October 23, 2014

Can someone tell me why a “Creation” Educator is giving this speech at a “Creation Museum?”

A speech about saving America and the church, in case you just don’t care enough actually watch the clip before you comment.

Anytime someone tells me the “Creation museum” is a museum I want to run this piece out. Ham’s organization owns this “museum.” It’s goal is to get the public in and discredit any science that doesn’t come to the conclusions of fundamentalists. You can get all four sessions of this “State of the Nation” speech in the Youtube sidebar. Don’t think that Creationism is a matter of agenda? Watch this talk and get back to me. Tell me that the kids being taken to this “museum” are learning “science.”

Ham believes that the reason young people leave the church is they aren’t taught AIG’s apologetics and views on science. That’s why young people leave the church: failure to teach creationism. (BTW, ask George Barna if his research shows young people want to be taught creationism to answer their questions.)

And what does the creationist dialog with contemporary science sound like? Like this:

All seven sessions can be found at the Youtube site. This is a lobbyist for a Conservative political group redefining science and declaring what the only acceptable attitude toward science can be. Listen to the discussion of “evidence.”

Now let’s be clear: I’m happy for creationists to take whatever approach they wish in their discussions, but I’m deeply concerned that this is being presented as the only true and Biblical “Christianity.” It’s not Christianity. It’s a kind of Christianity and it doesn’t speak for millions of us. I’m not precommitted to a view of science. My religious faith is the Apostles’ and Nicene Creed, not Ken Ham’s philosophy. Science disproves, advances, questions, disproves, advances and on and on. That’s a whole different business. If your science equals “the Bible is the only valid science and the only valid politics,” then say so and cut the “museum” act.

What you are listening to is the culture war. Politics. Not scientific inquiry of any kind, and I’m not sure what a person would have to be to actually miss that point.

Comments

  1. You don’t think that Natural History Museum’s don’t have ‘evolutionary educators’ speak there? The thing that kills me about this whole debate is that there seems to be a working assumption that all the unreasonable goofballs are on the YEC side and all the reasonable and objective people are on the other side. Credit the YEC because at least they acknowledge there is a clash going on between worldviews.

    Why is it that we as Christians are so willing to point to science as disproving the literal understanding of Genesis but the science disproving the literal understanding of the resurrection narratives is much more overwhelming? Evolution points to something in the unseen history but the irreversibility of death is shown over and over right in front of us.

    • Science disproving the resurrection is a necessity for christians. If it were scientifically possible for someone to resurrect after three days then Jesus wouldn’t be the Son of God he would just be a guy who got resurrected.

      No one has been able to prove that Jesus didn’t resurrect but the evidence for the universe being old is overwhelming. If God created the universe six thousand years ago then he has gone out of his way to give it the appearance of age.

      • Because you draw the line there Sergey. Theological liberalism of the last century didn’t thus the ‘spiritual resurrection.’ Theistic evolutionists are playing a ‘bend but don’t break defense’. Which, as an NFL fan, I can attest rarely works and usually gives up way too much.

      • Regarding ‘went out of his way to give the appearance of age’. He told us it had the appearance of age. Adam was not made as a child. He was full grown. Trees were not acorns they were full grown (presumably rings and all). Mountains were mountains (stratas and all). Ice was ice. Glaciers were glaciers. Etc. Which came first the chicken or the egg? The chicken (Gen 1:22).

        And lest we think God was being deceitful, he made sure to tell us the age of the earth and that he created it in 7 days.

        • The universe has more than just the appearance of age, it has the appearance of history. It would be akin to Adam being created with a belly button and scars from injuries that never happen. For example the earth has many impact craters on it. Several of them are big enough to have guaranteed to have the extinction of humanity on their own and together the heat from them landing would have fried the planet. Why did God create a record of events that never happened? Also, why would God create the universe with ratios of radioactive decay that indicate it is very old. You could say that the radioactive decay was sped up in the past but then what happened to the enormous amounts of heat that would have been enough to melt the crust. Plus, the different dating methods that scientists use tend to agree with each other. If you use radiometric dating on the 50,000th lake varve it gives a date of about 50,000 years. Why do these supposedly false dates agree?

          Also, technically God never said he made the earth in seven days, the bible does, contrary to what some christians seem to think they are not actually the same thing.

          • The only record God created was scripture. In scripture he told us that he created things that look ‘grown up’. The amount of carbon in something ‘grown up’ is different from the amount of carbon in something of a mythical virgin state. Scripture tells us that God didn’t create things in some mythical virgin state. He created things grown up. Noone can be sure but my guess is that Adam had a bellybutton and trees had rings.

            The problem is that when we say, ” I am going to assume that all this came about naturally and then assume that there was some virgin state long ago that I can use constant rates to discern when that mythical point was.” we chose to reject the clear statements in scripture that state the contrary. Prove scientifically that there is a mythical virgin state to the universe.

          • The only record God created of redemption was scripture.

            We can study the universe for the scientific record.

            Are you seriously saying without the Bible you can’t do science?

            If so, what are we discussing? That’s nothing BUT religion.

          • I would agree with Chesterton that “The marvelous and triumphant airplane is made out of a hundred mistakes. The student of origins can only make one mistake and stick to it.” I would argue that evolutionary scientists can only prove *plausibility*. They can not prove what happened. History is not an applied science.

          • Just a technical point—all the dating methods agree with each other because they’re all calibrated to a common assumed benchmark (they’re not all truly independent measurements but once you calibrate them all to the same benchmark, then naturally they’ll give the same answers).

            Sorry if that’s off topic.

            More on topic with this particular thread, why must we assume things were created with “apparent age”? When I read the creation account, I don’t see that we have to assume that suddenly there was a fully grown tree, dog or man. “The earth brought forth…” can imply a long process. I’m not saying I have a specific timeline for how Adam was created as a baby and grew up under God’s direction, but I just don’t see that the few verses we have about Adam’s creation necessarily imply he was created fully mature.

          • therefore science is impossible. The only knowledge we can have is from scripture.

          • IM, you need to remember the difference between applied science and historical inquiry. There is a big difference. When looking backward, we need a record to know whether our science is good or not. What GK Chesterton’s point was is that when you are using an applied science to discover something (eg making an airplane) you can check your answers and revise your thought. When you are talking about something that happened billions of years ago, there is no check.

            I have spent a lot of time in test labs and done a lot of experiments in my life. I can attest that Chesterton is right. Not being able to check your work with results makes for shaky science.

            Saying these things is not ant-science. It is actually good science. Evolutionists are trying to say something that is not science is science. Unfortunately, most people don’t know the difference.

          • “IM, you need to remember the difference between applied science and historical inquiry. There is a big difference. When looking backward, we need a record to know whether our science is good or not. What GK Chesterton’s point was is that when you are using an applied science to discover something (eg making an airplane) you can check your answers and revise your thought. When you are talking about something that happened billions of years ago, there is no check.”

            Simply not true: there are multiple checks and multiple historical records going back billions of years.

            – Astronomers _only_ have the past to work with. Their historical record goes back to a billion or so years before the creation of the universe. When we look at stars and galaxies, we’re looking thousands, millions, and billions of years into the past.

            – The fossil record goes back billions of years, and this record has been used to make checks and test predictions. Representative example: Neil Shubin’s team predictied they would find a fossil with certain transitional feature at a certain time in the geological strata. They found tiktaalik exactly where and when they predicted.

            – Every living creature on the planet has written in its DNA a history of life on earth that goes back billions of years. See Sean Carrol’s wonderful book _The Making of the Fittest_ for many examples of how this evidence has been used in prediction and explanation.

          • But those are data not checks. Chesterton was right when he said, “The marvelous and triumphant airplane is made out of a hundred mistakes. The student of origins can only make one mistake and stick to it.” When your data that is modern can not be compared to written records of the ancient world, there is a problem. Would you trust a historian of the civil war that used only artifacts (no writings) to construct his account of events? Why then do we all say that science has proved anything about what happened millions of years ago?

          • “But those are data not checks.”

            I just explained how they are, and pointed you to a book that went into greater detail.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            therefore science is impossible. The only knowledge we can have is from scripture.

            As Mohammed abu-Hamid al-Ghazali taught 800 years ago in Incoherence of the Philosophers. Islam has been going down that road ever since. Look where it got them.

        • Hi Will,

          Just a minute. Read Genesis 1 again. The trees were not full grown . It says “the earth brought forth”. The trees grew up.

          • Ok Dave, if that is your interpretation. Was Adam full grown? Or was he a baby? Or I guess a fetus would even less full grown. “To bring forth” does not imply ‘to start off as babies’. Not sure how you get that from those words…

      • The evidence for people not rising from the dead is just as overwhelming. Same with humans not being born of virgins, water not being able to change into wine, etc. The evidence that the universe is old is no different than the evidence that people don’t rise from the dead.

        All science is based on understanding physical processes by experiment and on inductively reasoning that physical processes that we can consistently repeat are unchanging. That inductive belief isn’t scientifically based, it’s an epistemological assumption.

        If you believe in an omnipotent God, then you have no reason to accept that physical processes and reactions have never changed. He made the laws that govern the universe, he is not bound by them. He could triple the speed of light, or halve the gravitational constant. In light of God’s control, why is it harder to reject evolution than it is to reject the belief that Jesus did not rise from the dead?

        If you accept Sola Scriptura, I don’t see how you square evolution with “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Maybe all the animals evolved extremely quickly earlier in the day, but Adam and Eve could not have. Genesis tells us that’s false. If you believe in evolution, then you don’t accept Sola Scriptura.

        Creationism is just science that starts with the assumption that we know the Bible is true. I disagree with the project, as the tacked on creationist science can’t prove the underlying assumption. Non-creationist science of course doesn’t start on the assumption that we know the Bible is true, and accepts as true only beliefs based on experiments that can be repeated. Of course, as Christians, we believe God doesn’t make himself available for questioning. See Job.

        • “Non-creationist science of course doesn’t start on the assumption that we know the Bible is true, and accepts as true only beliefs based on experiments that can be repeated.”

          I think this is a key viewpoint that creationists would take issue with and a key reason why they have such a strong (over)reaction against science. Secular science I think does not simply seek truth based on repeatable experiments no matter where truth may lead—this is (unfortunately) a myth, in my opinion, that many sincerely believe but simply isn’t true. Rather, secular science starts with the belief that the Bible CANNOT be true (actually more generally that no religion or supernatural belief of any kind can be true) and works overtime in a major way to find alternative explanations, no matter how improbable or complex, to avoid yielding any ground to the Bible or any other supernatural belief system.

          I’m not a YEC person or anti-science (I have a physics PhD myself and certainly value it and my training and my peers and teachers), but this philosophical view about science somehow being unbiased and completely neutral with respect to the Bible is not how I see it. It need not be that way and certainly wasn’t for many of the true greats of science (like Newton) whose foundation we still rely on heavily today.

        • joel hunter says:

          Boaz wrote,

          The evidence for people not rising from the dead is just as overwhelming. Same with humans not being born of virgins, water not being able to change into wine, etc. The evidence that the universe is old is no different than the evidence that people don’t rise from the dead.

          Exactly. And the evidence that Earth is the fixed, unmoving center of the universe (1 Chron 16:30, Isaiah 48:13, Hab 3:11, and many more) is no different than the evidence that the universe is old.

          If you believe in an omnipotent God, then you have no reason to accept that physical processes and reactions have never changed. He made the laws that govern the universe, he is not bound by them. He could triple the speed of light, or halve the gravitational constant. In light of God’s control, why is it harder to reject evolution than it is to reject the belief that Jesus did not rise from the dead?

          Hammer. Nail. Head. This is the exact line of reasoning that I try to use with my YEC colleagues regarding the geostatic and geocentric cosmos, but I guess there’s such a fixation on physics and biology that they won’t make the time to deal with the older problem of having accepted Copernicus’ unbiblical theory of heliocentrism. In your very words, I’d add, “In light of God’s control, why is it harder to reject geostatic geocentrism than it is to reject the resurrection?” God is not bound by the laws of gravity, optics, or any other natural law disseminated by so-called “science.”

          If you accept Sola Scriptura, I don’t see how you square evolution with “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

          And I’d add: And if you accept Sola Scriptura, I don’t see how anyone squares geokineticism with “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable,” and heliocentrism with Joshua 10:12-13 and “The sun and moon stood still in their habitation at the light of thine arrows as they sped.”

          If you believe in evolution, then you don’t accept Sola Scriptura.

          Couldn’t agree more, Boaz. And the same must hold for what the Bible says about physical cosmology (I haven’t even mentioned the vault of heaven and the waters surrounding the Earth above the windows of heaven). Given the multitude of verses that describe the fixity of the Earth, the mobility of the Sun, the nature of the sky and the stars, and the waters surrounding the Earth above the windows of heaven, I hope you’ll agree with me that if you believe in geokineticism, heliocentrism or other unbiblical views promulgated by modern astronomy, then you don’t accept Sola Scriptura.

          • “If you accept Sola Scriptura, I don’t see how you square evolution with “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

            Then you should take a literature course and hermenutics course. iam not trying to question your intellegence or hurt your feelings, but this would help you see how sincere, reasonable, intellegent, faithful Christians can believe that ““And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”is a mteaphor.

            Does God have lungs?

            Does God have feathers? Is it dark outside when He covers someone under the shelter of His wings?

            It is obvious that the Psalms are ppoetry and that the Gospels are narrative, but it is a fair question to ask what genre the first chapters of Gensis are. If we must take a wooden listeral aproach then we must accept that Genesis describes God creating two seperate worlds. One in the first chapter and one in the second.

            Do you?

    • Christiane says:

      The way you can know that ‘creationism’ is not a religious belief is this:

      There is an inconsistent treatment of the concept of ‘Survival of the Fittest’ among the extremists of the cultural right-wing:
      on the one-hand, the idea is rejected totally scientifically
      and on the other hand, the same concept is embraced economically in the worship of the divine-right of Capitalists to over-run the common good.

      • Is not or is?

        • Christiane says:

          Surivival of the Fittest is a part of Darwin’s theory.
          But the concept is given a strange treatment by the Christian far-right fundamentalists.
          This concept of survival of the fittest is rejected by them on religious grounds
          and embraced economically by them when out-of-control Captialism is chosen as a value over the common good.

          Hope that helps.

          • Charles Darwin was likely influenced by the writings of economist Adam Smith as he observed nature and developed his theory.

          • Of course history proves that collectivism is much more kind and gentle to the least the these. Just ask the millions who starved to death or were purged as not being one of the fit.

          • Lydia,

            I don’t think Christine is advocating communism so much as pointing out the bizarre double standard that one finds in YEC circles regarding the natural and the human spheres.

          • Christiane says:

            Sam, you are correct.
            The ‘double standard’ is there and, I believe, it is a sign of lack of integrity.
            Usually the people making the ‘communism’ remarks are deeply devoted to the corporate welfare state ‘uber alles’ and do not give evidence of any conscientious moral commitment to the common good.

    • Jeff, I guess you could read it that God made eggs and fetuses and seeds. But I think that is unnecessary. It appears that it was a grown up world.

      • Sorry if I missed earlier the viewpoint you’re coming from. If you are a YEC person, then I can understand that philosophically, there would be a need to view the earth as being created with apparent age. But from the Biblical text itself, I (in my reading) don’t find anything that necessitates this. When the text says that the earth brought forth this or that, we might think of that as meaning that fully grown trees or dogs suddenly popped up out of the ground (and I’m not saying this in a sarcastic tone or anything—just saying that’s one way to read this). But the text could just as well indicate that over a long period of time via natural processes (the “earth” did it), trees and dogs (which I seem to be obsessed with) came into being. That’s a perfectly legitimate reading of the text. My point is not to say YEC is right or wrong or that “theistic evolution” is right or wrong. My point is simply that looking at the text itself, I don’t see that a particular reading necessitating creation with apparent age is warranted.

  2. Show me a sponsored lecture at a Natural history museum where the head of the board of trustees or whatever states that the agenda of the museum is to take over the culture and the church to save it from destruction.

    “What we are doing here with Darwinism is saving America.” I want to hear that from the head of the museum.

  3. One Note Folks: STAY ON TOPIC.

  4. Check out this familiar guy giving a speech at the museum of natural history.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUfAuRyEX_w

    “How Hume would have relished the ‘I told you so moment’ [at Darwin's disproving of a designer'].

    This is the same guy that seriously stated that raising a child Christian is abuse that should be stopped by the government.

    IM, as one who has spent many an hour in the halls of the secular universities I can promise you that there is much triumphalistic silliness among the anti-christian.

    • Dawkins as a guest lecturer isn’t even in the ball park.’

      Ham OWNS this museum (AIG does). This is not a lecture. It’s a flag-planting statement of purpose. I could link a hundred evolutionists deiivering lectures. So what. You are missing my point. Why is Ham pretending this is a “science museum?” It’s a religious/political education foundation with pictures. There’s no science here. This is a psuedo-museum designed to get kids to see dinosaurs and then tell them the Bible is a science book and all non fundamentalist scientists (and science minded Christians) are tools of the devil.

      • Not even close? Here you have one of the most famous atheists (anti-Christian by his own definition) being invited by a large Natural History museum to do a victory dance about the fall of theism. I would say that is as much propaganda as Ham. I don’t know if you have been to a Museum of Natural history lately but they are not exactly about science either. They have rides and electronics and are there mostly to draw people in (and they hit them with an unquestioned presentation of evolution while they are there).

        • Dawkins doesn’t own the museum. He’s not trying to take over America and the church. He’s against religion dictating science. So am I.

          OK All museums are propaganda machines and no science is going on. Works for me.

          There’s no difference between AIG’s “Museum” and any other museum because, hey, if you’re opposed to scripture dictating science, then you are anti-Christian. Well, count me as “anti-Christian” then because I am against scripture dictating science.

          When I was a kid, I went to the natural history museum every week and Mr. Ford told us the fossils were old. Millions of years old. Little did I realize what he was really up to.

          I think AIG should give you a free annual pass :-)

          • So if science says that the dead don’t rise you say?

          • Don’t take this personally. I say that any man who lets science tell him that what scripture says is true or false is a fool. Historians, philosophers and scientists have no word for me. God has a word for me: Jesus is risen.

            Science says dead men don’t resurrect. I believe that and if you don’t I’ll be quite surprised. If you believe science PROVES the resurrection then you have a major Biblical problem.

            Jesus’ resurrection is a miracle. Science can’t prove or disprove it.

            If they don’t find the ark, I guess the Bible is toast?

          • Will: You’re a modernist. You need to abandon that sinking ship. One day it’s going to tell you your Bible is rubbish and your savior is dead. They don’t get a vote on the Lordship of Christ. Stop giving modernism the allegiance that only God deserves.

          • Modernist? Not at all. I am a critical realist. I would argue that critical realism is a truism (but that may be a reflection of the fact that my Christian thought was formed by NT Wright). The reason I ask the question is that I realize something that modernism missed. That religion and science don’t stay neatly in their corners. Compartmentalism doesn’t work. As Wright says, “We appeal to history to history we must go.” If science is telling a different history of things than the history that I am basing my life on I had better either disagree with science or stop basing my life on it. I can’t do both.

            Not finding an ark is one thing. Stating that the ark didn’t exist is another.

          • The Apostle’s Creed is basically a series of historical claims. It includes historical figures and historical events. If we say history isn’t important, then we take a big step away from orthodoxy.

        • Natural History museums do have the movie-themed exhibits these days, but I think it is a vast overstatement to suggest they are not about science.

    • Will,

      I’ve listened to Dawkins for hours. He gets a bit out there at times, but he’s not for prosecuting Christians for raising their kids. He gets steamed that about science, not religion.

      And do you have any idea what he’s referring to when he says Hume would have relished Darwin’s discovery?

      • I will find the NPR interview I heard. He said exactly that. The question was, “Do you consider raising a child Christian to be abuse.” His answer was ‘yes’. When they asked about prosecuting, he answered something along the lines of ‘we are not there yet.’ He is a bad and dangerous man IM.

      • Here is an article in which Dawkins puts forth the idea that religion is child abuse:

        http://richarddawkins.net/article,118,Religions-Real-Child-Abuse,Richard-Dawkins

        “the same way as Amnesty [International] works tirelessly to free political prisoners the world over, we should work to free the children of the world from the religions which, with parental approval, damage minds too young to understand what is happening to them”

        He is not for litigation yet [he says but I wouldn't want to count on the guy to protect my liberties as a parent]. Can you find a quote from a major YEC proponent suggesting that atheists are child abusers?

        • Will, Dawkins is not representative of the vast majority of scientists who accept the model of evolution. He goes beyond science and draws his own metaphysical conclusions, which are not necessitated by holding evolution to be a viable model. The real enemy of Christianity is not the evolutionary scientific model but the philosophical position of naturalism, which many, like Dawkins, hold with something akin to a fundamentalist zeal.

        • Chaplain, and yet here he is speaking at a Museum of natural science. My point in providing link to the lecture was that if we are going to get worked up about Ham speaking at the Creation museum we had better cast the same stones at Dawkins. There is a lot of propaganda on both sides. But it seems like we only notice it coming from the YEC.

          • OK. The “we only notice it from one side” comment is unfair and insulting to the other commenters.

          • Though I might question having Dawkins speak at MY natural science museum if I had one because of his controversial metaphysical views, we must also recognize that he has impeccable scientific credentials. I find it unfortunate that he has to go on a crusade against religion in addition to his scientific work. On the other hand, what scientific credentials does Ham have to be speaking about this issue? None. And that’s one of the main points of this discussion. He is doing it ONLY as a fundamentalist YEC proponent, and one who also readily admits he is no real scholar when it comes to the Bible either. iMonk is on mark. This is pure culture war propaganda, with no credible basis either in science or Biblical studies.

        • Will:

          Is there a reason you are ignoring the fact that Ham owns the Museum he’s speaking at and is speaking about the culture war?

          I’m getting the impression you are here to make the conversation less than constructive.

          • IM, not trying to be less than constructive. With regards to the fact that Ham owns it, I am not sure how that is different from a university run by avowed atheists who dislike Christians hiring Dawkins (a man who says I am a child abuser for raising my child to believe in a place called hell) to come in and scoff at backwards Christians. It seems like it is the other side of the coin isn’t it? What am I missing? Any conclusion that is drawn about the Creation museum’s scientific merit from Ham should be drawn about the Museum of Natural Histories invite of Dawkins should it not?

          • >a university run by avowed atheists who dislike Christians…

            I can see we aren’t going to talk real world here, but team sports. Christians vs universities run by atheists.

            State universities, like the ones both my kids attend/graduated from, Ohio State and UK, are owned by the citizens of the states in which they reside and are run by boards named by the elected governor.

            On Dawkins, as I said, I’ve listened to him for hours and I am reading him diligently. You are misrepresenting him. He’s said many excessive things, but he is not opposed to the practice of religion by families. See my interview with Valerie Tarrico.

            Do you think atheists are abusing their children by rejecting the Bible and the Christian God? Do you think Ham or Dawkins has spent more money to reshape society Politically in their image?

            Are we trying to win a “who is persecuted more and has the right to take over the culture as revenge” match? I’m sure the Christians will always win that. Society’s biggest whiners are evangelicals.

          • Football teams is not the term I would use but I do think that the dramatic fall of naive realism (and its subset positivism) should remind us all that there is no such thing as purely ‘objective science’. We all approach our scientific questions with a worldview of biases (both conscious and unconscious). Whether universities are technically ‘owned by the citizens’ or not doesn’t really matter. I would greatly surprised if a poll of the board of directors and the people running the museum of natural history didn’t show a group that are generally opposed to Christianity’s theology, morals, and doctrines. How else did Dawkins get asked to come?

            And I am not sure how I am misrepresenting Dawkins. Did you read the article I sent? He thinks Christianity is child abuse. What am I missing? Is there a better way to read his article that what I am saying?

            Do I think that atheism is child abuse? No. I think that parents have a right to raise their children with their own worldview and to suggest otherwise is scary to me. That is why I find Dawkins to be scary.

          • Just because science is not perfectly subjective does not mean that all viewpoints become equally valid. If that’s the case then all the myriad creation myths become equally probable along with evolution and YEC. At its core though, science is about evidence and the only evidence YEC’s are able to come up with is a particular interpretation of words written by people who weren’t even there when Genesis is supposed to have happened.

            As far as Dawkins saying that raising a child in a religious household is abusive, he may not be entirely without merit as much as I may hate to admit it. How many children become christians out of a fear of hell as opposed to a love of Christ?

          • “Football teams is not the term I would use but I do think that the dramatic fall of naive realism (and its subset positivism)”

            I don’t want to be uncharitable, but claiming that positivism is a subset of naive realism is just bizzare. You couldn’t find two ideas that are further apart ontologically.

            Naive realism says that real objects exist, that we can percieve those objects directly, and that those object exist whether or not they are being observed.

            Positivism is not interested in the existence of real objects. I is ony concerned with our _experience_ of those object. Remember, they key idea of positivism is that congnitively meaningful statements are either analytic or concern possible experience. The concept of a “real world’ is of no interest to positivism.

            In short, the ontology of Naive realism concerns objects. The ontology of positivism concerns experience.

          • K Bryan, this “bizarre” statement is not my own. I got that from NT Wright’s “New Testament and the People of God” (Page 32-33). I quote:

            “People assume, within the world of post-Enlightenment positivism, that they see things straight. At what many regard as a common-sense level, this position may be called ‘naive realism.'” (page 33 second paragraph)

            Wright’s point in connecting the two is that both the positivist and the naive realist assumes that they see things straight. Here is the diagram Wright uses to describe positivism (and naive realism):

            Observer ———————————–> Object

            verses Phenomenalism which goes like this

            Observer ———————————–> Object
            – One thinks that evidence of external reality is present
            Observer Object
            – Initial observation

            – But can survive and speak of truly of reality

          • The diagram didn’t show up right in the comments. Oh well. I highly recommend the first 200 pages of NTPG. Its all there.

  5. Look. I may not agree with everything that Ken is proposing but I think he has a reasonable point here. The kids are leaving the church because of the lack of confidence in the Bible. Ken’s conclusion is that when you tell people that the account of Genesis is not true, they can assume that other parts of the Bible are not true either. So why sould they believe that there only “one way” of salvation? Why should they believe in the second Adam, if the first Adam never existed? That makes sense to me.

    • Kids are certainly leaving the church over a lack of confidence of the bible. I would say that is to the (dis)credit of YEC – demanding the adherence to an unsupportable theological framework and calling it science. If you “must” believe YEC to be a christian, and YEC is, at a minimum, scientifically unproven, then what else about the faith YEC’s demand is also unproven and false?

      YEC is nothing more than a misguided logical conclusion of the application of modernism to Christian faith.

    • Ham is saying the only way to keep kids in the church is to produce unquestioning funamentalists with literal readings of the Bible. That’s not what Barna said. (Ham is actually expounding- surprise- what his own commissioned research study found.)

      Fundamentalism is NOT the answer. It’s a large part of the problem. The political scenario Ham is pushing is a large part of what is destroying the church in america.

      • As someone that ran screaming from a fundamentalist church I would agree that fundamentalism is not a good way to keep kids in church. I just don’t see YEC as a defining characteristic of fundamentalism. I would say I am an anti-fundamentalist YECst.

        • Ken Ham is AIG. AIG is like the extreme edged of YEC (well except for geo-centrists).

          And with AIG you have to believe in 6000 year old earth, no thorns or thistles existed before the fall, and a lot more. And you get told the science lies to you, carbon dating doesn’t work, etc… And are told “scientific theories” that don’t hold up. Some kids say “Great, tell me more.” Others walk out the door because they understand the science better that those trying to teach them and telling them to shut up and listen. And some just don’t care.

          My son is 20, my daughter is 17 and much of what I hear form folks my age about the whys don’t hold up to what they tell me about their friends.

          And being in a class of high school seniors and being told that all the alcohol in the Bible wasn’t really alcohol but just plan grape juice doesn’t help.

          After a while you begin to wonder just what WOULD Jesus do?

    • Lambpower says:

      The kids are leaving the Church because we’re not credible.There is no cognitive dissonance if one believes that God created the earth but did it through some form of evolution. I know WHO created the earth, I don’t know HOW He did it. However, people ike Ham tell kids that if they believe in evolution that (in essence) they can’t be Christian.

    • Peter, put simple, Ham’s conclusion has nothing to do with the “truth” of Genesis. It has to do with his *interpretation* of Genesis. “Literal” and “true” are not the same thing. Genesis is absolutely true. But it doesn’t have to be literal to be true.

      For example, in Song of Solomon, do you believe that the lover actually has eyes that are doves? Seems like a silly question, right? That’s because it is. You don’t read *that* part of the Bible *that* way. So why do I have to read Genesis literally?

      • “Ham’s conclusion has nothing to do with the “truth” of Genesis. It has to do with his *interpretation* of Genesis. ”

        Teaching the distinction truth and interpretation would make it easier for all of us to “stay in the church”.

      • “Ham’s conclusion has nothing to do with the “truth” of Genesis. It has to do with his *interpretation* of Genesis. ”

        Teaching the distinction truth and interpretation would make it easier for all of us to “stay in the church”.

      • “Ham’s conclusion has nothing to do with the “truth” of Genesis. It has to do with his *interpretation* of Genesis. ”

        Teaching the distinction truth and interpretation would make it easier for all of us to “stay in the church”.

  6. Don in Phoenix says:

    Where is Jesus and the Gospel in the YEC/Fundamentalist “solution” for the Church and the Nation?

    Not to get off topic, but IMO this is just another example of the wackiness that results from the “radical reform” concept that deletes “one holy catholic and apostolic” from the Creed, and we end up with self-educated and self-ordained pseudo-apostles proclaiming that you must believe A, B, C, D and E and absolutely CANNOT believe or entertain the concept of X, Y or Z to be a Christian.

    Who is Ham accountable to? Who oversees his ministry, and regulates his teaching?

    Why aren’t real Christians (who admit to being part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church) proclaiming the Gospel of Christ all over YouTube? Why don’t ORTHODOX Christians (including the Anglican and German/Lutheran varieties) have their own television networks? And why are we allowing the unregulated radicals to define Christianity?

    (Just food for thought)

  7. i’m pretty much speechless. i can’t believe that i actually heard a “christian leader” say that questions cause doubts.

    first of all 2/3 of our kids leave the church for intellectual reasons? that’s a shaky premise, to say the least, especially if we’re talking about middle school kids. at that age, it surely has a lot more to do with developing a radar for hypocrisy in adults and the natural move toward independence. furthermore if intellectual questions are the reason for their exodus, i would say it is because most christian parents and leaders don’t have enough balls to let them ask any tough questions, because we know we don’t have satisfactory answers.

    mr. ham and the cwa woman and those like them live in a very small world where the doors are locked and the window shades drawn. be careful of knocking on their door, because there’s a loaded shotgun in the hall closet.

    • “it is because most Christian parents and leaders don’t have enough balls to let them ask any tough questions, because we know we don’t have satisfactory answers.”

      If you read Ham’s book, you will see this is exactly the point he is making, and yet you seem to reject it here by saying that kids don’t leave the church for “intellectual reasons”? I would be more inclined to agree with you if you said “purely intellectual reasons”, since any “reason” is almost necessarily of varying composition of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Again, an honest reading of Ham’s book communicates this, while he clearly focuses on the questioning of biblical authority as ONE key component of the exodus of young people from the church. Because their questions about origins, history, and the conflicts between the evolutionary worldview, which is always presented as “science” in their public schools, and the Biblical worldview, which is always presented as “religion” at best in their public schools, are not answered by their spiritual leaders, the church has become irrelevant.

      Aside from that, I think this discussion, beginning with iMonk’s initial premise, is missing the point entirely. iMonk proposes that religion should never be allowed to dictate science and vice versa. What about Truth? Should THAT be allowed to “dictate science”? Reading iMonk’s posts leads me to believe that he believes that scripture is truth. If that is the case, how can it NOT have any relevance to science? It must, just as it must have relevance to history (as someone else here pointed out). “Religion” can represent just about any ideology whatsoever, but the essence of Christianity is that it is the only “religion”, ideology, or whatever term you care to use that is TRUE.

      Ham’s point, with which I agree, is that the Bible has been completely disconnected from reality for today’s students exactly because they are taught old-universe, millions-of-years, evolutionary “science” relentlessly from an early age in almost every context imaginable. When they come to a point where they see that this history does not square with the history of the world presented in the Bible, they make the logical conclusion that both histories CANNOT be simultaneously true. This leads to either an abandonment of the faith as superstition, or the embracing of a more liberal theology that tries to squeeze millions of years and evolution into the Bible in ways some have presented in this discussion.

      iMonk says, “Why is Ham pretending this is a “science museum?” It’s a religious/political education foundation with pictures. There’s no science here. This is a psuedo-museum designed to get kids to see dinosaurs and then tell them the Bible is a science book …” The Creation Museum presents a history of the world according to the Bible. Yes, it uses pictures and dinosaurs bones. If I go to a museum of natural history, what will I find? I will find a history of the world according to evolution and naturalism using pictures and dinosaur bones. iMonk insists that there is no science at the Creation Museum because it presents a history of the world that disagrees with evolution, but this can only be true if iMonk presupposes that evolution is true, which, unless I’m mistaken, clearly he does. This position is arbitrary and is begging the question. It is saying the Creation Museum is not a museum because it isn’t a museum, since a museum must present an evolutionary history of the world. This statement does not PROVE that evolutionary history is TRUE or that it is better supported by either operational or historical science. I could just as easily say that the Museum of Natural History isn’t a museum because it presents a history of the world that does not agree with the Bible.

      In summary, I biggest disagreement with iMonk’s stated objection is that Ham is in the wrong by promoting religion at a museum rather than science. Neither “creationism” nor “evolution/naturalism” are purely science. Both are “religious” positions in that they presuppose a truth about the origins of the universe, humanity, etc. Even so, and perhaps ironically, I AGREE that Ken Ham has an agenda. He doesn’t hide it. He has always said that AiG is a ministry with a purpose. This speech reflects that purpose. I think it is naive to assume that a … naturalist? … museum has no agenda simply because it isn’t “religious” but rather “scientific”. As I’ve already attempted to explain, I think this assumption is erroneous.

      • This post is borderline too long. I’m being flexible since the creationists are having such a good time ignoring the entire culture war emphasis of Ham’s “museum” talk and the Dawkins/CWA discussion hasn’t been mentioned.

        When science disproves the Bible I’m wagering you fellows won’t be abandoning ship.

        • IM, I think his point was ‘truth matters’. Whether you want to categorize those truths as ‘scientific or not’ is secondary. If science disproves the bible (as you say) we as Christians need to step back and say, “is it true?”. If we believe that our faith rests on history (remember the Apostle’s creed is a series of historical beliefs) then it matters whether the history is true. If science is saying ‘no it isn’t’ we need to either agree that it isn’t really true, or explain where the scientific approach went wrong.

          Science literally means ‘to know’. How do you know something that we put our faith in. If the Christian faith is that God acted in history (through Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, the prophets and finally in Jesus) and historians (scientists or otherwise) are saying that God didn’t act in history, I don’t see how you can agree with both (the scriptural account and another account). Can you explain how you can hold both views at the same time?

      • A natural history museum exists to display/share what has been discovered about the history of the planet. Rocks, fossils and cultural artifacts are displayed because they interest those of us who are interested in natural history, and more importantly they are the preserved record of this planet’s history. By no means is it a complete record. There is much more to discover.

        If a fossilized fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is ever discovered, it will belong in a natural history museum. It will belong in a natural history museum because it will be part of the fossil record.

      • joel hunter says:

        LittleJeff wrote,

        What about Truth? Should THAT be allowed to “dictate science”? Reading iMonk’s posts leads me to believe that he believes that scripture is truth. If that is the case, how can it NOT have any relevance to science? It must, just as it must have relevance to history.

        Exactly. It seems that we’re so caught up in the 19th-20th century “scientific” findings of physics, chemistry and biology, that we’ve forgotten where this skepticism toward the Bible originated. Enlightenment atheism is the offspring of Humanism, and humanism was ascendant in the 15th-16th centuries. That’s when the big-named astronomers were putting forth theories of the cosmos that clearly contradicted the Bible.

        We started to question the plain truths of the Bible when we allowed the astronomers to ignore biblical cosmology and invent the lie of a moving Earth in a Sun-centered “solar” system. Copernicus and Galileo effectively ripped over 67 verses out of the Bible. In Galileo’s case, he made the standard liberal theological maneuver of trying to reinterpret the plain meaning of passages incompatible with his theory, allowing his astronomical science to dictate and control the interpretation of Scripture. His Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina is one long argument about how Joshua 10:12-14 doesn’t really mean the Sun moved and the Earth stands still. Where do you think all these OECers and TEs learned their techniques?

        Ham’s point, with which I agree, is that the Bible has been completely disconnected from reality for today’s students exactly because they are taught old-universe, millions-of-years, evolutionary “science” relentlessly from an early age in almost every context imaginable.

        Yes, including astronomy. But sadly, when I search at AiG’s site for assistance in combating this older threat of heliocentrism, I can’t find any pro-geostatic and –geocentric articles. And worst of all, the Creation Museum’s own planetarium presentations show a Copernican model of the solar system and not the Bible’s system! This seems to me a major oversight. Fighting 19th-20th century physics and biology is just pruning the newest growth of anti-biblical science. We need to go further back to pull it up by the roots.

        Neither “creationism” nor “evolution/naturalism” are purely science. Both are “religious” positions in that they presuppose a truth about the origins of the universe, humanity, etc.

        Exactly. And to your “etc.,” LittleJeff, would you agree that we should add physical cosmology? Surely that isn’t purely science either. If the Bible speaks about it, shouldn’t we keep our faith in the Bible’s descriptions?

  8. This is painful to watch…. Very painful… Especially having grown up with this rhetoric. But I have made my peace with this issue. I’m with the archbishop of Canterbury (from one of the later vids).

  9. So…anyone here actually *been* to the Creation Museum? It’s in Cincinnati…just down the road apiece from me…

    • The Creation Museum is on the list of things to see when I visit America the next time.

      • Uh, when you come you’ll not find it in Cincinnati which is located in Ohio on the NORTH side of the river by the same name. The CM is on the south side of said river in Kentucky. But it’s not too far from the Cincinnati airport which is also in Kentucky.

        Reading these two posts made me think of what visitors to the US must think of us. The top 3 destinations in the US for overseas visitors are NYC, Orlando FL, and Las Vegas. As someone who’s traveled around the country over the decades I can think of no places in the US that are less representative of the majority of the people living here except maybe the Creation Museum.

        Oh, well.

  10. I don’t think they even make a broader brush than the one the woman from CWA paints with. The tired strategy is always the same: stereotype and demonize. If it’s not “the media,” or “the government” it’s “scientists.” And if they really want to “teach the controversy” how about Ken Ham hiring some legitimate evolutionary biologists at his museum? CWA could sponsor it with the millions Tim LaHaye’s made off of his books.

    For the vast, vast majority undergrads that I teach it’s not that they have lost confidence in the Bible, they’ve lost confidence in the Church, i.e., other Christians: their parents and people like this saccharine woman from CWA.

  11. A useful thought experiment: what would be acceptable evidence to change one’s mind about a specific belief?

    If the silent answer is ‘Nothing’ then that speaks volumes not about the subject under ‘discussion’ but about the person who holds that answer.

    Any mind unwillingly to change is by definition a closed mind. Why might younger people be leery of embracing that mindset if it is presented as a necessary condition?

    • Great question. I found myself (someone who doesn’t really buy into macroevolution) asking this of myself.

      I am genuinely intrigued by theistic evolution and open to being wrong, but I really am stumped by the apparent gaps between species, lack of missing links, and the odd fact that apparently nothing seems to be evolving between species anymore.

      Answering those objections would certainly steer me towards being a theistic evolutionist.

      Beside, how cool would it be to have more in common with CS Lewis?

  12. Again, I am forced to come to the following conclusion. If the science is settled and the facts are right and evolution is true, then there is NO logical reason to accept the biblical claims concerning our existence or the person of Jesus. It makes no logical sense.

    God creates our existence, is not involved one iota for billions of years and then suddenly shows up to teach, preach, do miracles, die and then come back to life? And what for? Because we apes needed help evolving? Silly.

    Let’s face some more facts. Jesus was a man. He came, he taught, he died and that is about all that might be scientifically proven. Christianity had a beginning and will have an end long after more intelligent people who have accepted evolution have left behind the fables and myths of religon.

    It is that or believe that evolution might be wrong and the bible right. And I’m not going there.

    • your God is too small.

      • I have tried that route and tried to accept a God who worked through evolution. I have attempted to separate science from religion. What I found is that if I separate science from religion so that one does not dictate to the other, I do not see how I cannot separate God from evolution.

        To me, mixing God and evolution is mixing religion and science. Separate the two and I must choose between one or the other. So accepting God and evolution contradicts the claim that religion and science must be separate.

        • When I came back to Christ, I could not slam shut my brain to decades of study of natural history. The simplest solution would be to read the creation stories as creation myths of no real importance. All cultures have creation myths. As Stephen Jay Gould would say, even baseball has creation myths.

          Instead of outright dismissal, I reread the book of Genesis slowly and prayerfully. To my surprise, I discovered a great deal of spiritual significance. I believe that when we read Genesis for spiritual nourishment, every passage becomes a feast. Read as a literal manual of how all things began, we strip away all spiritual relevance.

        • “To me, mixing God and evolution is mixing religion and science. ”

          Its okay to mix them. God tells us in the bible that it is good to look at creation and praise him for it. Paul said those without the bible have no excuse because they have the amazingness of the natural world.

    • Yes. This is very sad. You’re telling 70% of the Christian world their Christianity is false.

    • MWPeak,
      I think you are creating a few false dichotomies. First of all, whether the world has been here for billions of years or not and whether biological evolution happens or not, it would not at all imply that God “stepped back”. Christians are not Deists. We believe with Jesus that not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father’s will. Neither did slime turn into amoebas which turned into fish which turned into lizards (if that happened) without the Father’s will. There is nothing about the nature of God or salvation which inherently negates the possibility of Him taking a long time to get that ball rolling. He does all things for His own pleasure, including making it rain in places where there is no one to see it, read Job 38-40.

      Second, even IF the modern theory of evolution has it basically right, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible that there was a special creation of the historical Adam and Eve who we are all descended from and whom God entered into covenant with and who sinned on our behalf, so that Christ came to redeem us. Adam and Eve and the Covenant of Grace and the incarnation of Christ are matters of revelation and history that physical science can’t prove or disprove.

    • Don’t let the matches near all those strawmen!

  13. That “Richard Dawkins interviews creationist Wendy Wright” is incredible.

  14. Dan Allison says:

    Wow. Seems like this discussion went negative from the get-go. I totally reject the idea that “if evolution is true then the Bible can’t be.” Boy, talk about small minds. The “literal” meaning of something is frequently the most vulgar and pedestrian meaning. Christians should never be afraid to use the brains God gave them and should never, never, demand that God address them only in a “literal” manner. God created art, language, beauty, metaphor, allegory, and simile, and He has EVERY right to use it. If a person can’t handle poetry, symbolism, or literature, then he/she has real problems. I can’t speculate on the source or nature of those problems, but this I’m sure of: it’s not pretty.

  15. Genesis begins with a creation story. The next thing you read is an entirely distinct creation story. What makes literalists think that these stories aren’t INTENTIONALLY allegorical, in light of two distinct portraits being placed side-by-side by the same Spirit-inspired editor. I’m not being sardonic. Well, I am. But I’d really like to hear some good apologetics from a literalist or two.

    In other words, doesn’t scripture itself point to a non-literalist reading?

    • PS: This is a different Daniel than the Daniel from a couple posts up.

    • My opinion is that there’s no reason to see these two stories as somehow being inconsistent when taken at face value. Documentary theory proponents have tried to make these two stories out to be much more separate and incompatible than they really are. I would only say that the one key element that requires something non-literal is that the days of Genesis 1 aren’t 24 hour days. To me, Genesis 1 (alone and in combination with Genesis 2) seems to suggest in and of itself that the days are indistinct periods of time more important for the content of what happened on them rather than for how long they took. BUT…taking them as periods of time does not suddenly require that the whole story becomes figurative and can mean anything we want it to. So long as we just allow for “days” to span periods of time, possibly overlapping, I see no other problem with harmonizing Genesis 1 and 2, Genesis 1 being the view from the grand cosmic scale and Genesis 2 zooming in to focus on what happened specifically with Adam. The idea that the sequence of animal creation is somehow different doesn’t hold water, in my opinion—whatever happened locally in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 is simply meant to focus on how things happened in relation to Adam not to give a parallel account of the “big picture.”

      That’s my “apologetics” in one paragraph (for what it’s worth!!) for a literal reading (where I define literal as non-allegorical, keeping to the plain sense of the text but not necessarily slavishly forcing every word into a predetermined box and thereby preventing interpretations which use figures of speech as often as we do in our everyday speech and writing, in a nutshell). :)

      • Okay. I knew the two stories weren’t technically incompatable. I guess my question is, “Why put it that way?” But you point to certain differences in emphasis between the two stories, and this is helpful.

        • Hi,
          If it’s helpful, one additional aspect of the different emphasis of the two chapters is that Genesis 1 uses the word Elohim (translated God) whereas Genesis 2 uses Yahweh (translated Lord). Genesis 2 also uses both together right at the beginning. The point is that Elohim is a generic name for God, more like a title, whereas Yahweh is a personal name which (if you believe Genesis was written by Moses) was the name of the God the Israelites were just being introduced to. The point was to demonstrate that the great cosmic and impersonal God who created everything is also the same personal God directly indirecting with humanity. Throughout the first few chapters of Genesis, there is a switching back and forth between Elohim when God is acting more globally from a distance and Yahweh when God is directly communicating with His people. I think that’s the point of the different creation stories—-there is a cosmic creator in chap. 1 who is linked with the personal God that walks and talks with us in chap. 2.

          Peace.

          • Actually all of chap 2 uses both words together and later there is a switch to Yahweh on its own (and then the oscillating back and forth I mentioned). The point is the same—just correcting my statement that chap 2 only uses both words at the beginning.

          • Thanks Jeff!

  16. A question that has puzzled me for years: why do so many Christians (IDers and YECs especially) feel that they need the authority of science to validate or “prove” their faith? Why would their faith be any less true or real if it wasn’t “scientific?” Why bring science into it at all? Aren’t these christians in effect saying that science has equal or superior authority to scripture and revelation if science has to be used to validate or prove the truth of scripture?

    • excellent point

      a great theologian (Bavinck I think) said “Scripture validates Scripture.” If we try to base the validity of Scripture on science, history, experience, whatever, we’re looking in the wrong place.

    • I wrote about this in the post “Why I Am Not A YECer.” It’s been my position for years and I am tired of being a coward about it. Evangelicals who aren’t YECers need to speak up.

      • “I wrote about this in the post “Why I Am Not A YECer.” It’s been my position for years and I am tired of being a coward about it. Evangelicals who aren’t YECers need to speak up.”

        I agree completely.

        But, speaking as someone who’s walked this road , you need to be prepared to get the crap kicked out of you by the YECs. You need to be ready to lose status, respect, and have fellowship and relationships broken by Christians who will no longer see you as “one of us.”

        I really don’t blame the average YEC in the pew for this reaction. They honestly believe that in opposing YEC I’m tearing down the very foundation of Christianity and their faith. They believe this because they’ve been sold a bill of goods by their pastors, youth leaders, and leaders of the YEC movement, e.g. Ken Ham. In dealing with the YEC in the pews, the key words are “gentleness” and “paticence”. They are the quintessential example of the weaker brother, and need to be lovingly handled as such.

        My principled stand against YEC is one of the (many) reasons I’m no longer attending the SBC church that I was a member of for 17 years. I was fortunate in that, while my pastor disagreed with me, he didn’t see YEC as a foundational doctrine, and we had a very cordial relationship. Some of the people in the pews were another matter entirely. For me, the sacrifice was worth it because of the damage I saw YEC doing to evangelism and the kingdom. I’d do it all over again without a second thought. But I think people need to be aware of what might happen to them if they speak out against YEC in your average evangelical church. It’s not pretty, folks.

    • Why? One word: fear.

    • Astute questions that really get to the heart of the matter, K Bryan.

      I have been told numerous times by fundamentalists and different evangelicals that I *cannot* be a “real” Christian since I am not a YEC-er. This despite my acceptance (and embracing) of the Apostle’s Creed. Doesn’t matter to them – this is one of their self-determined litmus tests for “real” Christians. This is what IM wrote about recently in is account of “Niki”. Do we really want to be erecting these false choices as barriers for people to come to Christ? Or to stay in the church?

      Because this is *NOT* on the same order of importance as the resurrection (which, by the way, I do not need “science” to prove for me – I accept it as a matter of faith). In my view, it doesn’t even qualify as a “secondary issue”. It falls way down the list, if it needs to appear on the list at all.

    • “Why bring science into it at all?Aren’t these christians in effect saying that science has equal or superior authority to scripture and revelation if science has to be used to validate or prove the truth of scripture?”

      I just want to know what is true and what is not- that goes for all areas of life: faith, relationships, got policies, science, medicine, psychology, everything!

      I’m no scientist – but for me, if science says the earth is round, then that settles it, regardless of what the bible says. If science says the earth is old, that settles it, regardless of what the bible says. Sure, it is jarring and uncomfortable to have to re-think how I Iook at the bible and reality, but that’s just part of life and growth, and “putting aside childish things.”

      Its okay to change how one views things.

    • If science truly proves evolution then it does and should effect your faith. No reasonable person could believe in evolution and then take the 6 days to be a literal six days.

    • “A question that has puzzled me for years: why do so many Christians (IDers and YECs especially) feel that they need the authority of science to validate or “prove” their faith? Why would their faith be any less true or real if it wasn’t “scientific?” Why bring science into it at all? Aren’t these christians in effect saying that science has equal or superior authority to scripture and revelation if science has to be used to validate or prove the truth of scripture?”

      Some friends and I were discussing this issue yesterday and here’s my (and I think their take on it). A pastor once said in a sermon that the people in a church pew in 1850 had more in common with the daily life of Mose than with anything we experience currently in the US or other modern industrial society. And I think he’s totally correct. So in the last 150 years or so we (human society) has basically transformed the world. And life that was simple and fairly consistent for 1000s of years is now very very different. And since WWII the ability of the common man to understand the “why” behind the science in our lives is very hard. At the beginning of WWII there were likely only 1000 to 5000 people on the planet who understood what is now covered on college undergraduate physics. And this wasn’t generally true and thus not a problem prior to this point. So now we have a situation where most people in our (USA) society use technology that for all practical purposes is based on magic. Period. Try explaining how a GPS system can be so accurate with out talking about digital signal processing extracting radio signals from background noise that’s much stronger than the signal and how the firm knowledge of nuclear decay rates keeps the timings on track and on and on and on. Yet many of us carry around a telephone that has a GPS bulit in. And use it. It’s magic to many.

      There’s a total disconnect here and our society (USA) doesn’t know how to deal with it. And it’s not just evangelical religion. It’s also homeopathic medicine. Crossing over types of events. And so on.

      YEC is just a part of the problem. It gives many (but not many who post here) comfort in a simple answer to a hard question where they can’t even follow the discussion.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      A question that has puzzled me for years: why do so many Christians (IDers and YECs especially) feel that they need the authority of science to validate or “prove” their faith?

      The same reason they feel they need to find Egyptian chariots at the bottom of the Red Sea or a big Gopher-wood Ark on Mt Ararat.

      One-upmanship.

      Something they can cling to as Absolute PROOF! to rub in all those Heathens’ faces — “SEE? SEE? I’M RIGHT! YOU’RE WRONG! HAVE FUN IN HELL! HAW! HAW! HAW!”

      Like they don’t really believe it themselves, and always have to prop up what belief they have with BE-LEEEEEEEVING.

  17. UPDATE: I am closing comments till tomorrow. I’m going to sleep and I don’t want to have to sort through all this debate in the morning.

  18. Good morning Mike, I hope you rested. Thank you for your ongoing patience with my posts.

    I spent all night last night wrestling over what I have read and heard in this post, other posts on this site and articles on other sites as well as what I learned in college, all in an effort to reconcile God and evolution.

    What I have come up with is that science is an objective form of knowledge whereas religion is subjective. It seems to me that Ken Ham is taking the approach that scripture is an objective source of knowledge (i.e. the Word of God), which is driving his beliefs. This, of course, is probamatic because I do not see how scripture can be objective, especially given the culture and historical influences affecting biblical writers as well as their ignorance of science. Apparantly, Ham ignores these realities.

    I conclude that it is better and more intellectually honest to say “Our world came about through evolution” and “I believe that there is a God.” The difference is that from science I have gleaned factual knowledge and from religon I have drawn a subjective belief, which may or may not be true.

    And so I guess my faith emerges from believing what I cannot be sure is true, the subjective side of things.

    • Just wanted to share the traditional Christian perspective in response to the statement

      “What I have come up with is that science is an objective form of knowledge whereas religion is subjective.”

      I mentioned in an earlier post that science actually is not objective and I that this is, in my view, a common myth. No raw facts can truly be viewed as such—every piece of data obtained is always interpreted in light of certain a priori ideas. One might bring different ideas into play, but there is always a framework within which to interpret all data—the data is objective, but what we do with it in science is always fundamentally subjective. Much like in language, a given word has no real meaning in and of itself—it must be understood in a sentence, a context. All of this in the traditional Christian view is due to our fundamental limitations as human beings.

      Religion itself, taken as how we read and respond to Scripture, can also have subjectivity in it for the same reason—our human limitations. But Scripture is considered to be not the result of human knowledge but divine revelation. It is objectively true in the deepest sense…it IS truth. Our limitations make for variant understandings at time (subjectivity), but this is the fault of humans not of Scripture which we hold forth to be completely true, even if we can’t fully understand it. Science has no such ultimate objectivity—it is and always must be subjective because it is built only on human understanding.

    • MW,

      Again you seem to be creating a false dilemma. The reconciliation is not “God and evolution” as you put it, but the text of scripture and the facts of nature. Both of those are objective, and both are met with interpretation by subjective and fallible human beings. God is the author of both Scripture and nature, and God is not divided against Himself. Bear in mind that even if evolution is true, all scientists combined know less than 0.1% of what there is to be known in the universe.

      It is better to start with Christ and the gospel – that which was seen and heard and handled “concerning the word of life” – than to be held up by dilemmas that ultimately are not there even if our incredibly limited and partially informed minds can’t fully see the reconciliation yet.

      • MW writes: Bear in mind that even if evolution is true, all scientists combined know less than 0.1% of what there is to be known in the universe. And you gleaned this figure from…?

    • Very nicely (and honestly) put.

  19. Michael,

    I’m not a YEC, but attend a church where the elders are each YEC.

    That said, I deplore the increased scientism that has been injected into the Church.

    And that said, I’m completely baffled by why you think this ‘war’ is of any value. Most minority groups believe that they represent the timid and uninformed majority, so I don’t buy “it’s because they claim to speak for all of us” bit. I would think that if you wanted to be more persuasive with the AIG crowd you’d be eager to diffuse their concerns by engaging them at their roots. Questions like…How does Gen. 1-3 resolve/contend against modern evolutionary ideas? Is the Creation Story merely metaphorical or more? The answers to these questions are the things that drive YEC’ers and better arguments in this area promise to hold greater sway than just saying your cautious fan of Dawkins and that we should all get on board.

    • I’ve been discussing these things with the YECers that I work with for almost 20 years. No one is interested in science or scientific arguments. They are deconstructing science and have replaced it with a modernistic view of the Bible. As Will said plainly, “God only left one record.” Scripture. So there is no discussion about science here.

      I am mourning the loss of a friend in the faith; a young man force fed Ham and Hovind who rejected Christianity as a whole after 1.5 years at college. I am speaking only to say “I am a Christian. I believe the Bible and the Gospel and I am not YEC.”

      I’ve been accosted for 20 years over my refusal to buy the AIG/Hovind rhetoric. I have no plans other than to continue that refusal and to tell anyone who is listening that there are millions and millions of Christians who don’t buy that rhetoric.

      BTW, I am not defending Dawkins. See previous post “some thoughts on Dawkins.” But Will seems to think that a culture warrior talking about taking over America and denouncing all churches that don’t agree with YEC is the same as a Professor of science lecturing on why Darwin’s discovery was the greatest contribution to knowledge. As Will continues to say these are the same thing, I faced with either banning him or responding over and over.

      • Michael,

        I acknowledge you’re not defending Dawkins, the “cautious fan” quip was about your appreciation of his candidness.

        Will? Who cares what Will thinks – no disrespect to Will – but this is just a meta. Let him vent. Though in the minority, I think we should hear what Will has to say just as much as Dawkins. I don’t agree with him, but his view is, after all, the view you were looking to engage, yes?

      • Yes, but here’s where I am: I have no desire to substantially engage people who reject me as a Christian. I’d FAR rather hang with Dawkins, etc than schismatics like Ham and company. Dividing the body of Christ and presiding over the division with some modernist insistence that I agree science gets to cast the deciding vote on the resurrection is high treason.

        • With respect to the notion that you are being rejected as a Christian by those in the YEC group, I think (and I understand this is probably a separate topic but just making the point) that this demonstrates the dangers of having a fragmented Church Universal where each group is free to go to extremes in doctrine or practice rather than all coming together in a corporate body when there are contentious questions and submitting to the authority of that universal body (like the early church councils, e.g)—-we may claim to be “one bread, one body” but in reality we are anything but. Yielding to the collective wisdom is a check on extremes. BTW, I have experienced the same rejection as a Christian by YEC groups.

        • Now this where I find solid common ground. It is arrogant to judge another person’s salvation on the basis of doctrinal debate. My personal theological struggles and difficulties are not enough to make me say that either IM or Ken Ham is not my brother. Anyone who does the will of my Father is my brother, even if they may be misguided.

          Praying for peace, inside and out …

      • IM, thank you for tolerating me – I will drop the Dawkins stuff (we can agree to disagree). Your comments above are an unfair misrepresentation of my views. I love science (have the degree to show it). I currently work as an engineer and do science every day in some capacity in the corporate world. The thing that kills me about being a YEC is that I so often get lumped in with other preconceptions about what YEC is and who are the players so I end up having to endlessly clarify ‘that is not what I was saying’.

        When I said that “God only left one record”, I am not saying that therefore historical and scientific investigations are useless. The two authors that has shaped my faith in perhaps the most profound way is NT Wright (who’s brilliant historical investigation of the first century is excellent) and Alistar McGrath (who has a PHD in MicroBiology). I think science has a wonderful role to play in helping us understand our faith and the biblical accounts.

        Here is what I meant: Going back to GK Chesterton’s airplane, historical speculation needs a record to refer to. Imagine trying to discover what happened at the founding of our country without ever looking at written records. Just by digging up old guns and maps you might come up with some interesting theories but I think that you could see that the best you could do is argue for *plausibility*. It would be foolish to say that your theory is *proven* . Do you see the difference? This is why it is very helpful to have a written record to check your theories by. Then you get much closer to something like proof (although Philosophy 101 says that you can’t really prove anything). So, when I said, God only left one record, I meant that history only gives us one written and reliable record of the events of the formation of the world. When scientists theorize without using that record they are sort of like civil war historians that refuse to read anything but just look at artifacts.

        That is what I meant.

        • I am familiar with Wright and McGrath.

          Would you mind if I asked how old you are?

          • Sure. I am 32. I just graduated with an MDiv from Asbury (in your neck of the woods – BTW, Most of the profs at Asbury are Theistic Evolutionists). I also have MBA and Mechanical Engineer degrees from Michigan (in Ann Arbor). I love NT Wright. I don’t know if you have ever read ‘The New Testament and the People of God’ but I don’t think it is a big overstatement to say it is a work of genius. The first 200 (out of over 600) are on epistemology that go over some foundational ideas that I think people on all sides of this issue should mull over before debating (brilliant stuff).

            For the record, given that I love Wright and McGrath (and many others who like them are not YEC) you can probably guess that I am not one of the guys condemning you to hell for not being YEC – maybe I should have clarified that out of the gate.

          • And by the way, I guarantee you would have more fun hanging out at my house than at Dawkin’s. My guess is that he is a teetotaler. Next time you are in Detroit let me know.

        • joel hunter says:

          Will, I came to this conversation late, so I’m going to collect some of the things you’ve said above and hope you find them down here. I really want to support the arguments you’re making and I hope that I can convince you that the roots of all this accommodation to science is earlier than the evolution controversy. Since I’m sure you’d agree that when the Bible speaks on matters of science, it speaks with entire accuracy, I think you’ll also agree that we’ve gotten seriously off-track from Scriptural cosmology.

          You wrote:

          You don’t think that Natural History Museum’s don’t have ‘evolutionary educators’ speak there? The thing that kills me about this whole debate is that there seems to be a working assumption that all the unreasonable goofballs are on the YEC side and all the reasonable and objective people are on the other side.

          I get this all the time when I advocate the clear biblical position on physical cosmology: the fixed, unmoving Earth, the mobility of the Sun, the nature of the sky and the stars, and the waters surrounding the Earth above the windows of heaven. There’s a working assumption beneath the whole debate over the position and movement of the Earth that all the unreasonable goofballs are on the geocentric side and all the reasonable and objective people are on the heliocentric side. And all those “reasonable” and “objective” people are condescending to me and try to make me feel insecure in my knowledge and understanding.

          Why is it that we as Christians are so willing to point to science as disproving the literal understanding of Genesis but the science disproving the literal understanding of the resurrection narratives is much more overwhelming? Evolution points to something in the unseen history but the irreversibility of death is shown over and over right in front of us.

          You are banging out the SAME arguments that I make again and again! You would not believe the number of Christians who are so willing to point to “science” as disproving the literal understanding of over 67 verses in the Bible that speak to physical cosmology.

          But you know what really hurts? I can’t get very many of my fellow believers who hold to the literal meaning of Genesis 1-11, who bravely hold the line on the plain meaning of the passages that describe six, 24-hr calendar days of creation and 6000 years of cosmic history, to consistently apply those same interpretive principles when the Bible touches on other scientific subjects.

          For example, one book on the Bible and astronomy says this: “Bible writers used the ‘language of appearance’, just as people always have. Without it, the intended message would be awkward at best and probably not understood clearly.” Can you believe that? Well if it’s okay to appeal to the “language of appearance” when the Bible speaks to the Earth’s fixity or the Sun’s movement or the firmament or the waters surrounding the Earth above the windows of heaven, then it must be okay to appeal to the “language of appearance” when it speaks to origin of the Earth, Sun, Moon, stars, plants, animals, and men, the Flood, and the Resurrection.

          Some of these conservative “scholars” will then defend this convenient Texas two-step by saying that “Oh, but we have such overwhelming evidence that the Earth moves and is located in a solar system. Now it’s obviously true.” Sure, it’s “overwhelming evidence” because they’ve allowed scientific presuppositions to take the place of sound biblical ones. They’ve assumed that cosmology can be explained naturally. Next thing you know, they’ll find evolution “obviously true” when it’s been around long enough to produce “overwhelming evidence.”

          • Joel, Newton showed that all motion is relative. Let me put on my engineering hat for a second. To say that a bus is going 50 mph is really to say that it is going 50 mph *in relation to the earth*. Two people on the bus can be standing still *in relation to the bus*. The Newtonian definition of motion requires a reference point. You can’t say that something is moving or standing still without an implicit assumption of a spatial reference point. All of this is to say that as people standing on the earth, we can honestly say that the earth can’t be moved. Why? Because it is our reference point. We can also say the sun goes around the earth? Why because earth is our reference point for motion. I sincerely believe that the Galileo debate was resolved as a misunderstanding of motion by Newton.

          • joel hunter says:

            “Newton showed that all motion is relative.” Newton was human, and a scientist. The Bible plainly teaches that NOT all motion is relative–the Earth is absolutely fixed and immovable (dozens of verses). Why does Newton have more authority than Bible on this scientific issue? You are the same Will who said

            Why is it that we as Christians are so willing to point to science as disproving the literal understanding of Genesis but the science disproving the literal understanding of the resurrection narratives is much more overwhelming?

            I’m agreeing with what you said here, but now you seem to be backtracking. It seems that in your latest comment that you are willing to point to Newton as disproving the literal understanding of over 67 biblical passages. Aren’t you doing the same thing with Newton that OECers and TEs do with Lyell, Darwin and Lamaitre?

          • immovable in relation to what joel? To us? Than you are right. I don’t think we disagree here. Definitions are what you make of them. If you define motion as we do it has to have a reference point. The earth is immovable if earth is our reference point (which it is).

          • joel hunter says:

            IOW, if Newton’s theory of motion contradicts the Bible, so much the worse for Newton.

            I just don’t get how you can change interpretive principles midstream. When the Bible speaks to physics, geology, biology, paleontology, earth science, anthropology, etc., it trumps what scientists in those fields find and theorize, but when the BIble speaks to physical cosmology, the scientists trump the Bible?

            If Genesis 1 excludes scientific theories like plate tectonics, the constancy of the speed of light, and the origin of the species, why doesn’t it exclude scientific theories that deny the existence of the dome of heaven (firmament) and the waters surrounding the Earth above the windows of heaven?

          • joel hunter says:

            The concept of a “reference point” is extrabiblical. Let Scripture interpret Scripture. You’re allowing 18th century science to dictate and control the physical meaning of motion.

            The answer to your question, “immovable in relation to what joel?” has to allow the Bible to define immovability. This property of “relative to X” isn’t biblical. I suppose you could say immovable in relation to God’s sovereign decree (iow, immovable absolutely). Biblical truths aren’t relative. They’re absolute.

          • Joel, you are missing my point completely. I am saying NEWTON AFFIRMS THE BIBLE. His definition of motion states that motion is relative therefore *the earth cannot be moved*. What am I missing here? Galileo was confused when he said that the earth moves around the sun. Why? Because by definition motion is relative to the earth. The earth can’t go anywhere if we are going to use any sort of normal language. All motion in practical terms is in relation to the earth. Therefore the earth doesn’t move.

            I feel like you are completely misunderstanding what I am saying (and Newton).

          • joel hunter says:

            Ah, perhaps I have misunderstood your appeal to Newton. I thought he was a Copernican (the order of the cosmos begins with a “solar” system, i.e, the Sun is in a fixed position and the Earth moves around it). I thought Copernicus, Galileo and Newton believed that the Earth actually moved, that the Earth (and we with it) were in true motion. I also thought he based this on the concept of absolute space.

            In the “Scholium” at the beginning of his Principia Newton states:

            Absolute space, in its own nature, without regard to anything external, remains always similar and immovable. Relative space is some movable dimension or measure of the absolute spaces; which our senses determine by its position to bodies: and which is vulgarly taken for immovable space(…). Absolute motion is the translation of a body from one absolute place into another: and relative motion, the translation from one relative place into another.

            So there’s true motion and relative motion. And it’s also clear that he thinks the Earth is in both relative and true motion, because he has transferred immobility from the Earth to an immovable space.

            For if the earth, for instance, moves, a space of our air, which relatively and in respect of the earth remains always the same, will at one time be one part of the absolute space into which the air passes; at another time it will be another part of the same, and so, absolutely understood, it will be continually changed.

            So the Earth actually, really moves through an immovable absolute space. It seems pretty clear to me that this is NOT affirming the Bible. Newton’s absolute space in unbiblical. The Bible plainly describes that the fixed position and immobility of the Earth is absolute, whilst the rest of the heavens actually, really move around it.

            So when you say, “His [Newton's] definition of motion states that motion is relative therefore *the earth cannot be moved*,” I think you are in error about what Newton actually says. Only some motion is relative, not all of it. Some motion is absolute (see the quote above). The Earth is in relative motion with respect to other bodies (Mars, for example), but in absolute motion with respect to absolute space. Therefore, Newton is wrong because this contradicts what the Bible describes.

          • joel hunter says:

            And just to return to my original long-lost point, what concerned me about your original response to my comment was that this extrabiblical concept of relative motion seemed to cracking the door open to the “language of appearance” argument in almost every Christian book on astronomy. You seemed to be allowing for the possibility that the Sun, Moon and firmament aren’t really in motion around an absolutely fixed Earth, but only appear to be in motion (relative to us).

          • “you’d agree that when the Bible speaks on matters of science, it speaks with entire accuracy,”

            I think almost every Christian I know would agree with this statement. The problem is that many Christians (myself included” don’t believe the Bible is ever really speaking on matters of science.

        • “The two authors that has shaped my faith in perhaps the most profound way is NT Wright (who’s brilliant historical investigation of the first century is excellent) and Alistar McGrath (who has a PHD in MicroBiology).”

          You do understand that both Wright and McGrath are “evolutionists.”

          Wright – “I’m perfectly happy to say that species have evolved. I’m pefectly happy to say that’s how God was at work and maybe is at work.”

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFTmZ9PFMx8

          See McGrath’s 2009 Gifford Lecture – “The enigmas of evolutionary biology”.

          http://www.abdn.ac.uk/gifford/uploads/files/2009%20Gifford%20Lecture%204.pdf

          McGrath fully accepts the reality of biological evolution. In this lecture he discusses the problem with an a priori rejection of teleological explanations in evolution.

          • K Bryan, you must not have read my post. I explicitly noted that neither were YEC (Although, I would argue that Wright is being inconsistent when he says that – I could use his own writings to make a great case for YEC).

            Once again, I am getting put in some box to suggest that the only Christians I appreciate are YEC. Most of my favorite authors are not YEC. I understand why YEC is not popular among thinking Christians. The movement has long been led by non intellectuals and fundamentalists. People like Hovind are a disgrace. I don’t want to be associated with those people and I understand why others don’t as well.

            But I sincerely believe that YEC is correct. So where does that put me? Do I reject what I believe to be true because I don’t like the company I end up keeping? I guess I would prefer to keep company with people I respect while quietly making the case for truth. That might make me a stranger in my own land but I don’t mind.

          • “K Bryan, you must not have read my post. I explicitly noted that neither were YEC (Although, I would argue that Wright is being inconsistent when he says that – I could use his own writings to make a great case for YEC).”

            I revied all your posts in this thread where you mentioned McGrath or Wright, and found no explicit note that they weren’t YECs.

            “But I sincerely believe that YEC is correct. So where does that put me? Do I reject what I believe to be true because I don’t like the company I end up keeping? I guess I would prefer to keep company with people I respect while quietly making the case for truth. That might make me a stranger in my own land but I don’t mind.”

            Where does it put you? In a very stressful position that I know all to well, having spent many years there myself. I was taught YEC from a young age at the Christian school I attended. I was a die hard YEC anti-evolutionist all through college. My wakeup call came when I tried using the YEC arguments to refute evolution. I got my hat handed back to me, and event that motivated me to give a good look at what the science actually said. Turned out that the YEC and ID arguments didn’t hold up. Which got me to give another look at my assumptions about how to interpret Gen 1 and 2. Much to my surprise I found a _long_ history of non-literal interpretation of Genesis. Bottom line, I discovered that scripture doesn’t demand YEC and science doesn’t support it. Problem solved.

            I make it sound simple, but it’s process that occured over most of a decade and involved probably a hundred book, and hundreds of hours of reading, study, and thinking. But I had no great spiritual struggle, no weeping and gnashing of teeth. I just follwed where the truth led and accepted that I had been wrong about some things and changed my way of thinking. The struggle and pain didn’t occur until I shared with others that I was no longer a YEC and accepted evolution. My pastor was very tolerant and understanding. He disagreeded with me, but acknowledged that the subject was not a fundamental of the faith. The average Christian in the pew was another story entirely.A couple stopped speaking to me entirely. A few more still treat me with a cool detachment.

            I’ll offer a bit of unsolicited advice from someone whose been where you are. Ask yourself _why_ believing YEC is so important to you. What do you think you’ll lose if you abandon YEC, and why do you think you’ll lose those things? Do you need to re-examine your ideas about the nature of scipture? Talk with more Christians who are not YECs, especially those that used to be, to find out why they no longer accept YEC. I’m willing to converse with you privately if you wish.

          • Hi K Bryan,

            Try reading it again :). Here is the final paragraph:

            “For the record, given that I love Wright and McGrath (and many others *who like them are not YEC*) you can probably guess that I am not one of the guys condemning you to hell for not being YEC – maybe I should have clarified that out of the gate.”

          • “Try reading it again :) . Here is the final paragraph:

            “For the record, given that I love Wright and McGrath (and many others *who like them are not YEC*) you can probably guess that I am not one of the guys condemning you to hell for not being YEC – maybe I should have clarified that out of the gate.””

            There is no _explict_ note that either McGrath or Wright are not YECs here. At most, you imply that Wright and McGrath, like yourself, don’t condemn people for not being YECs. Your statement implies nothing about whether they are YECs or not. I expect more precision from an engineer. :)

          • Ok, this is getting silly. “others, who like them are not YEC”. Who is “them”?

          • My whole point was that they were not YEC. I was saying that I love them and others like them who (McGrath, Wright and others) are not YEC. If Wright and McGrath were YEC the whole paragraph would be meaningless.

            The conclusion to the paragraph is that therefore I obviously don’t condemn all nonYECs to hell. How would that be a conclusion if Wright and McGrath were YEC?

          • I am not dumb. I have read almost everything Wright ever wrote and much of McGrath. I know their position on the issue.

          • “Ok, this is getting silly. “others, who like them are not YEC”. Who is “them”?”

            Oops. Missed that part, sorry. I’ll plead lack of sleep and fatigue because I’m on the road travelling. Mea culpa.

            But, my question to you wasn’t “Do you realize that McGrath and Wright are not YECs?” but, “Do you realize that McGrath and Wright are evolutionists?” Your post addressed the first question, not the second. Not YEC does not equal evolutionist.

          • Mea culpa granted. I realized I missed a comma that made the sentence difficult to read. Imonk misread it too so I must be partially to blame.

        • Genesis may describe the beginning of our faith, but by no means is that the same as the beginning of all history.

          Our founding documents tell us about the founding of the US, but you would have to dig back much further to see the cultures and the philosophies that influenced the founders thinking. If you were to look at the founding documents as an absolute starting point, then you would have invented a creation myth about the US.

          The fossil record, the geological record, even what has been revealed about our own DNA predates the human written record, even all oral histories. But they are no less a part of the record.

        • “I currently work as an engineer and do science every day in some capacity in the corporate world.”

          Well, which is it? Are you an engineer or do you do science? :)

          Being an engineer does help explain your inclination to creationism:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_hypothesis

          • I love the categories. For someone who is above even giving his education you seem to be quick to try to question my credentials. Engineering is science. Newton created engineering and is also perhaps the most brilliant scientific mind in history. My degree from Michigan says “Bachelor’s of science”. The scientific work I do is in the field of engineering. We develop rubber compounds for the automotive industry. We have a lab and do controlled experiments and tests to find results.

            Thanks for the link. Never heard of it before but I totally agree with the Salem Hypothesis and believe I can explain it. I think the reason behind it is that Engineers know how hard it is to draw true conclusions from experiments. We get to see the results of our work and see how many errors can be made even with data that is in front of us. That is why it is laughable when we here people confidently say that science *proves* something that happened thousands (and millions) of years ago. We know that is a complete confidence trick.

          • joel hunter says:

            Will, I doubt that this will come across well in this artificial and virtual context in which we’re exchanging ideas, but I’m going to say something to you bluntly that I hope you will hear and receive for what I intend it to be, not patronizing, condescending or mean-spirited, but truthful and in your very best interests: you are allowing your insecurities to distort your perceptions and cloud your reasoning. I don’t think you realize how defensive you get when pressed to defend your beliefs.

            You have every right to be proud of your engineering degree. You can’t be stupid and get one. I should know, I’ve got one, too :-) And the same is true with other vocations. Farmers have real and valuable knowledge that a lot of us non-farmers don’t. But having wisdom in one area does not make one wise in other areas. A farmer who, on the basis of his competence in farming knowledge, attempts to lecture a zoologist on animal physiology is acting unwisely.

            Above, I refuted your claims about Newton’s mechanics by quoting Newton himself. I don’t think you know classical physics as well as you think you do. I remain open to further dialogue on this, as well as correction of *my* knowledge of physics and cosmology.

          • “I love the categories. For someone who is above even giving his education you seem to be quick to try to question my credentials. Engineering is science.”

            Chill, Will. Didn’t you notice the smiley. FWIW, I too have an engineering (computer) degree, heavy on the physics. That piece of paper and $5 will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks. :) The science vs. engineering joke goes way back. Lighten up. :)

            I learned long ago that a degree tells you nothing about a persons knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom. I’ve know brilliant people without a degree and complete morons with a whole alphabet soup of letters after their names. It’s been my experience that people who trot out credentials are insecure about their intelligence. Truly smart people don’t need to _tell_ you they’re smart. You’ll know it.

            “Newton created engineering”

            That would sure be a surprise to the Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. :) I highly recommend a little book called the _Ancient Engineers_.

            http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Engineers-L-Sprague-Camp/dp/0345482875/

            “and is also perhaps the most brilliant scientific mind in history.”

            “Most brilliant” is a judgement call, but I’m sure he’d be in the top 5. But his chief “scientific” interest wasn’t physics. It was alchemy. That is what he spent most of his time on. See Sullivan’s biography for detail.

            “Thanks for the link. Never heard of it before but I totally agree with the Salem Hypothesis and believe I can explain it. ”

            I’ve always thought it’s because engineers think of themselves as intelligent designers, and they create God in their own image. :)

          • joel, as I reread some of my comments here I am sure you are right. Sometimes I do mention my education when discussing YEC because I have a certain fear that the YEC reputation is that of a backward hillbilly and it gets tiresome convincing people that I am not a backward hillbilly. But let me say that I am sorry if I came across wrong to you or anyone else here.

            I have found that online debates can often be somewhat sinful things. People (including me) have a much higher tendency to act unChristian in the name of advancing their Christian positions. It is a lot easier to be rude in cyberspace.

          • K Bryan, you are right. I am going to chill now. I need to go crack open a bottle of wine and watch some football now. Maybe sneak out when my wife isn’t looking and have a cigar. Sorry that I came across as such a conceited dork. I mentioned my education because I am sensitive to people assuming that by my YEC I must be clueless about science (more common than you think). But as I reread my posts I am a bit embarrassed by the way I came across.

            I am probably one of the morons you have experienced. Kurt Vonagut once said something like this (I paraphrase), “If you were a moron, would you probably don’t know you are a moron.” That might be me.

            One thing that I do know is that I am surely wrong at parts of my thought. NT Wright once said, “I am often wrong, I just don’t know it when I am.”

          • “Sometimes I do mention my education when discussing YEC because I have a certain fear that the YEC reputation is that of a backward hillbilly and it gets tiresome convincing people that I am not a backward hillbilly.”

            Speaking as someone who went to an engineering school in the south (Auburn), the categories “backward hillbilly” and “posesses engineering degree” are not mutually exclusive. :)

  20. “I conclude that it is better and more intellectually honest to say “Our world came about through evolution” and “I believe that there is a God.””

    The ostrich approach to the problem here isn’t an answer and the questions that naturally spring from the pitting of the Creation Story versus science deserve a better one.

    • Sou crushed: please be more respectful to those you are responding to.

    • “The ostrich approach to the problem here isn’t an answer and the questions that naturally spring from the pitting of the Creation Story versus science deserve a better one.”

      It’s not an “ostritch” answer; it’s an honest one, one that admits our human imperfections and fallibility.

      I’m not picking on you personally, but I want to use your statement as a jumping off point to discuss what I believe is the primary fault in modern Christian culture, the fault that causes the problems that IM has been discussing re YEC and the culture wars.

      Pride. Specifically epistemic pride.

      The Christian culture seems to have assimiliated two unbiblical ideas with regards to knowledge:

      1) All questions have anwers.

      2) We can know those answers.

      The biblical truth is

      1) Not all questions have answers. See God’s address to Job.

      2) Even if a question has an answer, we may not be capable of finding it or understanding it. “Now we see through a glass darkly.”

      When we desire to posses _all_ of the answers, we commit the sin that got Satan booted out of even, and Adam and Eve evicted from the garden. At the root of the culture was is the prideful assertion that “I KNOW all of the answers, and you are sub-Christian or anti-Christian if you don’t agree with me.”

      That is NOT to say that we shouldn’t ask questions and seek answers. I’m not advocating fideism, though if the choice is between rationalism and fideism, give me fideism every time. But when we ask questions and seek answers, we should do so with humility, holding our conclusions lightly in the light of our imperfection.

      • “The Christian culture seems to have assimiliated two unbiblical ideas with regards to knowledge:

        1) All questions have anwers.

        2) We can know those answers.

        The biblical truth is

        1) Not all questions have answers. See God’s address to Job.

        2) Even if a question has an answer, we may not be capable of finding it or understanding it. “Now we see through a glass darkly.” ”

        IIf I may,I’d like to change this:

        1) All questions have answers
        2)We may not be capable of finding it or understanding it.

        I was thinking about this verse relative to this discussion. I believe that all of the answers are there.One of the problems of the YEC crowd is that they try to answer all of the questions. Evolutionists tend to admit that they don’t have all of the answers (the infamous missing link)

  21. When we get to the point where we shove aside our God-given reason, intellect and knowledge in favor of a 2000-year-old book, I fear we are dangerously close to idolatry.

    If someone’s foundation for their faith, their Christianity, is built on the premise that every word in scripture came straight from the lips of God, verbatim, then that’s a foundation of shaky sand and it is no wonder it crumbles.

    The archaeological record is full of cases that are similar to evolution. Ten thousand years ago here in Arkansas lived the people from the Dalton culture, with a total population of several thousand people at one time. We know their toolkit, we’ve found where they buried their dead (the oldest known cemetery in North America), and their ‘arrowheads’ are sold on ebay.

    Yet, per the Bible, we had a hundred times as many (a couple million) Jews wandering in an area much smaller (the Sinai desert), for two generations (meaning a couple million graves) not nearly as long ago, and they left no significant trace? The desert ought to be literally littered with artifacts.

    Same for the bloody invasion of Canaan. Not a lot there in the archaeological record either. The latest thinking that I’ve read is that the Jews filtered out of the cities because of upheaval and began to settle in the hinderlands, eventually morphing into a society.

    I can conclude one of two things. Either God lied about the Exodus or it wasn’t God who wrote it at all. Or I suppose there’s option three: our science is wrong because it keeps telling us things that aren’t in the Bible.

    The idea that we would take a book, tell ourselves that if God sat down at a keyboard he’d type it exactly as we’re reading it and therefore we must throw anything away that disagrees with it, is hard for me to understand.

    • Margaret Catherine says:

      God did create the world. Man was tempted by the devil and did sin. Genesis sets down prehistorical versions of these events, but they did happen and they are integral to the Christian faith. The Exodus is nearly as essential to Christianity, but the truth of it is bound up in it playing out as written down, as a historical event: take that away and what is left? That’s my gut reaction – I’ll admit to not knowing too much of the archeological evidence for or against the Exodus, but I did come across this article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/september7/8ta044.html?start=1. Sounds sensible to me, particularly the discussion of the Israelite population at the time. It’s Option 4, at least.

    • It’s not for me to determine what’s on or off topic, but my sense is opening up discussion of archaeology with respect to the Exodus will take us too far afield. However, I’d love to have a discussion on this as I think the evidence is often stronger (or sometimes “less weak”) than perhaps you give it credit above, in my opinion. Perhaps someday IM will have a future thread where we can come back and talk about this.

      • That would be interesting. The two do overlap a bit, as where they now date human migration by looking at the changes in DNA over time.

        • Exodus isn’t so unbelievable if you consider the possibility that the numbers in, well, Numbers are vastly exaggerated. The reality is probably a sticky mess of renegade slaves from Egypt mixing with Palestinian rednecks and forming a new coherent group identity. Very possible with the available evidence, and not incompatible with a reasonable reading of Scripture. The Exodus had such a profound impression in the Israelite identity that I find it unlikely that there isn’t some historical basis, even if only a fraction of those who became known as the people of Israel were actually involved.

    • As very amateur archaeology buff, it seems that the lack of evidence for the Exodus is interesting. It does of course make one wonder if archaeologists are looking in the right places. The last that I read, the traditional understanding of the path of the Exodus is not that settled. There could still be evidence out there but we just haven’t figured out where to look.

      Archaeology, like all sciences, is continually making new discoveries. Not too many decades ago, the general scientific community denied the existence of the biblical Hittites. Turns out they were there all along, just like the Bible says they were. The previous understanding of Jericho during the time of the conquest is also coming into question as it is believed by some that there were significant mistakes made during the initial excavations. The question about evidence for the conquest is not settled. Very recent discoveries of copper smelting facilities seem to indicate that the Bible’s description of David’s enemies’ level of technology is probably accurate.

      My point is just this, for me, it’s the first 11 chapters of Genesis that cause the greatest problem in relation to science. The rest, from what I can tell, actually matches quite well with what we know from the extra-biblical historical record. There are still things we don’t know, or haven’t discovered, so we should be cautious in jumping the conclusion that the entire Bible is an inaccurate record of historical events.

      Lastly, I’ll add this point. There are some recent papers presented to the Evangelical Theological Society where the author is drawing parallels between Egyptian mythology and the Genesis account of creation. The classic view is that the account was written with Babylonian myth in mind, and was written as polemic against it. Based on what I’ve read, it seems to me to be more compelling that the account was written as a polemic against Egyptian myth. This of course would make sense if Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt and re-educating them about the nature of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If this idea is true, then it would support Mosaic authorship, and the historical accuracy of the Exodus account, but it would also indicate that the Creation account was intended as myth in order to give the Israelites a framework through which to understand the God that they were following into the wilderness.

      Just my two cents. Sorry if it is too far off topic.

      • Thanks for sharing that Eric. I am honestly way more concerned with scriptures interaction with history than science.

        Can you point me towards any good resourses for archaeology that touches on the biblical narratives?

        tallman@tallmanwithguitar.com

        • I watched a great program on NOVA a while back but I cannot seem to find info on it. I believe the title was ‘Archaeology and the Bible’. A couple of the main points that transformed my thinking (though I am more agnostic on this) are:

          1) no evidence at all of a exodus of biblical proportions.
          2) there is evidence of a tribe worshiping a monotheistic god in the region the bible claims Moses met him in the burning bush.
          3) evidence of the ‘conquered’ city-states in Canaan is that they imploded from internal revolts opposed to being defeated by an external army.
          4) at the same time that these city-states were imploding, there was a population boom in the hinterlands.

          To summarize what I believe may have happened is that a family or two came out of Egypt and settled with the refuges of the city-states. The exodus, then, was out of the city-states as well as out of Egypt. Once the people settled, they developed (over time) the story/ myth of The Exodus.

          This could also explain the struggle to fully become worshipers of the one true god.

          I wish I could find the show for you, I will continue to search for it and let you know if I find it.

          • Yep. Saw that program. But you have to understand how such programs come into existence. Someone proposes a theory. Gets funding to research it. Looks like it has some legs. More funding needed. Approach various sources. Nova (or some affiliated production company) is willing to fund part of it for TV rights. They come up with a somewhat reasonable story from their point of view and it makes somewhat reasonable TV and will result in payments for airing. So it gets put on.

            Similar with AIG and Ken Ham. There has to be an income stream for all this research (let’s not argue about the term at this point) and the get it from donations and selling books, tapes, museum visits, etc… (Side somewhat snarky note: if 6000 year old earth falls from evangelical favor KH and many others are out of a job.)

            Whether or not the theory put forward in the Nova show will hold up depends on future studies. To me there seems to be a lot of long distance line drawing between the very few dots found. But that’s my opinion. :)

          • Ross,

            I agree that there is more work to do. I am not sure whether the researchers had an agenda or not, but I have the feeling that modern archaeologists are more neutral than the older version that carried a bible that needed to be proved.

            Not meaning to be disrespectful.

          • No disrespect noted. The only agenda I ascribed to the folks behind this are they want to validate their theories. Like most people would. So they might tend to overlook things that don’t agree with their desires. And when there are multiple ways to connect some dots they are much more likely to connect them in a way that’s favorable to their goals than not. It’s just human nature.

            When I see or read such things I try and pay more attention to the data than the conclusions. :)

            Who said it? “On my best days my motives are mixed.”

          • And to add to it. I’ve seen it stated there’s no evidence of Exodus in the archeological record. Yesterday the History Channel had a two hour program on (that I had seen before and forgotten about) showing all kinds of evidence for the Exodus from Egypt. 2 hour show. Pulled a lot from artifacts scattered in museums all over the area. Greece, Egypt, plus some digs. Interesting show. Told a fairly convincing story.

            But as I said above, add salt before swallowing whole. :)

  22. Danny Wahlquist says:

    For me, it really comes down to whether I believe the infinite God of creation told us what we need to know in the Bible. I believe that He did perfectly and completely. Most of the great scientists did too!

    • He told us what we need to know to have a relationship with him, but he didn’t tell us everything there is to know about the earth, our bodies, government, medicine, engineering, etc. He gave us a universe to explore, and problems to solve.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        NOT retreat into a 6014-year-old, Earth-and-some-lights-in-the-Firmament Punyverse and nail the lid shut after you.

        Slacktivist described it this way, in his continuing Left Behind: Volume 2 snark:

        1. Dig a really big hole.
        2. Hide in it until Jesus comes back.

    • “For me, it really comes down to whether I believe the infinite God of creation told us what we need to know in the Bible.”

      Here’s your homework assignment:

      1) Define infinite.

      2) Provide scriptural support for the idea that god is “infinite”.

  23. I believe that the Bible is God’s word for all people at all times. Most if not all of Genesis was oral a long time before it was written down, and the people at that time didn’t understand anything from a scientific point of view. And a few thousdand years from now, people will understand a lot more than we do. So why do we have to make scripture fit in literally with anything else? Can’t God explain eternal truth in ways other than ‘cookbook’ fashion, using terms that we would never understand anyway? Why not explain down to the lowest common denominator in terms that they would understand? When I want to know history, I read a history book. When I want to know science, I read a science book. When I want to know God and how we fit in with his creation, I turn to the Bible. It contains truth sufficient for faith and practice. And I believe it was meant to be read and understood in community, not just one-on-one like we in the West are used doing things. By the way, this is why I love your site so much. You can discuss differing opinions without incurring the personal wrath of the local thought police at church because you don’t think like they do. Stick with the early creeds and give liberty to the rest of it.

  24. As a 61 year old who has been a Christian since my teens, I never heard of YEC until reading about it in blogs within the last two years. I have never had a crisis of faith because of Genesis one and dinosaurs millions of years old. I have always believed Genesis 1:1 that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. As a non scientist the details of how God did it are not important. I fear that many YECers may have a different religion that puts all emphasis on Genesis and not on Christ and what he has done for us. I’m not saying that YECers are not Christians, but there is a very large danger of it becoming another cult. If YECers such as Ham concentrated on the Good News rather than the minutiae of creation, how many people may he have reached with the Gospel? After all, did not Jesus say to spread the Gospel to the whole world, whereas he said nothing about pushing details of the Creation story.

    • Well during evangelism, I would say Jesus died for you.

      Someone would reply ‘How do you know that? because the bible says so?”

      and then they’d start telling me that the bible is full of contradictions and absurdities, and cite Genesis as an example.

      So, I can understand how YEC apologetics came about. I think their heart is in the right place, but they went off the rails.

  25. I appreciate you posting the Creation videos and the Wright/Dawkins videos.

    I really liked what Ham had to say, and I thought that Wendy did a great job with Dawkins.

    I have read most of the “Irrational Atheist” and found it quite interesting.

    I probably grew up unknowingly as a YEC as a child, went to public school and public college and was exposed to evolution, but always had some doubts, and then probably in my 30’s had alot of exposure to YEC ideas and they seem more rational to me than evolution.

    One thing I do vaguely remember from public school as a child, I am 52, was that evolution was taught back then as a theory- not it appears to be taught as fact.

    I am saddened by the hostility of both sides even in the Christian community and on this website on these issues.

    • I watched all sections of the Dawkins-Wendy videos. I have seen Dawkins as a very abrasive anti God atheist in other videos, but here he was exceptionally mild. The Wendy woman came across as a speaking robot who was incapable of interacting with Dawkins. She ignored what he had to say, and never should have (as a non scientist) engaged in a debate with a scientist. She showed herself to the secular world as a terrible role model of what a Christian may be perceived as. Where was the Christianity in her presentation?

  26. Christiane says:

    Just wondering: are there any accredited medical schools that were founded by Creationist denominations?

    And, if so, what are the names of these schools (or universities), so that the public may be aware.

    • ATChaffee says:

      I’ll bite. Loma Linda University, flagship medical school of the Seventh-Day Adventist church, pioneered organ transplantation (“Baby Fae” received a baboon heart there in 1984) and is one of 6 proton therapy treatment centers in the US. Loma Linda is one of the “Blue Zones” touted for longevity (high # of centenarians). They do have research grants from the NIH too, on “real” science (none of this evolution speculation), I think about 5 million dollars worth. Oh, and the Seventh-Day Adventist church officially holds to a literal 6 day creation (supports doctrines of a Saturday Sabbath),

      Admittedly there is quite a bit of diversity in thought, as a recent flap at La Sierra University demonstrates (evolution is indeed taught in the classroom). http://www.spectrummagazine.org/blog/2009/05/29/unravaling_witch_hunt_la_sierra_under_seige, so I daresay there are a number of non-YEC in the system.

      As an aside, I have no idea why evolution gets so much press. I have a PhD in the biomedical sciences and the only time I ran into evolution was in freshman biology and one graduate seminar I wandered into by accident. Yes, there are soundbites in scientific papers about molecules being evolutionarily conserved, but you can move a lot of molecules around without ever having to think about evolution at all.

  27. I watched the Dawkins interview. Wendy keeps talking about dignity and respect, while repeatedly demonstrating disrespect to Dawkins. She has no interest in hearing what he is trying to explain to her about DNA. She keeps talking over him.

    If I knew nothing about Christianity other than what I saw on this video, I would want nothing to do with it. This video demonstrates the hypocrisy of those who talk about respect but really mean respect only if you think exactly as they think.

    • Christiane says:

      I noticed her behaviors also. She did seem to ‘cut off’ the direct question to her about her science educational background. I would have liked to have known the level of her science education.
      It might have explained why she could not engage in the discussion with any depth.
      I wonder is she is a product of home-schooling that denied her the exposure to different ideas and to the civil exchange of different ideas. ?

      • Yikes. retract those claws on homeschoolers. I am wondering if exposure to different ideas… you are speaking of the typical public school with unionized teachers? Not a lot of different ideas there. Lots of indoctrination, though. Not a lot of civil exchange, either. Ever been a republican in a public school setting? One learns to keep ones mouth shut. Not a lot of tolerance.

        • Christiane says:

          Critical thinking skills are not ‘indoctrination’. If anything, they will equip a student with protection from manipulation by false advertising, cult leaders, and extremists who sell their own brand of ‘truth’ and ‘do not condescend to dialog with others’ (usually because they can’t)..

          The best homeschooling situations are not shelters from critical thinking and interaction with a variety of ideas on a topic. I have a friend who homeschools her two young ones who both suffer from severe allergies. My friend is a seriously religious woman and also has a degree from a seven-sisters’ college.. Her situation is ideal for her children. She is certainly able to give them the resources that they need.

          Of course, the education of one’s children is always the private choice for each parent. But I do feel the speaker in the video was showing her lack of education in her inability to interact with the interviewer in any scientific depth. Her performance was not a credit to her ‘beliefs’, because she couldn’t handle the subject matter with any
          gravitas. The more she spoke, the less you knew that she knew.
          It was embarassing to watch her performance.

          • Why are you assuming most homeschooling situations do not include critical thinking skills? Is the woman in the video a poster girl for homeschooling or something?

          • “Why are you assuming most homeschooling situations do not include critical thinking skills?”

            I tend to do so because most of the home schooling situations I know about personally involve very religious families wanting to protect their kids from society. Not all, but a majority. And many who avoid the public schools do so for similar reasons.

            On the other hand we have some close friends who’s kids go to private christian schools. Many of the faculty are YEC. The family isn’t. But the school doesn’t teach YEC. And the eldest daughter of this family had recently become a fire fighter. This family certainly didn’t leave the public schools to “escape”.

            My point is that the reasons for leaving the public schools can be bad and/or good. But many do it for the wrong reasons.

          • Christiane says:

            Reply to LYDIA: ““Why are you assuming most homeschooling situations do not include critical thinking skills?”

            “MOST” ???? your assumption is that I think this? In my experience, all the women I know that have home-schooled have been responsible educators of their children.
            Let’s put it this way: these women might take their children to the Museum of Natural History in NYC and to the Creation Museum, and then have their children openly explore and discuss the controversy that spins around ‘creationism’, ‘intelligent design’, and ‘evolution’.

            The speaker? I do not know is she is a product of the ‘type’ of home-schooling that is prevalent among the Christian extremists. I do not know how she was educated.
            I do know from her lack of serious engagement with the science content of the interview, that she does not have a well-rounded understanding of that which she says she opposes. Might be better for her to understand more about what it is that she doesn’t accept before she takes issue with it. Very telling interview. Painful to watch. She reminds me of someone who is answering an exam question and trying to ‘fake it’, hoping that the person evaluating her paper will not notice the lack of mastery of the topic.

      • If I remember Dawkin’s question, it was something to the effect of “What are your motives which drive you to take an untenable scientific position?” It was an accusation more than a question, so I don’t blame Wendy for answering the way she did. She could have answered his question about her scientific training directly, but it would have left her very vulnerable. I don’t know if Dawkins would have attacked that vulnerability or not — we’ll never know.

        Basically, I don’t think Wendy trusted Dawkins to respect her, and give her views a fair shake, and so she was on the defensive from the start. He seems to be a very smart man, which combined with the fact he was asking the questions could have been used to make her look very stupid had she let him drive the interview, and simply answered each of his questions directly. I don’t know that he would have actually done that — we’ll never know now.

        As far as your home-schooling association, I found that offensive (although you probably didn’t mean it to be offensive.) To me it was as if someone has terrible body odor, and I say “I wonder if he is from Kentucky, and living in the backwoods like that he isn’t used to wearing deodorant?” (Ok, maybe I’m trying to garner sympathy from IMonk by using Kentucky.) As long as we’re on the topic of science and rational thought, do you have any evidence that public school kids are exposed to differing ideas more than home-schooled kids, or that they learn civil discourse better than home-schooled kids? Personally, I’ve encountered rude people, polite people, arrogant people, humble people, people with “people skills” and people without, etc., and it hasn’t been linked to their form of schooling as far as I know.

        But Wendy is a grown woman anyway, who works for a political organization (CWA). So whatever her lower schooling was, she has certainly attended college since then, and has worked in the public / political arena. The idea that she is defensive in an interview because she might not have attended public high school way back in the day doesn’t even make sense to me. Maybe if she was currently in high school, or just out.

        • Christiane says:

          I think, considering the fact that some home-schooled Christian young people cannot get into regular universities, it is reasonable to conjecture that a person who presents as a spokesperson for ‘Creationism’ might possibly be in that category, especially if they cannot show any real understanding of the opposing viewpoint.

          Christian schools who use the Bible as a science and history text book will produce graduates who cannot make it at regular universities. There are Christian ‘universities’ that will accept them gladly. It honestly would be more productive if these schools taught all sides of a controversy in depth. But they do not. And the students are left unable to engage in serious debate in the public arena.

          Parents and educators who believe in ‘Creationism’ (six-day length) strongly enough to teach it to their young, might consider this: that also grounding their young in the sciences as taught in the public schools will not be a ‘threat’ to their faith as long as the young person’s faith is the real deal.

          • Lets be realistic. Evolution was a very brief topic in my 12 years of public school education (I am 43 years old to put it in context.) Maybe a couple of days in 10th grade Biology covered it. Maybe a couple of days somewhere in Elementary school covered it, and the same in Middle school. That was it. Really. But there was also 11th grade Chemistry, 12th grade Physics where I don’t recall the origins of the species even being part of the curriculum. And there was the balance of of general science in Elementary school, math all the way through to Calculus, history, social studies, literature, and so on. I attended what is considered a top public school system. Plus all the conversations I had with my parents or kids in the neighborhood on various topics, plus independent reading, plus newspapers.

            The idea that a child’s educational development, scientific ability, critical thinking ability, and so on are all encapsulated in whether they are taught Evolution or Creationism blows that issue way out of proportion. No, the bit of time that Evolution was covered in my lower schooling is not where I learned critical thinking, or gained scientific ability. So the fact that a home-school or Christian school teaches Creationism does not mean the student is not learning science or critical thinking skills.

            As far as being able to discuss a contentious issue with someone who disagrees with you, I think that is a skill we are all learning and developing our entire life. I also think people are inherently better or worse at that, but all can learn to get better. Some people don’t try to get better and don’t want to get better. I can understand how someone would think a home-schooled child would have slower development in that area, because they spend a lot of time with like-minded people. But I would make a few qualifying statements. Many home-schooled kids still associate with kids in their neighborhood, with relatives, and with kids in sports-type activities, and so there are opportunities for discussions to arise and skills to be developed. Many home-school curricula specifically target debate and logic skills, possibly more than a typical public school education. It’s also a character issue as much as a schooling issue. Ever watched the Jerry Springer show — where they yell, argue, and throw chairs at each other? That’s got nothing to do with whether they attended a secular or religious school. And, again, this is a skill that is always developing throughout life. It’s not like you either learn it in tenth grade or you don’t.

            My reasoning extends to college as well, in response to your idea that a child taught science and history from the Bible cannot succeed in college. First, I don’t know any home-schoolers who are taught science from the Bible. I don’t think the periodical table of elements is in the Bible. I think we’re really talking about the topic of the origin of the species, where the Bible may be used directly in the science curriculum. And as I already said, that one topic doesn’t make or break one’s science education. I do know of some curricula that teach history in relation to the Bible, but it’s not like the Bible is the actual textbook. I’m not expert on them, but I believe they show the standard historical events in relation to Biblical events that occurred at the same time in history, and also discuss how God may have viewed or been working in the standard historical events.

            But even if you think that child has a bad history education, it still doesn’t mean the student wouldn’t succeed at college. Again, let’s be realistic. College undergraduate success boils down to attending class and doing your homework (and conversely not being drunk all the time, or skipping class to play video games.) Certainly some people just don’t have the intellectual aptitude for college, or for certain degree programs in college (like, say physics), but that gets weeded out through SAT/ACT tests and the like, or sadly during the freshman year for some. And certainly if a student’s high school education is very deficient, they may not have the prerequisite skills to succeed at college. But there you are talking about algebra or even basic math, writing and reading comprehension, etc. You’re not talking about whether you had the evolution lesson in 10th grade biology or not. And again, colleges have ways of determining whether kids have these deficiencies, and sometimes even offer remedial courses to bring them up to speed. But I have seen evidence that home-school education is stronger than public schooling on average in these general educational skills by and large — http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200908100.asp Here is a Reuters article about home-schoolers going to college — http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS195091+17-Apr-2008+MW20080417

            So if you don’t agree with Creationism, or you were not impressed with Wendy in the video, that is fine. But the construct (as I interpreted it) of is not correct.

          • Christiane says:

            Reply to Eaton:

            There is a vast difference between responsible home-schooling and the type that produces those who cannot compete in the ‘real’ world.
            The goals of the extemists Christian far-right are not to equip their young for competition with those who attend mainline universities. And the results are there to prove it.
            The percentage of hom e schooling done by extremists may be small, but it is growing. The extremists decry public education. And their children are prepared for an ‘alternate’ reality from the one that they would compete with at a major university. They won’t be able to function in the mileu of open exploration and debate found at the university level.
            We are talking about the far-right extemists here, as the group that I take issue with, are we not? If we are not, then our conversation is not ‘on the same page’.
            I have no quarrel with responsible home-schooling. I admire the parents who do it and who sacrifice much to give their children a fine academic preparation. They are to be commended.

  28. Windblown says:

    I am deeply sceptical of both the evolutionary and YEC creationist meta-narratives; both seem to be used for a number of political purposes, for example, evolutionary just-so-stories are used to situate homosexual practise as ‘natural’. Similarly YES creationists seek to use acceptance of their crypto-Enlightenment philosophy not only as a litmus test for faith, as if they have any authority, but as an indicator of cultural power. Neither party advances sufficient reason to give either credibility, but ironically both parties exhibit the same epistemological arrogance, the evolutionists claiming “evidence” when they mean “opinion” while the creationist engage in textual violence.

  29. i want to get back to the question, “why kids leave the church?”, if that’s permitted! great thoughts represented here. i wish this sort of moderately civil discussion could take place in churches everywhere.

    anyway, as a youth pastor i find Ham’s argument to be nothing short of fear-mongering and propaganda. the parents and people i know who are YEC’s want Ham’s answer to be correct whether it is true or not. to a certain extent, i believe they are hoping it is true because it’s easier to teach a few fundamentals and discourage questions/doubt than to take questions seriously and deal with them honestly. in my experience, they are uncomfortable with the tensions themselves and their kids know it.

    let’s be honest, the BIble is all we have, and it doesn’t answer all of the world’s scientific questions. it wasn’t written to do so. when it comes to origins and creation, the biblical authors seem to be concerned with one point: GOD DID THIS. how? ex nihilo (out of nothing) and ex amore (out of love). i’m good with that.

  30. I am trying to figure out Will got me from opposing Ken Ham to being critiqued in my view of science by Wright and McGrath.

    • Hehe. Brother I am frustrated. I feel as though my words have been misunderstood every step of the way. There have been many times in the various conversations (not just with you) when people have responded to my words as though I wrote the exact opposite of what I intended. Sorry if I messed up your comments section. I will bow out here.

  31. L. Winthrop says:

    Some posters have said that science disproves the resurrection. Nonsense. People are regularly revived after being clinically dead–it happened to my uncle, for example (though obviously not for as long). The thing is, Christians would reject any “explanation” for the resurrection (or virgin birth) that might be proposed–it’s *supposed* to violate physical law.

    Meanwhile, science has shown itself willing to revise its notions of what is or is not possible. There has been research on yogis and whatnot. In theory, resurrection could be demonstrated under laboratory conditions as well, if suitable subjects could be found, even if the phenomenon were to defy rational explanation. Anecdotal evidence, however, would be deemed insufficient, and that is basically what the gospels provide. (There’s a reason why we speak of “faith.”)

    iMonk: “This is very sad. You’re telling 70% of the Christian world their Christianity is false.”

    Any religious truth is likely to result in disappointment for some large percentage of the world’s population.

  32. I like what Paul says in the first chapter of I Corinthians when he points out that the Gospel of Christ is an offense to the legalistic, sign-seeking religion of the Jews and foolishness to the strict rationalism of intellectual Greeks. And Paul indicates that God did this on purpose — that, through Christ, He intentionally revealed Himself and presented His plan of redemption for humankind in such a way that it would be incompatible with the prevailing (and corrupt) systems of thought and belief on planet earth. In this way, Paul is letting the Corinthian church know that by simply believing and open-heartedly embracing the testimony given to them about Jesus, they will be swimming against the currents of human culture and opening themselves up to ridicule from both the religous and intellectual sectors of society.
    And now, 2000 years later, Christianity is one of the prevailing systems of thought and belief on planet earth, complete with all the things Paul identified as incompatible with the Gospel, including varous forms of legalism, sign-seeking spectacles, and enough Greek-style rationalized theology to fill the Library of Congress. So it really shouldn’t be any surprise that people like Ken Ham are seeking to add an entire alternative school of science into that system, even if it basically amounts to a school of pseudo/anti-science.
    It almost seems as if we’re trying to create our own little universe — where we can relax in the security of our indisputable rightness — in order to avoid shouldering the cross of our original call to be fools and objects of public contempt for the cause of Christ.
    I’m going to come right out and say it. Faith in Christ is pretty darn irrational when you get right down to it, and it doesn’t seem to line up very well with science either. I came to believe in the Gospel of Christ as testified by scripture because somehow (through God’s grace, I suspect) I recognized it as true at a level that transcends human reason and logic — and Christ has continued to convince me of His truth from day to day in so many different ways I can’t number them. Sure, I enjoy playing at rational apologetics and coming up with imaginative possibilities as to how scripture can be lined up with science, but, when it comes to me and what I require, such things are not adequate foundations for genuine faith. And I don’t think Mr. Ham’s Creation Museum is an adequate foundation for either faith or science.

  33. I definitely get the feeling that Christians feel threatened by science and histiry, and they react to it by denial, denial which stems from fear that all their beliefs are, in fact, wrong.

  34. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    I’ve noticed that the majority of IMonk’s recent posts have to do with the fallout from the following two axioms:

    1) Young Earth Creationism = The Gospel. NO Exceptions!
    2) All Heretics Must Be Burned. NO Exceptions!

  35. Christiane says:

    Has no one considered that the attempts to ‘dismiss’ the revelations of God’s Universe are a kind of blasphemy? As is the reduction of the Holy Writings into a science and history textbook?

    What is ‘unfolded’ to our understanding is allowed for us to know for His purposes.
    What is mystery will be kept mystery until such time as we are permitted to understand it.

    Respect for science is not incompatible with respect for the Holy Scriptures.
    One shows us what the Master of the Universe has created and how He did it.
    The other allows us to understand ‘why’ He has done all this and placed us in its midst.
    We should be grateful for both sources of revelation.

  36. Andy Zook says:

    My wife and I visited the Creation Musuem last summer. Here’s a few of my impressions…all of which relate to and in some way confirm IM’s question/point. (the video IM posted is just one part of the evidence…most of ham’s museum confirms the underlying agenda…) First and foremost I got the impression that this “museum” is not about converting nonbelievers to YECism but about solidifying the ideology of those who already believe. The displays do raise interesting and provocative questions that I believe Christians should wrestle with, but a lot of the material is constantly pushing the non-science (but cultural war) “us vs. them” theme. It’s about sharpening the YEC’s ideological/rhetorical sword. This was especially apparent in the “lecture” we sat through in the auditorium and the “special effects” show, “Men in White”. MiW is basically a lame comedy show that mocks and stereotypes any non-YECer and gives YEC students (and adults) permission to be obnoxious (un-Christian) belligerent cultural warriors… I found it revolting…and any non-YEC person with “questions” will surely just be dying to join the YEC cause after that!

    Now, I want to immediately add that I’m not totally convinced that everything the YEC ‘s believe is untrue. Personally I’m pretty undecided and bounce around from one theory to another…almost on a daily basis…I’m basically where chad m a few posts ago is at and in some ways where IM is at… When my YEC dad goes off about it I ask him if his “scientists” caught it on video tape and can I see it. I would say the same thing to Dawkins and co. In other words i’m a skeptic of all the theories…except that I know God did it somehow from nothing.

    Back to the creation museum. What I’m saying (and I think IM as well) is not that Ken Ham’s knowledge is absolutely dead wrong BUT the way he and others present that knowledge and their motivation for doing so is not quite right (or Christ-like). I see Ken Ham and activist YEC’s (but not all as illustrated by Will) asessentially saying this. “You non-YEC’s, from the atheists to the liberal christians have denied us our rightful, God-given cultural and political dominance (This circumstance has been popularized as grave, horrendous persecution…) AND that makes us really mad and un-like Jesus, we’re not going to say “Father forgive them…” and love you but instead we are going to fight back with all the worldly weapons (short of guns and nukes) we can muster…legal foundations, documentaries, magazines, multi-million dollar museums (with millions of visitors…see! see! we’re relevent! we’re relevent!), mass media raz-ma-jaz, exaggeration, rudeness, misrepresentation, misinformaton, slander and mocking, animitronic dinosaurs, artsy videos, lots of subjective sensory stimulation…(yes…we got wet in the special effects theatre!) etc etc ”

    AND meanwhile real people with real problems are hungry for bread and love and healing and hope…while so much of our (and my dollars spent at Ken Ham’s moneychanging table) and time and effort goes down the cultural war toilet…. that’s why kids are leaving the church…they see adults claiming Christ but not living/talking/loving like He would… In my opinion Imonk is on target in calling this out.
    (Michael…my apologies for being long winded)

  37. I’m going to give a link here (courtesy of Mike Flynn) on what all the hottest philosophical disputation of the 12th century was about (scroll on down to William of Conches and the “Dragmaticon Philosophia”):

    http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/2009/10/creationists.html

    “At this point the Duke stops him and says that the Venerable Bede wrote that the waters are above the actual heavens and frozen into ice and crystal. ‘Are you going to disagree with this Venerable father’? says the Duke. William reply is that yes, he is going to disagree with him actually, while respecting what he has to say about salvation, ‘we should be free to disagree in matters of natural philosophy’. He then explains that the waters cannot be frozen above the heavens since they would collapse back onto the earth. The Duke says in frustration:

    ‘You attribute everything to the quality of things and nothing to the creator. Surely the creator was able to keep the waters there, freeze then and keep them suspended contrary to nature’.

    William replies:

    ‘What is more foolish than to assume that something exists simply because the creator can make it. Whoever says God makes anything contrary to nature should either see that it is so with his own eyes or show the reason for it being thus, or let him demonstrate the advantage of it being so’.

    This is an argument we will see between science and religion down to our own time. What (if anything) do we attribute to God’s power and what do we attribute to secondary causation?

    William now takes it even further. He claims that life itself arose from the natural action of heat on mud and even that man arose from the primordial mud (God does emerge at one point to give him a rational and immortal soul). In fact, William says that since mans body came about by the natural action of elements working on one another within the course of nature, several species of man could have developed and the natural actions are still at work today. A new species of man could arise by natural forces. But William says that though this seems possible we have never seen it happen, so perhaps God wills against this. William then says that natural causation is constantly acting, but it requires Gods will to continue. God therefore underwrites and maintains the laws of nature. This would eventually become a difficult theological point.”

  38. Good NIGHT!

    Are you KIDDING ME????

    This is a great example of how statistics need to be interpreted.

  39. I happened to read this over the weekend:

    “Science works by experiments. It watches how things behave…Do not think I am saying anything against science: I am only saying what its job is. And the more scientific a man is, the more (I Believe) he would agree that this is the job of science – and a very useful and necessary job it is too. But why anything comes to be there at all, and whether there is anything behind the things science observes – something of a different kind – this is not a scientific question. If there is ‘Something Behind,’ then either it will have to remain altogether unknown to men or else make itself known in some different way. The statement that there is any such thing, and the statement that there is no such thing, are neither of them statements that science can make. And real scientists do not usualy make them…Supposing science ever became complete so that it knew every single thing in the whole universe. Is it not plain that the questions, ‘Why is there a universe?’ ‘Why does it go on as it does?’ ‘Has it any meaning?’ would remain just as they were?”
    – C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”, Chapter 4: “What Lies Behind The Law”.

    Science was supposed to answer the question, “how”, and religion was supposed to answer the question, “why?”. Somewhere, this got flipped. Scientists thought they knew enough about the universe to answer the “why?” questions (e.g. Cal Sagan’s “star dust”). In defense, religion started answering the “how?” questions. I’m not sure if Lewis were alive today whether or not he would be called “snarky” for asserting that real scientists don’t usually answer the “why?” questions. I think he might be appalled by religion trying to answer the “how?” questions. We went through that with the counter-reformation, with mechanical models demonstrating how the universe revolves around the earth. If Lewis was right, Dawkin’s attempt to defend his atheism with science will fail as miserably as creationists trying to defend their position with science. Science is something other; so is religion. One is not better than the other. They are two separate studies of thought. If we can get past this, liberal arts education might means something again.

    • (oops! I meant Carl Sagan. I either need a new keyboard or new bifocals).

    • Good points. Mr. Lewis certainly did have a way with words and ideas.
      I would add, however, that I think there’s more going on than science and religion mistakenly stepping out of their proper boundaries. I think certain elements within the scientific and religious communities are presently in a state of competition for religion’s historical role as both chief court advisor to the ruling political powers on our planet and oracle of truth to the masses. I would add major global media entities into this list of competitors — or it might be more accurate to say that the media has already become the primary oracle to the masses (the oracle of whatever ups their ratings), and both science and religion are somewhat at the mercy of the media for airtime and favorable portrayals. I think there is a good deal of jockeying going on for power and influence — infuence over people’s hearts and minds and where they direct their monetary resources. And to win people’s hearts and minds (and by extension, their pocketbooks), one has to produce answers to both the “how” and “why” questions that concern them. Sadly, I fear this ongoing popularity contest has and will continue to undermine the integrity of both the scientific and religious communities — and, if this escalates, we may see science and religion start to resemble each other in disturbing ways.

      • *I think certain elements within the scientific and religious communities are presently in a state of competition for religion’s historical role as both chief court advisor to the ruling political powers on our planet and oracle of truth to the masses.*

        Hee, hee:

        Religion: “Stop trying to grab political power!”

        Science: “I learned it from you, Dad!”

    • *But why anything comes to be there at all, and whether there is anything behind the things science observes – something of a different kind – this is not a scientific question.*

      First off, if you want to know how the universe began or how life first appeared (yes, I know we’re back into “how” territory but give me a minute…) then yes, actually, science can answer quite a bit of those questions. Rumors of the death of the Big Bang theory or abiogenesis have been greatly exaggerated. Quantumly, the formation of our universe is actually NOT the “very unlikely” possibility it’s made out to be. Biochemically, the formation of life is similarly not that unlikely a result. Hydrocarbons are very sticky, energetic things that respond enthusiastically and weirdly to even minor amounts of radiation, heat, ionization, pressure, etc.

      Too, the whole category of “things science can’t possibly explain”, when it’s actually spelled out to me, usually includes multiple things that science can, in fact, quite easily explain. Emotion is usually thrown in there. Turns out emotion is not the mercurial inexplicable ghost some people think it is: Emotion is visible in the human brain on PET scans. It’s also similarly visible in the brains of many animals, occurring in much the same way. Emotion isn’t something “extra” or mysterious: It’s got definite evolutionary uses, priming us for survival, communication, bonding to other members of our group, avoidance of danger, etc.

      So back to “why” for a second: I don’t think it’s even a valid question. Just because we can imagine the grammatically correct question, “Why is there anything at all?” does not imply that that’s a real question to which there is a real answer.

  40. In answer to the question of why scientists seem to harbor ill feelings towards religion, maybe it’s because religion has – sometimes with violence – actively made itself the enemy of science going back over 500 years.

    • To be honest, I’m not too happy about living the rest of my life under the shadow of possible anihilation due to the fact that thousands of members of the scientific community have cooperated with government entities in the development and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction. And more than a few Jews, Christians, and other unfortunates have met fates worse than death at the hands of amoral scientists working for amoral governments.
      Let’s face it. Pretty much every identifiable group of people has wronged every other group of people at some point in human history. We can dwell on past wrongs, or we can look for ways to peacefully co-exist on this planet. I vote for the latter.

      • You can make all kinds of moral judgements about what types of science (nuclear weapons, cloning) are morally acceptable, but I’m talking about human nature, and why some scientist don’t like religion. Maybe one of the reasons is because fundamentalists are busy attacking them, especially since it’s proven the earth is 4.5 billion years old.

        Pretty ridiculous hearing YECs trying to wriggle their way around facts and disparage science – it insults one’s intelligence. How would you react? It also a hypocritical view IMO becuase they freely accept the science (medical advances, technology, nuclear power) they LIKE.

        PS – BTW, how many millions have met their deaths in ‘moral’ religious wars? ‘Moral’ forced conversions? ‘Moral’ slaughtering of ‘heathens’? It still goes on today – I just read an article about African Christians killing supposed ‘witches’ (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-af-nigeria-child-witches,0,5276725.story). So if you want to make that argument, it works both ways.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          JoeA, RonP:

          “Men of Sin” will cite ANY cosmic-level authority — Bible, Koran, Marx, Freud, Darwin, Nature, Dawkins, Mohammed, whatever — to get Cosmic justification for what they wanted to do anyway.

  41. The Guy from Knoxville says:

    Michael,

    Haven’t heard this type of presentation in quite awhile but, I must say that this sounds more like a case for the return to biblical authority more so than a redefining of science. Yes, there was some science in part 4 more so than the other parts. I was expecting to be offended in some way yet, I’m not. Believe me I know a little about this as I used to be big time into the culture war scene – Christian Coalition, creationism etc but got out for various reasons but I see more of a concern about returning to biblical authority which would not be a bad idea given what’s happening today – certainly that seems the case in this presentation.

    I’m not well versed in science as such but, I’m not and ignorant boob either – some of Ken’s positions are rock solid and others are a bit questionable – he doesn’t have all the answers….. neither do we but I don’t think taking a stand such as he is doing is such a bad thing. I know this is a worn out saying but there is truth to it – someone needs (has) to say it. Truth has never been real popular anyway – I just can’t throw all this out as though it doesn’t exist and while the bible isn’t a text book in the sense of a science book, math book, reading book or whatever does not mean that it has nothing at all to say on issues or is not authoritative. We don’t have to agree with all that comes out from Ken and others but to relegate it to the babblings of a crazy man is ridiculous. If I did agree with everything in this I suppose I would be a general now in the culture war (lol!).

    Just some thoughts from a not so learned person on these issues……..

    The Guy from Knoxville

    • Could you please define what ‘return to biblical authority’ means? It’s quite vague and does not have a positive connotation for me, and I don’t wish to misinterpret your meaning.

      • The Guy from Knoxville says:

        JoeA – just that a return to biblical authority – not in the sense of beating one over the head with a big leather & gold edged pages bible but in the sense that the church, generally speaking and christians in particular have began to toss aside scripture as authoritative in just about all areas of life these days and without that foundation it’s all to easy to be lead down a road that can easily lead to deception. If scripture is not authoritative then what is and what’s our foundation? It’s either God’s word or it’s not – I believe that it is. I don’t consider myself a hard core fundamentalist (been down that road) but I do take a more conservative approach, perhaps, than most but compared to my past one might even say that I’m liberal (comparitivily speaking again) though I would argue that point but my views have definately moderated over the years in many areas.

        I would submit that the lack of biblical authority or belief in biblical authority is, in some ways, much, much more of a scary and dangerous thing than worrying so much about Ken Ham and others. I mean he’s not totally wrong on everything any more than I, or anyone else, is right on everything – there is merit to some of what he teaches and promotes despite the best of efforts to say/prove otherwise yet there are questionable things as well. However, to say that scripture is not valid or authoritative in these matters is rather ridiculous to say the least.

        Well, enough for now – hope that helps….. it either helps or you think I’m a total nut case but I can live with either – lol!

        • Thank you, it helps. My basic disagreement with fundamentalists is so much of their doctrine is taken from the OT rather than the NT.

          I mean, if you take the Bible as totally literal, then why did we fight the Civil War? The OT condones slavery. The OT condones stoning for adulterers and disobedient children. People – justifiably – would be outraged if someone advocated either of those today. Yet fundamentalists choose what they want to out of the OT and say it God’s unerring word.

          If God in the OT condones slavery, how can I believe in a loving, just God?

          This is pretty much the same problem I have with creationism. And I really don’t understand why it’s so hard for fundamentalists to admit evolution is real. It doesn’t deny creation by God, it just changes the method.

          • The Guy from Knoxville says:

            JoeA

            I do have an additional quesion related to your last paragraph – why is it so hard to just take creation as it’s stated in Genesis? I mean if we’re talking the God of the universe it seems that he could do just what is stated there. FF to New Testament and the gospel of John chapter one which would seem to back that up. Could evolution be a part of it? I suppose that it’s possible in some respects but I think God was/is more than capable of doing it just as stated in Genesis plus there’s most likely more going on than any of us could ever understand or accept if all the details were known. No, on this one I tent to fall on the side of it happening as it’s stated.

            That just my thought – if that seems fundamentalist then I suppose on this issue I am one but I would hezitate to mark me, or anyone for that matter, on one issue.

          • joel hunter says:

            Whoops, that should be–

            I would submit that the lack of biblical authority or belief in biblical authority is, in some ways, much, much more of a scary and dangerous thing than worrying so much about Ken Ham and others.

            And I think that that requirement (biblical authority) is unreasonable in a pluralistic setting. That is why we can and should enter the public square on the common ground of truth. That cannot offend any rational being’s agency. And I submit that the “scary and dangerous thing” about Ken Ham is that he does not share that commitment. His video makes it quite clear that his conclusions are non-negotiable and that his purposes for promoting YEC are not for the sake of gaining knowledge or truth.

          • joel hunter says:

            Ugh, I need to quit–I’m messing up this lovely comment thread! The correction above goes below in the previous level.

            Part IV.

            You ask JoeA this–

            why is it so hard to just take creation as it’s stated in Genesis?

            Because there’s no evidence that there are waters surrounding the Earth above the firmament. The cosmology described by Genesis and the other OT books simply isn’t what we observe. It may have warrantedly assertible (sorry, technical philoso-speak) for the ANE cultures, but by the time of Hellenistic Greece, it wasn’t.

            I mean if we’re talking the God of the universe it seems that he could do just what is stated there.

            The problem with this claim is that if the Bible is telling us how God created, then it shuts down all curiosity and inquiry. There’s no need to investigate the nature of light (and make the surprising discovery that it travels always at a constant speed), no need to understand the mechanics of and nature of celestial bodies, no need to understand why stars exhibit the Doppler effect, no need to understand the dynamics and history of Earth materials, no need to understand the strange extinct creatures preserved in fossils, no need to understand the mechanisms at work in the diversity of the species (and their extinction), etc.

            The phenomena accessible to our study simply overwhelm the sufficiency of biblical explanation for them. Consider medicine. We could acknowledge that God is the great healer. But that tells us nothing of how he does it. Is it always by miracle? If we rest with that answer, wouldn’t you agree that looking for nonmiraculous causes and remedies has terrible consequences?

            Further: does increasing our medical knowledge in any way lessen God’s status as the great physician? For one who believes in God, it’s not a zero-sum game; increasing medical knowledge does not diminish God’s presence or power. What it does decrease is ignorance or knowledge based on superstition and occult causes.

            If there’s no conflict between belief in God as Physician and belief that much important knowledge has been gained in the field of medicine, then why is there conflict between belief in God as Creator and modern physics, chemistry, cosmology, geology, and biology?

        • joel hunter says:

          Part III.

          If scripture is not authoritative then what is and what’s our foundation? It’s either God’s word or it’s not (…)

          What are we building? IOW, foundation for what? I think you’d have near universal agreement among Christians that it is authoritative and reliable in matters of faith, worship, morals, and ethics. These are the foci and stated purposes of the Scriptures. Where disagreement enters is when some Christians wish to include history and science in those matters. In my view, it is unreasonable to demand that the Bible speak on historical and scientific phenomena according to the standards of documentary historiography or modern experimental science. In turn, it is unreasonable to demand that history or science recognize–in the absence of evidence external to the Bible itself–biblical claims that bear on their respective domains of investigation.

          I would submit that the lack of biblical authority or belief in biblical authority is, in some ways, much, much more of a scary and dangerous thing than worrying so much about Ken Ham and others.
          And I think that that requirement (biblical authority) is unreasonable in a pluralistic setting. That is why we can and should enter the public square on the common ground of truth. That cannot offend any rational being’s agency. And I submit that the “scary and dangerous thing” about Ken Ham is that he does not share that commitment. His video makes it quite clear that his conclusions are non-negotiable and that his purposes for promoting YEC are not for the sake of gaining knowledge or truth.

          • “why is it so hard to just take creation as it’s stated in Genesis?”

            For a couple of reasons. One, God gave me a mind to use. Men and women have been scientifically investigating the origins of the universe for hundreds of years. And we’ve found the literal interpretation of the Genesis story doesn’t square with fact.

            Second, which creation story am I supposed to believe? Genesis chapter 1 or Genesis chapter 2?

            It’s easy to believe the historical portions of the OT that are supported by archeological finds. But the first parts of Genesis were written after the fact. And scientific findings dispute there was really an Adam and Eve. It’s difficult to believe it actually happened, especially since similar stories exist in other earlier cultures like the Sumerian.

            So, no, I don’t take the creation story in Genesis as literal truth. I take it as an allegory, an attempt by early peoples who had no access to knowledge to find an answer to the question ‘where did we come from?’

            Again, no one has answered my question about picking and choosing which parts of the OT fundamentalists believe. Christians universally accept that slavery is immoral. Yet the OT allows it. If you believe the Bible is literally true then you have to take every part, not just the ones you like.

    • joel hunter says:

      Guy, I have some questions about your claims here. I see that JoeA has asked one that I have to, so I’ll post my redirect of that one below. For now, I would like to ask you about this claim:

      some of Ken [Ham]’s positions are rock solid

      I assume that “rock solid” = “true.” I’m also assuming that you include more than theological positions in the set of all Ken’s positions that you think are true. Could you give some specific examples of Ham’s scientific positions that you think are true? I’m not aware of any that are true.

      After expressing some laudable epistemic humility, you then say:

      but I don’t think taking a stand such as he is doing is such a bad thing.

      But doesn’t it matter if the stand he is taking consists of many false beliefs? Taking a stand on error, ignorance or peevishness, no matter how sincere the conviction, I would submit is a bad thing.

      Truth has never been real popular anyway (…)

      Well, I think almost every scientist and philosopher would beg to differ with you there.

    • joel hunter says:

      Okay, Part 2. I echo JoeA’s question: what does “return to biblical authority” mean?

      Part of your reply stated, “christians in particular have began to toss aside scripture as authoritative in just about all areas of life these days.” Perhaps so. In the context of this post, however, the focus would be on how “biblical authority” and science relate. So, is the scientific authority of the Bible for Christians? Or for everybody? You say:

      while the bible isn’t a text book in the sense of a science book, math book, reading book or whatever does not mean that it has nothing at all to say on issues or is not authoritative.

      To deny that it is not authoritative is not quite the same thing as asserting that it is authoritative (in science, math, etc.). But if appeal to the Bible is sufficient to deny that evolution is true, then why isn’t it sufficient to deny that the Earth moves, or that there exist waters surrounding the Earth above the windows of heaven?

      • The Guy from Knoxville says:

        Joel,

        On this waters thing – no that doesn’t exist now but that doesn’t mean it was not so at the time of creation. Many things came about after the fall that altered things as originally created in a state of perfection. At the point of mans fall (entry of sin) everything changed and was altered to the state of degeneration that exists now – that’s how I understand it.

        What I can’t grasp is why God can’t be taken at his word – yes scripture is authoritative in faith, morals, worship and ethics yet God, being creator, would certainly have knowledge of what we call science, physics, chemistry, cosmology etc. While there may not be an exceeding amout of info on these things in scripture does not mean we can summarily dismiss it on these issues. Obviously there was some need for us to have info on creation to some degree else why have it in there to begin with? Admittedly, these issues are not salvation critical but the desire to know more about is not a bad thing and I’m one that tends to fall on the side of taking God at his word on this one. These things interest me as much as the next person I just come down on a different side.

        Listen Joel, I admit I’m not as learned on this as other people and I have no problem with you believing what you want on this issue – as I said it’s not salvation critical. No one’s eternal destinity is determined by how one believes on this or a host of other issues. I enjoy the dialogue and I learn things from it and it’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed with this blog – it’s been a godsend to me in a lot of areas. I don’t think you’ve messed anything up with the posts – you’re trying to sort things out just like the rest of us and, though we differ on this, I don’t have any kind of ill feelings toward you over your position. There was a time in the past that I would have but not now. I’m going to keep searching on these issues of interest to me and I think you’ll do the same even in passionate dialogue at times.

        • joel hunter says:

          That’s fine, Guy, and thanks for your considerate response. It was unfair of me to pepper you with lots of questions at once.

          One last remark. When you ask why God can’t be taken at his word, it poisons the well of discussion, for it assumes that anyone who disagrees with what you think is the meaning of God’s word isn’t taking God at his word. It is tantamount to saying, “Everything conclusion I’ve drawn about Scripture is correct, no matter what you say.” Neither true nor false claims will matter after that. I think that I take God at his word also, but I also think there are good theological reasons not to read Genesis as if it is a written transcript of a video recording of the first seven days of the universe’s history. I think that there are also good literary, scientific, philosophical, and common sense reasons not to read it that way, but I will grant that those are secondary.

          Since God hasn’t said every truth-bearing proposition that can be said, taking God at his word also leaves lots and lots of things unsaid by Him, particularly about how the universe works. Peace to you, and may you be guided by Christ “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

          • But fundmantalists want to impose their ideas on everyone else. And they also believe you have to share their belief of the Bible as literally true to be a ‘real’ Christian.

        • “What I can’t grasp is why God can’t be taken at his word – yes scripture is authoritative in faith, morals, worship and ethics yet God, being creator, would certainly have knowledge of what we call science, physics, chemistry, cosmology etc.”

          But in Genesis I don’t see any evidence of God as scientist. There’s no mention of process, no mention of how the creation occurred other than God speaking. So, again, I don’t really see a case for this.

          In the context of that time, there is no scientific knowledge. So they couldn’t write about what they didn’t know, and it shows in the creation story. God obviously has all knowledge, but just as obviously did not impart any to the writer of Genesis.

          • The Guy from Knoxville says:

            For JoeA and Joel

            JoeA,

            I stated in the previous posts with Joel that I do not take these issues to be salvation critical. No one will spend eternity in heaven or hell based on how you believe on this or a host of other issues. What you do in terms of your relationship with Jesus will determine eternal destiny. I don’t see myself as a hard core fundamentalist – the previous posts with Joel was a dialogue between two people with different views on an issue and Joel has a better grasp of the scientific aspect where I choose a more “take it as it’s written” approach and I’m not as well versed as Joel and that’s fine as I learn things even when I don’t always agree.

            **************************************************************************

            BTW Joel, it’s true there was no detail of process and I don’t know that it was needed since everything after the fall was pointing us to how it would be corrected in Christ’s coming and sacrafice – his death, burial and resurrection. I think it’s perfectly fine to be curious about the details of how and why and so forth – certianly Ken Ham has that interest as I do and as you do. Alot happened back at the beginning in creation and it would be neat to know all that and we will at some point and I have an idea that every last one of us will be quite suprised at the answers – we’ll all probably have some things right and others wrong. I think it’s very, very interesting topic for research and discovery. God isn’t “a scientist” as such but has knowledge of it and an infinate number of other things we don’t and will not know this side of heaven but I think one can conclude that physics, chemistry, genetics etc were involved in all this else how do you get from a state of perfection to the state of imperfection after the fall if some things were not altered – could the aging leading to death process be a change at the genetic level for example…… is there a difference in flesh and bone (Adam about Eve – “bone of my bones/flesh of my flesh” – no mention of blood as a part of the body until after the fall and later we have stated in the NT that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven…… Now don’t go nuts on me – I’m just putting this out as examples – things I wonder about and I may be totally wrong on it all but, I do think about things like this from time to time – it’s very interesting. In a body made to last for eternity would you need blood to sustain life? After the fall it was necessary for physical life – it would seem before the fall that may not have been necessary……. again, these are just thoughs – they’re not hard fact…… we just don’t know for sure and may not know, as I said, this side of heaven but it is very, very fascinating!

            Well, this is my final post on this – it’s been interesting and I’ve enjoyed the dialogue/discussion…… always interesting here! Thanks guys – God bless!!!

  42. JoeA says, “fundamentalists want to impose their ideas on everyone else”. Hmmmmm. All public schools that fundamentalists are required by law to support with their taxes require the teaching of darwinian evolution as fact. From pre-school to college we are FORCED to contribute money to teach a belief system about the past that does not follow the scientific method at all. Zero science. It is the secular humanists who have control of the State and do impose their ideas on all of us. That is what Ken Ham was pointing out. Despite 70% of the population disagreeing with darwin’s idiotic theory it is still taught as science.

    Christians are allowing themselves to be conned. There is zero evidence to support darwinian evolution. Natural selection is good science that is extrapolated to prove a religous idea. Zero evidence of “primordial slime”. Zero fossil evidence to support gradual change. Dawkins now says DNA. DNA supports creationism because it is language + matter. Sorry, how did the language evolve? And we now know that cells are irreducibley complex. There has not been a single scientific paper written on how cells evolve. Not one. How did the eye evolve? How about feathers? The whole concept of darwinism is idiotic.

    Christians are conned by this great delusion of so-called “science” of secular humanists. After 11 years of cooling they still tell us the planet is warming and the Pope, the Orthodox Patriarch, and Rick Warren all believe it and their flocks follow them. Christians aren’t against science. That is a big lie. We are against bad science that is used to distort the minds of children into thinking that people are no different from rocks, trees, birds, and spiders. The public schools have the minds of your children (not mine, I home schooled, but I was still FORCED to pay for the secualr humanist public school) for 5 days a week plus homework on the weekends. Then you give them an hour at church. Hmmmm….I wonder what will have the greatest influence?

    As for the Creation Museum. It’s great. Ken Ham gives occasional lectures. You can skip those if you want to. You are not FORCED to pay for the museum or FORCED to listen to him. Heck, I am being FORCED to pay for a stupid Woodstock Museum. I don’t get what imonk’s hang-up with Christians witnessing in this way. Where is the extension of Grace?

  43. >>Can someone tell me why a “Creation” Educator is giving this speech at a “Creation Museum?”

    “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

    If this is true, then the account of the creation of earth and man in the Book of Genesis also must be true. But if I don’t believe what is stated in the Book of Genesis, how can I believe what is written in the rest of the Bible? And if I can’t believe what is written in the rest of the Bible, where does my faith come from? And if I don’t know where my faith comes from, why should I go to church?

    • joel hunter says:

      Jennifer, you wrote–

      If this is true, then the account of the creation of earth and man in the Book of Genesis also must be true.

      Exactly. And the over 67 passages that declare that the Earth is fixed, and that the Sun, Moon and stars rotate around it (Josh 10:12-13, 1 Chron 16:30, Isaiah 48:13, Hab 3:11, and many more. And that the shape of the Sky and heavens is a dome (Gen 1:6-8). And that this firmament has windows behind which are waters (Gen 1:6-7, Ps 148:4, Jer 10:13, etc.).

      But if I don’t believe what is stated in the Book of Genesis, how can I believe what is written in the rest of the Bible?

      Not only the book of Genesis, but all of the others books, too. All of which consistently teach that the Earth is immobile and that the celestial bodies really move around it.

      And if I can’t believe what is written in the rest of the Bible, where does my faith come from?

      This is exactly right. And the Bible teaches a very clear cosmology which is incompatible with with the Copernican heresy of heliocentrism and a moving Earth. And, I should add, that all public schools are required by law to teach this Copernican-Galilean humanist theory and we are FORCED to support it with our taxes. It’s an outrage. It’s totalitarian. Teach the controversy.

      What I can’t figure out is why Ken Ham and AiG teach PART of Genesis as the truth, but get all wishy-washy when it comes to the arrangement and shape of the cosmos, which is ALSO in Genesis 1 (and in lots of other scriptural passages).

      And if I don’t know where my faith comes from, why should I go to church?

      Indeed. If the physical cosmology of the Bible isn’t true, why should I go to church?

      If young-earth creationism is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” then so is geocentrism. It’s too bad YECs have such a low view of Scripture that they adopt liberalistic, “it’s just appearances” (i.e., it isn’t true) interpretations of passages that clearly teach that the Earth really is the literal fixed center of Creation together with the rest of biblical cosmology.

      • I suppose you belive the earth is flat too. To ignore science and think it somehow demeans the value of the Bible is – oh, really, I’m not even going to bother.

        Time to think about where you are versus where the rest of the world is. If you want to stay in the 14th century, by all means go ahead, but keep your ideas to yourself and don’t indoctrinate my child. My son learns truth, not myth.

        Really, Christian fundamentalists go halfway anyway. Despite my contempt for them, at least Moslem fundamentalists live all they believe. They kill adulterers and cut off hands for stealing. If you’re going in, go all in or not at all, fundamentalist Christians. No cell phones, supermarkets, autos, computers, airplanes or TVs in any Bible I’ve ever read.

        • The Guy from Knoxville says:

          JoeA and Joel,

          Had to add one more thing though….. what would be nice is if folks on the creation side would have people scientifically knowledgable on the issues so that they can debate in a way such that they don’t look like ignorant fools or be a mouthpiece to spew talking points from a group like the lady in the second interview above. There’s plenty of good solid things to debate from the creation side there’s just not been well educated, knowledgeable people to do it – if there was there would probably be more respect for the position than there is. I suppose if we approached creation from a scientific standpoint like so many have on evolution we might just have something to say and I dare say if that were the case we probably trash a good part of evolution in the process.