The Need for an Informed Worldview

304 Responses

  1. Steve Drake says:

    Tom,
    Your comment in the Breakpoint post intrigued me:
    “The second is to refuse to pretend we know what we do not. In the creation/evolution/Intelligent Design controversy, for example, I have seen partisans on every side of the issue — Christians included — stake out terribly uninformed and incorrect positions. For the sake of our commitment to truth, let’s make a point of learning before we speak.”

    Since this is an area of interest for me, I’m curious to know what examples you might cite that you consider ‘terribly uninformed and incorrect’.

    It seems that since you singled this out for example, it might behoove discussion to better our ‘learning’.

  2. Bryan says:

    The claim that ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo, for one.

  3. Steve Drake says:

    Hi Bryan,
    Yeah, that’s an interesting take. I personally think the secularists have a point there. ID fails to name names so to speak, and their ‘wedge strategy’ is a failed apologetic.

  4. Bryan says:

    ^ There you go, Tom. 🙂

  5. Tom Gilson says:

    Steve Drake,

    What I had in mind was uninformed and failed arguments like, “If evolution is true there would be no homosexuals,” or one I heard just this week, “If humans evolved from apes, why are there still apes?” Neither of those is remotely a problem for evolution. For an evolution skeptic such as myself, statements like these are quite embarrassing.

    The “wedge” is either a word taken from an old and obsolete fund-raising letter, in which case it is no longer a current issue in anyone’s mind except for those who think they can embarrass the DI with it; or else it refers to Phillip Johnson’s book The Wedge of Truth, in which case I would take issue with your pronouncement of its being a failed strategy.

    As for “not naming names,” that is both what’s wrong and also what’s right with ID.

  6. Steve Drake says:

    Tom Gilson,
    Personal opinion here, and yes, you’re welcome to disagree, but the failed apologetic I speak of is ID’s failure to treat the Bible as relevant to any discussion on origins. Demski’s idea that hominid animals were morphed into Adam and Eve and then specially blessed by a miraculous amnesia of their evolutionary ancestry is typical of the IDM’s failure to treat Scripture as authoritatively relevant and opens the door to evolutionary anthropological theories. Their commitment to a closed-Bible approach for explaining earth’s origins forfeits any standards for preventing ‘unequally yoked’ alliances between believers and unbelievers, and even uses the the word ‘apologetics’ while practicing wholesale ecumenicalism. Granted, while ID does post ‘gains’ for God’s natural revelation (Behe’s ‘irreducible complexity’), the net loss is that God’s Word is not needed, and thus, not authoritatively relevant to origins science.

  7. Tom Gilson says:

    Did you read my “right and wrong” post on this, Steve? Just curious, because some of what I had to say is in line with what you too are saying, though not in all points.

  8. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but are you seriously suggesting the Scriptures are exclusively either or both (1) scientific textbooks, (2) validate the modern empirical sciences? Are you seriously suggesting the Scriptures provide us exclusive MES accounts and chronologies of naturally-occurring objects and phenomena because they literally (according to you) state such things? Finally, do you believe (or do you know?) the book of nature must be read AND interpreted like and exclusively through the Book of Faith?

    If so, could you please provide concrete Scriptural references that support such a position? Failing that, could you please provide reasoned argumentation to support your position?

  9. Tom Gilson says:

    Holopupenko,

    Maybe Steve knows what you mean, but I’m not quite understanding your use of exclusive in this context.

  10. Holopupenko says:

    Don’t read anything into it, Tom: I’m probing by accenting. If Steve Drake chooses to correct me (as I invited him to) or to qualify his position against my questions, that’s fine.

    I’m not hiding my concern that Scripture might be reduced–albeit inadvertently–to validation by the MESs… or as dictating to the MESs whether their work “counts.” I honestly don’t know… that’s why I’m probing.

  11. Tom Gilson says:

    Oh, I wasn’t reading anything into it, Holo, and I wasn’t implying anything. It was just a simple question, maybe not worded well. If you were asking me, I’d say, “I’m not sure I know what you’re asking, could you rephrase it, please?”

  12. Crude says:

    How does a minority of 2% to 3% make us cower in our cubicles?

    Because loud, demanding people tend to get what they want, and people who are docile and don’t want to make any trouble, don’t.

    At least, that’s part of it.

  13. Steve Drake says:

    Holopupenko,
    Yes, I do question your use of the word ‘exclusively’, and no, I’m sorry I don’t understand why you would choose that word. Sounds a bit like you’re building a straw man, but maybe you can clarify your questions.

  14. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    You’re dodging. I provided more in #10. Answer the questions, and feel free to qualify your responses per the questions posed.

  15. Steve Drake says:

    Holopupenko,
    I think I certainly have a right to question what I see as an attempt to build a straw man of my position with the word ‘exclusively’, so that you can tear it down. If I’m dodging, then you’re trying to be coy. Take out the word ‘exclusively’, and in the context of an informed worldview your questions have validity.

    To clarify:
    are you seriously suggesting the Scriptures are exclusively either or both (1) scientific textbooks, (2) validate the modern empirical sciences?

    My answer:
    The question needs to be turned around. Scientific textbooks are not God’s self-attesting and self-authenticating Scripture. The question here is which has the higher authority; Scripture or scientific textbooks? Secondly, do the MES’s validate Scripture? When interpreted properly with Scripture in the magisterial position and not the ministerial, yes.

  16. Tom Gilson says:

    Holopupenko,

    If you’re still thinking “exclusively” applies to Steve’s position, you might want to explain why you think that. He doesn’t see it, and I don’t understand myself why you seem to be attributing that to him. Maybe some further explication, please?

  17. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    Your position is clear. Thanks for responding. I remove myself from this discussion.

  18. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    You said

    The question here is which has the higher authority; Scripture or scientific textbooks? Secondly, do the MES’s validate Scripture? When interpreted properly with Scripture in the magisterial position and not the ministerial, yes.

    Interesting point, but how does it work out in practice? Take the issue of geocentrism vs heliocentrism, for example. In the days when geocentrism was the prevailing view, with the Ptolemaic solar system model as the computational paradigm, Scripture was interpreted in accordance with that model. Evetually the heliocentric view, with Kepler’s computational model became the inference to the best explanation, and paved the way for Newtonian dynamics…and Christendom had to re-evaluate the geocentric interpretations of Scripture. I think it was Donald McKay who said something to the effect of ‘Science does not tell us how to interpret Scripture, it tells us how NOT to interpret it’.

    Granted, the study of the properties and dynamics of the solar system (or the universe as a whole) is on a different level from studying its formative history (origins), and so we should be more cautious here.

    For now, the inference to the best explanation for the formative history of the universe and its constituents is based on our current MES, and that implies a very old, very large and very dynamic universe. To think otherwise is to say that the physics upon which this inference is based is simply wrong, despite the empirical testing and validation, as well as its engineered applications.

    There are too many ‘undesigned coincidences’ here…like the HR diagrams for stars in globular clusters compared to HR diagrams for stars within a galaxy, for example. The globular clusters show their age. Or the relationship between nuclear binding energies and observed cosmic abundances…perfectly suited for thermonuclear nucleosynthesis in stellar cores (up to Fe) and supernova explosions (for elements beyond Fe). The fine tuning of the laws of physics seems perfectly chosen for a long term dynamic process designed to produce a universe capable of sustaining life as we know it. It seems to me that this also requires us to look hard at Scripture and science again. I don’t have a completely satisfactory answer on how to fit the pieces together, but I do believe that both science and Scripture are telling us true things about origins.

  19. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria,
    ‘but how does it work out in practice? Take the issue of geocentrism vs heliocentrism, for example. In the days when geocentrism was the prevailing view, with the Ptolemaic solar system model as the computational paradigm, Scripture was interpreted in accordance with that model.

    This seems to be brought up quite often in these discussions. There are some good articles:
    ( http://creation.com/the-galileo-twist)
    (http://creation.com/the-galileo-affair-history-or-heroic-hagiography)

    on how the Church adopted the Ptolemaic view viz.-a-viz. Aristotle and Greek philosophy, accepting the currently in vogue scientific paradigm. Wasn’t it Copernicus though, that first challenged this geocentric model? From what I know of Copernicus, he was a Christian, and creationist (although if Christian, aren’t we all “creationists” in the broader sense of the term?), and patterned his thinking on ‘thinking God’s thoughts after Him’.

    Let me know what you think of these articles.

  20. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Interesting articles…there is also

    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2003/PSCF6-03Gingerich.pdf

    Yes, Copernicus was an early challenger to the geocentric model..my reference to Kepler was that he provided the first really effective computational model for a workable heliocentric solar system, and as I said, gave Newton the data he needed to develop his dynamics and a model for a ‘gravitational force law’.
    What is interesting about Copernicus and Galileo and Brahe is that they lacked the conclusive observational evidence, namely stellar parallax, to cinch the case for the heliocentric model. That was not measured until the 1800’s by Bessel.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_parallax

    There is also stellar aberration, which was observed earlier (see http://cseligman.com/text/history/bradley.htm, for example) which could be explained by a moving earth (but they didn’t get the details exactly right until Special Relativity came along).

    Granted, there was more going on behind the scenes than just scientific investigation – politics and personalities as well.

    The first article you cite still fails to deal with a core issue – if YEC is correct, then our current MES must be fundamentally wrong – not just our interpretations, mind you, but the actual physics; despite their attempts to demonstrate this, as a professional physicist, I am completely unconvinced by this (Shania Twain said it well – It don’t impress me much).

    If one insists that Scripture forces us to a 6-literal day recent creation, then the only reasonable understanding is the ‘apparent age’ hypothesis – God created a universe with all the appearences of having gone through a long, dynamic history. YEC has not even come close to demonstrating that our current physics is wrong – every time they have tried, they have failed (see http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1986/PSCF9-86VanTill.html for example).
    Personally, I see YEC as an affront to God’s character and abilities – the universe a put-up job?

    I guess that’s why I’m a member of the American Scientific Affiliation rather than any YEC organization.

  21. Victoria says:

    another analysis of a YEC model – the 15.7 light-year universe:

    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1988/PSCF3-88Phillips.html

    Just in case it isn’t obvious – I am NOT in favour of the apparent age hypothesis.

  22. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    “Why are there people at Cisco who actually think this way? It’s because the church went anti-intellectual.”

    I disagree.

    I think the Church lost its saltiness and its light because it lost its courage.

    It’s not the lack of intellect in the Church that caused what happened at Cisco and the wider culture, it’s the lack of courage. It’s the lack of courage under secular fire.

    Turek is mistaken.

  23. Crude says:

    I’m actually in the (sometimes, it seems) rare position of not being a YEC, never having been a a YEC, but not feeling all that worried about the YEC viewpoint. What I never understand is why the typical YEC method is to try and bolster their arguments with science, rather than a greater investment in Omphalism.

    And I agreed with TUAD to an extent about the lack of courage. Or maybe it’s not a lack of courage so much as a ridiculous overemphasis on being polite when politeness isn’t appropriate or desirable.

  24. Tom Gilson says:

    TUAD,

    A lack of courage was part of it, to be sure, but all the courage in the world would never suffice to answer the challenges raised against the faith unless the church answered the challenges against the faith.

  25. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    You can have all the intellectualism in the world, but if you don’t have the courage to articulate it in response to the challenges against the faith, and to stand firm upon the Word of God, then your intellectualism will never suffice due to your cowardice.

  26. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Also, I have never bought the implicit premise that the Church ever lacked the “intellectual” arguments to rebut and refute the ever-morphing “intellectual” challenges to the Christian faith. After all, nothing is more “intellectual” than the Word of God.

    I do, however, accept the premise and the argument that the Church (both shepherds and sheep) has suffered a lack of courage.

    Turek is mistaken.

  27. Tom Gilson says:

    You know what’s strange, TUAD? it almost sounds like you’re saying intellectual strength doesn’t matter. You’re not exactly saying that, but you’re adopting an adversarial tone, calling Turek mistaken. How about recognizing that both facets are important, as I said last time?

  28. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Tom, read #26.

  29. Tom Gilson says:

    TUAD, I suggest you read the books I referred to at the bottom of the BreakPoint piece. You may not have bought those arguments, but it’s hard to deny them once you have the facts.

  30. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Tom,

    Did the Early Church possess the “intellectual” arguments to rebut and refute the “intellectual” challenges to the Christian faith that were posed at the time?

    Courage, not cowardice, is what the Church needs.

  31. Tom Gilson says:

    TUAD,

    Did the Early Church possess the “intellectual” arguments to rebut and refute the “intellectual” challenges to the Christian faith that were posed at the time?

    Yes. My gracious, that you would even ask that!?

  32. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Just want to see if you know the facts.

  33. Tom Gilson says:

    You have a strange way of checking on something like that, my friend.

  34. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Let’s also note the fact that the Early Church possessed courage in the face of anti-Christian fire.

    Turek: “Why are there people at Cisco who actually think this way? It’s because the church went anti-intellectual.”

    is better revised to:

    “Why are there people at Cisco who actually think this way? It’s because the church primarily lost its courage in the face of criticism, ridicule, and mockery.”

  35. Crude says:

    Tom,

    To back up a thread I think TUAD is touching on, specifically regarding ‘courage’… I have to admit, I actually think courage is the greater part of what we’re missing nowadays.

    Given your article, you’d think the Gay Rights movement advanced because of the stunning intellectual arguments they provided and Christians didn’t have equally intellectual arguments to reply with. I don’t think you really believe that, but that’s what it sounds like – and I think that is obviously, clearly, blatantly incorrect. You yourself have covered this topic before, you’ve noted the strategies and tactics that were used by the movement. Exactly how prominent was the focus on ‘the development of intellectually serious arguments’, as opposed to emotional appeals, cultural appeals, and just plain being loud and persistent? As near as I can tell, those ‘arguments’ were actively avoided because of how divisive they can be.

    Don’t get me wrong. I believe that ‘intellectually serious arguments’ are important, and that Christianity and theism has them in spades. But honestly, look around you. Hell, look at Jerry Coyne. Isn’t it apparent that the ‘intellectually serious argument’ is a distant second when it comes to motivation, and even to impact?

  36. Tom Gilson says:

    TUAD,

    1. Have you ever heard of the fallacy of the false dichotomy? Please stop it with this either-or business, okay?

    2. Frank Turek knows more about the history of the church in the last 150 years than you give him credit for. I know more about it than you give me credit for. You confidently pronounce Turek wrong. I know confidently pronounce you wrong.

    3. Now that I’ve done that, let me ask you this. How helpful was that? How persuasive was it to you? It was a reflection of your style here, and I hope a demonstration to you of how ineffective it is as a mode of dialogue.

    4. Nevertheless in spite of 3, you are wrong.

    5. I provide sources to support my contention: the books listed at the end of my BreakPoint piece. You provide your opinion without documentation, and you do it without regard for the false dichotomy you are perpetrating.

    6. If you want to proceed with this discussion, you are welcome to do so–if you have something more to say than repeating your opinion already stated often enough.

  37. Tom Gilson says:

    Crude,

    I acknowledge the importance of courage. I’m not trying to create an either-or false dichotomy.

    But what form should that courage take? How is it expressed? I would argue (and so would a number of church historians) that the church lost courage specifically in standing up to the intellectual assault being waged against it in the 1800s and following.

    I can see this is going to take further treatment in some follow-up blog posts. There is a story on this to be told, but not in combox discussion.

  38. Victoria says:

    On the other hand, Roman society and the new Christian body of believers back in the 1st century AD were dealing with similar issues, both in worldview and morality….how did they (the Christians) win their battles?

  39. Crude says:

    Tom,

    I would argue (and so would a number of church historians) that the church lost courage specifically in standing up to the intellectual assault being waged against it in the 1800s and following.

    I think the difference between us here, if there really is one, is that you’re talking about the church ‘losing courage in standing up to the intellectual assault being waged against it’. But to me the words ‘intellectual assault’ mean ‘serious arguments that are compelling purely in terms of their logic and reason’ – and I think Christianity and theism have had those arguments, and that plenty of people have been using them even over the past 150 years.

    But down on the level where cultural change actually happens, those arguments are often moot. Look at Hawking. Look at Coyne. Look at Dawkins. If you call what they’re doing an “intellectual assault”, then I question how much of the “assault” is really “intellectual”. It’s an intellectual assault the way homeopathy is a scientific assault on mainstream medicine.

    That said, if you’re telling me that there are some crappy arguments being used for Christianity, I will agree wholeheartedly. I want that to change, insofar as they’re used. But if you tell me that ‘relying on crappy arguments’ is the reason we’re in the situation we’re in, I have to disagree. I think the Gay Rights movement showed just how far you can get with crappy, even non-existent arguments, so long as you have the right cultural and emotional impact.

  40. Tom Gilson says:

    Victoria,

    J.P. Moreland summarizes Michael Green’s history of the early church this way: the church out-prayed, out-thought, and out-lived its opponents, where “out-lived” means that they lived more loving, ethical, giving lives.

  41. Tom Gilson says:

    Crude,

    Interesting points. I’d like to respond but I don’t think I’ll be able to for several hours. I just mention that so you won’t think I’m sandbagging on you here.

  42. Crude says:

    Sandbagging? C’mon Tom. I respect you intellectually – we’re just having a nice conversation here. Take all the time in the world.

  43. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Tom,

    You’ve totally misunderstood what’s being communicated. You’ve mistakenly understood it as an either-or proposition. And then proceeded to make mis-steps based upon your faulty assumptions.

    If you were more careful and diligent in your reading and reasoning, then you wouldn’t have made such a simplistic error.

    I merely said that courage is the more needed attribute for the Church. That is all.

    Do you get it yet?

  44. Victoria says:

    @Tom

    J.P. Moreland summarizes Michael Green’s history of the early church this way: the church out-prayed, out-thought, and out-lived its opponents, where “out-lived” means that they lived more loving, ethical, giving lives.

    Then we had better do the same things 🙂

  45. SteveK says:

    It’s an intellectual assault the way homeopathy is a scientific assault on mainstream medicine.

    🙂

  46. Steve Drake says:

    Victoria,
    I’ve been out all day, and need to go out again this evening, so haven’t had time to respond to your posts #18 more fully, and #20. Will try to get back to you tomorrow.

  47. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria #18
    ‘Granted, the study of the properties and dynamics of the solar system (or the universe as a whole) is on a different level from studying its formative history (origins), and so we should be more cautious here.’

    I agree, and this is my point concerning the magisterial and ministerial roles of Scripture and science. What we can conclude ‘observationally’, and what we are left with ‘scientifically theorizing’ about are two very different arenas. If scientific ‘facts’ are to be limited to direct observations, then I think there will be little actual conflict between Scripture and scientific knowledge. The clashes come primarily between Scripture and scientific theorizing. So the question that must be posed I think, is whether the scientific theories on origins from cosmology, biology, and geology in particular, uncertain as they may be, are necessarily sufficient to warrant their elevation above Scripture.

    This focuses us to an even more basic question, that of our epistemology and how we should rate the various sources of knowledge? More specifically, how should we rate divine revelation as a source of cosmological knowledge, or biological knowledge, or geological knowledge, especially as it relates to the unseen and unobserved past?

    For now, the inference to the best explanation for the formative history of the universe and its constituents is based on our current MES, and that implies a very old, very large and very dynamic universe. To think otherwise is to say that the physics upon which this inference is based is simply wrong, despite the empirical testing and validation, as well as its engineered applications.

    I would disagree here. For example, there are competing cosmological models in vogue today, the expanding big bang cosmology by far the most popular. Yet in order to make the observations of type Ia supernovae and their ‘standard candles’ and using the redshift of their host galaxies to determine distances from the Hubble law, fudge factors need to be added: dark energy and dark matter. The ‘observations’ don’t fit the standard cosmology unless one adds these fudge factors, and the model seriously fails to describe the observed luminosities unless one adds these ‘unobserved’ factors. Concerning the current understanding of redshift, and it’s implication of a loss of energy, and the problem in the big bang model for how to account for the energy lost by the red-shifted light, Edward Harrison, in his book Cosmology: The Science of the Universe, Cambridge: The University Press, 1981, says this:

    The conclusion, whether we like it or not, is obvious: Energy in the universe is not conserved. The conservation-of-energy principle serves us well in all sciences except cosmology.

    Big Bang cosmology has encountered a number of other perplexing theoretical problems: the problem of galaxy formation, the ‘horizon’ problem, the ‘flatness’ problem. Granted, ‘inflation’ was introduced by Alan Guth to explain these problems away, yet today there are growing doubts about its validity. (See Roger Penrose, ‘Difficulties with Inflationary Cosmology’, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1989, 571, pp.249-264, and J. Earman and J. Mosterin, ‘A Critical Look at Inflationary Cosmology’, Philosophy of Science, 1999, 66.)

    What also of the ‘missing mass’ problem? More baryons? Yet more baryons would have resulted in the formation of more helium than is observed. Non-baryonic contenders like ‘hot’ neutrinos? Yet neutrino-dominated models have their own problems. What about slow moving ‘cold’ non-baryonic matter? Here again, no stable cold-dark matter particles have ever been detected, so a host of esoteric hypothetical particles have been invented: gravitons, photinos, axions, and WIMPS. Whether any of these actually exist, and in the needed proportions, still remains to be seen.

    The existence then of a wide variety of cosmological models indicates that it is not a simple matter to construct a cosmological model from our observations of the universe. Not only are the observations explicable in many different ways, but also the actual observations themselves are of an incomplete, limited nature.

    The assumptions involved in all of this, outside of what is actually observed, are often difficult to verify, yet they must be uncovered and unmasked, and placed against God’s clear revelation in His self-attesting and self-authenticating Word. Otherwise, we are left with trying to justify these basic assumptions or presuppositions from subjective, man-derived conclusions from within his autonomous and limited reasoning.

  48. Victoria says:

    Hi Steve 🙂
    Those are all good and valid points (in your #47). I hope I did not imply that I thought there are no unsolved problems and puzzling questions remaining in cosmological models.
    However, are these problems (and their potential solutions) details in an otherwise reasonably good description of the universe’s formative history, or are they pathological flaws that will require us to throw out a very old, very large, very dynamic expanding universe model? Is the YEC model the better inference, based on the science? I don’t think they have won their case at all, and unless there is a complete revolution in cosmological science, they probably never will.

    As Christian Theists, of course, we are not bound by the metaphysical presuppositions of secularists and atheists. It should not surprise us to find that sooner or later, science is going to run smack dab into impenetrable walls, on the other side of which is God and Eternity. Unbelievers will never accept that, just as they don’t accept the sovereignty of God – Romans 1:18 ff and Psalm 14 (among others) still apply.

    You have to admit, though, that the situation is ironic – Christian Theism has always held that the universe was created and is not eternal, that it was designed for life (these are on God’s resume, you know 🙂 ). Modern science supports that same conclusion (despite the atheists’ attempts to circumvent the theological implications), and has shown us just how elegant and wondrous, and awesome the universe really is – what do YEC’s do? they reject the best evidence for God’s creative handiwork!

  49. Victoria says:

    Actually, there is one interpretation of Genesis 1 that is very interesting, and may very well be the right answer, or at least the foundation that answer.

    It’s called ‘Creation Revealed in Six Days’, by P. J. Wiseman. There is a book called Clues to Creation in Genesis, edited by his son, Donald J. Wiseman – with two parts:
    1. Ancient Records and the Structure of Genesis – Wiseman looks at the writing methods extant in Sumeria and Mesopotamia (cuneiform) and compares them with Genesis’ “…these are the records of….”. I won’t go into it – if you can find the book, read it for yourself. It’s so simple and obvious once you see it, that it is almost certainly right.

    2. Creation Revealed in Six Days – Wiseman looks specifically at Genesis 1:1-2:2 in the same light as topic 1, above. His thesis is that Genesis 1 is literally what God said to the first humans – it is a record of what God told them about His creation. It makes sense of the 6 days and the 7th day of rest, and why God only did things during daylight hours, etc.
    Again, read it for yourself – I can’t do justice to it here.

    It seems that Wiseman’s theory has gone relatively unnoticed and unconsidered, perhaps because he offered a rather unusual translation of Genesis 1 based on its cuneiform tablet structure. This is too bad, really, since it really makes sense out of the archaelogical data, and it assumes a plain, literal sense for Genesis 1.

    On this view, our first ancestors were the first students, with God as the teacher. I can imagine the first day, God telling them about light, how it came to be, its function, and its nature – when He started to talk about Maxwell’s Equations and Quantum Electrodynamics, Adam raised his hand and complained “Uh, Abba, you lost me after ‘let there be light, and there was light'”. “Ok”, God replied, “just write that down”. Amusing, but what if that’s what Genesis 1 really means?

  50. Steve Drake says:

    Hi Victoria,

    However, are these problems (and their potential solutions) details in an otherwise reasonably good description of the universe’s formative history, or are they pathological flaws that will require us to throw out a very old, very large, very dynamic expanding universe model?

    No, not an otherwise reasonably good description of the universe’s formative history, and yes, the flaws will eventually produce a paradigm shift out of the big bang into something else. We might not be around to see that, but it will eventually come if the history of changing cosmological models are any indication. So then, what does one do when he/she has hung his/her hat on the Big Bang? Flawed acceptance based on unobserved and ad hoc esoteric assumptions leads to an intellectual crisis? The Word of God is surer, and is not dependent upon man’s flawed and changing cosmological whims. His character is holy and good, unchanging, and perfect. He scoffs at man’s autonomous reasoning and assertions:

    ‘ Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! (Job 38: 2-3)

    You said:

    and has shown us just how elegant and wondrous, and awesome the universe really is – what do YEC’s do? they reject the best evidence for God’s creative handiwork!

    Please Victoria, do you honestly believe that? Is this caricaturization that YEC’s reject the best evidence for God’s creative handiwork something you can honestly prove? Can you cite examples of this, or was this said out of frustration?

  51. Steve Drake says:

    Victoria,
    Are your posts #49 and #50 mockingly frustrated as well? (I had not seen them prior to composing my #51 above).

  52. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Oh, I’m not hanging my hat (or any clothing at all) on modern cosmology…I firmly believe that God created the universe by some process, which may be discernable in the formative history of the universe. I really don’t have a horse in this race, so if modern cosmology is completely wrong, well, then it is wrong. The fact that God created is essential, the how and when is secondary, and it is not necessary to subscribe to the YEC view to be Christian – something I am forced to explain to those who really want to know the ‘reason for the hope that is in me’, and how they can have it, too. For them, YEC is a stumbling block.

    Yes, I do believe that YEC rejects the best evidence we have for creation. I don’t have to prove that…the onus is on YEC to demonstrate that it is really the best explanation of the science, and until they do, I will use modern cosmology as my working hypothesis.

    We have two sources of information: science and Scripture (Christian Theism). Atheists assume that Scripture is completely wrong, YEC assumes that the science is completely wrong.
    There is a false dilemma here, I prefer another option – both are sources of God’s truths, with the caveat that our understanding and interpretation of those sources is both finite and fallible. The fact that we can’t see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together into a coherent picture doesn’t mean they don’t fit at all. See my last 2 posts for one suggestion.

  53. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    No, #49 and #50 are not out of any frustration.
    As I said, I haven’t bet everything on any particular solution to the science and Scripture issue. There is the Book of Nature, and the Book of Divine Revelation, both are true sources of God’s Truth – I would consider it axiomatic that they do not contradict each other (only our interpretations could do that).

    I have a working hypothesis that I find illuminating; one that tries to take seriously both books, and I acknowledge that it is tentative and subject to revision.

  54. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#53

    Yes, I do believe that YEC rejects the best evidence we have for creation. I don’t have to prove that…the onus is on YEC to demonstrate that it is really the best explanation of the science, and until they do, I will use modern cosmology as my working hypothesis.

    An apparent presuppositional block maybe? I will accept this as your opinion Victoria, but it in no way describes the YEC position. I’m sure you’ve read some of the outstanding YEC literature on the subject and have not been convinced, so be it, the presuppositional nature of our beliefs being unchallenged I guess.

    YEC assumes that the science is completely wrong.

    Again, I ask that you avoid caricaturization. May I direct you to peruse the YEC literature to see how this is so?

  55. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria #54
    An honest assessment my sister in Christ.

  56. Tom Gilson says:

    Victoria:

    We have two sources of information: science and Scripture (Christian Theism). Atheists assume that Scripture is completely wrong, YEC assumes that the science is completely wrong.
    There is a false dilemma here, I prefer another option – both are sources of God’s truths, with the caveat that our understanding and interpretation of those sources is both finite and fallible. The fact that we can’t see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together into a coherent picture doesn’t mean they don’t fit at all.

    Strong agreement here!

  57. Tom Gilson says:

    Concerning Steve’s #55:

    I agree it is wrong to characterize YEC’s as being opposed to science. I thought of that when I was registering my strong agreement with Victoria, but I went ahead with it in view of her use of the definite article. YEC’s do not reject science, but they do reject the science, that is, the overwhelming consensus view among scientists on cosmological origins.

    I do not hold that Scripture is one book and science is the other. I doubt Victoria would think that is so, either. Rather Scripture is one book and nature is the other; and the two rightly interpreted must agree with one another. Where interpretations of Scripture and nature disagree, one must be open to asking, “Which of my two interpretations is wrong, or could it even be both?”

  58. Victoria says:

    @Steve, @Tom
    Re #58 – yes, you have clarified what I meant by my earlier post ( see also my #54 ). The definite article makes all the difference 🙂

  59. Victoria says:

    Just out of curiosity, and so I know who I’m talking to (and not playing the ‘mine is bigger than yours’ game)…I have a PhD in experimental Quantum Physics, taught Physics and Computer Science at the university level for a number of years before moving to the private sector. I’m certainly not an expert in cosmology or GR, but I do have a working knowledge of it, and astrophysics is a ‘hobby’ 🙂

    May I ask your background, Steve?

  60. Steve Drake says:

    @Tom, @Victoria,

    YEC’s do not reject science, but they do reject the science, that is, the overwhelming consensus view among scientists on cosmological origins.

    Let’s be clear however. It is ‘the’ interpretations and theorizing with associated unobserved and ad hoc assumptions of cosmological scientists that the big bang cosmology and its corollary billions of years of stellar and planetary evolution that YEC’s reject.

  61. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    So, they reject stellar astrophysics and stellar evolution models, even though it explains the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram so neatly? Or how the Standard Solar Model is so good that it forced the particle physicists to re-evaluate their understanding of neutrinos?
    Hmmm….

  62. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria #62,
    Have you read any of the YEC literature on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, or stellar evolution models, and not read what they have written on this? As a professional physicist, I am quite puzzled that you don’t know what colleagues in your field on the YEC side have said about this.

  63. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    please, point me to it 🙂

    I only have so much free time to spend, and the whole OEC/YEC debate is not a high priority item

  64. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria #64
    Here’s one example:
    http://creation.com/phoenix-galaxy-stars-explode-stellar-evolution-theory

    You can peruse the archives. Do you subscribe to the ‘Journal of Creation’, where professional physicists, astronomers, geologists, statisticians, biologists, and earth science professionals from a YEC perspective publish their papers? Or how about the online publication, the ‘Answers Research Journal’ at http://www.answersingenesis.com? Or have you read any of the papers from the Creation Research Society Quarterly, http://www.creationresearch.org? It would behoove you to at least know what they say and write in order to better critique their position? 🙂

  65. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Thanks for the links 🙂

  66. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Is there an article specific to the HR diagram and stellar evolution models? I’m looking for more than just handwaving here – a solid mathematical model by creationists that accounts for the characteristics of the HR diagram would be nice…

    The Phoenix link is particularly frustrating….it seems to be the standard YEC ploy – because there are perplexing questions and puzzles, the standard science can’t explain it and therefore must be wrong…but YEC can explain it by appealing to a creation day. I posted a link refering to the Shrinking Sun issue that illustrates this YEC problem.

  67. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria #67,
    Are you asking me to substantiate what you consider ‘handwaving’ by YEC scientists for a solid mathematical model that accounts for the characteristics of the HR diagram? Yes, I believe you are. So Victoria, if this negates all the other problems with the standard inflationary big bang cosmology, then you would assent to YEC? I don’t think so. Let me see what I can find, although I don’t think anything I do find would convince you otherwise, no? 🙂

  68. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Maybe 🙂 Like you, I am a Christian Theist, and have no stake in metaphysical naturalism or its implications. Gotta run (literally – an easy 6K tonight).
    Take care, brother Steve – even if we disagree on OEC/YEC we agree on the LORD Jesus Christ and are members of His adopted family.

  69. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria #69,
    May you run like the wind, dear sister, and may God bless you with a health that increases your years so that you may elongate the fruit of the Spirit you wonderously bear to your children’s children’s children. Yes, both Christian Theist’s with abhoration for materialistic naturalsim and children both of His adopted family.

  70. G. Rodrigues says:

    @Steve Drake:

    May you run like the wind, dear sister, and may God bless you with a health that increases your years so that you may elongate the fruit of the Spirit you wonderously bear to your children’s children’s children. Yes, both Christian Theist’s with abhoration for materialistic naturalsim and children both of His adopted family.

    Even with the typos (or maybe because of them), that is a most charming blessing.

  71. Steve Drake says:

    G. Rodrigues,
    I have enjoyed your posts dear friend. May God wondrously bless you in Portugal for standing strong in the faith.

  72. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Awwww…what a sweetheart you are – that blessing made my day!

  73. Victoria says:

    Came across this little tidbit

    The claim of the big-bangers that Gamow successfully predicted the CMB temperature in 1948 with a value of 5 K (later in the 1950s raised to 10 K), is undermined by the fact that McKellar successfully predicted a 2.3 K temperature, in 1941, from observation of absorption lines caused by quantum mechanical features of rotating diatomic interstellar molecules. Remember it wasn’t until 1965 when Penzias and Wilson discovered the radiation pouring in from the cosmos. Gold had argued in 1955 that thermalization of starlight would occur but never did the calculation which would have produced a temperature of 2.78 K.

    from the creation.com web site at
    http://creation.com/cosmologists-can-t-agree-and-are-still-in-doubt

    Lots of interesting points in the article, which underlines the fact that there is still a lot of research to be done.

    Anyway, on to my point…now Molecular spectroscopy just happens to be an area where I have some expertise, and when I worked at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Ottawa as a postdoc, my boss took out my copy of Herzberg’s Spectra of Diatomic Molecules (part of a 3 volume set, personally autographed by the great man himself) and showed me that reference to McKellar’s work. McKellar did not predict anything – he calculated a rotational temperature for interstellar CH, CH+ and CN species of 2.3K – being molecular spectroscopists and not astrophysicists, McKellar had no idea of the significance of the discovery, according to my boss (and his grandson, who was also a colleague of mine), who knew McKellar personally. Nothing was undermined, since cosmologists of the day were not aware of the spectroscopic results. The article overstates its case on this, to the point of misrepresentation…

  74. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#74,
    The author of the article you cite is John G. Hartnett who received both his B.Sc. (hons) and his Ph.D. with distinction from the Department of Physics at the University of Western Australia (UWA). He works with the Frequency Standards and Metrology research group, holding the rank of tenured Research Professor (the equivalent of Reader in the UK, would be Full Professor in the USA) and was announced as the winner of the 2010 W.G. Cady award by IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society. The W.G. Cady Award recognizes outstanding contributions in the fields of piezoelectric or other classical frequency control, selection and measurement and resonant sensor devices. I notice you conveniently left that out of your comment above, although I wouldn’t expect you to cite these things in their entirety 🙂

    I’m sure as a professional physicist yourself you can appreciate his accomplishments. To say that he might be overstating his case is one thing, but to claim misrepresentation is clearly a heavier charge. To single this one point out also does disservice and never seeks to answer all the other problems he addresses with the inflationary big bang cosmology in this article. Problems that OEC’s simply brush aside with no attempt to answer or refute.

    I’m sure as a physicist yourself, explaining your credentials and experience, were to write to him at CMI he would be happy to respond to your criticism in that one area you claim he is misrepresenting.

  75. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Oh, I imagine that the author did not intend a misrepresentation of that one item. I mentioned it only because it referred to something that I was aware of because of my connections to people who were themselves personally connected to McKellar.

    However, readers of that article, especially those who are not trained scientists or familiar with the circumstances of McKellar’s results, might draw a conclusion not warranted by the facts.

    Don’t get me wrong, though…as I read through some of these articles you referred me to, Steve, I am seeing a picture that is different from IBBC, and one that is hard to ignore. Unfortunately, as cosmology is not my area, I can’t comment on the current status of these unsolved problems (as I said, are they details that can be solved by a modified IBBC model, or do we need a completely new cosmology entirely? I see that I will have to spend time digging deeper into this. You are one sharp piece of iron, Steve – so thanks :)).

  76. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#76
    An attempt at deflection, perhaps? 🙂 The issues of the OEC/YEC debate are much broader and go much deeper, don’t they?

  77. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Yes, the issues are indeed deep – we won’t be solving them here, or in the popular literature.
    Gotta run again….20km this time…

  78. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria #18,
    You said:
    @Steve

    (Steve Drake): The question here is which has the higher authority; Scripture or scientific textbooks? Secondly, do the MES’s validate Scripture? When interpreted properly with Scripture in the magisterial position and not the ministerial, yes.

    (You): Interesting point, but how does it work out in practice?

    I would like to return to this question, because I think this is where the crux of the argument really lies, doesn’t it? I guess I have a question about the implications you believe come out of the HR diagram? Can you flesh these implications out a bit, if you don’t mind? Thanks.

  79. Tom Gilson says:

    Steve, you ask, “which has the higher authority; Scripture or scientific textbooks?” That’s apples and oranges. Scripture is the raw data; nature is the raw data. Scientific textbooks are interpretations of the raw data. To make for a fair parallel, the question should not be comparing raw data with interpretations, but interpretations with interpretations; or, which has the higher authority: a certain set of interpretations of Scripture, or scientific textbooks?

  80. Steve Drake says:

    Hi Tom,
    Yes, you have phrased it much better. There is no such thing as ‘raw data’, or ‘brute facts’. All must be interpreted through a framework or construct about the ultimate nature of reality. So the question then becomes: ‘Does Scripture speak in the magisterial position when it comes to ultimate reality, especially as it relates to origins, or do scientific textbooks? And to Victoria’s question, how does this work out in practice?

  81. Victoria says:

    Hi Steve 🙂
    RE #79 – well, perhaps I should clarify what I was getting at. It isn’t specifically or just the HR diagrams or solar neutrinos that I was concerned about – these were simply 2 concrete examples within the context of stellar astrophysics. I suppose my point is that stellar astrophysics is really a superb example of applying the laws of physics to stars – creating models that start with the simplest assumptions, comparing them with observations, and then refining / iterating the models – additional physical processes not included in the models, etc. Stellar astrophysics has really benefited from the advances in computational resources. meaning that ‘brute force’ methods of solving the relevant set of equations are possible. My point is that it has been possible to build computational models of stars that really describe rather well the astrophysical observations. Model building in physics is all about constructing something that fits reality – as long as one can physically justify the assumptions and parameters, then we have good reasons for accepting the model.
    It was the same way with the Schroedinger Equation and fine/hyperfine structure, for example – paticle ‘spin’ had to be introduced somewhat artificially to account for magnetic dipole moments of nuclei and electrons (it took relativisitic QM to flesh that out).
    So, back to my point – stellar astrophysics and the ‘very old, very large and very dynamic’ universe model fit together remarkably well (Yes, there are unanswered questions…). YEC seems to think this is like geocentrism vs heliocentrism – we need a radically different paradigm; but OEC would say it is more like Copernican heliocentrism vs Keplerian heliocentrism.

    There is still the question of how to interpret Genesis 1, quite independent of any science….you should really explore Wiseman’s idea, Steve, and give that a fair hearing.

  82. Steve Drake says:

    Victoria,
    In regards to your HR diagram question, may I direct you to:
    http://creation.com/the-sun-is-not-an-average-star.

    It might possibly help. It seems that there is no problem explaining the HR as a steady state condition of a fusing mass of hydrogen and a certain amount of helium. The problem for stellar evolution is the origin of first stars, since it is difficult to explain how they collapsed from a hydrogen gas cloud (http:creation.com/what-about-the-big-bang-#star.

  83. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#82,
    Ah, yes, how to interpret Genesis 1? Quite independent of any science. What is it about Wiseman’s ideas that you find convincing?

  84. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Thanks for the links (yes, that was what I was looking for).

    You’ll have to read Wiseman’s book for yourself to do it full justice.
    It is compelling because it makes real sense out of those literal days, the fact that is plainly stated that this is a record of what God ‘said’, why God only ‘did whatever Gen 1 says He did’ during daylight hours, and why the 7th day of rest (that is more literal than simply God ceased from His creative activity). the parallel structure of the story also makes more sense. It also makes Day 6 understandable in light of what Genesis 2 has to say about the creation of man and woman…Adam naming the animals, how Eve was created..what, you’d have us believe that all this took place in 1 24 hour day on earth? There is no recourse to some differential rate of elapsed time (astronomical vs earthly on Day 6, since everything takes place on earth then). Wiseman’s interpretation also makes sense of extra biblical creation mythology – both in why those other creation myths even exist, and how they are corruptions of the original real story, given in Genesis 1 & 2.)

  85. Steve Drake says:

    Victoria,
    I like Wiseman’s interpretations of the ‘toledoths’. Is it feasible to say that Adam as created, was able to both speak and write from the moment he was created? I refer back to Peter Harrison’s work: ‘The Fall of Man, and the Foundations of Science’, Cambrige University Press, 2007. If Adam was created as the epitome of man and his intellect,(before he fell), then what grounds do you have to charge or complain that he couldn’t have named the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky on day six of creation?

  86. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Steve and Victoria,

    If I affirm the following video (2 and 1/2 minutes) which refutes evolution (via arguments against abiogenesis and no new genetic information observed), does this count as partially meeting “the need for an informed worldview”?

    Video: Evolution Refuted

  87. Steve Drake says:

    TUAD,
    I think it does. An informed worldview needs to take into account the naturalistic, materialistic assumption that nature is a closed system, that only sense knowledge counts, that history has no purpose, that man sets the standards, and that man is a mere machine, an accident of evolution, and that his aspirations to some set of ‘purpose’ are meaningless.

  88. Victoria says:

    @Steve

    If Adam was created as the epitome of man and his intellect,(before he fell), then what grounds do you have to charge or complain that he couldn’t have named the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky on day six of creation?

    Well, this is Wiseman’s argument, not mine (but I tend to agree with him). Surely it would have taken time for Adam to study the animals, to give them names, and after God brings Eve to him, he says (Genesis 2:18-24) “…at last (or finally)…” almost implying the end of a long search for a suitable companion.

    Well, certainly Adam must have been able to speak at least, since God actually spoke to both Adam and Eve, and the record tells us that they could speak. We don’t know how much time elapsed before the events of Chapter 3, or when God might have revealed the facts of creation to man.

  89. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#89,
    Could Adam have studied the animals for several hours? Scripture is not precise on this, but when Eve is presented to him, wow, he acknowledges with God, that she is something amazing. Unique, bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. He couldn’t find a suitable companion among the animals and yet when he wakes from his slumber and there is Eve, oh my goodness! What did God do? A companion suitable to me?

  90. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Earlier in this thread conversation it looked like an OEC Christian woman could be a suitable companion for a YEC Christian man.

    D’Oh!!

    😉

  91. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    I don’t know if Adam could have done all that in 12 hours or less (to say nothing of lunch and bathroom breaks 🙂 ). It seems that the YEC interpretation forces unreasonable suppositions on the text, if you ask me, whereas everything is all very reasonable in Wiseman’s model.

  92. Victoria says:

    @Tuad
    [laughs, bats eyelashes]
    Cute!

  93. Steve Drake says:

    Victoria,
    Yes, you discount the nature of God and the abilities of Adam as created perfect in the eyes of God. No wonder you presumptuously assume lunch and bathroom breaks.

  94. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Go read Wisesman’s book for yourself.
    I’m through with this thread for now.

  95. Melissa says:

    We only need to eat or go to the toilet because we’re fallen??

  96. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Earlier in the thread I stated that Turek was mistaken in his claim that the church went anti-intellectual and that this was the primary reason why people at Cisco think and believe the way they did. (I, instead, posited that it was a lack of courage by the Church and in the Church that accounted for the lack of Saltiness and the lack of Light by the Church in the wider society.)

    Now look at this recent article by NPR titled “Evangelicals Question the Existence of Adam and Eve“.

    Excerpts:

    “The evolution controversy today is, I think, a Galileo moment,” says Karl Giberson, who authored several books trying to reconcile Christianity and evolution, including The Language of Science and Faith, with Francis Collins.

    “When you ignore science, you end up with egg on your face,” Giberson says. “The Catholic Church has had an awful lot of egg on its face for centuries because of Galileo. And Protestants would do very well to look at that and to learn from it.””

    So according to Turek, is a church regarded as anti-intellectual because it doesn’t embrace the intellectual respectability of evolution or theistic evolution?

    If that’s what Turek is claiming, I don’t want what he’s prescribing. Let him go on his rant that the church is anti-intellectual.

  97. Victoria says:

    Speaking of an informed Christian Worldview….
    What do y’all think about the implications of this link?

    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/09/138957812/evangelicals-question-the-existence-of-adam-and-eve

  98. Victoria says:

    @TUAD
    laughs…I didn’t see your post when I posted the same link…great, we’ll get a discussion going 🙂

  99. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Dr. Victoria,

    If you inform me that you’re a theistic evolutionist, aaaaack!, you’ll put me on your bad list!

    As Steve Drake knows, I take no position on the YEC/OEC disagreements. (At least not yet). I’m just firmly against theistic evolution.

    Anyways, I think it’s funny bit of timing that we both referred to the same NPR piece at the same time!

  100. Victoria says:

    @TUAD
    I’d never put you, or anyone, on a bad list just because we might disagree about how to understand an issue of science and Scripture 🙂

  101. BillT says:

    “I’m just firmly against theistic evolution”.

    TUAD, just what, as an alternative, are you for or what about theistic evolution are you against?

    And,

    “The Catholic Church has had an awful lot of egg on its face for centuries because of Galileo.”

    Let’s not mention that the fairy tale about Galileo and his repression by the Catholic Church is just that, a fairy tale.

  102. Crude says:

    Victoria,

    I think the link is largely garbage, first because it sets up a false dichotomy. The idea that either all of humanity hails from only two recent biological precursors or there is no Adam and Eve whatsoever, is simply a false choice. To act as if it is – when, to my knowledge, even Biologos nods towards some alternatives – is pretty irresponsible.

    Likewise, even as a TE myself, Venema’s response just seems lacking. He may as well have just said, “If all of humanity descends from only two recent biological humans, there’d have to be some kind of miracle involved, or else our current science is wrong.” I recognize that there are plenty of creationists who try to prove the truth of creationism, or disprove Venema’s interpretation of the data, using questionable science. But they don’t need to make even that move.

    Likewise, BillT mentions that the Galileo incident gets ridiculously mangled. I think the greater lesson Giberson should take form Galileo is that it doesn’t matter what position you actually take, or what acts you actually engage in, sometimes – the caricature will be used so long as it serves an end.

  103. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    BillT,

    I think evolution, atheistic or theistic, is false.

    See the short video in #87.

  104. Tom Gilson says:

    TUAD:

    Here’s the form of your argument in #97.

    a. Turek says the church has been harmed by anti-intellectualism.
    b. Giberson defines anti-intellectualism as opposition to evolution.
    c. Therefore (quoting now) “according to Turek, is a church regarded as anti-intellectual because it doesn’t embrace the intellectual respectability of evolution or theistic evolution?”

    I realize you phrased (c) in the form of a question, but the connection it invites us to consider is totally invalid, for it implies that (a) and (b) might entail (c’): According to Turek, a church is regarded as anti-intellectual because it doesn’t embrace the intellectual respectability of evolution or theistic evolution.

    Presumably you can find the hole in your logic without my pointing it out to you.

    You say, “if so, then I don’t want what he’s prescribing.” Let me respond to that now.

    1. “If so” is falsely based. There is no reason to conclude Turek is prescribing what you imply he is in (c).
    2. Therefore your rejection of his “prescription” is misinformed and falsely directed.
    3. If as a Christian you have a commitment to truth, which I believe you do, I am sure you would never want to ascribe beliefs and “prescriptions” falsely to brothers and sisters in Christ (or anyone else, for that matter).
    4. If as a Christian you have a commitment to integrity and to 1 John 1:9, which I believe you do, I think you might want to acknowledge that you ascribed a false belief and “prescription” to Frank Turek.
    5. Finally, your error in (a), (b), and (c) was in the invalid assessment you made of the evidence, and in your use of invalid logic. Frank Turek does advise Christians to learn the basics of handling logic and evidence. It is a prescription he actually does make. It is the kind of thing that would have prevented you from making the mistakes you made here. It is one facet of coming up to intellectual speed, as Turek recommends. I recommend it too; it would have kept you from error in this case.

    Your style is confrontational, TUAD. Mine is too at times, as with Jerry Coyne recently. I see in you sometimes a tendency to confront your own brothers and sisters, which is only to be done with great care. Again, I have taken the same tack: I am confronting you here. So I’m not saying it’s always wrong to confront.

    By God’s grace, though, I try to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. I think that on a blog, “quick to listen” means especially being careful to understand the other person before you reject what they’re saying. In #97, you rejected Turek’s exhortation on the basis of something he hasn’t said. You didn’t listen.

    I call on you to take care with your listening, with the way you assess evidence, with your logic, and with the reasons for which you would reject a word from a brother in Christ.

  105. Tom Gilson says:

    By the way, TUAD, the video is an excellent short rebuttal to naturalistic evolution. If you think (per #104) that it supports you in rejecting theistic evolution, you are wrong, because theistic evolution isn’t mentioned in it.

    This is yet another illustration of how you would do well to use care (as Frank Turek would advise) in how you handle evidence and logic.

    I’m not saying you should support theistic evolution, or that there is no evidence against it elsewhere. I have problems with it too. I’m just saying that you cannot validly point to that particular video in support of your point; and I’m also saying that you and I ought to take care with things like these, otherwise we’re going to draw wrong conclusions, as you did (at least tentatively) with Frank Turek.

  106. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Tom,

    Your #105 is a waste. “If so” is a contingent.

    You’re being quarrelsome. There’s a difference between confronting and being quarrelsome. You’re being quarrelsome.

  107. Tom Gilson says:

    Really, now? How does that apply to #107, my friend?

  108. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    “By the way, TUAD, the video is an excellent short rebuttal to naturalistic evolution. If you think (per #104) that it supports you in rejecting theistic evolution, you are wrong, because theistic evolution isn’t mentioned in it.”

    Given that you’re being quarrelsome, I’ll retract the statement contingent upon BioLogos formally endorsing the video and thereby distinguishing and distancing themselves and theistic evolution from naturalistic evolution.

  109. Tom Gilson says:

    For the record,

    A whole lot of people equate “anti-evolution” with “anti-science” and also with “anti-intellectual.” That’s rubbish. Logically it could fly only if evolution were all there is to science, and if science were all there is to the life of the mind.

    I don’t know if Giberson said that. I’ve seen him say vaguely similar things, but I haven’t followed the link this time to see if he really made that equation. I know others have said it, though. And in so doing, they are being openly anti-intellectual and anti-science themselves, for they are treating science as if it were only about evolution, which is absurd, and they are treating the life of the mind as if it were only about science, which is beyond absurd.

    So TUAD, I agree with you that whether Giberson or anyone else said this, it’s really screwy and wrong.

  110. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Simple. I’m confronting you being quarrelsome.

  111. Tom Gilson says:

    TUAD, you don’t know quarrelsome when you see it. Goodbye, with regrets.

  112. Tom Gilson says:

    Here is a note of correction of my own:

    In #105 I wrote,

    1. “If so” is falsely based. There is no reason to conclude Turek is prescribing what you imply he is in (c).
    2. Therefore your rejection of his “prescription” is misinformed and falsely directed.

    As TUAD wrote since then, his rejection of that prescription was conditional, not absolute. So my point (2) there was overstated. I should have said,

    2. Therefore your strong implication that you would reject his ‘prescription,’ based on your supposition in ( c ), is premature, based on invalid reasoning (even though stated tentatively, it was nevertheless invalid), and prejudicial.

    I did not say “goodbye” to TUAD because of our disagreement on that conditional, however. That was legitimate. It was primarily because of the tone of his comments, especially #107, where he rejected an entire comment with a strong pejorative, and also #109, and #111. See Items 2 and 8 in the discussion policy.

  113. Steve Drake says:

    For those interested, John Byl, a professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Trinity Western University himself, like Venema has written an article on ‘The Demolition of Adam’ at http://www.bylogos.blogspot.com.

  114. Victoria says:

    Good article, Steve Drake.
    While I accept the scientific consensus on origins (provisionally, anyway – it could be wrong by a little or a lot) as the working interpretation of the book of Nature , as a Christian, I’m committed to Scripture as God’s inspired and true revelation; we have working interpretations of Scripture as well, which can also be wrong by a little or a lot.

    I have mentioned the interpretation of the Creation account that I currently favor (Wiseman’s Creation revealed, or taught, to man in 6 days) – this is actually an understanding that is not tied to any current scientific model of origins, and when one combines this with John Walton’ The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, results in what I think is a rather satisfactory picture.

    The article that Steve linked pointed out some very important issues about Genesis 2 and 3 that we should, as Christians, take very seriously; at the very least, Genesis 2 tells us that God did something unique and special when He created human beings in His image, something that goes beyond an evolutionary process that He may or may not have used. Genesis 3 tells us the story of the Fall, where our first human parents made a disastrous choice that corrupted them and us.
    Whatever Genesis is telling us, it is telling us that we are unique in God’s created order, and there is no getting around that.

  115. Steve Drake says:

    Hi Victoria,
    I assume you are referring to P.J. Wiseman’s book “Ancient Records and the Structure of Genesis’? I apologize if you have mentioned that in posts above. I have not read that book, but I assume you have? May I ask you a question then, is it Wiseman’s argument that the creation account in Genesis 1, 2, 3, 4 (I’m not sure where he stops, maybe just Genesis 1 as it relates to the six days), is something that God revealed to Adam over a six-day period? Forgive me if I am misrepresenting his views, but I’m just asking for clarification.

  116. Victoria says:

    On the other hand, Byl has a blog post about the motion of the earth
    http://bylogos.blogspot.com/2011/07/moving-earth.html
    that draws a rather peculiar conclusion about the motion of the earth by confusing reference frames, absolute and relative motion; what, has the man never heard of the observation of stellar parallax and the aberration of starlight?

  117. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#115,
    Or are you referring to ‘Creation Revealed in Six Days’ by P.J. Wiseman? I believe that this book is out of print, but in relooking at your posts I think this is what you are referring to, and not his ‘Ancient Records and the Structure of Genesis’. Can you clarify?

  118. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Yes I have read the book; it deals specifically with the text of Genesis 1:1-2:4.
    His thesis is that God revealed the essential facts of creation to man, over a period of 6 days; the details are revealed at a level our first ancestors would have been able to understand and relate to.
    Whether or not Adam was the person to whom God told the story, or when, or who wrote it down, is another matter – it has the marks of being a recollection of what God personally said [to the listeners].

  119. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    RE #118 – actually, both books in my earlier posts.

  120. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#117,
    Well, the man does have a Ph.D in Astronomy, so I think he is familiar with those concepts and has taken them into consideration. He is a professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at TWU. Do you not think he has addressed these issues?:)

  121. Victoria says:

    @Steve (#121)
    One would hope so…but stranger things have happened. If so, why didn’t he mention these specific observations? Surely they are relevant.

    Hmm…perhaps the people at NASA should be told of this, so that they can completely rethink their celestial mechanics and how they get spacecraft from one planet to another…

  122. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Actually, there is a whole series of comments on the post, and I did not see anyone mention stellar parallax; you ask if the man took this into account – who knows? You suffer from expert-worship syndrome, especially of those you agree with.

  123. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#122, 123,
    Idolatry is a sin roundly condemned in Scripture, but one might reply that you suffer from expert-worship yourself, Worship of man-derived and man-centered conclusions of naturalistic science as opposed to the clear and authoritative Word of God. Perhaps you believe you are the expert, and can rely on your own understanding. But what does calling each other expert-worshippers really accomplish Victoria?

  124. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    You are asking if the man took into account relevant physical observations – since his blog post does not mention them, we can’t say conclusively one way or the other.

    You are the one who thinks he has, on the strength of his academic credentials.
    That sounds like expert-worship to me.

    And for the record, I do not worship at the feet of modern science, I simply accept it provisionally as a working model, subject to correction and revision (like pretty much most professional scientists with PhD’s do)

  125. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    You’re not up to reasoned discourse on the topics discussed here: earlier it was the genetic fallacy, now it’s the fallacy of argument from authority.

    Worse, the fideism that animates your misunderstanding of reality is as clear as the light of day: “…man-derived and man-centered conclusions of naturalistic science as opposed to the clear and authoritative Word of God.” It’s not only that your vision is incorrect, you stand in direct opposition to the greatest and most humble Christian thinkers in history–starting with St. Augustine, through the Schoolmen, and all the way up to this day who, in embracing Wisdom, know very well that Scripture is not the science textbook you’re trying to make it out to be.

    You are not seeking Truth, you’re trying to interpret Scripture (literally!) to meet your preconceived notions because, among other errors, you’re unable to distinguish between God as the ultimate cause and His creation as proximate causes–creatures/objects that have real natures that actualize their perfections rather than playing impotent puppets for an occassionalist “god”.

    You’ve completely missed the boat in failing to understand the distinction between (1) revealed knowledge (Scripture, Tradition) that makes science possible, and (2) reasoned knowledge to which the modern empirical sciences belong as part of our capacity to reason about the world. (The Scriptures do NOT dictate or validate or confirm the investigations of the MESs.) You decry the possible extent and power of human reason (or, put another way, you limit human reason–the very thing that sets us apart from the brutes) because it fits your preconceived notion that the Scriptures “do” science–which results in wrecking havoc upon the MESs.

    Ironically, you believe you’re being “faithful” to Scripture when, in fact, (to echo St. Augustine) you invite scorn and ridicule from non-believers… and rightfully so.

    You may hold to YEC if you wish. But holding on to a false understanding of creation and its subsequent unfolding is holding on to just that–a falsehood… and falsehoods have great potential to negatively impact your faith. It’s about truth–not about your personal interpretations of Scripture, and the truth of reason never contradicts the truth of faith. True faith and true reason work together–never in opposition or in contradiction.

  126. Steve Drake says:

    ‘expert-worshipper’ by Victoria, ‘fool’ by Holopupenko, and now ‘not up to reasoned discourse’ by Holopupenko = ‘strong pejorative”, or perhaps “ad hominem”?

  127. Crude says:

    Steve Drake,

    I have some questions, assuming you’re coming from a YEC perspective.

    Is the Omphalos view at all popular among modern YECs? What about the idea that, even if the earth is young, that doesn’t necessarily mean that even our best science of the day should indicate as much (or that this is entirely compatible with science indicating otherwise)?

    Victoria,

    And for the record, I do not worship at the feet of modern science, I simply accept it provisionally as a working model, subject to correction and revision (like pretty much most professional scientists with PhD’s do)

    I don’t think you ‘worship at the feet of modern science’. But I don’t think ‘most professional scientists with PhDs’ necessarily take the position you suggest, at least with regards to evolution. Even as a TE, I’d say that evolution in general and Darwinism in particular, complete with philosophical and metaphysical graftings-onto, occupy a position that comes close to sacred for many.

  128. Steve Drake says:

    Crude,
    Why sure, another attempt at sarcasm, perhaps? Your hilarity besmirks your professed and stated Christian character.

  129. Crude says:

    Steve Drake,

    Why sure, another attempt at sarcasm, perhaps? Your hilarity besmirks your professed and stated Christian character.

    I am being dead serious here: There was zero sarcasm in my question to you, zero attempt at humor. What seemed sarcastic?

  130. Charlie says:

    Hey Crude,
    You are one of my favourite commenters, so I don’t want to come across as offensive here, but your question and response do come across as disingenuous.
    Do you really think modern YECs might be proponents of the omphalos hypothesis? That seems unlikely.
    Is it something you really want to know about YECs? If so, you could have Googled “modern YEC omphalos” as I just did to see who is implying a correlation.
    On the first Google page the sources that would link the two are:
    rational wiki
    “why YECs can’t be refuted”
    wikipedia
    ASA
    ASA
    ASA
    and a mention of 1857 publication.
    etc,

    Not a modern YEC group on that page.

    When I went to the page of modern YEC organization, ICR and searched “omphalos” I got no returns.
    When i searched on the AiG site their first article said this:
    “Due to the above reasons, we cannot attribute the fossils found in rock layers to the creative activity of God during His “very good” Creation Week.”

    So if you were not being sarcastic, which seems an extremely reasonable inference to me, I hope this has helped to answer your question.

  131. Steve Drake says:

    Charlie,
    Thank you brother.

    Crude,
    Forgive me for inferring sarcasm as you have definitively stated in #130 that you were not trying to be sarcastic. I believe you are referring to Philip Henry Gosse, and his book Omphalos, where he tried to reconcile the vast geologic ages as presupposed by Charles Lyell with the account of biblical creation and six-24 days? I think we need to understand the history of geology at this point when Gosse was writing this. Omphalos was published in 1857, two years before Darwin published On the Origin of Species, 24-25 years after Lyell published his multi-volume Principles of Geology. An article you might interesting concerning this time period is Dr. Terry Mortenson’s article found here:
    (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/gtp/historical-developments).

    Biblical creationists presuppose that in creating, God formed our natural world with maturity using processes that are not in operation today. Adam was formed a man, for example, not a baby, trees bearing fruit, fish in the sea, birds on land and air, great beasts roaming the earth, functioning and flowing rivers, the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere all operating in a pristine and ‘very good’ way (Gen. 1:31). All of God’s first creations in the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms were made in correspondence with the laws of nature, which He immediately inaugurated after the original creation, in anticipation of the phenomena which would thereafter be produced only by those laws. The question as a TE I suppose you have is that wouldn’t this then implicate God in the willful deception of human students of His creation?

    Gosse as an English naturalist and lay preacher attempted to clarify and answer that question in Omphalos.

  132. Crude says:

    Steve,

    No problem at all. I’ll have more of a reply later.

    Charlie,

    Thanks first for the compliment, and no offense at all. I wasn’t offended at Steve either – frankly, I’m sarcastic and rude half the time anyway. But this time, no, I was being dead serious. Honestly, I’m sympathetic to the Omphalos hypothesis as I understand it, and I was under the impression at least some YECs subscribed to it. I could be mistaken though – my YEC knowledge is fairly limited.

    As I said, I’ll reply more later. Either way, glad to clear that up.

  133. Crude says:

    Actually, it looks like I have some more time now. So, a few responses.

    Steve,

    The question as a TE I suppose you have is that wouldn’t this then implicate God in the willful deception of human students of His creation?

    No. I may be a TE, but I’m disgusted by quite a lot of TE attitudes, and reject a number of their YEC criticisms. The ‘trickster god’ argument, and the idea of God ‘willfully deceiving’ people, is downright inane in my view. Was God deceiving us when we thought – through observation and reason, no less – that the earth was at the center of the universe? How about, prior to relativity theory and the discovery of other solar systems, when we thought the sun was the center of the universe? Was it a great deception on God’s part when we modeled the world as classical from top to bottom, and quantum theory later upended that?

    The idea that God is deceiving us if our theories are incorrect, even grossly incorrect, just doesn’t wash.

    Anyway, I can’t help but think you believe my questions were a prelude to a criticism of YECs. I have some big differences in opinion with YECs, I grant absolutely. But no, I was honestly curious if the Omphalos hypothesis (as I understand it) was well represented among YECs, along with the view that natural science shouldn’t necessarily demonstrate the truth of YEC claims (can YEC claims be decoupled from science, in other words).

  134. Holopupenko says:

    Biblical creationists PRESUPPOSE that in creating, God formed our natural world with maturity using processes that are not in operation today.

    Now that’s an honest admission of a direct contradiction: non-biblical presuppositions animating personal (and incorrect) interpretations of Scripture–Scripture which is itself viewed as “clear and authoritative Word of God.”

    I’ve experienced YECers claiming to appeal only to Scripture–a position that is itself unScriptural and untenable: “Bible is clear/true because the Bible is clear/true”. Yet, when faced with the clear intellectual depravity of the YEC exegesis, they flee to external (usually emotional) safety nets like the presupposition of a “mature world.” I asked one of them how the extreme distances of galaxies are explained, they respond (I kid you not): “Oh, God created the galaxies AND the light rays tens of millions of light years long.” Utterly non-Scriptural, utterly unscientific… yet a beautifully-laughable “just so” story.

    Dealing with this kind of nonsense is like dealing with the scientistic nonsense of DL and olegt: the ironic “ties that bind” is the damage they do to science. The former undermines human reason (no help from Luther, eh?)–the very thing that sets us apart from the brutes–and hence science because of zealotry in personal Scriptural interpretation and its imposition upon science. The latter undermines human reason through reductionism (no mind–just brain) and human dignity (e.g., no free will, no soul, etc.) and a rejection of the PSR–hence a rejection of the very basis of science (explanation through causes). Both misappropriate science to do their bidding, hurting science in the process. One decries faith (except their own faith in scientistic presuppositions), the other decries reason (except when their own untenable presuppositions are needed).

    I think I’ll stick with Fides et ratio and Veritatis splendor.

  135. Tom Gilson says:

    Holopupenko,

    Again I wonder if you might be more effective here by explaining your terms, which you must know are foreign to present-day believers, especially Protestants, rather than cataloging lists of errors as you are doing. We Protestants might or might not agree with you at the end of it all, but as it is, it’s hard for most of us either to agree or disagree with you. For example:

    you’re unable to distinguish between God as the ultimate cause and His creation as proximate causes–creatures/objects that have real natures that actualize their perfections rather than playing impotent puppets for an occassionalist “god”.

    There’s a whole lot of unfamiliar language in there. I’ve caught up with some of it over the past several years of interaction with you, but not yet to the point where I’m confident I can assess it. I don’t know what theistic alternatives there might be to this kind of thinking, and what the relative strengths and weaknesses of each may be. Yet because of my interaction with you, even in that fairly unschooled position I have had opportunity to learn more than 99% of Protestants, and I daresay, probably 98% of Catholics.

    When you catalog errors with respect to unfamiliar concepts as you have done, it doesn’t convey knowledge; rather it comes across as a critical attitude empty of content—empty from the reader’s perspective, though obviously not so to you; but it is with the reader that you are trying to communicate.

    I know what a challenge it would be for you to explain your terms, for they are complex and unfamiliar. I know how Ed Feser has tried to do it on his blog, and yet he keeps making reference to the book-length version he wrote (Aquinas), which is on my list to read.

    But I would urge you nevertheless to think missiologically, as it were. Missionaries have to adapt the full-orbed, timeless, great and grand message to their hearers’ ability to understand it. The first part of that task is to learn and to speak the hearers’ language. The second part is to communicate in terms that connect with the hearers’ existing knowledge (see Don Richardson’s work on redemptive analogies in that regard). Then from that point, building line upon life, precept upon precept, they continue to explain. It is not a quick process, but shortcuts get them nowhere.

    Okay, now that I’ve said it all the long and careful way, I’ll bring it down to the condensed form. Is it your purpose here to help increase understanding? I think it is. But when you write,

    you’re unable to distinguish between God as the ultimate cause and His creation as proximate causes–creatures/objects that have real natures that actualize their perfections rather than playing impotent puppets for an occassionalist “god”.

    … that’s just confusing to most of us. Confusing is not helpful. The one thing that comes through clearly is that someone is deemed worthy of criticism.

    You have so much to offer; I’m urging you to help us along with it. Thanks.

  136. Steve Drake says:

    Crude, you wrote:

    can YEC claims be decoupled from science, in other words

    I need to ask for clarification on this, and ask maybe that you point to some specifics? Thanks.

  137. Crude says:

    Steve,

    I need to ask for clarification on this, and ask maybe that you point to some specifics? Thanks.

    I suppose one way to put it would be, ‘Could a YEC admit that science gives powerful models of the universe/earth/biological history being X million/billion/whatever years old, admit there is no competing scientific YEC model, yet still affirm YEC as true’?

    Put another way, are YECs committed to advancing and upholding scientific models of a young earth, of direct creationism of species, etc?

    Hope this helps.

  138. Steve Drake says:

    Crude,
    We must differentiate between ‘observational’ science and ‘historical’ science, right? This is the crux of the issue between an OEC or TE and YEC position. What is truly ‘observational’, and what requires ‘assumptions’ and ‘theorizing’ to make the models work. The claim that there is no competing YEC model is something I encourage you to check out, as you have stated above that your YEC knowledge is fairly limited. There are numerous articles and books published by YEC scientists that clearly put forward models that to us uphold the self-attesting, and self-authenticating Word of God, and are true to the ‘observational’ evidence of science. As to direct creation of species, are you referring to the outdated, yet spurious claim that YEC’s believe in fixity of species?

  139. Victoria says:

    Actually, we need to distinguish between ‘operational science’ and ‘origins (or historical) science’. Operational science is about the properties and dynamics of a system, whereas Origin science is about the formative history of a system. Both rely on observation, model building and theorizing. Operational science (generally) also has controlled experimentation at its disposal. Origin science of necessity builds on the results of its operational sibling.

    What is truly ‘observational’, and what requires ‘assumptions’ and ‘theorizing’ to make the models work

    You seem to imply that this is a bad thing, when in fact this is how science really works; we want to construct a model of a real system, so naturally there is an interactive and iterative process of comparing the model with observation (and experimentation) of the real system, and refining / correcting the model.
    All we ask is that the assumptions and parameters that go into a model be physically reasonable and justifiable – for example, in stellar astrophysics, the model needs to know the cross-sections for various types of scattering and fusion processes in order to compute the rate of energy production or neutrino flux (or what have you). This is fundamental physics, but as far as the model is concerned, the cross-sections are external parameters that can be adjusted so that the model matches the real system. Fortunately, particle physics, with its high energy collision experiments, can study the reactions in the laboratory and determine the cross-sections, so this provides additional constraints on the values used in the stellar model. Not surprisingly, the experimental cross-sections match rather well with what the stellar models require. In fact, for the Sun, the Standard Solar Model is so good that it forced the particle physicists to rethink and correct their understanding of neutrino physics.

  140. Victoria says:

    And, to continue on….
    As new information about a system is found, the model is adjusted to accomodate it – ‘how do we make the model fit the reality?’ is a legitimate question; sometimes it results in the answer ‘we need to introduce a new piece of dynamics into the model’ (as with the non-relativistic Schrodinger equation and the observation of fine and hyperfine structure electronic spectra), or ‘we need a whole new model’ (as with JJThompson’s model of the atom when Rutherford carried out his famous alpha-particle-gold foil scattering experiments, or, yes when a heliocentric solar system model replaced the geocentric one).

  141. Holopupenko says:

    Tom:

    In terms of the difficulty in delivering highly-nuanced terms in an understandable way, you’re largely correct… and I appreciate the missiological approach you suggest.

    However, I think you’ve got it backwards in terms of the direction of “learning the language,” and Steve Drake is an excellent example. Philosophical language is about distinction in order for a proper synthesis to occur. Steve Drake is about reducing things to the simple, but the result is reducing things to the simple-minded. Scripture doesn’t do science… but for him it does: he wants it all under one rubric, and he believes it’s all so “clear.” Yeah, right. It is he who needs to learn the language, the nuance, the distinction. It is he who needs to stop the abuse and manipulation of Scripture to suit preconceived notions so that science can be made to fit his personal interpretations.

    My sympathies are with Alice when she confronts Humpty-Dumpty who insists that “words mean just what I want them to mean.” Admittedly, DL and olegt and even Neil make similar mistakes when they warp or limit the full meaning of terms as referents rather than nominalist nonsense.

    Moreover, to echo your view of this blog: it is just that–a blog, not a book. I’ve mentioned before I will not spend the time or electrons taking advantage of this blog to teach courses in the philosophy of nature or metaphysics. In defense of Edward Feser, he points people to his books–which, by the way, points people to Aristotle and Aquinas–because, indeed, if a person is truly interested then they MUST do the heavy lifting of actually reading and understanding these highly-nuanced but extremely important disciplines. No one is demanding they accept them, but surely it is a mark of intellectual integrity to avoid the outright and unapologetic use of fallacies like Steve Drake does.

    Concerning the excerpt you termed confusing: there’s little I can do without going into a full-blown, long-term explanation… which I just explained wouldn’t really work in a blog. That really isn’t the problem. The problem is the a priori rejection or denigration of human reason through a warped interpretation of Scripture, which then leads to a rejection of anything but “the authority of Scripture” as an easy catch-all phrase meant to arrogantly put an end to all discussion.

    Finally, my comment #135 hit at the heart of Steve Drake’s problem: he spouts “Biblical authority” as a non-authority AND he openly admits to and is unapologetic about his dependence upon un-Biblical, un-scientific presuppositions. One can’t argue with someone at that level of gratuitous confidence! Surely that is not an example of a Thinking Christian. Surely DL and olegt are laughing their heads off at what Steve Drake writes: I agree with them… but I’m not laughing.

  142. Crude says:

    Steve,

    We must differentiate between ‘observational’ science and ‘historical’ science, right?

    Well, here’s some questions. I watched your link given earlier, and I saw the mention of observational science. The impression I got – I could be wrong – was that the makers of the video think ‘science’ is observational science, and that ‘historical science’ isn’t science.

    Do I have that right or wrong?

    As to direct creation of species, are you referring to the outdated, yet spurious claim that YEC’s believe in fixity of species?

    No, I have just enough awareness of YECs to know of things like baraminology. Direct creation of the species here only means that various kinds were created whole at creation.

  143. Steve Drake says:

    Holopupenko,
    I think it might be you, Holopupenko who needs a primer in presuppositions. Who needs to understand a little Van Til perhaps, and the nature of faith in one’s primary and unnegotiable starting points. I have seen you berate and belittle many individuals on this blog now for quite some time. Anyone who disagrees with your vaunted knowledge gets your ire, your sarcasm, and the supposed superiority that you, in whatever you say, are correct and true. It’s sad, really. Your defamation of another’s character, all because you are ‘always’ right in your views, and they are ‘always’ wrong, is not a matter of difference of opinion with you, but a chance for you to condescend and put them down. Your post#142 is a good example of this. It’s high time you start answering some questions yourself, humble acknowledging that others besides yourself have valid opinions and differences of views that are contrary to yours. Your egoism and disdain comes through loud and clear, and yet you are like a blind man who needs to have the scales of his eyes removed so that he can truly see again.

  144. Steve Drake says:

    Crude,

    The impression I got – I could be wrong – was that the makers of the video think ‘science’ is observational science, and that ‘historical science’ isn’t science.

    What is the definition of science, and the definition of the scientific method? Is there a difference between what we can observe, test, repeat, falsify, and what we theorize without actually being able to do the above?

  145. Victoria says:

    Oh, you mean things like a GR cosmological model that implied the existence of a microwave radiation field, left over from the time when photons and matter became decoupled, and whose power spectrum should look like a blackbody at around 2-5K? Which was detected twice (once, by interstellar molecular spectroscopy – the researchers found that the relative intensities of absorption lines were consistent with the molecules being in thermal equilibrium with a heat bath at ~2.7K, and again by an explicit microwave detector by Arno and Penzias in the 1960’s).

    It is still possible to observe and construct models of the past – obviously we can’t repeat the events themselves; the models can be tested against what can be observed if they tell us what we should be looking for; we can still test, validate or falsify the models (YEC’s have claimed to do just that for IBBC!).

    And what of just plain old astronomy and astrophysics? All we can do is observe – no possiblility of controlled experiments where the experimenter(s) can set up and modify the conditions of the test to see what happens….

  146. Steve Drake says:

    Please direct your attention to this statement at http://www.cosmologystatement.org, and see if you can’t understand the nature of the problem.

  147. Victoria says:

    I understand the nature of the problem (even more so since engaging in this discussion 🙂 )
    It is perfectly valid to compare a model with observations and see what fits and what doesn’t fit. If something doesn’t fit, or appears to be missing in the model, it is perfectly valid to adjust the model to ‘make it fit’, and then go out and look for observational evidence that supports the new model. If no reasonably convincing evidence can be found, or if there is just no plausible way to alter the model to fit the observations, then this suggests two things: (a) the model is fundamentally flawed at its most basic level, and/or (b) there might be new physics that hasn’t been figured out yet.

    The letter writers may very well be correct regarding (a) and (b), above, for the current cosmological model, and I will grant that it is certainly hard to get a fair hearing for things that challenge the current paradigm.

    As I have said before, I have no horse in this race – if IBBC is wrong, then it is wrong. As I also said, it is ironic – on the one hand, we have atheists trying desperately to avoid the possible theological implications of IBBC (what else can they do, given their metaphysical naturalism, eh?), and on the other hand, we have YEC’s who reject modern cosmology because it doesn’t fit with their idea of what Creation should be (Some even go to such lengths as to advocate a return to geocentrism, despite real evidence that suggests otherwise – stellar parallax, for example – what about the Hipparcos satellite, placed into a large solar orbit to measure parallaxes, among other things? How does this even remotely fit with geocentrism?).

    I’m not disagreeing with you on the fact that there are outstanding problems with modern cosmology, Steve – just your flawed characterization of ‘Operational (not observational!) science’ vs ‘Historical (or formative histoy) science’.

    Let us not allow a disagreement as to how we should understand the relationship between science and Scripure affect our relationship in Christ, though 🙂

  148. Holopupenko says:

    (1) The New Scientist is a popular-level and opinion-oriented publication—it is not a peer-reviewed article-based journal. Has this “petition” appeared in at least Scientific American or in any of the professional physics journals? None of which I’m aware. By the way, I notice the New Scientist strongly supports Darwinian evolution.

    (2) There are only about 510 signatures of the document—just under 300 of which are “independent researchers” (whatever that means) and “other signers”.

    (3) A significant portion of the signers are not physicists/astronomers/cosmologists or represent non-physics research centers. Moreover, there are duplicates (e.g., Linda Camp Harvard University… who, by the way, is a medical doctor). No Harvard or MIT physicists appeared in the list of signers…

    (4) There are currently 17,500 professional physicists/astronomers in the United States. Assuming a generous three-quarters of the documents signers are U.S. citizens, the signers amount to about 2.2% of all U.S. physicists… but remember, not all the signers are physicists… and scattered throughout the signers are retired and emeritus representatives.

    Sounds like some people are gullible enough to subscribe to conspiracy theories… I’m not saying numbers dictate reality, but they do really mean something.

    Anyway, now for the, ahem, “science” :

    (1) The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed—inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.
         Rubbish.
         What the document terms as “hypothetical entities” are actually place holders and models as supporting the Big Bang theory. That’s the way science works: new models replace old models, but the general theory remains. I’m with Victorie’s characterization of Steve Drake’s not understanding how science works. (Laughably, it’s the same tactic employed by YEC’s and ID proponents—which exposes their ignorance of how science operates.)
         Second, the second to last sentence is double-rubbish: it took 26 years to observe the first species of the neutrino after Pauli had correctly theorized it in 1930. He was also castigated by small-minded naysayers in the same way this document does. What about Newton? His work was called witch craft because he proposed gravity acts over distances without direct physical contact.

    (2) What is more, the big bang theory can boast of no quantitative predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory’s supporters consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centered cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles.
         Oh, puhleez… pick up any peer-reviewed physics journal (which presupposes some competence in the subject matter) to see how preposterous this claim is. The Big Bang theory is NOT surviving merely to “save appearances.” No need to waste more electrons on this…

    (3) Plasma cosmology and the steady-state model both hypothesize an evolving universe without beginning or end.
         A Chardonnay-through-the-nose incident: that claim is not scientific!! No beginning or end? Brute force, take-it-or-leave-it existence? Hello anti-PSR naysayers: more and more minions are entering your ranks. Hey, and isn’t that just what atheists are looking for—a “no explanation necessary” universe? A world without cause?

    Hey, Steve Drake, did you know that the word “gullible” does NOT appear in any standard dictionary of the English language? I’m serious. By the way, regarding your comment # 144: whatever it takes to help you get through the day, I guess.

  149. Victoria says:

    @Holo
    The alternative that the letter suggests (Plasma Cosmology and Steady State) actually seems to imply that the universe as we observe it is eternal – do YEC’s really want a model which denies a creation of any kind?

  150. Holopupenko says:

    Victoria:

    Correct. Precisely the second part of my point (3).

  151. Steve Drake says:

    @Holupenko#149,
    If Steve Drake is a ‘fool’, and ‘gullible’, for believing in the Word of God:

    “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy” (Ex. 20:11)

    “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased f”Ex. 31:17)

    then, Holopupenko must be the fool’s court jester.

  152. Victoria says:

    @Steve (#152)
    Actually, Wiseman deals with those verses in his ‘Creation Revealed in 6 days’ thesis.

    The word translated as ‘made’ is sometimes translated as ‘showed (or in KJV ‘shewed’).

  153. Crude says:

    Steve,

    What is the definition of science, and the definition of the scientific method? Is there a difference between what we can observe, test, repeat, falsify, and what we theorize without actually being able to do the above?

    Well, you tell me. That’s what I’m asking, at least as far as your own views go.

  154. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#153,
    And so by extension you must accept some form of billions of years of stellar, planetary, geological, and biological evolution to bring God’s pinnacle of creation; man, to bear in history. By extension, Adam and Eve were not the first homo sapiens sapiens, the first parents of all living. Mocking the clarity, perspicuity, and thrust of fiat ex nihilo creation of Scripture in the verses I quoted above, and ignoring the clear exegetical intent of Genesis 1, you and Holopupenko twist and contort the Word of God to fit the current prognostications of scientim. Your idol is Reason, and it’s handmaiden scientism.

  155. Steve Drake says:

    Crude,
    The cosmological statement I referred to above, http://www.cosmologystatement.com, lays out the thrust of my argument concerning observation and theory.

  156. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#153,
    Your adoration with Wiseman? And you call me an ‘expert-worshipper’? The fallacy of appeal to authority? Deal with the text.

  157. Crude says:

    Steve,

    Well, could you spell it out for me here as well? I have to read between the lines at the org site, and the video seemed to strongly imply that historical science isn’t really science. So I’m curious if that’s your view.

    I’m not going to freak out if it IS your view. But I’m trying to learn about where you’re coming from on this subject, and where other YECs stand.

  158. Tom Gilson says:

    Is anybody else getting tired of the character accusations being flung around here?

  159. Victoria says:

    @Steve (#155, 157)
    No, and no.
    To the first, ‘creation revealed in 6 days’ does not imply anything as to God’s actual creative acts; neither when, how long or by what processes (primary or secondary) – only that the days of Genesis 1 are the time spent by God in telling the story to our first ancestors.

    To the second, I merely point out that Wiseman noted these verses in his book, and suggested a possible fit to his interpretation.

    Are you getting frustrated, dear?

  160. Steve Drake says:

    Crude,
    I’m referring to the statement at http://www.cosmologystatement.org. They understand as it relates to at least the IBBC, there is a fundamental difference between what has been observed and what is only theory, and the ad hoc ‘fudge factor’s’ needed to make the theory work. YEC scientists would agree with this although they do not agree with replacements such as plasma cosmology or steady state as these scientists propose.

  161. Victoria says:

    @Tom (#159)
    It is getting us nowhere, isn’t it?

  162. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#160,
    No, sweetheart, only calling a spade a spade, and reminding you of your hypocrisy in calling me an ‘expert-worshipper’, when you yourself resort to claiming Wiseman as the de facto answer to the six days of creation 🙂

  163. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    Since you’re such a hyper-literalist that’s hung-up on reducing God to a temporal six-day Creator, and you feel emboldened to impose your personal Scriptural exegesis upon others (because, after all, you are a self-proclaimed Biblical authority who loves non-Biblical and unscientific presuppositions, aren’t you?), let’s play by your rules:

    The Genesis creation account also states the following:
         God speaks (e.g. Genesis 1:3), which means He has vocal chords.
         God sees (Genesis 1:4), which means He has eyes with pupils and retinas.
         God walks (Genesis 3:8), which means God has legs.
         God makes clothes for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21), which means God has hands.
         God smells the sweetness of Noah’s sacrifice (Genesis 8:21), which means God has a nose and olfactory receptors.

    Who’da thunk! Why, “the clear exegetical intent” of Genesis IS, well, so “clear”! Literalism: where has you been all my life? I must understand the Word of God per the holy authority’s admonition to us all… or I won’t be a Christian… because I would be guilty of “twist[ing] and contort[ing] the Word of God to fit the current prognostications of scienti[s]m.” Oh dear, my “idol is Reason, and it’s handmaiden scientism.” Praise be God and his Prophet Steve Drake!

    You need to chill out, Steve Drake. Your God-given gift of reason has taken a serious blow.

  164. Victoria says:

    @Steve
    Well, perhaps, although I said that about you because you said

    Well, the man does have a Ph.D in Astronomy, so I think he is familiar with those concepts and has taken them into consideration. He is a professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at TWU. Do you not think he has addressed these issues?:)

    when I asked about stellar parallax and aberration of starlight and how these fit with a geocentric model. You appealed to nothing more than the man’s credentials – what do you call that? You provided no arguments to show that these issues can be explained adequately by a geocentric model (I’d like to see that! – real math, not just a lot of handwaving and rhetoric)

    I did not appeal to Wiseman’s credentials in answering your post about those verses, now did I? I actually provided an answer…

  165. Tom Gilson says:

    Steve,

    As I read Victoria’s view of Wiseman, she is neither idolizing him, adoring him, nor worshiping him. She is appropriately tentative with respect to his theories.

    I do not appreciate YEC’s accusations that non-YEC Christians accept scientism (you accused Holopupenko of that!?) or deny Scripture, as if only their view could be true and all others are twisted by science-worship. It just doesn’t hold up to examination, and it’s unbecoming and unscriptural for members of the body of Christ to treat one another that way.

  166. Steve Drake says:

    @Tom#167,
    Then please let us examine and exegete the Scriptures to see if your theological acumen is up to snuff. Please tell me what the verses I quoted above, Ex.20:11, and Ex.31:17 mean? Ask Holopupenko to do it if he’s the theological expert. But please detail either your or Holopupenko’s expertise in the Hebrew language.

  167. Holopupenko says:

    Hey Steve:

    Listen, I apologize for nipping at your heels with my finely-filed shark teeth, but you really do bring it on. (That’s not meant as a justification, merely a sign of frustration over someone who employs fallacies, references questionable “authorities,” and imposes a personal exegesis.) I’m now appealing to you directly as a brother in Christ to consider carefully Hamlet’s [paraphrased] admonition to Horatio: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Steve Drake, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” You are out of your depth, you are triumphalist, and you’re losing your ground.

  168. Holopupenko says:

    Steve:

    @168: Jeepers, creepers, son… has Tom done ANYTHING to merit that? Do you realize you just denigrated his dignity… all because of your triumphalist interpretations?

  169. Steve Drake says:

    @Victoria#166,
    If I may quote Dr. John Byl’s reply to your questions about stellar parallax and the aberration of starlight:

    In my post I did not refer to stellar parallax and aberration of starlight simply because they both concern only relative motion.

    Stellar parallax concerns only the relative motion of the earth, sun and stars. You get the same observational results whether
    (1) you consider the earth to be moving about a fixed sun, with a fixed stellar background,
    or
    (2) you consider the sun, along with the stellar background, to be moving about a fixed earth.

    According to the special theory of relativity, the aberration of starlight depends only on the relative velocity between the observer and the light from the star. See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberration_of_light

    Thus, as far as relativity is concerned, neither parallax nor aberration demand an absolute frame of reference.

    The doctrine of Creation is a fundamental, foundational, cardinal doctrine of Judeo-Christianity. It was by fiat, ex nihilo. We are arguing over the process. Six calendar days as indicated in Gen. 1, Ex. 20:11, Ex.31:17, as opposed to billions and billions of years of evolutionary modification, with God stepping in from time to time to guide the process, all the while, winking at the chronogenealogies of Gen. 5 and 11, death reigning for billions of years before Adam arrived on the scene, thus destroying the sin-death causality, and the maligning of God’s good character.

  170. Steve Drake says:

    What is it brother [email protected]#172? I plead with you in the name of the beloved Christ we share. We are fundamentally disagreeing over the Scriptures and what they say in regards to those verses I quoted. Let us exegete them then. That is all I’m asking.

  171. Holopupenko says:

    Assuming, of course, one buys what “answering genesis” peddles as its authoritative understanding…

  172. Steve Drake says:

    Bryan at #171,
    yes, dear brother. Thank you.

  173. Holopupenko says:

    “Fundamentally disagreeing”? Perhaps, but that isn’t the issue: it’s your triumphalist and arrogant self-proclaimed authority of having the allegedly correct interpretation of the Genesis creation account that you then bludgeon people with over and over and over again. Do you get that posing it as “fundamentally disagreeing” you’ve trapped yourself into implying Tom’s understanding is fundamentally at odds with your understanding, and hence that he is (by implication) less of a Christian than you because you believe yourself correct? You’re hiding behind your alleged correctness to then justify the way you treat Tom! Hey, listen, we Catholics learned the hard way you can’t get away with such nonsense… and we’re still struggling with it. You, on the other hand, are happily saved by your exegesis.

  174. Tom Gilson says:

    Steve,

    I’m on my mobile now and on my way out for the evening, going to a baseball game. Maybe I’ll check in here on the way or between innings. For now I’ll register my distaste for your insistence on exegeting in Hebrew. It was unnecessary in this context, it was pugnacious in its tone, and, again, it was unbecoming. And I’ll register my unhappiness at your overlooking what I actually wrote in my last comment.

    I’ll be on the road most of tomorrow. I’m not in a good position now to do a comparative exegesis. But you are in a good position to treat other believers with more grace.

  175. Steve Drake says:

    Brother Holopupenko,
    You fundamentally misunderstand the definitions of a presupposition. I say that without malice. Yet your comments neither state your own unnegotiable starting points, nor clarify anything but your disdain for those who you do not agree with. Come on, son, educate us please on those unnegotiable axioms you believe in.

  176. Holopupenko says:

    @179 Huh? Time to exit this train…

  177. Victoria says:

    @Steve (#173)
    Ask him about Hipparcos…and show me the math; I have a PhD in physics..my math skills are pretty decent

  178. Steve Drake says:

    Brother Tom,
    Because you disagree with me on the position of an old earth vs. young earth, you single me out for criticism about treating other believers with more grace, yet withholding that criticism from others that agree with ‘you’. This is hypocrisy(see Holopupenko’s slapdown insult at #142). When did you criticize Victoria for using a strong pejorative ‘expert-worshipper’, or Holopupenko for claiming that ‘I am not up to rational discourse’? You are using a double-standard for ‘preferred customers’ to your blog at the expense of those who disagree with the consensus opinion of yourself and those others who comment here. The ‘more grace’ comment works both ways Tom, and yet you have banned a guy like TUAD for calling you ‘quarrelsome’, yet allowed people like Holopupenko to call me a fool and gullible, calling Neil Shenvi an ‘idiot’?. It just doesn’t seem to fly.

  179. Melissa says:

    Steve,

    You reject standard scholarly approaches to exegesis. What is it that you want Tom to provide in response to your demand above?

  180. Steve Drake says:

    @Melissa#183,
    Perhaps you can direct me to those ‘standard approaches to exegesis’? Can you quantify something here?

  181. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    Could you please direct me to where I specifically labeled Neil an “idiot” (the quotation marks are yours), or, failing that, where I did it by implication? Thanks.

  182. Melissa says:

    Steve,

    In our previous interactions around this question you rejected redaction, source and form criticism which leaves us only with text and linguistics (although you also reject the part of linguistics which considers the use of similar language in other ancient documents). That leaves us with very little to work with.

  183. Charlie says:

    Yes, Tom, I find this all very disappointing.

    Warn a brother twice, I always say.

  184. Steve Drake says:

    @Holopupenko,
    It was in another thread, brother. You or Tom or Neil can substantiate the charge. I’m not going to go back into the archives with what others can remember from those discussions. If Neil is still around, let us ask him.

  185. Steve Drake says:

    @Charlie#187,
    who are you referring to Charlie?

  186. Charlie says:

    Going to make me say it, Steve Drake?

    I’ve erased these missives many times, but I am disappointed in you, my dear friend Holopupenko, and Victoria. That’s for starters and is based not only upon my limited reading of this thread but more extensively on others.

    As I told you once before, I see no point in arguing with my blog host on matters where we don’t agree. If I think he needs to see another point of view, or he is making a doctrinal error I will try to discuss it once, or twice. But after that, what is the point? He is not obligated to be my publisher and once he’s heard my views it’s not like repeating them will change his mind. A blog is, necessarily, a place for the blogger’s opinion. I expect a person comes here to read that opinion. If I don’t like a blogger’s opinions, his writings, etc., then I will go read one that I do agree with.

    This goes for Holopupenko’s constant attacks on Protestantism ( on a Protestant blog where nobody has ever challenged his Catholic faith), his more benign disagreements over ID, and his vicious ad hominem attacks on believers and unbelievers alike – yourself included.
    I say this with all caution because I love Holopupenko and value his friendship and his positive contributions tremendously.

    etc.

    I am certainly not a shrinking violet, and am no example myself, but these exchanges between brothers are not particularly becoming nor respectful to Tom.

    Perhaps, Tom, you could set up a particular thread for a debate/discussion on these issues?

  187. Steve Drake says:

    @Melissa#186,
    Redaction, source and form criticism in what sense, Melissa? You are referring of course to the text of the Pentateuch?

  188. Steve Drake says:

    @Charlie#190,
    So, dear brother Charlie, how do you think this discussion should move forward? Your disappointment in me belies the fact that you have not weighed in to ameliorate or express your own opinion and direction for dialog. Your disappointment in Holopupenko and your disappointment in Victoria, they can answer themselves if they see so fit. The issue of OEC or YEC and TE is not going to go away among brothers and sisters in Christ. It is one of ‘thee’ most prominent issues facing us today as evangelicals. I’m a bit puzzled, brother, as to why you think we cannot discuss this, or that the issue must be brushed under the rug and avoided like the ostrich sticking his head in the sand. I say that with no malice and with much love. This issue is one of the most fundamental issues facing Christians today, and should be debated, yes, there will be times when it becomes acerbic, when tempers flare, when misunderstandings abound, but it must be discussed in my opinion.

  189. Charlie says:

    Steve,

    So, dear brother Charlie, how do you think this discussion should move forward?

    As I told you before, I don’t think it ought to have.

    Your disappointment in me belies the fact that you have not weighed in to ameliorate or express your own opinion and direction for dialog.

    Indeed. I also spoke on this before, telling you that I would not argue this question.

    . I’m a bit puzzled, brother, as to why you think we cannot discuss this, or that the issue must be brushed under the rug and avoided like the ostrich sticking his head in the sand. I say that with no malice and with much love. This issue is one of the most fundamental issues facing Christians today, and should be debated, yes, there will be times when it becomes acerbic, when tempers flare, when misunderstandings abound, but it must be discussed in my opinion.

    I note your opinion. And, as I said, I think you can warn your brother once, even twice. Tom knows where you stand now and can take it up as he likes – here on his blog, or elsewhere.
    But I have chastised as one-trick ponies various unbelievers who took every and any opportunity to turn a thread to their point of contention, so it is only right that I make the same mention to you.
    You do not have to keep bringing this up for dispute. If your ideas need to get out you can publish them on your own blog.
    Or, as the atheists have done, you could even ask Tom for specifically-targeted posts.
    But taking up an issue repeatedly that you know is at odds with your host’s opinion is unmannerly. You know his position now, and he knows yours.

  190. Holopupenko says:

    @155’s last sentence and in the spirit of Mark 12:30:

    “Every man is by nature designed to become a thinker—honor and praise to the God who created man in his own image! God cannot be held responsible if habit, and routine, and want of passion, ruin most men, so that they become thoughtless.” (S. Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, tr. D. Swenson, W. Lowrie, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968 (1941), p. 46.)

    Charlie: @190 mostly correct, you’re good, apologies. No justification intended, but I’ve got a “high-middle” punitiveness rating when it comes to pursuing truth. Truth suffers… darn it.

  191. Steve Drake says:

    @Charlie#193,
    And so with that logic, since I know my unbelieving friend’s opinion about God: he disbelieves Him, cursing His name, and mocks His offer of grace, I should remain silent for the rest of our friendship, never attempting to discuss the matter again?

  192. Charlie says:

    Is that the correct logical inference when all of my comments have been about your brothers in Christ?
    I don’t think so.

    Interpret Matthew 7:6 and apply it to your friend as best you can. Recall that Paul washed his hands of the blood of his fellow Jews by faithfully warning them from his position on the watchtower.

  193. Steve Drake says:

    And yet the apostle Paul chastised the Galations, his brothers in Christ, for holding to legalism. He chastised his brothers in Christ at Corinth for being ‘babes’ in the faith, and for a man purportedly having his father’s wife. I don’t see the connection, brother.

  194. Charlie says:

    So you’d argue about this as well? So be it.

  195. Melissa says:

    Steve,

    I am referring to the standard methods employed by scholars when doing exegesis of any passage in the bible. Now, as you would be well aware, we don’t exegete a verse in isolation but a block of scripture. So for these sections of scripture containing these verses we would need to ask questions such as:

    What is the literary context?
    What is the historical context, when were they written down?
    Are there different textual versions of the text?
    What is the genre?
    etc, etc.

    These are the questions that you refuse to engage with and consider unimportant. There are real difficulties in coming to the bible as having a clear meaning. Why does Samuel seem unaware of the law about kingship in Deuteronomy? Why do some passages contain anachronisms? Why do the Amalekites pop up again a couple of chapters after they have been completely wiped out? Does God have arms, eyes etc and if not how do we know when language is used figuratively and when literally? There are questions raised from the text itself without even considering how the text fits with science and it would help the conversation if you would acknowledge that instead of writing these issues off as a disregard for the authority of scripture.

  196. Steve Drake says:

    Melissa,
    “What is the literary context?
    What is the historical context, when were they written down?
    Are there different textual versions of the text?
    What is the genre?
    etc, etc.”

    Do you claim you know yourself, or what experts do you want to bring into this discussion to bolster your conclusions? Can I bring in ‘my’ experts as well?

  197. Tom Gilson says:

    Steve,

    How is it that something as simple as this needs to come out so belligerent-sounding?

  198. Steve Drake says:

    Tom,
    Hope you’re enjoying the baseball game. What is belligerent about asking for clarification? Melissa is claiming I’m misrepresenting literary context, historical context, textual variation and genre. I’m asking for her ‘expert’ knowledge about such things, or what experts she wants to bring to the discussion and whether I can bring my own experts. Do you not see the philosophical presuppositions behind these questions?

  199. Melissa says:

    Steve,

    Do you claim you know yourself, or what experts do you want to bring into this discussion to bolster your conclusions? Can I bring in ‘my’ experts as well?

    Exegetical papers usually require considering the questions I mentioned above and in the process engaging with the various scholarly views before arguing towards your own viewpoint. So no, I am not proposing that you find an “expert” who agrees with you and cite them, I am proposing that you reason towards your own position.

    Melissa is claiming I’m misrepresenting literary context, historical context, textual variation and genre.

    Show me where I did that? My claim is that you have previously declared these questions irrelevant to understanding the scripture.

    You have identified these passages in Exodus as being important to your position. You have demanded that Tom provide an exegesis on these passages. How is Tom to know what you mean by exegesis, when you have previously rejected the normal academic approach to the task? May I suggest that you offer up your exegesis to get the ball rolling.

  200. Victoria says:

    @Steve (#192)
    I agree whole-heartedly with what you said there. I think I’ve learned a few things that I didn’t know (or at least didn’t know well enough) since joining in the discussion.
    Let’s not allow the fact that we currently hold different views on how to understand science and Scripture as a coherent picture be what defines our familial relationship in Christ. That’s not why we are here, I think.

  201. Tom Gilson says:

    Steve, see how Paul approached his chastisement of the Galatians, esp. Gal. 6:1ff.

    Paul expressed some frustration with them, but it wasn’t because he lost a doctrinal contest with them. It was because he loved them and hated to see them hurt themselves as they were. I hate to see us brothers and sisters hurt each other through needless sniping, and using experts as weapons to whack with ( that’s the impression I got from you in your comment I described as belligerent) is in opposition to NT commands to seek unity in truth, to build one another up, to offer gentle correction for the purpose of restoration, to give grace and truth.

    Various commanders including me have been guilty at various times. Steve, I urge you to examine yourself whether you might have a chip on your shoulder. I see hints of anger in your comments; be quick to listen and slow to anger.

    I may be misreading that from this distance, I know so please take it for what it’s worth. Thank you.

  202. Tom Gilson says:

    Holopupenko,

    A year or so ago Kevin Winters was in the habit of chiding us for not getting Heidegger. I asked, and he finally realized, that that did no good, since he wasn’t going to be able to teach Heidegger on the blog.

    You are in a similar circumstance. When you say to someone,”you do no understand this or that philosophical doctrine,” then if you care about the person as I think you do, it beginner you to teach it. If it can’t be taught in this venue, then for your own sake and ours I will ask you not to use that kind of language, the language of “you can’t understand much of anything unless you agree with Thomas Aquinas.” It comes across as critical without being helpful. Can you make that adjustment?

    As Charlie has noted, I am a Protestant with a Protestant approach to Scripture. If you disagree with that, fine, but do it in a spirit of friendship, okay? It’s the same thing I’m trying to return to you.

    Thanks.

  203. Tom Gilson says:

    I typed all the above on my mobile. It’s not easy and I hope it came out saying the right things

  204. Steve Drake says:

    Melissa,

    My claim is that you have previously declared these questions irrelevant to understanding the scripture.

    In my comment above to Charlie, I said that misunderstandings will abound. I think this is one area where you might have misunderstood me, for I don’t claim that at all. The questions are not irrelevant. My claim is that since neither of us are experts, we must rely on others who have done the due diligence, but it ultimately boils down to you accepting your expert and his/her view on literary genre, for example, and I positing my expert and accepting his/her contrary and opposite view. So the thrust of my question in #200 was to see if you understood the philosophical presuppositions behind this. Who do we trust for the correct knowledge? And how do we know that?

    You want to claim that Genesis 1 does not mean what it says about God creating in six calendar days, or that Ex. 20: 8-11 and Ex. 31:17 do not either, because of the culture of other ANE writings when this was written. Can’t you see that there are a lot of assumptions with that? What epistemic certainty do you rely on for that claim? How did Moses compile the Pentateuch, did he use previous written records, oral tradition only, or was this all dictated by God, etc.? Can God communicate clearly, with clarity, to say what He means and mean what He says? What are the other uses of the Hebrew word yom throughout the Hebrew OT and how are they used? Do they always refer to a 24 hour day?

    It finally boils down to a faith position as you read the Scriptures for yourself, using other sources to help with that understanding, sure, but ultimately, who are you going to believe?

  205. Holopupenko says:

    Tom:

    You’re fine. At the level of you having to high-maintenance remind me of my style, there’s little with which I can disagree.

    No justification, merely clarification: it’s the subsequent (and very real) effects/results of erroneous ideas that worry me… and I permit all too often those worries to animate my style. Truth and falsity are never stand-alone issues. My target is not Protestantism per se but some of the ideas it has absorbed… some, as much as it pains me to admit, originating from Catholics. Some of those errors are extremely nuanced, but that makes them more stealthy and insidious.

    An example is the highly regarded Doctor of the Catholic Church, the Franciscan Duns Scotus, whose notion of the univocity of being (the claim that being is a genus) was absorbed by Scotus from the Islamic philosopher Avincenna. There’s no way I can explain here why it’s an error, but in terms of its effects it is Top Ten in it’s destructiveness. Craig and Moreland explicitly accept it and its impact upon Protestant theology is huge. Another huge error absorbed by reformation theologians is nominalism from another Catholic Franciscan, Ockham.

    This is deadly serious stuff, Tom, for it’s at the level of fundamentally understanding reality where the poison of such errors takes hold. There is a Scholastic commitment to the notion that if one’s understanding of sensory accessible knowledge of the world is flawed, one’s reasoning to higher immaterial verities will inescapably be flawed… and that is reflected in the axiom that while all knowledge comes through the senses, not all knowledge is sensory knowledge.

    The frustration you hear in me is two-fold. First, it’s nearly impossible to explain this stuff in the venue of a blog. Second, prior commitments must be overcome–or at least temporarily set aside–in order to hear and understand what is being said. With atheists, the prior (unscientific!) commitments are to various levels of scientism, philosophical naturalism, reductionism, relativism, etc. With those like Steve Drake it’s NOT to the simplicity of faith but to the simple-minded reductionism of the direct imposition of Scripture upon everything and to a literalist “plain-meaning” (“clear” in his words) interpretation. The resultant errors are manifold.

    I believe there is ample justification to question the intentions of atheists because rejection of God is a sin, sin among other things damages the human capacity for reason, and once reason is damaged the will follows the proximate perceived good… which is not a good and which ultimately results in further evil. There is less justification for questioning the intentions of a believer (as far as I’m concerned, Steve Drake’s intentions are pure… albeit misguided), but the potential impact of errors from believers is significantly more serious, and that’s a cross all believers bear.

    Consider one of the results: to this day Steve Drake won’t admit (perhaps partly because he doesn’t fully understand) to fallacious arguments… and I’m not the only one whose mentioned this. Yet, at the end of the day, fallacious arguments are dishonest arguments because they are used to gain. Worse, I have a strong suspicion one of the reasons Steve Drake is partially blind to the use of fallacy is he, perhaps unknowingly, thinks faith justifies “cutting corners,” i.e., he confuses the realm of faith with the realm of reason… and a classic result of that is fideism. I’m not so concerned with him not understanding–or even wanting to pursue and understand sophisticated arguments… let alone accepting them–as I am over the lack of humility to admit to fallacious reasoning. His response? That we worship the idol of reason or that my commitment is to scientism. That, Tom, is a deep problem Steve Drake faces… and such problems ultimately degrade faith.

  206. Steve Drake says:

    @Holopupenko#209,
    Wow, how many times was I mentioned in this post? 4 times? I must be really getting under your skin, brother. With past belligerent berating of those you disagree with, this is refreshing. You’ve called me a ‘fool’, ‘gullible’, ‘simple-minded’, ‘unable to engage in rational discourse’, ‘fideistic’, ‘reductionist to simple-minded faith’, ‘confusing the realm of faith with that of reason’. Let’s see, what else? Oh, not admitting to fallacious reasoning. This all within the span of a couple months.

    I find it somewhat intriguing, that as a Protestant layperson, I find myself as the target of a Roman Catholic philosopher, and physicist (still not sure of your credentials Holopupenko, and maybe left something out?). And this all on a Protestant blog. Who would of thunk? Could it be that my insistence on a young earth has triggered this vitriol?

    As a Roman Catholic and your adoration with Thomism, mine equally with Augustianism, do you think these presuppositional starting points have any bearing on our discussions? What about Cornelius Van Til and his thoughts on this? Van Til was a protestant, and succinctly laid out the nature of presuppositions, human reason corrupted by sin, and the hopelessness of autonomous reasoning vs. revelational epistemology or ‘analogical thinking’. What gives you epistemic certainty that he was wrong, and you and Aquinas are right? The same could be said of me of course.

    There is a fundamental difference between Aquinas and Augustine on the fallibility or infallibility of human Reason. How does Special Revelation play into the thoughts and conclusions of man regarding ultimate reality and the nature of the universe? The interpretations of man regarding General Revelation is equal, and given enough time man will discover all naturalistic explanations for our existence, ultimate reality and the existence and origin of the universe? I don’t think so. We have a fundamental disagreement here.

    It is not fideism, contrary to your statements above, for Christians to take at face value the words of God when he says:

    “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy” (Ex.20:8-11).

  207. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    Could you please provide a clear and confirmable reference where either St. Thomas or the Catholic Church–as a whole or in part–ever promulgated anything even remotely resembling your accusation that the capacity for human reason was taught to be infallible? (Hint: to know something with certitude is not the same thing as infallibility.) Perhaps you’re confusing “infallible” with “impeccable”? Perhaps you didn’t notice you’re claiming 100% certitude for yourself on YEC and for Van Til on other issues… or are you excused from error?

    Also, since you claim to be Augustinian, then surely you accept the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist–body, blood, soul, and divinity:

    “The Catholic Church’s authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave the charge of feeding His sheep, up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. [Even] the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics [keeps me in the Church]” (St. Augustine, Against the Letter of Mani Called ‘The Foundation’ 4:5).

    “Jesus received earth from earth; because flesh is from the earth, and He took flesh from the flesh of Mary. He walked here in the same flesh, and gave us the same flesh to be eaten unto salvation. But no one eats that flesh unless he first adores it… and not only do we not sin by adoring [His flesh], we do sin by not adoring (St. Augustine, Explanations of the Psalms 98, 9).

    “I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table, which you now look upon and of which last night were made participants. You ought to know what you have received, what you are going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the Word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the Word of God, is the blood of Christ…. What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ (St. Augustine, Sermons 227).

    Perhaps you cherry-pick what suits your presuppositions? Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Also, do you deny you employed fallacious arguments–and I wasn’t the only one to catch you on this–in making your points? Pointing out your errors is not itself an error. Denying you employed fallacious arguments is a lie.

    Your remaining points I’m not interested in addressing.

  208. Melissa says:

    Steve,

    In my comment above to Charlie, I said that misunderstandings will abound. I think this is one area where you might have misunderstood me, for I don’t claim that at all.

    In the other thread when I bought these issues up you labelled them irrelevant. If you have changed your mind since then that is good.

    we must rely on others who have done the due diligence

    It is true we all rely on others work, and build upon that, but we can to a certain extent test their claims, see whether they have done their due diligence, analyse their reasoning etc, etc. Part of that is also comparing those positions with competing positions and making a fair assessment of all positions. That’s using reason as well as faith.

    You want to claim that Genesis 1 does not mean what it says about God creating in six calendar days, or that Ex. 20: 8-11 and Ex. 31:17 do not either, because of the culture of other ANE writings when this was written. Can’t you see that there are a lot of assumptions with that?

    The claim of many scholars is that Genesis may be functioning as a polemic against the surrounding cultures, ie a theological statement against the prevailing pagan views rather than a literal account of creation. That is one alternate view to yours, one which you have failed to interact with. That is where we diverge, I don’t care so much if you have a different opinion about creation, I do care that you right off other views by calling into question the motivations of the people holding them and by claiming they make “presumptuous assumptions” without showing one hint that you have bothered to examine your own. I’m currently studying under a world class expert in OT and a man of faith. He does not expect us to agree with him on faith, he does expect us to test, research and examine claims ourselves. You malign the character of people like him who have spent their life’s work studying the scriptures, who have a passion for those same scriptures and an honest desire to understand what they mean.

    You raise some questions that you presume others haven’t considered and yet they in effect highlight some of the assumptions you are making.

    How did Moses compile the Pentateuch, did he use previous written records, oral tradition only, or was this all dictated by God, etc.?

    Why think Moses compiled the Pentateuch?

    Can God communicate clearly, with clarity, to say what He means and mean what He says?

    Does He mean to give us a literal account of creation?

    Examine your own assumptions.

  209. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    I might add you’ve mischaracterized Tom’s blog: it is not so much a Protestant blog as a Christian blog, and as such it is a blog about truth, faith, and reason… which, if you examine the title of this blog a bit more carefully (perhaps even spend a few seconds contemplating the masthead), you would realize that.

    Your personal vendetta against the scope and dignity of human reason–animated partly by your Van Tilian presuppositions–runs counter to the spirit of this blog. Moreover, I find it silly that you decry human reason by appealing to your own reason, and hold your personal opinions with 100% certitude.

    Perhaps you’ve never heard of the Scholastic phrase fides quaerens intellectum? Maybe you have, but I suspect you reject it… unless it supports your personal opinions on these matters and your hyper-literalist exegesis of Scripture.

    Finally, repeatedly pummeling people over the head with Scriptural references as your personal opinions deems they should be interpreted won’t work with non-believers, will it? Then what are you left with if you’ve already decried the scope of human reason?

  210. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    One more thing: I am no expert in presuppositionalism. From the little I’ve been exposed to it up to now (usually in the context of Calvin’s errors) AND based upon my training in, among other things, Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy, Van Til’s approach is circular… and therefore I reject it.

    If you had carefully read the first part of the sixth paragraph of my comment @209 (as it applies to atheism) you might have picked up on a healthier version of presuppositionalism (credit: Jacques Maritain) which sees sin as the active denigrator of our capacity to reason rather than the Van Tilian a priori and categorically-cast assumption (Scripturally and philosophically baseless apart from its circularity) that our capacity to reason is always uncertain and flawed. If you think about it, Van Til’s fallaciousness is actually quite blatant: he—like you—decries reason by appealing to, yep, reason. And, he wants us to accept his presuppositionalism with 100% intellectual certitude—which, by your own rules he cannot do.

    No, try as you might, I have no interest in nor will I pursue this with you. Nonetheless, since you kinda charitably noted “The [lack of epistemic certitude] could be said of me of course,” which means you actually might be open to serious criticisms of presuppositionalism, I offer this link and this one… make of them what you like. Again, I will NOT pursue this with you.

  211. Tom Gilson says:

    Holopupenko,

    This is not an exclusively Protestant blog, but it is a Protestant’s blog. It is about truth, faith, and reason, you are correct on that. Although I appreciate Roman Catholic contributions to faith and philosophy, I have certain strong disagreements with Catholic theology. I have chosen not to emphasize those disagreement. You, however, have sometimes chosen to emphasize your disagreements with Protestantism. Your most recent reference to “Calvin’s errors” is gratuitous at best.

    I found the exchange with Kevin Winters I mentioned a short while ago, and I think it’s worth expanding on that now. I said this to him:

    You seem to find it quite important that we understand this:

    1. Evangelicals often get things wrong.
    2. Moreland and Craig in particular get things wrong.
    3. The only way to get things right is to understand Heidegger correctly.
    4. There’s nothing you can do here to help us understand Heidegger correctly because it’s too difficult.

    I think I could say the same to you, replacing “Heidegger” with “Thomas Aquinas.”

    The question I then had for Kevin went like this:

    I think it’s perfectly legitimate for you to say these things and to make these points. You have expressed them quite clearly, and you ought to feel satisfied that you have successfully done so, though by your own admission you haven’t actually explained why (1) through (3) are true. Because of (4), as you have told us, you haven’t been able to get beyond stating them as bare assertions.

    If (4) is true, though, and there’s nothing we can do here about (1), (2), and (3), then I don’t know what you might be able to do about it. That will have to be up to you. Continuing to re-state (1) through (4), however, lacking any further explication or defense of those points, is probably no longer necessary.

    You are not in precisely the same position Kevin was in, because at times you have tried to explain yourself, whereas he never did. It seems to me, though, that you have decided it is not possible to explain your position in this kind of venue. I think the regular contributors here know now where you stand, in general terms, so it’s no longer necessary for you to tell us your general opinion.

    If you can actually explain it, that’s different. You did that successfully, as far as I’m concerned, in your 5:33 pm comment to Steve (once you got past the drive-by allusion to Calvin’s “errors”), so I know you can work that way. You’ve done it more often than not, in fact. Where that approach is not possible, I don’t know what to suggest to you. I’m sure it’s frustrating to you, and I can appreciate that frustration; but surely you can see your frustration won’t be relieved by continuing to try the same thing that isn’t working.

    Meanwhile I want you to know I have a high level of appreciation for John Calvin and Martin Luther. I am aware that they were decidedly not perfect, and that their theologies were not perfect, either, but I am exceedingly grateful for their place in church history nonetheless.

    This is a blog about truth, faith, and reason; it is not a blog about pummeling others’ opinions, as you yourself told Steve Drake. Substantive criticisms are welcome, as you know. Non-substantive drive-by allusions to unspecified and unexplained errors (like Calvin’s?) are divisive, unhelpful, and not welcome.

    We are friends and I trust we will remain friends. I trust also that what I have just explained will make sense to you. Once again I want to point to Ephesians 4:15 and Ephesians 4:29 as guiding principles for discussion.

  212. Tom Gilson says:

    Melissa, your comment to Steve,

    I don’t care so much if you have a different opinion about creation, I do care that you write off other views by calling into question the motivations of the people holding them and by claiming they make “presumptuous assumptions” without showing one hint that you have bothered to examine your own…. You malign the character of people like him who have spent their life’s work studying the scriptures, who have a passion for those same scriptures and an honest desire to understand what they mean.

    … is well spoken.

    Steve, you asked,

    Can God communicate clearly, with clarity, to say what He means and mean what He says?

    Yes, he can.

    Now that we’re agreed on that (it’s not hard), I’m not sure what relevance that has to the issue at hand. God can do anything that is not logically impossible, or not contradictory to his character (and I think those two conditions are the same, stated in different words). But has God done everything that he can do? God’s ability to do something is obviously no indication that he has done it.

    Is it clear to you that God desires to communicate clearly about everything? Then why did no one understand clearly the prophecies of the Messiah’s first coming?

    You ask, “Could it be that my insistence on a young earth has triggered this vitriol?” The answer is no. It’s not your insistence on a young earth. Bryan has not triggered vitriol. There’s something else going on here. It has already been explained to you. I hope for your sake you are willing to listen.

  213. Tom Gilson says:

    If you hadn’t guessed, I’ve been away from regular blogging for a while. Our family is just coming home from a two-week vacation, during which I had sporadic access to the Internet and intermittent time to stay caught up. (I make a policy of not announcing these trips in advance. I don’t really want to publicize it when no one is at our house.)

    One effect of that is that I’ve turned into more of a peanut-gallery observer than a real participant in these discussions. I’m sorry for being out of touch so much, and for coming in late and offering this kind of commentary on what I’m seeing. I hope it’s worth something to you, even though it’s not all positive. I really appreciate all of you who participate here. Even though I don’t agree with everything I read from you, I’d stack this group of visitors/commenters up against any other on the Internet. You’re the best. Thanks for holding down the fort in my semi-absence.

  214. Tom Gilson says:

    A couple other items to tie up…

    Steve, you said,

    @Holopupenko,
    It was in another thread, brother. You or Tom or Neil can substantiate the charge. I’m not going to go back into the archives with what others can remember from those discussions. If Neil is still around, let us ask him.

    I have a good search function available to me as admin on the blog. There is no comment in which Holopupenko directed the word “idiot” at Neil. If he said something similar using other words, I am unable to substantiate it as you wish me to do, because I don’t recall him doing it and I don’t know how I would search for it.

    You asked in #202,

    What is belligerent about asking for clarification?

    There’s nothing belligerent about asking for clarification. There’s something disingenuous in your suggesting that’s what I had in mind when I said what I did in #201. Hint: it had something to do with your keeping the contentions about “experts” alive in the way you did.

    This might be a further indication to you of what is provoking the negative response you’re getting here.

  215. Holopupenko says:

    Tom:

    First, the comment about Calvin was not “gratuitous” as you claim: it was in the same vein as your “strong disagreements with Catholic theology”. I don’t find anything gratuitous or offense about you stating that. Moreover, it was a statement of fact: I DID learn about presuppositionalism when I was learning about Calvin’s errors. You are also incorrect because you modify Catholic with “Roman”: there are a good number of rites within the Catholic Church—eastern, western very roughly distinguished with further distinctions largely (although not exclusively) along ethic lines—with different theological tints woven into a very colorful, but nonetheless united, fabric. I happen to be baptized a Greek [Eastern] Catholic (for all intents and purposes Eastern Orthodox in its theology), which I would be willing to bet, doesn’t fall within your “98%” understanding of Catholicism.

    Regarding the Kevin Winters comparison: now that IS a largely (although not exclusively) gratuitous swipe times four.

    First, if you have such a good command of the search function, you should be able to substantiate with references when I ever criticized Evangelical Protestants. Let me save the time: nowhere, in fact. It is with Evangelicals among Protestants that I have the closest affinity. I work at a university where a good portion of the faculty are converts from the Evangelical community to Catholicism… and you know Peter Kreeft, Jay Budziszewski, Francis Beckwith, and others are such converts as well. What I’ve criticized is specific philosophical ideas… that tend to animate theological errors. Did you miss that?

    Second, On this blog I’ve complemented Moreland and Craig for being in the trenches with Catholics, and you know perhaps all too well my prickly disposition with respect to atheists largely out of ignorance criticizing believers. But, I’ve also pointed out specific errors Craig and Moreland absorbed that, whether you agree or not, damages Protestant theology. No need for a search: simply pay attention to what was in this post. What makes your swipe particularly strange is I specifically mentioned two highly influential Catholics—Scotus and Ockham—and pointed out their grievous errors. We Catholics bear responsibility to some extent for people who have promulgated great errors that Protestant brethren have absorbed. I wish my apologies in this respect could fix things…

    Third, “the only way to get things [right] is to understand [Aquinas] correctly.” Well, again, look just above to my comment where I specifically said understand but not necessarily accept or “get thing right.”

    Fourth, “There’s nothing you can do here to help us understand [Aquinas] correctly because it’s too difficult.” Really? Where did I say that? What I said was, to honor your blog (yet again, refer to what I said above), it’s not a book and I abuse the electrons to lead a course in Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics. Heavy lifting (actually reading and understanding)? Yes. Accepting? No… expressed multiple times.

    With respect to Steve Drake, I repeat my criticisms of his position were focused on his views of reality (not his version of Protestantism), which, because those views are erroneous, animate errors in his exegesis of Scripture. They hurt Protestantism, in fact AND science… as does Craig and Moreland’s strong implication in their textbook that the number two exists like the carbon atom (univocity of being), as does Luther’s absorption of Ockham’s nominalism and his rantings against reason. I am, to quote you, focusing on Luther’s and Calvin’s “imperfections.”

    The rest of your comment (except for the Calvin connection) I, as usual, accept and appreciate. That my MO may have colored your four-point Kevin Winters comparison to me, I readily admit. That Protestantism helped Catholics to clean up their house and have certain actors (but not the doctrine) return to the proper focus and primary goal should elicit deep gratitude toward certain Protestant thinkers… a level of gratitude that, unfortunately to this day, remains weak in my opinion. You are likely getting tired of apologies repeatedly broken… I can only try again: I’m sorry. You’re a good man.

  216. Charlie says:

    Hi Holopupenko,
    I truly appreciate your last comment and your willingness to acknowledge errors you may have made in presentation. Again I reiterate that you are a tremendous ally (SteveDrake never quite got what I meant when I told him we Christians are allies and we ought not alienate one another), and a good (e)friend who has taught me a lot and encouraged me all the time.

    But I will just weigh in to say I did not think Tom’s remarks gratuitous, and I agreed with him and thought it myself on your Calvin comment. My ears steamed when I read your first reference, as they do when you swipe Luther. On top of that, I have thought many, many times about how appropriate Tom’s remark was to Kevin Winters on Heidegger and how much it would also apply to you. You are looking more at the detailed contrast rather than the general comparison, I think.

    As to Craig and Moreland, I am sure this is my own prejudice and bias, but I can only recall (and I do so often) your introducing them (often) to criticize them. Perhaps you’ve complimented them, but that kind of thing does not stand out in my memory. Maybe I’m wrong, but if I imagine it I see it as a grudging admission after a rebuttal.

    Nonetheless, all I am saying is that Tom’s impressions on this are also mine. Maybe all it does is go to demonstrate how differently we see things when we disagree on a subject and might alert us to how we communicate.
    For instance, I feel like that is the first time I have ever seen it written here that Tom (or any of we, his regular allies) have mentioned Catholocism, let alone mentioning that we disagree, let alone even talking about a specific disagreement.

    Take that for what it is worth, and from your brother in Christ.

    ps.
    I happen to love Kreeft and Beckwith, and although I disagree often with Beckwith this is the first you’ve heard his name from me.

  217. Holopupenko says:

    Thanks, Charlie.

  218. Tom Gilson says:

    Thanks for that Charlie. I want to echo this especially:

    Again I reiterate that you [Holopupenko, that is] are a tremendous ally … and a good (e)friend who has taught me a lot and encouraged me all the time.

  219. Victoria says:

    Just as an FYI, I came across this excellent summary of Stellar Astrophysics and the Standard Solar Model (it also deals with YEC objections to then model).

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-solar.html

    For anyonne who is interested in keeping up with the state of the art…

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/

    And, if Steve can refer us to Aig, ICR and creation.com, then surely I can refer to

    http://www.answersincreation.org/rebuttal/magazines/Creation/2004/article_v26_i3_steady_sun.htm

  220. Victoria says:

    and, finally, if anyone wants to follow the Geocentrism debate.

    http://dealingwithcreationisminastronomy.blogspot.com/2011/08/geocentrism-laser-ranging-experiments.html

    I’ve burned up enough time on this. I stand behind my original position (see #53), and I agree with the critics of YEC and Geocentrism – this is not good science.
    Steve, we will simply have to agree to disagree on this issue.

  221. Bryan says:

    I think it is telling that you have to quote from websites of the staunchest enemies of Christianity in an attempt to ‘debunk’ YEC. Oy

  222. Victoria says:

    What are you accusing me of, Bryan?
    I referred to that site only because it is looking at the science.

  223. Steve Drake says:

    Victoria#227,
    As if YEC scientists don’t look at the science. Your biases and presuppositions are coming through loud and clear, and yet the funny thing is, you don’t recognize them. Whose bias is the right bias to be biased with Victoria? You certainly have the right to refer us and others to talkorigins, and these other articles, just like we have and may direct you to those we agree with, so does it come down to whose ‘bias’ we then accept as the correct answer for such things?

  224. Tom Gilson says:

    Bryan, surely you are aware of the genetic fallacy?

  225. Holopupenko says:

    Tom:

    A little adult supervision please: conspiracy theories are creeping into the garden.

    “… staunchest enemies of Christianity”?!? So those Christians opposed to YEC are no longer Christians?

    “Whose bias is the right bias to be biased with…?” Is this an example of serious discourse?

    … so does it come down to whose ‘bias’ we then accept as the correct answer for such things? Do you understand what’s being implied? Since all sides are biased, the YEC’s “win” because they’re the ones interpreting Scripture correctly. Why are we wasting time thinking on this blog?

    I can’t remember the name of the post-modernist contributor who regaled us with his anti-reason charm about a year and one-half ago, but this stuff is on roughly the same level. Am I employing “smack-down pejoratives” for pointing this out? Arguing with people who limit or decry human reason or employ fallacious reasoning is a no win-no win situation. That’s why Aristotle’s wisdom from over 2,400 years ago suggested we drop it and move on…

  226. Tom Gilson says:

    Holopupenko,

    I would not call this “adult supervision”–that’s rather patronizing. Bryan is correct to describe that particular website as staunchly anti-Christian. To dismiss it that way without bothering with what it says is silly, though. Francis Crick was staunchly anti-Christian; does that mean we can’t trust that DNA is a double helix?

    The Scriptures are trustworthy and true, but they are not our only reliable source of information about the world.

    We have two books; both need to be interpreted Interpreted accurately and truly, the two will unfailingly agree. If they seem to disagree, we are misinterpreting at least one of them. Which one? To say it must necessarily be the book of nature we are interpreting seems to be oddly prejudging the case–biasing it, in other words.

  227. I think I owe it to you guys to elaborate. Like Steve said, when it comes to questions pertaining to origins science, no one just ‘looks at the science’. We bring our biases, presuppositions and philosophies to the table. We are human.

    Talkorigins and others are staunchly anti-Christian. Their naturalistic philosophy is manifest. Therefore, when Christians cite these sources when arguing with other Christians, we become what Lenin refered to as ‘useful idiots’-we unwittingly advance a cause whose real aim is to fatally undermine our own cause. Those at Talkorigins would love for nothing more than to see every church in the world converted into a strip club or mini-mart. In my opinion, that these webpages are cited in opposition to biblical (‘young Earth’) creationism is evidence that old Earth creationism is the bedfellow of atheistic materialism.

  228. Tom Gilson says:

    Bryan,

    I’m not seeing how this works:

    In my opinion, that these webpages are cited in opposition to biblical (‘young Earth’) creationism is evidence that old Earth creationism is the bedfellow of atheistic materialism.

    Does this mean that only Christians can discover truths about reality? Was Crick wrong until some Bible-believing Christian confirmed the DNA findings?

  229. Holopupenko says:

    Wait a second, the Talk Origins link was about the physics of the sun. How is what is presents biased “against” Christianity? To imply conspiracy (as Bryan does–hence by call for adult supervision) simply because the verifiable physics disagrees with YEC interpretations is, well, embarrassing. Moreover, our human capacity for reason permits us to work around biases: we are not just biased and hence we should give up reasoning. The human capacity for reason works, metaphorically speaking, like the message in the side-view mirror: Warning: Objects in the Mirror Appear Further Than They Really Are. We adjust, we learn, we move on.

    It’s the decrying of human reason–the very gift of God (the tiny spark of the Logos) that sets us apart from the brutes–that is extremely troubling about YECers. They decry or intentionally hamstring/limit human reason in the vain attempt to drive the discussion to the only (allegedly) authoritative source of knowledge–the Scripture… per their circular presuppositions. And, regarding Steve Drakes self-proclaimed Augustinianism, St. Augustine clearly and precisely admonished believers against such a disordered approach to understanding physical reality.

    Your genetic fallacy point, Tom, regarding Francis Crick and DNA, was superb… as was your third paragraph.

  230. Tom,

    “We have two books…”

    What I believe to be a critical problem with this analogy is that ‘nature’ does not make formal propositions like a book does, “a verbal [or written] statement that is either true or false; it is a rational declaration capable of being either believed, doubted or denied.” Nature really has nothing to ‘say’, whereas the Bible has many things to say.

    http://creation.com/the-bible-and-hermeneutics

    “Does this mean that only Christians can discover truths about reality? Was Crick wrong until some Bible-believing Christian confirmed the DNA findings?”

    You appear to be confusing operational science (biochemistry) with the historical sciences.

  231. Tom Gilson says:

    I see. First, the physics of the sun is a matter of historical science rather than operational science; second, since it’s a matter of historical science, only Christians are qualified to interpret it’s findings. Thank you for clearing that up for us.

  232. If Holo is right about the talkorigins article, I apologize. I hadn’t read the entire thing and I haven’t read enough of this thread to see what prompted it being cited in the first place. Though I wonder why such an article would be on talk’origins’.

    Nevertheless, it isn’t hard to imagine an OEC citing talkorigins when discussing the Big Bang or geology with a YEC.

  233. Tom Gilson says:

    I’ll have to come back later to respond to the page you linked to on hermeneutics. I’m on my mobile again, and it’s just too hard to compose a good reply. It’s an interesting article and worthy of a thoughtful response.

  234. Victoria says:

    YEC claims to be science. If it can’t stand the heat of the scientific kitchen…

    If YEC wants to be taken seriously as science, then it should expect to be enaged by the professional scientific community. How about I refer you to the American Scientific Affiliation (www.asa3.org) – professional scientists / professing Christians who would put forward the same arguments against YEC, based on our understanding of the science (I’m a member, hence ‘our’). Or how about Hugh Ross’ site (www.reasons.org)?

    I could also refer you to graduate or research level astrophysics textbooks, for those of you with the requisite training in physics and mathematics….

  235. Tom Gilson says:

    Thanks for the apology, Bryan. I’m still not sure what to make of the end of it, but I appreciate the first part. I’ve made the same kind of mistake often enough.

  236. Holopupenko says:

    Thanks, Bryan.

  237. Victoria,

    Imagine if you were to take away all of the identifying marks from talkorigins (rabid materialists), asa3 and reasons.org (old Earth creationism). Would you be able distinguish talkorigins.org from the other two? I doubt it. I see my post concerning ‘useful idiocy’ as relevant here.

    Also, both the secular and biblical paradigms have scientific issues. Should scientists abandon evolution (or whatever) because they haven’t figured everything out by now? Modern YEC has only been around for about 50 years and we have absolutely no federal funding. Contrast that with secular science.

  238. Victoria says:

    I confess that I did not spend much time on talkorigins, other than that link to stellar astrophysics.

    As to the other site, dealing with geocentrism, I read through the blog series more carefully – I didn’t see any evidence of rabid anti-Christian sentiment, as the posts addressed specific scientific claims of geocentrism. If YEC can criticize the scientific consensus, then the professional community can answer those criticisms, on scientific grounds. After all, it is the response of the professional scientific community that YEC must answer.

  239. Holopupenko says:

    Bryan:

    I’m not sure either of your points to Victoria are valid:

    (1) Taking away all the “distinguishing marks” actually works in the favor of science: properly practiced science has no ideological mask. The fact that talk origins and asa3 agree on issues properly scientific is fantastic. Now, try the same thing with a YEC site and strictly compare the “science” they practice to these other sites: you’ll notice a big difference.

    (2) Length on the science and level of funding is not an argument for the truth content of the positions.

    Now, on either of these, don’t get me wrong: we live in a real world with real broken humans who cling tenaciously to their theories–even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Obtaining funding IS an uphill battle. BUT, from my perspective that’s okay. It’s like the NFL underdog not given home field advantage to “even things out”: they have to REALLY demonstrate that they’re better–even under less then optimal conditions. Scientific findings and theories have to prove their case in the face of relentless criticisms, and that’s VERY good. Like Victoria correctly noted, if YEC can’t stand the heat of the scientific kitchen, then so much the worse for them.

    Finally, from the historical perspective, of course the modern empirical sciences are not “ideologically” clean, i.e., they did not just pop out of the thin air. Tom’s review of James Hannam’s book bears this out: the MESs arose as a SELF-SUSTAINING human endeavor ONLY in a Christian context. It’s the Christian faith that makes science possible in the first place at the level of establishing a proper understanding of the philosophical principles of reality upon which the MESs are based; but that doesn’t mean the Christian faith “does” science. Science does science: per St. Augustine, the sciences tell us how the heavens work so that (among other things) we can properly and correctly reason to immaterial verities; the Christian faith tells how to get to heaven.

    One does not have leave to decry human reason just because one is a pious and well-intentioned believer… as this blog and Matthew 22:37 bear out.

  240. Victoria says:

    Oh, BTW, in case no one else has realized this, AnswersInCreation is a Christian site.

    Regarding geocentrism, even AnswersInGenesis repudiates this as ludicrous…
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/galileo-geocentrism

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v15/i2/geocentrism_review.asp

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v15/i2/geocentrism.asp

  241. Holo,

    What I think is evident is that you (and others here, perhaps) have an ideological and romanticized view of science and how science is conducted that does not bear out in reality. Surely operational science is largely without ideological bias. The historical sciences are a different animal. You seem to envision smiling scientists in white lab jackets carefully and objectively considering the evidence and weighing arguments with emotional detachment. However, as Stephen Jay Gould put it,

    “Our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method,’ with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots is self-serving mythology.”

    I could cite the problems with peer-review. I could cite the Expelled documentary. There is other evidence that could be cited. Or we can simply observe that science is done by fallible human beings.

    You’ve been living in a dreamworld, Neo.

  242. I’m confused…is someone advocating geocentricism? Lol

  243. Melissa says:

    A few thoughts on the YEC position as it has been presented here and in the links provided.

    1. It seems to impose thoroughly modern categories and ideas of what a text is, what truth is, what it means to be a truthful account onto the biblical text, ideas that would have been totally foreign to both the writers and original audience of the bible. We can pooh pooh postmodernism all we like, and rightly so in many cases, but there are elements in it’s critique that we would be wise to take heed of, especially in relation to the idea of objective accounts.

    2. It misrepresents the history of the interpretation of Genesis, either by implying or openly stating that alternative interpretations are solely a response to modern scientific claims of an old earth. Discussion of the meaning of the days and a variety of interpretations have been offered stretching all the way back to Origin with many theologians while holding a particular position, still admitted the tentative nature of belief in this area.

  244. Tom Gilson says:

    Bryan,

    Are you aware that everyone you are explaining science to here, except me, is a Ph.D. physical scientist?

  245. Holopupenko says:

    Bryan:

    Re Tom: yeah, with respect to the “everyone” to which Tom refers, it’s true… but he himself is certainly a very strong, autodidactically-sound interlocutor as well.

    Re me per Tom: “romaticized”? Nope. I’ve got the academic bona fides and years of international experience to back me up. If anything, I may be jaded by the (at times) highly unromantic way the sciences operate in the real world. (see @245 above) That’s point one. Point two is that your point is somewhat irrelevant: it matter little what my personal views are. To the extent I can get past them in the quest for truth, then THAT’S the ticket home.

  246. Victoria says:

    @Bryan (Re #247)
    Need I remind you that the model of a non-static, non-eternal universe, one that is expanding from from an initial state, was at first rejected by early 20th century physicists, most notably Einstein and Hoyle, on metaphysical/philosophical grounds? Einstein and Hoyle did not like the idea of a universe that had a beginning (for Hoyle, it sounded too much like Creation). In fact, Hoyle coined the name ‘Big Bang’, with a snort of derision.

    You can do a Google search for relevant sites, or consult one of the standard physics texts (my personal favourite is Gravitation, by Charles Misner, Kip Thorne and John Wheeler.

  247. Charlie says:

    “”Regarding geocentrism, even AnswersInGenesis repudiates this as ludicrous…”””

    Why do you say even Answers in Genesis?

  248. Melissa says:

    One further point to add to my comment above.

    The frequent use of highly loaded language both here and in the links provided raises the question of whether they are primarily making an emotional appeal rather than an appeal to reason.

  249. Victoria says:

    @Charlie
    To emphasize that it is not just OEC/TE organizations and anti-Christian professional scientists. Even YEC’s want to distance themselves from this particular and peculiar interpretation of Scripture and its pseudo-scientific claims

  250. Charlie says:

    You needed to emphasize that? As Bryan asked, is somebody advocating for geocentrism? Has it somehow been linked to YEC whereas heliocentrism has been associated primarily with OEC? This seems like an odd point to make. I wonder if you’d emphasize that even AiG does not promote angelic adjustments to the orbit of Mars?

  251. Crude says:

    Just to mention a few things I think got lost in the shuffle…

    I would still like someone to directly tell me if, from the YEC perspective, historical science is truly a science. If only operational science is ‘science’ by (at least many) YEC views, that’s fine. But I’d like to hear it, since that’s the impression I’m getting.

  252. Victoria says:

    Yes, Steve Drake posted a link to a web site
    regarding an article on Adam

    For those interested, John Byl, a professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Trinity Western University himself, like Venema has written an article on ‘The Demolition of Adam’ at http://www.bylogos.blogspot.com.

    I read the article, and found it interesting (it was thought-provoking), so I started reading some of the other posts on the site, where I came across

    On the other hand, Byl has a blog post about the motion of the earth
    http://bylogos.blogspot.com/2011/07/moving-earth.html
    that draws a rather peculiar conclusion about the motion of the earth by confusing reference frames, absolute and relative motion; what, has the man never heard of the observation of stellar parallax and the aberration of starlight?

    You’ll have to look back at the thread starting at #117
    Much to my surprise, there are YEC organizations out there, which insist that geocentrism is what Scripture teaches, and try to provide ‘scientific arguments’ to support it.

  253. Victoria says:

    Steve D asked Byl about stellar parallax, to which he posted Byl’s reply. An additional comment resulted in this reply

    RubeRad said…
    Actually, stellar parallax in your scenario (2) is an amazing coincidence (or argument from design), because rather than simply rotating around a fixed earth, the stars’ relative orbits are jiggling with exactly the parallax that is consistent with (1)

    August 11, 2011 6:59 AM
    John Byl said…
    In the geocentric model, stellar parallax is not an amazing coincidence. The stars are taken to be fixed relative to the sun–embedded in the background space. This background space shares in the annual motion of the Sun, thus producing the observed parallax.

    However, that reply is its own undoing…if the stars are fixed relative to the sun, then what of the annual motion of the sun relative to the background stars? (see here: http://www.opencourse.info/astronomy/introduction/02.motion_stars_sun/ section 2.5) In order for this to work in the geocentric model (which appears to require Tycho Brahe’s solar system model), the distant stars would have to revolve around the sun as well, and this would add an extra motion component to a star’s annual motion as seen from earth. That’s why I asked aboutm Hipparcos – a satellite in high earth orbit, to observe stellar motion and parallax – there is no evidence of this in the Hipparcos data (check their web site). In any case, this also ignores the observed proper motions of the stars, independent of the sun; to say nothing of what it means for modern celestialm and orbital mechanics.

  254. Victoria says:

    sorry for the ‘m’s – a Dell flat keyboard and long fingernails don’t go together well, and I’m too much a girly girl to keep them short 🙂

  255. Victoria says:

    @Holo (#234)
    you said
    Your genetic fallacy point, Tom, regarding Francis Crick and DNA, was superb… as was your third paragraph.

    Was that an intended pun (genetic, DNA)? 🙂

  256. Victoria says:

    I tried to edit #259 to correct some wording, and it lost a previous edit…
    The apparent annual motion of the sun on the celestial sphere is determined by reference to the distant stars

  257. Holopupenko says:

    Victoria:

    Yes: you win the long-fingernailed Kewpie doll!

    😉

    I thought it fell flat, so I didn’t want to embarrass myself.

  258. Charlie says:

    Thanks, Victoria.
    I see what you’re saying. So Steve Drake was arguing for geocentrism?
    Or are Byl’s YEC views dependent upon his views regarding stellar parallax?

  259. Victoria says:

    @Charlie
    Ummm…I don’t know if SteveD was specifically arguing for geocentrism (I hope I didn’t imply that).

    I guess you’d have to check out some of the geocentrism web sites (Geocentricity.com, I think is one – those AiG links mention some).
    Check out Byl’s site as well, and read what he says…what I came away with was this ‘YEC implies geocentrism because the the sun was not created until day 4, but the earth was there on day 1, so in a heliocentric model, what was it orbiting until day 4?’

  260. Charlie says:

    Hi Victoria,

    I guess you’d have to check out some of the geocentrism web sites

    ‘YEC implies geocentrism because the the sun was not created until day 4, but the earth was there on day 1, so in a heliocentric model, what was it orbiting until day 4?’

    So it is your belief that if you defeat geocentrism you’ve necessarily defeated YEC?

  261. Crude says:

    To the scientists present in this thread – since geocentrism is the topic anyway – I was hoping someone could answer me a simple question.

    I understand the geocentrism was of course disproven, at least as much as it can be. But isn’t it also the case that heliocentrism was the model that replaced geocentrism, and that heliocentrism has always been disproven (particularly given general relativity)?

    Thank you.

  262. Victoria says:

    Actually, it occured to me late last night (while I should have been sleeping!) that I made a false assumption(or misinterpretation) of Byl’s kinematic model back in post #259 – namely about the problem of the sun’s apparent motion on the celestial sphere as seen from the earth. If Byl meant by ‘the stars are fixed relative to the sun…” that a vector drawn from the sun to an arbitrary point in this fixed space would not rotate, but maintain a fixed direction in space as the sun ‘orbited the earth’, then that would provide the kinematic effect of the sun’s annual motion wrt to the fixed stars as seen from earth. So, I’ll grant that this is what Byl meant.

    Having said that, though….
    Geocentrism really maintains that the earth is fixed, so what kind of gravitational dynamics can geocentrism provide to justify the completely ad hoc (and physically questionable) idea that the sun is dragging basically the rest of the observable universe around with it? This must completely reject the modern relativistic formulation of celestial mechanics (which reduces to classical Newtonian mechanics in the non-relativistic limits) – hard to do since the theory works so well, especially to be able to send spacecraft to other planets. Or does it work for every other body in the universe except the earth?

    @Crude (#267) Huh? GR disproves heliocentrism?

    @Charlie (#266) Well, only if geocentrism is actually a necessary component of YEC, I think. AiG doesn’t think so, so if that is their position, that’s fine with me. My quote was from geocentric YEC sites.

  263. Steve Drake says:

    @Tom#236,

    I see. First, the physics of the sun is a matter of historical science rather than operational science; second, since it’s a matter of historical science, only Christians are qualified to interpret it’s findings. Thanks for clearing that up for us.

    I don’t see that Bryan is saying that. In regards to an informed Christian worldview I offer the following consideration: it (the ICW) maintains the indelibly revelational character of every fact of the created universe and the all-controlling providence of God in governing every event in history. Can we agree on that?

    Secondly, the non-Christian worldview and it’s autonomous philosophy are not ‘neutral’ on such crucial points, but in fact works on assumptions that are quite contrary to them. The non-Christian view of science for example, presupposes (a) the autonomy of man, (b) the non-created character, i.e., the chance-controlled character, of facts, and (c) that laws rest not in God but somewhere out there in the universe.

    One can then not allow the suitability or legitimacy of using autonomous presuppositions with respect to any aspect of knowledge, as though they can make sense of the natural world but must then be set aside when one thinks about the supernatural aspects of God’s revelation in Scripture.

    As it relates to this debate over OEC/TE and YEC, one must distinguish between (1) what we can truly observe in our scientific endeavors, or (2) whether we are adopting the other side’s presuppositions as it relates to origins and the theorizing of science independent of God’s revelation in Scripture. I think this is all I’ve been trying to say, and I think that is what Bryan is referring to as well in the distinction between historical science and observational science.

  264. Charlie says:

    Hi Victoria,
    I guess I’m going to have to end this soon as it feels like I am getting close to doing nothing but badgering, but ….

    Geocentrism really maintains that the earth is fixed, so what kind of gravitational dynamics can geocentrism provide to justify the completely ad hoc (and physically questionable) idea that the sun is dragging basically the rest of the observable universe around with it? This must completely reject the modern relativistic formulation of celestial mechanics (which reduces to classical Newtonian mechanics in the non-relativistic limits) – hard to do since the theory works so well, especially to be able to send spacecraft to other planets

    So what?
    Are you musing out loud because you are enjoying thinking the topic out in public?
    Or are you arguing with somebody? If so, with whom?
    You’ve said you don’t want to imply that Steve is a geocentrist, and you’ve admitted it is not a necessary requirement of a YEC position, so why do you keep talking about geocentrism?

  265. Victoria says:

    @Charlie
    I guess I got caught up in the pseudo-science issue that Geocentrism represents 🙂

    I was done with the topic as well, until Bryan threw down a gauntlet a few posts back.

  266. Victoria says:

    @Steve (#269)
    The official position of the ASA (as I remind you, is an organization of professional scientists who are Christian) would disagree with your assessment.

  267. Charlie says:

    Hi Victoria,
    It seems more like you got caught up fallaciously poisoning the well.

    I should point out that even ASA members believe the Bible. Right? 🙂

  268. Victoria says:

    @Charlie
    Would you want to base a Christian worldview and apologetic on erroneous positions?

    It’s not just the ASA, either….I think reasons.org (Hugh Ross and associates) would say the same thing.

    Clearly we are not going to resolve scientific issues in a public blog – this should be done by professional scientists in the professional scientific community

  269. Charlie says:

    Victoria,

    Would you want to base a Christian worldview and apologetic on erroneous positions?

    Not at all. Would you?
    Do you think anybody here has based his Christian worldview on geocentrism? Or are you poisoning the well?

    It’s not just the ASA, either….I think reasons.org (Hugh Ross and associates) would say the same thing.

    That’s right, isn’t it. Even OEC RTB takes God’s revelation seriously.

    From what I can see, this thread has produced nothing worthwhile at all – I surely doubt that the hope that is within me is based on stellar parallax or the definition of yom(1 Peter 3:15).
You have all missed the point! What is it with you women, anyway?
    😉

  270. Charlie says:

    Clearly we are not going to resolve scientific issues in a public blog – this should be done by professional scientists in the professional scientific community

    And what should we do with their claims when we know that they are all accepted provisionally, are subject to change, are likely to be wrong, etc.?

    When professional biologists tell us that evolution itself plainly teaches that there is no soul, no afterlife, no morality, etc. how should that inform our reading of Scripture?

    When cosmologists tell us that science shows that the universe can come out of nothing, can nobody but a cosmologist debate this or doubt it?

    When a team of Nobel Laureates inform the public and judiciary that the evidence clearly shows us that our evolution is unplanned and unguided are only scientists qualified to question them?

    And when neurologists claim man is nothing but matter and this is demonstrated scientifically, what then?

    Was a religious worldview not to be brought to weigh against the science of eugenics and the practice of abortion?

    What does science tell us about the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, Real Presence, walking on water, water into wine, etc. ?

  271. Holopupenko says:

    Charlie:

    I think you’re pushing this a bit unfairly. If I understood correctly, part of Victoria’s point is that people believed geocentrism as the cosmological model for various reasons (including the Aristotelian conception) but also because they wrongly (not “incorrectly” but “wrongly“–meaning they shouldn’t have done it in the first place) imposed their own incorrect interpretation of the Scriptures upon the Book of Nature.

    In that light, YEC proponents do the same thing–worse, in fact, because we have overwhelming evidence against YEC and centuries of Biblical exegesis and reflection (including St. Augustine’s admonition to stop such damaging silliness) upon the Genesis account of creation against which they vainly tilt. Worse yet, they attack human reason, warp science or misappropriate to fit their presuppositions. To apply the end of my first paragraph against YEC: its proponents wrongly impose their own, personal, and incorrect interpretation of the Scriptures upon the Book of Nature.

    The parallel is striking. You’d think we would have learned. Nope. Exhibit A for the court of reason: Intelligent Design.

  272. Steve Drake says:

    @Charlie#276,
    At the risk of offending and disappointing you brother (there’s no sarcasm there), I rightly say: Affirmative.

  273. Holopupenko says:

    Charlie:

    Now @276: Whoa! First, regarding your first paragraph, there are lots of examples in which scientific knowledge is 100% certain. Example: it’s not philosophers or theologians who discovered, explored, and expanded upon the fact that the human circulatory system consists of a closed blood vessel system exchanging gases through the lungs and powered by a four-chambered muscle called the heart. Do you think any new information will overturn this knowledge, i.e., that this knowledge is “contingent” upon new information? Don’t bet your life on it.

    Second, your paragraphs 2-5. All these examples do show, quite starkly, that scientists are expanding way beyond their competence. I can readily address them all philosophically AND scientifically to show they’re full of buffalo chips: NONE of their “conclusions” are scientific in the first place.

    Third, your paragraphs 6 & 7: yes, I agree, but it’s kinda irrelevant… or at least you’re getting ahead of your headlights. Of course Scripturally-based faith can and should inform these questions… but I hasten to add, properly interpreted Scripture. Would you want geocentrism or YEC “informing” scientific work… even if scientists performing that work stray off the reservation to say stupid unscientific things?

    How about a blatant example–homosexual acts? You don’t need (but it’s nice to have) the Scriptures to validate the fact that homosexual acts are biologically disordered and extremely dangerous AND (evolutionarily-speaking) self-destructive. Does the ability of biological SCIENCE to say something against homosexual acts take away even one iota of authority and truth from the Scriptures? Not at all: what made biological SCIENCES possible in the first place? Correct: Biblically-based Christianity… correctly interpreted. Does the fact that the universe is 13.62+ billion years old or that you and I are composed of atoms originating in supernova explosions in any way affect Biblical Faith? Nope.

  274. Steve Drake says:

    @Holopupenko#277,
    There’s no unfairness in asking the questions that Charlie asks in #276. As to ‘imposing their own incorrect interpretation of the Scriptures upon the Book of Nature’, please read Charlie’s questions again, and see if it isn’t yourself that might be imposing your incorrect interpretations of nature on Scriptures such as Ex. 20-8-11, Ex. 31:17.

  275. Charlie says:

    Hi Holopupenko,
    Thank you for the caution. I am wavering a little as to the fairness and propriety as well.

    I think you are right in that Victoria did introduce geocentrism as a parallel initially. But she has gone way beyond that since then. She used it to try to discredit Byl on his article on Adam. This is poisoning the well. And she has continued to argue it as though it is on the table for debate – implying that somebody is arguing against her on this issue. This is not the case. She is clearly trying to show equate the two ideas (YEC and geocentrism) as equally erroneous, and equally wrong-headed. But she is doing so by arguing only against the one when it is not necessarily connected to the other – again, poisoning the well.

    In that light, YEC proponents do the same thing–worse, in fact, because we have overwhelming evidence against YEC and centuries of Biblical exegesis and reflection (including St. Augustine’s admonition to stop such damaging silliness) upon the Genesis account of creation against which they vainly tilt.

    Geoncentrism might be an example worth pointing out, but arguing against its merits does not argue against YEC. What you have done here is present (in frame) a case against YEC. Notice, it does not involve showing how geocentrism is wrong.

    The parallel is striking. You’d think we would have learned. Nope. Exhibit A for the court of reason: Intelligent Design.

    I see this a little differently than you do. Indeed, your own defence bolsters my view. The problem was not that a Biblical interpretation was imposed upon nature, but that a natural hypothesis was read back into Scripture. The science of the day clearly showed that geocentrism was correct and the Church wrongly read this into Scripture. Then Galileo wrongly (though not incorrectly) insisted that scripture be reinterpreted to fit with his unproven theory. The Church’s position then was a commendable one – let’s await proof on what the science says.
    But yes, we ought to learn the lesson from this episode – scientific theories change all the time, our understanding of nature is incomplete and will continue to be incomplete, and when you base your interpretation of the Word of God on your understanding of nature you are bound to be wrong.
    Augustine had this right – he told us that we can’t be dogmatic about such things and make a matter of faith these kinds of interpretations.
    We might think ourselves right and others wrong, but their error does not make them non-Christian or worthy of attack.

    BTW, how do you answer my questions on the Resurrection, Real Presence etc., in its relation to science? Were we justified in believing that Nazareth was a real town, for instance, even when the (practitioners of the) science of archaeology said that was not the case?

  276. Victoria says:

    @Charlie
    I did NOT bring up geocentrism to discredit Byl on Adam. I thought it was a good article that raised serious issues on how to understand Genesis 2.
    I happened to discover that he had a position on geocentrism, and I was surprised to discover that this was, in fact, a seriously held position by some YEC proponents. I wanted to explore and understand the rationale behind holding such a position, nothing more, nothing less.

    Yes, I did take the thread off into the Twilight Zone 🙂

  277. Charlie says:

    Hi again,

    Do you think any new information will overturn this knowledge, i.e., that this knowledge is “contingent” upon new information? Don’t bet your life on it.

    Yes, indeed I think this is possible. Every day we are finding out that nature is so much more than we thought it was that very obvious and simple ideas – like this organ is vestigial and useless – are not correct.
    Will I bet my life on it? No, not at all. But here you are privileging as “science” the thing we have always done, and that is to look at things and describe them. Calling this “science” and then lumping in things like OOL or string theory and affording them the same surety or respect because they are also “science” is fallacious.
    I’m not saying you are doing this here, but that is the difference as I see it.

    NONE of their “conclusions” are scientific in the first place.

    But they are scientists and they tell us that these are scientific conclusions. How would you tell Will Provine that biology proves an afterlife?

    Third, your paragraphs 6 & 7: yes, I agree, but it’s kinda irrelevant… or at least you’re getting ahead of your headlights. Of course Scripturally-based faith can and should inform these questions… but I hasten to add, properly interpreted Scripture.

    Exactly – properly-interpreted Scripture. But there are many who “properly” interpret Scripture to show that Jesus was not Divine, that He was not Resurrected and that He could do no miracles. And there are those who do so with “science” as their guide, because it plainly shows that miracles and resurrections are impossible.
    So none of us, not you or Victoria, allows current science to dictate how we interpret Scripture, nor do we await the cycle of observation-hypothesizing- testing- and induction to confirm our interpretations.
    There are times and places where we each insist that it be silent or at least irrelevant.

  278. Charlie says:

    To expand a little on my Provine point:
    It is only through philosophy that we can tell Provine whether or not he is doing science when he claims that biology tells us there is no free will, no Heaven and no God. We do not wait for this to be duked out in the peer review (read- provisional and likely incorrect) literature.

    And, BTW, I am pretty sure that it was theologians who told us first about the circulatory system – the Jesuits, in fact. 🙂

  279. Holopupenko says:

    Hi Charlie:

    Okay, your points are accepted and appreciated… especially when you say “but their error does not make them non-Christian”, which is better directed at Steve Drake. I still think Victoria should be given a little more credit… but my sense is also we’ve exhausted this string.

    Regarding the Resurrection, Real Presence, etc.: the MESs have little to nothing to say. These are mysteries and miracles, which are not susceptible to scientific investigation. Nature is orderly, and Biblical Christianity buttress that understanding strongly. If something happens outside the “orderliness,” then it’s not about nature but about the Author of Nature. Creation ex nihilo is the miracle; how things unfolded once they were created is no mystery and no miracle… and accessible to the human capacity of reason. We learn of the real world, and reflecting philosophically and theologically upon that knowledge we do a Psalm 19:1 dance. Some people just don’t seem to realize (or don’t want to accept) that if it weren’t for human reason, Psalm 19:1 would be incoherent.

  280. Charlie says:

    their error does not make them non-Christian”, which is better directed at Steve Drake.

    I think so as well.
    Sorry Steve. But this is what I’ve been talking about from the beginning when I’ve addressed you on this issue.

  281. Holopupenko says:

    Charlie:

    It wasn’t their “Jesuitness” that informed their science: it was Jesuits qua scientists who did the heavy scientific lifting. By the way, are you serious (no nastiness intended) when you suggest my scientific description of the human circulatory system will ever be overturned contingent upon new information? Tweaked? Perhaps. Overturned? No way, Jose.

    By the way, I believe William Harvey was High Church Anglican.
    😉

  282. Charlie says:

    Creation ex nihilo is the miracle;

    Correct. Even though there are scientists who claim that science shows this not to be the case.

    how things unfolded once they were created is no mystery

    Oh my! Not even the most ardent OOL theorist or Darwinian would say this.

    Some people just don’t seem to realize (or don’t want to accept) that if it weren’t for human reason, Psalm 19:1 would be incoherent.

    Of course.

    Now, if you all will excuse me, I am off to get my teeth cleaned (honest). Yes, I actually enjoy that too.
    Maybe I’ll be able to catch up some this evening. H

    Have a great and blessed day. God be with you all.

  283. Holopupenko says:

    By “mystery” I meant it’s not a theological mystery… it IS a mystery in the sense of: “hey, there’s a lot of cool science that will take a long, long time to figure out. Race ya to the finish line… wherever it is!”

  284. Steve Drake says:

    @Charlie#286,

    I think so as well.
    Sorry Steve. But this is what I’ve been talking about from the beginning when I’ve addressed you on this issue.

    When have I ‘ever’ said that they are, or implied so? Misunderstandings abound, and this has got to be the classic case.

    This is directed to you Holopupenko, since it was first mentioned by you?

  285. Tom Gilson says:

    Steve, it’s true that you have never said OECs are not Christians, but you sure have railed on them. Look at your comment #6:

    Demski’s idea that hominid animals were morphed into Adam and Eve and then specially blessed by a miraculous amnesia of their evolutionary ancestry is typical of the IDM’s failure to treat Scripture as authoritatively relevant and opens the door to evolutionary anthropological theories. Their commitment to a closed-Bible approach for explaining earth’s origins forfeits any standards for preventing ‘unequally yoked’ alliances between believers and unbelievers, and even uses the the word ‘apologetics’ while practicing wholesale ecumenicalism.

    And #124, also #155:

    @Victoria#122, 123,
    Idolatry is a sin roundly condemned in Scripture, but one might reply that you suffer from expert-worship yourself, Worship of man-derived and man-centered conclusions of naturalistic science as opposed to the clear and authoritative Word of God. Perhaps you believe you are the expert, and can rely on your own understanding. But what does calling each other expert-worshippers really accomplish Victoria?

    @Victoria#153,
    And so by extension you must accept some form of billions of years of stellar, planetary, geological, and biological evolution to bring God’s pinnacle of creation; man, to bear in history. By extension, Adam and Eve were not the first homo sapiens sapiens, the first parents of all living. Mocking the clarity, perspicuity, and thrust of fiat ex nihilo creation of Scripture in the verses I quoted above, and ignoring the clear exegetical intent of Genesis 1, you and Holopupenko twist and contort the Word of God to fit the current prognostications of scientim. Your idol is Reason, and it’s handmaiden scientism.

  286. Tom Gilson says:

    By the way, I’m no Thomist, but I sure have trouble accepting that scientism is Reason’s handmaiden. Do you recall where that “handmaiden” allusion came from? If so, do you dispute it?

  287. Holopupenko says:

    Tom:

    Maybe… but, in certain important aspects, you think like one!

    😉

    P.S. Come on in… water’s fine!

  288. Victoria says:

    I thought I made my position on the relationship between science and Scripture/Christianity pretty clear ….


    As Christian Theists, of course, we are not bound by the metaphysical presuppositions of secularists and atheists. It should not surprise us to find that sooner or later, science is going to run smack dab into impenetrable walls, on the other side of which is God and Eternity. Unbelievers will never accept that, just as they don’t accept the sovereignty of God – Romans 1:18 ff and Psalm 14 (among others) still apply.

    and

    We have two sources of information: science and Scripture (Christian Theism). Atheists assume that Scripture is completely wrong, YEC assumes that the science is completely wrong.
    There is a false dilemma here, I prefer another option – both are sources of God’s truths, with the caveat that our understanding and interpretation of those sources is both finite and fallible. The fact that we can’t see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together into a coherent picture doesn’t mean they don’t fit at all….


    That last one would reflect the basic position of the ASA (and RTB).

    Anyway, I think we can put the geocentrism issue away and move back to worldview issues…if I don’t, Tom will come and pummel me 🙂

  289. Holopupenko says:

    Regarding Steve Drake’s unfortunate and unsubstantiated accusation that we “contort the Word of God to fit the current prognostications of scientim. Your idol is Reason, and it’s handmaiden scientism.”

    … we have this: “Reason is the devil’s handmaid and does nothing but blaspheme and dishonor all that God says or does.”[Martin Luther, Against the Heavenly Prophets, On Images and the Sacraments].

    Now, don’t jump on me: I understand and appreciate taking this quotation out of context is incorrect… and, yes, I’ve used it as a rhetorical tool in the past. But my point is another: isn’t it ironic that Steve Drake is not only misinterpreting Scripture to fit his presuppositions (in opposition to 2 Peter 1:20), but that he may also be misinterpreting Luther’s point about reason in support of his own denigration of human reason?

  290. Steve Drake says:

    @Tom#291,
    ‘Railing’ (your word) on OEC’s is not the same as mischaracterizing me as someone who doesn’t think they are Christians. The debate is between ideas, and I think you see that. I categorically deny that I have said OEC’s are not Christians. Holopupenko and others can caricaturize me in that way, that technique is used with YEC’s all the time, yet it’s a ruse, and distracts from the arguments over ideas.

  291. Tom Gilson says:

    Ideas yes. Characterizing others as unrepentant idolaters and scientismists as you have done, no.

  292. Steve Drake says:

    @Holopupenko#296,
    Since as a Thomist you deny the noetic effects of sin (am I misrepresenting you here?), you would based on that presupposition come to your conclusion. It’s another straw man, so that you can pull it down, puffing yourself up with the idea that Scripture does not supersede reason when it comes to the revelational truth of God. Denying the veracity of verses like Ex. 20:8-11, Ex. 31:17, you blaspheme the words of God you claim to believe to be the arbiter of truth. When faced with the words of God, you punt, backpedal, never offering your own understanding of what they mean. You hide behind the science, yet are theologically impotent.

  293. Steve Drake says:

    @Tom#297,
    Did I use the word ‘unrepentant’? Just clarifying as we don’t want to put words in each other’s mouth.

  294. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    You don’t know what you’re talking about, and you need to take a brake from your accusations and ranting.

  295. Steve Drake says:

    Holopupenko:
    I guess I could ask the same from you? You have no clue about theological import, hermeneutics, and exegesis of Scripture, so you need to take a break as well? More punting and backpedaling?

  296. Holopupenko says:

    Steve Drake:

    Are you okay?

  297. Charlie says:

    @ Victoria @ 294
    Interesting. So my pointing out that ASA members and RTB, even though they might be TE or OEC, take God’s special revelation seriously is kind of pointless, isn’t it? And saying so to emphasize that it is not just YECs who do this is kind of silly and maybe even condescending, I bet – since you were never claiming the contrary.
    Kind of like your #246

  298. Tom Gilson says:

    Enough, okay? Please see here.