I Surrender All

Amazon.com: The Genesis Debate : Three Views on the Days of Creation: Books: J. Ligon Duncan III,David W. Hall,Hugh Ross,Gleason L. Archer,Lee Irons,Meredith G. Kline,David G. HagopianLately, I’ve been reading The Genesis Debate : Three Views on the Days of Creation. I wish I had known about this book before I participated in this debate, because it covers the same three viewpoints: 6×24 (“literal”), Day-age, and Framework. Each team presents a positive argument for their view, then the other two teams get to shoot at it, and finally the original team gets to defend itself and make final conclusions.

I was not too surprised to see this statement from the 24-hour team (Ligon Duncan III and David W. Hall):  “We stand ready to run up the white flag of surrender if this debate called on us to demonstrate more scientific expertise than [Day-age team] Ross and Archer.”

And yet they are willing to repeatedly leverage their admittedly unqualified scientific judgment to dismiss any and all scientific notions of an old Earth, with statements like, “The non-conformist model does not alter biblical interpretations, refusing to tailor them to the ever-changing horizons of knowledge.”

And so I was shocked to see them give away the farm with this statement:

If those post-1800 [secular scientific] theories are correct, the entire Church may need to alter its theology.

Really? Well who is best-qualified to make the call of whether scientific theories are correct? With this admission, Duncan and Hall mogrify the debate from “144 hours vs. 14 billion years” to “It’s not the right time to abandon a literal exegesis vs. Yes it is.” It would seem even more necessary to look at this question in light of the lessons we learned from Galileo (unfortunately, this book contains only one passing reference by the Framework team).

Duncan and Hall point to Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions as if it means that everything old is thrown away every time something new is discovered, but Ross & Archer have a better grasp of how a scientific paradigm shift consists of both a confirmation of the broad strokes, as well as a refinement of the details.  Einstein’s success did not change the way high school physics (Newtonian mechanics) is (or should be) taught, because relativity doesn’t make physics look very different, except in the presence of extremes of velocity or gravity.  What Duncan and Hall fail to recognize (and which Ross et al specialize in explaining), is that, while Darwinian evolutionary biology may be teetering on the edge of a collapse, old-earth astronomy and geology are not going anywhere.

Advertisements

65 Responses

  1. Just curious, what does Ross say about the top soil / erosion argument? The one that says with billions of years of age, erosion would have left all the continents bare.

    Kazooless

  2. Great summary. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see how well Ross and company present their arguments, and the respect they show to other views. Compare that with a rant from Kent Hovind or Ken Hamm.

    Bottom line, though, is that none of these views impact the authenticity or truth of Scripture. Neither do they challenge – or stand in place of – our commission to spread the Gospel, which should obviously come first, before our interpretations of the creation account.

  3. It’s your very last sentence about old-earth geology that makes Kazuless’s [Vanna, can I buy an S]

    The one that says with billions of years of age, erosion would have left all the continents bare.

    pertinent. So, in that vein, pun intended, how about the one that says with billions of years, all the gases formerly trapped in the earth’s bowels (and at the currently observable rate of gas leakage) there would be no gas currently trapped in the earth’s bowels.

    Wait, I betcha I forgot to factor in global warming. Dang!!

    You gonna read Godfrey’s take on this topic? I’ve got it if you want it.

  4. For an extra added bonus, can anyone speak eloquently about the history of Jewish interpretation of Gen 1-2?

  5. Oddly enough, I just posted about this topic on my blog, too.

    However, I was going from the other side. I linked to a New York Times review of a new National Academy of Sciences book that outright claims that a scientific interpretation of Earth’s origin need not preclude belief in a religious interpretation as well. (I happen to agree; in addition, I’m married to an environmental scientist who can explain theistic evolution far better than I can. In fact, she’s the first commenter on that post.)

  6. Whoops… this post is just to close the hanging <a> tag from my previous comment.

  7. Lookit that — it worked!

  8. Just curious, what does Ross say about the top soil / erosion argument?

    I’ve never heard it addressed. I did some quick searches for “topsoil” and “erosion” at the Reasons to Believe website, but didn’t turn up anything interesting (or rather too much stuff to determine whether the answer to your question is in there)

  9. This link might help (although it comes from an atheist source). He seems to be responding to a Kent Hovind argument in the other direction though, that billions of years of erosion would have created more topsoil than we currently see.

    In summary, we’re dealing with a dynamic and continuing cycle of topsoil formation and destruction, including periods of equilibrium, not a one-way accumulation of topsoil.

    So we will see, all over the world, some places with topsoil, some places gaining topsoil, some places losing topsoil, and some places with no topsoil. He notes that “Large areas of Canada, for instance, have been eroded down to the Precambrian basement rock” — see also my header image above, “The Burren” in Ireland, where erosion has exposed thousands of square miles of “bedrock” limestone.

  10. Back to the point of the post though, Jeff; do you think there is a level of scientific certainty and stability at which Young Earth Creationism will need to admit defeat? Obviously, you don’t think we’re there right now (and I do), but would you allow it as a possibility in 10, 100, 1000 years? And if not, what is the point of discussing science at all?

  11. Another question; do you believe that YEC evidence will someday be so overwhelmingly evident that it will become the consensus among secular scientists?

  12. do you think there is a level of scientific certainty and stability at which Young Earth Creationism will need to admit defeat?

    There are two questions there: is there enough evidence, and will YECs admit defeat.

    For many YECs that I’ve dealt with, scientific evidence is, at best, a side issue, because they see anything but a literal 7×24 creation week as an attack on Scripture. That leads a lot of pseudo-scientific rabbit trails (see AiG website for many, many examples) that tends to discredit Christians in the view of the world, i.e., “Why should I listen to what you have to say about this Jesus guy if you think the world is flat?”

    Again, this is an interesting issue, but it ain’t the salvation story. We need to keep that in perspective.

  13. There are two questions there: is there enough evidence, and will YECs admit defeat.

    Those are not quite the questions I had in mind. Obviously, I think there currently is enough evidence, and YECs don’t. But does the YEC camp (in general I guess, but Jeff is my buddy and I’m interested in his particular perspective) view their position as potentially falsifiable, or potentially wrong, so that in some distant future scenario, the YEC position could possibly go away (like the earth-centric model gave way to the Copernican heliocentric model)? The fact that the ICR exists (just a few miles from my house, actually) would seem to imply that some YECs want science to provide some arbitration for the debate.

  14. Grrr. Just lost my extended comment…

    I agree with you, and I don’t mean to imply that YECs are necessarily anti-science, but there is that element. And, no, I don’t think they would get to the point that they would ‘admit defeat’, because it’s largely seen as an attack on the autority of the Word.

    There’s some great discussion here and here about the dangers of misplaced dogmatism – by YEC or OEC.

  15. I am willing to agree that YEC’s ‘could’ be wrong, just as the earth-centric Christian’s of Copernicus (or was it Galileo?) were wrong. My mind isn’t closed on that issue. It would take a lot of evidence though, since evidence is always interpreted from a presup set of glasses and obviously the same evidence tells old earth guys something different than YEC’s.

    And I also think it could go the other way in the exact same manner (i think that answers your second question).

    Kazoo

  16. Copernicus (or was it Galileo?)

    As I understand it, Copernicus first came up with the mathematical explanation that planets revolving around the sun much better explained planetary motion visible from earth, and Galileo vindicated his hypothesis that not everything revolves around the Earth with telescopic evidence of moons orbiting Jupiter. The heliocentric model is usually called “Copernican”, while it was Galileo that got in trouble with the church.

    evidence is always interpreted from a presup set of glasses and obviously the same evidence tells old earth guys something different than YEC’s

    I would assert though, that YEC literal 6×24 glasses are at least as colorful as secular scientists, if not more. Atheist presupp’s may be confining them to the set of explanations “Anything but God”, but that’s a generic, indefinite criterion. YEC have a very particular understanding of Gen 1 as their desired endpoint whenever they approach a cosmological question. Natural evidence alone would never lead one to a 6×24 interpretation any more than biblical evidence alone would lead one to billions years.

  17. However I maintain (as I have outlined here), that biblical evidence alone is enough to lead one to suspect that literal 6×24 is problematic…

  18. Ah, so you’re less open minded about the subject than I am, huh? :)

    There may be a day that natural evidence alone will point to young or old. (6 days isn’t necessarily young, is it?)

    Kazoo

  19. Since Ruberad linked to his day-age creation outline, I’d be interested in reading anyone’s response to the argument developed in the latter part of that post’s thread. It begins here. (Best to reply over there, not here, to avoid threadjacking.)

  20. However I maintain (as I have outlined here), that biblical evidence alone is enough to lead one to suspect that literal 6×24 is problematic…

    In addition to keeping the Galileo lesson in mind, let us also remember the lesson of Cain’s wife: the contradiction you see in a text may not necessarily exist.

    When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound results, is the fault always with the book? Cain’s wife was his sister (where else would she have come from?). Once presented, the answer is obvious to the point of embarrassment. But far from considering Clarence Darrow and his parrots an idiot for failing to realize this, we should consider the degree to which our own assumptions may cause us to see false contradictions.

    Just because we haven’t reconciled Genesis 1 and 2 doesn’t mean no one ever has (or ever will).

  21. Agreed. Peter Enns has an excellent book called Inspiration and Incarnation that suggests that we tend to look at Scripture through a 21st century lens.

    In the context of a 2nd millenia BC (or prior) culture, all the events we’re discussing would be understandable from within their cultural context. In addition, the Hebrews didn’t even have a written language until about 2000 BC, so all this would have been passed by oral tradition.

    We look at Genesis 1 and 2, for instance, and ask, ‘What’s the mechanism god used to do this?” They would have looked at it and said, “Wow, God did that for us? He is an awesome God!” and left it at that.

    It’s pretty safe to assume that our OEC or YEC biases would be irrelevant or even incomprehensible to an early Hebrew person.

  22. Just because we haven’t reconciled Genesis 1 and 2 doesn’t mean no one ever has (or ever will).

    That’s cool. I did say “lead one to suspect”

  23. I’d add that Kurt Wise, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard, under Steven Jay Gould, no less, is a staunch 6-day creationist. I’d put his scientific credentials up against anyone in the book (and, this isn’t a tacit edorsement of 6-day creation on my part. I’m just evening the playing field).

    I’d also add that D’Souza does a good job adding some historical context to the Galileo case. Though unfortunate in its own right, there’s been quite a bit of historical revision at play here. I, for one, make sure I double check my sources if I find out that an argument I use is also used by The Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and other members of “The New Atheism”; who, by the way, are notorious for slandering the facts.

  24. Steve Hays has a nice little comment:

    “However, such anachronisms are not limited to nominal believers. A quite common and unconscious misstep made by scientific critics of the creation and flood accounts is first to build in extra-Biblical assumptions, and then convict the narrative of inconsistency because it conflicts with the various consequences of these extraneous assumptions.

    What is lost sight of is that a critic is supposed to exercise critical sympathy. In other words, a reviewer or philosopher or historian is supposed to exercise enough detachment that he can separate his own views from the viewpoint of the text, in order to grasp what is meant, make sense of it on its own terms, and see how well it hangs together given the assumptions of the author. Even if you’re reading a writer in order to attack him, you need to be a good listener. The difference between believer and unbeliever is that the latter will put a temporary distance between his views and the author’s, whereas a believer will detach his views in order to make room for the inspired viewpoint of Scripture.

    As an example of this confusion, we’re told that, when measured in light-years, the scale of the universe entails its multi-billion year age. But this inference rests on a number of assumptions, viz., the initial size of the universe, the speed of light as a cosmic constant, the relative rate of expansion, the ordinary emission and transmission of starlight from its point of origin to the earth, and so on.

    Now, it should be clear that the creation account is silent on most of these assumptions. That doesn’t mean that it necessary negates them. But it is, at best, neutral on such assumptions. To point out, then, that Biblical cosmology is at odds with modern cosmology only goes to show that the Biblical account is inconsistent with certain extra-Biblical assumptions. So what? An inconsistency can be relieved in either of two directions, so the unbeliever hasn’t gone any distance in proving his view to be true and the view of Scripture to be false. Running in place may create the illusion of progress, but the motion is circular.

    What the unbeliever needs to do is to ask how the world would look assuming, if only for the sake of argument, the editorial viewpoint of the narrative. Suppose that the world was made at an accelerated pace—say, in six straight days. Would it look old or new? Would it appear different than if it happened in the normal amount of time it takes to run through the life-cycle of a star or galaxy or mountain chain?

    Unbelievers often dismiss this approach as sleight-of-hand. Yet it is no different than trying to read Dante through Medieval eyes. In fact, it is the unbeliever who is dealing off the bottom of the deck. On the one hand, he wants us to interpret the Bible as literally as possible because that puts the Bible on a collision course with science. On the other hand, when the believer begins to ask what sort of world a literal interpretation predicts for, what a literal reading logically entails, then the unbeliever cries foul!

    Others dismiss this explanation as implicating God in a web of deception. But such an objection is so hidebound as to be unintentionally comic. They think it’s perfectly okay to say that a star is older than it looks, due to time lag, but to say that it’s younger than it looks is downright deceptive!

    Yet the objection also commits the naturalistic fallacy. The universe is not a cosmic clock with a pair of hands sweeping out the hours and minutes. The fact that we coopt a natural process to clock absolute time is a secondary, man-made application of a process that serves another purpose altogether. I can also uncap beer bottles with my teeth, but if I split a molar in the process, that is hardly a design flaw. The fact is that things don’t look any particular age. That’s a comparative judgment based on experience, and past experience is hardly germane to creation ex nihilo. The proper subject-matter of science is ordinary providence, not extraordinary providence (creation, the miraculous). If I’d never see a Redwood before, I’d never guess it’s age from its appearance. Yes, I could count the rings, but that presupposes the prior existence of seed-bearing trees.”

  25. just evening the playing field

    One Harvard educated creationist “evens” the playing field? I’ll balance your Harvard-educated creationist with a CalTech-educated Old-Earth Creationist (Hugh Ross), and then where are we? In the end, the Young-Earth Creation camp doesn’t want to play the numbers game. For every creationist scientist out there, I’ll give you 100 scientists that discarded their Christianity because they couldn’t reconcile YEC with natural revelation.

    historical context to the Galileo case

    The article I linked (which is put out by the Catholic church) also adds much needed historical context. Galileo was an antagonistic jerk, and not surprisingly, provoked a defensive reaction from the Church, who overhastily hitched her (theological) wagon to the wrong (terracentric) star. Sound familiar?

  26. Credentialism is beautiful when it works in your favor, ugly when it doesn’t.

  27. If I’d never see a Redwood before, I’d never guess it’s age from its appearance.

    If you’ve ever watched how long it takes a tree grow from a seedling, you would be able to guess from a Redwood’s size that it’s very old. I’ve got a lot of other stuff to say to that quote; so much (and it’s such a meaty quote) that I’ll have to save it for a fresh post…

  28. Hey forester — snuck a comment in the middle there! Any insight into how long it takes for seedlings to grow into forests?

  29. Rube,

    Don’t forget that there are assumptions made about the growth of trees, like the way we see trees grow today is the way they’ve always grown. Or that the way we see seasons today is the way they’ve always been.

    Also, I believe a form of fallacious argument is one that appeals to a group of people, especially “experts.” If 100 people agree on something that is wrong, does it then make it right?

    Kazoo

  30. What the unbeliever needs to do is to ask how the world would look assuming, if only for the sake of argument, the editorial viewpoint of the narrative.

    Yow. How arrogant is it to assume that you have the ‘editorial viewpoint of the narrative’? The creation account was given to a pre-literate, pre-scientific people, but you’re imposing a distinctly 21st century editorial viewpoint. Examine your biases.

    But this inference rests on a number of assumptions, viz., the initial size of the universe, the speed of light as a cosmic constant, the relative rate of expansion, the ordinary emission and transmission of starlight from its point of origin to the earth, and so on.

    assumptions made about the growth of trees

    Hmmm. Constants tend to be, uh, constant. God created the universe and in doing so established physical laws, including those constants. Implying that he would change those laws and constants for the case of creation is needless. Again, examine your biases. If the universe looks old, maybe it just is.

    You’re creating pseudo-scientifc castles in the sky to force God into a 24×6 creation narrative.

  31. Constants tend to be, uh, constant.

    The speed of light?

    CBC News: Scientists break speed of light

    Scientists have finally exceeded the speed of light, causing a light pulse to travel hundreds of times faster than normal.

    It raced so fast the pulse exited a specially-prepared chamber before it even finished entering it.

    Time itself?

    Wired: Time itself may be slowing down

    A group of scientists from the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, and Spain’s University of Salamanca have offered a different idea. Maybe it’s the passage of time itself that’s slowing down, they say. The distant galaxies only look like they’re accelerating because our deep-space telescopes are essentially looking back in time to see them, to when time was going faster.

    “Constant” indeed.

  32. forester,
    What’s your point? That something travelled faster than the ‘speed of light’? The speed of light is a – say it with me – constant, as is the speed of sound, Planck’s Constant, and the human desire to remake god in our own image. Discovering new things and making use of these constants does not negate them, or bend them to our will.

    Back to the original intent of the post: “Do you think there is a level of scientific certainty and stability at which Young Earth Creationism will need to admit defeat”?

    I contend that the answer is no, because in the YEC view, science is simply a tool to be stretched and manipulated to force God into that 6×24 box.

  33. forester:

    Those seem to be mainly frame-of-reference issues. If time is “slowing down,” how do we even measure the days of creation? The Bible mentions “it was evening, and it was morning,” so it seems to imply revolutions of the Earth.

    I time as a whole was “faster,” the planet’s spinning would also be faster. Even if many trips around the sun took place in the temporal unit we now call “24 hours,” there would still be many evenings & mornings in that period. YECs stuck on a rigid interpretation of Genesis can’t use that supposition for support, because they would have to default to 6x(evening+morning) instead of 6×24.

    And, if time is expanding, from whose vantage point? Even if, from an objective extra-terrestrial viewpoint, time went by relatively “faster” during creation, time on Earth would still be going by at a “normal” pace.

  34. Is it possible for light to travel faster than Planck’s Constant? Is it possible that time itself may not be constant? Do scientists ask these questions?

    All I’m pointing out is that science doesn’t label something a constant and leave it there forever. Science wouldn’t have gotten very far had that been the case.

    – say it with me –

    Wow, is that ugly.

    By the way, what box are you trying to fit me in?

  35. Planck’s Constant is used to describe the sizes of energy quanta. It’s is also used in measuring energy emitted as photons. I was not using it in the context of a limit to the speed of light, but rather as an example of a constant.

    We make our own boxes, and furnish them according to our own biases.

  36. Is it possible that time itself may not be constant? Do scientists ask these questions?

    Absolutely. Inquiry is a foundational aspect of science. (Unless you’re talking about climate change; questioning assumptions is heresy in that discussion. ;0 )

    Actually your question about the constancy of time is irrelevant, because an observer is by definition within the span of time. Any deviation in the normal passage of time would be undetectable by him.

    All I’m pointing out is that science doesn’t label something a constant and leave it there forever. Science wouldn’t have gotten very far had that been the case.

    I agree, to a point. There’s a great distinction between the fact of a constant its literal/numerical value. The value given for the speed of light has changed over time as measuring techniques and tools have improved. That doesn’t change its worth as a reference point (and cornerstone) of observable creation.

  37. […] would also recommend RubeRad’s post on the topic at Blogorrhea if you’re interested in the […]

  38. One Harvard educated creationist “evens” the playing field? I’ll balance your Harvard-educated creationist with a CalTech-educated Old-Earth Creationist (Hugh Ross), and then where are we? In the end, the Young-Earth Creation camp doesn’t want to play the numbers game. For every creationist scientist out there, I’ll give you 100 scientists that discarded their Christianity because they couldn’t reconcile YEC with natural revelation.

    Yes, I think it does even the playing field, or else why would I have said it?

    For every 100 scientists that discarded their faith because of the inability to reconcile YEC with natural revelation, I’ll balance out your claim with a 1,000 scientists and philosophers that have discarded their faith for similar reasons that you would not grant. Both scientific and philosophical – of which the latter isn’t *opposed* to natural revelation (as John Frame, among hundreds of others would point out). Do I need to trot out all these stories? Surely you should agree I’ve matched your point here.

    So, it looks like we’re all “even” here. :-)

    By the way, I saw your comment about Darwinian evolution being on the outs now, but it wasn’t a few decades ago. So, using your *same* argument, *those* Christians then would have been justified in holding to Darwinian Evolution given the (then) current reports from “natural revelation.”

    And, you should know as well as I do that science cannot be divorced from the philosophy of science. Thus there are a whole host of methodological points that would need to be addressed *first* before your scientific points could even be made intelligible.

    The article I linked (which is put out by the Catholic church) also adds much needed historical context. Galileo was an antagonistic jerk, and not surprisingly, provoked a defensive reaction from the Church, who overhastily hitched her (theological) wagon to the wrong (terracentric) star. Sound familiar?

    That’s why I mentioned D’Souza. There’s more to the story. Indeed, the majority of the *scientific* evidence (as *all* histories of science will atest) was *in favor* of Ptolemy. There were not persuasive reasons back them to accept heliocentrism. The majority of intellectuals (non-Christians too) scoffed at heliocentrists (much as OEC’s do to YEC’s!, or Darwinists do to creationists). Indeed, Galileo supported Ptolemy for a long period of time! This was for, what he believed.

    The head of the inquisition even stated,

    “While experience tells us plainly that the earth is standing still, if there were a real proof that the sun is in the center of the universe…and that the sun does not go around the earth but the earth around the sun, then we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of Scripture which appear to teach the contrary, and rather admit that we did not understand them than declare an opinion to be false which is proved to be true. But this is not a thing to be done in haste, and as for myself, I shall not believe that there are such proofs until they are shown to me.”

    Given the massive disagreement, with many of the *intellectuals,* the *scientists,* both Christian, Muslim, Greek (pagan) &c; as well as the attendant sociological issues, the cardinal asked Galileo to not teach on the subject until further study had been done. Galileo failed to comply. *This* is what he was punished for. And, his punishment was confinement to a cushy house where he was able to study and produce papers of his scientific findings in other areas. Indeed, Thomas Kuhn, in his book on scientific revolutions, points out that many of Galileo’s *scientific* proofs were wrong. His *theory* was correct, but his *arguments* were poor.

    I’m no rabid 6-dayer. Honestly, I’m not concerned at all if you hold to OEC. Fine by me. I don’t think you’re a heretic. I don’t think you’re giving away the farm. But, as with many other areas, I think good arguments should attend positions and when I see possible weak spots I assume I’m free to point them out. After all, we’ve left Galileo behind

    Best,

    -X-

  39. Would that your one Harvard-educated, Stephen Jay Gould-trained scientist were as wise as as the “head of the inquisition”: if Wikipedia is to be believed, Kurt Wise has said:

    if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.

  40. Rube,

    One can easily qualify what Kurt means – and I have read his three books, doubt you have. It’s intersting seeing you pick on that quote because that is the exact same quote that Richard dawkins picks on in the God delusion. Interesting bed fellows!

    The “evidence,” *first off,* is *apparent,* evidence.

    Second, if God’s word *really does teach X* then not-X *cannot* be the case.

    For example, the vast majority of scientists say that the evidence points to a closed system. You don’t agree.

    They say that given laws of cause and effect, energy, and thermodynamics, it is a mystery how a non-physical substance can cause a physical substance to do something. Indeed, they say, it’s downright incoherent.

    Moreover, the majority of scientific evidence seems to indicate that man is a phsycial entity. No soul. (This isn’t to say that a mind cannot *supervene* on the brain.) Indeed, there has been a significant turning of the tide with Christian scientists and philosophers towards constritutionalism, viz., man is a physical entity. Period.

    Or, the majority of Christian thinkers are libertarian. They say that the revelations from nature indicate that determinism about choices is incoherent. Indeed, it cannnot even make sense of common parlance. Thus a prima facie burden is on the compatibilist.

    These issues are hotly debated. Many sharp minds have made powerful arguments (for constitutionalism and libertarianism see van Inwagen, for strictly the latter see the likes of Moreland, Plantinga, &c) for these positions. And do you know what? In almost every single one of their works, of which I have read, they apeal to natural theology, science, etc.

    Now, say that “all the evidence turns against choices as compatible with determination,” would you admit it? And, if so, would you still be a Calvinist?

    My last point is that your comment didn’t deal with my arguments it simply was a fallacious attempt to shift the burden of proof.

    Indeed, what if every man – scientist, philosopher, theologian, in the world said that X but you believed, and could not deny your conviction, that God said not-X? Would you, with Paul, say, “Let God be true though all men are liars?”

    Peace,

    ~Me

  41. if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.

    Let’s run that quote against Richard Dawkins:

    Instead of examining the evidence for and against rival theories, I shall adopt a more armchair approach. My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories. (Panda’s Thumb)

    Looks like we’ve got worse-than-inquisitionists on both poles.

  42. I’m sure nobody around here would dispute the proposition that Richard Dawkins is worse than an inquisitionist!

  43. Thanks for that quote, Forester!

  44. Rube,

    I’d also add that Wise says that there *is* evidence for young earth. And, he says that he would admit it if the evidence contradicted his belief, which implies that he doesn’t think the evidence does contradict it.

    Add to this that we can be sure that Wise wouldn’t graduate, have his dissertation approved, etc., under *Gould* if he were not very familiar with the evidence contrary to his position. So, this is the word of a highly trained scientist, trained under one of the most eminent evolutionists – and thus trained in old earth chronology, whose credentials put many (on both sides, YEC and OEC) other’s in the dust, and he thinks the scientific evidence supports his position.

    All this to say, there are smarter men that you or I on this issue. A Ross would wipe the floor with me; Wise, with you. I’m just asking for a little humility. You’re no scientist, and for you to (implicitly) mock men like Wise as an ignorant, fundy, toothless hick is a bit overreaching. Following some of your development I understand you want to follow all things Kline. Fine. Kline was a sharp guy. Sharper than you and I put together, probably. But he wasn’t God.

    There is decent scientific evidence against an Old Earth. And, there is even better exegetical evidence against it. But, there is evidence – both empirical and theological – for an Old Earth as well. Despite what either side *claims,* the jury should still be out – unless, of course, you are convinced in your heart that Scripture teaches one way or the other.

    So, just like some YEC guys can sound like ignorant fundies, OEC guys can sound like pompous, overreaching prigs. If the history of science has taught us one thing, it is usually that, over and over, the prevailing dogma of the day gets embarrassed as new information, or paradigms, become fashionable. We live in a *sliver* of time. Why is it that we repeatedly commit the same error over and over…?

    You may think the evidence for evolution is faltering (though many scientists – Christian and otherwise would vehemently disagree, calling *you* the uneducated fundy!), but it wasn’t decades ago. This allowed men like Warfield to hold to it. Augustas Strong, too. Why did they believe in evolution by common descent? One main reason: No conflict between general and special revelation. But perhaps today Warfield wouldn’t hitch his wagon to this star? If so, this would indicate radical changes in what, a hundred years?

    I simply too offense to your seemingly snide comments on Lig Duncan and Hall. That’s all. My only purpose was to calm down the overreaching rhetoric that isn’t warranted by the evidence.

    So, that’s it. Take it or leave it. I certainly wasn’t trying to prove you, or OEC, wrong with my posts.

  45. Wacky,

    I think Rube is a scientist actually, just in the field of math. I could be wrong. Rube?

    Jeff

  46. Depends on your definition of scientist, I guess. Just like there’s doctors, and there’s M.D.s I’m certainly not a scientist in the “physical sciences” sense (physics, astronomy, geology, chemistry, biology), which would seem the most relevant sense to this discussion.

  47. seemingly snide comments on Lig Duncan and Hall

    So do you agree or disagree that they gave away the farm by admitting that, in principle, theology may need to be changed in response to science?

  48. He didn’t come right out and say it, so I will: RubeRad has a PhD in Applied Mathematics (or something close to that).

  49. Actually, Operations Research. So if you want to wage war efficiently, call RubeRad. He can get it done.

  50. Jeff,

    In the context of our dialogue, Rube isn’t a “scientist” as we were using the term “scientist. Indeed, if mathematicians are allowed in, I’ve just upped the numbers of YEC “scientists.” :-)

    Rube,

    I’d need more explanation from you. I’d agree with Frame (and many other guys), that natural revelation does come into play in our interpretation of Scripture. Right? Exegesis looks at the non-inspired history (writings from other sources, archeology, etc) of the day in order to better pull out meaning from the text.

    Many people – including Frame – who hold this view are 6-day creationists. So, as far as I know, the best of 6-day scholarship doesn’t ignore the situational perspective when interpreting Scripture. But, you should know it’s much more involved than this simple admission.

    This is why I pointed to other theories that, if correct (and that’s what some of the most learned Christian and non-Christian scientists and philosophers want you to believe!), would require you to change your theology. But you don’t follow the reigning dogma in these areas. Yet, you still wouldn’t want to be characterized as someone who will wholesale deny general revelation. So, your very positions on disparate issues reveal a tacit acknowledgement of my argument.

    Or, stated another way, “giving away the farm” is much to lofty a conclusion to get to from the claim they made. If one were to read various books on exegesis (say, Interpreting the NT Text: Introduction to the Art and Science of Exegesis, or How To Read The Bible for all it’s Worth, or various books by Vanhoozer, Carson, et al.), you will find these types of claims made, but many are 6-day creationists.

    We can also ask about if one of the multiply positions on scientific anti-realism were shown to have the best of the arguments buttressing them, would that make this debate almost virtually an exegetical one? Would then the “scientific support” enlisted for various biblical doctrines become moot? If you admit this do you “give away the farm” and admit that this is a *philosophical* and not a “scientific” issue? No, I don’t think so. Likewise Lig and Hall.

    (Btw, how would you debate, say, John Byl(he also makes a powerful argument for Geocentrism in God and Cosmos, and so it may be, for all we know, that Galileo was wrong! But you’d have to read the book. Basically, it makes Geocentrism look not so easy to defeat. His point isn’t to argue that it *is* true, just that there are a whole host of unproven (and weak) assumptions needed to deny it, such as perspective. You’ll have to read it for yourself, though.) on this issue. He’s an anti-realist. He’s specialized in the arguments for anti-realism. All your “scientific arguments” wouldn’t amount to much. And I doubt you’re prepared to beat someone like him in the philosophical debate. So, with the change of one position – one that is backed by vary good reasons – he takes away all the epistemic (non-textual reasons, that is, not to beg questions) reasons you think you have for OEC.

    Qualified realists like Moreland (see, Christianity and the Nature of Science) admit that the anti-realists pose very hard challenges for the realist. And I myself, at least currently, do not consider myself a scientific anti-realist, but I’m not sure how to answer all their arguments. We all know that theories have been useful, they have worked, they have answered questions, and they have not been true.

    With one fell swoop, these guys get rid of half the players in the debate. So much the worse for any scientific evidence. So much the worse for having to be a scientist. All that learning is interesting, and we would like to find more useful theories to be sure. But that doesn’t make any of the theories true, or more true, than the next. Now, the debate is strictly philosophical and textual. Anti-realists feel that they have the best reasons (and this counts as natural theology too. Why should Scripture contradict sound reason?) in support of their position. Thus you should acquiesce.

    I could cite a whole host of other concerns. But the few I’ve cited in this thread should show the issue to be a bit more complex than reading the lab results of the mixtures aggravated in a beaker, and, viola, we have something we can’t argue with.)

    Best,

    ~ME

  51. Rube,

    You might find this paper interesting:

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Thebes/7755/young_davis_a_3.html

    Also, here are some more you may enjoy:

    http://www.csc.twu.ca/byl/

    (He has some math ones you may enjoy)

    As I said above, I don’t agree with Byl in many areas – so I’m not a disciple here. I also have his book not so good a review on my book review cite:

    http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/743812

    He is a YEC guy. Btw, here’s his bio:

    John Byl

    Creationist

    Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of British Columbia

    Professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Trinity Western University, Langley, British Columbia, Canada

    Author / Books include: God and Cosmos: A Christian View of Time, Space, and the Universe (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2001). / The Divine Challenge: On Matter, Mind, Math & Meaning (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth – http://www.banneroftruth.org, 2004).

  52. He didn’t come right out and say it

    I don’t like to stick it out there, especially when it’s not relevant. I prefer to set low expectations, and overwhelm the unsuspecting with my competence.

  53. Maybe I’m missing something, but how can an anti-realist worldview be biblical? Did God really create the world or not?

  54. Sorry for outing you, and thus raising your stakes! :-p

  55. Rube,

    You may be misunderstanding anti-realism. (And, btw, in our conversation, the anti-realism I was speaking of was *scientific* anti-realism. There is theological anti-realism, but no orthodox Christian I know is a theological anti-realist.) Scientific anti-realists would believe that God created the world, but not because of a scientific theory. Scientific theories don’t get at theory independant truth.

    Some (prominent/well known) Christian/theistic anti-realists:

    Gordon Clark

    John Byl

    Steve Hays

    a Catholic:

    Bas C. van Fraassen – princton philosophy dept.

    You may enjoy this particular paper by Byl. It has been considered a somewhat influential – Moreland even quotes from it in his well respected Christianity and the Nature of Science – explication of one brand of scientific anti-realism: Instrumentalism.

    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1985/JASA3-85Byl.html

    Of course, it was written in ’85, much more contemporary work – by him and by others – has been put out since then. That’s why I said it was *influential.* :-)

  56. Steve,

    “That leads a lot of pseudo-scientific rabbit trails (see AiG website for many, many examples) that tends to discredit Christians in the view of the world, i.e., “Why should I listen to what you have to say about this Jesus guy if you think the world is flat?””

    Hate to break it to you, but beliefs in a resurrection, turning water into wine, floating axe heads, talking donkeys, men living hundreds and hundreds of years, having mud on your eyes making a blind man see, spirits, man having a soul, virgin births, women made from ribs, a man who becomes weak if his hair gets cut, a debil, hell, sin, wrath, holy God, God Himself, the Gospel, etc., tend to “discredit” Christians in the view of the world.

    The OEC guys will lose the “you guys are laughed at by the smart people” argument *every time.* Well, if they are orthodox in other areas, that is.

  57. Wack,
    Watch out for dem debils. I would never say that God did not – and does not – use miracles when it suits His will. My point is that He doesn’t use bad science. He invented the sciences, after all, when He tasked Adam to name (read, classify) all the animals. (On a side note, how long would it take one man to name every species in creation? More than 24 hours? Just checking.)

    A plain reading of His natural revelation – the world around us – shows it to have the appearance of great age. God certainly could have created everything with the appearance of age, but why would He? That borders on deception.

    Again, the creation account was given to show that a loving God created a place for us, not to show how to cook up a planet in a day.

    And I don’t particularly care for the opinions of ‘smart people,’ but God did not create us to be stupid, either. He gave us an intellect; we should use it.

  58. Steve,

    I never said you said God couldn’t use miracles. I merely pointed to doctrines that the “unbelieving world” finds laughable. Your belief in miracles “discredits” you in the eyes of the world. I’m merely responding to the argument as you framed it. You’re shifting the goal posts. By the way, when was the last time you told your unbelieving friends that you believe that a donkey talked to a man? And, did they listen with earnest respect to your oh-so rational position?

    Next, I was assuming that you were aware that the Bible *does not* teach that Adam named every single cotton-picking animal in the world.

    Gen 1:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

    20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

    Most standard commentaries admit that the “beats of the field” is a smaller subset of “all the beasts whatever.” Probably just the animals residing in the garden. You’ll also notice that fish, insects, other sea creatures, &c. are excluded from those Adam named.

    Progressive creationist Gleason Archer says there may have been hundreds of species:

    “many hundreds of species must have been involved in the original creation, not thousands as others propose. –Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Hermeneutics, Inerrancy and the Bible.

    But, minus microevolution, the “kinds” were most probably smaller than the “species” we have today.

    As all us good reformed folk at Rube’s blog know very well, “all” does not always mean “all.”

    And why did God have Adam name the animals? To provide the first taxonomy? Or to realize how alone he was? Thus this could have been an exercise in finding out that he was alone amongst all the other kinds of animals. he didn’t have anything like him. This could have been noticed in a matter of hours. But I speculate. And so you would do too.

    The point is, your comment is nothing like the death blow you intended it to be.

    Looking at Adam after he was 2 seconds old would also give the appearance of age. Furthermore, you can only impute deception if you know what God intended by his creation. Did he intend to make sturdy, strong, and massive rocks which would display His power? Deep oceans to display his deep wisdom? Or to provide material for scientists to gander how old the earth was. When the New Heavens and Earth is created will everything look 1 day old? If not, will you, in heaven, call God a deceiver?

    I never said the creation account was intended to show how to cook up a planet in one day. You’re imputing all sorts of motives to me that I have not intimated in this combox. You’re itching to fight a YEC guy.

    And, I know we should use our intellect (thanks for contradicting yourself – you basically called all YEC guys “stupid.” Go tell that to Wise. To Byl. etc. Where’s your degree from Harvard? You sound like Dawkins.) The funny thing is that is exactly what the atheists will tell you. Use your intellect, get rid of the notion of a soul (science can explain all the phenomena without the addition of a ghostly substance). Use your intellect, drop the belief in talking donkeys. Use your brain, drop the belief in miracles. Use your brain, drop your belief in God. Don’t you know that the smartest the word has to offer have shows that the very notion of the Christian God is incoherent. Sure, you have some philosophers still fighting it, but then again, you have some scientists fighting and old earth.

    Hopefully you understood the point I was making this time. Lastly, if scientific anti-realism is the correct model, so much the worse for your scientific arguments for an old earth. Have fun taking on the mammoth debate. It’s only been raging since at least Plato’s time.

  59. 1. My concern (described well here) is that YEC ‘science’ and ad hominem attacks against OECs and even evolutionists will send the message to curious Christian kids that what’s important is the message of YEC-dom, not the Gospel.

    2. This is an interesting theological and academic debate, but it’s not what we’re here for. It’s an issue I am concerned about, not for its content, but for it’s implications.

    3. I enjoy a good heated discussion as much as the next guy, but in the end, as the title of this post states, “I Surrender All,” not to sparkling wit or charming intellectual constructs, but to the God who made it all.

    4. Admittedly, I am tainted, because my family and I were asked to leave a church for believing the earth was more than 6000 years old. Excuse me, but that’s nonsense. I don’t want a YEC church or an OEC church, but Christ’s church.

    5. We all get a little sanctimonious when our pet theories are assaulted, present company included, so I apologize if I offend you or if my ‘arguments’ are not clear.

  60. 1. There’s enough blame to go all around. Anyway, even if your concern is well gounded, it says nothing about the truth either way.

    2. I never said it was what we were here for. All positions have implications. I think the fair minded on your side must admit that there are possible implications that could allow for giving away many traditional theological doctrines. This won’t necessarily happen, but I think I have done a sufficient job here showing that some could use the same type of arguments and rheteoric to get rid of all sorts of things, e.g., the soul.

    3. Okay. I’m just simply making some comments to a guy I’ve known for over 20 years. I’m not trying to condemn anyone for heresy. I think I’ve made myself clear here that I do not consider this an issue to divide over. Smart guys on both sides.

    4. I agree that’s nonsense. But, not only do you indicate that you could have blinders on because of an agenda, but granting that you’re correct (i.e., that you’ve provided the entire story), it doesn’t change the alethic conditions.

    5. No worries.

  61. Hate to break it to you, but beliefs in a resurrection, turning water into wine, floating axe heads, talking donkeys, men living hundreds and hundreds of years, having mud on your eyes making a blind man see, spirits, man having a soul, virgin births, women made from ribs, a man who becomes weak if his hair gets cut, a debil, hell, sin, wrath, holy God, God Himself, the Gospel, etc., tend to “discredit” Christians in the view of the world.

    There’s a big difference though. Where is the scientific (or historical) evidence that directly contradicts any of these miracles? When we throw axeheads into water and watch them sink, we are merely observing that, in ordinary providence, axeheads sink. But we have no direct observation of that axehead that did float, when it floated. So what. As Christians, we certainly do believe in miracles — otherwise, we’re just Deists.

    When we study cosmology, however, we are actually observing the same universe that was created. In particular, given astronomical distances and the finite speed of light, we are actually directly observing now, what happened then. Yes, I know from your quote way up yonder, “this inference rests on a number of assumptions, viz., the initial size of the universe, the speed of light as a cosmic constant, the relative rate of expansion, the ordinary emission and transmission of starlight from its point of origin to the earth, and so on.” I’m still saving my thoughts on that for another post, which I absolutely promise I will publish before the year is over!

    Out of curiosity, though, your field-leveler Kurt Wise, you’ve touted him as seeing evidence for a young earth. Does he go the full distance and advocate a young Universe? (i.e. is he talking about geology or astronomy?)

  62. Rube,

    The topic for consideration was: beliefs which “discredit” one before the world.

    Holding those beliefs will, if you have your finger on the pulse of popular reasons for rejecting Christianity, tend to discredit anything else you have to say.

    Since this is true, then I don’t see the force of your argument. Perhaps you are thinking of it this way:

    [1] If a belief has no scientific or historical evidence that contradicts it, then the world will not think it worthy to be “discredited.

    [2] All the beliefs that Rube quoted have no scientific or historical evidence that contradicts it.

    [3] Therefore, all the beliefs that Rube quoted the world will not think it worthy to be “discredited.

    That’s the best way I can understand you. Perhaps you have another argument in mind. … Continuing with my critique based upon my understanding, I think we can agree that [1] is false.

    We can analyze this more. Take a belief in Santa Clause. Now, I don’t know of any scientific or historical evidence that contradicts said belief. But it is nevertheless not a credit to your ken of epistemic beliefs to hold such views. Same with Unicorns, Ogres, Cyclops, etc. I know of nothing that contradict these beliefs.

    The “world” (for our purposes, the set of all those who don’t believe the claims of Christ, or, more preferably: the “intellectuals” who don’t accept the claims of Christ, or, perhaps even more precise: the set of all intellectuals who hold no belief in a deity and thus don’t accept the claims of Christ), will say that we have no reason to believe in such things.

    Certainly, the “world” will tell you that you have no reason to believe those things. Might as well believe in Santa. Or a Unicorn. Basing your belief on tales in a dusty old book isn’t going to convince them, and you, being a purported rational person, shouldn’t believe them either.

    Furthermore, do only “scientific” arguments count? What about philosophical ones? Thus for many philosophical reasons, the “world” will say that it is foolish to believe in those kinds of things. Read the works of Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and Harris. They mock and ridicule us for beliefs in virgin births, etc. They say that they don’t believe in that, just like they don’t believe that the Buddha was birthed from a virgin. Need more than 2,000 year old stories to provide reasons to believe. And, speaking about stories, why believe the Bible. There are more errors in it than there are words in the New Testament! And, your books wouldn’t have made it in if your “side” didn’t win the debates. So, given all of that, it certainly isn’t rational to believe that donkeys talk because you read about it in a book and “presuppose” that things like that can happen.

    And, yes, many will say that some of these beliefs contradict scientific evidence. For example, an immaterial being causing physical things to happen. This contradicts the first law of thermodynamics, they say. You may not agree, but that’s not the point. if that were the point, then the YEC guys disagree with your putative scientific evidence. So we’re back to square one. Or, they will tell you that they have scientifically shown that all the states you label ‘mental’ states have been explained by the brain. There’s no need to import a notion of a ghostly mind (or soul). That is simply superfluous.

    Or, take your belief (I assume you hold to this) that man was created as a certain kind of creature. That is, he didn’t evolve from ape-like creatures, and then God picked that animal and gave him a soul (we already saw that they think a soul superfluous and unscientific). Or, say that birds evolved from dinosaurs. You don’t believe this. Yet to deny this is to hold a belief that contradicts the fossil evidence.

    Or, take Occam’s razor. There are a great many of your religious beliefs that, the “world” claims, do no explanatory work, and are simply superfluous. They should be dropped, therefore. Thus by using this time honored scientific principle, holding many of the beliefs that you do contradict a good application of the razor.

    As far as history. You should know that a great many historians, given their dating schema, deny that there was anything like a tribe such as how the Jews are described in the Bible. Or, they say, much of the writing comes from a time much later than the Jews were supposed to have written down the things in the Torah. Indeed, many historians will tell you that the evidence points toward much of the OT being written during the exilic period. Stories conjured up to give the Jews hope. So, some historians would say that the history reported in the Bible contradicts what they know from history. Of course, much of this is predicated on dating assumptions and presuppositions. But of course, that’s what the 6-day creationist will tell you as well.

    Of course my aim here isn’t to try to defeat your beliefs. Or imply that these are good arguments. (Or even pretend that I gave a thorough presentation of them. More time and detail would be involved if I were attempting to do that.) We can obviously offer counter arguments that easily defeat these types of objections. But I think I have shown that the way the “world” looks at your position on many matters is that they don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. And, if they don’t “contradict” science and history, they don’t stand up to the scrutiny and also provide shoddy reasons to believe the claims in the Bible. (And not contradicting isn’t sufficient. Santa, unicorns, ogres, trolls and men on the moon don’t contradict our scientific and historical beliefs. Yet most would say that it isn’t rational to believe in those things.)

    Of course you’re going to offer your defenses. Try to show how the science is on your side. Or that they aren’t taking certain things into account. Fine. I’m not here to play devils advocate for the “world.” But, notice that this is exactly what the YEC guy will do. They will admit that some evidence is tough to deal with. Some seems to point your way, but then they have arguments for their position as well. Only the arrogant would say that there are no scientific, or rational, arguments for a young earth. Wise, among others, offers some. They will also complain that you’re using a certain paradigm. You have presuppositions that you use to interpret the evidence. Perhaps those assumptions are off base. if so, the theory they build on falters.

    So, I see no distinction that helps you. No defeater to my argument from analogy. My only point here is to defend the point that OEC guys like to bring us, viz., “You young earthers hold beliefs not respected in the scientific community and thus you cause people to either abandon the faith, or ridicule it where they shouldn’t.” Having read many books by atheists, let me assure you that if the entirety of Christendom (I use that term loosely) switched on over to OEC, unbelievers would still mock us. The reprobate would find new reasons to deny their professed faith. They would do this under the guise of being “rational” or “scientific.”

    In regards to your question about Wise. Let me first mention Byl’s book: God and Cosmos: A Christian View of Time, Space, and the Universe. He does get into those questions, and more, in that book. Perhaps when you get into the “evidences” I’ll offer posts specifically in response to them. Right now my purpose is different. Second, Wise does get into that in his book Faith, Form, and Time. And Alvin Plantinga, who is not a YEC guy, notes that this is a matter of presupposition. And lastly, as I’ve mentioned, if anti-realism is the case, your strongest case (on your assumptions) is rendered impotent. So, this debate isn’t anywhere near something like an open and shut case.

    Peace,

    ~ME

  63. Rube, You may be interested to know that in that Byl book I mentioned (God and Cosmos) he lists the major arguments for star light and disagrees with them. He opts for the mature creation paradigm. He defends it against objections, and shows how that view is not something that can be defeated by “scientific” arguments as it is in the past, and thus unrepeatable, unobservable, and untestable.

  64. […] response is warranted when Steve Hays says (via Wacky): We’re told that, when measured in light-years, the scale of the universe entails its […]

  65. […] Posted on February 7, 2008 by RubeRad Returning to the point of the original post in this recent series (to blog my reactions to The Genesis Debate), consider the 3rd paragraph that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: