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“Bill Dembski is world famous” says creationism’s prodigal son Michael Shermer

I was at the Dembski-Shermer Debate at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater Virginia last night. I had the privilege of finally meeting both William Dembski and Michael Shermer for the first time in person. They spoke to a crowd of about 350 people from Bridgewater College, James Madison University, and the surrounding community. The crowd was diverse from high-school educated carpenters to PhD trained scientists and philosophers. Symbolic of the diverse mix of people was an American pastor of a rural church and his wife, a Russian laser physicist!

Dembski won the debate, but I must salute Shermer’s honorable and courageous performance in the face of overwhelming odds. Shermer debated fairly and cleanly and avoided slinging mud and motive mongering. He did his best to stick to the discussion of scientific issues. Hats off to him.

It is hard not to really like Michael Shermer. One often gets the sense that Michael Shermer is viewed as creationism’s Prodigal Son by many. He was once an Evangelical Christian and renounced his faith after accepting Darwinian evolution. It seems many in my circles hold out hope Shermer will one day see the light and be restored to his long lost family.

That said, Shermer made a gallant attempt to discredit the hypothesis of intelligent design. His presentation reminded me of the valiant but ill-fated Pickett’s Charge in the battle of Gettysburg where Confederate soldiers marched a mile in the open field in the face relentless canon and musket fire. In that charge two life-long friends (Armistead and Hancock) found themselves pitted against each other, with Armistead leading his confederates into the blistering fire of Hancock’s canons. Such was the debate last night. Two friends, Bill Dembski and Michael Shermer were pitted against one another, and Shermer heroically fought on the side of a losing cause. I cringed that it was a courageous and honorable Michael Shermer marching into the battlefield instead of Barbara Forrest (see: Barbara Forrest, will the real coward please stand up).

Shermer attempted to discredit intelligent design by arguing the evidence for common ancestry. Shermer really shined when he cited the writings of Evangelical Christian and renowned scientist Francis Collins. He said Collins’ defense of Darwinian evolution in the book The Language of God was one of the best ever written, and Shermer read almost verbatim from chapter 5 of Collins’ book. That was a brilliant move by Shermer (especially before a crowd sympathetic to Dembski), but the move was brilliantly repulsed when Dembski reiterated, “ID is not inherently against the idea of common ancestry”. Thus Dembski neutralized Shermer’s best argument.

Shermer in the end said he was open to ideas like self-organization, or other evolutionary scenarios, and thus contradicted his own thesis on the importance of natural selection. When Shermer said he was open to the possibility of other mechanisms for evolution (like self-organization), Bill pulled out Shermer’s book and reminded him of Shermer’s own words:

No one, and I mean no one, working in the field is debating whether natural selection is the driving force behind evolution

Bill put together a wonderful arsenal of slides, videos, and compelling arguments making constant references to engineering. The audience was full of wonder as he showed the marvelous complexity of life graphically. He cited peer-reviewed articles demonstrating that debate was active on various ID topics. Bill Dembski mentioned the infamous Wistar Convention of 1966 where the world’s top neo-Darwinists were bludgeoned by mathematicians and computer scientists.

During the Q & A, Jason Rosenhouse (of Pandas Thumb) vigorously objected to Dembski’s citation of Wistar. Rosenhouse used a line of argumentation that he used in the essay CAN PROBABILITY THEORY BE USED TO REFUTE EVOLUTION?. Rosenhouse makes a formidable and convincing argument, but there is actually a more formidable and almost invulnerable counter argument (which I will give briefly). But rather than using his best counter to Rosenhouse, Dembski chose to avoid formalism and appeal to a popular audience by pointing out the selective use of probability theory by evolutionists. He showed Rosenhouse’s objections based on uncertainty regarding the conditions of the deep past were equally fatal to proponents of Darwinian evolution if Rosenhouse’s standards were equally applied, thus demonstrating Rosenhouse was arguing for a double standard.

But for the reader’s benefit, and to try to put a rest to some of this, the more solid but tediously formal argument against Rosenhouse’s thesis is laid out in Design Inference. Understandably because of time constraints, Bill did not bring out the big guns of formalisms laid in Design Inference. The formalisms demonstrate that there is a moot point crushing the Darwinist position, namely that Darwinists arguments are logically self-contradictory probability arguments of the form: “E = not-E” (page 46). Bill even uses the phrase reductio ad absurdum to described what his formalism demonstrates. “Reductio ad absurdum” is “proof by contradiction”. A proof by contradiction is not the same as argument from incredulity. A proof by contradiction shows how a claim is logically self-contradictory and therefore indefensible.

Darwinists argue that an unspecific mechanism can make specific outcomes. That is a logically self-contradictory claim, like the square circles. Probabilistically speaking, it’s like saying any ole combination (an unspecified mechanism) will open the safe (a specified outcome). When Darwinism is put into mathematical language, the self-contradictory nature of Darwinism is readily apparent. Rosenhouse argues that we would need detailed knowledge to make a probability argument, whereas the formal ID refutation is simply pointing out Darwinists have framed their claims in a logically self-defeating manner. That is the crux of the ID formalism refuting Darwinian evolution. This was shown in more detail in The Fundamental theorem of intelligent Design.

Shermer touched on the co-option argument and the flagella of other organisms other that E. Coli. This is a deep enough subject, I might have to defer discussion to another thread, but in brief, consider the fact your passwords are irreducibly complex. Does the fact that other people using passwords with some of the same alphabetic characters negate the IC of your password? Because some people have passwords that use the same letters as yours, can your password be more easily broken? There is a similar problem then with using arguments from protein homology to say IC is solvable since organisms use similar proteins (where we might think of proteins as letters to a password, and the passwords as IC systems). Dembski did not have time to address that point in Shermer’s presentation, and it was probably deep in the weeds enough that it would have bogged down the discussion.

During the Q & A the community of YECs came out in force and were rather polemic toward Shermer. I thought their tone was a bit rude. Can’t these guys be just a bit more collegial? No wonder they have such a bad reputation. After the hammering Shermer took, the YEC behavior was like the act of sticking bayonets into the bodies of dead soldiers. They could have been considerably more gracious, but they seem to have a real chip on their shoulder. Some YECs in that community are pretty tough, and one even showed me the door last year because he viewed me as too much a compromiser for my association with the ID movement! I was actually worried for Bill that the YECs in the crowd would start giving him a bad time over him not being a YEC himself. I mean, I was worried these guys would start arguing with Bill about what they think the Bible says.

In the closing remarks Shermer made some good points. He commented on the question that people pose to him about the after life, to which he responds “I’m all for it….but wanting something to be true does not make it true…the question of ID does not address the matter of such things…science shouldn’t be used to bolster religious belief, because science may over turn it.” Interestingly, that hit home for me. I cannot imagine having a religious faith not bolstered by empirical facts and sound theoretical arguments. If the facts overturn what I believe, then so be it. I can understand Shermer’s not wanting religion to rely on science, but on the other hand I can’t imagine a body of beliefs totally decoupled from empirical reality…..

The informal reception afterwards was very interesting. I met Bill Dembski for the first time and also had a cordial conversation with Jason Rosenhouse about things outside of ID. Though Rosenhouse and I are polar opposites, and sometimes we probably fume at each other, he has always been civil in person and conducted himself in an honorable manner whenever he participated in the Campus Crusade/Chi Alpha/IDEA functions I put together at his school.

I finally managed to talk to Dr. Shermer. He is quite a gentleman, and it was a delight to meet him. I asked him what he thought about the media attention given the ID movement. He said, “It’s far more than anything the creationists have ever gotten…it’s a truly successful media relations campaign…the creationists had nothing like it…a lot of it has to do with the internet….Bill Dembski is now world famous because of ID”. This is an interesting comment about the effectiveness of the internet. I didn’t have the time to pursue why he thought the internet was so important to the spread of ID.

I asked him about the mood of his colleagues post-Dover. To my surprise he said, for most of them it’s back to business. He’s all for people believing what they want to believe and teaching their children as such. He and his colleagues were concerned that tax payer money would be used to impose Christian beliefs on students, and thus he and his colleagues are much less worried about that now that Dover is behind us.

If I recall corretly, he said, “I’m against public schools, I think they’re a bad idea.” He mentioned he is favorable to private and home schools. But home and private schools are a veritable incubator of creationists! So I had to see if I could corroborate my recollection of what Shermer said with something he has published. He in fact wrote 25 EVOLUTIONISTS’ ANSWERS

In private schools funded and/or controlled by creationists, it is their freedom to teach whatever they like to their children.

Whoa!

He said he wanted to visit my alma mater, George Mason, because of their renowned free-market economics department run by 2 Nobel laureates. Is Shermer a libertarian of sorts? Hmm….Any way, I could go on, but the sum of my remarks is that I find Shermer to be an honorable gentleman. I would hope some day he sees the light.

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117 Responses to “Bill Dembski is world famous” says creationism’s prodigal son Michael Shermer

  1. Salvador,

    “During the Q & A the community of YECs came out in force and were rather polemic toward Shermer. I thought their tone was a bit rude.”

    All of them? Or the more vocal and rude of them?

    “Can’t these guys be just a bit more collegial? No wonder they have such a bad reputation.”

    Yes, well, one can always judge an entire group by the actions of a relative few at an isolated and not hugely attended meeting. As you seem to have done.

    “After the hammering Shermer took, the YEC behavior was like the act of sticking bayonets into the bodies of dead soldiers.”

    War imagery. Maybe they had been singing, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war…”, and had a bit of a militant mind-set. Or maybe they weren’t astute enough to realize Shermer’s entire argument against ID and YEC had been defeated, especially given Bill Dembski’s comment that “ID is not inherently against the idea of common ancestry”? Could it be that they wanted to defend not only ID, but YEC also? Maybe the body you perceived to be dead was still crawling around a little.

    “They could have been considerably more gracious, but they seem to have a real chip on their shoulder.”

    Given the treatment they receive from not only the entrenched scientific community, but also ID supporters generally, it’s quite understandable.

    “Some YECs in that community are pretty tough, and one even showed me the door last year because he viewed me as too much a compromiser for my association with the ID movement!”

    Shocking. But then again, Salvador, if one’s conscience says that another person is compromising on matters which impinge on the Gospel, then if one seeks to obey the Bible, one SHOULD show that other person the door. In the case you mention, the person might be mistaken, but his actions were likely not due to rudeness, anger, or vengefulness, but rather to sincere conviction.

    “I was actually worried for Bill that the YECs in the crowd would start giving him a bad time over him not being a YEC himself.”

    By “giving him a bad time”, do you mean pointing out where his views on these matters contradict the Bible? Bill’s a tough guy – I’m sure he could withstand, at least emotionally, some such volleys from polite audience members.

    “I mean, I was worried these guys would start hammering Bill about what the Bible says.”

    Horrors. They wouldn’t have? Would they have? I tremble even to think of it – Bill Dembski called into question about some of his views about what the Bible says.

    By the way, Salvador, there was a period of many months at ARN, at least, where you were claiming that you were leaning more towards YEC than OEC. Am I mistaken? Or have you changed your views in this?

  2. Douglas,

    Thanks for proving my point about YEC polemics. Sheesh you guys embarass me.

    Sal
    PS
    I lean toward YEC, but like Marcus Ross and Paul Nelson, I’m comfortable working within alternate paradigms.

  3. Can’t wait to read the transcript.

  4. In what way was my post offensive, Salvador? My spirit in posting it was not snide, but a gentle, though hopefully clear, humor aimed at highlighting ways in which you seemed to not treat YECs fairly, or to have perhaps perceived the situation clearly.

    The majority of your post which dealt with YECs seemed to be a subtle but obvious attack upon them, Salvador. And you seemed to judge YECs based on what apparently was the behavior of a relative few “YECers” at that meeting. You have not, though, provided any specific examples which would illustrate in what way they were “rude” or “willing to bayonet a dead body” (your image, helpfully provided).

    I must say, Salvador, I’ve watched you now for quite some time, and my above post was far “gentler” and less rude than many of yours to many of your anti-ID opponents at ARN. Are you looking to distance yourself from Young Earth Creationism?

    (Oh, and I pray that Dr. Kennedy is recovering well. I will say, though, that after having donated a fair sum of money to his ministry recently for something-or-other, I have been buffeted by letters from his ministry suggesting more donations. I have never received such insistent and consistent “suggestions”/requests for donations as I have from Dr. Kennedy’s ministry. I think that’s why I prefer Dave Hunt’s “The Berean Call”, where they NEVER request donations, or make pleas which amount to requests for donations – they even state that they have always, and will always, trust rather in the Lord to provide.)

  5. Out of all the atheists I’ve seen debate I like Shermer the best. He comes across as a stand-up guy. I don’t doubt that if he found evidence he thought pointed to God, he would give up his atheism readily. Concerning the YEC crowd, I have to admit I hold some disdain for them. Where ID seems to follow where the evidence leads, YEC seems to rally against it. I know there are some YEC’s here but I’m just giving my honest opinion – don’t mean to offend. To an extent I can understand the Darwinists lashing out against them, but willfully confusing YEC with ID is simply disingenuous. I think if it weren’t for YEC, Darwinism wouldn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to all this “coming theocracy” nonsense. BTW, the debate wouldn’t be available online anywhere would it?

  6. In the closing remarks Shermer made some good points. He commented on the question that people pose to him about the after life, to which he responds “I’m all for it….but wanting something to be true does not make it true…the question of ID does not address the matter of such things…science shouldn’t be used to bolster religious belief, because science may over turn it.” Interestingly, that hit home for me. I cannot imagine having a religious faith not bolstered by empirical facts and sound theoretical arguments. If the facts overturn what I believe, then so be it. I can understand Shermer’s not wanting religion to rely on science, but on the other hand I can’t imagine a body of beliefs totally decoupled from empirical reality…..

    Though I believe the bible is supported by real science and facts. There is an inherent & serious problem with relying on science & scientific opinions…

    A case study:
    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20070112a

    This is one reason I think the Answers in Genesis mission is one of the strongest. It knwos how we can mess up science, and uses the bible to see the world. Even though their stance is probably one of it’s most criticised views by opponents… this stance has stood the test of time and found that the science evnetualy turns around back to support the bible.

    I think, personally, that creation, by an innate kind of science, testifies that God created… and that’s about that.

    Some things, such as the age of the earth, I don’t think we can fully know without revelation. Without the bible, there would have been no reason to think the earth was 6000 years old. Even though, some work by Setterfield may be possibly leading to that discovery.. many many years after the belief was accepted by Chirstians.

    Anyway…

    I look forwrd to reading the debate too. Will there be a video?

  7. Sal, great reporting. Thank you. It was as though I was there.

    Wistar Convention of 1996

    I think you mean 1966.

  8. Thanks Salvador. That review was very interesting and informative. I wish I could have been there.

    I agree with you that there are people from all sides of this debate who can become vicious in their response to those they disagree with.

    Q&A always brings out the worst in these types. I’ve cringed on more than one occasion listening to people at the mic attack the speaker. Emotions run high in this debate, but people should try to understand the other person’s point of view and realize that they truly believe what they are saying so it’s not right to treat them with distain.

    [Note to self: be nicer to the pro-Darwin crowd.]

  9. JGuy,

    This is one reason I think the Answers in Genesis mission is one of the strongest. It knwos how we can mess up science, and uses the bible to see the world.

    I have less trust of many theologians claiming to have absolute truth than I do empirical scientists who constanly admit their fallibility. How much trust do you give to someone claiming they can’t possibly be wrong? [Unless of course they can work miracles like walking on water or rising from the dead....]

    AiG has practically equated their theology with God’s word, they have no doubts of their possible fallibility.

    A statement or profession of faith (like the creeds and profession I made to join the church) is different than promoting oneself has having an infallible interpretation. I profess what I believe, but I don’t go around pretending my understanding of the Bible is infallible.

    Someone who has such an attitude of their personal infallibility, may be correct, but how much trust are you willing to bestow on them given their pronouncements of infallibility?

    Some things, such as the age of the earth, I don’t think we can fully know without revelation.

    That statement may actually be contrary to the truth. Romans 1:20 promises a degree of irrefutabilty from empirical evidence. IF, and a big IF, the Designer wishes to affirm a literal Luke 3:20, it stands to reason creation will not allow science to make any other interpretation. We will be forced to follow where the evidence leads. Perhaps a little tolerance from the YECs are in order until more data comes in. I am not willing to give a final word on these difficult issues by interpretational fiat as AiG is willing to do. I much rather profess what I believe to be true and admit I could be wrong. A little caution and skepticism is healthy….

    ICR kept using the argument, “if God says it’s a certain way” then that over rides empirical appearnces. There are not many instances whre that principle is applied in the Bible, and those were the exceptions rather than the rule.

    That’s where we ended up getting the whole “appearance of age theology”. That was especially true in arguments of distant starlight. Even AiG saw right through that.

    Now, let me show a double standard with AiG. If they start appealing to empirical arugments to support their position, then that is a repudiation of the thesis that its sufficient to know about origins through reading and interpreting God’s Word alone. If that were the case, why bother doing any science???? Look at how the Lord dealt with Gideon when Gideon sought empirical corroboration.

    Rather it affirms the purely empirical approach which the Lord himself hints at in John 10:38 that if one cannot believe the words one “can believe the works”.

    Bible pounding conveys the image of someone deeply insecure about empirical facts. How good of a witness is that before a world seeking truth?

    Shermer might be right to criticize that ID does not lead to all the other theological claims in various world religions. That is a respectable objection which I will address elsewhere.

    The point at issue in the debate was the evidence of the design argument. Without that, for me personally I would be on Michael Shermer’s side today. Some may disagree with me, but a theology not in line with the facts is probably a theology not worth ascenting to….

  10. “The point at issue in the debate was the evidence of the design argument. Without that, for me personally I would be on Michael Shermer’s side today. Some may disagree with me, but a theology not in line with the facts is probably a theology not worth ascenting to”

    Can I get an Amen!

  11. Rock on, Sal!!! I couldn’t agree more.

  12. shaner74, “a theology not in line with the facts is probably a theology not worth ascenting to.” I’ll give you a cautious amen. The consern, of course, is that science has by no means uncovered all of the facts yet. Furthermore, the scientific community is somewhat selective about which facts they bring to the table, and which they are quiet about. (I’m still waiting for an explanation of the dried blood found on T.Rex bones.) However, I, like you, have seen sufficient evidence that, blood on T.Rex bones notwithstanding, I am bought into the old earth conclusion. At that point, I have three options, discover an interpretation of my theological position that is in line with the evidence, abandon my theology, or “live in the ambiguity,” waiting for a future science, or future theological interpretation to unify these two apparently established but contradictory truths. (Isn’t physics in the same position re quantum theory and relativitiy?)

  13. Sal,

    Here’s something interesting: I am the antipole of Shermer. I was a lifelong, Dawkins-style, militant atheist until age 43 (I’m now 56), but once I started investigating the evidence of modern science my atheism collapsed catastrophically and very quickly.

    I am the ultimate lost son who finally figured out that he was really, really stupid, because the evidence was screaming at him from every corner, all throughout his life, but he refused to recognize it.

  14. Salvador,

    Great post.

  15. When people are polite and civil with one another things are always so much better.

    Great post.

  16. Dembski won the debate

    How do you decide who won in these debates?

  17. Salvador: “a theology not in line with the facts is probably a theology not worth assenting to.”

    Darn right! Assuming a strict definition of “facts” that requires them to be true, regardless of current acceptance, if what God reveals is proven false, then it would appear that “God” is either mistaken or lying.

    Salvador: “Romans 1:20 promises a degree of irrefutabilty from empirical evidence.”

    Hmmmm…. Actually, Romans 1:20 names just two things that are evident from empirical evidence: God’s eternal power and his divine nature. It is these that the text says men are without excuse for denying. Nothing here about how old anything is, by what means God brought us into existence, etc.; therefore, no apparent suggestion from this text that empirical evidence would necessarily tell us much about such things.

    bFast: “Furthermore, the scientific community is somewhat selective about which facts they bring to the table, and which they are quiet about.”

    This agrees with a wide enough array of sources that I don’t have difficulty believing it–nor is that reason for cynicism with regard to the scientific community. It simply illustrates what I believe to be the human tendency to reinforce, without conscious effort, what one expects or wants to see. This doesn’t deny the occasional, but often vociferous, clown out there who deliberately tries to silence facts he knows will hurt his cause.

    I suppose this observed selectivity is one reason why I don’t feel compelled to accept the majority view about the age of the earth, any more than about unguided, common descent. Evidence is presented on both sides of the question, after all.

    As far as the Bible goes, the text of the Creation account appears fairly clear to me. There isn’t obviously symbolic imagery as in other passages, and there are no intricate theological concepts that have to be worked out before the account can be understood. It’s really pretty basic, actually. Just as few would question the intelligent origin of DNA if a plausible agent were known within the range of common experience, so few would question the meaning and timing of the Creation account were there not strong motivations to somehow reconcile the text what what are regarded as facts. The two possibilities for me, then, are that it’s a historically true account, and the supposed “facts” are actually mistaken; or that, if the “facts” really are true, then the Creation account is false. Rick’s perspective, simplified version.

    OP: “After the hammering Shermer took, the YEC behavior was like the act of sticking bayonets into the bodies of dead soldiers. They could have been considerably more gracious, but they seem to have a real chip on their shoulder.”

    Yeah, nothing like good Christian behavior to win over one’s perceived foe, eh?

    This behavior is perhaps understandable to some degree from a human point of view; but if Christians treat their “enemies” like that, they discredit the primary evidence that there’s supposedly a superhuman power within them. Good for you, Salvador, for your gracious attitude toward Dr. Shermer.

    GilDodgen, #13: very cool.

  18. Sal,
    From my prior post and our outside correspondance, you know that I do not discount science as useful – if done very critically. And I’ve even used it to edify my own faith. But for matters of knowing truth, I don’t rely on a full bore evidentialist approach, nor do I think it is solely a presuppositional one. I think there is some need of correspondance between faith and reality. I’m still in personal debate on how to use these ideas. However, I’ve used my understanding of science to help me see how reality confirms/corresponds with the truth/reality of/within God’s word.

    Let me back up a sec.. when I say science, I don’t neccessarily mean science that you only find in books or labs w/ beakers, flasks & test tubes. Here it means also the innate sense of ‘science’ that I think all of us have from birth. Concepts which do not – at all – require a PhD in any one field of study. For example, we can know from experience and/or with an innate understanding of probability that designs do not just pop into existence from chaos. An ordering process needs to be present. And some designs, such as those ID is concerned with (CSI, IC..etc..), always require an intelligent cause for that ordering. This is innate AND somewhat empirical. [BTW: It's odd that these ideas seem so obvious, yet so may evolutionary scientists don't seem to "get it".]

    Anyway, I appreciate science ..done right.. but I do not dicard the value of presuppositions (w/ a biblical basis) and ‘how it is’ that we interpret evidence. To take the inverse of one of your critical statements of AIG, and not to suggest you mean this exactly, but if a purely evidential means to know truth were all there was needed, then why have the bible? We should then be able to pick up a rock, look at it and figure out morals, the Triune God and maybe even the Gospel. But science of any form can’t do that – those are inscribed or special revelations. And if science were a reliable way to truth, then past centuries of peoples are at a disavantage compared to us.. as we will be considered at a disadvantage compared to future generations (that will presumably have more advanced understandings of the physcial world and scientific discoveries). Perhap, we could argue, that it may simply be that scientific understanding keeps just up to par with increasingly “advanced” oppostional arguments against God’s existence. Which is reminiscent, to me, of the Message Theory developed by Walter Remine.

    There seems to be a NEED for a balance.. between evidences and special revelations. One which doesn’t require a life long quest. Which Romans 1:20 tells us:
    “18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    ” – NASB

    This tells me, yes.. evidentially.. creation testifies of God. But it also tells me that this is very innate (no man or scientist need hold our hands). And when people resist evidences of God.. it says it isn’t because there isn’t enough evidence. Also, it might mean that we can be edified by the evidences and encouraged as believers… since it is the creation which testifies, and testifying does edify and strengthen belief.

    Regarding AIG. I don’t think that they are thinking they can’t be fallible. They’d probably admit as much. I think they are thinking the bible can not be fallible. With that, then it’s not really AIG’s fallibility or not at stake.. it’s the bible. Of course, you can reasonably argue that it’s THEIR intrepretation that can be fallible, and yes that is possibly true… but what does a plain reading (I don’t mean literal but plain reading) of the bible tell us? That seems, to me, to be AIG’s approach. They distrust secular scientists AND theologians as much as you distrust theologians AND secular scientists – the order mentioned being deliberate.

    As for me, I think there is merit to having a biblical basis to do science. Others may simply disagree. Sobeit.

    By the way Sal. I like the arugment you present using John 10:38. I think this will help me in understanding on how to balance the use of evidences.. my current struggle.

    One mroe thought:
    Some may disagree with me, but a theology not in line with the facts is probably a theology not worth ascenting to….

    Fair enough. But how would you ever know that you have an accurate understanding of what are the facts to overpower a plain intrepretation of scripture? Remember my case point in my prior post – the guy who lost his faith (supposedly) because of his view of facts (whgich LATER cme to be found wrongly intrerpested). There are many other possible examples. There seems to be a need of a healthy balance of evidences and faith.

  19. Correction this statemnet from above:
    “However, I’ve used my understanding of science to help me see how reality confirms/corresponds with the truth/reality of/within God’s word.”

    Is mroe accurately read:
    “However, I’ve used my understanding of science to help me see how the empirical & even experiential part of reality (ie creation evidences) confirms/corresponds with the truth/reality of/within God’s word.”

    I just want that to be clear so nobody thinks I was suggesting that God’s word (ie. the bible) was not reality. I err in typing too fast or use my terms, unfortunately, too loose or ad hoc at times.

  20. “Some may disagree with me, but a theology not in line with the facts is probably a theology not worth ascenting to….”

    I think scordova that you are mistaken. Facts are assigned meaning by our interpretation. So, today, you would reject a particular theology because it does not line up with interpretation of the facts and what happens when interpretation of the same facts change tomorrow?

  21. Sal,
    Did you mean Luke 3:20 in the above? It reads: “Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.”

  22. As for me, I think there is merit to having a biblical basis to do science. Others may simply disagree. Sobeit.

    There maybe some merit, but there can be even more merit and trustworthiness when science is done from an atheistic world view and then the results of the evidential investigation over turn the very presupposition of the initial investigation.

    A world searching for truth will be more convinced with a self-refutation of atheism. Proof vial self-contradiction is a powerful tool.

    People will tend to distrust a scientific procedure not open to falsification as that conveys a deep insecurity with empirical facts. Such insecurities are actually the antithesis of a bold faith, and sends a message to outsiders that one really does not have a secure faith!

    “Biblically based science” is somewhat of an oxymoron, and is in contradiction to the very sense of Romans 1:20 and John 10:38.

    We have faith the sun will rise tomorrow. Formally speaking that is a faith statement, not a immutable mathematical fact. People can come to faith by various means. To use the language of math, the empirical facts are a sufficient but not necessary means to arrive a reasonable conclusion of faith.

    But if ones faith is BOLD, one ought to feel confident the facts are strong enough that one can start with the wrong world-view of absolute materialism and atheism and end up with the opposite.

    For that reason, I have greater respect for the BSG than the ICR. The BSG does not require its members to sign a declaration that they are creationists. [The most notable such non-creationist member, of course, was Richard Sternberg].

    I just want that to be clear so nobody thinks I was suggesting that God’s word (ie. the bible) was not reality.

    Practicing science without the assumption of God is no more a rejection of truth than a mathematician trying to prove the square root of 2 is irrational by first hypothetically presuming the exact opposite of what is true (namely, the square root of 2 is rational).

    When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straight-forward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.

    Frank Tipler

  23. Sal,
    Did you mean Luke 3:20 in the above? It reads: “Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.”

    I meant 3:23-37, I corrected it. Thanks.

  24. By the way. I forgot to mention, Shermer said he would disbelieve Darwinian evolution if he found a human fossil along with a tribolite.

    There are of course controversial claims to that effect. For the reader’s benefit, here is one such artifact suggested by Walter Brown:
    Tribolite and Human Footprint

    Is that the correct interpretation of the fossil? Hopefully in time we will have more data….

  25. 1of63

    How do you decide who won in these debates?

    Personally, I’ve found that paramedics are good impartial observers with the requisite expertise.

    If the paramedics aren’t called in then debate wasn’t really vigorous enough to be called anything but a draw.

    Just my opinion though. Everyone has different standards.

  26. Sal

    Shermer said he would disbelieve Darwinian evolution if he found a human fossil along with a tribolite.

    I’m sure he’d call it a sham or a mistake. Write to him and ask for clarification about what conditions would be necessary to convince him it was an authentic find. People as convinced as he is are in total denial and no evidence would ever be sufficiently reliable. Even if he couldn’t pinpoint how the hoax was accomplished he’d still be convinced it was somehow a hoax. He’d sooner believe David Copperfield could make the Statue of Liberty disappear for real.

  27. I have a question. Since this thread is eliciting some very religious discussions and I prefer to keep things to science. Are there any species that have appeared since the appearance of humans? I realize there may be some minor species variations in birds or fish but has anything as dramatic as homo sapiens appeared since they first appeared a few hundred thousand years ago?

    If humans are the last major species to appear then how did the writers of the bible know this? Just a lucky guess.

  28. “For that reason, I have greater respect for the BSG than the ICR. The BSG does not require its members to sign a declaration that they are creationists.”

    There is nothing wrong or deserving of less respect for a Christian-based organization, whether scientific or theological, to require that its members adhere to particular beliefs which align with the organization’s foundational beliefs. I believe ICR also has many of its scientists speak at churches – it would be silly for them to send out an atheist or Buddhist to do so.

  29. Shermer said he would disbelieve Darwinian evolution if he found a human fossil along with a tribolite.

    Why not a Coelacanth?

  30. MaxAug,

    I believe it was Rosenhouse who trued to sell the idea that since random number generators can generate specified complexity then Dembski’s arguments fail. He held this belief even AFTER it was pointed out that RNGs are the product of a designing agency and as such all alleged SC derived by them can be traced back to that intelligent agency.

    IOW he is as good as any anti-IDist for setting up and tearing down a strawman. He is also good at taking quotes out-of-context. And he is very bad at substantiating the materialistic anti-ID position. Which in reality is all he has to do to refute ID.

  31. I thought that tribolite have not existed for a few hundred million years while the coelacanth is with us today.

  32. inunison wrote:

    I think scordova that you are mistaken. Facts are assigned meaning by our interpretation. So, today, you would reject a particular theology because it does not line up with interpretation of the facts and what happens when interpretation of the same facts change tomorrow?

    I appreciate your reluctance to agree, and to be consistent with what I have said, let me offer that I could be mistaken.

    I am willing to accept that our interpretation of physical facts is faulty. What I find distressing is that some are reluctant to admit their interpretation of sacred writings might not be faulty as well. What is especially bad is when the science and the theology are faulty but the individual promotes themselves as infallible in their understanding.

    Yes, I have made profession of faith, but that does not equate to an assertion that my understanding of things is infallible. In fact, like a child with limited and fallibile ability, I have rather put child-like trust in claims that I cannot fully prove, but seem reasonalbe to me. It remains in the hands of the thing I trust to vindicate the truthfulness of what I have come believe with my limited fallible mind.

    But if we wish to invoke theology, what does Romans 1:20 mean? Our interpretation of facts may be faulty, but will they ever be so faulty as to invalidate the strength of the facts as described in Romans 1:20?

  33. Great post Sal.
    Has the debate been TV recorded and is it accessible by INTERNET. IMHO a debate between one of the ID leaders and the leader of CSICOP is worth to be seen worldwide.

  34. Any idea when the transcript will be available?
    Thanks!

  35. I thought that tribolite have not existed for a few hundred million years while the coelacanth is with us today.

    Once upon a time, it was thought the coelacanth had not existed for hundreds of millions of years.

    Would Shermer disbelieve Darwinian evolution if he found living trilobite?

  36. tribune7,

    Shermer is using the trilobite as generic for long extinct organism. Pick any other long extinct organism and the same analogy would work.

    If we found trilobites today it would be very interesting but probably wouldn’t change much other than there would be a hunt for other long extinct life. It wouldn’t change Shermer’s proposition in any meaningful way. There would be a lot of heat but not much new light.

  37. Pick any other long extinct organism and the same analogy would work.

    And if the extinct organism turns out not to be extinct then the analogy falls apart.

    So, we find another extinct organism. What if we should find that that is not extinct? At what point would we start saying we are flat-out wrong about evolution?

    And shouldn’t finding human fossils next to marine life be more of an anomaly than an expectation?

  38. There is a group of non-ID people who suggest that there are lots of out of place fossils, and that the prevailing paradigm is forcing the anomalies to be ignored.

    Hypothetically if these anomalies do point to something wrong, it still raises the issue of why fossils have tended to be sorted together into certain strata. I don’t think the problem is unsolvable to give an explanation for the sorting phenoma, but it is challenging.

    Let us also, for the sake of argument, say the Earth is Old. Why then over 100,000,000 years is 600 some meters of continent not fully eroded into the sea? 6 centimeters of erosion per 10,000 years would do the trick, and even with tectonic crustal recycling, we ought not to have geological strata with 300,000,000 year old fossils. Something of basic geo-paleontology is amiss. This is a very BASIC question. It does not immediately argue for a young earth, but it puts into doubt why there should be a geological column strata in the first place. The answers offered have been almost as bad as the defense of OOL and Darwinian evolution.

    If there were enough money, I would say antartica would have some very interesting fossils preserved there. I wonder what we would find?

    We have found evidence of lush fossil forests in Antartica. Why is that??? Was antartica a warm place once upon a time and then we had global cooling? What sort of fossils will we find? Furthermore, these fossils, being possibly frozen may give us soft-tissue samples and not just decayed bones!

    That would be a good place to find pre-cambrian rabbits. :-)

  39. Rosenhouse give his opposing account of events, Shermer and Dembski in Bridgewater. I would recommend reading his take on things to balance what I have written.

    Rosenhouse also raises questions I think would benefit every serious ID proponent to have an answer for.

    He raised the question:

    “Inetelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” I wonder why he didn’t use that definition?

    First of all the claim by Dembski is not a definition. If I said, “carrots are orange” is that a definition of what carrots are? No. The statement is true, but it is not a definition.

    Bill responded to such issues himself here:

    Flamboyant Theological Quotes

    Rosenhouse’s account is more detailed regarding the specifics of Shermer. I gave only tidbits of what Bill said, because anyone who has read this weblog and watch Unlocking the Mystery of Life knows that vast array of arguments that Dembski had at his disposal. So much so, that Bill could barely cram them into a 20 minute presentation!!!!!

    Shermer made good use of the bad design argument, but bad design is still design. Even a master playwright like Shakespeare will design deeply flawed characters for the ultimate purpose of his story. In like manner, the Divine drama might be filled with “bad designs” for a reason.

  40. Jerry:

    If humans are the last major species to appear then how did the writers of the bible know this? Just a lucky guess.

    Do you mean like finding a city of upright lizards? or A community like the movie Planet of the Apes? hmm or Birds with hands and big brains? I bet the bird race would have destroyed us all… air power.

  41. tribune 7,

    When we start finding a multitude of long thought extinct species still alive today, then your discussion has a point. Till then Shermer’s analogy works and nit picking it gets nowhere.

  42. JGuy,

    I haven’t a clue what you are talking about. I was asking a scientific question and you responded with nonsense.

  43. Salvador,

    The beginning of the declaration for this site says

    “Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted. ”

    Do you want to add geology to this too? It would be interesting to pursue this but I never heard much of a beef against geology except it obviously affects the YEC viewpoint.

    It would be the kiss of death to the ID movement if it tried to add geology but if in fact the same level of distortion is going on there, it should be discussed. I never had a geology course but have watched several lectures on it and I find it convincing, especially volcano formation and the continual adding to the shelf at the mid Atlantic ridge. They have all the changes over time documented visibly. It is not like biology where there is nothing but hand waving and sudden shifts in species formation.

    Do we have any geologist in the house?

  44. Jerry:
    I suppose my question was moreso asking you for clarification. Sorry if you got dazzled with my uncanny ability to complicate questions :P Maybe, I should’ve simply asked you what you mean exactly… I’m not sure what you mean by “species”.

  45. correction… I mean, what is meant by a “last major species”.

  46. Jerry,
    In regards to your post to Sal above, the following isn’t geology per se, but it may have implications – somethign like you suggest. It is a YEC argument, but at least look at the data presented. You might find this interesting:

    http://www.grisda.org/origins/09067.htm

    JGuy

  47. Jerry asked:

    Do you want to add geology to this too?

    No, as it is Bill and Denyse’s site and I am only a visiting contributor.

    HOWEVER, since there has been an intense interest in the topic, I am working with others on starting a website and weblog to invite people on both sides to discuss the issue.

    Thus, most of the intense interest in creationism expressed here will find a home in a more appropriate venue.

    It would not surprise me that since the topic is SO Controversial, that it might attract web traffic. How nice if Pandas Thumb would have to parry with their old foe the YECs and not just the ID proponents.

    They ought to be licking their chops that they could take shots at me over geology. One of their best, a geologist who presented a strategy of combatting YECs at the Geological Society of America sparred with me at KCSF over lava formation.

    Origins of Lava, Mantle Plumes and the fine work of Walter Brown

    The issue of lava formation pertains to the Atlantic Ridge. Let me say, I don’t have quite the disdain for the idea of an Old Earth. The arguments are reasonable. I do, however consider the arguements in favor of OOL especially bad.

    There are many ID proponents and creationist who subscribe to Old Earth Geology, so hopefully some of the theology sparring will be lessened and reasoned discussion takes place.

    Salvador

  48. JGuy,

    I was actually making a plug for the credibility of the bible. I personally believe a lot of the Old Testament is more allegorical than fact. But please, I do not want to get into a discussion of that here.

    But as far as I know there has not been any major evolution since man showed up. So my comment “Just a lucky guess” was meant to be ironic that the bible which is often heavily criticized got this part of evolution right.

  49. Sal,

    It would not surprise me that since the topic is SO Controversial, that it might attract web traffic. How nice if Pandas Thumb would have to parry with their old foe the YECs and not just the ID proponents.

    Thanks for the chuckle. :) As if the PT’ers don’t have enough problems with ID — reminds me of a classic pincer movement.

  50. Will the DNA be intact, throw in your bids: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200.....z4V3UPLBIF

    Ok… when is this transcript for the Dembski-Shermer debate come out? I’m at the stage of commenting about preserved frogs.

  51. Shermer mentioned Newton as the greatest scientist in history and rightly described Newton’s theological interests.

    Shermer quoted Newton who argued for the special creation or at least the intelligent design of the solar system.

    This most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.

    Isaac Newton

    Shermer then argued that the problem was “solved” and thus Sir Isaac Newton’s claim has been decisively overturned, and thus faith of people rooted in Newton’s claim has been uprooted.

    But in 2001, I had recently finished several courses in Classical Physics and Orbital Mechanics when I happened upon the following material which surveyed prevailing theories and convinced me that the problem of Solar System formation has been far from solved:
    Theories for the Evolution of the Solar System and Universe Are Unscientific and Hopelessly Inadequate

    I’m now rushing to get the new website up so that these topics can be pursued outside of Uncommon Descent.

    But the above link made very much sense to me after having studied orbital mechanics.

    Sal

  52. May I remind YECs and others that Bill has writen a brilliant essay that if correct solves the major theological problem of pre fall death. It is really worth a read and should be offered to those who feel YEC is the only theology that fits with the Bible. http://www.designinference.com.....eodicy.pdf

    ID is separate from religion.

    The “revelation” which ID gives is that there is some amazing intelligence behind the biosphere.

  53. Till then Shermer’s analogy works and nit picking it gets nowhere.
    It’s not so much nit-picking but about having a claim carved in granite i.e. having a neutral party hold the bet; not moving the goalposts after the pass is caught etc. :-)

  54. Sal, your posts are great and you are dead right about separating religion and science (albeit almost all secularists see that as a one-way street and fail to realize how close they are to walking in the footsteps of Mengele or this bunch anyway.)

    Concerning Antarctica, that would be a very cool (okay, bad pun) place for serious digging.

    Concerning Rosenhouse, why do some willfully (I can only see that it’s willful) refuse to recognize that design is a real phenomenon and attempts to quantify it is real science and it is not breaking any rule to apply what we learn from those attempts to biology?

  55. Salvador,

    When Shermer used the forrest animal to whale evolution as evidence for gradualism working did he use the phony artist drawings of the ancient animals?

    Just curious.

  56. tribune7:

    Concerning Antarctica, that would be a very cool (okay, bad pun) place for serious digging.

    I’ve always thought the same thing! I think it would blow people’s minds. The problem is not the cold, but how thick the ice is there. I work with a guy that was working at the south pole (perhaps tens of meters from it). I think he said the ice was up to 3000 feet – I think.

    How could you get down that deep? By the time you get a tunnel bored.. perhaps the ice sheet might shift and close the tunnel.

    So. Where’s the transcript?

  57. Jerry wrote:

    When Shermer used the forrest animal to whale evolution as evidence for gradualism working did he use the phony artist drawings of the ancient animals?

    Just curious.

    I don’t think so.

    Again, Dembski did not have time to contest that part of Shermer’s presentation. Had he dones so he could have cited Berlinski. Berlinski argued the cow to whale evolution is highly suspect even though we have some bones which evolutionists use to argue that cows turned into whales.

    We’re dealing with bones and 95% of the most interesting evolution is in the soft tissue.

    Even if there is common ancestry, the mechanism of Natural Selection is suspect. But here is Berlinksi

    The claim that all skeptics of Darwinian orthodoxy are Christian Fundamentalists stands refuted by me. I’m neither a Christian nor a Fundamentalist. But lots and lots of people are skeptical in the scientific community.

    The interesting argument about the whale, which is a mammal after all, is that if its origins where land-based originally? What do you have to do from an engineering point of view to change a cow into a whale?…Virtually every feature of the cow has to change, has to be adapted. Since we know that life on earth and life in the water are fundamentally different enterprises, we have some sense of the number of changes? I stopped at 50,000, that is morphological changes, and don’t think that these changes are independent. What’s interesting about the cow to whale transition is that you can see that a different environment is going to impose severe design constraints on a possible evolutionary sequence.

    And what does this suggest about what we should see in the fossil record?

    Let’s portray Darwinian evolution for what it really is’a collection of 19th century anecdotes that are utterly anything like we see in the serious sciences. That would be my favorite position. Yes biologist do agree that this is the correct position for the origin and diversification of life, but here are some points you should consider as well:

    the theory doesn’t have any substance

    it’s preposterous

    it’s not supported by the evidence
    the fact that the biologist are in uniform agreement about this issue could as well be explained by some solid Marxist interpretation of their economic interest..

    I think Shermer raised an important issue of vestigial organs. We do have strong evidence of reductive (degnerative) evolution, but this is not any more convincing that Darwinian evolution is creative than cars losing a tail light via a collision and then concluding tail lights were created by a collision. Darwinian evolution is destructive, not creative. If one doubts this, consider the latest on reductive eye evolution: Blind Cave Fish.

    Along with the whales, Shermer also showed how snakes had legs once upon a time. It seems that for some reason snakes once had the ability to walk, and then, well, they then lost the ability and seemed doomed to go around crawling on their belly ever since. He couldn’t have chosen a more worse example before a crowd of YECs than a snake that once walked.

  58. How could you get down that deep?

    If we could put a man on the moon . . . :-)

    Seriously, solving and implementing the engineering would be fun and educational. It’s just a matter of where the money would come from.

    Could any private source (Paul Allen?) have enough to do it right?

  59. Douglas,
    Don’t be surprised with Sal’s comments. He has a very low view on Young Earth Creationists. I mean, what do you expect from someone who uses words like:

    *Can’t these guys be just a bit more collegial?
    * No wonder they have such a bad reputation.

    We have a bad reputation bkz we don’t subscribe to nonsensical darwinian geology.

    After the hammering Shermer took, the YEC behavior was like the act of sticking bayonets into the bodies of dead soldiers.

    How graphical. Was it done for schock impact?

    Some YECs in that community are pretty tough, and one even showed me the door last year because he viewed me as too much a compromiser for my association with the ID movement!

    That’s really odd, considering that YECers are very enthusiastic of ID as good science. YEC organizations sell ID books joyfully.

    I was actually worried for Bill that the YECs in the crowd would start giving him a bad time over him not being a YEC himself.

    As far as I know, there hasn’t been an ID scientist attacked in a debate, due to his non-Biblical positions regarding the age of the universe, I don’t really think you were afraid of that.

    I mean, I was worried these guys would start arguing with Bill about what they think the Bible says.

    In a debate between ID vs Unguided Evolution, that would be totally unexpected.

    Seems to me that the charicatures that the liberal media does of YEC has been swallowed by “some people”.

  60. tribune7,
    Well, yes, I think your right.. an engineering solution could be devised. But like you said, who would throw the money at it?

    One reason I’m highly intrigued about the idea of Antarctica, is that I love the idea of looking for fossils in extreme locales. I have a theory that we would find fossils of land dwelling creatures if we were to excavate the middle of the Pacific ocean basin. Sounds crazy.. but that’s why I like it :) Only a world view with a global flood would make the prediction.

    Last year, I belive, there was found a knuckle bone of a large dinosaur a mile under the basin of the North Sea (I believe it was)… but the Pacific would be an exceedingly more shocking find – imo.

  61. Mats

    The methodology of the Young Earther is the Bible is the Word of God hence calculating the genealogies in Scripture can provide an accurate age of the Earth.

    Now, that’s fine. It’s not stupid. It’s not irrational. It could very well be right. But, it’s not science. It’s faith.

    So if the Young Earther tells the Old Earther, yes I know measurements of radioactive decay of particular isotopes indicate the Earth to be 4.3 billion years old but my faith tells me that ultimately they are going to be found incorrect, his position is unassailable.

    If, however, the Young Earther starts citing data that can be tested and claiming science as evidence of his position, then the Young Earther is free to be hit.

    Now, there is nothing wrong with the Young Earther doing so — in fact the Young Earther may be obliged to do so — but the Young Earther must understand that he can be hit and when he is he mustn’t cry.

    Now, Sal strikes me as someone who seems pretty sympathetic to Young Earthers and I’m saying this as one who is basically a Young Earther — namely when all is said and done the Biblical genealogies will be found to be right.

    But that is a matter of faith. Right now science is on the side of the Old Earthers, and I’m certainly not going to hold it aginst someone who is an Old Earther for not sharing my faith.

  62. But like you said, who would throw the money at it?

    I wish I had $100 billion as Gates did seven years ago :-)

  63. Mats writes:

    We have a bad reputation bkz we don’t subscribe to nonsensical darwinian geology

    We have a bad reputation because we have Kent Hovind and Ted Haggard on our side. We have a bad reputaion because of Douglas saying things like the following on 8/29/2002:
    Douglas Prophecy

    (Oh, and in all and absolute seriousness, I am fairly certain that God has a much, much, much higher calling for me than merely posting on ARN, or on any Internet discussion board for that matter, quite likely even prophesied in the Bible. Debating about whether God exists is fun and all, but listening to Him when He speaks, and actually [actually] hearing Him is rather more important, edifying, and fruitful. I have heard God speak to me in the past, somewhere around 12 times – I think it’s time I silenced the Internet, or at least shut off ARN, and turned my attention to the One Who is most worthy of listening to [and that's not you, Principia].)

    In Christ,

    Douglas
    (P.S.: One of the things God said to me, back in 1993, was that the Rapture would occur “When it is spoken by Iraq”; based on some detailed historical comparisons of various time periods, which I have extensively studied over the past 13 years, I believe it is most likely that the Rapture would occur next year, either around or on the Day of Pentecost, or the Feast of Trumpets. I recommend paying attention, and watching and praying. I am done, not to return.)

    Well the Rapture didn’t happen, and Douglas returned to ARN to represent YECs. That’s why I said to Douglas and friends, “you guys embarass me”. This is the stigma and unsavory associations that I have to overcome, and because of things I wasn’t even a part of. This sort of behavior is not honoring to the YEC cause. NO WAY!

  64. Salvador, do you purposely ignore what I actually say, or is it just carelessness? Or do you merely not know what constitutes a “prophecy”? From your above post, it is clear that at least one of the three is the case – I just can’t determine which one, or which combination.

    Oh, and I think you should feel far more embarassed being associated with organizations which seemingly crave money, like Dr. Kennedy’s ministry, than with individuals who have ACTUALLY HEARD DIRECTLY FROM GOD, AND CAN DISCERN WHICH OF THE THREE PERSONS OF THE TRINITY IS SPEAKING, like myself. Dr. Kennedy and his ministry, aside from this glaring blemish (and one other, doctrinal matter), seems kosher.

    (By the way, I continue to receive more, and more specific, apparent confirmations of a portion of my comments which you quoted above:

    “Oh, and in all and absolute seriousness, I am fairly certain that God has a much, much, much higher calling for me than merely posting on ARN, or on any Internet discussion board for that matter, quite likely even prophesied in the Bible.”

    I would have liked to have discussed the “revelations” with you, Salvador, but it has become clear to me you are unprepared, or unworthy. It happens. Note, though, that I am still NOT claiming anything regarding this as a factual or prophetic matter – I am merely mentioning what I understand to be the meaning of what I have been, and am being, shown. I hope the distinction can finally settle into your heart, Salvador, so that you can cease falsely accusing followers of Christ of false prophecies and the like.)

  65. I would like to point out to others here that the portion of my comments which Salvador quoted and highlighted, which I repeat here,

    “I believe it is most likely that the Rapture would occur next year, either around or on the Day of Pentecost, or the Feast of Trumpets”,

    in no way “PROPHESIED” anything at all. I knew what I was doing, and I knew what it was I was presenting, and I was VERY careful to make sure I did not present it as something it was not – namely, a “prophecy”. I was very careful to make it clear that I was CONJECTURING, though I also made it known I was fairly certain my conjecture was accurate. I thought I made it clear that even though I was fairly certain, I was not CERTAIN, and that the conjectures depended on certain assumptions and “comparisons” being correct and accurate. My “advice” was simply for people to “pay attention”, to watch and pray – amazingly, Jesus Himself had the exact same advice for Christians, which either means both Jesus and I are stupid, and false prophets, or that my advice was completely within traditional, sound, Christian bounds.

    I leave it to others here to decide. Salvador, however, has apparently already made up his mind.

  66. tribune7:

    The methodology of the Young Earther is the Bible is the Word of God hence calculating the genealogies in Scripture can provide an accurate age of the Earth.

    How do you know what the time span was from Adan and Eve to the “fall” and beginning of their progeny? Genesis doesn’t say. How then can a YEC date the earth from this?

    By the way, I alway thought it was interesting that man and woman was said to be created on the “sixth day”, yet in the next chapter we have Adam alone naming all of the animals prior to Eve’s formation. How long would it take to name all of the animals. My guess is more than a 24-hour day. Also, Adam’s response to Eve’s formation in the Hebrew is something along the lines “finally!” indicating he had been waiting quite some time for his counterpart.

  67. Douglas:

    …in no way “PROPHESIED” anything at all. I knew what I was doing, and I knew what it was I was presenting, and I was VERY careful to make sure I did not present it as something it was not – namely, a “prophecy”. I was very careful to make it clear that I was CONJECTURING, though I also made it known I was fairly certain my conjecture was accurate.

    Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Why make a dramatic decision based on mere guesswork? I believe your decision to leave ARN was fueled by pure emotion and not by any spirit induced conviction.

    We don’t have false prophets in this age, just alarmist “speculators”. Basically it false prophecy without all that nasty responsibility stuff.

  68. Mike1962:

    How do you know what the time span was from Adan and Eve to the “fall” and beginning of their progeny? Genesis doesn’t say. How then can a YEC date the earth from this?

    Good queston, with a simple answer. Adam’s had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel at a time after Adam had sinned. Adam and Eve had Seth, named so because he was appointed a new son in place of Abel. Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. Therefore, the fall occured at least within 130 years of the creation of Adam.

    Adam could have easily said “At last” when he saw Eve becasue he had got through seeing all the animals he named with mates. I don’t think Adam had to name, as an exmaple only – coyote, sheperd, labrador :) it was probably just been “dog” – It was the beast of the field and the birds… not to include fish, insects and possibly certain other animals.

    JGuy

  69. contrachronos,

    “Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Why make a dramatic decision based on mere guesswork?”

    My decision to leave ARN wasn’t based on anything other than a great frustration with ARN, and in particular several of its posters and how ARN handled them, at the time. The “guesswork” merely aided the choice.

    “I believe your decision to leave ARN was fueled by pure emotion and not by any spirit induced conviction.”

    I never claimed it to be due to anything else. I never said or implied that the Holy Spirit was inducing me to leave ARN.

    “We don’t have false prophets in this age, just alarmist
    ‘speculators’.”

    My “speculation” wasn’t “alarmist”. Do you not recall that I said I wasn’t sure, and that my only “advice” was for people to be attentive, to “watch and pray”? In what way is that advice “alarmist”?

    “Basically it false prophecy without all that nasty responsibility stuff.”

    No, it’s not. It was, and is, (in my case, anyway), nothing more than attempting to understand the times, and presenting the reasoning for what it is: speculative reasoning, though having personal confidence in the reasoning, and in the interpretation. Others are free to consider the reasoning, and be convinced by it, or not. It is not presented as, “Thus saith the Lord: by the end of the year, the End will come”, or anything of the sort. No, it is more along the lines of: “Listen, if these assumptions are correct (and I believe they are), and if this is what this means (and I believe it is), then this will likely happen on this or that Feast day. I am not certain of all of this, but feel confident it is correct, so watch and pray.” Can you discern the difference, and that it is not a minor one?

  70. The Berlinski video is online ready for watching here:

    http://www.theapologiaproject......ibrary.htm

  71. I was really hoping for online MP3 files or video of the debate. Is that likely to happen? Thanx!

  72. I was hoping to find out if there were transcripts or recordings and let everyone know if there were.

    I don’t think any will be forthcoming.

    Sorry.

    Sal

  73. Guys remember the encouragment given by Phil Johnson and One before him that “a house divided against itself will fall.”

  74. I would have asked Shermer where are all the whale fossils? The fossils that led from land animal to fully aquatic cetacean- we should have 50,000+, yet all we can muster is a few speculative fossils.

    Also someone should point out to Sheremer that the design inference is based on what we know of the capabilities of designing agencies coupled with our knowledge of what nature, operating freely, can accomplish:

    Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.

    In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed.–

    Pg. 72 of Darwinism, Design and Public Education

    IOW ID is NOT just an attack on the blind watchmaker. To even suggest that demonstrates ID ignorance.

    And again to refute ID all one has to do is to substantiate THEIR position with actual scientific data.

    To Jerry- I would say that ALL IDists in a debate should start off their speech with that Behe quote.

  75. Sal said:

    We have a bad reputation because we have Kent Hovind and Ted Haggard on our side.

    So basically, before there was a Kent Hovind or Ted Haggard, YECers had a “good reputation” ?
    And how come you use those examples as “pristine YECers” ? I mean, you have tons of other well read read, highly trained scientists to use as examples. Why, what about Dr Jonathan Safarti, PhD,? Or Terry MOrtensen?
    I repeat, we don’t have a bad reputation bkz of “our behaviour during debates”, but bkz we deny darwinian geological dating methods, which have been shown to not only contradict true science, but God’s Word.

  76. tribune7

    Even though you are right that the Christian basic presuposition is that God’s Word is 100% True from the very first verse, you are wrongly assuming that the Young Earth position has no confirming scientific evidence. I can direct you to the work of Dr Russ Humphreys on that, and you can see how the scientific evidence fits confortably with the Biblical Timeline. However, given your total faith in evolutionary dating methods, I don’t think that the scientific evidence Dr Russ gives will produce any change of heart in you ;-)

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/4005.asp

    It’s kind of sad that, from time to time, Sal chooses to attack YECers. Will this type of methodology ever end, or should we YECers always keep and eye on his words? Most ID scientists are OEC, but respectful to the YEC position. There are, however, a few ID suporters who assume that, by attacking YEC, they might somehow raise their status in the Darwinian eyes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  77. idnet.com.au said:
    May I remind YECs and others that Bill has writen a brilliant essay that if correct solves the major theological problem of pre fall death. It is really worth a read and should be offered to those who feel YEC is the only theology that fits with the Bible. [link]
    ———-
    I read the article at the link.

    It appears that Dr. Dembski ignores or downplays the testimony of New Testament writers regarding how Genesis 1-11 is to be interpreted.

    For example, the genealogy of Christ according to Luke 3:23-38, written some three decades after the resurrection, indicates that significant numbers of Christ’s followers believed chapters 4-11 of Genesis were both reliable and chronological, and not an allegory. Moreover, Christ equated the effect of Noah’s flood on the world to the effect his Parousia would cause, namely universal judgment. In fact “kataklysmos” is a Greek word reserved in the NT for Noah’s flood, even though Christ also spoke of the foolish man whose house, not built on rock, was struck by “floods” so translated. Dr. Dembski says in the article that Noah’s flood was local and that genealogies are not reliable, the result of his confidence in modern archeological dating of human artifacts, which are dated to 5000 BC and earlier.

    So then, according to the article there is a sophisticated kairological view of how God intended Genesis 1-3 be interpreted, given by Dr. Dembski, over against the “naïve” view that apparently Christ and the writers of the NT held, as do most YEC folks. No offense, but I’ll go naive.

    —————
    ID is separate from religion.

    The “revelation” which ID gives is that there is some amazing intelligence behind the biosphere.
    ————–
    To this I would agree.

    At the link given above by Sal to the Wistar meetings we find the following:
    ——
    “The 1980 meeting was held in Chicago’s Field Museum and was attended by 160 of the world’s top paleontologists, anatomists, evolutionary geneticists, and developmental biologists.
    “[Evolution] is undergoing its broadest and deepest revolution in nearly 50 years . . Exactly how evolution happened is now a matter of great controversy among biologists . . No clear resolution of the controversies was in sight [at the meeting].”—*Boyce Rensberger, “Macroevolution Theory Stirs Hottest Debate Since Darwin,” in The Riverside (California) Enterprise, p. E9; *Roger Lewin, “Evolutionary Theory under Fire,” Science, November 21, 1980, pp. 883-887.

    It was decided that no record would be kept of the sessions, in order not to give ammunition to the creationists. ”
    ———
    So here we see altruistic modern science at its finest!

  78. . . .you are wrongly assuming that the Young Earth position has no confirming scientific evidence.

    Mats! Go back an look at what I wrote! Of course, you can make empirical case for a young Earth.(Sal even gives you a little help in Post 38).

    And you should try to do so. Iconoclasm can advance knowledge and science.

    The thing is you can also make a strong empirical case for an old Earth, and those who accept an old Earth are not necessarily being blindly dogmatic in doing so, nor are they being anti-Christian or anti-Creator.

    Which gets to the main point in my comment in that if you do argue science you have to accept that someone may refute your science with science without being against our religion.

  79. [I'm in the middle of setting up a weblog to continue the discussion as it is wandering into non-ID territory. I'd like thank the forebearacne allowed us until the new weblog is up and running]

    Mats wrote:

    I mean, you have tons of other well read read, highly trained scientists to use as examples. Why, what about Dr Jonathan Safarti, PhD,? Or Terry MOrtensen?

    Mortensen? The guy who spreads falsehoods about ID proponents?

    Christianity Today article placing creationism in opposition to ID

    “Not only that, says Mortenson, ID proponents say they’re not even interested in the Bible.”

    Let Mortensen find a quote from an ID proponent who is a professing Christian saying those words. Any guess of the outcome? Is that sort of behavior honorable? Will such falsehoods woo ID sympathizers to join the YEC camp wherein there are people like Mortensen who spread falsehoods about them and their Christian brethren?

    He owes his brethren an apology.

    Furthermore, let me remind the readers of an idea circulated by the ICR and Josh McDowell in the 1970′s. This idea is epitomized by the following article:
    I believe we should be able to accept a creation with the appearance of age

    And yet AiG (rightly so, for a change) refutes this horrible “appearance of age” argument in another portion of their website in an aricle by Don Batten:

    To create such a detailed series of signals in light beams reaching earth, signals which seem to have come from a series of real events but in fact did not, has no conceivable purpose. Worse, it is like saying that God created fossils in rocks to fool us, or even test our faith, and that they don’t represent anything real (a real animal or plant that lived and died in the past). This would be a strange deception.

    The “appearance of age” argument gives people even within the church plenty of reason to distrust YECism. If Don Batten, a YEC, thinks its a suspect argument, how much more anyone else.

    When Josh McDowell gave me “the appearance of age” argument, did that incline me to believe the Bible more? No, it inclined me to distrust YECism and the credebility of its proponents. Rather than arguing with evidence, they argued in circles.

    As long as YECism tolerates such bad arguments, it will continue to have a bad reputation. The “appearance of age” argument is contrary to the spirit of Romans 1:20 and John 10:38. Romans 1:20 promises that the facts are stronger than world views. Resorting to “appearance of age” arguments dishonors that promise.

    Added to the dishonorable behavior of some who put a blight on the movement, I can only suspect that YECism has survived because it might inherently be true….

    I sympathize with the YEC position because it seems emprically reasonable. I accept it despite the conduct of its most vocal proponents, not because of it. I feel like my teammates are letting the cause down by their horrid logic and occasionally suspect behavior.

    I’d gladly be despised and scorned for standing up for the truth. But its another matter to see the cause I cherish enduring reproach for the wrong reasons.

  80. Should the Bible be allowed to dictate science? I say not.

    If one wants to learn about nature, go to nature. If there is such a thing as divine revelation, the natural world should be as good as any. If God indeed made heaven and earth, then surely He left logic and design embedded within its matrix for us to “read” first-hand (whenever practical). Therefore, books (any books) are to be considered second-hand sources at best if one is hoping to understand nature’s secrets.

    Best regards,
    apollo230

  81. apollo230, “Should the Bible be allowed to dictate science? I say not.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. If young earth, then, as far as science is conserned, young earth only because the physical evidence requires it. If neo-Darwinian evolution, then, as far as science is conserned, neo-Darwinism only because the physical evidence requires it, not because a naturalistic philosophy dictates it. Same-same.

  82. Agreed, Bfast!

    One’s position should be disciplined by reality (evidence) – not philosophy.

    Although some will contend that they are more disciplined than others! :)

  83. One’s position should be disciplined by reality (evidence) – not philosophy.

    And humilty. Anyway, all positions are ultimately philosophical.

  84. Continuing discussion of YEC specific issues is invited to a new weblog (still under major construction) here:

    Young Cosmos

    I’d like to thank the Uncommon Descent hosts for forebearing with the discussions in this thread and giving me time to set up a weblog to explore these issues more thoroughly.

    Sal

  85. I think it still needs some work, Sal.

  86. Salvador,

    “Is that sort of behavior honorable? Will such falsehoods woo ID sympathizers to join the YEC camp wherein there are people like Mortensen who spread falsehoods about them and their Christian brethren?

    He owes his brethren an apology.”

    I have not seen you apologize to me for the falsehoods you have spread about me here.

  87. Sal wrote:

    “Not only that, says Mortenson, ID proponents say they’re not even interested in the Bible.”

    Let Mortensen find a quote from an ID proponent who is a professing Christian saying those words

    ID does not rely on the Bible for its positive arguements for design, so in that sense, ID is not interested in the bible. For sure, Terry knows that many ID scientists are prophesing Christians, but Terry also knows that, in their scientific work, ID scientists don’t apeal to the Bible. This is where YEC and ID clash. But that is not the issue at hand right now.

    The fact still remains that you pick YECers who are in the fringe of the Young Earth position, and try to place them as the “norm”

    And yet AiG (rightly so, for a change) refutes this horrible “appearance of age”

    The “appearance of age” argument gives people even within the church plenty of reason to distrust YECism. If Don Batten, a YEC, thinks its a suspect argument, how much more anyone else.

    So in other words, people “within the church” are distrust with YECism bkz of the “appearance of age” hypothesis? What kind of logic is that? Let alone the overwhelmingly known fact that almost half of the american population subscribes the YEC position, you clearly ignore the fact that it was an YEC organization that wrote about the problem with the “appearance of age” scenario. AIG and other ministries try to keep our position honest and clean at all times, even if that includes criticizing theories that one of our own comes up with. The fact that we do that doesn’t mean that we are skeptical of ALL YEC. What kind of logic si that?!!
    One bad arguement does not invalidate the whole enterprise.

    When Josh McDowell gave me “the appearance of age” argument, did that incline me to believe the Bible more? No, it inclined me to distrust YECism and the credebility of its proponents. Rather than arguing with evidence, they argued in circles.

    So because ONE YEC gave you a bad arguement, you get suspicious of ALL YEC ?

    As long as YECism tolerates such bad arguments, it will continue to have a bad reputation.

    But YEC does NOT tolerate such arguements, as you yourself clearly have shown by alluding to the post of Dr Don Datten. IF we to “tolerate it”, we would keep silent about it. Your own words work against your own position.

    I feel like my teammates are letting the cause down by their horrid logic and occasionally suspect behavior.

    Even though this behavior is “occasional”, you make it sound as if it’s the norm. “No wonder these YECers are so despised!”

    No, YECers in general are not letting Bible believing Christians down. People don’t like our position bkz we attack Darwinism where it hurts the most, meaningly, time. WIthout time, we don’t come from slime. As long as we stand in the way of evolutionary geology, YEC will always be a target. But since darwinian geology (like it’s biology, cosmolgy and anthropology) is wrong, we are not afraid to stand up for the Truth.

  88. CORRECTION:

    Sal wrote:

    “Not only that, says Mortenson, ID proponents say they’re not even interested in the Bible.”

    Let Mortensen find a quote from an ID proponent who is a professing Christian saying those words

    My answer is like the one above. ID does not rely on religious texts, so Terry is right.

  89. Mats wrote:

    ID does not rely on religious texts, so Terry is right.

    No he is not. I don’t put “thus saith the Lord” when I write a math theorem down. If you applied that flawed reasoning to a Christian in a mathematical field, you’d be arguing Christian mathematicians are not interested in the Bible since they don’t begin the practice of math from a “Biblical perspective”.

    The force of the claims of a literal Genesis reading are more apparent when the investigation is free of forgone conclusions. You continue to fail to appreciate the fact that a Christian not appealing directly to the Bible to make inferences about origins fulfills what the Lord suggested in John 10:38 and Romans 1:10. I could argue the Chrisitans in the ID community are more faithful to Romans 1:20 than AiG or some other YEC organizations.

    Speaking of which here is yet another YEC organization I discovered today. It is an example of what happens when YECs trust their interpretational skills in reading the Bible over the hard empirical facts the Intelligent Designer is trying to make us respect.

    A State Representative even got involved in marketing a Bible Pounding YEC-Geocentric site:
    Fixed Earth

    The Earth is not rotating…nor is it going around the sun.

    The universe is not one ten trillionth the size we are told.

    Today’s cosmology fulfills an anti-Bible religious plan disguised as “science”.

    The rest of the story of the YEC fiasco is here from the Associated Press:

    Evolution memo prompts call for apology

    Mats wrote:

    People don’t like our position bkz we attack Darwinism where it hurts the most, meaningly, time.

    Wrong. That’s an AiGism. They reject YEC because there has not been a convincing mechanism to resolve the problems of distant starlight and aspects of radiometric dating. The problems in geology for YEC pale in comparison to the problems YEC faces in cosmology and physics.

    I can at least say, I’ve tried to offer what little help I can to the YEC community solve that problem, but we ain’t out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot.

    You keep wrongly accusing people of why they reject YEC. OECs reject it for understandable reasons, not because they love Darwinism any more than you or I. The fact that you keep insisting otherwise shows you are willing to believe AiGism over what is really true, namely, YEC has a lot of empirical enigmas to overcome.

    I think YEC has a chance, but I don’t pretend the objections to YEC aren’t colosally difficult to overcome.

    You’d probably be a bit more understanding of the difficulties Chrisitan face if you actually try to deal with the empirical problems rather than pounding the Bible.

  90. Mats writes:

    The fact still remains that you pick YECers who are in the fringe of the Young Earth position, and try to place them as the “norm”

    I would hardly consider the venerable Duane Gish as “fringe” within the YEC community.

    See the analysis of the Gish-Zindler debate where Gish practically uses the Apparent Age Argument:

    Art:
    And if… How would you care to objectively evaluate the fact that we can see light from stars that are more than ten thousand light years away from us. Doesn’t that kind of blow your…

    Duane Gish:

    Well if a star is say a million light years away, and we have a pretty good idea that it is, it would obviously, at the rate of 186,000 miles per second, take a million years to get here, there’s no question about that. But if the universe, on the other hand, was supernaturally created, you see, that light did not necessarily start from the star. Now in our particular model…

    Art:

    How? How can light not start from a star?

    Duane Gish:

    Because, if god created the earth, and he created the stars, and if he, as he said in the scri… in the Bible, that he created stars to be for signs and seasons on the earth, obviously he’d have to make them visible immediately.

    Lindsay comments: So, Gish is arguing for Apparent Age. Some ICR publications such as “The Invisible Things of God” do the same. There are two problems here. First, why stop at starlight? If stars have apparent age, why not the earth? If the earth, why not all of history? We are on the slippery slope towards Last Wednesdayism.

  91. Sal:

    You mentioned geology. I took a year of geology. What I learned makes a lot of sense in most instances; but that is not always the case.

    I live in California, and when you see these freeway cuts, and the various beds that they display seem to be in conflict–irreconciliable, if you will–in terms of what I learned.

    It is good to remember that Lyell–”The Principles of Geology”–and Darwin both attended Edinburgh University. There was man by the last name Sutton who believed in an earth that was, more or less, eternal. An infinite amount of time lends itself to “gradualism”, which is, pun intended, the “bedrock” of both Darwinism and Lyell’s notion of geology.

    For interest, you should check out Abraham Velikovsky, and find out what the science community did to him back in the early 1950′s because he was rash enough to challenge gradualism with catastrophism. There are, of course, lots of things that gradualism can’t explain. I look forward to a blog where these things can be discussed.

  92. S Cordova: “I cannot imagine having a religious faith not bolstered by empirical facts and sound theoretical arguments. If the facts overturn what I believe, then so be it. I can understand Shermer’s not wanting religion to rely on science, but on the other hand I can’t imagine a body of beliefs totally decoupled from empirical reality…..”

    Here—in one short paragraph—you make more sense than all the ponderous tomes of many an erudite religionist—Templeton Prizes notwithstanding. Bravo! I think you’ve hit the perfect balance between the fire breathing fanatic faithful and the lily livered liberal who rolls over for everything but the truth.

    Intp147: “As far as the Bible goes, the text of the Creation account appears fairly clear to me. There isn’t obviously symbolic imagery as in other passages, and there are no intricate theological concepts that have to be worked out before the account can be understood. It’s really pretty basic, actually.”

    Well maybe so when read in isolation. But throughout the Bible every invocation of Genesis imagery (that I know of) is metaphoric. Even when rooted in concrete reality (say events in the land of Israel) there are always midrashic connotations. Without denying the reality of Adam and Eve, the long lives of the antediluvians and the reliability of the genealogies, I think it is still possible to see the Flood as local and Adam, not as the first human, but as the first messiah (say somewhat like Enkidu as garbled in the Gilgamesh epic). Even before modernism set in there were such heretical theories—see, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Adamite.

    Now before y’all gird up your loins in holy horror I’m not saying that this is it and woe be to him that would challenge my inerrant lunacy. But I do remember Phillip Johnson saying something to the effect that believers—in spite of their irreconcilable differences—ought to unite in the battle against materialism, not to outlaw it (perish the thought!) but to dethrone it as an established state religion. Having won that battle then we’re in a better position to argue everything else. Right now most of our best minds are blinded by materialism and pretty much out of the action on the really important questions. Defeat Darwin and everything’s on the table.

    Granted—the spiritual children of Abraham are a house divided. So I say it behooves us now to learn how to dispute without bloodshed. David Berlinski says we’re way too nice and he’s right. We need more confrontation, even in-your-face confrontation—but with facts and reason coupled with respect for the human dignity of our opponents. Scordova strikes me as one eminently capable of this.

  93. Idnet.com.au says, “May I remind YECs and others that Bill has writen a brilliant essay that if correct solves the major theological problem of pre fall death. It is really worth a read and should be offered to those who feel YEC is the only theology that fits with the Bible.”

    I must confess that to me Bill’s essay was a valiant but logically painful attempt to square a traditional interpretation of Romans 5 with the fossil record. I say this as one who has bought and read (within my limited ability) all of Bill’s books. Wonderful stuff all.

    Here—since we’re on this off-topic topic—let me briefly give you my naïve take: Paul is talking about human sin entering the cosmos and human death as its consequence. I suggest that Paul’s argument has nothing to do with the death of trilobites and tyrannosaurs—proactively (do trilobites and tyrannosaurs sin?) or retroactively (hundreds of millions of years of death readying the world for Adam’s fall).

    As Qoheleth observes (Ecc 3:19), “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” Yet Qoheleth also asks (Ecc 3:21), “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” The spirit is the software—in the beast it is the necessary instinct for its designated role in the economy of its habitat. In man the spirit is language and the sum total of his learning and skill (Gen 2:7[see Targums]; Ex 31:1-5; Job 32:8; Dan 5:11; 1Cor 2:11). At death man’s spirit goes to God (Ecc 12:7; Luke 23:46).

    The soul? “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezek 18:4, 20) The beast too is a living soul (Gen 1:20, 24), but the beast does not sin in the sense that it relies on instinct and not on a voluntary submission to the verbal command of its Designer.

    “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27)—did that include Adam before “the fall”? Why not? Adam was cast from the Garden (Gen 3:22) “…lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.”

    Paul writes (1Cor 15:45), “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul …” If the adamic soul that sins dies—when is this? Adam went the way of all flesh that first millennial day (an interpretation that goes back at least to Jubilees 4:30), but what about his soul? Jesus said (Mat 10:28), “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

    The adamic soul—as opposed to the soul of the beast—is atoned by blood (Lev 17:11), and in Paul’s argument if it is not so atoned (Rom 5:9-10) it awaits a death (Rom 6:23) called “the second death” in the book of Revelation (Rev 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). That, let me suggest, is the death that entered with Adam (Rom 5:12). And it is a death that has nothing to do with dinosaur death or even the death of my dog.

  94. I’d like to thank those who are registering and trying to post comments at

    http://www.YoungCosmos.com

    I’m still figuring out why some of your all comments are getting trapped in the moderation queue, and I’m trying to improve the look of the site from totally ugly to at least functional.

    Please keep trying. My aim is to make the weblog viewable in two modes:

    1. normal sequential (like most weblogs)

    2. hierarchical like talkorigins.org and ResarchID.org

    That is, I’d like the hierarchical access to be like talkorigins in that one can go to links of both good articles links throughout the web and also be able to link to relveant ongoing discussions. Some discussion at UD fall off the front page after a few days. The hierarchical access allows discussions to persist for months if not years like at ISCID. The importance of this is that I would welcome ongoing collections of Data that may last years.

    This will be a great tool for reasearch.

    I want the OECs and others to feel welcome there without them being denigrated as “Old Earth Compromisers”.

    Someone like Guillermo Gonzalez or William Dembski ought to feel like a beloved brother at YoungCosmos, not some second class citizen…

    I intend to supplement the pro-ID YEC website CreationSafaris by providing a weblog where discussion and research can be conducted and information exchanged.

    Sal

  95. it seems to be working now, sal

  96. Sal, if you want to see a well-run website as per user input visit freerepublic.com

  97. I’m wondering why an event like this was not recorded? Surely this would have been an ideal debate to make available to all???

  98. Rude,

    “The adamic soul—as opposed to the soul of the beast—is atoned by blood (Lev 17:11), and in Paul’s argument if it is not so atoned (Rom 5:9-10) it awaits a death (Rom 6:23) called “the second death” in the book of Revelation (Rev 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). That, let me suggest, is the death that entered with Adam (Rom 5:12). And it is a death that has nothing to do with dinosaur death or even the death of my dog.”

    That is lovely reasoning, except that it overlooks Jesus’ PHYSICAL resurrection, and what that means for mankind, and for Creation itself.

  99. Salvador,

    “Someone like Guillermo Gonzalez or William Dembski ought to feel like a beloved brother at YoungCosmos, not some second class citizen…”

    So you’re saying that YECs over there shouldn’t make attacks upon OECs like the ones you have been making upon YECs here in this thread (particularly in your first post)?

  100. Rude,

    Also, God said that in the day Adam and Eve ate of the Tree, they would die. If that “death” is the “second death”, then that would mean that upon their physical deaths, they then experienced the “second death”. But that would mean they have no hope of redemption (that’s what the “second death” means, really – a final separation from God, in the Lake of Fire).

    So, either the death God warned Adam and Eve about was not the “second death” itself, or Adam and Eve are experiencing the “second death”, punishment in the Lake of Fire, right now, and will for eternity. I submit that God’s treatment of them upon finding them hiding in the Garden suggests He intended to provide for their redemption, as well, as evidenced by God’s literally providing them with the skin of a slain animal as clothing, symbolizing their need for being spiritually clothed in the righteousness of the Lamb of God. I submit that God would not have done this, a highly spiritually symbolic act, for those who would not be redeemed.

  101. The argument from “appearance of age” is not so ridiculous as Salvador makes it seem. I would agree, though, that when applied to starlight, it fails, or most likely fails, but when applied to the Earth, and in particular the first animals, and Adam and Eve, it is quite sound. Furthermore, when Jesus turned the water into wine, the wine had an “appearance of age” which was not accurate – the wine was only a few seconds old when it would have appeared to those testing/tasting it to be “well-aged”.

    We must not be so arrogant as to assume that appearances are always more important than any other possible purpose of God’s. And we should be charitable towards our brethren who might not be as scientifically perceptive as ourselves, lest we be guilty of the heart of the enemy.

  102. Sal says:

    Mats wrote:

    ID does not rely on religious texts, so Terry is right.

    No he is not.

    Yes, Terry and ID scientists are in agreement: ID does not rely on Scriptural Authority, but only in scientific evidence.

    I don’t put “thus saith the Lord” when I write a math theorem down. If you applied that flawed reasoning to a Christian in a mathematical field, you’d be arguing Christian mathematicians are not interested in the Bible since they don’t begin the practice of math from a “Biblical perspective”.

    Saddly for you, that is not what AIG or even Terry say. First of all, Maths is not the same thing as questioning on our origins. While Maths concernes with things we can test today, the question of origins is about an un-repeatable past. When it comes to the past, why would we “dismiss” the Writtings of the Only One Who was there when it happened? YEC holds to the position that we should bring the Holy Scriptures when discussing about the origins of the universe, which is diferent from invoking God for modern operational science. You should read more YEC material before doing those mistakes.

    You continue to fail to appreciate the fact that a Christian not appealing directly to the Bible to make inferences about origins fulfills what the Lord suggested in John 10:38 and Romans 1:10.

    John 10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him

    Romans 1:10 – Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

    Thankfully, none of those verses sugests that a Christian overlooks the Holy Word when questioning about the origins of the universe.

    I could argue the Chrisitans in the ID community are more faithful to Romans 1:20 than AiG or some other YEC organizations.

    Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    Yes, you could argue that, but the fact that you argue it doesn’t make it true.
    Secondly, Romans 1:20 says that the evidence for a Supernatural Creator is all around us, IT DOES NOT say that we can dismiss that Bible when questioning about the origins of the universe. Just bkz you have TWO major evidences for the Creator (Scripture and nature) it doesn’t mean that you can overlook one and stick ONLY to the other. That’s horrible logic, if I might sugest.

    Thirdly, the CHristians in the ID comunity (I think you somehow think that one is either an ID scientist of an YEC scientist) are being faithful to their stated goal, meanigly, to find scientific evidence that confirms the design hypothesis.

    Mats wrote:

    People don’t like our position bkz we attack Darwinism where it hurts the most, meaningly, time.

    Wrong. That’s an AiGism. They reject YEC because there has not been a convincing mechanism to resolve the problems of distant starlight and aspects of radiometric dating.

    Nonsense. Dr Russ Humpreys, PhD, has proposed a testable scientific explination for the distant starlight. Google “Starlight and Time”. Secondly, Russ made predictions about the magnetic field of other planets based on the YEC position. Long timers and evolutionists did predictions aswell.

    Care to guess who was right and who was totally off the mark?

    Thirdly, radiometric dating has been confirmed plenty of times as unreliable. How many examples you want of radio-blunders based on evolutionary long ages nonsense ? Heck, you can check it yourself. Here are some links:

    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....dating.asp

    I can at least say, I’ve tried to offer what little help I can to the YEC community solve that problem, but we ain’t out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot

    Thanks for your “help”. However, giving that YEC is s growing force worldwide, even among top scientists, I think that the YEC position can manage really well without that kind of help. Btw, the kind of “help” is not the same you have been giving in here is it?

    YEC has a lot of empirical enigmas to overcome.

    No scientist in the YEC community says that they have solved all the problems we have. However, what we strongly afirm is that the scientific evidence fits more confortably with the Biblical timeline rather than with evolutionary geology, biology,physics, cosmology and pretty much everything else.

    You’d probably be a bit more understanding of the difficulties Chrisitan face if you actually try to deal with the empirical problems rather than pounding the Bible.

    I haven’t seen any YEC in here “pouding the Bible”. Funny how you use the same vocabulary that evolutionists use when attacking Christians who stand by YEC. Coincidence?

    I would hardly consider the venerable Duane Gish as “fringe” within the YEC community.

    Then why didn’t you start by Dr Duane Gish? Why did you start with Kent Hovind ?

    “Someone like Guillermo Gonzalez or William Dembski ought to feel like a beloved brother at YoungCosmos, not some second class citizen…”

    I don’t know of any YEC who considers Bill or Guillermo as 2nd class citizens.

    Perhaps it’s you who considers YECers as second class citizens, judging by your attacks upon us.

  103. Good grief.

  104. I have said several time that if we are able to vanquish the Darwinists, the real food fight would begin. I think we are seeing a sample appetizer.

  105. Mats wrote regarding convincing mechanism to explain distan starlight:

    Nonsense. Dr Russ Humpreys, PhD, has proposed a testable scientific explination for the distant starlight.

    Testable does not imply convincing. Not every YEC thinks Humphrey’s cosmology is sound. The Setterfield-Dolphin-Brown-Montgomery camp think Humphrey’s cosmology is not the best explanation (in otherwords, a polite way of saying wrong).

    I think the Setterfield-Brown cosmology holds the most promise, but its still in its infancy. Before you go off asserting the YEC starlight light mechanisms are convincing, you better test them on people who are sympathetic to YEC and also have backgrounds in physics. Your confindence in “convincing” might not be so high after that excercise.

    This premature proclamation of victory based on at best untested speculations is yet another reason the YEC cause is disdained by even by YEC sympathizers.

    What if the Humphreys cosmology goes the way of “canopy theory”, you’ll be in the unenviable position of accounting for the fact you said it was a convincing mechanism. Testable doesn’t imply convincing.

  106. Salvador,

    Is there really evidence that snakes had legs at one time?

  107. I think we should work together Design theorists, Darwin skeptics, OEC, YEC and others to refute the unsubstantiated claims of Darwinists.

    For instance the sketchy, suspect claims that cows evolved into whales and that snakes had legs at one time.

  108. Just an insertion from someone reading this thread. It is discussions like this which will forever keep non IDists from believing that ID is anything but a religious apologetic and never will be viewed as science. Oh well.

    As an agnostic who has a soft spot in his heart for the Christian religion, I have always believed that YEC’s-global flood folks have the most common sense interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. OEC’s-local floodists have the ability to transform the scripture into about anything they want so that it will fit into the schema of current science. It almost makes the Bible unfalsifiable. If the real God is the God of the Bible, then it seems to me that he would have the ability to communicate with his creatures in a simple and understandable way. You wouldn’t need a science or theology degree to understand the intricate message of scripture. You would just need to be able to read or hear a reading which was simple and easy to grasp. The most natural and easy to understand meanings of early Genesis speak of a 7 day creation and global flood. I don’t believe either one, but I do commend YEC-global floodists for hanging in there with the rather easy to understand natural meanings of the text.

  109. Concerning the “appearance of age” argument.

    The sun appears to orbit the earth. Your two eyes tell you it does. It’s obvious. If you were to announce out of the blue circa 1400 that the sun was the center of the solar system you would be considered a fool. Not a threat, just a simple object of mirth.

    And the smartest, most educated people of the land would join the laughing.

    It wasn’t until the insights of a brilliant Catholic cleric, a lot of study and the invention of the telescope, that we came to understand the Sun is the center.

    It might very well turn out that neither the speed of light nor radioactive decay are constants. Now there is no evidence that they aren’t but just maybe the “telescope” to show such hasn’t been invented.

  110. “The most natural and easy to understand meanings of early Genesis speak of a 7 day creation and global flood.”

    Really, the skepticism of such interpretations didn’t start late in Christianity’s game. Origen, Augustine, and others considered it unwise to be a thorough literalist, with Genesis in particular – back when a young earth seemed like a rather conservative bet based on observation.

    You argue that non-literalist readings makes the bible potentially unfalsifiable – but why should that matter? The specific acts of the NT can for the most part not be thoroughly falsified. Even the OT records have that problem. Evidence can be provided, of course, but it just doesn’t reach the necessary stage.

    I’ve noticed Dawkins favors a strictly literalist reading of the bible as well – and in his case, frankly, I think it’s because he realizes that if Genesis isn’t taken literally in that respect, his favored argument against Christianity never gets off the ground. It’s easy to respect the proponent of an argument you can defeat to most people’s satisfaction. It’s those darn people with the difficult argument that gain a lot of ire. (See: ID.)

  111. Salvador,

    Is there really evidence that snakes had legs at one time?

    There may be some evidence to that effect. Shermer showed supposed fossils of snakes that once had legs. I’m not averse to the idea, nor am I averse to whales having legs at one time. But as always, we’re dealing with decayed bones. What we need is to go to antartica and dig up some frozen fossils with preserved soft tissue!

  112. Douglas,

    What I meant was that we—or at least I—can interpret Adam’s death at 930 years in accord with (Heb 9:27), “And as it is appointed unto men once to die,” that would be the death of the body but not the death of the soul (Mat 10:28), and when it says (Heb 9:27), “but after this the judgment”—this we can interpret as “the day of judgment” which is yet future for all men even Adam (Mat 10:15; 12:36, 41; etc.). When I said, “Adam went the way of all flesh that first millennial day (an interpretation that goes back at least to Jubilees 4:30),” I did not mean to say that Adam died what Revelation calls “the second death” at that time. My fault—shouldn’t have complicated things with the reference to Jubilees (http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical.....ubilee.htm): “And he [Adam] lacked seventy years of one thousand years; for one thousand years are as one day in the testimony of the heavens and therefore was it written concerning the tree of knowledge: ‘On the day that ye eat thereof ye shall die.’” This is interesting because it puts this “day” interpretation of Genesis 2:17 (common among the church fathers) back into the 2nd century BCE, but it has nothing to do with what I was trying to say, so sorry.

    You say, “I submit that God’s treatment of them upon finding them hiding in the Garden suggests He intended to provide for their redemption …” Absolutely!

    Again I say Genesis is not easy! More has been written on Genesis 1 than any other portion of the Bible, so it would seem that those of us who are interested ought to be educating ourselves on the subject. There are the very good more recent commentaries of Clifford John Collins, Victor P. Hamilton, and John H. Sailhammer, and for exhaustive bibliography up to the Nineties there is Claus Westermann, and everyone ought to have a look at David Snoke’s (2006) “A Biblical Case for an Old Earth.” Baker Books. And for a history of the classic doctrine of Creatio ex Nihilo I recommend Gerhard May’s (1994) “Creatio ex Nihilo: The Doctrine of ‘Creation out of Nothing’ in Early Christian Thought.” T & T Clark. ArtScroll is making available some of the rabbinical material, for example the Ramban’s commentary (http://www.artscroll.com/Books/rbn1.html). There is a multitudinous library of Judeo-Christian commentary, and of course one can simply trace the Genesis imagery via concordance through Scripture—you’d be surprised what you’ll find.

    No, I don’t say we should simply abandon the interpretations of our respective religious traditions. But as ID advances in unlocking the Book of Nature one would hope the other Book continues to be debated in a rational manner without insisting we have reached the final interpretation.

  113. As I expected. Given this treatment, I hereby end my assocation with UD, and Salvador.

  114. “association”

  115. [...] Michael Shermer valiantly argued the thesis of his book, Why Darwin Matters in a debate with Bill Dembski, February 21, 2007. [...]

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