Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some creationist arguments I do disagree with

Architect-426, who occasionally posts at EvC, believes that volcanoes played a much bigger role in the history of the earth than is normally recognized, specifically related to the worldwide Flood, and that the theory of plate tectonics is simply wrong. In a brief exchange I had with him I did find out that there has been a great deal more volcanic activity on this planet than I had any idea, so he could be right about volcanism as an unsung major player, but plate tectonics is just too reasonable an idea to dismiss and I don't know how he got so convinced it's wrong. He's been arguing along on this point on this thread at EvC for some time now:
Architect-426 says: Since the (nil) velocity of "plates" truly cannot even be defined as velocity per se, much less translated into energy to "build" anything, then indeed plate tectonics is false in terms of creating geological features.

Thus my entire argument regarding vertical tectonics and volcanism vs. "plate" tectonics, or the idea that land masses move with enough horizontal speed and "crash" into another landmass. This alleged plate tectonic notion is sheer nonsense as shperical mechanics and displacement completely negate this "lateral" type of motion, and is only supported by colorful diagrams to "explain" how this supposedly happens.

Yet the fact remains; no velocity = no energy = no "plate" tectonic construction.
Floodists believe that the separating of the continents by plate movement started out rapid and then slowed down. The movement wasn't always so slow.

But also it seems that even very slow movement of such huge bodies would have quite a bit of crunching force when they impact another body, slow but devastating.

However, a rapid splitting of the continents would generate enough friction or resistance to push up the strata into high mountains at some distance from the exerted force -- Rocky Mountains, Alps -- but more gently buckle the land at the edge of the split -- Appalachians. Architect wants to attribute all mountain-building to volcanism, but I don't see it myself -- the way some mountains are formed, the way the strata were pushed up or buckled, is consistent with the kind of lateral force tectonic movement would exert.

Coyote isn't helping matters in this discussion:
You seem to be trying to force reality to fit within your religious beliefs. Problem is, it doesn't fit. Your religious beliefs are flatly contradicted by reality.

The earth is old, giving the small annual movement of the plates plenty of time to do all sorts of things. You may not like it, but that's the way it is.
I don't think it's Architect's religious position that has him rejecting plate tectonics, it's just the way it looks to him for whatever reason -- based on his experience of the engineering tasks necessary to architecture. That is, it's a scientific position he's taken although one with little credibility it seems to me.

But an old earth isn't necessary. Plate movement fits just fine into the Flood scenario and the Young Earth scenario, does not require an old earth at all. The separating of the continents had to be faster at first and slow down over time of course and some argue that's impossible, but that's all speculation on their part. There's enough evidence for the Flood anyway and tectonic movement explains what happened to the strata AFTER they were all laid down in the Flood. We see them buckled and upended and twisted and split into canyons all over the world. The Flood laid down the strata, then disturbances of the earth such as earthquakes -- caused by tectonic movement anyway -- account for the distortion of the strata. So many Floodists believe that the continents split after the Flood because of forces released in the Flood, and have been moving apart ever since.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

New Poster at EvC gives creditable evidence for the worldwide Flood only to be met with the usual flat-out denial

So I guess I have to recognize that I'm still occasionally tempted to join in the scientific part of the evolution discussion despite my generally pulling back from it.

Brand new poster at EvC, Danielcp makes a very intelligent observation that supports the Flood:
I am brand new to this sight and as such may post something that has been discussed already, but I have something that amazes me about the flood.

I have traveled into the western U.S. on several occasions. When I was at the Grand Canyon (AZ, national park), I took note of the very clear explanations of its watery past, as presented in the visitor center. Also, when I was once driving through the desert of western TX, I stopped at a national park, and they also mentioned that particular parks watery past (Guadalupe park). Now these are only two of many places like this, places that had watery pasts, with a fossil record proving it.

After those visits, a thought came to mind. "If I took a world map, and put a simple pin in every place that has a fossil record denoting a watery past, would I be able to cover the earth with pins on my map?" ...need to put that on the "to do" list.

Anyway, we debate the validity of a biblical flood. We, or you, or somebody, argues that it didn't happen. But, there is so much evidence that clearly shows that the world was can one argue that there was not a world wide flood? Clearly sea life fossils in desert places around the world point to a flood. Those fossils certainly didn't visit the desert in a car at some point in the past.

Yes, the watery past that figures in ALL the strata and ALL the fossil beds IS evidence for the Flood and I hope he'll continue to collect this sort of data. But then along comes jar, of course, who pronounces as from on high that the Flood simply never happened. How he gets away with his flat-out assertions that are against the forum rules is a mystery, but anyway, he's to be ignored.

Then bluescat48 says:

There are at least 2 reasons for the fossils found in deserts & on mountains, climate change & plate tectonics.

At several times in the ancient past, the world climate was much warmer, with no ice cap. The sea level was several hundred meters higher than it is now, Much of the eastern & central North American was under water. When the climate cooled forming the ice caps the water receded leaving the bottom silt, containing dead organisms, in place. Plate tectonics, the plates colliding built up mountains carrying the remains of life with it. The point is this occurred millions of years ago and not all at once.
Note how he says it, as if it is absolute fact, as if there could be no question about it, although all he's done is offer an alternative interpretation that has no more explanatory power than the Flood as Danielcp has shown.

The actual facts he mentions fit quite nicely with Danielcp's observations and with the Flood in general, yet he apparently fails to notice. That is, before the Flood, and during, according to Floodists, quite in agreement with his statement, "the world climate was much warmer, with no ice cap." Certainly sea level was much "higher than it is now" although "several hundred meters" is probably more than the Flood description requires, and if it WERE that high how could you possibly NOT be talking about a worldwide drowning of the land anyway? Not completely covered if we're talking about present altitudes, but worldwide nevertheless, pretty much what we might expect of the last stages of the Flood before it had completely receded. Yes, such statements are evidence in favor of the Flood, observations or speculations completely consistent with the Flood interpretation, and just because mainstream science has a different way of interpreting their observations doesn't make them any the less consistent with the Flood.

Certainly "eastern and central North America" were under water because the entire world was under water. Then, as a result of the Flood "the climate cooled forming the ice caps" and "the water receded" leaving not just the "bottom silt" but all the layers of the geologic column, "containing dead organisms," and after the Flood "the [tectonic] plates colliding built up mountains carrying the remains of life with it."

All of this is in keeping with the Flood scenario and yet he goes on and on as if it contradicts it!

The only difference is in the timing: "The point is this occurred millions of years ago and not all at once." Well, the evidence for the millions of years is just not there, while the evidence is overwhelming that it DID occur "all at once:" The evidence for this is in the fact that strata all over the planet were obviously laid down one on top of another BEFORE all the tectonic activity distorted them, because they are distorted -- twisted, upended, broken, upraised or sunk, cut or carved -- AS A UNIT, several layers at a time (the entire depth of them in the Grand Canyon), keeping their original parallel relation to one another. Grand Canyon, Grand Staircase, entire Southwest and elsewhere around the world it's incontestable, and it is NOT hard to see that the "unconformities" that are often taken to be evidence for long time gaps between layers are merely layers that were displaced from beneath after the strata were all in place. You just have to open your eyes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Does creationism turn people away from the gospel?

dwise1 at EvC puts up this thought-provoking post :

Conrad Hyers, The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science, John Knox Press, Atlanta, Georgia, 1984, page 26:
It may be true that scientism and evolutionism (not science and evolution) are among the causes of atheism and materialism. It is at least equally true that biblical literalism, from its earlier flat-earth and geocentric forms to its recent young-earth and flood-geology forms, is one of the major causes of atheism and materialism. Many scientists and intellectuals have simply taken the literalists at their word and rejected biblical materials as being superseded or contradicted by modern science. Without having in hand a clear and persuasive alternative, they have concluded that it is nobler to be damned by the literalists than to dismiss the best testimony of research and reason. Intellectual honesty and integrity demand it."
Gregg Wilkerson, co-founder of Students for Origins Research and former young-earth creationist, at the 1990 International Conference on Creationism:
"Creationism by and large attracts few to the gospel, but it turns many away."
It certainly seems to be true at first glance, to the point that it could make a person feel guilty for arguing for creationism at all.

Certainly it's true that there are some very bad creationist arguments, but that doesn't seem to be the problem. There are also some good creationist arguments that nevertheless also turn people away. I've seen this happen over and over at EvC for instance. Science is very sure of itself, but science as it defends evolution is nevertheless a gigantic delusion -- and the distinction between science and scientism in this case is meaningless. Research and reason are not the road to reality they are touted to be.

Then it seems to be worth considering that Christians should only present the gospel, keep the focus on the unbeliever's need for salvation, and leave creationism aside as a sort of secondary issue that only takes the focus away from what matters most.

I can't claim to have given this a lot of thought so I might change my mind eventually, but I think this is a false concern. I think that Biblical creation is intrinsic to the gospel, absolutely essential, and if a person rejects it they would also reject the gospel anyway. I think this is demonstrated on the "deconversion" thread at EvC where I think it could be shown that all those who supposedly deconverted on the basis of the claims of science really never were converted -- born again -- in the first place, never really grasped the gospel, never knew Christ. It was all merely an intellectual assent to a list of propositions or a cultural habit, deeply ingrained habit but not spiritual reality. Another clue to this is that in genuine revivals there are always some proportion of lifelong Christians who realize as a result of the powerful presence of God in the revival that they never were born again, so then they get born again and that's when their Christian life actually begins. They could have been dedicated churchgoers and even preachers for fifty or more years to that point, even knowing the Bible better than most.

There may be both good and bad scientific arguments employed in the service of creationism, but Genesis 1 is always the underlying foundation if we're talking about BIBLICAL creationism. It is mainstream evolutionary science that discredits Genesis 1, FALSE science, that turns people away, but it also discredits the gospel at the same time. That is, the assumptions that contradict Genesis 1 are the same that contradict the supernatural claims of the gospels. If a person is convinced by those assumptions -- the materialist assumptions of modern science -- the gospel won't make any more sense to him than Genesis 1.

Again, "reason and reality" in the service of evolution are a snare and a delusion, seductive to the fallen mind and SO hard, maybe impossible, to break. People must have their spiritual eyes opened, either to recognize the gospel or to recognize the creation.

Also, the implication that nothing but the gospel should be presented pretty much eliminates the role the Christian is to play as salt and light in the world, which is usually understood to mean being an influence against the moral deterioration of the culture. Certainly if the gospel is making converts the culture will deteriorate less anyway, even spontaneously improve as in the case of revivals, but this fact doesn't preclude the separate work of being salt and light. This is what William Wilberforce did in Britain as he worked year after year to eliminate the slave trade. He didn't preach the gospel, he lived the gospel in that work of changing the culture.

Likewise, attempting to defeat the claims of evolution is a worthy endeavor for the good of society, especially in the proper valuing of all life but especially human life as made in the image of God. So is attempting to prevent the murder of the unborn. So is attempting to prevent the corruption of marriage which is the linchpin of a stable society and a protection of human dignity, which should include a lot more than just working to defeat efforts to establish homosexual marriage but does include that for sure. ALL of it is about valuing human life when it comes down to it. That's the work the church -- born-again Christians -- has always done from the very beginning.

Pagan societies promoted human sacrifice, promoted the devaluation of women (one of the "curses" of the Fall), discarded unwanted infants and the sick and elderly. All this was reversed by the influence of Jesus Christ. There are former cannibals who thank Jesus Christ that He changed their culture (one stood up in the audience at a debate with atheist Christopher Hitchens -- it's on You Tube somewhere). Christianity inspired the salvaging of infants exposed to die, promoted the care of the sick and elderly. Christians took in abandoned children, built orphanages, built hospitals, and also promoted science because of its coherent view of a law-giving Creator God, which is far from the pagan gods. Pagan science could only go so far before it would break down in chaotic speculations, it took the Biblical God to inspire productive empirical science.

And on and on and on. Society in the West was gradually changed over the centuries by Christians. Not everybody believed the gospel, but society was changed for the better anyway. We are now reverting to paganism again with our devaluation of life as expressed in the theory of evolution in general (yes it DOES devalue life and reverse all the moral gains of the last twenty centuries), as expressed in abortion which is a callous devaluation of human life in the name of materialist science (it's just a bunch of meaningless tissue), with our devaluation of marriage (at least partly a result of the now-embedded notion that we are "just animals"), which leads to chaos, poverty and insecurity. The increase in the influence of pagan religions in the West over the last half century is all part of this degeneration from our Christian cultural foundations.

It is the church's job to oppose these things.

I think if we are not succeeding at these efforts any more this is simply a sign of the deterioration of the church itself, the growing apostasy in various branches of the church, even compromises that have crept into the best of the churches and even into the minds of Christians who are attempting to be the salt and light (if you feel you have to compromise with science to the extent of inserting a few million years between a couple of verses in Genesis, accepting the idea of suffering and death before the Bible says Adam and Eve's disobedience brought it into the world, you've already lost the moral high ground).

It's not the fault of the attempt to change the culture in itself in other words, it's the fault of the churches that we have lost the supernatural power to do that work OR effectively preach the gospel, either one.

Which is why revival is so desperately needed, as I've argued on my other blogs.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Yoo hoo, Dr. Adequate.

Dr. Adequate is a frequent poster at EvC forums, which I suspect functions as some sort of therapeutic outlet for his endless supply of nastiness, sometimes cleverly or "wittily" packaged, against creationists. In this post he liberally slathers his contempt over creationist Fred Williams (of the website Evolution Fairytale), which also gives him the opportunity to use the term "gormless stupidity" in a sentence, but he seems to have abandoned all attempt at accuracy in his zeal to craft a bon mot.
[Williams] Last Friday, Dec 3, we discussed this article on our half-hour 'Real Science Friday' show. We are interested in giving evolutionists the opportunity to call in and comment on either the article, or what we discussed on the radio.
[Dr. A] While there are a few questions I'd like to ask you, I can't comment on what you said on the radio last week because I wasn't listening. Nor, indeed, do I have a radio.

While I can spot numerous instances of gormless stupidity in your article, in order to comment accurately on it in toto, I should need to read the fifteen papers referenced in the original article, and I do not currently have access to Nature.

Nor, I presume, do you, since you never quoted a single word of any of the papers; and while this did not inhibit you from forming a view on their content and validity, it would provide me with certain difficulties, since I prefer to base my opinions on the facts.
Tch, tch, the facts, eh? He complains that he doesn't have access to the "fifteen papers" in Nature supposedly referenced in Williams' article, completely having failed to notice the link to the ONE AND ONLY article at Nature that Williams referenced (from which he can also link to the original sources for each of the fifteen "gems" they cover), or the link to the radio program, given in the EvC post itself, which is ONLINE and doesn't require possession of a radio.

Since I would like to encourage him to read and hear all the relevant material in the hope that he might choose to participate in the upcoming radio discussion, here are the links again:

Fred Williams' article,

The Nature article (singular),

The radio program .

Just wanted to get this much posted for the sake of Dr. A and anyone else who might like to follow that discussion, but I may make my own comments on this topic myself eventually, although, as I've recently said, I've pretty much abandoned the effort to deal with the science questions because the deck is stacked in such a way as to make it futile.