How Much of the Bible do Young-Earth Creationists Reject?

How Much of the Bible do Young-Earth Creationists Reject? March 5, 2018

I have been meaning to blog about this topic ever since Hemant Mehta pointed out that there were young-earth creationists who were mocking flat-earthers for taking the Bible too literally. That hypocrisy continues, as Answers in Genesis just recently posted an article which says the following:

Detractors of the Bible might point to passages like Isaiah 11:12Revelation 7:1, and Revelation 20:8 to claim that the Bible teaches a flat earthBut the phrase, “the four corners of the earth,” must be interpreted within its context, and figurative language must be recognizedWhen the historical-grammatical approachis followed, “the four corners of the earth” is identified as a figure of speech describing the whole word using the cardinal directions (such as on a compass) from north and south to east and westThe passages are all within prophetic books, which are known for using poetic language.

Interpreting the Bible literally doesn’t mean ignoring figurative language of which the Bible is rich (e.g., 1 Samuel 2:8 and Psalm 75:3 poetically describe the earth as sitting on pillars that God founded)After all, if someone says the sun has set, we don’t accuse him of not understanding that it is the earth that is spinning around the sun.

It is not “detractors from the Bible” but honest readers who acknowledge that there is pre-scientific language in the Bible, which its authors and earliest readers would have assumed to be literally factual descriptions of the cosmos. Answers in Genesis turns people who read the Bible honestly into “detractors” by forcing one to choose between honesty and contextual reading on the one hand, and their definition of Christian faith and fidelity to the Bible on the other. As Karl Giberson writes,

In convincing people that Noah’s Flood was a historical event, Ham has done a great disservice to Christianity and thinking people in general. To preserve the historicity of Noah’s story, almost all of contemporary science, biblical scholarship, and ancient history must be wrong.

Randal Rauser reviewed Robin Parry’s book on biblical cosmology and wrestled there with these issues as well. Here’s an excerpt:

Needless to say, the proper response is not to become more fundamentalist than the fundamentalists: a return to the three-tiered universe is not possible for those of us who are familiar with modern science. But then what is the alternative? How should we interpret this bizarre biblical world?

Brad Kramer reviewed Kyle Greenwood’s book on the same subject.

Ben Stanhope has a knack for spotting when young-earth creationists are betraying their superficial acquaintance with and commitment to the Bible, whether in subtle or in blatantly obvious ways. This falls into the latter category, doesn’t it? (Look at the background.)

IMG_0723

I came across this quote a while back and have been meaning to share it:

When one carefully examines the argument, one discovers that the biblical view of creation is not being pitted against evolutionary theories, as is supposed. Rather, evolutionary theories are being juxtaposed with literalist theories of biblical interpretation. Even if evolution is only a scientific theory of interpretation posing as scientific fact, as the creationists argue, creationism is only a religious theory of biblical interpretation posing as biblical fact. And to add to the problem, it is a religious theory of biblical interpretation which is heavily influenced by modern scientific, historical and technological concerns. It is, therefore, essentially modernistic, even though attempting, and claiming, to be truly conservative.

A genuine conservatism would, above all, seek to conserve the original conception and concern of the biblical materials-not measure and test it by contemporary canons.

Conrad Hyers (then Professor and Chairman of the Department of Religion, Gustavus Adolphus College) in an article titled “On Interpreting and Misinterpreting the Creation Texts” in JASA 36 (September 1984): 142-148.

I had also been meaning to share this thought:

It is ironic that anti-science creationists want to focus on DNA as information in an effort to argue against evolution. The information in DNA is the strongest evidence for evolution! If you believe that DNA bears information, then you really must accept what that information communicates to us. And conversely, if you are unwilling to accept what the information tells us, then you are undermining your own case that the information in DNA means this or that.

See also Dennis Venema’s piece on the BioLogos website about information, DNA, and intelligent design, as well as Murillo Pagnota’s piece on the use and abuse of information in biology.

Joel Edmund Anderson blogs regularly about Ken Ham and his pseudo-museums, while Jim Kidder blogged about Anderson’s book, The Heresy of Ham: What Every Evangelical Needs to Know About the Creation-Evolution Controversy. Jim also blogged about what young-earth creationists say about evidence concerning ancient native American populations, and the awarding of an honorary doctorate to Ken Ham. See also the interview about the book on the Creation Museum by Susan and Bill TrollingerRighting America at the Creation Museum.

Libby Ann, another Patheos blogger, highlighted the ironic willingness of young-earth creationists to accept super-rapid evolution in order to bolster their overall antievolution stance.

A while back, this chart circulated. It compares the amount of extrabiblical scientific information contradicting the cosmological language used in the Bible and the assumptions of its authors:

Students in last year’s Bible and music class drew this song to my attention, which is intriguing in its combination of certain extrabiblical ideas (God having fun in creating, for instance) with elements of the ancient biblical cosmology that tend to be ignored or denied in the modern era (God placing the solid sky upon the peaks of the mountains):

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tim

    Great post. This is very useful to me, as I am taking my daughter through some dialectic logic right now, and we are discussing the whole evolution vs. creation debate at the moment.

    • James Keegan

      I found two Asimov stories helpful here. The first is the very short “Darwinian Pool Room”. The other is a bit longer and titled “The Last Question”.

      • Tim

        Cheers.

  • The Mouse Avenger

    A very well-written, well-research, & well-thought-out post, & one I thoroughly enjoyed reading from beginning to end. ^_^

    For information’s sake, though, I think I should confess to you that I am an Old Earth / day-age / evolutionary creationist who considers the events of the Genesis creation account to be ultimately true in some form or fashion, considers Adam & Eve as the historical ancestors of homo sapiens (divinus?), & regards the Garden Of Eden account as a historical event (albeit certainly much earlier than 6,000 years ago!). I also regard the flood of Noah as a historical event, though I am increasingly of the mindset that it was a localized flood, as opposed to a global one (this website helped me a lot in reaching that conclusion: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/localflood.html).

    Anyway, I just felt like sharing all that. 🙂 Have a lovely, blessed day! ^_^

    • Neo

      Agreed, and I applaud you, TMA.

      • The Mouse Avenger

        Thank you most kindly! ^_^

    • Matthew

      How do you reconcile the cruelty of the natural world with a loving God? Why would a loving God use such a cruel system to create and sustain life?

      • summers-lad

        Fair question, but irrelevant to the creation/evolution debate.

        • Matthew

          Can you offer any insight(s)?

          • summers-lad

            There is suffering in the natural world, plainly. Everyone, whatever their views on creation and/or evolution, will agree with that. “Nature red in tooth and claw” as Tennyson put it. Whether there is cruelty is a more difficult question, as it assumes intent and probably moral culpability. People can be cruel to animals, and quite rightly can be prosecuted for it; whether a cat can be said to be cruel to a small bird when it plays with it is something I will leave to philosophers to debate.
            Some creationists portray evolution as a cruel system, but I don’t believe so. Any creature (assuming enough future time) is either one whose descendants will eventually evolve into another variation or another species, or will become an evolutionary dead end and become extinct. However, the life of that creature is in no way influenced by these future events. If some creatures prove better fitted to their environment than others, and so become more dominant, that does not imply any cruelty being inflicted on the others. All it means is that some are less successful at reproducing.
            I hope this helps.

          • Matthew

            Very helpful. Thank you summers-lad.

          • Matthew

            Some thoughts from a lunchtime discussion …

            If the system of creating and sustaining life is less than perfect and does indeed involve suffering, and if sin has always been part of the evolutionary process (rather than having been brought on by the sin of Adam and Eve some time later as a result of free will choice), then why would a loving God create such a system?

          • summers-lad

            Hi Matthew
            Sounds like a good discussion, but I’d like to unpack a few things and challenge some assumptions.
            “…the system of creating and sustaining life…” – I’m glad you say “sustaining” (and also in your earlier question) because God is sustainer as well as creator, which often gets overlooked in these debates. But by “creating” I’m not sure if you are meaning original creation, development of new species or simply procreation. I’ll come back to the “why?” later.
            “If the system … is less than perfect…” – I’m not sure how I would define “perfect” in this context, but although in Genesis 1 God saw all that he had made and it was very good, it is not described as perfect. I think an important insight of Genesis 2 and 3 (and I take the creation accounts as profoundly true, but in a symbolic rather than literal or scientific way) is that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is in the middle of the garden, as is the tree of life. This is a mystery. I think this must mean that the tree of knowledge of good and evil had a central place in God’s purposes. It was not there by accident, and it was not there for temptation. Maybe it symbolises free will, but it is certainly there, and we need to recognise that.
            “…and if sin has always been part of the evolutionary process…” – this is a big assumption. I take it you mean that as sin leads to death, death implies the presence of sin. This is not how I see it. In Genesis 2:17 God says “in the day that you eat of [the tree of knowledge of good and evil] you shall die”. But they didn’t. They went on to have sons, and Adam lived 930 years. Therefore I see “death” in 2:17 as a spiritual death – which led immediately to Adam and Eve hiding from God, and losing the relationship of life which they had had. It doesn’t mean physical death, so there is no reason to suppose that physical death (of animals, plants, fungi or anything else) came in because of human sin. (For humans in sinless relationship with God, death would, I guess, have had no fear because they would have known they were going into his even greater presence.)
            So why would a loving God create such a system? I don’t know, but I’ll take a guess or two. “No pain, no gain” seems to be part of the way God has made the world. It is remarkable that Jesus said to the disciples on the Emmaus road that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer. Necessary for us, we readily accept, but he seems to be saying here that it was necessary for him. And Hebrews 5:8-9 describes Jesus as being made perfect through suffering. (“Perfect”, I think, meaning “complete”, and not implying any previous sinfulness.)
            Pete Seeger’s song “Turn turn turn” skilfully blends the message of Ecclesiastes 1 (fleetingness, and the cycle of life) with the contrasts of Ecclesiastes 3, as well as a hope for peace eventually. Part of the biblical hope portrays a move from the “turn turn turn” of life into a directional movement: death to life, running straight towards the goal, and the ultimate fulfilment of the new heavens and the new earth in Revelation. In this sense the Genesis creation is a work in progress, a stage on the way from the chaos of Genesis 1:2 to the completion, or as C S Lewis has it, “further up and further in”.
            This should keep you going for a few lunchtimes!

          • Matthew

            Interesting … thanks so much summers-lad.

      • The Mouse Avenger

        Well, hey, hey, hold on now! Can nature be cruel at times? Yes, as can mortal society. But it can also be a very, very beautiful thing–I’d like to think more often than not!

        Also, do you think that, perhaps, it would be more unloving for God to allow animals to overpopulate the land, use up all the resources, & starve to death? Because that’s why God gave us predator animals, you know!

        • Matthew

          Thanks Mouse Avenger. Admittedly, much of the discussion about theistic evolution is very new to me. I´m really just attempting to understand the arguments in favor of this process while processing the problems I have with it.

          Thanks again for the help. You make some good points. I´m not certain I´ll ever be able to fully grasp it all though. I´ll keep trying.

          • The Mouse Avenger

            You’re most certainly welcome, friend. 🙂

        • David Evans

          That argument seems to limit God’s choices unduly. Surely he could make the fertility of each species vary in an appropriate way with food supply and/or degree of crowding? I think those mechanisms already exist but they are not very well tuned.

          • The Mouse Avenger

            If you say so; you’re certainly entitled to your worldview, as I am. 🙂

  • Russ Westbrook

    “Figurative language” and “pre-scientific language readers would assume as factual” are hardly synanymous; but the ENTIRE ARTICLE hinges on you not catching that. Not only dishonest, but insulting to the reader.

    • Who suggested they were synonymous? The point is that the flat-earthers insist on taking literally language that ancient peoples would have taken literally, and the young-earth creationists hypocritically criticize them for not recognizing such language as allegedly figurative, while then turning around and insisting that their chosen subset of biblical language is not figurative but must be taken literally.

  • Digitali

    Funny you should use the term “pre-scientific,” to rationalize “creation” as a legitimate theory. Funnier still that you would have an argument with flat-earthers while the theory of creation has few more bases in fact.

    • It isn’t clear whom you are addressing here. I assume it isn’t me, since what you write does not reflect my views. But your comment is not connected to another one that this looks like a reply to, and so I thought I should ask!

    • Craig Morrison

      “Creation” is a legitimate theory; “creationism” isn’t. And it has no basis in fact.

      • Digitali

        Creation is an article of faith promulgated BY creationISTS as a theory. CreationISM IS the promulgation of this “theory.” NEITHER is legitimate.

  • Bungarra

    Re Noah’s flood. There were some photo’s published in Nature some time ago of what appeared to be the foundations/remains of huts taken from the bottom of the Black Sea. They were near an old water course. During the last ice age the Black Sea was cut off from the Oceans with the lowering of sea levels world wide. So it dried out to a swampy probably salt lake with rivers / streams flowing into the lake. It would appear that humans lived along the rivers. At the end of the Ice age, the Black sea was flooded when sea level rose enough about 6,000 BC to flow into the basin.. Note also that the manufacture of wine is quite ancient and Noah’s demise was due in part to excessive consumption of wine. I guess it was a world wide flood for those at the bottom of what is now the Black Sea.

    • ravitchn

      The biblical authors took all this stuff from Babylonian myth.

      • Etranger

        You are such a f-ing dild0.

      • Bungarra

        Some Australian Aboriginal coastal tribes have stories re sea level rise at the end of the last ice age. I would suggest the Babylonian stories are probably based on observations of Sea level changes occurring at about the same time. My comments re the Black Sea are to suggest that the bases of the Story of Noah seems to fit with events occurring at about that time. However, this is totally at odds with the use of the story of Noah’s Flood by the Young Earth Creationists to claim that all land forms , sedimentary rocks and fossils etc were created in one event. Despite their claims, one sees soils of great antiquity when one digs a post-hole in most places in Western Australia where I have spent some time as an Agronomist.

  • Linguagroover

    Ken Ham really ought to be nominated for a comedy lifetime achievement award. His surname has increased my faith in nominative determinism.

  • JesusIsFakeNews

    Watching you Christians argue over how to interpret your bible is amusing I must say. Particularly when Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would guide Christians into all truth. I mean you’d think being in a personal relationship with the creator would help get some of this basic stuff figured out.

    Reality is your arguing over the tall tales of Bronze Age goat herders. LOL

  • Grimlock

    I have a potentially touchy question.

    Would it be common knowledge around year 30 for someone with Jesus’ cultural and geographical background, that the earth was round? Or would they know the earth was round, seeing as even the size had been calculated a couple of hundred centuries previously in Greece?

    (I’m genuinely curious, and some googling was less than helpful.)

    • David Evans

      A good question. I think you meant a couple of centuries (Eratosthenes, died around 195 BC).

      • Grimlock

        Whoops, yeah, I did. Thank you for the correction.

      • Digitali

        Or perhaps a couple of hundred years?

    • This is a fantastic question! It does seem that, to a large extent, the idea of celestial spheres and corresponding multiple heavens had spread far and wide in this era. But we deduce that from literature, and so it is really hard to know how widely the idea circulated – and to what extent it was accepted – in circles that were not (as) literate.

      • Grimlock

        Very interesting, thank you!

      • Digitali

        Maybe the people of that region were so insulated from the real world that they lacked such knowledge. Kind of like Trump in his golden tower.

    • ravitchn

      Jesus would not know the earth was round; he did not have a Greek education, given his ethnicity, his poverty, and so on. And he was just a human being knowing only what a religious Jews raised in a semitic, not a Hellenistic culture would know.

  • JesusIsFakeNews

    It is amusing watching Christians run away from their bibles. We know they tend to throw out the Hebrew bible verses they don’t like.

    They do the same here with the New Testament as well. Jesus, Paul and the gang all endorsed Genesis being interpreted literally, Jesus said in the beginning the were made male and female, Paul even said they were made from dust, Paul describes Jesus as the 2nd Adam, of course the sabbath was a perpetual remained of the literal 6 day creation. Luke even has Jesus’ genealogy going to Adam.

    Christians trying to contort the Bible into compatibility with science are just desperate gasps and flailing of the religious trying to be relevant. As their hero Dotard would say. Sad.

    • ravitchn

      Correct! The bible is all the musings of ancient persons, some sincere, some delusional, some frauds who want to push an agenda. The bible can be read for the beauty of the King James version in the English language, for stories that some find interesting, but not for truth in any way, shape or form. The bible certainly doesn’t come from a God, only from people with beliefs that are without foundation.

    • Digitali

      Do you speak of Dotard the Ignorant?

  • JesusIsFakeNews

    I think you mean how much of the Bible do science believing Christians reject. And the answer is basically all of it. LOL. Particularly when the Bible authors all took Genesis literally. From the sabbath day observance as a perpetual reminder, to Luke’s genealogy making Jesus descended from Adam, to Paul saying god made humans from dust to Paul saying Jesus is the 2nd Adam undoing the failure of the first.

    If you want to accept science you’ll have to leave you bible behind.

    • Some of my earlier thoughts on that topic:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2013/03/jesus-and-paul-were-not-literalists-when-it-comes-to-genesis-2-3.html
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2012/08/did-jesus-understand-genesis-2-literally.html

      But it depends what you mean by taking Genesis literally. The authors of Genesis and other works now included in the Bible assumed a cosmology that is also assumed in Genesis, which is something very different from having data from the natural sciences but insisting on rejecting them in favor of what a text says.

      • JesusIsFakeNews

        So if you’re rejecting a literal interpretation of Genesis based on today’s scientific understanding on not based on anything in the Bible since they all understood it literally, then why not just dismiss everything else in the Bible also since it also doesn’t conform to how we know the world works.

        For example, we know miracle working heroes with miraculous births, lives, deaths and ascendences, were just common myths of the time attributed to many heroes from Jesus, to Caesar, to Apollonius, to Hercules, etc etc.

        • Your whole approach to this topic is shaped by the presuppositions of Christian fundamentalism. Even within the first two chapters of Genesis, there are two distinct creation accounts which literally contradict one another. Then there are other views of creation elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, including the older idea of creation through combat with a sea monster. By the time we get to the New Testament we find authors like Paul accepting the cosmology of their time, with multiple heavens, reflecting the shift to what would come to be known as the Ptolemaic worldview.

          None of the above ought to surprise or be controversial to anyone who is not either lagging more than a century behind in their knowledge of the academic study of these texts, or whose whole approach to these ancient texts is shaped by the assumption that is reflected in your final statement. A Christian fundamentalist will insist that other ancient texts are worthless garbage but this one divinely reveals the truth not only about theology but also science and any other matter it comments on. They will likewise insist that all other miraculous conceptions are mere myths while those in this volume are true historical miracles. My question to you is why you allow such a misguided approach to ancient literature to continue to shape your thinking and reading. From the sound of it, instead of denigrating all but one ancient text for containing mere myths and not matching modern science, you now do that to all of them. But do you honestly think that is a helpful lens through which to explore and evaluate the meaning and significance of ancient human literature?

          • JesusIsFakeNews

            Sure the Bible can be studied the same as the Iliad and other ancient literature and fiction.

          • Craig Morrison

            I will overlook the overall tone of your comments for now and try to raise the level from mockery to an actual discussion. Firstly, everyone has a right to their views, even if you think they’re wrong, and similarly, people have a right to their views on the bible, even if I think they’re wrong. So “Christians arguing with each other” isn’t really a problem – unless you want it to be. Then, I think you’re confusing literalism with contextual reading. What I mean is, every genre of writing has rules that govern how it can be interpreted. It’s part of the context of a text. This is common and we do it all the time both in speaking and in writing. For instance, if you say a word in a certain way, I may get you’re signaling humour, perhaps sarcasm, or seriousness. These cues are also present in writing. So when I note that a text is written in poetic format, I am entitled to make certain assumptions about what I am reading. These rules also apply to the biblical text. Thirdly, truth is more than just ‘what the words mean’. A high school science textbook is pretty much literal in its language – and we expect it to be so. Learning about what is an alkaline and what is an acid requires certain kind of language. Narrative texts on the other hand are not confined to this stricture. Let’s take a “Zen story” or an Aesop’s fable as examples. One expects ‘master’ as a character, and one expect a talking raven or tortoise. But the wisdom or the ‘lesson’ or the truth is not found in those things. The truth of those stories is usually found in an interpretation of the story. And the truth usually relates to some higher consciousness, like forgiveness, or patience, or perseverance, etc. Thus, truth is not confined to whether the snake talks human language, etc, but in the lesson to “not judge’, etc. Fourthly, related to this last point, I also think that we need to learn how to read the bible beyond merely historical or literal concerns, and ask the question, “what can we learn from this?” That is really the key to having a Scripture: applying its lessons to my life today. And that is why Christians use and love the bible, for its many truths, lessons and guidance, not because we like talking snakes or we’re trying to ‘prove’ that a flood really happened. Even the ‘miracle’ stories you alluded to, have a lesson/s there for us. That is why the bible has value for us, not because we are enamoured by literalness, but because we can see beyond it. Hope this helps you understand why we still read the bible even though we don’t have to believe in fantastic tales about floods and boats. Find the lesson, and you find the value of them Regards

    • summers-lad

      Not at all. I accept the Genesis accounts of creation for what I believe they are meant to be: descriptions, in language accessible to people regardless of their scientific knowledge, of God being creator of all (in contradiction to Babylonian creation myths), of it being good, and humans finding their place in it and in relationship to God. I do not accept them as literal – the different sequences in chapters 1 and 2 are evidence enough that they are not meant to be literal in any scientific way, and so to insist on a “literal” interpretation is to contradict the text itself. As James McGrath puts it in his parody of the Beatles’ “Let It Be”, “It’s poetry not science, let Genesis be”.

      • JesusIsFakeNews

        You know John 1 starts the same as Genesis 1 right? Funny how one is poetry and the other isn’t.

        • summers-lad

          Well I think John 1 is fairly poetic in style too, but my real point is that Genesis 1 isn’t trying to be science. John 1 gives a much more summarised account of creation – with none of the detail of Genesis – in order to say that Jesus – the Word – was there in the beginning, and has now come to earth. Both, I believe, tell truth, but the truth is about “who” and “why”, not “how”.

  • summers-lad

    Your quote from Karl Giberson made me realise why Ham believes the Flood was a historical event. He was there, along with Shem and Japheth.

  • Triggerman1976

    There is considerable evidence that the flood of Noah occurred…just not as Hamm and YEC would have it. And DNA is not a friend to (neo-Darwinian) evolution either.

    • Could you elaborate on what you mean, hopefully providing evidence for the claims you make? Thanks.

      • Triggerman1976

        There have been about 3 geological surveys published over the past 25 years that affirmed a regional flood occurred in the Persian gulf region sometime in the past 15 to 25 thousand years. Ham and other YECs insist that the flood was global, contradicting both consistent exegesis of the text and the fact that the author(s) of the text define the geographical limits of the flood by giving what is essentially an address for the location of Eden.
        DNA’s specificity limits its ability to change, allowing for variations within species but never allowing for one species (ie cat) to become another (ie dog). Also what I’ve noticed is that whenever the term “evolution” is used it’s intentionally used equivocally to obscure what is actually occurring when there are specific terms that fit what is being described in favor of perpetuating what is, essentially, a hypothesis that simply won’t die.

        • David Evans

          “DNA’s specificity limits its ability to change,”
          Please give evidence for that. (If you have it, since it would overthrow the dominant theory of biology, you’re probably in line for a Nobel Prize)
          “whenever the term “evolution” is used it’s intentionally used equivocally to obscure what is actually occurring”
          And that.

          • Triggerman1976

            Any good biology textbook discusses the limits of mutations within DNA: the vast majority are simply line substitutions (variations in the chemical makeup of the “letters”, since there are multiple chemicals that can combine to form the same “letter”) or variations within the base pair that have no effect on DNA overall (copy errors). DNA is incredibly stable and resistant to change, with built in redundancy and repair systems. It takes hundreds of multi focal mutations to induce a meaningful mutation, and when it is induced it’s usually harmful, or a response to a harm. The best example is that no matter how many mutations a dog’s DNA experiences, it will never become a cat’s DNA, and vice versa.

            Probably the best example of this equivocation occurred about 5 years ago in a paper where it was claimed that a type of cricket in Hawaii was evolving in response to predation when the fact was that the crickets were not evolving but an already present mutation in the population was simply becoming more widespread because the carriers were getting a chance to breed. Evolution was occurring, but it was population evolution not biological evolution, hence equivocation.

          • David Evans

            “The best example is that no matter how many mutations a dog’s DNA experiences, it will never become a cat’s DNA, and vice versa.”
            That’s good, because no scientist ever thought that dogs evolved into cats.

            “The vast majority are simply line substitutions”.
            Which, obviously, would not increase the complexity of the genome.
            What can increase the complexity of the genome is the following sequence:
            A stretch of DNA is duplicated (this is a well-known type of copying error).
            One of the duplicates undergoes a mutation.
            By chance the mutated version can carry out a function which the old one couldn’t.
            This version of the genome therefore has an advantage and spreads through the population.
            The whole population now has a more complex genome, with more information, and more functional, than before.
            Note: the “by chance” bit may be very rare. That doesn’t matter. Evolution has plenty of time and space to work in.

            It seems that something like this happened in Lenski’s experiments on E. coli (Google him)

          • Triggerman1976

            The problem is that it never became anything other than E. coli. Yet another instance of equivocation. Lenski had to back away from many of his claims because they weren’t nearly as grand.

          • David Evans

            That isn’t a problem. The indisputable fact is that his bacteria added a new ability, without losing an old one and without anyone specifying it in advance. That’s what anti-evolution theorists have been saying for decades is simply impossible.
            Incidentally, how do you know that it’s still E. coli?

          • Triggerman1976

            Actually they didn’t add anything. The genes simply rearranged themselves to save energy.

          • David Evans

            My understanding is that before the experiment started, the bacteria could not metabolise citrate. Now they can. Am I wrong about this? And what is your evidence?

          • Triggerman1976

            That’s correct. The problem is that this was not a new function as much as a function that was dormant.

          • David Evans

            And you know this how?

          • Triggerman1976

            By following the UncommonDescent blog and Evolution News.

          • David Evans

            I looked at UncommonDescent. There is some interesting stuff there. Other people have answered some of Behe’s points, for instance here:
            https://biologos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/behe-lenski-and-the-%E2%80%9Cedge%E2%80%9D-of-evolution-part-5-mixing-and-matching

          • Triggerman1976

            I find the arguments of Biolgos to be self-contradictory. They want to have their cake (biblical creation) and eat it too (unguided evolution).

          • David Evans

            The author of the article is Dennis Venema who is a qualified biologist. I happen to agree with you that some of Biologos’ stances are problematic, but that’s irrelevant to the quality of his arguments.

          • Triggerman1976

            If they’re circular and self-contradictory, I would consider that incredibly relevant to ANY arguments that they make.

          • If occasional qualms about some of the Biologos voices disqualify the entire site, then surely the consistent dishonesty and falsehood at Uncommon Descent should lead to the same in their case?

          • Triggerman1976

            I recognize that Uncommon Descent is highly partisan and should be taken with a grain of salt. And they LOVE taking swings at Biologos, which has a lot of its own problems.

          • David Evans

            It is not “they” making the arguments. It is one person, Dennis Verema, who is publishing on that site. I find it very annoying when people are so prejudiced against a particular site that they won’t consider anything published there. I think Answers in Genesis is a pile of garbage, but if anyone says there is a relevant argument on that site I will look at it.

            PS I think you are guilty of an argumentum ad hominem. Except it’s not even the right homo.

          • Triggerman1976

            I’ve read some theologically compromised articles there. Their priorities are definitely not in order.

          • David Evans

            I see that you don’t want to address Verema’s arguments. How about this one. http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/06/11/behes-vapid-response-to-lenski/

          • Triggerman1976

            The writer is assuming what has yet to have been proven in his critique of Behe’s critique. Behe points out a one of the weaknesses in Lenski’s research: the ever diminishing food source in the experiment. Since we can only see change after it happens (eg glucose processing to citrate processing) in the mass of instances (ie within the mass of the population), what was assumed is that something about the organism changed (novel mutation) rather that something about the population changed (consumers of citrate over consumers of glucose). Something that further research has demonstrated is that there is a latent set of genes, in a very small segment of E. coli populations, that were already present waiting to be expressed, and could only be expressed in a given set of circumstances. This goes more to survival of a population over against an actual mechanical change in the organism itself.

            The assumption that continues to go unproven is that there is something that can actually be rightly called a “mutation” in the sense that evolutionists usually mean it, because it assumes that the majority expression of a given set of gene expressions is normal rather than simply dominant in a given population.

            Further, just on a theological level, it denies the omniscience and sovereignty of a Creator over his creation in that it denies his foresight to place within his creatures means to survive in this world and fulfill his mandate made to them.

          • No, we have clear genetic evidence of mutations occurring with no need for scare quotes and no need for an attempt to change the definition.

            Here are two earlier posts on this blog that may be useful to you:

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2010/07/ken-miller-on-chromosome-fusion-as-evidence-for-human-evolution.html

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2014/01/chromosomes-and-creationism.html

          • Triggerman1976

            He does a very nice job of straw manning the arguments presented by ID advocates in the first link. They didn’t respond against their arguments in the Dover trial because their arguments were about teaching the controversy. It was a legal question not a scientific one.

            Further, similarities between DNA of chimps and humans is irrelevant and involves circular reasoning. It is dependent on the existence of homologous structures and assumes that correlation between genes that produce similar structures is the result of common ancestry. (Begin with assumption X. See evidence that affirms assumption X. Therefore X is true.) What they don’t tell you is that Chimpanzees have considerably more genetic data than humans and, if they followed their own argument in regard to accumulation of genetic information in mutations, it could logically be argued that chimps evolved from humans. (Note that the LCA hypothesis is yet to receive any meaningful evidence in regards to its truth or falsity.) Does ID have a meaningful and logically consistent answer to the existence of homologous structures? Yes.

            The second, again, presents a fallacious argument. It makes an argument by assertion (chromosomal fusion is true). It’s assumed to be true, it’s a hypothesis, but it hasn’t been demonstrated as such and, once again, uses circular reasoning to reach its conclusion. Further, it presents a false dilemma: Either chromosomal fusion is true or God is a liar (BTW, can you cite the text where God speaks about chromosomal fusion? Maybe it’s in the Apocrypha or non canonicals?). I will take Paul’s position on this: “Let God be true though every one a liar…”

          • You seem not to understand the significance of the chromosomal evidence. You are, in fact, the one making God out to be a liar, if you adopt the stance that God gave humans one less chromosome than other primates, one of which is oversized and has telomeres in the middle and thus, if not the result of chromosomal fusion, must have been crafted by the Creator to appear as though it were. What makes that sort of blasphemous stance seem acceptable to you?

          • Triggerman1976

            There is no evidence that comes to such a conclusion though…unless you engage in circular reasoning to come to such a conclusion. It is simply asserted that such an event occurred and no evidence is presented to justify the conclusion, unless you begin with that assumption. You have to get beyond these “just so” assertions—assertions which are largely arguments from authority—and get into the actual evidence that is being presented, as well as what isn’t.
            The evidence is that everything that exists, came suddenly and fully-formed into existence. That is what the authoritative word of God puts forward and we have correspondence to that truth. There’s movement within that fact, but no change that would bridge the gap between one entire species and another.
            God’s truth doesn’t require multiple logical fallacies at multiple levels. God’s truth is simple and logical.

          • Did you notice that you did not discuss the evidence or the interpretation thereof in your comment?

            I think, though, you’ve shown the deeper problem. On the one hand, you reject evidence from that which, according to the Bible, is God’s own handiwork and testifies to the Creator. On the other hand, you idolatrously treat ancient human authors as though they were God. Both attitudes are profoundly sinful, and so that explains a lot about why you hold the viewpoint that you do.

          • Triggerman1976

            I treat Scripture for what it is: that which is God breathing for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
            I treat science for what it is: a material explanation of the material world that we inhabit.
            What I do notice about scientists is that they often don’t examine their arguments for logical coherence, that’s why when they argue for neo-Darwinian evolution, they have to engage in viciously circular reasoning.
            Evolution occurs, there’s evidence for it, but it doesn’t occur at the scale or the rate that they want it to, and when they attempt to extract out from the evidence they do have to the evidence that they need to prove their argument, they assume what it is that they are trying to prove.
            God created all things that came into existence, but Scripture doesn’t elaborate on how that occurred but I’m not going to attempt to shoehorn something into the text either. At the same time, scientists have to be called out for their bad reasoning, misrepresentations, and false conclusions.

        • Since the scientific theory of evolution doesn’t involve cats becoming dogs, that really doesn’t seem relevant except to the debunking of what seems to be a widespread misunderstanding of evolution.

          • Triggerman1976

            It does, however, put forward the idea that it can explain variation of kinds when it can only explain variations within kinds.

          • Actually, biological evolution does not speak of biblical “kinds” at all…

          • Triggerman1976

            I couldn’t think of the exact biological term at the time, but it roughly corresponds to either “order” or “superfamily”.

          • David Evans

            Sorry about the dual post. I thought I had lost my first attempt. But it gives me the opportunity to point out that according to the same site, hawks and kites are of different kinds. It seems even more obvious that one of those could evolve into the other, or both could evolve from a common ancestor.

          • David Evans

            According to this site, arguing from the Bible, storks and herons are of two different kinds,
            http://www.theistic-evolution.com/kind.html
            Now it seems quite obvious to me that, if you allowed different parameters (neck length, curvature of beak etc) to vary by 0.01% per generation, you could quite easily turn a stork into a heron in a few million generations. The Galapagos finches have changed some parameters much faster than that.
            So how certain are you that evolution cannot create a new kind?

          • David Evans

            This site argues on biblical grounds that storks and herons are of different kinds.

            http://www.theistic-evolution.com/kind.html

            Now it seems obvious to me that if you can vary certain parameters (leg length, neck length, neck curvature etc) by 0.01% per generation, you can change a stork into a heron in a few million generations. The Galapagos finches have been observed to change some parameters much faster than that.

            So how certain are you that evolution cannot generate a new kind?

  • Mary Mclocke

    Jesus is coming.. the Bible is truth.. and there are going to be some VERY surprised people if you all don’t wake up tp God’s own truth. Your word games will never change the truth, because God’s word IS TRUTH. It was established before the foundations of the world. VERY soon, Jesus Christ will tear open the sky and take those who belong to Him off this earth. Unless you all repent to belief in Him, TRUE belief in Him, then you will experience on this earth something you never thought possible. There is NO SUCH THING as a “Progressive” Christian, nor a “Scientific” Christian. You either belong to Jesus Christ or you DON’T. TODAY is the day of Salvation. Research THAT if you have ANY desires to save your own souls from the very fiery Hell Jesus Himself spoke of in the Gospels. It’s YOUR eternal soul, and YOUR choice. God “sends” NO ONE to Hell – people send themselves. Currently, you all here have made the decision of Hell over Eternal Life through Jesus Christ. Time is too short. Wake up and learn the TRUTH. “Except a man be born again, he’ll NOT see the Kingdom of God”. Jesus’ word – clear English. YOUR choice.

    • I am guessing this is posted by an atheist trying to make Christians look bad. As a born again Christian who is a progressive, I happen to be well-poised to see through your claims, made here with no evidence or argument, again presumably trying to make it appear as though Christians are incapable of reasoned discourse and serious engagement in conversation. Alas, the giveaway was that you claimed that Jesus spoke in “clear English,” which is too ridiculous to be anything but an attempt to make Christians look bad. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying this sort of thing!