Can An Evangelical Christian Accept Evolution?

The blog Questioning Answers in Genesis posted about the fact that there is a need for presentations of the evidence for evolution which treat those who do not yet accept it with respect, and do not merely present the evidence but also address the objections that circulate among such detractors, patiently explaining why such objections are wrong or off target. I know that scientists doing just that were instrumental in changing my own mind from being an adherent of young-earth creationism to accepting mainstream science. And so I think this is indeed an important point.

That post recommends a video series by Dennis Venema, and having read posts by Venema and listened to a bit of the first part of the video (it is a twelve-part series), I thought I would share it. If you are a person who rejects mainstream biology, I would encourage you to watch the whole thing, and if you still find yourself unable to embrace mainstream science’s conclusions, I would be interested to know why.

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  • Anonymous

    Jumping off that point, I just found Conor Cunningham’s Did Darwin Kill God in its entirety on Youtube. I think it’s a great doc to show evangelical Christians that are skeptical of evolution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEwrkjTbWgU

  • Jon Baker

    Thank you for your comments and the link to my blog. It’s always interesting to find out who is reading! Looks like I found a new blog to follow as well. I’ve enjoyed many of your thoughts here.

  • http://digestofworms.blogspot.com admiralmattbar

    J G Glover’s video series is what did it for me.  He actually addressed the arguments themselves rather than simply attack people.
    http://www.blog.beyondthefirmament.com/video-presentations/science-and-christian-education/

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    In the words of Spock, are you sure it isn’t time for a colorful creationist cartoon?  :-]

  • Tannery Jason

    Biologists have used atavisms and ERVs to support evolution theory. 
     
    Refer to the website addresses, http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/atavism-embryology-development-and-evolution-843, pertaining to the explanation of atavisms.  The following are the extracts:
     
    Humans do not have tails, but do we have “what it takes” for a tail? Hens don’t have teeth, but they have the genes for it. With atavism, it is as if our genomes serve as archives of our evolutionary past.
     
    The following are the possibilities that atavisms might not be the good source to support evolution:
     
    1)The appearance of atavisms among living things in the past might not give the implication that certain animals could be evolved from another due to it might be the result of the poor condition of the genes or DNA or sperms or menses or etc., itself that would have led to the exceptional physical shortfalls or the excessive and extraordinary growth in the physical bodies by accident that have nothing to do with evolution.
     
    Refer to the websites addresses below for abnormal growth of certain parts of their bodies among animals in the past: http://forum.globaltimes.cn/forum/showthread.php?t=6176, http://www.google.com.sg/imgres?imgurl=http://www.kashvet.org/oasis/wp- http://parkviewgallery.com/abnormal-animal-, picturescontent/uploads/2008/11/image099.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.kashvet.org/oasis/pathological/bovine-fetal-mummification/&h=398&w=554&sz=65&tbnid=EDw-IFHW0vusMM:&tbnh=91&tbnw=126&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dabnormal%2Banimals%2Bpictures%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=abnormal+animals+pictures&docid=Dm0Lz2oFMRhfvM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=AmN6TpyoH8jjrAePp8CsDw&ved=0CC0Q9QEwAw&dur=703.  
     
    From the above pictures of the websites address, could a person come to the conclusion that living things could have their ancestors with more than one head due to pigs and human beings, turtles and etc., could give birth to their offspring with more than a head?  Could a person comment that his ancestor could be born with three legs by seeing the horse that has been born with three legs?  Could a person mention that his ancestor could be born with eyes balls without eyes pupils just judging that there have been blind men or women that have been born without eyes pupils?  Could a person comment that his ancestor could be born with six fingers per hand simply by judging that there are human beings that have been born with six fingers from time to time?  Could a person comment that his ancestor, i.e. the animal, could be mentally retarded, by judging that some human beings are born to be so even though their parents are physically healthy?  Thus, it is irrational to use the abnormal growth of living thing, such as, fingers, tail, extra bones, and etc., to arrive at a conclusion that this animal should be the ancestor of this or that for the support of evolution.  This is due to atavisms might be occurred in accident or as a result of the poor condition as well as malfunction of gene or DNA or sperms or menses that might have led to abnormal growth or the weakness in genes that ultimately might have led to physical shortfalls or the excessive growth of flesh, bones and etc., that would seem to look alike as certain features of other ancestors.
     
    2)Atavisms might also occur as a result of external factors that would influence the genes or DNAs or etc. to cause abnormal growth that would have led to animals with extraordinary feature that could not be found commonly among them, such as, tail from human beings in the past or skeleton that seems to be leg from whale or etc.  This might not be able to serve as an evidence if this were merely the cause of flesh and bone that have grown abnormally due to certain bad physical condition of genes and DNA as a result of the influence of external factors, such as, the poor physical bodies of their parents that give rise to poor genes; or the illnesses of their parents that could cause the defect of genes or DNA to the ultimate formation of abnormal living things; or the direct attack and influence of bacteria that could ultimately cause the genes or DNA to be in defect; or etc.  This ultimately would lead to animals to have given birth to offspring to have the co-incidence that have the feature that could not be found commonly among their kind of animals instead, from others.
     
    Refer to the website address, http://www.askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=3914, pertaining to the evidence that ERVs could be used as an evidence to support evolution theory.  The following are the reasons that ERVs might not be suitable to be used as an evidence to support evolution theory:
     
    1)There could be a possibility that a living thing would have been created initially to have the identical feature or ERVs or genes or DNA or pattern or anatomy or genomes or etc., as others co-incidentally instead of by means of evolution.  If that could be so during the creation, it is irrational to arrive at the conclusion that this animal could be the ancestor of the others by means of comparing the similarities of genes or DNA; or the similarities of loci in the genomes; or etc.
     
    2)As there are only a few animals in the fossils, such as, dinosaurs fossils, could be dug out by archeologists and yet the population of the animals that are in the fossils in the past should be more than hundred or million especially at the place where the fossils have been dug out, there places a possibility about the missing fossils in which many animals, such as, dinosaurs, would have their bones and skulls to turn into dust and vanished in the ground.  If that could be so, the arrangement of animals in the timeline of homo sapiens would be in question.  For instance, how could we know that human beings were once alive prior to 15 Ma?  Biologists have placed human beings after the apes’ period was due to they could not locate any human skulls prior to 15 Ma.  What if human beings did exist prior to 15 Ma and yet their bones and skulls would have been vanished under the ground and this would have resulted that no evidence could prove the existence of human beings prior to 15 Ma.  This  certainly would turn the timeline upside down that biologists might suggest that human beings would evolve to apes.  Thus, the possibility of missing fossils has placed the reliability of timeline of homo sapiens into question.
     
    3)Biologists did not perform experiment to ensure that human beings could be evolved from animals.  Besides, nobody in this world did have eye-witness that animals could evolve from one to another.  Thus, their theory simply is not tested.  This places the reliability of evolution theory to be in question.
     
    4)The irregularity of probabilities of genes as well as DNA in the website address, http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/korthof83.htm, pertaining to DNA sequence in the genome of other organisms has placed the reliability of evolution theory into question.
    The probabilities of human gene sequence that codes for protein are extracted from the website address above as follows: Chimpanzee (100%); Dog (99%); Mouse (99%); Chicken (75%); Fruitfly (60%); and Roundworm (35%). From the list of the probabilities of the human gene sequence that codes for protein, it is obvious that there is an irregularity of human gene among these animals. The probability for roundworm (35%) is lesser than fruitfly (60%) despite the size of the roundworm might be comparatively bigger than the fruitfly. Not only that, mouse should be smaller in size than chicken and yet its probability could be far as high as 99%. In comparison of the capability to adapt the environment or in terms of size, dog could be no much better than chimpanzee and yet the probability of the dog could be as high as 99%. As there is an irregularity of probability of human gene sequence that codes for protein among the animals above, it places the query about the reliability of evolution theory into question.  This is due to it is rational to think that the smallest animals could have the lowest probability of human genes than the biggest as a result of evolution. The initial common ancestor might well be small in size. As and when the animals keep on evolving, the creatures would turn up to be bigger in size in each evolution with the improvement in the development of gene. As the probabilities of human gene sequence that codes for protein show irregular genes among animals, it does not seem to provide a clue that existing animals would have been formed from evolution. Why should there be an irregularity of human gene that codes for protein among animals?
     
    The probabilities of human random DNA segment between genes could not code for proteins among different animals are listed below: Chimpanzee (98%); Dog (52%); Mouse (40%); Chicken (4%); Fruitfly (-0%); and Roundworm (-0%). Again, despite the mouse is smaller in size as compared to chicken, yet the probability of human DNA that could be located in mouse is much higher than it. The dog is slightly bigger in size as compared to chicken and yet the probability of human DNA could be as high as 52%. Thus, the probabilities of human random DNA segment between genes among animals are irregular. As there are irregularities of probability of DNA among the animals, it is hard to use these variations to conclude animals would have been evolved from time to time.
     
    Some biologists might comment that the adverse evolution from complexity of animals to simplicity was merely the result of genetic deletion.  The following are the website addresses for the proof that biologists did perform successfully in causing the change of feature of animals through genetic deletion or insertion or duplication or even amplification:
    http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_65878.asp, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/269/5221/230.short,
    http://physiolgenomics.physiology.org/content/37/3/249.full, http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/abs/10.2217/17460913.2.3.309?journalCode=fmb, http://sommeil.univ-lyon1.fr/articles/valatx/jsr_99/print.php
    Despite genetic deletion or insertion or amplification or etc. has been performed successfully upon mice or even bacteria, they could only alter the feature of the living thing, such as, changing its characteristics or behaviour or etc.  However, they could not transform that living thing, such as, bacteria, into another type, such as, bee or etc.  Or in other words, when a genetic deletion or insertion or etc. would be performed on a specific animal, such as, mice, the end result still remains as that animal, i.e. mice, instead of creating a new creature.  As they could not transform the more complexity of animals into simplicity through genetic deletion or vice versa, it is irrational to use genetic deletion or insertion or amplification or etc. to support that animals could be evolved from one to another through one of these methods since biologists could only change the feature of animals instead of creating new creatures through these experiments.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    If I understand the gist of your argument, isn’t it the equivalent of saying that because changing any one word or even a handful of words in Italian, Spanish or French would not turn them into Latin, therefore they could not have evolved from Latin? I don’t see how the specific experiments involving individual deletions and insertions can plausibly be used as part of an attempt to deny the sorts of changes that could occur cumulatively over millions of years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Tannery/100002882837785 Jason Tannery

    As there is no eye-witness that the complexity of animal, such as lion, could be transformed into a different simplicity of animal, such as, a mouse, over millions of years, genetic insertion or deletion is just a theory without proven.  Unless the experiment in the past has brought to the attention that one animal, such as bacteria, could be transformed into another type, such as, bee, it is then rational to support evolutionary evolution.

    When you mention Italian or Spanish or French to be turned into Latin, it is still human language instead of alien language or apes’ or crocodile’s or etc.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I’m not aware that crocodiles have a language, but I am guess that the last part of your comment indicates that you are either not getting the point and nature of the analogy or are simply determined to resist it.

    Unless you are going to reject criminology, history and many other fields that involve deduction and claim that all conclusions drawn using deduction and inference are invalid, then I don’t see why drawing conclusions based on the combined weight of genetic, paleontological and homological evidence would be illegitimate.

  • Jason Tannery

    Genesis 2:21   And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 
    Genesis 2:22   And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Genesis 2:7   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.
    Genesis 11:9   Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I’m not sure what your point is in those citations. Is it that neither of those texts can be treated at face value in light of what we know about the composition of human bodies or the development of languages? Or is it that you believe that because of a symbolic story about the Human and a bit of political satire about Babylon’s unfinished ziggurat, it is justified to selectively dismiss any of the changes in our knowledge that have occurred since those stories were written?

  • Tannery Jason

    When you mention that Genesis 2 is a symbolic story, do you mean that Adam and Eve are faire tale or simply they were symbolic representatives of apes?  Or is that the word, God, in Genesis 1 also a symbolic word in replacement of quantum theory?  Even if you mention that Genesis 2 is a symbolic story, do you mean that the whole book of Genesis is symbolic?  Do you mean that the whole Bible is also a symbolic stories and Jesus Christ is just a representative of a spiritual world?

  • Tannery Jason

    If all the words in Genesis 2 are symbolic, all the stories in Genesis would turn up to be symbolic.  If that could be so, who was Abraham?  Was he just a symbolic representation of an ape instead of a man of faith?  If the whole book of Genesis was just full of symbolic representation, Israel itself would turn up to be a symbolic person.  If the whole book of Genesis is just a symbolic representation of something, which part of the book of Genesis is fact?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @bf27150c6d63e10a1d500308200ca933:disqus , if you want to determine whether we have good reason to conclude that certain things actually happened, you need to use the tools of historical investigation. But it is silly to suggest that if a source includes non-factual information, it must all be non-factual. Does every movie in which “some persons and events have been dramatized” thereby become entirely non-factual? Historical study treats each detail on its own merits, not in the unpersuasive all-or-nothing fashion of fundamentalism.
    As for the story in Genesis, it has a main character named Human, it tells a story about two people literally being one flesh to explicitly make a symbolic point about husbands and wives becoming one flesh, it traces universal human experiences and features a talking animal. If God ordained for all these indications of its symbolic character to be present in the story, then the pertinent question is why you can’t take a hint.  :-)

  • Tannery Jason

    How do you determine whether the word, rib, in Genesis 2:21 to be non-factual and yet Adam and Eve to be factual?  There isn’t any device or instrument to test whether these few could be non-factual or factual. How could you determine also the word, God, in Genesis 1 to be factual if the word, rib, in Genesis 2:21 has to be considered to be non-factual?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    @jamesfmcgrath:disqus  you’re the one who can not see the plain logic. The all or nothing, is not a choice someone makes, but is based on the evidence. Your historical evaluation works fine on subjects like Abraham Lincoln, where he was a real person, but some aspects of the story of his life might be fiction. But what the historical method does not address is WHY did Abraham Lincoln exist? It does not deal with this question because it is a ridiculous question. In the eyes of historical critics, no one is brought into existence for a specific purpose. They might create a purpose for themselves through their life choices, but they were not born to specifically do something. However, Jesus’ story is the opposite of that, he himself claimed to be born for a specific reason (John 18:37). Jesus also said he came to fulfill the law and the prophets, and these writings include many of the events you consider fiction. Also, Jesus and other biblical authors refer to the creation account and to Adam as historical. If Jesus really did come to bare witness to the truth, would he have perpetuated the fictitious stories? More important, would Jesus admit that he was born to fulfill fictitious stories? The Adam and Eve account is one of the main reasons for his coming, to do away with sin. Even if these accounts are not historical, Jesus did in fact perpetuate them for some reason. If Jesus is in fact the Son of God, the Messiah, the King of the world, where does someone get off contradicting what he taught and his method of teaching? However, if the historical Jesus was none of those things and merely a normal man who created his own purpose, then it is all pretty meaningless to us today.

    The difference between a historical view of the Bible and a more traditional view, is merely the choice we make based on the same evidence. For historians, some events are unbelievable, for traditionalist, belief in God means all things are possible, but not necessarily explainable. Tell me as a historian, do you know exactly how the pyramids in Egypt were constructed? I bet if the pyramids no longer physically existed today, and their description was only found in ancient writings, historians would call them fictitious stories as well. Do you really think it is advantageous to reject much of God’s word until you receive more concrete evidence? Especially when Jesus, who you claim was a historical person said it was by faith in God, not physical evidence, that will save you.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Howard, how can you say that “all or nothing” is based on the evidence, when we clearly have confirming evidence for some things in the Bible, contradictory evidence in other cases, and nothing to confirm or deny its information in still others? Your assertions would be more persuasive if they bore a closer resemblance to reality as opposed to mere wishful thinking.

    Jason, I will leave the “rib” example to one side since I presume you are aware that the Hebrew does not say “rib.” As for the broader issue, in the case of most of Genesis, we simply do not have the kinds of evidence historians would need to confirm the details of accounts in the Bible. And so the question is what Jews and Christians ought to do in the absence of such confirmation. Just choosing to treat stories as factual because they are “our stories” seems to do disrespect to them and the evidence within them that they reflect a range of different sorts of content -nonetheless all of which reflects a pre-scientific view of the world

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    James, I don’t think you get what I am saying because you do not understand the context in which I am applying it. I’m not denying that a man could have walked around Jerusalem, met the high priest, stood in front of Pilate, was killed by Roman soldiers, and was deified by his followers. However, just because these historical people and events were real, does not mean Jesus was who he said he was, and if he wasn’t, then his life and death do not help anyone in the way the Bible says it will. His life and death were meaningless as far as supernatural salvation is concerned. And what I was trying to say in my other comment was that since the entire Hebrew canon is centered around God’s divine plan with Jesus as the fulfillment of it, was Jesus born to fulfill fiction or was he born to fulfill truth?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    The Hebrew canon may be viewed as centered on Jesus when read with hindsight from a Christian perspective, but it is quite clear that these texts on the whole do not look forward to a crucified Messiah or in a specific way to Jesus. This is a good example of the difference between reading texts asking only a certain set of religious questions, and asking about meaning and implications in a more comprehensive, documented and contextual fashion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    I think the apostle Paul might have a problem with your reasoning.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    He well might have. But I might not have thought as I do now had I lived in his time, and he might not have thought as he did had he lived in ours. So I am not sure how Paul’s reasoning being different from ours is any more relevant, or more surprising, than the fact that the cosmology of Paul is different from that of the author of Genesis. Times change, thinking changes, and to suggest otherwise is to ignore evidence provided within the Bible’s own pages.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    James, a couple of things, first you never did respond to my explanation of “all or nothing” so can I assume you agree with the point I made? Second, after re-reading your comment, I noticed you misquoted me, I did not say the Hebrew Scriptures were centered around Jesus, I said they were centered around God’s divine plan and that Jesus brought this plan to completion, something that is only revealed in the New Testament, not the old. And yes, times do change, but God does not. So again, either God communicated his unchanging truth to men or he didn’t. There is no middle ground, at least in my opinion. I would have no interest in a God who mixes the truth with lies. Either the Bible is from God and it is all truth, or it is from man who often mixes the truth with lies.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I thought I responded clearly enough to your “all-or-nothing” statement. But I will add that in one recent comment you are quoting the Gospel of John as though its words can confidently be treated as those of Jesus. They cannot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    So nothing is really trustworthy? Why are you afraid to face the truth James? The academic humanistic view of the Bible is merely a facade to please men. You basically teach atheism under the guise of a new Christianity. You do this so you can keep with the modern scientific worldview and to placate traditional Christians including the ones who finance your religious departments. How many universities have an atheism department? And you keep bringing up those tools for historical study, and how they are not capable of examining miracles and the like, and thus they are determined to be myth. That is an incomplete and ridiculous determination. If you drove your car into a motorcycle repair shop and asked them to fix your car, they would say, we do not have the right tools to fix your car, you will have to look somewhere else. They would hardly say, because we do not have the proper tools, your car is not real, and thus does not need to be repaired. They might also say, we are going to have to reconstruct the events that brought you here because you certainly did not get here in a non-existent car. That is what happens with your historical method, one wrong determination leads you down a completely wrong path, far from the truth, because you were unwilling to have faith that God can do anything no matter how unbelievable it might seem to us. If you reject that simple logic, then you reject God himself and what he is capable of doing. That’s called atheism, no matter what type of Christian spin you want to put on it. I think you are missing a main point, being a Christian does not simply mean that you believe Jesus was a historical person, it means you believe in Jesus and who he was and what he did and that his Father (YHWH) was and is a historical person too.

  • Tannery Jason

    Refer to the Strong Concordance, the word, rib, in Genesis 2:21 has been defined as rib (of man).  James F. McGrath.  You have twisted the Bible and mentioned that the word, rib, is not there in Hebrew canon. 

  • Tannery Jason

    The definition of the word, rib, in Genesis 2:21 can be located at http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6763&t=KJV.

  • Tannery Jason

    James F. McGrath, the God that you believe in was not the God that had created human beings directly but the one that could assist in the evolution in the living things.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is also God.  Thus, the “Jesus Christ’ that you believe in should not be the One that has involved in the direct creation of human beings, but the one that would have assisted in evolution.  What if the true Jesus would ignore the so-called, Jesus, that you believe in due to that Jesus that you believe in could not be so omnipotent to create directly the living things and was not the One that has created them directly, I ponder whether you have been saved then.

    This is the same as muslims believe in Jesus Christ and yet do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus.  Their belief could not save them since they believe the so-called, Jesus, was the one that did not die on the cross of Calvary.

    This is the same as Buddhism and Hinduism.  They believe in god but the god that they believe in was already in every person and was also the nature itself.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    While I do not want to encourage anyone to think that turning to Strong’s is the way to find out the meaning of words, in this case it certainly provides you with enough information to figure out what is going on. The double instance in Genesis is the only place where that Hebrew word gets rendered as “rib” in some English translations. Any commentary would inform you that this was a surmise, and not something that is the clear meaning of the word. I wish you would treat the Bible and the interpretation of it with the seriousness it deserves. You are of course free to wonder if I am saved, but do know that I in turn will be wondering what type of Christian considers it not worth consulting a commentary to get the necessary linguistic, cultural and other contextual information to make sense of texts that they claim to revere as God’s Word but inform themselves about only superficially.

    Howard, if you have better methods than those scholar’s have developed for investigating historical questions, please feel free to share them. If you have methods for determining which ancient stories about miracles are factual and which are legendary, please feel free to share those too.

  • Tannery Jason

    The God and Jesus Christ that we believe in should be omnipotent.  Could He create the living things in one day?  Surely He could!  Do you remember how Jesus multiplied the bread to few 5 thousand people?  He could create bread within a few minutes even though there were a few loaves of bread and fish.  Do you remember the miracle that Moses did perform to create many frogs in Egypt before Pharaoh?  Just within a few seconds, God created many frogs and caused Pharaoh in trouble.  So, God definitely could create and had created the living things within a day.  This is what the true God and Jesus Christ that I believe.

    Remember the verse below:

    Matthew 19:26   But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    That would make an equally effective argument against the depiction of creation as taking 6 days in Genesis 1.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    James, the problem is that these historical questions are only useful up to a certain point. It can never provide the whole picture of the biblical narratives. Many other avenues of investigation and logic need to be followed as well. When you rely too heavily on only one avenue of investigation, it becomes strained and it tries to answer questions it is not able to answer. And sometimes it develops its own bias in comparison with other historical evaluations. Historian Will Durant says: “In the enthusiasm of its discoveries the Higher Criticism has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies—e.g., Hammurabi, David, Socrates—would fade into legend.”

    So if you ever wanted to convince me of any of your claims, you need to be specific and name a single event and explain the problem. Because one person’s contradiction is another person’s common sense. It all comes down to what you or I think the texts is saying at any given moment.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I don’t disagree. My question (again) is what approach, tools, methods or criteria you consider relevant to sifting between claims to the miraculous made in ancient texts. Unless you consider them all true or all false, then presumably you have a basis for distinguishing some from others, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    Well first, I am note sure if by “ancient text” you mean specifically the biblical texts or any ancient texts that refer to miracles. What you ask is a rather complicated issue, if you are asking for the details. But to simplify it, I would say the first thing to distinguish them would be to establish the existence of the God of the Bible as the only true God. I think this is the key issue because if you can do this to your own personal satisfaction, it nullifies the existence of other gods and their miracles, not including other real angelic beings. It also provides the basis for believing the God of the Bible would be capable of doing such miracles. So the tools and criteria are the ones that help establish the existence of the God of the Bible. And this is not done by simply reading the direct statements in the Bible about God’s existence. The first thing is to accurately understand what this God is trying to say to us by examining the Bible as a whole. Does it have a complete story to tell? Does the story make sense? Does it have a purpose? Do these ideas seem like they come from an almighty God or from men? And many more questions like these, and then more on to other areas. Such as, how have these documents effected history and culture as compared to other religious writings? Why have these texts endured so long, probably longer than any other religious texts. Why has it been so misinterpreted over the years?

    And many more questions, and each of these questions require investigations into history, linguistics, sociology, comparative religious studies, translation principles, Jewish studies, the history of Christianity and many more. So by examining both what the Bible is saying and how it was received by different people and cultures, you can make a determination as to whether the God of the Bible is real or not. And it is always a choice or determination, as no one can prove his existence. And if you determine that he is real, and by accurately understanding his message you can also determine that he is guarding his word and would not let man change it to any great extent. The miracles, whether they really happened or not, are part of his word and they are tied in with biblical principals and ideas that he wished to convey. So we can not just go around chopping peaces out of the text, they have meaning and purpose to the entire theme. And there would be no way to understand the full meaning of the message if you set aside these portions of texts.

    All I am saying is the historical method might be able to prove Jesus’ human existence, but it can never prove God’s existence or the existence of miracles. Because these are non-physical things which are not areas of historical study. These have to be studied under a super-naturalistic framework, and then added to the historical work to form a more complete picture. Common sense tells us that texts that deal mostly with supernatural ideas should not be evaluated with a method that only deals with the physical world.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    How do you determine the existence of the God of the Bible independently of the Bible as a means of distinguishing the Bible’s texts from other texts?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    I’m not sure I understand the question, can you rephrase it?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    You offered as a way to establishing the distinctive veracity of Biblical miracle accounts an approach that first establishes the existence of the Biblical God. How do you do that first?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    I thought I had already explained that. It is done in the same manner as other documents. If you received a letter in the mail from a professor you did not know, and for some reason, there was some doubt as to its authenticity, the first thing you would do was read the entire letter to see what the message was. Does it sound like a message a professor would write? Does it make sense to you? Has anyone else ever heard of this professor? Does he have his facts straight or is it gibberish? After you read it through several times and you answer these questions to the best of your ability, you should be able to determine if this was really written by a professor or some sort of chain letter.

    It is the same with the Bible, the best we can do is to evaluate as much evidence as we can to form an opinion. But it is also important to know what evidence is worth evaluating. There are many sources of biblical information out there, and some of it is clearly wrong, some is deceptive, some is out of ignorance, some of it is biased, and still others are outright liars and kooks. It takes a very diligent search to find the truth through all the muck.

    The proper interpretation of the message is also vital. This can lead either to more reasonable and acceptable ideas or to outrageous ideas that contradict other major sections of the text and make them less reasonable or acceptable. And that clearly makes a difference as to whether a reasonable God exists or and unreasonable one exists. A proper understanding also causes many would be contradictions to disappear or never show up in the first place.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    How do you determine such things without using the methods of historical study, and how do you apply such methods to the existence of God prior to evaluating the Bible? Or are you now backtracking on that aspect of your approach?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    I said historical study, did you not read my comment? It is not done prior to evaluating the Bible, it is done at the same time.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    You said previously that in order to establish the truthfulness of the Bible, one first establishes the existence of the Biblical God. Is your recent comment a departure from that earlier statement?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    Not at all, you do not seem to be getting what I am saying, maybe I gave you the wrong impression at the beginning. You can not come to have faith in God without first receiving information about him, either oral or written. The main source for us today is the Bible. So yes, the Bible is needed to make a judgment as to whether God is real or not. The difference between our approach is that I am evaluating the message of the Bible to see if it is worthy of a God. And when that is tentatively determined, then I examine the information even closer to see if the determination needs adjusted or not. And it continues, but with faith in God already established. You evaluate individual biblical events to see if they really happened or not. And it seems to me that you are involved in a never ending evaluation, and you put off making a final determination about God and the Bible until you are completely satisfied with the results of your examination.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    How does one determine the worthiness of the Bible as a product of God or not without first determining what God is like? The Bible might be worthy of Yahweh, and the Bhagavad Gita worthy of Krishna, but it isn’t clear that such a comparison allows one to say on that basis alone that one of those gods is real and the other not. So I am still puzzled about the steps in your reasoning.

    If some details in the Bible are non-factual or scientifically inaccurate, would that render it unworthy of a God? I don’t see how that follows, particularly for a religious tradition which ought to appreciate the value of parable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Tannery/100002882837785 Jason Tannery

    This is the same thing for a person to ask whether each person has a soul with him.  As he could not see his soul, could he mention that he does not have a soul?

    As God is a spirit, nobody could see God.  So!  How could a person examine the existence of God?  We know its existence through faith.

    As oxygen is invisible to us, those people in poor country, such as, certain part of Africa, could not afford to get a device to test the existence of oxgyen, could they mention that oxygen does not exist since they could not see it?  They have to believe it exists through the textbook without seeing it.  We could test its existence but we could not really see the shape of oxygen since it is transparent.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I think it is important to distinguish between two possible understandings of your analogy. On the one hand, the things referred to in terms of the “soul” are not non-observable. The concept of the soul historically has included elements of personhood such as reason, creativity, and self-awareness. And so to deny such things might indeed be irrational. But as our understanding of the origin and character of such elements progresses, we may need to reinterpret what we mean by “soul” and where we think it resides. No one today, to my knowledge, accepts what was believed to be literally true in Paul’s time, namely that thinking takes place in the heart. But we can accept many of Paul’s points even so, while reinterpreting his language of the heart metaphorically.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Tannery/100002882837785 Jason Tannery

    Refer to the website address, http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/periodic_table/proton_evidence.html, for the evidence of protons.  You would have discovered that neither Rutherford really saw protons in physical shape nor he did touch and had a direct contact of protons and yet he was convinced its existence through experiment.  He only suspected that the particles that he discovered were protons since he felt that they were neither alpha particles nor nitrogen nuclei? How could he be so sure that these particles should be protons? Could these be otherwise? Could we mention that protons should not exist simply we could not really see their actual shapes or to take them out for other means?  So, could we mention that God is non-existent simply we could not see it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    I’m not sure what you want from me, I have explained it as briefly as I can. It’s a pretty complicated endeavor, and can not be fully explained in a couple paragraphs. Again I can not stress the importance of a correct and reasonable understanding of God’s word while you are evaluating its probability. When you start throwing in ideas like Jesus is almighty God or God tortures people in hell for eternity, it makes the Bible more confusing and less credible. As far as scientific inaccuracies, that is merely one perspective. I would have to see some examples.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Tannery/100002882837785 Jason Tannery

    You surely cannot see God since He is spirit.

    The following was my past true experience:  A few years ago I encountered myself in floating above the bed.  I looked around the whole bedroom and everything was there and nothing unchanged.  I then looked backward and yet saw my body was in the bed.  After that, I stepped back and woke up. 

    The above was my first encounter that I saw nothing of myself except my body was on the bed.  I am not lying but did experience this unusual thing.  Spirit was indeed invisible.

  • Beau Quilter

    James

    I find most of Howard’s logic as confused and circular as you do. However, when he says:

    “I’m not denying that a man could have walked around Jerusalem, met the high priest, stood in front of Pilate, was killed by Roman soldiers, and was deified by his followers. However, just because these historical people and events were real, does not mean Jesus was who he said he was, and if he wasn’t, then his life and death do not help anyone in the way the Bible says it will. His life and death were meaningless as far as supernatural salvation is concerned.”

    I find that I am in complete agreement.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I don’t disagree with your assessment, Beau, or with what you quoted from Howard. My issue with Howard is that he seems to object to historical study of Jesus because it doesn’t provide the tools necessary to establish Jesus as salvific, and yet doesn’t seem to be willing to clearly offer alternative tools, methods, or approaches that will do what he says mainstream scholarly methods are lacking.

    Howard, why are you determined to object to the methods I am using, when yours are apparently either so vague and ill-defined or complicated that you cannot share them even with someone open to embracing them, never mind someone skeptical of them.

    For a scientific inaccuracy, we could consider the dome in Genesis 1, or even Paul’s statements about the heart as the locus of human thought, to give just a couple of obvious examples.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    James, I will work on a more detailed explanation, give me a day or two. In the mean time, could you tell me one final time what exactly you want to know so I do not go off topic too much. 

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I am really just looking for an explanation of how someone not already committed to the religious stance that you have is able to get there from wherever they may be starting. You have sometimes indicated the inadequacy of the methods that scholars and historians use, and so I am trying to grasp what methods you advocate in their place, and how they work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    James, sorry for the delay. I was going to respond to your question with a long explanation of how I believe someone comes to know God through the Bible. But after giving it some thought, I figured that it would be a waste of time, since the majority of what I would have said would be things you were already familiar with. What I mean is that the approach and tools I would suggest, are very similar to your own. But there is a big difference between, not our approach, but our results.  

    I think the key to having faith in God is tied in closely with what kind of person God appears to be to someone. Even people who do not know a lot about the Bible or what it says about God, have some sort of vague concept of God. Even atheists have to learn about God so they can reasonably reject him. So what I am saying is that everyone forms their own opinion about God’s character based on the information they receive, regardless of whether that information is factual or non-factual. Then they take this information and perform their own personal analysis of that information which is based on their own personal experiences and knowledge. Which in turn results in a picture of God’s character. Then depending on what this picture looks like, it gives them a basis for putting some level of faith in their view of God, or no faith at all. So one persons picture might look like a murderous vengeful God who tortures people, and another might look like an almighty wise and caring God. It all depends on how they define God’s character and actions and also through their own personal views of what is right and wrong.

    And that is what I meant about reading everything the Bible says as it is written while forming this opinion of God. Because I believe if you are going to reject portions of the Bible first, then form your opinion, you are getting a skewed picture of God. For instance, the account of the parting of the Red Sea reveals important aspects of God. One he said it was to show them his power, and two, to have his name declared in all the earth. Two important aspects that help define our opinion of God’s character. Also, since we can probably never prove that miracles occurred, and thus we can never be able to use them as a basis for believing in God, that approach is useless. It is the opposite that is true, belief in God (for other reasons) proves that the miracles really happened. When God parted the Red Sea, he did it to save his people, and he did it through a miracle. If God really exists and wanted to save his people, wouldn’t anything he did to perform this, also be a miracle? If you believe in God, and were in some sort of trouble, and you prayed to God to save you, anything God did to save you would in fact be a miracle, if it wasn’t, then God didn’t save you. So miracles are merely God or his agents dealing with the physical world. Is this a concept we should reject?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Thanks for clarifying, Howard. Since I didn’t reject portions of the Bible first and then form an opinion of God. I started out from the point of view that I should accept everything in the Bible as true, factual, and inerrant, and sought to have my view of God shaped by the Bible. It was detailed study of the Bible itself that led me to change my view of the Bible, and of God, not the other way around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    James, my explanation was not really directed at you, but I was answering your question about how someone who doesn’t already have a religious stance would approach the subject. I was referring to what might happen if someone who was just starting out and adopted your historical approach to learning about God. Your situation is different, you did at one time form an opinion of God based on the usual methods, then later you reassessed that view under a different method. So you would have no problem admitting that your first assessment of God was wrong? But as I said, it all comes down to how you interpret the evidence, and also, the amount of evidence you interpret.

    But maybe I am missing something, as far as I can tell, it seems like your historical approach is merely a secular activity for those interested in investigating the Bible’s narratives AFTER they have already determined that the Bible is not what it claims to be. That’s what I understand you to be saying when you make comments such as: “My issue with Howard is that he seems to object to historical study of Jesus because it doesn’t provide the tools necessary to establish Jesus as salvific.” That is exactly my point, to most people interested in determining if the Bible is what it claims to be, establishing Jesus as salvific is one of the most important things to establish. So what good are your tools, outside of academic curiosity, if they can not establish one way or the other the important things that the Bible’s authors wanted us to accept and believe? But again, I know you do not believe in salvation or redemption, and if your tools can not establish these things, how did you determine they are not true?  

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Howard, I’m rather puzzled by much of what you have written in recent comments, in particular the assumptions you make about where I am coming from. But in this most recent comment, I think you raise some genuinely important questions and points that I should address.

    First, historical study is indeed a “secular” activity, in the sense that one does not have to have any sort of religious faith to participate in it. It is like serving on a jury. Your faith may be relevant to it, but ultimately you either decide the case based on the evidence presented and the appropriate procedures, or you cause a mistrial. 

    As for what the point is of applying historical methods when they don’t answer questions about salvation, there are two reasons. The first is that they still are useful for preventing those whose interest is not primarily in following the evidence where it leads from simply hijacking the evidence to try to make it seem to agree with their presuppositions. The second is that these are the best tools we have for investigating the past, and as yet you have not offered other better ones as an alternative.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    James, my comments are probably puzzling because I am finding it hard to hit upon some harmony between our views. But I think I am making some progress. I noticed one problem that may be causing miscommunication. The subject of historical study of the Bible is a large one, it covers many issues and topics. I think I have not been communicating my intentions properly when I use terms such as historical study, and probably misunderstanding yours in some cases. Here is what I mean, for example, one area of historical study might investigate how the Jews of the first century conducted their worship in a synagogue. This is the type of historical study I agree with and think is useful. On the other hand, there is another area of historical study that might investigate the authenticity of the book of Daniel, and determine that it is a later forgery. This is the type of historical study I do not agree with and I personally believe there is not enough concrete evidence to make such a bold determination. So when I use the term “historical study” I am mostly referring to this last type.

    Also, I think I am seeing more clearly our different positions. The problem is we are discussing different goals that we wish to reach by examining the same evidence. For an analogy, lets say we are both interested in automobile racing. Your interest is in studying the history of racing and the cars they used. My interest is being a driver of a race car. We would both come across much of the same information as we learn about our subject, however, your approach is more of an impartial observer and mine is more emotional because I am putting my life on the line. You are evaluating the information, I am using the information. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I hope you get the point. And that is my answer to your question. My main concern is not investigating the past, it is using the information that I learn to live my life. So no, I do not have or need better tools for something that has already been answered to my satisfaction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Howard-Mazzaferro/1297383749 Howard Mazzaferro

    James, if you have the time, check out this site, its rather interesting.

    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/08/21/the-illusion-of-asymmetric-insight/#more-1369

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T3QBMWRBGZJPTKIB2MZKKBIXCM Zuma

    Why should certain animals and human beings have the common DNA or gene? The only reason that I could think of is all of them are created from the same source, dust, that contains the same elements which constitute the same genes or DNA.  It is the same as you would produce water definitely when hydrogen has been burned with oxygen.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T3QBMWRBGZJPTKIB2MZKKBIXCM Zuma

    There is a shortfall of evolutionary theory.  Evolutionary theory supports that all creatures have its derivation from a single cell in the beginning.  However, there would be a number of new cells to be created in the beginning on the condition that the environmental condition at that time could be suitable for the production of new cell.  Why should there be only one and only cell to be created when the surrounding condition would seem best for the creation of living thing?  If there could be one and only cell to be created at that time, what made it to be so so that there could only be one cell to be formed?  If there would be more than a single cell to be created at that time due to the environmental condition, evolutionary theory is in question since how all creatures would have a common ancestor when there might be a number of cells to be created at that time.

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Zuma, there seem to be two points that need to be made to answer your question. First, the question of how life first arose is a different question than how it evolved after life first came into existence. Second, the scenario is not that inly one cell came into existence which then was the ancestor of everything that subsequently lived, but rather that, much as there is a common ancestor of all living human beings who was not the first living thing, or the first human, in the same way, the oldest common ancestor of all living things on Earth today was probably not the first cell.

  • zuma

    The reliability of percentage remaining (50% of the remaining rule) that has been used by scientists for the relative half-lives elapsed in responding to radiometric dating method is in question.Refer to the right hand side of the table in the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-life. A list of percentage remaining that corresponds to the number of the relative half-lives elapsed are presented as follows:No. of half –lives; Fraction remaining; Percentage remaining0—————————–1/1————-100%1—————————–1/2————-50% (=100% above x 50%)2—————————–1/4————-25% (=50% as above x 50%)3—————————–1/8————-12.5% (=25% as above x 50%)———————–so on and so forth—————————–n—————————–1/2^n———- (100%)/(2^n)Using the above principle, we could arrive with weird and illogical conclusion below that would place the reliability of radiometric dating method into question:If anyone of atoms, let’s say, atom A, has been selected from a parent isotope, let’s say, lutetium, to test the radioactive decay, this atom would surely have 50% of its atomic nucleus to be activated in radioactive decay in accordance to the 50% remaining rule as mentioned above. The rule has turned up to find favour in selecting an atom if one would examine the possible decay from parent isotope since it might not be possible if there would be more than one atom is selected as mentioned below:If any two atoms, let’s say, atoms A and B, would be selected to test the decay, atom A might not respond to radioactive decay due to the existence of atom B in accordance to the 50% remaining rule. Or in other words, there would only be one atom responds to decay if there are two.If any three atoms, let’s say, atoms A, B and C, would be selected to test the decay, atom A might not respond to radioactive decay due to the existence of atoms B and C in accordance to 50% remaining rule. If any four atoms, let say, atoms A, B, C and D, would be selected to test the decay, atom A would have much lesser chance to respond to decay due to the existence of atoms B, C and D. There would turn up to have 2 atoms to respond if there are four as a result of 50% remaining rule is applied.If there is a piece of 10,000 kg big rock[, let’s say, 10^(a billion) atoms], 50% of the big rock (turns up to be 0.5×10^(a billion) atoms would not activate in radioactive decay and these would cause the above four selected atoms, i.e. atoms A, B, C and D, to have even much lesser chance to respond to decay due to the possible present of many half lives in the future as a result of the existence of numerous atoms. As a result of the wide spread of the 50% inactive atoms within this piece of big rock, it is easily to destroy a piece a rock so as to locate a small portion that does not respond to decay due to it might need to wait for many half lives later in order to respond to decay as a result of the present of numerous atoms in accordance to 50% remaining rule. This is not true since scientists could anyhow pick up any rock, let’s say, lutetium, and yet still could locate decay emitted from it and this has placed 50% remaining rule into query.If there is a gigantic mountain with 5,000 km height, 50% of this mountain would not respond to radioactive decay. This mountain certainly consists of a huge sum of atoms when huge volume is covered. As 50% of inactive atoms would have spread throughout the whole mountain as a result of 50% remaining rule applied, it would turn up that it would be easily to locate a small portion of rock from the mountain that would not respond to radioactive decay. However, that is not true when scientists would pick up any substance, let’s say, Carbon-14, from environments for examination since they could easily locate a small portion that would respond to decay. This has placed the reliability of 50% remaining rule into question as a result of the ease in locating a small portion of substance that would respond to decay despite its immense size. The main problem here lies on scientists have placed 50% remaining rule on each half life and that half life is meant to be a very long years. For example, for Carbon-14, it would take 5730 years for the 50% of the initial remaining to turn up to lose its capability in radioactive decay in order to have 50% of what has remained after the initial remaining to activate radioactive dating. What if actual result of decay would not follow the sequence of 50% remaining rule in which it would take a shorter period to become inactive in decay instead of that 5730 years, using 5730 years as a base to presume that the decay would last in every half year would simply falsify the age that would be computed through radioactive dating method. What if the so-called, radioactive decay, would not cause any decay but it would restart its initial operation after numerous years later, the reliability of radiometric dating method is in question.The following is the extract from the last paragraph that is located in the website address, http://www.askamathematician.com/2011/03/q-are-all-atoms-radioactive/:…But in general, the heavier something is, the shorter its half-life (it’s easier for stuff to tunnel out).]The percentage remaining (50% of the remaining) to the responding to the number of half-lives elapsed contradicts the phrase, the heavier something is the shorter its half-life, as stated above. This is by virtue of the biggest the rock the heaviest it is and the biggest the rock the wide spread will be the 50% of the non-activation of nucleus to be in decay and it would lead to the longer the half-life due to the application of 50% remaining rule as spelt out above and this leads to the contradiction of the statement as stated in this website in which the heavier would lead to shorter half-life.What if this 50% remaining rule as mentioned above would have applied to Carbon-14 (the Parent Isotope), the following condition would appear:Years —————Half lives—Percentage Remaining0———————-0———-100%5730—————–1———-50% (100%*50%)11460 (=5730*2)–2———-25% [50% (the above)*50%]17190 (=5730*3)–3———-12.5% [25% (the above)*50%]22920 (=5730*4)–4———-6.25% [25% (the above)*50%]——————and so on and so forth—————————4,500,000,000——837988—8^(-1)x10^(-251397)Note that the above years have been computed up to 4.5 billion years due to the scientists suggest the age of the earth to be that.From the 50% remaining rule that has been computed for Carbon-14 above, it could come to the conclusion that 50 atoms out of 100 would remain active in radioactive decay in 5730 years and the rest would turn up to have lost their value in radioactive decay. 25 atoms out of 100 would remain active in decay by 11460 years and the rest would turn up to have lost their decay. 12.5 atoms out of 100 would remain active in decay and the balance would turn up to have lost their decay by 17190 years. 6.25 atoms out of 100 would remain active in decay and leaving the balance to have lost their decay by 22920 years. 1 atom out of 8×10^(251397) would remain active in decay and the balance would have lost their capability in radioactive decay by 4.5 billion years. As 1 atom for Carbon-14 out of 8×10^(251397) would remain in active by 4.5 billion years in accordance to 50% remaining rule, it implies that it would need to get large amount of atoms from Carbon-14 so as to detect the existence of radioactive decay. This is not true in science since it is easily to locate Carbon-14 that would emit radioactive decay and this has put the reliability of 50% remaining rule into query.Some might support that the 50% remaining rule is subjected to exponential progress. Let’s assume that what they say is correct and presume that the half lives for Carbon-14 in 4.5 billion years would be shortened by 80% as the result of exponential progress. The percentage remaining would turn up to be (100-80)%x8x10^(251397) and that is equal to 16×10^(251396). Or in other words, only 1 atom would respond to decay out of 16×10^(251396) and the rest of them should have turned up to have lost their value in decay. The ease to locate Carbon-14 that would respond to decay currently has put the reliability of radiometric dating method into question…

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    zuma, copying and pasting a rambling misunderstanding of radiometric dating onto multiple blogs is not “commenting” it is spamming. If you decide you want to actually write something relevant to the discussion here, and respond when people ask you questions, then get in touch and you will be removed from the blacklist and allowed to comment again.


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