Christianity or Young-Earth Creationism? Time to Choose

It is time for conservative Christians to say goodbye to young-earth creationism once and for all, just as they did with slavery. It is hard to take a dramatic step, but a moment arrives when you simply cannot persist in doing evil any longer and retain even the pretense of being a Christian.

That moment has arrived.

Not because it is the start of 2014. The moment arrived in 2009, as it happens, but most of us blinked and missed it. But the blog Beyond Creation Science took note of the decisive moment.

Answers in Genesis began uploading Charles Spurgeon’s sermons to its website, but decided first to omit altogether, then to relegate to a footnote after being challenged on this, Spurgeon’s reference – made before Darwin published his theory, I might add! – to the creation of the world having certainly occurred millions of years before the appearance of human beings.

Young-earth creationism is built on lies. It cannot even fully embrace some of the greatest conservative Christian thinkers and preachers of the past and present who are honest about evidence. But since it cannot bring itself to repudiate them either, it rewrites and edits history, distorting the facts and hoping you won’t notice that they are approving individuals who disagreed with their central emphasis in a manner that they would condemn if they were alive today and not already respected by the donors and supporters they seek to court.

To be a young-earth creationist, you either have to tell lies, or repeat them without fact-checking them. To be a young-earth creationist, you have to pridefully and dishonestly assert that, because other mere human beings have told you so, that you know better than those who spend their lives professionally researching matters.

But if none of that carries any weight with you, then let’s put it this way: You have to be confident that you are smarter and better-informed than Charles Spurgeon, and that Spurgeon was wrong in such a way that Answers in Genesis ought to be attacking and condemning him rather than sharing his sermons.

When everyone but your own tiny group in a relatively recent time in history is considered to have gotten it wrong, and you are sure that you have at last got it right, you can be fairly confident that you are in a cult that has deceived you.

It is time to choose. Christianity or young-earth creationism? Truth or young-earth creationism? Spurgeon or young-earth creationism?

If the latter means more to you than the former in each of those instances, then why not simply say goodbye to truth and Christianity, and be honest that your bogus ideas about the age of the earth count more for you than anything else?

Otherwise, let’s see you lay young-earthism aside, like geocentrism and slavery and any number of other issues of the past, once and for all.

  • http://www.friendsofspinoza.com/ JamesH

    “When everyone but your own tiny group in a relatively recent time in history is considered to have gotten it wrong, and you are sure that you have at last got it right, you can be fairly confident that you are in a cult that has deceived you.” This is one of the things I struggle with. On the one hand I feel like saying to YECs (and OECs), “The scientific majority says you are wrong, the earth is old, human beings evolved, so stop dragging your feet and let’s just accept it and move on to the task of doing constructive theology in light of the current scientific consensus.” On the other hand, as a pacifist in the Anabaptist tradition I am part of a cognitive minority, both within the church and society at large, so I feel a level of sympathy towards other cognitive minorities, even ones I strongly disagree with (although when so many Americans believe in a young earth and deny evolution I have to wonder if they’re really cognitive minorities at the popular level). I wonder, despite their evidence twisting and other shortcomings, do YECs serve a useful function as cognitive minority thorn in the side that reminds us of the importance of questioning what society takes as given fact?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      The difference, I would say, is that the disagreement you are involved in is one over abstract moral, ethical and religious considerations. Who is “right” in such a question is a fuzzier issue, and respectful disagreements are to be expected, and are very often, of much value.

      On the other hand, the disagreement over the age of the earth or the fact of common descent is not one of abstract mores. The scientific consensus on these questions has arisen out of and is firmly based in multiple lines of incredibly detailed observable and experimental evidence from a wide variety of independent lines of study. There is no scientific reason to reject the ancient age of the earth or evolution. Therefore, those who reject it anyway, do so not because of their differing view of an abstract concept, but rather because they have chosen to deny or — at the very least, be ignorant of — the vast concrete evidence that exists.

      • http://www.friendsofspinoza.com/ JamesH

        I wonder though, if we should question divisions of knowledge that see natural scientific knowledge as something that is “hard” knowledge, and moral/ethic/religious knowledge as “soft” knowledge?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          You’ll have to ask an epistemological philosopher about that one. I think it’s a bit above my pay grade :)

        • Andrew Dowling

          You are painting a false choice. YEC isn’t an ethical or moral stance . . it’s spreading clear lies in contrast to ‘hard’ scientific knowledge that’s accumulated over the past 150 years.

      • Larry D Andrews

        The question is, do we force our children to run their rabbit down a hole that has no end, and perpetuate wasted time and effort on something that has no value to mankind? Reason being, in evolution there is no hope. If I thought THIS is all there is, I would evolute myself off a cliff. Just as downs syndrome afflicted people are some of the happiest, most innocent humans on earth, I choose blissful ignorance and a bucket full of hope in Jesus Christ, who by the way delights in confounding the WISE.

        • Sven2547

          The question is, do we force our children to run their rabbit down a hole that has no end, and perpetuate wasted time and effort on something that has no value to mankind?

          Understanding the facts of evolution is of great value to mankind. It is the cornerstone of the entire field of biology, which in turn lends itself to medicine and nutrition.

          Reason being, in evolution there is no hope. If I thought THIS is all there is, I would evolute myself off a cliff.

          That’s a backwards, nonsensical way to look at it. If THIS is all there is, then you should be making the most of it, not the least of it.

          I choose blissful ignorance

          I think that’s pitiful.

          • Larry D Andrews

            Ok, good argument. Please tell me what the theories (you call facts) of evolution have done to advance mankind? These theories taught as fact to K-colledge has managed to stamp out dissension, and in fact seems to have you brainwashed as well. Please allow me to revise my “cliff” comment. In a true evolutionary world everyone would be busy pushing each other off the cliff until (in the classic bank robber gang shootout scenario) no one would be left after the final push. On my last comment, ignorance of lies presented as facts is truly wisdom.

            • Sven2547

              Please tell me what the theories (you call facts) of evolution have done to advance mankind?

              I call it fact because it IS fact.

              In medicine, it is crucial to understand the evolution of pathogens to make new vaccines and antibiotics. It is also a core part of understanding of genetic illnesses. The entire field of genetics is intimately intertwined with evolution.

              In agriculture, recognizing the importance of genetic diversity helps crops remain resistant to disease and pests. It has led to the development of higher-yield crops and various new products altogether. Bananas are a prime example of food that was selectively bred for human consumption. This is an evolutionary process too.

              These theories taught as fact to K-colledge has managed to stamp out dissension, and in fact seems to have you brainwashed as well.

              Wrong, sir. Wrong. Evolution is taught in science because evolution IS scientific fact. I have seen and critically examined the evidence and drawn the same conclusion as the rest of the scientific community. That’s not “brainwashing”. Brainwashing is a reflexive rejection of evidence in favor of a preconceived superstitious narrative.

              In a true evolutionary world everyone would be busy pushing each other off the cliff until (in the classic bank robber gang shootout scenario) no one would be left after the final push.

              You really don’t get evolution, do you? A population that destroys itself is at a distinct genetic disadvantage.

              On my comment, ignorance of lies presented as facts is truly wisdom.

              Someone is sure full of himself. I got news for you: evolution isn’t “lies”. It’s one of the most well-established, thoroughly demonstrated, core scientific principles known to mankind.

              • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                Evolution is also part of viewpoints that historically led to the Holocaust. The German predilection for anti-Semitic scholarship in Darwin’s era through the early twentieth century is well-documented though rarely mentioned today.

                • Sven2547

                  The ‘Evolution led to the Holocaust’ myth has been thoroughly debunked. They believed they were God’s chosen Master Race. Does that sound like evolution to you?

                  I note that you’re not even attacking the factuality of evolution, you’re just attacking the idea as “evil”.

                  • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                    Please quote me accurately. I did not say that evolution led to the Holocaust. I said that it was part of an academic milieu that was anti-Semitic and this undoubtedly helped steer Germany toward such a disastrous path.

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

                      But that is false too. The notion that Aryans are a superior race is contrary to the evidence of mainstream biology, not supported by it. That people try to claim their ideology is scientific when it isn’t typifies both racists and young-earth creationists (categories which unfortunately overlap extensively icertain parts of the world).

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Of course mainstream biology does not accept the notion of a superior race. However, Darwinism was used by the Nazis to further their claims. So, the subject is not quite so starkly separated as some would like to claim.

                      cf. http://www.discovery.org/a/10051

                    • TomHark

                      Newton’s laws of motion were also used by the Nazis in their rocket ballistics. So what?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      The Nazis did not use Newton’s laws of motion in their propaganda. Therein lies the ‘so what.’

                    • David_Evans

                      A list of books to be burned by the Nazis includes

                      6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Haeckel).

                      and Hitler disbelieved in human evolution:

                      “Whence do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.”

                      Source: http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/whose-books-did-hitler-bur/

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Just because there was official disagreement does not mean they did not use ideas equal to or similar to Darwinism in making their case to the German people and others.

                    • TomHark

                      The so-called science of eugenics wasn’t invented by the Nazis although admittedly they did find it rather useful along with phrenology and other stuff.

                    • David_Evans

                      If Darwin had never lived, astrophysics, radiometric dating, geology and cosmology would still be telling us that the Earth and the universe are billions of years old.

                      Also, I believe Darwin’s name does not occur in Mein Kampf.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      You tell me when the scientists of those disciplines have it exactly right. They change their story daily, sometimes laughably. I think it reminds me of a dog chasing it’s tail. Imagine if scientists started with a basic truth, that God created the earth, how much time could have been spent on increasing knowledge that could really help mankind. Rather than chasing fairy tales.

                    • David_Evans

                      Would you like to specify when God created the Earth? That would let the scientists know just how much rewriting they have to do to please you.

                      Personally I regard talking snakes and magic trees as the stuff of fairytales.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      For me it’s way easier to rationalize Genesis, because it is a story of hope. And it’s way easier to swallow than “man from monkeys” or “something from nothing”, both never proven, or even feasible. When God created the earth, is of no consequence, rather when He will destroy it.

                    • The_L1985

                      “When God created the earth, is of no consequence, rather when He will destroy it.”

                      But Jesus says in Matthew that “no man can know the hour.”

                    • Ian

                      For me it’s way easier to rationalize Genesis

                      And that, right there, is the problem. You are determining truth by figuring out which answer you can rationalize more easily. It is called post-hoc rationalization. It is a very tempting idea, but ultimately one that can lead you anywhere you want to go.

                      The alternative is to start with the evidence and piece together conclusions based on it. That’s how science works. If that doesn’t end up where your interpretation of Genesis said it should, then tough. Science’s job is to discover what is real, not to rationalize an ideological conclusion.

                      Again, as I’ve said many times before, this kind of basic lack of understanding could be rectified with a trip to your library, rather than you spending your time cruising around blogs sharing your ignorance.

                    • coolworker

                      You are attacking a straw man. Evolution is not inherently atheistic, and does not teach that man came from monkeys.

                    • TomHark

                      ” if scientists started with a basic truth, that God created the earth, how much time could have been spent on increasing knowledge that could really help mankind”

                      Tell me, where do you go when you have toothache?

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      I would start with prayer like I do now.

                    • Ian

                      … and then?

                    • TomHark

                      Prayer for toothache? Well good luck with that!

                    • The_L1985

                      Surely that’s not all you do? Surely you see a dentist at some point?

                      (I’m reminded of the old joke wherein a drowning woman refuses all offers of help, saying “The Lord will provide.” She dies, and in Heaven, she asks why God didn’t help her. God says, “I sent all those people your way to help you; what more did you want?”)

                    • David_Evans

                      “They change their story daily, sometimes laughably.”

                      I don’t see that. What I see is a continuing effort to improve their ideas and techniques, so that estimates of the age of the Earth have gradually converged on the currently accepted 4.54 billion years. Do you have evidence for what you wrote?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      The problem here is that scientists/evolutionists work within a certain paradigm and rarely challenge that paradigm overall. This is a weakness of the Academy and the overall scientific method. A mountain of evidence must be collected and evaluated in order to overturn something like the theory of evolution. Given the way the Academy works via peer review, tenure, etc., revolutions in thought do not occur except very rarely and also very slowly.

                      We must be ready to admit that speaking of evolution as scientific fact without forgetting that there is still probability involved in whether it’s actually true or not is problematic especially when non-specialists are involved in trying to get to the bottom of the matter. A scientist sees fact as the most probable theory well-tested and justified by mountains of evidence. A layman looks at the matter and hears the word “fact” and is instead trying to evaluate is evolution true or not. The equivocation of some in the scientific community to fail to take the layman’s simpler understanding into account here just exacerbates the nature of the dialog.

                      Because, in reality, all science is a matter of probability and uncertainty because theoretically tomorrow a new scientist could come along and disprove the entire set of facts current scientists work from as an overall paradigm. The chances of this are obviously quite low given the nature of the Academy today, but like all things where probability is involved–if we say something is more probable to be the case, there has to be room to say that there is at least a small possibility that such may not be the case. Therefore, making dogmatic statements as if evolution is equivalent to the truth of God’s word is an overstep on the part of science and should not be part of our dialog or an attitude of undue certainty and pride.

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

                      This is rather odd for many reasons. First, scientists are not going to suddenly make a new discovery that leads back to a flat earth. There is change, but it is as we move closer and closer to an accurate description. Moreover, even if the majority of experts are wrong about something based on the currently-available evidence, that does not mean their armchair critics are more likely to be more correct than they are.

                      The Bible is a collection of human writings, and in several places it attributes the creation of the natural world to the Word of God. To pretend that human words are the Word of God, and then to disagree with them by fighting against those who study that which the actual Word of God produced, strikes me as quite bizarre.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You seem to be arguing against someone else. When did I say scientists would return to the notion of a flat earth? Are you really going to sit here and argue that there is no chance ever that scientists could provide a different explanation for the origin of the universe than the Big Bang and evolution? Already scientists are engaging quantum theories in distinction to the Big Bang that provide a different history than what we were originally taught in school. I’m just dumbfounded by your EITHER/OR methodology here as if we can only talk about one or the other ancient or modern cosmology and theories of creation. Who is the real dogmatician here???

                    • David_Evans

                      Evolution is not a theory of the origin of the universe.

                      I think it highly unlikely that any new discoveries will change the conclusions that:

                      The universe has expanded from a very hot dense state about 13 billion years ago

                      Life on Earth has developed from an initial very simple organism, so simple that current ideas of species don’t really apply. Driving forces of this development include mutation, genetic recombination, natural selection and neutral drift (not all of which Darwin was aware of)

                      There are questions about the physics of the Big Bang, and about the detailed mechanisms of evolution. Are any of those questions going to lead to separate creation of all species and a 6,000-year-old Earth? No. Just no.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      But, David, you can’t say that there is NEVER EVER going to be any evidence against what we already know. To do that would be entirely unscientific. You can only say it is unlikely. Science is built on the premise of probability and revision. Why can’t you guys admit this?

                    • David_Evans

                      Let’s remember the context here. We are talking about YEC. I literally cannot imagine what new scientific evidence would lead me as a scientist to accept the YEC timetable. I can’t imagine how it would explain that all the existing evidence had been wrong.

                      Of course If God appeared in all His majesty and explained that He had arranged the evidence for His inscrutable reasons, I might have to accept it. Though there might be some rebellious things said under my breath, a la Galileo.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

                    • TomHark

                      If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

                      O you really are in a corner now, are you not Kevin?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      No. Just responding properly to David’s remark. God has appeared in the person of Jesus Christ, has spoken through Moses and the Prophets–there is no reason to think acceptance of the truth of the gospel would require the sort of miracle David might require. We don’t meet God on our own terms, but rather God meets us.

                    • David_Evans

                      Allah has spoken to us through the prophet Mohammed, we need no miracle to assure us of the truth of the Holy Qur’an.
                      (Repeat ad lib with prophets of your choice)

                      Why should I listen to Moses, whose account is at odds with archaeology and Egyptian history, rather than any other prophet?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      LOL. Now you’re moving out of your area of expertise. Frankly, if you can’t judge between Islam and Christianity in terms of their origins–I would hardly be able to call you a scientist of any caliber.

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

                      This is not the way interaction is approached on this blog. This is not a site that welcomes trolls. If you wish to aay that the origins of Christianity and Islam can be distinguished using scientific tools, please articulate that respectfully and clearly, and provide evidence to support your claim. I do not intend to allow the high quality of conversations we have here cheapened in this way.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      After leaving almost a hundred substantial comments on this discussion on a variety of issues, it’s hardly accurate to talk about me as a troll.

                      There are, of course, several scientific ways both religions can be considered in terms of origins and texts–the textual history of the New Testament for example versus the same for the Qur’an shows quite a stark contrast between the two. But, overall, scientific claims regarding either will never be able to tell the whole story.

                      My point in the last comment, however, is that this standard objection to the uniqueness of biblical religion has no real ground and does not move the discussion forward–particularly as it concerns evolution.

                      As Christians, ultimately, we see Islam as false because the Bible’s claims are true. There is no scientific choice between one or the other at least in terms of how science is understood today. Islam poorly borrows from the Bible and Christian religion in the first place, lending more credibility to the notion that Islam is more properly seen as a heresy of Christianity rather than an altogether new and different religion.

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

                      Thank you for taking the time to express what you meant so much more clearly. I hope you understand why I consider a comment like the one before your last one disappointing. A brief insult with no details never makes one’s point the way a clear statement can. Nor does it provide a basis for anyone to respond and carry the discussion further.

                    • David_Evans

                      I’m pleased to see that you have some respect for expertise – I was beginning to doubt it. Your argument would be more convincing if there were as much consensus on the truth of Christianity (among those with relevant expertise) as there is on the fact of evolution.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      As you know, true consensus is very difficult to achieve even for experts and therefore doesn’t always represent the right answer or even the right questions.

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

                      Because consensus is rare, when it exists, it indicates that the evidence and arguments currently available must be powerful and persuasive. The consensus can still turn out to be wrong, but in areas with lots of solid data to work with, that becomes increasingly unlikely. But even in other areas, the fact that a consensus of experts can be wrong does not mean that any viewpoint, no matter how incompatible with the evidence, and no matter whether it is offered by someone with expertise in the relevant area of inquiry, has an equal likelihood of being correct.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Ideally, this is true. But, we also can’t forget that the Academy is fraught with many problems not the least of which being its overly specialized nature, a tendency to enforce or support the status quo over new research claims, the undue influence of financial pressures on the system, and an us-vs-them attitude toward any potential competitors that do not track in official peer-reviewed circles.

                      So, a consensus once reached is certainly valuable but we can’t consider it apart from other concerns. The longer a consensus exists, the more it can potentially exhibit the behavior I describe above. Therefore, as always, we must be ready to look at arguments and evidence whether consensus has already been reached or not.

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

                      We’ve seen plenty of revolutions in thinking in the past in domains from geology to history. Peer-reviewed journals are full of ideas that will not persuade the majority and which most will consider far fetched – in most cases, correctly. Those who think that radical ideas cannot get published must not read many peer-reviewed journals.

                    • Ian

                      One interesting feature of the academy is the need to produce tens of thousands of new PhDs each year, each one contributing something new to human knowledge.

                      Far from being unduly conservative, this is a structural tendency to undue novelty. There’s not a scientist in the world who wouldn’t want to instigate a paradigm shift. And so published research is often quite tentative.

                      I simply don’t buy this “the academy wants to keep the status quo” nonsense. It seems to me part of Kevin’s desperate need to find some hook to hang his forgone conclusions on.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Is it possible to hold a scientific chair in a university in the USA without endorsing evolution?

                    • Ian

                      No. Its also not possible to hold a mathematical chair in a university without endorsing the differential calculus. Or a chair in chemistry without endorsing the atomic theory of matter. Or a chair in cosmology without endorsing the notion that planets orbit their stars.

                      None of that is due to a conspiracy, or a hatred for dissent!

                      The claim that no qualified academic agrees with you because there’s a conspiracy is pathetic. They disagree with you because you are wrong.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Again, I’m not talking about any conspiracy here. I’m just noting that institutional bias exists here. Perhaps there is good reason for bias (as you note, 2+2=4), but it remains bias and in effect nonetheless.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I’m just astounded that you would refuse to admit that there are real world complications to what we would typically recognize as a consensus in the academic world–as if it moves free of problems caused by human and institutional concerns.

                      Listen, I’m not at all saying the claims of the current consensus regarding evolution are not well-founded. But, since such a consensus exists and has had such wide carry for a good hundred years–there’s no harm in evaluating new ideas and new understandings. In fact, I’d say it’s very much necessary if the current consensus wants to continue to carry any legitimacy at all.

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

                      Again, if you think that the academy is not constantly considering new ideas, then you must have no idea what academics are required to do to get published and keep our jobs.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You miss my point. The point is not that no new research gets published–obviously it does. But, among questions we could ask are how and why does only certain research get published. The real point here is only partly seen in asking these questions. The larger point is that human and institutional factors influence the way science is done and the way a consensus is maintained in the scientific community. Why is that larger point so hard to admit?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      But, look, your reply is indicative of what I’m talking about here. You assume that real work in these areas has to be in those journals via official academic channels. Why can’t it ever take place outside of official channels (especially in an Internet era)? After all, some corporate shops have lab environments rivaling or exceeding the universities. The notion that all of this study and science must be capably done by scientists alone in the Academy is very much part of the bias I’m talking about. So, real world implications have to be considered here for us to get a real picture of what consensus means outside of a pie-in-the-sky ideal.

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

                      Indeed, if young-earth creationism had even the slightest merit, I would expect those involved in the oil industry to be pursuing it seriously, since presumably there is money to be made by taking a Flood geology approach to finding fossil fuels, rather than the current one based on mainstream geology and biology. That we do not see that happening is as telling as the lack of credence professional biologists and geologists give to young-earth creationism, if not more so.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      That, or the industry remains reliant on and provides financial support for the current status quo.

                    • Ian

                      So the big oil companies, who are in multi-billion dollar competition with each other, are conspiring not to leverage science that would increase their profits and provide competitive advantage, so they can continue to enjoy the privilege of spending money on and supporting the status quo of corrupt and ineffectual evolutionary science?

                      Eventually all science denial ends in conspiracy theories.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Who is talking about conspiracies here? I’m not advocating any conspiracy but simply noting that science proceeds as a discipline (at the very least) with the same human factors and issues as any other.

                    • Ian

                      Fair enough.

                      James said the oil industry doesn’t use creation science because it doesn’t work.

                      You said

                      That, or the industry remains reliant on and provides financial support for the current status quo.

                      So, if not a conspiracy, please describe in your knowledge of the research wings of the oil industry, how its reliance on the consensus of evolutionary biology means no oil company can use creation science to increase its profits?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      That’s irrelevant. I wasn’t making a claim, only mentioning a possibility.

                    • Ian

                      That’s convenient. More of your possibilities? if something is a possibility it can be safely discounted, regardless of how likely. It must be comforting to be able to not have to worry about anything that seems to contradict your position, if you can think of some possibility why it might not be certain.

                      It is interesting how much of your reasons for opposing evolution come down to semantic games or innuendo that you’ve no desire to back up.

                    • Ian

                      Individuals in private research labs and private companies do publish in journals. The human genome project, for example, was completed largely thanks to the superior resources of private corporations. There is a *lot* of genetic research going on in the private sector, with concrete chunks of investment dependent on the result. A good deal of the genetic phylogeny (i.e. evolutionary history, deduced from genetic markers) of modern biology has come out of that work. Then there are places like the Sanger institute with stellar publishing records that are funded by trusts independent of academia,

                      It is highly telling that the people with lots of money to lose following red herrings are not applying ‘creation science’ ideas.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You only relieve one concern with institutionalism in mentioning these realities. Private research brings its own factors to the study of science surrounding financial gain and support. To think that this science also occurs without human and institutional factors in play is also quite problematic.

                    • Ian

                      I relieve the concern you raised. You’re full of points that are untrue, or vanish when considered properly. if you have some other excuse why the world’s experts all think you’re wrong, then bring it on. We can do this all year.

                      But running to generalizations and handwaving when your specifics have been refuted doesn’t help.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You haven’t proven a thing. Let’s just take one example–a scientist fakes AIDS research for $19m in grants. That’s just one example of the problems that exist with the way things are. You can’t get around the human element. I’m just astounded that no one here will admit to the institutional problems that currently exist in the academic world.

                      And, incidentally, I never said that evolution as a theory wasn’t a well-founded scientific consensus. I say exactly the opposite above. That, however, does not make it true.

                    • Ian

                      I get you’re trying to cast around. But it does your credibility no good if you’re unwilling to admit your errors. You said:

                      You assume that real work in these areas has to be in those journals via official academic channels. Why can’t it ever take place outside of official channels (especially in an Internet era)?

                      I demonstrated that wasn’t true. A large amount of research is done outside official academic channels, and is published in those journals.

                      So now you want to talk about ‘the human element’. Well okay, we can talk about checks and balances and the way science deals with the human element. But I want to see whether you have the integrity to concede your point. Are you an honest interlocutor, or is this another instance where you aren’t willing to give a straight answer because you don’t ‘frame’ things in the same way?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      My question is based off the premise McGrath indicated was true. McGrath implied that the real work is done in peer review journals and doesn’t take place outside that. I was just asking why it couldn’t take place outside that, according to his view.

                      You didn’t demonstrate that a large amount of research is done outside official academic channels, you merely stated something similar. And, if you review the comments above carefully you’ll note that I brought up corporate science before you decided to enlighten me.

                    • Ian

                      You wrote

                      The notion that all of this study and science must be capably done by scientists alone in the Academy is very much part of the bias I’m talking about.

                      Now

                      McGrath implied that the real work is done in peer review journals and doesn’t take place outside that. I was just asking why it couldn’t take place outside that…note that I brought up corporate science before you decided to enlighten me.

                      You didn’t demonstrate that a large amount of research is done outside official academic channels, you merely stated something similar.

                      True, I overstated my response in an unhelpful manner. So are you contesting this? Do you disagree now, now that you appear to what to claim this was your point all along?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Am I contesting what? You are using pronouns without an antecedent. Disagree with what?

                    • Ian

                      Contesting that

                      a) a large amount of key research, is done outside official academic channels, and /or

                      b) that research is valued by any scientist in the Academy on the same terms as that done in university labs.

                      When you write

                      The notion that all of this study and science must be capably done by scientists alone in the Academy is very much part of the bias I’m talking about.

                      Do you mean neither a or b are true. Or that a is true, but b is not. Or do you now think both a and b are true. If the latter, then please explain further what you mean by the quote above.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      OK. Thank you. I was not trying to be a stickler about grammar but wasn’t exactly sure what you were asking.

                      To answer your question, I need to be a bit more clear in terms of what I mean by the Academy. Typically, all the research done is by those with the appropriate degrees and therefore remain participants in the Academy one way or the other. This is especially true when we remember that much of the research in universities is sponsored by corporate efforts while universities lend equipment and personnel back to corporate efforts.

                      There is very little (if any) work done or supervised by those who have not been through the system and approved via degree conferral.

                      So, while what you say is most certainly true (both a and b), we have to consider that the Academy reigns supreme in doing scientific research overall. Therefore, the institutional and human concerns I raise remain important to consider.

                    • David_Evans

                      “The longer a consensus exists……” .Does that mean that in 40 years’ time, when we have more transitional fossils, you will be more skeptical of evolution than you are now?
                      To anticipate your reply, let me point out that we certainly have more transitional fossils than we did 40 years ago.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Honestly, I can’t tell the future so it’s hard to say. Evidence is evidence, but it’s also subject to interpretation and more evidence isn’t going to change that. As I state above, the longer a consensus remains a consensus the more we have reason to consider the impact of human and institutional concerns. I’m not sure why that’s so controversial.

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

                      I am not persuaded. I do not think the consensus about the Earth orbiting the sun or microorganisms causing disease persists because of institutional concerns. Nor do I think that, when a matter is firmly established through evidence and argument, we should constant reevaluate it even though no new evidence or arguments have been forthcoming (although I have no problem in principle with PhD students trying to do so, just to be clear). In such instances there is a simple explanation for the persistent consensus.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      There’s nothing like the voice of an inerrant authority and that is precisely the problem here. Of course, you and others will offer technical objections to such a statement but really how does the consensus function any differently than the inerrant word would for fundamentalists in terms of voice and authority in the scientific community and consequently then in society?

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

                      It differs precisely by being open to challenge in light of new evidence.

                    • David Evans

                      I’ll tell you how it functions differently. In 1900 there was strong consensus that physics was essentially complete, with further progress only to be made “in the sixth place of decimals”. The successes of Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory were spectacular. By your arguments, no-one contradicting them would have been published in a peer-reviewed journal, still less accepted. Yet after Einstein published his special theory of relativity in 1905, other scientists at once started working on its implications and on possible tests for it. It was generally accepted by 1915. Not much inerrant authority there.

                      Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_special_relativity#Early_reception

                    • David_Evans

                      It’s controversial because it’s not, in general, true. Do we need to consider the impact of human and institutional concerns on the consensus around Newtonian mechanics? No, because it’s solidly based in centuries of observation. If you think evolution is a different case you need to provide evidence, not generalities.

                    • coolworker

                      It’s calibre.

                    • Steve Greene

                      “‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

                      It is always amusingly ironic when people who want to ignore the process of relying on good real world evidence use rhetoric trying to pretend that critics who don’t buy their claims due to a lack of good evidence do things like they do. Of course, there is no doubt that creationists often use self-projection in their rhetoric, in which they try to pretend that their critics are just as closed-minded as they are.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You certainly don’t appear very open-minded, especially about the testimony of Moses and the Prophets.

                    • The_L1985

                      Moses and the prophets never said a single solitary word about how old the earth was. The 6,000-year estimate was not arrived at until the 17th century, when a bishop decided to add up all of the (fragmentary) genealogies in the Bible, using some obscure method of his own to deal with the contradictions between them.

                      Moses and the prophets had more important concerns, like the fate of Israel, and the national duty of the people and the government (enshrined in the Laws of Moses!) to care for the poor, the widow, and the orphan.

                    • Roxee

                      I recommend checking in with a psychiatrist first, you know, just in case you were hallucinating.

                    • Ian

                      Who is not admitting that? That’s a basic premise of science, that if sufficient evidence accumulates for a particular hypothesis, that hypothesis will be adopted.

                      But just because something is not impossible, doesn’t mean we should take it seriously as a possibility. There is a definite, non-zero probability of all the molecules in your underwear jumping a meter to the right at the same instant of time. But we don’t worry about that being a sensible likelihood.

                      The chances of us discovering that evolution is fundamentally and entirely wrong is basically zero. We can treat those who claim it is all about to be disproved the same way as someone who claims their underwear is about to teleport across the world by quantum mechanics.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      If the chance is zero, you can’t say that it is a chance. In using the language of probability, you have to say that if something is probable it also means that it at least potentially implausible.

                      I’m saying you can’t speak of something as reality when you don’t really know that for sure. You can say it is probably reality, it’s 99.99 percent reality, or you heard from someone else it is reality–but in all those cases you can only talk about VIRTUAL reality.

                      Therefore, being so dogmatic is essentially overblown rhetoric and shouldn’t be a part of scientific discourse especially when other competing views are being examined. You’re presenting less than the truth when you do so.

                    • Ian

                      “If the chance is zero, you can’t say that it is a chance.” Good job I didn’t say it was zero then. I know YEC struggle with basic reading comprehension, but I wasn’t exactly using long words.

                      “but in all those cases you can only talk about VIRTUAL reality” You may want to try a dictionary.

                      “Therefore, being so dogmatic is essentially overblown” The only dogma i see is YEC dogma. How is it dogma to say “a basic premise of science, that if sufficient evidence accumulates for a particular hypothesis, that hypothesis will be adopted”? If you think your favourite hypothesis needs to be adopted, show us the evidence.

                      If you can’t say things are true or false or real without 100% certainty, then nothing is true or false, there is no reality. Fair enough, if you want to define ‘true’, ‘false’ and ‘real’ that way. But all you’ve done is played a silly game of definitions. And you are only doing so for the thing that you want to pretend is unreal, of course, you’ve no intention of following through with that definition in any other context. For the rest of the human race that is content to treat things that are almost-but-not-quite-100% certain as true, we’ll get along fine thanks.

                      YEC and bad high-school philosophy are very often close bedfellows.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Good. Good. I’m glad we’re on the same page now. There is no 100% certainty with science or with evolutionary theory. Nor do we need 100% reality to prove that evolutionary theory is wrong–or is the sauce only good for the goose?

                    • Ian

                      There is no 100% certainty of anything.

                      And you absolutely don’t need 100% certainty to disprove evolution, of course not. Whoever said you did? Not a scientist, I assume. Can you provide even 10% probability of evolution being fundamentally wrong. I’d love to see your evidence. Enough with the playground philosophy: show us some evidence!

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      LOL. You want me to disprove evolution and prove YEC in a comment thread on the Internet? Ha Ha. Would you like a demonstration of the quinque viae at the same time? Fries on the side? I’m not here to prove YEC but rather to inject a little sanity in the stark claims McGrath originally made.

                    • Ian

                      But, presumably, if this weren’t a comment thread on the internet, if you had the opportunity to actually write and publish and do research, you’d *totally* be able to prove evolution wrong, right? Its just that darned problem of how big the comment-box is.

                      Nice way to avoid the actual issue by hiding behind ridicule and derision.

                      Wow, it’s almost as if you’re just pulling this out of your ass! Who’d have thought!

                      I’m not here to prove YEC but rather to inject a little sanity

                      I hate to break it to you, but you’re not succeeding.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Wow. The Internet always reminds me of how civil and polite dialog is. Heh.

                    • Ian

                      Indeed. But I note you’re still tone trolling and avoiding actually responding with any content.

                      I’m reminded of how infrequently YECs actually back up anything they say with anything. And how often they cry about tone when they’re shown to be full of air.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You need to re-read the thread. Among other things, the points I’ve made are fairly clear:

                      1) The majority is not always in the right

                      2) The claims of science are tentative

                      3) Experts, while important, are not the final voice on any matter

                      4) Ideas and theories should be evaluated on merit rather than on the opinion of a majority or expert group

                      5) An endorsement of evolution can only be summary in nature and depends on probability and other testimony that can’t be personally or empirically verified

                      6) Dogmatic assertions or rhetoric regarding the truth of evolution are an overreach in dialog against other competing claims

                      7) Humility and tolerance should mark a scholar instead of cries of impatience and attacks on others

                    • Ian

                      So respond to my direct point then. That this isn’t a binary question of possibility but of probability. And YEC, the topic of this post, is astronomically improbable.

                      Your language is playing a rather transparent trick, beloved of apologists. You start with “its not impossible” then segue, without justification to “you can believe either”.

                      Your points
                      1) Indubitably. Most people 200 years ago in the south thought slavery was a God-endorsed condition. They were wrong.
                      2) Always. But that does not mean they are all equally likely to be wrong. A scientific conclusion is held if any competing hypothesis is *more* likely to be wrong. Since this conversation is about YEC, it is worth being clear that YEC is far, far more likely to be wrong than modern biology, geology, anthropology, and physics.
                      3) Indeed, reality always wins, no matter how earnestly you believe in something
                      4) Indeed, except that experts are, by definition, the people who spend the most time actually evaluating and dealing with theories. And conversely, someone who has no domain knowledge or experience is very likely to just get things wrong.
                      5) I don’t know what you mean by this.
                      6) But, again, where is the dogma. Just because you don’t like the detailed scientific conclusions based on hundreds of thousands of person-years of detailed quantitative research, calling it ‘dogma’ doesn’t make you more likely to be right, just more likely to be a dogmatic crank yourself.
                      7) they do. But humility in the face of what we don’t know is different from pretending that we don’t know things we are very sure about. YEC operates on lies. To point out so isn’t to be arrogant or inhumble, it is to point out a fact. YEC claims are false, for any sane definition of false.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Thank you for having the temerity to admit to at least five of the seven things I’ve pointed out above though with obvious qualifications. For #5, see the comment I made on this subject (somewhere in the thread–when we get to this many comments in a threaded discussion it’s difficult to find a particular one). For #7, to claim someone is lying is simply over the top. Why is it necessary to personally attack those who believe differently than you do about how the world was created? Is it not because you have dogmatic-like assurances that your viewpoint is correct and others who feel differently are “lying” because they disagree. The problem is, disagreeing is not the same as intentionally deceiving. And, that’s where the rub is. To say otherwise is to lack humility and judge others in a way that you shouldn’t. Hence, my point.

                    • Ian

                      Why is it necessary to personally attack those who believe differently than you do about how the world was created?

                      It isn’t necessary, and I do not feel it is necessary to personally attack anyone who feels differently to me on any topic.

                      But, at the same time, if someone lies, I don’t see how it benefits anyone to suggest that their lies are simply a difference of opinion.

                      When YECs say “there are no transitional fossils” that is a lie. When they say “The probability of a single gene evolving is 4^200″ that is a lie.

                      Many YECs repeat such lies unintentionally, because they have not been told otherwise, and because they trust, wrongly, that the people who tell them these lies are honest, because they go around with “God, God” on their lips.

                      But many YEC and ID folks do know better. They have been told and shown many times when they are wrong, and continue to repeat their lies.

                      I understood your point, but I think it is a poor one. Calling out lies is not the same as being arrogant. Pretending we don’t know what we know so that other people can feel better about themselves is neither honest or honorable.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I agree that errors in scientific inquiry should be countered and disproven. But, calling them lies still implies a personal intent to deceive. Is it not enough to say the scientific establishment disagrees with these conclusions? Calling out lies when people simply understand truth differently is a matter of arrogance. It would be one thing if you could prove deception was their intent, but my guess is you can’t.

                    • Ian

                      You’re repeating the trick with “people simply understand truth differently” – it isn’t a difference of opinion, it is the continued reliance on claims that have been demonstrated to be false.

                      For someone who cites philosophy as the basis of your arguments, you seem very keen to make arguments based on your desire to define words in-just-the-right-way to make it sound like you’re being reasonable.

                      So I agree 100% with you. If a ‘lie’ is only applicable to a claim made by someone who can be proven without a shadow of a doubt to both know the truth and be deliberately introducing the untruth in an effort to deceive, then only a small amount of YEC claims are ‘lies’.

                      But someone who makes a false claim and is corrected, then makes the same claim again without acknowledging the correction, because the claim fits with their ideology and panders to their audience. Yeah, I’ll call that a lie, whatever the topic. And the person a liar.

                      Someone who is taken in by that lie and continues to spread it as if it were truth. I’d say they are lying too, and the lie is still a lie, though their moral culpability is much reduced, and I probably won’t call them a liar directly. (Though when the counter-information is a web-search away these days I struggle to give too much credit to ignorance).

                      If your crusade on here is just because you define ‘lie’ in a different way, then I hope that resolves things.

                    • The_L1985

                      I tend to see a lot more humility on the part of scientists than on the part of people like the Answers in Genesis folks. I’ve seen so many stupid “then why are there still monkeys?” comments, or the horribly-condescending “were you there?” Not even just in online comments; I see this hateful, prideful garbage in published books, magazines and Chick Tracts. Rather than calmly and patiently deliver counter-evidence, most “proofs” of YEC tend to fall back on poisoning the well or just laughing at straw-man versions of evolutionary theory. Neither method constitutes evidence of any kind, except as evidence that the person using that method is not arguing in good faith.

                    • coolworker

                      Well said. And the “were you there?” comment is so stupid. Was I around when the Battle of Hastings was being fought in 1066? No. So what?!! lol. It’s easy to turn this around on YECs just by asking them if they were there when the resurrection happened. No? Then how do they know it did?

                    • coolworker

                      YEC isn’t provable. Ever. Because it contradicts REALITY. And I’m not even talking about evolution.

                    • coolworker

                      You have a faulty conception of science. A worldwide flood could not possibly have created the Grand Canyon, unless you believe God worked a series of miracles under the flood waters.

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

                      You claimed that scientists sometimes change their thinking dramatically. I pointed out that that rarely happens, and even more rarely leads scientists back to an earlier view that had been set aside in light of new evidence and more detailed analysis. Unless going back to a flat earth is a possibility, then how is going back to a time before genetics and geology any more likely? And if it isn’t, then how does your point help young-earth creationists?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I never claimed that we need to “go back” – but rather the simple claim that what you advocate is a matter of probability and revision because it is science. As such, being dogmatic about it over and against other equally legitimate truth claims is simply promising more than science can deliver.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      “As such, being dogmatic about it over and against other equally legitimate truth claims”

                      But that’s the thing. You have to take what the current evidence is presenting. And the current evidence backs up evolution, and shows YEC to be BS. It’s not a legitimate alternative.

                    • coolworker

                      You don’t even need to show that evolution is correct. The great age of the earth and universe is indisputable, a fact which has nothing to do with evolution.

                    • Ian

                      Are you really going to sit here and argue that there is no chance ever that scientists could provide a different explanation for the origin of the universe than the Big Bang and evolution?

                      The Big Bang and evolution are scientific ideas at totally different scales.

                      There is basically no chance that evolution will be replaced. It is far too widely evidenced, and replicated. It is possible that it is absorbed into some more encompassing theory. But that theory would look just like evolution in the domain for which evolution is known to hold. I know of several researchers who are working on very much this kind of idea, and have been for a while.

                      On a smaller scale evolutionary theory is always changing. And will continue to. But this does not change its basic structure, only our understanding of mechanisms, relative importance, and higher-level dynamics.

                      This is very much like, say, the theory of gravity pre-einstein. Relativity ‘overturned’ newtonianism, sure, but only by subsuming it. In the domain for which newtonian observations hold, it is still perfectly valid.

                      The chance of evolution being overturned in favour of something that showed that evolutionary dynamics don’t exist, is as near to zero as it makes any sense to be concerned with. It is as well evidenced as any piece of science.

                      What a physicist would include in the Big Bang Theory is very unlikely to be overturned, and neither quantum nor string models threaten it. Quantum oscillating universes, multiverses, quantum foam, zero energy universes, and so on, are hypotheses that would subsume, not contradict the Big Bang Theory.

                      These kinds of misunderstandings of how science works are unfortunately very common. Scientific illiteracy is a problem for those wanting to counter YEC-propaganda.

                      [And since you seem above to be very keen to make sure people aren't speaking out of their domain of expertise, I have a PhD in the mathematics of Evolution and my mother was a quantum physicist - the big bang information is thus second hand]

                    • David_Evans

                      “… making dogmatic statements as if evolution is equivalent to the truth of God’s word …”

                      I regard evolution as much more strongly established than any version of “God’s word”. If you want to change my mind, produce an estimate of the age of the Earth which is agreed (to +/-10%. I’ll be generous) by Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus, and I’ll consider it.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Sorry, I’m not in the business of presenting God with a rock heavier than he can lift. The Bible isn’t here to settle disputes between the three great religions over a question that science wants to call relevant. The Bible calls you to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ for your salvation and then to live as he commands. You should be able to evaluate on the basis of its own claims and not your own judgment provided in large part by the scientific establishment.

                    • TomHark

                      tions of the Angel Moroni.

                    • Ian

                      “as if evolution is equivalent to the truth of God’s word”

                      What’s the probability that ‘God’s word’ is not true?

                      What’s the probability that there is no God?

                      Vanishingly tiny? But, by your previous criteria, you can hardly call God’s word true, or God real.

                    • Andrew Dowling

                      When someone’s presuppositions aren’t recognized as presuppositions, I don’t think they are able to discern the irony you just pinpointed . . .

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      The certainty of God’s word comes from God himself, not from scientific verification–so there is no measure of probability to work on in determining these things. The notion that science could empirically verify God and his word in the first place is in error. Different reality, different standard so no my previous criteria does not even apply here. I’m just using the criteria to evaluate scientific theory that science itself has put in place. What shocks me is how hesitant many are to actually place any notion of doubt in evolution based off the fact that we can only speak about probabilities concerning the truth of the theory.

                    • Ian

                      What’s the probability that God’s word comes from God himself? A tiny probability it does not? You don’t get to create certainties by fiat. There is a possibility you’re wrong in some regards, isn’t there? Or do you claim that your understanding of God is absolutely correct, and necessarily so?

                      I’m not talking about verifying God, I’m talking about verifying your claims about God. You realise you’re not God, right, and so you are fallible. So what’s the probability you are wrong?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Why is certainty such a problem for you in this instance? If God exists, there is no measure of probability we can attach to him and my own fallibility has little to do with recognizing that. God speaks. We respond. No one talks about the probability of having a mother and father–why would we do the same with God?

                    • Ian

                      Certainty was your concern, I’m merely trying to get you to be consistent.

                      Once again, I’m not asking you to attach a probability to God, I’m asking you to attach a probability to your claims about God.

                      Either you think that your experience of God is infallible, that you cannot possibly be wrong, or else you admit that your human fallibility means that you cannot be certain that God exists, or that the word of God is necessarily true.

                      We can certainly talk about the probability of having a mother and father, absolutely. We’d have to at first define mother and father, of course.

                      So again, what is the probability that the set of texts and hermeneutical framework you identify as “God’s word” is not true? What is the probability that you are wrong the God you understand to exist, does not exist?

                      I’m not asking for numbers, I’m asking you to admit you are infallible in your view of what God is and what he does. Because that seems to be what you’re implying.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Again, you are suffering from the perspective that wants to evaluate everything based off individual claims. I said certainty comes from God and his word. Whether I’m fallible or not is quite beside the point. I didn’t create certainty by fiat, God is responsible for our certainty. We all know him whether we admit to it or not, and that knowledge is sure and doesn’t depend on my own estimation of the matter.

                    • Ian

                      I am talking to you, so I am trying to figure out your claims.

                      I know what I believe about God and how certain I am of that. And it seems i believe something different to you.

                      So I am asking you, because I am talking to you, to either claim you are infallible in your understanding of God and his word, or admit that you see darkly, as through a glass.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You are talking to me, that is true. And, I have given you my perspective. You don’t get to be judge and jury as to what is allowable in this conversation. Why don’t you tell me instead what you believe about God and why?

                    • Ian

                      Because that would sidetrack the question. I do not claim certainty in anything I know: theological, scientific, anything.

                      I’m not judge and jury over anything. I’m merely trying to show that you are obsessively preoccupied by the possibility of science not having 100% certainty on its claims, yet seem conspicuously unwilling to admit that, either your belief in God is similarly uncertain, or that you are claiming your knowledge of God is infallible.

                      You haven’t given me an answer to that question. You’ve implied that you are 100% certain and right to be so, but seem unwilling to admit that you think your view of God cannot possibly be incorrect.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Yes. I get your point. I simply do not agree with you nor do I choose to frame the matter the way you have. I’m not obsessed about 100% certainty on the part of science, rather my role in this conversation on the whole has simply been to get scientists here to admit to what they already know is true–their work is subject to change and revision and represents a probability rather than certainty even when they continue to imply otherwise. You’ve already admitted as much in fact so lingering here any longer is probably not worth it as I’m never going to frame the matter the way you would like. On the other hand, I am happy to generally admit that the results of science are reliable even though I don’t agree with evolution.

                    • Ian

                      I understand you don’t frame it that way, but why are you unwilling to answer it when framed that way?

                      I understand that, when asked an awkward question, you’d rather end the discussion, but that betrays a lack of intellectual integrity.

                      What do you lose by answering my question? Do you think you could possibly be wrong about God or his word?

                      i can’t think of a simpler question to ask of any piece of knowledge, or a more curious spectacle than someone wriggling as much as you are in avoiding answering it.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      First, it’s insulting for you to imply that there is a lack of intellectual integrity here simply because I don’t frame the matter the way you do. Secondly, I never said we needed to end the discussion. I just don’t see value in continuing to press for an answer I’m not going to give. My perspective has already been provided for you and I’m at the point now of repeating myself simply because you won’t accept anything but the answer you want to hear. I ask you a question, you sidestep it. However, I must answer yours–and not just answer it, but answer it in the way you want it answered. I’m sorry, I’m just not going to keep playing this game. If you want to have a real discussion, it needs to be one where we mutually define the terms of the discussion and not one where you decide how everything must be framed and considered.

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

                      I realize it must be disconcerting to have it pointed out that your own logic and emphases lead somewhere you do not wish to go. But responding like this does not make that fact any less obvious, and does nothing to make your stance seem more consistent. And so would it not be better simply to honestly acknowledge that, as per your own reasoning, as a human being your knowledge about God cannot be assumed to correspond to the reality of God? Acknowleding that, far from being an embarrassing concession, will indicate that you grasp the Bible’s emphasis on our human limitations and the corresponding need for humility.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      What you say is simply false. I’m not forced to admit anything of the kind and the Bible on the contrary says our knowledge of God is secure and certain–in fact, says that the definition of eternal life is to know the eternal God and Jesus Christ the one he sent (John 17:3). While our knowledge of God is mediated and our nature fallible as human beings, that does not at all make it uncertain.

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

                      That is the way one NT author puts it. But why do you choose that human perspective as opposed to another, Paul’s, which emphasizes that now we see in part and know in part?

                      Those who want to believe themselves certain often begin by choosing those verses which seem to justify that stance and build their worldview upon it. But ignoring so much else in the Bible, not to mention what the Bible is, is dangerous.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Paul’s commentary on seeing through a glass darkly has nothing to do with our certainty that God exists, that he speaks through general and special revelation, and that Jesus Christ is Lord. To say that Paul was unsure about these things or far from certain fails to take into account the overall corpus he’s produced in the New Testament. I’m not pulling out a verse to support my view but rather presenting a biblical account for why I believe the way I do.

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

                      Please do not try to change the subject. The matter under discussion is not whether God exists, but whether you have grounds for your beliefs about the processes at work in the created order that justify the stance you have articulated here.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      My remarks are perfectly in line with what I’ve been asked in these threads. And, you posited a Pauline passage in opposition to John 17:3 which most assuredly is about knowing God and whether he exists or not. So, if you want to keep the discussion on track don’t use irrelevant passages to counter what other scriptures say.

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

                      Then why did you quote John 17:3 as though it has some relevance to our discussion of the age of the earth and the biological sciences?

                    • Ian

                      Okay, to be clear here. I think you’re out of your intellectual depth and are hopelessly theologically naive. You may have some similarly unfavorable appraisal of me. That’s fine, those judgements are cheap and disposable and ultimately chaff in the wind. While they might surface in irritated language (I’m unfortunately very prone to this, as you’ve seen), don’t let that obscure the fact that there’s a genuine discussion to be had.

                      What I promise I am *not* trying to be, is facile. I *genuinely* am interested in how you understand your epistemology, and I am *genuinely* interested in the answer to the question, or the answer to why you cannot answer it.

                      For example: you might have said “The problem with your question is I see ambiguity in the world ‘your’ (e.g. ‘your view of God’) because I am denying ownership of the belief. It isn’t *my* view, it is a view given to me by God. So the answer is that, no, I cannot be wrong, but you must not think that is any claim about my infallibility. It is by the grace of God that my belief is right and true without possibility of error”. That would be an interesting point to go on in the discussion. I’d have follow-ups, we’d learn more about each other. Flowers would bloom.

                      Instead I can’t figure out if you’re ashamed of your answer, or if you think I’m laying a trap.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Have I not repeatedly said I’m fallible and the certainty comes from God? What else but God’s grace through Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit provides us with the certainty of God’s existence and our salvation? This is what it means to be a Christian (again, John 17:3). The notion that certainty = infallibility on my part is simply false. God provides the certainty by virtue of his existence and his general and special revelation to mankind seen especially through the work and person of Jesus Christ and confirmed by the Holy Spirit.

                      In fact, the world generally doesn’t make sense without these conditions and every attempt at understanding the world without them either fails or borrows from them to make sense of things.

                    • Ian

                      Great, thanks. So my guess at your position was somewhat close.

                      Can I ask you to be clear. With the proviso that you are not claiming your beliefs as your own, or claiming any honor or power or special status for yourself, you do think that the beliefs about God you have (which you have identified as God-given) cannot possibly be wrong?

                      [Perhaps you might think there are certain parts of your belief that don't come from God and so could be mistaken, while others are divine. Again I'm not trying to back you into a yes/no answer, feel free to state where you think you cannot be wrong, and where you can.]

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I think we would need to differentiate between the knowledge of God we have and beliefs about God we carry. Knowledge is not only a matter of theology proper but in the Bible extends to personal knowledge and intimacy that goes well beyond a noetic component. The command to love God with all you are (the first and greatest commandment according to Jesus) is an example where we see knowledge of God being something that embraces the whole person. That said, the basics of Christian/biblical orthodoxy that we need for our salvation are certain as they are clearly revealed in Scripture and thus given to us. Other secondary or tertiary matters I’m quite willing to admit I may be wrong.

                    • Ian

                      Thanks again for the response.

                      So there are elements that you think are certain: you cannot possibly be mistaken in believing them (because your belief is god-given); and there are secondary or tertiary areas that God gives to humans to figure out, and so any conclusions you might reach on those bear your human weakness. Is that a fair precis?

                      So I’m curious what you think is in the first category.

                      You’ve mentioned the existence of God. You cannot be wrong about that – there is no possibility that God doesn’t exist.

                      Do you include also:
                      - The only God that exists is the triune Christian God: Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. All other ideas about God (e.g. Allah, the Brahman, Kami) are certainly incorrect: there is no possibility they could be true.
                      - The 66-books of the protestant bible are the infallible self-revelation of God.
                      - God raised Jesus bodily from death after his crucifixion, the firstfruits of the resurrection of the faithful.

                      - The Earth was created in 6 24-hour days, within the last 10,000 years, and each form of life was specially created, not from any previous form of life.

                      Please note, I’m not asking if you believe these things. I’m asking whether you think these things are part of that God-given knowledge that you cannot possibly be wrong about. There is simply no possibility that Jesus’s body rotted in the tomb and that the disciples saw visions of him, but not an actual resurrection.

                      Again, to be super-clear. I’m not asking you for your beliefs, I’m not asking you whether these things are very likely. I’m asking whether there is no possibility, no matter how small, that these things are not true.

                      Feel free to nuance your response. Again, I’m seeking to understand, not to play games.

                    • Steve Greene

                      “Secondly, I never said we needed to end the discussion. I just don’t see value in continuing to press for an answer I’m not going to give.”

                      Self-contradictory, and immediately too.

                    • The_L1985

                      “They change their story daily.”

                      Well, yes. It’s called having more information than you did before. A resistance to changing one’s ideas is fatal.

                      I don’t believe that there are tiny people inside the TV, even though that’s what it looks like. However, like most toddlers, I used to believe at an early age that there were tiny TV-people in there.

                      I don’t believe that the four humors are the root cause of all diseases, even though this was the prevalent belief in Europe for 2000 years.

                      I believe that radium exists, even though I’ve never had personal experience with the stuff and it was “only” discovered about a century ago.

                      I don’t believe that my parents are infallible, even though I believed as a child that they could do no wrong.

                      I don’t believe that it’s better to gorge yourself on cookies than to eat your vegetables, even though cookies taste a lot better than Brussels sprouts; this is definitely not what I believed at age 5! :)

                      People learn things. As we learn, some aspects of our beliefs will inevitably change (for example, learning how a TV works causes you to lose your belief in those tiny people). Most of the world’s Christians have no trouble accepting the facts of evolutionary science; it does not in any way stop them from believing that Jesus is God, or that he brought salvation.

                    • David_Evans

                      I think an example of the Nazis using “Darwinism” in that way would be helpful.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I’ve already provided a link above.

                    • David_Evans

                      I do not see such a link.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Hm. Did someone erase it? Here is the link:

                      http://www.discovery.org/a/10051

                    • David_Evans

                      There are certainly some uncomfortable quotes there. Darwin was a man of his time, and I would not want to defend everything he said.

                      A few comments:

                      The letter from the Argentine was written when Darwin, at age 24, had not yet collected the evidence which later persuaded him of the truth of evolution. In later years he argued that, though evolutionary ideas might lead us to neglect the poor and the sick, our moral duty as humans would forbid it. Hitler seems not to have read that bit.

                      His prediction that civilised races would exterminate and replace savages must be seen in the light of what had actually happened to Native Americans before he wrote anything on evolution.

                      The rhetoric that your link calls “Darwinist” is actually simple observation of fact: in nature, the strong survive and reproduce. It ignores the fact that evolution also often favours co-operation and even self-sacrifice (for one’s offspring).

                      The attempt to blame Darwin’s worldview for German anti-semitism is ludicrous. Just look at Martin Luther’s views on the Jews:

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

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I’m not saying Darwin’s worldview is responsible for German anti-Semitism. I’m saying the posture of German scholarship at the time contributed to the problem and Darwinism (and incidentally, the scientific method that supported it) was certainly a part of that whole world. I’m quite happy to admit that Luther’s anti-Semitism and the general posture of German Christianity at the time also played a shameful part in the Holocaust in supporting the Nazi regime. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the whole of Christendom in Germany was responsible for such things as there were notable exceptions like Bonhoeffer and others.

                      I believe it’s just important for us to recognize that ideas have consequences and that is no less true for something like evolution and Darwinism. Where are we today because of this idol we worship called science? It has helped us in incredible ways but not every way has been good for society. Regardless as to what side we’re on in regards to this issue, we ought to be able to admit that.

                    • David_Evans

                      I don’t worship science as an idol. I admit that science has been used to do great harm and that some scientists have been complicit in doing so.

                      Religion can also do great harm. One example which is worrying me at the moment: polio has been almost eradicated in Western Europe and the USA. A few years ago we were on course to eradicate it worldwide. Then Muslim leaders in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria said vaccination was against God’s will. Now polio is on the increase in those countries.

                      What I do say is that on questions of fact about the physical world, science is a much more reliable source of knowledge than any other discipline. That’s because of its procedures of systematic experiment and peer review. When a scientist makes a mistake it usually doesn’t take long for other scientists to point it out, and for disagreements to be settled by experiment and observation.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Of course, science may be generally more reliable but there are also exceptions there as well — such as the recent scientist who faked AIDS research in order to pull $19m in grants. Very little knowledge that we have today is unmediated–that doesn’t necessarily mean science is more reliable than other sources of knowledge. It’s helpful in its own element, of course, but it is not infallible. Again–where is the humility on the part of evolutionary science that tomorrow it could be proven wrong? We are told instead that it is simply the gospel truth.

                    • David_Evans

                      There are bad scientists, yes. There are bad people in every walk of life. To disbelieve evolution and the old Earth for that reason you would have to suppose that almost every scientist in relevant fields had been inept or lying. That would make it a mystery why geology and biology work so well in practice.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      No. Again, I’m just providing an example as to one reason why we can’t have absolute faith in the claims of science. The acceptance or rejection of evolution should be done in review of the actual arguments made for and against it. Somewhere along the lines you and others have to admit that science is tentative and subject to revision. Failure to admit that means you are not properly representing it in the first place.

                    • David_Evans

                      “The acceptance or rejection of evolution should be done in review of the actual arguments made for and against it.”

                      That’s what scientists have been doing ever since Darwin. Except where you say “arguments” I would say “arguments and evidence“. That’s crucial. Evidence for evolution has been accumulating steadily, evidence against is simply lacking.

                      Science is subject to revision (I don’t like “tentative”) when there is new evidence. In the meantime we have to go with the theory that best explains the evidence we have.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      But, again, you have to talk about it in terms of probability and not in terms of unmediated truth or revelation. Scientists speak of evolutionary reality and the facts as we have them now but that is really shorthand for saying ‘this is what we know is at this moment. Things could conceivably change.’

                    • Steve Greene

                      So maybe dinosaurs never really existed tens of millions of years ago.

                      This is exactly the kind of false rhetoric creationists use to try to justify ignoring any and all scientific facts that contradict their particular religious beliefs.

                      There is no doubt that in the general epistemological sense all scientific conclusions are subject to testing, but it doesn’t change the fact that the (minor) planet Pluto exists and we know it and anyone who pretends otherwise is following some subjective agenda besides scientific understanding.

                    • Steve Greene

                      “absolute faith in the claims of science.”

                      “Absolute faith” is the distinct problem inherent to creationism, as creationists themselves demonstrate only too eagerly, not to scientific research in geology, astronomy, and biology.

                    • Steve Greene

                      Physics is responsible for the evil of the nuclear bomb. Therefore the science about radioactivity and fission and fusion is wrong.

                      That is exactly the argument against biological evolution that creationists are trying to make.

                      But, of course, when you look at the argument in regard to radioactivity, you see just how obviously fallacious the argument really is.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Some creationists may make that argument, but I’m not. I’m merely saying there are consequences to ideas that should be fully considered rather than simply treating the science alone.

                    • Steve Greene

                      “I’m merely saying there are consequences to ideas that should be fully considered rather than simply treating the science alone.”

                      That statement, taken alone, is simply wrong. This is my point. Whether it is empirically correct is an issue that is *independent* of any moral considerations regarding social usage of what has been learned about reality. For example, the details of how genetics actually operates is a scientific issue, and how genetics operates is simply how genetics operates – totally regardless of how such knowledge may be put to use.

                      Are you telling me you don’t understand this?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I’m obviously saying something that differs from your own understanding. You don’t get it. I’m not really here to dispute the claims of established science. I’m here to say there are additional things to consider besides the empirical results and conclusions offered from doing science. Further, I’m also here to make clear that the rhetoric often used with science doesn’t always match up to the reality. But, you know, I’ve probably offered 70 comments in this thread along these lines so there’s no need to rehash it all — if you took the time to read them all you’ll likely get a better grasp of what it is I am saying than you might find in one particular comment.

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

                      If what you wrote here were true, I would have expected you to comment rather differently than you have. Rather than defending young-earth creationism, why not emphasize instead the fact that their being clearly and obviously not merely wrong but deceitful does not imply that Christianity is itself wrong or deceitful? Why spend so much time disagreeing with the OP if your point was to agree with it?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I didn’t say I agreed with your original post. I don’t see YE creationist types as dishonest or lying as you do. Even in the case with Spurgeon, they published a footnote once they were called on the carpet for the missing sentence. You can hardly call that deceptive even if you lack faith in their integrity. Your post was a clear overreach and your confidence in the veracity of established scientific claims seems a bit unbounded. Furthermore, you really have no scholarly expertise in this area so I can’t just take your word for it.

                      So, I’ve spent most of my time here making sure everyone knows how tentative scientific claims are, how there is often a clear difference between what passes as rhetoric for science and the actual reality of the more modest claims typically made once challenged, and that a biblical view of the world and God is not necessarily as unreasonable as you or others might suppose.

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

                      You seemed just a few comments ago to agree that our relative degree of confidence or lack thereof does not mean every view is equal. That you are unaware of just how deceitful young-earth creationism is is a gap in your knowledge, but it doesn’t change the facts. Science and all fields of scholarship work through trying to advance knowledge and challenge accepted findings. If the experts agree on something, it is not to be scoffed at as likely as you suggest, and if the experts do turn out to be wrong, it is likely to be further research by experts that will demonstrate this, not exposed charlatans.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I have not seen this sort of deceitfulness you indicate, and you didn’t offer proof of it in this post. Perhaps you have other examples you’d like to include that are incontrovertible.

                      As for expert knowledge, as I said, I have no problem relying on expert advice with the caveat that experts are not the end all be all of our knowledge. Further research by experts may indeed demonstrate needed revisions to current scientific practice but such things could come from elsewhere as well. Regardless, truth should be respected from any source. Even Balaam’s ass knew that when his rider still hadn’t seen the angel in front of him.

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

                      This might be a good place to start. I’ve been blogging about this topic for a long time. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2008/09/blogging-creationism-the-highlights.html

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Thanks for the links. However, I don’t really have the time to go through every one of them. If you have one or two you could refer me to that will demonstrate a pattern of deceitful behavior that is absolutely incontrovertible I will be happy to go through them. One-offs don’t really count unless you can demonstrate the pattern overall.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath
                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      OK. Good enough, thank you.

                    • Steve Greene

                      “I’m here to say there are additional things to consider besides the empirical results and conclusions offered from doing science.”

                      But when you are discussing whether or not it is empirically correct, it is only the empirical results that are relevant. Everything else is irrelevant. And, oh, by the way, the discussion happens to be about whether or not it is empirically correct. Due to their religious motivations creationists want to say that biological evolution is empirically wrong, and to do so they use a red herring fallacy about eugenics. The discussion is not about the morality of eugenics, nor is it about the morality of using nuclear bombs, it is about whether biological evolution (or, say, radioactivity in physics) is scientifically correct.

                      You have not made one single point showing why considerations regarding the morality of eugenics is supposed to have any relevance of any kind to this discussion. Indeed, the more you try to defend the red herring, the smellier it gets.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Discussions are about what their participants bring to the table. I brought to the table things I believe are important to consider whether it was part of the original discussion or not. And, people engaged on the points I brought forward. So, I’m not sure what your real problem is here. Regardless, I’m definitely not here to suffer your harangues. I’ve made my own opinions quite clear. You can take or leave them.

                    • stuart32

                      Kevin, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the theory of evolution led to the Holocaust. Do you realise what that means? If the theory of evolution is true and therefore God created us through the process of evolution, then God did that knowing that when we found out how we were created it would lead to carnage on the worst scale in history.

                      On the other hand, if the theory of evolution isn’t true, then God created us in such a way that we would end believing (falsely) in evolution and that this would lead to carnage on the worst scale in history.

                      Either way, God is responsible.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I’m not arguing that evolution led to the Holocaust. So, really, the question is moot. Ultimately, God is sovereign over all but not responsible for the evil actions of men.

                    • stuart32

                      Perhaps it would be better not to suggest any connection between the theory of evolution and the Holocaust. But if you do you need to consider the implications of any connection. They may not be to your liking.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      If you’ve read the thread fully, you’ll see that I have no problem admitting the connection between anti-Semitism in Christianity and the Holocaust–particularly in Germany at the time. So, no, I’m not playing favorites here. We need to be ready to evaluate everything that comes our way in terms of the truth of the matter. Science shouldn’t be exempted from social or historical analysis. So, I hope you can see I’m being quite consistent here.

                    • stuart32

                      It’s not a question of evolution versus Christianity. If the theory of evolution is true then any objection you might have against it is also an objection against God’s way creating us.

                      But if the theory isn’t true then any objection against the theory is also an objection against God for creating the world in such a way as to deceive so badly.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      No, I don’t believe it’s that simple. Ideas have consequences regardless as to whether they are ultimately true or false. So, we can’t simply look at something like evolution in a vacuum as if the only thing to say about it is whether it’s true or false.

                    • stuart32

                      It may not be the only thing to say about it, but it should be the first and most important thing to say about it. Also, if you are concerned about the consequences of ideas then you should apply that to creationism. James Mcgrath has consistently argued that creationism is doing great harm to Christianity by making people think that Christianity isn’t intellectually respectable. If he’s right then you might want to keep quiet about creationism even if you think it’s true.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      No, I don’t necessarily agree that the most important thing to say about evolution is whether or not it’s true or false. The question really boils down to how society might use an idea like evolution. Clearly, in the case of the Nazis, ideas of evolution (or ideas similar to evolution) caused justification for many things. But, don’t mistake my meaning here. I’m not saying either that there are only negative consequences to holding to evolution. What I am saying is that we can’t treat scientific ideas and theories as if they exist in a vacuum and are not subject to the same criticism we might offer of other things.

                      As far as Christianity’s intellectual acceptability–really, Christianity is never acceptable to those who accept the wisdom of this world. But, we can throw your dilemma back on you. If God really did create the world in seven days and then told his people that through his word–who are you to argue even when scientific results might point to the contrary?

                    • stuart32

                      You said earlier that God is not responsible for the evil actions of men. You also say that we should be concerned about the potential harm of certain ideas. Presumably, you think we have a responsibility to consider the potential harm of certain ideas.

                      God created a world in which nuclear bombs are a possibility, but, presumably, God doesn’t have a responsibility for that, whereas, the scientists who developed nuclear bombs do have a responsibility. I have doubts about that way of looking at it, but I will go along with it for the sake of argument.

                      In my opinion, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, so that must be God’s way of creating us. If I promote the theory of evolution I must accept responsibility, in your view, for the potential harm of this idea. But, presumably, God accepts no responsibility for creating us through an evolutionary process.

                      Now, you might just get away with putting all the blame on us and none on God in the case of nuclear weapons, but you can’t possibiy do that in the case of evolution.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You’ve certainly boxed yourself into a corner. I don’t think this is my dilemma to answer, but yours.

                    • stuart32

                      If you think that I have boxed myself into a corner, then perhaps the way out is to pretend to myself, in spite of the evidence, that evolution is false.

                    • TomHark

                      Nor do I.

                    • Sven2547

                      Evolution was taught in Germany and Germany was anti-Semitic. These two things have nothing to do with each-other.

                      Evolution doesn’t lead to antisemitism. And is that’s not an “accurate” representation of what you’re claiming, then please clarify exactly what it is you’re claiming.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I have already clarified what I said. Evolution was developed within a scholarly milieu that we can demonstrate to have been anti-Semitic and that encouraged acceptance of the later horrors of Nazi Germany. In fact, we have record of Hitler including evolutionary arguments in Mein Kampf (cf. chapter 9).

                      cf. http://www.discovery.org/a/10051

                    • Paul Burnett

                      Kevin wrote “it was part of an academic milieu that was anti-Semitic”. Go to Wikipedia and look at the article “On the Jews and Their Lies” – an anti-Semitic tract written by Martin Luther in 1543, which eerily echoes Hitler’s program.

                • The_L1985

                  No, the idea that a scientific fact should be the basis of morality, combined with centuries of antisemitism in Europe, is what led to the Holocaust.

                  Evolution is not in any way a moral doctrine, any more than gravity makes falling off a cliff “good” or climbing upwards “bad.” To say that it is makes a mockery of both science and ethics.

                  • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                    I am happy to agree with you that evolution is not a moral doctrine. However, it has been used for ethical and other moral considerations by some. So, there are still consequences to its existence that must be considered if we are being honest about it.

                    • The_L1985

                      The Bible has been used to justify slavery in the United States. However, neither of us would consider that a reason to ban the Bible!

              • Larry D Andrews

                Prove to me the evolution of a soul, and a conscience, and I will believe your lies….. and then jump off the cliff.

                • Sven2547

                  Prove to me the existence of a soul and we’ll have something to start with.

                  • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                    I would rather have you empirically prove that logic exists.

                    • Sven2547

                      Such circular reasoning. Use logic to demonstrate logic. What does the existence of logic have to do with the FACTS of evolution?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      As Yoda would say, “EVERYTHINGGGG!”

                      Without logic, you have no scientific method. Without the scientific method, you have no basis for evolution. In fact, evolution presupposes an order to the universe you simply can’t demonstrate in any universal way but go ahead keep using our understanding of the world to help in framing yours. It only lays the groundwork for the truth of Christianity.

                    • Sven2547

                      Is this the pathetic lengths creationists stoop to? To claim the scientific method doesn’t exist? What a farce. You’re really just embarrassing yourself at this point.

                      In fact, evolution presupposes an order to the universe you simply can’t demonstrate in any universal way

                      Evolution HAS been demonstrated.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I didn’t say the scientific method doesn’t exist. I said you need logic in order to demonstrate its legitimacy as well as an assumption that the universe works a certain way.

                    • Sven2547

                      So are you denying logic exists? Seriously, where are you going with this.
                      Logic exists.
                      The scientific method exists.
                      The scientific method has demonstrated the reality of evolution and an “old Earth”.
                      Which of these statements do you take exception to, and why?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      No. I am not denying logic exists. I’m saying the advocates of science need to provide the philosophical and empirical bases for their understanding of the world sufficient to defend the existence of logic, the scientific method, and the legitimacy of their results. All of it is typically assumed by many scientists and only considered in certain obscure corners of these discussions. So, in essence, we find out that underlying evidence, argumentation, and conclusions quite dogmatically stated is a thin layer of presuppositions that are usually only assumed and never really justified because our society takes them for granted already due to the Judeo-Christian nature of our society.

                    • Sven2547

                      So you’re saying scientists are taking logic and the scientific method for granted?

                      Still not understanding what this has to do with evolution and the “old Earth”. This things are neither “dogmatic” nor based on a “thin layer of presuppositions”.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I’m saying some scientists take logic and the scientific method for granted. These fundamental issues have everything to do with how science proceeds and the results it carries into any theory. Where did these ideas come from and how do scientists validate them? You can’t simply treat the results of a scientific investigation when ultimate truth claims are in question.

                    • Ian

                      Ultimate truth claims aren’t directly in question, unless you first presume that YEC is some divinely ordained fiat of truth.

                      The question is, do YEC claims correspond with reality. They do not. Are YEC claims made with care for truth and honesty and openness. They are n ot.

                      The YEC trick of trying to claim YEC as being ‘of God’ and any science as ‘not of God’ is often successful. But it is just transparent question begging.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Ultimate truth claims are in question when science runs up against the biblical text. More time needs to be spent examining these claims on all sides. I’m not calling for anything here but humility, transparency, openness, and honesty.

                    • Ian

                      Your assumption that science is running up against the biblical text is the question begging.

                      The majority of Christians see no more contradiction between evolution and the biblical text than they do meteorology or cosmology.

                      When you say ‘the biblical text’ you merely mean your hermeneutic of the text. Hence you continue to beg the question.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      You keep talking to me like we’re old friends. How do you know how I feel about the biblical text? There’s no question begging here but rather valid interpretations among Christians that do run counter to the claims of science. If you can’t see that in the history of the church over the last three hundred years I honestly don’t know what to say.

                    • Ian

                      I know because you said “science runs up against the biblical text”. And that is precisely the question begging I am referring to.

                      Perhaps I’m not being clear. Irrespective of whether you agree, do you get what I mean?

                      What I understand you as saying is that for Christians, the biblical text is in some sense authoritative by virtue of its divine inspiration, so when its contents are contradicted by science there is a tension. Therefore the science cannot be accepted over the biblical claims without a different (non-scientific) kind of discussion being had.

                      If that is roughly what you’re saying (acknowledging you’d use different words), then i think my point stands. If not, I’d appreciate correction.

                    • Steve Greene

                      “Ultimate truth claims are in question when science runs up against the biblical text.”

                      Ah, yes, the circular reasoning inherent to much religious faith. Thank you for openly stating it.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Circular reasoning is a part of science as well. You don’t get a pass simply because you believe otherwise.

                    • Steve Greene

                      “Circular reasoning is a part of science as well. You don’t get a pass simply because you believe otherwise.”

                      I certainly realize that it is part and parcel of the rubric of creationist rhetoric to try to pretend that science is religion, like creationism is religion. That claim is false. The reason it is false is because testing ideas against real world evidence is a fundamental principle of science, and it is exactly that fundamental principle that proves that your claim that “Circular reasoning is part of science as well [like religion]” is false.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      So, you’re saying you make no fundamental assumptions that can’t be proven in doing science? How do you know your results in an experience will always be repeatable once you demonstrate that they will be?

                    • Steve Greene

                      “How do you know your results in an experience will always be repeatable once you demonstrate that they will be?”

                      Geeze – have you ever read a scientific research article. Depending on the level of detail and the extent of the research, of course, scientists report the assumptions used, typically citing relevant previous research relied on, and reporting details of the conditions of observations and experiments. There is less than zero doubt that scientists are fallible, make mistakes, and can leave out relevant and useful details, and that experimental results may not be repeatable precisely because of this – which is why there is scientific revision in the first place, duh. And none of this backs up a single thing you say in trying to pretend that “Circular reasoning is part of science as well [like religion]“.

                      Science is not religion, and religion is not science. It is certainly part of the creationist agenda to try to pretend otherwise in trying to prop up their false beliefs, but it simply is not the case.

                      Let’s talk about the use of the word “dogma” that so many creationists are fond of using in their anti-science propaganda. It’s a beautiful example of the hypocritical self-projection that is endemic to so much of their rhetoric. A “dogma” in science is nothing like a religious dogma – but simply refers to an over-arching explanatory concept that has been developed and honed by extensive scientific research – but should future research results (as the result of continuing testing against relevant real world evidence) lead to revision, or even rejection, of the “dogma”, then it will be rejected, precisely because it is not a religious dogma.

                    • Sven2547

                      When truth claims are in question, I’ll take empirical evidence, control groups, documentation, and verification over superstition every time.

                    • Steve Greene

                      “I’m saying some scientists take logic and the scientific method for granted.”

                      You’re just wrong. I take the operation of my computer for granted too. But, believe me, when I notice things not working right, there is no dogma whatsoever, I get the problem fixed, or if it’s too bad, I throw the computer out and get a new one.

                      Science is not religion, and religion is not science.

                  • Larry D Andrews

                    Prove to me the hope in not having a soul.

                    • Sven2547

                      I’m not sure what you mean. Are you suggesting hope cannot exist without a “soul”? How about hope in one’s community, or hope that one’s government can be better, or hope that one’s own situation can be better, or any number of things. There’s nothing supernatural about the concept of hope.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      A person without a soul cannot be good, because in all situations he will put self above all others. The difference in the behavior of animals and man is proof the soul exists.

                    • Sven2547

                      A person without a soul cannot be good, because in all situations he will put self above all others.

                      On what grounds do you make this silly assumption?

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      On the grounds that if you starve your loving dog to death and then try to pet him with a cheeseburger in your hand, he will bite you. Humans with souls have been known to die for for others that they might live.

                    • Sven2547

                      You’re still not making much of an argument. Humans aren’t the only altruistic species out there. Lots of animals sacrifice themselves for the sake of others in their population.

                    • Ian

                      Wow, nice non-sequitur. Its almost as if you had nothing constructive to say.

              • Larry D Andrews

                Oh sure, while there is more so-called brilliant knowledge of the genetic code than ever. More bones are uncovered every day. Higgs Boson discovered a useless particle. The caner rate is exploding, new and un-cureable viruses are rampant, old diseases are making a comeback, and men have nuclear warheads pointed at each other finger on trigger. Evolution and progress a beautiful education.

                • David_Evans

                  “The cancer rate is exploding”

                  We all die of something. As science cures more diseases, more of us live long enough to get cancer.

                  You might not know it, but we are already learning (thanks to knowing the genetic code) how to tailor medical treatments much more accurately to particular patients.

                  “Old diseases are making a comeback”. Yes, especially where religious extremists are killing vaccination workers. Or (in the case of rickets) where Muslim women in full burka are not getting enough sunlight to make vitamin D.

                  • Larry D Andrews

                    I am glad you said religious extremists, and not Christians. Christians are not killing, rather being killed. I refuse to be thrown into the same lump as muslims. Evolution is a religion. The genetic code is degrading not improving. Medical science has hit the top of the graph. The recent deaths in my own family of a 56 year old and a 68 y.o. of cancer tend to disagree with your statement.

                    • Ian

                      “I refuse to be thrown into the same lump as muslims. ” Yet fundamentalist muslims are the only other major group of evolution deniers out there. They don’t want to be lumped in with the satanic Christian fundamentalists either. But by their fruits we know them.

              • ChristianCreationist

                This is where the definition of evolution would have to come into play… The evolution of pathogens is not special evolution, they are still bacteria and viruses, so the study of species to species evolution would not contribute here. Genetic diversity in crops is the same thing, not special evolution, corn is still corn, wheat is still wheat, carrots are still carrots, etc… Modifying produce for human consumption is just that, modification. There is NO evidence of species to species evolution, NONE!

                • Sven2547

                  There is NO evidence of species to species evolution, NONE!

                  Except for the massive amount of genetic evidence, fossil evidence, morphological evidence, and historical evidence…
                  heck, even the evolution from wolf to dog happened within the span of human existence.

                • Ian

                  “special evolution,” – that’s a new one on me. Presumably by analogy with special creation. I’ve only ever heard the phrase in relation to Pokemon!

                • Ian

                  So a bacteria are all one species are they?

            • The_L1985

              This is a bit long-winded, but you wanted to know how evolution has advanced science and technology, and why, if evolution is happening, people don’t just kill each other off. So here we go:

              1. The flu mutates into a different strand every year; if evolution were a hoax, this would not happen. Therefore, our knowledge of evolution has helped us to make useful flu vaccines.

              2. Our knowledge of selection pressures have allowed us to refine our artificial selection of domestic plants and animals, even on the direct genetic level. This has resulted in higher crop yields, the creation of antibodies to stop certain diseases, and quite a few other recent improvements to life on earth.

              3. I did not read one word in defense of evolution until after I left high school; most public schools tend to only cover it during a short period of 7th grade (I skipped that grade), NOT during any other grade level. I was a stanch YEC until well into my college years, when I began to learn about genetic drift, the writing of the Bible, and many other facts that led me to look into both sides of the argument, because I wanted above all else to know the truth.

              4. Evolution is about the survival of the entire species, not just an individual. We have a strong drive to protect children (our own and other peoples’) from harm, because a species cannot survive without any children. We have a sex drive, because sex makes babies and the species can’t survive if we don’t reproduce. We have a sense of duty to our societies because an individual human, with our lack of fangs and claws, tends not to survive nearly as well as a tribe, village, or nation of humans. It’s about surviving long enough to produce offspring; in the case of mammals and birds, the parents must also survive until those offspring are old enough to fend for themselves.

              Bee drones, and many other male insects, die as a direct result of mating–once the female’s eggs are fertilized, they no longer contribute to the survival of the species, so either the females eat them, or the act of pulling away breaks off the male’s reproductive organ, causing him to bleed to death. Meanwhile, the queen bee mates with lots of drones in order to ensure that her eggs have a wide gene pool, because genetic diversity is necessary for the long-term survival of living things in general and bees in particular. It’s not good for men to die after fathering children, because he can help to protect and nurture those children to a productive adulthood.

              5. A theory, by definition, is the best explanation people can come up with to explain all the evidence out there. YEC doesn’t even explain the amount of evidence we had 400 years ago, much less today. Even if a fossil was found that disproved the current progression of evolution-as-we-know-it, the evidence would still be overwhelmingly against a young earth. Besides, gravity is “just a theory” with even less direct evidence supporting it than evolution; however, most people have more sense than to attempt flight without an airplane! :)

              “On my last comment, ignorance of lies presented as facts is truly wisdom.”

              And deliberate ignorance of anything that might possibly send you out of your comfort zone is folly. Surely if God gave you reasoning skills, you ought to use them in the pursuit of truth?

              • Larry D Andrews

                Rebuttal

                1. I do not take the flu vaccine because my antibodies are strong and most people who take the flu vaccine feel worse and many catch the flu any way. The flu is mutating and becoming stronger because of the vaccines.

                2.Many people including the Chinese who just rejected our entire crop of genetically modified corn do not want to eat that crap. While I can grow you some wonderful heirloom vegs without pesticides.

                3. Most of the so-called facts in your education are theories and not proven, rather accepted as fact by your professors, many because they do not want God to be true. That is because they enjoy the darkness and evil in their hearts.

                4. Homosexual sex drive….need I say more?
                could I add pedophilia,bestiality, and unisex

                5. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding Pr 2:6

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

                  You may need to look up the meaning of “rebuttal.”

                  You also need to look up what “theory” means in the natural sciences.

        • DOH

          Amen.

        • The_L1985

          “Reason being, in evolution there is no hope.”

          To me, the opposite is true. If we have come from such humble beginnings to our current state, then how much higher might we go? I can hope that humanity becomes more intelligent, more compassionate, and better at managing resources–just as our ancestors have been evolving in these directions since mammals came to exist.

          For me, YEC is the “rabbit hole that has no end and no value to mankind,” especially when YEC’s insist that a young earth is the only possible thing that Christians can believe regarding the origins of humankind.

          To believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, I had to ignore the fact that the Bible is a collection of dozens of ancient texts in a variety of genres and blindly insist that every single narrative therein is history in the modern sense of the word. (The Illiad was written about the same time as Genesis. A lot of the story structure is the same; also note that the Illiad reports, as history, that the war was started by an argument between 3 goddesses over which was prettiest, and that Achilles was the strongest fighter in Greece because he was dipped in a river that leads to a literal, physical, on-this-earth Land of the Dead. History, at that time, was meant to teach moral virtues through the example of great men, not to report the facts exactly as they happened.)

          To believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, I had to convince myself that the vast majority of the stars visible in our night sky are illusions–that either the light was created “on the way” or that the light does not correspond to actual stars however-many millions of light-years away. Either way, this idea makes God into a liar.

          To believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, I had to pretend that we know NOTHING about radioactive half-lives, and that therefore all radioisotope dating is suspect. The fact that we have nuclear power generators that don’t randomly kill people (the Chernobyl incident was due to management skimping on safety features) is proof that we know a lot about how radioisotopes work; scientists are not going to consistently get ALL radioisotope dates wrong in exactly the same way.

          To believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, I had to ignore the fact that fossils appear in easily-identifiable layers (NOT in the jumbled mish-mash one would expect from a global flood; tiny trilobites are always lower than great big T. rex!) that show signs of having been laid down over very long periods of time. I had to decide whether to believe that the dinosaurs went extinct after Noah’s Flood, or that their bones are natural rock formations that just look like bones. Neither possibility fits with what frequently-observed facts, or with common sense; therefore, both possibilities make God a liar.

          To believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, I had to lie to myself for YEARS. I don’t consider such self-deception in any way compatible with Truth in any of her forms.

          So when I was told, over and over, that admitting the truth about any or all of these things was to abandon Christianity, guess what I was forced to jettison in favor of the truth?

          Young-earth creationism drives truth-loving people away from Christianity. This alone should give you pause.

        • Jonathan

          It’s a big mistake to insist that evolution and Christianity are incompatible. There’s no reason, other than drawing politcal lines in the sand and feeling the need to take the opposite stand from atheists, to deny evolution. Man evolving hardly changes his nature as the greatest creation of God, just says that maybe we don’t know the exact timing, or methods, of God’s creation process. Insisting we know when we don’t, is foolishness.

          • Larry D Andrews

            “Insisting we know when we don’t, is foolishness”
            Exactly! My thought on evolution

            Evolution is not compatible with Christianity because of the bible, it’s infallibility, and what it says. The bible tells us the timing, the method, and the reason everything exists. Why would you keep one foot in the frying pan, and the other in the fire? Don’t just fiddle around with being a Christian if you believe in evolution, because you will suffer the same end as the crack smoker and the whore monger.
            God put His stamp on His word encoded in math way before it’s time. Since a person can not prove evolution, why would a so-called Christian EVER put any faith in what man says? It is way too late in the game for wasting time. God explains exactly what happened, take it by faith and worship Him for it.

            If you want to wait and see, and sit on the fence, Revelations will tell you how He wants to vomit you out of His mouth. Pray and ask Jesus to show you the way. He says do not be of this world, live in His spirit.

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

              It is interesting to see that you take a line that even Ken Ham avoids taking, saying that in essence accepting science is a sin.

              But the irony is that acceptance of evolution is acceptance of the evidence of the creator’s handiwork, while you prefer to accept what ancient humans wrote in the Bible. Why would you not accept the evidence of the Bible in fact being fallible, rather than adopt the stance of insulting, demeaning, and rejecting the Creator’s own handiwork? And how can you dare, as someone who rejects the Creator’s own testimony in the rocks and the genome, have the audacity to claim that someone who accepts the Creator’s own handiwork and its testimony is risking hell, while you are not when it is you who is exalting the testimony of men over the testimony of God?

              • Larry D Andrews

                Sir, we have been around and around before. To correlate my comment as to science in “essence” is sin, is just silly and not worth reply.

            • stuart32

              “why would a so-called Christian EVER put any faith in what man says?”

              That is a good question. May I ask you why you put your faith in the men who wrote Genesis? They may have been conveying God’s word but how do we know? Why does your concern about human fallibility suddenly stop at this point? In the case of evolution, we have the chance to insure ourselves against our fallibility by examining numerous pieces of evidence. In the case of divine revelation we only get one chance. If someone claims to have received a revelation from God no one else can check it. Surely we should be far more concerned about human fallibility here.

              You say that the Bible is infallible, but this isn’t true. If it was true then anyone who copies the Bible would be incapable of making a mistake. The fact that people do make mistakes when copying the Bible shows that the process whereby God’s word is transmitted to us is subject to error. God is infallible; we are not, and that includes those supposedly passing on God’s word.

              • Larry D Andrews

                This link is not the best reason to believe, or the only reason to believe, but it really does make you go “hmmmm”, if you are already blinded by, and a slave to satan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM2mRsUSMkY there are several other codes in the bible that could not have been created by men at that time. These codes are easily discoverable in the computer age (as God knew beforehand) for scoffers of the last days. Repent, judgement is near.

                • stuart32

                  That’s jolly interesting, but if God wanted to prove himself wasn’t there a better way of doing it? Couldn’t God have passed on some unambiguous scientific fact that could only be verified centuries later? The trouble with communicating in secret codes is that when experts examine them and declare them to be nonsense the whole thing backfires.

                  • Larry D Andrews

                    Experts have had over 550 years to dispute this. Don’t go by the garbled hype movies on the subject.
                    God does not need to prove himself. If He did, He would not be worthy of praise. He proved His love for us in that being our creator, He walked amongst us, died for our sins, and arose victorious over death, in order that we might live for ever.
                    The code is more of a thumbprint to authenticate his word for non-believers. He knew scoffers would say the bible was written by men. You see He wants none to perish, but have everlasting life.
                    I really get a kick out of arrogant humans trying to figure out the mind of God. Always reminds me of me and my chickens. They always make me laugh watching them scurry around in irrational fear, unreasonable movement, and comical stupidity. However they probably think they are the smartest chickens around.

                    • stuart32

                      I’m not trying to prove that the Bible isn’t God’s word, by the way. My point was that we have to use our judgement to decide whether it is or not; just as we have to use our judgement regarding evolution. My judgement tells me that there is overwhelming evidence for evolution and I can’t see anything that could possibly counter this, although it may be the case that I am guilty of comical stupidity.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      Well if you really believe your bible you would know that if we are saved, we are not to use our judgement, rather, to live in the way of Christ, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If you are not willing to have faith and subjugate yourself to God’s will, then just forget it and go your own way (which I assure you will lead to destruction). The evidence for evolution is not proven, and never can be. The so-called “evidence” presented is from men who have an agenda other than concern for your eternal life (they will lie, steal, kill, and destroy, for a dollar bill or notoriety) . Therefore you may have faith in their agenda (evolutionist religion) which leads to death at best, or hellfire at worst, Or you can put your faith in Christ ( who by the way has more than a ton of evidence) and the result is at worst death but for sure eternal life.

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

                      I am sorry to hear that you have used your judgment to persuade yourself that the Bible says that you ought not to use your judgment. How you have managed to persuade yourself that you never use your ability to discern and reason is hard to imagine. Is your use of arguments that are unpersuasive part of your attempt to persuade us of your lack of judgment?

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      It is not my job to persuade, use judgement, or discern. It is my job to relay information, to love, and have concern for my fellow man. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to do the things you say. Very peaceful indeed.

                    • stuart32

                      You seem to be offering me Pascal’s wager, but this is a problem. The moral of the wager is that it doesn’t matter how weak the case for Christianity is. Because the cost of rejecting Christianity is so terrible if one turns out to be wrong, one should accept it no matter what.

                      You are right that we can’t prove evolution to be true, but our inability to prove it is no more than our inability to prove the truth of the Bible. I would argue that we can come much closer to proving evolution than we can ever come to proving the Bible.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      You are willing to bet your eternal soul on horseshoe rules? I think you should be honest (all of you) and just admit that you like sin. In fact you love sin so much you are willing to close your mind to God. Stop trying to be all sciencey, and admit you do not want to follow Gods rules, or submit to him. Denying that pianos can fly does not change the velocity of the one about to fall on your head. Repent all of you, and be baptised in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

                    • James Walker

                      no, we’re willing to bet our eternal souls on God. that’s what God is for, taking care of the eternal stuff while we on earth figure out the earthly stuff like evolution and other science along with practicing our faith in the teachings of Jesus.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      If you really believed the teachings of Jesus, you would know that most of the stuff you are trying to figure out has already been explained by Him. If you want to have fun unraveling the mysteries of His creation, go ahead. It is just my opinion that the real hidden agenda is, sin without remorse.

                    • James Walker

                      setting aside the fact that you totally just questioned my Salvation, which isn’t your business to question. seriously. but setting that aside for now..

                      the Bible isn’t a science book. it isn’t even a history book. it explains nothing except how the Jewish and Christian faiths came to be, from the perspective of those believers who came before us. for the purpose of teaching us how to be Christians, it is unparalleled in all of literature.

                    • stuart32

                      Larry, the stones have cried out. They have told us that they are 4.5 billion years old.

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

                  You should look into the Winnie the Pooh code. It will add to the list of books you need to consider divinely inspired.

    • Sergius Martin-George

      ” I wonder, despite their evidence twisting and other shortcomings, do YECs serve a useful function as cognitive minority thorn in the side that reminds us of the importance of questioning what society takes as given fact?”

      As I’ve looked into this controversy over the last couple of years, this is one of the biggest questions I have been struggling with.

      • TomHark

        ” I wonder, despite their evidence twisting and other shortcomings, do YECs serve a useful function as cognitive minority thorn …”

        Nope.

        They tell lies, they spout absurdities. They want your children to waste valuable education time looking at both sides of a so-called controversy that they themselves have manufactured.

        They want … your money.

        • Larry D Andrews

          I thought good education included diversity…… you know just in case somebody was like, WRONG.

          • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

            Evolution can’t be wrong when science functions as your god. So, no need for diversity in education!

            • Larry D Andrews

              Agreed! Only their god can’t save them. They have no hope. A dead rabbit is not worth chasing.

          • TomHark

            Have you seen the picture of Jesus saddled up on a dinosaur? Does that count as educational diversity?

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

            Should we teach Holocaust denial in schools just to be safe? what about Jesus mythicism? Or do you only advocate “diversity” to get your own particular set of crackpot lies in, rather than in the interest of fairness? Another example of YEC’s self-serving duplicity.

            • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

              Frankly, I would settle for the notion in our public schools that evolution as a matter of science is tentative in nature rather than the glorious revelatory way it is handed down to us today as a competitor to God’s word.

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

                Meteorology is a competitor to the Bible if understood as you propose, since it leaves no room for God sending the rains. Spaceflight is a competitor since the astronauts have never smacked up against the firmament.

                But returning to your other point, would you say that the Holocaust or the historicity of Jesus ought to be said to be tentative, just because there are crackpots who challenge the consensus of experts in these areas?

                • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                  No. Meteorology is not necessarily a competitor to the Bible. Why can’t God work through secondary means to accomplish his will? Maybe it’s your understanding of the Bible that is the problem here.

                  I would say that all of history has to be continually examined in order to make sure what we do know is correct. Proper scholarship *always* proceeds tentatively and humbly knowing that the results of study are subject to review and correction.

                  “Crackpots” should be disproven and not merely dismissed in order to fully satisfy those who might be tempted to agree with them. But, really, calling Christians crackpots who do not agree with you is demeaning and terribly insulting if you can’t produce the evidence to demonstrate that such is the case. It’s certainly not within the province of loving your neighbor as yourself.

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

                    It would be unloving to leave people in an error from which I have been fortunate enough to escape.

                    And indeed, the similar sort of YEC claim that the Bible and biology and geology are at odds with one another is the problem, not the Bible nor the science.

                    No crackpots think that all the extensive evidence presented against their view is decisive. And any scientist or scholar will emphasize that, while there are things that are well enough established that they are only disputed by ideologically-driven purveyors of falsehood, there is much that we do not know, and much that might be revised in light of new evidence.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Good. So putting aside the theory of crackpots you are willing to admit you could be wrong–or at least that the possibility exists.

                    • Steve Greene

                      Pseudoscience charlatans exist. They are a part of reality. One feature of pseudoscience is that they defiantly continue to promote false arguments they use to promote their pseudoscience even long after those arguments have been shown to be factually and/or logically wrong. That is what creationists do. So why are we supposed to ignore the real world fact that creationists are promoters of pseudoscience as motivated by religious belief? Again you use rhetoric trying to pretend that it is somehow magically impossible for creationists to be pushing pseudoscience, yet never once do you even attempt to explain why it is impossible for that to be the case.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I’m not the only one using rhetoric. You’ve already admitted that McGrath’s piece here is chiefly rhetoric. I have added that it overreaches and is insulting. You may disagree, but then your perspective is not that of the Almighty (unless science has learned something quite new!).

                    • Steve Greene

                      “but then your perspective is not that of the Almighty”

                      No one’s perspective here is the perspective of a god, not mine and not yours. That is one of the fundamentally corrupt conceits used by creationists (and not by creationists only, of course).

                      I did not say that McGrath’s piece is “chiefly” rhetoric, but that the “Time To Choose” frame is a dramatic rhetorical device. Notice, again, however, that I pointed out that it is indeed *past* time to choose. Young earth creationists in the early 1800s could be forgiven for not being up on the details of the latest greatest discoveries in geological science, which only the university elite may have been privy to, which made it unequivocally clear that the earth has been around far longer than any mere 6,000 years, but after that, as education on the subject filtered down through the general public, anyone found promoting young earth creationism is demonstrating his determination to push an anti-science agenda as motivated by his closed-minded adherence to religious dogma.

                      Of course, the issue today in the 21st century is that creationists (not just young earth creationists) are by their very presence acting to undermine the credibility both of Christian religious faith in general and the Christian claim to a superior moral awareness. Do note that my own perspective on this is quite different from McGrath’s. He is a Christian worried about that undermining influence. I’m an atheist who simply uses the nature of the creationist mindset as a great example that very effectively demonstrates the fundamentally irrational nature of the very principle of religious faith.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      And, please, the notion that there is no ideology attached to science is simply ridiculous. Read a philosophy of science textbook sometime.

                  • Ian

                    Why can’t God work through secondary means to accomplish his will? Maybe it’s your understanding of the Bible that is the problem here.

                    Oh the irony!

                  • Steve Greene

                    “‘Crackpots’ should be disproven and not merely dismissed in order to fully satisfy those who might be tempted to agree with them.”

                    Creationists *have* been disproven, again and again and again and again and again and again and… for decades on hundreds of different specific claims they make against science.

                    “But, really, calling Christians crackpots who do not agree with you is demeaning and terribly insulting if you can’t produce the evidence to demonstrate that such is the case.”

                    But if you *can* produce the evidence – indeed, if the evidence has already been produced voluminously, for decades – then you call people crackpots precisely because they are crackpots. What part of this are you having a problem understanding?

            • Larry D Andrews

              You don’t respect the most historically accurate documents in existence as relevant? Come on James I thought you could argue better than that. Your comparison is silly. What are you guys afraid of? Your fear bares your diffidence.

              • Ian

                You don’t respect the most scientifically accurate experiments in existence? Come on, anonymous person, you’ll have to do better than play silly word games and deliberately miss the point.

                We get why you don’t like the comparison, as you don’t like the comparison with muslim fundamentalist evolution-deniers. But you haven’t given anyone any good reason to think the comparisons aren’t valid, so far.

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

                If you have been told that the Bible contains the most accurate documents in existence, then you have been lied to about more than just science.

                Since you are addressing me by my first name, I assume you intended to tell me yours and introduce yourself, but I don’t see that information anywhere.

                • Larry D Andrews

                  I am Larry Andrews, I am sorry but I fixed that on my profile. Nice to meet you.

    • IDK

      Equating Creationism with “doing evil” reminds me of what the anti theist Dawkins said, when he stated that anyone who does not accept evolution is either stupid, ignorant, lying or just evil.

      Demonizing the opposition is a sign of a prejudice of its own.

      Why, it would be like someone saying that Dr. McGrath is really working against Christianity and not telling us what he really thinks!

      Who could consider such a thing?

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

        Sometimes people are accused of lying because they are lying. In this instance, proof has been provided. It is no good complaining that it is mere demonization of opponents when you have not addressed the evidence for YEC duplicity and hypocrisy.

    • DanielKnightForChrist

      The Bible says Earth is old at this point, the universe is 6,500 years old, the data shows it is, and God said it is. What is absurd, is old earth big bang evolutionists, who in their arrogance speak as if they were sitting on a fence watching the universe exploding into existence 15 billion years ago, and their atheist partners in the liberal media who spread that crap, babbling about gas forming into stars like it’s happening anything close to real time, a clear lie. May God forgive such desperately evil liars.

      • stuart32

        “who in their arrogance speak as if they were sitting on a fence watching the universe exploding into existence 15 billion years ago”

        Is this an example of the “were you there” argument? If you don’t think that the big bang occurred, do you have an alternative explanation for the recession of galaxies, the hydrogen/helium ratio, and the microwave background radiation?

        “babbling about gas forming into stars like it’s happening anything close to real time”

        It is happening in real time. We can’t actually see gas falling onto a protostar, but we can use doppler shifts to show that it is happening.

  • Kevin D. Johnson

    Bandwagon arguments come and go and McGrath’s rather hostile piece is no different. The truth is, however, that pretending there is any real universal consensus among churches and denominations on these issues today is simply foolhardy. When entire segments of America’s population still believe evolution is false, it’s nothing more than sleight of hand to pretend that some “tiny group” remains quite unwillling to admit to evolution or an old-earth creation.

    The truth is, of course, that no one is obligated to switch sides (if we pretend for the moment that there are only two answers to this question–either admit to the conclusions of science or wallow in the excesses of American fundamentalism). Calls for honesty remain as biased presentations of one side and do not help the matter. Calling people liars is also unhelpful and will not persuade one person to switch to McGrath’s opinion.

    Rather, patient dialog should continue between all sides and the crusader mentality McGrath betrays should remain in the twentieth century where all the two-sided coin of liberal/fundamentalist witch hunts began, flourished, and eventually became quite dated.

    • Andrew Dowling

      “Bandwagon arguments come and go and McGrath’s rather hostile piece is no different.”

      How is this a “bandwagon” argument?

      “patient dialog should continue between all sides”

      Patient dialogue is worthy of differences of legitimate opinion. YEC is simply wrong, and the ideas associated with it should be ostracized similar to how racism was publicly ostracized following the civil rights victories of the 1960s. The firm YECers won’t “switch sides” but their children sure will and are.

      • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

        “When everyone but your own tiny group in a relatively recent time in
        history is considered to have gotten it wrong, and you are sure that you
        have at last got it right, you can be fairly confident that you are in a
        cult that has deceived you.”

        The above is an argument to ‘join the bandwagon.’ But, think about it in the context of the historical church. Would this advice have worked for Athanasius who argued contra mundum against the prevailing notions of his day?

        Arguments for a particular point of view should be accepted on their own merit rather than on the opinion of “everyone but your own tiny group.”

        Furthermore, given that large segments of the American population still reject evolution and a scientific understanding of creation means that McGrath’s statement is simply false.

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

          The argument is not to join the bandwagon. It is a call to recognize that the young-earth creationists want to claim to be typical of conservative Christianity down the ages and they attempt to rewrite history to hide the evidence that this just isn’t so.

          • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

            So, was Athanasius wrong to stand contra mundum?

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

              If he had stood against the newer Ptolemaic cosmology on the grounds that Genesis only speaks of one dome over the Earth, then he would have been wrong, both for approaching the natural world in a poor manner, and for distracting from the challenge of the Gospel. That is what young-earth creationists do. Just disagreeing with most people for the sake of doing so is not what is praiseworthy. All sorts of immorality and foolishness can be justified by rejecting what most people think and advise.

              • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                Wow. So according to you, arguing from the Scriptures as God’s word over and against the prevailing Platonic thought of the time should have made us Arians. Well, at least you’re consistent!!!

                But, Athanasius used the Scriptures to go very much against the prevailing notion of the day. Granted, there is such a thing as common sense but didn’t our Lord say it was the narrow–not the broad way–that is the path to life?

                Again, these arguments must be decided on their merits and not on some flimsy notion that we must jump on the bandwagon or believe the wisdom of the majority. That was Socrates’ way–and look where he ended up. Hemlock for all according to you! I say, rather, that we examine these things, discuss them, and take our positions on the merit of the arguments offered.

                The Bible says, after all, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.”

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

                  I don’t think you understood my point. And going against the majority would be as good an argument for geocentrism and phlogiston as for a young earth, wouldn’t it? I think that, unless you are going to use that logic consistently, then it is best left to one side.

                  • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                    No, I understood your point, but it remains groundless. The truth is that there are reasons to avoid taking the majority view on occasion. At least, it would have helped Socrates. How do we know that we’re going to be as sure about evolution in a thousand years as we are today? Can you really prophesy that far in the future? The revisionist nature of science tells us instead that we ought to look at the requisite arguments rather than the opinion of the day.

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

                      The genetic evidence is not simply going to vanish. And rejecting the best judgment of experts in favor of a fringe or outdated view just because the experts could all be wrong is self-serving, and again, no different than what Holocaust deniers and Jesus mythicists and various other folks do. If the experts are wrong, further research and evidence will show that. The best that a person outside a field can do is go with the current consensus, if there is one. Only those actively engaged in research in a particular area will be likely to overturn a prevailing view, and they will know that the onus is on them to convince their peers with evidence and reasoned argument.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Half of the history of science is a rejection of experts. Again, it is the merit of a point of view and not an established opinion that ought to be our focus. Equating those who differ with you with Holocaust deniers and Jesus mythicists is an egregious lack of courtesy and a prideful display of arrogance if it means accepting your word simply because you’re an expert. You ought to show more courtesy than that.

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

                      Jesus mythicists tell me the exact same thing.

                      This is not about agreeing with someone because they have expertise. Experts are constantly seeking to break new ground and challenge established ideas. When we agree, the evidence must be pretty strong indeed, and the arguments particularly compelling.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      In reality, though, this is all a house of cards. The true nature of scholarly expertise in science today is highly specialized. Therefore, while you can lend your own specialized expertise to others less knowledgeable–you can actually only provide a summary endorsement for evolution. Because, the truth is that no one person has sufficient time or knowledge to adequately evaluate every conceivable evidence in place for evolution today since Darwin originated his theory a hundred and fifty years ago. No one is that well read or able to do that much empirical querying of the issue. So, even your own expertise is mediated by others and relies on testimony in addition to actual scientific results. Because of this, you would be on much safer ground to admit the tentaive summary conclusion you are drawing and laying out for people rather than pretending this is a matter of gospel truth. In short, a bit of humility is in order.

                      Furthermore, the last hundred and fifty years of science depend philosophically on ideas and understandings present much much earlier and so the real basis for your conclusions actually come from the very religion and texts you lay great doubt in by refusing to admit what they maintain.

                      Essentially, you are asking us to adopt a different intellectual tradition than the very one that gave you legs in order to stand in this day and age. Because of this, it’s a little out of place to be so caustic in immediately rejecting the testimony of those who rely on the older traditions in place of your newly found tradition while it still remains dependent on the older tradition in terms of how to proceed in scientific inquiry.

                      You can crow about experts all you like but in reality you’re simply presenting us with a different choir to listen to–so hopefully you can see why some of us are more than a little skeptical that the music might be any better than what we’ve had before. Classic rock was always better than “Hey Hey You You I Want To Be Your Girlfriend!”

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      This is a bit comical, James, because you’re not even an expert in evolutionary science at all are you? How is it you can speak so authoritatively on a subject in which you have no real expertise? Or, am I wrong that you’re a New Testament language scholar?

                      http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/cv.htm

                    • David_Evans

                      This argument is about YEC, right? I have a B.Sc in physics and a Ph. D. in solid state electronics. I lectured for 20 years in mathematical physics and cosmology which required me to keep up with the current state of physics. So when I tell you that (for instance) Answers in Genesis’ attempt to explain away the radiometric age of the Earth is ludicrously wrong, I am speaking with some authority. I can give details if you like.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      Here is some authority for you
                      link http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/panin3.htm

                    • David_Evans

                      Oh, now I see it. How wrong I was not to believe Answers in Genesis! I shall write to them at once retracting my arguments.

                    • Ian

                      Numerology too? Where do you stand on the UN, global warming, 9/11 and the moon landings?

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I don’t mind hearing from an expert and I’m glad you are one, David. Doing so should entail some respect for you and your opinion in the discussion even if we may not agree. But, McGrath is not an expert in evolutionary or other science but wrote his original blog and subsequent comments as if he could be called as one. I think that’s a tad bit over the top.

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

                      I would much rather that people listen to biologists on the topic of biology than to me. I am merely offering my support for them in response to their YEC critics, who are likewise with rare exceptions people whose specialty is something well outside the field of biology. Ken Miller, Francisco Ayala, and Francis Collins are sources I would particularly recommend.

                    • Steve Greene

                      You have it all wrong. When you deal with creationists (as I have for many years), in regard to various specific scientific issues of relevance – and the young earth creationists especially are the most egregious in this regard – you witness for yourself, repeatedly and extensively, the sheer closed-minded dishonesty that is operational to the ideology in their manner of dealing (or not dealing, rather) with the facts and details of the relevant science that is presented to them in discussion. Creationists trot out the same old alread-been-debunked-a-thousand-times arguments, and deliberately ignore the specific factual and/or logical errors you point out to them. You attempt to claim that it is somehow impossible to correctly criticize creationism pseudoscience as pseudoscience, yet you never actually explain why creationism pseudoscience is supposed to be magically exempt from criticisms of pseudoscience.

                      While your point that, for example, tens of millions of young earth creationists (in the U.S. alone) is hardly a “tiny group”, is quite correct, the creationist literature itself is filled with highly deluded portrayals of themselves as scientific revolutionaries in a fight against a worldwide evolutionist/atheist conspiracy. The real problem, of course, is that creationism – as shown obviously by what creationists themselves say, despite in some contexts trying desperately to hide this fact and pretend otherwise – is about religion, not science. Creationism is not about the results of scientific research, but about pseudoscience beliefs certain people have derived from the religious beliefs in certain religious doctrines. You yourself write in support of “arguing from the Scriptures as God’s word over and against” science – and that is precisely the problem of creationism, in regard to science, because it isn’t scientific, and that very phrase you use manifest the deeply unscientific nature of creationist thinking.

                      I see in some of your own statements remarks much reminiscent of the same rhetorical trickery used by creationists. For example, you write, “the last hundred and fifty years of science depend philosophically on ideas and understandings present much much earlier and so the real basis for your conclusions actually come from the very religion and texts you lay great doubt in by refusing to admit what they maintain”. Yet in another post you openly acknowledge the revisionist nature of science, so it is rather pointless to try to pretend that science is religion (as it would be equally pointless to try to pretend that religion is science). “Ideas and understandings” from the past that are still used in science are still used not because of religious faith, but precisely because they have made it through the gauntlet of the scientific process of repeatedly testing ideas against relevant real world data.

                      There is no doubt that McGrath’s “Time To Choose” is just a dramatic rhetorical device, but in fact the time to choose was many decades ago. In regard to young earth creationism, the time to choose was in the mid- to late-1800s. In regard to anti-evolution, the time to choose was in the mid-1900s. The broad point of McGrath’s argument is that by the very act of pushing creationism pseudoscience in the 21st century, due to what has become widely recognized as the mendacious nature of creationist rhetoric, creationists make substantial contributions to undermining the credibility of Christian religious belief, including undermining its claims to a superior moral awareness.

                    • David_Evans

                      “Furthermore, the last hundred and fifty years of science depend philosophically on ideas and understandings present much much earlier and so the real basis for your conclusions actually come from the very religion and texts you lay great doubt in by refusing to admit what they maintain.”

                      “Much earlier” does not equate to Christian. Many of the foundations of science were laid in ancient Greece, transmitted and expanded by Muslims, and added to by some notable heretics such as Galileo and Newton.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      David,

                      Of course there were several influences to modern-day science. The chief one, however, has been the Judeo-Christian worldview of Western civilization over the last two thousand years. So, in the main, my comments stand especially because the Christian and Jewish traditions both worked systematically through and reappropriated the Greek and Roman traditions.

                    • David_Evans

                      It’s true that most scientists in Western countries were Christians, because that was the default belief. But that cuts two ways. Most of the geologists who first discovered that the world was older than the YEC timetable were Christian believers, looking to confirm the Genesis account and the global flood. It’s hard to explain why they would systematically come to doubt YEC, unless they were forced to by the evidence.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      I don’t have any reason to doubt their integrity in the results they’ve offered. As far as I’m concerned, the fact that they’ve come to their conclusions is more a sign of Christian integrity and a validation of Christian principles than anything else. That doesn’t make them ultimately right, however, nor does it necessitate considering their work over that of the biblical text.

                • Andrew Dowling

                  One can read the work of experts and deduct their own opinions. It doesn’t take a PhD to see that the arguments behind AIG and other fringe groups are complete bullarky.

                  And you’re talking like Athanasius make some breakthrough that went against prevailing Roman notions of scientific understanding . . he didn’t. He, with the backing of some powerful people, did solidify certain theological presumptions as orthodox, but there is no “proof” he was right about anything. Frankly Arius had the better argument if one is going to use the Bible as their main source of argument for something as esoteric as the nature of the relationship between Jesus and Yahweh.

            • Guest

              He may have been.. He wasn’t contradicting widely-held scientific principles . . he was involved in esoteric theological debate. Just because his view became orthodox doesn’t mean he was right. Frankly, if one is going to use the Bible as their main source of argument for a philosophical discussion of Jesus’s relationship to Yahweh, Arius had the better argument.

        • TomHark

          “Furthermore, given that large segments of the American population still reject evolution and a scientific understanding of creation means that McGrath’s statement is simply false.”

          Does this mean that if large segments of the German population in the 1930′s were murderously anti semitic then dissenting voices were wrong and the Holocaust was ok?

          Incidentally it seems to me to be just a bit weird to enlist the aid of the SS and Gestapo in support of one’s argument regarding the origins of the planet Earth and all life thereon.

          • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

            No. As I said, arguments for anything should be decided on their merits. That’s why Athanasius was right to stand up against practically all others. To say someone is a member of a cult simply because they hold to unpopular views is decidedly prejudicial and does not take into account the arguments provided either for or against a particular opinion. McGrath wants us to make a choice between two opinions (again, AS IF there are only two) but failed to give us adequate reasons to do so. Rather, he implies that we should follow what everyone else thinks above.

            No one is enlisting the aid of the SS and Gestapo here. I’m simply rehearsing the condition of German scholarship in the mid-to-late nineteenth and early twentieth century as well as noting what the Nazis did do with the Academy and ideas equivalent to Darwinism. What’s interesting to me is how neo-evangelicals want to look at an issue like evolution quite outside its sociological impact and other similar considerations. That seems rather Gnostic to me, and par for the course for those who just can’t stand historic Christian orthodoxy.

    • Matthew Haller

      It is my personal opinion that YEC is not essential to the mission of the church. But I agree with the post from Kevin D. Johnson (above) that Mcgrath is being excessively hostile in this blog. Sometimes I wish that I could dictate my positions to other people. But [hopefully] at some point I recognize my vanity and come to my senses, and realize that no one on earth is obligated to agree with me.

  • Larry D Andrews

    Charles Spurgeon was a man. All men are in the lifeboat, only one is walking on the water.

    • Sven2547

      I’m not sure what you’re saying here. ‘Charles Spurgeon is not Jesus, therefore…’ what, exactly?

      • Larry D Andrews

        James uses Charles Spurgeon as his entire argument for why YEC’s should give up, call the earth old, and ignore the bible. I am saying that Charles Spurgeon in this day would jonly be another TV evangelist who thinks HE is right. We are all just men sitting in the lifeboat, wondering what the truth is. But there is only One from where all truth originates who is walking on the water, and yes that would be Jesus Christ.

        • Sven2547

          I don’t see any calls to “ignore the Bible” here, or forsake Jesus, for that matter.

          • Larry D Andrews

            Most YEC’s base their belief in the bible. The bible tells us the ages of our generations and we can use that to approximate the age of the earth. If you do not believe what Jesus said, then you have forsaken Him. There is no in-between, no gray area, either Jesus is a liar or the entire bible is true as written.

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

              What nonsense! If your parents were not completely right about everything, they were wrong about everything? How childish a stance you adopt!

              Thankfully, anyone can read what the Gospels recount about Jesus for themselves, and see that he took Genesis figuratively. Although it is a story about one person becoming two, he understood that it is a symbolic picture of two people becoming one, of the experience of finding a person that seems to be our missing other half.

              As I said, there is a choice to be made between Jesus’ approach to the Bible and that of young-earth creationists.

              • Larry D Andrews

                First of all parents are fallible. Jesus was infallible. How could Jesus take himself figuratively since He is the creator. He inspired the words that were written. Jesus stamped his mathematics approval in the first sentence of Genesis. see link http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/panin3.htm

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

                  Your view of Jesus as the creator is presumably based on those human writings I was just referring to? And you assume that their authors were infallible unlike your parents because…?

                  Your way of talking about Jesus sounds awfully Apollonarian.

                  • Larry D Andrews

                    Because He lives in my heart. Because I know I have eternal life. Because I know I am never alone. I don’t have to prove those things, rather just enjoy them.
                    Apollinarian, nope, Jesus walked with us as a man, but a man endowed with the Spirit of God.
                    The human writings you referred to, do you mean the 66 books with several different authors over several thousand years, who wrote thousands of statements of prophecy that have come true including naming names and places? Prophecy that is still coming true after thousands of years? Writings that have never contradicted each other? Prophecy that has not been wrong once? I will take that over your daily flip-flopping scientists any day.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      So much hyperbole and so few words….

                      Here we have Jesus dying for a sin that god the father could have forgiven at any time based on a temptation that god the father created. Not only that, Jesus had to be tortured and killed in order for god the father to forgive original sin. Since Jesus and god the father are two aspects of one god, we have a god who had to torture and kill himself to forgive a sin he created and could have forgiven at any time. Does this seem logically coherent to you?

                      There are a number of biblical prophecies that have not come true. This is just a partial list:

                      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies

                      Young earth creationism and biblical literalism are two of the biggest religious frauds alive today. Honest christians will acknowledge that the bible is not a science book and that Origin of Species is not a religious text. If more people could acknowledge these two points, we could move past these silly arguments.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      Ok the first two or three are agenda driven non-ability to read. Then there prophecies that are yet to happen, not interested in going further.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      Yes.. I have heard similar statements from astrologers, psychics, and followers of Nostradamus as well.

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

                      You seem not to have looked up the prophecies. When Matthew quotes prophecies in the first couple of chapters of his Gospel, either he meant what we would call typology, or he was bluffing and claiming that Jesus was predicted in texts that were not about him. Read Matthew, then look up the texts in Hosea and Jeremiah in particular, and then we can talk. It is unfortunate that you seem to prefer repeating what others have told you about the Bible to actual detailed study of the Bible itself.

                    • Larry D Andrews

                      I have read the entire bible, I do study every day, I still struggle to understand everything. I try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You know even the scribes and pharisees did not see the predictions of Jesus from the old testament scriptures. The thing for me not even up for consideration for argument, is what is in my heart. The bible says people would be blind to spiritual things until their eyes are opened when they believe and are filled with Holy Spirit. I know that sounds crazy but true. You seem to have studied the bible with blinders on. You had the heart of proving that God could not exist rather than searching for His love. Say a little prayer, just try it, and then read anything (maybe try Hosea14:4-7) and He will show you. Here is the prayer…. God help me.

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

                      I’m a born again Christian, and that is what led me to follow a career path that lets me study the Bible for a living. It is what led me in my youthful ignorance to embrace young-earth creationism, and what led me to study the Bible as well as science sufficiently to come to realize that many of the things I had been told by young-earth creationists (among others) were lies or half truths. And it was the experience of being born again that is an important reason why I did not lose my faith but merely changed some of my beliefs as a result of learning new things. You sound a lot like I did when I had the blinders of young-earth creationism and personal spiritual arrogance pushing me to insist that the Bible must be what I had been told it should be. I have since come to believe it preferable to honestly accept the Bible we have.

            • Sven2547

              Most YEC’s base their belief in the bible.

              As do all the Christians who aren’t YECs.

              If you do not believe what Jesus said, then you have forsaken Him.

              I don’t recall Jesus ever saying how old the Earth was.

              There is no in-between, no gray area, either Jesus is a liar or the entire bible is true as written.

              The sayings of Jesus are not the whole Bible. You can accept the Gospels without swallowing the entirety of Genesis.

  • Peter R

    I like this article; thank you.

  • Joshua Whipps

    This is an impressive fallacy collection.

    • Ian

      That’s an impressively vacuous bit of passive aggression. Have anything constructive to say?

  • Larry D Andrews

    The true winners of this argument will be those who will live the longest. In that arena evolutionists can’t compete. I will pray that you receive the truth before it’s too late.

    • Ian

      The true winners of the argument will be those who are correct.

      But nice of you to admit that your approach to determining truth is argumentum ad nauseam.

      Plenty of people are praying that folks like you receive the truth before more thousands are lost to YEC lies, pride and deception.

      • Larry D Andrews

        The fact is those of us who know the truth have already won because we are sure and do not have to wonder. We are happy in this world, and have hope for the next. If there is no next, oh well. But since there is a next, I don’t want to be on the wrong side of God. So there is nothing to lose. Peace in this world and the next. Another thing we know is that Ian and I have the same God who loves us as our father and creator. That same God is inside everyone. You know it when you lie down to sleep at night, and have to wonder, you know it when you are alone and not on public display. I know I have been there.

        • Christopher R Weiss

          Wow… giving up wondering and questioning of reality is the death of a human mind. I mourn for you and all that you have given up in the name of religious fanaticism.

          • Larry D Andrews

            Reality? You call something from nothing, and amoebae to man reality? One of the comments earlier today stated as a basis for evolution, the fact that people are taller than 100 years ago. So if within 100 years people have became noticeably taller, then 10,000 years ago humans were pretty short indeed.
            The death of the human mind is well underway and it’s not from not wondering it’s called TV,texting, group induced critical thinking. The death of a human mind? How about chasing illogical, unprovable tangents down endless rabbit holes, rather than concentrating on helping mankind. How much good could Hawking have done if he had not been preoccupied in useless pursuits.

            • Christopher R Weiss

              You carry the evidence of evolution in your body. If you shut your mind down and only accept what you literally interpret from the bible, you are killing off the ability to acquire new meaningful knowledge. The fact that you combine abiogenesis and evolution shows that you don’t know the difference, which is common among creationists.

              Being a Luddite and attacking technology doesn’t help either. We need dreamers and researchers. This is how important things like transistors, quantum mechanics, DNA, encryption, etc. are discovered, which have most certainly improved the human condition.

              I find your comments truly ironic given that you are participating in an online forum typing on a computing device that probably dwarfs supercomputers from 20 years ago.

              • Larry D Andrews

                Hey I didn’t say my brain isn’t dying too. I usually won a few spelling bees a long time ago, but now spell checker is my best friend. I carry proven evidence of evolution in my body?
                So which chain, or species am I proven to have come from?
                Where is the link?
                I know, the ex-global warming scientists are still working on it since they are recently unemployed.

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

                  You and I are demonstrably descended from a common ancestor from which chimpanzees are also descended:
                  http://www.evolutionpages.com/chromosome_2.htm

                  The alternative to accepting such evidence is to claim that God created us to look like we share a common ancestry with other living things on this planet. But that makes God the father of lies rather than the truthful author of creation. That young-earth creationists have sometimes preferred to depict God as a liar rather than admit their assumptions about the Bible have been wrong is yet another disturbing bit of evidence about the character of that movement.

                • Christopher R Weiss

                  There is no single chain of species from one to the next because each change typically doesn’t result in speciation. Even closely related species such as donkeys and horses can mate and produce live offspring even though no one would call them variations of the same species. Again, you are criticizing something you haven’t seriously tried to understand. Rather than becoming knowledgeable about something you wish to critique, you carry around a superficial set of half-truths, lies, and conflations, and you can’t be bothered to sort out truth from fiction, claiming you “know” because you believe in the literal truth of the bible.

            • Ian

              the fact that people are taller than 100 years ago. So if within 100 years people have became noticeably taller, then 10,000 years ago humans were pretty short indeed.

              And this, right here, is why YEC can’t be taken seriously.

              That anyone who has gone through secondary education in a developed nation and can honestly think this argument makes any sense is depressing. That someone can be so ignorant of basic thinking skills, so unable to think through the consequences of their claims, or check their ideas against analogous situations, is just staggering.

              And then have the gall to put themselves forward as if they knew their stuff. The triumph of the idiots.

              In my optimistic moments, I think that thinking skills inevitably has to increase as the economy depends more on cognitive ability. But then I read quotes like that, and well… humph.

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

          You have been duped by evil and unbiblical falsehood! The Bible depicts Peter, who had the Holy Spirit and had heard Jesus first hand, being rebuked by Paul. And yet you have the audacity to assume that merely because you are a Christian you know all the right answers and need no correction. That is not merely ridicuous, it is so completely antithetical to the teaching of Jesus and of the New Testament that it deserved to be called diabolical.

          • Larry D Andrews

            You are funny James. Really reaching on this one. Jesus clearly states his deity. Peter was not God, John was not God, Paul was not God. Jesus was man and yet infallible. I understand how intellectuals operating in the realm of the flesh, try to use knowledge of scripture to twist and bend their argument to fit. You know, even the devil knows scripture very well. I made no claims other than the fact that Jesus is God, He walked this earth as a man, He was crucified as a living sacrifice for our sins, He arose victorious over death and ascended to heaven. He will return. I claim that if you believe those facts you will have eternal life. If you have eternal life I am sure Jesus will sit down and explain to you how everything really works.

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

              But you do not see how scripture has been twisted to deceive you! You assume to your peril that only others do such things or are at risk at having it done to them.

              Out of curiosity, when did Jesus tell you about his deity, without your being dependent on some fallible human being’s testimony?

              • Larry D Andrews

                So I believe you? The author of this article…. that I am deceived wow that is borderline arrogance. Jesus does not have to tell me anything. I believe His story. I do not believe evolution is possible. That is why you can never win this argument because we are on two different planes. I am with the Creator, I am am hoping you will join us.

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

                  Your certainty that you know the mind of God is profoundly unbiblical. A core message of the Bible is the need for humans to be humble since we constantly believe we understand more than we do, and the thinking even of those who pursue righteousness is regularly tinted and twisted by sin.

        • Ian

          Surety is cheap. The Pharisees were sure they were right, the 9/11 terrorists were sure they were right, as they gave their lives for what they were sure of, the Nazis were sure they were right and the world would be better with the Jews exterminated. Being sure is not difficult, and it is not a sign of being right. Those who are most sure are usually most dangerous. Run from anyone who promises certainty.

          That some branches of Christianity try to make a virtue out of certainty, is a big warning sign of their desire to control and abuse you.

          • Larry D Andrews

            You can same the same about your evolution religion.

            • Ian

              You can say the same thing about evolution, yes. But it would only demonstrate your painful ignorance if you did.

              Like all sciences, like all genuine human knowledge, evolutionary theory is contingent, provisional, incremental and empirical. The very opposite of certainty, or dogma.

              Evolution seems to be a religion to YECs only. You want to feel clever with a tu quoque. But lack the ability or desire to actually figure out if the description is true. Pure bullshit (in the technical sense of the word).

              So yes, you can say the same thing about the religion of evolution if you like. But if you do that, don’t be surprised if it makes the vacuity of your position even more clear.

              • Larry D Andrews

                You seem to enjoy personally attacking me. Kinda of like a cat swatting from a corner. On an earlier attempt at humor (about short people) you attacked. I think your attitude proves one thing, evolutionist disciples have no joy. I am sure you are the life of the party. You are the kind of guy people love to be around.
                You would love to get rid of those of lower intelligence species, so that wisdom could abound. Every one should be indoctrinated into the way of Ian. I don’t need to figure out your ways. I have love, peace and joy. I live happily with the earth and joyfully praise my God.
                So, enjoy yourself, persecute me, I humbly accept. I love you any way. And God loves you.

                • Ian

                  So you can swan in and tell people they aren’t real Christians, impugning their salvation, telling them they worship idols, and that’s okay because you have joy in your heart. But if I point out your ignorance on basic matters of science, then I’m morally reprehensible?

                  I’m attacking you because you are saying stupid things that a trip to the library would solve for you. You are not ignorant because you were born with low IQ, or because God wants you to be ignorant. You choose to be ignorant in a world where information is ubiquitous.

                  I’m attacking you because you take your ignorance and revel in it. Not just making a spectacle of it for yourself, but encouraging others to join you in it. In fact, insisting that God demands it! That you find great joy in those lies and slanders counts against you.

                  I don’t see any reason to pander to your choice or excuse your behavior just because you cry ‘Lord, Lord’.

    • coolworker

      Your arrogance knows no bounds.

      • Larry D Andrews

        If you mean my confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, I will accept that.

        • Ian

          I’m pretty sure he meant your arrogance. But your arrogance in thinking that your arrogance is actually ‘confidence in Jesus’, is also pretty special.

  • Steve Greene

    Perhaps the greatest service that young earth creationists provide to social understanding in regard to religious belief, in the specific context, of course, of Christian belief, is that when a Christian uses remarks like, “This is the truth, because that’s what the Bible says,” you know that in regard to genuinely dealing with evidence about what is reality and what is not, all such remarks as that are fundamentally vacuous.

    • DOH

      “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:1-3 And Jesus said, “I am.. the truth..” So yes, “This is the truth, because that’s what the Bible says,”

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

        And how would you express that not using a circular argument?

      • Steve Greene

        Thank you again for being so open and honest about the irrational circular reasoning that is inherent to the religious thinking of creationism. I appreciate it. Do note that, seriously, I am not being sarcastic here. So many creationists go to great lengths to try to hide what you openly acknowledge.

        • DOH

          Steve, it is not circular reasoning, it is simply stating the same thing in a different manner. God frequently repeats himself just in case we don’t get it the first time.

          My question to you is: do you believe these verses or are they ‘irrational’? If irrational, then what do you believe and on what is your professed faith based?

          We seem to have taken opposite journeys. I was a long-age evolutionist and, in my sixtieth year, was convinced (supported by the evidence around me, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit) to become a short-age Creationist.

          When I look at the exquisite complexity of the human body, with its many trillions of cells – each being given a specific function, eternity would not be long enough for the human form to evolve, let alone in a few million years. The only plausible alternate is that we were created just like the Good Book says.

          I have studied a great many websites devoted to both creationism and evolution and a plethora of ‘scientific’ papers. Both have exactly the same evidence to work with and I have concluded that the theory of evolution remains just that and, at its core, is an irrational proposition.

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

            So you are like the online cranks who read Biblical scholarship and archaeological reports and decide that the historians and archaeologists have got it wrong, and there was no Jesus of Nazareth, and no Nazareth in the first century?

            Either we can use evidence and deduction to determine things about the past, or we cannot. But your denialist approach to science looks very much like the denialist approach to Jesus, you are just asking the inane question “Were you there?” about different subjects.

            • DOH

              Funny you should mention Nazareth! I was just there a year ago. I got to walk where Jesus walked and visit many of the archaeological tells. Just about anywhere you choose to wander in the Holy Land you can open the Bible and see that which is written on the page laid out before you.

              I accept any and all the physical evidence you can present. I have absolutely no problem with science. However, deductions are prone to mistakes and a theory, no matter how persuasively argued, does not good science make.

              • Ian

                I have absolutely no problem with science. However, … a theory … does not good science make.

                If you have no problem with science, then maybe learning a little bit wouldn’t go amiss. So you avoid howlers like this one in the future.

              • Sven2547

                a theory, no matter how persuasively argued, does not good science make.

                Oh look, another creationist who doesn’t know what “theory” means in a scientific context.

                • DOH

                  From the Darwinist/Evolutionist claims, it is obvious that natural selection has no creative power and thus could not possibly account for the origin of species, that Archaeopteryx was just a bird and not any type of missing link, that Haeckel’s doctrine of recapitulation was as bogus as his embryo chart and his monera. Marsh’s horse evolution was based on assumption rather than scientific
                  evidence and all kinds of horses have been found in the same time and place in the fossil record. Neanderthal was just a man. Piltdown was a hoax. Java Man was a myth based on a fossil of an ape intermingled with that of a man. Nebraska Man was a myth based on a pig’s tooth. Peking Man was an ape that was the unfortunate meal of an enclave of limestone workers. New skeptical challenges (theories) and Darwinian myths have been proposed to replace those that have been disproven, but how many times do skeptics and Darwinists have to be refuted before people realize that they are the emperor without clothes?

                  • Sven2547

                    it is obvious that natural selection has no creative power and thus could not possibly account for the origin of species

                    You literally do not know what you are talking about.

                    Archaeopteryx was just a bird and not any type of missing link

                    A “bird” with a distinctly reptilian skeletal structure, unlike any modern bird. It has teeth present in the adult stage, a dinosaur-shaped pelvis, not all of its fingers are fused, its neck attaches to skull from the rear instead of from below, its metatarsals are not fused, it has gastralia (ventral ribs) present, and its trunk vertebrae are not fused. It is a quintessential transitional fossil.

                    I’m not going to go down your whole list of silliness, but I would like to address one more particular item:

                    Piltdown was a hoax.

                    Yes indeed it was. Piltdown Man was exposed as a fraud NOT by creationists, but by scientists. As more and more actual transitional forms were found, Piltdown Man stuck out more and more as a bizarre outlier. Finally the hoax was revealed, and “Piltdown Man” is now merely an amusing footnote in the history of fraud. NOT ONE scientist today considers Piltdown Man to be evidence of anything. So the question I ask to you is: why are you even bringing it up? Piltdown Man is an example of the science of evolution succeeding at exposing the truth and shutting down fakery.

          • Steve Greene

            Again, you’re not getting it.

            “This is the truth, because that’s what the Bible says” is, inherently, circular reasoning. Apparently this point is over your head. I have already repeated myself and explained this point in detail, vis-a-vis the fact that the soundness of ideas and claims about reality is determined ultimately and fundamentally by testing them against relevant data acquired from reality itself, not by some words written down in some book. I can’t waste any more time explaining this obvious point to you.

            • DOH

              “There is no quarrel between science and spirituality. I often hear people of science trying to use it to prove the nonexistence of the spiritual, but I simply can’t see a chasm in between the two. What is spiritual produces what is scientific and when science is used to disprove the spiritual, it’s always done with the intent to do so; a personal contempt. As a result, scientists today only prove their inferiority to the great founding fathers of the sciences who were practitioners of alchemy. Today’s science is washed-out and scrubbed-down and robbed of everything mystical and spiritual, a knowledge born of contempt and discontent. Or perhaps, there are a few who wish to keep those secrets to themselves and serve everyone else up with a tasteless version of science and the idiots of today blindly follow their equally blind leaders.”
              ― C. JoyBell C.

              • Steve Greene

                “There is no quarrel between science and [religion]”

                Which is, of course, a factually wrong statement. People like you keep writing and promoting your religion-motivated anti-science rhetoric, which, conveniently for me, continues proving just how wrong that statement is.

  • zesmy

    I think you’re missing the point that science is man-defined and the bible is god-defined into man-words. The universe doesn’t operate using seconds, it’s how we define it. Matter does strange things when combined with a huge amount of energy. Plus the complication if there is anti-matter etc. There are a huge number of things in the universe that we know nothing about. As humans we have an obligation to believe science unless it can be proven wrong, and as Christians we aren’t trying to prove the Bible anything, just understand how to interpret it. Things like genesis have little impact on the core of our beliefs but I understand people will always like to argue about things that don’t affect them to distract people. I honestly believe that science will point to God, and I honestly believe that it doesn’t matter about creation. There are so many other chapters in the Bible that we should be focusing on. (Romans 14 to start)
    “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.” (Einstein)

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

      You have it backwards. The Bible is a collection of human writings. The creation is the produce of the Word of God and beyond anything humans can produce. Allowing the former to trump the latter is extremely problematic, for reasons that ought to be obvious.

      • DOH

        I thought ALL Scripture is God breathed and God is the Creator of ALL. One cannot trump the other.

        • Christopher R Weiss

          Uh… sure. Which language? Why have so many differences been introduced by translation issues? You have to be careful which version you call ” God breathed.”

          • DOH

            Do your research and maybe you’ll learn a little about the origins of the Bible. It’s still the number one best seller every year since the printing press was invented (Harry Potter never even came close).

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

              All the writings are God-breathed sounds like a reference to the Adam story. God gives life to what would otherwise be dead letters or dead matter. That has no bearing on the fact that ancient people and texts did not have modern scientific knowledge. Why do you think Paul refers to the heart rather than the brain as the locus of human cognition? Aristotle turned to be wrong about this, and Paul along with him. But surely being scientifically inaccurate on this point doesn’t have to detract from his message, does it?

            • Christopher R Weiss

              The popularity of the bible has nothing to do with the correctness of the content. Also, there are several versions and different translations – King James, NIV, etc. All of these are still called “the bible” even though the exact words and some of the meaning can be quite different.

  • Paul Burnett

    Young-Earth Creationist Liars For Jesus(TM) like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort and Kent Hovind can only maintain the scientific illiteracy of their deluded followers by continually reinforcing their willful ignorance, which is apparently a sacrament of their twisted religion. I hope the day will come when Children’s Protective Services will do something about the ritualized psychological child abuse that lets these people pass their ignorance on to their innocent children.

  • Anodos7

    So-called “gap creationism” (a form of old earth creationism that posits an unknown eon of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2) was a prevailing view among conservative Christians before young earth flood geology reemerged in the 1950s. With regard to young earth creationism, like the “war on Christmas” (American Puritans were anti-Christmas because of its pagan origins and bawdy festivities), many conservative Christians today don’t see the provincialism of some of their beliefs.

  • Matt Parkins

    The time to reject young earth creationism came centuries ago. :)

  • DOH

    Coming from an atheistic background it was easy to accept the concept of evolution. Today it’s taught not so much as a theory but as fact. I would carry this belief system with me into my Christian life.

    In 1986 I found God. He was always there I just didn’t recognize Him. Having got my attention, I was introduced to the Person of his Son, Jesus Christ and thereby entered into a personal relationship with Almighty God. It sounds unbelievable even as I write it.

    Upon my confession of faith I believe I was given the spiritual gifts of faith and encouragement. That is faith in God and His Word and the ability to encourage other followers of Christ in their faith (we live by faith, not by sight). I would brag that, “If God said it – you can take it to the bank!” Such was my confidence in the truth of God’s Word.

    This past weekend I was invited to a Creation Conference by a close friend. I went there more to encourage my friend than for any real, personal interest. But, it turned out to be a Divine appointment. In the very first session of the conference the very foundation of my belief in the Holy Scriptures was challenged – by God himself. David, either you believe all of my Word or don’t bother with any of it. You can’t be selective in what you believe.

    I had always been taught that the Creation account in Genesis was open to interpretation, but as the presenter talked (not about evolution or Creation specifically) rather about what the Bible said, and how the Bible said it, I was convicted of the error of my ways and the false understanding I would share with anyone who had the time to listen.

    I remember when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour, that is ‘born again’, how the Words of Scripture came alive. It was an amazing experience. Well, I can say that this past Friday evening it was as if I was born again, again. As I reread the Genesis account and the genealogy in 1 Chronicles, it was if my spirit was illumined. There was an inner peace and affirmation as I grasped the [old] Truth.

    The next day the presenters (both former atheists and one a PhD in geology) explained the Creation account from a scientific perspective and the bad science on which evolutionary theory is founded. We all know what Jesus said about the man who built his house on a weak foundation. Their presentation factually explained what I had come to accept by faith the previous evening. I had faith and knowledge.

    Jesus reminds us of the First Commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart (passion), with all your soul (faith) and with all your mind (knowledge). Our faith is never to be blind – it must be steeped in knowledge so that when our faith is eventually challenged it holds firm because it is built on the foundational rock of knowledge.

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

      I came to the young earth perspective not long after becoming a born-again Christian too. But when I eventually fact checked their claims, I discovered that I had been lied to. I hope you will have the same experience, and like me, being able to separate young-earthism from Christianity, will be able to keep your faith even though some Christians lied to you and deliberately misrepresented this scientific field in order to dupe you.

      • DOH

        Considering it was God Himself who convinced me of of a literal interpretation of a six-day Creation, etc. I don’t think that I’ve been deceived in my understanding or that I’ll be likely to change my mind.

        Questions for your consideration:

        When God creates ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ how long will it take Him?

        When Jesus turned water into wine, how ‘old’ was the wine?

        When Jesus restored the man with the withered arm, how long did it take?

        When the beggar was healed by Peter, how many months of physiotherapy did he require in order to be able to jump around?

        Were you ‘lied to’ by God or by others? The ‘others’ are fallible – God is not.

        The answers to each of these questions are all based on my faith in the inherency of the Bible. No scientist will be able to convince me otherwise. Ergo, I have absolutely no problem in accepting what God says concerning the timing and duration of His Creation.

        • Steve Greene

          The earth looks old, but it isn’t really old since God just made it to look that way. Omphalos is alive and well, and continuing to demonstrate the sheer irrationality of creationist thought. Thank you for bringing it up.

          • DOH

            And you still fail to answer my questions.

            • Christopher R Weiss

              The changing age of the earth is a result of better data. Better data means better conclusions.

            • Steve Greene

              “And you still fail to answer my questions.”

              Oh, my bad… Here is my answer:

              In the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy (LMC) there was a star that exploded approximately 168,000 years ago. Here on Earth in the Milky Way galaxy we did not see the explosion of the star until the year AD 1987 because that star in the LMC is so far away that it took about 168,000 years for the light from the explosion to reach the earth.

              According to your Omphalos argument, the explosion never happened, God just made it look like an explosion happened. I say the explosion of the star really happened because we observed it to happen.

              My position is the rational position, based on what we observe about reality based on looking at reality itself. Your position is the irrational position, based on circular reasoning about presupposing that God made everything around 6,000 years or so and ignoring any and all scientific observations to the contrary.

              Thank you for the game. I win. Do you want to play another game?

              • DOH

                Not so quick. Is time a constant?

                • Ian

                  No, but neither does it vary arbitrarily. The time given in Steve’s post take account of relativistic effects: the way in which the rate of time varies.

                  YEC’s often read about Einstein discovering that time is not constant, skip all of what Einstein actually discovered about the *way* time varies, why and how, and jump to “therefore I can do anything I like with time to make it all fit”! Yay for YEC ‘science’!

                  Relativity doesn’t help you change the distance to the LMC, nor the time it takes for light to arrive here from there. If you think it does, you should enroll in a physics 101 class at your local community college. There’s no excuse for wilful ignorance.

                • Steve Greene

                  Wrong question, because it’s a standard creationist red herring.

                  Here is the question: Since time is not a constant, when time dilation occurs we observe the effects of time dilation, and with observations of events in the local neighborhood of galaxies the only cases of time dilation we observe are caused by extreme environments such as the vicinity of black holes – because time dilation is caused by strong gravitational fields, or more generally over cosmic distances by gradual distortion of spacetime by the expansion of the universe. In the example of SN1987A, not to mention with the thousands and thousands of examples of the vast majority of other astronomical observations of events beyond 6,000 light-years from earth, there is no observation of any time dilation effects on the scale of more than 1,000,0000 times as would be required by young earth creationism. (If there was, the light would be so extremely shifted toward the blue end of the electromagnetic spectrum that it would only be detectable as, say, gamma rays.) So here is the question: Why do young earth creationists like to try to pretend there is a time dilation when in fact there is zero scientific observation of any time dilation that young earth creationists propose?

                  Note also that your time dilation argument contradicts the Omphalos (‘God only created it to look old’) argument that you used previously, since time dilation, if it actually existed, would be a scientifically observable feature. What’s the problem? Can’t get your story straight? (This is ever the problem with creationist rhetoric. You guys can’t even get your own stories to be logically consistent with each other.)

                  Thank you for game #2. Checkmate. Do you want to play another game?

              • DOH

                The computer eventually learned the concept of futility. Would you like to play a game of chess?

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

                  So you have recognized that your attempt to argue against science which you do not understand is futile? Thank you for your honesty!

                  • DOH

                    Sorry James. If you want to win you have to recognize the pointy end of the stick when its pointed at you. You lost again.

                    For the sake of repetition, I have no problem with science – just your variety.

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

                      I do not have a variety of science. I embrace actual science with which you have shown yourself to not be sufficiently conversant to either accept or reject it in an informed manner.

                      But I am starting to wonder whether you are no in fact an atheist troll trying to make Christians look bad, since I find it hard to believe that anyone would be presented with evidence, fail to provide counterarguments, and then say “I won.” But whether you are pretending to be a Christian out of malice, or have some genuine mental instability that impairs your judgment, either way I must warn you that this kind of childish silliness you have just offered is not appropriate for this blog. This is a place for serious, intelligent, and honest discussion. If you are looking for a place to stick your fingers in your ears while others talk, and then when they stop to pull them out and say “Why won’t you answer me?” then you need to look elsewhere as that sort of thing will not be welcome here.

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

          How exactly did God convince you of this in a way that does not involve other fallible human beings or your own fallible human perception? I’d like to hear about that.

          But your illustrations appealing to the old omphalos hypothesis don’t solve the issue. The entire cosmos all points to being a particular age, and young-earth creationists claim that believing that evidence – which was on your view placed their by God – is a form of disobedience to God. That view is problematic.

          • DOH

            Tell me then, why do the scientists keep changing the ‘particular age’? I am thankful the Bible does not.

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

              The Bible doesn’t give any age for the Earth. It does give a figure for pi that is imprecise, however. And don’t count Matthew’s genealogies if inexact math troubles you.

              Science offers answers with increasing precision. Complaining that measurements become more and more precise suggests that you prefer ignorance to improving knowledge.

        • Steve Greene

          “it was God Himself who convinced me of…”

          I.e., “What I believe is infallible. You cannot show me any real world evidence that would change my mind, because what I believe is what God Himself told me to believe.”

          The creationist mindset, in spades. Thank you for being so open and honest about it.

          • DOH

            Absolutely not! I beleive God is infallible. I am as fallible as any other human. However, if you can show me a single iota of SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that is contrary to the Word of God please do so.

            The question I have for you, inferred in my preceding questions, is do you believe that God is capable of, or would, create ‘with history’? If I believe that Jesus, the Author of Creation, can perform the aforementioned miracles then the question of Him creating the universe ‘with history’ is mute. If I don’t believe He performed these miracles then I would seriously be questioning the basis for my faith.

            Nowhere, in all of Scripture, have I found any reference to evolution or ‘old earth’ theories. I can only find repeated references to Creation.

            I thoroughly enjoy a good theological debate!

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

              Have you found the references to the dome, the pillars, and the storehouses for the snow in Scripture yet? You seem to be picking and choosing what to treat as scientific and what not. Don’t you think you ought to be more consistently faithful to Scripture?

              • DOH

                I hope that anyone vaguely conversant with the Holy Scriptures can distinguish between that which is poetic and that which is not.

                • Ian

                  I’m more than vaguely conversant with scripture, and the dome is consistent, explicit, consequential (i.e. other physical processes are described in ways that presuppose it), and matches what we know of the cosmological picture of other ancient near east peoples. So, other than the fact that it isn’t true, and you find it unbelievable, what makes it poetic?

                  See it is very easy to claim that everything you disagree with is poetic. Plenty of Christians claim that the resurrection of Jesus is poetic (although you may insist they not call themselves that, because it is very obvious that resurrection is not poetic, to you). Should we assume that your particular list of poetic passages is the correct one, and any more or less on the list is wrong? Can you give a better argument than “if you had even a basic understanding, you’d know I’m right” for what qualifies?

                  • DOH

                    Ian, James referred to the dome, the pillars and the storehouses for snow. Perhaps I generalized a little to much?

                    We know that the ‘storehouses of the snow’ are the moisture laden clouds and not a bricks-and-mortar, steel reinforced warehouses. In answering Job, I believe God was being quite poetic!

                    • Ian

                      So only the storehouses of the snow are poetic? The dome and pillars of the earth were intended to be literal?
                      And if so why do you accept modern planetary science over the word of God that speaks of a dome?

            • Steve Greene

              You’re not getting it. Words written in some “holy book” – any “holy book” – purported to have come from some god are completely and utterly irrelevant. The only thing that matters to empirical questions about reality is: What is indicated when we look at the relevant real world evidence? It is the real world itself, and the real world alone, that determines what the real world is like. There is no theological debate, because theology is completely irrelevant to determining what the facts about the real world are, since those can only be determined by looking at the relevant data from the real world itself.

              Anyone who attempts to cast the matter as a theological debate immediately proves himself to be on the wrong foot, because he has begun with an entirely false premise.

              Additionally, even though you wrote your response post as if there was something wrong with what I wrote, what you wrote simply corroborated what I had written: “‘What I believe is infallible. You cannot show me any real world evidence that would change my mind, because what I believe is what God Himself told me to believe.’ The creationist mindset, in spades.”

              I am not here to educate you in geological science, nor am I here to educate you in astronomical science. You’re a grown man, and if you have not already taken care of your basic education in these subjects, that’s your problem, not mine. I will point out the fact that every time you try to pretend that geological science and astronomical science don’t even exist, you serve to prove the anti-science, anti-reality nature of the creationist mindset. I again thank you for being open and honest about it.

            • Sven2547

              A partial list of fields of science you need to utterly ignore in order to believe in Young-Earth Creationism:

              in Physics:
              * Astrophysics (Starlight Problem)
              * Cosmology (The Cosmic Microwave Background)
              * Nuclear physics (radiological dating)
              * Transport phenomena – pretty much incompatible with the idea of a global flood

              in Chemistry:
              * Reaction kinetics – amino acid undergo racemisation rates (used for dating)
              * Thermodynamics – all the laws of thermodynamics are violated in a creation event.

              in Biology
              Well, nothing in biology is not evolutionary, which obviously contradicts YEC apologetics, but nevertheless:
              * Botany – particularly Dendrochronology
              * Immunology
              * Morphology
              * Pharmacology
              * Zoology
              * Ecology
              * Molecular biology
              * Genetics
              * Biochemistry

              in Mathematics:
              * Trigonometry disproves C-decay
              * Cellular automata applications
              * Evolutionary computation

              in Planetary science:
              * Geomorphology – uplift causes mountain ranges to form, a process that can be observed to occur at a fixed rate.
              * Plate tectonics
              * Petrology – rocks and crystal structures that take considerably longer than 6000 years to form.
              * Stratigraphy – rock layering through sedimentation – although creationists bizarrely like to attribute this to the Global Flood, even though a single event wouldn’t explain layering.
              * Fossil fuels – the estimated biomass required to form all the coal and oil underground suggest at least millions of years to accumulate it.
              * Meteorology
              * Palaeontology – self explanatory. There is a massive amount of evidence from palaeontology that only works and makes sense given a very, very old Earth.

  • dannfort

    As important as these “beliefs” seem to be, the only important belief is in the Lord Jesus, the Christ, the only begotten Son of God. We will all know when the world was created when we are in His presence, but we really won’t care. He is our life and our future. One thing we do know is that He created all things.

  • Graydon Baker

    WOW it doesn’t matter what Spurgeon said, Tim Keller says, James F. McGrath writes or the masses say; all that matters is what God spoke, Exodus 20:11. The only discernible argument in this article is that allegedly a theologian of old spoke against young-earth and therefore you should too, that is if you want to be part of the approved majority (is there a single instance in the Bible that the truth-keepers are anything but the gross minority?). “Young-earth creationism is built on lies” BECAUSE it cannot embrace certain Christian thinkers past or present, writes McGrath. He wraps up by writing, “It is time to choose. Christianity or young-earth creationism? Truth or young-earth creationism? Spurgeon or young-earth creationism?” when in fact the only choice he wrote about was the latter, a choice between “Spurgeon or young-earth”, truth and Christianity never entered the dialogue. Was there a single Word of God reference? Since when is truth/Christianity contingent on the sermons and writings of men? WHAT IS our most basal source of truth for the origin of mankind/life/earth? Is it the musings of men or the enduring testimony God has given about himself?

    Finally, comparing young-earth with slavery, wow. An ignorant and poorly written article this is, concerned more with the affirmation of men than the fear of God.

    • Ian

      WOW! How to miss the point.

      The point isn’t that Spurgeon disagreed with YEC, it is that AiG edited Spurgeon to remove his disagreement, which is part of a general position they have of discouraging their followers from reading anything that challenges their claims.

      It is further evidence of the dishonesty of the YEC movement.

      Please read the article and try to keep up.

      • Graydon Baker

        and respectfully you missed my point Ian. AiG is an organization built by men and operated by the like. Although I didn’t mention them my argument is still the same: their alleged omission of a portion of Spurgeon’s work does not affect the Word of God, nor does the omission itself. A foundation is not altered by what’s constructed or even reconstructed atop it. It’s time that thinking people think for themselves and stop allowing second and third sources to dictate their beliefs. Faith is the assurance of things unseen. But if it’s unseen then it’s unknown but by the testimony of the only one who could know. The Creation is a perfect example. Is then your assurance about creation based on your reading of the Word of God or based on another’s interpretation or even sourced outside the Word of God? In this case, it seems influenced by a trivial event. Further is your motivation for that belief motivated by the fear of God or the general approval of men? You’re mistaken if you think “YEC” to be a movement. Christianity is a movement, built on the foundation of the Word of God.

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

          If AiG is this duplicitous in its treatment of Spurgeon, on what grounds ought one to trust their interpretation of the Bible over against those people of faith who actually study it professionally for a living?

        • Ian

          It’s time that thinking people think for themselves and stop allowing second and third sources to dictate their beliefs.

          Indeed, and for that reason, I hope Christians will enroll in a biology class at their local community college, rather than reading what YEC propaganda have to say about the content of science.

          YEC is a movement. That it isn’t Christianity is rather the point. It is inimical to Christianity, it steals the language from Christianity, pretends to be Christianity, and poisons those it draws in. So yes, YEC is a movement, but you’re right to suggest it is not built on a sound foundation.

  • Michael Dowd

    Wow, Jim, what an awesome and truly prophetic post! Amen, brother!!

    May you have one of the most joyous, fulfilling, and legacy-enhancing years of your life, my friend. Keep up the great writing!

    Together in the Great Work,

    ~ Michael

  • David_Evans

    I’ve noticed in the comments a recurring theme, that we should not rely on the consensus of experts because the consensus can be and has been wrong in the past. I think this points up a difference between science and some other disciplines such as philosophy and theology.

    Science is evidence-based. If there’s a consensus of experts that evolution happened, it’s because a large amount of evidence points that way and little or no evidence points the other way. To overturn that consensus you have to provide an alternative explanation for all the evidence. This is what a scientific revolution (Einstein vs Newton, for instance) typically does.

    Philosophy is argument-based. If an argument has been defeated, it is defeated without residue. There are no pesky bits of evidence lying around that have to be explained.

    For that reason, I think philosophers may be too ready to assume that a single neat argument can overturn the scientific consensus. Their training does not lead them to put enough weight on the enormous amount of scientific evidence for the consensus.

    Theology is not quite such a simple case, but I would put it near the philosophy end of the spectrum.

    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

      Actually, philosophers and theologians have their experts too and our society typically rewards degreed experts with a modicum of respect that is usually quite earned. But again, that does not mean that we can’t see truth in different ways or that experts are immediately right in their conclusions. As always, our real conclusions must come from the evidence we do have however different we might be in interpreting it.

      • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

        Too, we have to remember what I’ve already said above. Experts today are highly specialized. Most experts are experts only in their field of specialization and therefore any endorsement of a grand theory like evolution has to come in summary form while relying on the opinions of other experts. This at once makes a theory very hard to defeat as it takes a near institutional turn in interpreting evidence to disprove it. Because of this, an established view that is as wide-ranging as evolution often enjoys prominence long after its basis has already been discredited by a skeptical minority.

        • David_Evans

          Sounds great in theory. Now, would you care to tell me how evolution has been discredited, and how the replacement theory explains any part of the evidence?

          • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

            No. I’m not really concerned to disprove evolution here. I’m just noting the way science as an institution generally proceeds. Articles like this might be interesting to review in terms of how the scientific community often goes after its own when orthodoxy is challenged:

            http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-closing-of-the-scientific-mind/

            The point here is that we should expect scientists and others to be very skeptical of any overarching claims against the prevailing scientific notion of the day.

            • David_Evans

              That article has as one of its headings “Bullying Nagel”. It says things like “Nagel was immediately set on and (symbolically) beaten to death”. I have read Nagel’s book and found it thought-provoking but flawed in several ways. I have also read a number of his critics and found nothing to justify Gelerntner’s intemperate language.

              Much of the article is attacking what Gelerntner sees as scientists’ closed-minded rejection of subjectivity. He is certainly right about some scientists, and that is regrettable. But the relation of subjective experience to the brain is one of the really hard problems – it’s not surprising if many scientists (and many philosophers) are wrong about it.

              None of this is relevant to an evidence-based consensus such as exists about evolution.

              • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                You’re right–the article is not immediately relevant to an evidence-based consensus. Rather, it’s relevant to the way institutions often behave–that’s relevant to my point(s) above.

                • David_Evans

                  I can read books such as Donald Prothero’s “Evolution: what the fossils say and why it matters” (I single out that book because it is particularly good at illustrating evolutionary changes with fossil sequences). I can then go into my local museum (Cardiff) and the Natural History Museum in London, and see that some of the fossil sequences he describes really exist. I can read a book like Richard Fortey’s “The Earth”. I can then go to some of the sites he describes and find the fossils and geological formations that fit the old-Earth story and do not fit YEC. I have done so.

                  None of that is affected in the least by how scientific institutions behave – unless they are all in a vast conspiracy to fake the evidence.

                  • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                    I’m not interested in conspiracy theories. I would be interested in your take on David Berlinski’s book _The Devil’s Delusion_ if you’ve read it.

                    • David_Evans

                      I haven’t read it, and it’s not in my public library. From the free page views in Amazon he seems to be an engaging and witty writer, but there’s not enough there to evaluate his ideas.

                      Now, how about the substance of what I said? There is a lot of evidence for evolution (and against YEC) which is accessible to anyone. You don’t need a prior trust in the scientific consensus to see it.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Well, it’s interesting that you can go into a natural history museum and see things neatly ordered (I’m in Brooklyn, hoping to go to NY’s soon). The question really becomes for me–who ordered these things this way? There seems to me to be a lot of room for questions and considerations on the whole for evolution that are typically not entertained by the scientific community because they don’t have to do with evidence immediately but rather the harder questions supporting science and the conclusions made.

                    • David_Evans

                      This discussion is too general to be any use. Please give one or a few examples of those “questions and considerations” so we can talk sensibly about them.

                      As to who ordered things this way. The achievement of Darwin and his successors is to show that there doesn’t need to be a “who” – that the known laws of nature are adequate to explain the whole observed order of life (with the caveat that we don’t know how life started).

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      But, see, this is very much where we have to disagree and not because of scientific evidence. Darwin and others can explain life but they cannot explain why things are the way they are nor how it got started.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      How life started is irrelevant to evolution. If good poofed the first plants and animals into into existence or some model of abiogenesis and self-replicating molecules is true, either would work as a starting point. Evolution would be contradicted if it can be shown that all forms of life overlapped at some point from the same starting point. The other option is establishing the even more outrageous claim of continuous creation.

                      How life started is not part of evolution and no scientist can claim anything more than an educated guess at best. Good thing Darwin’s theory did not rely on how life started.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      Please. By all means continue to lower the voice of science on these issues. I have no objection!

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      You don’t get it. Science right now only has models for how life might have started. No one knows for sure because the evidence is so difficult to collect. It might have been completely destroyed. However, evolution is accepted as true and the evidence supports it overwhelmingly.

                      The problem is that young earth creationists like to lump the Big Bang, evolution, and abiogenesis into one big box and the use abiogenesis to “refute” the Big Bang and evolution. However, they are not dependent on each other, and this is the often repeated false equivalency.

                      There are many questions for which the only answer is “we don’t know.” What existed before the Big Bang? We don’t know. Will the universe come to an end? We don’t know. How did life start on earth? We don’t know. Scientists have hypotheses and even working models for these questions but nothing that rises to the level of being a “theory.”

                      Evolution does not depend on either abiogenesis or the acceptance of the Big Bang, and this is only point I was making. It is not lowering anyone’s voice, but it is correcting a common error.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      The problem with your statement is that fossils don’t prove evolution nor do they need to prove evolution. If you read Origin of Species, you would see that Darwin’s version doesn’t hinge on fossils. It is a general theory for how life changes over time.

                      You are repeating the fallacy of completeness for scientific theories. An equivalent form of this fallacy would be claiming that physics is false because it cannot account for the position and velocity of every star in the sky.

                      Scientific theories are models of explanation. They are not fact enumerating machines nor do they require that all facts are known. The exact pathways for each organism we see today are not needed to establish the correctness of the theory of evolution, which has been modified several times to account for genetics, molecular biology, and advanced morphology.

                    • David_Evans

                      That’s my fault, I introduced fossils as an example of evidence for evolution which anyone can go and look at. And evidence which is hard for YECs to explain.

                    • stuart32

                      Fossils provide excellent evidence for evolution. In order to appreciate that you start by creating a tree of life, which you can do just by using comparative anatomy and dna. Once you have a tree of life you automatically have a prediction about what the fossil record should look like. For example, we know that humans are a group within the apes, apes are a group within the primates, primates are a group within the mammals etc.

                      So we know that in the fossil record the first mammal should appear before the first primate, the first primate should appear before the first ape, the first ape should appear before the first hominid etc. And that is exactly what we find.

                    • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

                      BTW, Berlinski’s book is interesting–he’s an atheist so he’s not operating with typical Christian/YEC drives but still takes fundamental pieces of scientific inquiry to task.

    • Christopher R Weiss

      Richard Feynman’s quip about philosophy of science is right on target:

      “Philosophy of science is as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.”

      I think most people forget that Darwin had several things wrong that have long since been corrected. He did not understand genetics, he had no access to molecular biology, he had only a little embryology, and he had only a tiny fraction of the comparative morphology data available today. Modern evolutionary biology is much more complex and complete than when Darwin published his books.

      You cannot disprove science with philosophy. It can only be disproven with data. However, in most cases it is not a simple overturning. Using your example, most of the physics used by engineers and physicists is classical Newtonian mechanics. Newton’s physics only fails when things get very big, very small or very fast. The degenerative case of relativity is Newtonian mechanics. Similarly, I can calculate the wave equation for my desk, but it is not useful. Newtonian mechanics works for most problems because relativity and quantum effects are not significant. Newtonian mechanics represents a mostly correct subset of both relativity and QED. Finally, relativity was only considered a possibility until it was confirmed with data.

      Most theories are not completely tossed away as false in modern science. Rather they are corrected and extended in general. The Copernican model of the solar system is one of the spectacular examples demonstrating how a previous model was completely wrong. The Bohr model of the atom is less well known, but it was also completely wrong about the nature of the orbits of electrons about a nucleus. These big changes are likely to be even less common moving forward. Instead, we are seeing extensions of existing theories rather than wholesale replacements. Look at the constant changes in quantum physics. Previous portions of the theory are rarely replaced. Most new cotent represents extensions. Evolutionary biology is under constant revision. Portions of it will be significantly revised or extended, but the likelihood of a wholesale replacement is unlikely.

      In closing, people frequently question science because of changing hypotheses. These are affected by data and not theories. Most people don’t know the difference between a factual claim which has been corrected with better data and a core principle of a theory.

      • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

        Heh. It seems to me you are advancing a philosophy of science while decrying its need. That seems quite convenient.

        • Christopher R Weiss

          I was actually a lab scientist before switching careers. I am simply repeating how science is practiced in the field. I am also repeating some history of science and not creating a theory of Metascience.

          How many “revolutions” have we had since the introduction of the Big Bang, QED and relativity? How about in biology after the introduction of genomics? Look at the current research. It is extending what’s there and not replacing it. Look at how these big revolutions came about – new technology such as better telescopes allowed for better observations. For example, Galileo proved his point with observational data such as the phases of Venus putting the Ptolemy model to bed once and for all.

          This is not philosophy. This is the actual practice of science. I have seen philosophers argue that materialism is dead, Darwin is wrong, etc., etc. However, practicing scientists are completely unaffected by these findings of philosophers.

          • http://www.brooklynreformed.com/ Kevin D. Johnson

            I’m not really here to rebut the findings of science, but it is still important to approach it from a philosophical perspective. Thankfully, you’ve done the hard work for me. You’ve already demonstrated above that even in practice the philosophical foundations cannot be ignored.

            • Christopher R Weiss

              Okay…black is white, and up is down…… I have simply showed you that the veracity of scientific theories is based on observational data. When people publish new results, the first thing other scientists try and do is corroborate the results. If they cannot, the new findings are considered suspect and may eventually be wrong. Theoretical science is considered hypothetical until someone has some data. Some big relatively recent errors include cold fusion and CERN’s finding of a neutrino that violated the speed of light (measurement/equipment error). Both of these errors were refuted with better data.

              I have known some deeply religious people doing science. What they don’t do is reinterpret the results or direct their research based on the content of the bible.

              Find for me a single scientific results that was can be linked to philosophy of science or its philosophical underpinnings?

              To paraphrase Bruce Lee, you cannot learn to swim on land just like you cannot learn to fight without fighting. Similarly, you cannot critique or produce scientific results without doing science. Philosophy is not science in the modern world.

        • Rick DeLano

          BINGO.

      • arcseconds

        A community of sentient birds, curious about their own existence and structure, and reflective on their own behaviour, would be highly interested in ornithology, I would think.

        • Christopher R Weiss

          You missed the point.

          Studying about science and creating theories on top of actual science is not the same as doing science and constructing new scientific theories and hypotheses.

          When people try to say science requires materialism, they are creating an artificial constraint. Science is the study of the material world, it does not impose any sort of restriction on people’s beliefs. However, when people try to overturn science with religious claims, especially with YEC, they do so with sophistry and “logical” arguments devoid of actual support.

          • arcseconds

            I was responding to the quip of Feynmann’s that you quoted. If that’s missing the point, perhaps the quote was beside the point? It certainly seems to have little enough to do with your further ellucidation of what the point is.

            • Christopher R Weiss

              You missed the point of the quip. Nothing scientists do is affected by philosophers theorizing about scientists. Similarly, birds are unaffected by the classification efforts of ornithologists.

              Do I have to spell it out any more clearly?

              • arcseconds

                I think the meaning of the quip is fairly obvious, and you’re not using it any differently than anyone else who uses it. You’ve obviously missed my point if you think I misunderstood it, yet I also thought I was being fairly clear. What did you think I thought it meant?

                My point is that it doesn’t actually paint scientists in a good light. Birds don’t have any use for ornithology because they don’t reflect on their activities, are largely driven by instinct, and aren’t capable of the kind of communication or comprehension that would allow them to understand ornithologists. If they were capable of these things (and interested in them, I suppose) they would be very interested in ornithology and find it very useful, just as we are interested in and find useful the disciplines that have human beings and their activities as their foci.

                It also has very little to do with the rest of your points, on which most philosophers of science would agree with you.

                • Christopher R Weiss

                  You are putting up your own straw man. Can’t help you with your false interpretations and implications.

                  The quip has always put philosophers in the correct perspective to science. Get over it.

                  I understand the need by YEC folks to attack science and scientists. They nibble at the edges, point at errors, show that scientists are only “human.” The irony is that they type these things on computers with solid state electronics based on amazing discoveries made by scientists. Of course scientists are human, this is why we have things like peer review, corroboration, and constant debate.

                  • arcseconds

                    What false interpretations? we both agree that the quote says that scientists don’t need philosophy of science. But why not? If we extend the analogy, it can only be that scientists are like birds: instinctual creatures, incapable of reflecting on their own activity or making use of that reflection. So either the analogy is not a good one, or scientists aren’t what we thought they were.

                    But surely scientists do reflect on their activity, and make use of those reflections, and as structured reflection on the activity of science is what philosophy of science is, we find that the quote is false.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      You are taking the analogy in a completely different direction from the obvious meaning by Feynman’s quotation.

                      When scientists think about science, they are often looking at methods, the veracity of statistical methods, etc. This goes much further into the actual practice of science than the meta-theories proposed and discussed by Kuhn, Popper, etc.

                    • arcseconds

                      Look, I know the quote is all very fun to say, but it proposes an analogy between birds and scientists which, if you get over your excitement at pooh-poohing an entire discipline for just a second, and look at the statement as you would any other figure of speech, one finds that thinking about the proposed analogy for even a second as to how it relates scientists to the study of science, it doesn’t have anything good to say about scientists. Or at least, not what intellectuals would normally think of as a good thing to say, that someone is going about their business in an instinctual and unreflective manner. Maybe that’s what Feynmann intended, and he thinks it’s a good thing, I don’t know. I suspect not, but the fact that the statement is so obviously flawed and yet people continue to quote it as though it proves something is interesting.

                      Anyway, when scientists consider their practice, they often are looking at specific details about their methodology, like ‘does this statistical technique work for my data’, or ‘how can I protect my apparatus against extraneous electric fields’, as you say. But that’s not all they do.

                      In Newton’s day it was commonly thought (by Boyle, Huygens etc. ) that properly scientific explanations had to be mechanistic, in the sense of only involving pushes and pulls of material objects in direct contact with one another. Universal gravitation is difficult to make sense of with such explanations, and was criticised Newton didn’t care about that, and instead argued for it using his powerful rules of reasoning (in particular, rule III, which enjoins us to assume that qualities found to belong to all bodies in reach of our experiments should be assumed to hold for all bodies whatsoever).

                      By doing so he was explicitly endorsing a general method of reasoning as being correct, or at least fruitful, in science, which was different from the expectations that his contemporaries and predecessors. That’s not just considering some minor aspect of specific technique, and if that’s not doing philosophy of science, I don’t know what is.

                      So, Newton is a bird who is also an ornithologist. Did science need his ornithology? Well, maybe not. Perhaps we could have muddled along not quite believing in universal gravitation and spending a lot of time building mechanical models of gravitation (like Huygens’s spinning globes of ‘fine matter’). Maybe we would eventually have dropped the requirement for mechanistic explanation through it unreflectively ceasing to be fashionable.

                      But surely we were better off with Newton deciding it wasn’t necessary.

                      Similar comments can be made about Einstein, of course.

                      I just don’t see how anyone with any understanding of the history of science can say that scientists never ask large-scale questions about the nature of the scientific enterprise and how best to proceed, or that science isn’t better because of it.

                      But, you know, if you have an argument (quips don’t count, even if they’re by famous physicists), I’m prepared to hear it.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      Let me keep this simple. Philosophizing has not resulted in new scientific results regardless of who has engaged in the practice. Applying logic to verify that results are free of things like type I or type II statistical errors is not philosophizing. I think that sums it up.

                    • arcseconds

                      Oh, yes, it certainly is simpler to ignore everything I wrote and simply reiterate your earlier point!

                      Let me know when you’re actually interested in having a discussion and making an argument, rather than simply continuing to repeat your baseless assertions.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      Your analogy is not valid. I don’t know what else to say. It is you who keeps putting up an invalid straw man, talking about sentient birds, blah, blah, blah. Ornithology is an external activity to that of birds. Discussing methods within science as a practice of science and not some meta-theory of science is what scientists do. It is not equivalent. The scientists are not acting in the ornithology role

                      Claiming that work within a discipline somehow ties over to philosophy is a simple invalid connection.

                      You have made an invalid leap. Step 1 is wrong. There isn’t anything else to discuss.

                    • arcseconds

                      Yes, I agree. The philosophy of science is not an external activity to science. Scientists reflect on the nature of scientific explanation, what makes for a good scientific theory, and what makes science science all the time. This has a direct bearing on their activities, and informs what theories and explanations are accepted. Those questions are questions in the philosophy of science.

                      Feynmann got it wrong.

                      If you continue to support Feynmann, could you please give an argument as to why? Because up until now, you’ve just repeated your assertions without any reasoning (but with some hilarious playground banter! I’m always convinced my arguments are fallacious or irrelevant when someone characterizes them as ‘blah blah blah’, so please, more of that too).

                      Honestly, I’m better off talking to creationists. At least they make some kind of attempt to give an argument and respond to mine.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      “Yes, I agree.” Really? I think I see the divergence of our opinions, and it is really a timing issue.

                      You need to put this in historical context. When Feynman made his quip, there were philosophers contemplating the meaning of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, while Feynman rightfully stated that anyone who said they understood QED didn’t understand QED. His statement had to do with the fact the contemplating the meaning of the HUP had absolutely nothing to do with scientists working in QED – nothing whatsoever. If anything QED, was creating apparent contradictions and sending traditional philosophers into conniptions.

                      I actually have a degree in philosophy, and I have worked in a molecular genetics lab. I have long since changed careers because I didn’t have the temperament for lab work, but I did it for a while. Maybe my perspective is different based on my experiences. I have read Popper, Kuhn, Liebnitz, Hume, Kant, Aristotle, etc. I have also worked in a lab mapping the genome of the T7 virus. I see so little overlap between modern philosophy of science and the practice of science, I find it laughable when philosophers such as Nagel make broad pronouncements about Darwinian evolution being impossible. I have seen similar claims that materialism is dead, intentionality is required by nature, blah, blah, blah. I have seen the same thing in computer science with folks like Searle trying to claim that strong AI is impossible with a proof by analogy (see the Chinese Room argument). However, when a lab tech runs an assay, and the lab director assembles a paper from a set of assays, philosophy doesn’t enter the discussion. Conflating methodology with philosophy is not a valid linking.

                      Historically philosophy and science were considered the same larger discipline. In the 19th century, they diverged. Science became methodological and self-contained. Philosophy of science became its own discipline, and you had debacles like Russell and Whitehead’s great failure – Principia Logica. While Principia had important results related to logic, its long term goal of providing the logical foundations of mathematics were completely undone by Goedel. Similarly, other philosophers tried to assert different forms of truth, verification, etc., which ended up having zero impact whatsoever on the role of modern philosophy in modern science.

                      In the 21st century, Feynman’s quip has even more relevance than ever. Your statement about Einstein belies a conflation between his statements on morals, ethics, his deism, his wonderment and his science. Relativity provides a gestalt that was already understood – frames of reference. Einstein provided the mathematics to formalize it and to revolutionize physics. In today’s science, outside of ethics, philosophy actually creates issues that don’t exist like Nagel’s pronouncements and other philosophers who attacked everything from QED to the role of mutation in species development.

                      Do you call large shifts in science which introduce new perspectives “philosophy” or “science?” I took analysis on manifolds when I was a first year grad student in applied math. In that we studied the mathematical foundation of special relativity. It was actually disappointing because I had been pulled into the mystery of “relativity” and I used the typical truncated formulas of time dilation, etc., without understanding the basis behind what I did. Studying manifolds took the mystery out special relativity for me.

                      For me science is just men and women doing work. Discoveries require creativity and insight, and a great deal of hard work. You seem to be using a much broader use of the word “philosophy” than most scientists would be willing to accept or even consider.

                      Look at today, and see if your perspective still applies. Put in the historical context of Feynman and look at the interplay of philosophy of science and the practice of science up to now.

                    • arcseconds

                      Wow, what a lot of strange assumptions you are making and conclusions you are jumping to, and irrelevancies you are indulging in. I’m clearly going to have my work cut out for me trying to disentangle your confusion.

                      I would like to know, for starters, where this statement came from:

                      Your statement about Einstein belies a conflation between his statements
                      on morals, ethics, his deism, his wonderment and his science.

                      My statement about Einstein was:

                      Similar comments can be made about Einstein, of course.

                      The comments immediately preceding that were about how Newton decided that mechanistic explanations weren’t necessary.

                      So where is this stuff about morals, ethics, deism and wonderment coming from? I didn’t mention or even allude to anything of that nature.

                      It’s almost like you’re talking to someone else. Are you having a discussion a bit like this with someone else on another forum who likes their Einstein sound-bites about God and nuclear war, and thinks that philosophy is about pithy one-liners, or something?

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      You ignored the rest of my response. I have better things to do with my time at this point.

                      Again, adding a new force is not a philosophical position. His idea was not new either. Read the Greeks. This is an old idea that he mathematically formalizes just like Einstein formalizing the concept of “frame of reference.”

                    • arcseconds

                      I was trying to keep it simple for you by restricting my reply to just one point. I picked the most egregious of your misinterpretations and non sequitors — this stuff about Einstein’s morals, ethics, deism and wonderment, when I never referred to anything of the sort.

                      You’re in no position to complain about me ignoring anything, as you ignore most of what I say and use the rest to construct a position for me which has nothing to do with what I’m saying. I don’t think you’re really reading my posts at all — you’re glancing at them, then doing some word-association game.

                      You see ‘Einstein’ and ‘philosophy’ and you go “oh, he must be rabitting on about Einstein being a pseudo-religious figure. Philosophy has ethics in it doesn’t it? Einstein said something about ethics a couple of times didn’t he? Well, that’s silly and has nothing to do with science! I’ll shoot him down there! that’ll larn him!”

                      Then you see ‘Newton’ and a mention of gravitation and “oh, he must be going on about Newton introducing a new force!”. That’s not quite as off the deep end as your Einstein stuff, as at least I said something about gravitation, but you’ve still missed my point quite dramatically.

                      Your position that Newton and Einstein were just regurgitating old hat is a novel and brave position to take, given that scientists, historians of science, and philosophers of science almost unanimously say the opposite, but it’s not relevant to the point, is it? Whether it’s new or not doesn’t tell us whether it’s philosophy of science or not. It could be old stuff that he resurrected, yet still be philosophy of science, or it could be entirely new stuff, and still not be philosophy of science.

                      I think I am tolerably well-versed in Greek natural philosophy, but I don’t know of any that proposed anything that sounds remotely like universal gravitation, so I would be grateful if you told me who you think it was that said this.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      Blah blah blah… labeling a change in science “philosophy” is a misuse of the word.

                    • arcseconds

                      Oh, no! you’ve caught me in the icy grip of reason there!

                      your ‘blah blah blah’s have really got me reconsidering my position!

                      It’s so fortunate for me that it’s not ‘yadda yadda’ or ‘blither-blather’, otherwise my intellectual reputation would be in tatters!

                      I’m not arguing that any change in science is philosophy, of course, this is just another one of your mischaracterisations.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      You are stubborn… tell you what… Find me a journal article with a result in the last century influenced, changed, or developed because of findings from philosophy of science and I will concede. You are talking in circles at this point trying to assert that changes in scientific perspectives are “philosophy of science,” which is crap if you ask modern scientists.

                      Find the proof and I will gladly admit defeat.

                    • arcseconds

                      I prefer to think of myself as ‘tenacious’. Given that I’m continuing to try and communicate with someone who’s not making the slightest effort to understand what I’m saying, maybe I deserve ‘patient’. Or perhaps ‘stupid’ would be more accurate, as I’m obviously flogging a dead horse, or arguing with a cracked record, or something equally as futile.

                      (Also, obviously I’m not going to change my mind unless you actually argue against what I’m saying. Repeatedly asserting that I’m wrong and saying ‘blah blah blah’, however amusing it may be, ultimately isn’t going to shift me. Some might call that stubbornness, but I like to call it ‘rationality’.)

                      I mean, I’ve already told you, in detail, what I think counts as philosophy of science (or, more specifically, some topics that are covered under ‘philosophy of science’), why I think it counts as philosophy of science, and why I think some of what Newton did falls in that area.

                      I’ve also specifically denied in the very comment you are replying to that I don’t think just any scientific change counts as philosophy of science.

                      Yet, as usual, you’ve ignored all that and continue to say that I’m asserting that any change in science is philosophy of science. Without even so much as an argument!

                      (and you’re continuing to assert scientists’ ideas of what counts as philosophy of science as determininative. I’ve already rebutted this point, too.)

                      It’s very gracious of you to offer to admit defeat if I give an example meeting your particular restrictive criteria (why the last century? did no science happen before then? is Popper’s statement somehow only valid since 1914? Or are you just trying to push Newton under the carpet so you don’t have to think about him?) but you misunderstand what I want from this discussion.

                      Let’s say I come up with such an example. At best, you will concede the debate and you will revise your actual opinion a little, but only a little (‘maybe some scientists have found it useful, but it’s still not very important’). What seems more likely is that you will concede because you said you would — but not reconsider your views at all.

                      What I would rather happen is that you understand my argument, but reject it because you’ve got an argument that speaks against it. So far you’ve not engaged my argument at all: you’ve simply doubled down on your original claims, insulted me, and claimed I must be wrong because no scientist would agree with your mischaracterisation of my position.

                      I’ve already given you an example of a reknowned scientist who’s considerations of what makes a good theory and how theories relate to evidence (philosophy of science, or else Popper is not a philosopher of science) were of critical use in his work, which is of fundamental importance to modern science. That’s a far better example than any example I can come up with from the 20th century.

                      (There are good examples, but if you don’t accept Newton was doing philosophy of science, I obviously actually have to find a Nobel laureate (one of the science ones, obviously), L, and an undisputed philosopher of science P, where P ≠ L, and P is holder of Chair of Philosophy of Science at Philosophy of Science College and author of such books as Philosophy of Science is Here Again, and L holds P as inspiring a particular scientific paper published in Nature with their (P’s) amazing philosophy of science. I fear that such an example will not be quite as central to modern science as Newton, which obviously sets you up for denying its importance.)

                      You have not engaged with that example at all. You haven’t taken issue with my characterisation of philosophy of science (except by mischaracterising it as ‘all scientific change is philosophy of science’), my argument as to why Newton’s rules of reasoning fall in that area, or that Newton’s rules of reasoning are used centrally in the Principia.

                      So by any meaningful standards of debate, I have already won, and I hearby claim victory.

                      But what I was actually hoping for is to communicate something to you, and that apparently has not occurred. Again, I’d be far more satisfied if I thought you had some understanding of what I was saying but still disagreed with it.

                      But you obviously haven’t understood the slightest thing I’ve said.

                      So I’ve lost the discussion miserably.

                      So I can’t really see the point of providing you with an example. I’ve already given you a much better one, and you’ve ignored it. I’ve won the debate, failed to make any headway in the discussion, and you won’t learn anything from it.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      Your categorization of what counts as “philosophy of science” has no bearing on the modern practice of doing science. It affects no results, perspectives, or analyses. This has been my point and this was Feynman’s point.

                      The fact that you persist in “No, it really does matter. Philosophy of science is meaningful” is quixotic and anachronistic. It really and truly accomplishes nothing when looking at science in modern times.

                      What was valuable in almost all branches of philosophy with the possible exception of ethics has become other disciplines. For example, epistemology and metaphysics have diverged into modern psychology. When Immanuel Kant wrote his “Critique of Pure Reason,” he was providing a basis for modern cognitive psychology, which has become a rich empirical study of the mind and perception. However, no one does philosophy to get new results in modern psychology. Instead, people become psychologists. The same applies to physicists, mathematicians, etc. This exemplifies the point you keep missing. While some modern scientists might dabble in philosophy, it does not establish any value for philosophy of science… today.

                      I majored in philosophy. It was excellent training for what I later did and continue to do for my career. However, I moved beyond philosophy to do things rather than continuing to talk about things.

                    • arcseconds

                      Philosophy of science, as a subject matter, includes considerations as to what makes for a good scientific theory, why one theory is to be preferred over another, what counts as a scientific explanation, what the relationship of theory to evidence is, and what the relationship of theory to reality is.

                      That’s a perfectly ordinary understanding of (a subset of) the subject matter, you can find these sorts of things in philosophy of science textbooks, well-known philosophers of science deal with these questions (Popper on theories and Hempel on explanations can serve as examples), etc. Maybe scientists don’t usually think of these topics as philosophy of science — it doesn’t matter, as they usually have little to no formal training or exposure to the discipline and aren’t authoritative on what it involves.

                      Scientists certainly cannot function without at least implicit views on these matters. Some kind of an understanding of what counts as a good theory and what counts as empirical support or disproof is absolutely necessary for science. Without such conceptions, there would be no constraints on what theories and explanations could be tabled. It would look a bit like pseudoscience like YEC or some conspiracy theories look today — anything can be promoted as a theory, no matter how far-flung (although even YEC has a strong constraint over what theories can be tabled: they have to support a ‘literal’ interpretation of Genesis).

                      So if we read ‘scientists need no philosophy of science’ as ‘scientists don’t need any views on any part of the area covered by philosophy of science’, it’s obviously nonsense. It’s not the case that anything goes in science, so there are at least implicit views on what are acceptable theories and what counts as evidence, etc. So the scientific community always has an implicit philosophy of science (or several of them) in this sense.

                      Now, maybe what Feynmann meant was that while scientists do need implicit views on some aspects of philosophy of science, they don’t need to make those views explicit or reflect on them or to challenge their understanding of them. If they just go with their implicit understanding, there’s a clear sense in which, while they have views on philosophy of science matters, they’re not really ‘doing’ any philosophy of science, and it’s not worth calling these views ‘philosophy’.

                      Perhaps he also means they’re better off not doing this.

                      I could almost agree here. Science could, maybe, muddle along without any scientists reflecting on what counts as a good scientific theory, so the constraints on theorizing would change like fashion (and this does happen, of course).

                      It’s also true that science has derived benefit from scientists not taking their own philosophy of science too seriously. The 17th century mechanists, for example, didn’t actually devote themselves to spelling out how the phenomena they were investigating could be reduced to mechanical direct-contact interaction between particles.

                      However, it’s also true that science has derived benefit from scientists deciding that the current way theorizing is done is inadequate, and rethinking the matter. Newton is a great example of this. His ‘rules of reasoning’ explicitly deal with how experimental results are to inform theories (they tell you about what qualities objects have, and you are to theorize in a way that makes strong assumptions about these qualities.), and therefore are no less philosophy of science than Popper (who maintains that experiments don’t really inform you about what qualities objects have, and their only role is to disprove theories).

                      And the rules of reasoning are explicitly used in the Principia, for example, he argues on the basis of them that the force that maintains the Moon in its orbit is the same force as keeps your feet on the ground.

                      So, it’s difficult for me to agree with Feynman with any degree of enthusiasm. The relationship of theory to experiment is a topic in the philosophy of science, scientists do have views and must have views on this matter, sometimes they crtically reflect on them, and sometimes the results of this reflection heavily informs their scientific work.

                      (Maybe he meant only that scientists have nothing to learn from the people who are actually employed as philosophers of science. This is a more reasonable position, but his quip is a bad way of expressing this. )

                      Nothing you’ve said has anything to do with any of this, so gives me no reason to alter my views here. Philosophers of science are frequently wrong, of course (as are scientists), so you or Feynmann getting frustrated with this or that philosopher is beside the point.

                      You need a general argument as to why scientists are better off not reflecting on what makes for a good scientific theory, not specific complaints.

                      Prior experience suggests you won’t read or understand any of this, and you’ll just come up with some left-field and irrelevant complaint, something to do with albino ravens showing Hempel was wrong maybe. But hope springs eternal.

                  • arcseconds

                    Regarding your statements about YEC folks, I agree, and the slightly more sophisticated one like Kevin here are wont to mention philosophy of science in this regard. But their deployment of philosophy of science is generally speaking no better than their deployment of science: it’s full of cherry picking, overstatement, and outright misrepresentation. I really wish they wouldn’t, but what can you do?

                    I note that Kevin failed to give any specifics at all about the philosophy he was leaning on, because it was all too complicated to explain yet apparently covered in any philosophy of science textbook.

    • Larry D Andrews

      What if the science, is not evidence based rather theory based? Then our children over a period of a generation are indoctrinated and educated in that unproven theory, then the theory becomes over time to be unsupported fact. Dissension is not allowed. Then is wisdom really wisdom? Is knowledge really knowledge? Do educators really have education? Or are lemmings falling off the cliff, with every lie uncovered, every truth revealed? Evolution is religion, because since unproven, it requires faith. Old earth is a theory that can not be proven. Even in space time and distances are theories, tell them to explain a quasar or even gravity. Tell them to create something, anything. Tell them to make a new kind of being. Ask Higgs or Boson what their particle can do. I just want them to stop calling these things facts and admit they just do not know, but they are working on it. And stop telling our kids to close their minds and accept their crap as fact.

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

        You are mistaken about a great many things, including what theory means in the natural sciences, the evidence for evolution, and that scientists do not admit when they do not know and are working on something.

        If you devoted the time you spend displaying your ignorance in public to informing yourself about these topics, you might not bring Christ into such disrepute through your poorly-informed rants on the internet!

        • Rick DeLano

          Oh my. Bringing “Christ into disrepute”?

          You arrogant fraud.

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

            Arrogant? How is deferring to the experts, and admitting that I was wrong about this and changing my mind, arrogant? And what other than your comments is fraudulent here? Insults are easy to offer, particularly when you have nothing else. By all means accuse me if I have done something wrong, but at least have the decency to provide specifics so that I can mend my ways!

            • Rick DeLano

              The scribes and Pharisees deferred to experts just as you do, James, and Our Lord declines to have His gospel mediated by them.

              Or you.

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

                That is a pretty ridiculous attempt to spin things in your favor. It is not as though you think you are the Lord, and not someone attempting to mediate for the Lord, do you? And do you directly consult Greek and Hebrew manuscripts not produced by other people or dependent on copies made by others with expertise, not depending on English translations made by scholars or anything of that sort? Are you not ashamed to try to spin things in this way, to make your individualistic arrogance and unwillingness to learn from others seem godly?

                • Rick DeLano

                  James:

                  I strongly urge you to cease alleging that your brothers and sisters in Christ who do not follow you down the road to a mindless acceptance, on “authority”, of the hilariously flawed and tottering Big bang creation myth, and Darwinian evolutionary fairy tale, are “bringing Christ into disrepute”.

                  If you do not take this advice, then I will certainly do everything I can to demonstrate the profound illiteracy, soft-mindedness, and, what is much worse, Pharisaical arrogance which motivates you.

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

                    I strongly urge you to cease alleging that your threats and insults, and your bringing Christ into disrepute by accepting and advocating deceitful pseudoscience, are compatible with being a Christian.

                    Hopefully the things I’ve written on this blog, to say nothing of my books and articles, are already sufficient to counter any claim that I am illiterate or soft-minded. I am human, so I may be wrong about any number of things. But your insults themselves say a great deal about you and what you represent. If you want to spend more time offering such insults, I am perfectly happy to have you provide further evidence of my point that young-earth creationism is fundamentally incompatible with Christian values such as truthfulness and honesty.

                    • Rick DeLano

                      To the contrary, James. Your woefully inadequate knowledge of the evidence, as shown in this thread, constitutes an opportunity, and a challenge, for you.

                      You have lied repeatedly here concerning the truly astounding evidence of soft tissues in Cretaceous fossils.

                      You ought to retract.

                      If you don’t then ignorance is clearly not an excuse.

                      As for your self-appointed status as defender of pseudo-orthodoxy, I will continue to simply take you down point by point.

                      Nothing personal, I assure you.

                      The Gospel is at stake, and you have exchanged it for another.

                      Galatians 1:8 applies.

                      Tally-ho!

                      NOTE: I see you have blocked my post. How drearily predictable.

                      I shall look forward to recounting this entire exchange on my blog.

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

                      What on earth are you talking about? Presumably because you have a tendency to copy and paste mined quotes that appear in lots of creationist comments around the internet, it makes your comments look like spam to Disqus. That in itself should tell you something about the content of them. But this blog does not have comment moderation. I ban spammers and those who use vulgarity, and trolls who never engage with responses to what they write.

                      But your assumption that I had illustrates why it is so hard for young-earth creationists to engage with others in conversation. If you are used to the censoring and denigration typical in that sort of environment, you simply cannot believe that other blogs, to say nothing of the scientific establishment, doesn’t do the same things. It is very sad.

                      Anyone can click through and read the article for themselves and determine whether it supports young-earth creationism or mainstream biology. Science isn’t threatened by new discoveries. It is sad that you have to be constantly demeaning and denigrating, when you could be excited when new discoveries lead to new knowledge and understanding.

      • arcseconds

        What if someone were to start using rhetorical questions, undergirded by false assumptions, to prove their point?

      • David_Evans

        Ask Boson? It would be worth the price of admission to see you do that.

        You might have better luck with an electron. At least they are in the communications business.

      • Rick DeLano

        Bravo.

    • Rick DeLano

      Karl Popper disagrees with you.

      So does Albert Einstein.

      Popper- the greatest philosopher of science of them all in my humble opinion- says that science is *falsification*; that is, what separates science from all other forms of knowledge is that it is ceaselessly attempting to overturn what it thinks it knows.

      Einstein reduces this brilliant insight to two simple sentences, which today’s scientists are going to have to recover:

      “No experiment can ever prove me right. A single experiment can prove me wrong.”

      THAT is the authentic scientific method.

  • GeneralDrake

    “It is time for conservative Christians to say goodbye to young-earth creationism once and for all, just as they did with slavery” Let me remind you of Arnold Schwarzenegger proudly and loudly proclaiming, “The debate is over, the science is in…” Yet there is ZERO global warming in the last 17 years which means the so-called “science” was only as accurate as the integrity and interpretation of the scientists…and wildly mistaken! First off, I understand McGrath knows obviously very little about young earth creationism. As a former evolutionary philosopher and faith filled believer, I didn’t become a young earth creationist because of the bible it was the ACTUAL EVIDENCE that to the unbiased, is so overwhelming that I can say with great confidence that anyone who believes in evolution is either so grossly ignorant of the simplest of facts on what we actually OBSERVE or just a blind faith atheist in every sense of the word. I PERSONALLY worked in the field with archaeologists and confirmed the reality of the completely human footprints in supposedly 110 million year old limestone. I saw them freshly uncovered. Evolutionists ALWAY dismiss ANY contrary evidence completely by faith without any discovery or scientific process. The FACT that there are ZERO (not simply a few which would make no difference if the philosophy of evolution were true) transitional forms that evolutionists agree upon because the evidence is so hilariously scarce that one has to literally turn a mountain into a molehill with great imagination. Lastly, the dating techniques. They are a complete farce in every sense of the word. The shorter term carbon 14 dates LIVING creatures as being dead for thousands of years. Uranium-lead dating method and Potassium-argon dating methods yield VASTLY DIFFERENT ages of the SAME SAMPLE..we are talking hundreds of millions and even billions of years. Even within the same method the differences are vast and each time it is ‘thrown out’ and re-dated claiming ‘contamination’ until they get the date you paid $10,000+ for. This takes 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 times—then..jackpot! We got the date we need to publish. This is EXACTLY…PRECISELY what happens. I know this PERSONALLY. My associates pay thousands to get these dates from the labs. Example – the laeotoli tracks which show clearly human tracks were dated 39 times and each time the date was so ancient 10′s of millions of years…until…40th date came back 3 million years—bingo! We can use that date. If you doubt me look it up! I’m telling you THIS IS NOT SCIENCE!!! So to sum up NO Mr. McGrath, it is not time for sound minded Christians to put the Bible on a fiction shelf…it is time for liberal minded, secular humanists and agnostic “Christians” to face the reality that we have been sold a bill of goods by the atheist community…I took my broken philosophy back. Wish I could get a refund.

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

      The claims that you make here are easily fact checked and are false. But let us start with your identity, since you claim to be a philosopher. By all means indicate where you earned your degree, and perhaps that will help us deal with the first puzzle, namely how someone who worked in evolutionary philosophy can have such a poor understanding of the subject and claim to believe such lies about it.

      • GeneralDrake

        James, I offer $1,000.00 bet …legally binding if you can “easily disprove” my ‘claims’ that are 100% correct. Based on LEGITIMATE RULES USED IN THE COURT SYSTEM OF EVIDENCE what I have said is provable. First off, I spoke mainly in generalities, that is hard to debate I understand, but the specific evidence such as the human foot prints…my bet is on. Put your money where your mouth is. My understanding of evolution is vastly superior to your childish, ignorance which is NOTHING beyond publicly taught PROPAGANDA points. Good luck with your claims which I have already proven false with the footprints alone. A word of warning to you my completely ignorant friend, I ACTUALLY EXCAVATED SOME OF THE TRACKS…so your chance to convince me they aren’t real is ZERO. But facts and evidence have nothing to do with your faith. You talk bold but you know nothing.

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

          I have an even better idea, as much as I could do with the extra cash. Send your finds to a peer reviewed science journal. Let me know when they are published.

        • Ian

          You earlier claimed to have been an “evolutionary philosopher” and now you’re claiming to have been out in the field excavating paleontological specimens.

          So which is it, were you a philosopher, or a paleontologist?

          Or are you a fantasist? Bearing in mind that amount of capital letters in a comment is usually inversely correlated with someone’s credibility, I don’t hold out much hope.

          Time to pony up. Claims are cheap. Who are you and where and as what did you work?

          • Ian

            After a bit of digging, it seems GeneralDrake is 44, works as a salesman of communication technology, and is a sometime web-designer. He did an undergraduate degree in business management, then a technology marketing course in the UK (can’t tell if it was a masters or just a summer school).

            He has never been employed as either a philosopher or paleontologist, or been a graduate student of anything related to evolution.

            He has lied on at least one publicly visible bio, claiming he attended Oxford University.

            He has left a wide swathe of SHOUTY comments across the internet, though, under a couple of names. His pet peeves are: Global Warming is a hoax, Blacks and Native Americans are the true racists, Muslims are “hateful bigots”, Women are “the most hypocritical creatures on earth” (as well as being responsible for most domestic physical abuse) and Homosexuals are “dirty people” who “hardly seem human”. And, of course LIBERALS and OBAMA, which tend to send him into inchoate fits.

            • Sven2547

              Interesting. Where/how did you find this? I mean, the rest of his hyperpartisan silliness can be found in his comment history, but his personal bio?

              • Ian

                I needed a name, so I cross-referenced accounts called GeneralDrake on a range of social media (because folks tend to use a small selection of nicknames or usernames in multiple places) with sites that mentioned real-names. I checked all those names and found one with another comment history with the exact same capitalized rants on the same topics, with the same characteristic typing patterns (no space after ellipsis, for example). From there you can get anything. Address, Phone, Tax records, Housing history, etc. His old college newsletters were online and contained his major, and I could find the domain names he registered, and that’s where i saw the false bio. The UK connection seemed incongruous, but then his brag that he’d been at the London Natural History Museum seemed to cross-reference that. Often pathological liars will use their real experience as a core of their fantasies.

    • Christopher R Weiss

      Look up at the night sky and identify the dimmest object you can find with the naked eye. Next get a telescope and identify the dimmest object in the sky. Finally, review some Hubble data on the most distant stellar objects ever discovered. You will then have your simple answer why young earth creationism is impossible. Regardless of whether you accept evolution or radio isotope dating, the stars in the sky demonstrate why a young earth and a literal form of creationism is a lie.

      Let me throw out a few other conundrums. If all the land animals on the earth emerged from Noah’s ark, why are marsupials so concentrated in Australia, and how did they get there? Why are there old world monkeys and new world monkeys rather than just types of monkeys? Why are there no apes in south america, north america, Europe or Australia? There are compatible environments for many animals on other continents, why are the distributions so different? If we look at simple geology, then when the earth flooded the oceans would have covered all of the land and all of the arable land would have been poisoned with salt water. There is no way to account for the diversity of flora that we see if plant life more or less had to start over. Moreover, the water that remained would have been at least brackish when the oceans receded. We don’t see that. Moreover, amphibians in general will die without fresh water as will many species of fish. A few thousand years is too short a time to restock all of the animals that could not have survived in brackish or salt water. These are problems just with the story of Noah.

      According to the bible, all humans are descendants of Noah and his family. However, the scope of genetic diversity since the time of Noah is too great to have accumulated since the time of Noah. This is impossible even from the time of Adam.

      There is no way you did the things you listed here. You are simply plagiarizing content from Answers In Genesis and Creation.com.

      • Rick DeLano

        Christopher:

        Your argument depends on a number of assumptions which are themselves presently under serious observational duress.

        You refer to Hubble- perhaps you were not aware that Hubble himself never believed in the expanding universe which your citation of him suggests he did.

        It was the Friedman solutions to the Einstein equations which gave us the so-called “balloon universe”, expanding at every point, which yields the present Hubble “Law” which is not a Law but an hypothesis, which suffers, among other things, from the notable defect that it does not apply to expanding universes in the first place.

        But it gets worse.

        Cosmological redshift is interpreted as a recessional velocity of the emitter, caused not, predominantly, by the proper motion of the emitter, but by the *hypothesized* expansion of space.

        We know of over a hundred other ways that redshift can be produced, crucially including recent laboratory demonstration of redshift as an *intrinsic* property of plasmas.

        So.

        While the standard Big Bang LCDM creation myth is certainly entitled to be acknowledged as the myth which has persuaded the minds of men at this time, it is by no means entitled to the status of dogma.

        It is, as Popper had said holds for all actually *scientific* theories, one hundred per cent certain to be wrong ;-)

        • Christopher R Weiss

          lol! You are rewriting history… it was Hubble’s discoveries that allowed the big bang theory to move forward.

          I suggest you read the Big Bang by Singh. It will give the history and the evidence without your YEC spin on things.

          I am not going to disassemble your obvious falsehoods. Instead, I will suggest you spend some time at the library. The attempts by creationists to claim that the current big bang theory is only one way to interpret the evidence is the worst bit of sophistry I have ever heard.

          • Rick DeLano

            Christopher. I suggest you read Hubble’s work itself: “The Observational Approach to Cosmology”.

            He never believed in the expanding universe.

            This fact is well known.

            • Christopher R Weiss

              It doesn’t matter. It was the Hubble telescope that gave the data I was referring to.

              Also, it was Hubble’s data and not his hypotheses that mattered.

              • Rick DeLano

                Thank you for acknowledging.

                • Christopher R Weiss

                  Acknowledging what? Hubble’s discoveries allowed the Big bang theory to move forward. Literally hundreds of physicists and astronomers contributed to the development theory. It was quantum mechanics that filled in the last pieces of the puzzle for the formation of heavier elements.

                  • Rick DeLano

                    For acknowledging that Hubble never believed in the expanding universe.

                    QED

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      I never said that… I said regardless of your spin on his discoveries, the Big Bang still holds.

                    • Rick DeLano

                      The Big Bang is certainly the dominant creation myth today, that much is certain.

                      Hubble never believed it, and his observations do not in any way require it.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      Maybe you should look up what the “Hubble constant” means.

                      If you believe the big bang is a myth, publish your alternate version and collect your Nobel.

                    • Rick DeLano

                      Maybe you should look up the Hubble constant as calculated by Hubble, and notice that it resulted in a universe less than a billion years old.

                      Maybe you should notice- although this would require some deeper research- that the Hubble constant is mathematically incapable of being expressed in an expanding universe.

                      I do not have anything particularly against the Big Bang creation myth.

                      It is an excellent myth, as far as it goes.

                      It simply isn’t going to be around much longer.

                    • stuart32

                      Rick, you said that there are a hundred other possible causes of redshifts, including a certain intrinsic property of plasma. Does that property of plasma also explain the ratio of hydrogen to helium, the microwave background radiation, the fact that distant galaxies appear to be young and nearer ones old, the fact that the oldest stars have an age which is consistent with the age of the Universe, the fact that we can see galaxies colliding – which implies an evolving universe etc. ?

                    • Rick DeLano

                      stuart:
                      Do you have any evidence that redshift is related in any way at all to hydrogen/helium? To the CMB? To your assumptions concerning appearances of age in galaxies?

                      You say you are in possession of a “fact” concerning the oldest stars. Could you provide your evidence?

                      It seems to me you are instead advancing hypotheses based on assumptions.

                      Facts, of course, are things which can be asserted independent of assumptions of model.

                      For example, it is a fact that we see galaxies colliding.

                      It is an assumption that this involves any evidence at all about the age, initial condition, or ultimate fate of the universe.

                    • stuart32

                      Rick, you ask whether I have any evidence that redshift is related to the hydrogen helium ratio etc. That is actually a strange question. You are asking me whether I have any evidence that a certain piece of evidence is evidence for a theory.

                      Whether or not something is evidence for a theory is a question of interpretation. You are free to dispute my interpretation if you wish. My point is that the theory that explains the redshift is also the theory that explains the hydrogen helium ratio etc. That theory is the Big Bang theory. The fact that the Big Bang theory explains numerous pieces of evidence makes me think it is true.

                      My claim about the age of stars refers to white dwarfs. The age of white dwarfs can be calculated from the rate at which they cool: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/age.html

                      You are quite right that I am making assumptions about the fact that we see galaxies colliding, but I think they are reasonable assumptions. If you have a better interpretation of what we see you are welcome to share it.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      This is all part of the YEC approach to “reinterpret reality.” It results in arguing in a meaningless circle with these sophists.

                    • Sven2547

                      For example, it is a fact that we see galaxies colliding.

                      It is an assumption that this involves any evidence at all about the age, initial condition, or ultimate fate of the universe.

                      Well, it is a fact that light cannot move faster than C, and it is a fact that distant galaxies are millions (and some, billions) of light-years away, and it is a fact that we can see than with powerful telescopes. These are all pretty straight-forward.

                    • stuart32

                      I think his point was that the Universe could have been created with galaxies in the middle of collisions. That is true but it creates a serious problem. If two galaxies are separate to start with and then collide the collision will take millions of years. So when you see a galactic collision the most reasonable assumption is that you are seeing the result of a process that has taken millions of years.

                      The problem with creating galaxies in the middle of a collision is that the galaxies were never separate to start with. So when we see a collision what are we really seeing?

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      Ya ya… it has been a strongly established model starting with Lemaitre. The evidence for it has only gotten stronger, and not weaker. Regardless of how you wish to twist things the Hubble data and the Hubble constant have been an essential piece of the Big Bang.

                      With respect to your use of the word “myth,” I can only laugh. It must be so frustrating for you to always be on the wrong end of every debate.

                      Trying to discredit the big bang by someone making it sound like Hubble was in opposition ignores all the evidence that has been collected in the last 90 years.

                      The fact that the known universe started from a singularity is no longer in debate among physicists. There are many hypotheses that are still in question, and many questions that have no answer yet, but this has nothing to do with the overwhelming evidence in support of a big bang.

                      Ironically, many supporters of the big bang claim god initiated the expansion.

    • Sven2547

      Rather than cover all of your lies (I lost count), I’ll just go for one of the big ones:

      The FACT that there are ZERO … transitional forms that evolutionists agree upon because the evidence is so hilariously scarce that one has to literally turn a mountain into a molehill with great imagination.

      This is one of the most common creationist lies, and a big red flag that indicates you don’t know squat about the fossil record. For your consideration: a partial list of transitional forms (source: RationalWiki, which cites numerous other sources):

      Invertebrate to Vertebrate
      Pikaia gracilens — Middle (M.) Cambrian chordate with lancelet-like morphology.
      Haikouella — Lower (L.) Cambrian chordate, first to bear a skull; archaetypical craniate.
      Haikouichthys — L. Cambrian quasi-vertebrate, intermediate in developing a vertebral column; archaetypical vertebrate.
      Conodonts — U. Cambrian to Triassic quasi-vertebrates with spinal cord; “bug-eyed lampreys”.
      Myllokunmingia — L. Cambrian vertebrate with primitive spinal column; oldest true crown-group vertebrate.
      Arandaspis — L. Ordovician vertebrate, armoured jawless fish (ostracoderm), oldest known vertebrate with hard parts known from (mostly) complete fossils.

      Jawless Fish to Jawed Vertebrate
      Birkenia — Silurian primitive, jawless fish, a typical member of the Anaspida
      Cephalaspis — Silurian armoured jawless fish, archaetypical member of the “Osteostraca,” sister group to all jawed vertebrates.
      Shuyu — Silurian to Devonian, armoured jawless fish belonging to Galeaspida, related to Osteostraca. Internal cranial anatomy very similar to the anatomy seen in basal jawed vertebrates. This similarity is directly implied with the translation of its name, “Dawn Fish,” with the implication that it represents the “dawn of jawed vertebrates.”

      Acanthodian to shark
      Ptomacanthus — sharklike fish, originally described as an acanthodian fish: brain anatomy demonstrates that it is an intermediate between acanthodians and sharks.
      Cladoselache — primitive/basal shark.
      Tristychius — another sharklike fish.
      Ctenacanthus — primitive/basal shark.
      Paleospinax — sharklike jaw, primitive teeth.
      Spathobatis — Ray-like fish.
      Protospinax — Ancestral to both sharks and skates.

      Primitive jawed fish to bony fish
      Acanthodians — superficially similar to early bony fishes, and some have been identified as being the ancestors of sharks.
      Palaeoniscoids — primitive bony fishes.
      Canobius, Aeduella — palaeoniscoids with more advanced jaws.
      Parasemionotus — combination of modern cheeks with more primitive features, like lungs
      Oreochima — first teleost fish
      Leptolepids — vaguely herring-like ancestors of modern teleost fish. Lung modified into swim bladder.
      Amphistium and Heteronectes — percomorphs that demonstrate the transition of the eye location of flatfishes.

      Fish to amphibian
      Paleoniscoids — both ancestral to modern fish and land vertebrates.
      Osteolepis — modified limb bones, amphibian like skull and teeth.
      Kenichthys — shows the position of exhaling nostrils moving from front to fish to throat in tetrapods in its halfway point, in the teeth
      Eusthenopteron, Sterropterygion — fin bones similarly structured to amphibian feet, but no toes yet, and still fishlike bodily proportions.
      Panderichthys, Elpistostege — tetrapod-like bodily proportions.
      Obruchevichthys — fragmented skeleton with intermediate characteristics, possible first tetrapod.
      Tiktaalik — a fish with developing legs. Also appearance of ribs and neck.
      Acanthostega gunnari — famous intermediate fossil. most primitive fossil that is known to be a tetrapod
      Ichthyostega — like Acanthostega, another fishlike amphibian
      Hynerpeton — A little more advanced then Acanthostega and Ichtyostega
      Labyrinthodonts — still many fishlike features, but tailfins have disappeared
      Lungfish–A fish-that has lungs.

      Primitive to modern amphibians
      Temnospondyls
      Dendrerpeton acadianum
      Archegosaurus decheni
      Eryops megacephalus
      Trematops
      Amphibamus lyelli
      Doleserpeton annectens
      Triadobatrachus primitive frog
      Vieraella
      Karaurus primitive salamander

      (continued…)

      • GeneralDrake

        I almost choked from laughing so hard at this list.

        Your list is 100% FALSE. these are no more transitions than

        Archaeopteryx which is the #1 FALSE transitional claim among your philosophers. Gould was the one who denounced it. Your list is PROPOSED or POSSIBLE transitions and NONE of them is agreed upon. I did research at the British Museum of Natural History the LARGEST fossil museum in the world with MILLIONS of cataloged fossils and The senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, Dr. Colin Patterson, put it this way: “Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say THERE ARE NO TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS.”
        Noted anthropologist Edmund Ronald Leach stated:“
        Missing links in the sequence of fossil evidence were a worry to Darwin. He felt sure they would eventually turn up, but they are still missing and seem likely to remain so.

        So you can tell me I don’t know something but buddy, I’M THE ONE WHO WORKED IN THE FIELD AND HAVE SEEN THE UTTER COLLAPSE OF EVOLUTION IN THE ROCKS THEMSELVES. If I am ignorant, then you are completely blind with an education level of a 1 year old. I know everything you have been taught, every LIE of the atheist propaganda and you no NOTHING of my side. I WAS ON YOUR SIDE moron.

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

          You should not insult people when in fact they are less gullible than you are, not falling for a collection of mined quotations which have apparently been used to dupe you. The fossil evidence is partial but impressive, but we could now do without it thanks to genetics, which allows us to map the interrelatedness of all living things on this planet.

          Quoting people who clearly disagree with your conclusions as though they support them does your stance no favors. Either you are assuming they are too stupid to grasp the implications of their own work, in which case their stupidity does nothing to add authority to your case; or you have misunderstood them, in which case you are simply illustrating your own lack of comprehension of lack of willingness to read anything besides out-of-context quotes on creationist sites.

        • Sven2547

          I’ve listed dozens and dozens of transitional forms and your sole recourse is to say, in essence, “nuh-uh”.

          And then, like a true internet BSer, you claim you’re some sort of eminent expert in the field. That’s adorable… but not believable. Such outlandish lies.

          What is your name, mister expert?

          • Ian

            You might want to see my post below. Drake is an IT salesman with a degree in business marketing and no relevant professional experience.

      • GeneralDrake

        Dr. Austin Clark, a leading biologist of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington “No matter how far back we go in the fossil record of previous animal life on earth, we find NO TRACE of any animal forms which are INTERMEDIATE between the major groups of phyla. Scientists have sometimes come up with a few things that they have elected as candidates as transitions, but on a later closer examination these have been seen to be misinterpretations. There are no such things as missing links. We might as well quit looking for them.”

        Professor Kerner, one of the leading botanists in the world at

        Cambridge University “…to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation.”

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

          There are two possibilities. One is that these individuals’ statements in context do not support your view. The other is that they are so stupid that they did not realize that their work does not support evolution. So either you are offering misleading quotes, or appealing to idiots. Neither helps your case.

        • Ian

          Dr. Austin Clark (in 1930) said… (before most of the intermediates in sven’s list were discovered).

          Professor Kerner (actually Corner in 1961) said… (in a book chapter that was about the missing links in plant evolution if the tropical plant record is ignored)

        • Sven2547

          Ian said it better than me. Once again, your arguments are made in bad faith. Very dishonest.

          I’d like to add another point. Evolution is just one piece in the greater mosaic of evidence against “young Earth” creationism. Even if you were to (be the first person ever to) refute the science of evolution, the overwhelming preponderance of science known to mankind invalidates the silliness of the Hebrew/Christian creation myths.

    • Sven2547

      (list of transitional forms, continued)

      Amphibian to reptile
      Proterogyrinus
      Limnoscelis
      Tseajaia
      Solenodonsaurus
      Hylonomus
      Paleothyris

      Early reptile to turtle
      Captorhinus
      Scutosaurus
      Odontochelys Semitestacea — partial formation of a turtle shell, showing how the hard underbelly, or plastron, formed first.
      Deltavjatia vjatkensis
      Proganochelys

      Early reptile to diapsid (dinosaurs and modern reptiles except for turtles)
      Hylonomus
      Paleothyris
      Petrolacosaurus
      Araeoscelis
      Apsisaurus
      Claudiosaurus
      Planocephalosaurus
      Protorosaurus
      Prolacerta
      Proterosuchus
      Hyperodapedon
      Trilophosaurus

      Reptile to mammal
      Paleothyris
      Protoclepsydrops haplous
      Clepsydrops
      Archaeothyris
      Varanops
      Haptodus
      Dimetrodon
      Sphenacodon
      Biarmosuchia
      Procynosuchus
      Dvinia
      Thrinaxodon
      Cynognathus
      Diademodon
      Probelesodon
      Probainognathus
      Exaeretodon
      Oligokyphus
      Kayentatherium
      Pachygenelus
      Diarthrognathus
      Adelobasileus cromptoni
      Sinoconodon
      Kuehneotherium
      Eozostrodon
      Morganucodon — a transition between “mammal-like reptiles” and “true mammals”.
      Haldanodon
      Peramus
      Endotherium
      Kielantherium
      Aegialodon
      Steropodon galmani
      Vincelestes neuquenianus
      Pariadens kirklandi
      Kennalestes
      Asioryctes
      Cimolestes
      Procerberus
      Gypsonictops

      Dinosaur to bird
      Allosaurus –A large therapod with a wishbone
      Coelophysis
      Compsognathus –A small coeleosaur with a wishbone
      Eoraptor
      Epidendrosaurus
      Herrerasaurus
      Ceratosaurus
      Compsognathus
      Sinosauropteryx
      Protarchaeopteryx
      Caudipteryx
      Velociraptor
      Deinonychus
      Oviraptor
      Sinovenator
      Beipiaosaurus
      Lisboasaurus
      Sinornithosaurus
      Microraptor — a feathered bird with distinctly dinosaurian characteristics, such as its tail.
      Xiaotingia — slightly earlier than Archaeopteryx, slightly more like a dinosaur and less like a bird
      Archaeopteryx — the famous bird-with-teeth.
      Rahonavis
      Confuciusornis
      Sinornis
      Patagopteryx
      Ambiortus
      Hesperornis
      Apsaravis
      Ichthyornis
      Columba — One of many typical modern birds

      Transitional mammalian fossils
      Primates
      Darwinius masillae — a link between earlier primates and later ones.

      Non-human primate to human
      Aquatic ape hypothesis — a very controversial suggestion, aquatic apes may or may not have existed
      Australopithecus — a genus of bipedal apes
      Australopithecus sediba — advanced australopithecus showing more human features
      Homo habilis — a transitional form from Australopithecus to later Homo
      Homo rudolfensis — a type of Homo habilis or a different species
      Homo ergaster — a form of Homo erectus or a distinct species
      Homo erectus — a transitional form from Australopithecus to later Homo (Latin for humans) species
      Homo heidelbergensis — A possible common ancestor of modern man and homo neanderthalensis
      Homo neanderthalensis — They may or may not have done Humpy bumpy with modern humans
      Cro-magnon — considered early modern human and perhaps as smart as we are

      Cetaceans
      Indohyus — a vaguely chevrotain-like or raccoon-like aquatic artiodactyl ungulate with an inner ear identical to that of whales.
      Ambulocetus– an early whale that looks like a mammalian version of a crocodile
      Pakicetus — an early, semi-aquatic whale, a superficially wolf-like animal believed to be a direct ancestor of modern whales.
      Rhodocetus — An early whale with comparatively large hindlegs: not only represents a transition between semi-aquatic whales, like Ambulocetus, and obligately aquatic whales, like Basilosaurus.
      Basilosaurus — A large, elongated whale with vestigial hind flippers: transition from early marine whales (like Rhodocetus) to modern whales
      Dorudon — A small whale with vestigial hind flippers, close relative of Basilosaurus.

      • Mark

        Sven2547,

        This commentary on transitional species fossils is fascinating. Did you post this from memory, or did you copy & paste from a particular reference? I would enjoy learning more about your point of view. Could you post the reference work you are quoting? (Assuming that you are)

    • Sven2547

      In conclusion, if you ever claim that there are “ZERO transitional fossils” again, you will be mocked, and you will deserve it.

    • Ian

      This is EXACTLY…PRECISELY what happens. I know this PERSONALLY.

      That’s a serious charge.

      Please demonstrate this claim. Where do you work? What specific evidence do you have that your colleagues are falsifying their data?

      If you just want to make serious charges without evidence, then you are merely a slanderer or a liar.

      So come on, out with the evidence. Let’s see if you are an honest and sound minded Christian.

      And no vague pointing to other people’s claims. You have personal knowledge of this fraud, so out with it. Put your Christian principles where your mouth is.

    • Sven2547

      Uranium-lead dating method and Potassium-argon dating methods yield VASTLY DIFFERENT ages of the SAME SAMPLE.

      I’m going to address this claim as well. YES, there is variation and margins of error with these dating methods, but you are vastly overstating it.

      For example: using radiological techniques, the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event is dated somewhere between 252.3 and 251.1 million years ago. That’s a range of 1.2 million years, which is a really long time. There is a fair amount of scholarly discussion regarding the precise timing of that event… but none of that scholarly discussion is in the vicinity of 8,000 B.C. That’s just silly. It’s so many orders of magnitude away from accurate, it’s like estimating the distance from New York to Los Angeles is 28 miles.

      • Rick DeLano

        The problem, Sven, is that there exist, now, dozens of fossils from Cretaceous strata, which strata are radiometrically dated as older than 60 mya, which fossils present the extreme anomaly of soft tissue.

        If the evolutionary research program were scientific, it would subject those anomalous finds to experimental tests *with the intention of potentially falsifying the theory*.

        Instead, only those experiments which pose no conceivable threat to the theory are permitted.

        This sorry fact both confirms that Karl Popper had it exactly right the first time, when he assessed the Darwinian research program as a metaphysical, as opposed to scientific, research program, and also presents us with solid grounds upon which to insists that *all* the reported “consilience” of the various evolutionary arguments, be reconsidered in an appropriately skeptical light, unless and until the evolutionists start doing science again.

        • Sven2547

          there exist, now, dozens of fossils from Cretaceous strata, which strata are radiometrically dated as older than 60 mya, which fossils present the extreme anomaly of soft tissue.

          Examples? Citations?

          only those experiments which pose no conceivable threat to the theory are permitted.

          False. Nobody is stopping anybody from experimenting on Cretaceous strata. What, are evil government Men-in-Black shutting down geological experiments worldwide? Please.

          This sorry fact both confirms that Karl Popper had it exactly right the first time, when he assessed the Darwinian research program as a metaphysical, as opposed to scientific, research program

          Citations?

          Karl Popper was a strong promoter of falsifiability as a criterion for a scientific theory. Creationism is unfalsifiable hocus-pocus.

          • Rick DeLano

            Citations abound, Sven:

            http://www.sciencemag.org/content/324/5927/626.abstract

            will do for starters, since this is the paper that essentially blew up all attempts to explain away these soft-tissues as anything other than what they are: soft tissues.

            The refusal of Schweitzer, et al, to perform any truly dangerous test, one which could, as Popper insists must be the case for *every* authentically scientific test of a theory, potentially *falsify* it, is grotesquely set forth here:

            http://magisterialfundies.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-astonishing-scandal-of-marys-bones.html

            As to creationism, it is a metaphysical, not a scientific, theory- as is evolution, by the way- and hence is to be assessed on those grounds.

            • Sven2547

              Your first citation is to a paper that says molecular preservation (which is not the same as soft tissue) in Cretaceous dinosaurs is not unique. Nothing about this paper refutes an “old” Earth, and indeed refers to this sample as 80 million years old.

              Your second citation is to a creationist blog that is long on opinion and short on fact. It is an established fact that C-14 dating is inaccurate beyond 62,000 years or so. Only a liar, a moron, or a charlatan would attempt to use C-14 dating on a sample that has already been dated more than 60 million years old.

              Did Popper EVER refer to evolution as a “metaphysical theory”, or did you make that part up? I see that it is one blogger’s opinion, and that blogger is not Karl Popper.

              • Rick DeLano

                Sven: It is exactly the same as soft tissue, since that is exactly what the citation reports.

                Here is another:

                …..”still-soft, transparent, hollow and flexible tissues and cells” over geological time, given that natural processes such as decay and degradation (Behrensmeyer & Kidwell 1985; Briggs et al. 1993; Denys 2002; Wilson & Pollard 2002; Jans et al. 2004; Prieto et al. 2004), cellular apoptosis or necrosis (e.g. Usui et al. 1989; Briggs et al. 2000; Vass et al. 2002) and chemical and/or enzymatic degradation (Lindahl 1993; Riley & Collins 1994; Collins et al. 2000, 2002) act in concert to rapidly degrade both the molecules and the tissues they comprise.”

                ——-Schweitzer, et al, “Soft tissue and cellular preservation in vertebrate skeletal elements from the Cretaceous to the present” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1685849/

                It is indeed an established fact that C14 dating is useless on objects older than 62,000 carbon years.

                Which is exactly why the refusal to C14 date the soft-tissue presenting fossils represents a profound perversion of Popper’s principle of science as falsification.

                As Popper famously remarked, in his “Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography” (1976):

                “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program.”

                He got it right the first time.

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

                  As the sources make clear, it is the fossilization of soft tissue and not the persistence of the soft tissue itself that os being spoken of. Many creationists misunderstand or deliberately misrepresent it. And they never seem to quote the subsequent studies related to the processes whereby such fossilization occurs.

                  But the very fact that they are disputing these things on blogs, and not in science journals through peer reviewed publications, itself speaks volumes. Science is too hard for them, so they prefer that their confident tone and use of big words will fool the gullible.

                  • Rick DeLano

                    James:

                    Here are the relevant words, by which the finds are characterized by the authors in peer reviewed journals:

                    “Soft tissues and cell-like microstructures derived from skeletal elements of a well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex (MOR 1125) were represented by four components in fragments of demineralized cortical and/or medullary bone: flexible and fibrous bone matrix; transparent, hollow and pliable blood vessels; intravascular material, including in some cases, structures morphologically reminiscent of vertebrate red blood cells; and osteocytes with intracellular contents and flexible filopodia.”

                    If you have to lie, James, it is a good idea to make sure you are lying about something that cannot be shown to be false with a simple quote from the peer reviewed source.

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

                      Your own quote (especially when taken in context) shows that you are incorrect, or if I have misunderstood what you are claiming, then it shows nothing that helps your YEC stance. Talking with confidence may persuade some, but those who actually read the words you quote carefully, or read the original sources, will not be fooled.

                      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC371_1.html

                    • Rick DeLano

                      Why would you lie, even after have given you the direct words from the peer reviewed source, James?

                      Why would you link to a bunch of lying atheists, if you allege yourself to be a Christian, a servant of the Logos?

                      Let me assist you one more time:

                      “”Soft tissues and cell-like microstructures derived from skeletal elements of a well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex (MOR 1125) were represented by four components in fragments of demineralized cortical and/or medullary bone: flexible and fibrous bone matrix; transparent, hollow and pliable blood vessels; intravascular material, including in some cases, structures morphologically reminiscent of vertebrate red blood cells; and osteocytes with intracellular contents and flexible filopodia.”

                      Now James, please understand that only liars suggest that fossils are soft, with transparent, hollow and pliable blood vessels.

                      Ask you atheist friends over at talk origins if they would like to stop lying, but I strongly urge you to do so.

                      It isn’t Christian.

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

                      Here is the link to the article that your quote is from. It illustrates the differences between very ancient fossilized structures from ancient living things, and more recent ones. It shows that, for highly ancient fossils, the context of preservation matters in ways that it does not in samples already older than what young-earth creationists say the age of the earth is. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1685849/

                      Are you being deliberately dishonest, or do you not understand the article? I realize that it is par for the course for young-earth creationists to latch onto details in scientific articles which can be spun to the ignorant to sound as though they support their views, ignoring the overall context of the scientific work and what it shows, picking and choosing from the details in the same way that they do with Scripture. It is shameful, ungodly, and despicable. And it still disappoints me every time I encounter it.

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

                      I have not deleted anything. What are you talking about?

                    • Rick DeLano

                      That is another lie, James.

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

                      You can keep saying that, but it won’t make it so.

                    • Rick DeLano

                      What makes it so, James, is the existence of the post you blocked on my Disqus, and how very inconvenient a truth this is for you.

                      One person actually managed to “like” the post before you deleted it.

                      You are a liar.

                    • Rick DeLano

                      Since it is established that you not only selectively delete posts, but that you lie about it, I will bring this matter to the attention of Patheos, and determine whether they intend to permit this kind of bald-faced Memoryholing.

                    • Ian

                      How did it go ‘bringing this to the attention of Patheos’? I take it from the deafening silence that they’re in no hurry to exonerate you.

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

                      I have checked the spam folder and Disqus, and there is nothing there. I even added you to the whitelist, since you seemed to be experiencing difficulties in posting. Are you certain your comment did not appear? If you experienced a technical glitch, I am sorry to hear that. But I suspect that perhaps this is simply an attempt to try another tactic since actual argument and evidence wasn’t working. Your attitude is so full of malice, and an inability to imagine that someone does not share your desire to censor and silence, that I think it best to end this here. Goodbye.

                    • Christopher R Weiss

                      Rick is a troll, who is not adding anything meaningful to the conversation.

                    • coolworker

                      You didn’t understand the scientific paper. Email the authors and ask them what they meant.

                    • Paul Boillot

                      What is the basis for your claim “only liars suggest that fossils are soft, with transparent, hollow and pliable blood vessels”?

                    • Ian

                      Do you understand what you’re reading? Because that quote does not say that soft tissue is preserved, but that four features of demineralised bone indicate pre-fossilized soft-tissue structures.

                • Sven2547

                  It is indeed an established fact that C14 dating is useless on objects older than 62,000 carbon years.

                  Then testing 60-million-year-old fossils with a C-14 method has no scientific merit, because it can neither verify nor falsify anything about them. You yourself say it’s useless. Either you are not arguing in good faith, or you are arguing out of profound ignorance, I’m not sure which.

                • Sven2547

                  Popper, 2 years later:

                  The fact that the theory of natural selection is difficult to test has led some people, anti-Darwinists and even some great Darwinists, to claim that it is a tautology. A tautology like ‘All tables are tables’ is not, of course, testable; nor has it any explanatory power. It is therefore most surprising to hear that some of the greatest contemporary Darwinists themselves formulate the theory in such a way that it amounts to the tautology that those organisms that leave most offspring leave most offspring. C. H. Waddington says somewhere (and he defends this view in other places) that ‘Natural selection . . . turns out … to be a tautology’ ..4 However, he attributes at the same place to the theory an ‘enormous power. … of explanation’. Since the explanatory power of a tautology is obviously zero, something must be wrong here.

                  I mention this problem because I too belong among the culprits. Influenced by what these authorities say, I have in the past described the theory as ‘almost tautological’, and I have tried to explain how the theory of natural selection could be untestable (as is a tautology) and yet of great scientific interest. My solution was that the doctrine of natural selection is a most successful metaphysical research programme. It raises detailed problems in many fields, and it tells us what we would expect of an acceptable solution of these problems.

                  I still believe that natural selection works in this way as a research programme. Nevertheless, I have changed my mind about the testability and the logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation. My recantation may, I hope, contribute a little to the understanding of the status of natural selection.

    • Andrew Dowling

      “Yet there is ZERO global warming in the last 17 years”

      No, this is simply not accurate. The rate of warming has slowed, but the earth is definitely still warming. And given the larger trend, the evidence clearly points to human induced CO2 releases as a factor in that warming.

    • Rick DeLano

      What an excellent post. General Drake, please have a look at this and, if you are willing, drop me a line with your contact info.

      I am very interested in putting together a documentary treatment of this subject.

      http://magisterialfundies.blogspot.com/2012/02/marys-bones-part-iii-is-evolution.html

      • Christopher R Weiss

        The problem is that General Drake is most likely a liar, who has simple paraphrased and reposted the words of folks like Kent Hovind, Ken Hamm, and Ray Comfort as his own. Of course YEC folks never let things like reality get in the way.

  • Michael Snow

    YEC’s violate their own rules about interpreting Scripture by ignoring the first two verses of the Bible. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/in-the-beginning/

    But they have not cornered the market on hiding words of Spurgeon http://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/

  • DanielKnightForChrist

    “Christianity or Young-Earth Creationism? Time to Choose” because you said so. This is called a false dilemma fallacy, aka, an either or fallacy. Further you moronically call it “young earth” when the Scriptures you don’t know call the Earth old at this point, which in it’s chronology would place the universe at about 6,500 years old. So what would be accurate to say, is “Christianity or absurdly old universe atheism (a whopping 15 billions of years old, damn that’s ludicrous).” No offence, you’re a moron. Please learn logical fallacies thoroughly, and the Bible, before pridefully and arrogantly babbling again. Evolutionism, is dumb just like the magic bomb. No matter how much evidence refutes them, a huge amount now, now matter how OBVIOUS it refutes them, propaganda parrots like you won’t shut up. Sad.

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

      I really hate it when atheists pretend to be belligerent and poorly-informed Christians to try to undermine Christian faith. I refuse to believe that someone who is actually a Christian would stick the label “for Christ” in his nickname and yet demean Christians who work in the natural sciences, lie and pretend that the evidence for evolution isn’t overwhelmingly strong, call a university professor a “moron,” and go around spouting nonsense about people having to choose between the Christian faith and scientific evidence.

      If you want to attack Christianity, you are going to have to actually interact with views such as those I hold. This attempt to make Christianity look bad may persuade some, but is unlikely to be effective here.

      Of course, if by some slim chance you actually do consider yourself a Christian, then thank you for illustrating the point of this post. One does indeed have to choose between the combination of ignorance and arrogance that you represent, and the way of Jesus.

  • Keely

    You do realize that your salvation has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether you’re are a YEC or OEC?

    • beau_quilter

      And remind me … what is it I have to be saved from?

  • joejmz

    Although I’m not a Young-Earth Creationist, I believe it’s important to be honest and careful about what we base our views regarding the age of the Earth and the universe on.

    We need to be fully cognizant of the fact that “those who spend their lives professionally researching matters” don’t really KNOW as much as some of them and some of us like to pretend.

    One of the big debates in the field of Cosmology is how the universe could be as old as they claim (14 Billion years) and only be as big as it is. They debate this although it also turns out they really can’t be sure just how big the universe is; which also makes their assessment as to the age of the universe a bit of a mess.

    Meanwhile, in the field of geology, away from the curious eyes of the public, there is an ongoing debate about just how long it takes for strata to form; you see, actual observations from the Mt. St. Helens’ explosion and other recent catastrophes, along with studies of the deep ocean floor have conclusively shown that stratification can occur in a matter of days… plus you have those pesky tree trunks and rootlets and whale skeletons that stand vertically occupying strata that we are told took millions of years to form.

    Really, as a Christian and as a rational person, the only reasonable assumption about the age of the Earth and the age of the universe is that we do not have enough information to really know.

    • stuart32

      I’m afraid that your facts are out of date. The discrepancy to which you refer was the result of overestimating the Hubble constant, which made the universe seem too young. This has now been resolved.

      The fact that strata can be laid down quickly has no bearing on the age of the earth, just as the fact that some people can run a marathon in about two hours doesn’t prove that everyone can run it in two hours.

      • joejmz

        Actually, the discrepancy issue is an ongoing discussion which is even impacting the discussion regarding the potential discovery of gravitational waves: https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/56c8050f60db

        The fact that the only observational evidence we have regarding stratification indicates that stratification happens rapidly is HUGE. That ontological naturalists choose to ignore or downplay this observational evidence speaks more to the fact that they are more interested in retaining their flawed worldview than they are in scientific honesty.

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

          If you think that the article you linked to supports flood geology, you really are misunderstanding the issues.

          • joejmz

            Why would you think I was using that article to support flood geology when it was in a sentence that has to do with gravitational waves? No, that article was posted as a response to the comment about the supposedly settled discrepancy about the size of the universe.

        • stuart32

          The theory of inflation is used to explain a number of features that seem otherwise to be inexplicable, such as the homogeneity of the universe. It is not a way of resolving the problem of the universe’s age. Perhaps you could point me to a reputable source that says otherwise rather than a blog post.

          You said: “The fact that the only observational evidence we have regarding stratification indicates that stratification happens rapidly is HUGE.”

          Can you see the problem with this? Presumably, what you meant is that stratification *only* happens rapidly, otherwise your comment would be pointless. The possibility of rapid stratification is only useful to your argument if you can show that stratification is *always* rapid. We know, in fact, that it isn’t always rapid. Varves are an example of slow stratifcation.

          Clearly, you are an advocate of flood geology. Are you aware of the fatal problems with this “theory”? A single flood cannot put a layer of coarse-grained rock on top of a layer of fine-grained rock, but this is exactly what we see in the Grand Canyon, for example.

  • Poisoner

    Why do you get such a hard on from attacking YEC?

    • Matt Brown

      Is that really an appropriate way to phrase it?

      • Poisoner

        It is not the worst way to phrase it.

    • Zarquon5

      I think a lot of people feel duty bound to confront YEC because of the flagrant hypocrisy involved. There is observable hard evidence for evolution but, since they can’t handle that, they make up endless lies and try to disrupt the education system. This is behaviour from people whose basic text of moral code INCLUDES AN INJUNCTION NOT TO LIE!


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