Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Well although I disagree with their version of it I do think they make a point. The point being that religion give you a logical framework from which to base your ideas, including your idea in science. I am not saying that we ought to develop our scientific theories from the bible (Although there are Christians who do that), what I am saying is that a Christian looks at everything in the light of Christian Monotheism. Essentially that there is a God that is rational, non capricious, and uncompromising. He act like this in the social world with moral law so it is not too much of an extrapolation to say he acts the same with natural law; God makes uniform laws for nature to run by has given us the ability to use our reason to understand these laws. According to the bible, we are capable of using our reason to understand nature (Job 12:7-8, Romans 1:20) and we are also told to test everything and not listen to everything we are told (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
So in this view Christianity is in conformity with the philosophy of science and is therefore not a worldview that rejects science but promotes science. I would also say that belief in a rational uniform universe stems from belief in a creator. The reason being that order, uniformity, and complexity emerges from an intelligent mind. Now this does not prove the existence of God but it does tell us that Christian Theistic Beliefs can lead to a worldview which allows for science to thrive. Thus Christianity is a viable framework for science.
In the same way Materialism is also a framework in which you base all your ideas. It also makes assumptions which lead to science, in the same way it could be called a logical framework from which to work science just like Christianity.
What I am saying is I believe there is some sense to this argument, although I maintain that creationists take it somewhat far.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
It would be interesting to get some input on this from young earth creationists as well as atheists, lets see if they respond.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Not sure if any of you know, but Created and Rational wrote up a blog post that
seemed to express strong disagreement with a
post I made about Creationists not being able to trust their own thoughts.
I assure you I did disagree but my disagreement was not strong, I apologize if it came across as a acrimonious disagreement. I was simply stating what creationist actually believed about logic. And it was not addressed directly at AiGbusted but at the argument that it meant a creationist could not trust his own thoughts.
I do not disagree that the young earth creationist approach to science has many flaws. And it is true that the pressupostionalist position is a way to conveniently ignore any evidence. I was simply clarifying that they were not anti-knowledge or anti-thinking. I hope I was able to clear that up.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Well, you can see it gives a lot of the same arguments for young earth that a lot of young earthers give. Let us now examine their "evidences;"
Dear Wallace , I discovered something you might enjoy…It’s from an article by
Stephen Robbins, Ph.D. He was working on an excavation site in Montana with a
crew from the Discovery Channel. They were uncovering the remains of a giant T
Rex, the largest and most fearsome of all the dinosaurs. But the leg bone was so
heavy; they had to cut it in two so the helicopter could pick it up and carry it
out. That’s when they made a remarkable discovery. Inside the leg bone were
traces of organic tissue! One of the scientists noted that the proteins in the
bone could only stay around for a maximum of 100,000 years.
How could tissue be in the bone of this T Rex if dinosaurs disappeared over 65
million years ago? It makes you wonder. Dr. Robbins came up with some very good
questions in response to the problem no one is talking about: The issue of
scientific dating and just how old the earth really is.Just in the last 75
years, the age of the earth has been changed several times. Back in 1934 they
were “certain” the world was 1.6 billion years old. Then in 1947 they were
“certain” the earth was 3.4 billion years old. Today the scientists say, “we’re
absolutely positive the earth is 4.6 billion years old.” You’re certain? Are you
really… How can you be certain when your estimates are constantly changing and
your techniques have flaws?While scientists rely on carbon and radiometric
dating, they never question the accuracy of their methods. But they should.
Sometimes mistakes are made. Unfortunately, they’re often ignored or dismissed.
Dr. Robbins points out that mistakes in radiometric dating are common. Here are
just a few:· A Hawaiian lava
flow from 1801 was dated as being 1.2 million years
old.· Volcanic rock from an
eruption of Mt. Etna in 1971 was dated as being 150,000 years
old.· The new lava dome formed
after Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 was dated as being 350, 000 years
old.Amazing. How could these dates be so wrong? Dr. Robbins says radiometric
dating is based on assumptions that can sometimes turn out to be inaccurate. The
method involves looking at naturally occurring radioactive isotopes and how they
decay. But when the atoms around the nucleus are excited – like during a natural
cataclysm – decay is much faster, which makes things look much older when
they’re not. Dr. Robbins points out that these natural disasters are quite
common and can interfere with the accuracy of radiometric dating.
dinosaurs really live millions and millions of years ago? Or did man walk
together with these great beasts side by side? Is the earth really 4.6 billion
years old? Or does the Bible have a better idea?
I’ll reveal more about this
fascinating – and often ignored – topic in future letters.
Yours in Faith,
That’s when they made a remarkable discovery. Inside the leg bone were traces of
organic tissue! One of the scientists noted that the proteins in the bone could
only stay around for a maximum of 100,000 years. Very interesting… How could tissue be in the bone of this T Rex if dinosaurs disappeared over 65 million years ago? It makes you wonder
As many of you are aware this argument has been refuted by talk.origins I would not advise any creationist to use this argument As far as things being preserved it actually is possible for something extremely well preserved to last for a very long time. One thing you should realize however is that no DNA was found which would indicate a young age since DNA can't survive the ravages of time over 10,000 years. When creationists find DNA preserved in a dinosaur bone I will switch over to young earth creationism on the spot.
Just in the last 75 years, the age of the earth has been changed several times.
Back in 1934 they were “certain” the world was 1.6 billion years old. Then in
1947 they were “certain” the earth was 3.4 billion years old. Today the
scientists say, “we’re absolutely positive the earth is 4.6 billion years old.”
That is exactly how science works, if we invent a more accurate dating method and get a completely different date, younger or older, then we will change the age as well. There is nothing wrong with this. I'd suggest AiG add this to its list of arguments not to use.
You’re certain? Are you really… How can you be certain when your estimates are
constantly changing and your techniques have flaws?
I'd hardly call it constantly changing consensus on the age of the earth has been largely the same since the 1950s and the invention of the modern dating methods. True there are some problems with the dating methods but it is accurate enough.
While scientists rely on carbon and radiometric dating, they never question the
accuracy of their methods. But they should. Sometimes mistakes are made.
Unfortunately, they’re often ignored or dismissed.
It would seem awfully strange that a discipline built on self-doubt and questioning would commit such an uncritical act as not checking their more important dating measures. They do realize that radiocarbon dating has limits, and is only used to date objects 50,000 years old or younger because it is inaccurate beyond 50,000 years. Radiocarbon dating was used to verify that the Dead Sea Scrolls were made before Jesus' life time and therefore could be used to show that Christians didn't alter the Old Testament to make it agree with the New Testament. So I don't know why you're trying to disprove the accuracy of radiocarbon dating.
Dr. Robbins points out that mistakes in radiometric dating are common. Here
are just a few:
· A Hawaiian lava flow from 1801 was dated as being 1.2 million
· Volcanic rock from an eruption of Mt. Etna in 1971 was dated
as being 150,000 years old.
· The new lava dome formed after Mount St. Helens erupted in
1980 was dated as being 350, 000 years old.
Look up xenoliths, those mis-datings in particular involved the new formed lava being temporarily aged by fragments of older rock. This is not anomalous.
Amazing. How could these dates be so wrong? Dr. Robbins says radiometric dating
is based on assumptions that can sometimes turn out to be inaccurate.
That's often because its used to date objects which shouldn't really be dated with radiocarbon. Geologists accept there are limits to radiometric dating but that doesn't mean it can't be used.
The method involves looking at naturally occurring radioactive isotopes
and how they decay. But when the atoms around the nucleus are excited – like
during a natural cataclysm – decay is much faster, which makes things look much
older when they’re not.
Maybe, but you still need evidence, and your ability in that area leaves a lot to be desired, these arguments you have given have all been defeated one way or another, you need to find current up to date evidence and publish it in a peer-reviewed journal for all the world to see, not a dark corner of the Internet where you can preach to your fellow young earth creationists.
Stay tuned…Yours in Faith,Jeffrey Howard
P.S. the Creationist I was talking to was not my aunt but the creationist who wrote this article,
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
AiG creationist thinkers at least have adopted almost a form of Critical Realism in regards to the past. Nothing can be absolutely proven in relation to the distant past before human presence in the region. Therefore whatever theory you make about the past is not independent of your presuppositions. This is how I have basically explained it, and earlier I criticized it on the grounds that it was an attempt on the part of the creationists to avoid the obvious evidence for evolution. Either way their position appears to have been mishandled by several people such as AiGbusted. It has been interpreted as saying we cannot trust our own thoughts because thoughts. The misunderstanding probably stems from this quote form the AiG article, "Is nature the 67th book of the bible?":
"Many who trust in humans as the highest authority reject the Curse as true history and thus deny its effect on our observations. Some point to the effects of the Curse as proof of “bad design.” For Christians, however, it is foolish to ignore the Curse when considering what nature can “reveal” to us. After all, this would be like someone trusting a funhouse mirror to show them how they really looked. They look into the mirror and see a distorted view but assume that this mirror must be “right.”"Now at first glance this does seem to say that we cannot trust our senses and this does seem to contradict what creationist have claimed about evolution being anti-science and anti-knowledge since it means our brain is just an assortment of chemicals which evolved over billions of years and can't be trusted. Is this a contradiction made by the author? No, creationists such as Ken Ham say that there is a distinction between what they call "operational" science and "historical" science. Operational science is everyday repeatable science which has been used to build technology and send humans to the moon. Historical Science on the other hand has to do with the distant past and origins which are affected by our presuppositions and is therefore not science in the same sense that operational science is. Furthermore in regards of repeatable, testable, and operational science the senses are very reliable and they believe that science requires "biblical presuppositions". loved and hated Creationist astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle explains:
"he biblical creationist expects there to be order in the universe because God made all things (John 1:3) and has imposed order on the universe. Since the Bible teaches that God upholds all things by His power (Hebrews 1:3), the creationist expects that the universe would function in a logical, orderly, law-like fashion. Furthermore, God is consistent and omnipresent. Thus, the creationist expects that all regions of the universe will obey the same laws, even in regions where the physical conditions are quite different. The entire field of astronomy requires this important biblical principle."However they say science in relation to the distant past before the existence of humans or at least before written records and such cannot be proven and if any theory is not based of biblical presuppositions it is flawed because it does not take the bible (what they believe to be the foundation of science) into account. Also the fall is used to explain things like mutations, disease, and some instances of bad design so if you follow their logic nature gives a distorted portrayal of God and thus while it is useful (they believe that historical science can work if interpreted through biblical assumptions) it should not be put at the same level as the bible. That is all they are saying, they are not saying thoughts are unreliable.
If one is to respond to creationist claims he must do it with an accurate portrayal of creationist beliefs not a distorted view and that is the purpose of this article, it is not to endorse young earth creationism in any way. It is to correct flawed arguments in the same way AiGers have done already.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Well one thing might be confusion about why creationists oppose evolution. It is not because of science or any reason related to that. the leading creationists are not morons who can't think straight either, their thinking is crystal clear, and they do have a very important reason to oppose evolution. Well actually two reasons, which both go together, they can be stated simply; doctrine and morality.
It has been stated all over the AiG website what the debate is really about. It is about a theological dispute within the Christian faith. Essentially how do we approach evolution? There are a great many Christians; both scientists, theologians, and laypeople who believe in both God and evolution. Many do not see evolution and religion in conflict. However the problem is that both sides of the extreme (bible-thumping fundamentalists and bible-burning atheists respectively) do see it as in conflict. The main problem for many is death and suffering. Young Earth Creationists at least hold to the belief that there was no death before Adam's sin, and being that the fossil record shows death and suffering long before sin they see this as an obvious problem for Christianity. Atheists such as Albert Einstein and probably Richard Dawkins who agree with the creationists' interpretation of the bible concur with this point.
This problem is a nagging problem for creationists and theistic evolutionists trying to convince creationists to accept modern science.
Is this true, is evolution truly the death knell of Christianity? Well luckily it is not Creationists have not given any proof that there was no animal death before the fall. In fact Psalm 104 seems to indicate there was death in animals before the fall.
Another biblical problem they have with evolution is the existence of Adam. Evolution teaches that humans share common ancestry with great apes so ultimately humans go back to apes not Adam. Creationists believe this is the death knell of Christianity, atheists agree (this particular quote comes from John Stear host of the site No Answers In Genesis):
“If evolution is fundamentally correct, then there was no Adam; no Adam, no fall; no fall, no atonement; no atonement, no reason for Christ to have died on the cross. If Christ died for no reason then he was not divine and Christianity has no basis in fact. Is there really any need for scientific proof in order to debunk Christianity?”If Adam doesn't exist then yes we do have a problem, I do believe in a literal Adam who is the genetic common ancestor of all people alive today (although some theistic evolutionists don't think he was the genetic common ancestor). Its possible he may have been Mitochondrial Eve's husband. Genetics has traced every human alive to day to a human common ancestor like the bible says. So their fear seems somewhat unfounded. There are many other scientific, theological, and biblical issues which must addressed though.
The second real reason for their rejection of evolution is morality, on their website in the Q&A Morality and Ethics section they quote G.K. Chesterson a 19th century Christian apologist on morality and evolution:
Darwinism can be used to back up two mad moralities, but it cannot be used to back up a single sane one. The kinship and competition of all living creatures can be used as a reason for being insanely cruel or insanely sentimental; but not for a healthy love of animals … That you and a tiger are one may be a reason for being tender to a tiger. Or it may be a reason for being cruel as the tiger. It is one way to train the tiger to imitate you, it is a shorter way to imitate the tiger. But in neither case does evolution tell you how to treat a tiger reasonably, that is, to admire his stripes while avoiding his claws.Basically what they are trying to get at is evolution leaves no basis for morality. Once you remove Creation you can do what ever you want. As shown in this illustration they see evolution as the excuse to throw the bible away and commit all sorts of sins which are at the center of social concerns today:
If you want to treat a tiger reasonably, you must go back to the garden of Eden. For the obstinate reminder continues to recur: only the supernaturalist has taken a sane view of Nature.’
As you can see here Answers In Genesis state that evolution allows for humans to decide moral truth which is a cardinal belief in humanism and therefore gives way to behaviors which they see as immoral.
Is this true, well their problem is that Creationist are confusing evolution with moral relativism, evolution being a natural process doesn't say anything in regards to morality or ethics or God or atheism for that matter any more then the theory of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. Scientific theories are amoral. What creationists don't understand is that evolution is what you make of it; if you say evolution is God's method of creation and that we should obey the God of the bible that's what evolution is, a creation process. If you decide that evolution is a godless mindless process that has no plan or purpose then that's what is, if you add evolution to biblical Christianity you will get Christian morality, if you combine it with atheism you will get relativistic morality and make whatever you want of evolution. Carl Sagan thought evolution was a benevolent process and he had an adequate moral standard. And there have been atheists who have used evolution the opposite way to do evil as seen from the Christian worldview. Creationists cant seem to tell the difference between Atheism, Humanism, and evolution. which is much cause of their moral view towards evolution.
As stated before, Creationists are not stupid ad they are thinking very clearly. However science is not gong to convince them, there is plenty of science to address their complaint but what needs to be done is that Christians who accept evolution need to stand up to creationists and atheists and address the theological issues between Christianity and evolution. If we can show that Creationist theology is flawed then the creation/evolution controversy will end soon afterwords. Once the religious element of creationism is gone the pseudoscience will die soon afterwords.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
created rationalist, just why do you claim that there was "some sort of
primordial monotheism" practiced by the first homonids? What evidence do you
have, other than your guess? Exactly what determines if something has a "soul"?
If Homo Erectus had a soul, what about Homo Neanderthalis? Didn't God love them
as much so that's why they died out? I do love just how willfully ignorant
theists can be when it comes to even their attempts to co-opt science into their
beliefs. Look here at an actual modern representation of the human "family
tree", not the expected old and superseded information that theists always use.
Why do you find the idea of a magic man resurrecting himself from death to be
any more easy to believe than oh, a global flood or God creating the earth a few
thousand years ago? None of these has any evidence to support it but you seem to
be sure you can tell the difference better than your creationist fellow
believers. You seem to be quite able to compartmentalize your superstitious
Monday, July 14, 2008
I think that some of the criticism is valid, and some of the reasons theistic evolution is looked down on by both sides is probably;
--for one thing Christian theistic evolution at least doesn't appear to have any robust coherent model about the origin of Man which is distinguishable from secular models
--Most theistic evolutionists dismiss genesis 1-11 as a work of poetry and largely disconnect the bible from the real world, this is one reason that it is criticized in evangelical circles. Answers In Genesis is given a lot of criticism of theistic evolution mainly centering on this point.
--What seems to irritate atheists about theistic evolution is that it does not say anything distinct about the natural world which can be tested and falsified or verified. This seems to be a major weakness.
--Many theistic evolutionists today tend to put God on the sidelines essentially surrendering to philosophical naturalism. I am not say we should begin opposing naturalistic explanations like creationist what I mean is that many theistic evolutionists don't use God or the bible for any explanatory power. We (I believe correctly) say God is active in the world and in the evolution of life but theistic evolutionists tend to reject the bible when addressing issues which the bible is relevant, such as the beginning, the origin of Man etc.
Now I am not saying we should begin using the bible in science the same way that creationist do. neither am I saying we should declare a theocracy over science, my point is that we have not done a remarkable good job at connecting the bible to the real world. So I suggest a predictable and falsifiable theistic evolutionary model of how everything is supposed to happen. For example: One thing which theistic evolutionists disagree on is the origin of "spiritually aware" humans. The bible give precious little information about the first humans but one thing which can be said is that its possible that God created an entirely different hominid species physiologically, morphologically, and genetically identical to the former hominid but different in intellectual and moral strengths. I believe the best candidate for Adam would be Homo Erectus the reason for believing so is their use of the Achuelian tool kit which shows understanding of advanced abstract concepts, geometry and symmetry. Now if they truly are the first spiritually aware humans then how does Adam fit in? Well Adam and Eve's children would have spread across the globe and have replaced the previous homo erectus. This probably would have happened early in their history. So we should find a gradual replacement of more primitive tools with more sophisticated tools reminiscent of advanced near-human intellect. Of course this isn't necessarily drastically different from the non-theistic evolutionist view s what would be evidence of this viewpoint. Well obviously discovery of true artwork among Homo erectus as such as drawings and cave paintings, also evidence of a language. These would be the most obvious predictions for future research into the field of paleoanthropology made by theistic evolution. Also there should be a few others, the bible states that at least for a short time before the flood they had the ability to make tents, domestication, and using base metals (Genesis 4:20-22) [although Tubal-cain may have simply been a genius inventing wildly advanced technology in the same way that a 19th century inventor might build a matter/antimatter engine], they also built settlements (Genesis 4:17). So I predict the discovery of comparatively advanced technology in Homo Erectus. However one thing is certain, we can prove that this was only possible before the flood and that after the flood this technology was lost. So it would not be very widespread, so the best we can hope to find is evidence of artwork and religious practice in species Homo Erectus. This is only one example of how we could build a model which makes predictions about human evolution remarkably distinct from those of non-theistic anthropologists. This is only one (slightly unlikely) model but it might work.
I believe that if we approached scientific topics relevant to the bible and the Christian faith in that manner we would get more respect from both creationists and atheists.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Onward scientifically-minded Christian soldiers!
P.S. Wow! I used the word blogging 3 times in a 9 line post!
Friday, July 4, 2008
Anyway one of their most recent articles Are we missing something? in which they attempt to say nature's record is unreliable since Man is fallen.
When people look to nature to reveal truth, they are falling into the same
speculation trap as in describing the house in the field. No matter how
imaginative or intelligent they are, they can never know exactly what happened
in history without trustworthy eyewitness accounts.
Those who promote nature
as a missing aspect of God’s revelation (the so-called “67th book of the Bible”)
need to understand two crucial fallacies with this idea: first, nature is
cursed; second, our observations of nature are not independent from our
presuppositions. When we examine these problems, we see that nature should never
be put on the same level as the Bible.
Essentially this is one of the most major misconceptions floating around the young earth community that we can not know the past. I have already pointed out the problems with this view. Now to the proposition that our trust in nature's account are fallacious; first of all the bible does not say nature is cursed, the only creature positively under the influence of the curse is Man himself. Secondly the scientific method works around this problem, I'll get to this in a moment.
Many who trust in humans as the highest authority reject the Curse as true
history and thus deny its effect on our observations. Some point to the effects
Curse as proof of “bad design.” For Christians, however, it is foolish to
ignore the Curse when considering what nature can “reveal” to us. After all,
this would be like someone trusting a funhouse mirror to show them how they
really looked. They look into the mirror and see a distorted view but assume
that this mirror must be “right.”
Likewise, while nature does reflect some of
God’s qualities (Romans 1:20), if we trusted the nature we see now to show who
God is, we would see the death, violence, and plant and animal defense and
predatory structures and imagine God as reveling in death and destruction.
I for one do not deny the curse, however I take it as being less universal then AiGers take it to be. I did affect Man's reasoning powers and there is no doubt we humans live in a fallen world and that there definitely is something wrong with creation.,however this does not mean that nature is therefore unreliable. Science can evade the difficulties of the fallen human intellect because;
1. Science is not determined by human opinion but by the facts
2. science is self-correcting and any error will be eventually mended because of the scientific process.
3. Being that God wrote the record of nature it can never truly contradict God's word therefore nature should be reliable since it is inspired by God and God is incapable of lying.
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t study nature. After all, “nature” is
everything around us, and God gave it to humanity so that we could look into the
universe around us and see His glory. However, nature is only as impartial as
the viewer. Although nature itself does not lead to false conclusions about the
past, people who look at nature can be misled by their own mistaken
presuppositions. Those who look to nature as an objective source of God’s
revelation (or an objective source of scientific truth) are ultimately looking,
instead, at their own preconceptions—even if they don’t realize they have them.
This is how science works and another reason why we as Christians have nothing to fear from science; if the current take on the physical record contradicts the bible it will eventually shift back because truth cannot contradict truth.
For the last part I will give comments on in a slightly more choppy fashion.
Ultimately, God’s Word reveals the reason that we should never consider nature
as our sole source of knowledge or as an extra book of the Bible:
withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:24–25)
True, but he also says "Speak to the rocks and they shall teach you" (Job 12:7-8). The aforementioned passage is most likely referring to God's eternality, not necessarily nature's record.
When the Bible mentions nature and the Word together, we find that only one
of them is permanent and foundational for knowing and fulfilling His will.
Nature—this universe—will pass away and be rolled up like a scroll (Isaiah 34:4), but God’s Word will endure.
Of course I agree, it is the bible (special revelation) which give us what is important in an eternal sense, everything else only matters in a finite and limited scope.
If we depend on nature to reveal the truth, and especially if we reinterpret
God’s Words based on our stories and interpretations of nature, we will be
building our house on a foundation of sand. By contrasting the transience of
nature with the constancy of His Word, God shows us that His Word alone is
sufficient revelation—and in fact, the only
logical framework—from which we can understand and appreciate the universe
I agree the bible is a logical framework for science but there is no reason to restrict ourselves to an outdated interpretation of the bible. In science the facts speak for themselves, and the facts say; earth is 4.55 billion years old, man shares common ancestry with great apes, and that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. And biblical theology says; there is no reason for the curse to be extended beyond Mankind or for the days of creation to be interpreted as ordinary days.
Young Earth Creationism is unnecessary from both a scientific and theological perspective so why are we still supporting it in the year 2008?
Now if you object to this I am not closed to discussion, if it turns out that I am horribly wrong then I will gladly change my position on Genesis but for now I remain unconvinced.
By the way I must apologize for my lull in the number of posts I make. I have been really busy and I have been putting of updating this blog for a while, I'll try to be more persistant next time, sorry.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Now of course you know what this means, be rational, like the Bereans, test everything and make sure it is true. Even if it turns out the evidence really points towards a 6,000 year old earth follow the evidence to the conclusion, and you will be most likely to find truth.