Young Earth Creationism Watch: Albert Mohler v. BioLogos, Darrel Falk, and Bruce Waltke

With regard to the universe’s appearance of vast age, Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, offers this curious argument:

The universe looks old because the creator made it whole. When he made Adam,  Adam was not a fetus; Adam was a man; he had the appearance of a man. By our understanding that would’ve required time for Adam to get old but not by the sovereign creative power of God. He put Adam in the garden. The garden was not merely seeds; it was a fertile, fecund, mature garden. The Genesis account clearly claims that God creates and makes things whole.

Yes, and the dinosaurs were put in the ground with the appearance of age as well. And the moon has meteor impact craters with rock fragments in them that date to billions of years because they, well, eh, . . . hmm.

It was this same Albert Mohler who, in 2010, got into a dust-up with the BioLogos Foundation, an organization of scientists and intellectuals who also happen to be Christians. Darrel Falk, President of BioLogos, writes the following:

Albert Mohler, among the most important evangelicals in the world, noticed us—then, like a giant annoyed by a buzzing little fly, attempted to squish us, not with a swat, but with a few delicately placed strokes on his keyboard. BioLogos is not a little fly, however, and it is not going to go away. Dr. Mohler, giant as he is in fundamentalist/evangelical circles, represents a view that takes on the entire scientific enterprise. To this day, I have not been able to identify a single person who holds a science faculty position in any Biology, Geology or Physics Department at any secular research university in the world who would agree with Dr. Mohler’s view of creation.

And Christianity Today, highlighting the tension between fundamentalist and nonfundamentalist Christians over Genesis literalism, put the BioLogos video controversy over Adam and Eve’s historicity in its top ten notable news stories for 2010. The Adam and Eve story was placed at number eight and here’s what Christianity Today said about it:

Prominent Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke resigns from Reformed Theological Seminary under pressure amid debate on the historicity of Adam. “If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution,” he said in a video for BioLogos, “to deny that reality will make us a cult.”

As we move deeper into the 21st century, will most Christians follow Dr. Mohler into the marginal and cultish, or will they find their way to a saner détente with science via groups like BioLogos?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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59 Responses to Young Earth Creationism Watch: Albert Mohler v. BioLogos, Darrel Falk, and Bruce Waltke

  1. I always chuckle at the oncept that god made things to look old. He sure is a tricky bastard.

  2. Pingback: Young Earth Creationism Watch: Intellectual Albert Mohler Drinks the Kool-Aid | Prometheus Unbound

  3. TomH says:

    I only have time to deal with one topic here.

    Falk: “To this day, I have not been able to identify a single person who holds a science faculty position in any Biology, Geology or Physics Department at any secular research university in the world who would agree with Dr. Mohler’s view of creation.”

    Let’s assume that Dr. Mohler’s view of creation is YEC-ism.

    Fal, made an ironic statement, considering that Falk teaches at Point Loma Nazarene University, a religious institution, and doesn’t do research anymore.

    Falk didn’t look too hard in his search. “Dr Danny R. Faulkner has a B.S. (Math), M.S. (Physics), M.A. and Ph.D. (Astronomy, Indiana University). He is Full Professor at the University of South Carolina — Lancaster, where he teaches physics and astronomy. He has published about two dozen papers in various astronomy and astrophysics journals. See his university homepage for more details.” Pretty typical of anti-YECs–not very thorough or rigorous in their searches or thinking.

    However, we have a bit to learn from Falk’s sentence. Why does he limit the search to “secular” universities? Does teaching at a research university which has a religious affiliation automatically disqualify someone from having a valid opinion? How about scientists who are in industry–not academia? Are their opinions also invalid? And why a “research” university? Couldn’t someone do research at a college or university that doesn’t typically fund research? Are their opinions necessarily invalid? What about people in chemistry departments at secular research universities? Why did Falk exclude their opinions? Why does Falk exclude retirees who are YECs?

    I think that it’s clear that Falk is cherry picking the data in his argument from authority. So, his argument is essentially irrelevant due to the cherry picking, which is a straw man argument if we are looking for experts who adhere to YEC-ism.

    I could mention many people who are YECs who have done research in physics, chemistry, and geology and have taught at universities. There are many YEC MDs who are research scientists as well. There are veterinarians who have done research and are YECs.

    Here’s a list of some YEC experts. http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/ Why are so many of them emiriti? Why do so many of them defer coming out until they retire? Could it be because they fear persecution? See Slaughter of the Dissidents http://www.amazon.com/Slaughter-Dissidents-Dr-Jerry-Bergman/dp/0981873405 and the movie “Expelled” http://www.amazon.com/Expelled-Intelligence-Allowed-Ben-Stein/dp/B001BYLFFS.

    Now, of course, it’s irrational to rely on authority about a question when there is controversy among the experts, so this whole appeal by Falk is a massive failure.

    • santitafarella says:

      Tom,

      Let’s grant your premise that there is some significant minority—say, 5%—of PhD geologists, biologists, physicists, and astronomers in the United States who affirm young earth creationism. That’s surely a grotesquely inflated number, but let’s pretend it is that high.

      Why would they do that? For one reason only: they CHOSE to SUBMIT their reason to the authority of a sacred text. Some of these 5% will be Muslims basing their submission on the Quran and most will be Christians engaging in the same act of submission toward the text of Genesis.

      In other words, it’s not reality testing and evidence that brings one to the conclusion that the earth is young, it is a prior commitment to believing Genesis literally no matter what. It is Abraham bringing Isaac to Mount Moriah against all human reason.

      As to appeals to expertise, it’s not only consensus that weighs on the matter of expertise—and the consensus is with the earth being old—it is also prestige: who are the alpha males and females in that discipline, and what do they say?

      Put another way: when you are weighing an expert’s opinion, it makes sense to ask whether or not his or her peers have high regard for that person. Does that person publish extensively in good journals? Do they write books and speak at professional conferences? I know of no young earth creationist with an advanced degree that is broadly respected and admired by his or her peers, do you?

      When Darwin first wrote the Origin he had to face seriously respected big shot scientists at the world’s best universities who doubted his thesis. That’s no longer the case. The prominant members in the fields touching on the age of the earth and the common ancestry of animals have become convinced of these two things, and regard them as facts: (1) the earth is old; and (2) plants and animals have changed over time.

      Just as Darwin had to pass through the best minds of his day to be taken seriously, young earth creationists have to cross the same bar today.

      —Santi

  4. TomH says:

    Santi,

    “Why would they do that? For one reason only: they CHOSE to SUBMIT their reason to the authority of a sacred text.”

    While that may be true for some, it’s not necessarily true for all. For instance, those with a different epistemology than you might find the Genesis text to be more reliable than the imaginations of some “scientists.” My epistemology looks for corroborative empirical statements from witnesses which have undergone scrutiny. For example, if the miracles attributed to God during Moses’ time were witnessed by the Israelite population generally, then we could say that they had undergone scrutiny and that the writings of Moses about them had undergone scrutiny because the population at large could have examined them for accuracy. As regards Genesis, how are we to examine it except to look for details that reveal that it had the credentials of an infallible witness to vouch for it? Is Genesis linked to Moses, and, if so,, how are they linked? Was Moses the primary author of Genesis or was he an editor of a group of texts from earlier authors which constituted source material that he worked from? I find Wiseman’s arguments to be compelling.

    What expertise do any secular scientists bring to the YEC hypothesis? Are they experts in the arguments of YEC scientific experts? Hardly. Mostly they ignore them. I see no reason to think that secular scientists have any advantage over their YEC counterparts. On the contrary, YEC scientific experts are familiar with both old earth and YEC arguments, so they are the alphas. Of course, if someone views ignorance as an advantage, then I could see how someone might say that the scientific experts who accept the old earth hypothesis are the alphas.

  5. Robert Hagedorn says:

    Do a search: The First Scandal Adam and Eve.

  6. TomH says:

    Santi,

    You wrote: “I know of no young earth creationist with an advanced degree that is broadly respected and admired by his or her peers, do you?”

    You also indicated that you think that the YEC position is marginal and cultish. So, it’s hard to imagine someone like you thinking that any YEC scientist would be “broadly respected and admired by his or her peers.” Your question is loaded. For someone who aims to stimulate intellectual discussion, this is rather pathetic.

    A better question is: Have any YECs made significant contributions to science in the last 100 years? Check the list in my last reply. You’ll find a few major contributors there.

    • What evidence is there in support of YEC?

    • TomH says:

      Jared,

      Why would you ask for scientific evidence to answer an historical question? It looks like a category error.

      Tom

      • Not at all, YEC implicitly makes claims that involve everything from archeology to geology to cosmology. It needs evidence.

        Even from a historical perspective, there should be evidence. And while you may claim the bible as evidence, there is also conflicting evidence. Archeological data that makes a 6000 year old earth impossible – a plethora of archeological data that FAR predates 6000 years.

        If you then follow the ludicrous claim that the earth is only 6000 years old, but god made it to look old, again, you need evidence of this. All claims, sans evidence are equal. Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is as credible as YEC.

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        The texts of the Bible are evidence. Your failure to see this is emblematic of your problem.

        You claim that there is conflicting evidence, yet have failed to provide any references to your sources, unlike me.

        In debates, one is expected to provide references. Hence, you have no evidence and my argument stands.

      • All that we have of the NT are fragments of copies of copies. There are numerous conflicts and discrepancies between the even the fragments we have. Biblical scholars also show that even what might have existed as the originals were authored decades to a century after the death of Christ. There is also a question of sources, where the supposed authors are not the real authors. Such things mean that the bible would be laughed out of a courtroom if presented as evidence in modern day.

      • santitafarella says:

        Jared,

        I agree. The NT gospels, for example, cannot be taken as evidence of all that much (in the conventional sense of evidence that would hold up in court).

        One reason is, as you allude to, the chain of evidentiary possession. We don’t even know where exactly, or when, or by whom the gospels were written. We don’t know the sources of the gospel writers’ information (apart from the fact that Matthew and Luke used Mark and perhaps a sayings source scholars call “Q”). And we don’t know who came into possession of these texts after they were written. We don’t know what may have been changed in the earliest copying of them, and by whom and why. We know, in short, much less than we would like.

        These issues become even more obscure when it comes to a book like Genesis (which is at least 700 years older than anything written in the NT).

        —Santi

      • TomH says:

        Santi and Jared,

        Wow, are you all totally ignorant about the writings of the early church fathers? They reference the New Testament so much that it could almost be totally reconstituted just from their writings. They attribute the books to the traditional authors without a hitch. Come back to earth. Maybe you might go read F. F. Bruce’s book (http://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-Documents-They-Reliable/dp/0802822193).

      • Church fathers writing about them does not, in any way, ensure authorship, it does not change that the originals were written decades to over 100 years after Christ, nor does it fix the problem that we only have fragments of copies of copies. As I wrote, were this to happen in modern day, it would be dismissed by a court out of hand as here say. You should read Ater’s book to get filled in on the OT and what Rabbinical and biblical scholars are saying.

        There is also the issue that the Bible conflicts with other religious works, such as Islam and Hinduism. Islam is actually much better documented with clear authorship and historical record. As credible documents with attribution and wholeness Islam wins hands down. Hinduism has no more veracity that the Christian mythos.

        Even with all that, none of these satisfy basic evidence people require in every day life. There are literally 1000s of eye witnesses who testify to aliens – many servicemen. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far, these people claiming aliens have shown none. The same is true of Christianity. The best you have is second hand testimony, which makes it even less credible than those who believe in aliens. At least we have first hand testimony of that.

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        But why should people writing long after the fact necessarily be wrong about history? We have people today writing history books about George Washington which are more highly regarded than earlier history books. Maybe you are assuming that the gospel accounts were the earliest Christian literature about Jesus. That might be wrong. “Q” may simply be an early corpus of documents taken from hearings where the apostles gave their testimony. In that case, the evidence would have come no more than a few weeks after Jesus’ assumption.

        From Luke, we find that many Christians were seeking to write an account of the events of Jesus’ ministry. This shows that they were concerned about historical accuracy. As early as 170 AD we find Tatian’s Diatessaron widely distributed, showing that historical evidence was very important to Christians. From Acts, we find the apostles giving their testimony about Jesus’ life before the church (4:33 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+4&version=NIV) and Samaritans (8:26 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+8&version=NIV) and, in fact, we find them being selected as apostles because their experience with Jesus throughout his ministry gave them what they need to be able to provide details about Jesus’ ministry by their testimony. Jesus said to the apostles, “You shall be my witnesses.” John writes in his epistle emphatically about the empirical strength of the apostles’ testimony, showing that their thinking was empirically oriented and evidentiary in nature.

        The Jewish Law made a big issue of accurate testimony and of carefully scrutinizing testimony (Deut. 19:15-18 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+19&version=NIV). Giving accurate testimony was a religious duty. The passage referenced also shows how important witness corroboration was to the Jews.

        This thinking about the Jewish Law formed the epistemic background of and informed the early Christian church–especially the apostles, given their job responsibility to be witnesses. Thus, we see in Acts that the apostles were looking for an excuse to testify about what they had seen and heard as regards Jesus and his resurrection.

        No question that witnesses may be inaccurate, but the early Church had the epistemic resources required to ferret out witness inaccuracies.

        It seems to me that the Christian case is compelling.

    • santitafarella says:

      Tom,

      What you ask is not a better question, but a different question. You may not like it, but the smartest people in the fields of study pertaining to your concern (the age of the earth) find YEC preposterous. One way to evaluate an expert’s opinion is to ask a simple question: is this expert regarded as INSANE by a broad spectrum of his or her peers? If the answer is yes, it provides good warrant to proceed cautiously in that person’s direction. This much is simple: apportion belief to the quality of reasons, evidence, and expert testimony placed before you on the table. In the case of YEC, the expert testimony piece of this puzzle is atrocious (almost as bad as the outward reasons and evidence typically offered for believing in YEC).

      —Santi

      • TomH says:

        I’ve already shown that your question is ridiculous.

        You call those people the “smartest.” I say that they are ignorant fools about anything outside of their area of expertise. When it comes to the age of the earth, they have failed to examine the best data and arguments contrary to their conclusions, so their “expertise” is hardly a given. I see belief in an old earth as insane, so, for me, this is an Emperor’s New Clothes situation. From a sane epistemic vantage point, speculations about the age of the earth based on some flotsam and jetsam of the allegedly very distant past must be held with the most tentative of commitments. From your “experts” I see nothing tentative about their commitments. Hence, I view them as insane, as must any sane philosopher.

      • santitafarella says:

        Tom,

        If this were an issue not pertaining to the Bible—such as a convention of 1000 neurological surgeons—and, on a matter of importance, you found the vast majority of the experts—among them, the most prominant in their field—arrayed on one side of the room against two or three of their peers on the other side—none of them prominant in their profession—what would you say?

        Obviously, as a lay person, you would say, “Listen most closely to the consensus side with all the experts (and the most respected ones at that).”

        But then let’s say that the two or three minority opinion experts were perceived by their colleagues as not just in error, but barking MAD, what would you do?

        Once again, you would be very, very cautious about any advice the small group of two or three offered about neurosurgery, wouldn’t you?

        YEC is in exactly the same boat. The sane response of the lay Christian or lay Muslim is to adjust his or her understanding of the sacred texts in light of the scientific consensus and not run to the support of the minority opinion side of the room.

        —Santi

    • By making claims that violate the laws of nature, the bible immediately eschews from being purely a historical document. The bible does indeed act as a historical document at points – as does the Iliad, the tales of Heracles, and numerous other ancient texts. But just as the violations of natural law in these other texts is not taken as part of the historical record, so too with the bible.

      The gospel of Luke was, itself, not written by an eye witness of the events of Jesus’ life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Luke And that is in reference to the original gospel – which we do not have. This makes Luke a third hand source. Not an eye witness and not even the original authorship of the earlies copies of Luke that exist today.

      Again, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Third hand testimony is substandard proof of even fundamental events – which is why it is meaningless in the courtroom today. And it falls far, far short of being the extraordinary proof that would be needed in validating claims that violate the physical laws.

      You never answered my question earlier on about aliens. There are literally 1000s of eye witness claims. First hand claims, mind you, much more than the fragments of copies of copies of the bible. Do you regard these claims as irrefutable as you seem to think of the bible?

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        “By making claims that violate the laws of nature, the bible immediately eschews from being purely a historical document.”

        You need to provide support for your claims here: 1) that the Bible makes claims that violate the laws of nature and 2) that if it made such claims, that that would necessarily disqualify it from being purely a historical document. I’m not sure what you mean by “purely a historical document,” either.

        “The gospel of Luke was, itself, not written by an eye witness of the events of Jesus’ life.” And this is relevant because….? “And that is in reference to the original gospel ” What “original gospel” are you talking about? “This makes Luke a third hand source.” Actually, second hand–but why is this relevant? And why are copies necessarily less reliable than the original documents? You do realize that original documents decay over time, right? So, if we cannot rely on copies, you are necessarily committing yourself to historical solipsism as regards any historical time where original documents aren’t available.

        “Again, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Well, this is an extraordinary claim itself, so where’s your extraodinary proof?

        “Third hand testimony is substandard proof of even fundamental events – which is why it is meaningless in the courtroom today.” But Luke isn’t testimony of any kind nor is it hearsay. Essentially, it’s an ancient history, compiled from notes taken during a formal hearing–like the notes of our court reporters today. And what courtroom are you talking about?

        You mention claims about aliens. Have these passed scrutiny? Have we found corroborating, empirical statements about particular events? Inquiring minds want to know.

      • 1. The miracles chronicled in the bible violate the laws of nature. Moses parting the sea, Jesus’ resurrection, etc. 2. Please reference any other ancient document which describes events that transcend the laws of nature and which those events are considered part of the historical record. There are none, and even the miracles of the bible are not considered by historians as part of the historical record.

        First hand would be an eye witness. Second hand would be the direct writing of someone who has interviewed a witness. Third (or more) hand would be copies of a writing where no original exists. It is called into question even if authorship is correct.

        I am not saying that you cannot rely on copies. I am saying that copies (with no originals) are not sufficient as evidence of miraculous acts. Even if Matthew, Mark, and Luke were alive and recounting the stories directly, we would need more than their words to accept supernatural events as having taken place. Which is how this relates to aliens. We have living soldiers recounting directly their encounters with UFOs. And yet, sans evidence, these testimonies are dismissed. They have passed at least as much scrutiny as the biblical record. Perhaps you could articulate what evidential scrutiny has been done on the original texts and testimonies of the bible that is in excess of the verbal testimony of supposed abductees?

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        I can live with the claim that miracles transcend the laws of nature, but not with the claim that they violate the laws of nature.

        Are you claiming that no historians accept the miracles of the Bible as factual?

        Talking about “first hand,” “second hand,” etc. with respect to testimony is imprecise and ignores what I have previously laid out about how the Bible says witnesses are to be treated. Court records about a trial are “second hand,” yet they are accorded at least as much credence as actual testimony because they include scrutiny of the witnesses’ testimony. The key questions about witnesses are whether their testimony has been adequately scrutized and whether it corroborates the testimony of other witnesses. The character of the witnesses, the number of witnesses corroborating (more than two), etc. are irrelevant.

        Show me a hearing where UFO testimony has been carefully examined. Show me where UFO testimony has been corroborated under careful scrutiny. If it has been corroborated, then why not believe it? Maybe irrational cultural factors cause us to discount UFO claims rather than any epistemic justification.

        “Even if Matthew, Mark, and Luke were alive and recounting the stories directly, we would need more than their words to accept supernatural events as having taken place.”

        This seems like an extraordinary claim that needs extraordinary justification, per your own words. Please provide some justification here.

      • Here is the discrepancy. You ask for where UFO testimony has been scrutinized .. this is actual testimony from the witnesses. Yet, for the bible, the best you have is scrutiny of what others claim the original works said. And here are videos of eye witnesses, them being scrutinized and their credentials.
        http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=UFO+eye+witness+testimony#q=UFO+eye+witness+testimony&hl=en&prmd=ivnsfd&source=univ&tbs=vid:1&tbo=u&ei=xdAlTeC7GIT6lwf8wtHGAQ&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQqwQwAA&fp=c951c359f7733f2

        For me, their testimony is still not enough. As I have written numerous times, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This is why science requires experimentation, theories and tangible evidence.

        Even without evidence, let’s just look at scrutiny of testimony. For instance, the witnesses of Jesus’ acts. Were they interrogated per the usual actions of a skeptical outsider? Let’s see an example of the loaves of bread he made multiply. Were the loaves being watched at all times? Could other loaves have been sneaked in? Could people have supplied their own loaves? The interrogation of the accounts of Christs life have not experienced even a rudimentary scrutiny, since there was no one to perform the scrutiny on the witnesses. Now all you have is their unchallenged testimony. Yet, you find that acceptable for the Bible, but it would not be acceptable for UFO witnesses?

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        Unscrutinized testimony isn’t valuable. Testimony from two different eyewitnesses about the same event must be scrutinized by questioners and judges (which may be the same). The testimony must consist of purely empirical statements–no conclusions are allowed. Witnesses ought to be sequestered during the hearing to give the questioners the epistemic advantage of knowing more about the answers from all the witnesses than a single witness knows. Also, credentials mean zip, zero, nada.

        “As I have written numerous times, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. ”

        And your banging the pulpit about this epistemic claim (which I reject) adds nothing to the conversation. You need to back this up with an argument if you want me to accept it. I suspect that people use the canard you provided as a convenient excuse to shoehorn in their biases and prejudices. My view is that an adequate epistemic method can provide justification no matter the “extraordinariness” of the claims.

        I have answered your questions about aliens, but you have failed to understand my answer. In order to understand my answer, I suggest that you think a bit about the epistemology of witnesses using what I provided before about it based on my study of the Bible.

      • I agree with you that unscrutinized testimony is not valuable. No one ever sat down with the authors of the NT and interrogated them about their claims and what they wrote. Interrogating the copies of the written accounts long afterwards is not the same thing.

        It all boils down to accepting ONLY the word of an individual as proof. We do not really even have that with the biblical record, but even if we did, would it be enough?

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        Of course, the gospel accounts aren’t eyewitness testimony, but are based on eyewitness testimony which was scrutinized. Essentially, they are “bench notes”–what a judge might write either while or after hearing the testimony of witnesses.

        Consider what would have happened when the authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John presented their documents to the churches. Would they have been swallowed whole without any scrutiny? Hardly, as Luke points out–many have undertaken to compile accounts of Jesus’ ministry. Rather, the church’s acceptance of the traditional gospel accounts and rejection of other documents shows that scrutiny was carefully practiced by the church.

        If you are concerned that the accuracy of the original bench notes may not have been preserved, then that is the subject of textual criticism, which is a different topic.

      • The eye witness testimony was scrutinized? So there was a skeptic there that was grilling Matthew, Mark and Luke about what they wrote, trying to punch holes in their testimony, asking them if other possibilities that were not miraculous might have occurred? You know that this did not happen. And, as you pointed out for court testimony and what scrutiny you expected of UFO witnesses, skeptical direct interrogation of the witness is critical in establishing validity. Which is why the courts allow court record admissible as evidence, but not second hand accounts.

        Bench notes is a different topic, but that is not what we are talking about. Second hand testimony, without interrogation of the direct witness, is not admissible evidence. It is what is called heresay. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Heresay And heresay is dismissed for the reasons discussed in the link and which you, yourself have expressed as what you would need to believe UFO accounts. Skeptical interrogation, not of static documents, but of the real, live, eyewitnesses themselves. We do not have, even this, of the NT.

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        Of course the eyewitnesses were scrutinized. I’ve already discussed that. Your requirement that it was done by a skeptic is unnecessary. However, it should be noted that they bore witness before a hearing given by Samaritans (Acts 8:26), where there were certainly some skeptics.

        Your belief that the witnesses weren’t scrutinized falls under the flat-earth-belief heading. I’ve already discussed that bearing true witness was a religious duty for Jews, which the early Christians certainly were. They understood this to mean that judges would scrutinize their testimony. This religious duty would be even more important for the apostles, given their mission from Jesus. When the apostles were arrested by Jewish authorities, which Acts records (ch. 4), the text reads like the apostles were attempting to use their arrest as a lead in to give their testimony about Christ’s resurrection.

      • So, the thing you use to validate that their testimony was scrutinized is their testimony?

      • TomH says:

        Are you saying that Acts is testimony? Manifestly, it is a history text, not testimony.

      • You claimed that the gospels were their testimony. I pointed out that for testimony to be valid, it needs personal interrogation by a skeptical source. You then pointed back to the gospels as evidence of their testimony.

        Since you seem to fail to realize it, you are using circular reasoning.

      • TomH says:

        Jared,

        I claimed that the gospels relied on testimony, not that they were testimony. I stated that I thought that the gospels were taken from bench notes or that they were bench notes. I never claimed that the gospels were testimony despite your claim that I did. Hence, your claim that I am relying on circular testimony is wrong.

      • You seem to be referring to a bench note as court record, is that correct? I cannot find a reference to anything called a bench note in legal jargon. I will assume that you mean court record, please correct me and link me to what you do mean if I am understanding you incorrectly.

        What I understand you saying is that the bible is a court record relying on testimony. You explicitly reference Acts as where the interrogations of those giving testimony takes place. Yet, Acts is authored by Luke who is also one of those giving testimony in the Bible. Thus, the author of the court record is also one giving testimony .. that is circular reasoning.

      • santitafarella says:

        Tom,

        Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source, and Matthew and Luke also used Q as a saying source. And all four gospels are written in Greek (not Hebrew or Aramaic) and not, apparently, in Israel but elsewhere in the Roman empire. In other words, direct contact between key witnesses and the gospel writers (who were writing 30-60 years after the events) is speculative. If, for example, Peter or Andrew were 30 at the time of Jesus, and 50 years had lapsed between Jesus and the writing of Matthew, then Peter and Andrew would have been 80 years old and, given the life span of ancient peoples, likely dead.

        Could you write a reliable history of, say, Sartre’s life in 1960s Paris, if you were writing in a language different from French (and didn’t know French) and had no access to libraries, but relied on a short sayings source and an anonymous narrative source (which is what Mark is)? If you had access to a few witnesses living in America who knew Sartre, how reliable do you suppose their testimony and recall would be?

        I’m not saying you couldn’t derive a rough picture. But you certainly would have, at best, a partial picture (and perhaps one deeply misleading as to the actual facts of matters).

        —Santi

  7. Zia Nisani says:

    Great questions jaredcrodriguez; there are no scientific evidence supporting the YEC.
    There are PhD that support YEC, but how many of the have published relevant paper (in per-reviewed scientific journal) on this topic? the answer is none.

    Some can wave their hands as much as they like and asked to be heard, but in science, you need to present empirical data and if you do not have any, STFU.

    • TomH says:

      Zia,

      If you are ignorant about the RATE research and make these ridiculous comments, you should follow your own advice and STFU.

      RATE: http://www.icr.org/pdf/research/rate-all.pdf

      • Zia says:

        This PDF file you posted has been refuted many time over.
        Typical creationist..no data to support your point. You can wave your hand as much as you want, but your position is just fiction, just like your GOD.
        I really feel sorry for you.
        I am done responding to this ignorant troll.

      • TomH says:

        Zia,

        You call me a troll. I expect Santi to overlook this in conjunction with his one-sided support of “considerate” dialogue.

        Your inane, unsupported assertion of refutations of RATE follows your other insane assertions, yet you claim that I don’t provide data. Pathetic.

        When you have to face God, remember your strong claim that God is fiction. I will be laughing at your folly. lol Just a foretaste.

        Do you realize that you’ve lost every point? If you claim that I’m ignorant, what does that make you?

      • santitafarella says:

        Tom,

        I don’t like the word “troll.” I never have. To me a troll is somebody who breaks with the groupthink of the majority of people in a thread—and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to buck convention—ever. Even when wrong, it makes others think.

        I like talking to you because you think so differently from me.

        —Santi

  8. Pingback: The Book of Nature and the Book of God: Peter Enns v. Albert Mohler on Young Earth Creationism | Prometheus Unbound

  9. santitafarella says:

    Tom,

    My sense of your overall arguments in the recent threads is this: you basically are comfortable being in the same position in relation to mainstream science as Mormons are in relation to archeology. This is what makes YEC appear cultish to those outside of it. Just as Mormons receive zero support from non-Mormon archeologists regarding the history of the North American continent, YEC gets no support from mainstream scientists who are not fundamentalist Muslims or fundamentalist Christians. You never see, for example, a Japanese person raised in a Buddhist culture, looking dispassionately at the evidence without any ax to grind, and saying, “Oh, the evidence points to a young earth!” You also don’t get non-Mormon archeologists saying, “Oh, the evidence points to the Book of Mormon getting the history of Native Americans right!”

    Furthermore, there are Mormons who speak like this: “The outside world hasn’t talked to our experts about North American archeology and don’t even really know the quality of the arguments we’re making, so it is the sinners—and not us—who need to get up to speed about all the wonderful evidence we have for our position.”

    Likewise, there are Christians who say the following: “”The outside world hasn’t talked to our experts about YEC and don’t even really know the quality of the arguments we’re making, so it is the sinners—and not us—who need to get up to speed about all the wonderful evidence we have for our position.”

    I would submit that to lapse into this kind of obscurantism is to start moving into the realm of cultism—an isolated group completely intellectually impervious to outside sources of information and any serious reality testing. It is playing Don Quixote (a romantic, but ultimately tragic and ridiculous, figure).

    And just as you (no doubt) regard Mormon archeological apologetics as wildly confused and completely delusional, contemporary biologists, geologists etc not linked to the fundamentalist Christian subculture, regard YEC with an equivelent degree of dismissiveness.

    In light of these facts, people weighing the value of YEC ought to be seriously pausing before they drink its Kool-Aid.

    —Santi

    • TomH says:

      Santi,

      Whether the issue is related to religion is irrelevant. The key issue is whether the epistemology is sane or not. I doubt that you will find a competent philosopher of science who will agree with your implicit assertion that the age of the earth is established as strongly as Maxwell’s Equations. To assert that the age of the earth has strong epistemic support is insane.

    • TomH says:

      Santi,

      Do you realize that you are a vehement purveyor of scientism, which is long discredited? There is no such thing as “mainstream science.” There are instead a variety of disciplines, of which the epistemic status of some is generally controversial (e.g., sociology, clinical psychology, meterology, and history) and even within some of them whose general status is uncontroversial, there are questions where the epistemic status of the disciplines is controversial. You are making an error of essentialism as regards the epistemic status of various disciplines; this is a big part of the problem with scientism.

      When it comes to questions like the age of the earth, is the opinion of industrial chemists important? What about solid state physicists or economists or meteorologists or psychologists? How about zoologists or botanists who are only expert about present day species? What about petroleum geologists? What about engineers?

      In the 17th century, there were hypotheses about an old earth. What is the status of the arguments in support of those hypotheses? How about for the 18th and 19th centuries? Do you see the pattern? First decide what you believe, then concoct a dodgy argument in support of that belief. There’s no examination of the epistemic strength of the belief because that would be counter productive to the status of a discipline. Also, it’s important to ignore the history of the bad arguments given in support of a belief for the same reason. It’s this ignorance that allows evos to claim that there are multiple independent lines of evidence in support of an old earth. Creas have written about the history of bad arguments in support of an old earth, but evos continue to follow the same successful policy of ignorance and rhetorically claiming that their ignorance is “science.”

      • santitafarella says:

        Tom,

        Scientism shmietism.

        Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Can you offer me a reasonable alternative hypothesis for the formation of the Grand Canyon? Mainstream scientists say something like the following: the river cut down, over the past couple of million years, into sedimentary rock that had accumulated over the course of many tens of millions of years. The plants and animals represented in the different strata show that different ecosystems were in the area at different times. The Grand Canyon captures snapshots of these ecosystems as they have followed one another in succession.

        What’s your alternative explanation? Noah’s flood, six thousand years ago, caught and deposited the sea creatures first and the mammals at the top of mountains last? Or God made earth with the appearance of age? Or Satan put exotic bones of long extinct organisms in the rocks to trick us?

        What are you asking us to believe about the Grand Canyon that is more reasonable than what mainstream scientists say about it?

        Tell me your basic Grand Canyon etiological narrative.

        —Santi

  10. TomH says:

    Santi,

    “Can you offer me a reasonable alternative hypothesis for the formation of the Grand Canyon? Mainstream scientists say something like the following: the river cut down, over the past couple of million years, into sedimentary rock that had accumulated over the course of many tens of millions of years.” Sure. I can offer thousands of reasonable alternatives. But am I going to follow some boneheads into the epistemic morass of speculating about history? No.

    The traditional explanation has a few serious problems, like, where did the material go that was carved out? The river doesn’t have enough velocity to carry it very far. The dam-burst explanation is far more believable. There, you’ve got me following you into your epistemic insanity, speculating about the unobserved past.

    Creationists have many different theories about the order of deposition of layers and where the Flood boundary begins. Hydraulic sorting seems the most believable to me.

    “God made the appearance of age.” More like, “boneheads misread the data based on ignorant assumptions and made errant speculations.” Rocks don’t come with an age marker.

    I think that the radiometric ratios we find today came from the beginning when they were exposed to a lot more energy than is free today. The same situation would have obtained with the Big Bang, where the whole mess would have collapsed due to gravity, not expanded.

    • wow … just, wow

      According to you, mainstream geology is wrong. Physics is wrong. Cosmology is wrong. I do not suppose that you have reference to real scientific theories showing how existing models are wrong and proposing new models that work?

      • TomH says:

        I don’t think that mainstream geology holds to the claim that the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years anymore. The rapid formation of Spirit Canyon kind of busted that idea. The problem of where the missing debris went also played a role.

        By “physics is wrong” I guess that you’re referring to my claim that the Big Bang would collapse, not expand. Sure, my claim is based on the physics of black holes. If you get a minimum critical amount of mass, expansion won’t happen, without the input of a whole lot of energy. Of course, if you input enough energy into the original mass, expansion can occur.

      • Actually, it is still believed that the Grand Canyon formed over millions of years. Formation of other canyons, where the earth is a different consistency, does nothing to falsify exiting theory on formation. If you have links to where you think this is disproved, please post them.

        As for the big bang, you could not be more off. You are attempting to cast the physics model of the existing universe to the conditions that existed when the big bang occurred. Matter did not exist in a state like it exists since the cooling off of the bang.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang
        http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/bigbang.htm

  11. santitafarella says:

    Tom,

    It’s telling that you dodged offering an alternative Grand Canyon formation hypothesis to the generally accepted scientific one. If we are to engage in abduction (reasoning to the best explanation of a phenomenon), we’ve got to lay out all the hypotheses we think plausible, and ask what are their strengths and weaknesses.

    This is where YEC falls on its face. It cannot offer any plausible hypothesis that accounts for the facts better than the one already widely accepted by scientists. It can only throw random tomatoes from the grandstand.

    Do you want to try again? Flesh out just one hypothesis for the Grand Canyon’s formation, stratification order, and plant and animal diversification (on YEC terms).

    —Santi

    • TomH says:

      Santi,

      My epistemic position of skepticism regarding abductive explanations of the past should be well known here. It applies equally to creationist and evolutionist explanations. “Throwing rotten tomatoes from the grandstand” aka “critical analysis of theories” is a well-accepted part of most disciplines. Just because one doesn’t offer theories doesn’t mean that one can’t participate in the discussion. Of course, creation scientists have offered several divergent theories about how the Flood fits in to geological explanations and they continue to argue them among themselves. I’m not generally up on them. Creation and evolutionary geologists aren’t that far apart about the formation of the Grand Canyon as far as I’m aware.

      • santitafarella says:

        Tom,

        Your response is akin to Republicans’ response to President Obama. They say they don’t like big government, but now that they are in power they’re having enormous difficulty picking even 100 billion dollars out of the budget on which they actually propose to cut.

        Isn’t that funny (and sad and tragic for the country)?

        It’s easy to be against something, and to be derisive of something, but coming up with an alternative positive hypothesis is where work gets done.

        As for all those hypotheses out there being argued about among creationists themselves, none of them touch the plausibility of the mainstream hypothesis on offer. Notice that they engage in abduction among themselves, but they don’t play in the big leagues. This is akin to Mormon archeology; it’s a closed circle.

        If you can’t put a proposal out on the table that accounts for all the evidence on offer at least as well as other hypotheses, then what value is it?

        In murder trials it’s wise of the defense to come up with plausible alternative theories that account for the evidence better than the prosecution’s (if you want to get your accused client off). Likewise, in the murder trial of Noah and literal Genesis reading, if you want YEC to win the day, you’ve got to lay out a plausible alternative hypothesis to what is widely considered the best one on offer (the mainstream science one).

        —Santi

  12. santitafarella says:

    Tom,

    And just so we have out in front of us the general outlines of the mainstream hypothesis, here’s a bit from Wikipedia:

    “Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted.[2] While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists,[3] recent evidence suggests the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. . . . The major geologic exposures in the Grand Canyon range in age from the 2 billion year old Vishnu Schist at the bottom of the Inner Gorge to the 230 million year old Kaibab Limestone on the Rim. There is a gap of about one billion years between the stratum that is about 500 million years old and the lower level, which is about 1.5 billion years old. This large unconformity indicates a period of erosion between two periods of deposition. Many of the formations were deposited in warm shallow seas, near-shore environments (such as beaches), and swamps as the seashore repeatedly advanced and retreated over the edge of a proto-North America. Major exceptions include the Permian Coconino Sandstone, which contains abundant geological evidence of aeolian sand dune deposition. Several parts of the Supai Group also were deposited in non–marine environments.”

    —Santi

    • santitafarella says:

      Tom,

      Based on just the above passage, it seems to me that one of YEC’s most serious problems is that it tends to posit a singular watery sledgehammer event to account for a multitude of phenomena that geologists account for in separate events (from sand dune deposition to shallow seas to swamps).

      —Santi

  13. Pingback: YEC Watch: Albert Mohler says “the world indeed looks old” and “evolutionary arguments” appear “credible.” But the Bible’s explanations of natural phenomena “should be compelling to believers.” | Prome

  14. Pingback: YEC Watch: Albert Mohler says “the world indeed looks old” and “evolutionary arguments” appear “credible.” But the Bible’s explanations of natural phenomena “should be compelling to believers.” | Prome

  15. Pingback: Albert Mohler: Christopher Hitchens in Hell for Unbelief | Prometheus Unbound

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