Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A.R. Wallace & 'The Principle of Biology'

Dalil ini membuktikan satu kalimat dari orang yang hidup sezaman dengan Darwin bernama Wallace. Dalam bukunya, “The Principle of Biology,” Wallace mengatakan ada yang disebut natural selection (penyisihan alam). Buku itu terbit sebelum Darwin menulis pikirannya tentang evolusi...
(Stephen Tong, Creation or Evolution [Bagian 1]. Italics original. Retrieved on 13 August 2008)

Translation: ...in his book, "The Principle of Biology," Wallace wrote on natural selection...

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong at some occasions claimed that A. R. Wallace and Charles Darwin co-authored a book titled "The Principle of Biology". Here, he states that Wallace wrote the book. In both cases, Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong is wrong.

A.R Wallace and Charles Darwin co-wrote only an article. And that article is not titled "The Principle of Biology". Wallace wrote about '22 full-length books and at least 747 shorter pieces, 508 of which were scientific papers' (retrieved from Wikipedia on 13 August 2008), and none of them titled "The Principle of Biology".

It is clear that Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong is fabricating facts here.

For an exhaustive collection of A. R. Wallace's published works, you may visit Western Kentucky University website: http://www.wku.edu/%7Esmithch/wallace/bibintro.htm


Wesley Wong said...

Hi, Joshua! Just discovered this blog through a link provided at Jonah's blog entry.
Commendable work you are doing here!
(Hmmm, where does this young guy find time to do so many things?)


Sze Zeng said...

Hi Wesley! Glad that you enjoy this blog. Actually it's precisely I dont have time hence can't really update this blog as often as I wish to :)

landau said...

Hi Joshua,

Thanks for such a nice blog. However, I would like to point out what could be your missunderstanding in the indonesian article that you quoted. Granted the title may not be correct but Rev. Tong didnt say that Darwin and AR Wallace co-author a book, 'The principle of biology'. Let me, as Indonesian, translate it to you

Dalam bukunya, “The Principle of Biology,” Wallace mengatakan ada yang disebut natural selection (penyisihan alam).

In his book, "The principle of Biology," Wallace pointed out something about natural selection.

"Buku itu terbit sebelum Darwin menulis pikirannya tentang evolusi..."

This book was written before Darwin found his theory on evolution.

Hope this clarify things,

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Landau,

Nice having you drop by.

I don't think I misread the passage.

Stephen Tong (ST) wrote, "Dalil ini membuktikan satu kalimat dari orang yang hidup sezaman dengan Darwin bernama Wallace. Dalam bukunya, “The Principle of Biology,” Wallace mengatakan..."

Right after talking about Wallace, ST pointed to his (Wallace's book) by using the 'possessive adjective' of the language; the "nya". That means the book belongs to Wallace.

That's how I understand the language works. Hope this is clearer.

Beauty Queen said...

sze zeng ;p if you are pastor stephen Tong, i guess you will do a much better job than him haha ;p

He is not perfect but out of soooooooooooooo many sermon he preached, there's these couple of faults ( and all of these are on worldly issue and not major GODly misleading one) he is consider really good already, and is not for us to criticise or judge.

And i just wander what's GOD's view when he read this blog. I am not a big fan of his and i am from hillsong church in aust. But i can't deny GOD has use him extensively to harvest HIS kingdom.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Beauty Queen,

I don't compare myself with STong. He is he and I'm I. :P

I don't know what's God's view and I'm not my own judge. Christ is. I have never deny in real life or on this website that STong is being used powerfully to preach the gospel.


valerian said...

could he be referring to principles in biology by herbert spencer instead? more criticisms on ideology,and less on mistakes in citation please. he does not have the opportunity to check his sources unlike, for example, someone who is making an academic essay after all. your posts are sounding rather irrelevant and petty :( i'm mostly interested about your views on his ideology as someone in the theology major.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi valerian,

Thank you for the comment.

Being not serious in citing one's sources is a practice of an ideology as well. In this case, negligence and not being serious with other people's works. I am not sure if Stephen Tong like himself to be wrongly cited in return.

When you enrolled into Trinity Theological College, one of the required course for all 1st year student is known as "Theological Study Skill". In the course everyone is being taught to be careful in our citation and not plagiarize among other things. It is a theological discipline by itself. If a person cannot even be correct in citing references, which is much more easier than presenting someone's theory, then it is questionable whether can the person presents the theory rightly as he claims to be.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi valerian,

Stephen Tong commit not only citation mistake, but as I have told you in my previous reply, he misrepresents other people's ideology as well.

For one example, see how he misrepresent Huxley's view:

valerian said...

i agree but his sermons are not made in an academic environment. should he make that mistake when giving a speech in a university for example, or should he make a wrongful citation in his books or academic essay that would be very problematic. he makes quite a few sermons in a week, each of them are different and about 1.5 hours long. its just not possible to make correct citations all the time. especially when his style is spontaneous and his sermons are not prepared beforehand.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi valerian,

Then that would only question whether how serious he is in teaching his congregations.

Who says that we have to be only accurate in academic environment? Do you mean we can simply misquote, misrepresent and mis-cite other people at other setting which are not academic? If you do, I would say that I do not agree with you. I think we must not put spread lies or misrepresent others even in non-academic settings, not even in chit-chat session with friends. That will amount to spreading falsehood.

Besides, Stephen Tong emphasize the sacredness of pulpit ministry. If that is so, he should be more serious and accurate in his sermon. If not, he is feeding falsehood to his congregations.

What is more poisonous than falsehood is not falsehood by itself, but when falsehood mixes with truth. That's when people get confused between which is false and which is true.

valerian said...

it is only right to aim for perfection but reality is flawed. it is just impossible to attain perfection. i would just like you to understand that ST is not intentionally spreading falsehood although he does admit to making mistakes. would anyone be able to live up to your high standards of accuracy considering the circumstances? would you?

"good" and "bad" doesnt exist. someone cannot be "good" or "bad" because it is a matter of perception. its the extent to whether they are good or bad. and i do honestly think that stephen tong is more good than bad. the standard by which you criticize him is humanely impossible.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi valerian,

I don't know what kind of standard are you referring to. The standard that I use is pretty 'standard' in all sort of discourse, not only confined within the academia.

All the factual mistakes that he committed can be avoided easily. He just need to prepare his script and stop assuming himself to have an almost perfect brain that can memorize all the things that he has read. He thinks too highly of his own fallen and limited brain. If not, he would had use a script and check his sources and the people he refers to.

valerian said...

well i am more sympathetic to his methods as i am familiar with his spontaneity and i know he has a hectic schedule shuttling between countries and dealing with the administration of his church. he doesn't prepare his speech beforehand not because he assumes he has perfect memory but i would think that he merely does not have the time. you have a more idealized view while i take a more pragmatic view on this issue. again i compare this to writing an academic essay/ book where one has time to look back and correct mistakes relentlessly. but when one is continuously making several lengthy speeches weekly it is just impossible to do so. on sundays he makes 4 sermons, in the morning in jakarta he makes an indonesian and after there is a mandarin mass. in the afternoon he heads to singapore and makes a speech in indonesian and another in mandarin at night. and these sermons vary because the part of the bible he covers are different.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi valerian,

You have the liberty to sympathize with someone who thinks that he has a busy schedule and so able to neglect the quality of his sermons, to dilute truth, to misrepresent people. That's substituting quantity as quality. But both are not the same.

In studies as well as in work, no teachers or employers would sympathize with their students or employees who give them low quality work with the excuse that their workload is too heavy. If they cannot bear such heavy workload, they should not think that quantity can substitute quality.

Anyway, again, if you are fine with someone like that, that's your liberty. You are free to want quantity at the cost of quality.

valerian said...

for a moment when i read the objective of this website, i thought that you were interested in arguing stephen tong's doctrine and ideologies. i expected that you would give balanced arguments and was particularly excited when you identified yourself as a theology major, therefore you have some credibility to make that argument. but you have concentrated mainly on his sermons, which are not immune to human error. in fact your arguments are based mostly on that. in that sense your arguments are hardly credible or valid. perhaps you should read his books/scholarly essays instead of solely criticizing his sermons. after all he does not have the luxury to google his sources and make sure he is 100% foolproof when he is up on that podium. you have chosen to neglect the context by which his sermons were made. they were after all presented to the layman.

quantity versus quality is an issue that plagues the justice system, government policy and even the global market. and that was also a choice stephen tong had to make, and it is not necessarily a bad choice. consider the fact that he is able to reach out to more people than ever. quantity can and have substituted quality and you see this all around you. you have to give up something in order to gain another thing.

perhaps i was too hopeful and misinterpreted your objective. but most of your blog posts are starting to sound rather petty and un-scholarly. and you seem to be biased to what you perceive as ST's "arrogance" from the comments i read.

just so you know i am not a tong-ist nor am i a fervent christian. i am just driven by knowledge. in any case i am still hopeful and i will be looking forward to your new blog posts.

your most avid critic :)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi valerian,

We have different perspective on 'sermon'. To you, a sermon can be flimsy. To me, a sermon has to be accurate as much as academic presentation (but that does not mean delivering an academic paper for each sermon. It just mean to deliver sermon that is accurate and do not misrepresent other people's point of view and hence spreading lies on the pulpit).

Besides, as in my reply to you on other post, you think that I am charging Stephen Tong for his human fallibility, but I am not.

As I say, you are free to think it is okay to have quantity substituting quality. Just that the next time when someone does not deliver to you quality work or services, do be reminded that you are okay with those.

Reaching out to more people with inaccurate information just amplify the danger of him spreading those information.

Could you name me one of his academic articles or books that he wrote which is published in English? (Unless you can name me one, I think you are demanding someone to respond to something not available).

Again, you are free to think whatever you want about my posts.

Sze Zeng said...

One more thing, I don't consider you as an avid critic. My perception of an 'avid critic' is someone who engages with what I say and not talk across it or brought his/her expectation or interpretation over and impose it on me.

junata said...

Hi Josh,
Just drop by.
I agree with you that we have to be precise in both sermon and works, and ST is a preacher who has a high standard also. If he falsely made a citation, I think he must be very shame. He charge his students with high precision too.
Hope can help both you and valerian.

Yamint said...

Dr Tong might made some mistakes and errors in his preachings during his lifetime but as long as it is not a major doctrinal mistake, I don't think that is a big problem as long as it is not a major doctrinal errors. And he might not purposely made the error, it just that maybe he forget things or too tired to remember. Please understand that he is 68 years old at the time of his preaching and he might forget a thing or two. For an academic minded person like you maybe he is not credible, and it is fine that you point out his mistake, I have no problem with that. I am attending Dr. Tong service in his church every sunday and his preaching is a little different than what he used to be, sometimes he forget things and talk about other things that is irrelevant to the topic. I can understand because he is old already. I also have some things that I disagree about his view but as long as his don't commit major and fatal doctrinal mistake, that is fine with me. Misquote, misrepresent and mis-cite other people opinion in a sermon is fine with me, people can make mistake and they might not purposely do that to misguide people, and human physical flaws might play a part of that.