Cultural Intelligence is a crucial skill not just for short term mission teams, but for everyone in today's society. 

May 7, 2013 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

A quote from Anthony Furey of the Edmonton Sun paper indicates the proportion of various perspectives within the muslim belief community.   The high percentages surprised me to some extent, and I wonder what impacts this would have on our missional efforts, as well as on our response to certain...

May 6, 2013 0 5 comments

To reach children cross-culturally, you must listen carefully to what your hosts need and adapt your ministry approach to the local context. Wherever possible, resource local teachers rather than do it for them.

April 29, 2013 0 0 comments

Every year America receives new immigrants, and many are Muslim. These immigrants need our help and hospitality - help with English, help with the challenges of immigration, help with the struggles that come with adapting to a new culture.

April 23, 2013 0 3 comments

As the CRCNA undertakes more of an active role in inter-religious dialogue in North America, we can learn a lot from our Christian and Muslim friends in Egypt. Egypt has a long history of Christian-Muslim interaction, and in the end, most Egyptians, whether Muslim or Christian, see themselves as Egyptians first.

April 16, 2013 0 13 comments

 When I was asked to join the steering committee for the 2008 Sea to Sea ride, I was skeptical. Hundreds of middle to upper income white folks taking the summer off of work to ride bicycles that cost more than some people make in a year was going to “end the cycle of poverty?”

April 9, 2013 0 1 comments

It’s one thing to do things for people, or give things to people... but it’s a tremendously people-building thing to work with people to build self-reliance!

April 1, 2013 0 0 comments

At World Renew we talk a lot about asset based community development; that is, discovering the assets that God has already placed in a community rather than focusing on perceived needs. This approach works with churches, too! What hidden assets might be in your church, just waiting to be deployed for missions?

March 25, 2013 0 0 comments

In our enthusiasm for missional living, do we too often encourage people to “go all the way” without taking the time to first build a relationship with the neighborhood? In our desire to be missional, I wonder if have raced too quickly, too naively into bed with our neighbourhoods, without taking the time to really get to know each other ..

March 21, 2013 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

When Pope Benedict XVI decided to retire, I saw a number of Roman Catholic leaders, including several of the cardinals, interviewed about the kind of person who should be elected as the new Pope.  A number of the interviewers thought that the new Pope ought to be a really good manager who could...

March 12, 2013 0 11 comments

Over the past decade or so of working with churches, I've noticed a curious tendency for leaders to think of things in either/or terms. For example, "should we invest in local outreach OR global missions?" "Should our ministry focus on word OR deed?" "Should we reach out to get new members OR should we take care of our own members?" My answer to many of these questions is, "yes."

March 11, 2013 0 2 comments

There’s lots of talk these days about church as institute vs church as organism. Conceptually I understand the difference, but in practice, I suspect it’s not so easy to separate the two. Which leads me to a bigger question, what exactly is “church?”

March 4, 2013 0 4 comments

"There are so many things happening in this congregation in the last three months that the community is abuzz about who the new donor in town could be. But there is no donor—the people have just been woken up by the Gospel of Jesus Christ!"

February 25, 2013 0 0 comments

While my wife and I were missionaries in West Africa, our children attended day care with a little girl named Jihad. At the time I thought it was a strange name (and this was before September 11, 2001, when Jihad entered the Western world’s lexicon). I have since learned that jihad, to put it simply, means struggle; any kind of struggle, but particularly a struggle for the faith. Jihad could include the struggle to get up in the morning, the struggle to resist a particularly tempting sin, or the armed struggle to defend Islam.

February 18, 2013 0 1 comments

"Today is the anniversary of the January 12, 2010 earthquake that shook Port-au-Prince and its surrounding communes, killing hundreds of thousands and causing an untold number of injuries and massive loss of economic resources. For us it is a milestone, because we survived the earthquake which struck at 4:53 pm as we were eating an early supper on a Tuesday afternoon. Though our home didn't collapse and bury us, we were terrified and a little cut-up from all the broken glass and falling furniture.

February 11, 2013 0 2 comments

"Being missional means that you no longer view missions as something done out there, something done in a foreign country, but instead something done in your backyard. For too long we’ve seen mission work as something done by other people in a foreign land, usually eating weird food and living in huts. For too long, evangelism was seen as calling people back to faith. But that’s a wrong misconception. In being missional, we are to be missionaries in our own worlds."

February 4, 2013 0 0 comments

What can an evaluation of Christian Reformed World Missions' 90+ years of sending missionaries to Nigeria tell us about being a missionary today, right where we are?

January 28, 2013 0 1 comments

As we drove down a lakeshore road en route to Lichinga, Mozambique, to meet with World Renew partner staff and interact with people on the frontline in health and HIV care in remote Cobue, I found myself drifting way back in time, reflecting on my life as a young girl in rural Malawi. I have specific memories of all the mission centers I lived in with my parents and siblings. A sense of peace swept over me, “peace which passes all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)

January 22, 2013 0 1 comments

World Renew (formerly CRWRC) celebrated 50 years of ministry in 2012. In 2013, Christian Reformed World Missions will celebrate 125 years of ministry. That’s a long time! How is your church emphasizing missions these days? If you are looking for some up to date inspiration, here are some ideas:

January 14, 2013 0 0 comments

As we wrap up our efforts for 2012 and get ready to plunge into the new year of church mobilization, what is most urgent to accomplish? What can we do that will make the greatest long-term impact for global advance? Ellen Livingood shares her priority lists for churches and agency mobilizers and would love to hear what’s on yours.

January 7, 2013 0 5 comments

10. Church as Gift for Neighborhood TransformationThis post by Jay Van Groningen, Executive Director of Communities First Association, challenges churches to think of ways they can be an asset in their communities. While the focus of the article is North American churches, It strikes me that we have much to learn in this area from our global brothers and sisters in Christ.9. Loving Ishmael

December 31, 2012 0 0 comments

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)  Peace. We hear the word a lot around Christmas. We talk about the Prince of Peace and we pronounce a blessing of peace on earth. But what is peacemaking? John Calvin explains that peacemakers “labor to settle differences among others, who advise all men ...

December 24, 2012 0 0 comments

In just a few weeks I’ll be participating in an evaluation of Christian Reformed World Missions’ work in Nigeria. One of the questions we’ll be asking is, “Is there still a role for Western missionaries in Nigeria?  If so, what should that role look like?”

December 17, 2012 0 2 comments

In Acts 17:23-24 Paul makes reference to an altar with the inscription: “To an Unknown God.” Paul then proceeds to describe who that God is, as he has revealed himself through his Son Jesus Christ. In doing this Paul uses a bridge to the Gospel from another faith (in this case Greek polytheism).

December 10, 2012 0 0 comments

I thought Jesus was a European God, but now I see that God is also an Asian God. He is for everyone. I have been transformed through the Good News.

December 3, 2012 0 0 comments



1 Corinthians 9:19-23

The prevalence of many cultures results in no culture.  The idea that we can all exist together and yet remain in our own cultural bubble with no agrivation and a somehow evolutionary progression to one happy family is false hope and a dream of those who seek to always be politically correct.  "No one comes to the Father BUT by Me" holds true for all cultures.

I was initially drawn to this article to see what was considered a priority.  There is no reference here and sadly also at our last synod about a concerted effort to continually address the fact that in our culture there are thousands of children murdered by their mothers.  I hope that is not because we have become culturally tolerant.  A huge sin of omission.  May God have mercy on us all.

Can a democratic multicultural societies exist without embedding civic virtues as "tolerance" or "pluralism" into the socio-political fabric?

The article above raises concerns about reopening the door to the Constantinian theocratic state and colonial imperialism in missions by framing the question this way. It is unnecessary. 

In keeping with the thought of His incarnation:

a joyful, safe, worshipful Christmas to you.

my deepest condolences to Americans presently grieving the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

Norm, two short points.  Creation is often used for our present world or universe, as in "Creation Care", or caring for creation.  

That Jesus became human, and said he didn't know when the end of the world would come, is not evidence that he "forgot" or didn't understand how he participated in how it began.  

I'm surprised that you didn't really deal with any of these vaguenesses . It would have been so easy for you.  Now you want to get to the real tough stuff.  I feel flattered. BTW I encourage you to rethink your definition of ad hominem. You are making it seem that it's unethical to call someone on deliberate misrepresentations of subjects we are presently discussing. If you want some examples of real ad hominem attacks, I know exactly where I can find them.  

"...he was refering to the Genesis event, right? In the beginning. Yes, the entire week of creation was part of that beginning, the beginning of how the earth operates and is maintained." 

No. Jesus wasn't referring to an event. They were not discussing events. Jesus was referring to the Torah, specifically the Book of Beginnings and the Book of Deuteronomy. Jesus was referring to Moses, as mentioned in the context, as opposed to various Jewish schools of thought about divorce. By referring to "the beginning of creation" Jesus is lifting the question of divorce to matters of Torah and the beginnings of marriage. Torah trumps Mishna.  

"You could argue that the beginning was before the week of creation, but then you are misappropriating the meaning of the word in order to argue with Jesus, right?" 

No. I am not trying to misappropriate the word nor am I trying to argue with Jesus. I'm arguing with YEC's use of Jesus. When you make a saying of Jesus a matter of science and the age of the earth (as if these are the point of what he is saying), it's youself and YEC who misappropriate his words. I pushed the science/literalism angle to absurdity to make this point. If Jesus is literally talking about the scientific timing of male and female creation, then the logical conclusion is that male and female were created at the "beginning of creation". Again, if the literal sense of the creation story is the real issue, then the story itself has a literal sequence -- beginning with the first day and ending on the sixth. I don't mind Jesus correcting the order a little. What's a few days? Jesus is the living Torah, afterall, and the living Torah trumps Moses. But do remember this is a reductio ad absurdum    designed to keep you honest about Jesus and his supposed literalism.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Then we get a description of how that happened. We get the beginning of everything, of separation of earth and water, of light, of stars, plants, animals, fish, and humans. All of that week was a beginning, according to scripture." 

None of this is what the rabbis were discussing.  In fact you have hijacked their discussion. Perhaps you wish Jesus would have expounded a little more on the days of creation in the gospels but he didn't. Doesn't this give you any pause? 

"You say that Jesus knowledge was limited, including about the process of creation. But this contradicts what John 1 says about Jesus being there in the beginning, with God. That Jesus himself was the Word by which the creation happened. Now yes, Jesus did indicate sometimes that somethings related to judgement and his own return were known to the Father only. But this doesn't mean that therefore He had to forget what He was involved in before."

Actually I set that idea aside for the moment. Instead I encourage you to learn the meaning of kenosis, the well-attested notion in Scripture that the Son of God voluntarily stripped himself of his omniscience and omnipotence in order to become the suffering servant of redemption. It might open up a whole new world of understanding about his incarnation for you. To sully this with our present debate would be a shame.  

I really don't want to argue every text raised in this discussion, though it is tempting. I'm just concerned that our Lord is made out to be the posterboy for today's Young Earth Creationism. I also don't object to Juby's right to disagree. I object to his hermeneutics as well as his "science". 

Norman, now you are at least addressing some discussable points, rather than vague generalities and ad hominems.  Thankyou for that.  When Jesus said, in the beginning (of time) it was not so, for God created them male and female, and the two shall become one, he was refering to the Genesis event, right?  In the beginning.   Yes, the entire week of creation was part of that beginning, the beginning of how the earth operates and is maintained.  You could argue that the beginning was before the week of creation, but then you are misappropriating the meaning of the word in order to argue with Jesus, right?   And you would seem to be using the word very specifically not to refer to the creation week at all, which does not make much sense in the context.  "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."  Then we get a description of how that happened.  We get the beginning of everything, of separation of earth and water, of light, of stars, plants, animals, fish, and humans.  All of that week was a beginning, according to scripture. 

The other point was made in Rom 5:12, "as by one man sin came into the world, and death by sin ..."   You must admit it is difficult to reconcile this with a whole bunch of animal or human death before the fall of man. 

Your other example about what Paul said about marriage... yes, Paul did intend, by the Spirit of God, a mutual submission of all of us to each other under the grace of God.  But he also intended to recognize a difference between men and women, which was explicitly explained in the difference between the instructions to respect vs love, and also in the example he used of Eve falling into disobedience first, and in men loving wives as Christ loved the church, and wives respecting their husband as the church submits to Christ.   Mutual love does not rule out specific roles, but puts those roles into perspective, as Paul pointed out. 

You say that Jesus knowledge was limited, including about the process of creation.   But this contradicts what John 1 says about Jesus being there in the beginning, with God.  That Jesus himself was the Word by which the creation happened.   Now yes, Jesus did indicate sometimes that somethings related to judgement and his own return were known to the Father only.   But this doesn't mean that therefore He had to forget what He was involved in before.  

You can speculate on things, but the weight of the evidence seems to lean in a different direction.  I would say that Ian Juby is entitled to disagree with Pat Robertson, and he raises many valid points about fossils, rock layers, and rock dating, that Pat Robertson might be interested in thinking about.  

In a Genesis Week video, Ian Juby called into question Pat Robertson's commitment to Christ. At the very least, he gives Robertson an opportunity to fall in line before he proves himself an apostate.  Juby used a saying of Jesus in Mark 10:6 to correct Robertson for not believing people lived with the dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden. He's my comment on that text and how it's used by YEC. 

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’  (NIV)

A "test" of orthodoxy among young earth creationists is pointing out how Jesus himself believed human beings existed from the very beginning of earth's history. That is, the Son of God believed the first chapters of Genesis should be taken as for a literal, scientifically feasible account of exactly how the universe began. Confronting old earth notions with Jesus' inerrant literalism would crush further argument, after all.  We are told we have only two choices:  accepting Jesus' view of a young creation or rejecting Christ as a reliable guide to truth.  


Great care is needed when pressing a sacred text into service as the last word on questions which were not part of the text's original situation. For example, when the apostle Paul instructed husbands to love and wives to submit, did he really intend anything more for gender roles than that all God's children need to submit to one another for Christ's sake and to submit to his peace in all things?  Was Saint Peter intending to be dismissive of democracy when he said, "Fear God. Honour the king"?  Many Christian monarchists have thought so in the past. Simply put, people sometimes make too much of a text -- ignoring its context, commonsense, and sound theology -- so that it can be conscripted into some agenda.

Let's set aside for a moment the idea of kenosis (Philippians 2:5-8) and how Christ's incarnation limited his knowledge before his eventual ascension. When our Lord pointed to the "beginning of creation", were questions of paleontology and geology at the center of his attention?  From the context it appears they were not. He was responding to test questions pertaining to matters of marriage and divorce. He isn't entertaining questions of natural science but reminding his inquisitors of Moses' precise instructions and what the Creator originally intended for married living.

If we insist Jesus answer questions about science and the age of the earth, we might find him actually contradicting the creation account. Literally speaking, male and female are the beginning of God's creation according to our Lord. This makes Adam and Eve creatures of the First Day of God's creative work -- not the Sixth, the Day it was ending.

But that's only if Mark 10:6 actually portrays Jesus as a YEC.

Thanks for noticing I did not personally accuse my brother of promoting falsehood or buffoonery. I hope you can allow me my opinion that my brother is hurting the name of Christ and the cause of science.  

In this thread secular scientists and non-YEC Christian thinkers have been accused of lying, twisting the evidence, denying Christ, compromising their faith, creating outlandish myths, and destroying the minds and souls of young people.  Individuals like Ian Juby are being put forward as examples of confronting such persons with the light.  

So how are we supposed to talk about our brothers who happen to use public podiums and publications to promote more confusion?  I would happy to speak with people on that score because it's on point in this thread -- "Creation vs Evolution: impact on witness and faith". 

[quote=Norm Prenger]

He is known in secular academic and scientific circles as a buffoon and a chronic liar. 


A reminder of the comment policy:

"Address Issues, Not People -- In general, comments should focus on an issue. The Network is a place to talk with others, not about others. If you refer to a person or group, take extra care to be honest, respectful, and polite. Remember that they are your brothers and sisters in Christ, and should not have to join your discussion to defend themselves. Accusations, labeling, or name-calling directed at individuals or groups will not be tolerated."

I did not flag this comment for review but thought a reminder was in order.

Ian Juby, a YEC, fellow Canadian and Christian (I trust), presents science questions in a form of video entertainment aimed at those uncomfortable with conclusions science seems to have drawn from the evidence. He uses humour, personal swagger, and a persona which is a cross between Indiana Jones and Bill Nye. He is similar to Bill Nye in that he has never received a formally earned PhD in science or scientific accreditation. Nye has received honourary degrees from John Hopkins and Willemette (Juby likes to remind us he is a member of Mensa). Juby is different than Nye in that he has not admitted to significant misrepresentations of scientific work, method and fact to his followers. His Youtube episodes (Genesis Week) are rife with them. 

He is known in secular academic and scientific circles as a buffoon and a chronic liar.  An example:

His errors and misrespresentations are regularly chronicled in various blogs and public message boards devoted to science. In this post I have deleted the link to one such site not because his critique of Juby episodes weren't scientifically valid (they certainly were) but because ln a few his articles he uses pretty rough language. I apologize for any offense.   

I, for one, am not impressed by the way Christian scientists are being caricatured by my brother Ian Juby. Bearing false witness is not funny nor should it be profitable.  He is bringing the Way into disrepute.

As Michael Roberts pointed out, the influence of fundamentalism in developing nations evidenced in South America, Africa and Asia spells trouble for the future of global scientific endeavours. Young Earth Creationism (YEC) is an increasingly popular belief in this burgeoning segment of Christianity as it distinguishes its legacy from a waning western/scientific intellectual legacy. Catholic and Muslim communities in the southern hemisphere are also marshalling themselves against the influences of Darwin and Einstein, for the same purpose and often with identical tactics and hermeneutics.

I, for one, don’t want to be part of any effort to lead my brothers and sisters astray. It is certain that as much as they believed they have honoured God’s Word they will one day realize they have been hoodwinked.  

Summary of global shifts in Christianity:

Hanna Rosen  2007 NY Times article “Rock of Ages-- Ages of Rock”:

“We don’t subscribe to this idea of the ‘God of gaps,’ meaning if you can’t explain something, then blame God,” Whitmore told me before describing a method that hardly seemed more scientific. “Instead, we think: ‘Here’s what the Bible says. Now let’s go to the rocks and see if we find the evidence for it.’ ”

Another interesting video by Ian Juby on the impact of the flood on demise of dinosaurs, showing that other theories are scientifically inconsistent.

my last post is actually a repost to which John has replied in his last post.


I point to Joel Phillips' reflections in December issue of the Banner as an example of how Y.E.C. fear-mongering and polarization have put undue pressure on our brightest young minds. I appreciate Phillip's inclusiveness but this pressure will continue to grow until he has been labelled a "compromiser" or worse. 

Perhaps he would be well-served by reading a publication such as Evangelicals and Science by Michael Roberts. It's part of the Greenwood Series and you can read the entire publication with references online. I found it a very helpful elucidation of the issues involved.  Take heart Joel!  Here's the link: 

I will quote a paragraph on the top of page 179 because it points to one of the conclusions that I personally have come to believe in my own research on the topic:  

"Because of this misrepresentation many critics of YEC have naively assumed that if it were exposed, then proponents of YEC would simply be forced to change. That has not been the case as the arguments are rarely corrected. One is faced with a paradox. Here are a group of Christians who are emphatic that they stand for family values and the Ten Commandments, who in their writings habitually misquote. Abortion, adultery, and homosexuality are out, yet critics assert that they break the Ninth Commandment (thou shalt not bear false witness). This is incongruous. I speak both of proponents and followers. No one seems to have made sense of this and questions are asked whether YECs activists are deliberately dishonest or simply deluded. Yet they often seem very sane, balanced, and upright people. I offer no answer."

((John.. this is not about you... I am deliberately staying away from making this about you...if you would actually READ what Michael Roberts wrote, especially about the present controveries concerning Young Earth "science", you would see that this is one of the conclusions (among others) he has drawn after looking at YEC behaviours. I have drawn the same conclusions concerning bearing false witness, either by commission or by omission, among many in the YEC camp. It seems many don't realize the impact this is having on our global witness.

I think I'm entitled to my own conclusions as to what is useful and what is not. I think any reader of this thread is also entitled to their conclusions as to what is useful in this discussion.  I promise not to make this subject a personal attack on you, John.   Lead me not into temptation..  ))

"who in their writings habitually misquote "   Norm, a shotgun approach to what is a virtual slander, does not help anyone.  I don't doubt that YEC are human, and have made  mistakes, and will make some mistakes in the future.  Your other link provided some good discussion.  This comment is not useful. 

That site is a good summary, Norm.  The comments are also interesting. 

As long as this church sponsored forum continues to publically promote YEC propaganda, fudge the basic principles and conclusions of modern science, and bear false witness against those who hold them, I will post rebuttal evidence. At least as long as the moderators allow me.  :)   According to the Heidelberg Catechism teaching on how to honour the 9th commandment, this is my duty before God and my neighbour. 

Norm, the article you posted was incredibly biased against even a discussion of creation vs evolution.  The author does not even want the debate, nor the discussion.   His article was faith based (faith in evolution), and intolerant, and full of fear that if discussion occurred that average minds would reject evolution.   This simply adds credibility to the argument that evolution is mere myth, since if it wasn't, evolutionary scientists would not be so afraid of scrutiny. 

Here's why creation science, as presently practiced, is a myth.

It's purely antagonistic and propagandist.

It's purely political.

It holds the rest of the Christian community hostage to its biblicist, literalist, claims and we are all paying for it.

Here's an example of what's going on in America: 


Often Creation is referred to as a myth.   Here is an Ian Juby  youtube video, episode 11 or 12 showing how it is actually evolution that is more of a myth.   watch?v=UB0cjZMVjOo&list=UU23yiJV4Bkagj5dkH-UyHFA&index=1&feature=plcp

Praise God! This is very encouraging news from Northern Uganda. World Renew is bearing fruit.

Jonathan, thanks for your comment.  I think the importance of having these discussions in the open, is to discover communally what the issues are, and what is true and what is not true, particularly about our attitudes towards scientific investigation and pursuits, and how it is affected by our worldview and how it affects our worldview.  I think our global mission is impacted by our respect and attitude towards one another, and I think in general, Norman's attitude was pretty good.  But there are times when his bias reveals itself.   It is important to realize that inaccurate and dishonorable characterizations of fellow Christians is something that happens on both sides of this discussion.  

For that reason, the details become important.  And it is important beyond two people having a private discussion, to realize that often attitudes are common among a larger group of people.  For example, when people accuse YEC of propogandizing, it certainly needs to be put into the context of the propoganda of evolution in school textbooks, Time magazine and national geographic, which they are up against.  Another example is Norman's reference to "parasitic science".   People who are unaware of what this implies will feel that it puts YEC in its place.  But actually, it is a meaningless pejorative term, used by those who do not understand science.   Scientific endeavors almost always refer to and depend on work done previously by others.   In that context, parasitic makes no sense.   In a scientific context, an experiment that results in a "no" answer is just as valid as an experiment that results in a "yes" answer.   Evolutionists constantly argue, correctly, that science corrects itself, by which they mean that a later experiment or investigation can refine or correct the perceptions derived from a previous experiment.  Many science papers have been written which do nothing more than act as a literature review, compiling, summarizing and analyzing and comparing results from other research papers on a particular subject.   In fact, Dawkins book does this to some extent.  So the term "parasitic" is meaningless, other than to cast a biased pejorative denigration on the work of some scientists or writers, compared to other writers.      I simply wish to clarify this for readers who may be confused on this term. 

Often, Norman has called me a YEC.   But I don't think I have ever said I was a YEC.   I am definately against accepting "mud to man" evolution, and that is a starting point for me.   I think neither science nor scripture proves this type of evolution.  But at this point I am open to some type of time shift, or the possibility of longer days at least prior to day four, or a longer first day;  however, I will not defend longer days, since I think those who presently support longer days or even a "symbolic" interpretation of Genesis 1, mostly have their minds closed to other scientific or extraordinary possibilities.  I prefer to have an open mind, which I believe will lead to more interesting scientific conclusions in the future.  So even though I might not conclusively be a total YEC, I still prefer to defend YEC, or at least question the OEE (old earth evolution) assumptions.   I find much contradictions and slippery weasel stuff in the OEE scenarios, and more faithfulness and open-mindedness in the YEC positions.   Maybe there is something in between, but in the meantime I prefer science which does not put God or parts of scripture on a dusty shelf or in the trash bin. 

There is no doubt that there is a war going on for the minds and hearts of children, young people and young scientists.   There is no doubt that the evolution debate is a major and primary weapon in this war.   We cannot stick our heads in the sand and pretend this is not so.   We must frame our position in the context of God's primary claim on our lives.   And we must pray that God will give us the wisdom to discern and discover His handiwork in this area of our lives. 

Kelly, it was great to take the Church between Borders training with you just last week; reading this story of your experiences adds even so much more.  Thanks.

To John and Norman,

First, I want to thank the both of you for your participation in this discussion. I also appreciate the respectful way the two of you have expressed your opinions even though you may have different viewpoints.  As I have watched this forum over the past week or so I feel it has turned more and more into a direct dialogue between the two parties. Therefore, I as the community manager for The Network I would like to suggest continuing your discussion via e-mail.

By default every Network member has a personal contact form in which direct messages can be sent.  You can use the form to contact each other directly and If you both agree then you can exchange e-mail addresses. Then you can continue any specific topic points between the two of you. You can find the personal contact form by clicking on a Network user’s name to get to their profile and then click on the ‘Contact’ tab to send a message. 

Some may have benefited from reading your direct responses to one another but this latest dialogue on specifics points may be a tangent that may veer away from the original topic proposed by John.

In terms of creationist propaganda, it might be a good idea if we had a lot more of it.   For a couple reasons.  Evolutionary propoganda is promoted by most school textbooks without critical analysis.   One example, Haeckels pictures of embryos of different species used to prove or show evolution was proven to be a fraud back in 1874 or so, or 120 years ago, and yet evolutionary propoganda kept these pictures in school textbooks for decades after to influence and indoctrinate young helpless school children.   For decades!   This is not the only example.   Pictures of "lucy", the piltdown man,  human evolution are all fraudulent and unproven, and yet put into textbooks to influence junior high children.   Compared to this, the mild "propoganda" of the creationists amounts to absolutely nothing;  it's comparatively insignificant and does not even register in terms of any quantitative comparison. 

I thought I would check your link on a critique of Humphreys (who I don't know, but have watched one video from him on starlight, expansion of the universe and found it lacking in detail, but interesting...).   Your link author, DE Thoomas, discredited himself in my eyes very rapidly by using a very poor inappropriate example:  "It's like looking at three estimates of the "maximum" distance from Albuquerque to Los Angeles: a thousand miles, 100 miles, and 10 feet. By Humphreys' logic, the smallest "maximum" distance (10 feet) is the best, most accurate value, because it "fits comfortably within the maximum possible" values! "   This example reveals a very poor understanding of the process of measuring age, and it reveals a poor understanding of what Humphreys and others are trying to do.   A much better example would be using travel time vs eyesight vs a measuring tape  vs anecdotes to measure distance.  So for example if you said it took ten hours to travel from one city to another, you would need to know the method of travel.  If it was by air, you would need to know the speed and direction of the wind, the speed of travel, whether it was a straight route or circuitous.   If you merely estimated distance from the air or from a mountain top by eyesight, or if you based distance on stories of settlers who travelled by covered wagon, you might get different distances.  Humphreys is merely making arguments about what type of measurements are the most verifiable and the most accurate.   And measuring time backwards is not nearly as simple or conclusive as measuring distance.  Using one radioactive decay rate to verify another, would seem to open to the possibility of   initial conditions being inaccurately assumed for all methods, or that all decay rates were more or less similarly  affected by some external conditions.   It would seem to be better to verify these methods by other unrelated non-radioactive decay methods which involved different mechanisms entirely.   I think that is what Humphreys is trying to do. 

Thomas mentions that C14 cannot be used to measure ages more than 50,000 years.   Yet they can measure a 16 fold increase in atmospheric carbon that supposedly existed 440 million years ago.  But they have no idea whether C14 ratios were similar or not at that time?   They seem to miss the whole point of Humphreys argument that when ratios change, this affects the assumed or apparent age.   We already know that nuclear explosions in the 1940s and 1950s have required adjustments in the way C14 is used to determine age.   But we know about those effects.   How do we eliminate the possibility of similar or larger events which may have happened in the past , which we do not have a record of?

Your DE Thomas also makes claims that Humphreys example of salt accumulation in the ocean as a way of measuring earth age is faulty, but uses an inappropriate example again.   He gives no indication of how the ocean could lose salt on a regular basis, other than a mere presumption,  so his comparison to snow fall is invalid.

In any case, I have no doubt that Humphreys has made and will make hpothesis that will fall short, and that will need to be changed.   But I find that he has an open mind to possibilities that evolutionists are inherently reluctant to consider.   So I wish him well. 

In any case, no matter how you look at this whole debate, from a scientific point of view it certainly stimulates questions, opens possibilities, and forces a concentration questioning assumptions.   From a faith perspective, it forces us to consider how God created things, and reveals the possibility that even materialistic science can be used as a tool to divert us from God.   I appreciate your challenges of the YEC;  they need to maintain integrity as much as they challenge the evolutionists to defend theirs. 

I appreciate your comments, Norman.  

Norman, in your post about "knowing exactly how God does things" , I agree with you that we must follow the evidence.   But we cannot be successful in knowing even partially how God does things if we assume God does not exist.  

Norman, I agree that too many christians speak with loose lips on this issue.  Your example points that out.   But my point is that no one in your example said "I condemn you for being a good scientist".  That is my point.  So I think my contention still stands.  They are upset because someone switched sides, or has a different point of view, not because they are a good scientist.  If anything, their contention would be that good science is not being practiced. 

  I learned more about Humphreys -- the "expert" whom you think has pointed out the "facts". Eek! Humphreys is a great example of how his fundamentalism abuses science and turns people off. Might have to use him as a closing example for my last installment.

Just a little correction...

"So is this true? Are they (Morton and Wood) getting slammed for being good scientists? Really? No. It may be they get slammed for changing sides, or for disagreeing with various creationists, or for neglecting certain chemical or physical facts. But not for being good scientists... this is a slur and an adhominem (sic) attack."

It's not a slur or an ad hominem attack. Both Glen Morton and Todd Wood have publically shared their stories of insults, intimidation, accusations of being in league with the devil, etc, by young earth creationists. In other words, both Wood and Morton have experienced slurs and ad hominem attacks because YECs attacked them personally rather than respecting them for being good scientists who take the evidence seriously. I'm just relaying their stories. I think I gave you links to this info before -- perhaps you've forgotten.

Here's a sample ...

"It appeared that the more I questions I raised, the more they questioned my theological purity. When telling one friend of my difficulties with young-earth creationism and geology, he told me that I had obviously been brain-washed by my geology professors. When I told him that I had never taken a geology course, he then said I must be saying this in order to hold my job. Never would he consider that I might really believe the data. Since then this type of treatment has become expected from young-earthers. I have been called nearly everything under the sun but they don't deal with the data I present to them. Here is a list of what young-earthers have called me in response to my data: 'an apostate,'(Humphreys) 'a heretic'(Jim Bell although he later apologised like the gentleman he is) 'a compromiser'(Henry Morris) "absurd", "naive", "compromising", "abysmally ignorant", "sloppy", "reckless disregard", "extremely inaccurate", "misleading", "tomfoolery" and "intentionally deceitful"(John Woodmorappe) 'like your father, Satan' (Carl R. Froede--I am proud to have this one because Jesus was once said to have been of satan also.) 'your loyality and commitment to Jesus Christ is shaky or just not truly genuine' (John Baumgardner 12-24-99 [Merry Christmas]) "[I] have secretly entertained suspicions of a Trojan horse roaming behind the lines..." Royal Truman 12-28-99

Personally speaking, I think it's presumptuous and perhaps even blasphemous to think we can know exactly how God does things, as was pointed out to Job in Job 38:4. I believe even in the next life we will not "know" exactly how God does things because it presumes we will have God-like minds. The Scriptures weren't inspired to answer every "how" question. They were written to give humanity reliable answers to the most important who, why, and how questions that roost our hearts.

I belong to a theological tradition that says only by the inner operation of the Holy Spirit that we can truly know God and trust him and his promises in Christ. Using the Bible as a "modern" science text book or as a technology manual or as a fine arts catalogue simply abuses God's purposes for his written Word.  It makes us arrogant and it gets us into trouble when we have borne false witness to God -- which has happened far too often in history. 

Perhaps this gets to the point of the debate here. Creation science, especially YEC science, seems to boast that it knows exactly how God created the earth. Most important, it runs roughshod over the monumental intellectual and cultural challenges that the Spirit of God surmounted to communicate his saving truths to ancient peoples barely out of the stone age.  And God is still "lisping" to us and stooping to make himself known to us, as Calvin said.

That's why I kind of like the idea of a truly "secular" science. Good science, no matter what faith conviction, must follow where the evidence leads when it comes to understanding the universe we inhabit. We need to be humble about our limited capacities and about how our faith commitments will influence our quest to understand. Yet we must follow the evidence and keep testing to see if our conclusions are sturdy and repeatable and open to peer review, even if at first it doesn't seem to fit with what we used to think about nature.

As a Christian, I know I can do this fearessly.  My Father may be inscrutible in somethings, but He's no trickster. 

Wendy, I think to a large degree, we have already acknowledged that we probably won't know for sure all the details until heaven.  If God wants to tell us.   But human curiousity doesn't stop.   We may not know exactly what Moses was thinking when he crossed the Red Sea, or when he couldn't enter the promised land, or what the people of Israel did while wandering in the desert for forty years, or what Methusaleh said to Noah.   But if information comes that helps us to understand, we seem to appreciate it.... 

Examining the possibilities of whether the universe has a center or not, or is expanding or has expanded, or whether real time can change in different locations, or the impacts of the "red shift", are very interesting to some people.   For other people, it is not interesting at all.   But if we look at the world and the universe as a revelation of who God is, then discovering how some of these things work is part of discovering how God works, and how we relate to God.   For example, the fact that the solar system  is not geo-centric says something about our place in the universe, that we must rely on something other than ourselves for our physical existence.   God sends us those messages in various ways, including how he created everything. 

 It's a bit like studying Greek or Hebrew in order to study scripture better.   Is it really necessary?   Does it really make much of a difference?   Isn't the english translation good enough to get by?   Well yes, but.....  

Problem is when someone proposes a genesis that excludes God and contradicts scripture, and wants christians to buy into it;  perhaps we could regard that the same way we regard theft, or abuse, or atheism, or neglect, or pornography, or materialism, or marxism, or .....    Should we then just cover our eyes and ears and ignore it? 

Excellent post! We must think biblically in every aspect of life, and welcome, as Jesus would, the foreigner in our midst. From what I understand many refugees are such because of their Christian faith. Also, many undocumented immigrants would love to become legal, if there were a way for them to do so. We, the body of Christ, must see people through His eyes, and in light of eternity.

thank you, Wendy!

At what point, I wonder, do we just acknowledge that we won't know exactly how God created the earth until we get to heaven and ask Him?

Norman, the latest reports indicate there is a five % difference.  "But using percentages hides an important fact. If 5% of the DNA is different, this amounts to 150,000,000 DNA base pairs that are different between them."(David DeWitt).  In addition, to get this 5% difference, many pieces of the DNA are not included in the calculation for various reasons.  When you include everything, you tend to get a similarity  of between  81 to 87%, according to other scientists(CMI).   This is what an evolutionary mindset does;  it assumes a great similarity and so refuses to consider obvious or potential dissimilarities.   Other reported differences:  ICR reports that chimp genome is 10% larger than human genome, the y chromosome is less than 70% similar. 

The issue in this discussion is not the size of the difference.  The issue is the evolutionary a-priori assumption of similarities even when only a small part of the genome was initially studied.  The issue is ignoring obvious dissimilarities as if they are inconsequential.  The issue is how the research is reported in terms of its bias.  How often have you heard that the difference between the chimp and human y chromosomes is as different as between human and chicken? (J.F. Hughes - Nature 463)

Eventually, truth and significance is discovered.  But it is in spite of the evolutionary paradigm, not because of it.

Of course, one would also expect genetic similarities even without evolution;  that is something not so commonly considered.  After all, why would morophological and physiological similarities not be caused by genetic similarities? 

Perhaps mincing a few percentage points doesn't add anything to the debate about the DNA in chimps and humans. It detracts us from the awesome fact that we are so closely related secular scientists have to rely on "junk DNA" to explain why we are different.


Did Genesisweek take into account that humans have less chromosomes (23 rather than 24) than chimps?  This alone might help with the math.  

And you think Humphreys, the man who came up with the idea that earth is 6,000 years old while most of the universe is 15 billions years old, is someone who can be trusted with the facts?  Whatever, John.  It  will all help make my conclusion more obvious.

Helder uses disagreements between scientists who totally disagree with YEC as proof that YEC must be correct. “   Again, Norman, let me reiterate that she does not do this, in spite of what you say.  If you look closely at the argument, what she is doing is using a refutation of a particular evolutionary hypothesis of an evolutionist by another evolutionist, to demonstrate that the piece of evidence does not support an evolutionary explanation for the Cambrian explosion.  Did she say that this proves that YEC must be correct?  No, not as I read it.   What she said was that YEC model or theory would expect a sudden appearance of fossils rather than a gradual appearance of fossils.   The evolutionary model or theory expects a gradual appearance of fossils.  Thus in this case, the Cambrian explosion meets the general expectations of the creation model more easily than meeting the expectations of the evolutionary model.  Any explanations for the Cambrian explosion within the evolutionary paradigm, so far do not work.  It doesn’t really matter whether it is YEC scientists or evolutionary scientists who have discredited the arguments for various evolutionary explanations for the Cambrian explosion. 

You seem to worry about all the work done, the field work, the expense, the gathering of evidence, etc., that it is not getting enough credit.  But that is not the point.  Was it Edison who said about his many many efforts to develop a light bulb, that it was not a waste of time, but merely a learning about how many ways one cannot make a light bulb?   I would say this is somewhat similar.   If we knew all the results ahead of time, we would not have to do the research. 

Finally, you do ask some very good questions, such as where are the missing genera and species in the Cambrian layer –why are they not there?  And why are different types of animals in different layers sometimes – and how prevalent is this?  Why are Precambrian fossils usually single celled without bones?  However, a few questions of yours are making wrong assumptions, such as that YEC would accept 50 million years of Cambrian explosion.  On the other hand, a good question of yours is how are other apparent “explosions” of mammals and flowered plants explained?   And what is the problem with old earth creation science?   Good questions, regardless of whether answers yet exist or not. 

In your postulation (in your next installment) that YEC is bad for science and bad for faith, you will need to distinguish between attitude and process.   Yes, ocassionally some YEC seem to have a reduced respect for scientific endeavor.   But YEC science itself is in the same mode as any other type of science, in that it needs to investigate, experiment, satisfy confidence levels, and resolve incongruities.  A couple examples of how evolutionary theory has been bad for science include the assumption that Coelanth fish was extinct when it wasn’t, and that tonsils and appendixes served no purpose, but were mere evolutionary residuals, and that only 1% of the DNA was valuable while 99% was “junk DNA”.   YEC science assumptions would be that people would not expect useless stuff in the DNA, and now over 80% of the DNA has been found not to be junk DNA, and investigation is continuing.  And tonsils and appendixes have been discovered to have a purpose, in spite of, not because of, evolutionary assumptions and presuppositions. 

Is evolutionary theory good for science when it leads researchers to prematurely claim that there is 99% or 97% dna similarity between chimps and humans?   When actually there is a 12% difference in size of the genome to start with, not counting a whole bunch of other differences, and that the similarity is no where near 99%?   Is this good science?  

Looking forward to your next conclusion.

John Z 

If you have been following along, I've been critiquing Dr. Margaret Helder’s “How Christians Respond to Secular Science” (March, 2012). Last time, I pointed out how young earth creationists often misunderstand what scientific theories are. Neither UFO experts, Reiki practitioners, quantum incarnationists, white supremacists, nor present day geocentrists, for instance, have genuine scientific theories to support their claims. They do have their own models. Some of them are quite detailed and self-confessedly “scientific”.  

I pointed out that Helder, with the support of Dr. Kurt Wise, doesn’t seem to understand what makes a theory (or model) persuasive in its ability to explain reality. As it stands, Helder believes the “strength” of the young earth model is how its main idea remains intact, perhaps even stronger, despite various weak or discredited arguments based on various kinds of evidence. Yet by standards of science and logic, this is precisely what makes such a model more impotent and less persuasive.

The bulk of Helder’s paper is taken up with controversies concerning the Cambrian Explosion. It is very telling that despite urging creationists to concentrate on building a positive case with the data, she devotes no less than 6 pages of her paper to arguments between non-YEC scientists who are delving into Cambrian mysteries. None of them, from J. William Schopf ( to S. Conway Morris ( would ever posit a world-wide flood occurring 6,000 years ago as a helpful, plausible scientific explanation for the Cambrian data.

In other words, Helder uses disagreements between scientists who totally disagree with YEC as proof that YEC must be correct. This is called parasitic science. It is not science at all. Mysteries and disagreements are what advance a scientific understanding of the world. It’s frightening to think that if YEC controlled the scientific establishment, this drive to explain the great mysteries of nature would shrink to nothing but endeavours such as naming new forms of fungi.

“And so concerning the sudden appearance of animals in Cambrian rock, we see that the expectations of the creation model are met. We also see that secular scientists have not been able to find an explanation which can accommodate these data into their evolution model. The latter model does not predict abrupt appearance. They need some kind of phenomenon to initiate such an event…. The implications of the Cambrian explosion are obvious to Christians. The sudden appearance was the result of supernatural intervention…a universal flood burying large and diverse animal communities along with human populations (emphasis mine).” P. 10

This kind of YEC dismissal of all other scientific work is what drives folks bonkers. Helder tells us YEC scientific expectations have been met:  God did it. Therefore all the field work, all the expense, all thinking and debating, all the gathering of evidence and sheer intellectual energy expended in trying to understand the Cambrian Explosion turns out to be “a sheer waste of time” (p. 6 par. 3) as Helder would put it.  It’s a fundamentalist’s form of Occam’s Razor that says, “It’s in the Bible, dumbo”. Perhaps this explains why she hasn’t bothered updating Cambrian studies beyond her 1995 citations. So much good scientific work has gone on since that time, despite YEC’s smugness.  

But even a scientifically untrained Christian can ask questions. If the Flood did it, why aren’t people, land animals, trees, boney fishes -- in fact, almost all forms of animal life as see today – missing from the entire Cambrian layer?  Another way of putting it is this:  Why, without sounding more convoluted than any secular scientist, would God send a flood that buries animals successively more and more unlike present animals in sucessively deeper and deeper layers of sentiment? Why is the fossil evidence of life before the Flood so simple and “squishy”?  Why is the dating of rocks containing the first Cambrian fossils close to 600,000,000 years old?  Why do you believe 50,000,000 years of  Cambrian Explosion can be described as “sudden” and “rapid”, when your geological explanation of life spans 6,000-10,000 years?  How do young creationists explain other “explosions” of life in the fossil record – like mammals and flower plants?.  Why isn’t an old earth creation science a much better explanation of the fossil record? 

I once believed that the meatiest part of Helder’s paper would be the hardest and lengthiest part to criticise. In fact, it was easy because the people who agree with me did all the hard work.

NEXT:  Conclusion:  Why YEC is both bad for science and bad for faith.         

"....the experiences of brilliant, science-minded Christians like Todd Wood and Glen Morton who get repeatedly slammed for being, well, good scientists...."   says Norman.   So is this true?   Are they getting slammed for being good scientists?   Really?   No.   It may be they get slammed for changing sides, or for disagreeing with various creationists, or for neglecting certain chemical or physical facts.   But not for being good scientists... this is a slur and an adhominem attack.  For example, when Morton proposed that a certain chemical (albite) could be a sink for the vast amounts of sea salt that would need to have disappeared from the ocean in order for the ocean to be more than 60 million years old (old age theory), Humphreys pointed out that there was not enough albite in the sea floor to account for the settled out sodium, since in cooler conditions it decomposed to chlorite and released the sodium back into the ocean again.  This is not a slam on Morton for being a good scientist;  it is simply a contradiction of facts and processes.  The result is that the ocean is apparently  not as salty as it should be  if it is as old as old earth evolutionists claim it is.    At the very least, a good explanation for why it is not salty enough, has not been provided.  That is just one example.       inThe re

Also in answer to Marie Vogel's question, about how this discussion relates to our faith and our relationship to God, I want to shamelessly promote Ian Juby's new "Genesis Week" youtube videos, which highlight scientific problems with the evolutionary theory, as well as putting it into context of our relationship to God.  Some quotes from Ian, "God did not say to us, let us be unreasonable together."  "God gave us a brain for a reason."   "God did not say, 'be ye transformed by the removal of your mind', but God gave you a mind for a reason."  "Error begs for tolerance, but the truth demands scrutiny." 

It's available in several different ways, including being broadcast on the Miracle Channel, I think.  Also,, or   As well as being scientifically knowledgeable and astute, he admits to errors when they occur, and is also entertaining and energetic.   He helped to design and build the creation science museum in Big Valley, Alberta, as well as building a travelling creation science museum.  He has travelled throughout north america looking at various geological formations and fossils.   He is by training a robotics engineer, and is a member of Mensa.  And fun to listen to. 

Marie, thanks for your comment.   You can see that there is a divergence of opinion on whether acceptance of evolution leads to a decline in faith or not, especially among the average person on the street.  That was my main reason for starting this blog in the first place.  You see, if evolution seems to make Genesis One, or Genesis 1-11 a mere myth, then much of the foundations of our faith, such as one man bringing sin into the world (requiring Christ to redeem us), become very questionable.   It makes the early prophecies of a redeemer very questionable.   This is why people like Dawkins are not ambivalent about christianity, but actually hate it and love to denigrate and despise it by pointing out how evolution contradicts it.   They rejoice in the fact that evolution is an indicator for them that scripture is merely a man-made imperfect invention, instead of being the inspired word of God.  This context is what underlies the discussion of the details;  how does evolution jive with scripture;  how can we reconcile the two?  

Norman claims that some of young earth science actually adversely affects the faith of some christians due to unseemly tactics etc.   And I agree that sometimes this happens.   Sometimes our methods and our personal credibility hurt our positions.   We need to remember this, and stress honesty, integrity, and detail.   But it is a bit disingenuous to imply that evolutionists do not also often use unseemly tactics.   In my experience, vitriol and personal attacks are much more common by evolutionists, including by people like Dawkins.   

But, somehow, the discussion still needs to occur.   We need to trust that the truth will come out.   In some way, this will and does already affect our faith, and the faith perspective of many people.   When people use the phrase, "survival of the fittest" in reference to some stupid action by a drunk driver or the business practices of a ruthless businessman, they are using that phrase in the context of a value system that is supported by the evolutionary theory which supposedly brought about the existence of the human race.   Evolution is never merely a scientific theory, no matter how much people may want to insist it is.   It is also a world and life view, coloring our actions and our perspective.   And it is a considerably different world view than the one that scripture gives us. 

So, do YEC cause christians to leave the faith?   Or does acceptance of evolution theory remove the foundation of our faith?  Which is it?  or which is more likely more often?  

If we refined evolution to be evolution within certain "kinds", and if we acknowdged, as Todd Wood does that evolution did not create human beings, then perhaps there is a tenuous co-existence.   But, we must be aware that the general scientific community, including Dawkins and his kind, are not at all satisfied with such a co-existence.  They will not only disagree;  they will say it is unscientific to postulate such a compromise co-existence.   It is not creationists who are against science, but it is the rabid evolutionists who claim that YEC are not interested in science.   The fact is that YEC also find science very fascinating, because it is part of God's created world.  But they do not feel the need to adopt the entirety of the rabid evolutionist definition of science to include the necessity for "mud to man" evolution. 

When YEC make the detailed arguments, such as about the Coelanth fish, or about various fossil footprints, or about the way layers of sediment can form, or about polystrate fossils, or about missing layers of "time", or about clear unconformities, or lack of natural erosion in deep rock layers, or about genetic probabilities and disimilarities, YEC are indicating that they are very interested in science, and that they are objectively pointing out problems with evolutionists interpretation of the evidence.   Norman's "young man" says that Christianity does not allow for science, but obviously that is not true.  There are many Christian scientists.   So why does he say it?  Is it because he doesn't like the struggle or the way evidence is interpreted differently, or the way previously accepted conclusions are challenged?   So often people claim that christianity does not like science, merely because it challenges evolution.  To me this is a clear indication of antithesis.   It is also a clear indication of how evolutionists do not really enjoy the theory being foundationally challenged, and so they switch the terms "evolution" and "science"  as if they were synonyms, which they are not.  So if some people are turned off by the YEC examination of the evidence and the way they argue against the evolutionist position, then perhaps it is because their minds are already turned off to alternate explanations, or perhaps the whole discussion is simply too difficult to comprehend and understand.  

But, you must know, that this evolutionary perspective has greatly influenced human behaviour in the past, both for the assumed superiority of some races, as well as the assumed superiority of intellect and physique of some groups of people.   If humans are merely animals, as the theory suggests, then it has a huge impact on our value system.  As christians and scientists we cannot pretend that this is not an issue.  And if we ignore this issue, then we are failing to be witnesses in this world of how God relates to us, and how we relate to God. 

There is also the possibility of an OEC position (old earth creationist), which accepts an older age but without macro-evolution (mud to man).   But this position seems to be considered less often. 

I hope that clarifies a bit what this is all about. 

Marie!  Thanks for your interest. I've been trying to demonstrate from a layman's point of view that much of young earth "science" is actually destroying the faith of bright, curious minds who are extremely disappointed with YEC tactics and explanations.  I've been trying to do this not by attacking John and his positions personally, though I know he is a YEC, but by using Helder's paper "How Christians Respond to Secular Science" as an example of what is not helpful. 

Two days ago, after I invited a bright young man to read this discussion, he emailed me: "I read as much as I could before losing interest. How can he throw so much science out the window? .... I've lost the passion for debate on this subject. I feel at ease with my paradigm. I feel it makes sense. I can't say that I felt that way with a Christian paradigm...Science could allow for a god, but Christianity doesn't allow for science. End of story in my opinion." 

This is what I am afraid of.

I would also point to the experiences of brilliant, science-minded Christians like Todd Wood and Glen Morton who get repeatedly slammed for being, well, good scientists. (i.e. ).  John began this thread by saying that it's Dawkins and evolution who are destroying faith.  I disagree. Christians have had to deal with Bible-defying scientific claims and eloquent atheism for a many centuries. It's American fundamentalism, with its false scientific shibboleths, that is driving many people away from the camp of faith in Christ. 

I have two installments left in my critique of Helder's paper. The last will include some "so what" conclusions.


Norman and John,

I'm impressed that you've continued the conversation this long and a little less impressed with the way you've been speaking to each other. You've gotten very good at debating the details, but I'm wondering what these details mean for the big picture. How do these theories impact the way we relate to God and to each other?

Friend Norman, I appreciate your elucidation of your perception of Helder's misrepresentation,  in other words highlighting that she did not mention natural selection when yes it is an essential part of the evolutionary theory.  However, I hope you are not suggesting that she was not aware of this component of the theory.  I believe that while it is a part of the theory, so is genetics itself, and so are basic principles of biology(mating or cell division) and physics and chemistry.  Yet Helder did not mention these either.  The reason I believe is because natural selection is too often overplayed as being evolution, while it is not.  

 Evolutionary ideas were not new at the time of Darwin or Wallace. Anaximander  of Miletus  (c.610–546 BC)  proposed that animals of different species derived from other species.  Lamark proposed transmutation of species well before Darwin did.  James Hutton, Charles Wells, and Patrick Matthew have mentioned natural selection, or at least described it, well before Darwin did.   Selection itself was practiced by people for many centuries in terms of breeding dogs, poultry, horses, bovines, and it is unreasonable to assume that people were unaware of selection also within the natural environment.    It is a common concept also accepted by creationists.  However, creationists limit natural selection to operating within the existing variability within a species or kind, and in fact even evolutionists must limit the ability of natural selection to act only on existing genomic information.   Natural selection by itself cannot create new genes, nor create mutations, nor create new morphologies.   It is not natural selection by itself that causes evolution;  rather it is the random mutations working over long periods of time that allows natural selection to work to create new species (by evolutionary theory).  Thus while natural selection is necessary for evolutionary theory, it is not as essentially separate from non-evolutionary theory compared to the need for random mutations and long periods of time, which evolutionary theory requires in contrast to other theories. 

In creationist paradigm, natural selection works to keep "kinds" or species reproducing after their own kind.  In the creationist paradigm, natural selection is recognized to generally work against the random mutations,  and does not promote them.  Natural selection  tends to reduce diversity and variability instead of increasing it, and thus does not favor evolution of species more than stability of species.