” which is short for the Greek word “skubalon.” You Greek readers know what I mean!; and 2) I used to own a red Ford Tempo that I named “Ace.” Man I loved that car!
Four blogs I want to tag: well, I think I’ll leave this one be for fear of marginalising myself like I may have done with the last tag! But many thanks to Dan for getting me back. Now we’re square.

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BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Time changes modern human’s face

Here is an article from the BBC about the changes time makes on the human skull. Studies in the British Dental Journal show that humans remains tracked over the past 650 years have recorded significant changes in the shape of the skull.
Surely these findings have significance for those who claim that humans evolved from apes. Archaeological findings that show a human who looks strikingly like an ape may find their explanation here.

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“A Certain Giddy Imagination”: Tom Harpur and The Pagan Christ 1

The apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy urges his “son in the faith” to ensure that no one teaches false doctrine in the churches under Timothy’s care.
“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions” (1 Tim. 1:3-7).
Just as there were teachers of false doctrine in Paul’s day, so too in ours. In fact, the history of the church is plagued with those who have sought to subvert the Christian faith in one way or another. Yet God, in His mercy, saw fit to raise up men and women to defend the faith, just as Paul commends Timothy to do. It is therefore incumbent upon Christians to take up this same charge, to “guard the deposit entrusted” to us (1 Tim. 6:20).
Of the many stripes of false teachers today, surely the most dangerous are those who try to make themselves appear as though they are followers of Christ. It is one thing for a lay-person to reject a false teacher such as Sun Myung Moon, the differences between his teaching and Christ’s is so vast that many in the church have no problem ignoring those like him. It is very different when having to answer the challenges from those inside the institutional church. Men such John Shelby Spong appear much more subversive and prove harder for the average church goer to reject. One such person who has emerged within the Canadian church scene, and is just as much a false teacher as Spong or Moon, is author and columnist Tom Harpur. It is the intent of this series to interact, in one degree or another, with Tom Harpur’s recent book The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light.
My hope is to provide a critique of this poorly written and poorly researched book for the purpose of edifying Christians. The writings of Tom Harpur have proven devestating for many and have been a significant source of chagrin for many a pastor who have to deal with the loss of faith of those in their congregations. May God help me in this response!

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Filed under apologetics, egypt, patristics, tom harpur, toronto

Walk for Life West Coast


Well, all I can say here is wow.
Talk about left-wing nutters. (Warning – profanity)

[HT: Michelle Malkin]

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Bittersweet?? Ya, I’ll Say.

Yesterday as Vicky and I voted for Lewis Reford in Toronto Center, I joked to her about democracy. Having stayed up late last night to watch the debacle in Toronto unfold, I realised what a joke democracy really is when you live in a culture of entitlement. So this morning, here I sit, alone in my office, surrounded by a sea of blood. Not one blue sky for miles around to brighten my day.
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Hey, Mr. Melodramatic, what’s your problem? Harper got in!” And of course, that is news to celebrate. I am very thankful to the Almighty God that He, in His grace, allowed Stephen Harper to become Canada’s next Prime Minister. I whole-heartedly believe that Harper is the best man to lead Canada into the future. If he was standing in front of me right now, I think I might even hug him. I am also incredibly happy that Paul Martin stepped down as the leader of the Liberal Party, and that Anne McLellan failed to retain her seat in Parliament.
My sadness however lies in in the fact that I live smack dab in the middle of the irrational voting populace that is Toronto. I’m saddened for a number of reasons: 1) Toronto could not look past their faces to attempt to make a positive contribution to the rest of Canada and opted to vote for a corrupt and debased party like the Liberals 2) Michael Ignatieff, who epitomises the Liberal culture of entitlement was elected in spite of his forced entry into his riding, and his anti-Ukranian sentiments, 3) Belinda Stronach actually won more votes in this election than when she ran as a Conservative, 4) NDPs Joe Comartin and Brian Masse were elected in the Windsor area in spite of Buzz Hargrove’s assininity, and 5) Olivia Chow and Jack Layton are now considered some kind of wonder-couple.
I do pride myself, however, that I did not watch the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, but I have to admit that there were segments of the Global coverage that irked me. Especially when they began to surmise a coalition between the Liberals and the NDP. Man alive, if that would have happened, I would have been sorely tempted to follow Ezra Levant’s sentiments and move to Alberta with a separatist bumper sticker on my car.
My prayer this morning as I did my devotions was that the Lord would allow Canada to move forward as a country, for Stephen Harper to govern righteously, to see moral reform in a nation that is slowly going the way of the Dutch, and for the Conservative government to actually have a chance to prove to Canadians that they are the best party who will improve our country both from the inside and out.
Don’t get me wrong, and I said this as much in my prayer, I don’t believe that Stephen Harper, or anyone else has a divine right to lead a country. I believe that God, in His common grace, allows people of all stripes to assume leadership of countries. But I do believe that God was gracious to us in allowing a party whose values reflect a Christian worldview more than the others to assume the helm in Ottawa. May God be glorified in Canada’s decision, for He alone deserves it. He alone is entitled.

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TorontoSun.com – Linda Williamson – 218 reasons NOT to vote for the Liberals

This list speaks for itself. The Liberal Party of Canada, and Paul Martin have to go!!
Check out Sun columnist Linda Williams’ 218 reasons why.

[HT: Canadian Blue Lemons]

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Am I a Real Canadian?

Glenn Penner of VOMCanada has a good post on the logic of the Canadian Liberal Party:

If I were to believe Prime Minister Paul Martin, according to statements that he has been making in this, the last week of the election campaign, the following would be true:

1. Liberal values are Canadian values
2. Liberals do not hold to the same values as social conservatives who embrace traditional values on sexual morals and family
3. If #1 is true, social conservatives are not real Canadians.
4. Social conservatives are actually dangerous to Canada.
5. I am a social conservative.
6. Therefore, there must be no place in Canada for people like me.

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Charis Bible Study

Well, on Friday night we finished our Charis college and career study of John Piper’s book When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. Vicky and I missed a good chunk of the study due to our frequent trips back to Windsor on the weekends, but having the opportunity to read and discuss the last chapter of the book was really good. Piper’s discussion of spiritual depression, possession and spiritual freedom were excellent. So was his historical overview of the friendship between John Newton and William Cowper; both great hymn-writers from the town of Olney in England. Newton was very much a pastor and friend to the often suicidal Cowper and helped him through his “dark nights of the soul.” Their story is a great encouragement to Biblical friendship.
My pastor, Christian, had the demo version of a sweet boxing game for X-box. I tried my hand at it and was soundly defeated. I couldn’t believe how realistic it was.
Our next book that we’ll study together is Don Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church. I read this book years ago for an undergrad class I took in spirituality. It was absolutely excellent. As I reread it a while back, I was even more impressed with it. I’m sure this will be a profitable study for the people of Holy Word. (NB: keep Don Whitney in prayer as he had to go back into the hospital after complications with his prostate cancer surgery).
The picture above is of my two genius friends Nerissa Ho and Ruth Mar who attend Toronto Holy Word Church. Nerissa is doing post-doctoral work in mathematics at the University of Toronto and works at the Fields Institute. The reason I know she is absolutely brilliant is because I don’t understand a thing of what she’s talking about! Ruth is a harpist who is studying at the Royal Conservatory, and plays absolutely beautiful music. Not only is it a joy to hear her play, but also to watch. The harp is one of the most intriguing instruments to watch. It must be the Irish in me that loves the harp! Ruth also has a thoughtful blog called Rushyama.
Phil, the guy with the remote in his hand is also at the Conservatory for piano and recently kicked some backside at a competition in the fall. The guy smokes at the keys. Supposedly he blogs at Life As A Balance-Monster, but I ain’t seen proof of it. The other guys in the backgroun
d are Ben and Dave (the latter of whom has had a fair share of ribbing for supporting the Liberals!). We had an interesting discussion of Intelligent Design.
To the left is a picture of my wife Vicky and our friend Angel who is a great encouragement to us. She is always smiling, always has something positive to say and has excellent questions that prove for good discussion.
And last, but certainly not least is a picture of Jacob practicin
g his various methods of Chinese torture on Izzy’s (our pastor’s son) toys. The picture speaks for itself, sicko! Just kidding. Jake maybe deranged (in that he requests Christmas hymns in July), but sicko he’s not. :) Although Izzy may beg to differ when he sees his toys all mangled.
I would post a picture I took of Christian, our pastor, but I think he’d kill me. Not that it’s incriminating or anything, but the look on his face would provide too many people (notably Holy Word people) with ammo. I couldn’t do that now could I?

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Still see "The End of the Spear"

Cultural commentator Gene Edward Veith posts on why Christians should see End of the Spear, in spite of the actors in it.

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Michelle Malkin: CONSERVATIVE REVOLUTION IN CANADA

Michelle Malkin gives a summary of the upcoming election in which the Conservatives are hopeful to topple the Liberal regime (I’m hopeful too). As she notes, “All eyes will be on the Canadian blogosphere today as election events unfold.” So all you blogging Tories out there, get blogging!

[HT: Angry in the Great White North]

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Historia ecclesiastica: THE LIBERAL PARTY’S SCARE TACTICS EVALUATED

Dr. Haykin has a good post reviewing the scare tactics used by the Liberal Party of Canada in their current election campaign. After having received a flyer in the mail from his local Liberal candidate, Dr. Haykin felt forced to weigh in on the issues. And weigh in he certainly did.
After outlining some of the stretched accusations the Liberal flyer directed at both the NDP and the Conservatives, Dr. Haykin notes:

In the accusations listed above, one wonders if the Liberal Party has any idea of the world in which we are now living. It is a world in which a group of Muslim terrorists, with strong popular support in certain countries, have vowed to bury the West under the rubble of our cities—witness not only the attacks on the World Trade Centre, but also the attacks in Bali on Australians, in Spain and the London underground. Does the Liberal party think that a triumph of these terrorists in this struggle would leave Canada unscathed? As the saying has it, they are whistling Dixie if they do. And if it came to violent attacks here in Canada, we would be all too eager to have American help. What hypocrisy then to refuse our neighbours to the south our aid in their time of crisis?

Click above for more of Dr. Haykin’s well-put and well-timed thoughts.

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CBC News: Candidate considers lawsuit over false sexual assault allegation

Members of the Liberal Party continue to sink deeper and deeper into new lows. This one is pretty sad, and further brings to mind the lack of ethical standard that characterises Canadian Liberals. I feel quite sad for the Tory candidate Maurice Vellacott who was slandered by Liberal Chris Axworthy’s office who claimed Vellacott had committed sexual assault.

Utterly disgusting.

[HT: 705 Blue]

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Toronto Area Intelligent Design Seminars

Last night I went with some friends over to the University of Toronto to hear Denyse O’Leary address the issue of The Priveleged Planet. After a feast of pad-Thai at the ever-so-delicious Sasi Restaurant, we hunkered down to hear a lecture and watch a DVD.
Michael Pare, a Toronto M.D. has been hosting these Intelligent Design (ID) events for a number of months now. I had the opportunity to hear Kirk Durston this past autumn address his own findings in biophysics that provide further scholarship in the relatively new movement of ID. Durston was absolutely excellent and offered a good supplement to the work being done by scientists and philosopophers like William Dembski, Michael Behe and others involved with the Discovery Institute.
The ID movement is very grass-roots and I think that Dr. Pare’s efforts here in Toronto will profit many. He is providing an opportunity to air the ideas of those involved with ID, as well as generating discussion on faith and science. There is great interest in this field, especially with the recent Dover, PA., ruling against ID being taught in their classrooms and President Bush’s support of ID.
I have been familiar with Denyse O’Leary since I entered the blogosphere with Ruminations… She blogs at Post-Darwinist, and I have profited by her insights in issues related to ID and evolution. She is a journalist and a writer, which is where her great strengths lie. She has a good grasp of the issues concerning the ID movement and is a formidable critic of those “outside the camp.” Unfortunately, last night’s lecture left much to be desired.
My main criticism (meant constructively) is directed towards the lack of organisation and structure of the over-all event. It did not appear that Michael and Denyse had discussed a format for the event, which made it appear disorganised. Denyse also seemed to be speaking more from the top of her head than from a formalised lecture. The topic of the night was “the priveleged planet” that included the showing of a DVD by the same name. In spite of this, much of Denyse’s lecture dealt with issues covered in previous lectures and not on the notion that the planet earth is unique in its design.
I came away from the event disappointed at the lack of organisation. This is unfortunate because of the number of questions offered, there appeared to be many in the audience who were either critical of ID or had some genuine questions that needed clarification. I don’t believe that these were really answered. As well, there was a gentleman in the front of the audience who seemed to be challenging Denyse, but from a Christian perspective. He did not appear gracious and seemed to be arguing against her more for the sake of it, than for the desire to see further dialogue on the issues. Granted, he appeared knowledgeable, but it seemed that his questions were towards the end of self-aggrandisement rather than actually wanting to clarify some of the discussion.
My hope is that future lectures will have more structure and will stick to the topic at hand. I do not mean this blogpost as a slam of either Michael Pare or Denyse O’Leary, I believe that both of them have a lot to contribute to the issues surrounding Intelligent Design. Last night’s lecture will not deter me from attending and finding out more of this interesting issue.

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