Seeing God’s Revelation in Nature

Dear Ken:
Thanks for a most civil and constructive response. Your post is in marked contrast to the atheist PZ Myers’ venomous response on his blog to my suggestion on Salon that evolution and belief in God were compatible. I would say that the atheists are much more uncomfortable with this discussion than the religious believers!
While we certainly grew up on opposite sides of the planet, our childhood faith experiences were very similar. Perhaps that is a basis for a mutual understanding over the course of this debate. While I disagree with you in places, I certainly understand exactly where you are coming from.
In my own Christian journey, I have become convinced that we must take God’s revelation in nature seriously. In fact, I think that we cannot understand the Bible unless we do. Let me provide some historical examples that illustrate what I mean:


1) Augustine and many other Christians living during the first millennium thought there were no people living south of the equator. The belief was based on the Bible. These “antipodes” (so named because their feet would be pointing in the opposite direction from Europeans), were ruled out on the basis of the following New Testament reference (Romans 10:18): “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”
Augustine and his generation inferred, quite reasonably, that these “words” could not have made it to Australia. Certainly nobody from the middle east could have traveled there with the message of the gospel. Therefore, there could be no people in locations that were too remote to have received this message, these “words.” Global exploration forced a new interpretation of this passage, however, as antipodes, like you and your fellow Australians, were discovered all over the world.
Now, you might be tempted to say that this is just hyperbole or exaggeration on the part of the Biblical author, but my point is that many faithful readers of the Bible continued to interpret it in this way until after global explorations proved that this reading was untenable. You can thus see that, whatever the actual content of the biblical message, the received message was wrong, until corrected by secular knowledge. And, unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what the actual content of the biblical message is. All we know is what we think we are reading.
2) Christians at the time of Galileo thought the Bible taught that the earth was stationary. Psalm 93:1 seems very clear on this, and Galileo was forbidden to promote astronomical ideas in conflict with this Biblical teaching. Subsequent developments in astronomy have provided a new interpretation of this verse.
These are just two examples, but it seems to me that secular knowledge, of which science is a prime example, has aided greatly in clarifying the meaning of Scripture. I am happy to see that you have come out strongly against the claim that black skin derives from the “Curse of Ham” (an unfortunate label, in this case, Mr. Ham!), but there were many people in America in the 19th century and even into the 20th who interpreted this biblical story as supportive of racism. But science has helped us greatly in establishing that “races” are just cultural labels, without meaningful biological characteristics. There is no “Curse of Ham.” Nor is there a “Curse of Giberson,” thank God.
Over and over again, we find scientific knowledge clarifying the biblical message in important ways. History makes a compelling case that the Bible is often confusing and even misleading to those who would read it without the benefits of science and other forms of secular knowledge.
The second point I would make in response to your post involves your claim that “origins science” is somehow different than regular or “operations science.” This distinction doesn’t hold up very well under scrutiny, as the following examples indicate:
1) When we observe distant stars, such as those in the Hyades cluster, we are looking at light that has been traveling through space ever since Captain Cook set off for Tahiti. This light contains electromagnetic information about processes on that star that took place centuries ago. In the same way we can look back in time at events in the universe that took place thousands, millions, and even billions of years ago, the light on these long journeys is like a photograph mailed from across the universe. It faithfully records the distant past, just as a photograph of you as a child faithfully records the recent past. Just because this light has been traveling for a long time, does not mean it has to be studied in a different way than light that is being created in our laboratories today.
2) We can count tree rings that take us back in time. To do this, of course, we have to make “assumptions,” but it seems to me these assumptions are so reasonable that we should not even call them assumptions. In the case of tree rings, we can observe rings being produced each spring on trees. Is it a dangerous assumption to suppose that the rings from 10 years ago were produced in the same way? What about the rings from 100 or 1000 years ago?
3) Theories of origins are developed and tested in the same way as theories of operations and, in fact, the same theory often applies in both cases. Consider General Relativity; this theory was developed by Einstein in 1915 to illuminate how gravity works. Shortly after, it was discovered that the theory suggested that the universe was either expanding or contracting. This is an “operations” application. But within a couple of decades, General Relativity had given birth to the Big Bang Theory. This theory predicted the existence of an unusual radiation that was discovered in 1965. This radiation has been measured and observed many times since. So we can see that our best scientific theories include both insights into present and past processes, and there is no clear distinction between the two types of investigation.
You have made the claim that “Logically, the only way one can be sure of coming to the correct conclusion concerning the origin of the universe and life, is to know someone with all knowledge, who can be totally trusted to reveal to us what happened. Only the God of the Bible can do and has done this.”
I see both of these claims as assumptions. In the first place, we have come to the “correct conclusion” about a lot of things without having an omniscient guide to the truth. Who would deny that the earth is round and orbits about the sun? Or that Jupiter has moons? Or that many of our genes are the same as those of primates? But we discovered those things on our own, by diligent study of God’s creation.
Your second claim, that the “God of the Bible” has given us this knowledge, is a questionable assumption. The Bible does not even claim for itself that it contains a scientific picture of the world. Most scholars find ample evidence of ancient cosmologies in the Bible, such as the references to a solid dome in the heavens, holding back the water. Also, if we want to be technical about it, claims that the Bible makes about itself are at best circular arguments.
It seems to me that you reinterpret scripture every time a compelling discovery about the world forces you to do so. If Scripture was intended by God to be read literally, then this would not be necessary–we would be able to anticipate discoveries, not have to adjust our interpretations after the fact, as we had to do with the motion of the earth.
Your handling of the data from pseudo-genes seems strained and is indicative of what I think is a failure to acknowledge both the integrity of science and the legitimacy of God’s revelation in nature. Implicitly I think you are acknowledging that pseudo-genes pose some challenges but you are claiming you have a response to those challenges. But is your response reasonable? Your argument seems to run like this:
1) Pseudogenes, if they are indeed non-functional, provide evidence–not proof–for common ancestry.
2) Some pseudogenes have turned out to be functional and thus cannot be used to make this argument.
3) Therefore all arguments from pseudogenes can be dismissed.
An analogous argument from the Bible might go like this:
1) Biblical admonitions, if they are interpreted by Christians to support things like racism and sexism that go against the message of Christ, provide evidence–not proof–that we should be careful in how we interpret the Bible and to make sure that individual passages are interpreted in light of the whole biblical message, and not in isolation.
2) Some Biblical admonitions are universally helpful and have never had dangerous misinterpretations. You certainly cannot argue that Christ’s command to “Love your neighbor” has been misinterpreted in ways that are negative.
3) Therefore, concerns that we must be careful in interpreting isolated passges in the Bible can be dismissed.
I cannot imagine you would buy the logic of the second example. So why do you reason that way in the first example? In both cases the reasonable approach is to go with the preponderance of the evidence, to travel the most likely road. In neither case is there an absolute guide to truth.
I would like to challenge your assertion that “There is no rational reason to think that in all cases similarity implies common ancestry.” In cases involving paternity suits we do conclude this. I would agree that we do not have absolute certainty on these questions, but then I don’t believe we have absolute certainty anywhere, unless we simply choose something arbitrarily and say it is absolutely certain–like the Bible or science or some guru or astrology or whatever strikes our fancy. Our goal should be to pursue what is most likely. And, when it comes to genetics, there is no controversy among geneticists that there is solid evidence–not proof–for common ancestry.
This whole debate is based on your question, which you have put elegantly and succinctly: “Which worldview (biblical creation or evolution) can account for human experience and reasoning in a way that is consistent, non-arbitrary, and makes sense of Christian doctrines?” But this is not the right way to ask the question. We are not confronted with a choice between two non-overlapping worldviews. We have the Bible, we have our traditions of interpretation, and we have science and our experience. All these things have to be balanced and weighed against each other. Each must be allowed to speak its own message. If we build our astronomy on the Bible, we will be led astray and suppose, like the critics of Galileo, that the earth does not move. If we look to biochemistry to establish eternal life, we will likewise come up dry. This is a complex problem–I discuss it in more detail in Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution.
It would be wonderful if we had a shortcut to absolute truth, but I just don’t think we do.

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Gerald McGrew

posted October 22, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Mr. Giberson,
You state to Mr. Ham:
“Your post is in marked contrast to the atheist PZ Myers’ venomous response on his blog to my suggestion on Salon that evolution and belief in God were compatible. I would say that the atheists are much more uncomfortable with this discussion than the religious believers!”
Such a hasty generalization is surprising coming from you. I’m sure you would be offended if someone said something like, “Look at Osama Bin Laden and his backwards, hateful rhetoric. I would say that religious people are horrible people.”
I’m surprised to see a fellow scientist seeming to go out of his way to seek the favor of those whose agenda is to undermine science education in our country.

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Your Name

posted October 22, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Oh come on, not the boring old Galileo excuse. Unfortunately, the Church’s problem was that they kowtowed to the prevailing Aristotelian science of the day, which included the Ptolemaic geocentric cosmology. Then they twisted Scripture to fit. That’s exactly what Dr G. advocates: the church twisting Scripture to kowtow to the prevailing naturalistic biological evolution and geological uniformitarianism.
Indeed, Galileo’s first opponents were the Aristotelians at the Universities, while the four leading pioneers of geokineticism—Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton—were all young-earth creationists! Dr Thomas Schirrmacher showed in The Galileo affair: history or heroic hagiography :
Contrary to legend, Galileo and the Copernican system were well regarded by church officials. Galileo was the victim of his own arrogance, the envy of his colleagues, and the politics of Pope Urban VIII. He was not accused of criticising the Bible, but disobeying a papal decree.
Re Psalm 93 and a stationary earth, the same Hebrew word for ‘moved’ (môt) is used in Psalm 16:8, ‘I shall not be moved.’ Surely, even Dr G. wouldn’t accuse the Bible of teaching that the Psalmist was rooted to one spot! He meant that he would not stray from the path that God had set for him. So the earth ‘cannot be moved’ can also mean that it will not stray from the precise orbital and rotational pattern God has set (‘firmly established’) for it.
NB, the Psalms are poetic books, so we should generally expect figurative language and be very careful before concluding that a particular verse is literal. Psalms have the defining characteristic of Hebrew poetry, which is not rhyme or metre, but parallelism. That is, the statements in two or more consecutive lines are related in some way: saying something, then saying it again in a different way. Or saying one thing then saying the opposite. So the parallelism in Psalm 93 clearly shows the reader that the verse Giberson cites should not be taken literally, and not to be the basis of a cosmological model.
Conversely, Genesis is straightforward historical narrative. This should be obvious, because it has all the grammatical features of Hebrew narrative, e.g. the first verb (in Genesis 1:1) is a qatal (historic perfect), and the verbs that move the narrative forward are wayyiqtols (waw consecutives); it contains many ‘accusative particles’ that mark the objects of verbs; and terms are often carefully defined.
It’s also surprising that a physicist like Dr G doesn’t seem to understand the basic physical point that all motion must be described **with respect to a reference frame**. And you can choose **any one you like**. The Bible was simply using the earth as a reference frame, just as we often do today. Even a modern astronomer will say, ‘Look at that beautiful sunset’ rather than, ‘Look at the way the earth has rotated to place its curvature directly in the light path of the sun’. It’s a shame that when Galileo was asked, “Does the earth move?”, he didn’t reply, “Relative to what?”
To illustrate reference frames, should all speedometer manufacturers be prosecuted for claiming that a parked car is traveling at zero? After all, all cars are traveling at about 1670 km/h just by virtue of the earth’s rotation on its axis (depending on the latitude of course—multiply by the cosine), and as much as 108,000 km/hr around the sun, and 900,000 km/h around the galaxy.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 6:41 pm

[I’m surprised to see a fellow scientist seeming to go out of his way to seek the favor of those whose agenda is to undermine science education in our country.]
I guess I’d have to say I’m NOT surprised to see the side of evolutionism once again misrepresenting the real “agenda” of Creation Science (upholding the authority of scripture) as being to undermine science and education. Educational institutions are supposed to be about the search for truth. As Ben Stein has done a great job of exposing is that it’s not about education at all. It’s indoctrination. How dare people think for themselves and follow the evidence, wherever it may lead?! It’s only considered education if the student comes out the other side believing what they’re told. In a system that BEGINS with a commitment to naturalism (by definition eliminating the supernatural), it’s not longer a search for truth, but a race to prove how it could happen without God.

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posted October 22, 2008 at 7:04 pm

While this was a well written assertion, it seems there are alot of misconceptions of what it was Mr. Ham meant. And, as was said before, many arguments, such as the star light and time assesment, that have been acknowledged and dealt with by many PhD, more-than-qualified scientists, such as in this example Dr. Russel Humphreys or Dr. Jason Lisle. I am still somewhat dissapointed in the performance of theistic evolution in this case. The arguments seem to repeat themselves, regardles of how much work has already been done by creationists that deal with, debunk, and refute them. It seriously makes me doubt that sutable research was done by Mr. Giberson.

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Gerald McGrew

posted October 22, 2008 at 7:21 pm

I suppose MC would have us believe that American creationists have no intent towards the educational system. Ignore the “equal time” laws of the 1980’s, ignore Kansas 2000, ignore the Georgia “warning stickers”, ignore Dover, ignore Florida earlier this year, and ignore the current shenanigans in Texas.
I’ve always found it amusing how conservative Christians rail against post-modernism so often and in so many ways, yet a post-modern approach to education is exactly what they’re advocating! Let’s just teach kids any ol’ idea any one has thought up, regardless of its validity or standing in the scientific community…let the kids decide!
Finally, the fact that MC has to sink to the depths of citing Ben Stein’s patently dishonest propaganda film that was roundly panned by even some of the most conservative talking heads…well, little more needs said.
The fact that creationists have to stoop to such dishonesty speaks volumes about their position.

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Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.

posted October 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm

It’s bizarre that Dr Giberson brings up the blackness = Curse of Ham nonsense. That’s the whole point! This is NOT a biblical teaching at all, since there is no curse of Ham (it was on Canaan) and not the slightest evidence that it had anything to do with skin pigmentation (Canaanites were olive-complexioned anyway).
In reality, this “curse of Ham” is just another error of the same type that the church made with Galileo, and Giberson makes with evolution: **twisting the Bible to make it fit the prevailing cultural or scientific viewpoint.** The Bible is the *corrective* for the faulty view, not the cause.
For the real cause, see “Race and Culture” by Thomas Sowell (himself black): he points out that racism didn’t cause slavery, but *slavery caused racism*. Slavery for most of its history was not a racial issue. Europeans enslaved Europeans (the word ‘slave’ comes from ‘Slav’), Asians enslaved Asians, and Africans enslaved Africans—black slaves were usually first captured by other blacks because the Europeans were susceptible to African diseases if they ventured into the Interior. Most slaves did not differ racially from their masters.
But in America, slaves were of a different race. Yet Americans also had the American Declaration of Independence declaring
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.’
American slavers realized the contradiction between slavery and the Declaration, so some of them invented disgusting and absurd schemes by which the black slaves were regarded as less than human. And this explains the origin of such biblical contortions like this “curse of Ham” nonsense.

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Harold McKee

posted October 22, 2008 at 9:57 pm

A comment was made by Gerald McGrew claiming dishonesty was used in the film “Expelled”. Is there any factual evidence to support that claim?

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posted October 22, 2008 at 9:59 pm

One other example I’d like to bring up is that several theologians have argued that evolution clarifies what it means to be “made in the image of God”. If God has no physical body, then it’s the “soul”, “spirit”, “consciousness” (or whatever) that makes us uniquely made in the image of God. Our bodies are, by contrast, evolved from ancestral species.
(Note I’m not doing the arguments justice here, but I think this is enough to get the general idea.)

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posted October 22, 2008 at 11:22 pm

Pseudonym said: If God has no physical body…Our bodies are, by contrast, evolved from ancestral species.
Genesis says we are made in the image of God (Elohim). El is the singular form referencing God, while Elohim is the plural form. Therefore we are made in the image of the plural God which includes Jesus of whom John says was in the beginning with God and that Jesus was involved in the original creation of the heavens and earth. So we are made both in body (likeness of Jesus) and in spirit (likeness of the Father).

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posted October 23, 2008 at 12:39 am

Mr. Giberson
You well point out early in your post that scripture has not always provided perfect understanding in regard to the earth and its’ environment. But is this misunderstanding the fault of scripture or of man’s misinterpretation of God’s revealed truth? As we grapple to understand God’s revealed truths more perfectly, we must certainly reexamine our understandings in light of all revealed knowledge, just as it is written, “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) It is not God’s word that has changed, just our understanding of God’s creation. Hasn’t the Darwinian position also been modified in the very same way by casting aside old ideas in light of new discoveries? But you seem to be suggesting that since man has had in the past imperfect understanding of God’s perfect truth that we must cast aside God’s word in favor of man’s current finite understanding even if that current understanding completely contradicts God’s word.
Concerning the discussion of pseudo-genes, (which I believe you completely misrepresented Mr. Ham’s point) you argue, “I think you are acknowledging that pseudo-genes pose some challenges but you are claiming you have a response to those challenges. But is your response reasonable? Your argument seems to run like this:
1) Pseudogenes, if they are indeed non-functional, provide evidence–not proof–for common ancestry.
2) Some pseudogenes have turned out to be functional and thus cannot be used to make this argument.
3) Therefore all arguments from pseudogenes can be dismissed.”
An analogous argument of your position of obtaining truth from the Bible might go like this:
1) Truth from the Bible: That “God of the Bible has given us this knowledge, is a questionable assumption,” provides evidence—not proof—for obtaining understanding.
2) “We have come to the “correct conclusion” about a lot of things without having an omniscient guide to the truth.” And whenever we thought we had an infallible guide to the truth, we were wrong.
3) Therefore any argument of obtaining any truth from the Bible can be dismissed.
So what exactly do you believe in aside from your own superior intellect? Remember as Paul continued, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:22) Although by your participation in this debate I am ready to see if you might be open to a legitimate exchange of thought.
Too often in this debate, those on the “molecules to man” Darwinian side resort to attacking the Creationist instead of the creationist’s position on what the scientific evidence does or doesn’t show, as you did by attempting a vague comparison between Creationists and the misguided Christian authority of the early 17th century.
Mr. Giberson: “Christians at the time of Galileo thought the Bible taught that the earth was stationary. Psalm 93:1 seems very clear on this, and Galileo was forbidden to promote astronomical ideas in conflict with this Biblical teaching. Subsequent developments in astronomy have provided a new interpretation of this verse.”
So what point are you possibly trying to make with this statement? That the majority ruling authority was wrong then and someone who dared to proclaim that the majority held belief was wrong was actually the one who was right! Imagine the hypocrisy of the majority scientific community we have today. And you too Mr. McGrew.
Mr. Giberson: “…distant stars…faithfully records the distant past…”
I must assume you believe in some parts of the Bible, but which parts I wonder. Where was John and what did he see as he recorded the Revelation? Was it something “faithfully” recorded in the stars? Or did he just make it all up? Or maybe it was just a vivid dream, none of it truly revealed; he just had a rough night. Do you not believe that God can reveal the future or history even though it did not occur within our timeframe? Would you then accuse God of being a liar for revealing a history outside of our timeframe?
Mr. Giberson: “We can count tree rings that take us back in time.”
Genesis tells us God created plants yielding seed and trees bearing fruit with seed already in them. How tall were the plants yeilding seed and ready for harvest? Trees bearing fruit; was the fruit mature, ripe? And the trees with branches full of fruit; how did they stand under their own weight of heavy fruit? Were they mature with an appearance of age? If you cut one down, would you find…tree rings…adding strength to the tree? And birds, with feathers, flying, multiplying, mature. And how about Adam and Eve; just babies or mature, showing age? Adult teeth? Muscles as though strengthened by exercise? God conversed with Adam. Where did Adam get the language skills? God told Adam to name the animals. How many years of training in speech and vocabulary did Adam have? Mature. Able to survive with his own intellect in the garden. How old would he have appeared under scientific medical examination? And would you have told God he was lying if science could “prove” Adam was older than a day?
How about the earth? On the day God created it, did he make it…mature? Able to sustain life. How old did it appear on the day it was made? And what about the Sun? Mature? And have you told God he must be lying if science “proves” the Earth and the Sun is older than a few thousand years just because the science that God created can measure maturity? Have we mistaken maturity for age?
God said to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Who are we to insist that God’s word is too vague or outdated to be trusted in light of our self-promoting superior knowledge. Are you so certain that God could not have performed the creation just as he said? And maybe just maybe the Earth really does revolve around the Sun and the majority ruling authority is still wrong about the rest of it. For me, I believe, God is not mocked by the science he created and history will eventually prove Genesis is correct.

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Timothy C.

posted October 23, 2008 at 12:41 am

Dr. Giberson doesn’t seem to think that the Bible is actual revelation from God. He advocates using “God’s revelation in nature” (i.e., man’s highly limited understanding of nature) to determine the Bible’s meaning, but rejects the opposite approach. While extra-biblical knowledge may help alert us to a mistaken interpretation of the Bible, a correct interpretation must be based on the text itself. The interpretations Dr. Giberson claims to have been “clarified” by science are readily deducible from the text (both of passages he brings up are from a poetic context, which Ken Ham rightly said should be understood in a poetic sense).
Also, Dr. Giberson assumes that the way things behave must have been the way they originated – that is, according to natural processes. This position is not only philosophical rather than scientific, but it must be employed selectively by evolutionists in order to support their view. For example, why don’t they assume that genes have been degenerating by destructive mutation throughout all of animal history just as we observe to be happening today? They don’t because such consistency would destroy their paradigm of matter-to-man evolution by means of increases in genetic complexity.

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posted October 23, 2008 at 1:06 am

I’m haviung a hard time trying to determine if the main debate is more interesting, or the side debate going on between you guys. Don’t get me wrong, I mean no disrespect whatso ever, but still, it is entertaining to read.
And Mr. McGrew, I found that I never took the time to apologize for the misconception concerning your use of CAPITALIZED words. I do apologize for the misconception, and no, I have been unable to assert emphasis in any other way than you have shown. God bless.

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posted October 23, 2008 at 3:03 am

Mr. Giberson,
If I may, I would like to request you refrain from generalizing atheists as you do in your first paragraph here. Atheism is a philosophy by which the only shared understanding is acknowledgment that the notion of “god” is silly and unnecessary. Your interaction with PZ Myers should not be taken nor published as an account of how “atheists are much more uncomfortable with this discussion than the religious believers” because this generalization is both offensive and outright untrue in many cases (me for example).

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Only me

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:25 am

Wonderfull responce 😀 Even though I’m “on Ken’s side” I really enjoy your honesty and clear line of thought.
I hope this debate will “evolve” and take me and other readers into even more depth on this importaint issue.
Keep it up (both of you) and may God bless you.

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posted October 23, 2008 at 11:29 am

Thanks to “Your Name” for the response bringing up Galileo vs Ptolemy. I was wanting to make the same points, but you did much better than I could have.

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Pastor John

posted October 23, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I am always fascinated by the notion that every time people come up with some new and improved idea we must go back and change God’s Word to fit that new idea.
Why is it that we change God to fit our musings instead of causing our musing to line up with God’s revealed truth?
I am grateful to serve an all-knowing, omnipotent, unchanging and unchangable God who has revealed ultimate truth as opposed to serving people whose notions and ideas change as often as the seasons.

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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 12:30 pm

RE: Dishonesty in “Expelled”.
I could say, “Pick something they mentioned in the film, and I’d bet it’s done dishonestly”. A shorter exercise would probably be to list things in the film that WEREN’T presented dishonestly.
Perhaps the shortest example is the Caroline Crocker situation. “Expelled” claims:
“After she simply mentioned Intelligent Design in her cell biology class at George Mason University, Caroline Crocker’s sterling academic career came to an abrupt end.”
Gosh…if we were to take Stein’s word, we’d think she merely said the words “intelligent design” and was immediately fired from her job.
The truth however, is completely different. Crocker held a non-tenure track position at GMU. These positions are non-permanent and have to be renewed. After receiving multiple complaints from students about her teaching, GMU allowed her to continue until her contract expired, at which point it was not renewed. Further, she had an overlapping contract with N. Virginia Comm. College. So there was no “abrupt end” to whatever “academic career” she had.
And what exactly did she teach? Did she merely “mention intelligent design”? Hardly. She had a reporter from the Washington Post sit in on her lecture, the one she claimed to be “The lecture…[that]had caused her to lose a job at a previous university”
As you can see from the article, there was a lot more to her lecture than merely “mentioning intelligent design”. She even taught…
“No one has ever seen a dog turn into a cat in a laboratory.”
….as an argument against “macroevolution”.
Did Stein mention any of this in “Expelled”? Of course not! As I said earlier, taking Stein at his word one would think Crocker merely said “intelligent design” and was immediately fired, and never able to teach again.
The fact that the ID creationists have to resort to such dishonest tactics speaks volumes about the nature of their position.

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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Believe me, I’ve spent years trying to discuss specific data with creationists, and I can say without hesitation that it’s a fruitless endeavor. The reason being that the creationist position is based on faith and theology, not data and analyses. As I’ve been pointing out from my first post in this exchange, Ken Ham’s organization makes this abundantly clear:
“No apparent, perceived, or claimed interpretation of evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.”
What can be accomplished by attempting to discuss the data and analyses behind evolutionary theory and “billions of years” with such folks? They tell you right up front that whenever the data or analyses conflicts with how they read scripture, it absolutely HAS TO BE wrong.
IOW, their position is, “It is absolutely impossible for there to ever be data that supports common descent or an ancient universe”.
Is that an empirically-rooted position? Is that a viewpoint that is founded on scientific principles?
Of course not! It’s entirely theological. So if the underlying, foundational framework of young-earth creationism is theological, why would anyone try and approach its advocates from an empirical standpoint?
BTW, thank you Ryan for understanding that I wasn’t yelling. Much appreciated!

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posted October 23, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Dr. Giberson: “but it seems to me that secular knowledge, of which science is a prime example, has aided greatly in clarifying the meaning of Scripture. I am happy to see that you have come out strongly against the claim that black skin derives from the “Curse of Ham””.
Secular knowledge can only aid in clarifying scripture when it properly ‘reads’ scripture (Curse of Canaan, not Ham). And it still must use scripture to interpret scripture, especially as fallible as secular knowledge is.

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Jean Lightner

posted October 23, 2008 at 2:22 pm

I think the pseudogene argument is not understood. It had been assumed that pseudogenes were not functional. This was based on our (very incomplete) understanding of how genes function. In the last half decade it has been demonstrated that this “scientific understanding” is incorrect; many functions have been discovered for pseudogenes. Even in the past month there was a scientific article demonstrating that a pseudogene, which couldn’t possibly form a protein because of numerous stop codons in the open reading frame, actually does form a functional protein.
Science is a wonderful tool, but it also has serious limitations. One of these is that it is used by finite humans that do have biases. Evolutionary arguments from vestigial organs and junk DNA have been shown to be very presumptuous. When we take the time to investigate, we regular find that there is function.

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Ron Bartlett

posted October 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Mr. Gerald McGrew sir: Please respond to the fellow asking that you provide evidence for your claim that dishonesty was used in the film expelled.

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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 5:32 pm

I did write a post describing an instance of dishonesty in “Expelled” and sent it in. After clicking “Post”, I got the message that the post was being “Held by the blog owner” (or something like that). It has not appeared on the blog.

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posted October 23, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Hello, everyone!
Just a couple of FYIs:
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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Thanks for the info! I see my post is now on the board and it’s good to know that we can indeed format posts.

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Kevin Butterfield

posted October 23, 2008 at 7:57 pm

I hate to say this, but from reading only this much of this debate it appears the needed common ground will not be struck in what pertains to the debate topic. Karl Giberson made the comment that Ken’s question was missing the mark, and that the right breakthrough would come from understanding that the two views are indeed overlapping. I suggest that this in reality sets the stage for a straw-man appraisal of Ken’s position, which is to make it seem that he is forced into a position where only two extremes become verifiable. That is, that we are to read the Bible to see what an atom is; straw-man extreme one: and that we cannot discern eternal things by investigating the physical; straw-man extreme two. I believe that Ken Hamm’s position is more that we are to not consider anything true except the actual Word of God, and while we are here on earth we see what meshes. The interesting thing is how much does indeed mesh with a literal Genesis, but still there is an opposition. This spoken of ‘revelation coming from nature’ is not Biblical; perhaps, it should be understood with more caution, and seen as more of a tool if applicable and not actual doctrine?

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posted October 23, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Thanks for the info! I see my post is now on the board and it’s good to know that we can indeed format posts.

You’re welcome!

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posted October 24, 2008 at 11:26 am

Galileo Galilei wrote — I think that in discussions of physical problems we ought to begin not from the authority of scriptural passages, but from sense experiences [observations] and necessary demonstrations [experiments]; for the holy Bible and the phenomena of nature proceed alike from the divine Word, the former as the dictate of the Holy Ghost and the latter as the observant executrix of God’s commands. It is necessary for the Bible, in order to be accommodated to the understanding of every man, to speak many things which appear to differ from the absolute truth so far as the bare meaning of the words is concerned. But Nature, on the other hand, is inexorable and immutable; she never transgresses the laws imposed upon her, or cares a whit whether her abstruse reasons and methods of operation are understandable to men. For that reason it appears that nothing physical which sense experience sets before our eyes, or which necessary demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called in question (much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages which may have some different meaning beneath their words. For the Bible is not chained in every expression to conditions as strict as those which govern all physical effects; nor is God any less excellently revealed in Nature’s actions than in the sacred statements of the Bible.

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Russ Davis

posted October 25, 2008 at 2:07 am

JRT’s alleged quote of Galileo is of course the usual childish selective “gotcha” quote to score a zinger. If it were legitimate it would include the actual source. Lacking such it’s just more vanity not interested in truth, common for such debates evolutionists lost to creationists decades ago, hence their fascist appeal to judges to do their dirty work, being too embarrassed to admit their defeat and inability intelligently or coherently to reply to creationists as most Americans well know. Send in the clowns!

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Kevin Butterfield

posted October 25, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Russ Davis, I am a YEC, but I do not see the point in what you wrote. When you rebuke someone isn’t it necessary indicate some sort of redirection. Therein is my advice to you.

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Jesse Huebner

posted October 27, 2008 at 3:40 pm

“The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.” -Psalms 93:1
I want to clear up two, usually, misinterpreted Hebrew words in this verse, of which Mr. Karl Giberson uses to argue that scripture cannot be used before observing science. Unfortunately for you Mr. Giberson by using this verse you have actually disproved this fallacy.
The Hebrew word ?? (‘aph, af) meaning also, infers to the reader that what they are about to read is being compared to what they have just read. I assume you don’t believe God cannot get up and walk (or float, or whatever it is He does) to wherever He desires, do you Karl? The Psalmist is declaring that God cannot be moved by an outside source just like the earth cannot be moved by an outside source. This verse is comparing God’s awesome strength to the earth’s strength. This simple comparison between the two parts of this psalm reveals where you are mistaken and I haven’t even gotten to the two Hebrew words.
The Hebrew word ????? (ku?n, koon,)translated as stablished, or in the very next verse established; means fasten, firm, be fitted, be fixed, frame, ordain, order, perfect, be stable and set. This in no way means immobile. It simply means that it was placed there by someone and not by itself.
The last Hebrew word ??? (mo?t?, mote’), of which Karl is manly referring to, is an implication of slip shake, fall: – be carried, cast, be out of course, be fallen in decay, X exceedingly, fall (-ing down), be (re-) moved, be ready shake, slide, slip. This obviously is in no way talking about the tilt, rotation or orbit of the earth! In fact, this word means the earth is in course and it cannot be taken out of its course.
It’s amazing how even though these words are poetic they give us a perfect glimpse of how God created our world. This was thousands of years before a telescope was even created! Since the earth is still in perfect tilt, perfect rotation and perfect orbit it shows this verse still holds true today.
Please show me a verse in Genesis where a Hebrew word has been mistranslated and should really mean millions of years!
Apparently Archimedes hadn’t read these verses before he said, “Given a place to stand and a long enough lever, I could move the Earth”

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