Archive-Discussions

Discussion Commentators-

1-Nate

2-Jacob

3-J.E.S

4-k.Peters

5-cwh

Note: the heading of a key comment is emboldened and underlined.
Discussion Topic-Should theology have any place in the scientific world, and should our religious beliefs be allowed to affect the ways we teach and perform science?

1. k.peters

In and earlier post I had referenced "The Book that Made Your World".   It is written by Vishal Mangalwadi.  My opinion is that it is a worthy read.

  J.E.S  (Reply)

Note: This post has been archived in the earlier discussion ( https://www.ce-debate.org/topic-5 ) :What is science and what is theology? Which category does Creationism fit into? 

2. k.peters

Theology informs us about what we don’t know in science!   It is amazing to realize all the things that go on that are beyond Man’s observation.  I am currently reading another book called “Undeniable”  that makes a case against origin from single-celled organisms.   The man is a scientist and uses what he calls “common science” to make the case against an evolutionary beginning.   There has to be a designer and not chance or random progression, the odds are 1: 10 to the 40th power that one amino acid in a protein would randomly align itself properly.   I will report more as I continue through the book.God’s blessings and increasing faith in Christ be to you all,

-Kirk

3. cwh

Regarding the actual practice of science, I would say religious beliefs should not have an influence. Good science would be the same, no matter if a researcher were Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or athiest. I'm a firm believer in the scientific method, that is self-limited to what can actually be detected, observed, or measured. Theology can certainly have an impact on WHY we do science. I have heard many Christians that are professional scientists explain that their personal relationship with God provides more incentive and purpose to what they do.

As a teacher/scientist (admittedly, I do a whole lot more teaching than science), I definitely allow my theology to influence how I teach science. Of course, it helps that I teach at a Christian university, but I routinely ask my students (a good portion of which are not Christian) to think of issues from a Christian perspective. I often either begin or interject with "this is my Christian perspective", but I find God's creation to be amazing and beautiful and I love being able to explain bits of it to my students.

4. S.M.S.

Some people want to make the arbitrary distinction that you have to buy into the metaphysical assertion that there is "nothing more than the physical world" if you want to be considered a "real" scientist. In his book, "Cosmos," the late Carl Sagan began with this very famous statement: “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” Many people hearing that think that it’s a very profound scientific statement, but there’s not a bit of science in that—it’s a very broad, bold assertion of Sagan's worldview. It’s a denial of anything other than the physical.  But you can’t know that as a scientist. You can BELIEVE that, and you can ASSUME that. But it’s an assumption, a belief, a faith statement.  It's his theology. Now people may SAY that it’s not religious—but it’s a faith statement.  Science has not and cannot prove the statement as fact.

Saying that science is "all physical, all natural” since it involves studying the physical world using the five senses does not mean that this is the only reality.  Certainly there is a pattern and regularity to the way the world works, and science studies that; but that doesn’t mean the world has always worked that way or always will. For instance, I can’t prove scientifically that miracles have happened, and I can’t prove scientifically that they haven’t happened. History shows us that there is no incompatibility at all between belief in science and belief in God.  The person who literally "wrote the book" on physics and astronomy, and who invented calculus, was Sir Isaac Newton. And he wrote ten times more about theology and the Bible than he did about math and science.  So Newton would definitely say that theology has a place--a very important place--in the scientific world. If you take the approach that "real" scientists cannot allow a theological foundation to inform their science, then you have just told one of the greatest scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton, that he isn't a real scientist.  Surely, Newton's theology affected the way he taught and performed science.    

5. cwh

In modern science, we limit scientific inquiry to what we can detect. It was not quite the same in Newton's day, but I would go say that Newton's scientific discoveries were not contingent on his theology. Could his theology have driven him to pursue scientific discovery? Sure. But Newton's discoveries would have been just as important and just as accurate if he had been an atheist, instead.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not downplaying the importance of theology. There are certainly types of knowledge that science is simply not equipped to explore. Sadly, many scientists have thought as Sagan, that there couldn't possibly be anything beyond science. But I would stop short of saying that theology should be part of the scientific world.

  J.E.S (Reply)

Stopping to think...What exactly would it look like if theology WAS part of the scientific world?

  cwh (Reply)

I would guess it would be most evident in the publication process. Introductions and discussions would include theological implications. Perhaps in experiments designed to answer theological questions. What would you envision?

  J.E.S (Reply)

Probably the same as what you think, but I tend to agree with k.peters: "Theology informs us about what we don’t know in science!"

  cwh (Reply)

I'm in complete agreement with that comment.

6. K. Peters

I offer that although Newton's discoveries were not dependent on his theology, his pursuit of discovery was.  He believed the Bible when it says God is a God of order.  His belief in "laws" of creation led him to investigate.  Eastern religions do not believe that the cosmos is orderly, so why investigate. Gregor Mendl is the father of genetic studies  He was a monk  confident that traits were not by chance but received from genetic recombination(very in-evolutionary).  He sought to investigate to improve  creation that was corrupted by sin, for the betterment of human life.

7. Nate

As others have said, good science should be the same regardless of religion. The danger is that some people insert their own religion into science and still call it science. This is not necessarily to mean that theology has no place in the scientific world. Perhaps the best example of this is creation science, essentially  study of science supporting a literal reading of genesis. It is also work noting that some christian scientists find their belief in God motivation to explore the world He has created and so give glory to Him.

8. Jacob

Everyone has a worldview, and that worldview shapes the way they look at evidence. My worldview is shaped by what theology reveals to us in the Bible about the nature of God's creation, and since my worldview affects the way I look at evidence, and my worldview is shaped by theology, theology will have an affect on the way I perform science. This is not a problem, because an open worldview is like an open topic for debate, as the assumptions on which it is built can be challenged. The danger comes when a worldview is disguised, and the set of assumptions that make it up are proclaimed as fact. Then the owner of this worldview can easily say that those who hold to a different worldview are taking the leap of faith while his own worldview is cleverly encased in "science" but is in reality only a set of scientifically unverifiable assumptions just like all others. Evolution is based on assumptions, and is a worldview, or lens through which evolutionary scientists look at evidence. Creation is based on an assumption, that the bible is true and infallible, and is also a worldview. The debate is not science v.s. theology, it is the creationist worldview v.s. the Evolutionary worldview. The Evolutionary worldview is not free from faith either, as it is built on assumptions which science cannot verify, just like creationism. Those assumptions take faith to believe, and that is what makes a worldview. 

  cwh (Reply)

It isn't quite that simple. There are a large number of sincere Christ-followers (me included) the hold the Bible as true and infallible AND accept the evidence for evolution. This does involved a "nontraditional" view of the creation account in Genesis, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

  Jacob (Reply)

 No matter how I view the account, I find it EXTREMELY difficult to fit Evolution into the Genesis account. the Hebrew wording for the day: "And there was evening and there was morning, the first day" seems very clear as a literal 24 hour period. Therefore, I find that if you can view the Genesis account "nontraditionally" enough to fit evolution in, you can view most of scripture "nontraditionally" enough to fit anything in, or take anything out. It seems like a very unsafe path to be going down with one's faith. Furthermore, I have not run into any evidence for Evolution that would induce me to place it of so great importance that I would modify scripture to accomadate it. Would you give me what you consider your 3 best evidences for Evolution? I would be happy to give my 3 best evidences for Creation.

  Nate (Reply)

I think that compromising is easy to do because it means that no one would have to be wrong and people can still accept both "science" and their faith. 
When examined however, it seems practically impossible for evolutionary theory and the genesis account to both be accurate. To avoid extra typing, two good links are provided below. I am interested in any thoughts you have regarding them.
https://www.answersingenesis.org/why-does-creation-matter/evolution-vs-creation-the-order-of-events-matters
https://answersingenesis.org/theory-of-evolution/millions-of-years/why-shouldnt-christians-accept-millions-of-years

  cwh (Reply)

Jacob and Nate, thank you for your patience, honesty, and good grace as you share your viewpoints. Let me start with a short introduction from Paul: "And I, when I came to you, brothers,a]">[a] did not come proclaiming to you the testimonyb]">[b] of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2, ESV). I completely understand misgivings about my viewpoint, because I had similar misgivings for many years. But I don't believe that anything we discuss can be nearly as important as Jesus Christ, His incarnation, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection. I promise to address your comments in more detail, but I'm running short on time tonight and still have plenty to get done. Again, thank you for exhibiting Christ-like grace, my brothers!

  Nate (Reply)

While I certainly agree that ultimately Jesus Christ is the most important thing to focus on, I also see that Genesis is very important as well. If we cannot trust Genesis to be 100% accurate, why can we trust the Gospels?

  cwh (Reply)

It is my opinion that events far removed from author recording are more appropriately subject to a figurative, rather than literal, interpretation. We all accept this is true for the latter chapters of Revelation, but I propose this is also true for the beginning chapters of Genesis. For the remainder of the Bible, when events and their recordings were considerably closer together, it is reasonable to use a more literal interpretation. That's how I can suggest that all the events described in Genesis 1-11 do not have to be taken literally, but the Gospels should.

I have read many people write things such as "The Bible was written for us, but not TO us." The Bible was written in the context of the people of that day. I'm no Ancient Near Eastern culture expert, but I think it is important to consider the Bible in the context in which it was written. An interesting hypothesis I have read regarding the creation week is that the Genesis account may have been written to specifically state that YHWH created everything, even those entities that the Egyptian captors worshiped. Regardless of the validity of this hypothesis, I believe it is safe to say that the Bible was not to teach scientific details, but to bring people to God. With that in mind, I think it is harmful to stand firmly on a literal interpretation of Genesis and deny the steadily-increasing scientific evidence of an ancient earth and evolution. When young Christians who were taught incorrectly (ie. evolution is contrary to the laws of thermodynamics, or there are no transitional fossils, or all hominid fossils are hoaxes) about why they should accept young earth creationism, they are often thrown into a faith crises when confronted with truth. I can accept and respect those who actually get their facts straight and choose to align with young earth creationism based on their interpretation of the Bible, but it is imperative to get those facts straight.

Now on to my personal "top three" list:
1. Astronomical distance
Even though this doesn't directly say anything about evolution, it speaks clearly to the age of the universe. Light years are a measure of distance, of course, but that distance also tells us a lot about time. If an object is 5 billion light years away, then what we see happened 5 billion years ago. There have been hypotheses about why this may not necessarily be true, but none that I find compelling.

2. Biogeography
The distribution of living organisms by both place and time strongly suggest evolution. The layering of fossils strongly suggests that they weren't all formed due to a global flood, but rare circumstances periodically through the course of millennia led to the fossil order that paleontologists can see. The distribution of animals on the planet currently is also strong evidence of evolution. For example, the fact that Australia has no native placental mammals is a phenomenon best explained by evolution and an ancient earth.

3. Genetic evidence, particularly Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVS)
There are a LOT of evidences of evolution in genetics, but let me look specifically at the ERVs. ERVs are remnants of previous infections by retroviruses. Like HIV, these retroviruses enter host cells with an RNA genome that is reverse transcribed into DNA, then inserted into the host genome. These have accumulated to high abundance in the human genome, making up about 8% of the entire genome (protein-coding regions, by contrast, make up about 1.5%). Some of these ERVs are unique to humans, suggesting that the insertion event took place after divergence of the human lineage from other common ancestors. But others are actually shared between humans and other primates. These insertion spots occur in the EXACT SAME regions shared between our DNA and DNA of other primates. It would be virtually impossible for these insertion events to have occurred in the exact same region independently.

I'd be happy to discuss your top 3 list, Jacob, thanks for offering!

  Jacob (Reply)

The nature of the wording in Genesis greatly suggests a literal interpretation to me. Furthermore, it also seems that if God had wanted Genesis to be taken figuratively, he would have written it more like Revelation, and less like a historical account. Genesis is written like the Gospels, and like Acts, not like psalms or Revelation to me this lends it much more to a literal interpretation. furthermore, the writings of Julius Caeser, are far more removed from his life than those of Genesis, and are still taken literally, because they do not interfere with the evolutionary worldview. It seems that the bible is judged on a different scale than all other ancient literature, because it interferes with evolutionary "Science"

As to your top three.

1. The distant starlight does seem to indicate that the earth is older, however, since the universe has already been shown to be expanding, it is reasonable to believe that initially, the stars were much closer to earth, and the light would only have taken a few thousand years to reach us.

2. On the surface, fossils do appear to support evolution, but from everything I've seen, the layers do not depict an orderly column of older organisms to newer organisms as would be expected with evolution. Many younger fossils have been found in supposedly older layers, and organisms supposedly extinct millions of years before have been found alive, and virtually unchanged today. The coelocanth, for example. What we do find, millions of dead things, all over the earth, makes a lot of sense in the context of a worldwide flood. 

3. Genetics does show similarities between organisms, and this is often cited as evidence for evolution. However, just as an architect's designs show similarities, these Genetic similarities lend very well to a common designer, God.

As to my top three,

1. Soft tissue in Fossils
If dinosaurs did indeed die out millions of years before man came on the scene, we would expect their bones to be completely devoid of any perishable tissue. That is not what we find though. Instead bones have been found with elastic soft tissue and red blood cells. these things do not last millions of years, and much, MUCH better lend themselves to the young earth creationist view.

2. The Earth's decaying magnetic field
The earth's magnetic field is not billions of years old. since it's careful measurement in 1829, the fields total stored energy has decreased by 14%, and it's intensity by 7%. The free decay theory, states that the field has been  steadily losing energy due to electrical resistance in the core. If this has been going on for millions of years, the magnetic field should be completely gone. Furthermore, tests of Iron oxides from older years show that the field was 40% stronger in AD 1000, and has steadily decreased since then. This lends itself to a young earth, NOT an earth that is millions of years old.

3.The Faint Sun Paradox
Scientists agree that the suns energy is produced by the fusion of hydrogen into Helium deep in the sun's core. However, if that is the case, the hydrogen fusing should gradually change the composition of the core, increasing the sun's temperature. Clocking this back for 3.5 billion years results in the earth being below freezing, hardly ideal conditions for evolution.

Thank you for giving your top three, it is refreshing to have intelligent discussion on this vitally important topic

Also, could you give me what you consider the three best transitional forms?

9. cwh

My molecular biology is much stronger than my astronomy, but I'm fairly certain the universe expansion is factored in to determining astronomical events. Red-shift can be used to make those corrections. As I understand it, even including the universe expanding still gives billions of light years of distance.

Again, paleontology is not my forte, but as I understand it, the layering is quite clear. It is possible that seismic events can and have had an effect on bottom-to-top layering, but this is possible to observe by radiometric dating (which is also a rather strong evidence for an ancient earth). The coelacanth species that have been found have merely been a surprise, nothing that would be considered discrediting to the rest of the evidence supporting an ancient earth and evolution.

Back to ERVs, I certainly agree God could have caused viruses to insert in the exact same location in two different species, thereby giving the appearance of infection of a common ancestor, but why would He have done so? I think it is much more consistent with what we observe to conclude God really lets the moving parts of the natural world take their course, independent of His divine direction.

And on to your top 3:
Soft tissue in dinosaur fossils:
This was indeed an amazing and incredible find! Mary Schweitzer, a professed evangelical Christian, and primary scientist in the discovery and analysis still maintains that the bones are at least 65 million years old. For a moment, let's say that this particular T. rex was indeed between 4,000 - 6,000 years old. Why would soft tissue not be found in virtually all fossils? I think it is reasonable to conclude (as Schweitzer has) that this discovery was incredibly rare in that somehow, soft tissue survived. Scientists were actually able to obtain short amino acid sequences, and it turns out that they most closely resembled crocodilian and bird proteins, not modern lizards. There are some hypotheses about how the soft tissue survived, but I'm not sure how strong the hypotheses really are. Again, if dinosaurs are really this young, we should be able to find MUCH more soft tissue, and even preserved carcasses as we do with extinct mammals like the Woolly Mammoth.

The magnetic field and faint sun are reeeeeally out of my "wheelhouse". I do know that scientists state that the magnetic field fluctuates, sometimes rather drastically, over time. This makes it difficult to extrapolate backwards in order to try to find when the field might have first come into being. This is actually the first time I have heard of the faint sun paradox, so I won't be able to add anything intelligent that can't already be read on the internet.

My apologies, Nate, I forgot to address your post earlier today. I did actually check out the AiG links, and like I said, I can understand the discomfort that my view may cause. However, I can assure you that I love Jesus Christ and although I don't always do it well, my primary goal in life is to follow His direction. I hope to be an example to brothers and sisters in Christ with different viewpoints that it is possible to accept the evidence for evolution AND be a committed follower of Christ. To address the links, I would say it is a stretch for AiG to conclude that Jesus was a "young earth creationist". Jesus did affirm the authority of scripture (as do I), but the one verse that is referenced (Mark 10:6) refers to the context of marriage, not to the the creation act.

Do I believe God could have created in six 24-hour periods? Absolutely, He is omnipotent and sovereign over all there is! But I also believe that with the God-given ability for humans to study His creation, scientists have made enough discoveries to conclude that His creation work was through the process of evolution.

  J.E.S (Reply)

"The magnetic field and faint sun are reeeeeally out of my "wheelhouse". I do know that scientists state that the magnetic field fluctuates, sometimes rather drastically, over time."

That is known as the "Dynamo" theory of planetary magnetic fields. The theory advanced by Jacob is known as the "Rapid decay" theory (if my memory serves me). Also, if my memory serves me, when predicting the magnetic field of another planet (it may have been Mars...), the "Dynamo" theory was off by a factor of 1,000, while the "Rapid decay" theory was correct in it's prediction of "there should be little or no magnetic field on this planet." 
That's (practically speaking) the sum total of my knowledge on that front... 

"Why would soft tissue not be found in virtually all fossils?"

It may actually be found in most of them, but breaking open perfectly good fossils comes with it's own set of risks...in fact, I believe that's how they discovered soft tissue in the first place (I mean, by cracking open a bone by accident).

10. Jacob

Chapter 19Does Distant Starlight Prove the Universe Is Old?by Dr. Jason Lisle on December 13, 2007

Answers In Genesis

"Another way in which the relativity of time is important concerns the topic of synchronization: how clocks are set so that they read the same time at the same time.4 Relativity has shown that synchronization is not absolute. In other words, if one person measures two clocks to be synchronized, another person (moving at a different speed) would not necessarily measure those two clocks to be synchronized. As with time-dilation, this effect is counterintuitive because it is too small to measure in most of our everyday experience. Since there is no method by which two clocks (separated by a distance) can be synchronized in an absolute sense, such that all observers would agree regardless of motion, it follows that there is some flexibility in how we choose what constitutes synchronized clocks. The following analogy may be helpful.
Imagine that a plane leaves a certain city at 4:00 p.m. for a two-hour flight. However, when the plane lands, the time is still 4:00. Since the plane arrived at the same time it left, we might call this an instantaneous trip. How is this possible? The answer has to do with time zones. If the plane left Kentucky at 4:00 p.m. local time, it would arrive in Colorado at 4:00 p.m. local time. Of course, an observer on the plane would experience two hours of travel. So, the trip takes two hours as measured by universal time. However, as long as the plane is traveling west (and providing it travels fast enough), it will always naturally arrive at the same time it left as measured in local time.
There is a cosmic equivalent to local and universal time. Light traveling toward earth is like the plane traveling west; it always remains at the same cosmic local time. Although most astronomers today primarily use cosmic universal time (in which it takes light 100 years to travel 100 light-years), historically cosmic local time has been the standard. And so it may be that the Bible also uses cosmic local time when reporting events.
Since God created the stars on Day 4, their light would leave the star on Day 4 and reach earth on Day 4cosmic local time. Light from all galaxies would reach earth on Day 4 if we measure it according to cosmic local time. Someone might object that the light itself would experience billions of years (as the passenger on the plane experiences the two hour trip). However, according to Einstein’s relativity, light does not experience the passage of time, so the trip would be instantaneous. Now, this idea may or may not be the reason that distant starlight is able to reach earth within the biblical timescale, but so far no one has been able to prove that the Bible does not use cosmic local time. So, it is an intriguing possibility."5 

Certainly and intriguing point. I would encourage you to check out the rest of the article at https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/starlight/does-distant-starlight-prove-the-universe-is-old/

I completely agree with J.E.S's comment, and regarding the fossil record, the geological column, which is the popular representation of layers corresponding to time periods does not exist anywhere on earth. It is, therefore, largely based on assumptions. Furthermore, supposedly "Younger" organisms have been found with supposedly "Older" organisms, (such as the trilobite fossil inside a fossilized human footprint). Seismic events seems like a very, VERY unsatisfactory explanation for what we find in this realm, and I find the young earth creationist view to much more easily explain these things.
Molecular biology is well outside my knowlege, so I will do some research, and get back to you.

11. Jacob

Josh Dubnau at Cold Spring Harbor Labs said, “We’ve had these things (ERV's)in our genomes for millions of years. Anything that can be used by evolution will be used by evolution.” 

Evolution uses what it can, but that would indicate that any ERV that was seemingly purposeless would have been eliminated by evolution long ago, Survival of the fittest, however, these same purposeless viruses are still around today, indicating that they are not products of millions of years of evolution.

When a teacher has two tests submitted that are the same, it suggests that the two students cheated. However, if the students both got 100%, the fact that they are the same does not mean that they cheated. However, if the students both got 60% and had identical incorrect (original emphasis) responses, then this would be convincing evidence that the students did in fact cheat. . . . Plagiarized mistakes lead one to believe that they are both derived from a common source. In the same way, evolutionists argue that there are plagiarized mistakes that are common in different types of organisms. . . . However, in order to have a “plagiarized mistake” two conditions must be met. Both sources [of information] must be the same and there must be an error (or in this case a mutation without a function.) While there are examples of these mistakes in common, there are plenty of ones that are not. (234–236)

However, it is entirely possible that these ERV's are found in multiple Genomes to fulfill an essential function that we have yet to discover.

When sequences are identical, claiming common ancestry is a moot point because they could be part of what is considered essential for life as designed by God, and we simply don’t know what they do yet. When the sequences are similar, claiming common ancestry is disputable because they aren’t identical. If there were a common ancestor identified because of ERV similarities, then the ERV mistakes would have to be in exactly the same places consistently through shared common ancestry; however, while there are some similarities, the kinds of the differences and their magnitudes are inconsistently shared through supposed common ancestral lineages. Therefore, an ERV similarity cannot be the basis for determining whether two organisms share common ancestry (no matter what kind of convergent evolutionary rescuing device is used). It is a vicious catch-22 that they cannot reason their way out of. At the end of the day, it is reminiscent of the question, which came first—the chicken or the egg? No one can even say which came first when ERVs are quickly becoming or already were an essential feature of the genome.

https://answersingenesis.org/biology/microbiology/endogenous-retroviruses-common-ancestry/

That sums it up much better than I could put it, and I look forward to your opinions. Also I would like that list of 3 transitional forms. Their absence seems rather plain, but I may just not know about them.

12. Nate

No problem with response time, cwh. I am obviously no better than you in that way (just checked site now!) The only thing I have to add right now is regarding soft dinosaur tissue. While certain conditions may sustain tissue for a certain amount of time (https://www.www.livescience.com/41537-t-rex-soft-tissue.html) this hardly excuses millions of years, regardless of how much soft tissue we find today. Also, regarding wooly mammoth carcasses (and dinosaur ones), we really don't know exactly how old these carcasses are, and therefore cannot truly measure the probability that any one would be preserved.

13. Nate

Thank you for visiting the links. I do have one more thing to add.  Looking at the whole of Mark 10, I would certainly agree that Jesus is speaking of the context of marriage. The real point of the Mark 10:6 point on the link is the "from the beginning of creation" part. While it could be theoretically be interpreted as the beginning of mankind, I think that the wording is fairly clear that he created man, male and female, at the beginning of creation.

14.cwh

While it is true that some ERV sequences are active in regulating expression of genes, it is a far cry from all of them. Remember, that 8% of the human genome is composed of ERV sequence, compared to 1.5% of the genome that actually codes for amino acids. I feel that this argument is awfully close to misrepresenting the facts by the AiG authors. I understand the argument of the classroom cheating analogy, but when the ERV component is more prevalent than the coding component by a factor of 5, it suggests quite a bit of mistakes. The most plausible explanation is that evolution actually allowed the development of small bits of that invading DNA into some function.

Transitional fossils:
Take your pick of the Australopithecus, whale transitional fossils (Pakicetus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, etc), and Archaeopteryx (mostly because the Archeopteryx is really cool :-P). Since evolution isn't a ladder, but more of a bush (to use the common analogies), it is difficult to determine exactly what is and what isn't transitional, but I think these are pretty good examples.

Mark chapter 10:
Would it be plausible that Jesus was referring to the creation of marriage? I should add that evolutionary creation does not automatically dismiss a literal Adam and Eve. I lean toward a literal Adam and Eve as well, but perhaps uniquely (among other Homo sapiens at the time) and miraculously imbued with the spiritual capability of interaction with God.

  Nate (Reply)

Mark chapter 10:
I think that this passage could be interpreted that way, especially given the context. There is some ambiguity of the Greek word κτίσις. The complete definition (from biblehub.com) is

 "(often of the founding of a city), (a) abstr: creation, (b) concr: creation, creature, institution; always of Divine work, (c) an institution, ordinance."

 It could therefore be translated to the "creation" definition or the "institution/ordinance" definition. As I am no expert in Greek, I choose to allow the experts to correctly translate the text and trust that the "creation" definition. I must admit that this is not one of the stronger points against theistic evolution.

Regarding pre-Adamic men from which Adam and Eve were given souls/spiritual capability: Genesis 2 teaches that Adam was created from the dust in the ground and then given the breath of life, not chosen from a preexisting group.

15.cwh

This video isn't real respectful toward the creationist position (and especially Ben Carson), but it's kinda funny:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuqFUdqNYhg&app=desktop

  Nate (Reply)

Most of the time they don't show actual fossils, but artists' interpretations of the fossils. For example, the "Lucy" fossil could be interpreted many ways, especially depending on the worldview of the interperter. This image shows a few ways the same fossil could be interperted.
https://assets.answersingenesis.org/img/articles/am/v8/n1/lucy-makeover.jpg
 This happens because here is so much that a fossil does not tell us. These details are up to the individual artist. One common example is that those who believe in evolution will give their models white scleras, something fairly unique to humans.

16. cwh

My real intent here isn't really to convince anyone to accept my beliefs over their own, but to open up the possibility that someone with different beliefs about creation can still be a sibling in Christ. In that light, I'd like to give a "top 3" list of "What I wish YECs understood about ECs", and would invite you all to reciprocate. As I think about it, I'm probably going to personalize this quite a bit, but here goes:

1. Evolutionary Creation does not diminish God.
Believing God created life in 24 hour days or through evolution does not mean that God didn't create. It is standard in EC circles to acknowledge that God COULD have created however He wished. We simply believe that study, observation, and experimentation on God's creation strongly suggests that He created through evolution over vast time scales. To me, the creativity and intricate nature of evolution speaks volumes about the transcendent knowledge and power of our God.

2. Evolutionary Creation does not diminish the importance of the Bible.
It is true, that acceptance of modern science, and especially evolutionary theory, does require a non-literal interpretation of Genesis. But I would like to point out that accepting a round earth also involves a non-literal interpretation of certain passages of the Bible, as well. I actually ran across a couple of people on a different forum yesterday that were defending (and rather adamantly) the flat earth with scripture. Admittedly, the scale of the non-literal interpretation is large for acceptance of evolution, but the principle still remains. I value the Bible tremendously and use it extensively to correct my thoughts and actions.


3. Preponderance of scientific opinion really does mean something.
For "soft" areas of study such as philosophy and theology, consensus opinion doesn't mean as much as it does in "hard" studies like physics, chemistry, or biology. The more people study, and the more tools we develop for study, the clear the picture of nature becomes. When 99%+ of professional scientists agree on something, it really is significant. Are all questions answered? Absolutely not! But, I believe scientific studies have built enough observation and fact to come up with a rather clear "big picture" of what past history of the planet must have looked like.

17.Nate

I certainly agree that someone can be (and this describes a lot of people) both a Christian and believe in evolution. However, this does not diminish the need for a literal interpretation of Genesis (see below.)

1 & 2. Evolution, theistic or otherwise, diminishes the <i>validity</i> (We'll find out if this supports italics like that!) of scripture. Consider the implications of evolution on Genesis. First, there would have to be death before Adam and Eve. Death is an important part of evolutionary theory because without death there is no "survival of the fittest", fossil record etc. Genesis teaches that there was no death before Adam and Eve. 
(Romans 5:12, ESV) "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—" 
Also, God said after each day of creation that it was "very good." Would God call death very good?

3. This is a logical fallacy called "ad populum." Just because most people think something is true does not make it true. This is especially dangerous because most schools and other public educational facilities teach an evolutionary worldview, therefore causing people to believe evolution.

  cwh (Reply)

I'm afraid you are missing my intent with the "3 things I wish people understood". What I'm sharing are my personal truths. I suppose point 3 can be discussed, but points 1 and 2 are certainly true for me, regardless of what others believe. I'll go ahead and address your comment on death, though.

I would suggest that the death that only occurs after the fall would have had to be a spiritual death. It is difficult to fathom the range of problems that would arise if nothing ever died. Do no cell ever die? No single-celled organism? No sentient organism? Where would one draw the line from a Biblical perspective? Then imagine if integral parts of life like nutrient recycling completely gone. How would we never run out of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, etc if nothing ever died? God would certainly not set up a creation that was doomed to failure.

Let me put a hypothetical situation out there relating to scientific consensus. I never got into it, but many people enjoy "Antiques Road Show" and the like. If someone had a Civil War artifact and got 100 experts to look at it and evaluate it. Ninety-nine experts confirm its authenticity and assign it a value of $10,000 dollars. One expert says it has all the appearances of age, but it is clearly not authentic and says it is worth 50 cents. Would you say "There is a difference of opinion, so obviously both opinions are equally viable!"? Expert opinion really does matter.

What if you were wrongfully convicted of a crime, based on some DNA evidence? Would you want an expert testifying on your behalf, or would you pick someone up at the nearest bus stop and hope they do well, because all opinions are equally viable?

  Nate (Reply)

I understand your intent to show that someone can be a Christian and hold non-literal/semi-literal interpretations of Genesis. However, my intent is to show that while this is possible, it is also contradictory to their faith.

The meaning of death in Genesis is something best understood in Hebrew. This site can explain it much better than I can. http://creation.com/nephesh-chayyah In short, "The biblical classification of 'living creature' seems to fit those that we would today recognise today as vertebrates."

Expert opinion certainly matters. However, the experts don't always get it right. For one example (or 115 examples): http://humanscience.wikia.com/wiki/Worst_Predictions

In the antique roadshow situation, I would not be interested so much in how many people said what but rather their reasons for their decision to value it at whatever price they did. Maybe the one person saw something everyone else missed (unless all 100 experts were there at the same time and they could talk amongst themselves, in which case there is a certain danger of being influenced by each other.) 

Anyways, DNA evidence is pretty reliable (I understand the DNA evidence is not your point.) As for who I would want testifying, I'm sure experts would take different sides depending on who they were working for in the case.

Also, there is a certain amount of creationist scientists out there (see http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-scientists.html) There are some names that pop out to me such as Boyle, Faraday, Joule, Linnaeus, Morse, Newton, Pasteur, and da Vinci. As the page states, some scientists don't want to be known as creationists because of the often anti-creationist climate in their field.

  cwh (Reply)

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17, ESV)
Did Adam and Eve die that day? Is they day in this text not "yom"? (I honestly don't know this answer) If it is "yom" and YECs insist that yom in the context of Genesis is 24 hours, how did they not die? It seems like a compelling argument to say that either the death is spiritual, or the passage is figurative -- which I am told repeatedly is wrong and borderline heretical.
I made it through the top 25 of your list, Nate. They are certainly amusing and it is indeed interesting that these experts said such things. But EXPERT AND CONSENSUS opinion is obviously different. I'm running out of ways to explain why expert consensus is important, but just for fun, let's try another. Your car stops running and you take it to a huge repair center. Ninety-nine of the professional auto mechanics say "it's the alternator". One person says "wow, I know it looks like the alternator, but those 99 other people are just plain wrong. It's the crankshaft." Would you have the crankshaft replaced or the alternator? What young earth creationist scientists do is not identical, obviously. But the reason they differ in opinion is not necessarily by what is observed, but by their YEC worldview that forces them to bypass the obvious answers in favor of an alternative. This ignores what God has made evident through His creation.

I'm a Creationist (I wholeheartedly believe that God is the Creator!), and I occasionally like to call myself a scientist. If you think my theology is a little "off", take a look in detail at what Newton believed! In any case, I'm not sure I understand your point.

I looked at the creation.com article and it appears as though the phrase is interpreted in a variety of different ways in Genesis. I think it's a bit of an overreach to claim it means only sentient beings in the context of death, but really means all creatures in other contexts.

  Nate (Reply)

I believe that "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die", does not mean that Adam would die the same day (he obviously did not), but rather that this phrase express the certainty of his death. Yes, the word "yom" is used for "day" in this verse. However, it is used a little bit differently (beyôm.)
An excerpt from https://answersingenesis.org/death-before-sin/genesis-2-17-you-shall-surely-die/:
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 21.0px; font: 15.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #3f4041} span.s1 {font-kerning: none; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #555555} span.s2 {font-kerning: none} span.s3 {font: 10.0px Helvetica; font-kerning: none} span.s4 {font-kerning: none; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #00a9cf} "The Hebrew has beyôm (בְּיוֹם), where the Hebrew preposition b (ב, usually is translated “in”) is connected as a prefix to yôm (יוֹם, which is the word for “day”). This Hebrew temporal adverb is often translated with the English prepositional phrase “in the day that.” This would be the essentially “woodenly literal” translation (although “the” and “that” are not in the Hebrew but are added to make the English sound smooth). But only sometimes (not always) does beyôm refer to a literal day, in which case the context makes it clear. This same construction (beyôm) appears in Genesis 2:4 and does not refer to a specific 24-hour day but to the whole Creation Week of six literal days. "


Regarding expert consensus, one of the key differences between the examples you have provided and YEC vs evolution is the way evidence was collected. In the car example, it would be like if all the people that said "it's the alternator" were looking at some other car parts while the person who said "it's the crankshaft" was looking at the engine. The people who said it was the alternator interpreted the evidence (the car) differently than the person who said it was the crankshaft. Scientists collecting evidence for evolution often interpret the evidence quite differently and that is based on how they perform science. Evolution scientists look at evidence and try to date it back using their assumptions. Many YEC scientists are looking at good solid empirical science even if other scientists disagree (with their own set of some natural assumptions of course.)


Could you please give me an example of ambiguity in nephesh creatures?


Thank you for your consistent responses even if it may take me a while to respond.

  cwh (Reply)

I was just noting that table 1 in the link you provided gives 10 different verses using "nephesh chayyah" that is translated 10 different ways, with the table supplying 10 different meanings. It seems like it is a bit tricky and difficult to accurately say "This is what 'nephesh chayyah' means in this context...".

I think I'm just going to give up on trying to explain why expert consensus opinion is important. I would suggest that you keep in mind that virtually anyone with more than a casual familiarity with science will have the same view on this issue that I do.

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