November 20, 2017

Mike the Geologist: Science and the Bible (Lesson 5)

Grand Canyon, Photo by Paul Fundenburg

Grand Canyon, Photo by Paul Fundenburg

Science and the Bible Lesson 5
By Mike McCann

We have now laid a basic philosophical basis to examine the “Science and the Bible” issues that are controversial to evangelicals.  Let’s summarize:

  1. All truth is God’s truth.  If something is true in the physical realm then it is true, period, full stop.
  2. The best way to ascertain truth in the physical realm is by doing science i.e. methodological naturalism.  A Christian using science should come to the same conclusions about the natural world as a Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist.
  3. A so-called “plain” reading of scripture should not dictate what our scientific conclusions should be.
  4. Proximate causes are the mechanical, secondary, physical, and measureable causes in the physical realm.  Ultimate, or teleological causes deal with meaning, purpose, reasons for existing.  The proximate cause answers the question; How?  The ultimate cause answers the question; Why?
  5. The Bible really doesn’t offer much in the way of detailed proximate causes.  It is full of statements about ultimate or teleological causes.
  6. Christians should refrain from using a “God of the Gaps” argument.  In other words, just because scientists can’t explain it doesn’t mean that God supernaturally causes it…  God-of-the-Gaps unnecessarily pits scientific discovery against God’s ultimate purposes.  It’s not only bad science… It is bad theology.
  7. Genesis 1 is at the same time a polemic against the polytheism of the surrounding cultures and a cosmogony (a theory or story of the origin and development of the universe) cast in the form of a temple/palace inauguration.  That is the face-value or “plain” reading of the text.  This face value reading:
    • Recognizes Genesis for the ancient document that it is.
    • Finds no reason to impose a materialistic meaning on the text.
    • Finds no reason to require the finding of scientific information “between the lines”.
    • Avoids reducing Genesis to merely literary, metaphorical, or theological expressions.
    • Poses no conflict with scientific thinking to the extent that it recognizes that the text does not offer scientific explanations.

With these points in mind let’s examine the question of the age of the universe/age of the earth.  Some say, based on the genealogies and the 7-day creation week that the universe and the earth cannot be older than 6,000 to 10,000 years.  That an older age would contradict the Bible.  They say the science, properly interpreted, actually shows a young earth.  This is the view of such organizations as Answers in Genesis, Institute for Creation Research, Creation Research Ministries, etc.  We will abbreviate their position as Young Earth Creationism or YEC.   Others say God created the universe and the earth with an “appearance” of age.  This is often referred to as the “Omphalos hypothesis” after the title of an 1857 book, Omphalos by Philip Henry Gosse.  Quoting from the Wikipedia page:

Gosse argued that in order for the world to be “functional”, God must have created the Earth with mountains and canyons, trees with growth rings, Adam and Eve with hair, fingernails, and navels (omphalos is Greek for “navel”), and that therefore no evidence that we can see of the presumed age of the earth and universe can be taken as reliable.

Many evangelicals prefer this second explanation because they think it does not put them in the uncomfortable position of opposition to the overwhelming majority of scientists.  After all, if the earth and universe “appear” old then that is what science would show and non-Christian scientists would naturally believe.  It is only by the special revelation of the Bible we Christians would know that is not true.

So how would you know apparent age from real age then?  Of course if you lapse into solipsism I suppose there is no way to know.  But let’s assume the best of our evangelical readers who are still with me at this point.  Here is a suggestion.

Let’s take an example from the Bible of a miracle where the age of something was apparent.

image1

When Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11) the wine had the appearance of age.  Although there was an apparent “history” i.e. the wine appeared to: have come from grapes ripened in the sun, was aged in wineskins, etc.  Any forensic scientific investigation into the actual history of the wine would have ended at the water jars.  Suppose a CSI team was investigating the wine.  Detailed chemical analysis would confirm all the organic components of wine.  Interrogation of the governor of the feast would confirm it was well-aged: … “Yeah, it’s funny, this was the good stuff, most people serve it first and serve the MD 20/20 for last…”  But in the other interrogation room the servants were like: “… we filled the jars with water” Oh, right water, huh, you mean some sort of liquid, don’t you.  No, dude, I swear it was water, regular old H2O, right from the cistern… I want my lawyer.

But suppose our CSI team finds in addition to turning the water into wine, Jesus created empty wineskins and put them in the trash out back?  What if he fabricated an authentic looking bill of sale from the local winery and placed in the household ledger?  What if the salesman at the winery had his own detailed record of the transaction including records from the farmer who grew the grapes?  Our CSI team would conclude that no miracle had occurred just good old fashioned deception.

Why would Jesus fabricate a cleverly crafted cover story that leaves no glorious loose ends… in other words it would not be evident a miracle had occurred?  Answer: He wouldn’t because He is God and not an illusionist or a deceiver.

So, the question we have to answer if we want to discern between actual age and apparent age is: what is the level of detailed, complex, coherent, and discoverable evidence that exists?  In other words, does a discernible history exist that can be traced or tracked?  I submit for your consideration, dear evangelical reader, if such a history exists, then the age is real not apparent.  Otherwise you are implying that God is a deceiver.

The argument regarding the apparent age of star light is that God not only created the galaxies in deep space, but He also created all the light between that star and earth. This is why we can see them now even though the universe is young.  My question is, how do you know the stars are really there? You don’t see the light of anything that existed. You’re seeing an image created in transit of an event– watch this– that never took place.  Doesn’t that throw into question the existence of anything in outer space at all, outside of 6,000 light years away? Because, in fact, since we’ll never see the thing itself– and what we see is not the thing, but an image God created in transit– well then, why would God ever need to create the thing in the first place? The image would be fully adequate for God’s purpose.  The only thing God would have to create is the light image, because we’d never see the thing itself anyway. But doesn’t the Scripture seem to indicate that what we see are the very things that God created?

You see, this “God created light in transit” view is kind of misleading, because we think of it like the steady glow of a light bulb. There’s a light bulb way out there in space and just a steady glow in between. God could put that glow from me to it and I could see the glow.  But the images we actually see in outer space– that, according to some young earthers, were allegedly created in transit by God– are images of turbulent events, are a history and a story of things happening, not just a steady glow.  But those events never really happened, they are, in fact, an illusion if the age is only apparent.

To be fair, some YEC folk have now rejected the “God created light in transition” explanation because they realize such an argument does charge God with deception, and have taken to question the basic uniformity of physical constants such as the speed of light, or appeal to relativistic effects on the passage of time on earth as opposed to the passage of time in deep space. Since I don’t have expertise in astrophysics, I’m going to move on from this but here is a rebuttal of those types of arguments from a physicist who is a Christian.

image2

The Grand Canyon is a wondrous marvel.  Multi-colored exposed strata of rock more than a mile deep and 18 miles wide.  How long did it take to form?  Most people would be surprised to learn that even geologists disagree; some say younger, some say older.  Up until 2014 you could buy a book in the bookstore that purported the canyon was REALLY young and was formed in Noah’s flood.

So I wanted to deal with the Grand Canyon in my course for the sake of my fellow churchgoers.  Now I and my friends lived in south-central Indiana on the Mitchell Plain, a karst landscape.  I knew they would be familiar with what that meant and looked like; and Karst is my geological specialty.

There are well known and documented paleokarst features in the Grand Canyon.  Karst features result from the exposure of solid limestone to open-air chemical weathering and above-ground and underground water flow over prolonged time.  It is a landscape.

image3

Karst features such as erosional surfaces, river channels, sinkholes, caverns, and collapse structures would not have time to form on soft sediment in the middle of a flood sequence.  There are unmistakable paleokarst features in the Redwall Formation, a thick limestone layer in the middle of the Paleozoic sequence of the Grand Canyon.  In other words; it was a karst landscape at one time.  The Surprise Canyon Formation, which overlies the Redwall, completely fills in the elaborate network of river channels, karst sinkholes, collapse features, and even caverns on the upper portion of the Redwall.

image4

The breccia in the Surprise Canyon formation are Redwall limestone fragments.  Breccia is formed when angular solid rock pieces from an older formation is incorporated into the sediment matrix of the younger formation due to the erosion of the older formation.

image5

In other words the Redwall had to be solid limestone rock when the karst features formed.  There is simply no other explanation.  This is further demonstrated by the presence of sedimentary breccia in the Surprise Canyon formation.

image6In order to be incorporated in the Surprise Canyon matrix the Redwall limestone pieces had to be solid rock.  It is simply physically impossible for the entire sequence to have been soft sediment at the same time.

As you drive from Indiana to Chicago on I-94/I-294, just as you cross the Illinois border you pass over the massive Thornton Quarries.  The Thornton quarries are quarrying a coral reef.

image7

Thornton Quarries have been in operation since the 1800’s and the reef structure has been studied in three-dimensions.  The coral reef demonstrates a complex 3-D architecture that shows it grew in place.  The overall upward transformation in the character of the buildup of the reef and the strong lateral variation in organic composition and degree of buildup closely mimic modern ecological zonation in well-studied reefs.  The Thornton coral reef is part of a complex of many well-studied smaller reefs that ring the Chicago area that form a large reef chain, like the Great Barrier reefs of Australia.

image8

So, dear evangelical reader, let me ask you; when was Chicago a shallow, tropical sea for 6000-8000 years?  That’s how long it takes to form reef structures that large.
image9You can take a flight to Japan and observe Lake Suigetsu.  You can observe each spring, tiny plants bloom in Lake Suigetsu. When these one-cell algae die in the fall, they drift down, shrouding the lake floor with a thin, white layer.  The rest of the year, you may observe, dark clay sediments settle on the bottom.  The observation being that alternating layers of dark and light count the years like tree rings.

If you take a core of the lake bed you can observe/count 100,000 layers…

My question to you, dear evangelical reader, is how old is Lake Suigetsu observed to be?  It is not a trick question.

image10

Here is a picture of a portion of the core.  Notice the embedded twig.  The C14 dates of leaves or twigs embedded in the layers match the layer count down to 45,000-55,000 years (the limit of C14 dating).

So, dear reader, what is the level of detailed, complex, coherent, and discoverable evidence in the examples above?  Does that discernible history exist that can be traced or tracked?  I submit for your consideration that such a history exists, and the age is real not apparent.

• • •

Photo by Paul Fundenburg at Flickr. Creative Commons License

Comments

  1. Are Fundamentalist Protestants (and some Evangelical Protestants) the only Christians who advocate for YEC? I never heard of any Catholic or Orthodox Christians trying to argue for YEC.

    • Danielle says:

      I friend of mine who converted to Roman Catholicism, and she had a priest who did. But this strikes me as odd and anonymous, making me wonder if he might also have been a convert.

      I teased her about it, because my friend was a physical anthropology major and she was so looking forward to never hearing about YEC ever again.

      In a humorously parallel story from some years earlier: she and I were freshmen at the same evangelical college, and she was desperate to transfer out. So she sent off her applications to several state schools. Well, the College Board folks accidentally switched her request with another person, with the result that her scores were all sent to — wait for it, wait for it — Bob Jones University. And a small Bible college in Georgia.

    • Fr. Seraphim Rose, a well-known and somewhat controversial Orthodox monk and writer, is kind of an Orthodox Fr. Thomas Merton, except that where Merton is Perelandrian and accommodating towards modernity, Rose is Malacandrian and vigilant. He was a convert.

      I don’t believe either of them is officially a saint yet, and probably won’t be for a while. They both stepped on a lot of toes.

      Fr. Seraphim, in his book Genesis, Creation and Early Man, appears to have adapted YEC-ism whole cloth for the Orthodox reader, and it caused no small turbulence in Orthodox circles. Fr. Seraphim backpedaled later in his life, but he made the claim that the laws of physics may not have been what the are today, this rendering any scientific knowledge of the world before the Fall impossible.

      • StuartB says:

        but he made the claim that the laws of physics may not have been what the are today, this rendering any scientific knowledge of the world before the Fall impossible.

        I have heard YEC types twist themselves into knots regarding the Fall and laws of thermodynamics and the pre-existence of death and alleged Jewish loopholes. It’s insanity. The simplest answer and biggest question is of course never asked: what Fall?

    • StuartB says:

      I think it’s mostly conservatives/fundamentalists of all stripes who lean towards YEC. It’s not exclusive to any denomination, rather it’s a mindset.

      • I guess some people on the ultraconservative fringes of Catholicism and Orthodoxy lean towards YEC, but surely educated clergymen like the Jesuits know enough science to believe in the Big Bang Theory, etc. I think it is pretty neat that Vatican City has its own observatory.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Actually, the Big Bang WAS first theorized and submitted by a Catholic priest, Fr Lemaitre (who was also a qualified scientist). He got a LOT of static for “Introducing RELIGION into a Scientific Question”; Sir Fred Hoyle proposed the Steady State Theory (dusting off Aristotle’s Eternal Cosmos) specifically to oppose the Big Bang (with his usual “Prove Fred Wrong” challenge).

          And as I’ve said on other blogs: “We have the Vatican Observatory and Pontifical Academy of Sciences; they have the Kentucky Creation Museum.”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        But Fundagelicals seem to have the highest proportion of them.

        To the point the 80/20 Groupthink rule kicks in — once a consensus reaches 80% in a given group, Groupthink sets in and the 20% are Purged as Heretics.

    • Donalbain says:

      Andrew Schlafly over at Consevapedia is a YEC Catholic, so they do exist

  2. I must confess that “And the speed of light changed” is where I part company with any ‘scientific’ attempts at explaining YEC.

    I have a certain sympathy with many criticisms of evolution (in the sense that it sometimes seems that there is circular reasoning involved – “Q: How can we be sure that this thing evolved? A: Because it exists, and everything came to be via evolution”), and I can totally understand how people would want to reconcile their readings of Genesis with the ‘face value reading’ of the natural world. But messing with the speed of light is just too wacky (especially coming from people who will probably be quite happy to explain how life on earth couldn’t possibly exist if all the physical constants weren’t JUST SO).

    My problems are now more on a theological level: if death and suffering were already present before the Fall (whatever that was), what does this mean for our expectations of the New Heavens and New Earth?

    • Does Genesis *really* say Adam and Eve were created deathless? God tells Adam that the day he eats the fruit of the tree of knowledge he would die – which sort of implies that Adam knew what God meant. Also, one of the punishments for the Fall was a ban from eating the tree of eternal life – which again implies that Adam and Eve didn’t already have it. This still leaves open the questions of how to interpret Romans 5 and 8, but I hope it demonstrates how we tend to read too much into the Genesis narrative based on what we already believe.

      • Good point, Eeyore. Also, it says God placed A&E in Eden; it does not say Eden was the whole planet, or even the whole land. Romans 5 and 8 are problematic, as well as Matthew 19. I give my best guess in a later essay, but it is not possible to resolve the theological issues simply; there is tension.

        • Well, technically it IS possible to resolve the theological issues: by deciding that it’s all hokum and that there’s therefore nothing to reconcile. But that opens a whole different can of worms!

          • StuartB says:

            But Biblically does it open a can of worms, or just theologically? Does it change Paul’s theology, or does it change our theology built upon Paul?

            Maybe it is all hokum. Maybe it is a story adapted. Maybe it is a myth.

            What fundamental things does that change? And how in any way does that change Jesus’ charge and purpose to us and the church?

          • Danielle says:

            Given that whatever the Bible says is automatically “Biblical”, I suppose any inconsistency within the Bible is already Biblical. Which, oddly, would make the system reconciling them … not Biblical? 🙂

            Likewise, this is not a problem for the historian of theology who wants to understand Pauline teaching. The historian observes: (Act 1) There were one or more interpretations of Genesis around the time Genesis was written; (Act 2) There were one or more interpretations at the time Paul was writing, one of which Paul adopted and used. (Act 3) There are several interpretations today.

            Neither the fact of coherence across time, or lack of it, or Paul’s coherence with our own intellectual commitments, change what Paul said during Act 2. If we want to base our theology on what Paul said, the only thing stopping us are our own reservations about the overall narrative and our own methodology.

        • Stephen says:

          Of course that’s the nub of the issue. Not Genesis but Paul! Paul argument in Romans rests on there having been a real Adam.

          • StuartB says:

            But does it really?

          • I encourage you to click on “JRD Kirk” in the Links list on the right sidebar. Daniel Kirk has written a lot about this question and has some pretty good answers, I think. When you get to his blog, do a search on “Adam” and you will find several pertinent articles.

          • Stephen says:

            Thanks for the link Chaplain Mike. Very interesting. Stimulating. For anyone who wants to read Kirk’s ideas on the subject here is the link to his main article –

            http://fullerstudio.fuller.edu/pauls-christ-require-historical-adam/

            I confess when I started Kirk’s article I assumed he was going to use an argument I have begun to especially detest, where the writer claims to tell us what some disputed passage of scripture “really” means but somehow was never noticed for the last 2000 years until we were lucky enough for the author to come along and suss it out. Voila! No more disputed passage!

            Well what makes Kirk’s article so interesting is that he precisely does NOT take this tack. kirk acknowledges that Paul thought Adam was a real human being and rightly asks the question

            “Is it possible to affirm the point Paul wishes to make—that God’s grace, righteousness, and life abound to the many because of Christ—without simultaneously affirming the assumptions with which he illustrated these things to be true?”

            I’ll leave it to anyone interested in these things to go to the link and read Kirk’s thoughts. It is possible this is the way forward. But let’s not do what Kirk does not do but many who write on this subject do, namely, pretend Paul is not really saying what he really said. We can make any argument we wish and attempt “reimagining a Christian story of origins for our modern era”, just as long as understand we’re making OUR argument, not Paul’s.

          • Michael Bell says:

            I wanted to add that Peter Enns book, “The Evolution of Adam” covers this topic extensively. It is a pretty heavy theological read though. I like the summary that Stephen gave above of how we look at Paul.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            I don’t think Paul’s argument requires a literal Adam any more than George Washington requires a literal cherry tree.

      • Burro [Mule] says:

        The Orthodox view, as best as I can make it out, is that it was not given to Adam to have “life in himself” as did God, but to receive life from communion with God and be a conduit of this life to the rest of creation, in neo-Platonic concentric circles.

        But as Adam broke communion with God, he became a conduit of death, hence “death entered by Adam”.

        Just sayin’

    • StuartB says:

      Ben, do you read the early part of Genesis as literal history or as a story/literature adapted or not from other sources to reflect the current Jewish view of their start and place in this world?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I must confess that “And the speed of light changed” is where I part company with any ‘scientific’ attempts at explaining YEC.

      Just a variant on “And Then A Miracle Happened!”
      (handwave handwave handwave)

    • I also wonder about the theological significance of the presence of death before the Fall. Personally, I’m not willing to allow death a permanent place in God’s creation or Kingdom, which leaves me in the tricky spot of having to explain it’s utter ubiquity. It’s a mystery I don’t expect to sort through any time soon. Perhaps it has something to do with the idea that certain angelic / spiritual powers (ie. Satan) experienced their own Fall in advance of humanity’s Fall, which meant that havoc was being wrecked in creation long before humanity came on the scene. The fact that Eden was only one small haven in the midst of the world might point to the fact that humanity was inaugurated precisely for the purpose of aiding / participating in the restoration of creation, which had been suffering in bondage long before we appeared. Humanity’s fall therefore meant that we became death’s agents rather than it’s enemies, as we were always meant to be.

      • Your last two sentences are spot on, Matt. According to Gen 1, humankind was called to “be fruitful and multiply, to subdue the land and have dominion” — as God’s priestly/royal representatives (“in God’s image). The inclusion of the word “subdue” indicates that evil was already at work in the world and that humankind was called to conquer it and put God’s rule into effect over all creation. In the Garden story, this is indicated by the Tree of Life, which had Adam and Eve eaten of it, would have secured life for themselves and their progeny, instead of the death of alienation from God.

        • Good points. I also believe this way of thinking about the issue jives well with the strong emphasis on “spiritual warfare”, that is the struggle against the “prince of this world”, found in the New Testament, and with the idea of Christ as the Second Adam, the true prototype of what humanity was meant to be, which is agents of redemption and reconciliation.

  3. Rock lover says:

    Really enjoying your well-written, knowledgeable series. As a kid I Loved rocks & fossils, and in college when I dropped pre-med due to squeamishness I took geology & paleontology for my science that year…so especially enjoying your articles. Thanks.

  4. Is it possible that many of these difficulties and conflicts could be explained by the undeniable fact that some people have rocks in their head? Just a thought from up here in the Michigan Basin.

  5. Daniel Jepsen says:

    Mike, really good stuff. You are a good thinker and clear writer.

  6. StuartB says:

    Relevant! I’ve been watching the new Cosmos series, maybe one episode every two weeks. The one I watched on Monday (mondays are rough at the gym, need to just veg out after) was about age of earth and Ussher and radio carbon dating and stuff. Really, really cool things, and it was nice to hear the real history behind it all and not some YEC butchering and lying about it. I’d highly recommend the new Cosmos to anyone, it’s so good!

    All that said…

    Some say, based on the genealogies and the 7-day creation week that the universe and the earth cannot be older than 6,000 to 10,000 years.

    I can’t believe I used to believe this because this is literally the stupidest thing ever. It is incredibly stupid to think you can add a bunch of dates together, as if you could assume they were complete or accurate, to determine the “true age” of the earth. Stupid. There are so many gaps in the Bible, so many leaps and assumptions, that this is stupid. And that’s even before you start diving into the various types of literature and scripture.

    Nice attempt Ussher, but you might as well be dating when the Third Age of Middle Earth began and ended. The instance you start thinking too hard about this you run into every sunday school question imaginable. Why? Because kids can see through this and immediately start poking holes in it.

    Adults who can willfully believe this must just be choosing to set aside their adulthood. But for YEC, I guess, oh well; “God doesn’t lie”.

    • Well, as I said, a lot of evangelicals who have had YEC drilled into them but are uneasy about contradicting actual scientists opt for the “apparent age” deal thinking that preserves the “Bible is without error” motif and allows the “unsaved” scientists to believe their lying eyes 🙂 My former pastor was like that; he also somewhat favored the “day-age” and “gap” theories. But once we went through my class and I could talk it through with him; he realized it was the geocentrism debate all over again i.e. you don’t get your science from the Bible.

      • StuartB says:

        Yeah, I understand and sympathize. That’s where I’ve been last few years. But like Dr Fundystan said last week…it doesn’t matter anymore to me. For the majority of YECs, I’m willing to just let them believe whatever they feel like believing.

        Day-age and gap are definitely creative ways to define things.

    • Danielle says:

      “I’d highly recommend the new Cosmos to anyone, it’s so good!”

      We are huge fans, and it warms my heart to know you are watching it. The conclusion to the Faraday episode gives me the shivers.

  7. StuartB says:

    Can creation be a miracle?

    By definition almost, a miracle is something extraordinary or supernatural that occurs outside of the ordinary/natural. Pre-creation, there was no ordinary or natural…so how could creation be a miracle?

    Thus…Jesus’ miracles are bad examples arguing for an appearance of age creation. Besides it making God a liar.

    • Christiane says:

      “age” creation tries to make God a liar, and a lot of YEC fall for it, which makes you wonder how far people will go to amend the Holy Trinity in the service of their man-made ‘doctrines’ (here I’m also thinking about the teaching of the Eternal Subordination of the Son, a doctrine created to support patriarchy among fundamentalists-evangelicals)

  8. “Many evangelicals prefer this second explanation [appearance of age] because they think it does not put them in the uncomfortable position of opposition to the overwhelming majority of scientists. After all, if the earth and universe “appear” old then that is what science would show and non-Christian scientists would naturally believe. It is only by the special revelation of the Bible we Christians would know that is not true.”

    Apparently many evangelicals value an inerrant Bible more than an ethical God.

    • StuartB says:

      Ethics don’t apply to God because he’s God. In fact just yesterday he was ok with murder. But he created the world today so we wouldn’t know that. He’s always been against murder.

    • Christiane says:

      An ‘inerrant Bible’ lets them attempt to get away with speaking ‘as God’ . . . . ‘the Bible clearly says’ is their opening phrase, a huge red light

      Before ‘inerrancy’ could get a foothold in the SBC, the Baptist Faith & Message had to get rid of the teaching that Our Lord was the lens through which sacred Scripture should be read and understood

      once Our Lord was out of the way, then men could take His place who wished to speak as gods

      Our Lord Himself spoke in the very Person of God, but inerrantists couldn’t (or will not) accept this foundational Christian truth, and so we have among inerrantist pastors some of the strangest teachings to come forth in recent memory

      • Christiane, you have just described atheism.

        Jeri Massi talks about this in her book Bitter Root: Atheistic Practices Embedded in Christian Fundamentalism. I just read the first few pages on Amazon and it fits this blog post pretty well.

        Jeri blogs at http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/

        • Christiane says:

          Hi TED,
          The name ‘Jeri Massi’ sounds familiar. Maybe I’ve seen it over at Wartburg Watch . . . and from the looks of the blog link, that must be it. That link describes some of the horror of what can happen when predators are allowed to prey on children within a Church setting . . . pretty awful stuff, that.

          I hope the whole movement to sign ‘membership contracts’ and to not question pastors is shown to be a very corrupt vision of people who want control over others for the wrong reasons. And there are plenty of innocent people out there who are vulnerable. Sickening stuff, the pastors who shield predators.
          Thank God for the Deebs at Wartburg.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    It is simply physically impossible for the entire sequence to have been soft sediment at the same time.

    They already anticipated you, Mike the Geologist:
    “What is impossible for man is Possible for GOD!”
    (I don’t remember the chapter-and-verse zip code…)

    • Could be. do you have a link? As to God doing the impossible, I think this falls under the “can God make a rock so big even He can’t lift it” i.e. God doesn’t do absurdities.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    There are well known and documented paleokarst features in the Grand Canyon.

    Does that include the account that someone threw smoke bombs into a sinkhole near Grand Canyon Caverns (along old Route 66) and a week later the colored smoke was seen issuing from fissures under the South Rim?

  11. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    Unfortunately, in the “It’s a miracle!” department, I have run up again and again against people that deny YEC, and refuse to see that an apparent age universe makes for a deceptive Deity. It’s “omphalos” all over again, Of course, they don’t like it, and generally don’t understand it when you point out they they are no different than Last Thursdayists… (and before HUD says it, not to be confused with those evil Last Wednesdayists – or is it Wednesdeists?)

  12. StuartB says:

    HUG.

    https://twitter.com/DungeonsDonald

    “Nobody reads the Monster Manual more than me. The ’79 edition means a lot, but I don’t want to get into specifics.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I notice the photoshop job has the Succubus and Marilith (Type V Demon) circled.
      The only two original D&D Demons with boobage.

      Other than the Balrog in the original “Three Little Books” (1974), “Demons” as D&D Monsters were originally introduced with the supp Eldritch Wizardry in 1976, but the only one with a species name (other than Type I through VI, VI being a rename of the Balrog) was the Succubus. That and the book’s cover (nekkid chick lying atop an altar) was what first attracted the attention of the Satanic Panic Witch-sniffers.

  13. I don’t know that these issues were resolved here for Bishop Ussher and friends, but what I do know is I wish Mike the G could spend a day, or even an hour, with me here explaining what I see all around me in this area of Northern Michigan. I think I live where the crest of the wave of the glaciers stopped and reversed course. I have big piles of rocks and boulders in my back woods, some still in the ground too big to move, and I imagine each one of them has a story to tell. Good series!

    • StuartB says:

      The glacier thing is interesting to me. I had a science class in community college that spent some time on it, and I was convinced. Then later on I found out it was totally a demonic heresy. But…evidence? I didn’t know how to process that one so I set it mentally aside for years.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Stephen Jay Gould did an essay on Bishop Ussher once (don’t remember which of his essay collections it’s in), giving “the rest of the story”. Bishop Ussher’s date calculations were only part of a project to write a chronology and timeline of all human history. And he didn’t just “add up the dates in Genesis”; he cross-referenced all the dates and filled in the gaps from other sources, dependent on the knowledge of ancient history of the time. And after he got to the year, the date within the year was filled in from allegorical speculation, which was legitimate at the time.

      • StuartB says:

        He’d still run into the wall of the invention of writing. And I’m sure pre-numbers was difficult too. How do you convey accurate date ranges of things when there are no written numbers or written language? “Passing down stories verbally” is a handwave that doesn’t cut it.

  14. To me, the “appearance of age” argument fails because I could just as well argue that God moment by moment gives all of us the impression of memory – and there is no way to prove that what you think or remember or feel about yourself or anyone or anything was not being continuously and instantaneously created by God in you and every person picosecond by picosecond. Every time you would raise an objection I would say that you cannot prove that God is not making you think that you thought that, or think that you saw that, or think that you experienced that, or think that I said what you are responding to or arguling with me about, etc.