Forum Comments

Do Scientific Facts Support Creation, Or Evolution?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 16, 2017
The facts just put forward on decaying magnetic fields appear to be false. It also appears that some are just stepping through well known YEC arguments based on falsehood. https://howoldistheearth.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/yec-best-evidence-5-has-the-earths-magnetic-field-always-been-decaying/ The issue I have is not belief in YEC, but the reliance on falsehood to support it. This is not about presuppositions, but about honestly. To be clear, I am not accusing anyone here of lying. Rather, most YECs are just repeating falsehood they have heard from other. The God I know has no need for false witness. https://howoldistheearth.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/religious-presuppositions-are-not-the-problem-with-young-earth-creationism/ For this is the real problem with young-earth “creation science.” Their technical standards are so low that in any other area of science or technology, they would kill people. They are at times willing to tell outright falsehoods in order to support their position. They refuse to be held accountable to anyone outside their own echo chamber. And they show a cultish hostility to critique even from concerned Christians who share their stated goal of seeing the Bible upheld as the Word of God. Most rank and file YECs aren’t even aware that this is an issue. When I tell them that science has rules, their natural tendency is to assume that I’m talking about a rejection of miracles. I have to make it clear to them what kind of rules I’m looking for, and that rejection of miracles has nothing to do with it. No arithmetic errors, no quote mining, no fudging of the data, no misrepresentation, the need for adequate peer review and replication, and so on. Basic standards of honesty and quality control — and furthermore, very much in line with what the Bible itself demands in terms how we handle weights and measures (cf Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Proverbs 11:1). I say that to break these rules in order to “fit Scripture” is neither scientific nor Scriptural. Really all the arguments here run afoul of Deuteronomy 25:13-16. The author here lays out some key questions by which we can make this clear: https://howoldistheearth.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/an-examination-of-answers-in-genesiss-ten-best-evidences-for-a-young-earth/ 1. Does it get its facts straight? 2. Does it actually place a specific numerical limit on the age of the earth at all? 3. Is it measuring the right things? 4. How well defined are the limits it places on the age of the earth? 5. Are its assumptions realistic? 6. How rigorously have the “rescuing devices” been falsified? 7. What are the sources of its data? 8. What is the extent of its data? 9. Have they received a level of scrutiny appropriate to their complexity? 10. How have they responded to critique?
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Do Scientific Facts Support Creation, Or Evolution?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 14, 2017
S.M.S. I think we went over this before. You are misinterpreting Genesis. In hebrew, it says "of many kinds" not "according to their kind." This is even argued by YEC scholars, http://www.atsjats.org/publication/view/39 . Do you care about what Scripture says or not? Why insist on a mistranslation? Perhaps at least engage the arguments offered by another YEC that indicate you are wrong in claiming Genesis limits reproduction to within "kinds"? Setting aside the clear fact that this is NOT taught in Scripture, there is a bigger problem. No one has yet put forward a plausible theory of kinds (baraminology). The issue is in objectively defining these kinds in a way that: (1) makes sense with the evidence (genetic and fossil), and (2) groups enough species to gether that all kinds would all fit on the ark, (3) classifies chimps and humans in different kinds, and (4) finding a mechanism that allows all the species we know to form in just 4000 years (natural selection and other evolutionary mechanisms are not powerful enough). As just one example, mice and rats are usually called the same "kind", and and chimps and humans are not. However, mice and rates are 10x more different than humans and chimps in our genomes. That means, based on the genetic information, if mice and rats are the same "kind" and could have arisen from a common ancestor, then the same is true of human and chimps. We are the same "kind". That ends up being a major problem. There is no objective and evidence driven criteria by which to group species into kinds that does not also group humans with chimps as the same kind too. This would be a major problem for literalism if "reproduction restricted to kinds" is what Genesis actually taught. However, Genesis does not literally teach this. T_aquaticus Created kinds is not inconsistent with nested hierarchies. However, nested clades are not explained by created kinds. While God could have just created us to look this way, the theory of "kinds" does not explain why. This is its fundamental deficiency in science, where we seek explanations. The problem is not inconsistency with evidence in this single point, but lack of explanatory power. Inconsistency with evidence arises elsewhere.
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Do Scientific Facts Support Creation, Or Evolution?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 09, 2017
The claim that species (or kinds) were created separately is not a well specified claim on its own. It is easy to construct hypothesis under that claim that are falsified by the evidence, and hypotheses that are not falsified. One hypothesis that, it seems, is falsified: that God specially created each species in a way in order to obviously falsify common descent. That seems false. Because of this, our confidence in special creation of species depends entirely on our belief that God did not use common descent, from (for example) Scripture. Genesis, however, does not dispute common descent, so I'm not sure how one could come to such confidence. The one exception to this (in my view) is the special creation of Adam and Eve, where one might plausibly believe that Genesis 2 teaches something special happened with Adam. Not that one must read Scripture this way, but I understand why some people do. Once again, our confidence here depends entirely on our confidence in Scripture and our interpretation of it. Regardless, we do not consider God's action when we do science. So if God really did specially create species, this is just a place that science would be wrong. Now, for the larger theological question, if God exists and wants to be known, we start by emphasizing that there is knowledge and truth outside of science. I would guess that you, for example, believe that racism is wrong (moral knowledge). I know that I love my wife and she loves me (relational knowledge). How do we come to these warranted beliefs? Logic, experience, conversation, and more. However, neither of these classes of knowledge are visible in science. Next, I would observe that if the God that created the universe exists, we have no hope of finding Him on our own. Moreover, there is no reason to think that God would care a wit about us. A being of such infinite power need not be mindful of, and would not be accessible to us. The only way we could know He existed is if He wanted to be known, and chose to reveal Himself to us some how. As for me, I found that God exists, is good, and wants to be known by revealing himself to all people by raising this man Jesus from the dead. To be clear, there is a lot of evidence for this event in history, including evidence established with history.. If it wasn't so crazy a claim (a man rising from the dead), we would say the evidence was overwhelming, but also not definitive. www.veritas.org/evidence-easter-scientists-list/ It comes down to whether or not we want to see what lies behind the door. Eventually, I came to see Jesus, the living and risen Lord. It is hard to explain, but now I believe because I see Him. There is public evidence, but I also came to personal knowledge. http://peacefulscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/swamidass-confident-fatih.pdf
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Is Evolution Truly A Threat To Christianity?
In Discussion Questions
Do Scientific Facts Support Creation, Or Evolution?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 07, 2017
T_aquaticus, I agree largely with you, but think a couple things should be tempered. 1. It is critical to accurately represent the data and what evolution predicts. It is not completely in nested clades. There is also, for example, noise caused by change in species which breaks the nested clade pattern. What we see in the data that fits in nested class (especially at a DNA level) but with exceptions caused by things like horizontal transfer. The pattern is nested clades but there are exceptions. 2. Nested clades do not disprove design, but the explain the data in a way that design does not. In science (as you know), we look for explanatory theories. Design does not tell us why we see the patterns we do, but common descent does tell us. However, this is not evidence against design. I, for example, would affirm that God designed us through common descent. 3. If one does not like common descent, what is need is a design principle that could equally (or better) explain the data. Such a principle has not been offered. The closest offered (other than common descent) is descent with divine modification (as we have discussed before). 4. Alternatively, ReMine suggested that we should see perfect clades in nature (but we do not), as this was how God would disprove evolution (see #1). However, he ended up being wrong, because exceptions to the rule of nested clades. This is expected in evolution, but not in his design principle. So the actually story is closely related to your point, but it is important not to falsely present the data as anti-design or cleaner than it really is. Right now, however, common descent is the best explanation of the data. That is why Science affirms it, as it should.
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Do Scientific Facts Support Creation, Or Evolution?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 06, 2017
Where is "here"?
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Is Evolution Truly A Threat To Christianity?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 03, 2017
Before we go on, I need to know the rules by which you are interpreting Scripture. What are they? Commonly, people in your camp subscribe to the Chicago Statments. Do you? http://www.alliancenet.org/the-chicago-statement-on-biblical-hermeneutics What the Bible says about the facts of nature is as true and trustworthy as anything else it says. However, it speaks of natural phenomena as they are spoken of in ordinary language, not in the explanatory technical terms of modern science; it accounts for natural events in terms of the action of God, not in terms of causal links within the created order; and it oflen describes natural processes figuratively and poetically, not analytically and prosaically as modern science seeks to do. This being so, differences of opinion as to the correct scientific account to give of natural facts and events which Scripture celebrates can hardly be avoided. It should be remembered, however, that Scripture was given to reveal God, not to address scientific issues in scientific terms, and that, as it does not use the language of modern science, so it does not require scientific knowledge about the internal processes of God's creation for the understanding of its essential message about God and ourselves. Scripture interprets scientific knowledge by relating it to the revealed purpose and work of God, thus establishing an ultimate context for the study and reform of scientific ideas. It is not for scientific theories to dictate what Scripture may and may not say, although extra-biblical information will sometimes helpfully expose a misinterpretation of Scripture Do you agree with this statement?
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Do Scientific Facts Support Creation, Or Evolution?
In Discussion Questions
Is Evolution Truly A Threat To Christianity?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Nov 27, 2017
SMS, Respectfully, I have already demonstrated that your "submission" is wrong. I am not imposing meaning on the text. I do not believe that Scripture teaches evolution. Rather, when I remove the meaning you imposed on it, it becomes clear that Scripture allows for evolution. The problem is not that you are taking Scripture literally, but that you are not taking it literally enough when you read anti-evolution bias into it. That is what I disagree with. Just to remind you the textual points I've raised, and no one has responded to: 1. The famous dictum, that creatures only “reproduce according to their kinds,” is not the plain reading of Scripture, where no mention of reproductive limits is stated. The exact same Hebrew phrase is used in lists of animals (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14), where “reproduction” cannot be understood. 2. Moreover, the text says that the sea and the land gave forth plants and animals, not that God created them directly. 3. I also explained that it was reasonable to read Genesis 1-4 as a true prophetic dream. If not as a prophetic dream, how do you believe God reveal what happened in our distant past to the writer of Genesis before Adam was even created? When you read Revelations and Daniel's dreams, how do you interpret them on the continuum between figurative and literal? For this reason, Genesis is plainly read to say that the land and sea gave forth plants and animals “of many kinds” in several grand eras or "days" Genesis 1 is just about exactly what I would expect a prophet to write if they had been shown evolution in a dream. He was not teaching this to us, so he did not get into the details. But the text clearly allows for it. Getting back to the threads original question... I submit that NOTHING is threatened at all by evolution in a confident faith rooted in the Resurrection of Jesus and trust in Scripture over man's interpretation. However, evolution is a grand threat to insecure faiths rooted biased by reading of Scripture intent on rejection of evolution. I was raised with an insecure faith in creation science, and then I found confident faith in Jesus. I just had to leave my idols and follow him.
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Do Scientific Facts Support Creation, Or Evolution?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Nov 26, 2017
It all depends what we meant by "scientific evidence." Using the rules of mainstream science, there is overwhelming evidence for evolution. http://peacefulscience.org/evidence-and-evolution However, mainstream science does not take into account God's action. It is possible that God made us in a way that just appears to us as evolution. As the YEC Todd Woods writes: Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well. toddcwood.blogspot.ca/2009/09/truth-about-evolution.html For example, As graduate student in 2005, the Chimpanzee genome was published, just five years after the human genome was sequenced in 2000. There were ten times more differences between human and chimps than between mice and rats. This turns out to be exactly predicted by neutral theory and confirmed with experiment. God could have placed undeniable evidence against evolution in our genomes. He did not. Why not? At the very least, disproving evolution was not among God's design goals. So at the very least, he did not care about disproving evolution as much as most creationists seem to care. Evolution has also become a fundamentally important scientific finding to understanding biology in present day. https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/cancer-and-evolution If one wants to believe that evolution is still false, the most coherent way forward is to explain why God made us in a way that is so easily mistaken for evolution. Why did he not leave clear and obvious evidence it was false? I've heard some reasonable answers from theologians. http://peacefulscience.org/category/projects/100-year-old-tree/ I think that leads to some plausible positions that make sense of Scripture and the evidence for evolution without accepting evolution. On the other hand, If by definition no evidence for evolution is valid, then there certainly is no evidence for evolution. As AIG puts it, By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/ Of course, if we use the rules of mainstream science, then the evidence for evolution is overwhelmingly strong. In mainstream science we do not read in our preset answers into science. We see where the evidence leads us on its own.
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Is Evolution Truly A Threat To Christianity?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Nov 22, 2017
To be clear, I do not expect to convince any of you to agree. I understand you are YEC. I am okay with that. I'm only explaining how I understand Scripture. We have much more in common than you think. In particular I am not reading evolution into scripture. That would be just as wrong as reading anti-evolutionism into Scripture. Both attempts to insert science into Scripture are wrong. I am just saying that Scripture is silent on evolution. =========== Regarding the flood and "all flesh", there is once again major mistranslation. The word for "earth" is "eretz" which means "land" or "dirt." Just because it is mistranslated as "earth" does not legitimizing reading as the "whole globe." At the time, they had no concept of the earth a globe anyways, and did not even have a concept of planets. Rather than "whole earth" Genesis is saying the "whole land." This is very similar to mistranslating Genesis 1 to mean animals "reproduce only within their kinds." Scripture says no such thing. It says that the "land gave forth animals of many kinds." If you are mistranslating Scripture, you are going to be stuck with the mistakes that arise from that mistranslation. It is very dangerous to read falsehood into Scripture like this. Certainly, these views are consistent with some of these passages (though they are contradicted by others), but your view is NOT the plain teaching of Scripture. I am very uncomfortable with passing man's word of as Scripture. This is very dangerous, and I hope you can agree. =========== To SMS, Regarding the Serpent and Eve. They were not merely tempted. They did wrong. Regarding the Biblical passages, as we have seen there are other ways to read them that take the Bible seriously. There has been debate on these passages long before evolution ever arose. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1988/PSCF3-88Young.html You can believe what you like, but I am very uncomfortable with substituting your human interpretation with Scripture. I submit to God's Word, not man's word, not yours. That is reasonable and good, right? ========= To ekrause1406, It sounds you agree with the Chicago Statement unless it is used to support evolution. No surprise then, adopting such a view you are convinced there is a contradiction between Scripture and evolution. You set up the rules so this must be so. You already decided evolution is wrong before looking at Scripture. I suppose I am more open minded. I come to Scripture trying to find out what it is teaching me, regardless of what it says of evolution (or does not say). I am not bound by your biases, only by Scripture. So in the end its okay if we disagree. I hope you can still understand that there is nothing in evolution to fear , even if you disagree with it. Honestly, see no contradiction between evolution and Scripture. ======== I have another question relevant to this conversation. Do you agree with Jesus that the smallest of all seeds is a mustard seed? If we find a seed smaller than a mustard seed, does that make Jesus wrong? If he is wrong here, or cannot be taken literally, can we trust him on other things too?
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Is Evolution Truly A Threat To Christianity?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Nov 18, 2017
About the flood, one can take it literally without contradiction with modern science, as does Hugh Ross. Before we go there, do you agree with the Chicago Statements? http://www.alliancenet.org/the-chicago-statement-on-biblical-hermeneutics What the Bible says about the facts of nature is as true and trustworthy as anything else it says. However, it speaks of natural phenomena as they are spoken of in ordinary language, not in the explanatory technical terms of modern science; it accounts for natural events in terms of the action of God, not in terms of causal links within the created order; and it oflen describes natural processes figuratively and poetically, not analytically and prosaically as modern science seeks to do. This being so, differences of opinion as to the correct scientific account to give of natural facts and events which Scripture celebrates can hardly be avoided. It should be remembered, however, that Scripture was given to reveal God, not to address scientific issues in scientific terms, and that, as it does not use the language of modern science, so it does not require scientific knowledge about the internal processes of God's creation for the understanding of its essential message about God and ourselves. Scripture interprets scientific knowledge by relating it to the revealed purpose and work of God, thus establishing an ultimate context for the study and reform of scientific ideas. It is not for scientific theories to dictate what Scripture may and may not say, although extra-biblical information will sometimes helpfully expose a misinterpretation of Scripture Do you agree with this statement?
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Is Evolution Truly A Threat To Christianity?
In Discussion Questions
swamidass
Commentator
Commentator
Nov 18, 2017
Hello All, Regarding sin before the Fall, I agree one can read Romans either way. Though historically it has been read both ways. I am not saying that the Bible is not consistent with six day creation. Rather I am saying that providentially governed evolution is consistent with Scripture, which does not really tell us one way or another. Setting Romans aside for a moment, we see in Genesis that the Serpent and Eve are "sinning" before Adam's fall. This is confirmed also in II Tim also. For this reason, either way we read Romans, we still have to realize that Paul is using "sin" (hamartia) in two ways, as wrongdoing and as transgression, depending on context. The original question was if there was sin before Adam's fall. I think this establishes definitively by several passages that there was wrongdoing before Adam's fall. So there is really no contradiction with Scripture to wonder about wrongdoing in the world before Adam. I would not go so far to say that Scripture teaches this, but this should make clear that Scripture is silent about it. Their are other passages too that seem to indicate a cosmic fall (think Lucifer) that happens before Adam's fall. Clearly this is all wrongdoing too. I could go on, but the key point. is that there is some thing special about Adam's sin, but this does not mean there was no wrongdoing before Adam sins. As for David's statement that all sin is against God alone, this brings us back to what we mean by "sin" exactly. This is part of a whole branch of theology called hamartiology (because of hamartia). Because sin is used multiple ways (as evidenced in Romans), so we have to determine from context what type of "sin" is being referred to, or we end up quickly with contradiction. Moreover, one has to be careful how to interpret Psalms, which often includes hyperbole for poetic effect. In context, David is mourning his adultery, but do you know believe he also sinned against Uriah? Nonetheless, he has committed transgression against God for him because a descendent of Adam and/or one who knows that He is breaking God's law. The point I am making is different. Imagine if David was (1) not Adam's descend, (2) had never come to know that God himself decreed infidelity and murder is wrong, and (3) God had not written his law on his heart. Would this be transgression at that point? According to Paul, we would say that this is not transgression, but just wrongdoing, and is evidently part of the world before Adam Sins; just look at Eve and the Serpent. Keep in mind, that all references to wrongdoing after Adam my well be transgression, we are only talk about wrongdoing before Adam falls. The notion is that the fall creates a cosmic reordering that brings all mankind into account for their sin, when previously (as Romans discusses) it was not held against people. We can debate if that transition happens when the adamic or mosaic law is given, but clearly sin is not always held against people in distant past. As for death, there are more than one ways to interpret it. Keep in mind that spiritual death might be more literal to God than physical death. Reading Romans, I seems valid to hold spiritual death (as in literal death) came to all those outside the garden because of Adam's fall, but also freedom from physical death was withheld as they were denied access to the garden. You can interpret it differently if you want, but it is hard to imagine how this interpretation is in conflict with Scripture.
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