Mars Attacks Young-Earth Creationism

Ian Millington recently drew my attention to an article about NASA’s Mars rover, and pointed out to me an interesting implication for young-earth creationism.

If young-earth creationism is correct, and geological strata we see on Earth result from a global flood, then why do we find such strata in rocks on Mars?

Of course, one can always come up with some sort of ad hoc “explanation” for anything if one is determined to. Indeed, feel free to propose outlandish suggestions for how to account for the Martian evidence from a YEC perspective in the comments section, just for fun.

But when young-earth creationists add such ad hoc justifications (as they must time and time again), it inevitably involves not merely departing further from what the scientific evidence indicates, but also adding additional extrabiblical scaffolding to buttress the young-earth creationist view of “what the Bible says,” making the young-earth system as a whole resemble “what the Bible says” even less than it does now.

Click through to read a BBC article about the Curiosity rover’s investigation of the Shaler outcrop. 

  • plectrophenax

    Dr McGrath, surely it is obvious? The Martians had been just having too good a time, what with dancing girls, gay festivities, high divorce rate, and the like, so God created a huge flood to punish them, resulting in the usual deposits of sedimentary rock. Not a problem really, if your faith is in the right place.

    • Mick

      Unfortunately there was no Martian Noah to be found…

      • newenglandsun

        There’s no Martian Noah to be found, because the fossils from the Martian flood Satan moved to Earth in order to deceive people into thinking that evolution happened. Such utter lies though! We know for fact it was Satan who did this to the evidence of the Martian flood.

    • newenglandsun

      Hey! That was my joke!

    • theot58

      Scoffing and sarcasm is a poor substitute for scientific evidence.

      What evidence is there, which proves (beyond reasonable doubt) that our great.….….…. Great grandfather was as self replicating molecule?

      Even atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel recognizes that Darwinism is not true. In his book “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False ” he said

      “.. for a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works.

      The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes. …

      It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection. We are expected to abandon this naive response not in favor of a fully worked out physical/chemical explanation but in favor of an alternative that is really a schema for explanation, supported by some examples” (pp. 5-6).

      • Bill Rabara

        Theot58,

        Don’t let a flawed theology and strong faith enable you to e
        Deceive yourself. It is a virrual certainty that evolution happened even to humans (common ancestry). The wiggle room for the faithful lies in the complete list of mechanisms that have driven evolution — we know some but there is room debate (however little). The ‘magical’ sorting of the fossil record can only be explained by evolution or a nefarious God. For example no human fossils or other traces such as coat buttons, arrowheads, tools, clothing or the like have been found in same rock layers as trilobites or dinasaurs or ediacuran fauna, etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Burton/527027259 Sean Burton

    Don’t worry, even if they can’t come up with anything they can always fall back to the old ‘God did it to test our faith’ position, which is their catch-all argument for everything that they can’t otherwise explain.

    • The_L1985

      Yes, after all, a god who deceives you, combined with a scientific establishment who also deceives you, is somehow better than Genesis not being an accurate reflection of the world’s history.

  • drcheard

    While I do not personally subscribe to any variety of young-earth creationism, it’s worth remembering that there are in fact such varieties. The “science’s timeline is wrong” flavor of YECs should indeed have a problem with the geological stratification of Mars, but the “God created a grown-up universe” flavor of YECs already have a built-in mechanism for handling such things. Not all YECs are created equal (so to speak).

    • Jeffrey

      I don’t think the mature/grown-up creation explanation works here. Ken Ham basically said that a “mature creation” is not a blank check: it doesn’t explain fossils of animals that never lived, rings inside the first trees, etc. By contrast, the creation of adult-sized trees and visible stars is essential to making a YEC plan work.

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v18/n3/belly-button

      Not that they can’t just change their mind about what a mature/grown-up universe means, but I do think that a change like this would be needed.

  • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

    Maybe it’s a conspiracy. How do we really know Mars even exists? It’s not in the Bible, after all. What, do you just believe everything “science” tells you??

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

      I think the fact that Mars isn’t in the Bible, while Venus is there only in mythical form as the morning star that falls from on high, is itself telling.

      • drcheard

        James, aren’t you missing Tyler’s point: the Hubble telescope is really on a soundstage in Burbank? ;-p

  • Humblebarfly

    Just as there is global warming on Mars, there was also a Mars-wide flood on Mars.

  • http://www.paulburnett.com/creation Paul Burnett

    I have had fun asking creationists if Noah’s Flood covered the tops of the mountains Maxwell Montes and Olympus Mons. When they say “Of course” I reply that those are the names of mountains on Venus and Mars (respectively). Some continue to insist that these mountains were covered by Noah’s Flood, even though they are on different planets!

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

      Wow!

    • arcseconds

      oh dear poe’s law strikes again.

      I was just about to say ‘well, of course, when Genesis says the flood covered the entire world, the meaning is the entire cosmos‘.

    • Will

      Stupid……wow you know the name of a mountain on Mars. I’m impressed. What you don’t know is the Truth. Just your foolish theory of origins. Sad.

      • http://www.paulburnett.com/creation Paul Burnett

        So is it “the Truth” that those mountains were covered by the Flood? C’mon – yes or no?

        • RBrewer YEC

          The flood on earth? No.

          Stop baiting people.

        • M

          lol, testing someone’s knowledge on names of mountains is highly commendable.
          I have no interest whether Mars was flooded, God’s Word says the Earth was flooded. Scientific findings are based on ‘assumptions’ and ‘ifs’, with some guesswork thrown in for good measure. So it’s probably more unrealistic to base anything on such unreliability.

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

            What is the last book you read about geology? Why not read one like The Bible, Rocks, and Time, written by two Christians who are professional geologists? Why just insult an entire field of study when all it shows is your ignorance, and brings the Christian faith into disrepute in the process?

            • Will

              Again with the SPECULATION….why do you LOVE your false religion SO MUCH??? Turn from it to the TRUTH!!! You DO understand what science is dont you?

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

                OK, since you are engaging in trollish behavior, I say farewell to you. My religion is Christianity. Why do you consider it false? Why do you reject the testimony of Christian Biblical scholars, Christian biologists, Christian geneticists, and all other such experts, and listen instead to charlatans?

                If you ever wish to have a mature discussion of the evidence, contact me via e-mail and I will consider unbanning you. But I hold comments on my blog to a high standard, and those who think themselves wise while showing themselves fools, and showing they care nothing about Jesus’ teaching by hurling insults at others, are simply not welcome here.

                • tristen turner

                  I’ve just got to ask, who is it that decided what in the bible is literal and what factitious? and when your only evidence is a book but not all of it is true, how can you make any statements on either side of the issue? since you might have interpreted the wrong part. i have spent many hours trying to find a reason i should believe in a “god” over the scientific method. i truly want there to be but my brain can’t get around there being a “being” before there was anything and that “being” created everything. created out of what. the only comfort i find in these questions comes from science (physics mostly) and i can more easily accept the ideas presented. sure there are flaws but i see them as minor compared to the alternative. what did the universe come from, nothing. mathematically possible and therefore works in my head. that still leaves other questions but i feel they are better than the whole what is god made of and how long did he exist before starting everything. science embraces new knowledge and offers ideas (hypothesis) as to why things work in the way we saw them work. once the idea is out there it is tested and if in one example it doesnt work the same as the first time when all conditions are the same then the idea is proven false and discarded. replaced by the next one. if the idea is proven right time and time again it becomes a theory. much like gravity and relativity. without us knowing about those two laws, space travel and satalites would not work. im my mind the evidence is overwhelming for the one side but i am open to your ideas as to why you chose religion over science. my only guess is a lack of experience in scientific fields back in school

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

                    Thank you for your comment – although I am not sure whom it was addressed to, since anyone reading my blog ought to know that I did not “choose religion instead of science” unless they mean as a subject of study in university.

                    I think that you might find it interesting to explore some of the authors who’ve been most helpful with respect to formulating y own religious thinking in the framework of our scientific understanding of the universe: Paul Tillich, Keith Ward, Ian Barbour, Arthur Peacocke, and Paul Davies are all worth reading. The first is a theologian, the second a philosopher, the last a physicist.

          • Will

            Yes M, currently modern’science’ is a religion not science at all. It is ‘foolish speculation’ that God wrote about in Romans 1:21. Sadly millions have been duped by this moronic religion.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

              “Sadly millions have been duped by this moronic religion.”

              Yes, they have been duped by those “scientists” who claim to have designed the internet and its support systems using electromagnetic theory, quantum mechanics and relativity. Whereas we all know that the internet was created by God. Or was it Satan? I forget.

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

              Romans also says that the created order testifies accurately about the Creator, something that young-earth creationists deny.

          • Bill Rabara

            Agreed. But i
            Religious discoveries rely on more assumptions — e.g. There is a god, it guided the writers of the bible to write truth, it also guided the early catholic church to assemble only god inspired books into the bible, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/rjblaskiewicz Bob Blaskiewicz

    I think that the YECs are hedging their bets. If we find say fossils on Mars or even convincing evidence of life, they will simply say that the flood happened there too. There was an idiot post a couple of years ago on Answers In Genesis about that.

  • Steve Greene

    Young earth creationists Russell Humphreys and Wayne Spencer, among many others, have argued for years that God flooded Mars at the same time that he flooded the Earth.

    • ssgcmwatson

      Why would God flood Mars? The purpose of the flood was to wipe out the human race, which had become wicked. Do Humphreys and Spencer believe there were humans on Mars????

  • TrevorN

    It’s clear: Mars was placed on the firmament which separated the waters above and below. The Martian surface was thus underwater until those waters were let through the firmament to cause the flood on Earth. Naturally we would expect to see the identical stratification on Mars that those same waters caused on Earth.

    • Will

      How could it possibly be otherwise?

      • TrevorN

        Oh, you were serious?

    • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

      Trevor, this is the best answer yet! Then this would be true of all the other planets and the stars as well, including the sun. However, it seems that the vault, itself, was not watery–it separated the waters. So, the stars and planets must have been drenched when waters above collapsed to the earth.

    • http://www.paulburnett.com/creation Paul Burnett

      Mars is in orbit around the sun, moving at an average orbital speed of 24.077 kilometers per second. Imagine what would happen to the planet when it was suddenly immersed in the waters in the firmament…can you see that it might slow down?

  • theot58

    What precisely are you trying to say?

    You seem to be inferring that the observed Martian landscape somehow disproves the Flood; but does it?

    I assert that drawing that conclusion is a really tall stretch.

    If the Mars rover was to discover any leggible lettering, or material artifacts we would concluded that these are proof of intelligent beings on Mars because these artifacts are evidence of design and hence a designer.

    We observe much greater objects of design on earth – hence evidence of a designer.

    The evolutionary position that the observed world made “itself” over billions of years + natural selection + mutations etc. IS NOT SCIENTIFICALLY PLAUSIBLE.

    Malcom Muggeridge, Pascal Lectures, Ontario Canada, University of Waterloo said:

    “I, myself, am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially to the extent to which it’s been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the credulity that it has.”

    • John Pieret

      Why are you quoting a journalist on a question of science?

      • TomS

        I also note that those lectures were given in 1978. Has anything happened in the last 35 years which would tell us about what posterity thinks about evolution?

      • RBrewer YEC

        http://www.reviewevolution.com/press/pressRelease_100Scientists.php

        Just some scientists who disagree with the major parts of evolution. You will probably go through and spin this however you think it should read but there’s the list and there is plenty more.

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

          That “Dissent from Darwin” list got a lot of signatories by not limiting itself to people in relevant disciplines, and by wording it so that a mainstream scientist could sign it. Then it is touted as indicating disagreement with evolution.

          See also Project Steve as a response to it: http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

          • RBrewer YEC

            See, the way I read that was that “yes we are scientists,but there are significant amounts of data that is missing from Darwinist “theory” that can not and never has been proven. Therefore a closer look into Darwinism needs to be made to see what is and isn’t plausible.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

          The operative word is not “some.” It is “few” … very few and mostly not biologists or in relevant fields.
          See Project Steve:
          http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

          • RBrewer YEC

            I do believe there are some Chemistry professors and and Astrophysics professors in that group.. so now what about relevant fields?

            • Ian

              There are a handful of history scholars who don’t believe in the Nazi holocaust of Jews. So? Tiny numbers of any groups will be ideological crackpots. Its when your theory relies on everyone except that tiny number being ideological morons that we smile and nod and put you back in your playpen.

              • RBrewer YEC

                A couple million people would say the same as Darwinism. Just Sayin.

                • Ian

                  I understand you’re just saying something. But I can’t figure out what.

                  Loads of anti-semites think there was no holocaust. We were discussing qualified scholarly opinion.

                  • RBrewer YEC

                    I do believe you were suggesting that we do not listen to the minority because they are stupid and need naps? Your Darwin was one of those crackpots mind you. Just Sayin.

                    • Ian

                      Nope, we listen, we look for evidence, and then move on. But after that point there will always be people who can’t accept the result. That’s the way all scholarly developments work. There’s always a contingent that are heliocentrists, or holocaust denialists, or YECers. As the scholarly consensus moves on, there are always ideologues left behind.

                    • RBrewer YEC

                      Please tell me why haven’t we moved on from evolution then? Oh, were still looking for evidence. Now do not mistake me for a ensationalist, I don’t give a flying bird what you or anyone else believes in. We all have our rights. Myfight against evolution is the fact that back in the 60′s it was called science and taught in our schools. Thats my only complaint about evolution. I’m just arguing with you now because I had the day off work and was bored. Lol.

                    • Ian

                      We have moved on. The picture than American evangelicalism and certain Middle Eastern islamic groups portray of this big global debate is a pure fiction.

                      We’re talking scholarship, remember, popular opinion is something else. In the academy there is zero controversy, plus or minus one or two qualified scholars among the tens of thousands of professionals working in the area.

      • Will

        Maybe because they are more rational than the scientists? Evolution is ridiculous. Only morons believe it.

        • Moron

          Dear Will,

          You “had me going” there for a while! I thought you were being serious! Silly me! Hmmm – or are you not joking, just “putting us on”?

          • Will

            Dead serious. Evolution is moronic.

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

              Will, saying that the world’s experts are morons, while you and a handful of others who seem not to even understand what is being discussed are geniuses, does not make anyone look moronic besides you. I hold commenters on this blog to a high standard. I expect you to discuss the evidence in detail, and not merely hurl insults.

            • Moron

              Thanks for this clarification … even if I do not believe you! Really but still I do appreciate your contributions for they are worth a giggle or two (even laughing out loud), whether that is the intent or not! So thanks for the comedy!

        • http://www.paulburnett.com/creation Paul Burnett

          Evolution is supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences and every other actual science organization in America – the members of these organizations are hardly “morons.” On the other hand, the supporters of creationism (including the clearly allegorical mythology of Noah’s Flood) are obviously willfully ignorant of the most basic science – their monumental scientific illiteracy is surpassed only by their arrogance.

          • Will

            Ahhhh there you go ……..straight to the fallacy of human authority. The National Academy of Sciences said evolution is true …….sooooooo, its not really as stupid as it looks!

            The ARE morons. Look up the Greek word in Romans 1:21 that is translated ‘futile’ or ‘foolish’. It is the root word for our modern word ‘moron’.

            • Ian

              Wow, linguistic ignorance too! Mataios is derived from a cluster of words beginning mat- with meanings around lacking purpose. Moron is derived from moros, dull or stupid. The word ‘foolish’ in Rom 1:21 is asynetos, without intelligence, which is derived from synetos. All three are unrelated. Perhaps you should spend longer looking things up yourself, rather than telling everyone else too.

              I agree with Moron, you sound very much like a mischievous atheist trying to parody Christians.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

          Those illogical scientists made it possible for you to display your ignorance to the entire world by merely typing away at a computer. It used to take real work to be able to do that.

          • Will

            ewwww….yes I LOVE science, but evolution is NOT science. Are you getting ANY of this?

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

              Oh, yes, I’m getting it. I’ve seen it often before. You are just screwing your eyes tight shut, stuffing your fingers knuckle deep in your ears, and humming ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ as loud as you can so there is no chance that reality can intrude into your fantasyland. But that’s a far cry from making a cogent argument.

    • http://www.paulburnett.com/creation Paul Burnett

      Muggeridge (who was not a scientist) said that decades ago. So what?

      • Will

        So what? It’s true that’s ‘so what’. Evolution is a sick joke. A crazier theory CANNOT be found anywhere it flys in the face of real science and reason.

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

          No, it doesn’t, and saying this over and over again does not change the extensive data that supports it. If you think it is crazy then you probably have not only not familiarized yourself with the evidence for it, but you may even have the wrong idea entirely about what the meaning of evolution is when referring to the biological theory.

          • theot58

            Can you please tell us what is “extensive data that supports it.”?

            I have examined the so called “mountains of evidence” and found that it was mountains of cow dung.

            Go to the Academies of Science website and examine the evidence they put forward supporting Darwinian/Macro evolution – see how pathetic it is.

            Read Darwins book Origins… then ask yourself what observable scientific evidence does it put forward to support the core assertion that all living things had common ancestor.

            Making the ambit (but falacious) claim that there is “mountains of evidence” supporting Darwinian/macro evolution DOES NOT MAKE IT SO.

            • Ian

              Ah, but did you understand it? Since you clearly don’t understand basic information theory enough to understand your own claims that it disproves evolution, why should anyone believe you’ve looked at this information in good faith or with any level of comprehension?

            • Will

              Yeah,…..didnt he just say saying something over and over does not make it so?!?!?! Redunkulous!

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

              Why are you reading books from a century and a half ago? Darwin’s insights were impressive for his time, but there was so much he didn’t know, including all the genetic evidence that has only become available since his time and provides stunning confirmation for his central thesis.

              That you have only looked at summaries on web sites suggests to me that you are not serious. What is the last academic book or scientific journal article you read on this topic?

          • Will

            Oh,Oh, Oh, by ALL MEANS go ahead and share all your evidence for it……that was my next question!!!!! Thanks for bringing this up!

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

              “Oh,Oh, Oh, by ALL MEANS go ahead and share all your evidence for it …”

              The nasty ‘evilutionists’ have hidden it away in secret places called “libraries” in millions of scientific papers and books. But a good start for non-scientists of your ilk might be, for example, Ken Miller’s “Finding Darwin’s God” or Francis Collins’ “The Language of God.” But that would assume you want to do more than just pound your heels on the floor and shout ‘Nooooooo!’.

              • TomS

                A few more books from Christians should be interesting:

                Karl Giberson

                Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and believe in evolution

                New York: HarperOne, 2008

                Darrell R Falk

                Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the world between faith and biology

                Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004

                Davis A Young & Ralph Stearly

                The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological evidence for the age of the Earth

                Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2008

    • Ian

      I’d trust a journalist on the dubiousness of science about as much as I trust a life coach to tell me what is scientifically plausible.

      You still haven’t responded on the previous thread to the question of information being produced. Do you just wander around posting rubbish and bailing when someone picks you up on your lies? If not, then how about showing us a quantifiable definition of information that does not allow information to be created by random processes? Show us what you can do. And Dembski, for that matter too, since he’s been struggling to quantify CSI for years, and when he does, he gives a version of Shannon’s information, in which information is trivially created.

      It is cheap to make claims, but backing them up is harder. Are you just full of hot air, and vague advice?

      • theot58

        Your reasoning is silly. You want to me to show evidence that you cannot get order from chaos without an intelligent designer – are you nuts. That it self evident

        The onus of proof is on evolutionists who assert that from chaos, order can emerge by the simple application of energy. This is counter to common sense and observation. This is what needs to proven.
        Why don’t you give it a go?

        Consider just a small number of fundamental scientific problems with Darwinian/Macro evolution

        1) Where did the information come from to build the DNA molecule?
        – it contains over 4 Gigabits of programing data; we have never observed natural forces creating programming data
        - a building is proof of a builder, a program is proof of a programmer, a design is proof of a designer

        2) How did genders “evolve” from asexual organisms?
        - Consider some of the challenges, have a look at this video http://youtu.be/Ab1VWQEnnwM

        3) How do you explain symbiotic relationships while holding to gradual “evolution”?
        - eg The bees need the flowers, the flowers need the bees – they both MUST exist togeter, how could this occur slowly or gradually
        - What came first the Chicken or the egg?

        4) Where are all the myriad of transition fossils that Darwin predicted?
        - They were missing then and they are missing now.
        - How can the Cambrian explosion of millions of fully formed organism appearing abrupty be explained by Evolution?

        5) Which “evolved” first, the vagina or the penis?
        - how did one “evolve” from the other?

        • Ian

          No I want you to back up your claim that information cannot be created, by showing me what you mean by information. Because in the standard definition of information:

          -log_2(P)

          information is created at a rate proportional to P by a random process.

          You made a claim, back it up. Don’t dodge, diffuse, prevaricate or muddy the water. Show us your math, or we’ll know you’re full of it.

        • Ian

          1) From a constrained biased walk across a the landscape of possible genomes. This is basic evolutionary information theory. Try Kauffman’s Origins of Order for the detailed mathematical treatment.

          2) The video shows whoever made it has no clue about evolutionary theory, and seems to be only familiar with a high-school version of animal reproduction. Try Margulis the Origins of Sex. She explains that sex and reproduction are quite independent in many extant species. Try Parker’s Protozoans, Algae and Other Protists for a better understanding of how sex actually works.

          3) Through co-evolution. Try Page’s Tangled Trees for a detailed treatment. The Egg came first, without question.

          4) There are millions of transition fossils. It takes some serious reality denying to explain them all away. For every transitional fossil that is found in a gap, there are two more gaps, so the question is at best tendentious. Evolution predicts that only fully formed and viable organisms can appear at any point. Your ignorance is showing again.

          5) They evolved together. On a related note, isn’t it incredible that my legs have always been exactly the right length to reach the floor, no matter how tall I become. Again, incredibly stupid question, try learning some basic biology beyond high-school sex ed!

          I predict you’ll choose to respond to this comment with further derision and mud-slinging, and not the one asking you to back up the positive claim you made.

          Still, I’ve no doubt you’re not an honest discussion partner (as you proved previously), but its always worth putting information out there for honest seekers to find.

        • Joe

          Weak. Evolution is real; just look at the field of artificial life to find countless examples of measured evolution in lab settings. Not just software and robots; biology, molecular science and lots of other fields are all getting results that are consistent with ALife. There’s also a tremendous amount of tangible historical evidence and field observations. Your skepticism is fair but you’re missing out on one of the most amazing and beautiful testaments to creation if you frothingly deny what can be seen with your own eyes.

          • theot58

            Thanks for your comments Joe, I do agree with your IF you are referring to Micro evolution, but not to Darwinian/Macro evolution.

            “Evolution” is a vague word. The main definitions in the text books are:

            1) “change over time”, this is silly as it is stating the flaming obvious.

            2) Micro evolution is minor changes within a species, this is real and observable and uncontested.

            3) Darwinian/Macro evolution (where the conflict is) which asserts that:
            a) All living things had a common ancestor. This implies that your great….. great grandfather was a self replicating molecule.
            b) The observable world has come into existence by totally natural, unguided processes and specifically WITHOUT the involvement of an intelligent designer.

            Have a look at this link for details http://youtu.be/fQ_h-S7IuaM

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

              Just a couple of quick points. First, biological evolution has nothing whatsoever to do with the origin of the observable world.

              Second, the genetic evidence shows that the same gradations of relationships we see within species continue beyond the boundaries of species. That problematizes any sharp distinction between “micro” and “macro” evolution, and provides strong and persuasive evidence for common ancestry.

              • theot58

                James, I really choked on your statement: “First, biological evolution has nothing whatsoever to do with the origin of the observable world.”
                Mate what are you smoking? Read any biology text book on evolution or Darwins book and they all assert that from a common ancestor ALL the living forms emerged.

                Consider an extract from Berkely website: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2bDetailsoforigin.shtml

                The central idea of biological evolution
                is that ALL life on Earth shares a common ancestor,
                just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother.

                Through the process of descent with modification,
                the common ancestor of life on Earth gave rise to the fantastic diversity that we see documented in the fossil record and around us today.

                Evolution means that we’re all distant cousins:
                humans and oak trees, hummingbirds and whales.

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

                  And you consider “the observable world” to be a natural way of referring to “a common ancestor of all living things”?

                • Helena

                  You must not have understood the original statement.. ” the origin of the observable world” refers to what is commonly called the big band, which occurred about 10 billion years before the earth came into existence,and still longer before the origin of life. So what does that have to do with the fact that all living things share a common ancestor?

            • Joe

              I don’t believe 3b holds. Only an atheism-is-trendy dittohead would conclude that macroevolutionary theory and the big bang imply that there is no god. (Or perhaps someone who wants to sell a soft-science book – I’m looking at you Mr. Hawking.) God is a philosophical entity, transcending things with purely physical or logical properties. You’re mistaking the lack of necessity for a god with refuting the existence of god.

              Personally, my faith suggests that it’s foolhardy to suppose to know anything of god. I have faith, but when I sit down at a drafting desk I don’t engineer machines that rely on principles of faith. There’s no practical connection to be drawn between scientifically verifiable theories and philosophical matters of faith. Unless you’re doing agent-based modeling related to peoples faith-based attitudes, but that’s tangental.

              Also, have you heard of montmorillonite RNA catalysis?

              • Joe

                I’ll try to watch that video when my hands aren’t full but I can’t help but notice that a cursory search for peer-review of Juby’s publications yeild nothing of substance. Can you find his primary sources for me?

            • Joe

              More to the point, how do you know an intelligent designer didn’t construct some system that directed creation through the processes we see in physics? Can you show that god is smart enough to create the first cells, but not smart enough to cause the big bang?

              While I don’t question that you arrived at your opinion in earnest, I feel the reasoning you cite is grounded in insincere faith that seeks to turn us away from the greater wisdom of creation. Do you really believe an intelligent and deft god, that can be accurately comprehended by the human mind (a remarkable assumption in and of itself) and is sincerely benevolent, would place some of his most beloved creations into a world that is a sinister trap made to teach them false reasoning? I have more trust in the created world than that.

            • Joe

              I’m sorry. I would be happy to discuss the sources he reasons from if you provide them, but Juby’s views actually viscerally offend me. This is the kind of hokum-pokum that is intentionally and carefully designed to take good Christians and convince them to spend their time rallying against other righteous people instead of doing their duty to be constructive and help the less fortunate. This is about selling books, not spreading the truth – scientific or biblical.

              • Joe

                Please note – because I don’t wish to be uncooperative – but because of my personal history I can’t watch videos like Juby’s and retain both my objectivity and the degree of civility that should be maintained on this sort of blog at the same time. I sincerely would like to learn from your understanding though.

      • Will

        AGAIN………hot air. If you would take the time you waste on your responses that complain and dont say anything and instead posted evidence then we would have something.

        • Ian

          Theot made a claim, I asked him for evidence. Sorry if that seems unnecessary to you.

          Like theot, you’re also displaying some worrying all-caps-crazy tendencies. Perhaps save a bit of time typing so many punctuation marks and invest it in taking a class on biology. Or on the bible, since you appear to be massacring biblical Greek too.

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

            It is amazing how people will claim to be defending their religion and yet seem not to have grasped its most basic teachings. When someone cares so little about their own core values and religion, it is unsurprising that informing themselves about other matters is something they are not interested in or too lazy to pursue. But why be so adamant on a topic about which you are clearly ignorant?

    • Joe

      I didn’t notice the Muggeridge quote until just now… Why is a journalist-turned-Catholic-apologist who died in 1990 a reliable authority on the contemporary study of abiogenesis? The man’s most notable work includes satirical criticisms of the Monty Python show and being sampled by Pink Floyd to produce some of their “crazy rambling old man” segments.

    • axelbeingcivil

      You sort of dodged the question there and project your own ideas of design. There’s no evidence of design in the shape of Mars, only shaping by natural processes. The same is true of Earth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Harmon/100002244548422 Tom Harmon

    “Dr. McGrath”, if you really had the truth, and you knew it for sure…you would not mock people like Ken Ham, he would’nt be a threat to your knowledge. The fact is, your analogy is not “fool proof”, as I’m guessing you were’nt there when the earth, or the moon, or Mars was formed???. Go ahead and mock the Bible, and the words of Christ himself, “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” Ex.20:11, that’s seven literal days, that’s what the “authority of God’s word says. “Have ye not read, that he which made them in the beginning, made them male and female”. “That’s the authority “you’re really challenging, not just a “finite” man like Ken Ham, or myself.

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

      Six literal days, arranged in obvious poetic parallelism to highlight things other than chronology. Ignoring the actual words, the contents, the details, the context, in the way that Ken Ham does is not respecting the Bible.

      • RBrewer YEC

        I’m curious as to how you interpret the fist few chapters of the the bible. KJV if you don’t mind.

      • Cdbren

        The Jesus you claim to believe in for your salvation accepted and supported the six days of creation as historical and all of Moses writings that they had in his time as from God and true history. (As well as supported as history by other Bible authors.)

        By saying Genesis is not historical or literal or history is saying Jesus’ words (about himself and salvation, ie. Christianity) are not true either. So you may want to change your claim that you are a “Christian” to something else.

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

          Can you kindly explain to me how you think you know that Jesus viewed creation in this way? But since the Gospels depict Jesus as having been wrong about when the kingdom of God would dawn, why is his having held an ancient but scientifically incorrect view of the cosmos a big deal? And why is actually accepting the Bible’s information about this, and believing the Creator to be trustworthy and honest, incompatible with Christianity?!

          • Cdbren

            Wrong? Where was Jesus wrong about the Kingdom of God dawning? There is no specific time table given.

            According to scientific data by real scientists (which you selectively choose to ignore) the Biblical view of the cosmos is scientifically correct as far as what we can currently observe, test and repeat.

            That’s just it. You don’t believe the creator to be trustworthy and honest or you would believe Moses’ writings. And Jesus’ recorded words.

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

              This is very ironic coming from someone who demonstrated on this very blog that you care nothing for what the Bible teaches about truthfulness and honesty.

              To claim that the Bible’s view of things – from the Earth being firmly set on unshakeable foundations to the heart being the location where thought occurs to the sun moon and stars being set in a dome – is confirmed by scientists is absolute nonsense, and simply shows that you do not read actual scientific publications.

              What do you think Jesus meant if he said, as Matthew 16:28 records it, “There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom”?

              • cdbren

                The transfiguration, James. Some of the disciples standing there saw Jesus’ transfiguration soon after the Matt. 16:28 verse.

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

                  So the immediate context of 16:27 and the impression those words give in context mean nothing to you? What matters is finding a way to make the text say what you wish it did? No wonder you are a young-earth creationist!

    • decathelite

      Psalm 104:5: The Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. The Earth literally cannot move, which means everything revolves around it. When you say the Earth goes around the sun you mock the Bible, for Ecclesiastes 1:5 states: “And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place”. That’s the authority you are really challenging. Have you ever been to space to confirm this for yourself? Or do you just believe what scientists tell you on this?

      • Cdbren

        I think you are reading way too much into it and adding a bunch of your own words in there that it does not say. Try the Original Greek or Hebrew. That may help.

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

          I think he has got it about right and you are reading too much into other passages. Try the original Hebrew (none of the works decathelite referred to have Greek originals, but since you clearly know almost nothing about the Bible and do not know the relevant languages, you wouldn’t know that, would you?)

        • decathelite

          Thanks for explaining young Earth creationism.

        • TomS

          For something like 2000 years (I’m counting from 500 BC to AD 1500), there was nobody who disputed the geocentric interpretation of the Bible. It is only because of the acceptance of modern science – and never because of Biblical scholarship – that anyone thinks that the Earth is a planet of the Solar System.

          • mroge

            I am glad you made that point. If the bible had true scientific info then why didn’t scholars and scientists recognize it? The fact is that until the last few hundred years there was no separation between science and religion. It was only when the Catholic church’s control was diminished that true science took off.Now people want to take us back into the dark ages again…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

    There are some other astronomical problems for YEC. The surfaces of the Moon and Mercury are covered with many thousands of impact craters, evidence that at some time the inner Solar System was full of asteroid-sized objects. Similar craters exist on Earth and Mars but have mostly been eroded away, as you would expect. If the universe is 6,000 years old, all those impacts must have happened in the last 6,000 years concurrently with the existence of humans on Earth.

    Problem 1: Why didn’t we see any of them in the past- in fact, how did we survive them? Considering that just one such impact, not the largest, is credibly believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs.

    Problem 2: The chance that a particular object will hit a planet on any one orbit is 1 in many millions – planets are small compared to the distances between them. So there must be many more such objects out there than have actually hit a planet, and impacts should still be occurring regularly. Why aren’t we seeing them today?

    • RBrewer YEC

      Lol… you think dinosaurs were erased by a meteorite still… sill boy, that’s a child’s tale. Come up with a real solution next time you flap open that oil pit you call mouth.

      The dinosaurs became extinct due to the fact that atmospheric pressure (less oxygen) did not allow for the continuation of such large beasts. Their breath would have been labored and they would have been easily hunted for their meat. Thus going extinct.

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

        How do you know that’s what happened? Were you there?

        • RBrewer YEC

          Was I there .. no. I don’t claim that as fact. Thats my theory of what happened. But unlike you evolutionists, I don’t claim facts, just theories of pre-flood time. But if a “nuclear war of meteorites” hit the earth, where’s the evidence? We have a couple large craters and that’s it. If we had an epedemic of meteorites hit the earth “nothing” would have survived. The dust clouds would have killed every green plant and the earth would be a giant Sahara desert. And we don’t see palm trees regrowing in the desert do we, just eating away at the border year by year.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

            It’s quite simple. Most of the largest impacts happened more than a billion years ago and were spread out over many millions of years of time. No doubt they caused massive extinctions, but life can recover from those given enough time. What’s not credible is that many such events crammed into a few thousand years could leave no trace.

            As I said, the most recent large impact is thought to have killed off the dinosaurs, 65 millions of years ago. The traces are there, but buried under sediment in the Gulf of Mexico.

            We have more than “a couple large craters”. Wikipedia lists 44 with diameters of 20 km or more:

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

            The evidence is there, whether you accept it or not

            • RBrewer YEC

              I do accept that there have been meteorites hitting the earth. No one is denying that. My theory is that they did not wipe out the dinosaurs.

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

                You seem to think that your “theory” – by which I suspect you mean a hunch or guess – is equivalent to a scientific theory – which means a well-established explanatory framework that makes sense of disparate data and is supported by evidence.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

                Some people agree with you on that. However it’s quite clear that an impact causing a crater 20 km in diameter, or larger, would not go unnoticed at any point in recorded history. Let alone 44 of them. The energy involved is hundreds of times that of the Krakatoa eruption which was noticed all over Europe.

          • Joe

            Tree seeds have been sprouted after hundreds of years of storage in burial vaults, etc. No refridgeration or anything, just a cave or some other dry, undisturbed hole in the ground. I like that you’re working on your own theory but your evidence is not very impressive.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

        I don’t hold out much hope of making you see sense, but dinosaurs came in all sizes. I myself have seen a pterosaur fossil the size of a pigeon. Size was not what killed them.

        • ngotts

          Pedantic point: pterosaurs were not dinosaurs. There were plenty of small dinosaurs, however. Indeed, according to recent research, there still are – we call them birds.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

            Curses – I didn’t expect to find a dinosaur pedant in such company. You are right, of course. But the pterosaurs went extinct at the same time, so they are also a disproof of the idea that large size was the cause.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

        “next time you flap open that oil pit you call mouth.”

        Is this the Christian love for all men that I hear so much about?

      • Garnetstar

        RBrewer, you do know that dinosaurs are not the largest known animals? The largest beast that’s ever lived on earth is the blue whale, the one that’s living now. They’re several times larger than the largest dinosaur.

        But, they breathe the “less oxygen” that you say killed the smaller dinosaurs mighty fine. They don’t labor to breathe, although their bodies are much larger. Why is that?

  • Cdbren

    If anyone cares to read the entire Mars article, they state that the formations were formed in moments. But then preserved for billions of years? More guesswork with no proof at all that it is that old. The key point is that they say the strata was formed “in just a few minutes to hours”.

    I hope that it is obvious that what they found on one section of Mars is not at all the same as what we find on Earth. I’m really not sure I understand how a section of strata on Mars, formed in minutes to hours, which could have been from something other than water, disproves a world wide flood on Earth?

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

      No, that’s not what it means. Please read the whole article – don’t just quote mine it!

    • Ian

      Wow that’s another really impressive reading stuff into the article that isn’t there.

      But perhaps you’re right. Perhaps cross-stratified beds can form in moments. Despite the fact that they’re one of the most widely studied geological formations and scientists are pretty clear how and when they form Maybe it is the godless presuppositions of the scientists that is leading them astray.

      So come on cdbren, you love to tell us how rocks can form, and how fast, and how geologists have it all wrong. So go to it! Show us. Form a cross-stratified bed in moments! You don’t even need microorganisms for this one, or any fancy flood conditions. Let us know how you get on.

      I await your creative excuses. Presumably structures like this can only form in moments on Mars, and so you’d need to be on Mars to do the experiment, or something.

      • Cdbren

        The fact is that sediment forming strata can be deposited rapidly. And you still have not explained how an area of strata on Mars discounts the Biblical Flood on Earth.

        Strata forms quickly: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003JF000096/abstract

        • Ian

          And you still have not explained how an area of strata on Mars discounts the Biblical Flood on Earth.

          It doesn’t, it means that the strata on earth can’t be evidence of a worldwide flood, if such strata are formed without a flood. Scientific conclusions are built out of small logical pieces, nothing needs to show everything, but simple errors can be thrown out by simple comparisons.

          The fact is that sediment forming strata can be deposited rapidly.

          [I'm assuming "sediment forming strata" means either "strata forming sediment", "sediment that forms strata"]
          :) And in that nice shimmy of the terminology there, you’ve carefully avoided the point. Sediment can be deposited in a single tide, sure. Rock strata are laid down in a series of sediment deposits, sure. Therefore stratified rock formations can form in moments, nope. Unless you care to demonstrate.

          Thanks for the link, but again, you didn’t actually read the paper, you just skimmed the abstract saw something about sediment deposition and assumed it made your point. The paper looks at mud-core records of sedimentation not rock stratigraphy. And even if you take these mud-cores as evidence of what the stratigraphy will look like later, it is not supporting the idea that these formed in moments. Did you even download and read the paper at all?

          Honestly, it shouldn’t take long to actually read a paper you’re going to quote and make sure you understand it, going back and researching the foundational science you need to do that. Rather than just googling key terms and posting anything that seems to match.

          • Cdbren

            Mars was 30 cm deep I believe. On earth we have strata a hundred miles deep. Not sure what else besides a huge flood could have done that??

            Strata on earth is one evidence of a worldwide flood.

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

              No, it isn’t, and saying it over and over again does not make it so. The kinds of layers we find, with other types of rock sometimes having later intruded across the layers, attest to geat spans of time and not a single flood.

              What will it take to get you to read a book about geology written by Christians who are geologists, instead of just making things up?

            • Ian

              ” Not sure what else besides a huge flood could have done that”

              But, given that you make no concerted effort to actually find out, like — you know — taking a class on it; and given that you acquire most of your knowledge from YEC resources and struggle to read scientific content; your lack of knowledge isn’t surprising!

              But there’s an easy remedy for that. Education.

            • David_Evans

              You have it exactly backwards. It’s not possible for a single flood to have deposited all the different sedimentary layers in less than a year. The only way to do it is by the sea covering the land and then retreating many times.

        • Joe

          It doesn’t matter if you find another paper saying it forms quickly (which you didn’t, BTW.) For many reasons, but the easiest one to sum up is that qualifier, “can.” But that’s beside the point. What you said before was about the Mars article, right? I don’t see that in the BBC article – where did you find it?

  • M

    Scientific explanations are based wholly on “IFs” and “assumptions” anyway in order to satisfy where the earth and everything else came from. I’d rather have faith than be lost like that thanks.

    • TomS

      That’s why you don’t use science-based things like computers, and prefer to rely on faith-based methods of communicating.

  • Ian

    Wow, this one seems to have brought out a whole new low of stupid, James. I’m really struggling to figure out whether one or two of these new arrivals are parodies. Hey ho. I guess as long as the nay-sayers are getting crazier and crazier, that probably bodes well for the state of the argument.

    • TomS

      I wonder whether there is a class assignment?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

        Didn’t Wild Bill Dembski assign his seminary students to go out and engage secular ‘Darwinist’ websites before?

  • guest

    Having the supposed similar geological formation doesn’t provide evidence for evolution, because evolutionists cannot verify that either formations were formed by evolutionary ideas.
    Siilarity does proide proof of a common creator though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

      “Proof” is for brewers and mathematicians. Science deals in evidence. The fact that science keeps finding (across a broad range of subjects) that the proposition that ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ works in similar and consistent ways everywhere is strong evidence that the METHOD of science is a valid heuristic to continue to explore how the world works. We don’t, for example, have to pray in order for our cell phones to work. As far as science WORKS (and it does), magic need not apply to explain the shape of existence.

      Theology, on the other hand, does NOT presuppose consistency from God. Read the Bible’s account of Abraham’s “negotiation” with God over Sodom and Gomorrah for example. God is the ultimate ‘free agent’ and while the consistency of the universe is not a logical argument against god(s), the claim that the consistency of the universe is a RESULT of god(s) is an ad hoc explaination that carries no weight.

      • Cdbren

        I don’t think science has found the evidence yet for the process that can predict the future and build complex genetic structures that work together later as well as a build a diverse ecosystem that works together later….

        Intelligence is required for that.

        Unless I’ve missed it?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

          The evidence is that evolution does not predict the future. The recurrent laryngeal nerve, for instance, runs from the brain to the larynx which it controls. But in the process it detours down the neck to the heart and back up – a 15 foot detour in a giraffe. As a way to design a giraffe that’s crazy. It makes sense only if the giraffe (and we) are descended from an animal with no neck where the detour was too short to worry about. A fish, for instance.

          • Cdbren

            Animals beget their own kind. You can’t scientifically get from a fish to a Giraffe. That’s a laughable fairy tale. There is no testing, observing or repeating of this happening.

            Walk out of your box and really explore science…..that’s my best advice.

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

              You must be thinking of a fish having a giraffe hatch from one of its eggs. This is a common misunderstanding among those who arrogantly reject evolution without understanding what it is. The genetic evidence for the relatedness of all living things is clear, and the recurrent laryngeal nerve leaves us with two options – evolution, or a creator who lacks the common sense of even a relatively incompetent human engineer. If you wish to demean God by insisting that it must be the latter, you are free to do so. But know full well that you are choosing blasphemy.

            • David_Evans

              “That’s a laughable fairy tale”

              As opposed to a talking snake and a woman made from a man’s rib (changing all the Y chromosomes to X’s)?

            • David_Evans

              I would give you the same advice. You could start by reading the book I mentioned. It describes how scientists realised that there must have been an animal intermediate between fish and the first amphibians, worked out which rock strata it should be in, went there and found it.

              You get from fish to giraffe via amphibians, reptiles (including some very mammal-like ones) and mammals. There is ample fossil evidence for the process.

            • daMage

              If you could show that a fish came from a giraffe, you’d pretty much show that the evolution is false.

              You, sir, don’t have any understanding about the (scientific) theory of evolution or are a troll.

        • John (not McCain)

          I’d like to thank you and your fellow travelers for providing me yet again with reassurance that I am right to be happy to know I won’t be spending eternity around people like you. That would be a living hell!

        • Joe

          It has – a few decades ago. Read up on artificial life.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

          So this intelligence designed life to go extinct? ~98% of all species that ever existed went extinct. I call this the wrong end of the telescope fallacy. The complex genetic structures that work together NOW arose and adapted because they produced life forms that differentially reproduced better than the ones that went extinct and the diverse ecosystems we have NOW have are the ones best adapted to the present conditions on Earth.

          • Cdbren

            You are discounting what the conditions on earth were prior to the flood. You are also discounting the fallen world because of Adam and Eves sin. What you see now is not the way it was designed to be.

            The problem here is your lack of understanding or accepting the historical record of the earth as recorded in the Bible. God did not design species to go extinct. He designed them to live in a sinless paradise.

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

              Why do you so stubbornly reject what Genesis teaches? it depicts humans as needing access to the tree of life in order not to die. It does not depict a world in which death simply does not occur, in which a tree of life would be meaningless.

              Why are you so determined to persist with nonsense that is not merely without any kind of evidence to support it, but patently unbiblical?

              • cdbren

                I never made those claims. The simple truth is that the world we live in today is not as God designed nor planned for it to be.

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

                  So you are a Gnostic, and attribute the creation of flesh-eating bacteria, killer viruses, the predatory instincts of carnivores, plate tectonics, and so on to some powerful entity other than God?

            • Nick Gotts

              So why didn’t God design a better Adam and Eve? Alternatively, why did he let the whole world go to pot because they sinned?

    • ngotts

      evolutionists cannot verify that either formations were formed by evolutionary ideas

      I can assure you that these strata were not formed by ideas of any kind, evolutionary or otherwise. They were formed by the deposition of sediments under water.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alice.linsley.5 Alice Linsley
  • theologian

    I suspect God made the young earth creationists as a test of faith for the more scientifically minded Christians.

  • dj

    Just for the record, the oldest (known) living thing on earth is the bristle cone pine found in the white mts. of N. central Ca. 4700 years according to growth rings. It has been shown that coal, oil, and diamonds can be formed in a few years. In lab tests a few weeks. Soft tissue has been found in T rex bone marrow, population geneticists have demonstrated that Neanderthals are genetically human, the human race would have gone extinct in a few thousand years due to genetic entropy.You old earthers should actually do some serious research on both sides of the fence.

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

      You have misunderstood the nature of the fossilized soft tissue, and seem to think that the tissue itself survived intact. How old the oldest living thing is is not relevant to how long the history of life stretches before that. And if fossil fuels could be made quickly, it would revolutionize the world’s fuel situation. To quote half-truths, lies of charlatans, and misunderstandings, and then say that people who accept mainstream science ought to “do some serious research” would be funny if I thought you were trying to make a joke. But I get the sense that you are serious and unaware of the irony of what you wrote.

      • dj

        If you believe that red blood cells (still in pliable state) found in T Rex bones in Montana have survived 65m yrs, I’m not the one who is deluded. This discovery even astonished the paleontologist. If you do not believe a cataclysmic world destroying flood happened about 4500 yrs. ago, you have rejected the book of Genesis. If a “still living” Bristle Cone Pine can contain 4500 to 4700 growth rings, there’s no reason it’s age could not exceed this.There are no known living trees including Giant Redwood older. It’s interesting you would refer to YEC scientists as charlatans, this indicates to me you haven’t done any serious research in the YEC field. If your so predisposed to old earth uniformitarian “theories”you probably will not even check any of the YEC web sites,(there are many). The fact is old earth uniformitarianism can not be proved by observational science any more than young earth theories can. If you reject Genesis as historical narrative the only alternative is speculation and conjecture. PS I never claimed that short term fossil fuel production was commercially cost effective.

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

          You are merely repeating words that I myself echoed when I was a young-earth creationist. Alas, I too allowed myself to be fooled and did not fact-check their claims until much later than I ought to have. But if you think that I have not become familiar with young-earth creationism both as an insider and then investigating their claims when patient scientists who are Christians took the time to point out where YEC claims were not merely erroneous but lies, then you must not have been reading this blog long. Indeed, just about every claim you made in it has been addressed here more than once, and so I would be grateful if you could begin with the answers already available. And then we can perhaps move on to things that have yet to be addressed – for instance, I keep asking young-earth creationists why they believe that God killed and compressed such an incredible number of microorganisms as make up the chalk beds of the famous White Cliffs of Dover, making it look as though they were formed over millions of years, when that is supposedly not what happened. Perhaps you will answer satisfactorily? My sense is that, when one adheres to the lies peddled by charlatans, believing that God is a charlatan is a small step.

          But it is a step that is disturbing. And to pit an ancient Israelite’s reworking of an already-existing flood tale against the handiwork of the Creator that we can study for ourselves in the present day is nothing short of impious idolatry.

          • dj

            For starts, your ad hominem attacks on young earth scientist is not warranted, since they hold the same advanced scientific degrees as the old earthers like Hugh Ross and all evolutionary scientists.As for the chalk cliffs, are found all over the earth evidence for rapid, massive deposition (deeper than 20,000 ft in some locations) and destruction of all life Gen;6;7 followed by the upheaval of the continents and collapse of the ocean floors when God closed the windows of heaven / fountains of the deep, Gen 8;2. You beg the question with you’re statement that ancient Israelis reworked the Torah, what evidence do you have for this? Jesus being not only God and (an Israelite) believed Genesis to be accurate, having quoted from it.As for idolatry what or who determines you’re world view, Hugh Ross and multiple evolutionary scientists or the Bible? I would like to pursue a meaningful discussion on the age of the earth however with out the question begging and the rhetoric. Origin science is what is called forensic and requires interpretation, by the scientists. Empirical or observational science can be tested and repeated or disproved in the present. If you would like to address specifics bring it on I’m game. Thoughtfully, dj

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

              I don’t think that anyone who is a young-earth creationist can appeal to their degrees as demonstrating anything. This isn’t just because it is well known that there have been cases of such individuals obtaining the credentials by doing research that they would later renounce and seek to undermine, merely to obtain the diploma and be able to bolster a movement to which they already adhered prior to undertaking their course of study. It is also because young-earth creationists claim that the overwhelming consensus of scientists with such degrees proves nothing. If the expertise the degree symbolizes means nothing in the eyes of young-earth creationists, then you cannot claim that it means something in your favor.

              Please actually address the issue of the number of microorganisms involved in producing chalk beds. Either you have not looked into the issue, or you are hoping to get away with avoiding the subject. A global flood doesn’t explain what we find in the geological record, and that is just one particularly clear example.

              You said you are game to addressing specifics. Please begin there.

              • dj

                This article from Journal of Creation apr. 1994 gives a reasonable explanation for thick chalk beds around the world from a young earth perspective. http://creation.com/can-flood-geology-explain-thick-chalk-beds This link , I believe, offers an adequate narrative. This pub. is a scientific peer reviewed periodical. As far as academic credibility goes, you did not mention any names of the individuals who renounced their own research after they achieved their academic goal; however I can name several research scientists, who renounced uniformatarinism and evolution after attempting to prove old earth/evolutionary theories.

                • dj

                  PS the link I tried to send wouldn’t go so here is the web site and sequence -creation.com-bottom of page click -journal archive- complete list- apr 1994 vol 8:1 pg11-15 .

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

                    I am baffled by your claim that days on Earth are the only periods in the universe that are not measured by movement of celestial bodies. The ancient Hebrews, like other pre-Copernican people, assumed that their days were indeed measured by celestial movements, and it is for that reason that the celestial bodies are said to be made in Genesis 1. But the entire structure, with its anthropomorphic depiction of God engaging in a human working week, and its arrangement of days 1-3 and 4-6 in parallelism that is missed when one treats them in linear chronological fashion, all point towards a particular approach to the interpretation of the text being more appropriate.

                    Assuming that a later text reflects an older tradition than a much earlier one is not the same as working with the evidence we have and accepting what it indicates about the history of literature and theology in the Ancient Near East. Trying to equate them suggests that either you are unconcerned with truth and honest treatment of the evidence, or you are unfamiliar with the relevant literature and the dates thereof. In either case, it is odd that you would be so adamant about matters about which you are either being dishonest or are poorly informed.

                    • dj

                      What I mean by the 7 day week time sequences is simply this; can you get up on any given Monday morning after sun rise(or earth rotation) and determine what phase the moon is in without referencing a lunar phase chart? I don’t dispute the existence of ancient literature pre-dating Genesis and the similarity in style, I only claim that pre-Genesis writings found in ancient ruins could have shared a common source with Genesis. I chose not to enter into a discussion of ancient literature with you sir,since your immanent knowledge far exceeds mine I’m sure; however, there is no convincing evidence outside of the first seven chapters of Genesis to indicate the existence of any antediluvian human culture. I categorically reject any thesis that hints of neo-Darwinism, including old earth theories. If Moses is the author of Genesis, we must assume he received his information as a direct revelation from God or a tradition handed down from his antediluvian ancestors. Either is entirely possible since God purportedly spoke directly to Moses and Shem, the son of Noah was still living at the time of Abraham, the progenitor of the Hebrews. One would need to reject or allegorically interpret most Genesis, eliminate the supernatural and verified archaeological evidence to assume the antiquity of the earth. Uniformitarianism,, Darwinism, and naturalism just doesn’t fit the text.

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

                      The Earth moving does not fit Biblical texts. The discovery that the brain rather than the heart is the locus of human thinking does not fit Biblical texts. The selective rejection of some science on the basis of the Bible, while paying lip service to the text, is a deceitful charade of which those engaged in it ought to be ashamed, and yet they are proud.

                      Why assume that Moses was the author of the text? Would Moses have written “at that time the Canaanites were in the land” and the various other things that reflect a later perspective?

                      I find the transformation of Christian faith from love for God and neighbor into the construction of a flimsy house of cards that one must continually prop up against overwhelming counterevidence a far worse undermining of the teaching of Jesus than any attack from outside the church anyone has come up with.

                    • dj

                      The earth moving does not fit any non technical text, what’s your point?Do we normally refer to sun rise as earth rotation?Genesis lexicon implies straight forward non allegorical writing, designed to be comprehensive readable. Do you reject the Civil War account of the naval battle between the first iron-clads because it doesn’t describe the laws of buoyancy and displacement? If the man Adam is mythical and didn’t exist in real space and time, he couldn’t have disobeyed God and caused the down fall of humanity and the curse on creation. (GEN.3) If the historical, original sin never occurred, humanity would have no need of a redeemer, the historical God-Man Jesus Christ (if you believe Jesus was a historical person)The first tenant of Christianity or Christian salvation is belief that Jesus Christ the Son of God died to pay the penalty for sinful humanity.ROM 5: 12-21.The love of God and neighbor is anchored and should spring from this reality.The biggest threat to orthodox Christianity has always originated within the Church, especially today, because of the heretical teaching of liberal theologians and those who swallow it H.L.S Although Moses did not identify himself as author of Genesis there are no compelling reasons to challenge his authorship. There are multiple references in other books both old and new testament that credits authorship of the Pentateuch to Moses.Exodus was purportedly written prior to Genesis, however all five books of Moses were completed prior to the death of Moses 1405 B.C.If you care to check the validity of the exodus, there are multiple archaeological finds with documentation in works like “Relic Quest” by Bob Cornuk that locates Sinai on the Arabian peninsula. .

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

                      If you want to talk about archaeology and the Exodus, then you need to deal with the lack of Egyptian evidence (we have extensive documentary evidence from the levant periods in Egyptian history, and we are to believe that no one mentioned widespread destruction of cattle and the death of every firstborn?), and the evidence that Israelite communities emerged from within Canaan. Books written by actual archaeologists. William Dever offers a good, balanced perspective, neither maximalist nor minimalist.

                      As for treating the rising of the sun as non-literal, you only do that because of scientific information you have rom beyond the text. But ancient people assumed it was literal, and our phrasing is a remnant of that older worldview. It is noteworthy that in this area you are willing to understand the Bible differently than its ancient authors and readers would have understood it, based on scientific data from outside the Bible.

                      As for salvation, Adam is included in Romans 5 in order to provide a foil for Jesus, and illustrates that Paul’s approach to Genesis was different than modern literalism. If he had been a literalist, he would have said “As through two human beings sin entered the world.” And if God had provided salvation through two human beings, he probably wrote that. He talks of “one man” because he is making a contrast with another “one man.” And the point of the contrast is not between descent from Adam or Jesus. It is between two ways of being human and of relating to God. To insist that your salvation depends on Genesis being literal seems to me to suggest that you have never had a life-transforming experience of God – if you had, I doubt that you would insist that your salvation is about a text being literal, rather than a powerful work of the Holy Spirit. But your stance also suggests that you are being adamant about the text’s meaning without having really looked closely at the details of what the text does and does not say.

                    • dj

                      I don’t dispute the lack of documentary evidence for ancient Hebrews, in Egypt,but there does exist a wall painting in the tomb of Rekhmire, Mayor of Thebes, and vizier of Thutmose III 15th century BC.Semitic artifacts have been found in the Nile delta region, traditional location of the Jacobean tribes. This region is marshy and flooded most of the year today. As you know the ancient near eastern potentates conveniently neglected to report or misreported crushing military defeats or embarrassing events.The lack of evidence does not necessarily negate the history. Evolutionists are still looking for the missing transitional fossils The Dynasty of King David of Israel was written off as non-existent until .a discover of the “House of David” stone tablet at Tell Dan 1993. In fact , Archaeologists have never discovered anything that disproves Biblical history. The doctrine of original sin in Adam as opposed to both Adam and Eve is a strawman. The text clearly states Eve was created from living tissue taken from Adam, so Adam is still the Federal head of the human race and the only human created from non living elements. If you reject original sin doctrine, you probably would reject the fallen state of humanity inherited through the seed of Adam and the redemption , justification, and imputed righteousness through Christ. Belief in the intricate details of Christian Theology or young earth are not soteriology issues to me, your errant theology seems to assume they are. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ period. I only strive to defend the accuracy and inspiration of the text.

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

                      You are confusing the study of history with the apologetic defense of the Bible’s inerrancy. It is one thing to say that the Exodus might have some relation to the expulsion of the Hyksos, quite another to say that it happened as depicted in the Bible while having no noticeable impact on Egyptian society whatsoever. While there have been a handful of minimalists who have argued that there was no king David, a couple of who still do, that has never been a mainstream position. But suggesting that skepticism is unwarranted because evidence found subsequently showed this or that misunderstands how history works. Historians ought not to simply say “X could have happened, and maybe one day we will find evidence.” We say what we can based on the evidence we have, and when new evidence comes to light, we need to be ready to revise our views.

                      History doesn’t deal with “proof” – that is language more suited to mathematics. But the archaeology of Canaan has shown that there was no destruction of the relevant cities in Joshua in a single generation, and it also shows what linguistic and forensic evidence also shows, namely that the majority of Israelites were not from somewhere other than Canaan. That doesn’t mean that there is no history in the text – it may be that a smaller group came in from outside, and battles taking place over multiple generations have been compressed into a single generation in the narrative. But archaeology and Biblical inerrancy are at odds with one another, just as science and Biblical inerrancy are, and Biblical study and Biblical inerrancy are.

                    • dj

                      I would suggest that Bible apologetic defense is the defense of true science and history. I’m sure you would disagree with this position, but I would ask you to note the revisions and updates of science and history having occurred in the last millennium as compared to Biblical texts .Undoubtedly the Church has taken some extreme and errant positions and revised same. These positions were the products of misinterpretation of scripture and dogmatically held church tradition. Is this not the argument today? I might suggest you re-check the latest archaeological finds pertaining to the Canaanite cities documented in Joshua and later books. If your prerequisite is to place changing science and history, written by fallible men, in authority over the unchanging inspired Word of God, that’s your choice. I’m sticking with scripture and waiting for the inevitable revision of science and history.

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

                      I keep up to date in these matters, as I teach courses on them every semester. If someone has given you the impression that the archaeological evidence fits the Biblical account in all its details, or might somehow suddenly change to fit it, then they have deceived you.

                      But the heart of the issue is your idolatry, treating ancient writings by human beings as though they share in divine attributes. Until you address that core issue, it will be hard for you to deal with other evidence honestly.

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

                  I think you may misunderstand what peer review means. It does not mean “I just appoint some likeminded people to approve only the sort of thing I like.” It means demanding the use of appropriate academic methods, evidence, and modes of argumentation through a blind review process involving those with recognized expertise.

                  Young and Stearley have offered what I think is an adequate response to the source you offered. I commend it to you, since I do not think you understand the significance of the problem or the extent of the difficulty for the young-earth position: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0830828761/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=jamefmcgrshom-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0830828761&adid=0ZBXB68QZN2S7K3TRNWB&

                  • dj

                    Peer review is just what it implies, there are ample articles from YEC scientists that have been critiqued by the other side, As I said before, historical science has to be interpreted by humans with predispositions, and opinions.We can discuss the old earth v. young earth arguments until Jesus returns, and reference articles and books from both opinions, but this doesn’t change the Biblical narrative. Billions of years doesn’t logically fit into scripture anywhere, As for the “significance of the problem’ as you put it, the old earth position represents a compromise with the secular neo Darwinian crowd and undermines the veracity of the foundational document,” Genesis” and consequently causes skeptics to question the rest of Scripture. I have read so called scholarly publications from both schools and am of the opinion that YEC is more scientifically and theologically sound.

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

                      Peer review doesn’t mean “someone else has responded.” Peer review is a process whereby submitted articles or manuscripts are sent out anonymously to experts in the field for evaluation to determine not whether their conclusions are correct, but whether the mode of argumentation is in line with the methods and practices of the field in question.

                      I see where the problem is. You regard those who study the creation honestly as compromisers, because you have idolatrously elevated an ancient text to divine status. Perhaps due to a lack of familiarity on your part with other ancient literature, you are unaware that its depiction of the natural world is precisely that found in texts like the Enuma Elish. Both assume that creation occurred through the splitting of water, and that waters above are held up by a dome, which is the sky. Through such language, Genesis makes a point about monotheism, a point from which your distorted reading distracts. And in the process you not merely commit idolatry, but denigrate your brothers and sisters in Christ who actually study the texts or the natural world and deal with them honestly. In short, you are an enemy of the Christian faith.

                    • dj

                      I’ll freely admit I haven’t spent my life in academic pursuits and don’t have titles or multiple letters after my name, but I haven’t abandoned reality. “An enemy of the Christian faith” and “idolatry”are harsh statements and smack of denigration. I don’t presume on the sincerity of your faith or any other old earth believer,I merely read the Bible and apply an exegetical interpretation. It claims to be inspired and I believe it to be so. Unless the context or the text it’s self implies symbolism, hyperbole, or other literary devices I believe the Bible says what it means and means what it says. I reject most of the so called higher criticism components such as the “Jesus Seminar” and comparative analysis, most of which I find lacking in substance and down right boring. I have read Jasher, Josephus,and several 2nd century commentaries.The ancient Hebrews may have written myth and allegory ,but it doesn’t appear to have been included in the canonized text we call the Old Testament. If truth is supposed to be that which most accurately reflects the reality we perceive with our senses, then objective truth must reflect objective reality. I wish you well in your faith and career pursuits:Sincerely dj

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

                      So what would the text have to include in order for you to be persuaded that it is something other than a scientific description? Days organized in parallelism that smacks of poetry? A talking snake? Two different accounts side by side with different details and order? Cosmological details that mirror other peoples’ myths? A long history of non-literal interpretation of the texts in question?

                    • dj

                      I don’t remember making the claim that Genesis is a scientific description, I think I may have used the term historical narrative. God didn’t give us the periodic table of elements either. The six days of creation are sequential and identified with the statement “there was evening and morning with a number, which happens to be the only time sequence in the natural universe that is unmarked by movement of heavenly bodies.It should be obvious that any re-occurring creation account refers back to the original Gen. 1 You must assume that the Genesis story originated from an earlier culture, so I may assume other cultures borrowed and mythologized what became Genesis. Is a talking snake any more fantastic than the talking donkey of Balam? The donkey seemed to be more in touch with reality than Balam . A virgin birth and a resurrection of a corps is pretty fantastic also. Does a long history of non literal interpretation some how validate it’s self? There is also a long history of literal interpretation of the same texts, with apologetic’s dating to the early 2nd century.

                    • cdbren

                      I’d like to just cut in here and make it clear that Genesis 2 is not a different account of creation in Genesis 1. It is a detail of the sixth day of creation.

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

                      I cannot prevent you from assuming that if you wish, but the Hebrew text gives a different impression, as the history of interpretation (going back at least as far as Philo of Alexandria) also indicates.

            • newenglandsun

              Hugh Ross is not an evolutionary scientist he is a progressive creationist. And progressive creationism is just as unscientific as young earth creationism.

    • mriehm

      Each year, a distinct stratum is added to the Greenland ice sheet. These can be visually distinguished. So all you have to do is drill a core (not so easy, actually) and start to count. It will take a while, but eventually you’ll get to more than 100,000 years.

      Interestingly, at about 2,000 years there is a measurable concentration of lead in the ice, due to Roman smelting.

      • cdbren

        Yes, if you incorrectly assume that each ring represents a year and snowfall only happened once each year. In reality, during the ice age, there were very severe and numerous super storms producing many rings per year.

        So counting them correctly to somehow guess at the age of the earth would be impossible.

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

          As long as one is willing to posit the existence of the deceitful demon that young-earth creationists make God out to be, intervening in history to melt and freeze a thousand more times than is explicable in terms or weather, and then punishing people for believing that the created order would give honest testimony and that the Creator is honest, then one can believe whatever nonsense one wishes and explain away all counter-evidence. But doing so is to worship a devil rather than a God.

        • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

          Layers in ice cores don’t form because of ‘snowfalls’ in the way you suggest. And they preserve much more than ice. It would be possible to detect a layer that was deposited quickly, and it would be clear where the dividing line was.

          Again, if you think otherwise, please demonstrate. You’re great at coming up with alternatives, but your alternatives would have distinct detectable consequences. And so far you’ve not even attempted to demonstrate a single one.

          How’s your chalk experiments going?

          Furthermore you’ve come out with the ice-core canard before and been corrected, and have read literally no actual science about it since. You’ve not got a single textbook out the library or taken a since course, right? This is what ‘invincible ignorance’ looks like, and why YECers are such fools. You are simply unwilling to find out about how actual scientists come up with these conclusions. To you it looks obvious: layers = snowfall, more snow = more layers. But it only looks that obvious because you still refuse to find out anything about the actual science.

          • cdbren

            Well, I know that ice forms differently depending on temperature and pressure or if the water is salt or not. It is an ongoing area of study.

            From what I do know about the ice core samples it states that each layer could represent a year or a season. That time is calculated by simply counting the rings. By annual snowfall. Also it states “Deeper into the ice the layers thin and annual layers become indistinguishable.”

            Now, you seem intelligent enough to realize that according to the information given by the scientists themselves, that it is by far not at all an exact “science” and can’t be counted as remotely accurate. Unless what they have stated themselves is wrong?

            Did the ice age not produce multiple winter seasons and much more severe than we have today? Or am I missing something?

            • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

              “and can’t be counted as remotely accurate”

              Nice switch there. The accuracy of the conclusions are, of course, part of the science. They are much more than ‘remotely accurate’, but they are not precise, but those are different things. As we tell high school science students: one cannot measure to the nearest nanometer with a ruler, but if one measures ten centimeters, then one can conclude the object isn’t a mile long. The error ranges associated with stratochronography are a part of the science, and are well verified. And they exclude your scenario. So if you disagree, please do the experiments to show the established error criteria are wrong, and not just a little wrong, but orders of magnitude wrong.

              Whenever you disagree with the science, you can do an experiment to show you are right and the vast majority of scientists are wrong. That is how scientists work. Sometimes the experimental design can be tricky, but it is always possible.

              But you never bother. Funny that. Almost as if you have no actual interest in determining the truth…

              • cdbren

                The problem seems to be that they are counting each ring as a single year with one deposit of snowfall. Looking at the rings forming as they would TODAY, in todays climate. Again, they are using uniformitarianism here. Many storms of varying degrees and temperature over the poles could have formed numerous ice rings per each year.

                Another problem is the ice rings are so compressed further down that they can’t be accurately counted. Another case of using “assumption” and calling it science.

                On another forum I heard someone say there is no evidence of a flood in the ice layers. Well, of course not since the ice age happened after and as a result of the world wide flood. Forming the ice layers they are drilling into today.

                BTW, I have bothered to look at some sources of material.

                http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/icecores.html

                http://climatechange.umaine.edu/icecores/IceCore/Ice_Core_101.html

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

                  You are simply doing what you say others do. You are saying nothing more than that if one assumes that the world was so different in the past than it is now that things could happen which could never happen in any way involving currently understood and observed processes, then it is perhaps possible that results which make perfect sense when explained in terms of processes we understand and observe today could be explained differently.

                  Why would anyone say that sort of thing, apart from ideologically-driven desire to distort things?

                  • cdbren

                    Because it is true. Are you saying that the supposed causes of the ice age, by scientists, is pseudoscience? It is a fact that the earth has much more greenhouse conditions than just a thousand years ago. Mountain ranges were different, ocean currents were different, and during the paleoclimate volcanoes and movements in continental plates contributed to high amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere.

                    Whether you call it millions of years ago or I call it thousands, the fact remains that the past was drastically different than today.

                    A world wide flood happened, an ice age followed, species were wiped out, chalk cliffs formed rapidly, the ocean floor rose up from volcanic activity and the continents broke apart to be what they are today. It all happened only thousands of years ago. That is the undistorted historically scientific truth.

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

                      You pick and choose from science the way young-earth creationists do from scripture. Stop avoiding the topic and provide a detailed and scientifically plausible mechanism for the phenomena that everyone but you YEC liars conclude indicates a much older Earth. So far all you have done is link to studies which, when they are read (something you obviously have not cared enough to do or are dishonestly hoping that other will not), they make the case against your claims, not for them.

                      Does your immoral dishonesty know no limits?

                    • cdbren

                      I am not picking and choosing at all. Just stating facts that precisely fit the world wide flood scenario. It’s called science.

                      There is really no way to date the earth to any measure. Or anything else that is beyond carbon dating. Unless you know of a scientific way to determine the amount of decay of isotopes at the point with which the earth was formed and how the Earth formed.

                      The geological fossil record supposedly going back millions of years is illusionary. It is simply the deposit of sediments, burying animals quickly, during the flood, only thousands of years ago.

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

                      Are you incapable of comprehending that your stating something does not make it true, that your saying “this is science” is not what it takes to make something science? The evidence for why your view is incompatible with the data has been presented more than once, yet you continue to make the same assertions. I am pretty certain that the methods for dating have been explained to you here more than once. yet you continue to lie. You are a liar and a fraud. And since you are determined to repeat the same things like a spammer even when your lies are exposed, I think it is time for you to take your trolling elsewhere. If you ever are willing to actually learn something and be concerned with truth rather than defense of the false teachings you adhere to, let me know and you will be allowed back here.

                    • Helena

                      Let’s put it this way, CD. Your constant lying shows that you hate Jesus, live only to mock his laws, and are bound strait for hell. Does that explain it clearly enough for you? On the other hand, most scientists I have known are exceptionally moral and have the highest respect for the truth.

                • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                  Being ‘bothered to look at some sources of material’ is not the same as understanding it. Both links describe why your view can’t be correct, in some detail. And both describe why the ‘assumptions’ are justified, cross referenced, and given errors. And both describe in detail how the rings are not counted with the assumption that they are formed in the way they are today. Its like the rock strata paper again, you do a quick google search, see something that vaguely mentions what you’re talking about (here you were presumably looking for something on ice cores that didn’t mention multiple layers in a year, and that’s all you cared about, a quick to read to convince yourself that scientists hadn’t thought about your big idea, and hey presto, you’re done).

                  You don’t spend the time to really make sure you understand what you’re reading, and understand its implications for what we see and what we’d expect to see. So you conclude that it makes your point, when in fact it does the opposite.

      • dj

        WWII aircraft were ditched in 1942 on Greenland ice cap. One P-38 aircraft was recovered and restored in 1997. This aircraft was excavated from approx. 250 ft. of ice. The deepest glaciers in the world are about 2 mi. (10560 ft.) 250 ft. of ice accumulation over 55 yr. time span represents an average accumulation of approx. 4.5 ft. annually. Do the math it barely makes it past the 2000 yr.mark, wheres the assumed 100,000 yrs.

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

          Why is it that when scientists assume that the laws of physics have been constant this is considered inappropriate “uniformitarianism” by young-earth creationists, but when it suits them for the purpose of internet apologetics, young-earth creationists are happy to pretend that ice only accumulates and never melts, and that it does so at a constant and steady rate? Doesn’t the dishonesty involved in this sort of hypocritical tactic ever make you ashamed? Or is defending a particular interpretation of Genesis 1-3 important yet the Bible’s teaching on morality and honesty unimportant?

          • dj

            No dishonesty intended, I only presented proven historical facts for a period covering 55yrs. in the 20th century.The assumptions are from the uniformatarian scientists, assuming multiple ice ages for a time span of hundreds of thousands of years. The average annual ice pack accumulation I cited would necessarily include seasonal melting and re-freezing, compression of deeper levels, and precipitation variables. I personally believe there was only one ice age, lasting a few hundred yrs. accompanied by a global climate change immediately following the deluge (Gen. 6-8)and I also believe that polar ice caps did not exist on the antediluvian earth, since semi-tropical, well preserved flora / fauna remains are found today in these regions.I’m not refuting the obvious uniformity in the natural laws, only uniformatarinism (“the present is the key to the past”}
            postulated by Charles Lyell 1850′s. Catastrophism is the better model, even uniformatarins have had to re-think their dogma after recent discoverys, but they still insist on millions or billions of yrs..

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

              You really need to make the effort to understand that geology is not where it was a century and a half ago, and to understand why geologists draw the conclusions they do. If I recommended The Bible, Rocks, and Time, written by two conservative Christian geologists, would you read it? Not just skim it, but really read it to understand the methods and the extent of the evidence?

              • dj

                Thank you Dr. McGrath for the recommendation “The Bible Rocks and Time” I will read it from cover to cover if I can find it in a library. Unfortunately my limited fixed income does not allow for many expensive books. I already have a private collection 200-300 volumes, including kindle books, that have been scavenged from used book stores, library close-outs, flea markets,etc.I did find this book on amazon (19 bucks) is a little extravagant for merely recreational reading.I can tell from the introduction (on line ) the author probably denies the Noahic global flood since he mentions localized flooding . That’s a pretty standard denial by old earth liberals. Our evangelical church boasts a number of these, I debated one, a Hugh Ross fan, in a specifically “age of the earth” Bible study at church. It was a hoot, and quite well attended, except for the Pastoral staff , they all hid out.Thanks again I’ll diligently search for this volume.

            • spin

              You might know that Death Valley has the lowest average rainfall in the USA, so obviously rainfall isn’t uniform across the states. It probably wouldn’t surprise you that Death Valley is also the hottest place in the US. Climatic and physical conditions influence the weather.

              The ice sheet over Greenland has an enormous area and parts are quite high. This is from currentresults.com:

              At the peak of Greenland’s ice cap is the highest point that’s above the Arctic circle and the coldest place north of the Antarctic. The top, aptly named Summit, rises to 3,208 metres (10,530 feet) and averages -27.5 °C (-17.5 °F).

              Some other weather stations in the center of Greenland’s ice cap also record mean annual temperatures below -27 °C (-16.6 °F). At lower elevations and along the coast though, annual means stay above -15°C (5 °F).

              Due to the temperature differential and the geographic differences, the weather conditions close to the edge of the Greenland ice sheet, where the P-38s landed, are quite different from those in the middle of it, just as the conditions in Death Valley are quite different from places further away. The generally higher temperatures around the edge of the ice sheet allow for a much greater rate of snow accumulation than at the center, just as the rainfall in the Death Valley is vastly lower than its further surroundings.

              Greater snowfall provides a faster rate of accumulation, indicating that thickness of ice in one place does not imply an age commensurate with that of a similar thickness in another place with a different rate of snow accumulation.

              As you cannot assume uniformity of conditions between Death Valley and say Fresno (250km) are the same (Fresno gets five times the rain and it’s still very low), you also cannot assume uniformity of conditions between the edge of the Greenland ice sheet and the middle. The premise of the argument to discredit the ages yielded from Greenland ice cores based on the discovery of Glacier Girl doesn’t consider all the necessary facts and because of this is flawed.

              • dj

                Thank you spin, you have aptly illustrated my point. Ice core grips from drillings all over the planet have been used (by unifomitarian scientists) to calculate age based on their own assumptions of anchient earth. They do the same with unfrozen fossiliferous strata. You sum it up nicely, Meteorological or geological uniformity is not a valid assumption for either young or old earth philosophy s.

                • spin

                  You’re welcome, dj. I see that you’ve given up your simplistic argument about thicknesses of ice and have thought it a good time to change the subject.

                  However, the new subject too is not based on either wise argument or good evidence. Your cursory summary doesn’t show any awareness as to how age is measured from ice cores, allowing you to misrepresent the manner in which chronological data is obtained. Then you finished with a simple logic fallacy: because there are differentials between the peripheral and interior, there can be no uniformity. You can do better than that.

                  You might be able to drop any argument that is shown not to function and pick up another one at the blink of an eye, but that is not how serious discussion functions. If the arguments you use don’t really matter to you, as seen with the ease you dropped the lost squadron argument, then you should really consider that your approach to the subject may not be based on evidence at all.

                  • dj

                    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v16/n1/ice-core ref web site.article, couldn’t paste.The argument wasn’t mine to begin with it was a uniformitarian argument posted to refute uniformitarian arguments. You apparently missed the point. The uniformitarian models have always been flawed. YEC models are catastrophism.It matters not whether you’re speaking ice cores, fossiliferous deposition, or frozen aircraft.The above article is one of many on this subject. You may reject the research and the scientists who do it but you must also reject the historical narratives in the Bible. The old earth theories not only contradict the Bible they’re replete with evolutionary baggage and faulty assumptions.

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

                      I really must insist that you stop spouting deceptive garbage. The idea that the Earth rotates contradicts the Bible. The idea that thinking takes place in the head rather than the heart contradicts the Bible. I could go on and on Unless you reject all of mainstream science, then you are being inconsistent. There is no sense in which evolution or geology are unique in this regard. It is also simply not true that this is a matter of assumptions, faulty or otherwise. You clearly have no sense of how overwhelming the data is and how it persuaded the entire field of geology to move away from its assumptions about things being flective of a young earth and the Flood. Those were the prevailing assumptions, and the data that accumulated changed the minds of those who studied them.

                    • dj

                      We’ve had the earth rotating and the heart thinking discussion before I don’t think we need to re-hash. I’ve already given my views pertaining to the figurative, hyperbolic language commonly used in the Bible.My problem with the liberal, allegoric, eisegetical , frame work, or what ever interpolations as they are applied to all or most of the Scripture. The more I read of your posts the more I think you’re a Theistic Evolutionist. If that’s the case, of coarse you need a few billion yrs. to bring even Neo-Darwinism out of complete absurdity. This belief system is akin to a pop fly ball to a Richard Dawkin’s center fielder. Even he would suggest (pan-spermia) or multi-verse theory. I found the book ” The Bible Rocks and Times” , in a local library, it’s out now but I will get it eventually.It should be good ammunition to build a better argument against old earthers.

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

                      If you are looking for ammunition to defend what you already believe, you may or may not find the book useful. It is sad that that is what you are looking for, and that the only way that you can maintain the conviction that you already have the truth is to caricature and denigrate those you disagree with, and read books not seeking to learn but seeking to defend what you already think.

                    • dj

                      Dr. McGrath; I will start by offering my sincere apology if you perceive my comments denigrating, not my intent. I try to avoid ad-hominem attacks. I attempt to approach this discussion as a conflict of ideas rather than personalities. You are correct by implying I have a conviction, my conviction is for defending inerrancy, and inspiration of Scripture,(we both profess to believe), the age of the earth is just the current topic. When one shares his faith with a skeptic, while simultaneously rejecting the historicity of Gen. 1-11, why would one expect the skeptic to believe the historicity of Jesus Christ? When one reads the multiple myths of world cultures that include a creation story, a world wide flood, and dispersion of people groups, very similar to the Genesis account, why not conclude Genesis is the source of the others, rather than just another myth? I do defend the Genesis account although I sometimes feel like a meager voice crying out in the wilderness of old earth science and theology. Either the earth is 3.5 billion yrs. old and God created simple organisms then evolved them or the earth and life as we know it today was a special creation of God a few thousand yrs. ago. Both can’t be true.

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

                      The reason for concluding that Jesus was a historical figure is that the evidence points to that conclusion. Historical study is not an all-or-nothing enterprise.

                      One cannot simply choose to treat a text written later as the source of ones written down earlier. It is not that something written later cannot contain traditions older than something written down earlier. But one has to make the case for that, and not merely assume it for reasons of personal preference that have nothing to do with the evidence.

                    • dj

                      The texts produced by the dominant cultures of the ancient near east , like the “Epic of Gilgamesh, were obviously better known to the larger populations of Summer than an obscure tradition (whether written or verbal ) that existed among the people who became the Hebrews. There is significant extra Biblical evidence that suggests Genesis narratives were passed down at least as far as Shem, Noah’s son. Shem, being an antediluvian was still living during the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob according to the genealogies. This being said, why assume other ancient traditions predate the Genesis tradition. In keeping with the young earth model, there was a civilization destroying flood 1400-1500 yrs after creation. Would one assume one could dig up significant evidence for these civilizations, possibly up to 30,000 ft. buried in the pre flood earth’s crust?

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

                      What extrabiblical evidence that is older than the time of the writing of Genesis do you have in mind, indicating that Shem or anyone else passed down the stories that eventually came to be recorded in that book?

                    • dj

                      I don’t believe I made the claim of older than Genesis, I was referring to Jasher (Jos. 13, II Sam.18) Enoch (Jude1;14) Sedar Olam rabbah,& works of Flavious Josephus. The last two published much later, were any not sourced in older traditions? The book of Jasher specifically states (chap, 9 v 6 )Abram was in Noah’s house 39 yrs and went in the way of the Lord as Noah and his son Shem taught him.It may not be canonical or inspired per se but is probably as reliable as any other ancient myth. These stories from antiquity are undoubtedly corrupted/ embellished but not necessarily pure fiction.

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

                      Is your decision about which sources you consider reliable based on anything other than whether or not they help you to reach a “conclusion” that you had already decided was true in advance?

                    • dj

                      I won’t deny I am predisposed toward Biblical literal-ism, inerrancy , and inspiration, I always check the authors I read for a level of credibility by their profile or other credible sources and check claims they make against facts when ever possible.Similar claims by multiple authors (even ones I disagree with) usually indicate accuracy. I realize my YEC is a minority world view, but so were the world views of Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton. I believe any Bible interpretive method that alters the basic message the writer is trying to convey is wrong. One can allegorize, and spiritualize scripture until it looses any tangible coherency. We serve a supernatural, (personal) God, when one removes supernatural ism from His special revelation of Himself, we wind up with just another deistic world religion.

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

                      OK, so if you think that Copernicus and Newton are good examples, why are you adopting the stance of the worst of their opponents, trying to use the Bible to justify the rejection of changing scientific views in response to new evidence? I mean, can you seriously not see that you are appealing to figures whose roles in the history of science was the exact opposite of your own?

                    • dj

                      You err by assuming I reject scientific views, you sum it up by the adjective (changing). Copernicus and Newton were in opposition to the pre-scientific bureaucratic establishment, much as YEC are today except the R.C. Church was the bureaucracy of their day and the embedded evolutionists, old earth establishment is the current bureaucracy.There is evidence for both views. I just think the young earth model has better evidence, including a Biblical endorsement. Old earth models are corrupted with so called changing science, unverified assumptions, and godless neo-Darwinism. In short my views are not opposed to science, only faulty scientific interpretations.When your secular scientists provide convincing evidence how the universe originated I’ll consider atheism but as long as they think nothing exploded into everything and their ancestors were apes, I’ll stick with the Genesis narrative.

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

                      No, again, you cannot appeal to Copernicus and Newton as positive examples and then complain about changing science, and if you do not know enough about Newton and how his theories were perceived to understand why, even though he was religious (albeit not orthodox), his theories were viewed by some as dangerous for religion and opening the door for atheism, then you will not appreciate the irony of your own standpoint.

                      As for claiming not to be opposed to science, you clearly do not know enough about the matter to make such a claim. It is a claim made frequently in YEC propaganda, with which you have been warping your mind, but it is a bogus one. Once again I ask, what will it take to get to your to read actual works of science? If you embrace only counterfeits offered by charlatans, you can think you have the real thing, but that does not make it so.

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

                      No, no, no. Can you really not see the irony of appealing to Copernicus and Newton and then complaining about changing science? Can you really not see that YEC is trying to roll back the clock, and its claim to be a minority voice fighting for truth against an inflexible establishment is pure deception, the exact opposite of the way things stand? Perhaps you could be persuaded to read a bit of the history of science, and to stop filling your mind with lies and garbage of this sort? It is deluding you to such an extent that you cannot see the obvious falsehood of the claims you have been sold.

                      In the same way, if you were to read scholarship on Genesis, you would understand that the worldview you have is not “sticking with the Genesis narrative” or narratives. Not by a long shot.

                    • dj

                      I have read “Archimedes to Hawking” Oxford press 2008 by Clifford A. Pickover PhD Yale. Was a pretty good account of history of science. So does this score any points? It clearly illustrates the discoveries and revisions of the laws of physics and the minds behind them. I didn’t think your background was in science or the philosophy of science.Do you consider yourself some kind of science critic? I thought your educational discipline was Language ,New Testament and literature. Speaking of language, have you read “After the Flood” by Bill cooper, PhD/ ThD, a comprehensive history of languages from Babel through Eastern & Northern Europe to Scandinavia? I have read this one. Cooper has another book just out “The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis” both available on Amazon kindle. I will read this one also. I still have your recommended “The Bible Rocks” book marked so as soon as it’s available I will read it. Why do you insist on the ad hominen attacks against young earth researchers? I believe the differing (opinions) should be open to dialogue.Is this not what scholarship is about?

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

                      Scholarship is about study and evidence, not treating all opinions as equal, even ones that are thoroughly discredited but still promoted by propagandists and charlatans. Indeed, scholarship ought to have a role in exposing nonsense as nonsense, and helping the public to see through, for instance, the claim of young-earth creationists to be like Galileo, when they are doing the opposite of what he did, trying to move people back to older ideas despite the evidence that has accumulated in favor of new ones.

                    • dj

                      Dear Dr. McGrath, I adamantly disagree with your assertion that young earth theories have been thoroughly discredited, Maybe in the minds of old earth believers ,yet you continue to reference evidence (presumably scientific) but fail to offer any specificity pertaining to this evidence. I have offered ample scientific arguments for young earth, you generally reply with a regurgitation of my own comments (out of the context in which they were made} or some form of literary criticism limited to Biblical interpretation (which is apparently your strongest area.) Give me an old earth (scientific) claim that has been generally accepted by your constituency and I will offer an appropriate response . The analogy I used with YEC to Galileo /Copernicus was in the sense of our mutual minority status, I believe you understood this perfectly. Enough with the diversionary tactics, already,give me a substantive, scientific argument that presumes billions of years I will gladly respond. Since age of the earth arguments both literary and scientific are a matter of interpretation, the playing field will be some what leveled.

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

                      I think that this may be your silliest comment yet. Aa small group trying to turn back the clock on science is not like Galileo or Newton. They are the opposite, and I think you know it.

                      Scientific matters are not settled by someone who may or may not have read a book or two on the subject – as well as having studied deceitful propaganda extensively – responding to comments on a blog. I think you know that too.

                      But if you really do want to wrestle with one specific piece of evidence, I recommend the White Cliffs of Dover. Learn what you need to about how chalk forms, and then offer a scientifically-demonstrated mechanism for a young-earth explanation for their formation, if you think you can do so. I have posed this challenge in the past to others, and have not received satisfactory solutions, and so perhaps I should also state clearly once again that copying and pasting from your favorite charlatans’ propaganda web sites will not constitute a sufficient response.

                    • dj

                      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/wog/white-cliffs-dover This is the YEC response, you can take it or leave it. It’s more tenable than millions of yrs. of sediment undisturbed by inclusionary sediments. Maybe it is the lack of good scientific evidence forth coming from the evolutionary old earthers that is deficient. The climactic and tectonic upheavals during the year long flood event easily accounts for magnitude of these deposits. http://www.answersingenesis.org/contents/379/wog/White-Cliffs-Dover.pdf. Speaking of charlatan propaganda, the old earth evolutionary crowd has an outstanding record in this area, Piltdown, Nebraska man comes to mind. The jury’s still out on Lucy.What about archaeopteryx, wildly touted by old earth evolutionists as the missing link between birds and reptiles, determined later to be an extinct bird with all the typical avian characteristics. It takes some cahoonas to classify yec scientists as charlatans with in light of these hoaxes perpetuated by old earths.

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

                      I told you, just repeating propaganda is not going to cut it. Neither is trying to change the subject.

                      Let me try being more specific, since you seem not to grasp why the links you provided do not deal with this issue, scientifically or theologically.

                      Why do you think that God would have caused the microorganisms that chalk is made of to multiply many billions of times more in number than is explicable through natural processes, then gather them into one place and press them down into rock, making huge chalk beds that give the impression of having formed over a much longer period of time – and then supposedly be displeased when people fall for this deception and think the Earth really is old, as you must believe that God did if you wish to maintain a young Earth?

                    • dj

                      If you refuse to consider or even read the links I offered you from the AIG (or any other) similar web sight it merely confirms my suspicions of you’re closed minded, prejudicial attitude. You obviously reject reasonable Bible supporting scientific logic. This is your choice but this choice does not affect the truth. The similarity between liberal theologians and liberal politicians is astounding, always resorting to diversionary tactics and personal attacks when they have no substantive argument to counter the truth. God did exactly as He said in His word. He created a few thousand years ago, He judged the creation with a deluge, because of sin, 1600 yrs. after He created, and redeemed creation through Jesus Christ 2000 yrs. ago. I could argue God caused thick layers of deposition including chalk beds to separate believers from unbelievers, to send strong delusions to evolutionists. 2 Th.2;11 I would refer you to 2Tim 3;1-5, 2Pet.3;3-7, Who are the teachers of billions of years, what do they believe (except billions of years}.Unless you are willing to address some of the topics I brought up in the last exchange, I will consider this conversation terminated.

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

                      I have read the nonsense and the lies that you linked to. And I am still determined to help you if you are willing. You are depicting God as a deceiver, who makes it look like the Earth is old, and then condemns people for believing the evidence he set in place. It sounds as though you have ended up worshiping a devil rather than God, if that is how you think about God. As you can hopefully see, YEC is theologically diabolical and not merely deceitful about science. If you want to continue the discussion, then please address this awful theology you prefer to accept, rather than allow your ideas about the age of the Earth to be changed by the evidence. You would rather depict God as malevolent than admit that you have been wrong!

                      If you do not wish to continue the conversation, then I can only pray that your eyes will one day be opened and you will cease clinging to lies and seek the truth. The fact that the lies you have been fed are wrapped in a packaging of Bible verses does not make them the truth. Any Christian with even a smidgeon of discernment must know that the really dangerous deceptions can be mistaken for something Christian. But I still hope that, when the logic of your twisted beliefs leads you to depict God as twisted as well, perhaps there is some hope that you will realize that something is seriously wrong, and fundamentally unchristian, in your belief system.

                    • dj

                      As I have pointed out previously, what ever one believes about the age of the earth is not a basic tenet of salvation it is however an issue of the trustworthiness of Gods word. The packaging of Bible verses you refer to are part of His inspired word, you either believe them or not. You can’t reference any scripture that even suggests billions of years since the creation event. The deception you mention is introduced by human (mostly secular) scientists’ fallible opinions and theories, no more valid than young earth theories, except young earth is substantiated by scripture.It’s the opinions of sinful men as always throughout history that is twisted, Gods Word is plain and understandable.

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

                      The age of the Earth is NOT a teaching of Scripture. It is at best a deduction from adding up genealogies, but checking Matthew’s math and completeness in his genealogy ought to make clear that that is not a sound method of proceeding.

                      The sky being a dome over the Earth, however, could be said to be a clear teaching of Scripture. So do you accept this teaching of what you consider to be God’s Word? If not, why do you reject what the Bible teaches?

                    • dj

                      What’s your big deal about the word dome? You’ve brought this lame argument in before. Out of 20 plus translations of Gen.1;6 , I only found 5 that even used the word dome, none are in common use except the NRSV, and I don’t use this one.There is a wide range of terminology in this passage from firmament, to arch. I would think an intelligent well educated .sophisticated individual such as your self could do better than this. I don’t have a clue what word the original language used or why it was transliterated in so many different ways. I agree the genealogies used in various places in the Bible are not identical, they start and stop with different individuals, some names are altered or omitted. This may be problematic for some, but not for me, there are several explanatory commentaries by reputable theologians. One thing is certain, there’s no evidence for 2,000,000 yr. mistakes.. If your beliefs fall into the category of liberal theology, neo-liberal theology, a form of reductive naturalism, or theistic evolution, it’s not I who reject what the Bible teaches.

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

                      The reason I focus on that particular example is that it is something right in the creation account in Genesis 1 which people who insist on the text being literally factual do not treat in that way, a detail which clearly does not match up with our scientific knowledge. And what translators have sometimes done is to translate the word in a manner that obscures its literal meaning. The unfortunate result is that people like yourself, who think in these distorted ways about Scripture, can believe that they are taking the Bible literally, because the translators have smoothed over a stumbling block, allowing you the illusion that you actually believe what the Bible says literally at that point. But you do not, because what the English text you are reading says is not what the Hebrew means.

                      But we can focus on a different example if you like. In Paul’s time, there were still debates about whether human cognition was rooted in the brain or in the heart. Paul sided with Aristotle and they turned out to be wrong. But why do you so quickly let Paul’s incorrect scientific view about this be treated as though it were a metaphor?

                    • dj

                      As you know few languages translate word for word. I do not read Semitic languages so I must depend on translations or rather transliterations. My lack of training in languages is a deficiency, I confess, however the concept or general idea of meaning is adequately communicated. I guess I must ask why you focus so acutely on what I would consider linguistic acrobatics? I do realize that what we characterize as thought or emotion is stimulated by electrical activity in the brain. We still use the euphemism “heart” today in the same way as in Paul’s day so nit-picking through the use of human physiology is just another play on words and diverts the discussion away from the main topic, which is the actual communication of God’s truth to humankind, and whether or not the Bible accurately portrays this truth. Would you like to debate the hundreds of full filled prophesies, from the old testament? If you don’t deny the existence of the historical Jesus, a good place to start would be 1st coming of Messiah. How about this discussion to validate Hebrew scripture?

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

                      In English we tend to use heart for emotion, not all cognition. But that is beside the point. The point is that in Paul’s time such language was assumed to be literally factually true, and modern science shows that it is not. Accepting it as a metaphor is fine, but only if one is willing to do that whenever science shows that the views of ancient people were not literally scientifically correct. Otherwise, you sound like a fool, demanding that some things be taken literally in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary, while happily treating other ancient views that are equally at odds with science as mere metaphor. That sort of dishonest hypocrisy gives people a bad impression of Christianity.

                      If you want to discuss prophecy and fulfillment, we can do so, although there are other posts on this blog which would be a mo appropriate venue for that. But either way, I would suggest beginning with Matthew 1-2 and reading the texts from the prophets that he quotes, in their original contexts, in order to see what they were about. Then we can discuss whether, when NT authors refer to Jesus fulfilling what was written, they mean that he was predicted by them, or have something more typological in mind.

                    • dj

                      What’s your evidence for your claim (people in Paul’s time considered the heart to be the organ of cognition)? You consistently sell the ancients short by prescribing lack of common sense. Though they may have been steeped in superstition and occultism, I find it unbelievable that they had no experience of the effects of skull /brain injuries. They had physicians, healers, and limited knowledge of medical treatments.
                      Hipocrisy is not a problem with the conservative community, we read the scripture and appropriate commentary, extract the plain common sense meaning and intent of the message in the context it is transmitted. If this unacceptable to liberals,it’s their problem. It’s the higher criticism,frame work hypothesis, interpretive method that casts dispersion on Christianity. Our students don’t read the Bible in preparation for a science exam
                      either.

                      Prophesy fulfillment
                      Mt. 1;23 Isa.9;6
                      Mt. 1;23 Isa.7;14,-
                      Mt. 1;23 Isa 8;8
                      Mt, 1;1 2Sam.7;16
                      Mt. 2;2 Num.24;17-19
                      Mt.1;1-16 Gen.3;15

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

                      Interesting that you have chosen to ignore, for the most part, those places where the author of the Gospel explicitly speaks of fulfillment of prophecy, which illustrate my point very clearly. Hosea 11 is about Israel and the Exodus. Jeremiah depicts Rachel weeping for the exiles and promising that they will return. Isaiah 7-8 talks about a child whose birth can serve as a sign for king Ahaz, and so although you mention that one, it is as though you have not bothered to read Isaiah.

                      But let me ask a question about one of the texts you have chosen to focus on. If the author of this Gospel, knowing the mention of a star in Numbers decided to put a star in his story to echo that earlier text, would you call that a fulfillment of prophecy, or an author echoing an earlier text? We have no evidence of a “star” appearing in this period that, unlike any other star, could go ahead of people and rest over a specific house, appearing in this time, which would make it not literally a star. So what makes this a fulfilled prophecy in your sense of the term? Why not see it as what we would expect it to be in an ancient infancy story about an important person, namely a bit of symbolism?

                    • dj

                      Although I never referenced Hosea 11 my response would be Matthew apparently applied it analogically to Jesus.
                      Jer.31;15 also not referenced, however this prophesy appears to have a double application as in others, Matthew equated the carnage of the Babylonian invasions (605-597 BC) to the Herod’s murder of the infants in Bethlehem.
                      Isa. 7;11 The Lord offered Ahaz a sign, Ahaz refused so the Lord’s chosen sign was a future event, the virgin birth of Immanuel.
                      Num. 24;14-17 This one could be debatable, the star could be referring to a future leader, However we can reasonably assume the magi were astute astronomers since we do have ancient records to this effect. The appearance of unusual astrological phenomenon would have been noted by multiple persons, as Matthew records, .

                  • dj

                    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v16/n1/ice-cor This wasn’t my argument I posted it to refute uniformity arguments.You apparently missed the point. Uniformitarian old earth arguments are flawed. Uniformatarinism assumes present is the key to past. YEC use a catastrophism model. The article above is one of many. You may reject the research and the scientists who do it but you must also reject the narratives in the Bible. Uniformitarinism is based on assumptions and is replete with flawed science and evolutionary baggage.I am a YEC because it’s Biblical and just makes more sense.Whether you’re speaking of ice cores, fossiliferous deposition, or buried airplanes.

    • Helena

      Ken Hovind, says something and you think it’s Gospel, hud? There may currently living organism that are more than 6000 years old, including some as old as 200,000 years:

      http://rachelsussman.com/portfolios/OLTW/main.html

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/9066393/Ancient-seagrass-Oldest-living-thing-on-earth-discovered-in-Mediterranean-Sea.html

      It has not been shown that diamonds and oil can form rapidly. You choose to believe one creationist or other when he lies about it.

      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC361_1.html

      http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/carbon-kb.htm

      Soft tissue has not been found in a dinosaur skeleton–again you choose to believe the lie because it suits you.

      http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0002808

      Recent research has shown that Neanthals are more closely related to humans than previously thought–but this supports evolution.

      For Sanford’s lies about genetic entropy, see here:

      http://old.richarddawkins.net/discussions/480577-genetic-entropy

      next time, try to violate the 9th commandment so willfully and egregiously.

      • dj

        Of the examples you cited, not one represented a single specimen, but a taxonomy. One example, (posidopia) an asexual replicator represents clones of the parent. There is a company in UK that will (for a fee) transform your departed loved one into an artificial diamond in six weeks, sewage has been used to produce hydrocarbon. Tree bark and man made metallic objects have been uncovered in deep coal mines, hammers with petrified wooden handle, petrified clothing articles found in modern never before worked mines. How much evidence do you need for young ages of fossil fuel. You are calling into question the credibility of your own old earth secular scientists (who claimed the T Rex bones contained red blood cells and soft tissue. )Does this not indicate to you that forensic science is an interpretation at best, and a fabrication at worst. The YEC scientists carry the same credentials as the secularists and old earth scientists. You don,t have to be a rocket scientist to see that genetic entropy is real, just look at the explosion of inherited disease in the last 2 or 3 generations. It has been shown that each generation inherits and passes on about 100 mutations.If you profess to be a Christ follower, why do you question the Bible? Jesus didn’t, He quoted or referenced it multiple times Matt. 19 is a reference to Genesis. Was Jesus just misguided, misinformed, or just more ignorant than today’s old earthers? You might get the log of the ninth commandment out of your own eye before you look for specks in mine. Neanderthals are genetically human,although not of the same stock as modern Europeans. It has been postulated that the heavy brow ridges are a result of the extreme longevity of ancient humans 200 + years at death, since the skull continues to grow throughout life.

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

          Can you provide a link to a source that talks about actual red blood cells being preserved, rather than fossilized soft tissue?

          Jesus was open to Moses having written something because of the hardness of people’s hearts, and so suggesting that “the Bible” doesn’t perfectly express the divine will is exactly what one ought to expect in a Christian interpretation of the Bible. The modern-day inerrantists are closer to the view of those who opposed Jesus than to Jesus’ own.

          But be that as it may. Jesus is depicted in Luke as having learned and grown in wisdom. To suggest that he knew modern science or future science is a heretical denial of his genuine humanity.

          • dj

            Suggesting that Jesus was ignorant of creation history in Genesis is denial of His divinity.Jesus didn’t stop being God while he was in a human body .http://creation.com/sensational-dinosaur-blood-report here’s the link you ask for. # There are numerous accounts in the Bible of gross violence and immorality as reported events, but does not mean God ordained it. No doubt Jesus did not divulge the total omniscience of the Godhead, but neither does the Bible. As for Jesus growing in wisdom, is a reference to his childhood, not mentioned after the beginning of His ministry. God has given us all we need to know to be saved,(whether old or young earth ) The violence that was ordained by God was always in the context of judgment of sin, sometimes we are told why and sometimes not.Jesus admitted that He didn’t know the exact hour of His return, only the Father Mk. 13;32, but this only illustrates the individuality within the Trinity.

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

              Your description of Jesus as God wearing a human body sounds quite Apollonarian. But that is neither here nor here. You can adopt without any compromise to your Christology the view that Jesus accommodated his self-expression to the terminology of people in his time, since we have no record of him trying to correct or improve their scientific understanding. The same sort of thing we see in Genesis 1, where the cosmos is viewed much as it is in the Enuma Elish, and what differs is the theology.

              • dj

                1. Question; Do you subscribe to the orthodox view of who Christ was / is, as fully God and fully man the dual essence of His person? The God- Man if you will. I might add that Jesus reserved his technical, theological corrective comments for the highly educated religious academics of His day, who questioned His claims. His message to his “true” followers was generally straight forward and as unambiguous as the book of Genesis.

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

                  I know of no evidence that Jesus offered any sort of corrective either to the interpretation of Genesis as positing a solid dome over the Earth, or to the non-literal approaches to Genesis which some interpreters offered, or for that matter to the Ptolemaic cosmology that predominated in that time. Where do you find anyone in the Bible offering some sort of information about the cosmos that does not line up (physically, not theologically) with what was thought in that time, rather than fitting naturally with the current state of our knowledge?

                  • dj

                    The correction Jesus offered to the religious leaders had to do with the correct interpretation of scripture. Multiple times He began his statement with “haven’t you read”? ref. Mt. 19;4 an obvious quote from Gen. 2;24. It appears that Jesus took Genesis to be literal since He used phrases like “at the beginning” meaning that the first humans were there. I don’t recall ever mentioning a dome over the earth, although a pretty good speculation, but still speculation.Jesus also believed in a global flood per Lk17;26, He quoted from Job, Jonah, Exodus, and a number of Old Testament books. Job was familiar with some strange animals of descriptions sounding curiously like dinosaurs. Sea monsters appear repeatedly in the Bible, Dragons are a regular part of medieval folk lore from around the world. As you probably know, the term dinosaur wasn’t coined until 200 yrs. after the King James was published. Galileo wasn’t excommunicated for misinterpreting the Bible, nor was Darwin removed from the academic community for his faulty science. There has been a lot of misinterpretation on both sides of the fence, however the Bible has never been shown to err either in it’s scientific or historical statements. My original question to you still stands unanswered,do you believe the claims that Jesus made concerning Himself, or are you one of the scoffers Paul describes in 2Tim. 4;3?

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

                      Jesus treats the Genesis story as the clues in the story itself encourage one to understand it: as about finding one’s other half, not about two people being literally from one flesh.

                      The dome is explicitly mentioned in Genesis 1, unless a translation obscures it to make it easier for English readers to think they are treating it literally.

                    • dj

                      Jesus treats Genesis exactly as it is written. Adam being the first and only created human from non living elements, and Eve being created from Adam’s rib, Gen2;21. Sounds like the second human is of the same flesh as the first. In fact since all succeeding humans are the product of the procreation of previous generations. That would make us all a derivative of the first man, (Paul’s apologetic to the Athenians Acts17;26) and fallen creatures.This also makes the whole fallen human race redeemable through the one unfallen man Jesus Christ,Rm.5;12. This dome you speak of I did find in the NRSV but I never suggest a dome. I’ve only heard it mentioned by some young earthers, no more speculative than the evolutionary life from non-living primordial soup, macro-evolution, or 4 billion year old earth. A literal interpretation, in context, unless other wise indicated by the text, does not imply ignorance or lack of sophistication of the interpreter, in spite of what the elite, liberal establishment may think.

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

                      Yes, Jesus treats the text exactly as written, as a symbolic depiction of marriage, not as about something that would only be applicable to a primordial first human couple when taken literally.

                      So you disagree with Genesis 1 when it says that there is a dome over the Earth?

                    • dj

                      Dr. McGrath; I’ve responded to all of your questions but you avoid directly answering most of mine. Is this because you do not have an adequate defense for what you believe?I don’t have a problem defending what I believe and try to offer an adequate explanation for why, something you avoid. Lets try again,(1) do you believe Jesus was who he claimed to be in the New Testament Gospels?(2) Are you a theistic evolutionist, a theist, an atheist or agnostic. (3) Do you endorse the liberal theology of John Dominic “Jesus seminar” fame? I didn’t agree or disagree about the dome in Genesis, it’s not included in all translations. I would appreciate your answers to the above questions.

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

                      Sorry, I thought it best to try to stay focused on exegetical matters. It sounds as though you pick (or have picked for you) a translation that suits your particular theological outlook and preconceptions. Is it the NIV perhaps? I use that one more than any other, but the way they smooth over certain things that are problematic for so-called Biblical literalists in Genesis 1-3 irritates me.

                      In answer to your questions: (1) the Gospels do not all depict Jesus in the same way, and that is precisely why I did my doctoral research on the Gospel of John and why it is distinctive in the ways that it is; (2) I am a Christian, and (3) I am a theological liberal and as such do not agree with much that John Dominic Crossan (I assume that is who you meant?) has concluded, either theologically or exegetically, although I must say that I know more about his historical Jesus conclusions than his theology.

                    • dj

                      Thank you sir for your very direct and candid reply. We can disagree on the finer points of theology with out being disagreeable. As i’m sure you have surmised that I’m a fairly dogmatic conservative evangelical. I try to always be on the look out for some one to whom I can share the gospel and lead to Christ. I am a Christian Apologetic’s geek and specialize in young earth creation. I read voluminous amounts of apologetic material from best selling authors.I have engaged in church sponsored debates with old earth members. That being said, rarely does the age of the earth come up during an evangelistic encounter it’s just my interest.I agree that each of the Gospels present Jesus in a different light, however; Jesus’s claim to deity is recorded by all their writers. Liberal theology always seems to be bed-fellows with ancient earth and post modern views. I believe it has had a devastating effect on the veracity of scripture..It opens the door to secular, uniformitarian , always changing interpretations including Darwinism. Billions of years is non-Biblical and contains more flawed scientific interpretations than the geocentric beliefs of the past

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

                      Christians have been aware that not all of the Bible is factual for nearly 2,000 years, and yet you treat it as though it were a new development resulting from scientific or scholarly study. It is the embrace of modernist assumptions by fundamentalists which has led to the warped focus found in young-earth creationism. I say this as someone who used to be one, and whose mind changed as a result of studying the Bible and fact-checking the claims of young-earth creationists. I consider myself fortunate that my Christian faith was not wedded to a YEC view, or I might have lost my faith when I discovered that I had been lied to by YEC charlatans. Others have not always been so lucky.

                      Where, may I ask, does the Gospel of Luke, for instance, present Jesus claiming to be divine?

                    • newenglandsun

                      The way you sound makes it seem as if you dont acknowledge theists to be theistic evolutionists.

                    • newenglandsun

                      Sorry I meant to say theistic evolutionists to be theists.

                    • dj

                      A Theist is a Theist whether he believes Darwinism or not, but not necessarily a Christian Theist.(in fact diametrically opposed to Christian Theology)

                    • newenglandsun

                      Actually, there are two different creation stories. Gen. 1 and Gen. 2-3.

                      Hence, why Jesus says “from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’”

                      Wouldn’t entirely make much sense if he was referring to Gen. 1. He was therefore referring to a traditional interpretation of Gen. 2-3.

                    • dj

                      You sound like a gap theorist, which might be the only almost defensible position for old earth, however, the exegetical reading would postulate merely a more detailed recap of the creation narrative hi=lighting the exalted place God assigned to the first humans.

  • newenglandsun

    Why, because there was a global flood on Mars as well! :)
    Just kidding.

  • newenglandsun

    Hey James, how about a blog on the Martian global flood?

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

    Would you care to explain why you think that Jesus’ use of an Aramaic expression meaning “human being” indicates that he thought – or Luke thought – that he was divine?

    • dj

      I would be glad to explain my thoughts, “Son of Man” is a reference to Dan.7;13, theologians including Paul Enns, and John MacArthur, define as a theophany,or some as a Christophany, pre incarnate appearance of Christ, or physical manifestation of God.1st century Jews being familiar with the book of Daniel understood the implication. As you may know Jesus confirmed Daniel as a prophet Mt. 24;15

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

        There has been quite a bit of debate about what the “one like a son of man” (i.e. a figure that looked human, in contrast with the creatures seen in the vision) was thought to denote by the author of the Book of Daniel. But by the first century there was a tradition of interpreting it as referring to the Davidic messiah, as seen not only in the New Testament but also 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra.

        • dj

          Do you concede “Son of Man” references to be a claim to Deity?I’m surprised you would mention the book of Enoch as possibly being credible, knowing your opinion of other (canonized) ancient texts.How about “Jasher” referenced in Jos.13 and obviously known to the author of Joshua 1405-1385 BC and David.II Sam. 1;18. and ” The Ancient Seder Olam” and the writings of Josephus. There’s an interesting Bible commentary called “Earth Earliest Ages” by George H. Pember, 5th edition, first published in 1876. Pember is an old earther a gap theorist ,to be exact, but even he doesn’t relegate Genesis to myth. Admittedly these ancient documents and others do contain embellishments and myths, however none contain denials of Old Testament truths. A question for you: in what language did Jesus and other 1st century Jews normally converse , Greek, Hebrew< or Aramaic?

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

            The answer to your last question is ‘It depends where they lived.’ The rest of your comment shows the problem with your antagonistic, apologetics mindset and lack of familiarity with scholarship. I was obviously not making a ridiculous assertion that 1 Enoch was composed by Enoch. Indeed, if that had been my point, then I would have been contradicting myself. My point was precisely that, because the Similitudes of Enoch were composed around the first century BC, they provide data about what Jews in that period thought about the “one like a son of man” in the Book of Daniel.

            But even from internal considerations within the Gospel of Luke, it is clear that he thinks of Jesus as a human being empowered by God’s Spirit.

            Note as well that only the Gospel of John among the NT Gospels takes over the element of pre-existence associated with the Son of Man in the Similitudes. Matthew clearly knew the Similitudes but doesn’t incorporate the idea of pre-existence. But at any rate, it is the Messiah who is depicted as pre-existing in the Similitudes, and not a divine being.

            • dj

              You didn’t answer my question about the language Jesus used in everyday discourse with His 1st century counterparts. Also do you consider the ancient canonized writings such as Gen.,Ex..& Job, etc. as having no more veracity than Jasher , Enoch, or other similar works?

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

                You made the question about Jews and not just Jesus, which made it an impossible question to answer other than in terms of a wide and diverse array of languages. Jesus spoke Aramaic in everyday speech, as the Gospels indicate. Whether he knew some Greek is hard to say.

                We do not have the Book of Jasher and so we do not know what its contents were, much less how they might be evaluated historically. Certainly some of the lost source material of Biblical books would be more useful to historians than the sources which derived information from them, if we had them.

                • dj

                  Mt.,Lk. and Mk, Jesus spoke to large crowds from Galilee,Decapolis, beyond the Jordan, Judea,Tyre, and Sidon. Do you think all these people spoke and understood Aramaic or Greek? Why did Pilate have a notice posted on the cross in in Aramaic, Latin , and Greek? We do have Jasher,re published by Ken Johnson T.H.D.based on a manuscript available to Rabbi Eliazar 1st century C.E.and used as a source doc. for The Mishna, 200 C.E and the Talmud 800 C.E. I have a copy.Available at Amazon E books.

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

                    As in Palestine, so too in Phoenecia and Transjordan, there were historic speakers of Aramaic, but with Greek also being used in this era.

                    Yes, I ought to have realized you meant the apocryphal Book of Jasher and not the source mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Sorry.

                    • dj

                      Why do you presume this copy of Jasher is apocryphal? The author Ken Johnson Th. D. claims to have verified this copy is not any of the known forgeries of the middle ages or the 19th century.The text it’s self clams to be 3500 yrs old and contains information not in the forgeries, also same info.found in the Babylonian Talmud 800 AD and The Mishna,200AD, Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews with quotes showing 1st century Rabbi Eliazar used as source document.http://www.amazon.com/Ken%20Johnson/e/B002NSQDEO/ref=lp_B002NSQDEO_B002NSQDEO_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Ken+Johnson&sort=relevance&ie=UTF8&qid=1374044219

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

                      Turning to self-published books rather than mainstream scholarly ones is going to give you a very skewed impression of things.

                    • dj

                      Maybe so but I’ve read a multitude of volumes from multiple media and authors both liberal and conservative,secular & religious, old earth uniformitarianism & young earth creationism, self published or other wise the author adequately defends his thesis in my opinion. Evolutionists defend an indefensible thesis (to their like minded peers) What seems to be the root of the problem (if it’s a problem) is I believe the Bible should be interpreted literally in context when possible and you don’t. We both can’t be correct but I think the evidence for literal interpretation and young earth is more convincing. I would suggest the Church is pretty evenly split on this topic since neither can be empirically proved by either side. I would still like to know what YEC authors you’ve read.

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

                      If you have the impression that evolution is indefensible rather than well supported, then you have not been consulting credible sources. If one chooses self-appointed charlatans who will say what people want to hear, you can find voices that will reaffirm whatever you choose to believe. But your approach to the Bible is surely not consistently what you claim. Do you treat the heart as literally the seat of human thinking and cognition, just because Paul treated it as such and assumed it to be such? Or have you reinterpreted Paul’s language as metaphorical?

                    • dj

                      It depends on how you define evolution, if your definition lines up with Neo-Darwinisim, new taxonomies being produced through selection,either natural or artificial, beneficial mutations,that add new genetic information, causing basic taxonomic changes (one species into another) defined as macro-evolution, there is no evidence this is happening or ever has. The peppered moth argument and multiple similar arguments have been soundly refuted by both evolutionists and creationists. Check out William Demski’s, “Intelligent Design” Michael Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box” Randall Hedtke’s “Secrets of the Sixth Edition”. Behe and Demski are secular scientists. Micro-evolution or genetic modifications within a taxonomy do happen but are better described as adaptations, and occur as a mixing or loss of genetic information as a result of environmental changes, usually harmful to the organism, and selected out under less hostile environments. I dare say you find authors that are sympathetic to your point of view also. I have consistently used the term “context ” as it relates to scriptural interpretation, this is the same argument as sunrise.

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

                      That’s just repetition of things you’ve heard from unreliable and deceptive sources. I know, because back when I was a young-earth creationist, I thought the peppered moth was important in much the same way.

                      What would it take to get you to read a book presenting the case for evolution, written by a mainstream biologist who is also a Christian – say something by Kenneth Miller, Francisco Ayala, or Francis Collins?

                    • dj

                      I’ve read several already, including “Evolution and Religion”by Dr. Micheal Ruse, Professor of Philosophy,&Science University of Guelph, Ontario, also later at University of Fla. He was a witness for plaintive in an Ark. trial McLean v Ark. Board of Ed. 1996, I believe Dr. Ruse is a Christian. I will read what I can find in libraries by the authors you mentioned esp. Collins, I’ve only read exerts from some of his published material. You might recommend titles. You still haven’t given any names of YEC authors you’ve read.

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

                      I’ve read many of the classics by Henry Morris, John C. Whitcomb, Ken Ham, and Duane Gish. I’ve also dipped into books by others, in addition to having read a number of article-length pieces by YEC authors.

                    • dj

                      Like most of us I’ve been victimized by old earth secularism, naturalism, and Darwin. I happened upon “Genesis Flood” by Whitcomb & Morris in a local library several years ago, when I read it I discovered the logical, rational reality of the Biblical narratives, and the paradigm between secular naturalism and Biblical creationism. Since then I’ve read obsessively and have educated myself in both yec, old earth Christian authors, naturalism, non theistic evolutionists, I’ve even read some of Richard Dawkins’s propaganda. I’ve been a Christian since the early 1960′s and never having my questions adequately answered in church. I’m retired now and have lots of time for reading. Ken Ham is too confrontational for my taste, but others like Jason Lisle Dr. Astrophysics Unv. Colorado.Dr. Johnathon Safati,(CMI) Gary Bates(AIG) Dr. Russell Humphreys, many more all holding advanced degrees in the sciences are YEC..Framework hypothesis, theories and conjectures create no intellectual conflicts for me but I know you guys are out there re-interpreting scripture to better accommodate the secular worldviewers. I may not be a scholar in the same sense you are, but even I can distinguish between the various literary genre used in Biblical text .

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

                      Sorry, I don’t buy that you were “victimized” by Darwin. Were you victimized by Copernicus and Newton too? It may be that someone made fallacious appeals to science in arguing with you about religion, but that is something very different. The fact that people appeal to science in support of or in opposition to religious viewpoints doesn’t change what the evidence points to. And the simple fact (and it is a fact, no matter how much some attempt to spin things otherwise) is that the evidence from geology as well as biology and other sources is incompatible with young-earth creationism. The choice is between honestly following the evidence where it leads – and doing so only relates to one’s Christian faith in the sense that being honest and learning from the study of the natural world ought to be viewed as appropriate expressions of Christian faith – or aligning one’s Christian faith with charlatans and liars. The fact that many young-earth creationists seem persuasive to people who have a particular sort of background does not mean that they are correct. Everyone is persuasive to certain audiences, but not everyone is being honest about the evidence, or making claims that are compatible with the evidence.

                    • dj

                      In fact I believe the secular (in some cases the Christian) communities are still victimizing young people and the public in general, by constantly pushing their naturalistic world views and refusing to allow legitimate unprejudiced dialogue, esp. among academics. I would suggest you’re a product of the system. The evidence you refer to are the facts, not the “interpreted” conclusions.Everyone has the same facts, just as everyone has the same Bible, but everyone don’t arrive at the same conclusions. Three thousand years ago the Bible gave detailed instructions pertaining sanitation, food preparation, and disease control that the gentile world re-interpreted, or ignored. The ensuing siege of blood letting, plague, infectious disease, took it’s toll on humanity. Orthodox Jews were spared from most of this dilemma. A theology that demands billions of years can not be supported by Scripture or true empirical science.

                    • arcseconds

                      In what sense does the naturalistic worldview victimize people?

                    • dj

                      Through censorship of text books, and censorship in academic circles. Evolution, naturalism (hypothesis) or theories cannot explain origins, empirically, neither can creationism, but they both should be presented (without prejudice) to the student. Tenure should not be denied to qualified individuals simply because they are Biblical creationists.Bible believing students should not be intimidated by atheistic instructors. Humanism, Secularism,Evolution ism ,Uniformitarianism ,Atheism, are all faith based beliefs as is Christianity. They’re all belief systems mine’s as good as yours (better) since mine is rooted in the truth of the Bible.

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

                      Not presenting junk as though it were science, not presenting lies as though they were true, not presenting deceit as though it were scholarship, none of those things is censorship. It is quality control. Within a discussion of religious viewpoints, the range of views are presented. But that does not mean that, when it is a discussion of biology, a view that is not merely not supported but actually incompatible with the evidence should be presented as equivalent to one that is supported by the evidence.

                      The attempt to use appeals to academic freedom and opposition to censorship to foist garbage onto people is despicable and deceptive, and unbecoming of anyone who calls themselves Christians.

                    • arcseconds

                      OK. Should we also expose students in science class (to avoid victimizing them) to Hindu cosmology (in which an infinite number of universes preceded this one), Neoplatonic cosmology (in which the cosmos is eternal), Gnostic conceptions where the material universe was created by an evil being, and so forth?

                      Are you also concerned about the censorship in church circles? Surely it’s not good when churches insist on believing in God and being a Christian when it comes to ordaining ministers. We wouldn’t want to victimize our sunday school classes by only exposing them to one kind of idea.

                    • dj

                      Why not expose students to the truth, that is we simply can’t empirically prove origin theories. If you assume I’m advocating religious training in science class, you err. Most religious training is volitional (except Islam.) Evolutionary theory is force fed to students in compulsory public education, presented as fact, and enforced by the religion of Humanism. Your church censorship statement is a strawman, like comparing apples and oranges. When has church membership or involvement been mandatory in the last 200yrs? If my atheist friends don’t like Sunday school they’re free to leave.

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

                      Please stop with the nonsensical rhetorical ploys! Why not oppose naturalistic meteorology? The Bible explicitly states that it is God who sends the rains, and yet secular meteorology offers no place for him! Why teach children naturalistic and secular chemistry, with all its links to the godless atomism of the Epicureans? Why pick one particular area of science to dispute when it is no more and no less an issue for people of faith than any other?

                      If we cannot rightly draw conclusions from evidence using inference and deduction, then the Christian faith has a serious problem. We do not have something that can be called empirical access to the historical figure of Jesus. We have texts which we can only connect with a real historical figure by using deduction and reason. You are not attacking just one domain of science with your nonsensical tirades. You are attacking knowledge in general, including knowledge that most Christians agree is important to their faith.

                    • dj

                      Talk about tirades and rhetoric, my post to arcseconds, that you responded to was specifically addressing origins teaching, not natural law; but if. God created, then the law of causality is valid.If the universe, and the natural laws begin to exist sometime in the finite past, natural laws must be an effect and have a cause (God).Naturalistic science denies the existence of God but teaches unprovable theories as fact. Evolution, Humanism, and Naturalism are religious belief systems, the same as Christianity.Teaching religious belief in gov’t. schools is illegal, hence my argument stands and one religious belief should not have precedence over another. If you don’t believe God controls meteorological phenomena you have to reject a lot of scripture, namely 1 Kings 18;1 and Mk. 4;39. I don’t advocate not teaching physical law, as it is observed, but without any Humanistic propaganda.

                    • arcseconds

                      Well, I asked about what constituted ‘victimization’, and you complained about censorship, tenure, and prejudicial presentation of the material. Churches also ‘censor’ material, only allow people with certain viewpoints high positions in their organisation, and present material predjucially, so if those things count as ‘victimization’, then churches victimize people as much as science class does.

                      Last I checked, churches also generally present their material as fact, and they’re not unknown to enforce their beliefs as far as they’re able to.

                      Now you’re complaining I’m comparing apples with oranges, because science is ‘mandatory’ and religion isn’t. Does this mean that actually censorship, tenure, and prejudicial presentation don’t make for victimization? If so, why did you reply complaining about these things, when it’s really the mandatory nature of science that concerns you?

                      Scientific training is also volitional as far as I know. I’ve never heard of any adult being forced to take science classes. Where has membership in science organisations, scientific training, or involvement with science been mandatory, anywhere, or at any time? Maybe in Soviet Russia, but not in any Western democracy.

                      Children, on the other hand, don’t usually get too much choice in anything, including Sunday school. So why doesn’t Sunday school victimize them?

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

                      You have been misinformed about the nature of the Levitical food laws. What you reflect in your comment is, ironically, an attempt by modern people to make sense of ancient purity ideas by interpreting them as though they were concerned with modern hygiene and health. But one can examine them closely, and they are not, nor does the Bible reveal anything relevant to dealing with germs – not even a simple recommendation to cover one’s mouth when one coughs or sneezes.

                      And this is the heart of the problem. Young-earth creationists claim that they are just interpreting the same facts differently, when in fact they are selectively using and ignoring facts in an attempt to crowbar them into an “interpretation” which distorts rather than reflects the relevant evidence.

                    • dj

                      You have read into my response things that aren’t there, apparently the way you read the Bible. If you care to review my last post you will notice I never used the word “germ”nor did I make any reference to microscopic pathogens only discovered in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.The Levitical instructions given by God through Moses, to ancient Israel made no mention of microscopic organisms, only simple instructions how to avoid the malady caused by them. The very practical instructions given in scripture usually has a spiritual application also. The liberal theologians try to gloss over the true meaning of scripture with modernist philosophies, holding the predisposition that it’s writers were ignorant barbarians with out cognitive abilities, lacking true knowledge of the reality of the universe. If you think YEC crowbar meaning into scripture, you have been misinformed. A true young earth believer reads the text in a straight forward way, trying to put it into the historical, experiential context of the writers and readers of the time. Liberals allegorize scriptural text unnecessarily at their own peril. This interpretive style eliminates facts distorts true meaning and ignores evidence.

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

                      But they are not even about the impact of germs. hey a purity laws, akin to the purity laws that other peoples have. To treat them as precursors to hygiene and health concerns is to read them through a modern lens, noting a few superficial correspondences while ignoring the greater whole both within the text and outside it in terms of anthropological data.

                      This is much the same thing that young-earth creationists do with Genesis – fixate on a few details and pride themselves on taking those literally, while ignoring the dome, and transforming the waters above into something they did not mean to ancient people.

                    • dj

                      Still a’int talking about germs, talking about plain simple instructions from the wisdom of God to the people. Had these simple instructions been applied through out the ages, a lot of disease could have been avoided, whether anyone knew what a germ was or not.These “superficial correspondences” if heeded by the 17th/18th century medical establishment could have prevented unnecessary death caused by surgical infections and epidemics. This word dome keeps reappearing, I haven’t used it except in response to your posts. I have no idea what the world was like 6000 yrs. ago & doubt if anyone else does, we have Biblical descriptions and forencic evidence only.. I can only speculate about the antediluvian world, however I personally believe it was a very different environment. As for the perceived meaning of the ancient writings ,by the ancient people, is highly speculative, also.

      • newenglandsun

        It depends who you are reading. For first century Jews, I would say they started taking it as a Messianic figure and that N.T. Wright is correct to contend this. But I would also say that this can be a misleading conclusion. That part of Daniel was not written in the first century for first century Jews. It was written in the second century B.C.E. for second century Jews. Thus, I think for the author of Daniel, the son of man represented the Jewish people.

        • dj

          Why do you presume that any part of Daniel was not written until 2nd century B.C Jesus purports Daniel to have been a prophet quoting from it’s text. Daniel was among the captives during the exile 605-536 B.C.and was familiar with the prophesy in Isaiah 44;24-28 naming Cyrus the Persian king (by name) 150 yrs before Cyrus’s reign over captured Babylon. Is it not bazaar that you would think “Son of Man” refers to the Jewish people since God identified the Israelites as His people, Jacob, Rachael’s children, and tribal names but never “The Son of Man” in O.T.

  • Nicole

    Actually since they just found evidence from the rover that Mars had large amounts of surface water in the past, in addition to the ice evidence, it rather takes the wind out of this argument against YEC.

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

      I think there is a typo in your comment. Did you not mean to write that it takes the wind out of this argument in favor of young-earth creationism?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X