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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, April 27, 2007

Young Earth Objections

I received a comment from a fellow troubled by my take on earth history after reading my post from earlier this week about the unfossilized T-rex tissue. I thought his comment was worthy of my response on the front page for the benefit of all. His comments are in blue.

Hey Jacob,
Thanks for the comment, let me see if I can respond,

In respect to this post... these random bits of "evidence" that supposedly support a world-wide flood really trouble me. Why? Because such arguments are pure dogma and they are a great stumbling block to scientifically educated people who seek the kingdom of God.

(Fred) This tends to be a standard complaint by those supportive of day age, long age interpretations. The "scientifically educated" people seeking the kingdom of God getting tripped up by having to believe something so incredible.

A couple of thoughts:

a) Scientifically educated people have their biases. The presuppositions I mentioned at the conclusion of the article. The issue with them seeking the kingdom of God is one of a heart change, what Jesus says as being "born again" in John 3. In fact, Christ himself stated to Nicodemus that no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3) or what we would call being regenerated. So, it doesn't matter how scientifically educated a person is or is not, his issue with belief is not so-called young earth stumbling blocks, but a heart submitted to the Lordship of Christ and that comes by God doing a work in the heart.

b) Is not the argument that Jesus was born of a virgin, did miracles to control nature, banish disease and feed thousands of people, and eventually died on a cross and rose from the dead, dogma? Are you telling me then that a scientifically educated person can believe the virgin birth and Christ's resurrection could and did truly happen, but are not prepared to believe God created the world in 6 days?

What qualifies you to judge the age of DNA or "intelligent design" vs. evolution? From what I can discern, you do not have any real education on the topic of biology or evolution. You have not dedicated your life to understanding DNA sequences, astronomy, geology, or archeology.

(Fred) If by qualified you mean to ask if I have advanced degrees in these fields of study, then no, I don't. I am just well read in the relevant literature both Christian and secular. But what does that have to do with price of tea in China? Are you educated in any of these fields?

I recently read "The Language of God" by Francis Collins. Collins was head of the human genome project, and he is very clear that the DNA evidence strongly supports the theory of evolution and the old-earth point of view. Arguing that evolution is only a theory is like arguing that gravity is only a theory (which is also true). Francis Collins seems much more qualified to comment on the subject than you.
(Fred) Well, I am familiar with Dr. Collins and I have heard him interviewed a number of times. I do know he is a theistic evolutionist, but I have not heard him claim his views of biological evolution itself support an old earth. As I can recall one interview, he believed in an old earth due to geological evidences, not biological ones.

With all due respect to Francis Collins, however, his dismissiveness of the age issue has to do with his view of scripture, not lack of scientific evidence. I do not deny his expertise in his field, but what do you do with the large number of individuals who are just as expert in their fields of study as he, but come to opposite conclusions? Dr. Kurt Wise, for example, is a Harvard trained paleontologist who earned his doctorate working for the late, Stephen J. Gould. Is Dr. Wise an idiot and unworthy of our respect according to your point of view?

If you are familiar with the various sides of the debate, you then should recognize a difference between what is,

a) large scale evolution, or particles-to-people, increasing information over long periods of time evolution;

b) and what is simply adaptive changes within animal groups due to environmental pressure or other modifying factors style evolution.

Biblical creationists reject the first and affirm the second.

There is absolutely no scientific evidence that particles-to-people style evolution suggested by the neo-Darwinian theory, has ever happened. Organisms can only adapt and change genetically in relationship to the DNA information already present with in them. No animal has ever evolved with the increase of information. Thus, it is dishonest to claim evolutionary theory is as firm a fact as gravitational theory. Generally, the person making such a boast has in mind the small-scale, "information already existing with-in the genetic boundaries of the organism" evolution which takes place in all animal groups by natural selection, but makes the comparison claim for the unscientific, particles-to-people evolution. There is hard evidence for gravity, there is none for particles-to-people evolution.

I also recently read Walt Brown's book on "creation science". The man's references were outdated, his arguments were specious and incoherent, and his theory is so ridiculous from a scientific point-of-view that I was dismayed. Is this the best argument Christians have to offer for intelligent design? It is my experience that most people making intelligent design arguments are ignorant of science and lack any modicum of intellectual honesty when it comes to the topic.
(Fred) I happen to think Walt Brown makes a plausible and compelling argument for a hydroplate theory; but that aside, are you serious? Are you telling me the scope of your study into the subject of ID and biblical creationism is limited to Walt Brown? If this is the extent of your exposure to the issue your complaints here are unimpressive. My goodness, Jacob, there is so much literature out there on this subject that to over look it is self-imposed ignorance. Try the Discovery Institute, look at Answers in Genesis, the Creation Ministries International, try the Creation Research Society. These people are not hacks, but expertly trained individuals in their fields of science. They cannot be so easily dismissed.

I recently saw Pat Robertson demonstrate love of his neighbors by telling a secular school system in Pennsylvania that they would be punished by God for "kicking him out" of the classroom. Oddly, he doesn't prophecy against the other 95% of Americans who are fornicators as demonstrated in a recent poll. Intelligent Designers make Christians look like dishonest fools because they selectively acknowledge evidence that supports their position and dogmatically disclaim evidence that is contrary to their position.
(Fred) I have as just as much, if not more disdain, for Pat Robertson as you do. His muddled bone-headness is irrelevant to the over all debate, however.

So I just ask the intelligent design proponents... please do not try to pretend that you understand science enough to argue that science supports your idea. If you do, please acknowledge that the overwhelming bulk of the evidence is contrary to your position and that people vastly more expert than yourself on the age of the earth and the DNA sciences disagree with your position, using the best evidence that they have available.
(Fred) Jacob, first off, Intelligent Design DOES NOT equate biblical creationism. This common error on your part demonstrates to me even more that you have not seriously considered their work so as to be so harsh against them. Most ID proponents are not even evangelical Christians, let alone young earthers, so it is erroneous to equate the two camps. Secondly, contrary to what you advocate here, most alleged experts are divided among themselves on the interpretation of the relevant scientific data pertaining to their fields of study. You write as if they are all unified around an infallible body of evidence, but this is not true. Many of these experts across their various fields of science disagree with each other as to what conclusions to draw from the evidence to the point of becoming hostile to one another. Read Dr. Jerry Bergman's article, Controversy in Paleoanthropology from the January/February 2006 edition of Creation Matters.

I know, you have the authority of scripture when you argue for a global flood and a 10,000 year old earth. But perhaps your interpretation is wrong. Was the Pope right when he used scripture to claim that the sun revolved around the earth? The scriptures are extraordinarily difficult to interpret.
(Fred) Well, I see having the authority of scripture on my side as being a rather significant witness in may favor.

Moving along... No, the pope wasn't right, but the pope was interpreting the scripture through a philosophical grid of Aristotelianism. The main stream academia of the day held to Aristotelian ideas of our universe. Its similar to the current consensus of among big bang cosmologists in spite of the major difficulties inherent to the theory.

By the way, the Bible no where suggests a geo-centric cosmology as being standard. You may want to study the historical background to the situation.

And this is my complaint. How can I believe the important evangelical Gospel message from a Christian, if I can use intelligent design arguments to empirically prove that said Christian is interpreting scripture wrong, ignorant, and dogmatic?
(Fred) Again, consider my point above. Are you telling me the non-Christian world is ready to uncritically embrace the idea of a dead man rising from the grave over the idea that God created the world in 6 days? What evidence is there that dead men rise from the grave, especially one who died 2,000 years ago?

I hope, that as a Calvinist, you do not just write off the potentially non-elect skeptic like myself who perpetually struggles with these and similar questions. I was brainwashed as a child, but I still have trouble with literal interpretation of scripture.
(Fred) This last comment has a lot of personal, unknown baggage connected to it and so I cannot respond in any meaningful fashion. All I can say, Jacob, is that I don't write you off as an unbeliever (you cannot know if you are "non-elect"), but from my perspective, your struggles with a "literal interpretation" of scripture, however you may be defining the word literal, has more to do with personal objections to God specifically, rather than the plausibility of the Genesis record. It seems as though your hang-up is with the ramifications of the Genesis record, rather than its plausibility. To believe Genesis is a true, historical record of God creating has far reaching consequences in meddling with how a person has thought over a period of a lifetime.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Jacob said...

I really appreciate your time and well thought out reply to my comment. I mean that.

You point out... “Scientifically educated people have their biases.” Intelligent design people (like Dr. James Kennedy) are much more biased and prone to indulge in propaganda, in my experience. Scientifically educated people are most often agnostic and quite content to let others wallow in ignorance. They love to disprove established theories and they are motivated to find the truth using the scientific method. It is good science to ask questions about evolution and challenge existing assumptions. This is my experience at least.

You point out... “Is not the argument that Jesus was born of a virgin, did miracles to control nature, banish disease and feed thousands of people, and eventually died on a cross and rose from the dead, dogma?” Now, we can look back in time and see evidence of the miracles you list. Indeed, if Jesus did not perform miracles and rise from the dead on the third day, then how do we explain the existence of the Church today, or how do we explain the martyrdom of the 11 apostles? If God did not bless Israel, then how do we explain their return after 2000 years? My point is this... we can look at the record and see evidence of those miracles. But, when we look at the geological record, there is no evidence of a global flood. Perhaps the flood account in Genesis is misinterpreted.

OK, I have no problem believing that God created the universe. But, just 10,000 years ago? When you interpret Genesis, is a day really a 24 hour day in earth time? Jesus was in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights, but that was really 3 days and 2 nights. As Peter writes, a day is like a 1000 years, and 1000 years is like a day. I am learning that time cannot be taken too literally in Biblical accounts.

So, I am less sure about a global flood. Perhaps the account is of a local flood. Now, granted, a God who set the planets in motion and a God who raised his son from the dead can flood the entire earth. But, we should see clear evidence of this global flood when we look at the geological record. But, quite the contrary is true (unless you turn to Walt Brown, who seems particularly biased to me).

You ask... “are you educated in any of these fields”. I am a doctoral candidate in engineering (and a lawyer). I have published in the area of bio-informatics, although it is not my primary field of research. I've participated in small invitation only workshops on synthetic biology and artificial life, although I was clearly the odd-man-out. Most of the participants are world famous scientists who periodically show up on shows like Nova and publish in journals like Science and Nature (out of my leauge). These people use evolution to do amazing things like cure cancer by engineering viruses and develop next generation biological computers by evolving bacterias. I've personally used computer based evolution to solve abstract research problems. And I could go on and on. In my experience, these evolution scientists are wicked smart, completely dedicated to seeking out the truth in this natural world, and they function at an intellectual level way above anything the average intelligent design proponent could comprehend. They honestly don't have an agenda except research.

I sense the following point of view from most of my colleagues when it comes to evolution. What is the point of arguing about how DNA evidence mathematically supports the theory of evolution with somebody who probably does not know calculus or basic statistics? I don't want to disparage the intelligence of the average intelligent design spectator, but I just want to point out that a creationist politician doesn't really understand evolution unless the person has taken 10 years of math, biology, and physics courses; and even then there is much to learn. So it seems wrong to me when a non-scientist tries to use a real scientist's results to make different conclusions than the scientist. Science and politics don't mix too well, and I tend to trust the scientists over the pundits.

You state.. “There is absolutely no scientific evidence that particles-to-people style evolution suggested by the neo-Darwinian theory, has ever happened. Organisms can only adapt and change genetically in relationship to the DNA information already present with in them. No animal has ever evolved with the increase of information.”

Suppose that DNA statistically mutates at a given rate. Then, one should be able to go backwards in the evolutionary tree and see changes that match these mutation rates. Indeed this is what we see. In fact, bioinformatics can be applied to automatically construct an evolutionary tree, and a time line, using mathematics alone. The statistically generated time line also closely matches the fossil record and an old-earth theory. This is pretty good proof for evolution. Collins makes a more elegant and authoritative argument in his book for both old earth and evolution; and I think he is right. Check out Colin's Wikipedia article.

The AIDS virus is an example of an organism that evolved in our lifetime. Down syndrome is an example of extra DNA information being added to an organism (and it doesn't have to be good DNA to support the evolution theory). But, you cannot expect interspecies evolution in just a few hundred years. It takes millions of years. And, evolution teaches that inter-species evolution occurs over long periods of species isolation, periods longer than recorded history. This is also supported by the average mutation rate of DNA.

Let me turn the argument around. How can a young earth intelligent designer claim that the Sun bear in Indonesia and the Grizzly bear in Alaska developed from a single bear couple on Noah's ark, after just 6000 years? Wouldn't we have noticed more changes in bears in the past 1000 years, or was there an accelerated rate of mutation and migration right after the flood? If somebody can believe that, without evidence, then why is it so hard to understand that inter-species can evolve over millions of years due to isolated from each other? Naturally, it would take millions of years to produce a new species, but the fossil record overwhelmingly shows this to be the case.

Don't get me wrong. God probably controls and guides evolution. Indeed, Levitical law demands that evil be purged from among Israel by capital punishment. That sounds like a form of natural selection to me.

You state... “however you may be defining the word literal, has more to do with personal objections to God specifically, rather than the plausibility of the Genesis record.”

May I disagree? It has to do with intellectual honesty and a search for truth. With so many religions, so many revelations, and so many denominations, who has the right interpretation? Benny Hinn? Pat Robertson? James Dobson? John MacArthur? The Pope? God can withstand my feeble scrutiny of the Bible. And, I know this issue is a stumbling block for me and for most of my friends, whom I would like to evangelize. I just want to get to the bottom of it. When I seek to understand apparent contradictions in the Bible. Who should I believe? Biblical inerrancy is attractive, but if people are dogmatically wrong about the flood and evolution, then what else are they wrong about? I want it to make sense.

Quite frankly, I am envious of your faith. Christianity is the only thing that makes sense in this world. But, lately I feel bombarded on all sides by the likes of Richard Dawkins, Ehrman, Word-of-Faith preachers, a checkered church history, thousands of denominations, Barna research polls, church members who try to sell me on the Hallelujah Diet, theological concerns, and my inability to balance scripture with reality. Lately, being a Christian feels like walking in deep mud that just keeps getting deeper. Egads!

Thank you very much for your pointers to Kurt Wise, Discovery Institute, Answers in Genesis, etc. I will check these out. When I asked my pastor to pray for me because I was struggling with the flood story and bible inerrancy (and my own bad interpretation of scripture) he referred me to Walt Brown only.

5:19 PM, April 27, 2007  
Blogger Josh said...

Jacob and Fred,
Very interesting dialogue. I'm a PhD student in genomics, but also a dyed in the wool Reformed Baptist. So i've come to some deep questions about my faith and my vocation. I'm also reading Collin's book recently and have enjoyed it, although not thoroughly convinced of his evolutionary theism. The real question is: does God's Special Revelation comport with His General Revelation? and theologians and scientists, being the authoritative practitioners of each, respectively, have much to say about this topic. However, how are we to discern those who "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" with those who have honest scientific evidences of old earth, etc. when most of the gatekeepers of such high-level research/information are non-believers? Collins seems to be a believer; yes a macroevolutionist, but he makes some compelling arguements to support. I'm not ultimately persuaded away from orthodox views of Genesis as it relates to Original Sin, sabbath keeping and other creation ordinances doctrinally, but i'm in the process of re-evaluating "dogma" which conflicts with the dictum of Augustine (which Collins aptly quotes)
"...in Holy Scripture different interpretations are sometimes possible without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such a case we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines that position, we too fall with it. That would be to battle not for the teaching of the Holy Scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to ours, whereas we ought to wish ours to confirm to that of Holy Scripture."
Macroevolution has some big problems that Collins in notably silent on, however christians need to avoid undue dogmatism and relish true perspectives derived from God's general revelation bearing upon our faith.

7:08 AM, April 28, 2007  
Blogger Jacob said...

Hi Josh,

You have sympathies from a fellow grad student.

I agree, I thought Collins work was rather thin on details and answers to counter-arguments, but he seems very sincere and he still made a good case.

This is something that I seriously ask myself... have I elevated science to a higher plane than God? Is it a sin to test God using science? (probably yes!) But, I don't feel like I am testing God. Rather, I feel like I am testing interpretations of scripture.

If you read Acts 17, you might get the idea that "ALL" Athenians "spend their their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas." It is possible to take the word 'all' too far when interpreting scripture.

As you point out, even if all the ambiguous parts of scripture are removed, the salient truth remains. And so I hang on.

It would be nice to know Greek and Hebrew.

2:38 PM, April 28, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hello again Jacob,
You've given me quite a bit to respond to on limited time,

You point out... “Scientifically educated people have their biases.” Intelligent design people (like Dr. James Kennedy) are much more biased and prone to indulge in propaganda, in my experience. Scientifically educated people are most often agnostic and quite content to let others wallow in ignorance. They love to disprove established theories and they are motivated to find the truth using the scientific method. It is good science to ask questions about evolution and challenge existing assumptions. This is my experience at least.

(Fred) Really? You truly believe that Steven J. Gould, Richard Dawkins, Ken Miller, Michael Ruse, and Eugenie Scott are simply motivated to find the truth using the scientific method? They are some of the most ardent evolutionary activist in spite of the bald face problems with their position. One of the more candid quotes from an evolutionist comes from biologist Richard Lewotin in his review of Carl Sagan's book, "Demon Haunted World." Lewotin writes:

"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a divine Foot in the door."

Of course there is an agenda among many so-called scientific individuals.

Good scientists ARE asking tough questions about the viability of the evolutionary theory, but they are being dismissed as cranks because the consensus of so-called scientists refuse to hear any criticism. It is a similar situation in which the scientists who show the fatal flaws in the current global warming scare are censored as being kooks.

Now, we can look back in time and see evidence of the miracles you list.

(Fred) We can? Where in the current world do we see evidence of Christ's miracles he performed? How do we see them exactly by looking back into time? On the contrary, Christ's miracles are testified to by eye-witnesses. We believe Christ did miracles based upon the testimony of those who saw him do his miracles and then wrote about them.

Indeed, if Jesus did not perform miracles and rise from the dead on the third day, then how do we explain the existence of the Church today, or how do we explain the martyrdom of the 11 apostles? If God did not bless Israel, then how do we explain their return after 2000 years? My point is this... we can look at the record and see evidence of those miracles.

(Fred) Believe or not, atheists have many clever ways of explaining away these so-called evidences.

But, when we look at the geological record, there is no evidence of a global flood. Perhaps the flood account in Genesis is misinterpreted.

(Fred) You raise this claim once again down below. I find such a statement to be utterly unbelievable because the geological evidence is so powerfully overwhelming for a global flood. But, let me ask you this: What evidence do you expect to see if there was a global flood that you think is not witnessed in the geological record? As for Genesis being mis- interpreted, Genesis is historical narrative, just like the gospels and Acts, or the book of Exodus, and the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. You read it just like any other history book. It is not written to be scientific in the strictest sense of scientific, but is is written to give an accurate, historical account of what happened in the early days before Abraham. Real people, real events, real chronology.

OK, I have no problem believing that God created the universe. But, just 10,000 years ago? When you interpret Genesis, is a day really a 24 hour day in earth time? Jesus was in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights, but that was really 3 days and 2 nights. As Peter writes, a day is like a 1000 years, and 1000 years is like a day. I am learning that time cannot be taken too literally in Biblical accounts.

(Fred) Here are a whole slew of articles that will help you understand why it is exegetically necessary to read Genesis as literal history. There is also an article or two explaining why what Peter wrote is not related to re-interpreting the days of Genesis.

You make a couple of disparaging comments:

In my experience, these evolution scientists are wicked smart, completely dedicated to seeking out the truth in this natural world, and they function at an intellectual level way above anything the average intelligent design proponent could comprehend. They honestly don't have an agenda except research.

AND

I sense the following point of view from most of my colleagues when it comes to evolution. What is the point of arguing about how DNA evidence mathematically supports the theory of evolution with somebody who probably does not know calculus or basic statistics? I don't want to disparage the intelligence of the average intelligent design spectator, but I just want to point out that a creationist politician doesn't really understand evolution unless the person has taken 10 years of math, biology, and physics courses; and even then there is much to learn. So it seems wrong to me when a non-scientist tries to use a real scientist's results to make different conclusions than the scientist. Science and politics don't mix too well, and I tend to trust the scientists over the pundits

A few of thoughts:

a) By your own admission in the last sentence of your comment, you claim your pastor only exposed you to Dr. Brown, with whom you were not impressed, even though the guy is a MIT graduate in engineering and taught graduate level courses in the subject. If you're not familiar with the ID and creationist who oppose evolution, how can you make any assessment as to their intelligence and ability, or in this case, lack of intelligence and ability, in evaluating neo-Darwinianism?

b) If evolution takes 10 years of math, biology, and physics courses to understand and evaluate, why then do evolutionary activists, say for instance Eugenie Scott of the mis-named National Center for Science Education insist evolutionary dogma must be taught uncompromisingly and uncritically in American public high schools as early as kindergarten? If 10 years of higher education is necessary to fully understand and evaluate evolution, then it is a subject that should not even be discussed until way into graduate level studies.

c) Being wicked smart and on an intelligence level far above average people doesn't give a person any greater perspective on the world. If anything, the Bible would condemn such a person who squanders the gifts God has given him.

d) There are just as many, many wicked smart and intelligent people opposed to evolution.

Suppose that DNA statistically mutates at a given rate. Then, one should be able to go backwards in the evolutionary tree and see changes that match these mutation rates. Indeed this is what we see. In fact, bioinformatics can be applied to automatically construct an evolutionary tree, and a time line, using mathematics alone. The statistically generated time line also closely matches the fossil record and an old-earth theory. This is pretty good proof for evolution. Collins makes a more elegant and authoritative argument in his book for both old earth and evolution; and I think he is right. Check out Colin's Wikipedia article.

The AIDS virus is an example of an organism that evolved in our lifetime. Down syndrome is an example of extra DNA information being added to an organism (and it doesn't have to be good DNA to support the evolution theory). But, you cannot expect interspecies evolution in just a few hundred years. It takes millions of years. And, evolution teaches that inter-species evolution occurs over long periods of species isolation, periods longer than recorded history. This is also supported by the average mutation rate of DNA.

Let me turn the argument around. How can a young earth intelligent designer claim that the Sun bear in Indonesia and the Grizzly bear in Alaska developed from a single bear couple on Noah's ark, after just 6000 years? Wouldn't we have noticed more changes in bears in the past 1000 years, or was there an accelerated rate of mutation and migration right after the flood? If somebody can believe that, without evidence, then why is it so hard to understand that inter-species can evolve over millions of years due to isolated from each other? Naturally, it would take millions of years to produce a new species, but the fossil record overwhelmingly shows this to be the case.


(Fred) Your comments make many assumptions about life that are just not true, and in point of fact, are typical of the average pro-evolutionary specator. I would suggest supplimenting your reading of Collins with Dr. Lee Spetner's work, "Not By Chance." Spetner is not an evangelical, nor a special creationists per se of the sort you don't like, and he provides one of the most thorough and devistating critiques of neo-Darwinian theory in print. In his opening paragraph of his preface he writes,

Although not yet widely recognized, the discoveries in biology during the past thirty years or forty years, together with elementary principles of information theory, have made this view [neo-evolution] untenable.

He then proceeds to demonstrate the truthfulness of that claim. He deals with many of the objections you raise here about the AIDS virus, which has not "evolved" in the sense you are claiming by becoming a more complex organism. It may do you well to read his treatment. Also, now that you know about the Discovery Institute you can check their on-line library for articles dealing with the assertions above, or much of the literature they have published in book form. By the way, Downs Syndrome is not adding information. It is the addition of an extra chromosome that is supplied by either parent. A chromosome that is already present.

May I disagree? It has to do with intellectual honesty and a search for truth. With so many religions, so many revelations, and so many denominations, who has the right interpretation? Benny Hinn? Pat Robertson? James Dobson? John MacArthur? The Pope? God can withstand my feeble scrutiny of the Bible. And, I know this issue is a stumbling block for me and for most of my friends, whom I would like to evangelize. I just want to get to the bottom of it. When I seek to understand apparent contradictions in the Bible. Who should I believe? Biblical inerrancy is attractive, but if people are dogmatically wrong about the flood and evolution, then what else are they wrong about? I want it to make sense.

(Fred) These are subjects I would love to talk with you about, but they are too many to discuss here. Ultimately, the issue comes down to which authority do you want to submit? God's discussion about origins and special creation, or fallen man's version (of which there are many) of origins and materialistic naturalism? Honestly, Hinn, Roberston, Dobson, and MacArthur, along with all of those various concerns about denominations and Bible diets, are irrelevant to the discussion.

Fred

6:16 AM, May 01, 2007  
Blogger Jacob said...

The authority of scripture (and who's theology to believe) is very relevant to one's understanding of creation.

Thanks for the response. Your discussion inspired me to take a much closer look at the ID/creationist movement and its arguments. A very few of the people involved, like Hugh Ross, are credible and are worth listening to. But the majority are unqualified and extraordinarily biased. Walt Brown, for example, strikes me as a dishonest propagandist who enjoys his own fame (how could anybody make his "A frozen wooley mammoth marcass with undigested food proves the flood" argument with a straight face?).

I have concluded that ID is a dogmatic political movement.

There are thousands of nameless old-earth geologists who every day help us to find oil and understand where earthquakes will occur. It would be absurd for them to use young-earth/flood geology to get their verifiable and real results. Similarly, there are thousands of nameless evolutionary scientists who are developing treatments for cancers and other diseases. They also consider ID absurd (see link below). You can attack Dawkins and others, but if you want to disprove evolution, you need to use real science and prove a better theory.

http://www.interacademies.net/Object.File/Master/6/150/Evolution%20statement.pdf

Creation and the authority of scripture is an issue have struggled with for a long time. You might be interested in a few posts I made to my retired blog relating to Dawkins and creation...

http://duecourse.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!6F0E3B425E91BE0C!1100.entry

http://duecourse.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!6F0E3B425E91BE0C!1050.entry

Suffice to say, I am nowhere near as confident as you are that I posses the truth. Without the authority of scripture as an anchor, I am a ship drifting at sea. I do not want to shipwreck your faith (or others). I could address your response point by point, but I would be wasting our time. We can agree to disagree.

8:56 AM, May 03, 2007  

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