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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Comments (62)

The BioLogos Foundation
A couple of weeks ago, John MacArthur received a letter from Darrel Falk, president of The BioLogos Foundation, informing him of their intention to refute his critique of Uniformitarianism with a series of posts. The three-part series launched June 12 with the bold title, “The Biblical Premise of Uniformitarianism: A Response to John MacArthur.”

As the days passed, we waited for the series to deliver on the promise of its title, anxious to engage the debate. It was disappointing. Falk and his contributors utterly failed to deliver. Not only did they fail to provide a biblical premise, they were a complete no-show in the arena of John MacArthur’s arguments. They simply asserted what they were trying to prove.

Phil Johnson, GTY’s Executive Director, has provided an incisive critique of The BioLogos Foundation here. Go read it. And while you’re away from the GTY Blog, check out Al Mohler’s Ligonier Conference message, “Why Does the Universe Look So Old?” Tim Challies has provided an excellentsummary here (we’ll have to stay tuned for a link to the audio).


Uniformitarian Geology
Speaking of Uniformitarianism, I’d like to highlight one of its fundamental problems. “The present is the key to the past,” a summary of the uniformitarian hermeneutic, says the processes we see today are the processes that have always been. Natural phenomena like flowing water, wind patterns, volcanic activity, and changes in temperature account for what we see in the geological record, the layers of sediment that cover the earth.

More recently, uniformitarian geologists have allowed certain cataclysmic events into their model, like regional flooding and earthquakes. But, level-headed scientists that they are, they will not allow “religious myths” to influence their interpretations. Events in the biblical record—creation ex nihilo, the Fall, and the global Flood—are quaint relics of an unscientific era, but they have no place in the practice of real science.

But just suppose for a moment that the Flood, as described in Scripture, actually happened. It was an unprecedented, never-to-be-repeated upheaval of the earth’s crust and radical change in the earth’s atmosphere. Would the change in conditions affect radiometric dating? Would they help explain the fossil record, the geologic column, the resulting landscape and geographic features on the earth? Most scientists will never ask those questions because they a priori reject the biblical account of the global Flood.

One fundamental problem with Uniformitarianism, like all non-biblical worldviews, is the circularity of its reasoning. I once had an honest geology professor who told his students, “Folks, when you’re looking at rocks and strata, you’re not looking at time; you’re looking at rocks and strata.” (Zactly.) So I asked him how geologists justified the dating of the geological column, the chart that traverses time from the Cryptic era (starting from 4.5 billion years) to the Cenozoic era (up to today).

Geology Prof: “Well, we date the eras by the strata that belong to that era.”

Me: “How do you date the strata?”

Geology Prof:”By the fossils embedded in each stratum.”

Me: (Now we’re getting somewhere.) “So, since carbon dating is used for recent dating, and since radiometric dating isn’t used for dating fossils, how do you determine the ages of the fossils?”

Geology Prof: “By the strata in which we find them.”

Me: “Isn’t that circular? I mean, if you date the fossils by the rocks, and the rocks by the fossils, isn’t that circular reasoning?”

Geology Prof: “Yes, I suppose it is. But that’s the best we can do.”

I appreciated the honesty, especially considering the discussion took place in a packed classroom of secular college students. But I weary of the Uniformitarians I encounter, particularly among professing Christians, who refuse to acknowledge the circularity of their position. Like the BioLogos crowd, they keep asserting what they claim to prove—“The present is the key to the past”—but without the proof.

Here’s the Christian view: “The Bible is the key to the past, present, and future.” Taking God at His Word allows true scientific inquiry to take place because it provides the preconditions for rational thought.

  • Creation of all matter by an eternal God (Gen. 1:1; Heb. 11:3) makes more sense than the eternality of matter and infinite regress.
  • Creation and the Fall can account for the inherent sense of morality shared by every human being (Rom. 2:14), along with the sense of guilt and shame when we break moral law (v. 15); no other worldview, secular or religious, is able to account for those phenomena consistently.
  • And the biblical record of a worldwide Flood that covered all the high mountains under the whole heaven (Gen. 7:19-20) and killed all creatures except those in the ark (vv. 21-23), makes better sense of the fossil record than anything put forth by uniformitarian geology.

It’s time for Christians to return to the self-attesting authority of God’s Word and forsake the “vain babblings and oppositions of science, falsely so called.”

Appearance of Age
And speaking of opposition, some of our opponents in the comment threads and around the internet have been trying to frame our positions for us. According to them, we’re saying God created the universe with “the appearance of age,” as if He were trying to trick us. They say the young earth position ascribes some level of insincerity to God, even a subtle deception, whereas old earth positions actually uphold the integrity of God—the universe appears old because it is old.

Clever, ain’t it.

Here’s what we’re saying, and here’s how we want to say it: God created the universe to be fully functional and immediately useful for Adam and Eve, the crowning jewels of His creation. A mature Adam and Eve were able to make immediate use of the garden for their sustenance and pleasure. How is that deceptive?

When God told Adam how he and the rest of the garden came into existence, can you imagine Adam charging God with deception? See what you think of this hypothetical conversation:

Adam: “Wait a sec, God…me, Eve, and the rest of these plants and animals didn’t develop like this overnight. You think I was born yesterday?!”

God: “Well, yes…formed from the dust rather than born; but essentially, yes, you were born yesterday.”

So, Adam is left to believe it or not. He can either take God at His word, or reject His account of creation. That’s the position we’re in as well.

When Jesus created bread and fish for the multitudes, those who didn’t know better could assume they were eating bread harvested from grain and fish caught in the fisherman’s net. But we know better because God told us in His Word that Jesus created bread and fish that was immediately useful for consumption by the hungry crowds (Matt. 14:13-21; 15:32-38).

Those who insinuate some level of deception by God, like the serpent of old (Gen. 3:1), cast shadows on His character. Taking God at His word, particularly with this matter of origins, does not make God out to be a deceiver. Rather, it’s the humble position of faith—“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Heb. 11:3).

So, what do we do when we discover data that don’t seem to fit the Genesis record of a literal, six-day creation? Some have pointed to the appearance of a supernova in 1987; because of its position in space, it supposedly took 168,000 years for SN 1987’s light particles to travel to earth. (Note that the Bible acknowledges such phenomena—like the light from the star in Matthew 2:2—while at the same time affirming the historical accuracy of the Genesis creation account, cf., Matt. 19:4; Rom. 5:12-21.)

How does 168,000 years fit into the history of the universe, which the Bible says is less than 10,000 years? If the Bible has its proper place in our thinking, we’ll interpret what we see and experience in light of what we read in God’s Word. What is in doubt, therefore, is the 168,000 years, not the biblical timetable of creation. We interpret the data within the framework of a literal, six-day creation. We subject the data, along with our scientific inquiry to understand it, to Scripture; we don’t force the Scripture to fit into an old-earth framework.

With regard to SN 1987, here are a few things to think about:

  • What if forces exist that affect how light particles traverse the universe? What if the Lord, who superintends every molecule He created (Col. 1:17), created laws in the universe that govern the movement of light in ways we haven’t yet discovered?
  • What assumptions are at work to conclude 168,000 light years (distance) equals 168,000 years (time)?
  • What questions are we failing to ask in the absence of more data, in the ignorance of other phenomena?

If we’re still discovering things about the planet on which we live, we ought to be just a tad bit more humble about the far reaches of the universe we’ve never visited.

Pulling Out the Roadmap
Which brings me to a final subject: Where is this series going?

We started this series back in March, showing the irrationality of the evolutionary worldview and its destructive impact on modern society. We then exposed the limitations of science to answer questions about origins. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” That question has never been answered, and it still confronts the modern scientific community.

Scientists can’t answer questions about origins by investigating general revelation because science deals with the observable, and they weren’t there to observe. Thankfully, God gave us special revelation which includes His account of how it all began.

So, we’re now asking questions about hermeneutics: If God gave us the Genesis record, how do we interpret it? We’re defending a literal, grammatical-historical approach to Scripture that takes the biblical account at face value. We believe God created the earth in six, literal days.

Soon we’ll move from interpretation to implication—how we interpret the creation account affects our view of the Fall in Genesis 3, the Flood in Genesis 6-9, and every other fundamental doctrine in Scripture. How we interpret Genesis sets our trajectory, so we’ve got to get it right.

Stick around. More good stuff from John MacArthur is on the way!


Travis Allen
Managing Director


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#1  Posted by Gavin Prinsloo  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 3:49 AM

Hi Mr. Allen,

I haven't been on the GTY site for quite a while, so thanks for filling us in. This is very exciting! I'm an apprentice Mechanical Engineer, and it's quite daunting to be the only Christian in the midst of 10 to 20 Engineers, most of them older (and more educated) than I.

This is especially true whenever I stand up for my faith in God and the truth of His Word. You are so right about the circularity of their reasoning. They exclude the possibility of God from their thinking, and then argue His non-existence by stating how unscientific or logical the Bible is, based on their reasoning which excludes Him in the first place!

I listened to a study by Dr. Chuck Missler in which he mentioned that one of the leading arguments against the 6 day Creation account was the fact that (in the same vein as the 1987 supernova) light has reached us from stars that are millions of light years away. This, according non-Christians, is proof of a very old universe.

Dr. Missler quoted Psalm 104:2:

"Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:"

If God is Who He says He is, then, I think, He can stretch out the fabric of space as he pleases, along with the light being transported across it.

#2  Posted by Matt Tocco  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 6:23 AM

I'm looking at this whole series from a perspective of bringing others that God puts before me into the faith as apposed to participating in a debate among Christians (although after reading this series and some of the comments, that obviously is also very important), or debunking a worldly acceptance of scientific theory on a larger scale.

After this last post I have a better understanding and ammo. Like God created Adam as a whole man not as cells growing eventually into a man, He also created the earth and the universe ready to be useful to the man he was to create. This makes very literal acceptance of the creation in Genesis plausible to a non-Christian when posed by a trusted source (me). Also, time as we measure it like in the example given regarding the supernova isn't relevant because God isn't bound by time. Just like Jesus was able to make fish and bread appear in the blink of an eye, He can also make light from a distant star appear to us just as instantly.

All of that I can explain now. However what I'm still having trouble with, as someone attempting to draw others that I care for into the faith, is why we would observe a supernova at all. Or, as I originally posed the question in "Why Six Days", why do we find dinosaur bones and fossils at all? I still don't know how to answer that if asked by a non-believer.

#3  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 7:29 AM

That "conversation with a geology prof" is an strawman or urban legend taken from old YEC books. Notice how no name is provided for the geology professor. It's hard to believe it is being brought up in a blog for a top tier pastor in 2010. Such a line of questioning with a true geology prof would be more like this:

"So I asked him how geologists justified the dating of the geological column, the chart that traverses time from the Cryptic era (starting from 4.5 billion years) to the Cenozoic era (up to today)."

Geology Prof: “Well, we date various sedimentary layers by applying radiometric dating to the volcanic material (e.g., lava, ash) which is interspersed between the layers. We always find particular types of fossils within layers formed within similar time spans as confirmed with radiometric dating. Therefore, we know the span of time to which each type of fossil belongs, even if a layer doesn't happen to be bounded by dateable material at it's particular location. For example, we always find dinosaur fossils within layers which fall between about 230 million years old to about 65 million years old. We have given names for the eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages according to the types of fossils found in each one and other factors.

Me: “How do you date the strata?”

Geology Prof: ”I just told you. Material that can be dated using radiometric techniques is found in between all kinds of layers in all kinds of places. Also, radiometric techniques keep getting better and better, and we now have some techniques which don't assume a knowledge of the amount of parent material. People read these books written for mass consumption that are critical of radiometric techniques, and they think they know everything about radiometric dating. The don't understand the amount of time and effort it takes to obtain date a rock.”

Me: (Now we don't seem to be getting anywhere.) “So, since carbon dating is used for recent dating, and since radiometric dating isn’t used for dating fossils, how do you determine the ages of the fossils?”

Geology Prof: (This guy isn't listening to me - he seems to have a force field that prevents him from accepting any information that might require him to get out of his comfort zone. He sounds like one of those fundamentalist Christians -- what a terrible witness -- I don't want anything to do with his faith) “Yes, but carbon dating does tell us the age of a lot of recent things on and near the surface of the Earth. And again, we don't just data fossils by the strata in which we find them.”

Me: “Isn’t that circular? I mean, if you date the fossils by the rocks, and the rocks by the fossils, isn’t that circular reasoning?”

Geology Prof: “Groaaannnn...Yes, I suppose your thinking is circular. Your arguments always pre-suppose that evidence supporting the current consensus of geologists does't exist, then proceed to use that presupposition in your arguments for a young earth. For example, look how Woodmorappe's statement that "Common sense teaches us that 16 miles (at most) which exists, out of a total of 100 or 200 miles, is a very incomplete (geologic) column!" completely ignores current geologist's understanding of a global rock cycle involving erosion, sedimentation, plate tectonics, subduction, metamorphism, recycling into igneous rock)."

For a real geology professor's viewpoint, see http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2005AM/finalprogram/abstract_93231.htm, and if you have powerpoint or powerpoint viewer, see the accompanying presentation at: http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/viewHandout.cgi?uploadid=141

We Christians need to think long and hard about how we're coming across to the scientific community.

#4  Posted by John Adams  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 7:30 AM

I'm guessing you either made up that conversation with the geology professor or you just copied it from Kent Hovind. I would be simply astonished if it actually occurred as described here. If it did, could you supply the place and the name of the geologist? Then I will retract what I have said here.

Christian astronomers have assessed all the available data and it points incontrovertibly towards the conclusion that the universe is much older than 10,000 years.

http://www.reasons.org/special-edition-tnrtb-astronomers-assess-age-universe

#5  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 8:28 AM

Hey Travis. I met Dr MacArthur in Orlando at Ligonier's Conference. He mentioned you by name (good comments by the way).

Thanks to GTY for taking such a firm stand on the literal interpretation of Genesis.

This may help some understand why there is an attack from amongst the rank as it were (those who claim to be Christian but are striving to deconstruct the bible on many fronts) with regards to a literal interpretation of Genesis:

Two contributors to the debate regarding the New Atheism, John Haught and Tina Beattie, have put forth a maverick ideology that seems to encompass the thoughts of some of the commenters on this blog series. That ideology strives to separate Christian Theology from biblical literalism. That ideology asserts that both sides of the debate, Christian literalism and the New Atheism, fail to see that there is way more beneath the surface of the literal reading of the text.

Haught said in his book God and the New Atheism the following:

"The religious literalist assumes that the full depth of what is going on in the real world is made evident to the true believer in the plainest sense of the sacred text."

Wow...and I actually thought a believer could read God's Word and actually understand it...I guess it ain't so?!

Perhaps a closer look at these individuals and their ideologies may provide more understanding of the "other side". Further, there are other contributors who, in my opinion, have equally muddied the waters: Alvin Plantinga and Alister McGrath have written critically of the New Atheism but they have not, as it appears, shed their allegience to evolution.

I urge those interested in this debate to obtain Dr Albert Mohler's book Atheism Remix...and make sure you do not miss his presentation from Ligonier...what a speech!

Thanks again to GTY for your efforts.

#6  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 10:23 AM

Tim writes,

That "conversation with a geology prof" is an strawman or urban legend taken from old YEC books. Notice how no name is provided for the geology professor. It's hard to believe it is being brought up in a blog for a top tier pastor in 2010.

I spoke with Travis about this "conversation" and I specifically told him he would get pushed back. I almost quoted to him word-for-word how his critics will respond and Tim delivered.

Regardless if you think this is an urban legend, Travis tells me that was a real conversation he had with a qualified geologist when he attended Metropolitan State College in Denver.

But I myself have heard the same exact argumentation. First in high school in the typical "earth science" class taught by Mrs. Carla Samples, who was a biologist, not a geologist, but she was citing from our text book that had geologists contributing to it. I would also add she was hostile to Christianity, even mocking Genesis and "Christians" who were young earth. But then I heard this argumentation at Arkansas State University, again in an earth science under grad class I had to take. The professor teaching was a geologist, or at least that is what he told us was his field of study. I don't recall his name, but I do recall him mentioning this argument just as Travis recounted it in the "conversation." I remember it, because I had just been saved and his arguments against the biblical record were troubling for me, and this is before I even knew organizations like ICR, let alone GTY, even existed.

Now, you may claim these individuals were anomalies and not representative of "true" geologists. That is usually the complaint I get when I bring up things like this. I haven't been taught right by the evolutionary "scientist" in question or read the best books on the subject, or whatever. Always there is some deficiency to my education when I was taught by the very people who are suppose to be experts in these fields of study.

If I had this conversation now with any of these individuals I would respond in the following (borrowing your illustration):

Me: "How do you date strata?

Geology Prof: “Well, we date various sedimentary layers by applying radiometric dating to the volcanic material (e.g., lava, ash) which is interspersed between the layers. We always find particular types of fossils within layers formed within similar time spans as confirmed with radiometric dating. Therefore, we know the span of time to which each type of fossil belongs, even if a layer doesn't happen to be bounded by dateable material at it's particular location. For example, we always find dinosaur fossils within layers which fall between about 230 million years old to about 65 million years old. We have given names for the eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages according to the types of fossils found in each one and other factors.

Me: But aren't you assuming the "readings" from the radiometric dating have been consistent for the entire history of geology?

Geology Prof ”I just told you. Material that can be dated using radiometric techniques is found in between all kinds of layers in all kinds of places. Also, radiometric techniques keep getting better and better, and we now have some techniques which don't assume a knowledge of the amount of parent material. People read these books written for mass consumption that are critical of radiometric techniques, and they think they know everything about radiometric dating. They don't understand the amount of time and effort it takes to obtain date a rock.”

Me: (He didn't really answer my question): But sir. Again, even with these techniques, which are not as consistent as you are letting on, you're assuming a uniform decay rate that in turn assumes other a priori presuppositions about the history of the earth? You seem to suggest that yourself when you say, "which don't assume a knowledge of the amount of parent material." That's a pretty big assumption, don't you think?

Geology Prof: (This guy isn't listening to me - he seems to have a force field that prevents him from accepting any information that might require him to get out of his comfort zone. He sounds like one of those fundamentalist loons -- what a terrible witness -- I don't want anything to do with his faith. I imagine he probably believes in talking snakes, floating ax heads, food being formed out of thin air, and dead men raising to life).

“Groaaannnn...Yes, I suppose I am assuming uniformitarianism, because this is the consensus of science. Your arguments always pre-suppose that evidence supporting the current consensus of geologists doesn't exist, then proceed to use that presupposition in your arguments for a young earth. (what an ignorant fanatic).

Me: Okay, thanks for the clarification, I think?

Tim grimly concludes,

We Christians need to think long and hard about how we're coming across to the scientific community.

Actually, the Christians who want to come across as intellectual and credible by compromising the plain teaching of God's word should care less as to what the "scientific" community thinks how they are coming across and more upon what God thinks of their abuse of His revelation.

#7  Posted by Larry Bucar  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 10:27 AM

Tim, John, Garrett, YE skeptics, et al:

Bring it on! Travis just wrote an excellent defense of an old earth (less than 10000 yr) from a literal biblical perspective. You guys love to site "true geology prof"s and others in "academia" as the final authority. When it comes to the study of origins, THEY WEREN'T THERE!! How many times do you need this communicated? Their so called science is pure guessing and a model for disaster... As for the integrity of the producers of this blog, why should we not question yours? LJB

#8  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 10:31 AM

And the biblical record of a worldwide Flood that covered all the high mountains under the whole heaven (Gen. 7:19-20) and killed all creatures except those in the ark (vv. 21-23), makes better sense of the fossil record than anything put forth by uniformitarian geology.

Does it? I'd like to see you give some examples of this, rather than just putting forth an unsubstantiated assertion, as you accuse BioLogos of doing.

The fictional conversation between God and Adam is all well and good. Unless it went on to say.

ADAM: But, Lord! I remember my seventh birthday party! And graduating from High School! I have a scar on my right side from my apendectomy! I remember eating chocolate for the first time, and my honeymoon with, Eve. Yet you say I was created yesterday.

GOD: I know it seems deceptive, but for reasons of my own, I created you not only mature and fully functional, but with a physical and mental history. The whole universe is like that. There is light "on the way" from stars that have already blown up. They never existed! And yet you can see them in the sky and even make measurements of their chemical properties. Isn't that neat?

ADAM: Well, it seems sort of weird. Won't that confuse people? It sure confuses me.

GOD: Run along, Adam, run along

What assumptions are at work to conclude 168,000 light years (distance) equals 168,000 years (time)?

We're assuming the definition of the units. What assumptions are you making that when you conclude that having driven 60 mph for 120 miles, it will have taken you 2 hours to reach your destination? The part you would call an assumption is measuring the distance in the first place, but it is actually a fairly simple measurement.

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=292

There are other techniques for measuring distances to more distant stars.

What if forces exist that affect how light particles traverse the universe? What if the Lord, who superintends every molecule He created (Col. 1:17), created laws in the universe that govern the movement of light in ways we haven’t yet discovered?

In asking these types of questions, you're undermining the ability of anyone, Conservative Christian or otherwise, from performing any type of scientific inquiry. If the moment you get a result you don't like, you say, "Well, maybe God's up to something I don't understand" you're back in the Dark Ages before Newton, a Christian, started his inquiries that if God runs the universe and God is a God of Order and not Chaos, then the universe ought to obey observable laws of motion. All that is to say, we certainly don't know everything there is to know about light. But I would be Surprised (with a capital S) if there was some force that could modulate speed of light (c) in a vaccum that we haven't observed in the lab.

#9  Posted by Greg Tegman  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 10:43 AM

I just read Al Mohler's take on "Why Does The Earth Look So Old". I must go back and read it again. "Trojan Horse"?,Yes. It is attempt to convince Christians and the unbelieving world to believe that God created the universe and all it contains,over billions of years as opposed to six literal twenty-four hour days. What is this "Carbon Dating" idea all about as well?. I don't get it. It is simple,either believe the Genesis account literally or drive yourself crazy with uniformitarianism. It is the devil's work to confuse and distract.

#10  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 10:46 AM

Dirk,

Your addition to the conversation of Adam and God assumes that geologists have discovered the DVD of the history of the world and thus they can know how everything was caused in detail. Adam had no such memories, nor any scars. Whatever "scars" are on the earth must be interpreted, and geologists interpret them based on their presuppositions, not what actually happened.

The point of the imaginary conversation, though, is that it is absurd to think that Adam would question God's integrity, as scientists do today. Adam could plainly see that some trees were not as big as other trees, but he wouldn't have assumed that God was deceiving him. Out of submission to his Maker, Adam trusted God.

Regarding light from distant stars, scientists assume that the forces at play near us (earth) are the same at vast distances. While I understand that is a default assumption for an atheist who doesn't believe the Bible, a Christian shouldn't take on that assumption so quickly. The reality is scientists have no clue what is way out there. For example, we can see distant galaxies, but we don't know the forces at play between galaxies. Once science goes beyond our observable boundaries, they are working off assumptions. To me, conclusions based on assumption are not sufficient reasons to question the integrity of Scripture.

#11  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 10:47 AM

Dirk says,

ADAM: But, Lord! I remember my seventh birthday party! And graduating from High School! I have a scar on my right side from my apendectomy! I remember eating chocolate for the first time, and my honeymoon with, Eve. Yet you say I was created yesterday.

But why would Adam remember such things when they never happened?

Dirk continues,

If the moment you get a result you don't like...

Evolutionists do this all the time, too.

#12  Posted by Mark Matthews  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 10:54 AM

Tim Helble and John Adams,

I suspect that you are correct that the average geologist would respond that dates for fossils ultimately rely radiometric dating (I haven't seen a survey of geologists on this question so I don't really know how the "average" geologist would respond). But isn't it true that radiometric dates which are incompatible with the accepted thinking are rejected (I'm talking about rocks for which there is no independent evidence that they shouldn't give "good" dates)? And if so (and it is so), then isn't the situation essentually circular thinking - i.e. we only accept dates which are in general agreement with what we already thought the dates should be? In the end, the dating is based on circular reasoning.

#13  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 11:03 AM

Your addition to the conversation of Adam and God assumes that geologists have discovered the DVD of the history of the world and thus they can know how everything was caused in detail. Adam had no such memories, nor any scars. Whatever "scars" are on the earth must be interpreted, and geologists interpret them based on their presuppositions, not what actually happened. (emphasis mine)

a) It absolutely doesn't. It does assume that 1) we have with reasonable accuracy measured both the speed of light and the distance to other stars, and 2) God did not create a piecemeal universe, with some physical laws governing some parts, with others in operation on the earth.

b) Again and again, your arguements in these comments assume that you've cornered the market on how to rightly interpret the Bible, specifically the first few chapters of Genesis. I agree that if you take Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 to be a play by play of God's historic creation of the earth then you are right and the science is wrong. However, I think there are compelling reasons not to interpret the text the way you do. Your interpretations also has some problems when it comes to Geocentrism, the Value of Pi, and a Flat Earth. You may deny this, but if you take one part literally, why not another?

Regarding light from distant stars, scientists assume that the forces at play near us (earth) are the same at vast distances. While I understand that is a default assumption for an atheist who doesn't believe the Bible, a Christian shouldn't take on that assumption so quickly. The reality is scientists have no clue what is way out there. For example, we can see distant galaxies, but we don't know the forces at play between galaxies. Once science goes beyond our observable boundaries, they are working off assumptions. To me, conclusions based on assumption are not sufficient reasons to question the integrity of Scripture.

Gabriel, I would encourage you to: First, stop taking medicine, scientists really have no idea what all those chemicals do, and most of them believe in evolution, so they're probably giving you monkey drugs; Second, stop using your GPS (if you have one). GPS are calibrated using Eistein's General Theory of Relativity, but because that theory is based on both his atheistic (or at best deist) assumptions, and observations of light and galaxies, two things you don't deem scientists fit to observe.

But why would Adam remember such things when they never happened?

He wouldn't, but the stars remember "such things." The earth and the sun have histories that can be plainly observed.

#14  Posted by Mark Matthews  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 11:27 AM

"The earth and the sun have histories that can be plainly observed."

Dirk, I would suggest that some humility would be in order here. Astronomers are finding that very wierd things appear to be going on in the cosmos,; things which can't be explained with physics as we know it (think dark matter and dark energy). Since we KNOW that things in deep space don't behave in the manner we had expected (again think of "dark matter" and "dark energy"), it could very well be that light also behaves differently in different parts of the universe.

#15  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 11:29 AM

Dirk writes,

1) we have with reasonable accuracy measured both the speed of light and the distance to other stars, and 2) God did not create a piecemeal universe, with some physical laws governing some parts, with others in operation on the earth.

Reasonable accuracy is a big assumption. Especially with objects that are at great distances where gravitational forces could very well affect natural phenomena. You are also trusting (blindly in my estimation) that what we observe in deep space is what it is. I take it you believe without question the presence of "dark matter" and "dark energy" because astronomers tell you it has to be there? Who is it "making up" physical laws in a piecemeal fashion exactly?

Dirk writes,

He wouldn't, but the stars remember "such things." The earth and the sun have histories that can be plainly observed.

How can stars remember "such things?" Star just are. How exactly can you plainly observe (an action in the present) something in the past (histories) when you weren't there, no one was there to be frank, except for one person who tells us how it all came to be. (or do you even believe that?)

Your logic is a bit skewed here in your argumentation.

#16  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 11:30 AM

God did not create a piecemeal universe, with some physical laws governing some parts, with others in operation on the earth.

First, you don't know that nor can you prove it. Second, that's not necessarily what I'm saying. I'm saying we don't know what forces are at play, and if the forces are the same, whether they interact differently. We don't know if there are things out there that speed up light, that bend light, or anything else.

To illustrate, imagine a distant mountain the height of which that is measured relative to nearby mountains. What that relative measurement can't take into consideration is that there is an extremely deep valley a few miles away. So the mountain appears a certain height from one perspective, but in reality is much taller because it sits on an unseen deep valley. Obviously this is a limited illustration, but that is the point we trying to make. We just don't know what is out there.

However, I think there are compelling reasons not to interpret the text the way you do.

Exegetical/hermeneutical/grammatical reasons? Or extra-biblical reasons? Obviously you could employ a completely different set of hermeneutics and come up with a non-literal reading (like Augustine). But standard evangelical hermeneutics lead to only one literal interpretation.

Your interpretations also has some problems when it comes to Geocentrism, the Value of Pi, and a Flat Earth. You may deny this, but if you take one part literally, why not another?

Because of the mechanics of language. We don't subscribe to wooden literalism (or letterism). We subscribe to, if you will, linguistic literalism which allows for figures of speech, point of view, and other linguistic devices common to all languages. Just like when you say, "The sun rise is beautiful" I interpret that literally, but I understand you aren't giving a scientific formula for the mechanics of the sun. In a scramble to accuse YEC of inconsistent interpretation, non-literalists pretend like linguistics don't exist.

Gabriel, I would encourage you to...

You're going to need to explain how measuring distant stars has to do with medicine and GPS. It sounds like you are trying to say that if we can't know for certain that a star is millions of light years away, then we can't trust how medicine works. I don't quite follow the logic there.

He wouldn't, but the stars remember "such things." The earth and the sun have histories that can be plainly observed.

Has anyone today observed the civil war? Has anyone observed the election of Abraham Lincoln? No, history cannot be observed. History must be told and interpreted; which is why there are so many history books. If history could be known with certainty, there would only be a need for one multi-volume set.

On the other hand, scientists are more like revisionist historians. They keep changing history based on new facts. They have summarily rejected the one true authoritative history book on the history of the universe, and so they have to come up with their own interpretations of the extremely limited amount of data they have.

#17  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 11:34 AM

The FedEx letter to John MacArthur posted at BioLogos.com says:

We assume based on God’s providence that...

"Assume" appears 13 times there! How is an assumption rational? How can anyone take that seriously?

I guess BioLogos.com is a spoof of Christians, like theonion.com, but not as funny.

#18  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 11:43 AM

Tim Helble and John Adams:

UNbelievable. Your first shot out of the gate is at my credibility. What at this website would lead you to believe my integrity is in question? I’m tempted to think your biases caused you to react in such a caustic way. Nonetheless…

First of all, I’ve only heard the name “Kent Hovind” in the course of this series, and I have yet to read, listen, or watch anything he’s produced. Call me ignorant, but at least I’m not tainted by that association.

Second, speaking of associations, I followed the links you guys posted—Hugh Ross’s website and Robert C. Thomas’s presentation entitled, “Strategies for Dealing with Religious Fundamentalist Students in College Level Geoscience Courses.” Really? That’s the company you keep?

According to Dr. Thomas, “the growing percentage of college-level students who do not understand or believe in the most basic concepts of geologic time and evolution is alarming.” Aren’t you alarmed that you’re in league with someone who wants to “tell the student that their faith-based beliefs are not relevant in a science course”? That man doesn’t recognize how his faith-based beliefs skew his results, and neither do you. Small wonder you’re so rabid about your belief system.

Third, while I don’t remember the name of my geology professor, he taught at Metropolitan State College of Denver where I attended in the early 90s. He was a good teacher and gained my respect when he calmly admitted his presuppositions (including those about radiometric dating). He took us to the Dakota Hogback near Red Rocks Park and had a real passion for his work. So please don’t try to undermine his credibility either.

Fourth, since we’re talking about truth in advertising here, why don’t you guys be honest about the assumptions involved in radiometric dating. You have to assume you know:

(1) the original state of the starting material God created in Genesis 1:1-2, even though you weren’t there (Job 38:4),

(2) the Fall had no effect on the rate of decay, even though Genesis 3:17 says God cursed the ground,

(3) the global Flood had no effect on the rate of decay, even though Genesis 7:11 speaks of cataclysmic tectonic activity,

(4) the stable atoms were all produced by radioactive decay, even though you can’t be certain your sample wasn’t contaminated, and

(5) your radiometric dating methods and results are bulletproof, even though you know they’ve been updated and have yielded inconsistent results.

Quit hiding behind consensus, stop walking in the counsel of the ungodly, and have the courage to question your assumptions. There was a consensus in Israel that the people should return to Egypt; but Moses stood in the courage of his conviction and the fear of the Lord against the consensus. There are other historical anecdotes that demonstrate the error of majority rule and the heroism of minority positions, but I don’t want to be unnecessarily inflammatory.

#19  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 12:04 PM

Dirk, I would suggest that some humility would be in order here. Astronomers are finding that very wierd things appear to be going on in the cosmos,; things which can't be explained with physics as we know it (think dark matter and dark energy). Since we KNOW that things in deep space don't behave in the manner we had expected (again think of "dark matter" and "dark energy"), it could very well be that light also behaves differently in different parts of the universe.

One must see the humor in being called to humilty by one of John MacArthur's followers. That man has zero humility when it comes to matters of faith and practice, and regularly lambasts those who disagree with him.

Reasonable accuracy is a big assumption. Especially with objects that are at great distances where gravitational forces could very well affect natural phenomena. You are also trusting (blindly in my estimation) that what we observe in deep space is what it is. I take it you believe without question the presence of "dark matter" and "dark energy" because astronomers tell you it has to be there? Who is it "making up" physical laws in a piecemeal fashion exactly?

The amount of postmodernism with regard to science in the YEC on this blog astounds me. It's been said before, but I'll say it again. Science is a process. So when a new observation (galaxies are moving apart at an accelerated rate) is made, hypothesis are posited to fill the new gap in understanding. This is not a weakness of science, but a strength. As to your question, the jury is still out on Dark Matter and Energy. Whatever is discovered, I can almost assure you that our present understanding of gravitation and celestial motion will not be junked, but modified.

First, you don't know that nor can you prove it. Second, that's not necessarily what I'm saying. I'm saying we don't know what forces are at play, and if the forces are the same, whether they interact differently. We don't know if there are things out there that speed up light, that bend light, or anything else.

To illustrate, imagine a distant mountain the height of which that is measured relative to nearby mountains. What that relative measurement can't take into consideration is that there is an extremely deep valley a few miles away. So the mountain appears a certain height from one perspective, but in reality is much taller because it sits on an unseen deep valley. Obviously this is a limited illustration, but that is the point we trying to make. We just don't know what is out there.

First, your mountain example is an orange to the apple of stellar distances. Second, you run to a postmodernist approach to science whenever it challenges your preferred interpretation of scripture. So far I'm not seeing a lot of consistentcy from you.

Because of the mechanics of language. We don't subscribe to wooden literalism (or letterism). We subscribe to, if you will, linguistic literalism which allows for figures of speech, point of view, and other linguistic devices common to all languages. Just like when you say, "The sun rise is beautiful" I interpret that literally, but I understand you aren't giving a scientific formula for the mechanics of the sun. In a scramble to accuse YEC of inconsistent interpretation, non-literalists pretend like linguistics don't exist.

But you're only able to identify such phrases as "sun rise" or "foundations of the earth" as figures of speech because of your position of knowledge as a person living in the 21st century. The first readers of such texts would have NO REASON to questions the "literal" nature of such phrases, because they thought the sun really did orbit the earth, etc. I don't pretend linguistics don't exist. But I also don't try to force my 21st scientific knowledge to a text written to those ignorant of it.

You're going to need to explain how measuring distant stars has to do with medicine and GPS. It sounds like you are trying to say that if we can't know for certain that a star is millions of light years away, then we can't trust how medicine works. I don't quite follow the logic there.

Put simply, you're willing to dismiss any scientific finding that challenges your preferred interpretation, but perfectly willing to accept scientific innovation as long as it leaves intact your YEC.

Has anyone today observed the civil war? Has anyone observed the election of Abraham Lincoln? No, history cannot be observed. History must be told and interpreted; which is why there are so many history books. If history could be known with certainty, there would only be a need for one multi-volume set.

But the history of the universe can be observed. Since light takes time to travel, light coming from a great distance represents events that happened long ago. For instance, an observer with an extremely powerful telescope positioned 147 light years away from earth COULD observe the civil war, because light that left earth then is just reaching him.

#20  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 12:27 PM

Dirk exclaims,

The amount of postmodernism with regard to science in the YEC on this blog astounds me.

Really? Can you give us working definition of what you think postmodernism is? Someone else raised this objection (maybe it was you) and how that person defined postmodernism isn't it.

#21  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 12:41 PM

Really? Can you give us working definition of what you think postmodernism is? Someone else raised this objection (maybe it was you) and how that person defined postmodernism isn't it.

I'm using a very loose definition, I'll freely admit.

When people say, "You can't really know what's going on in a star, because you can't go there" or to actually quote something someone wrote in a post that what we observe in deep space is what it is, it throws up a red flag to me. Why? Because its a form of postmodernism that says, "There are things to know, but we can't know them."

#22  Posted by James Bellamy  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 12:48 PM

Dirk stated,

"When people say, "You can't really know what's going on in a star, because you can't go there" or to actually quote something someone wrote in a post that what we observe in deep space is what it is, it throws up a red flag to me. Why? Because its a form of postmodernism that says, "There are things to know, but we can't know them."

Repeated,

"There are things to know, but we can't know them."

Is this not itself a truth? Your foundations are skewed my friend. Remember the first four words of Geneisis, plug them into every entity of your life, and you'll do well.

#23  Posted by Garrett League  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 12:58 PM

"the biblical record of a worldwide Flood that covered all the high mountains under the whole heaven (Gen. 7:19-20) and killed all creatures except those in the ark (vv. 21-23), makes better sense of the fossil record than anything put forth by uniformitarian geology."

Nothing about the fossil record makes better sense in Morris' genesis flood geology models. All geologists know that. The simple fact is, global catastrophism couldn't cut it scientifically. It was d.o.a., even many Christians knew that in the 60's when the Genesis Flood was first published. Keep making statements like that, a people will rightly scoff at the bible. Clearly, the flood only appeared global to the witnesses, who had no idea of the extent of the continents or their inhabitants. The bible does this all the time, using universal terms in ways that shouldn't be taken universally, like when Caesar sent a decree to the whole world. Clearly it was just the whole Roman world.

"If we’re still discovering things about the planet on which we live, we ought to be just a tad bit more humble about the far reaches of the universe we’ve never visited."

In other words, the evidence is against us for now, but if we wait long enough for more data to come in, we'll see everything fits nicely in a 6,000 year framework. How is this any different from atheists, who say "yea, the big bang looks like it demands a transcendent cause, but I'll hold out for a material one when more data comes in." No different. The facts, as they stand, are all stacked against YEC, and this blog knows it. Do we dare re-examine our rendering of Genesis 1? Nope, just keep waiting for the evidence to shift our way. Very dangerous, since you end up distorting evidence to fit with your conclusions, and scientists can detect that from a mile away. Biblical concordism is a dead end. You either distort the bible to fit what you think modern science demands or you grossly distort the findings of modern science (as in this blog) to fit with what you think a supposed "literal, historical" hermeneutic demands. But neither side does that consistently. You're just left to pick and choose which parts of the bible to take literally or which parts of modern science are acceptable.

#24  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 1:18 PM

You either distort the bible to fit what you think modern science demands...

Alas we have found some ground of agreement. Distortion of the bible (not just Genesis 1-9) is exactly what happens. And everyone distorts it in their own way because no one can decide what it means if it doesn't mean what it says.

Quite frankly, I am very comfortable remaining uncommitted to modern science's interpretations of the unknown.

BTW, see this post on my personal blog for why the global flood cannot be local according to the text.

#25  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 2:39 PM

Mr. League said:

The bible does this all the time, using universal terms in ways that shouldn't be taken universally, like when Caesar sent a decree to the whole world. Clearly it was just the whole Roman world.

To say that, you have to rip out and toss whole chunks of holy Scripture, such as:

The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. (Gen 7:17-24 ESV)

Note, too, that intertextual phrasing from Creation Week, such as "face of the waters," "that moved on the earth," "on the dry land," "in whose nostrils was the breath of life," each indicate that all creation on the face of the planet was wrecked.

Or do you propose that creation was a 'local event'?

One can argue over what on earth is from the flood and what is not; but if one states the flood was not global, then one denies the inerrancy of the Bible.

Sir, be honest; you might claim to have a 'high view of Scripture', but do not claim to be a biblical inerrantist. To ignore obvious and clear passages of the Bible, is to strike them out, is to make the Bible wrong.

Gen 7 is too plain: All the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.... fifteen cubits deep.

#26  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 2:55 PM

Also, a local flood denies God's stated purpose for the flood, namely, to kill every living human and animal. Click here to read why he would do that.

If it was local, God could have told Noah to move to another region. Why spend 100 years building an ark when it would take a few months to move?

We are getting off track though...

#28  Posted by William Stinson  |  Tuesday, June 22, 2010at 11:19 PM

I copied this but it says it all.

The Truth

June 22, 2010

"And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:4)

This is the last of eleven occurrences of "the truth" in Paul's two letters to Timothy. He was not writing about the importance of being truthful in general, but about a specific body of factual information concerning Jesus Christ and its vital importance. Thus "the truth" was a very important theme in both of Paul's letters to this young pastor--and, by implication, to all Godcalled pastors.

Paul first speaks of "the knowledge of the truth" as required for salvation (1 Timothy 2:4), then of his own teaching as "the truth in Christ" (1 Timothy 2:7), then of "the church of the living God" as "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15), and of Christians as those who "believe and know the truth" (1 Timothy 4:3). He stresses the importance of studying the Bible as "the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15), and also that true repentance requires "the acknowledging of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:25).

Paul also warns of false and covetous teachers who are "destitute of the truth" (1 Timothy 6:5) and who therefore "concerning the truth have erred" (2 Timothy 2:18). There will even be false prophets who "resist the truth" and are "reprobate concerning the faith" (2 Timothy 3:8).

As a result of the teachings of these false teachers, there will be many so-called seekers of truth who are "ever learning" yet who seem "never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7). The reason they never find the truth is because they "turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:4).

The fact is that Jesus said: "I am . . . the truth" and also that "thy word is truth" (John 14:6; 17:17). For any who would say with Pilate, "What is truth?" (John 18:38), there is the definitive answer! HMM

#29  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 4:04 AM

If I may continue "getting of track" just briefly...I am wondering how YECs "interpret" the evidence from Greenland ice cores which seems to not allow the possibility of a worldwide flood within the last 40,000 years?

This paper has details...http://www.asa3.org/asa/PSCF/2003/PSCF12-03Seely.pdf

I can't see any way around this one.

#30  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 9:50 AM

Landon,

Here is the link to Michael J. Oard's response to Paul H. Seely:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=%22The+GISP2+ice+core%3A+ultimate+proof+that+Noah%E2%80%99s+Flood+was+not+global%22+site%3Acreation.com&l=1

------------

Other related articles:

"Wild ice-core interpretations by uniformitarian scientists" - http://creation.com/wild-ice-core-interpretations-by-uniformitarian-scientists

"Do Greenland ice cores show over one hundred thousand years of annual layers?" - http://creation.com/do-greenland-ice-cores-show-over-one-hundred-thousand-years-of-annual-layers

"Greenland ice cores: implicit evidence for catastrophic deposition" - http://creation.com/greenland-ice-cores-implicit-evidence-for-catastrophic-deposition

"New ice core records 120,000 years?" - http://creation.com/new-ice-core-records-120000-years

#31  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 9:53 AM

Mr Landon: As with everything else, precise measurements depend upon having two things correct. There must be a known starting point and there must be a precise understanding of what is being measured. As to the Ice cores- the presupposition is based upon uniformatarianist assumptions, which geologist seem to have rejected. And I might add that things are not always as they seem. Just a thought

#32  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 9:59 AM

BTW, Landon, that "Let Me Google That For You" link was just a friendly poke. ;-)

#33  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 10:33 AM

Don,

BTW, Landon, that "Let Me Google That For You" link was just a friendly poke. ;-)

It was funny :). I entered the link and was slightly discombobulated for a second or two :).

I don't have time to respond to Oard's article right now - busy at work. I will do so later.

#34  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 10:51 AM

Landon,

Don beat me to posting the links.

Honestly, and this may sound a bit snarky on my part, but I have run into old earthers and theistic evolutionists time and again who throw out some alleged "evidence" that is perceived by my old earth challenger as being unanswerable. They make a similar comment you did: "How could a YEC possibly answer this?" and then move along like no answer has ever been offered. Yet, are your creationist detractors so contemptible to you that you won't even bother to read anything they have produced responding to the alleged "evidence?"

My experience has been that the OE guys find a short article or two, offer a couple of dismissive explanations why the author is ignorant and misinformed and not a genuine "scientist" in such and such a field of study, and then links me to some videos I need to watch in order to really, really, know about geology, or biology, or whatever. It just becomes wearying after a while because no matter how substantive my responses will be, they fly right by my challenger and he turns to some ridiculous micro-point to which he feels no YEC has adequately answered to his satisfaction and declares biblical creationism to be fraudulent. So I can understand where Don is coming from with his "Google" link.

#35  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 10:53 AM

Paul: You seem to know a lot about creation science. I was wondering if you have ever taken a college level course in geology? If you are a Grace CC member, I noticed there are several geology courses available at nearby Pierce College. Just as I would maintain that anyone who wants to criticize creation science should read a couple of key books such as Whitcomb and Morris' "The Genesis Flood," Morris' "Scientific Creationism," and perhaps Austin's "Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe," as well as attend a few multi-day ICR or AiG creation conferences; those who want to criticize mainstream geology should first take a college geology course or two or at least read through an up-to-date college geology textbook such as "Understanding Earth" (Grotzinger et al.).

"The Rock of Ages is more important than the age of rocks." - William Jennings Bryan

#36  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 12:18 PM

Fred and Dan,

Here is my response to Oard's response. Fred, I'm not going to call Oard "ignorant" or question his credentials. Hope that satisfies you.

Oard writes..."...On the other hand, uniformitarians start with an assumption of great age, generally stable conditions and Milankovitch orbital cycles to create ice ages. As a result, uniformitarians are looking for very thin annual layers on the order of centimetres and even millimetres near the bottom of the ice sheet."

This is not true – “uniformitarians”, by which I assume he means normal practicing geologists, do not make the assumption of great age. Great age is an idea that is supported by good evidence that has been discovered by earth science – it is not an assumption.. As far as I know, “generally stable conditions” are not a starting assumption either – there is good evidence that the earth’s climate has varied in the past. Milankovitch cycles are an example – they explain things such as 100,000 year ice age cycles (though they aren’t perfectly understood yet).

Oard: "However, contrary to what Seely believes, neither the annual layer counting methods nor the external correlation methods are independent, they are all tied to the same starting assumptions of deep time."

This is not true. "Deep time" is not an assumption.

Oard: "Based on their expected annual thickness [from flow models], uniformitarian scientists take enough measurements to resolve what they believe are annual cycles."

I will just quote Seely in response (I don't know if Oard actually read him): "The estimated annual thickness of the layers is relevant to the way some ice cores like the Devon Island core have been dated, but it is not an assumption underlying the visual counting of hoar frost/dust, LLS, or ECM methods of counting annual layers; and these are the methods that were used to count the first 110,000 layers of the GISP2 ice core."

Oard: "The senior author then went back to the laboratory to ‘recheck’ the visible stratigraphy or dust layers. She discovered that by using a 1-mm wide laser beam in the LLS method instead of an 8-mm wide beam, 25,000 more annual layers of dust were ‘discovered’ between 2,300 and 2,800 metres! One must be especially careful when evolutionary/uniformitarian scientists claim ‘agreement’ between two or more ‘independent’ dating methods and/or data sets."

So the Greenland cores match up with the Vostok cores. I’m not sure what Oard is trying to say here – it is entirely possible that a visual count missed a lot of the older layers (have you ever seen photos of ice cores?). Is he saying that the 25,000 layers were invented to make the chronologies match up? That they weren’t actually discovered by using the more precise laser beam?

Oard: "These depth hoar complexes, as they are called, can usually be counted as annual layers in the top portion of the GISP2 core. It is more likely that a subannual depth hoar layer formed by a storm would be counted as an annual signal, if the snowfall were significantly higher in the past, as in the Creation/Flood model for the middle and lower portions of the ice core."

Oarr seems to forget that the visual method using hoar layers is only used for the top layer of the ice core (extending about 12,000 years bp). And I would assume that those who study these things have some way of distinguishing surface hoar frost from depth hoar layers.

Seely: “…the annual alternation of hoar frost layers—being abundantly present in the summer snow but not in the winter snow—is due to the fact that the sunshines in the summer in Greenland but not in the winter. Warmer weather would not change this seasonal alternation and hence would not change hoar frost from being an annual indicator.”

Oard: "Storms would be very dirty and multiple bands of dust could be deposited on the ice sheet by several mechanisms, such as by dry deposition between storms or during showery periods in one storm. In a high snowfall model, such as the Creation/Flood model, one can find oscillations in dust at almost any frequency, which is demonstrated when Meese and colleagues found 25,000 more annual dust layers using a finer analysis!"

How does the fact that Meese and colleagues found more layers by using a more precise laser beam translate to finding “oscillations in the dust at almost any frequency”?

Seely: ”The peaks and valleys of hoar frost, dust, and acidity take months to develop. Individual storms cannot produce them. If individual storms could have produced these differences, they would have shown up throughout the GISP2 ice core over the last 2,000 years and been mistakenly counted as annual. But as Oard admits, the last 2,000 layers are annual and have been accurately counted; so, storms that have obviously occurred many times in the last 2,000 years do not cause or disrupt the annual signals which are being counted. Nor incidentally would more snow each year disrupt the annual signals. In fact, increased yearly snowfall would make the counting even easier.”

Oard: "Seely seems to think that the formation of nitric acid that is picked up by the ECM (electric conductivity method) shows well-behaved seasonal oscillations with a summer maximum. This is only generally true today and the past would be different. Seely assumes that only nitric acid is significant; however ECM also picks up other acids including sulfuric acid."

Seely seems to think that the formation of nitric acid that is picked up by the ECM (electric conductivity method) shows well-behaved seasonal oscillations with a summer maximum. This is only generally true today and the past would be different. Seely assumes that only nitric acid is significant; however ECM also picks up other acids including sulfuric acid.

Oard seems to be repeating this idea rather often – “the past would be different.” But he never offers any evidence for exactly why the past would be different – i.e. gives independent evidence for his speculations. Of course, he has his Creation/Flood model – how likely is it that evidence exists for that?

And I’m not sure he actually read Seely. Seely writes in his article concerning the ECM method, “Peaks from volcanoes, however, are relatively rare and are easily distinguished from the regular summer peaks because they are much higher and because, in the Greenland ice cores, the acid is sulfuric rather than nitric from the spring/summer stratosphere.” So how exactly does Oard think that Seely is assuming only nitric acid is significant? Seely clearly admits that the method picks up sulfuric acid and that sulfuric acid is used to distinguish peaks in the ECM method due to volcanic activity.

In conclusion, Seely:” In addition, Oard’s young-earth model is essentially just speculation. It does not have the extensive empirical foundation that underlies the dating of the GISP2 ice core. As explained and documented above, there is good empirical evidence showing that the light bubbly hoar layers, the heavier dust concentrations, and the greater electrical conductivity of the summer layers are indeed annual, and not from storms or sub-annual differences. If they had not been annual, they would not have correlated chronologically with the dates of historically known volcanic eruptions [a detail Oard seems to have missed].”

#37  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 1:38 PM

Landon writes,

Here is my response to Oard's response. Fred, I'm not going to call Oard "ignorant" or question his credentials. Hope that satisfies you.

That's sort of odd comment seeing that you spend the remainder of your comment doing that very thing.

But let me stop right here and do a little compare and contrast:

Oard is a meteorologist who has spent a good portion of his professional career, 30 years or more, actually studying ice cores and the ice age and publishing on the subject. See here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/m_oard.asp.

Paul H. Seely, on the other hand, is basically a seminary graduate who has made it his hobby to attack the authority of the Bible, particularly Genesis, and charging evangelicals for being hyper-inerrantists. Just like Oard noted at the beginning of his article. There is a reason why atheists and skeptics like his work.

So right off the bat, if we are going to play a game of "my scholar is bigger than your scholar," and using the theistic evolutionary typical criteria for what constitutes a "scholar," your scholar of choice isn't looking too good because he is commenting on a subject he isn't really qualified to address, or has published on except in a critical fashion, and I would venture a guess he hasn't even been to Greenland.

#38  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 1:46 PM

Landon,

Your entire post boils down to this: you prefer the assumptions of uniformitarian geology over creationist geology.

The only real empirical evidence here is the fact that a whole lot of layers of stuff are found in these ice cores. Period. Uniformitarians assume that presently observed processes can be used to interpret the deposition rates of these layers to arrive at their deep time. Creationists believe that a global catastrophe occurred in the past which changes the rules for interpreting these layers.

You chide Oard for speculating, yet you cannot see that uniformitarian assumptions are just as speculative. The “light bubbly hoar layers, the heavier dust concentrations, and the greater electrical conductivity of the summer layers” may indeed be annual today, but it is an article of faith that it has always been that way in the past. Creationists use the historical testimony found in the Bible—written by people who were eyewitnesses—that there was a world-wide flood. And the possible ramifications of that flood would drastically affect the interpretation of these ice cores.

Your assertion that uniformitarian geology (a subset of the evolutionary cosmology) does not begin with the assumption of deep time is nonsense. Today’s “evolutionary science” little more than a modern-day revival of ancient pagan beliefs that have always assumed deep time. Please see:

“Evolution: an ancient pagan idea” - http://creation.com/evolution-ancient-pagan-idea

“The Founding Fathers on Creation and Evolution” - http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=7846

P.S. It's "Don" not "Dan." :)

#39  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 1:47 PM

"This is not true – “uniformitarians”, by which I assume he means normal practicing geologists, do not make the assumption of great age. Great age is an idea that is supported by good evidence that has been discovered by earth science – it is not an assumption."

From Wikipedia:

"Like all other scientists, Earth scientists apply the scientific method. They formulate hypotheses after observing events and gathering data about natural phenomena, and then they test hypotheses from such data.

A contemporary idea within earth science is uniformitarianism."

Kinda says that Earth Science is based on hypotheses..you know, assumptions in a "what if" question...and that a "contemporary" (or modern) idea within the science is uniformitarianism.

It is rather laughable for one to point to another source for factual data to support their work when the referenced (pointed-to) source is in fact founded on deductions from assumptions.

In other words...Earth Science is based on theories...you take their deductions based on those theories as fact...drag them over to your practice (in this case geologic science) and BAM you have a rock solid foundation whereby you claim no assumption exists???

#40  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 2:08 PM

Kinda says that Earth Science is based on hypotheses..you know, assumptions in a "what if" question...and that a "contemporary" (or modern) idea within the science is uniformitarianism.

It is rather laughable for one to point to another source for factual data to support their work when the referenced (pointed-to) source is in fact founded on deductions from assumptions.

In other words...Earth Science is based on theories...you take their deductions based on those theories as fact...drag them over to your practice (in this case geologic science) and BAM you have a rock solid foundation whereby you claim no assumption exists???

Do you even understand what is meant by "the scientific method?" It means that a trained observer sees a phenomena without an explanation. He then makes a guess (hypothesis) as to the explanation. The hypothesis MUST contain a falsifiable prediction. Then an experiment is carried out to test the hypothesis. If it is not falsified, other independent scientists repeat the experiment. If they obtain the same result, the hypothesis is elevated to the status of a theory. At that point, it is essentially an accepted "fact." However, all it takes is one experiment that provides a false result to the original hypothesis to call it into question, and then the process starts over.

In the case of Earth science the "lab" is the earth and the "experiments" are digging up old rocks and seeing if they seem to be formed by the same processes we see forming rocks today. Or if old volcanic eruptions had similar results on the environment as eruptions today. In the case of Earth science, the answer has been "yes," and so the Theory (fact) of Uniformitarianism is taken for granted in earth science research.

It should be noted that modern ideas of Uniformitarianism have room for unusual catastrophes.

#41  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 2:43 PM

Re #37 - Fred, Mike Oard was a meteorologist (forecaster) in my agency. He made it to senior meteorologist (GS-13) at some point in his career. Our meteorologist's jobs involve forecasting weather and issuing watches, warnings, etc. for their office's area of responsibility. They don't work with ice cores and the like - NOAA has highly trained scientists that are dedicated to that work. Oard was a good forecaster by reports I've heard, but that work didn't involve ice cores - anything in that area would have been outside his job in the NWS.

(This posting is mine alone and does not reflect an official position of the NWS.)

#42  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 3:03 PM

"Do you even understand what is meant by "the scientific method?"

Funny.

Can you explain how one becomes a "trained observer"? I mean one must first have an idea of what one is looking for to be a "trained observer". In this case, if one starts with a presupposition that is rooted in a mindset bent against God and His Word the observations will no doubt lead one away from a literal rendering of God's Word...there is no other way it can lead.

If, on the other hand, the "trained observer" begins with God's Word as a special revealed source of data the evidence can easily move one toward God...that is where the divide remains.

What is your starting point Dirk...Landon?

#43  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 3:11 PM

"Do you even understand what is meant by 'the scientific method?'[...blah...blah...blah]"

That's the typical atheopathic response: If you really can't respond to something a creationist says, you accuse them of not understanding science and then restate what you believe without addressing the point in question.

"It should be noted that modern ideas of Uniformitarianism have room for unusual catastrophes."

...But no room for anything like the Noahic flood because that would upset the uniformitarian apple cart of bazillions of years.

#44  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 3:29 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#45  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 3:42 PM

Fred,

Where did I call Oard ignorant or question his credentials? I don't recall writing anything to that effect. I think he is mistaken, but that is not the same thing as calling him ignorant.

Then you proceed to question Seely's credentials. And totally ignore what I said in my post. Would you accept it if I just questioned Oard's credentials and totally ignored what he said in his article?

Don,

"Your assertion that uniformitarian geology (a subset of the evolutionary cosmology) does not begin with the assumption of deep time is nonsense."

That statement is simply not true.

What do you think makes the earth follow the path that it does around the sun?

#46  Posted by Chad Smith  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 5:01 PM

Well I am not at all well educated in the theory's of evolution but I do have a brain and my brain tells me that Its not logical to say that Nothing+Nothing=Everything . I mean lets be Honest and reasonable here, when have you ever heard of things just appearing out of No where? Can anyone please tell me if they have ever witnessed something come from nothing ? ........No it is impossible and just plain (and I mean this in all respects)senseless. So with that said I have some very interesting information here that is one reason why I look at Science in light of Scripture. Observe............

The Bible-The Earth is a sphere(Isaiah 40:22), Science Then-The earth was a flat disk, Science Now-The earth is a sphere.

The Bible-Innumerable stars(Jeremiah 40:22), Science Then-Only 1,100 Stars ,Science Now-Innumerable stars . The Bible- Free float of earth in space(Job 26:7) Science Then-Earth sat on a large animal, Science now-Free float of earth in space. The Bible-Creation made of invisible elements (Hebrews 11:3), Science Then- Science was ignorant on the subject, Science Now-Creation made of Invisible elements(atoms). The Bible-Each star is different (1 Corinthians 15:41),Science Then- all stars were the same, Science Now-Each star is different.

The Bible-light moves(Job 38:19), Science Then-Light was fixed in place , Science Now-light moves....and there are plenty more but that point is this, Science has tried to prove the bible wrong before and in the end they always end up finding out it was right in the first place, Why? because God wrote the Bible and God is a holy creature who can not lie or sin (Numbers 23) , so I will be praying for you evolutionist who do not believe in God for the power of the holy spirit to come over you and grant you salvation . I will also be praying for you believers who don't take the word of God as is and only believe some of it I mean its God he cant lie brother ,trust HIM and walk by faith(2 Cor 5:7),He knows what he's doing ,man can not trick him .All this data and information being posted on here is going to mean nothing when judgement days comes, ask yourself these questions... Do I know for sure there is not a God? If there is a God am I right with Him? Hell is too long to be wrong. Thank you all for your time

#47  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 5:50 PM

Tim writes,

Fred, Mike Oard was a meteorologist (forecaster) in my agency. He made it to senior meteorologist (GS-13) at some point in his career. Our meteorologist's jobs involve forecasting weather and issuing watches, warnings, etc. for their office's area of responsibility. They don't work with ice cores and the like - NOAA has highly trained scientists that are dedicated to that work. Oard was a good forecaster by reports I've heard, but that work didn't involve ice cores - anything in that area would have been outside his job in the NWS.

That may be as you personally recall his work, but according to his resume as it is posted at that link I noted, his expertise in the evaluation of ice cores from a biblical perspective is weighed heavily against Peter Seely, who according to the resume of his work that I could find scattered across the internet on various skeptical, atheistic websites, has absolutely no expertise with evaluating ice cores. His field of study seems to be primarily centered upon making a name for himself as a biblio-skeptic in the area of ANE mythology.

Landon writes,

Where did I call Oard ignorant or question his credentials? I don't recall writing anything to that effect. I think he is mistaken, but that is not the same thing as calling him ignorant.

You may not have specifically used the word "ignorant" but the implication in your over all comment implied he didn't know what he was talking about. This of course is a typical response of critics against scientists who adhere to biblical, young earth creationism. Pretty much everyone of them were trained as long age evolutionists in their areas of study and may have even taught as long age evolutionists, but when they abandoned that particular paradigm so as to adhere to a biblical oriented world view of origins and earth history, now their credentials come into serious question. How exactly do you explain this? Did their teachers fail to communicate the "facts" of deep time and evolutionary theory? Did they become "crazy" or are denying reality now? John Sanford taught horticultural genetics at Cornell for 27 years and invented and pioneered the use of the gene gun. He left being a theistic evolutionist to being a YEC. Obviously he doesn't have a problem with all this so-called "overwhelming" evidence. Felix Konotey-Ahulu is one of the world's leading experts on sickle cell anemia. Again, a biblical, YEC. These are just two out of hundreds if not thousands of scientists, and yet they are treated as if they are buffoons. Why, exactly?

#48  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 6:53 PM

Fred,

If you want to make this a credential-war, I can list a lot more scientists than you can who would agree with me. But I assume you don't want to do that, so why do you keep pushing the fact that Seely isn't credentialed - I can just go look at the papers he references to find many very credentialed practicing scientists who agree.

You still haven't addressed the substance of what I wrote. Do you still think Oard is right? If so, why? Did his "response" actually rationally refute Seely's main points?

"These are just two out of hundreds if not thousands of scientists, and yet they are treated as if they are buffoons. Why, exactly?"

I do try not to treat YECs as "buffoons". That does not mean that I think they are right, but that I do not try to insult their intelligence (most of them are probably more intelligent than I am). Why do you keep insinuating that I do treat YECs as "ignorant" or "buffoons"?

Now, could we actually discuss the ice core data? Oard's objections don't seem to hold up (though we could discuss them further if you think they do at certain points). The layers do show that the earth is older than around 12,000 years (being conservative here). And they do not show any evidence of a global flood. How do you as a YEC respond to this data?

And now that we have both linked to articles supporting our position, why don't we discuss those articles and settle the issue before we link to 5 more articles on different issues?

#49  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 7:52 PM

Here is partially what Oard said in a 2006 article (note that Oard indeed says that assumptions are the mainstay of the dating criteria..."especially the assumption that the ice is old to begin with."):

What about the old dates of hundreds of thousands of years obtained in Antarctica ice cores? How legitimate are these? First, Antarctic ice cores are not dated by counting annual layers, as is supposedly done in Greenland ice cores, because the snowfall is too light on top of Antarctica. The claimed counting in Greenland cores is based on many assumptions, especially the assumption that the ice is old to begin with.16 Dome C, as well as Vostok, is dated by ice flow modeling and wiggle matching of oxygen or deuterium isotope plots from deep-sea cores: “On the basis of ice flow modelling and a comparison between the deuterium signal in the ice with climate records from marine sediment cores, the ice at a depth of 3,190 m in the Dome C core is believed to have been deposited around 800,000 years ago.”5

Ice flow modeling assumes an ice sheet in equilibrium for millions of years. So, old age is automatically built into the ice cores. Deep-sea cores also have oxygen or deuterium isotope fluctuations. Ice cores are simply wiggle matched to the deep-sea cores, which are then dated by correlation to the astronomical theory of the ice ages or the Milankovitch mechanism, reinforced by radiometric dating of certain key points, called reference horizons.17 The whole enterprise is one big exercise in circular reasoning, sometimes called the reinforcement syndrome.18

The point still returns to, just so we don't get side tracked down the rabbit trail Landon would have us go, where one begins in terms of presuppositions...God's Word or atheistic/evolutionary guesses.

#50  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 8:10 PM

Landon,

"That statement is simply not true."

Deep time is required by all mechanisms of the modern evolutionary cosmology (e.g. gravitational collapse, mutations and natural selection or uniformitarian geology) in order to make such mechanisms even remotely plausible. And deep time has always been a part of other such pagan belief systems. Even Charles Lyell, the father of modern uniformitarian geology, began his work with the intention to “free the science from Moses.” It had nothing to do with an inescapable conclusion brought on by the weight of the geologic evidence. Lyell had an atheistic agenda and he ran with it.

“Charles Lyell’s hidden agenda—to free science “from Moses” - http://creation.com/charles-lyell-free-science-from-moses

Those are the facts of science and history.

"What do you think makes the earth follow the path that it does around the sun?"

I assume this is some kind of swipe along the lines that I don’t understand science because I don’t hold to your religious views, but it falls flat.

#51  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 8:12 PM

"God wrote the Bible and God is a holy creature"

Chad, I am sure you mean that God is Holy. God is certainly not a "creature"...He is Creator.

Ontologically speaking God possesses aseity. In other words, God has NECESSARY BEING. Without God nothing could have ever existed, could not exist now, and cannot possibly exist in the future.

God is the Alpha and Omega. He is the beginning and the end. Paul said in Him we live (He gave us life), move (He allows us to be animated), and have our being (He sustains our lives).

God is not a creature...just wanted to clarify what I am sure you meant.

#52  Posted by Chad Smith  |  Wednesday, June 23, 2010at 9:36 PM

Keith....

Yes that is what I ment thank you very much for catching that I certainly dont believe that God is a creature. Thanks so much

#53  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Thursday, June 24, 2010at 3:37 AM

Keith,

I agree with your statement that the counting of some cores is done based on an estimated age. Not so with these (GRIP and GISP2). Seely writes, "The estimated annual thickness of the layers is relevant to the way some ice cores like the Devon Island core have been dated, but it is not an assumption underlying the visual counting of hoar frost/dust, LLS, or ECM methods of counting annual layers; and these are the methods that were used to count the first 110,000 layers of the GISP2 ice core."

Later on he writes, "Thus Oard would have his readers believe that it is all just a matter of which model one follows. There is a particle of truth in this for some cores other than GISP2 and for the bottom of GISP2 below the 110,000 annual layers; but it is a false and misleading statement with regard to the 110,000 annual layers counted in the upper part of the GISP2 core, which are not dependent upon a model."

So the dating of the GISP2 core at least is not based on circular reasoning or "atheistic/evolutionary guesses."

Don,

"Deep time" is not an assumption. Why won't you answer my question (I didn't intend it to be some sort of trick question)? I just want to know why you think the earth follows the path it does around the sun - i.e. what forces are at work.

#54  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Thursday, June 24, 2010at 7:14 AM

As an historical note to theistic evolutionists:

"Old-earth or young-earth belief: which belief is the recent aberration?" - http://creation.com/old-earth-or-young-earth-belief

If you scroll down the page to the second section of the next article, you will be amazed to see how the atheist Stephen Jay Gould held a respectful view of Bishop Ussher while the Christian Hugh Ross mocked him:

"Archbishop’s achievement" - http://creation.com/archbishops-achievement

#55  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Thursday, June 24, 2010at 9:42 AM

Landon,

“Deep time is not an assumption.”

Whatever floats your boat. I guess if you repeat something often enough it becomes true.

“Why won't you answer my question (I didn't intend it to be some sort of trick question)? I just want to know why you think the earth follows the path it does around the sun - i.e. what forces are at work.”

The earth has an elliptical orbit around the sun. The velocity of the earth combined with the gravitational forces between the sun and the earth determines the path of the orbit.

Should I anticipate some nonsense regarding geocentricity from you?

“Geocentrism and Creation” - http://creation.com/geocentrism-and-creation

“Galileo, Geocentrism, and Joshua’s Long Day Questions and Answers” - http://creation.com/galileo-geocentrism-and-joshuas-long-day-questions-and-answers

#56  Posted by Millard Lightfoot  |  Friday, June 25, 2010at 8:18 AM

Landon, in your post #53 you said;

""Deep time" is not an assumption. Why won't you answer my question (I didn't intend it to be some sort of trick question)? I just want to know why you think the earth follows the path it does around the sun - i.e. what forces are at work."

What do you think causes the path Earth takes around the Sun? This is only a inquisitive question with no ruse intent.

#57  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Friday, June 25, 2010at 1:25 PM

#18 Travis,

Sorry I didn't respond to you until now - you asked a good question about the company I keep. Regarding my link to Dr. Thomas' material, my point wasn't that I support his atheist leanings, but rather to make us think about how we're coming across to the secular science community. Does it really do anything to advance Christ's kingdom to slip Kent Hovind DVDs under the prof's office door (if you enlarge the little DVD on that one slide, you see it's a Hovind disk) or stand up in a geology class and yell at the prof that he's going to hell? Also, might it be possible that young earth Christian approach to science might have something to do with people like Dr. Thomas becoming atheists in the first place?

Actually, I have to confess that I'd rather sit around a campfire and trade stories with Dr. Thomas or one of my hydrology or geology professors than I would with say, Ken Ham, Jason Lisle, or Dr. Macarthur. The latter three seem to have such a binary, "us vs. them" approach to critical issues of the day that it doesn't seem like they'd be very fun to be around. Besides, Jesus was often dining with sinners like Matthew rather than the pharisees.

#58  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Friday, June 25, 2010at 3:25 PM

Tim Helble:

First, Col. 4:6 says, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Covertly slipping tracts/DVDs and yelling out in geology class could indicate some level of cowardice on the one hand, or immaturity on the other, but that's not how the Bible instructs Christians to act.

Second, Ps. 14:1 says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good." That’s the reason atheists "become" atheists; it's not because of the "young earth Christian approach to science." I've also been treated shabbily by people who hold contrary positions (e.g., evolutionists, atheists), but I certainly wouldn't credit them with pushing me into an opposite position.

Third, I can’t speak personally for Ken Ham and Jason Lisle, but you’re way off about John MacArthur. He does think antithetically, which is biblical, and he’s one of the most gracious, generous men I know (with a great sense of humor too), especially with unbelievers. Those men speak boldly in public because they take firm, unpopular stands. That’s not easy, especially in these postmodern times. It takes character to speak with conviction, and people with conviction make great company.

Fourth, as for Jesus "often dining with sinners like Matthew rather than the pharisees," I'm assuming you're not accusing Ham, Lisle, and MacArthur of being Pharisees. But even a cursory reading of the Gospels reveals Jesus' preference to spend time with His disciples, not non-Pharisee sinners.

Travis

#59  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Friday, June 25, 2010at 6:36 PM

Travis #58,

I apologize for the pharisee remark - I could have just left it at "Jesus often dined with sinners."

I still think Dr. MacArthur comes across as having too much of an "us vs. them" attitude. I think there is a difference between speaking with deep conviction and speaking in an adversarial manner. I think Dr. Mohler's talk last Saturday was a good example of how to make your viewpoint clear while still being diplomatic - I never heard him say anything sarcastic or harsh about the authors of the pro-evolution books he cited. One interesting thing I heard him say, which hasn't been discussed yet here is his statement "It is possible that we're reading too much into the text." I wish I could hear more statements like that on GTY.

#60  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Friday, June 25, 2010at 10:45 PM

Re: #59 Posted by Tim Helble

"It is possible that we're reading too much into the text." I wish I could hear more statements like that on GTY.

I'm sorry, I don't understand who you are quoting in the above quote. Is it by Dr. Mohler, or by MacArthur ??

I don't know MacArthur. But I don't think he would say that.

I think we got off the track somewhere. The main idea was to comment about what the BioLogos Foundation was going to say about what MacArthur mentioned about Uniformitarianism. After all the comments I've read, I still believe God and the Bible. A lot of "what if.." scenarios were brought forth, which have no answers if you don't hold to the Christian view. Keep in mind God told us how things started. I think true science will have to advance a little more before it bows down the knee.

There IS an us vs. them thing going on here. Choose your side, and go to battle. (battle of ideas, that is).

If the scientists go at it denying God, there cannot be agreement.

#61  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, June 26, 2010at 1:43 PM

# 57 - Tim said:

"Actually, I have to confess that I'd rather sit around a campfire and trade stories with Dr. Thomas or one of my hydrology or geology professors than I would with say, Ken Ham, Jason Lisle, or Dr. Macarthur. The latter three seem to have such a binary, "us vs. them" approach to critical issues of the day that it doesn't seem like they'd be very fun to be around. Besides, Jesus was often dining with sinners like Matthew rather than the pharisees."

As a matter of fact, it is "us" vs "them". The Gospel is not inclusive. The path and the gate are narrow.

Matthew didn't remain a sinner, and I supposed some of that circle didn't as well. And that was an argument used by the Pharisees themselves to try to show people how Jesus was "sinful" by association.

You know, I've seen this passage being used so many times to justify sinful behaviour, it's not even funny. "Fun" has nothing to do with God and His Holiness. Because some people rather seek God and be around godly people doesn't make them boring. I guess you believe that Heaven will be a boring place too? If you are indeed saved, these are some of the people (Ken Ham, Jason Lisle, John MacArthur) that you will have to spend eternity with. And these are just 3 of all the "boring" redeemed people, frightening eh? For you, I mean.

E.

#62  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, June 26, 2010at 1:59 PM

# 59, Tim said:

"It [might be] is possible that we're reading too much into the text." I wish I could hear more statements like that on GTY." (brackets mine)

Mohler indeed said that. But he added that the exegetical cost and the theological cost are just too high.

E.

#63  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Saturday, June 26, 2010at 11:36 PM

This blog is to Tim #35:

Sorry it has taken so long to answer you, I had moved on to the next blog prior to reading this one, I guess. To answer your questions, No I am not a member of GTY staff, or a member of the congregation there. I have never met JM, but have kept my hand on the pulse of pastors such as JM. I do listen to him a lot and am aware of his stand. I have read Dr Morris' books, and correspond occasionally with Dr Whitcomb. I do a lot of reading in all types of material. I do not claim "expert" status. I do know what the "scientific method" is and I see it abused quite frequently. I have nearly 250 college credits in courses which range from anthropology to theology, half of those are technically in science related fields. And have an accredited BSc. (And I have lived enough of "life" to know "Shinola" when I see it, and the other stuff as well.

I live across the country from CA., I have attended one ICR conference, and have quite a few friends who have helped me with issues in their fields, from Micro-Biology (PhD) to Medicine (MD/PHD), and a lot more. I would like, at some point,to see what is new in geology, {if it is anything like my anthropology course at the Univ. of Maryland- it did not have much substance and had a lot of (a)theology, I will drop it.(By substance I mean that when I looked at the "proofs" for evolution, there were none. Only explanations for what I should accept, and "blindly" I might add.)}

Now a word as to what I know about measurement- In Electronics I used various devices meant to measure something. I did not do it often, but I did it. When I worked with Hydrolics, there were tools that measured pressures. When I worked with sheet metal, yes that's right I measured it. You don't get it right unless your starting point is correct. And you need to use the right instrument.

The measuring stick used in geology as taught by evolutionist is warped by the founding principles. And consider this, when the geologic column was established, 90% of what we know now was unknown.

Finally- I'm probably not smarter then a fifth grader- so there you have it.