Fraud In Science? Are Some Young Earth Proponents Being Disingenuous?

"It contains a misleading impression, not a lie. It was being economical with the truth." Robert Armstrong


Pandora's Cluster-NASA

Today TWW hits the road to meet with a former member of Sovereign Grace Ministries. This discussion, along with others, will result in some posts in the near future. We would ask our readers to pray for those children, individuals and families who were deeply wounded by their experiences in this organization. Please read their various stories which you can link to at the top of our home page. As things heat up in 2013, a working knowledge of these heart-wrenching stories will help you to keep up with the developing lawsuit. We predict that this story may be the biggest religious story, both nationally and internationally, in next year.

We will be gone for the entire day and will be not be able to interact on the blog in any significant way until this evening.

As our regular readers know, Dee likes to explore the creationism wars. The following post was written by John Jarvis who previously wrote a TWW post on creationism, A Tip of the Hat to a Young Earth Scientist and the Biologos President link. John is a TWW reader and describes himself as :

Old John J, now retired, received at Ph.D. in experimental physics from Duke in 1967 and made computer science his career."

This post explores the claims, by some, that there is widespread fraud in the science world. Then, Dr Jarvis turns his attention to the Young Earth community and explores the possibility of fraud there, as well. The discussion becomes technical when he reviews radiometric dating. But, the information provided is essential for even a rudimentary understanding of the debate. Besides, we are convinced that the TWW community is amongst the most well read in the Christian blogosphere. The time spent in understanding this information will be well worth the effort.

TWW is grateful that "Old John J" would grace our pages with a post, once again. Thank you!


Exposure of fraud by, and in, the scientific community

Answers in Genesis uses scientific fraud as an argument supporting their young earth creation (YEC) claims. Try entering the word "fraud" in their site search! Of course fraud is possible in science as there is great pressure on researchers to publish. Career advancement and research supporting grants depend on getting research results published. In this post fraud in the hard sciences (physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology) is the focus.

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications” indicates 2047 biomedical and life sciences papers indexed by PubMed had been retracted. Approximately 2/3 of the retractions were due to misconduct: fraud, plagiarism,,duplicate publication. The full article is behind a paywall but the abstract  link can be read.

PubMed is an indexing service provided by the NIH containing approximately 22,000,000 citations. Thus the retraction rate is about 1 out of every 10700 indexed articles. Science comments on this study in the Oct 5, 2011 issue indicating they had the most retractions, 70 in the past 40 years. An online version of the Science article link study that also includes a link to the PNAS article abstract. Retractions can be instigated by either the journal or the article authors.

A spectacular example of fraud in the hard sciences is the Jan Hendrik Schon affair link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hendrik_Schoen , more thoroughly documented in the book Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World, Eugenie Samuel Reich, Macmillan 2009, ISBN 978-0-230-62384-2.

Reproducibility is the key

Very briefly, spectacular breakthroughs claimed in the field of semiconductor sciences were ultimately shown to be fraudulent. Lack of reproducibility of published results was a major part of uncovering this fraud. The Wikipedia article indicates that this affair lead to retraction of 8 articles published in SCIENCE and many others in first rank journals, revocation of a major award and also revocation of his doctorate. The sanctions received by Schon amount to a professional death sentence.

Fraud in science is costly to both the guilty individual and the discipline as a whole.  Lack of reproducibility is a major part of the
self policing done by science. Reproducing results occurs naturally and proportionally to the importance of the claimed result and is inherent in the hard sciences. However, unnecessary replication forced by charges of fraud is expensive and often time consuming as it entails repeating much of the original research in a lab not involved in the published research. The difficulty of establishing fraud in “soft” sciences based on “finds” is the theme of Paul Maier's novel A Skeleton in God's Closet. (editor's note: TWW reviewed this great book here.)

Could there be a similar propensity to mislead in the Young Earth community?

The second example of fraud comes from the Answers in Genesis  (AIG) website, specifically the article Does Radiometric Dating Prove the Earth Is Old? link (DRDP)  that purports to show that radiometric dating does not support the conventionally claimed age of the Earth as approximately 4.5 billion years.

Radiometric dating is firmly established as a reliable method of determining the age of many different kinds of minerals and clearly can
be considered a part of the hard sciences. An excellent introductory discussion of the technique including refutation of many of the
criticisms brought by YEC supporters is Radiometric Dating, A Christian Perspective link The ASA, American Scientific Affiliation, is an organization of professional scientists who are Christians.

The basic assumptions made to use this method are uniformity of the properties of each isotope (nuclei that have the same number of protons and same number of neutrons) and the long term constancy of these properties. That here is half life for a quantity of a particular radioactive isotope is a consequence of the basic assumptions and is measured. An alternate statement of these assumptions is that each atom of a particular radioactive isotope has the same probability of decaying in a specified interval of time. This latter statement is sufficient to allow the derivation of the decay equation used to calculate the age of a sample from a knowledge of the quantities of parent and daughter nuclides found in a rock sample. These assumptions can be considered as consequences of quantum mechanics. Obviously, great experimental care has to be employed because of the complexity and variety of materials that can be dated. A significant real world complication is the presence of daughter isotopes that are
not due to the decay of the parent.

The cited AIG web page, DRDP, draws heavily on the Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth  (RATE) project supported by the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society. This project is the centerpiece of the YEC arguments challenging the 4.5 billion year estimate of the Earth's age. DRDP quotes age determinations using 4 different radiometric methods for two US sites made on samples collected by the RATE project. An un-cited age from the literature is also given for each location and is labeled the “accepted” value. The claim made is that the differences between the various ages for each location are so large that no value can be attached to them. They are “discordant”. No explanation, discussion or definition of exactly what discordance is or what would constitute good agreement is given.

For the Beartooth Mountain, Wyoming samples 7 ages are given in addition to the “accepted” age value of 2790 million years. The most obvious comparison to make is between the average of the RATE determined ages, 2378 million years, to the accepted value yielding a difference of 412 million years or about 17% lower. The simplest way to evaluate this difference is by comparison to the standard deviation for the measurements, an accepted way of characterizing the scatter or range of values in a sample. For the RATE data the standard deviation is 470 million years. The difference between the RATE and accepted age estimates is less than 1 standard deviation of the RATE ages. This is actually good agreement.

The other set of RATE data is from the Bass Rapids Sill formation in the Grand Canyon and the presumably referenced conference paper, DRDP reference 8, is available from AIG: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v5/n1/radioisotopes-in-diabase-sill-at-bassrapids  (RDSB). Ten ages are given, each appearing to be an average of several values, using 4 different radioisotope series computed with an isocron dating method, a technique used to correct for the presence of nonradiogenic daughter isotopes. The average age of the 10 values is 1166 million years and the ages have a standard deviation of 181 million years. Compare the RATE data mean to the accepted age of 1075 million years. The difference is 91 million years, about half of the Bass Rapids samples standard deviation, with the RATE data about 8% higher than the accepted value.

Again, this is good agreement given the standard deviation of the RATE age determinations. The age determinations for the two geological sites appear, to this non geologist, competently done and sufficiently close to other age determinations for the same sites that the given ages are not a basis for a charge of fraud. A curious omission from RDSB are the radioisotope half-life values used in computing the ages from the measured quantities. For my checking I've used the half-life values from Wiens.

RDSB, echoed by DRDP, actually present radiometric age data that support the consensus scientific age of the Earth. The standard deviations (often referred to as sigma) are in the 10% range, not the factor of almost a million that would bring radiometric ages into agreement with YEC claims. The two AIG web pages then present “conclusions” arguing without any recourse to additional experimental data that the radiometric dating methods are flawed and contain unrecognized, by the science community, flaws. Unlike the age determinations where much data and comprehensive charts are given there is absolutely no quantitative information stated to justify these conclusions. This, in my opinion, is the fraud in YEC age of the Earth claims. The lack of relevance between of the age determinations presented to the conclusions put forth is the biggest reason why such a paper (RDSB) cannot be a scientific paper.

Another favorite contention of YEC is the Noachian Flood as cause of major geological features of the Earth such as the Grand Canyon. There is delicious irony in RDSB showing an ancient age for the Grand Canyon rocks. YEC claims are not even internally consistent let alone consistent with either their own or accepted science.The ASA provides extensive analysis and discussion of the RATE project starting at the overview page link.

For YEC supporters to sustain their claim of a young Earth (6000-10000) years there are just two options. The first is to invalidate by accepted scientific methods a sufficient number of published age determinations that the experimental methods used are called into question. The second is to show from fundamental physics that the dating methods are theoretically flawed. To be considered valid any such claims would have to be accepted by the scientific community, that is published in recognized journals. But what we have in the two articles, DRDP and RDSB, is data that is a general confirmation of the science based ages followed by claims that have no basis in either the data presented or the physical processes claimed.

The PubMed retraction study and the Schoen affair mentioned in the first example of fraud demonstrate effective self policing by the science community of its standards for accuracy, correctness and intellectual honesty. What, if any, are the accuracy, correctness and intellectual honesty standards for YEC science claims and is there any enforcement of them?

Exodus 20:16 is the ninth of the Ten Commandments. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to explain why purposeful fraud in the YEC presentation of their version of science is not bearing false witness.

Lydia's Corner: Leviticus 24:1-25:46 Mark 10:13-31 Psalm 44:9-26 Proverbs 10:20-21

Comments

Fraud In Science? Are Some Young Earth Proponents Being Disingenuous? — 465 Comments

  1. I agree with what you said in a previous article Dee. Ken Ham is in it simply to make money (lots of it!) off of gullible Christians.

  2. I was looking at a “science” book for elementary and middle school students at a thrift store yesterday. I was a bit suspicious because it appeared to be from a Christian publisher. (Isn’t that sad that I have to be suspicious of it?) Much of the book looked interesting. Unfortunately, once I saw that it promoted a YEC view I had to put it back.

    The author stated that the continents would erode away in 15 million years, so the earth must be younger than that. One of his other pieces of “evidence” for a young earth was that evolutionists “want” (because they “need”) the earth to be old. What horrible reasoning!

  3. As I understand it, Piper, Driscoll, and Keller are all Old Earth.

    And RC Sproul is in the “I don’t know” camp (though he does believe in a literal 7 days whenever it *did* happen).

  4. http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/do-you-accept-old-earth-and-evolution

    Jeff, Notice how he couches it and how it is presented ‘Old Earth’ and “Evolution”. See, If Adam is not the “Federal Head” Piper’s Calvinism collapses. All Calvinism collapses without Adam as “Federal Head” and the concept of imputed guilt.

    And notice he has 2 views both young and old. And he “leans” one way.

    This is typical Piper. More confusion.

  5. Gavin, I get a kick out of you. Your link has the author starting out with what Calvin says about it. :o)

  6. Adam is the federal head of the human race, regardless of whether TE, OEC, or YEC are true (I lean OEC, but am not anti-TE).

    Dr. Gentry quotes Calvin because it will carry authority with his readers, but as was shown by quotes of Calvin here at TWW, Calvin was also a geocentrist.

  7. When you read Calvin on Genesis, you release he has quote an open mind on the subject.

    Nicholas, you mean the earth isn’t the centre of God’s universe?

    Regards
    Gavin

  8. I was looking at a “science” book for elementary and middle school students at a thrift store yesterday. I was a bit suspicious because it appeared to be from a Christian publisher. (Isn’t that sad that I have to be suspicious of it?) — HoppyTheToad

    I’ve learned that if it’s from a Christian(TM) publisher, you’d better be suspicious of it. Lots of crap out there, far more than Sturgeon’s Rule would predict.

    And Evolution is right up there with Homosexuality as the Bright Red Murder Flag for Real True Christians.

    Gavin, I get a kick out of you. Your link has the author starting out with what Calvin says about it. — Anon1

    Don’t you know Calvin is the Fourth Person of the Trinity, and Can Do No Wrong?

  9. I have probably shared this before, but I think it adds to this discussion. A video on what constitutes scientific “peer review”, how the process works and where creationists fit.

    http://bit.ly/U8r2CW

  10. Listen, this is such a huge problem in homeschooling circles. My husband is TE and I am OEC leaning TE, but I think we hold a minority view, though I have (happily) recently found a few others willing to come out of the closet :) Where this really becomes a pain is in finding curricula that supports our understanding, or at least, doesn’t actively try to undermine it by resorting to bad science and ad hominem attacks. For high school biology we used a secular program (unfortunately very dry and text-bookish, which wouldn’t have been our choice) — we’re still looking for good physics and chemistry programs because, although these might seem not to touch on the YEC issues so much, we don’t want to support any publishers who are pushing YEC views in their other materials.

    I know you have written on this before, but the homeschooling movement has been highjacked by YEC promoters. They are headliners at most of the major conferences and their materials are prominently featured in homeschool catalogs while other views are omitted. Thankfully I think we are beginning to see a little pushback. More would be welcome, from my perspective. We have not attended a major regional conference for the past 9 years as I know exactly what we would get :). We did attend a conference last summer, dedicated to a particular educational philosophy (Charlotte Mason), and darned if within the first couple of days we had a conversation with a speaker in which he first demanded to know our views on the age and the earth and then roundly condemned them. Fun!

    I am sure that YEC views are fear-based. That if they are forced to concede on the days of Genesis, then the authority of Scripture and the atonement will all come tumbling down like a house of cards. I wish for their sakes that they could consider alternative (and better) interpretations….

  11. Eagle,
    I wasn’t trying to hurt any brains. The hard sciences are quantitative and those writing about them are expected to use proper quantitative terminology, starting with basic statistics. Using the term “discordant” as was done in the two AIG papers without defining it is analagous to using “complimentarianism” without suitable definition in a theological discussion. Plenty of TWW comments have been made concerning such use of the latter term. Of course if you are simply trying to impress the ignorant undefined terms can be used anyway you want. Sadly, I think there is much more opportunity for such subterfuge in the theological community than the sciences.

  12. oldJohnJ

    I agree. This is especially true when discussing evolution. The term evolution itself is frequently misused or is understood by the author to mean something other than its scientific definition, as are terms like “speciation”, “species”, “kind”, etc.

  13. “Jeff and other’s remember when it comes to John Piper he has other fish to fry such as Rob Bell.”

    Yes, my point was just that there are different sacred cows, which is interesting in and of itself.

  14. HippiMama,

    On my favorite homeschooling forum, one of the moms is a physics professor. She says that intro textbooks for non-science majors are superior to high school textbooks on the same subject. So her kids do an intro physics text for non-science majors as their high school science.

    Plus, you can often buy an older edition used online very cheaply. Once edition 12 comes out, the 11th edition may sell for only $5-10.

  15. I would agree that “evolution” is one of the most abused and misunderstood words on the planet, both by its detractors and its (supposed) friends. What people mean in popular parlance is actually something like “progression” in a very vague and optimistic (and pseudoscientific) sense, or Social Darwinism, which is something else altogether. Evolution properly understand is simply “descent with modifications caused by mutations” (someone please correct me or improve on my wording!).

  16. Nicholas is right, the astronomical debate was still not concluded in Calvin’s day re the position of the earth. However astronomy was by not means as primitive as pop-atheists like to make it. C S Lewis once pointed out that one of the fathers of astronomy (Ptolemy, I think) wrote that the distances between heavenly bodies was so great that the earth should be represented by a mere point. Hardly the “poky little universe” of Richard Dawkins.

    BTW I don’t know if everyone saw that famous British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore died yesterday. Don’t know if people abroad had heard of him, but his astronomy TV programme was I think the longest-running TV series in the world.

  17. I have no problem with creation as presented in scripture.The problem I have with young earth creation is how it is taught.The math used to prove our world is 6000 years old is of the mark.The math that is used by yec is based on our modern Gregorian calender was layed out by the Roman Catholic church to incorporate their church calender (365 days).The Jews of ancient Israel had a calender based on the agricultural seasons and the lunar year.The scholars are not even sure how long the year was.How old is the earth?The yec and the evolutionist don’t really know,just a lot of speculation taught as fact.
    Dee an Deb have a wonderfull Christmas season.

  18. Going back to Calvin, I have been rereading my Lion Concise Handbook of Christian thought. Whatever one thinks of Calvin, it seems to me now that a lot of the things which he was blamed for were actually the contributions of his followers. Lane points out for example in the Handbook that the Westminister Confession makes predestination more central than Calvin did, and likewise that Calvin himself does not appear to teach the doctrine of limited atonement. Similarly the position of some of the Puritans on assurance was different to that of both Calvin and Luther.

  19. Nicholas
    I was joking about the universe, having watched the Sky at Night from its beginning in 1957.

    Regards
    Gavin

  20. Koyla,

    Best succinct and accurate definition I have come across is this:

    Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in the frequency of alleles in the gene pool of a population over time.

  21. FWIW, the 5 points in Calvinism were post Calvin and a response to the 5 points of Arminianism. I’m pretty sure that Limited Atonement was a response to “Universal Atonement” and Calvinists inferred he would have believed it.

    I have no source to back this up, but that’s what how I was taught the 5 points came about.

  22. Dear Jeff S
    The five points were the summation of the conclusions of the Synod of Dordrecht.

    Gavin

  23. Has anyone else noticed that the national flags after our names are now reversed. I’m now a Brit and Gavin and Kolya are Yanks. Is it appearing this way for anyone else?

  24. your flag is USA when I look at it…I don’t even get a flag .. must be that atheists aren’t entitled :)

  25. Then it must be the IP address that I’m using that’s causing it to appear differently for me. I’m certainly in the US. It is probably your IP address as well that causes you not to have a flag.

  26. Then it must be the IP address that I’m using that’s causing it to appear differently for me. I’m certainly in the US. It is probably your IP address that causes you not to have a flag.

  27. I live in Maryland, but south of the Mason-Dixon line. Quite a few people that like to fly the Stars and Bars around here. :)

  28. Nicholas, you’re appearing as a US citizen from here :-)

    To complicate matters, I believe that at the Synod of Dort the Arminians denied that the 5 points being refuted were their own! In any case I believe Arminius was questioning not God’s grace or the need for it as such but rather whether it was irresistible, and the nature of predestination.

    Fendrel, I think that is a very good definition of evolution.

  29. Nicholas – Are you down in southern MD?

    As for the Mason-Dixon Line, well of course you’re south of it, since it forms the border between PA and MD. (I’m in PA.)

  30. RE: Hippimama on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM,

    So what do you do with someone who rejects TE, leans toward special creation [but no friend of Ken Ham], and who at the same time denies the doctrine of original sin and atonement as monstrous and more in line with chemosh & molech than the God of Jacob?

  31. Nicholas – Yeah, I hear you… I used to live in the metro D.C. area and know that there are Lost Cause proponents all over the place… just thought you might be a bit further south.

    (In NoVA, you don’t see anything like the enthusiasm for the Confederacy that many other Virginians hold dear. It’s not exactly Richmond, though there certainly are undertones of pro-Secession sentiment.)

  32. I’ve just watched a TV programme where all Scots tobacco owners were driven out of Virginia in 1776? Was this a state health program or something more sinister?

    Gavin

  33. Great post. I’ve heard the YEC claims about radiometric dating before but hadn’t read the specifics (I’d much prefer to bash my head against a brick wall!) so wasn’t aware just how minimal in relative terms the actual dating differences were. The fact that the YEC crowd happily swallows this I think points out just how problematic poor science and mathematics education is – and doubly so if all science taught is filtered through very narrow assumptions about the world and everything that doesn’t fit is discarded.

  34. Hi all

    Deb and I have returned from a day that combined the joy of fellowship with a new friend and the deep sadness of understanding just how serious the issues are in regards to those abused while in SGM. Even worse, is further revelation of the depths of pain suffered by victims. Shame on the many leaders who are turning a blind eye to this. Day 46! More to follow in the weeks ahead.

  35. Thanks Pam,
    I suspect the YEC folks feel they can say anything they want and won’t be held accountable. This is especially likely given, as you mentioned, the state of our public schools. Prior to writing the article I had not given a careful reading of the RATE writings. I was quite surprised to see the ages given by RATE were so close to the accepted dates.

  36. Evolution is defined as descent with modifications.
    It is the result of natural selection and can only happen when there is heterozygocity in the genetic make up of a population. (heterzygocity is having two different versions (alleles) of a gene.)

    A couple of thoughts….

    Evolution does not explain how life got started but merely explains the process by which species emerge from earlier species. This happens by the process of natural selection.

    Evolution is continuing to happen and the changes that result in separate speciation have happened fairly recently.

    Another tidbit, different theories of evolution have existed back to the time of the Greek philosophers. Darwin did not invent evolution but he contributed two great ideas namely that of natural selection and common ancestry of living things.
    I’m glad some wise person here (forgot who) noted that the so called discrepancy is well within the standard deviatiion of the data. Generally, the more recent the age of the fossil or other object the radioisotope has a shorter half-life. Radio carbon, for example, can only date something up to, I believe, 60,000 years then a physicist will go on to another (forget but could find out) radio isotope with a longer half life but less accurate dating, this makes sense.

  37. I don’t defend the arrogancy or “you’re not a believer if you don’t agree with me” mentality, but I respect the creationists’ attempt to take the Bible literally in respect that people are made in the image of God, and NOT a result of lower forms of life gradually ascending to become human. The New Testament refers to Adam, and Noah, and the entire Bible says that humans have a soul, can sin against and be redeemed by God, and are the highest order of creation. Genesis states that death entered the world AFTER sin, and that God made the creation “very good.” You don’t have to agree with all aspects of “yec”, but if you DON”T you will also have painted yourself into a theological corner. This is not a “cut and dry” issue, in my opinion. I respect believers who disagree with me, and will not challenge the sincerity of their faith.

  38. The thing I don’t get is those who have worked out a way to accept death per fall theologically (which includes Keller, Piper, and Driscoll, I believe) but won’t endorse evolution. I mean, that’s pretty much THE theological issue with evolution, right? If you are going to accept death pre-fall, why not just bite off the whole enchilada?

    It’s a tough theological nut to crack, no doubt, but the more evidence there is, the more I think we have to challenge our theological system.

    (I have no real stance on this issue except that I do believe in a literal Adam and Eve and that humans are a special creation).

  39. I read the link Gavin posted. It seems that the “proof” of YEC is determining what the proper interpretation of the Hebrew is. I’m sorry, but is this a debate on science or on biblical inerrancy? I’m not sure how showing that, yes, indeed Moses meant “day”, as in 24 hours, proves that YEC is more empirically valid. My guess is that in accordance with good neo-Cal custom, we all HAVE to start with an assumed premise that THEY define: the Bible is inerrant, so if Moses said “day” then it’s a day.

    Well, why have a debate? By definition science is automatically false in light of biblical infallibility. No need to disprove it. The math can add up from now until the cows come home, it won’t change the fact that OPINION on what the bible is “infallibly” declaring trumps scientific experimental truth.

    In other words, reformed philosophers are always right and the whole rest of world is wrong on any subject. Period. Ironically, for their gnostic claim of biblical infallibility in such matters, the bible itself is irrelevant because they are the ones that tell us all what the bible MEANS. What it says is never, ever the point. If they decide tomorrow that the genesis account is metaphorical, well guess what the infallible bible will declare tomorrow? It’s metaphorical. Guess what the original Hebrew will “prove”? You get the idea.

    BTW, the author also quotes Robert Dabney in Gavin’s link. You know what else Dabney thought the bible “proved”? That it was just fine for white folk to own black folk.

  40. Jeff, old earth creationists believe that the Fall brought death to humanity, not to other life forms.

  41. The Bible is most certainly infallible.

    Argo, did you know that B.B. Warfield came up with the term inerrancy, but that he believed in evolution?

  42. @ Hippimama & Hoppy:

    You’re right that it is majorly verboten to say out loud that you’re OEC or TE in the homeschool community…though sadly I’m not sure I can agree that it was “hijacked” by the YEC. Seems to me that the YECs were in charge from the beginning. (I’m only talking about the self-consciously Christian homeschool community that started in the early 80s.)

    Though on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t open this can of worms… I always end up offending someone whenever I do. : (

  43. @ Jeff:

    The only remaining theological question I have about animal death pre-Fall is what the “creation groaning under the curse” verse means in light of an old earth.

  44. I’m only talking about the self-consciously Christian homeschool community that started in the early 80s.

    ikwym, while at the same time, I know people who were part (to some degree) of the “self-consciously xtian homeschooling” crew who aren’t at all like the people you’re referring to. (Lord knows, i sued to know some of them too.)

    Must admit that when people have a knee-jerk reaction to the word “homeschooling,” I get defensive, as I’ve known more than a few people who homeschooled their kids who aren’t xtian, and (as stated above) some who are, and *none* of their kids ended up going to a place like Patrick Henry.

    then again, I’ve had some exchanges with people who’ve come out of Patrick Henry, and those weren’t exactly the pleasantest conversations…

  45. Hester – I thought it was “bondage to decay,” not “curse”?

    though maybe I’m misunderstanding; are you referring to Genesis or romas 8, or both, or neither? [confused face goes here]

  46. OK, and… I do not think animals are “lower” forms of life, just “different.”

    I also – and this is just me, and all anecdotal/based on nothing in the Bible that I could point to – think that animals have souls.

    But that’s one of those *very* secondary beliefs, imo. for me, it’s based on observing animal intelligence and behavior and also from mounting evidence (scientific) that many animals can and do communicate in complex non-verbal ways… even in ways that we might consider “veral.”

    Temple Grandin fan girl here!

  47. Hi justabeliever,

    So…maybe I am crazy, and I don’t think this will solve any theological problems necessarily- not for people who are afraid that the whole Bible is undermined if they can’t take it literally. But, when I read Genesis, I don’t actually see it stating anywhere that Adam and Eve are immortal to begin with. God tells Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge because “on the day that you eat of it you shall die.” So God says, “on THAT day you will die”; not “now you are immortal and then you won’t be.” The tree of life would allow Adam to live forever, but it doesn’t seem to be stated whether Adam and Eve have eaten from that. In fact, they are evicted from the garden so that they won’t eat from it- so that they cannot both know good and evil and be immortal.

    The curse makes life a lot harder, but I really can’t see how it brings death per se into the world. I know that it’s said that way in the New Testament sometimes, but also in the NT, death and the fear of death are often used kind of interchangeably.

    Anyway, even if I’m just being dense about the wording vis-a-vis death, before Adam and Eve sinned, they were obviously capable of sinning, and they obviously couldn’t resist whatsoever. I don’t see why their story doesn’t just show the innate human condition- capable of sinning, incapable of resisting it on their own, destined to die, saved by Christ. I don’t see at all why it is “literally” necessary for Adam and Eve to have “literally” existed (let alone 6000 yrs ago) for Jesus to do what he was meant to do. We can see for ourselves the human condition and the necessity of Christ. Do we really need to set up fantasies of a young earth when the obviousness of human suffering and sin is all around us anyway?

  48. Nicholas,

    I don’t believe in biblical infallibility because this idea removes the Holy Spirit as the plumb line for truth. If the bible is infallible, man must conform to it, which is impossible, because biblical revelation can only ever be applied in the specific context of an individual. If not, then a person’s context is irrelevant. Which means the person is irrelevant. In other words, if the bible is infallible, then man is unnecessary. Man can only ever hinder the bible, he can never live it or conform to it because, by definition the fallible cannot apply the infallible. So bible can only be for God, not for man. Because only God can ever apply the infallible. Except, he’s God, so He doesn’t need the bible. Which makes an infallible bible also a redundant bible. Which is an impossible contradiction.

    Welcome to the metaphysics of the neo reformed movement.

    But the main issue is that the argument of infallibility is really a red herring. It can only ever confuse issues. Infallibility is pointless because the bible must be interpreted. And only God can interpret it so that the metaphysics and morality are both consistent and consistently REALIZED within the individual lives and situations of every person on earth. And if we admit that the Holy Spirit is the only One who can possibly do that, then we agree that it must be the Holy Spirit who is INFALLIBLE in truth, not the bible.

    Both evolutionists and non evolutionists believe the bible is infallible. So, uh…who is right? And why is there a debate? Surely an infallible bible wouldn’t make the mistake of being unclear on the origins of man, would it? Surely a truly infallible bible would not lack clear truth on ANY issue in the universe. How is infallible synonymous with incomplete?

    Please remember that “true” and “efficacious” are not the same thing as “infallible”.

  49. I am sure that YEC views are fear-based. That if they are forced to concede on the days of Genesis, then the authority of Scripture and the atonement will all come tumbling down like a house of cards. — Hippimama

    At which point, the stakes have been raised to literally Cosmic levels. Their Eternal Salvation and Hope of Heaven is completely linked to YEC being true, and with Eternal Life literally at stake they WILL fight to the death.

  50. Ann – Agreed on your take re. immortality vs. physical death in Genesis.

    I wonder when – and how – assumptions started being made re. eating of the tree of life resulting in physical death. (Augustine, or even before him, or did it come after him, or… ???)

    If the Hebrew indicates that there was no physical death prior to eating of the tree of life, that’s one thing, but I don’t know that it does… and I wonder what kind of death is meant by “You shall surely die”? Physical, or something in the mind/soul/spirit, or…?

    These days I feel like I have many more questions than answers. :)

    oh, and fwiw, the concept of “original sin” is not part of Jewish belief.

  51. Yikes!

    I meant tree of knowledge, not tree of life.

    Trying to force these passages into literal explanations of a *lot* of things just doesn’t work (I think).

  52. “Jeff, old earth creationists believe that the Fall brought death to humanity, not to other life forms.”

    Right- I’m just saying, once you’re at that point, what’s wrong with evolution?

  53. I guess there would only be a problem when it comes to man. Did man evolve too? If so, and Adam and Eve were children of hominids, were they still physically immortal before the fall? The Apostle Paul says that by one man (Adam), death was brought into the world (which I take to mean humanity). Did Adam and Eve exist at all? If not, then at what point in Genesis is the transfer from mere literature to actual history?

    These are the difficult issues, anyway, that have kept me as an old earth creationist still, though I am not anti-evolution.

  54. Thanks Dee! I’m not the only one that’s glad for TWW. It’s one of the few blogs dissenters can go to and not fear the rack or the stake.

  55. Numo, agreed. And the trees are confusing anyway. The tree of life isn’t even mentioned until they’re leaving the garden, I think. So it’s like, wait, there were TWO special trees the whole time?

  56. I think Keller is indeed a theistic evolutionist in all but name. But you see, I like Keller :)

    I’m not arguing for theistic evolution– I’m just saying once you accept death pre-fall, it’s weird to hold out at that point.

  57. Ann – yep.

    It’s the tree in the middle of the garden, per the text (knowledge). I’ve always pictured the garden as having many, many trees, so…

  58. Well, why have a debate? By definition science is automatically false in light of biblical infallibility. No need to disprove it. The math can add up from now until the cows come home, it won’t change the fact that OPINION on what the bible is “infallibly” declaring trumps scientific experimental truth.

    I think gracious people can discuss things and disagree without disrespecting each other. You’re right, Argo. There can be no intellectual discussion with people this proud and boastful. They dismiss those who don’t agree with them, and often ungraciously make belief in YEC a measure of someone’s salvation. They equate rejecting worldly science with taking a stand for the gospel. It looks like YEC is their gospel.

    I have also had difficulty finding homeschool science curricula that reflect our family’s faith in Christ and our respect for science. I gave up on catalogs and conventions long ago. Want to clear a room of homeschool parents really fast? Just mention that you don’t like AiG or Apologia.

  59. Galvin

    You link was all about biblical interpretation. This post is about AIG using poor methods (bogus?) to try and discredit the scientific method.

    I’ve always said that some people will believe in a 6 literal day creation. I think they are wrong but if you want to go with “God can do anything” then so be it.

    But I loose all respect for and call stupid those who make up science to try and prove it.

  60. @Jenny, Hippimama, Hoppy

    Any other suggestions for non-YEC science for middle/high school?
    I borrowed a science book from my sister to use, and then later realized it’s all YEC. So I can’t/won’t use it.

    I’ve used Real Science-4-kids in the past with my 6th grader b/c it presents all sides of the debate. I liked that. They only have Chemistry for high school level though….

  61. Dear Argo and Lynn
    I was pointing out a problem that both sides need to resolve and that is how do you explain the timescales without compromising either the inerrancy/reliability of Scripture or of science. I’m not in any way scientifically minded but the margin for error in some of these calculations seems too large to be termed accurate. Can we not just say that God did it but we’re not sure exactly how?’
    Regards
    Gavin

  62. Gavin,
    I’m going to be honest here, but I apologise if I become blunt, that isn’t my intention. I always cringe at vague statements about what something ‘seems like’ when it comes to science. I get and support a base level of scepticism of anything you’re told as fact, that’s definitely healthy. But science isn’t about what seems right, or what ‘common sense’ tells us. (Quick aside: ‘common sense’ is one of my most hated phrases. It’s always used for arguments that are neither common nor sensible) Checking if a finding is supported by others, if it’s been replicated, is good, and is the way science progresses. Gut feelings aren’t so reliable.
    Statistical analysis isn’t my thing (that’s causing me problems right now when I’m meant to be doing analysis on my PhD data), but what the difference in those numbers in the article shows, is that while there were a range of answers, they fit within an acceptable range of variation. There are no measurements that are really far out from the others, so the results don’t support the conclusion that radiometric dating is unscientific. In fact, they tend to show the opposite.
    I know the numbers look very big (a difference of over 400 million is a big number), but it’s a big number within a really big number, and in comparison to that really big number, the variation isn’t all that significant.

  63. Dear Pam
    I understand what you’re saying. It’s just that when I think of science I think of it as being ‘exact’ and it isn’t. I just wonder how an evolutionary old earth can be reconciled with the theology. I’ve read Warfield and other reformed theologians on evolution but I’m none the wiser.

    Regards
    Gavin

  64. @ Numo:

    “Must admit that when people have a knee-jerk reaction to the word ‘homeschooling,’ I get defensive, as I’ve known more than a few people who homeschooled their kids who aren’t xtian, and (as stated above) some who are, and *none* of their kids ended up going to a place like Patrick Henry.”

    I’m hardly having a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve always been homeschooled so I’m speaking from LOTS of direct personal experience. Plus my mother frequents nationwide homeschool leadership loops/message boards so we are both exposed to conversations that homeschool leaders have among themselves. They are quite frightening in many cases. (And yes, I know that there is often a big disconnect between the leaders and the movement on the ground.)

    It’s not totally inaccurate to say that homeschooling was “hijacked” by fundy Christians (many Reconstructionist), but it was hijacked in the ’80s, not the 2000s. They dominated it for about 20 years, and their perception now is that it is being “hijacked” by unbelievers and secularists. There is a LOT of fear and insularity in the Christian homeschool community. I see it in person every day, so the things I say definitely “have a face” in my mind.

    Milton Gaither’s book “Homeschool” is excellent if you want the history of the movement from a non-homeschooler (which is where you should get your information on this topic – many homeschoolers push an agenda BIG TIME when they talk about the movement’s history). Gaither also gets into Puritan education a little in the first chapter.

  65. Gavin,
    Science is a bit like that! Variation can be accuracy, it just depends on what it is you’re looking at. In my field, flooding, this is one of the most difficult issues, because we talk about risk and probability, which is fairly accurate but inexact – as in we can model how big a ‘1 in 100 years’ flood will be, but just because it’s called ‘1 in 100′ doesn’t mean it will happen exactly once every hundred years. That’s just the probable frequency. As words on paper (or screen) that doesn’t sound too complicated, but all our experience shows that many people struggle with it in the real world.
    Another comparison: it’s summer here, but today was a fairly cool day. A couple of weeks ago we had some extremely hot days. Both were away from the average for this time of year, but were within normal range. In the same way, the dating of the rocks provided a range of results, but they were within a normally acceptable range.

  66. @ Hester
    When we began to HS in the mid 80’s…secular “unschoolers” was the norm. In fact it was hard to obtain Christian HS materials. Calvert Academy (Roman Catholic) and Rod and Staff (Mennonite) were commonly used in the “Christian ” community. Also, John Holt was an early advocate of HS….I believe he was Seventh Day Adventist.
    IMO, it was the influence of HSLDA that brought about the more radical Christian HS movement into the spotlight and eventually overtook the unschooling movement.

  67. Pam – your 4:04 AM comment is very helpful.
    Gavin – Science is not exact. A big part of any science project is understanding and characterizing the sources of measurement error. Quantum mechanics shows there are intrinsic limits to measurement accuracy. Exact is not possible even in principle.

    Specifically, for radiometric dating 1% errors would be very good. The RATE data I quoted is not that good, closer to 10% errors, but it most certainly does not call the entire radiometric dating process into question. The RATE data confirms the mainstream scientific dating indicating the Earth is about 4.5 billion years.

    Science is incomplete. However, the fact that we can have a world wide discussion over the internet is result of the same science that supports radiometric dating.

  68. Jen — I like Real Science 4 Kids too. It’s what we use also for middle school. Unfortunately the HS chemistry text is only a one semester course, so we won’t be using it. We used Singapore Biology and it was fine, but very dry and rather accelerated. We added labs from Castle Heights press and read “The Double Helix”. Singapore has texts for Physics and Chemistry, I believe.

  69. I don’t lean one way or another on this issue, but both sides, or at least portions of both sides, argue in a way that I find problematic.

    The young earthers tend to elevate the issue to a theological level of importance that is unnecessary and the old earthers elevate science in such a way that seems to ignore the fact that science corrects itself constantly, and therefore shouldn’t be the arbiter of ultimate truth. Obviously I’m generalizing, but I think if those two tendencies could be mitigated, the whole conversation about creation could be more useful.

  70. Dee,

    Refresh my memory, on what basis is it that you reject a young earth or literal Adam and Eve, but accepts other “miracles” like a virgin birth?

    Another old chestnut, with whom did Cain have children? Keeping in mind the idea of morality being absolute in mind?

  71. Here comes the atheist with his “gotcha” questions again!

    We have always believed that Cain’s wife would have been his sister. Abraham’s wife Sarah was also his half-sister. It was until Moses’ time that God forbade intermarrying with intermediate family. This is due to the degeneration of the human bloodline.

    Morality is absolute because it is decided by God. It was a sin for an Israelite in the OT to not circumcise his sons, but it is not a sin in this age for a Christian to not circumcise his sons. Same thing with the dietary law.

  72. Dear Pam and Old John J
    Thanks for taking the time to try to explain things to me but I think I may be a lost cause! :-)

    Thanks again

    Gavin

  73. Nicholas,

    I don’t know why you call them “gotcha” questions, they are legitimate questions if you want to claim that your belief system has some internal consistency to it.

    Your answer doesn’t wash, because if God’s nature is unchanging, then absolute morality must also carry with it the concept of the eternal. If an action is immoral, then if it comes from an eternal, unchanging, perfect being, then the decree must carry the same properties.

    Secondly, to declare that the reason God forbade intermarrying was because of genetic issues is to presume that your reason would have been the same as God’s reason…is there any biblical support for what you claim is God’s reason…no.

  74. Fendrel, you’re right about genetic issues being an assumption on my part and that of many Christians.

    If the Bible is taken as a consistent whole, then it reveals to us that what were once sins among God’s people (eating pork and failing to circumcise) no longer are. It is all because of God’s decree. And we see that it is not until Moses’ time that marrying into the immediate family is condemned in the Bible, when God gave the Law.

    Since God is the Creator of all things, He is the Creator of right and wrong. He can even change them, while we cannot. But He never acts contrary to His character.

    While Bible reveals that Abraham was married to his half-sister, and other patriarchs had many wives, none of these passages are prescriptive. Passages which are prescriptive to believers forbid these actions.

    It is up to you whether you find this answer personally satisfying or not. I note that in your system, there can be no consistent reason to forbid a brother from marrying his sister. The children will likely be mentally and physically handicapped, but why should that impede the parents’ happiness? Who are you to push your own personal morality on others?

  75. As a former teaching of statistics, with a background in both chemistry and radioactive waste management, as well as epistemology (how do we “know” things) let me try to explain the issue with the variability of measurements, sometimes called the “standard error of measurement” where “error” does not mean “wrong” but variability.

    To date really older items being dated by radiometric methods, the isotope being used must have a longer half-life, since essentially all of shorter half-life radiation will have occurred in that item. There is a bit a variability in every measurement that science makes. When measuring small quantities of chemical species that are radioactive, that variability, relative to the measurement value, increases as the quantity or concentration of the measured specie shrinks.

    When the half-life is short, a little variation in concentration is overwhelmed by the effect of the short half-life. When the half-life is long, e.g., hundreds of years, a tiny variation in concentration can result in a large variation in the predicted age of the item.

    Good science includes figuring out what a the variability in the measurement system means for the value being determined. Again, that is called the “standard error (variability) of the measurement”. To do that generally requires a good deal of effort, either making many measurement or doing a lot of detailed work on each step of the process, and generally both.

    Note that regardless of which estimate of the age of rocks reported by scientists is used, the earth is a very old planet and the universe is yet much older.

  76. As a former teacher of statistics, with a background in both chemistry and radioactive waste management, as well as epistemology (how do we “know” things) let me try to explain the issue with the variability of measurements, sometimes called the “standard error of measurement” where “error” does not mean “wrong” but variability.

    To date really older items being dated by radiometric methods, the isotope being used must have a longer half-life, since essentially all of shorter half-life radiation will have occurred in that item. There is a bit a variability in every measurement that science makes. When measuring small quantities of chemical species that are radioactive, that variability, relative to the measurement value, increases as the quantity or concentration of the measured specie shrinks.

    When the half-life is short, a little variation in concentration is overwhelmed by the effect of the short half-life. When the half-life is long, e.g., hundreds of years, a tiny variation in concentration can result in a large variation in the predicted age of the item.

    Good science includes figuring out what a the variability in the measurement system means for the value being determined. Again, that is called the “standard error (variability) of the measurement”. To do that generally requires a good deal of effort, either making many measurement or doing a lot of detailed work on each step of the process, and generally both.

    Note that regardless of which estimate of the age of rocks reported by scientists is used, the earth is a very old planet and the universe is yet much older.

  77. Nicholas,

    Actually the Mosaic law, as a means to salvation, is no longer required, but nowhere does the Bible imply that not doing them is no longer a sin. Are the 10 commandments nullified then? As a means to salvation, yes…but as a moral code isn’t violating one of the 10 commandments still a sin? If not, why not? If yes, then why should the rest of the Mosaic law be treated differently?

  78. Christians believe that faith was always the true means of salvation, even though God’s people in the OT were required to keep the Mosaic Law. The only one of the 10 Commandments not upheld by the New Testament is sabbath keeping. The New Testament is our guide in knowing which of the OT laws the breaking of would still be a sin (the Moral Law) and which are no longer in effect (the Civil and Ceremonial Law). It is due to the nature of these various laws that we divide them into the categories of Moral, Civil, and Ceremonial Law.

    However, we are not saved through keeping the Moral Law. We are saved by Faith in Christ. It is only through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers that we can live according any of the commands of Christ or the Moral Law, though we still fail often.

  79. Dear Nicholas and Fendrel

    I quite like the answer given in the Midrash

    ‘Indeed, Cain and Abel1 had to marry their sisters, considering that there were no other women around. King David writes, “The world was built with kindness.” Our sages explain that this verse is referring to G‑d’s kindness in allowing Adam and Eve’s children to marry their own sisters in order to populate the species.

    The Midrash tells us that Cain was born with a twin sister and Abel was born with two sisters.They each married the sister who was born with them. According to one opinion, it was actually a quarrel over who would get to marry the third sister that led to Cain slaying Abel.

    The third generations of humans had no need for this loophole, because marriage between first cousins is not considered incest according to Torah law.

    So why are these daughters not mentioned in the Torah? They are. Later in Genesis6 we are told, “And the days of Adam after he fathered Seth were eight hundred years, and he fathered sons and daughters”—though we are not informed of their identities. The Torah only records the names of those who were leaders of note, those who played a role in the biblical narrative, or the men who formed the chain of lineage connecting Adam to Noah (and later Noah to Abraham).’

    Regards
    Gavin

  80. Without any education other than a grueling 6 day creation project that I still have saved from my 6th grade class in the Baptist school I’ve had this question: How much time was there between “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and void” and when God started speaking life, form, and filling the void. So with just a very simplistic uneducated read of the passage, I don’t see why it couldn’t happen that both old and young views of creation can coincide. I mean the basic elements could have been around forever, do we really know what ‘in the beginning’ means? Other than that God has always been?

  81. Sorry, Muff. I didn’t mean to imply that anyone who holds a YEC/special creation view has a fear-based theology. Rather, that the mean-ness I hear spouted by Ken Ham and his fan-club MAY be a result of fear, rather than a considered and principled interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. For what it’s worth, I tend to believe in special creation, have doubts about original sin, and am currently thinking hard about what the Bible says/implies about atonement.

  82. Joey

    Science corrects itself all the time by refinement. So, the age of the earth, 4 1/2 billion years, could be refined to 4 4/9 billion years but will never be refined to 6,000 years old.  So, we cannot correct it in a way that will ever please the YEC. Impossible.  The YEC has drawn a line in the sand that cannot be crossed in terms of the age of the earth. All science points to a much, much older earth. So, what you say cannot happen without denying the facts.

    However, as we constantly point out here, theology is always morphing so that we have relatively few people still alive who believe that the sun revolves around the earth as erroneously taught by the church in the past. To deny it invited charges of heresy.  Note: science has evolved but the earth still revolves around the sun . The refinements have come in tracing the exact rotation that the earth makes.

  83. Gavin

    You said” Can we not just say that God did it but we’re not sure exactly how?” We are not saying that we knwo “how” God did it but we have a good idea of the time frame involved in the aspect of God’s creation that we can see.  If we took your comment and applied it to medicine, would we even bother to discover medical cures? We could say we just don’t know how God did it and we can’t, therefore, know very much about His creation, so why bother. Just chalk it up to sin and demons and pray fro healing.

    In fat, God reveals Himself constantly in His creation. I find it wonderful to contemplate an ancient universe cause by an ancient God.

  84. Lynn

    I am with you. If someone wants to say that the Bible said that the earth is 6000 years old and proceeds to believe it and ignores science, I give them props for consistency. Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins would agree with their conclusions that one must believe the Bible in a woodedn, literal fashion in order to be consistent (although few believe the sun rotatates round the earth these days.) So, they have athiests on their side.

     However, when they play at science and claim it is on par with rigorous science , their “science”  deserve to be discredited. 

  85. Ann (previous comment):

    And the trees are confusing anyway. The tree of life isn’t even mentioned until they’re leaving the garden, I think. So it’s like, wait, there were TWO special trees the whole time?

    Permit me to assist if I may… Genesis 2:9 goes thus:

    The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    It’s not mentioned again until Adam and Eve are ejected from the garden. Easily missed, but it’s there. And it doesn’t appear again, as such, until Revelation! (Unless you count proverbs like “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life”.)

    There was, interestingly, no prohibition on eating from the tree of life to begin with. And there was nothing physically to prevent Adam and Eve eating from the tree of KG+E. But once they were separated from God, God evidently deemed it necessary at all costs to stop them from living forever in that state. A lot more could be said on that one, of course. But it’s a big part of why I believe the bible teaches what is termed annihilation (i.e. that those who enter eternity at enmity with God – however you describe that, and again, much could be said, but I have to take my daughter to gymnastics in a minute! – do not consciously suffer forever, but rather their existence is ended forever).

    Many good men and women believe differently, of course. But hey. The only point of doctrine is to test whether we really love one another.

  86. Dee
    I wasn’t implying that we don’t investigate things, only that arguing about it isn’t getting us anywhere.
    Regard
    Gavin

  87. Joey,

    Science will also never correct itself to the point of saying that virgin births can occur in humans nor will it ever say that people, dead for 3 days, can come back to life…but that doesn’t stop many non YECs from believing it…same line in the sand.

  88. Fendrel, you’ll never get it. God is not bound by the laws of science, which He wrote in the first place. Divine intervention and the miraculous cannot be explained by science. God intervenes in His creation, and He even entered into His creation through the Incarnation and Virign Birth.

  89. Dee,

    Yes, science corrects itself by refinement, but it also corrects itself by discovering previously unknown facts that fundamentally change its previous positions. This has happened countless times in history. Scientific “fact” looks a lot different now than it did 500 years ago. Who is to say 500 years from now it won’t look totally different than it does now? I suspect that it won’t. That’s the nature of science. It changes as new factors are introduced.

    Besides that, as our friend Fendrel (his ignoring of lengthy and well reasoned explanations of the issue of the law aside) astutely alludes to, if miracles are part of one’s worldview, science cannot be the final authority on truth anyway. Or else no virgin birth, no resurrection, etc.

    So science must be secondary, and in service of, faith in word of God for the Christian. Logic (don’t laugh Fendrel) demands it.

    If science appears to contradict Scripture, that could show us we have been interpreting it wrong, certainly. But when it comes to a clear choice between what current scientists say on one hand, and what Scripture teaches on the other, the Christian (think of Puddleglum in the Silver Chair) chooses Scripture. (I don’t think the Bible says much about the age of the earth personally.)

  90. Nicholas,

    My point being that those Christians who think YECs are off their rocker to believe in a 6k year old earth, do so based on science…the same science they reject when they accept the miracles they feel compelled to believe in.

    Joey, yes exactly, thank you. Although I disagree with your assessment of the OT law.

  91. Good points raised by Fendrel and Nicholas.

    There are two views that seem popular at the moment. One is that Adam and Eve were not the only humans, but rather were made representative by God in some way, whether simply chosen or chosen and endowed with that which allowed them to be “created in God’s image”, ie truly human as opposed to simply hominids. The other is that Adam and Eve were indeed the only humans, and as Nicholas says, marriage within bloodlines was allowed in the earliest generation.

    I throw this open for comment. In the field of zoology, assuming that a new species or even simply subspecies/breed starts off with a single individual as the result of a mutation, would it not be the case that initially the bloodline would be incredibly small to start off, even just a pair of individuals from the same population? In that case, surely there would be some inbreeding to start with until there were enough variations in the gene pool and enough distance between individuals to allow outbreeding?

    Or is it the case that mutations tend to occur according to a statistical pattern, occurring not just once but several times (ie the same mutation), and thus a moderately-sized pool of individuals of a new species/breed would be available?

    This question is compounded in vertebrates, for whereas invertebrate populations can be extremely prolific, vertebrates tend to be less so, producing few offspring on the whole. Some fish and amphibians produce large numbers of eggs, but most terrestrial vertebrates seem to produce (I stand open to correction here) 20 or less offspring per clutch/litter, and some (esp. humans!) only a pair or even a single individual.

    Re an earlier remark about differentiating animals from humans, I have pondered this quite a lot. I am not an animal rightist and don’t automatically equate a child with a puppy: I don’t believe for example that using animals in medical research is unethical, provided they are otherwise humanely treated. But it’s interesting to see that as one ascends a sort of evolutionary ladder of development (according to the fossil record) some animals seem to come closer and closer to human consciousness. Sponges and protozoa have no nervous system to speak of, most molluscs have a few nerves but cephalopods (eg octopus and squid) actually have a brain similar to our own, and octopus in particular are capable of solving complex puzzles. Vertebrates have much in common with us and many, not just mammals, seem to have a power of reasoning. Whether of course they can mentally stand outside of themselves in the same way as humans can is perhaps a matter for debate. God tells us in Genesis that he has made man in his image. He has not told us that of the animals, but then he has not told us much about the animal kingdom other than that it is part of his created order. As someone said, the Bible gives us the truth we need to know, not what we would necessarily like to know, esp in our moments of intellectual curiosity.

  92. Hi Joey, I would agree with much of what you say. However I think miracles are a slightly different case. A miracle by definition is an alteration (although not a random one) of the action (or at least duration of action) of Nature’s laws. C S Lewis’s book “Miracles” is worth reading in this respect.

    On the other hand young-earth groups do claim that their work involves science without invoking the miraculous. So their work is being judged according to scientific criteria without either side invoking miracles.

  93. Joey,

    And their “science” falls far short of proving anything except for maybe their passion to prove their case. They routinely use out of date information, are famous for quote mining and taking things out of context, sometimes to the extent that the original article was saying exactly the opposite of what they try to make it appear it is saying.

    Their calculations are often found to be in error, not only in their assumptions but also in the mathematics itself. They misuse terminology…basically they are trying to “convince”, not other scientists or experts in the field, but rather the general public who is often ill equipped to recognize the deceit.

  94. Having YECs with Ph.D’s in the sciences trash current scientific findings regarding the age of the earth and evolution is the creationist attack du jour. However, while these attacks are couched in ‘scientific-ese’, these attacks are junk science at best and fraudulent at worst. The reason is that, while the YECs ‘scientists’ claim to offer a scientific rebuttal to current science, they NEVER do so in the context of a mainstream scientific journal or other forum. Instead, they stand on the sidelines casting stones at current science while refusing to stand up for their ‘science’ in the forums where legitimate scientific debate takes place – no doubt because they know their YEC ‘evidence’ won’t stand up to the same scrutiny that mainstream science must. But they go around giving public YEC and anti-evolution presentations using their Ph.D as a thin veneer of legitimacy over the junk science they spout.

    In fact, Marcus Ross, a YEC with a geology Ph.D had the chutzpah to stand up at a Geological Society of America meeting and give a wholly credible presentation based on events over millions of years, yet he goes out on the stump in public non-scientific forums proclaiming a young earth. He was called out on this by Joe Meert, a professor of geology at the University of Florida, here’s a link to his discussion:

    http://scienceantiscience.blogspot.com/2010/11/marcus-ross-two-faced-again.html

    The anti-evolutionists also get destroyed when they have to try and support their ‘scientific’ theories in court. For a very engaging discussion of one such confrontation, watch “The Collapse of Intelligent Design” presentation by Kenneth Miller, a Professor of Biology at Brown University here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg

  95. Koyla,

    On that note, I would agree that scientific claims by young earthers should be judged the same way any other scientific claim is judged.

  96. “Science will also never correct itself to the point of saying that virgin births can occur in humans”

    Fendrel, you have to add the word NATURALLY for this statement to be true. And of course no one believes miracles are natural.

    Virgin births can indeed occur non-naturally and science would affirm they could happen through artificial insemination.

  97. Once you allow for a God who is omnipotent and not bound to time or the laws of nature, doesn’t the distinction between the very concept of “reality” and “fantasy” dissolve into nothingness?

    You have lost the basis to make a rational distinction between what is real and what is imaginary…if God can do anything at anytime…then everything becomes a possibility.

    Now you might say that this is also true in science, that anything is possible. Yes, but the difference is that with God, no other “evidence” is required to assert something as true or real other than a statement that “God could have done it”, while in science, some type of empirical evidence must be produced.

    If science is the yardstick used to determine the age of the earth for example, shouldn’t it be used to determine all events in the Bible?

  98. Kolya wrote

    He has not told us that of the animals, but then he has not told us much about the animal kingdom other than that it is part of his created order.

    Yep – there’s a whole enormous world out there, and very little of it has anything to do with humans. We tend to look at creation from our own vantage point, rather than wanting to see it as something of which we are a part.

    There are so many species in the world that thrive and live and do whatever all they do with just about zero – if any – interaction with humans. (Most sea creatures, for one.)

    I have this sneaking suspicion that many of our views on other species are about as correct as thinking that the sun revolves around the earth.

    (fwiw, I am an animal welfare person, but don’t have much in common with the more radical animal rights folks – and I do eat meat.)

    I think we mostly tend to regard other species in terms of what kind of value (monetary or otherwise) they have for us, rather than as sentient beings with lives and purposes of their own. If we look at an animal for its utilitarian value (ugh!), I think we’re missing the point.

    But again, that’s just me. And, Temple Grandin fangirl that I am, I do keep in mind that Grandin has worked *very* hard to make slaughterhouses less frightening and more humane.

    As for an animal having less worth than a child, well… how often are we in a position to choose one over the other? There is so much we can learn from animals, whom I believe to have intelligence(s) very different from our own.

  99. Jeff T

    I eard about the Rosse incident. Let me add another personal example. We had a geologist come to our church to defend YEC. he quoted several studies. A couple of people confronted him on those studies and said that they had been dscredited. He said he knew that to be the case but they were the simplest studies to present to a nonscientific crowd so he used them anyway! 

  100. Dee, that kind of thing is making evangelical Christians scientifically illiterate and brings reproach on the name of Christ.

    I know you’ve been busy, but did you get the two e-mails I sent?

  101. Joey

    Let’s look at this part of your comment.

     But when it comes to a clear choice between what current scientists say on one hand, and what Scripture teaches on the other,

    To what clear choice are you referring? I lean towards evolutionary creationism and I believe in an actual Adam. In fact, I see no clear reason in Scripture not to do so. Perhpas you are referring to something else.

    To  which current scientists are you referring?  There is Francis Collins who is a Christian and a believer in TE. Then there is Watson and Crick who did not not believe. At least they said so in some of their writings.  Collins accomplished the mapping of the human genome-an incredilbe life’s work which will benefit untold generation with cures for, and prevention, of inherited diseases. Watson and Crick first described DNA-the double helix ,which allowed Collins to proceed with his work. To add to Collins’ impressive resume, he also his MD at UNC-a Tarheel extrodinaire.

    Some current scientists support Christianity and  some do not. So, which ones are the subject of your comment?

     

  102. Dee,

    I was speaking generally of science versus scripture. If science is currently saying “x” and the bible says “not x” then the Christian sides with with Bible. the use of the word “current” was simply emphasizing the ongoing/changing nature of the field of science, as opposed to God’s unchanging word.

    As I stated before, I don’t think the age of the earth is a “science says ‘x’ and bible says ‘not x'” scenario.

    I was simply commenting on where I disagreed with the way old earth Christians approach this topic at times. It doesn’t take away anything from the overall point of the post that young earth scientists need to be honest etc. And it wasn’t an argument for young earth.

    Fendrel,

    I am not well read on this topic, so I have no idea if you are accurate in your portrayal of young earth scientists or not. Most of the arguments I have heard in favor of a young earth are theological in nature. The other arguments I have heard have been along the lines of “the flood would have messed up the fossil record anyway” type arguments…also not scientific in nature as much as simple postulations of lay people.

    Adam and Eve being the first human beings created in God’s image is a hill worth dying on, the age of the earth is not.

  103. “Once you allow for a God who is omnipotent and not bound to time or the laws of nature, doesn’t the distinction between the very concept of “reality” and “fantasy” dissolve into nothingness?

    You have lost the basis to make a rational distinction between what is real and what is imaginary…if God can do anything at anytime…then everything becomes a possibility.”

    I’m not following you here. Just because anything is possible (and it is, except for God to act contrary to his nature) doesn’t mean we have lost the basis to distinguish between reality and imagination.

    Science is about observing and drawing conclusions from what is natural and repeatable in our world. When we identify things that are repeatable, we use science to explain it.

  104. I think it’s fair to note that science can’t measure a God who is transcendent, so Fendrel’s ruminations are the atheist’s version of the Spirit of God brooding over the face of the waters, without an end product.

    Regards
    Gavin

  105. “but the difference is that with God, no other “evidence” is required to assert something as true or real other than a statement that “God could have done it”, while in science, some type of empirical evidence must be produced.”

    The other thing here is, whether we can assert something is true or real has no bearing on whether it is. Something can be true and we be unable to prove it, and we can, with our imperfect powers of observation, deduce something to be true that is, in fact, not.

    Those who believe in the Bible have common ground with other believers to assert the truth of scripture. Quite frankly, I don’t expect anyone who doesn’t believe the Bible to believe any of the truth contained within it. Why would they? I believe the miracles recorded in the Bible and I am quite skeptical of all others unless there is someone I know personally and trust involved.

  106. Jeff,

    However, while I agree that our assertion bears no impact on the reality of something, does it seem reasonable to you, to commit your intellect to accept something as true when there is no other evidence for it and when, in fact, all the things we do know from science would indicate it is not true?

    Nicholas,

    I cannot even begin to understand your statement…care to try again?

    Joey,

    May I recommend this link (for specific answers to YEC claims) and if you go to the home page, you’ll find detail on just about everything that’s come out of the YE and ID camps. http://bit.ly/X7ez0v

    Dee,

    What is the abbreviation “TE” that you used, refer to? (sorry I must be a bit brain dead today)

  107. If science is the yardstick used to determine the age of the earth for example, shouldn’t it be used to determine all events in the Bible?

    No. That would make God subservient to science. It is possible to believe what science reveals and also have faith in God.

  108. Fendrel –

    Once you allow for a God who is omnipotent and not bound to time or the laws of nature, doesn’t the distinction between the very concept of “reality” and “fantasy” dissolve into nothingness?

    You have lost the basis to make a rational distinction between what is real and what is imaginary…if God can do anything at anytime…then everything becomes a possibility.

    No, one has not lost any rational basis for anything. If a God who is not bound to the laws of time/nature, Does Stuff that contravenes the everyday random operation of said laws – that Stuff he Does must still be visible and verifiable. I don’t see the missing link (deliberate pun) in your reasoning there. I’ve never claimed, nor have I met anyone who claims, that they imagined something and this proves God exists.

    Belief that everything – or any particular thing – has become a possibility is hardly the same as belief that everything – or any particular thing – has happened. I’m sure it’s possible for a woman who has NOT been a part of a massive state-orchestrated program of drug abuse to run 400m in less than 48 seconds. The current best time by a woman who was not from an “Eastern Bloc” state remains, however, at 48.25 (Marie-Jose Perec). At such time as this is broken, it will not be fantasy; it will be verifiably recorded.

    When someone tells me that they prayed, and nothing discernable happened, which shows that God answered “No”, I don’t accept that; to me, they just haven’t developed their prayer very much. But when someone hobbles into a room on crutches, and walks out carrying them (I’ve seen this), or someone I know well, and trust, tells me about how severe fractures to both heels (his own, I might add) disappearing over a weekend, to the great mystification of a highly-qualified, competent and experienced hospital consultant, I consider that to be evidence that is at least worthy of interested pursuit (and I think you grasp the difference between “evidence for” something – c.f. 3-sigma – and “proof of” something – c.f. 5-sigma).

    So yes, I believe anything is possible. But that hardly equates to living in fantasy land. My standards for believing the unprecedented has happened are, I assure you, every bit as high as yours.

  109. “However, while I agree that our assertion bears no impact on the reality of something, does it seem reasonable to you, to commit your intellect to accept something as true when there is no other evidence for it and when, in fact, all the things we do know from science would indicate it is not true?”

    Once again, there is absolutely nothing that we know from science to indicate my faith is not true. Science by nature only deals with what is observable and repeatable; it cannot describe divine actions that are not repeatable laws of nature.

    And also once again, not all evidence for truth comes by way of science. So yes, given the knowledge I have gained in this life so far, I believe that faith is as rational a choice as I can make.

  110. P.S. – sorry, Fendrel; I must correct my last paragraph. Of course I am not privy to your private thoughts. I should have said: My standards for believing something has happened are as high as I would reasonably expect yours, as a vocal supporter of the scientific method (something of which I, too, approve), to be. So I think they’re as high as yours.

  111. And on this topic I refer to RC Sproul, though I don’t have an exact quote, who in his book “Defending your Faith” asserts that science and faith can never contradict: it is only our interpretations that contradict. Either the fallible scientist or the fallible theologian is in error.

  112. @Fendrel

    Science will also never correct itself to the point of saying that virgin births can occur in humans

    Ah, if you define virgin as never having sexual relations then we can do virgin births now. Requires some precise instrumentation and skills but it can be done.

  113. Dee @2:02pm

    One more example of the fact that these YEC so-called ‘scientists’ commit intellectual fraud to support their views. It works because most people aren’t knowledgeable enough to know they’re being intellectually dishonest, plus, their audience doesn’t care because they are being told what they want to hear and it sounds ‘sciencey’ enough to give them something to fall back on when mainstream science gives a different view.

  114. Nick,

    The “result” of God’s action may be measurable, but because you can measure the “result” does not in any way imply a supernatural source. I believe that you misunderstood my intent. I did not intend to imply that someone’s imagined reality can or should be used as evidence of God.

    Let me see if a far fetched example might help clarify what I was trying to say.

    If a stranger walks up to you on the street and tells you that last night they cut down a large oak tree in their backyard with a chainsaw, chopped it up and stacked it as firewood, but when they woke up this morning the tree was reassembled, alive, without any sign of having been cut down, growing right where it was the day before and the chopped up pieces and all the sawdust from yesterday was gone.

    On what basis can you decide if it was God who magically intervened and put the tree back, or if the stranger has a few bolts loose, or maybe if a stranger played the greatest practical joke of all time?

    How can you tell if anything that you are told is true or not if you believe that a supernatural being could have done what was claimed and then, in a whim, set everything back the way it was.

  115. “How can you tell if anything that you are told is true or not if you believe that a supernatural being could have done what was claimed and then, in a whim, set everything back the way it was.”

    A) It kind of doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. At the end of the day, sure God could have done that to the tree. I will be skeptical, but it’s not really worth my time to investigate.

    B) I believe miracles must be consistent with the teaching of scripture.

    C) You don’t depend on miracles. If God chooses to perform a miracle, that’s his prerogative. If you experience it, then you can celebrate it for what it was.

    Honestly, we can’t truly tell if ANYTHING is true. We don’t even really know that we exist, but we go with the preponderance of the evidence. We do our best with the information we have.

    Believe it or not, I’m quite a skeptic when it comes to what other people tell me. Heck, I’m a skeptic about my own experiences and observations, but ultimately I have to trust myself on some level.

  116. and the preponderance of evidence says there is no supernatural.

    If you “celebrate a miracle for what it was” it means you have given up looking for a natural explanation, because you prefer to believe in the supernatural, sans evidence.

    I give up.

  117. “If you “celebrate a miracle for what it was” it means you have given up looking for a natural explanation, because you prefer to believe in the supernatural, sans evidence.”

    Assume away, but your assumptions do not serve you well. Look, I like to explain things, and just because something happens within then bounds of nature doesn’t mean God didn’t orchestrate it. I can celebrate in something that I perceive to be a “miracle” whether it defies scientific explanation or not.

    I think the key here is: my faith is not based on miracles. They present neither a problem for me nor the source of what I believe. I believe in miracles because it is irrational to believe in God, believe in scripture, and not believe in them.

  118. “and the preponderance of evidence says there is no supernatural.”

    Maybe your evidence. Not mine. I think I was quite clear that “the evidence” I was talking about was my own experience.

  119. @Koyla

    On the other hand young-earth groups do claim that their work involves science without invoking the miraculous. So their work is being judged according to scientific criteria without either side invoking miracles.

    The problem is they seem to be OK with intermixing science and miracles. When I ran into this buzz saw with my kids at church about 8 years ago I did a lot of reading. At the time AIG was promoting a book by Humphrey’s that was, in AIG’s opinion, a good scientific description of how to have a YEC and still have an old universe. So I got the book and read it. Of course part of this require redefining the physics of the universe 2 or 3 times (I forget now) and still calling it a science based treatment. His book is now off their site and to be honest I haven’t read the current books “that explain it all” as I don’t want to give them any money.

    Anyway, if saying the re-defining the physics of the universe several times from “then” to “now” isn’t a miracle, well I don’t know what else it would be.

    And as an aside there were several major flaws in his theories that most high school students with some aptitude in science would see through. Even if you accepted the rest of his theories.

  120. @Joey

    I was speaking generally of science versus scripture. If science is currently saying “x” and the bible says “not x” then the Christian sides with with Bible.

    The problem with this kind of logic is that interpretation of the Bible gets real messy at times. Is the circumference of a circle 3 times it’s diameter? Is the earth held up by pillars. Does the earth have 4 corners? Do people have LOGS in their eyes? We easily jump to the conclusion that these are allegories and methods to illustrate a point. But when it comes to Gen 1 suddenly many people say now way can this be allegorical or the entire Bible falls apart.

  121. I consider miracles a subset of paranormal phenomena. And paranormal phenomena are by definition rare and strange and often leave no trace of their passing.

    Fendrel, you’ll never get it. God is not bound by the laws of science, which He wrote in the first place. Divine intervention and the miraculous cannot be explained by science. — Nicholas

    To that I can only answer what one medieval scholar said when confronted by a similar assertion:

    “Of course God can make a cow out of a tree. But has He ever done so? Bring evidence for it, or this is but speculative empty talk.”

  122. @Gavin (sorry about the Galvin)

    I was pointing out a problem that both sides need to resolve and that is how do you explain the timescales without compromising either the inerrancy/reliability of Scripture or of science. I’m not in any way scientifically minded but the margin for error in some of these calculations seems too large to be termed accurate.

    As others have pointed out, these are not large margins of error when you look at the total picture. I’m doing yard work and it is important just now for me to know to a reasonable degree where my borders are so I don’t tear up my neighbors’ yards. One line was surveyed by a crew for the new house being built next door. They mentioned that one of the “hill to die on” pins was off by 3″ which in their mind was very close to dead on given the tech when they were driven. But if I’m putting up trim molding in my house a 3″ error would be comical. The point is the errors you talk about are reasonable given the total measurement. But would be out of line in determining the age of my dog.

    Can we not just say that God did it but we’re not sure exactly how?’

    But does that mean we ignore what we find. What many don’t understand is that the scientific methods that give us the age of the earth at 14.5 or so billion years also is used to design our smart phones, GPS systems, all these neat flat screen TVs, the older tube TVs, that MRI or CAT scanner that saved your life, and on and on and on. It works everywhere else but fails utterly (per AIG and their supporters) when applied to the age of the earth/universe. I just don’t buy it.

    Again, my position is if you want to think the earth is 6000 or so years old you better be willing to not talk about science or decide it was created old. And that digs up a whole nuther set of issues.

  123. Some speculation: Perhaps one hang up of YECers caused by current cosmology is the unimaginably large and ancient characterization of our universe. Our planet is circling a very ordinary star among the billions in our ordinary galaxy which is itself just one of billions. Maybe the YEC community is looking for something more than the Word of God to make us seem a little less insignificant.

  124. oldJohnJ – Indeed! I also think it’s because the emphasis is off the uniqueness of humanity… no more human-centric universe.

    so, not just the immensity of the universe, but that fact that we’re a bit like specks of dust in it. Probably very bit as disconcerting as Galileo’s insistence that our solar system is heliocentric.

  125. Joey
    But what do you do when science says the sun revolves around the earth and the Bible says that the sun revolves around the earth and/or stands on pillars? This is a classic case where science says “x” and the Bible says “not X.”

    Who gets to make the decision regarding what the Bible says or means on these issues? Better yet, who gets to make the decisions that says I am a heretic for believing in TE? Ham has often alluded to the salvation issue on this matter. but he would say that the Bible says”x” on 6000 years so is he correct in your thinking?

    Can you define what we must believe so that if science says “no,” we must say yes. For example, Paul answers that question quite clearly in one respect. He says that if the Resurrection did not occur, then we are a bunch of fools. Therefore, the Resurrection is central.

  126. Jeff T

    I am afraid that you are correct in this statement. So many people are afraid of science because it is complex. I am not a scientist and I used to be afraid of the complexities. However, God provided me with awesome friends and a husband who understand these things and they explain it to me in a way that helps me to understand. (Thanks, guys, you know who you are).

    But it takes time. How many are willing to take the cheap way out and listen to a guy who sounds good but is scientifically questionable? Besides, if he throws in the salvation card, well that does it for most folks.
    “their audience doesn’t care because they are being told what they want to hear and it sounds ‘sciencey’ enough to give them something to fall back on when mainstream science gives a different view.” Well said!

  127. Jeff S
    You said
    Those who believe in the Bible have common ground with other believers to assert the truth of scripture.
    As you know, i am an ardent believer. But, in this area, what is the common ground? I used to believe that, so long as I declared God to be the One who Created Ex Nihilo, that it didn’t matter if I believed it was an Old Earth.
    But that is not the case. Believers like Ken Ham question my devotion to Scripture by my stance.
    So, what common ground is available?

  128. I do wonder if there will come a point when someone will say ‘Enough – Fendrel is playing games with you’. The clue is in ‘I was a Christian for over twenty years and then decided that I wasn’t.’ If that is true, you never were, but you probably know all the arguments.

    To quote Dee (of me) ‘ you are one slippery dude.’

    I didn’t take offence. I hope you don’t either.

    Regards
    Gavin

  129. Dear Dee

    Ken Ham is a clown.

    The common ground is our God the Creator. The question is how did He do it? Quickly or over a long period of time?

    We’ll get the answer either in Glory or when Science ups its game.

    Regards
    Gavin

  130. My beliefs as a Christian are faith-based but my reasoning as a Biologist is evidence-based. I must question everything. If I am writing a paper to be submitted for publication, I had better support every statement I make with citations or work that can be repeated with the right equipment and conditions anywhere on this earth.

    I believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived.

    Is there a Biological explanation?

    NO

    NO!!!!!

    In fact, and you complementarians take notice, THIS is WHY Jesus being male may be important because if He were female, I might be able to argue away parthenogenesis because it happens (not in mammals to our knowledge but in cordites and other animals.

    But Jesus was/is a man, He needed either a Y chromosome or something male-derived to be able to be a man. Mary had to be a virgin and Jesus had to be a dude to give this a profound wow factor.

    Is there any way for me to prove this happened? No, I can’t that is why it is a miracle and a sign that God was up to good. As a Christian, I believe it but as a Biologist, it isn’t considered because it cannot be observed, analyzed, or proven.

    Koyla got into a few things about invertebrates. Sponges and jellyfish and the sort have neural nets but not a centralized nervous system.

    Mollusks have a CNS and octopi have a relatively complex CNS. Their eyes are very highly evolved (Eyes are thought to have evolved 50-100 independent times and octopi have eyes very similar to human eyes.)

    Common ancestry is an important concept in Evolutionary Biology and the common ancestor that is thought to have given rise to everything that has a CNS was a worm-like critter named Urbilateria and likely evolved its simple “brain” 550 to 600 million years ago. It was thought there were four major ways that centralized nervous systems evolved independent of one another but now because we can study the homology (similarity) in the genes, it becomes apparent that everything from simple flatworms to human beings are descended from a common ancestor (Urbilateria). If anyone is interested in this, I can link a couple of peer-reviewed journal articles for your reading pleasure

  131. Old John J
    Thanks for the discussion. I am enjoying it. This is the fun of having a blog. I get to indulge myself on occasion.

    I am surprised to meet people who do not understand how huge the universe is and how few understand that the earth is located on an insignificant arm in the Milky Way. Perhaps it is just like humans to think we are the center of the universe.

    Thankfully, we are loved by our Creator and one day will learn just how vast His creation is.

  132. Some speculation: Perhaps one hang up of YECers caused by current cosmology is the unimaginably large and ancient characterization of our universe. Our planet is circling a very ordinary star among the billions in our ordinary galaxy which is itself just one of billions. Maybe the YEC community is looking for something more than the Word of God to make us seem a little less insignificant. – Old John J

    so, not just the immensity of the universe, but that fact that we’re a bit like specks of dust in it. Probably very bit as disconcerting as Galileo’s insistence that our solar system is heliocentric. — Numo

    So in order to retain their personal importance in the face of Deep Space and Deep Time, YECers must shrink the Universe into a 6016-year-old, Ending Tomorrow, Earth-and-some-lights-in-the-sky Punyverse.

    Which is a real kick in the head when you realize that of the three Abrahamic faiths, Christianity is best equipped to deal with Deep Space and Deep Time through the doctrine of the Incarnation. No matter how deep Deep Space becomes, no matter how deep Deep Time becomes, no matter how big God has to be to be bigger than that deep deep Cosmos, God remains on a one-to-one human scale through Incarnation as Jesus Christ.

  133. Debra

    Great answer…so, and correct me if I am wrong here, but we are talking about Orwellian “doublethink”, As a biologist you are obligated to dismiss a human virgin birth based on our current understanding of biology, but as a Christian you “have faith” that it must have occurred. Not unlike playing a game of chess with yourself where you “forget” white’s plan when playing the black pieces.

    Headless

    “Of course God can make a cow out of a tree. But has He ever done so? Bring evidence for it, or this is but speculative empty talk.”

    What evidence could you bring? The only evidence you could bring would be natural evidence, things in this world, which would then have to lead to a natural explanation.

    Gavin

    Fendrel is playing games with you’. The clue is in ‘I was a Christian for over twenty years and then decided that I wasn’t.’ If that is true, you never were, but you probably know all the arguments.

    Fendrel is not playing games, he is asking serious, logical questions. I find the whole, if you were a christian and then left, then you were never a christian to be a very arrogant and self-serving statement. I guess it makes it easier for you to trivialize my questions if you can dismiss the fact I was a christian. Unfortunately, taking that position creates more problems than it solves.

    It leaves you in the position of either calling me a liar or having to acknowledge that God ignored an honest plea from a young man who confessed his sins and acknowledged Christ as his savior and lord. I suppose there is always the third, Calvinist option…I was not predestined…but that still seems to run contrary to god’s promises.

  134. But it takes time. How many are willing to take the cheap way out and listen to a guy who sounds good but is scientifically questionable? Besides, if he throws in the salvation card, well that does it for most folks.
    “their audience doesn’t care because they are being told what they want to hear and it sounds ‘sciencey’ enough to give them something to fall back on when mainstream science gives a different view.” — Jeff T and Dee

    How does that differ from all the fringe pseudoscience types you hear on Art Bell at 3 Ayem? And their followers?

  135. The problem with this kind of logic is that interpretation of the Bible gets real messy at times. Is the circumference of a circle 3 times it’s diameter? — Lynn

    It is if you round Pi off to the nearest whole number. Which is what I suspect was going on in that Bible passage cited to prove Pi = 3.

  136. How does that differ from all the fringe pseudoscience types you hear on Art Bell at 3 Ayem? And their followers? – HUG

    It doesn’t, but there supposedly learned seminary professors with Ph.D’s that will repeat this junk science as ‘gospel’ to their students to justify their YEC/anti-evolution views, creating more ignorant ministers who pass it along to gullible congregations. Damn good thing these people don’t run the country, otherwise, we’d most of our scientists under house arrest for heresy like Galileo.

  137. “The six days are arranged in two parallel sets of three (noted as early as Augustine in his City of God), such that what is created on days four through six populates the appropriate realm structured in days one through three.
    “The point of this symmetry in Genesis 1 is that the form of the presentation is at least as important as the content. With this perspective, it is clear that the structural framework is artificial and therefore was never intended by the author to be taken literally as a seven-day historical account (with God resting on the seventh day). The fact of God’s creative authority over everything is certainly intended literally, but the seven-day framework is just that — a framework.”
    See the entire article here: http://www.gci.org/CO/nocontest

    Dennis Gordon is a biologist in a government research organization in New Zealand and an Associate Member of the U.K.-based Society of Ordained Scientists.

  138. I’m one of those fools who “prefer to believe in the supernatural, sans evidence.”
    A few years back my doctor ran some tests. He became very concerned. More doctors ran more tests and became yet more concerned. Something large and dark and ominous showed up on the x-rays. I was concerned, as well. People in my church laid hands on me, annointed me with oil, and prayed for me. The doctors took more x-rays. Nothing there. They ran more tests– all normal. I suspect “the supernatural” was involved, but cannot convince the skeptic.
    I may be lying. I may be mistaken or delusional. Space aliens may have abducted me and operated whilst I slept. The doctors may have been mistaken at first and I was always well (or mistaken later, and I’m still sick and will shortly drop over). My body may have naturally resolved the issue, coincidentally with the prayer. Other people have prayed and died, someday I will pray and die, etc etc.
    Bottom, line: ANY amount of evidence may alwys be explained away somehow– thus I believe “sans evidence” since it’s scientifically impossible for me to replicate the experiment. Same with the beginning of the universe, and of humans, and of me, and of my faith in Jesus. So foolish me will throw away my life following a dead man, who some say is alive, “sans evidence”. I coulda been somebawdy

  139. Dave,

    Thanks for your honesty. At least you admit that you believe simply because you want to believe.

  140. @ Lin:

    “When we began to HS in the mid 80′s…secular ‘unschoolers’ was the norm. In fact it was hard to obtain Christian HS materials. Calvert Academy (Roman Catholic) and Rod and Staff (Mennonite) were commonly used in the ‘Christian’ community. Also, John Holt was an early advocate of HS….I believe he was Seventh Day Adventist. IMO, it was the influence of HSLDA that brought about the more radical Christian HS movement into the spotlight and eventually overtook the unschooling movement.”

    Exactly what I said…it was hijacked in the ’80s. HSLDA types then became the dominant force in homeschooling for about the next 15-20 years, and are only now starting to lose their grip on the culture. (They are NOT happy about it in many circles, to say the least.) I think this explains at least some of the reactionary/weird behavior we’re witnessing in patriarchal groups – they’re circling the wagons to protect their children from the heathens who have invaded the playground they used to dominate. It’s also part of why they’re so worried about the second generation “falling away” or not reproducing in sufficient numbers for the multigenerational militant fecundity faithfulness plan.

    What I object to is the impression many give that fundy Christian homeschoolers arrived on the homeschool scene recently and “took over.” Anyone who has been in the culture longer than five years or so can tell you that just isn’t true.

  141. Addendum @ Lin:

    Also, incidentally it’s almost impossible nowadays to be an unschooler without being frowned upon by every other homeschooler you meet…mostly due to the huge influence of the Classical method (or at least certain folks’ version of it) which has become almost unquestionable and sacred.

  142. Dave,

    I do not believe because I feel there is insufficient evidence (no empirical evidence), therefore I don’t see belief as a rational action.

    I don’t mean to be demeaning, but I really do view it as though we were talking about unicorns…I’d like for them to really exist, I think about them from time to time, and images of unicorns in a field help me to relax when I’m stressed out…but I don’t really believe they exist…it makes no sense to me, there is no evidence to support their existence…so I treat them like the fantasy I think they are…

    To me, that is the only rational approach.

  143. Regarding science options for homeschooling, here are a couple links with advice:
    http://oldearthcreationism.blogspot.com/
    There are curriculum pages for various ages.

    http://www.reasons.org/education/educators-help-desk/overview

    Also, the ASA website has a whole section called “Whole Person Education”, covering a wide range of creation/evolution/education issues:
    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/index.html

    They were trying to develop a specific homeschool science resource section, but apparently that’s not working out(from the project administrator):
    “I assumed that different publishers would be glad to share about their specific vision and underlying theological perspectives, so we could describe their curriculum accurately and fairly. They are not. I assumed that it would be easy to obtain review copies of popular homeschool science textbooks for ASA members to review. It is not.”

  144. Fendrel,

    Even after all that’s gone bad in the world, and the lack of cogent evidence for the supernatural, I still choose to believe, just like Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus. By the way, I still hold out hope that there’s a place for me somewhere over the rainbow.
    ===> (smiley face goes here)

  145. Once you allow for a God who is omnipotent and not bound to time or the laws of nature, doesn’t the distinction between the very concept of “reality” and “fantasy” dissolve into nothingness?

    uh, no. It stresses even more the distinction between ‘known reality’ and ‘unknown reality’. The use of the word fantasy creates an either/or that doesn’t necessarily exist.

    Much of evolution occurred by one time events, mutations. We have evidences that they have happened, but we haven’t observed those specific events. We have observed similar events; but that does not constitute proof that the earlier event happened in the same manner. But given our knowledge of the observed events, we can reasonably assume that the earlier un-observed event happened in a like manner.
    Given the known event, Dave’s example (healing); can we not reasonably assume a documented event in the past (miracle) could have happened in a like manner?

  146. Oh, back to YECers.
    Men’s group finished a couple sessions on creation, missed the first two. The video presenter used the one quote proves a point a little too much, but was quite honest on the age of the universe. I thought it was refreshing.
    Then the discussion time starts, out comes the Ken Hamm arguments and inaccurate carbon dating. And the wagons started circling.

  147. bobson,

    no we can’t. Unlike genetic mutations which can analyze, test and even produce on demand, we have zero scientific evidence for Dave’s healing.

    Now, if God would care to regrow someone’s severed and lost arm in front of medical witnesses, preferably on film under controlled conditions…I might have to reconsider.

    Secondly in my above quote the word “reality” covers both known and unknown, so it is not a false distinction to add “fantasy”

    Muff – Love ya!

    Dave

    Here’s an interesting experiment, get a copy of your x-ray both pre and post “miracle”. Send them to me (block out your name of course). I will take them to a couple different radiologists and get a reading of the two. All I will tell them is your gender, age and dates of the x-rays…nothing of the circumstances or of our discussions here.

    Let’s do our own little experiment…if they agree with the consensus your doctors gave…maybe we can do some research and see what other possibilities there might be in way of an explanation. Dee could write it up for a church service.

  148. “Jeff S
    You said
    Those who believe in the Bible have common ground with other believers to assert the truth of scripture.
    As you know, i am an ardent believer. But, in this area, what is the common ground? I used to believe that, so long as I declared God to be the One who Created Ex Nihilo, that it didn’t matter if I believed it was an Old Earth.
    But that is not the case. Believers like Ken Ham question my devotion to Scripture by my stance.
    So, what common ground is available?”

    In the context of my quote, I was referring to the existence of miracles, on which I think all believers agree. Fendral and I had veered off topic at that point.

    The point is that you and I have a common ground and underlying assumptions that Fendral and I so not share. You and I agree that agod is the Creator. We also agree (I think) that man is a special Creation, and if I’m not mistaken we also agree in a literal Adam and eve. But the point isn’t determining common ground to exclude people from faith, but to identify what common ground we do share and build from there. So someone like RHE, who if I’m not mistaken does not believe in a literal Adam and Eve, I would vehemently disagree on that point, yet I still find there is much true we can both agree upon.

    Those like Ken Ham divide the body over our theological disagreements, which I find to be distasteful. If I will divide with professing Christians it will be over major doctrines concerning the nature of Christ and Salvation (and by this I do not mean assent to a particular soteriology, but more the centrality of the need for repentance and salvation to the Christian faith), or over behavior that I see as un-Christlike.

  149. “no we can’t. Unlike genetic mutations which can analyze, test and even produce on demand, we have zero scientific evidence for Dave’s healing.”

    Fendral, do you understand that not all of our knowledge and beliefs come from scientific evidence? In fact, I’d wager most of the things you personally believe are not based on scientific evidence that you possess.

    Science is of great value to the world and gives us a lot, but fundamentally we learn many truths we accept apart from science, and those are some of the most important truths we rely on. Our interactions with those we love and who love us are not based on scientific study or empirical testing, but rather trust, experience, and intuition.

  150. No Fendrel I’m not. I just find it incredible that you think you can measure, quantify, pass judgment on and dismiss the Eternal God, while elevating yourself. In my opinion.

    Regards
    Gavin

  151. Dee,

    I am unaware of any Scripture that teaches that the sun revolves around the earth. There are plenty of verses that phenomenologically describe the sun rising and setting, or in Joshua, refer to it standing still. But those verses have no scientific claims in them. When I tell my two year old that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west I am not saying “x” when science says “not x”, I am describing the way something appears. Joshua didn’t care, or have any idea, whether the sun moved around the earth or the other way around…he was describing the fact that the day was miraculously lengthened by God, also not a scientific claim. The Psalmist was writing poetry, not a science manual.

    Show me where Scripture actually taught (as opposed to phenomenologically describing like everyone does every day) that the sun revolves around the earth and we’ll have a bible says x science says not x situation.

    The resurrection is a good example of a real disagreement between science and the Bible. Adam and Eve being the first human beings made in the image of God is another. The age of the earth is not.

  152. Jeff,

    I must disagree…firstly, knowledge and belief are two very different things. I am certain that I have many beliefs that are not founded on any evidence at all other than my personal experience, just like you pointed out even silly things like I believe that my plane will depart on time (something which has almost all the evidence to the contrary!).

    I accept this, it is part of my life…I cannot research every single thing in my little corner of the universe and some, as you said are probably beyond our ability to understand anyway…

    So how is that different from faith in God? The things I believe without evidence I generally do for reasons of convenience, they just aren’t that important to me to worry about evidence and even if I am wrong it will have little or no consequence.

    With God or religion, on the other hand, the consequences, even in this life, are enormous, and therefore, it would be rational to conclude that they require a substantial amount of empirical evidence before it makes sense to commit to their existence and change my lifestyle…and that evidence is not forthcoming, and for those who say they have evidence, again, I would argue that the “evidence” they are referring to is at best subjective and very very weak, certainly not sufficient to command my belief.

  153. Gavin

    I find it quite easy, and I couldn’t, with any integrity, act any other way.

    As Dee is fond of saying, we must agree to disagree

  154. Joey

    Happy to oblige. Geocentricity was defeended by the church since the earth is said to stand still. Since it was clear that things were moving out there, if the earth was sttill, the sun must be revolving around the earth. Calvinis defended geocentricity (Gavin will chime in, I am sure) by using Psalm 93:1 which suggests the earth’s position is fixed. Joshua 10:12-14 is interpreted thusly  because, as you mention, Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still. Psalm 19:6 implies that the sun is moving.

    Now, if Ken Ham and friends can use Genesis to teach science, why not these verses?Why can Psalms be considered poetry and not Genesis? I say that we take our current scientific knowledge and say “Well, of course that’s what it means (poetry) and then go nuts with the other verses, such a six literal days and claim they must be taken literally. They pick and choose and use up the precious time that God gives us to raise money to build a museum and a ministry based on flawed theology and science. 

    Obviously, I agree with you about poetry. Also, Joshua’s observations, to him, were what was believed in that day. The outcome was the issue. The prayers of Joshua, the battle and God’s intervention was the point. For the church to turn it into a science lesson is ridiculous. But, the church applies all sorts of ridiculous things with Scripture mangling  which will become painfully evident when the SGM lawsuit depositions begin.

  155. Jeff S

    I believe all the things that you list. Man was a special creation when God breathed the breath of life into him. That breath is the immortal soul which differentiates man from all other beings. The Mormons make the mistake in saying the God is just like us-meaning he has a physical form that makes him look human. I disagree wholeheartedly. God is Spirit. And It is not man’s form that makes us different. It is the soul-the spirit that lives even when our body dies.

    Now, what do I have in commn with Fendrel? We both have an immortal soul, even if he does not believe it. I am glad that he is here. Remember, in order for him to debate, he has to read what we write. And one never knows… 

    We both believe that it is essential to fight for the truth when it comes to eternity and creation. Anyone who wishes to debate this issue is welcome on this blog unless it gets out of hand. How many Christians do you know who accept the truth, hole up in their little church enclaves and never get involved in contending for the faith except to throw a few bucks at some mission fund?

    This blog is different from other Christian blogs. We allow anyone to comment and even cut those who do not believe as we do some slack when it comes to language, etc. We have had people say they would not come back because we allowed atheists. We have had people asking us to get rid of the link to RHE. I have been called a heretic for quoting Henri Nouwen.

    In the end, we never, ever take for granted anyone who visits here. No one is just a comment to us-never have.That is what makes it difficult  for us at times since we have grown beyond what we could ever have imagined. Remember, we are nobodies in the celebrity based Christian world. Please pray for us as we seek to share God’s truth and love.

     

  156. There is no philosophy, even atheism, that can be proven by “empirical” evidence. The lie is that atheism is more empirical. However, all world views are rooted in meaning, and meaning can never be scientifically verified. The only way a philosophy can even approximate empiricism is via metaphysical reason.

    Fendrel claims that he might be persuaded into a belief in God if he could see limb grown back. However, there is no way to empirically arrive at a belief in God from this; that is, how is the growing of a limb scientific evidence for God exactly? All that can be empirically proven is that “nature” acted in a way that he did not expect. If we accept that all matter in the universe came into being without God, then how can a belief in God be generated via an act which is utterly consistent with atheism? That ALL things which ARE exist and occur without God.

    God can only be “disproven” via metaphysical argument. Never by debating empirical evidence, because there is no rational connection. And thus all philosophy is faith outside of this evidence, even if the philosophy does not include a God.

    In defense of atheists, though, modern reformed theology isn’t even metaphysically consistent, and I submit that cries for empirical evidence are really cries for a theology that makes sense and doesn’t root itself in impossible doctrinal contradiction. Modern reformed Christianity isn’t rational on ANY level, and that’s what is turning people away.

  157. Arlene/Old John Jay

    I found your comment at 12:32 AM very interesting. Would you be interested in writing a post about this issue?  If not, I am cutting and pasting your comment into a document to deal with in the near future. 

  158. In other words, reformed theology is in fact a cult of death, and this is clearly seen by non believers who refuse to subject themselves to ideas that are only designed to remove people from the equation of their life in service to the power of a few Gnostics. Non believers don’t always ask the right questions, but they are not stupid or depraved. They are understandably resistant.

  159. Dee,

    I see where you are coming from. I do think there are more critical theological issues involved in how Genesis is interpreted than, say, a poetic reference in Psalms. So I can see how they get fired up about it, though I agree with you that too much importance is placed on the age issue and the part evolution played (or didn’t play) in everything.

  160. Arlene/Old John J

    My husband and I are going to call the ASA folks. My husband is a member and is friendly with them. We are going to get to the bottom of this. Now I am getting really mad. What are they all afraid of? Does this mean that they know they are selling lies?

  161. Dee, just to be clear, I wasn’t in any way saying I wasn’t happy for Fendral’s (or anyone else) presence. I think it’s good and healthy to push and be pushed in knowledge.

    When I was talking about what I would “divide over”, I did not mean “won’t interact with”- it’s more identifying critical issues where I start to have a fundamentally different outlook on faith (so if someone, for example, says that Jesus did not die on the Cross for our sins, I would count that as someone with a different belief system; someone with a different view on how salvation accomplished is of the same faith but a differing idea on an important doctrine).

  162. Dear Fendrel: what is your response to this? Watch “Magnificent” on the “Andies Isle” website. Random chance? Chaos? You may not want to worship God, or accept His authority..but to say he is not there also makes you just “high class slime” in the sense that you are a product of time plus chaos plus chance. You are made in the image of God, whether or not you want to believe He is there. When you create a universe, you get to make the rules.

  163. “In other words, reformed theology is in fact a cult of death”

    Ouch. You don’t think that perhaps labeling someone’s view as a “cult of death” is a little aggressive? I mean, I feel like I’ve been fairly respectful of everyone else’s views as I’ve interacted here, even those with which I really disagree.

    What Fendral has been arguing about (miracles, empirical proof) doesn’t have anything to do with reformed theology. And honestly, I never talk with Atheists about reformed theology- when they ask about details over a specific reformed idea (say predestination) I’ll say something like “that’s an in-house debate- I believe that, but not all Christians do. If you become a Christian we can debate it as long as you’d like!”

  164. Joey

    Could you please tell me the critical issues that are involved in Genesis besides God as Creator of all and Adam and Eve with the Fall of man? We Christians all agree on that point. Psalms also has critical issues. David teaches us to how to pray and praise in all circumstance. He tells us of a God who does not reject us when we are frustrated and angry. He longs for redemption. I think each of the books of the Bible portray critical understandings of God in order to help us as we follow the Way.

    Howard Hendricks said the three most important things to remember when interpreting the bible is 1. context. 2. context 3. context.

    The Bible is a narrative, not a series of points to be taken in isolation. For example, if one examines Paul’s letters, one is struck by the fact that he rarely, if ever, mentions the miracles of Jesus. He is focused on the Cross and Resurrection.  Yet so many Christiand focus on the miracles. It is rather obvious that Paul viewed the miracles as mere validations of the identity of Jesus and His ability to forgive us. So, Paul looks back to the Cross and the OT/Genesis looks forward to the Cross.

    I tire of Christians picking and choosing the “au courant critical” issues which, of course, are secondary issues. For them, salvation or “regeneration” all hinges on agreeing with a package of beliefs. It used to be the Cross and Premill, Pre trib. Now it is the Cross and complementariansim, of the Cross and 6000 years.  We have a lost world and we spin our wheels on “proving” 6000 years? Good night, what foolishness.

    I may believe in evoutiionary creationsim but I count it all as nothing when I survey the Cross and the Resurrection. Byt the way, I also tire of only mentioning the Cross as seems to be the current trend among certain groups like SGM. Do they forget that the Resurrection occurred? In that moment, joy and freedom entered into this dark world.

  165. “Could you please tell me the critical issues that are involved in Genesis besides God as Creator of all and Adam and Eve with the Fall of man?”

    Dee, there’s the critical issue of how death entered the world and how it relates to Romans 5. IMO, it’s the biggest hurdle to overcome when looking at ET. I’m not saying that different views on how to resolve this are invalid; just that it’s a pretty big deal because it relates directly to the work of Christ on the Cross (and his resurrection!) overcoming death, so it certainly warrants a careful examination of the text and a good deal of discussion.

  166. Dee,

    The critical issues involved in how Genesis is interpreted would be Creation, as you mentioned, the Fall, Sin, the concept of imputed sin and imputed righteousness, which Paul traces back to Genesis, Satan…to name the ones immediately coming to mind. All of these are affected by how you look at the first few chapters of Genesis.

    Is TE compatible with a traditional Christian view of of sin, the fall, imputation, and Satan? I think so, with some creativity.

  167. Jeff S,

    No aggression intended at all. I am merely pointing out the logical conclusion of a theology that roots itself in the irrelevancy of human life. Humans are merely a means to an end, and that end is “God”, which is impossible…thus God becomes whatever the ecclesiastical authority tells you it is. To arrive at this destructive conclusion one has to create a cohesive theology that is based upon premises that are contradictory on every level, but particularly on the metaphysical (e.g. Man exists as a functional extension of God, to the salvation of Himself, for Himself…in other words: election). Non believers see this for what it is: a faith rooted in the suspension of disbelief. When we tell people that they must abandon all reason as the plumb line for TRUTH, we are declaring them irrelevant. Doctrines like election, total depravity, biblical “roles” are all designed to place human beings outside of themselves. The functional outcome of such a philosophy is the reduction of the value, to zero, of human life and makes human existence the basis of all evil. This is why reformed theology is a cult of death, and why more and more people, I think, are turning to atheism. The natural reaction to a summary dismissal of human life is to assume that true life must be found outside of the Christian “faith”.

  168. Then we aren’t doing our job of letting people know the choice is not Calvinism or reject Christianity. Calvinism isn’t the only game in town.

  169. Jeff S

    I see no difficulty with the death before the Fall issue. Think about it. Was the problem with the death of animals or the death or with  those who were given an immortal soul?  God told Adam and Eve that if they ate from the tree “on that day you will surely die.” However, Adam and Eve did not die, as we speak of die today, on that day. Was God mistaken? Of course not so the question is “What did die on that day?” Could it be  the relationship between God and man, unimpeded by sin. The death of the body of the immortal being would die hundreds of years later (I forget how old Adam was when he died-someone help me).

    There is no problem with plants dying before the fall-no soul there. There is no problem with animals dying-they do not have souls in the same way men do. (There will be animals in heaven, BTW but I digress)This is seen by God allowing animals to be killed for food but not allowing men to be killed for food.

    Men are different than animals and I think we should not conflate the two. let the fireworks begin.

     

  170. Calvinism isn’t the only game in town and hasn’t been. I’ve been a Calvinist most of my adult life, but most of the Christians I knew were not. I was always pretty much the weirdo.

    Argo,
    As for this whole “cult of death” language, if you can’t see why those words would be offensive, then I suggest you really aren’t trying to view it from the receiving end. My faith and outlook is nothing like you describe– I find my beliefs to be quite life giving in fact. I realize that you are taking it to the logical conclusions as you see tem, but it’s not where I’ve been led. I can give a whole lot of descriptions of competing theological frameworks that are quite offensive, but I choose not to out of a sense of civility and a desire to not make those frameworks a divisive issue.

    Some very prominate “Calvinistas” have made it seem like its Calvinism or go home, but I know no one like that in real life.

  171. Jeff S,

    With all due respect, spoken like a true Calvinist. “If you can’t say anything nice about “sound doctrine” don’t say anything at all”.

    Since Calvinism lacks rational consistency, TRUTH is measured by how inoffensive a perspective is. Of course, THEY are the ones who get to define what is “aggressive”, what is “offensive”, what is “unloving”, what is “gossip/slander”. And on and on. All Calvinism is is bludgeoning people into accepting that they get to define all the terms and root premises of every debate and discussion. Only then will they engage, which is why they always abuse and condemn before they ever concede to seriously argue the consistency of their theology.

    And when the destructive outcomes of the doctrine are realized, as in SGM, they always say: that’s not what I believe.

    How very convenient.

  172. Jeff, Dee

    So, what exactly do you mean when you say “sin” entered the world at the fall of man. What precisely was different after the fall than before it?

  173. Fendrel

    As you know. i believe in Jesus and salvation because of a numebr of variables, including reason but, as I have said before, if you and I  go down the reason path, it will result in a hung jury. I believe that the evidence whowed that OJ was guilty. Obviously the jurors in the criminal case did not.

    What follows is not an attempt to “prove” the faith. It is an observation of the sadness i feel when contemplating atheism so please do not go down the path of proof. What I am about to say is not “proof.”

    Bill Petit, a Connecticutt endocrinologist lost his wife and two daughters in a tragic home invasion. he barely survived. The pictures of his wounds in the ER would turn your stomach. Here is the story in Wikipedia which is an accurate retelling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheshire,_Connecticut,_home_invasion_murders

    The two men have received the death sentence for this heinous crime.

    My husband and I knew Bill during his residency. He is a decent, kind man. We now contribute to the work of the Petit Family Foundation which is doing good work.

    What we have to offer Bill is hope that his wife and daughters have something more than life cut short. That is the hope we offer small children who get cancer and die, like another friend’s child, at 2 years old. What we have to offer is ultimate justice and healing and a better word to come. 

    You tell us the supposed glorious story that atheists love to tell about dying and our molecules returning to the stars. But, it is just unfeeling, non-sentient stuff. I am so glad that I have come to believe that there is something more, based on reason as well as faith. It is this hope for ultimate justice, mercy and love that resonates with the souls of men and which will forever have the upper hand over the eternal bleakness of atheism.

     

  174. Jeff S

    I know youy weren’t saying that. I just took the opportunity to wax eloquent albeit out of context.

  175. Paul draws a rhetorical parallel between Adam and Christ, but I don’t think he is saying that Adam had to have literally existed (let alone literally 6000 years ago) in order for Christ to be Christ. He is simply using Adam to demonstrate the pervasiveness of sin, because in the narrative of the Bible, Adam is the ancestor of all humanity. I see it as a strategy to increase our understanding of what Jesus accomplished for ALL people, because using Adam is a shorthand way of referring to ALL human beings including Gentiles- unlike the great motif of Hebrews, which is the loss of faith/rebellion after the escape from Egypt and could be seen as applying primarily to Jews.

    Hebrews doesn’t mention Adam at all, though it mentions practically every other OT figure. If the idea of Adam is so completely foundational, why isn’t it in all the letters of the New Testament? Were some congregations or churches receiving this foundational message and not others? Like Dee, the overwhelming message I see in Paul is that the cross and the resurrection are the crucial (no pun intended) elements of the Christian faith. Other aspects might help you behave like a Christian, etc., but are not what define you as a Christian.

  176. But that I meant people who call Calvinism a “cult of death” and who link to “Paul’s Passing Thoughts” (a feverishly anti-Calvinist blog) on their own blog.

    And I’m not a Calvinist btw.

  177. Dee,

    I understand what you are saying, but as for me, I’d prefer to fight tooth and nail for this life rather than be lulled into believing I’ll get something better in the next.

    Atheism isn’t bleak, I am far happier and more satisfied with life now that I am no longer a Christian…you look at the evolutionary process, random mutations and chance and see emptiness and lack of purpose…I look at the incredible circumstances that caused me to be alive at this place and time and think it is freaking awesome!

    None of us knows what tomorrow will hold, a long easy life or a cruelly shortened horrific life…that is why each and every day should be lived to its fullest. For me, to waste that time on belief in some idyllic future is to trade a moment of precious reality for a dream. I could never do that again. I’ve lost far too many moments already.

  178. M

    I will cause a ruckus with this statement. I believe it is possible to believe in Jesus and not believe in a literal Adam. I have read the arguments for that on many venues with people whose faith I respect.  I agree with this statement you made. “Other aspects might help you behave like a Christian, etc., but are not what define you as a Christian.”  I wanted to make a point that evolution does not preclude a specific Adam although I do  believe in a specific Adam.

    I really liked your comment and would like to do a post, one day, on the arguments pro/con on a literal Adam. Would you, or would you know someone, who could do the argument that a literal Adam is not necessary to the faith? I think it would be interesting to our readers to understand the arguments.

  179. Fendrel

    Tell that to a child who is sold into sex slavery and is dead by the time they are 10.

    Also, one can believe in the life to come and still live life to the fullest, not trading a precious moment. I also have great joy in this life and still look forward to the joy in the next. I have not lost any moments. In fact, my belief has helped me redeem the moments of pain and guilt that all of us experience. I have all you have and more.

  180. Dee,

    This will be interesting…what do think Adam was…

    H. habilis
    H. gautengensis
    H. rudolfensis
    H. georgicus
    H. ergaster
    H. erectus
    H. cepranensis
    H. antecessor
    H. heidelbergensis
    H. rhodesiensis
    H. neanderthalensis
    H. floresiensis
    H. sapiens

    Adam, according to genesis seemed to have the power of speech, certainly the ability to understand complex concepts, etc. You don’t think that evolutionary theory and the idea of a literal Adam are in conflict? Especially when genesis treats Adam as a special creation and evolutionary theory does not.

  181. Dee,

    I would tell that to that child, I would not fill their head with make believe stories. Hiding in a fantasy world isn’t going to help them.

    I’m not going to debate who “has more”. How would you measure that anyway?

  182. The problem with this kind of logic is that interpretation of the Bible gets real messy at times. Is the circumference of a circle 3 times it’s diameter

    I believe the problem here is not that we should round of what the Bible say, but that we do not read the words closely enough.

    The brim was (1 Kings 7:26) “like the brim of a cup.” Cup brims are often turned slightly outward, if anything about them is mentionable. The next expression, the one featuring lilies, could be tranlated “shaped like a lily”, which would also say the brim is turned outwards.

    1Ki 7:23 And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.

    With a widenened brim, something could accurately and without approximation be “ten cubits from brim to brim” and “thirty cubits around, without messing with the value of pi. “Around” will not be measured at widened brim height – have you ever tried to put measuring tape round the widest part of an object without it slipping?

  183. A Requiem : “Calvinism or go home”?

    hmmm…

    Some how dat doesn’t quite ringz true for some of us folks who never left our first love: Jesus.

    What?

    Jesus said:  I know your works, and your labour, and your patience, and how you can not bear them dat are evil: and youze tried dem which say theyz apostles, and are not, and have simply found them liars: And has borne, and have patience, and for my Name’s sake have laboured, and have notttttttttttt fainted. 

    Nevertheless I have this somewhat against you: 

    “you hast left your first love…”

    Jesus also said: Remember therefore from where you hwve fallen, and repent, and do doze first works; or else I will come upon you suddenly, and remove your candlestick out of his place, except you do repent. 

    Big Ut’O

    ***

    What are these little calvinesta men saying? “I get you my pretty, and your lit’l faith too?”

    ***

    Where are we going ta go Lord? You have the words of eternal life!

    hum, hum, hum…Amaz’in Grace, Amaz’in Grace…

    (grin)

    hahahahahahahahah

    Sopy

  184. Fendrel

    It is not a fantasy. You think it is. I do not. It is the ultimate reality. Atheists have no corner on happiness, fulfilled life etc. You have nothing unique to offer. So, once again, hung jury.

  185. OK, so… I get the reason that people who have been part of SGM and have left would be completely put off by anything to do with Calvin and Calvinism.

    But I am troubled by some of the responses to Jeff S. While I disagree with him on a number of key points, he’s *not* advocating anything close to what SGM practices. (Which, imo, is a distortion of all kinds of things, and not just Calvinism.)

  186. “With all due respect, spoken like a true Calvinist. “If you can’t say anything nice about “sound doctrine” don’t say anything at all””.

    I didn’t say anything about “sound doctrine”. I’m respectful of your views– what can you not be respectful of mine? There are ways to disagree without labeling another person’s views a “cult of death”. That’s far beyond “not saying anything nice”.

    “Since Calvinism lacks rational consistency, TRUTH is measured by how inoffensive a perspective is.” 

    I’m not talking about measuring truth. I’m talking about respect between people of different ideas.

    “Of course, THEY are the ones who get to define what is “aggressive”, what is “offensive”, what is “unloving”, what is “gossip/slander”.”

     If I have been aggressive or offensive, please let me know how. I sincerely try to be respectful of other people’s views, and I’m not trying to redefine terms.

    “All Calvinism is is bludgeoning people into accepting that they get to define all the terms and root premises of every debate and discussion.” 

    Calvin isn’t that at all to me. Calvinism to me is a systematic way of understanding scripture in a way that shows my salvation to be based fully on the grace of God. I don’t see how I’ve bludgeoned people or defined terms and root premises by holding that personal belief. On the contrary, it appears that in this conversation your are requiring me to hold to your definition of terms for my beliefs, which I have not asked anyone else to adopt or even agree with.

    “Only then will they engage, which is why they always abuse and condemn before they ever concede to seriously argue the consistency of their theology.”

     I don’t believe I have abused or condemned anyone.

    “And when the destructive outcomes of the doctrine are realized, as in SGM, they always say: that’s not what I believe.”

    SGM is not the realization of Calvinism. The doctrines surrounding predestination have very little to do with their actions. People holding competing doctrinal views have perpetrated many of the same offenses with the same causes.

  187. Then we aren’t doing our job of letting people know the choice is not Calvinism or reject Christianity. Calvinism isn’t the only game in town. — Linda

    It is to the Truly Reformed, Young Restless and Reformed, and other Hyper-Calvinists. “Calvin, Calvin Uber Alles…”

    “I AM WITH PAUL!”
    “I AM WITH APOLLOS!”
    “I AM WITH LUTHER!”
    “I AM WITH CALVIN!”

  188. Atheism isn’t bleak, I am far happier and more satisfied with life now that I am no longer a Christian…you look at the evolutionary process, random mutations and chance and see emptiness and lack of purpose…I look at the incredible circumstances that caused me to be alive at this place and time and think it is freaking awesome! — Fendrel

    “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” eh, Dr Pangloss?

  189. “Men are different than animals and I think we should not conflate the two. let the fireworks begin.”

    Well, I think it’s a valid viewpoint, however I would struggle with this: for ET to work and Eden to represent God’s perfect, sinless paradise, it means that in this perfect world survival of the fittest reigns. That the weak animals were slaughtered and destroyed by stronger ones. This doesn’t seem consistent with God’s character. It’s far easier to accept in a fallen than as part of God’s original Creation.

    I’m not saying I disagree (or agree), but for me it’s a difficult theological issue to work through and the consequences are not insignificant.

  190. Arlene 12:32 AM, Dee
    Yes I did see the post. I suspect that a publisher being unwilling to give evaluation copies of a textbook to the ASA is a pretty strong admission that they are not representing science.

    FWIW I am also an ASA member. Perhaps this will allow you to say >1 ASA members are concerned about this topic.

  191. Jeff S – De nada, bro. :)

    btw, is ET a typo for TE, or does it refer to something else, or…?

    Sometimes I get confused by abbreviations – like PSA, which = “public service announcement” in radio and TV broadcasting parlance.

    Or “singles,” which = one-dollar bills in retail. I’ve gotta say that I cannot stand the term “singles” when it’s applied to human beings – how about single men, single women, single people? After all, we don’t refer to married people as “marrieds.”

    I think “singles” is a not-so-subtle way of saying something along the lines of “superannuated ‘teens.'” (In other words, nobody is really an adult unless they’re married…)

  192. Dee,

    To make a leap of faith is, by definition, to exceed the limits of proof and accept as true that which cannot be proven. I admit that I may be wrong about God’s existence, but I also know that to accept it as fact in the absence of substantial proof is foolishness.

    I do sometimes go a bit overboard in asking questions and poking fun at some ideas, but I do it, not to be mean spirited, but with the hope that maybe someday, someone reading those questions and answers might see the incredible amount of “spin” required to reconcile belief in the supernatural and specifically the Bible, with reality as we know it.

    If you say that you are happy with your beliefs, I cannot argue with that, nor would I try, but as you know, I think people, and the world in general, would be better off without religious, i.e. supernatural beliefs and “holy” books.

  193. Fendrel: “…what do (you) think Adam was…”

    …the answer to that question is : “Adam was stupid”.

    *
    Fendrel, I don’t have ta reach into Jesus’ side ta know He is what He says He is.

    I could tell you stories you wouldn’t believe…

    But datz da point: You WON’T Believe.

    So Whatz da point? (I feel so sorry for you.)

    It is so much fun ta see a strawman waste so much time here.

    Keep it up, I think their falling for it!

    (grin)

    hahahahahahahahaha

    Sopy

  194. God has done more than enough to reveal Himself to humanity. He is under no obligation to prove His existence *to Fendrel’s own personal satisfaction.*

    The world would most certainly not be better off without the Bible and Christianity. That was tried in the USSR and Eastern Europe. And the Western countries deteriorate by the day.

    Fendrel, what really caused you to have doubts about Christianity? You couldn’t have decided to become an empiricist out of the blue, if you had been a believing Christian for 20 years.

    What church/denomination were you a member of?

  195. Fendrel,

    Since you recommended some reading to me earlier…may I suggest you give Kierkegaard a good read? Reason only takes you so far…everybody leaps.

  196. First of all, disingenuous is entirely too nice of a word for what these people are doing here. They are *lying*.

    Second, there’s all sorts of blatant misrepresentation going on surrounding creationists in general, not just YECs. Here’s one from just this week, where a creationist stated three scientists were less than enthusiastic regarding natural selection. The recipient decided to check with the scientists. Lo and behold, it turns out the creationist misrepresented the scientists. This is not the first time, obviously, nor will it be the last.

    I guess “Thou shalt not bear false witness” doesn’t count if you’re “lying for the Lord.” *rolls eyes*

  197. Reason only takes you so far…everybody leaps. — Joey

    Unless you’re Kzinti. Then you scream and you leap.

  198. Nicholas,

    as I have stated before, I was heavily involved in apologetics for many years, I finally realized that while applying logic and reason to the specifics of Christian theology I had never put my initial assumptions on the table, i.e. the existence of God. Once I was able to do that (and it wasn’t easy), I realized that I was being dishonest…that there wasn’t any empirical evidence for God, and that it made no logical sense to commit my intellect to a belief in something for which there was no evidence. I had simply deluded myself for many years and buried all those nagging doubts that every Christian deals with.

  199. @Nicholas: God has done more than enough to reveal Himself to humanity. He is under no obligation to prove His existence *to Fendrel’s own personal satisfaction.*

    Actually, no, he has NOT. If there were enough EVIDENCE, then there would be no need for faith.

    And, in point of fact, God IS under an obligation to prove his existence to me if he wants my love and worship. I gave it freely for decades and then, after much study and agonizing, came to the conclusion that I had misled myself deliberately, because I so much wanted to believe it was all true.

    There is an ocean’s difference between what’s being taught about Jesus over the pulpit and what’s taught in seminaries, and I’m not talking “Bible colleges,” or even SBTS, where serious critical analysis of the texts does not take place. I could hide from the conclusions AND DID for a VERY LONG TIME. But I ultimately came to the conclusion that the Jesus being preached by the churches is not the Jesus who lived 2000 years ago. He’s a construct of two thousand years of people trying to figure out who he is.

    I have to question how much “salvation” is worth if I have to ignore everything I’ve learned over the years, stuff my questions in a shipping container and keep my lip zipped in church because I’m a female layperson with no covering. As far as I’m concerned, the cognitive dissonance is simply not worth the hassle. I’m in a much better state mentally since I stopped lying to myself. If God has a problem with that, well, there are solutions, starting with “making it clear.”

  200. Re the sudden fashionable interest with unicorns ;-), perhaps we should discuss the concept of falsifiability here. I think it was Popper who pointed out that something could not be proved not to exist, so to speak – unicorns might still exist (theoretically) in some part of the world, but nobody has ever seen one. So until someone produces a real live unicorn (not a mutated horse with a stick of rock stuck to its forehead) nobody can prove their existence, but on the other hand nobody can prove they don’t exist either. If I have misrepresented the argument, someone please tell me! (Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability).

    I wouldn’t go so far to call Reformed theology a “theology of death”, although it seems that some churches practise it that way. I’ve already pointed out here that not all Reformed theology is the same, and that Calvin’s followers added stuff to or shifted stuff in his writings. To talk about all Reformed theology that way is as unfair as saying that all Arminianism is Pelagian. We haven’t even touched on men like Zwingli who started the ball rolling.

    I find it very unfortunate that YEC-ism has become so associated with dishonesty or at least special pleading. It is unfortunate because it is a bad witness to consistent Christianity, and also because I knew a young earther who was honest, just as Kurt Wise in his own way was also honest (even Richard Dawkins said so!). Unfortunately what SWD calls “lying for the Lord” has a sad and unjustifiable history in some parts of the church (even Luther slipped up here), but it is reprehensible as being against the ninth (?) commandment and also because sooner or later a lie unveiled comes back to bite the originator.

    Re the history of Russia and the Bible, this is a telling point in my opinion. The fact is that marginalising and ridiculing religion, and promoting “scientific atheism” (not sure how scientific it was!) over a course of 70 years – three generations – did not make people freer or happier, or cause the extinction of faith in its various forms. If anything, Soviet Marxist-Leninism came more and more to resemble a religion itself, with its own organised beliefs and education of the young. However from what I saw in the 1980s it could not offer real, existential hope to people, who however good or right they might feel about themselves, had no hope for their own personal survival (in the metaphysical sense), no matter how much their lives might have made a difference to the State or the world. German Nazism incidentally had a similar position, namely that the individual “lived on” in the memory of the living or the life of the nation, but certainly not as an individual soul. Once Gorbachev lifted the restrictions on religion in the USSR, churches began to draw more people in and atheism seemed to be largely forgotten. Ironically what stifles religion in Russia today is not State repression but the allure of consumerism.

  201. SW, what you’re talking about is the “higher criticism” of the Bible, taught in liberal seminaries, but which is entirely conjectural.

    And again, what you mean is that God hasn’t revealed Himself *to your own personal satisfaction.*

  202. Southwestern Discomfort:

    Been where you are, done that, and have the tee shirt to prove it.

    But there really are other games in town than what you seem to have encountered.

    I’ve found the folks at the UMC and ELCA very willing to deal with the hard questions. I’ve found folks at the seminary level of the rather fundamentalist seeming at times Church of the Nazarene very willing to look at the hard questions.

    I’ve found the scholars in some branches of the Roman Catholic Church very willing to consider things most Protestants fall out in a common fit over.

    My friend the Episcopal priest and I have some spirited, loving, searching debates that usually wind up changes BOTH of our minds about what the Scripture says.

    I personally believe God does indeed make things perfectly clear. But then, I don’t believe we have to take the Bible as literally as some do.

    Literal Adam? Yes, but the word really means mankind, and I literally believe we humans exist.

    Jesus as my Savior? Absolutely, but I lean more to Christus Victor than penal substitution. Trinitarian? Been told I am, but the metaphor I’m given by trinitarians is definitely more modalist.

    I love the mystery of God, savor knowing I can never all there is to know about Him, and absolutely enjoy the process of getting to know Him.

    All without checking my brain at the door, shutting up because I am happily female, or walking away from his Bride.

  203. And no, SWD, God is not obliged to humanity. We worship God because He is God, and He ought to be worshipped. For that reason alone we worship Him.

  204. Linda, all attempted metaphors for the Trinity break down. God is absolutely unique. One Being in three Persons.

  205. Jeff S

    i understand what you are saying .That is the very reason that we invented the term “Calvinista” to differentiate between Calvinism and this crowd.

  206. Jeff S

    Besides, one of my dearest friends is Reformed. He is still my friend which means he knows the difference.

  207. Fendrel

    One of my favorite songs is by Michael Card “God’s Own Fool.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvejyvnEidY  Even Jesus’ family thought, at one point, that He was a fool, but that was before the Resurrection. So, you compliment me. It is an honor to be called foolish if it means that I am following God’s own Fool.

  208. Bridget

    You are so kind to ask! Thank you. The sirgery was a success. he still gets sore at night but during the day, if he is sitting, he feels so much better! 

  209. Southweatern

    Thank you for providing TWW readers with the great example and link. “Lying for the Lord.” I like that.

  210. JeffS,

    I have done nothing to warrant your offense other than point out that you are attempting to define the terms of the disagreement by guilting me into accepting the premise that my “tone” or “heart” motives are the real issue. You began this disagreement by first labeling me as “agressive” which is insulting, pejorative, presumptuous, and wholly subjective. I have not questioned your motives, but your doctrinal conclusions. You, as is typical of reformed Christians, never want to debate the merits of the conclusions, but force everyone to accept your subjective ideas about what the REAL issue is: YOUR personal offense.

    I’m not playing that kind of game anymore. I will not allow the arrogance of reformed Christians to presume to tell me what I really think and mean. I’m sorry you are offended by my calling reformed Christianity a cult of death. But that is an accurate description, and I am not obligated to redefine my own biblically informed conclusions in order to debate the issue according to the subjective measure of your “offense”, what YOU consider “respectful”, or how my description makes you “feel”.

    I link to Paul because I feel he makes effective counter arguments to Calvinistic exegesis. In case I haven’t been clear, I AM decidedly anti-Calvinist. Paul’s blog is quite a natural link, I would therefore argue.

  211. Southwestern

    I am glad that you have found peace by dealing with your questions. Anyone who professes the faith without admitting the difficulties is deluding themselves.

    Deb and I toured the Billy Graham museum on Monday after a wonderful meeting with someone formerly of SGM. Billy said something, in a film,  that stoood out to me. When He was challenged on the authority of the Bible, he said he made a decision. He says the Bible does not provide him with all of the answers  but he still believes in what it has to say. He is like me.  I don’t know it all but I know enough that sustains me in my journey. 

    John piper said something with which i strongly disagree. He said a person is in sin if they do not *like” the doctrine of election. I say that God loves anyone who struggles with the Bible and its conclusions. 

    I admire anyone who asks the hard questions even if the conclusion is different than my own. I believe in a God of truth so seeking after the truth is an honorable past time.

  212. Dee,
    Yes, I understand am grateful for the distinction of “Calvinista”.

    Argo,
    I’m not trying to tell you what you mean. I’m telling you how it feels to be on the receiving end. That is not a Calvinist reaction- it is a human one. I think you will find that it is not only Calvinists who would object to having their views labels as a “cult of death. Asserting that this is harsh language is not a redefinition of terms.

  213. Nadezhda Mandelstam wrote in ‘Hope Abandoned’

    ‘The mere existence of places like Lefortovo and the Lubianka is fantastically educational and the lessons will not be lost even on several generations to come. It deprives people of their will and their capacity for free choice-in fact, of their basic human qualities. We have all made small compromises and many, or rather the majority, have gone on to make major ones. In a primitive tribe man was bound by rituals and customs intended to strengthen its unity. People were set free by Christianity but, having tasted freedom,they abandoned it and turned to atheism with its sprinkling of skeptical phrases and the pseudo-rational formulae of a pitiful humanism. There is a glaringly obvious connection between the loss of inner freedom and the abandonment of Christianity, but it escapes the blind and those who deliberately close their eyes. Yet this is the basic feature of our times and could not have been demonstrated more dramatically. There has never been a worse spectacle. Shame and disgust are all that are left to us. The only mitigating human feeling was pity but not many were capable of it.’

    Welcome to the brave new world of the atheist, the scientific humanist, the dialectical materialist. That is where the cult of death lies. It does not lie in Christianity, nor in Calvinism, nor in the Creeds of the Church.

    Regards
    Gavin

  214. Southwestern

    I am afraid that it’s not only YECs who lie for the Lord. I have never met one pastor, evangelist, youth group, mission outreach group from the USA who did not lie when asked their purpose in coming to the UK. They all invariably lied. When challenged, they couldn’t see the disconnect between how they acted and what they said they believed.

    Regards
    Gavin

  215. Nicholas – Perhaps you do not yet know as much as you think you do?

    most people go through crises of faith at some point. Perhaps you will, too – and then you will understand Southwestern Discomfort’s pov much better.

    *

    Argo – dude (I’m talking like a “South Park” character!), calling something a “cult of death” is a pretty extreme statement.

    imo, you are totally entitled to your pov on that, but please – can we chill a little?

  216. Gavin – I’m somewhat mystified about the statement you made on the motives of visiting groups.

    Can you elaborate a bit?

    Thanks in advance,
    n.

  217. Nicholas – I was not meaning to sound arrogant or hostile toward you, but… some of us (many of us here, I think) have been there and done that and it is *really* hard.

    SW Discomfort is no different to most other xtians – and many, many non-xtians – in his/her experiences and need to re-evaluate what they believe.

    Signed – one of the Been There, Done That – and Still Going Through it crew,
    n.

  218. Just a point here – Old Earth and Evolution are not the same thing. Piper, Driscoll and Keller are all fine with Old Earth – but none of them can handle evolution that well. Dirscoll is so confused that he thinks human existence started 10,000 years ago (in the Middle East) – oops. Moder Homo Sapien Sapien’s appeared about 200,000 years ago in Africa’s Rift Valley. It wasn’t until 90,000 – 50,000 years ago that humans left the African continent, hugging the coastlines of Asia Minor and Middle Eastern shores. Here, just after about 2,000 humans left the Sub-saharan continent, the band met with Neanderthals – who had been living for about 300,000 years in Asia and Europe. We interbred and every non-sub-saharan human carries Neanderthal DNA. Sub-Saharan humans – those who stayed in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have Neanderthal DNA.

    Add to this, humans arrived in Austrailia 40,000 years ago and the Americas 20,000 years ago – give or take. That means any “Fall” occurring in the first civilization to successfully survive off farming (Ancient Mesopotamia) was only 10,000 years ago and much of the human race had no way to inherit this said “sin” gene as they were already in the Americas, Australia, Pacific Islands or sub-saharan africa – with no genetic DNA being transferred, it shows no contact after some humans left sub-saharan africa.

    So, no original sin. Now, how do I work this out? Easy – the early church had no notion of original sin, the Jews have no notion of original sin and if Original sin is sooo essential – why is Adam never mentioned after Genesis 3 or 4 except in a few genealogies? So, I don’t follow Original sin. That isn’t to say we don’t sin – we all do (that is not following God), but we don’t inherit this from our father, we just sin because we are us.

  219. Ah…a chill pill. Yes, that’s the right move, of course, when the sexual abuse of children and a myriad of other atrocities are being perpetrated upon the “barbarian masses” in the name of sound neo reformed doctrine.

    A chill pill is decidedly in order. Wouldn’t want to wound delicate sensibilities in the interest of dismantling one of the world’s most destructive philosophies.

    I fully realize most people will not take reformed doctrine to its logical outcome. However, that doesn’t change it fundamentally. The theology is designed for one purpose: to rule the bodies and minds of men and women. To take what is God’s and give it to men.

  220. I have to agree that I identify with Southwestern Discomfort’s struggle.

    To me it isn’t an issue of doctrine, because I think there’s a lot of good doctrine today (of course, I could be wrong!) but the real problem is our emphasis on doctrine to the exclusion of actually behaving in a way that is like Christ. We don’t know how to love- and isn’t love the defining characteristic of the Christian faith? Isn’t it the highest command given by Jesus AND by Paul?

    I just published this bog entry today (I wrote it a week ago) on this exact subject:
    https://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/they-will-know-we-are-christians-by-our-doctrine/

    Maybe I’m still deluded (it’s very definitely possible), but it wasn’t atonement theology, or views on the dual natures of Jesus, or the Trinity, or anything like that that caused me to stuff myself in a box. It was all of this other stuff that has gotten piled onto Jesus such as: a deification of the family, the implicit call to lose my identity and be subsumed in my spouse and my God, the idea I should just ignore my misgivings and trust “authorities”. None of that is real, Biblical stuff, and I’ve shed a lot of it recently. When my (new) pastor says something I don’t think is right, I don’t feel shamed for disagreeing. I even managed to approach a pastor at my new church after a sermon and question something he said and we had a very cordial, nice conversation about it (and he said that he would take my perspective into account in the future because he didn’t like the wrong implications that I drew about what he was trying to say).

    The bottom line is, as Dee says, I struggle with the truth a lot more now than I did and it is a far better place to be than when I was certain of everything.

  221. “That isn’t to say we don’t sin – we all do (that is not following God), but we don’t inherit this from our father, we just sin because we are us.”

    OK, so I’ll bite: “we sin because we are us”. What about being “us” makes us sin?

  222. Val

    Thank you for emphasizing the Old Earth and evolution are two different entities. We did a blog post on Hugh Ross who believe in an Old Earth and does not believe in evolution. 

  223. Original sin was certainly believed by the Early Church. I see though that it’s an offensive doctrine to many people, like much else that’s taught in the Bible.

  224. Thanks for writing that article, Jeff S. Being a Christian is a unity between creed and deed. You cannot have just one and be a Christian.

  225. No Nicholas you would need proof that the early church held to Original Sin, and Augustine’s teachings show it is a new thing he is forming. Secondly, I don’t find Original Sin offensive, just misinformed.

    First, the early church didn’t have things like Penal Substitutionary Atonement – they had Christ Ransom theory if you care to check – which makes Original Sin unnecessary. Augustine came up with Original Sin – meaning it wasn’t taught previously – and that was about 400 years after Jesus. It wasn’t used widely until about the 11C. and ONLY in the West. The Eastern Orthodox church never adopted it, and still today use a variation of the Christ Ransom theory of atonement. This is pretty well swept under the rug by the Catholics and Protestants, but it is a huge dividing point, and the Eastern Orthodox can rightly say they are the ones who kept the early church’s teachings on all this. Original Sin is not Orthodox and not an early church teaching. Since we are all children of the Reformation, this always strikes as odd, but the fact is, we veered off the path of Orthodoxy about a millennia ago and only now are beginning to see how off we veered.

    Secondly, I don’t find it an offensive doctrine, and I can see how difficult it could be to give up an idea that has held firm in the church for 500 years. I just look at church history, Christ’s teachings and the fact the more and more and more evidence – now that the human, chimp and Neanderthal DNA genomes have been sequenced and the data poured over, the evidence is stark that we did not descend from one couple, but a population. That would mess with Original Sin, but not per-Augustinian church teachings. The Reformers and Augustine had no such knowledge of this, so I don’t get offended by what they thought or taught, I just see that the evidence is pointing back to the Christus Victor or Christ Ransom Theory of Atonement more strongly than Augustine’s later Original Sin view and Calvin’s much, much later Penal Substitutionary Atonement theory.

    I don’t have a strong anomosity towards reformed ideas, but I don’t feel they have it all – and this info closed some gaps for me. Do we really know what went down between God, Satan and our human condition on the day of Calvary? No, we see in a mirror dimly. I know many strong believers who adhere to a reformed doctrine and show the love of Christ and don’t think Atonement theory is a thing to divide over – it historically hasn’t been. This is one of my concerns with the Calvinista – not that they adhere to that Atonement theory, but that they are attempting to call that atonement theory (Penal Substitution) Orthodox. No, they can’t, the true Orthodox view is held by the Eastern Orthodox church – but that too I don’t hold entirely to as I like Christus Victor (a later adaptation of Christ Ransom Atonement theory) more.

    Not trying to attack you Nicholas, but if you have no understanding of early church teachings, then it makes it hard to dialogue about Original Sin.

  226. Now, what do I have in common with Fendrel? We both have an immortal soul, even if he does not believe it. I am glad that he is here. Remember, in order for him to debate, he has to read what we write. And one never knows…  ~ Dee ~

    As I’ve written before, I too reject the concept of an immortal soul [but for different reasons than Fendrel] and take the Judaic view [pre-Hellenism] that body and soul are an integral unit and that no such bifurcation between the two exists. I too am glad that Fendrel is here and my commonality with Fendrel would be phrased as: …We bleed the same blood, laugh the same laughs, and cry the same tears…

    This blog is different from other Christian blogs. We allow anyone to comment and even cut those who do not believe as we do some slack when it comes to language, etc. We have had people say they would not come back because we allowed atheists. We have had people asking us to get rid of the link to RHE. I have been called a heretic for quoting Henri Nouwen. ~ Dee ~

    I cannot reiterate enough Dee, I am soooo glad that TWW has a policy of tolerance, some of us would have no place to go if it were otherwise. I am also incredibly grateful that you, Deb, and TWW in general are not like Norman Geisler who left the Evangelical Theological Society in 2003, after it did not expel Clark Pinnock, who advocates open theism.

  227. Val,
    Wonderful comment. Thank you! You explained a lot.

    One of, if not the worst thing to happen to the church is the supplanting of the Jewish foundations of Christianity with Western European Augustinian/secular Greek philosophy synthesis. This is the Enemy’s greatest feat, and turned Christianity from the Faith of Life into a cult of death. It is a lot of work trying to undo over 500 years of cohesive reformed doctrine which has become the same as “biblical”. People will get deeply offended. People will have to re-evaluate long-held “orthodox” premises that go back generations in their families. This is never comfortable or joyous. But we must start somewhere. How many more little girls will we let suffer abuse, how many more families are we going to see “burned at the the stake”, how many more women will be forced to suppress their talents and desires, endure a night of “smacking” as John Piper claims is their “biblical role”…all because reformed doctrine is more important than human beings? Man for the Sabbath! Man for the “infallible” Bible! This is always the cry of the gnostic divines. Man is for EVERYTHING except himself, by divine declaration, and as such has been subject to the worst kinds of tyranny history has to offer at the hands of great reformers like Calvin and Luther and Knox.

    It needs to end, and the way I see it, if people aren’t getting offended, claiming they are “done” (whatever that means), then we haven’t even begun to discuss the serious issues in a way that is relevant.

  228. Val –

    What I am seeing is that when most modern day believers call a belief “orthodox,” they really mean doctrines from the time of the Reformation. This equates to saying that doctrines which came from the time of the Reformation are the orthodox beliefs of the Church. I don’t believe that all the doctrines set forth during the Reformatiom are in keeping with New Testament Church doctrines. It seems you are using “orthodox” to mean the teachigs of the original Churches which would have been started by the Apostles. Am I understanding you?

  229. Val, Excellent comment. I have learned to ask what someone means by “origial sin” because it can include imputed guilt for Adams sin and other things I think are total misinterpretations of the Epistles. Romans gets particularly twisted to affirm something that is not there.

    Argo, You have hit on it. One of the many horrors of the Reformation was further severing the foundational Jewish roots from Christianity and systematizing the Augustinian inspired secular Greek philosophy and that keep us from understanding so much.

  230. A about 5 years ago I left the church for a year.B.B.G went on a journey to find out what my faith was about and what was real.It was a really tough year yet it was also one of the best years I ever had as a christian.This is what I discovered …..Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so yes Jesus loves me.Life is so good no matter how lousy things can be.

    Fendrel
    I have empathy for how you,Doubt can be very difficult to deal with.
    I’m simply going to pray for you over your unbelief.

  231. BBG,

    I appreciate then sentiment, but there is no doubt here, and while I won’t pray for you, I do hope that one day you’ll join who believe that reason not superstition should rule the day.

    I’ll catch up with other comments later, just got back from tennis match..tired.need food…need beer…need Star Trek episode

    Thanks all

  232. Val – Great post!

    Nicholas – Val made a lot of really good – and historically accurate – points above re. views of the atonement, original sin and more.

    If you take a good look at early church history and teaching (from the earliest days to Augustine), I think you’ll start to see what Val’s getting at.

    As for original sin, I’ve taken the Eastern Orthodox viewpoint on that for some time; am also an adherent of both substitutionary [sp?] (not “penal substitution”) and Christus Victor views of the atonement, though I think all of the views have merit, to varying degrees.

    My rejection of penal substitution – at least, as both Luther and the Reformed (*not* calvinista) churches believe in it does not put me outside the pale of orthodoxy, though reversion to pre-Reformation views is often understood as such by many people.

    Hope this makes sense!

  233. Fendrel – how’s your knee holding up?

    Dee – so glad to hear that Mr. Dee is feeling lots better!

  234. numo,

    Well it seems to like taking turns with various parts of my body in seeing which one can hurt more lol

    Right now my elbow is in the lead, but the knees are in close second lol

    Just a side note before I go to bed, I actually think that Christians do their faith a disservice by trying to justify it with logic and reason. After all, if reason and logic lead you to the same conclusion as faith, then what does faith have to offer? – Karl

  235. Muff

    You are far more interesting , as well as nicer, than some of the “holy” Christians that write “atta boy” comments on all the “right blogs. 

  236. Mormons make the mistake in saying the God is just like us-meaning he has a physical form that makes him look human.

    Should we now talk about belly buttons?

    Naw. Lets just let that one pass. :)

  237. “People will get deeply offended.”

    So here’s the thing Argo. You have not offended me with your views, but I feel that there is no room for my personal beliefs when you speak. I feel that you wish to define my beliefs in ways that I don’t. I feel like it is not OK for me to speak. Those are my honest feelings in this conversation.

    I am not John Piper. I am not SGM. I have not abused anyone. I am not a child molester. I have not burned anyone at the stake. I do not appreciate being lumped in with folks who do. You would not either.

    If you want to argue against reformed theology, I’m all for it. It is not your message that turns me away.

    You want to get to the heart of me? I was hurt, and hurt bad by the church (not a reformed church). I was hurt so bad it was hard for me to trust anyone again in the realm of faith. But there were folks who came along side me, showed mercy, and didn’t stand in judgement over me. They asked what they could do to minister to me. They didn’t tell me doctrine. They didn’t send me away because I would not assent to all of their beliefs. They didn’t even push me to join the church or sign a “convenent”. And these were good reformed folks who displayed Jesus Christ to me. These are not the people you need to fight. These are not the SGM’s of the world. These are the ones who know how to serve Christ and show compassion. And yes, the believe in the five points of Calvinism- but that didn’t stop them from loving a broken man and helping him heal.

  238. @Retha Faurie

    OK. I think you’re counting angles on heads of pins but so be it.

    When the sun stopped for Joshua did it literally stop? Or what did happen to the rotation of the earth? And if either “stopped” what did they stop in relation to? (Sorry about the bad grammar.)

    OR OR OR did the land stay lit as or almost as day during what would normally be night?

  239. Fendrel, It is our sincerest hope that one day you’ll join those who believe that faith in Christ, not reason, nor superstition, should rule the day.

    Sopy

  240. Kzinti

    When I read the comment the name on it was off the top of the screen. I immediately thought this has to be HUG.

    Who else around here is a fan of Niven, Neutron Star, and the Ringworld series. :)

  241. Pingback: Why did Jesus have to be male? An opinion from a biologist « Biblical Personhood UNITED STATES

  242. Dee,

    This is a delayed response to your 12:27 post- I am very interested in arguing that a literal Adam is not necessary- I don’t know that I am the best person to do it (I get the feeling that I am much less well-read than many of the commentators here). But it matters to me, so it’s something I have been trying to work out for myself recently, and I would do a post if no one more qualified could be found. I recently found Peter Enns’ book “The Evolution of Adam” useful/thought-provoking on this point, but I think it would be possible to make the argument in stronger terms than he does. He seems not quite comfortable with his own conclusions.

  243. RE: Retha Faurie on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM,

    You might enjoy Elizabeth Stapel’s Purple Math site. She has saved more than a few high-schoolers and college undergrads fighting their own Stalingrad in the obdurate world of mathematics. She is urbane & humane. She elucidates the subject matter rather than obfuscating it like so many ego-centric profs. do so that they can appear as gods.

    Anyway, she gives a down to earth and least speculative approach to the narrative in First Kings. One that does not rely on purported “Bible codes” or other mystical arcana, and one that offers a rational explanation for pi in Hiram’s molten sea even though pi is not a rational number (pun intended).
    Here’s the link:

    http://www.purplemath.com/modules/bibleval.htm

  244. Bridget – I think so. To be clear, it seems there are several meanings of orthodoxy floating around out there. When I first started reading some of the Calvinista and Calvinist blogs, commenters would call this and that “orthodox” and it took me a while to clue in that they weren’t talking about Eastern Orthodox views, but Reformation views.

    TGC and Mohler’s crew seem to use the word Orthodox for whatever they think it should be. So, suddenly a “Liberal” Presbyterian would now not be Orthodox. Which makes me sort of go hmmmm? Presbyterians are, like, children of the reformation and Calvinist too, how could they not be Orthodox? So, to some Orthodox now means (and if you aren’t American like me, we are really in trouble) voting Republican – see the difficulty if one doesn’t live in the US, one cannot be Orthodox, I guess – being repulsed by any idea of Homosexuals being human, and really wishy washy if you think they deserve our love etc. and totally against women holding any sort of position beyond whatever Wayne Grudem feels is acceptable in a church – coffee making and secretarial work might be fine. So, innocent Rachel Held Evens is now not Orthodox. I personally don’t know if she is Reformed or what – she was raised in a Bible church and that is sort of hard to pin down – but she is not Orthodox to them because of her views on women in leadership, gays taking communion, and not voting Republican. Oh, and one crazy thread said she wasn’t because she used the word “vagina” in her book.

    At this point, I suspect the word “Orthodox” is being hijacked to mean Southern Baptist Reformed (i.e. Calvinista) Republican. So it is sort of hard to say what it means anymore. I use it as a description of the earliest Apostolic Church – with full knowledge we don’t have the entire picture of what that was exactly, but we have a pretty good idea.

    It sort of rescues it from the Calvinista’s attempt to redefine it to suit themselves. And never fear if you are called “Not Orthodox” by them, I doubt Jesus would line up either.

  245. Val –

    I will from now on ask for a definition when somone speaks of being orthodox or of orthodoxy. It seems many of the leaders in our day are trying hard to redifine many words to fit their own preferences. It is very deceitful IMO.

  246. JeffS and Koyla,
    I am sorry you are unable to discern between doctrine and application. I’m not sure how to be clearer. I’m not saying that all reformed believers apply the theology consistently. You are presuming a personal attack when there is none. What I am saying is that the root premises of reformed theology are destructive. If there is any empathy for human beings in how the theology is applied, then it is because, for whatever reason, the person doing the applying has no problem with contradictions defining the practice of their faith, or they do not fully understand the implications of what they believe or how to draw the proper conclusions from it. Nevertheless, inconsistent application of doctrine is not a reason for me to keep quiet and just agree that we all just need to “love” and “get along”. Because whether you and the people you know apply the doctrine logically isn’t the point. The point is that many do, and many in positions of power. And that is why children and women and families get abused on the name of Christian “orthodoxy”. If you cannot or will not see the connection between doctrine and practice and you think it’s “mean” for some big old bully like me to say so, that’s a personal problem.

    And you may feel offended, but all I have done is state my beliefs. Your offense is from you, not from me. I’m not begging anyone to agree or respond to me. I’m not the one telling people to “chill” because I don’t like what they say. Please, disagree with me all you want. But I shouldn’t have to agree with you that risking “offense” implies that I need to accept that reformed theology isn’t as destructive as it is.

    I don’t care about the vagaries of application. I submit again, with my own two eyes as a witness, reformed theology and Calvinism in particular is a philosophy of death. I have seen it first hand, and it was defended by the leadership by citing the consistency between the doctrine and how it was used. And the leadership was right.

  247. I could cite the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement or Calvary Chapel as “proof” that anti-Calvinism is responsible for child abuse, using the same hysterical “reasoning” we see from Argo.

  248. Nicholas,

    All attacks on me have been ad hominem. Irrational conclusions and presumptions about my motive. Your offense at me disagreeing with you is hysterical, in both senses.

    I didn’t say only Calvinism. I have consistently said reformed as well. Which both of those groups are. Look at the assumptions behind the abuse is what I’m saying. In churches they are almost always doctrinally based. And almost always can be traced back to Augustinian merging of Christianity with Greek secular theology. Augustine is the godfather of the reformation.

    Instead of elaborating upon the ideas that lead to abuse, you’d rather spend your time using your emotional energy being “offended” at someone daring to get to the root of the problem. No…like a good reformer, your quite happy destroying people in favor of your ideas.

  249. How dare anyone actually point out that when someone believes that the only good anyone ever does ever is actually God doing “through” them, then that makes the human being expendible refuse, by definition. Oh, but that’s not what Calvinists believe; oh no, Calvinists spend soooo much time talking about how wonderful people are. It’s all hysterics from Argo. When SGM pastors tell the parents of a child who was just killed in a senseless argument that there is no guarantee the child is in heaven because the “inerrant” bible doesn’t say anything about it…but that’s not doctrine. That isn’t the doctrine of biblical infallibility at all. It’s Argo being a hysterical meanie.

    Please explain to me, oh wise Nicholas, the divine king of discerning motives and dispositions, how that isn’t doctrine.

  250. THWEEEEEET

    Let’s take a chill pill folks. The rule here is you debate ideas, not what you think of each other. If you have a complaint, take it up with us via email.

  251. I coined a term a long time ago after watching YEs lie with the appearance of science. I called it “Drive by science”. With 5 minutes and the internet it is now easy to completely demolish their so-called science. What they do is put a lot of science sounding terms together and then make “scientific sounding” arguments that fall apart with a little thought and investigation. But one seldom can do it on the spot, so people think it sounds good and fall for it. I personally think that many of them KNOW they are lying but, like some other cults believe that it is OK to lie in order to convince people of a bigger truth. The term is “heavenly deception”.

  252. @me

    Atheists look at the intentional scientific fraud from people like Ken Ham and the legions of YEC hacks and call Christians “liars for Jesus” on account of these activities. Thus these intentional liars like the Ken Hams of the world do nothing but bring reproach on the name of Christ, and all for popularity and a quick buck. I think its been firmly established that Ham himself is in it primarily for the money.

  253. Kolya – Did you get your screen name from the movie “Kolya”? (I’ve wondered about that for a while now…)

  254. Hi Numo, do you mean the Czech 1996 film? No, it’s a bit more basic than that, but good thinking!

  255. Argo,

    Kirrrrrrrrk!

    Ahem! Respectfully, It is the mis-use of the root premises of reformed theology that can beeeeeee destructive. Just like the missssssssss-use of any man made system. 

    Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people. Ideas don’t hurt people, people hurt people.

    Right now Argo is hurting people!!!!!!!

    I am sick of it. So are many others.

    Argo never seems to build anything, Argo just tears down.

    Now Argo is tearing broken people up.

    Bad idea: Breaking Wartburg’s prime directive?

    Bee festive! Bee constructive!

    Sopy

  256. Sop,

    How can one misuse the premise: man IS evil? The PROPER use of this premise is the destruction of man in favor of whatever external force he is either inexorably controlled by or commanded by divine authority to categorically obey (because man’s thoughts are evil, he cannot appeal to his mind as a means to resist). As I have said, the only way one can show any empathy is if they are not, in fact, consistent with the root premises. That is my argument. As of yet, all objections have had nothing to do with debating the root premises. So…uh, not sure what you are talking about here.

    Where do ideas come from, and who implements them? The correct answer is people. You are right about that, but people act according to their ideas…their philosophies. Actions follow ideas. Volition comes first.

    If you’d care to give me of example of how I have hurt anyone, I’d be open to reassessing my actions. I would argue that I have merely voiced my perspective and some people didn’t like it. They are trying to tell me to be quiet because what I said has offended them. So now I’m responsible for being careful not to offend anyone because offering different ideas is now violence.

    Well, I’m not sure what we are doing here, then. We should all go back to whatever place we came from and stop criticizing anything or anyone because people don’t like it. By your definition, if anyone takes offense at something we say, we are guilty of hurting them. I guess I’ll go back to SGM and apologize.

    I’m so confused.

    And I think you’ll find that more people agree with me than you think.

    By the way, that post was a little creepy. Kinda reminded me of that part in the Shining where the wife finds her husband’s manuscript and all it says is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over for like a thousand pages.

  257. And I have not attacked people. I have attacked ideas. I am the one who is being hurt personally, if I may say so. Not one person has criticized my ideas, but me, personally…my motives, my attitude, my disposition. I haven’t done anything like that. My criticisms have been, again, limited to philosophies.

  258. Argo,

    Respectfully, you are caught in a debilitating ratz maze of your own devices.

    Let me throw you a rope:

    Christ as the “last Adam”.

    Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.… The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.… Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. —1 Cor. 15:45–49 (see also Rom. 5:12–21)

    Man is made in God’s image for His purposes. God I giving birth to many son and daughters; all in His image, all for His purposes. Don’t believe Satan’s lie. Don’t believe Men’s lies.

    Men have always mis-used the scriptures, to the hurt of many. Men have always mis-used the scriptures, to the hurt of many. Men have always mis-used the scriptures, to the hurt of many. Men have always mis-used the scriptures, to the hurt of many. Men have always mis-used the scriptures, to the hurt of many. Men have always mis-used the scriptures, to the hurt of many. Men have always mis-used the scriptures, to the hurt of many.

    Please, please, please, don’t be one of them.

    Sopy

  259. Look. This is getting real close to name calling. Not there yet but there has been at least one “southern complement” and a few harsh word on all sides. Everyone step back from the brink.

    And for some of these debates there may be no easy resolution. Is so, is not, is so, is not, is so, is not the way to continue.

  260. GuyBehindtheCurtain,

    The Almighty has a wonderful plan.

    Simply put, some can not see the forest from the trees.

    Jesus said: I came that they might have life, and that life more abundantly.

    Sopy

  261. Guy,

    Of course. It has run its course. Thanks for your patience…you are long suffering, I know.

    I will end with this, then I will from now on limit my ideas to my own blog, where I suppose they belong:

    There is always a way to blame anything but the ideas. The ideas are never the problem, it’s just that we don’t have the right “authorities” doing the doctrine properly; we’d all be happy to submit if we just had the right leader that wasn’t actually too depraved to make it work.

    The irony in that thinking is just something I cannot even wrap my head around.

    Take a moment and think his through. If the doctrine is perfect…if it isn’t the root premises, if “orthodoxy” is indeed Biblical, which means infallible, and instead its the leaders…the leaders, the men who have been appointed by God to carry out a doctrine doing it wrong, then this means that they have no hope of ever doing right, by definition of the VERY doctrine which condemns them to failure. Well,then how can we ever expect not to be abused. If this is truly what we believe…that indeed, man IS the problem, then plumb line for truth is measured by the suffering. The more we suffer, the more we realize that man IS the problem, not the doctrine, and the doctrine is proved correct by the suffering. The more the pain, the more the doctrine is affirmed. And indeed, as a former member of SGM, this is EXACTLY what we are seeing.

    This is the premise we are up against. I’m not trying to hurt anyone. I just want to know this: if it is not the doctrine, not the ideas, but man’s sin, then what exactly are we all hoping for? By definition we can hope for no change because change is certainly impossible if this is our religion.

  262. Fendrel, I am curious, with the same curiosity I have about all who hold views on the existence of God similar to what you have stated in this thread.

    What exactly would constitute some empirical evidence or proof that would make you even start to acknowledge that God might exist?

  263. Justsomeguy

    Well, good question, especially since I can’t seem to get to sleep at 4:00am…so here goes.

    Dee and other have proposed from time to time, that when God performs a miracle, that He does so via natural mechanisms…I do not consider those types of “miracles” to be sufficient, since they can just as easily be explained by natural phenomena as by supernatural intervention.

    This sets up the question, for if I can observe any type of miracle, then I must be able to observe it via the natural world in which I live, and if that’s the case how can the event rationally be assigned to a supernatural source?

    However, given the need to at least try and define something, here goes. I would say that evidence must, at the very least consist of the following in order to get my attention:

    1. An event which contradicts what we know about the normal operation of the world we live in.

    2. An event for which there is no natural, or more rational explanation available (see para. #1 for issues)

    3. If possible, an event which occurs under controlled conditions, with both professional and random witnesses (including myself).

    4. Ideally, an event which God would be willing to repeat, on demand.

    While those may seem overly restrictive, I would ask that you consider what it is we are trying to accomplish. We are trying to “prove” than an observable event in nature, was somehow caused by a force which exists outside of nature, a supernatural one. The stipulations I have listed would be roughly the same as what we would expect to prove even a natural event.

    Some examples of what God might do include.

    A person born without arms in the presence of a medical team and other witnesses, in a modern hospital setting, with recording devices active, causes the person’s limbs to regrow into fully functional arms over the course of 5 minutes or so.

    Take the city where I live and uproot it from the ground, causing it to levitate 100 meters off the ground for a period of maybe a week or so, then gently settle it back in. Oh, it would be nice if all the utilities kept functioning while in the air and afterwards too. Must be visible to anyone who passes by, and open to examination.

    and, if I must be open to subjective experience as well, then while no one else is around, and I am working on my car, I’d consider belief if when I was looking at the rust holes in the floorboard of my car, and I prayed, if I could observe those holes, some 3″ in diameter, rebuilding themselves and closing before my eyes.

    I do not think those are too outrageous, and they certainly would, at the very least, cause me to seriously consider the question of God’s existence.

    Now, let’s suppose they did happen…aren’t there still questions left unanswered…for example:

    1. What God did that, if one exists then certainly it’s possible that more than one exists.

    2. Almost any other proposed “magical” explanation would have to receive equal credibility, such as super powerful aliens from space, invisible creatures here on earth, may the devil himself…point is how would you distinguish?

    So as not to end on a cynical note, if I were to be convinced absolutely that God existed, I can also tell you it would have a profound effect on my life. I would literally drop everything I am and everything I do, and exchange it for a life of evangelizing 24 hours/day 365 days a year and I mean constantly, with time only for eating and sleeping. Everything else would completely lose any value or meaning, it would be a find of monumental proportions…it would be a transforming event.

    I do not think that is an unreasonable response for a human if they truly believed, in the same sense that they believe boiling water is hot. Which also makes me think that people who say they believe in an omnipotent, omniscient God, do not really believe on that level..the very idea would drive a human insane…but that’s just my opinion.

  264. Dear Argo
    I’ve come back late to the blog so you may not see this but I just wanted to say a few words.

    You are right when you say our sin (or all sin) is rooted in the will or volition. You are also right when you say that biblical teaching is often misused/abused by men to justify their particular viewpoint. The result of abusing doctrine is abusive practice and many are the people who have suffered and are bearing the scars of such abuse. As you said, the abuse is rooted in the will of man.

    Any religion or denomination or group faces the same problem. It’s not just one particular group. Even political systems are guilty as noted in my earlier post on Stalin’s Russia.

    Orthodoxy just means right teaching or thinking, according to whichever group you belong. You can be an orthodox Jew, orthodox Greek or Russian, reflecting the teachings of the Eastern church. You can be an orthodox Lutheran, Calvinist or whatever.

    But there is always a danger that the orthodox will look at Scripture as being complete in its own right – infallible/inerrant – and reach their own conclusions using only their intellect which is conditioned by their (sinful,selfish) will, without allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them into the truth. That is the Reformed position- The Spirit and Scripture together confirming the meaning and leading you into the truth, and into a true relationship with God and with His other children.

    So where that is not happening and there is a culture of legalism and abuse, then you are right to challenge it. Big egos and big personalities are a form of idolatry and have no place in the body of Christ.

    I think I can understand when you talk about the reformed religion as a culture of death but I would ask you to look again and see if maybe your view has been coloured by these false teachers who have so drained the life out of you. I would say that Christianity alone of all the religions delivers us from death to life. And I hope that you will be able to find like minded people to help you and you them in faith.

    Best wishes
    Gavin

  265. Fendrel,
    There is a thread on empirical evidence in http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/11/08/is-the-sovereign-grace-ministries-pyramid-collapsing/
    starting with a post of mine Nov 11 at 2:51 PM that answers your reply to justsomeguy. This contains reference to empirical evidence for a beginning to the universe and also empirical evidence that our present universe is not the current incarnation of an infinite series of universes.

    I would hope after this post you will accept that YEC is not a required part of Christian belief.

    The empirical evidence for a single, one time creation of the universe is sufficiently strong that you are making a statement of faith in atheism that is as strong as we professing Christians make.
    Please offer empirical evidence supporting your position or a least acknowledge that you are in actuality making a statement of faith in your claim to be an atheist.

  266. Gavin,

    I appreciate your post, I do. Thanks.

    The problem with your description of Reformed theology is that it isn’t really true, respectfully. Scripture and the Spirit work together… I am okay with that, but the Reformed doctrines of Original Sin and Election mean that man can have no part in the equation. Man is either under the irresistible will of his sin nature or the irresistible will of God, should he be elect. So it impossible that man’s volition can have anything to do with anything at all. And it doesn’t matter if you believe in free will or in determinism (predestination), because in light if Original Sin and election the outcomes do not change either way. So we can put reformed theology into whatever positive light we want, but at the root of it is in fact the assumption that man is decidedly irrelevant. And any theology which presumes to remove human volition from the equation removes the human. It destroys humanity by denying it…by making the the problem with man is that he EXISTS, and so, free will or not, man can do nothing that has any meaning. This is why, unless Christianity accepts that in order for the faith to bring life, man must be able to effect his own reality, utterly, by his own choices which are based on an innate ability to see good and evil, of his own free reason, and choose accordingly…unless this happens, Christianity is death, not life.

    So you can see that it is impossible, based on my perspective, to accept that reformed theology has anything but death and destruction to offer the world.

    I believe the Bible; I believe in Christ. I believe that what reformed theology teaches is both morally and metaphysically impossible.

    The Holy Spirit has only ever led me in love of people. That drives my theology and metaphysics. Love cannot exist if the sum of our doctrine is driving man out of everything as though he were a demon.

    This is not Biblical. The words “original sin” appear nowhere in Scripture.

  267. OldJohnJ

    I thought I already commented on your prior post, I have copied my original response here for your convenience.

    OldJohn,

    Good comment and I will definitely research more, However I will try and make a couple of observations in advance (always a dangerous thing)

    1. While it may be “empirical evidence” for how the universe began (at least as far back as we are able to go), it does not necessarily imply a God or divine being.

    2. Maybe off topic, but if you accept the theories surrounding the big bang, then of necessity, you must reject the time scale of young earth creations who want to peg the age of the universe around 10k years old.

    3. There are extant, multiple pending theories that in fact support a cyclic or rebounding universe, so simply because we can trace ours back to a single point in time, that does not necessarily imply a different, outside cause for that singularity (ref below to Wiki article).

    More to come…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bounce
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loop_quantum_cosmology

    You also seem to be under the impression that I think YEC is a required believe to be a Christian…I do not, I simply think the YEC group is more consistent about their interpretation of Genesis, spinning the first few chapters of Genesis creates other theological problems in the NT

    Lastly, and I have made this point so many times in the past, atheism is not a matter of faith. Withholding one’s assent to a premise does not require anything resembling faith. Atheism is neither a statement in favor of God’s existence nor against it. It is the absence of making an intellectual commitment to a given proposition pending more evidence.

    One of my favorite quotes…to end humorously

    Atheism is related to faith in the same way as abstinence is a sex position.

  268. Fendrel,
    I suggest the empirical evidence trumps your point 3 above. Theories live and die based on empirical evidence. The observational evidence does not currently support a cyclical universe. As always in science, further evidence may change such conclusions.

    With that, I am willing to let this particular thread die.
    OldJohnJ

  269. Hello again Argo

    I can see that your view is a kind of (pre-)determinism that offers no hope, because as you say, man is left as an irrelevance to his own existence and future. However, all I can say I’m defence of my reformed chums is to quote an early church father who said that the Atonement “is a multi-faceted precious stone.” Personally I don’t think we should restrict God’s work to one aspect only. Would you not get a better picture if you looked at it as if God freed us from being prisoners of Satan, which is the early church view? Or that Christ paid a ransom to free us from the bondage of failure and gave us the possibility of eternal life. And then add it to the idea, if you wish, to paying the penalty for our sin. I can’t look at it any other way because each one is true in its own way.

    Having said that, I think maybe the real issue for you is the idea of predestination. You can have single, double predestination or somewhere in between. My opinion on this is(and its only an opinion) is that no-one has the right to be prescriptive because no-one can comprehend the mind of God. It’s difficult enough grappling with the “idea” of God without thinking we are clever enough to tell our friends what He’s thinking and why He did this or that. We need Him to reveal Himself to us and that brings me back to the Word He has spoken, the Son He has sent, and the Spirit He has given. And then, in the agreement of all three, we can formulate our answers. And ultimately that leads us to make a decision to follow Christ or to remain in our sin.

    Regards
    Gavin

  270. To sum up what your post seems to be saying Fendrel, even if God did all those things you outlined then it would still be impossible to determine if there was a God, since it could still be any of those other possibilities you outlined.

    So you appear to be saying that if there was empirical evidence then it would be irrelevant anyway, because it would still be impossible to prove there was a God.

    Impossible no matter what happens. Quite a situation.

  271. Gavin,
    With great respect and no offense intended, the idea that we cannot know the mind of God is, to me, akin to the notion of biblical infallibility. It is a red herring of an argument that people use to defend all kinds of theological and doctrinal inconsistencies in their quest for personal power.

    Now, I’m not saying you are doing this…I believe you are likely a victim of this kind of thinking; as are most of us; as was I.

    It is like saying “all things are possible with God”. While true in some respects, this is not a license to employ suspension of disbelief as the functional core of our faith.

    If God is indeed perfect and if He is omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent then there are certain metaphysical consistencies that He MUST adhere to, whether we can know His mind or not; whether all things are possible or not. His perfection does not allow Him to be a redundant hypocrite, by definition.

    The most obvious metaphysical premise He must adhere to is: There are only two things which exist, God and Creation. By definition God cannot then create something to do a thing He can do better Himself; which is everything, as His omnipotence demands. His perfection always demands also that God is constantly in pursuit of the perfect objective, Himself. And Himself is everything in regards to the meaning and purpose therefore of ALL He does. Therefore there is nothing which He can create that He can possess. Thus, anything He creates must be have been made with the singular notion that it is intended to be what it is, according to itself, apart from God. This includes man. Man man must be free to choose God of his own reason and volition because this is the only way man can metaphysically exist. If this is true, man cannot be totally depraved. If God indeed elects, then He must be the force which compels man into heaven. In other words, He must subvert man’s will, or create him without one…which amounts to the functional possession of a created thing in service to the perfect goal, God Himself. This is utterly redundant because God needs nothing to pursue Himself.

    The reformed doctrine of election is impossible because it denies God’s perfection on the metaphysical level. No appeal to the mind of God can change the fact that He is perfect, which means man must be always and truly free to independently access his own reason in service to choosing or not choosing Christ.

  272. “…the Word He has spoken, the Son He has sent, and the Spirit He has given.” -Gavin

    Well spoken. 

    Indeed!

    Argo, Jesus (the last Adam) said: follow Me and I shall make you fishers of men.

    Get in da boat.

    Sopy

  273. JustSomeGuy,

    Well, I was just posing those as the next series of questions that you’d have to logically ask, wouldn’t you agree?

    But that is kind of what I’ve been saying all along. Even if God performed the floating city miracle, unless you come into the discussion already believing that the Christian God exists and He’s the only one that does, the miracle itself, as impossible as it seems, really doesn’t tell you anything about it’s source.

  274. Sopy,

    What doctrine in reformed theology, exactly, leads you to believe that you or I can have anything to do with fishing for men? In order for me to fish I must want to fish; and in order to want to fish I must acknowledge that it is good to fish. So are you conceding that I am able of myself to know good and choose it? If you are, then we have reached an agreement. If you are not, then what you are asking me to do is impossible, because I would have to be at the mercy of the irresistible will of God, which means that it isn’t me fishing, it is God. Which makes me irrelevant, and God the Creator of redundancy. And therefore He is not perfect, which means He is not God, and is as irrelevant as I am.

    PS: Guy, I got your message. Noted. Thank you for all you do.

  275. @Fendrel

    Yes I do agree. That’s exactly the point… you choose to believe or not to believe because you want to.

    For instance, let’s say that all those things you described or similar events happened. They may satisfy you, and everyone during the time period where they occurred and turn you all into super apostles. Then let’s say oh… 2000 years pass.

    Would people of the later time period still deem those old events as valid, or simply myth and legend?

    Would God be obligated to repeat absurd miracles every few millenia, for the sole purpose of convincing people to believe again because they regard the earlier events as ancient myths?

    It’s an impossible scenario. But reality is this:

    Those who believe see God everywhere and working in everything, because they want to.

    Those who don’t believe see God nowhere and nonexistant, because they want to.

    It all comes down to faith, whether or not you call it that. Faith in the seen or faith in the unseen.

  276. ” think I can understand when you talk about the reformed religion as a culture of death but I would ask you to look again and see if maybe your view has been coloured by these false teachers who have so drained the life out of you.”

    Funny how we see things so differently. I believe, based upon studying the foundational thinking of Reformed doctrine, that the so called false teachers who are legalists are only teaching and acting on the logical conclusions of their doctrine. It is the nice humble ones that don’t make sense to me.

    Drained life out of Argo? I think just the opposite. he has discovered real life.

  277. The Real McCoy?

    Argo, 

    Hey,

    Sit, Walk, Stand…or Opt Out. Strictly your “choice”.

    (easy as wip’in youze proverbial smart@zz. You can do dat rightz?)

    _____“Theology”

    Jesus said: “Follow Me…”  :-)

    Might wanna Buckle Up, n’ hold on ta somethin’…

    Datz do N’ follow, not do-do N’ dwaddle!

    -snicker-

    Mucho Bless’ins!

    hahahahahahahaha

    Sopy

  278. Sop,
    I apologize, but your posts are making me uncomfortable. It seems you’d like to talk at me but not with me; that is, you don’t seem to be interested in discussing my points or ideas. Of even yours, I think.

    Are you saying anything coherent that you’d like me to respond to, or do you just want the last word? Not trying to insult you, just want to know if this is your way of telling me that our conversation has run its course.

    By the way, you cited Wartburgwatch rules a while back. Making a bathroom reference to my smart@ss doesn’t seem to align. Who is attempting to hurt who?

  279. Argo,

    I accept your apology.

    I have use irony to make a point. Your pretty smart. You know this.

    Ahem! Everyone knows you are using TULIP/Calvinistic extremes as a club.

    What is your purpose?

    What is your satisfaction?

    Jesus brings life, the Spirit brings life.

    What are you bringing?

    Could you be a bit more constructive. There are hurting folk here.

    I’ll go back to draw’in in da sand…

    Peace out!

    (grin)

    Sopy

  280. What extremes? My purpose is to point out the humanity-razing premises which are inherent in Calvinist doctrines, and other reformed teachings. I am doing nothing other than stripping away the euphemistic facade and false humility.

    It helps no one to apologize and ignore the truth about why they are hurting. You seem to have nothing to say except thinly veiled insults, presumptions about my motive, and sarcasm which you describe as “irony”.

    I will not be “more constructive” because I refuse to accept your definition of what that is. More constructive to you means to lie about what I mean and believe. It means to be quiet because you don’t like me disagreeing with you.

    The owners of this blog can and will decide how to moderate the comments. If you don’t like what I’m saying, why don’t you skip my comments? If you want to debate, then address specifically how you think I’m wrong.

    But you won’t because I am not. So I suspect you will continue to offer very little to our discussion. And will continue to lie about what I’m saying and what I am doing.

  281. I am a YEC, but I have read that people on the secular side of old earth/ darwinism beliefs have sometimes been dishonest about these topics, even passing off fake models as being genuine fossils, and so on.

  282. Daisy,

    yes there have been instances of fakes or fraudulent claims. The point is that the scientific process catches those issues and corrects them. The reason we know of the fakes is the scientific community itself and the process of peer review.

    There is a mountain of evidence from a variety of disciplines which all confirm the age of the earth to be roughly 4.5 billion years old. As the old adage goes, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own set of facts.

    I would encourage you to look at the evidence for an old earth and adjust your beliefs accordingly. I’ll be glad to help in that regard by supplying whatever resources you may wish to read and trying to answer any questions you have.

  283. Oh Come All Ye Faithful: Please Tell Us Of Christ The King!”

    Argo: “Do you want to play a game?”

    Sopy: “What”

    Argo: “It is called theological therbal nebular war”

    Sopy: “Naaaaaa”

    Argo: “Why not?”

    Sopy: “The only way to win is not play the game”

    Argo: %#%€£%#£*

    *

    Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

    Hail the Word made flesh!

    The babe the son of Mary!

    Merry Christmas!

    (grin)

    jingle bells, jingle bells, Wartburg’s making’ christmas cookies…

    cheeeeeeeeeese…

    IHS

    Sopy

  284. Daisy,
    The principle point of this (as a guest thanks to the blog owners) post was to counter egregious statements by one particular YEC supporter where claims of science fraud are rampant. The science community is very serious about the quality of their publications and effectively polices themsselves. I showed case of fraud in the hard sciences and how it ended. I also dealt with claims made by AnswersInGenesis and showed how data they produced support the accept science age of the earth.

    If you haven’t read the article you might find it interesting. If you have other questions post a comment and I’m sure one of us other readers will help you find answers.

    OldJohnJ

  285. Re scientific fraud, as Fendrel says, it does exist but sooner or later is caught. Another recent example was the Korean guy (very big scientist in his own country) who came to grief over his cloning claims. As I believe our WW sisters said in the preamble to this thread, to get caught like this is a professional kiss of death to a scientific career in the mainstream community.

  286. Daisy

    There are fakes on both sides of the aisle. However, there is significant peer review going on outside of the YE community which then allows for any sort of fraud to be contested in peer review journals.

    I would ask you to go to other Chrisitan sites other than YEC to get the truth of science. It takes a little bit of work and education. But, it will pay off. There is no credible science that proves the YE position. None, Zip Zero. These include Answers in Creation, Reasons to Believe and Biologos. It will be a great journey of discovery of just how big and complex our God, The Ancient of Days, is.

    However, if you wish to believe that the Bible says one must follow a literal 6 day creation on the basis of faith alone, it is fine. But, one cannot hae it both ways. The moment one brings science into the equation, YEC loses big time. 

  287. Also Ernst Haeckel attracted a lot of flak for his embryonic drawings, both in his own lifetime and again more recently, including from Stephen Jay Gould. He survived, but had to backtrack rather, including (in 1891) a confession of “extremely rash foolishness” for using the same woodcut three times for different embryos. According to Wikipedia his motivation was actually philosophical/religious rather than scientific, and in this he clearly went beyond the proof and made assumptions that were not based on available evidence.

  288. Daisy,

    not to try and overwhelm…but here is an excellent, and short video on how the peer review process works and some of the issues with those proposing a young earth.

    http://bit.ly/U8r2CW

  289. We’ve already had Huckabee shoot off his mouth that the Conneticut Kindergarten Massacre was caused by “our taking God and the Bible out of our schools”; anyone care to wager what Ken Ham would blame it on?

  290. Daisy, as a scientist and child of scientists, I’ll let you in on something – scientests are pretty prone to having big egos. One of the best ways to build your ego as a scientist is to do some groundbreaking research or make some huge discovery. That does, sadly, sometimes lead people to fake studies or fudge results. Of course, if you’re caught, your career is gone, so it’s a big risk to take. But ego is also a great motivator to critique and assess other scientists’ work. Imagine if you were the one to poke holes in a major theory! You’d be remembered for centuries, books would be written about you! So the unlikeliness of the sort of grand scientific conspiracy that YEC advocates seem to suggest is twofold: the possibility of getting caught and destroying your career would weigh heavily on peoples’ minds, and exposing a conspiracy would make you the greatest and most celebrated scientist this century. So really, there isn’t motivation for lying about the science on such a grand scale.
    I’ll also add my voice to the comments about peer review. I’ve been through it, and it’s a daunting process. Every so often something will make it through that shouldn’t, but it’s a tiny number of what is published. It’s an imperfect approach, but it’s pretty damn rigorous.

  291. Pam

    I can’t wait to show my husband your comment. He has been saying this for years. A corollary “If the science is so good, why are there no young earth atheist scientists?”

    “You’d be remembered for centuries, books would be written about you! So the unlikeliness of the sort of grand scientific conspiracy that YEC advocates seem to suggest is twofold: the possibility of getting caught and destroying your career would weigh heavily on peoples’ minds, and exposing a conspiracy would make you the greatest and most celebrated scientist this century. So really, there isn’t motivation for lying about the science on such a grand scale.”

    You cannot believe the number of people who would answer that there is a vast scientific conspiracy to sit on the “proof”  of a young earth. Dee is now banging her head against a all.

  292. Pam,

    Thanks, it’s nice to hear a another voice in the crowd. May I ask what your field of work is, just curious.

    You may have already seen this short video by Kevin Padian Ph.D. Professor of integrative Biology at UC Berkeley on Intelligent Design and the peer review process, but in case not, here’s the link. I found it very educational.

    http://bit.ly/U8r2CW

  293. What would happen if in every science classroom, the teachers put up a large poster which blatantly ridiculed intelligent design as an example of terrible science, pointing out the misinformation, lack of process, lack of peer review and in many cases out right lies.

    Would the ID camp protest, and if they did, on what basis?

    Since they “claim” that ID is science and not religiously based, then they should have no grounds on which to protest, they have given up their right to “protection” since it is not, according to them, a religious ideology.

  294. Fendrel

    I have no doubt that those days are coming. I, for one, believe Christians deserve it. So, I say “Bring it on.” It’s time for us to man up and debate this as adults.(both sides-BTW).

  295. Dee,

    Heading toward TN anytime before Christmas, love to have that cup of coffee with you and thank you in person for your many kindnesses and friendship.

  296. Fendrel

    I wish I could. However, after Christmas, we usually do a mountain weekend so perhaps then. No thanks necessary-BTW.

  297. You cannot believe the number of people who would answer that there is a vast scientific conspiracy to sit on the “proof” of a young earth. Dee is now banging her head against a all. — Dee

    “If your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, Invent a Bigger Conspiracy.”
    — Kooks Magazine

    “The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs! We Won’t Be Taken In!”
    — C.S.Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

  298. HUG

    Conspiracy theories get funnier the more you examine them. The current trend is to add the name of a specific thing/person in order to make the claim sound valid.

    Here is one I heard in a Sunday school class. ” The Discovery Channel is hiding direct evidence for a young earth.” This tactic was used about 20 years ago during the idiotic Proctor and Gamble are “satan worshippers.”  I couldn’t take it so i challenged a woman in the Bible study. She said two executives said so on Phil Donahue. I asked her if she actually saw it. She started stammering. I then said that Christians should never, ever bear false witness. I told her and a pastor that P&G was so fed up they were threatening prosecution.

    All this to no avail. I continued to hear people passing around this rumor in the church.I kept telling them they could be in legal trouble and slowly it died out.

  299. Don’t forget the ASA, an organization of professing Christians that also subscribe to science, not YEC. A link is under blogs on the TWW home page.

    Fendrel, it’s nice to see that we are on the same side of at least one topic.

    A thorough investigation into the finances of the AIG “GenesisWorld” entertainment empire might prove to be very enlightening.

    While touting YEC beliefs is not as damaging to our faith as spiritual or sexual abuse by clergy it still is a substantial negative to many people.

  300. oldJohnJ,

    Yes, it’s nice to be fighting the same foe from time to time…of course I still don’t get how a person can reject a YEC version of creation because it conflicts with what we have learned from science and at the same time embrace a virgin birth, resurrection from the dead, walking on water, turning water into wine, etc. and not blink an eye.

    Sorry, I’m just not happy if I can’t find something to debate lol

  301. I still don’t get how a person can reject a YEC version of creation because it conflicts with what we have learned from science and at the same time embrace a virgin birth, resurrection from the dead, walking on water, turning water into wine, etc. and not blink an eye. — Fendrel

    Funny, Fendrel. Both you and Ken Ham agree that YEC is linked to all the core beliefs of the faith, and for much the same reason. They all stand or fall as a single package deal. You just came down on completely opposite sides of the issue.

    You should start pointing this out to hardcore YECs. Mess with their minds…

  302. Hug,

    I can see why you say that, but in reality all I am trying to point out is that whichever side of the issue you take, you should be consistent in your approach and honestly deal with the implications.

    From my perspective, whether you believe the earth is only 6000 years old or you believe that virgins can be pregnant and give birth you are equally alienated from scientific reality.

    I am pretty sure Dee is getting ready to lecture me on God intervening via nature and that some “miracles” are essential to the Christian faith, so I’ll stop here and not deny her the pleasure of pummeling me once again. :)

  303. Fendrel,

    Dee does not pummel. Have you seen how I have inserted myself on this blog. LOL!

    They are the most patient, kindest, and long suffering blog owners in the world.

    As an athiest, your views do not seem strange at all. They are quite sensible. And I don’t think you’ve offended anyone at; you have been very temperate in your disagreements from what I’ve read. Better than me, truly.

    I would simply say that I continue to believe that you seek a scientific treasure in a metaphysical shipwreck (modern Protestant theology mish-mash). I don’t want to offend anyone, but as Christians, if we can’t even be philosophically consistent, we will have very little luck convincing you of much. It is hard to convince an atheist that the “truth” is rooted in a suspension of disbelief. Talk to Eagle. I think he has basically said as much (though I could be wrong).

    Again, no offense to anyone. Remember, I believe in Jesus as Lord, too.

  304. Hi Fendrel,
    I’m a geographer, currently doing my PhD on flood risk and perception. So I’m on the softer end of science (applied science, if you will) but my research intersects with everything from hydrology to land use planning to climate change to psychology to insurance, so I have toes in many waters. I also have a bit of a climate change background, but again at the applied end. My parents, on the other hand, are physicists, so they’re proper hardcore big-S Scientists.

    HUG, I’ve had debates about science conspiracies, especially around climate change as my masters thesis was on adaptation, my current degree is closely related, and my parents’ work is very closely related. In one debate on Facebook,my response to the ‘scientists are conspiring with communists’ line (after picking apart the other person’s incorrect chronology of climate research) was to bluntly tell them that I’ve known and lived with my parents all my life and never seen any evidence of their membership in some scientist’s conspiracy club, nor have I been inducted into one myself, and there was no discussion of The Conspiracy at the climate change conference I’d just attended, and I really don’t appreciate being called a liar or being told that my own parents have spent their entire lives lying to me about their own work. That put a very quick end to the conversation.

  305. If you were my dear and trusted friends, and I sent you a Christmas card, and in it I told you that I baked some homemade bread in three hours…you would believe me, right?
    If I told you I painted a watercolor sunset over the sea in one afternoon, you would believe me, right?
    And if I labored on some special landscaping and a garden for one whole day, you would believe that too, right? Why? Because we have a relationship built on truth and trust.

    I love and trust the LORD. He says He created the world and everything in it in six days. I believe Him.

  306. Carol

    I love and trust the LORD and I believe He created the world but not in six days if by days you mean 24 hours. As you probably know, yom (days) has a boatload of definitions beyond 24 hours.

    So, what does love and trust have to do with it since we both do and we both come out with different conclusions.  

    Also, God told Adam and Eve that if they ate from the tree of knowledge, on that day they would surely die. They didn’t so did God lie? Or did He mean something else by “day?”

  307. Hi Dee,
    Here are my thoughts, humble though they are…please know that I’m just answering as best I can. Everyone is responsible for their own thinking on this matter, and the perspective they have toward the logical consistency of the Bible and the power of God.

    I believe that the Bible is speaking of literal 24 hour days.

    Each day during creation has “an evening and a morning” and is also numbered, first day, second day…which is how we would describe a literal day today, in any culture.

    I’m in finance, and it is standard practice to number the days and weeks in a business month. Today was Week 4/Day 1 for me at work. Man’s own work week is patterned after the creation week according to Scripture (work 6 days, rest on the 7th).

    As far as “in the day that you eat of it you will surely die” Gen 2:17b… I’m not an expert, so I want to be careful, to me this phrase has no evening or morning, it doesn’t say “that very day” or “the first day you eat it”. I remember reading that a literal translation of the Hebrew is “dying, you will die”. It makes sense to me that it means man is cursed with death from that day forward, and Adam in his own day (his time/age) will surely die.

    I agree that Yom/day has different meanings depending on the context (and internal consistency throughout the Bible).

    The bottom line for me is that God’s Word is immeasurably superior to all of the theories that mankind comes up with to explain things. I realize that a vast number of highly educated and respected people scorn the creation account entirely. Let’s be frank, they usually scorn Jesus Christ and salvation too.

    When folks are motivated, they can come up with many reasons why not to believe the thing they don’t want to believe. And they can publish it, “prove” it, and award each other Nobel prizes. I’m not being sarcastic either. Man colludes with man (and woman) to “be all they can be” without God.

    But the LORD Himself is no respecter of persons, and His thoughts are infinitely above men’s and women’s thoughts (mine included). For those of us who believe… I just ask…why should we try so hard to conform the Bible to scientists’ theories that were originally posited to explain things without God? Why do we think that rebellious man has the total picture, the full answer that defines the Word of God, when it should be the other way around?

    Dee, thanks for asking, it was helpful for my faith to think about it and write it down.

  308. “The Lord’s Bounty: Life Is Like A  Faith Sandwich?”

    HowDee YaAll,

    Mer-ry-Xmas,

    ho, ho, ho!

    Is  life like a faith sandwich?”

    What?

    TOP BREAD: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”

    BOTTOM BREAD: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 

    And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:

    “Now the dwelling of God is with men,and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 

    He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” 

    ***Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

    THE IN-BETWEEN (Good) STUFF:

    Jesus said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God! So it is like the kingdom of God, that a man should cast seed into the ground, and should sleep, and rise night and day…, and the seed springs and grows up…

    up, up, up!

    How?

    For de earth  brings forth fruit of herself; first da blade, then da ear, after dat the full corn in the ear. But when da fruit is brought forth, immediately da laborer puts forth de sickle, because itz harvest time!

    hmmm….

    So it is wit da Almighty; He letz da wheat and the tares grow together. God has sown da wheat. Satan has sown z tares. When the harvest time comes, He will have His servants put the wheat into His barn. With z tares, He will burn with fire .Oops!

    And so it will b.

    why?

    cuz He said so.

    -snicker-

    Pssssssssssssst: God’s kids are da wheat!

    Cheeeeeeeeese?

    Pass da Gray Poupon Mustard!  Plezzze!

    (grin)

    hahahahahahahaha

    IHS

    Sopy

  309. Sorry Carol, but I have to jump in here. I thought about responding to your first comment, but decided to bite my tongue. But when the grand science conspiracy stuff comes up, I won’t be silent.
    I’ll give you the response I thought of to your first comment. If you wrote to me and said you’d spent three hours making homemade bread and I knew you enjoyed baking, of course I’d believe you. But if I knew that you didn’t have an oven, I wouldn’t believe you, even if you were my best friend, because the evidence wouldn’t support your assertion. The evidence doesn’t support a young earth.
    On to the grand scientific conspiracy, your suggestion that we’re all in cahoots to only prove what we want to prove, only publish what we’ve colluded on, and give each other prizes and pats on the back. With respect, can I ask if you know many people who are scientists? I ask this because I think people who don’t know (m)any scientists often have a skewed and simplistic view of them, either as almost superheroes or as sinister bad guys. The truth is much more mundane. Scientists are the nerds who just never stopped asking ‘why’? They tend to be pretty invested in what they do, often to the point of weirdness (seriously, dinnertime conversations with two academics for parents are not like a normal family), and many of them have big egos and competitive natures. To be honest, there simply isn’t enough camaraderie in the scientific community to uphold a long term conspiracy and suppression of data.
    Finally, many scientists are religious, they follow all sorts of religions. Many are Christian. If you look back through history, you’ll see the same thing. Many early scientists were monks, and they saw their work as praising God through studying his creation. To suggest it’s as simplistic as scientists = anti-God is just incorrect.

  310. Pam, thank you for your very perceptive comments above.

    Carol, another important characteristic of the sciences is that they are predictive. If you can logically derive a prediction about some possible measurement from a theory then the measurement should agree with the prediction. If it doesn’t, assuming the measurement or observation was done correctly, then the theory is incomplete or wrong in some sense and must be updated. This is the normal process of science.

    Technology is also an outcome of the predictive nature of theory. The internet we are using for this conversation is not arbitrary. The hardware in particular represents a deep understanding of the physical world.

    The YEC community’s use of the internet (technology) to disseminate their Biblical interpretations is hypocritical at best. YEC theories are not predictive nor do they lead to improved technology. To me this strongly suggests that a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis was never intended.

  311. Argo,

    Thanks for the comment, I guess it didn’t come through quite the way I had intended. When I said Dee was going to “pummel” me, it was intended as tongue in cheek. Dee is a good friend and I know she would never actually try to “pummel” someone. Was just an attempt at a bit of humor, that’s all. :)

    Pam,

    Interesting background, my son is majoring in Physics at college now, so it’s always nice to know others in the field. I appreciate the distinction you made between science and applied science, it goes unspoken or unnoticed in many discussions.

    I also appreciate your response to being accused of being involved in a conspiracy. I it roughly the same response I have to give when people say that if I am an atheist now, then I couldn’t have ever been a “true” Christian before.

    Carol,

    Actually, I would believe you only in part because we had a relationship of trust, but equally because the things you mentioned are feasible within the framework of how I understand the universe to work.

    On the other hand, if you came to me and said your house cat sprouted wings last night and could now fly or that your pet dog had a litter of kittens instead of puppies, then friendship or not, I would think you were either losing it, pulling my leg, or for whatever reason, outright lying to me.

    The same would go for God.

    oldJohnJ,

    Actually I would say that the early chapters of Genesis were meant to be understood literally, primarily because humans, at the time it was written, would have had no basis on which to interpret them otherwise, which would put God in the unenviable position of having intentionally deceived them about the nature of the universe’s origins.

  312. Fendrel, Let me clarify a little. I believe that God is all knowing, past present and future as claimed by many in the theological community. Having said that, when Genesis was dictated (inspired or what ever term you feel is appropriate) about 4000 years ago God knew it was being given to a prescientific people. He also knew it would read in a scientifically literate world in the future. Thus He gave the creation narrative in a form that both extremes could meaningfully interpret. The “never intended” in my previous comment was directed solely to our time.

  313. I appreciate the good-natured kindness in the responses to what I said, even though we are strangers to one another.

    First, to clarify, I’m not accusing all, or even the majority of individuals in the science community of conscious or deliberate falsehood.

    Rather, I’m trying to express a Biblical truth (to follow) and how it relates to the science establishment in general, i.e. the politics and motivation behind professional acceptance, peer respect, rewards, fame, publicity, positions of honor etc., and how scientists are naively perceived by the general population as having supreme authority and insight into the origins of the universe and man.

    Here is the biblical truth:
    Mankind is in utter denial about their sinfulness and pitiful weakness before a Holy and Almighty God.

    Mankind is grossly limited in knowledge, ability and longevity… a wisp of smoke, a blade of grass, and a fading flower.

    Mankind is corruptible and in rebellion. If not saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, each person lives his or her life in the way that is “right in their own eyes”.

    People are motivated to justify themselves, and I’m talking about all of us, even our peaceable, friendly and charitable friends.

    Thus my statement regarding the “collusion” in the science establishment, a group of people who mostly reject Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created.

    Their goals, in respect to explaining origins, almost unanimously focus on the deliberate rejection of special creation by God, especially as He Himself tells it. And through their work and organizations, they seek to reinforce that and convince others likewise.

    So my rhetorical question is again this: Why do believers embrace and revere the word of unbelieving scientists, as if they are God – and reinterpret the word of a holy God, as if He were human?

    By the way, I have a BS in Biology, an MS in Accounting, and I’m a professional in corporate finance. My mother and sister have science degrees also. I respect operational science, engineering and medicine. I reject unbiblical speculations of origins.

    Sure, a person can know if a friend doesn’t possess an oven in their home. You can physically verify that fact. Does a cat sprout wings? No, of course not. (But the evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium makes that absurdity a possibility. Just sayin’.)

    Does it follow that a human scientist can verify that they know everything in the universe, and can rule out God’s power and explicitly stated actions? Every person on this planet can be proven to be limited and fallible. Therefore I don’t accept that any man/woman, no matter how honored by others, is an authority above God’s own word.

  314. Carol,

    It is not collusion but collision.

    Faith & reason.

    Look at your examples of biblical truth:

    1. Mankind is in utter denial about their sinfulness and pitiful weakness before a Holy and Almighty God.

    2. Mankind is grossly limited in knowledge, ability and longevity… a wisp of smoke, a blade of grass, and a fading flower.

    3. Mankind is corruptible and in rebellion. If not saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, each person lives his or her life in the way that is “right in their own eyes”.

    4. People are motivated to justify themselves, and I’m talking about all of us, even our peaceable, friendly and charitable friends.

    The conclusion one would come to about Man by your examples of biblical truth as exampled above is :

    Man is Excrement. 

    That is what people are doing with biblical truth.

    They are simply abusing it.

    It is making kind folk sick.

    Don’t do dat!

    Please bring da light. In scripture, there is plenty of it.

    Man is not Excrement, but Wonderfully made bu a super God who took da time ta fix what is broke.

    He had to die ta do it.

    He ain’t finished yet.

    Stay tuned.

    (grin)

    hahahahahahaha

    Sopy

  315. Dee does not pummel. Have you seen how I have inserted myself on this blog. LOL!

    They are the most patient, kindest, and long suffering blog owners in the world.
    ~ Argo ~

    You got that right. They even allow a Pelagian heretic (Muff Potter) to participate. I love TWW. It’s kinda’ sorta’ like Al Andalus before the Spanish Inquisition took over.

  316. Carol,

    I couple of points, even though the comment was rhetorical :)

    This comes back to something I have explained (or at least tried to) many times here. I am not saying that faith is invalid, nor am I saying that the subject of someone’s faith is necessarily fictitious.

    What I am saying is that faith is not dependent on nor supported by empirical evidence and as such, my opinion is, that it is not rational to go out on that limb. However I can respect that other people might in fact feel that going out on that limb is an essential part to one’s spirituality.

    The reason to accept things from the scientific community as opposed to God, is that hopefully, those things in science have been vetted by a long line of scientists from all over the world, that the assumptions, experimentation, projections, etc. have all been reviewed multiple times. It doesn’t mean that a mistake wasn’t made or even that sometime down the road we will learn something that might upset the entire apple cart, but it does mean that, at the moment, it would be irrational to withhold intellectual assent.

    On the other side, the things of scripture, are unsupported by a similar mechanism and in fact, many times they run completely counter to what we can experimentally show to be true. Doesn’t mean they are false, simply that it’s a pretty weak branch to crawl out on, and even more so when you consider that most evangelicals want to proclaim those things to be not only true, but true for all time, evidence to the contrary.

    Secondly,

    Sure, a person can know if a friend doesn’t possess an oven in their home. You can physically verify that fact. Does a cat sprout wings? No, of course not. (But the evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium makes that absurdity a possibility. Just sayin’.)

    Actually Eldredge and Gould’s punctuated equilibrium theory does not allow for dogs producing kittens or a flying cat. More of that later if you like.

  317. Respectfully, I didn’t say what Perry Noble has implied, that mankind is excrement.

    I said men and women are sinners, fallible, limited and prone to justify themselves.

    The Bible clearly states that this is so, and even without the Bible, to suggest otherwise is to be unrealistic about humankind.

    But if you want to disagree because this truth turns people off (which it does, and did you) then that’s your prerogative. But please don’t attribute to me something I did not say.

  318. carol

    Briefly, a small snippet from Scholarpedia:

    As is often typical of any new idea, punctuated equilibria sparked considerable discussion and generated significant controversy. One aspect of disagreement was the disconnect between what biologists and paleontologists meant by “rapid change.” To a paleontologist, the 5,000 to 50,000 years typical for a speciation event would seem incredibly rapid, especially due to the limits of resolution in the fossil record and in the face of millions of years of otherwise morphological stability. By contrast, to a biologist, the 5,000 to 50,000 years that Eldredge and Gould consigned to speciation events seemed like a tremendous stretch of time: more than long enough to accommodate “gradual evolutionary divergence.” Because of the disconnect between what “rapid” meant to biologists and paleontologists, some biologists were inclined to view punctuated equilibria as necessitating effectively instantaneous evolutionary change (which was incorrect). Also, and in a related vein, Eldredge and Gould (1972) and Gould and Eldredge (1977) were careful to stipulate that only relatively small morphological differences separated closely related species, and in particular that different species were not separated by unbridgeable evolutionary gaps; however, there was also confusion and controversy on this point as well.
    Finally, there was some disagreement as to how stasis should be defined. Some who challenged punctuated equilibria held that any amount of change within a species lineage over time was enough to disqualify a particular example as evidence for stasis. Eldredge (1989), Lieberman et al (1995), Lieberman and Dudgeon (1996), Gould (2002), and Eldredge et al (2005) argued, by contrast, that the primary test for stasis should be no net change. The pattern of no net species change could match obdurate morphological stasis or a pattern more akin to morphology following a random walk; such differences would be informative about the types of mechanisms that might cause stasis, and both would be compatible with stasis itself.

    Plus a cat sprouting wings would also conflict with the idea of common descent.

  319. Ok Sopy, I just re-read your post and I apologize. You didn’t specifically say that I said that man is excrement. You just implied that’s what people would conclude I meant, which I didn’t.

    So….what is it that, as you put it “a super God who took da time ta fix what is broke”? What is broke in man? It is sin, and self-justification without Jesus Christ.

    Fendrel, I understand what you’re saying, and I would just say we fundamentally disagree on “those things in science have been vetted by a long line of scientists from all over the world, that the assumptions, experimentation, projections, etc. have all been reviewed multiple times…”

    We disagree whether unbelieving man’s collective efforts and conclusions could somehow trump God’s Word. Millions of people, their brain-power and works over thousands of years are nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the incomparable, omnipotent and everlasting God.

    Man does not define God; God defines man, and everything else. We are on His terms, not ours.

    Ok, I can’t post anymore this afternoon, but I appreciate the opportunity to express my thoughts.

  320. I think we can all agree that science is nothing more than a grid we have imposed upon reality in order to make sense of it. Throughout human history good scientists have used meticulous measuring techniques utilizing the best measuring tools of their day to arrive at a grid.

    The grid is never wrong, but on occasion, conclusions derived from the grid can be dreadfully wrong.

    Case in Point:

    From the 2nd cent. until the time of Copernicus and Kepler, Ptolemy’s Almagest reigned supreme in any discussion of astronomy and cosmology. Its mathematical rigor was unassailable and it was the defacto standard for instruction in all of Europe’s great medieval universities.

    Kepler began to notice that Ptolemy’s model could get very complicated and even produce what he felt were absurd results. So he set out to see if there was a simpler model based on observable data and he found one. And the rest is as they say, history.

    Science is and always has been a harsh and fickle mistress who has no qualms whatsoever about cutting both ways.

  321. Muff – I think we confuse our own understanding of science with the actual data and scientific findings.

    The flaws are ours (unless produced by unreliable instruments or similar). We all interpret data to mean certain things, and I don’t think any of us can ever be entirely objective or truly able to step outside our own frames of reference.

    Some things that we now believe to have been ignorant at best (the “four humors” theory and medicine based on it, for example) made a *lot* of sense back in their day… and I suspect that if we were somehow transported back to the time when these ideas were in force, we would be able to better understand why that was so.

    A few months ago I was reading a series of novels by Neal Stephenson – all set in the late 17th-very early 18th c., and with considerable scientific research on Stephenson’s part, since several scientists (early/founding members of the Royal Society) are characters in the books. I read and was astonished at my own ignorance regarding some of the great discoveries in astronomy and medicine, and also saw my own tendency to look at older scientific theories and discoveries as passé – old news at best.

    In some ways, it seems as if people in the 17th and 18th centuries might have been more open-minded about exploring the heavens, earth and what’s found therein than we are… but maybe that’s a reflection on my own way of viewing things more than it is of our society’s understanding of science? (I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, if there even *is* one.)

  322. P.S.: When the moon is full and at its zenith in the night sky, I’ve found myself being tricked (visually) into literally seeing the sky as half of a sphere.

    That people believe it to literally be that makes a great deal of sense to me, since it certainly can look as if it’s exactly that. (The mental image I had was of a half-sphere made of something very hard and clear, like crystal but unbreakable.)

  323. The Pentateuch was destroyed during the fall of Jerusalem, and recreated from memory during the Babylonian exile, about 5 centuries BCE. To believe it is the literal word of God is a huge assumption about the ability of the scribes to remember the earlier writings word for word. Secondly, the earlier version was taken from oral history and put into writing after the time of Moses. The early chapters of Genesis are very similar to stories of creation from other Mid-East culturals of ancient time, with the most consistent distinction being the names given to the creator god in each such story.

    While I believe that God caused it to come into existence, to satisfy a need to provide the Israelites a narrative in which He is the prime actor, as He had been in fact, that is different than believing that it is absolute literal truth or that it is a deception intended to mislead. It is a parable, a story to teach something about life and humanity’s relationship to the Creator God.

    Thus, I do not find any contradiction between the Genesis story as parable and the idea of an ancient earth and the creation of humanity by means of evolution from the single cells that lived in the primordial dust.

  324. RE: Arce on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:57 PM,
    Would you be willing to put the Pauline texts under the same microscope you’ve placed Torah?

  325. In opposing evolution and an old earth, creationists are not just taking on a narrow field of science. The study of the creation of the universe and life itself is a concept that engages thousands of scientists from a wide range of scientific disciplines including:
    • Paleontology
    • Geology
    • Zoology
    • Botany
    • Biology
    • Genetics
    • Comparative anatomy
    • Astronomy
    • Atomic physics
    Findings in all of these fields support and old earth and/or evolution. While science is dynamic and underlying theories can change over time, there is more than enough evidence to support an old earth and evolution to the point that neither will be overturned. Given that, perhaps it’s not the Bible that’s wrong, but our interpretation of it.
    There are some similarities between the stories in Genesis Chapters 1-11 and earlier ancient near east (ANE) creation, flood and other stories. God was simply explaining creation and his role in it in terms that could be understood by those in the ANE using what little existing framework they had for understanding the creation of the universe and life. He was not giving a science lesson, he was explaining creation in terms they could understand.
    To begin with, the seven days is not a historical description. Seven is a number in the Bible that signifies perfection or completion. Moreover, as John W. Walton argues in his book The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, the seven day period can be looked on as being the initiation of the earth as a cosmic temple in which God dwells, similar to the seven day ceremony that initiated the Temple under Solomon.
    When God ‘rested’ on the seventh day, he didn’t sit back in a recliner and watch a football game (Angels vs. Demons?), he came to rest as the sovereign over his creation, just like on the seventh day of the Temple ceremony God was believed to have come to rest in the Holy of Holies.
    Moreover, this is no less powerful for being a theological description rather than a historical one. The lessons of Genesis, which are radically different from any of the stories of the ANE, include:
    • There is only one God
    • There is no other metadivine realm from which God comes from, he always was and always will be
    • Humans were created as part of the earth and are intimately connected to it, in fact, in Hebrew ‘adam’ means something like ‘earthling’ and ‘adam’ does not become the proper name “Adam” for the male until about the time Eve is created
    • Humans were created in an intimate relationship with God, by his ‘breath’ and in his image
    • Human life is precious, not something created as slaves for the Gods

    Just because one doesn’t believe in a seven 24-hour day creation nor in a historical Adam doesn’t mean one can’t have an authoritative view of the Bible.

  326. OldJohnJ

    Yes, but the problem with that idea is that you have God, knowingly giving incorrect information to those people who lived, well more than a few hundred years ago.

    Whether or not they had the capacity to understand the scientific details, certainly you are not saying that an omnipotent God couldn’t write a simply creation story which wasn’t technically incorrect.

    Even with my poor writing skills, I could have written Genesis in such a manner that people 4000 years ago could have understood and which was still technically accurate.

    For example, there was no reason to use the word “day” at all. Why not just use ordinal numbers, First, I created…, next I made the…. and after everything was done, creation was complete and I rested from my work. I should let God know that if He ever needs a ghost writer, to give me a ring.

  327. RE: numo UNITED STATES on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:38 PM,

    I’ve seen the same thing in the night sky. So did Ptolemy, and he systematized it over many years of careful observation, measurement, and mathematical rigor.

  328. Arce

    Sorry, I didn’t see my name in the post so I skipped over it, believe it or not, all the posts here aren’t directed at me :)

    I’m not sure I get your point. Maybe you could try to explain it again to me. All I was asserting was that anyone in that time period would have assumed that the story was correct. I see no reason why a person of that era would have chosen to believe it was a metaphor or allegorical in nature.

  329. Hi Carol,
    In your response above, I was pretty much with you until the line about collusion. Yes, people are imperfect. Yes, people make mistakes. Yes, nobody fully understands everything about any given topic – there are always, to borrow Donald Rumsfeld’s phrase, unknown unknowns. But the leap from that to where your position is, just is too far. Sure, we don’t know everything and we don’t get everything right – but we aren’t without knowledge, we aren’t completely ignorant and unable to get anything right. The way you’ve framed your argument tends to suggest that people are incapable of anything much at all in the way of investigation and knowledge, but clearly humans – whether they believe the Bible or not – have been and are capable of incredible thought and discovery.

    Just back to the ‘excluding God’ concept, science, by its nature, deals with what is observable and measurable. As such, I’d say God isn’t so much overtly excluded as simply not possible to be part of the discussion. What I mean is God isn’t measurable in the way that a scientific experiment is measurable. So the existential questions of religion are not part of the realm of science, and have no place there. What is measurable is the world around us. In those measurements God/religion will sometimes come up, in that we can test whether what we measure matches what the Bible says (or one interpretation of it), or if it matches Dreamtime mythology about the Rainbow Serpent, or anything else. It’s not so much that scientists set out deliberately aiming to reject special creation, it’s more that science, as a conceptual framework, doesn’t really care about religious debates. It’s job isn’t to discuss theology, but to observe and understand the world. Does that explanation make sense?

    Last, a book recommendation. I recently read Peter Enns’ The Evolution of Adam. He goes through some of the science versus Genesis debate, and does it in an understandable way without too much technical detail. It’s worth a read if you’d like some thoughtfully researched answers to your questions.

  330. Pam,

    Excellent response (much better than my own I must admit!). I was just curious about something, a thought experiment if you will. But a few years down the road, or maybe many, when cloning a person is possible. What if we could recover DNA from Jesus and create a clone from it.

    Would it be divine?
    Would it be holy and perfect?
    Could He do miracles?
    When it died would the be two people at God’s right hand?

    I know its highly unlikely, but still worth some thought…maybe. :)

  331. Fendrel,
    It was an oral tradition for hundreds of years. Written down post Moses, lost, found, copied over hundreds of years. Destroyed. Recreated from memory (likely with elisions and insertions, different word choices, etc.) by scribes in Babylon ca 500 BCE. To claim that it is the inerrant WORD OF GOD is a bit strange. HOWEVER, what is retained is very much like a New Testament parable. A story with theological truth but not literal truth. And the theological truth is the most important.

    What is that theological truth: Jehovah is the Creator of everything, including everything that the neighbors of the Israelites worshiped. The Creator made a good creation. God caused man to exist and seeks to fellowship with man. Man chose to disobey the Creator and thus has a more difficult life than the ideal.

    BTW, the whole flood sequence, Tower of Babel, story of Abraham, etc., falls into the same problems of oral tradition, etc.

  332. Arce

    maybe I’m a bit dense tonight, but what difference does it make whether or not there was oral tradition involved. The people that heard the story, it is reasonable to assume, thought it was true as it existed at whatever time they heard it.

  333. Fendrel,
    There is a lot of difference between the Messiah preaching and an oral tradition over thousands of years. Ever play “telephone”? Oral tradition tends to migrate, every generation it changes a little. So what is now is not what was. Logically, one cannot say what the original actually said. Thus, I have no interest in the choice of words, etc. in the Pentateuch. I do have interest in the theological truths therein — the result of the meta-analysis.

    Now when you get to the NT, there is a totally different set of issues and assessments that must be made. Of course, a parable does not have to be literally true, because it is a teaching story. But it must be true in terms of what it sets out to teach.

  334. He Promised: “If I Be Lifted Up…”

    Carol,

    HowDee,

    Merry Christmas,

    First of all, thanx for being here!!! Faith is the substance of things hoped for the conviction of things unseen. Reason subservient to faith. 

    (I think we are sorta on da same page.)

    The tenor of your statements places Man in a scripturally incomplete picture.  The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans brings great balance as does the book of Hebrews. So many kind folks stop at Romans chapter Seven, and miss out.  

    As you well know, the very thick vail in the Jewish temple in 33AD was rent from top to bottom. God made way for his people to enter His presence without penalty or consequence because the penalty of sin was satisfied in Christ’s sacrifice. 

    God then raised up Saul of Tarsus to bring awareness of God’s satisfaction, to those without the vineyard. God sent His servants into the highways and the byways to declare this marvelous event, which now included those outside God’s previous provisioning. 

    This was good news indeed!  YaHooooo!

    Kind folk were hungry for this word, and strained to hear more! Thousands came to know the Savior in the first few years of the Apostle’s ministry.  

    Literally, there was a spiritual explosion! 

    God, in those days matched this excitement with the outpouring of His Very Spirit, not merely to dwell with Man, but to dwell ‘in’ man, making him a new creation. The old had passed away, behold! 

    All things became new! 

    Signs and wonder followed the message of Christ, Jesus every where the message went. Great fear fell upon many. 

    Certainly this was a game changer!

    Even so, Rome even with its massive power and learning centers were ill equipped to compete with this new “idea”. In a few hundred years there was no a corner of that vast empire where the message of Christ had not been experienced. Certainly these were exciting times!

    The message brought forth was one that astonished the people. And with all of this God was walking among the Gentiles with great blessing!

    *

    What is broke in man? 

    Your answer: “It is sin, and self-justification without Jesus Christ.”

    The Bible’s answer:  The means of a relationship with a holy God. Separation on a multitude of levels. With Jesus, the separation was removed  in those kind folk that received with joy the thing that Jesus had done, receiving God’s Very Spirit. Wow! This was neat stuff. This “is” neat  stuff today!

    Do you “see” the difference?

    (grin)

    Be encouraged by promises from God’s Word that have stood the test of time. The astounding designs in the living world point to the wisdom and care of our heavenly Father who made the world, loves us all and gives strength and stability in time of constant change.

    Blessings!

    Sopy

  335. Fendrel, intersting thought experiment. Of course, it presupposes no bodily resurrection or ascension which does tend to answer your own question as it would mean Jesus was only human and therefore cloneJesus would only be human. If we exclude those assumptions, though, hmm, I’m not sure. I’ll ponder, but I don’t know if my pondering will go anywhere.

  336. Pam,

    Not necessarily, certainly there must be some DNA laying around someplace, even without a corpse. But even if there isn’t, I still think it poses some interesting questions.

    A related question is one that’s been discussed here before, but if the theological reason for a virgin birth is because our sin natures are passed through the male line, then you must explain how a virgin birth avoided that, since Mary would have incorporated into her DNA her father’s DNA as well as her mothers.

  337. Hi Pam,
    I do agree with you that mankind is “capable of incredible thought and discovery”.

    I disagree with the statement that “It’s not so much that scientists set out deliberately aiming to reject special creation…”

    On the contrary, it is the plainly stated mission of many scientists and organizations. There are many examples, here are 3 quotes:
    ***
    “NCSE (National Center for Science Education) provides information and advice as the premier institution dedicated to keeping evolution and climate change in the science classroom and to keep out creationism…”
    ***
    “NCSE’s Friend of Darwin award is conferred annually to people (and occasionally organizations) whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goals have been truly outstanding.”
    ***
    “Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. “ Theodosius Dobzhansky “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”, American Biology Teacher vol.35 (March 1973)
    ***
    And yet many Christians remain gripped with overwhelming awe and deference for scientists, no matter how naturalistic their attitude is.

  338. Carol,

    I think you need to make a distinction between NCSE and the “scientific community” or individual scientists.

    The NCSE isn’t “science” it is an educational institution whose mandate is to promote good science in school classrooms. Creationism unfortunately doesn’t qualify as good science, it really doesn’t qualify as any kind of science at all.

    Biological Evolution, defined as

    heritable changes in the frequency of alleles in the gene pool of a population over time.

    is a demonstrable fact which is both observable and testable, there is no question whether it exists or not.

  339. “The Pentateuch, the testimony of the distributed copies.”

    @ Arce Dec 18;  04:57 PM 

    Hello,

    “The Pentateuch was destroyed during the fall of Jerusalem, and recreated from memory during the Babylonian exile, about 5 centuries BCE. ” Arce

    Question: “How do we know that the Torah we have today is the same text given on Mount Sinai?”

    Answer: “The Torah was originally dictated from God to Moses, letter for letter. From there, the Midrash (Devarim Rabba 9:4) tells us: Before his death, Moses wrote 13 Torah Scrolls. Twelve of these were distributed to each of the 12 Tribes. The 13th was placed in the Ark of the Covenant (with the Tablets). 

    If anyone would come and attempt to rewrite or falsify the Torah, the one in the Ark would “testify” against him. (Likewise, if he had access to the scroll in the Ark and tried to falsify it, the distributed copies would “testify” against him.) How were the new scrolls verified? 

    An authentic “proof text” was always kept in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, against which all other scrolls would be checked. 

    Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Sages would periodically perform global checks to weed out any scribal errors.”

    http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/torahaccuracy/

  340. Carol

    Frankly, it is amazing to me that you can ignore things that have been discovered and say that it is a bunch of malarky invented by unbelieving man. You are wrong because you have bought into the lies perpetrated by groups such as AIG. There are many, many believers in the sciences who have tested the conclusions and know them to be true. You are beginning to insult some wonderful, honest men and women who believe, lumping in the category of nonbelievers.

    You bear false witness against your fellow Christians and that is a serious thing.You are defining God by your  terms and you seek to categorize your fellow believers. In this you enter the realm of God by passing judgment on the salvation of many, many people in the sciences. 

  341. Carol

    Many of us believe that Christians can believe in evolution. Since you seem to know mcuh about this subject, why don’t you tell me why this is impossible. Secondly, by creationism, they mean young earth creationism. i believe that should be kept out of the classroom as well. There is no science that exists that gives any proof for such a belief. That is what it is-an unsupported belief.It is a matter of faith and does NOT belong in a science classroom.

  342. Hi Carol, the thing with the examples you gave is they are end-points rather than starting-points. The Dobzhansky makes that very clear – it specifically talks about having a particular position in the light of evidence. That’s what scientists do – that’s what all of us should do.

  343. Carol,
    I think this guy says it best:

    “It often happens that even a non-Christian knows a thing or two about the earth, the sky, the various elements of the world, about the movement and revolution of the stars and even their size and distance, about the nature of animals, shrubs, rocks, and the like, and maintains this knowledge with sure reason and experience. It is offensive and ruinous, something to be avoided at all cost, for a nonbeliever to hear a Christian talking about these things as though with Christian writings as his source, and yet so nonsensically and with such obvious error that the nonbeliever can hardly keep from laughing.

    “The trouble is not so much that the erring fellow is laughed at but that our authors are believed by outsiders to have held those same opinions and so are despised and rejected as untutored men, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil…How are they going to believe our books concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven when they think they are filled with fallacious writing about things which they know from experience or sure calculation?

    “There is no telling how much harm these rash and presumptuous people bring upon their more prudent brethren when they begin to be caught and argued down by those who are not bound by the authority of our Scriptures, and when they then try to defend their flippant, rash, and obviously erroneously statements by quoting a shower of words from those same Sacred Scriptures, even citing from memory those passages which they think support their case, ‘without understanding either what they are saying or things about which they make assertions’ (I Tim. 1:7)” – St. Augustine in The Literal Meaning of Genesis

  344. Arce

    I am sending you an email in the AM. I have someone you might be interested in speaking with. Long story but I bet you will find it fascinating.

  345. Regarding YEC in the classroom, can you define science and how Creationism counts as science?

    (I believe in Creationism, but I don’t think it’s science).

  346. Everyone else can have the last word here on this topic, it has been interesting and it almost ended on a fair note without any ad hominem…
    I haven’t judge any specific individual. My observations were general and biblical. I guess emotions always seem to run high on this subject. Like I said earlier, everyone is responsible for their own thinking, and behavior toward others, on this matter. If you want to believe that scientists aren’t imperfect like everyone else, then that’s your business.

    My confidence is in the creation account of Genesis as an historical and straightforward narrative, and I don’t give credence to naturalistic theories nor put my hope in the final authority and infallibility of man.

    I wish you all the best in your personal journey. ..

    Psalm 103:14-17a
    “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
    As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
    For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
    But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him…”

  347. Carol,

    Not to keep it going, but no one said (that I could find) that scientists are perfect….of course they make mistakes, but its the peer review process that corrects those mistakes and of course ongoing research.

    I do admire that fact that you are least consistent in your interpretation of scripture. I am curious though whether you treat all areas of Genesis the same.

    We are told in detail how Jacob manages to alter the physical appearance of Laban’s flock. He takes branches from three types of tree, poplar, almond, and plane, and carves off strips of bark revealing the white underneath and thereby giving the branches a striped appearance (Gen. 30: 37).

    Then, and this is seemingly crucial, he places the striped branches in the troughs where the flocks come to drink. Also crucial is the fact that the animals happen to mate in front of the troughs. So, according to Jacob’s logic, if the animals mate in front of these striped branches and drink from water that the branches have been placed in, they will give birth to striped or speckled offspring: “And since they bred when they came to drink, the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted (Gen. 30: 38-39 ESV).

    Now, if we take that literally, it would certainly through a monkey wrench into modern genetics, would you say?

  348. @Carol

    If this science can’t be trusted how come we, most Christians, are fine with the results of our MRI scans, CAT scans, smart phones, our computers, flat screen TVs, GPS systems, microwave ovens, digital watches, the INTERNET, and on and on and on. The same principles of science which allow us humans to design and operate most all of our modern world is the same science which points to an old earth. Either it was “created old” or it is old. Or there’s a huge joke being played on us.

  349. Hey Fendrel, thanks for the follow-up, but I’ve checked out of this conversation now. Dee’s comments were too personal and uncalled for. I thank you and everyone else for your good natured debate. Iron sharpens iron. God bless, Carol

  350. Carol,
    Dee believes passionately in her version of the evolutionary paradigm. It’s only natural that she’d want to defend it, just as it’s only natural that you’d want to defend your interpretation of Scripture.

    But when you accuse her of attacking you personally and that her comments were uncalled for, I have trouble seeing it.

    Dee is one of most open minded and gracious blog owners I’ve ever had the good fortune to be acquainted with. For what it’s worth, I too am skeptical of the evolutionary paradigm, but I don’t part company with the other folks here over what should be a secondary issue with regard to faith.

  351. @ Carol  on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:01 PM to Pam.

    “I disagree with the statement that “It’s not so much that scientists set out deliberately aiming to reject special creation…” On the contrary, it is the plainly stated mission of many scientists and organizations.”  Carol

    Carol, 

        Hello, 

     “the plainly stated mission of many scientists and organizations?”

    As you are well aware, Creation and federal tax dollars don’t mix. Individuals who subscribe to creation as described in the Hebrew book of Geneses generally receive no federal funding.  Individuals who subscribe to creation as described in the Hebrew book of Geneses receive relatively little or no support from their fellow colleagues in the scientific community. It is common knowledge that many scientists give evolution the nod, i.e. lip service, yet when in private, believing something else entirely. They have stated that it is the price of admission in today’s scientific circles, the price one pays to do research. This is well documented.

    Sorry to see your willingness to leave the discussion. The TWW kitchen can get quite hot at times, yet the”food” is normally quite good, and certainly worth the wait!

    Happy Holidays,

    IronClad

  352. JeffS

    About a year ago, I learned that creationism, as it is used by some Christians and secularists, means only young earth creationism. Folks, like Carol, would contend that only young earth creationsim is correct and only that perspective should be, and must be, taught in classrooms. I know make it a point to say that I am a believer in an Old Earth and believe that God created the whole shabang.

    This belief makes the subject so much easier. So, since I know the earth to be old, I have no trouble with that being taught in science. The only problem I would have in a public science curriculum is if it taught there was no God as a basic assumption. But, if a person wanted to start their own school, and teach that , then all is OK.

     

  353. An unspoken assumption in this latest thread is that Genesis 1 and 2 are talking about science. Trying to make the initial chapters of Genesis into science has been the cause of endless discussion and extreme polarization of views between certain theologians and the science community. A paper interpreting early Genesis in the context of Israel’s surrounding cultures suggests that combating polytheism and idolatry was the actual intent. The article is “Dinosaur Religion:  On Interpreting and Misinterpreting the Creation Texts”, CONRAD HYERS, From: JASA 36 (September 1984): 142-148. link: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1984/JASA9-84Hyers.html

    The article abstract: “Resolution of science/religion conflicts is often thwarted by polarization into extreme viewpoints, such as “scientific creationism” and “scientific naturalism.” Not only do the extremes attempt to dismiss each other; ironically, they often have much in common. They both place religious and scientific statements on the same level; they both try to draw religious and anti-religious conclusions from scientific data and theory; they both interpret religious texts, such as the creation accounts, in terms of scientific fact and model–either to defend the scientific truth of the Bible or to reject the Bible as primitive science. If one carefully distinguishes between the special literature and language of the Bible and that of modern science, resolution of apparent conflicts is possible”

  354. Carol

    You were the one who said that scientists were unbelievers. I called you on it. You bet it is personal. You insult the many scientists who are people of faith. However, you show a penchant for following Ken Ham’s rules of engagement. You made ad hominem attacks on scientists. I challenged you, saying  that you are judging them, actually questioning their salvation. Then, you criy “No fair” you pick up your ball and go home, whining about how people are mean to you. I’ve watched Ken Ham do this time and time again. In fact, I am getting ready to send out a tweet in which he whines again. You need to learn to fight fair. 

     

  355. Dee, Carol –

    Hey this was a good conversation .. ok, everyone back to the table, have a shot of eggnog with some tequila floating on top (flaming of course), and let’s get back to the business of solving the universe’s problems.

  356. Dee, I never really took into at least a spontaneous position of creation myself until it occured to me how plants need oxygen to thrive and was somewhat of an naturalist for the longest. Spontaneous creation whether one is a YEC in their position or not seems to be possible though it may not sound scientific.

  357. Muff

    You have earned yourself a dinner at Q Shack on me if you ever visit Raleigh! I will also show you the traditional squaw outfit that my Navajo friends made for me as a parting gift!

  358. Ironclad

    Carol mentioned iron sharpening iron. What she really meant was for us to get sharpened while she stays the same. Same old, same old,,, 

  359. Old John J

    You need to give yourself a pat on the back. Your discussion has netted over 400 comments! That means you have struck a nerve and that is what we like to do at TWW.

     

  360. Casey

    Whenever people bring up subjects, such as spontaneous creation, I recommend that they go to blogs such as Reason to Believe, Answers in Creation or Biologos to see how they handle such topics. Many years ago, when I had my crisis of faith, I decided to find and read all kinds of thoughts and opinions. I was amazed at the number of things people wrote about which caused me to create The Fred Priniciple. 

    This principle states that smarter people then I have contemplated these issues. So, it behooved me to find the explanations.And you better believe that I found them. When a former pastor said that ” no death before the Fall” proves YEC, I smiled and said that many Christian have dealt quite nicely with that issue and it might be of benefit to find out what they have to say on the issue.

  361. I have to confess feeling sorry for Carol.She entered the conversation in good faith, endured a fair bit of personal criticism while being accused of dishing it out herself, when she wasn’t.

    Because of the obsession with the Puritans, Calvinists, YEC-ers and anyone else of a reformed nature, I decided to read the Puritans by Carlo Bates. You can imagine how much I laughed when I read the following

    ‘A discussion full of cleverness and the adroit handling of words, yet which left Philip in the confusion of being made to realize that what to him were vital truths were to those about him merely so many hypotheses upon which to found argument’

    That could become the mission statement of TWW, don’t you think?

    Regards
    Gavin

  362. Dee, what I was driving at is old earth, new earth, however you want to look at it, the intervention of God in our world is not science, neither is it mathematics. It IS true that God created the world, but it is not a matter for the classroom.

    Science is about drawing conclusions from observations in the natural order. Creationism is non-scientific by that definition.

    Or to say it differently, “science” and “truth” are not the same thing.

    2+2=4 is true but it is not science.
    Creationism is true, but it is not science.

    We should not teach anything in the classroom that denies or supports the miraculous interventions of God- that is not what children are there to learn.

  363. Gavin

    I disagree with you.I guess I can show you what she said. I have seen these arguments before. 

     

    I’m not accusing all, or even the majority of individuals in the science community of conscious or deliberate falsehood.

    Then:

    And yet many Christians remain gripped with overwhelming awe and deference for scientists

    We disagree whether unbelieving man’s collective efforts and conclusions could somehow trump God’s Word

    Rather, I’m trying to express a Biblical truth (to follow) and how it relates to the science establishment in general, i.e. the politics and motivation behind professional acceptance, peer respect, rewards, fame, publicity, positions of honor etc., and how scientists are naively perceived by the general population as having supreme authority and insight into the origins of the universe and man.

    Thus my statement regarding the “collusion” in the science establishment, a group of people who mostly reject Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created.

    I love and trust the LORD. He says He created the world and everything in it in six days. I believe Him. (Subtle)

     Why do believers embrace and revere the word of unbelieving scientists, as if they are God – and reinterpret the word of a holy God, as if He were human?

    why should we try so hard to conform the Bible to scientists’ theories that were originally posited to explain things without God?

    Here is what I said

    You were the one who said that scientists were unbelievers. I called you on it. You bet it is personal. You insult the many scientists who are people of faith.

     You made ad hominem attacks on scientists. I challenged you, saying  that you are judging them, actually questioning their salvation.

    Then, you criy “No fair” you pick up your ball and go home, whining about how people are mean to you. 

  364. “‘A discussion full of cleverness and the adroit handling of words, yet which left Philip in the confusion of being made to realize that what to him were vital truths were to those about him merely so many hypotheses upon which to found argument’”

    Gavin, Vital truths do not lead to burning women at the stake for trying to alieve pain in childbirth. Vital truths do not lead to wiping out INdians because they refuse to sell their land. Vital truths do not lead to a church state government and oppressive religion. I could go on,the but “vital truth” argument fromm a Puritan perspective is not really all that credible.

  365. Anyone

    Setting up my own blog, only a single page dealing with a definition of atheism vs being an agnostic, if anyone has a few minutes I’d like to get a general feel for what you think…whether it is content, writing style, look & feel, whatever you’d like to comment on.

    Thanks in advance.

    http://chashiva.wordpress.com/what-is-atheism/

  366. From my limited knowledge of NC wildlife I think the best way to catch a black crappie is to use a jig and lure, particularly as evening falls and they come closer to the river bank after the heat of the day.

    Thank you for letting me know that such is your distaste for all things Puritan, that you dislike even fiction that mocks the Puritans.

    I rest my case m’lud.

    Well I never.

    Regards
    Gavin

  367. Gavin

    Some day I hope to show you around my former home town of Salem. I actually have fond memories of the Puritans-they provided a bunch of stuff that needed to go into museums and i played in those museums when I was growing up.

    One of the most memorable evenings of my life took place in a restaurant in Moscow. The lines were horrendous but I was near the front with my parents. A slighlty inebriated manager of British Airways asked to join us. For the rest of the night, he regaled us with spot on imitations of Monty Python. I laughed so hard I couldn’t eat. Even the people at tables around us were laughing. Occassionally he would jump up and act out scenes. 

    I may not fully get the humor but I have been entertained.

  368. Dee,
    Since you have a blog, please go and learn what it means to speak graciously with others you disagree with about highly controversial subjects, while maintaining self-control and brotherly kindness.

    People are sinners. Scientists are people. Ergo, scientists are sinners too, and capable of the follies, self-interest and unbelief common to mankind.

    If you need to take that personally, and react in a harsh and mocking way, and then gloat about it…well I guess that’s what defines your attitude toward others you disagree with, and that’s too bad.

    2 Peter 1:5-8
    But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
    For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  369. Dee
    It once was said that I looked a bit like John Clees but more recently my American friends say Sean Connery. I tell them they need to see an optician.
    I have a lot of friends in Charlotte NC and some day I’d like to visit Salem and Jonathan Edwards stomping ground.
    Regards
    Gavin

  370. Gavin,

    John Cleese vs Sean Connery … hmm someone needs some new spectacles :)

    thanks btw, i commented back

  371. Carol,

    It’s not the scientists that we have faith in, it’s the process that’s been built which shows itself to be trustworthy and self-correcting. So sin really doesn’t enter into it.

  372. Carol on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM:

    Carol, you continue to diss people in the mmost foul way and seem not to recognize that you are doing it. Perhaps you should take some time to learn how to interact with people who disagree with you.

    There is no grand collusion in the scientific community. Anyone who discovers an error within that community publishes it and receives praise for doing so. And generally, when an error is discovered, the person who originated it will publish a retraction or a correction, or even a study showing how that error came to be. It is a very competitive world.

    Dee is as fair a host on the web as you will ever find. TWW is far and away the most open, fair and even-handed blog site, head and shoulders above second place. They are a model for the blogging community. If you don not like how you are treated here, please reexamine your own behavior, for that is where the fault lies.

  373. Carol wrote:

    People are sinners. Scientists are people. Ergo, scientists are sinners too, and capable of the follies, self-interest and unbelief common to mankind.

    Carol, the primary point of my original article which started this set of comments was to demonstrate that the hard sciences, (physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology), in particular are aware of our failings and tendencies independent of our religious beliefs and have set up processes to insure the accuracy of what is published. I contrasted the behavior of AIG in particular where there is apparently no peer review or standards of accuracy what so ever. Your refusal to consider the premises science is done under in spite of having them pointed out repeatedly calls, in my mind anyway, your intent in making these comments.

  374. Carol wrote:

    I realize that a vast number of highly educated and respected people scorn the creation account entirely. Let’s be frank, they usually scorn Jesus Christ and salvation too.
    When folks are motivated, they can come up with many reasons why not to believe the thing they don’t want to believe. And they can publish it, “prove” it, and award each other Nobel prizes. I’m not being sarcastic either. Man colludes with man (and woman) to “be all they can be” without God.

    This is the crux of this debate. You feel that scientists are in collusion to deny the Christian (or any) faith. Yes there are some. But in general no. They are out to try and figure out how the universe works. And from where I’ve sat for years as a student of STEM subjects and a Christian it is the Christians who drive out the scientist when they bring up things which don’t match the interpretations accepted for the last few 100 or 1000 years.

    Which is what seems to keep happening. Christians have always thrown science under the bus when it tells them their thoughts on the physical universe might be wrong. But are very happy to use the fruits of the same science in their daily lives. They just mostly seem to claim that it really doesn’t work. So I guess all these neat modern devices are all just miracles or luck?

    Again. Believe what you want about how God created the universe. But to claim science is in a grand conspiracy about the origins of the universe is nonsense to most of us who study the matter.

  375. Carol wrote:

    please go and learn what it means to speak graciously with others you disagree with about highly controversial subjects

    Telling many of us that we are in collusion to deny Christ isn’t exactly what I’d call gracious.

  376. Carol

    Last time I checked, Deb and I own this blog and we allow even your difficult comments. Most blogs delete them. So, continue to post comments. You are doing harm to your cause. The Hippocratic Oath says something on the lines of “First, do no harm”

    I may take Fendrel up on his advice and have a glass of caberbet as the afternoon wanes.

  377. Carol, your comments dishonour those many scientists who are also faithful Christians. People of good faith who love our Lord can disagree on the nature of origins and the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. For my part, I applaud Deb and Dee for calling on the carpet those who are using discredited and dubious methods to make their claims.

  378. “People are sinners. Scientists are people. Ergo, scientists are sinners too, and capable of the follies, self-interest and unbelief common to mankind. ”

    People are sinners. Theologians are people. Ergo, Theologians are sinners too, and capable of the follies, self-interest and unbelief common to mankind.

    Theologians make mistakes too- ask Galileo.

  379. Wow Dee! I’m bettin’ the squaw outfit is fantastic, and that the craftsmanship (craftswomanship?) is superb!

  380. @ Argo:
    Hey Argo…I agree with your basic picture of calvinist/reformed theology…when pain burned away all the ‘can’t know the mind of God’ smokescreen, it all looked very much as you say, & is at the heart of my current…unease…erm…not sureness…feeling of being unsafe…that I have with God. It can be dressed up nicely, but when the rubber hits the road (for me, I know not everyone experiences this) anything that puts the goodness of God under this much pressure blows your confidence out of the water. If you could nuke calvinist theology off the face of the planet I would be a happy woman (apols to those this offends).
    I have lurked at your blog & must do more. I did leave a comment once, but it never showed up.

  381. blockquote>From my limited knowledge of NC wildlife I think the best way to catch a black crappie is to use a jig and lure, particularly as evening falls and they come closer to the river bank after the heat of the day.
    ~ Gavin ~

    Gavin,
    Permit me to regale you with an anecdote of my youth & black crappies in the wilds of Wisconsin. Our preferred bait was crawlers (short for plain old annelid earthworms). After we’d caught several stringers full, we’d dress them, and my maternal grandmother would fry them for us in a black iron skillet that was cast in Pittsburg shortly after the Civil War. She’d gotten it from her mother…

    I ‘m glad to share and relate on a human level sans religion & theology, it’s sooo much better this way yes?

  382. @ dee on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:04 AM:

    “Carol mentioned iron sharpening iron. What she really meant was for us to get sharpened while she stays the same. Same old, same old,,, ”  

    Carol may be asking the age old question, “when should reason trump faith?”

  383. Muff

    They gave me a name (phonetically) Asonchee which apparently means “white woman who always laughts.” However, there is a caveat. If the accent is on the worng syllable it means ***hole. I accused them of playing games with me. But they said they knew I would appreciate the possibilities. Navajos have a great sense of humor. They always look serious even when laughing! They also gave me a turquoise necklace that I juts had restrung.

    Truly, it was a wonderful experience. I loved them very much. I still remember my first day. I was sitting on a handmade rug over the dirt floor,with the woodburning stove pipe going through the middle of the round roof of the wood hogan. Sheep skin was drying on the rafters. I remember thinking that one week previous I had been sitting on the Esplanade in Boston listening to the Pops. I felt like a travelled half a world away but I was in New Mexico. God has blessed me by allowing me to see this world in such intimate settings.

  384. Boy, have I missed some interesting comments over the past day or so!

    With respect to Carol, I have read the argument that Christians should not accept “unbelieving” theories elsewhere. An article in an evangelical magazine not so long ago claimed that evolution had first been touted by the ancient Greeks who were “men without hope”, thus apparently trying to discredit them. I’ve never heard this argument applied to Euclidean geometry though!

    Now I will say this in defence of Carol – one of the bases (as I understand it – OldJohnJ and Fendrel may be able to correct me!) of science is scientific naturalism. That is to say, science seeks to find a cause for something that can be explained in mechanistic or causative terms without invoking a supernatural reason for it. This does not rule out the possibility, eg that a global Flood or catastrophic event shaped much of modern rock formation (there are other problems with Flood geology but this isn’t one of them). Scientific naturalism is however NOT the same as philosophical naturalism – the latter is an a priori assumption that the supernatural or miraculous MUST be excluded or can NEVER happen. Scientific naturalism simply does not have a relationship to the miraculous, any more than colour influences the working of algebra.

    I welcome any comments.

  385. @ IronClad:

    Galileo was probably asked the same questions as he refused to deny what he had learned about the solar system . . . so here we are again with some Christians telling others that they may not be Christians if they don’t believe certain things about the Bible. It reminds me of the church leaders ranting about Galileo.

  386. Beaker,
    What?! So sorry about that. Please post again. I’m new at the blog thing. I probably hit the wrong button or something.

    Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it, and would appreciate your input.

    Yes, dismantling Calvinism is of an importance that cannot be understated. It destroys faith, truly. Rolling back Calvinist dogma is tedious, but not that difficult once you trace the “logic” to its metaphysical and moral conclusions. They are glaringly impossible once you strip away the equivocating and redefining of terms.

    What I have found most difficult is getting people to accept that they hold incompatible ideas once it has been made plain. For some reason these are doctrines that people equate with God Himself. It doesn’t matter how irrational…and they will often agree that the doctrines aren’t particularly consistent, and yet still “die on the hill”. That, to me, is the most discouraging.

    @ Beakerj:

  387. @ Bridget: 

    “Galileo, house arrest so becomes you!; wouldn’t want to upset the apple cart, now would we?”

  388. Good question. Of course, if you are me you can easily answer this. Sin nature has nothing to do with biological birth. It refers to the awareness of the moral law via mans innate ability to reason. Thus, children are not under judgment for example because they have not reached full rational self awareness. They are morally innocent, which is the criteria of salvation.

    Jesus’s Father was God. That’s why it was a virgin birth. There is nothing relevant about a biological sin nature.

    Fendrel…very astute!

    @ Fendrel:

  389. Argo wrote:

    What I have found most difficult is getting people to accept that they hold incompatible ideas once it has been made plain. For some reason these are doctrines that people equate with God Himself. It doesn’t matter how irrational…and they will often agree that the doctrines aren’t particularly consistent, and yet still “die on the hill”. That, to me, is the most discouraging.

    You then need to show them how the real reason they’re not letting go is because they have too much to lose by being proved wrong. They will disagree with you, though it’s true. Nobody likes a hit to their pride as big as ‘these things you’ve believed for years and years are false, problematic and of no help to the Kingdom.’

  390. Argo

    The Catholic’s solution to this problem is to claim that Jesus’ mother, Mary, was miraculously conceived. In that conception, the chain of sin was broken and she was born without sin. Since she was without sin, then she was able to give birth to Jesus and not pass on the sin. Unfortunately for the Catholics, there is absolutely no evidence in the Bible for the belief. It also leaves the question that if Mary could be born without sin from sinful parents, then why not Jesus directly? The Protestants take a different approach. They argue that sin is only passed through the fathers. Since Jesus did not have an earthly father, he did not inherit Adam’s sin.

    But that begs yet another question. If by having a sin nature that means we cannot help but sin, then how can we be responsible for our actions if they are sinful. In other words, if I can control my own impulse and not sin on a particular occasion, then why not on each successive occasion. What makes one instance different from the next…and of course if that isn’t the case and I cannot control my impulse to sin…then how is it moral to hold me accountable for my action.

    Kolya

    Yes, I believe that I agree with what you said, and I am glad that you pointed out that there are scientific problems with the idea of a global flood, and may I add, a virgin birth, a resurrection, pick your miracle.

  391. Fendrel,

    Exactly. You have revealed to yourself the very metaphysical contradiction which is at the core of Calvinist and neo-reformed theology, and why I completely reject it. That is good old timey capricious gnostic determinism, and why I reject the reformed interpretation of sin nature, the doctrines of election, original sin, and total depravity.

    As Jesus might have said, “You are not far from the metaphysical kingdom of God.” LOL!

    Please continue to reject these kinds of “Christian” teachings. Your questions hit at the core if what is wrong with the American church. And like I said before, appealing to suspension of disbelief is a miserable way to debate an atheist, or anyone for that matter.

  392. Argo: I always thought that Jesus developed in the womb exempt of both sperm and egg. Literally, just appeared out of nowhere and started growing.

    Could that theory be supported?

  393. Argo, I am an atheist, I reject the entire concept of sin as anything more than a control mechanism, a way to make people feel shame and accept that they have a need, for which the church has a remedy. Like any good salesman, first you must create the need, then offer the solution.

    The vast number of people from various religions who have bought into that speaks to nothing more than our insecurity and need to be part of a group, to fit in, if you will.

  394. Beaker,

    It was horrible when we left or SGM church. We lost friends, trust, and I was in a spiritual wasteland for months. I know exactly how you feel.

    To my English friends in particular: I am first cousins with John Locke. You can guess why I’m such a fan of reason-guided faith. LOL

  395. Argo,,
    reason guided faith, surely that’s got to be right up their with military intelligence and parting is such sweet sorrow as one of the world’s greatest oxymoron’s :)

  396. Fendrel,
    Of course you feel that way. But your assumptions about Christianity are false. But that isn’t entirely your fault, is what I am saying.

    But your metaphysical assumptions are no more consistent than anyone else’s, and I think you possess a level of off-putting presumption that masks your obvious intelligence.

    You cannot claim enlightenment through atheism. It IS a philosophical faith, whether or not you want to accept it. Science cannot disprove God, only metaphysical reason, and that’s a debate you reject, by definition. So…we are stuck disagreeing. Oh we’ll.

    Atheism is no more reasonable a world view in the least. In fact, you have more in common with the very religious determinism you eschew than with Judeo-Christian ideology (when it is not merged with platonic secular philosophy).

    I think you need to ask more questions of everything, rather than demagoging your atheism. But that’s my opinion.

  397. Argo,

    So do you believe that, in the absence of empirical evidence, the suspension of belief is not a more rational course of action then committing oneself to a proposition which has little or nothing to support it, especially in light of the fact that such a proposition will have a profound effect on your worldview and how you chose to live out your life?

  398. Fendrel,
    I deny your insistence on empirical evidence as being relevant. If one believes in God as Creator, there is empirical evidence all around. Miracles are seen as miracles, truth is known by reason applied to the most rational of metaphysics.

    If you are an atheist, there is zero empirical evidence, and there never will be. Miracles are explained by natural law; where they don’t exist, it is still assumed to be a function of nature. Reason is irrelevant; natural law determines. Your very belief system makes you incapable of truly knowing or doing anything, so what difference does it make how the rest of your life is effected. Effects are an illusion. You said so yourself. You don’t even own your own thoughts, so how is being an atheist more reasonable? By definition, your thinking or believing anything is beyond your control. You have no grounds to assume any truth at all. Your every thought is pointless.

  399. Until you reject your denial of metaphysics, reason, and self-awareness, like I said, we’ll have to disagree. There can be no debate because you reject your own ability to even have a volitional perspective.

  400. Fendrel, thank you for your note. However there is a difference between the assertion of a global Flood and the Virgin Birth and Resurrection. The latter two are explicitly acknowledged to be of supernatural provenance, ie nobody would claim that these fall in with the natural laws of science (as applied to humans in this life). The global Flood as espoused by some believers is claimed to be supported by conventional scientific evidence. Hence there are greater problems with it. If on the other hand one were to regard it as a miracle, then paradoxically that would be less of an issue – theoretically God could have flooded the earth to a depth of seven miles above its current sea level, then allowed the waters to recede without the catastrophic effects on the planet which I understand that such a depth of water would normally have. However the problem is that the Scriptures themselves do not explicitly indicate a miraculous occurrence of the same category (I stand open to correction) as the birth or resurrection of Jesus. In the Old Testament God appears to use Nature itself to produce events in line with his timing – thus Genesis 6-9 simply records that torrential rain fell and “the fountains of the deep” opened (whether that latter phrase is poetry I leave for Hebrew scholars to judge). By definition nothing can be impossible for God, but it seems that it would be much easier to wipe out a civilisation clustered in Mesopotamia (a fairly low-lying area) with flood water than to flood the entire planet, at least from the point of view of allowing Noah and his descendants to survive. An interesting discussion of Flood geology can be found in Alan Hayward’s book “Creation and Evolution”, in particular the problems put forward by some folk to meet the difficulties. I understand that the Hebrew does not rule out the possibility of a local (albeit catastrophic) flood, and I think this view is also taken by Hugh Ross (again I stand open to correction).

    It is interesting however that many cultures, including those in South America, have flood stories.

  401. Kolya,

    yes, and God could have created the universe exactly as it literally states in Genesis and then put it into a state which makes it look like it does today…a miracle! If you go down that path you lose all ability to distinguish miracle from natural…how would you ever know

    If God uses “natural means” to accomplish something, then it could have occurred without his help. If he uses nature in a way that can’t happen naturally, then He isn’t using natural methods…can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    If God, for example, in response to my prayers for a sunny day, causes a wind to blow so that the clouds don’t intrude on my picnic, you have absolutely zero proof that God is involved…it could just as easily have happened without his “influence”.

    On the other hand if God places a cylinder environment around my picnic area with 70 mile per hour winds whirling around the outside, rain, hail and 20 degree temperatures, but inside my little picnic area it is 85, sunny, not too humid with a light breeze…well then he isn’t using “natural methods” is he, because nature behaves that way.

    If you say the flood was a “miracle” that is no different than saying it was magic..do we really want to believe in magic now?

    If there were sufficient water either in the atmosphere or beneath the surface the pressure from that vapor would have raised temperatures to literally boil every living thing on the planet, simple physics.

    Sorry time for bed…this answer may have been a bit fragmented and difficult to follow, sorry getting tired. I’ll do better tomorrow.

    :)

  402. Fendrel,

    Facinating. You are arriving at very similar conclusions as I have. God either does it, or nature does it. The idea of God using nature or even perpetually “directing” it is a metaphysical redundancy, and thus cannot be of God.

    If God creates a thing then metaphysical and moral reason demand that that thing must then exist to do what it does apart from God according to itself. This is the only way creation can exist. This is exactly why I reject determinism and all of its constructs (original sin, TD, election, predestination, etc.).

    We may fundamentally disagree on the existence of God, but your questions are exceedingly refreshing. You don’t know how few people of faith even dare to go there.

  403. Hi Fendrel. Those are good points, but I wasn’t necessarily arguing that the Flood was a miracle. I had already acknowledged the scientific difficulties with the earth being covered with enough water to cover Mt Everest. As you say, the “canopy theory” as I believe it is called would under the laws of science produced conditions inimical to terrestrial life.

    And you are right of course in that if you pray for a nice day for your picnic and it turns out as such, there is no proof that God did it. That is not to say he did not hear your prayer, but I do not think God interferes arbitrarily in the normal working of his universe, even though Heb 1 tells us he sustains it by his power. Even with miracles, I do not believe they are arbitrary – there is a difference between miracle and magic (I think this subject is covered in Lewis’s “Miracles”). The Christian basis for science is that God has made an orderly universe which can thus be investigated to discover its workings, which of course with an arbitrary universe where the rules were constantly changing would be impossible.

  404. Kolya,

    The issue as you pointed out with an arbitrary universe would be then understanding or better yet, making predictions would be impossible. But even if you allow for a single “miracle”, you have that problem.

    I’d curious how you differentiate a miracle from magic.
    a quick dictionary definition seems to fit either

    The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

  405. Hi Fendrel. Can I get back to you on that? I would like to dig out a couple of things in the midst of seasonal frenzy!

  406. After a quick browse of a couple of unrelated sources, I think one could say this for a start. As far as the physical world goes, there may be little or nothing to differentiate the miracle from magic. In the early chapters of Exodus when Pharaoh demanded a sign from Moses, Moses and Aaron were able to produce miraculous signs. But the Egyptian magicians were also able to do this at first. Eventually however as the plagues grew more severe the magicians were unable to replicate these and bluntly told Pharaoh it was God at work.

    The difference seems to be mainly one of intent. A miracle is done for the benefit (possibly salvation, in the long term) of others. At the risk of making a sweeping generalisation, one could say that magic draws attention to itself. By contrast Jesus often warned those whom he had cured not to tell others about what had happened, possibly because of the consequences, as one gets the impression many came to him for various reasons. A prime example of this would be Herod in Luke’s Gospel, who was glad when Pilate sent Jesus to him because he wanted to see Jesus do some miraculous work. In other words he wasn’t interested in a miracle for the good of himself or others, but merely wanted to be entertained or astounded (if anyone thinks I’m twisting the story here, please say so!).

    I also thought of the story of Elisha, Naaman and Gehazi. Elisha was happy to cure Naaman but sent him away without payment. Gehazi wasn’t happy about this and tried to use the occasion as an opportunity for gain.

    Just some thoughts to be going on with!

  407. Arce wrote:

    Carol, you continue to diss people in the mmost foul way and seem not to recognize that you are doing it. Perhaps you should take some time to learn how to interact with people who disagree with you.

    There is no grand collusion in the scientific community.

    And beware of Grand Unified Conspiracy Theories. They have a way of growing until they devour the entire world of the Conspiracy Theorist. Until the Entire Cosmos (except for the Conspiracy Theorist) is part of The Conspiracy.

    “If your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, Invent a Bigger Conspiracy.”
    — Kooks Magazine

    Others have mentioned the Nathaniel Hawthorne story “Young Goodman Brown”. THAT is a type example of Conspiracy Theory growing to devour Goodman Brown’s world. Another type example is the Bob Dylan song “Talking John Birch Society Blues”.

    “THE DWARFS ARE FOR THE DWARFS! WE WON’T BE TAKEN IN!”
    — C.S.Lewis

  408. And Christians seem especially prone to Grand Unified Conspiracy Theories, mostly on the order of SATAN!!!! pulling the strings on EVERYTHING outside the four walls of their church. I got caught in the fringe of the blast radius in the Satanic Panic of the Eighties (thank you Mike Warnke).

    Christians and Conspiracy Theories:
    http://pjmiller.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/christians-conspiracy-theories-a-call-to-repentance-1/
    http://pjmiller.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/christians-conspiracy-theories-a-call-to-repentance-2/

  409. Dee & Deb,
    Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to guest post on your blog. I feel there were very good discussions in the comments even if it was quite the most comments during the year.

    I still think a careful examination of the finances of the Ham empire are in order although such an effort it beyond my abilities.

    If I ever feel I have another topic on the divide between faith and science I’ll be sure to let you look it over.
    John

  410. John

    You can write a post whenever you wish since you wrote the most “popular” post of 2012! We have talked about the money thing bewteen us and hope to find some time to look into it.