Creation vs Evolution: Impact on Witness and Faith
September 30, 2011
Updated June 28, 2018
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Evolutionary theory has apparently encouraged many people to separate themselves from God. Darwin and Dawkins and Templeton are some prominent examples. Part of our global mission is how we interact with science and culture within our own context, and how do we respond to it. So what is the best direction for us as Christians to pursue when we deal with this very volatile and pertinent issue, especially with non-Christians?
As a starting point, I would insert a link here which shows how a half-dozen scientists who originally were raised in the evolutionary paradigm have been persuaded by the evidence that the evidence for evolution is lacking.
Persuaded by the Evidence, Part I, Volume I
http://persuadedthemovie.com/ Part I of Volume I in this series, Creation speaker Ian Juby interviews six scientists who abandoned the evolutionary dogma.
What do you think?
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Dear John... couldn't wait, huh? :)
I am responding because you invited me to. You posed the question. I am trying to answer it. I don't waste time responding to all objections. I just concentrate on ones pretending to be completely scientific and rational as well as claiming to be faithful to the Bible. I find many of these voices repeatedly bear false witness, encourage division in the Christian community, and seem to misunderstand the nature of science. (Incidently, I also invest time and energy in refutions of claims like those of Dawkins. However it's American fundamentalism that's making this more difficult, not the other way around)
Allow me, then, to use Helder as an example of how NOT to respond to "secular science". The first brief installment is just about ready. Then you can have at 'er.
I see you removed your comment. Thank you.
google search the title --- How Christians Respond to Secular Science
by Dr. Margaret Helder
to read the paper for yourself.
Norman, I have now read the paper by Margaret Helder, so await your analysis. I am also reading an interesting book right now, by Jonathan Sarfati. It is called "The Greatest Hoax on Earth?" a refutation of Dawkin's "The Greatest Show on Earth". I'm about one quarter way through, and it's impressive. Between its detail in analyzing the faulty evolutionary arguments, including an analysis of various experiments such as the peacock's tail, and the spotted guppies, it shows the faulty logic employed to "prove" evolution. You might find it interesting.
My first installment of critiquing Helder's will be ready by the weekend. Monday at the latest.So far it's been a helpful exercise and a great way to get into the nuts and bolts of the controversy. But today I'm going fishing. Like almost every other day. As for Safarti...http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1641/0006-3568%282003%29053%5B0282%3AACAC%5D2.0.CO%3B2
Not sure if I want to read the same sorts of thing over and over again. See if you can catch what Scott and Branch say about Safarti's MO -- he agrees with the arguments of two evolutionists disagreeing with each other and uses this as evidence that evolution is wrong. If it's true, it's "parasitic science" indeed.
Have a Great day, John.
"...Scott and Branch say about Safarti's MO -- he agrees with the arguments of two evolutionists disagreeing with each other and uses this as evidence that evolution is wrong. If it's true, it's "parasitic science" indeed."
I have not seen this so far in his book. I have not seen that he uses the mere fact that evolutionists disagree with each other as evidence that evolution is wrong. His sense of logic is too strong for that. I don't know where you get "parasitic science" as a concept in this instance. Scientific conclusions almost always rely on other work, and Safarti gives credit, and even agrees with many experimental evidence and initial conclusions of evolutionary scientists. He agrees that there is natural selection within populations, for example, but does not agree that it is proof of evolution. I don't know if scott and branch are merely displaying their bias, but based on your comments alone, I would say that they are.
Hope you enjoy your fishing.
John ... If you would like some balance to your reading, or you would like a good example of the "damage" I see to our faith community BECAUSE of fundamentalist attacks on science, see http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm
nuff said for now. tight lines.
Dr. Margaret J. Helder's paper entitled "How Christians Respond to Secular Science" (March, 2012; www.frcna.org) is a good example of how not to respond to secular science. She is a fellow Canadian, a botanist, vice-president of the Creation Science Association of Alberta, associate editor of science and technology for Reformed Perspective, a writer, and a mother of six. She has expertise in areas I admire and I have no reason to doubt she is a woman of faith in Jesus Christ. She is also a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) with whom I respectfully disagree.
Dr. Helder begins her paper with a section entitled "Setting the Stage." She tells us about the irony of a sign featuring the words of Job 12:8 which at one time adorned the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta. Helder correctly points out that the verse "Speak to the earth, and let it teach you" is directly followed in the Bible by "who knows not in all these that the hand of the Lord has wrought this?"
"The message of Scripture is unequivocal, that God is the creator of all things. Scripture does not sanction the idea of time and chance as agents of creation as the sign in the museum implied. Neither however does nature point to random processes as the creative agent. The sign in the Royal Tyrrell Museum therefore was wrong on two counts...Once Christians recognize that secular accounts of origins are contrary to Scripture, then they must devise strategies to deal with, and respond to the popular interpretations." (p.1, paragraph 2-3)
I appreciate Helder's concern for accuracy and making sure things are not taken out of context, at least when it comes to quoting the Bible. Yet in her very first two paragraphs Dr. Helder has already misrepresented the position of evolution (presumably, the museum's perspective) no less than three times -- "the idea that random processes...brought about all things"..."the idea of time and chance as agents of creation"..."nature point(s) to random processes".
Every secular scientist would immediately recognize her initial descriptions of evolutionary theory are inaccurate, misleading, and in many ways the opposite of what evolutionary theory explains. Charles Darwin was not a nihilist. If Helder wants to reprimand the Royal Tyrrell for quote-mining and misrepresenting the Bible, she might also want to show good faith by accurately defining evolution theory from the start. At least in taking down the sign the museum avoided the additional charge of hypocrisy. Unfortunately Dr. Helder impales herself on it.
What follows these two paragraphs is a "Gish Gallop" avalanche of references -- creationist book titles, names of prominent YEC scientists and debaters, and a smattering of journal articles -- all apparently showing that creation science, especially in the last 30 years, has shaken the present scientific establishment to its core.
Her bravado is unbridled: Creationists "generally win such debates". People are getting saved. Scientists are changing their minds. Most importantly, "children in the classroom and at home, were provided with quality creationist resources" and "for brief periods, the message of evolution was muted." According to Helder, creationism has put evolution "on the defensive." The pressure it brought to bear on the scientific establishment "may even have been a factor contributing to certain recent revisions in evolution theory. (p. 2, par.1, emphasis is mine -- citing a good example would have been nice).
Yet even after one day of researching these references, it is obvious that Helder's bravado is groundless. In fact, in the last thirty years, evidence for evolutionary theory has (by several orders of magnitude) far outstripped any positive accumulations put forward by creation science. A few YECs are humble enough to admit this (like Todd Wood, the DNA researcher whom Helder quotes in this paper-- cf. toddcwood.blogspot.ca/2010/07/nature-of-evolution.html). Most will not. In either case it makes little difference because as creationist Kurt Wise admitted, all the evidence in the universe cannot possibly persuade a YEC he or she might be wrong.
I will get to some of Helder's scientific claims in the next two installments. For the moment, please note (p.2, par.1) that "well-illustrated", "quality", "appealing" publications are her main concern. "Faced with a continuous barrage of evolutionist propaganda and interpretations, many Christian laymen need answers. This is especially so for those people with children who are confronted by such material in the classroom." Helder is a writer, after all, and every writer needs a market. In fact, one could describe the whole YEC/ID enterprise as an attempt to find a popular market despite scientific consensus.
She goes on to list the wonderful new assets that YEC has recently acquired to meet the challenge and bring "a positive Christian interpretation of nature closer to realization". The Institute for Creation Research now has an electron microscope and a spectrometer to measure low-level radiation in coal, for instance (I'm guessing this will help them chip away at the accuracy of radiometric dating, a field which has not been particularly helpful to creation science). The Van Andel Research Center in Arizona is a new base for creationists wishing to conduct studies in and around the Grand Canyon. She tells us rather cryptically that a new and important dinosaur bed in Wyoming has "recently come under Creationist control."
I can't access the article about this particular dinosaur bed but, wow, that last quote sounds like a war dispatch, doesn't it? Certainly a propaganda war.
NEXT -- Helder, Wood, and the nature of scientific theories
Norm, I don’t think Magaret misrepresented anything about evolution. She has impaled herself on nothing. You seem to join with a common claim that evolution is misrepresented as if to say, “you don’t really understand it”, particularly when an anti-evolutionist makes a strong position. The fact is that for the present theory of evolution, random processes are foundational, along with natural selection and adaptations. It is by calculating apparently random processes that probabilities are derived and probable ages are attributed to various processes and to various turning points in the process. Furthermore, the idea of virtually unlimited time for these random processes to occur is also a foundational requirement for evolutionary theory to work. This is no misrepresentation at all. Whether Darwin was personally a nihilist or not is irrelevant to this. I note you did not state what in particular was misleading about it, nor did you summarize a contrary position.
If you think she is inaccurate, then do you think the processes are not random; that they are directed, and therefore the use of random probabilities are not appropriate? Do you think then that time is not an agent of creation, or a necessary requirement? Do you think nature does not point to random processes? And do you think that mainstream evolutionists would agree with you?
You make a comment about her bravado; I say she is entitled to her perspective, and it is really irrelevant to the validity of the theory. However, in what I have seen, it appears to be true that creationists often make undeniable and incontrovertible points and arguments about the science involved in “proving” or supporting this theory. Yes, often creationists do "win" the debates.
Todd Wood did not say that evidence for evolutionary theory have outstripped accumulations for creation science. What he said was that he felt there was a certain amount of evidence for evolutionary types of things happening, such as allele frequency changes, evidence of speciation, and universal common ancestry. But he felt there was another explanation for the evidence of common ancestry. So, evidence is just evidence. What is in dispute is what the evidence tells us, and how we understand the evidence. And Todd does not accept a universal common genetic ancestry.
Norman, Margaret is completely right that if all material is presented with only one particular view, then children will be influenced by it. Therefore her comment is completely valid that laymen and children need answers, and need them explained and described in such a way that they can counter the prevailing undesireable way. I don’t think evolutionists go out of their way to hide their publications, or to advocate that no one buy them, or publish them in shoddy inferior ways. There is no reason why creationist scientists need to apologize for promotion of their materials either.
In Dr. Margaret Helder's presentation, "How Christians Respond to Secular Science (March, 2012), we are given a fairly typical sample of the claims of Young Earth Creationism or YEC. I believe such representations polarize and ghettoize our faith as well as misunderstand the nature of modern science.
In an initial installment I show how Helder misrepresents established evolutionary theory ("random processes" played out over time), exaggerates claims for the impact YEC has had on present scientific consensus, and demonstrates her paramount concern for a creationist publishing industry. I conclude these are evidence that she is part of a propagandist rather than scientific enterprise. I stand by these initial conclusions because I believe they survive mere denials (contra Zylstra).
In this installment, I would like to take issue with Helder's rather unscientific view of scientific theory and consensus. In the next installment, I hope to offer a layman's critique of Helder's view that the Cambrian Explosion is fatal to evolutionary theory.
"Like a nuclear reaction that achieves critical mass, creationists over the internet are encouraging each other. Sometimes people who support a literal understanding of Scripture, are nevertheless nervous about creationist interpretations of nature. Such people fear that if/when a single creationist argument is found not to be supported by data, then the whole position may be discredited. Some people might indeed abandon their literal interpretation of Genesis on such a pretext. But this response, declares Kurt Wise, is not reasonable. The creationist position is a unified model. It stands whatever individual components may be lost. As Dr. Wise remarked: “We all MUST realize that the strength of the young-age creation model is not in any given argument, but rather inthe explanatory power of the model AS A WHOLE (p. 3; emphasis hers).
Helder is here accurately describing how Young Earth Creationists form their version of scientific consensus. It appears to be quite populist and uncritical of its own weaknesses. It also confuses a unified model like creationism with a unified theory like evolutionary theory. Ironically, the definition Dr. Wise uses to explain the "unifying power" of Young Earth Creation (details might be weak/lost/changeable but the whole is persuasive) is actually the definition of "explanatory impotence" (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explanatory_power).
Scientifically speaking, models are not theories. Models can be as small as a simple computer simulation or as great as a philosophical world view. Unlike a scientific theory, models can even be used to replace direct measurement and experimentation. They exist in scientific circles mostly to illustrate, visualize, simulate, encourage investigation in some aspect of empirical reality. By their very nature, models generally are not falsifiable. They are simply better or worse (helpful or unhelpful) representations of reality. A genuine scientific theory, on the other hand, MUST be based on direct measurement, investigation and experimentation.
By suggesting that neo-darwinian evolution is merely one model of interpreting reality, Helder (via Dr. Kurt Wise), has minimized the enormous difference between creation science and evolutionary science. In one fell stroke, she appears to grant YEC equal legitimacy with evolution and a sort of immunity to criticism that no creationist would permit for evolutionary science. Yet we must remember that Dr. Wise has gone on record saying that no amount evidence could ever persuade him to change his creationist view point (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Wise). That is the one advantage a model has over a well-established scientific theory. A model can survive any and all demands for evidence so long as people prefer it for whatever reason.
Let me quote Todd Wood, the Young Earth Creationist and DNA researcher whom Helder has quoted approvingly in her paper:
"Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well."
Dr. Todd Wood gets the difference between scientific theory and modelling and he has the decency to say evolutionary theory qualifies as true science even if he disagrees with it in places. He certainly admits in many of his blogs that despite his excellent training and specialized knowledge, creation science has a long way to go before it can depose evolutionary theory as one that has the best correspondence with all the known data. His honesty reveals itself again in the following statements:
"I hope you can see better now how I think about creation. I accept the basic creationist dogma for reasons of faith (which will be discussed in a future post) and a some empirical observations. What is largely lacking from creationist biology are the low level theories that connect the model of creation to the empirical data... As I see it, we need five low level theories in creationist biology: design, imperfection, speciation, systematics, and biogeography." (toddcwood.blogspot.ca/2009/10/nature-of-explanation.html)
What is dishonest in Helder's paper is an impression that all the "hard science" necessary to depose evolutionary theory as a valid scientific theory has already been done. How can this be reconciled with statements such the following admission? "Rather than trying to disprove evolution theory, with its constantly changing scenarios, creationists instead should concentrate on the positive details of their own model." (p.3, par. 3)
Ignoring this advice and armed with a very slanted view of what constitutes a good theory, Helder launches into the mysteries of the Cambrian explosion and the defeat of secular science.
Next -- the value of mystery and careful investigation.
“In an initial installment I show how Helder misrepresents established evolutionary theory ("random processes" played out over time)”, Norman, I had to chuckle at your putting on the mantle of the language of scientific papers. But you have not shown anything about your proposition that Helder misrepresents evolutionary theory other than simply asserted it. If I was marking your previous post, you would fail on this account. You have not shown how it misrepresents anything. You merely make the conclusion. In fact, although evolutionary theory is much more complicated than just random processes played out over time, this is still a foundational requirement for evolutionary theory. Mutations are generally assumed to be random events, which allows natural selection to select for those with adaptive advantages. I have not seen evolutionary theory postulate that mutations are not random events, or that they are somehow directed or controlled by unusual outside factors in general. The theory does sometimes postulate unusual events precipitating higher rates of mutation, but it also assumes a certain randomness to these unusual outside events. It does not assume an “outside hand”, nor an intelligent design.
Now of course there is an apparent randomness in many things that we experience, such as the rolling of the dice, or the amount of rainfall we get in a given year, or the test scores of university students plotted on a curve. But within all of this randomness is also a pattern, and a set of limits. Evolutionary theory is beginning to recognize this and acknowledge this, but still relies on an inherent randomness for the basics of evolving from “goo to you” or from “mud to man”.
“It also confuses a unified model like creationism with a unified theorylike evolutionary theory. Ironically, the definition Dr. Wise uses to explain the "unifying power" of Young Earth Creation (details might be weak or changeable but the whole is persuasive) is actually the definition of "explanatory impotence" “
Here Norman you make a partially valid point that models are a bit different than theory and that explanatory impotence often weakens the theory, However, this has happened often with evolutionary theory as well. The solution for evolutionists is to adapt or change or modify the theory. This is understandable, because otherwise the theory would fail. (For example, evolutionary theory predicted that the ancient coelanth fish was extinct, when it isn’t extinct.) But this should also be permissable for the YEC models or the underlying theory. Models of all types are constantly being adjusted and revised, just as much as any theories. Models are just the workings out and details of various theories. For example, there are many global climate change models which have different outcomes for temperature and precipitation, even though most are generally all based on the general theory or assumption that global climate is becoming generally warmer due to human influence. We can debate the semantics of whether the global climate theory is based on the models, or whether the models are an outcome of the theory. Debating this is a sidebar and a distraction to the main issue however, of whether alternate or opposing theories have validity.
The evolutionary theory and accompanying model makes a lot of assumptions about cause and effect, and also about whether certain events are only and solely explainable by the evolutionary theory. Creationists are attempting to test whether these assumptions are true, and whether there are other alternate mechanisms for causing these events and artifacts.
I would disagree however, that models are not falsifiable. A model that inputs incorrect data usually puts out a false outcome. A model that ignores major necessary inputs also will put out a false outcome. Some global circulation models for example suggest that climate change will result in 40% more rainfall in Ghana in the future, while others suggest that the outcome will be 65% less rainfall in the future. If you argue that both are correct and neither one is false, nor falsifiable, then I would disagree. In addition, models that do not reasonably accurately “predict” past events are also falsifiable. This means they need to be changed to be useful or true. Thus I have shown your statement about models to be false.
A scientific theory must not necessarily be based on investigation, measurement and experimentation, for it to be presented or postulated, although usually they are. The meaning of “theory” in a scientific context has been revised to mean something entirely different than its basic meaning. The scientific world does not like the fact that theory can be taken to mean something that has no validity, so they have adjusted the meaning of the word. In some ways this is understandable and okay. But the reality is that theories are formulated before they are proven, and then tested and adjusted. For example, original theories of geocentrism have been discarded for the theory or conclusion of heliocentrism. Presently, scientists are reluctant to publicly postulate or describe theories that they have not tested or verified to their confidence level. And grand theories, such as relativity, gravity, and evolution, are generally assumed to have gone beyond mere theory to a set of accepted laws.
But, an initial theory can be based on some primary observations along with accompanying assumptions. Measurement and experimentation then comes after the postulation of the theory, as well as revising and adjusting the theory. A theory provides a context for a hypothesis or several hyptheses to be tested. Sometimes it is easily verified; other times it is difficult to test or prove, or perhaps even impossible to prove. Testing the theory of gravity or magnetism is relatively easy to test; testing the theory of ground cover reducing soil erosion thru the hypothesis of “If a soil is bare it should exhibit more soil loss than if it is growing a crop” is fairly easy; testing the theory of the existence of aliens in outer space is not so easy. But regardless, the theory generally precedes experimentation. So I have shown this your statement also to be false. (In spite of wikipedia…).
“…she appearsto grant YEC equal legitimacy with evolution and yet a sort of immunity to criticism that no creationist would permit for evolutionary science.” Well yes, an element of partial truth in this. But she obviously thinks YEC more legitimate than evolution, so not equal legitimacy. And whether she grants an immunity to criticism is somewhat irrelevant, isn’t it? After all, it won’t stop the criticism. Many evolutionists have also done the same, you know, in accepting evolution religiously. That’s why rather than discarding the theory, they simply adjust and revise in order to maintain their basic principles of common ancestry, undirected change through mostly random mutations selected in adaptations by natural selection over time. Its quite amazing that they have been able to continue to revise and adjust so successfully to retain credibility for the basic theory principles.
Your quoting Todd Wood is interesting, but you must be aware that other creationists would disagree with some of his statements, even while understanding why he makes them. You see, while the evolutionary theory has been motivational and contextual for many scientific experiments and conclusions, the assumption is usually that only the evolutionary theory could provide that context. Yet, there are many scientific discoveries, including in medicine, that do not require evolutionary theory as a foundation or assumption. Even Todd agrees that while the evolutionary theory seems to provide a rational context for many scientific conclusions, he points out that he does not necessarily agree that it provides the only context or the only framework, and thus he disagrees with a common ancestry, in spite of most evolutionists believing firmly in it.
I think Todd Wood’s request for five low level theories within the grand theory of creation is appreciated. I think parts of them exist, but they could be formulated and stated more clearly and precisely.
I find your last two paragraphs to be confusing…. I don’t think Helder is dishonest at all. She believes the evidence she has seen and heard of definitely deposes evolutionary theory, although evolution theory is constantly adjusting and revising (as many valid theories often do). Whether she is mistaken or not, she is definitely not being dishonest. But you can’t survive on simply attacking someone else; you must in the end have a better alternative. Part of that is simply faith, of course, but part of it also, is substantiated by a different interpretation of the evidence; this is what she is stressing.
Ian Juby has put together some videos called “Persuaded by the evidence”, a conversation with five different individuals of scientific credentials and background. These individuals had formerly believed and assumed that the theory of evolution explained everything, and then come to a realization that it didn’t. This realization came to them after an examination and consideration of various parts of the theory. You can see these videos for free on youtube.
Personally, I don’t think the cambrian explosion is fatal to the evolutionary theory, because in some ways the evolutionary theory is like the theory of aliens. There will be and probably has been some explanation provided as to why the cambrian explosion took place; however this will probably require some kind of unusual event to have occurred. The unusual event is necessitated by the cambrian explosion itself, and thus will be proved by the cambrian explosion. Great huh? But of course, this explanation will demonstrate that unusual events are common? Or how do we know they did not happen more often?
Nevertheless, the cambrian explosion is not predicted by the bare evolutionary theory. It needs an adjustment in circumstance or environment to explain it; and that adjustment seems to remain to be hypothetical and speculative, ie; a sudden increase in oxygen?, a sudden increase in radiation?, etc. The YEC theory already has a number of “unusual” circumstances within it. Could it fit the evidence of these fossils?
Looking forward to your explanation of the cambrian explosion.
Norman, I appreciate most of your comments, even when I disagree. But I would prefer if you didn't start to get personal about my supposed arrogance, or defensiveness or being hard of hearing. All of those things may be true, as I am indeed an imperfect human being. But they are quite irrelevant to the points we are discussing. The reason I gave you a failing mark on your one statement is simply because you asserted something which was obviously not true. This would be obvious to anyone, that you had not "shown" (demonstrated) something when you claimed you had. This has nothing to do with your personality or mine, nor with my arrogance or lack of it. However, I apologize for "giving you a mark" at all; it was not something that I needed to mention.
Norman, this particular youtube is also very relevant to this discussion, as it shows how some "proof" for evolution is simply false, as well as relates to the reaction of christian students to the teachings of evolution.
Another youtube which demonstrates in support of Helder's statement that evolution does not explain everything. In this youtube it actually shows how evolutionary theory has hindered scientific pursuit by making the wrong assumptions.
I'm only doing this once. I do not want to get distracted from my intention which is to demonstrate, from a layman's point of view, how Helder is doing a disservice to the understanding of science and why many are abandoning the faith because they don't want to be associated with YEC "science" or American -styled fundamentalism (contra Zylstra who is convinced that it's evolution and folks like Dawkins who are making unbelievers of us).
Because it seems this matters a lot to you, I will clarify what I meant by writing that Helder misrepresented established science and evolutionary theory. The context of my conclusion was Helder's condemnation of the Royal Tyrrell Museum's sign, remember? The museum had the audacity to quote Job 12:8, making it appear that both the Bible and nature teach evolution. Helder had every right to say that the museum abused the Scriptures by taking one line from Job while leaving out the completing thought made in that passage. It was a clever misrepresentation and I'm glad the museum took it down.
I simply pointed out that what’s good for the goose is what’s good for the gander. If the museum was wrong for taking a little snippet out of the Bible and making it seem to support evolutionary theory, then Helder is even more wrong – hypocritical, in fact -- to go on and summarize evolutionary theory as time and chance and “random processes”. It’s why I hauled out the memory of Charles Darwin whose main contribution to evolutionary theory wasn’t a theory of time or a theory of randomness but his break-through idea of natural selection. That idea is alive and well-evidenced in the museum and at the heart of the scientific enterprise. By leaving this critical piece out of her initial descriptions of evolution, like the museum did of Job, she not only misrepresents evolution but proves herself hypocritical.
Hope you get it now. Don’t fall on your sword too soon. I have more to say that might interest you in the following installments.
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.
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?
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. http://www.icr.org/article/3132/ ). 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.
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.
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, Wazooloo.com, or GenesisWeek.com. 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.
"....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
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 (http://www.research.ucla.edu/chal/99/highlights/article05.htm) to S. Conway Morris (http://www.pnas.org/content/97/9/4426.full.pdf) 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.
“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.
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.
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?
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?
thank you, Wendy!
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
I appreciate your comments, Norman.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. youtube.com watch?v=UB0cjZMVjOo&list=UU23yiJV4Bkagj5dkH-UyHFA&index=1&feature=plcp
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:
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.
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.
That site is a good summary, Norm. The comments are also interesting.
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."
"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.
((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.. ))
my last post is actually a repost to which John has replied in his last post.
Another interesting video by Ian Juby on the impact of the flood on demise of dinosaurs, showing that other theories are scientifically inconsistent. christianima.com/wazooloo/
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