Up from Literalism

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I finally got around to reading Paradigms on Pilgrimage, by Stephen J. Godfrey and Christopher R. Smith. Godfrey and Smith began their careers as young-earth creationists. Godfrey became a paleontologist, and Smith, a Baptist minister. Each underwent what they call a “pilgrimage” as the acquisition of compelling, new knowledge forced them to reevaluate their literalist religious belief. Both, however, remained devout Christians.

Godfrey is now Curator of Paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland. In the 1980’s, he enrolled in graduate school, where he studied vertebrate paleontology. One of his first jobs was to search for fossils in sedimentary rocks. These rocks are layered, so the deeper you dig, the older are the fossils you find. Godfrey was most impressed by fossilized footprints and other markings, known as trace fossils, left in the sandstone by earlier organisms. As a young-earth creationist, Godfrey had thought that the sedimentary rocks and the fossils within them had been laid down by the Flood. If that was so, then how could terrestrial vertebrates have left footprints in the sand (which was presumably under water)? Godfrey researched trace fossils and found that they appear at many levels in many sedimentary rock formations all around the world. He could not account for the appearance of trace fossils in rocks that had supposedly been left behind by a flood that killed all the animals that might have made the footprints. Godfrey also found cracked and fossilized mud flats, which he recognized immediately had been baked by the sun and could not have been deposited by a flood. The earth suddenly became much older than Godfrey had imagined.

Godfrey presents further evidence that convinced him that God had not created every species from scratch. Perhaps God had decided to use natural processes for creating species. Why not? The Bible, as Godfrey notes, says that God sends rain upon the face of the earth. Yet no one rejects the science of meteorology or argues that rain is not the result of evaporation and condensation. No one demands that “Biblical meteorology” be given equal time in science classes. Considerations such as these have convinced Godfrey that evolution is no more antireligious than meteorology; both are equally naturalistic explanations of observed facts.

Smith is a Baptist minister with a Ph.D. in theology. He and Godfrey are brothers-in-law and provided each other with positive feedback. Smith’s story, related in the second half of the book, is similar to Godfrey’s, except that Smith became a creationist while in high school. Smith’s trace fossils were a course in Old Testament hermeneutics, in which he was exposed to refutations of day-age theory and gap theory. His professor further introduced him to the idea that the opening chapters of Genesis are poetry, because they include purposeful repetition of vowel and consonant sounds (alliteration and assonance), and display the “rhyming thoughts” characteristic of Hebrew poetry. To Smith, Genesis does not describe how we got here but rather why we got here. Its purpose is to instruct us to follow God’s leadership; it is not a history or a cosmogony. Consequently, because the first chapters of Genesis are poetry and not cosmogony, they do not preclude a very ancient universe.

For Smith, the biblical authors (note the plural noun) saw the earth as a flat disk under a solid, domed sky. Thus, the author of Ecclesiastes thought that streams run to the sea and then recycle the water endlessly, a statement which is barely defensible as a description of the hydrologic cycle. But the author also says that the sun rises and sets, and then hurries back to the place from which it rose, a statement which is simply not accurate. The biblical authors were writing what they saw or thought they saw, not what is objectively true. Why then, asks Smith, do we not interpret Genesis 1 in the same way? That is, why do we interpret Genesis 1 as a cosmogony and not as the description it so plainly is?

The final chapter of Paradigms is written by both authors and is what they call a “close reading” of Genesis 1. The authors make a concerted effort to interpret the chapter as it would have been read or understood by the biblical authors and their readers. I will not go into detail but rather will concentrate on one example. On the first day, God created light, but he did not create the sun until the fourth day. This seeming inconsistency is a problem for anyone who thinks that the account in Genesis parallels modern cosmological thinking.

The authors of Genesis, however, were recording what they saw. And they saw light break where no sun shone: at twilight and on cloudy days. Evidently, say Godfrey and Smith, the biblical authors did not associate the light of twilight and the light they saw on cloudy days with sunlight. Hence, it was no contradiction that God created light on the first day and the sun on the fourth day. Only our anachronistic reading of the Bible sees a contradiction, and then only if we think that the Bible is describing something that is literally true. Godfrey and Smith use this kind of reasoning to show that not every statement in the Bible is factually correct, especially if it is erroneously subjected to a modern interpretation. I highly recommend their last chapter to anyone foolish enough to think that the earth or the universe is only a few tens of thousands of years old.

Oddly, I found the book both too personal and not personal enough. I had little or no interest in most of the biographical details, but I wished they had told us, for example, how other people reacted to their pilgrimage, and how emotionally difficult they themselves found it—did their acceptance of evolution evolve so slowly that they barely noticed, or did they wrestle with it day and night? Finally, I was a bit put off by their Christian particularism, which may unfortunately limit the audience for this important book.

Reference. Stephen J. Godfrey and Christopher R. Smith, Paradigms on Pilgrimage: Creationism, Paleontology, and Biblical Interpretation, Clements Publishing, Toronto, 2005.

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Matt Young, at The Panda's Thumb, reviews Paradigms on Pilgrimage: Creationism, Paleontology and Biblical Interpretation, by Stephen J. Godfrey and Christopher R. Smith. Both began as anti-evolution creationists, and both ended up accepting evolution. Bot Read More

Matt Young at Panda’s Thumb reviews Paradigms on Pilgrimage, by Stephen J. Godfrey and Christopher R. Smith, two evangelicals with advanced degrees who made the journey from Creationist thought to embracing evolution as God’s tool for crea... Read More

97 Comments

As always, their struggle wasn’t to learn the facts. Instead it was a struggle to overcome the will and determination to believe nonsense. Few if any creationists we encounter on this or similar sites suffer from insurmountable ignorance or stupidity - most of them are quite intelligent, and all of them are quick and apt pupils of what they want to believe.

So I think it’s seriously missing the point to talk about how close attention to mounting evidence slowly eroded away a false contextual structure. The very evidence Godfrey and Smith found ultimately convincing is ignored or misrepresented with unshakeable determination by the willful believers. Neither the footprints in sedimentary rock nor the poetic tropes in Genesis would have the slightest effect, in ANY quantity, against the defenses of the Committed Creationist. Whoever will not listen, cannot hear. Neither volume nor content matters at all if the signal is tuned out.

And so I expect this book will be compelling to relatively few people. Those NOT the victim of deceit and brainwashing can’t extract much that’s useful here, and those who remain victims will see no reason to pay attention. And some of us can nod and observe that nothing can be sufficiently obvious to anyone who doesn’t want to know it.

Flint, I don’t think that is entirely fair. There are a large number of people who are creationists by default. It’s what they’v been told, and I don’t think it’s necessarily an issue of refusing to examine the evidence, but just never having been exposed to it. They spend their lives content to accept the myths because they’ve been misled, and occupy their time doing other things than study science. I’m not saying I understand this attitude, as I love to learn about everything, but I think that books like these, if we could get those people to read them, can make a difference.

Braxton,

In defense of Flint’s comments, he spoke of “creationists we encounter on this or similar sites” which are the ones fervent enough in their beliefs to come here and challenge us. As has been said many times before, they are not the target. The folks you speak of are the target, and our comments, our posts, and books such as the one in question are aimed at your “large number” and not at Flint’s “creationists we encounter on this or similar sites,” who very well may be beyond hope.

And it occurs to me to point out (if indeed it is necessary) that the “creationists we encounter on this or similar sites” are a self-selecting group if ever there was one. Statisticians and survey-takers regularly point out that drawing general conclusions based on such groups is not valid.

Having read Godfrey and Smith’s book (twice), I can say that I found it to be a compelling read, as a Christian. It does an excellent of job of putting into words why evolution need not be in contradiction with the timeless message of the Bible – something many YECs don’t know yet. And not because they are all willingly ignorant, but because they simply haven’t been exposed to alternative viewpoints (many have admitted this to me). I think books like ‘Paradigms on Pilgrimage’ (written by Christians, largely for Christians) will help remedy that situation. Gordon Glover’s excellent new book ‘Beyond the Firmament’ does much the same thing. I agree with Flint that those who refuse to listen won’t bat an eye at this book. But I think that many (most?) YECs out there are open to different interpretations of Genesis if they are presented in a non-confrontational manner like Godfrey and Smith have done.

My journey was very similar to those described above. The main difference is that a total inability to account for the biblical flood narrative has forced me to reject the Bible entirely. It really came home for me when I was reading Herodotus, and he was trying to explain (without the benefit of modern science) why fossiliferous limestone was at a high elevation somewhere in Egypt. (His explanation was that Egypt was rising.) It occurred to me that marine fossils are the reason why cultures all over the world had flood stories. I could not explain why God would make up a plainly false flood story for the Bible, but it was easy to explain why people would make up such a story. Thus parsimony required that I reject everything I had believed for 30+ years.

Bill Gascoyne:

Braxton,

In defense of Flint’s comments, he spoke of “creationists we encounter on this or similar sites” which are the ones fervent enough in their beliefs to come here and challenge us. As has been said many times before, they are not the target. The folks you speak of are the target, and our comments, our posts, and books such as the one in question are aimed at your “large number” and not at Flint’s “creationists we encounter on this or similar sites,” who very well may be beyond hope.

Specifically, I found this quote from Flint troubling, not the first paragraph:

And so I expect this book will be compelling to relatively few people.

Which is really what I was addressing.

Good points, provoking me to think (for a change!) I think I understand that there are at least two flavors of creationist - those who simply don’t know any better, haven’t made any sort of anti-science commitment, and whose daily life doesn’t intersect with the relevant scientific disciplines. They aren’t particularly interested and see no need to be; they’re miseducated but essentially indifferent (and there are people I know who don’t know the rules of baseball! Unforgiveable!)

And then there’s the flavor we meet on the net, who are the creationist evangelists, the followers of Morris and Hovind, or Dembski and Johnson. These folks have spent a lifetime perfecting their defenses, memorizing their errors, and practicing the arts of lying, changing the subject, ignoring difficult questions, misrepresenting even the most obvious claims, waving their hands, and recycling all of this. And these remind me of one definition of a fanatic, as one who redoubles his energies once he’s forgotten his aims.

I suppose perhaps a book like this one could make a difference not so much in the worldview as in the knowledge of the accidental creationist, if he’s simply someone victimized by a boring misguided education he never paid much attention to anyway.

Those we keep playing whack-a-mole with on these sites, now, are probably beyond the brute-force powers of brain surgery, lobotomy, electric shock therapy, water torture, or any other techniques. If the creationism could be sucked straight out of these folks, they’d be lucky to have enough mind left to be vegetables.

I have not read their book but the brief description here tells me more than enough to conclude that it is based on unmitigated ignorance of Hebrew and the ancient Hebrew of the Bible in particular.

If the authors had any knowledge of the matters they discuss they would know, for example, that the ancient talmudists also struggled with the light of the first ‘day’ before the sun of the fourth day problem. These folks lived not much after the author(s) of the Hebrew Bible and should have suffered from the same lack of knowledge. Yet they noticed the problem and attempted to address it.

Also, there is not a shred of support to the idea that the Hebrew of Genesis sounds poetic. It is simple, straighforward narrative, no more, no less.

The light of the first day problem is convincingly resolved in Judah Landa’s work “In the Beginning Of” and he accomplishes that on the basis of a literal interpretation of the text!

For those who have read Godfrey and Smith’s book (I haven’t yet): What is their stated position – if any – regarding…

1) the origin of life?

2) the origin of the first humans?

3) apparent-age miracles?

FL

The light of the first day problem is convincingly resolved in Judah Landa’s work “In the Beginning Of” and he accomplishes that on the basis of a literal interpretation of the text!

thus chimeth the Clouserbot.

isn’t there something on PT about posting spam?

I know you haven’t read the book, Carol, but for what it’s worth, most of the ideas espoused by Smith concerning the literary structure of Genesis were taken from the work of his professor, Meredith Kline. More than anything, the Framework view of Genesis 1 is pushed, rather than treating the whole chapter as poetry, per se (although there may be some poetic elements here and there).

FL:

For those who have read Godfrey and Smith’s book (I haven’t yet): What is their stated position – if any – regarding…

1) the origin of life?

2) the origin of the first humans?

3) apparent-age miracles?

FL

1) I don’t think they discuss it much, off the top of my head. 2) They support human evolution from apes. 3) They reject Omphalos ideas.

Carol: given your willful ignorance – prompted by obvious religious bigotry – regarding the scientific achievements of polytheists such as the ancient Greeks, why should we take your words seriously?

FL: by “apparent-age miracles,” do you by any chance mean “God creating a planetful of deliberately-deceptive evidence and still expecting us to trust him as the source of all Truth?”

And if we can’t trust the evidence your God planted all over the Universe he created, how can we trust one book created in the same Universe (without a bibliography) and purporting to be the truth?

And if we can’t trust the evidence your God planted all over the Universe he created, how can we trust one book…

This is the essence of faith, isn’t it? As Mark Twain wrote, faith is believing what you know ain’t true.

Braxton Thomason’s comment and Flint’s rethinking of his comment are consistent with what I see in our community. I know a number of people who are ID/Creationists simply because that is what their ministers and the political activists among them tell them to be.

I seriously doubt that any of these folks know any facts about evolution (it is not taught well in the public schools, and Pandas and People is used in their Christian schools). Nor do they know about the complete lack of evidence for ID/Creationism. They really believe there is research being done that throws evolution into doubt. They are basically good people who want to do the right thing, but are very subservient to what they perceive as authority; and for them, authority is primarily their church.

On the other hand, the ones who constantly write letters to the editor of our local “newspaper” (which is run by religious conservatives) are obviously reciting the well-practiced phrases we see in all the political activists in this group. These are ones who are impervious to evidence, much like that young, seemingly articulate individual who managed to dodge every attempt to get him to look at the evidence here on Panda’s Thumb a few months back. It is the members of this latter group who apparently see themselves as the legitimate authority figures in society and are constantly gunning for the positions of leadership not only in their churches, but in secular society as well. They are the ones who always take gratuitous, over-the-top offense at evolution in order to assert their self-perceived authority. Their followers see them as bold warriors for their faith.

Quite a story. Perhaps we should recommend this book to our friend Mark when he comes back here claiming that no creationist was ever persuaded by the evidence.

As others have pointed out, there are indeed different reasons why creationists are not persuaded by the evidence. Three possibilities are: ignorance; apathy; and dishonesty.

Many people lack sufficient science education to be familiar with the evidence or be in any position to analyze it and draw conclusions for themselves. That’s fine, as long as they realize their limitations and don’t try to convince real expert scientists that they know better just because they somehow think that they are more objective.

Many people are also just too lazy to get educated and so they take the word of some authority figure as to what conclusions should be drawn from the evidence. Of course, taking the word of someone with a vested interest in your beliefs, (who is passing the offering plate as they speak), is not likely to get you to any objective truth.

Many people do claim to know the evidence and have had every opportunity to famaliarize themselves with the real evidence, but simply choose not to. These are the people who lie about the evidence and try to get you to buy their lies because they think that you are too stupid or lazy to learn the truth for yourself.

Now here is the thing, when one of these types of people really does encounter the real evidence, how do they respond? If they are intellectually honest with themselves, they will learn from the evidence and revise their world view, regardless of the consequences. If they don’t, it’s probably not due to ignorance or apathy. It might be due to lack of courage or fear of social consequences, but most likely it’s due to plain old dishonesty. If your religion is more important to you than the truth, it’s time for a new religion.

His professor further introduced him to the idea that the opening chapters of Genesis are poetry, because they include purposeful repetition of vowel and consonant sounds (alliteration and assonance), and display the “rhyming thoughts” characteristic of Hebrew poetry.

I’ve heard Steve Chalk say the same thing Matt, but this does not go down well with young Earth creationists. To them (the YEC’s) “millions of years” is a theological compromise.

As Flint has said, many YEC’s are very intelligent people. The recent YEC debacle at Lisburn city council, here in Northern Ireland, has exposed quite a few YEC’s. From leading UK geneticist Professor Norman Nevin (a native of these parts) to a number of Stormont ministers, effectively those who are running this little part of the UK/Ireland. Many are very well qualified (though not necessarily in science)

I have never been a YEC. For me it was the geology I learned at school, and later on the astronomy I did with the OU that has really convinced me that YECism is just a load of nonsense. I think I agree with the opinion that the authors of Genesis just wrote down what they saw in light of their very limited understanding of science. How intelligent people like Ken Ham, and all the rest at AiG, can interpret this book in modern scientific terms and then say it is the true history of the Universe is still beyond me.

When I first encountered YEC’s in the 1980’s I was shocked that well educated Christians actually believed such things. My views over the years haven’t changed. Indeed, even after having listening to many YEC talks I am even more convinced they are wrong and that they are seriously damaging the evangelical wing of the church.

I see Carol’s here, lying for Jesus™. Well, it’s the 15th of October and I’m too tired to list the hundreds of books and scholars (who aren’t her husband with his “special” Bible) who say that entire swaths of Genesis is, in fact, poetry in the ancient Semitic form found in Ugaritic and Akkadian writings.

Not that the entire book is poetry. But that significant portions are poetry, while the rest is written in a high style.

Just sayin’

Quite a story. Perhaps we should recommend this book to our friend Mark when he comes back here claiming that no creationist was ever persuaded by the evidence.

Mark obviously hasn’t heard of Glenn Morton either Dave:

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/dmd.htm

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm

Perhaps another direction to point him (Mark)in ? As a non YEC Christian I’ve been greatly encouraged by Glenn’s writings. I just wish Glenn would adopt a more public profile in the debate. YEC’s in NI would definitely listen to him.

Quite a story. Perhaps we should recommend this book to our friend Mark when he comes back here claiming that no creationist was ever persuaded by the evidence.

Mark obviously hasn’t heard of Glenn Morton either Dave:

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/dmd.htm

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm

Perhaps another direction to point him (Mark)in ? As a non YEC Christian I’ve been greatly encouraged by Glenn’s writings. I just wish Glenn would adopt a more public profile in the debate. YEC’s in NI would definitely listen to him.

Re: David Stanton

Possibly other reasons why creationists are not persuaded by evidence is egotism and fear. Egotism being symbolized by things like the geocentric universe, etc. but also reflected in writings that say that all other life forms were put here to serve our human needs. Fear might be as powerful, or more so, in that if the Universe is not directed by an intelligent force (for our well-being) then, well, who knows just what might happen.

Food for thought.

Note: Great report by Matt Young on the book Paradigms on Pilgrimage, by Stephen J. Godfrey and Christopher R. Smith. I enjoyed reading Matt’s review, and if the book is as good as it sounds, I wish Public Schools would have a book like this vs. that Panda book.

Quite a story. Perhaps we should recommend this book to our friend Mark when he comes back here claiming that no creationist was ever persuaded by the evidence.

Mark obviously hasn’t heard of Glenn Morton either Dave:

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm

Perhaps another direction to point him (Mark)in ? As a non YEC Christian I’ve been greatly encouraged by Glenn’s writings. I just wish Glenn would adopt a more public profile in the debate. YEC’s in NI would definitely listen to him.

Moses and Jordan,

There are small sections of the Hebrew text (at the end of Genesis, in the middle of Exodus and near the end of Deuteronomy) that clearly are meant as poetry and are easy to recognize as such. The beginning of Genesis is most definitely not in that style.

Also, as I have said on many occasions here, the Hebrew Bible was written by Jews and for Jews within the context of the oral tradition that was passed along with it from generation to generation. In addition, the text is clearly addressed to them. Think of it as an internal corporate memo written by and for “insiders” of a corporation who are familiar with the subtext and lingo and are thus in a position to fully understand its message. The Johnny-come-lately-to-the-Bible Christians, most of whom can barely hold their own in Hebrew conversation and know little to nothing of the tradition, are generally just not qualified to tell us much about the text. Certainly the ancient Jewish sages of the Talmud, Midrash and commentaries are far better qualified to do so and they always treated Genesis as narrative and not as poetry.

Carol Clouser: There are small sections of the Hebrew text (at the end of Genesis, in the middle of Exodus and near the end of Deuteronomy) that clearly are meant as poetry and are easy to recognize as such. The beginning of Genesis is most definitely not in that style.

Don’t forget the Flood account, which is written as a chiasm.

Also, as I have said on many occasions here, the Hebrew Bible was written by Jews and for Jews within the context of the oral tradition that was passed along with it from generation to generation… Certainly the ancient Jewish sages of the Talmud, Midrash and commentaries are far better qualified to do so and they always treated Genesis as narrative and not as poetry.

Regardless of whether those early Jews understood Genesis poetically or historically, however, has no bearing on whether we should understand it as such. As you mention, we should understand Genesis in the context of the ANE culture, and the ANE people were keen on delivering their timeless messages via mythology. There is little reason to believe the Genesis creation account was not simply a reworking of the Babylonian creation account, Enuma Elish, by the early Jewish writers, based on the many parallels of both accounts.

I’ve met a few fundie xians who really don’t care whether the earth is 6,000 years old or 4.5 billion years old. For them, the Voluntary Suspension of Disbelief is enough along with some lame creo arguments that don’t make any sense.

They don’t care because it is a minor side issue. The bible was never meant to be a science text. It is far more about how to live and why to live and what it all means. Philosophy, law, and culture.

A few pages of genesis creation myth have little to say about the central purpose and meaning of the religion.

IMO, a lot of the creation controversy has been kept going by the leadership of the cults for their own purposes. Something like in group out group tribal identification or something. It is far more about politics and sociology than faith.

Carol Wrote:

The Johnny-come-lately-to-the-Bible Christians, most of whom can barely hold their own in Hebrew conversation and know little to nothing of the tradition, are generally just not qualified to tell us much about the text.

I must say I’m partial to Dr. Hector Avalos’s say-so on Carol’s “qualifications” to interpret the Bible:

Dr. Hector Avalos Wrote:

Ms. Clouser appears to be outside of her area of expertise, and she provides no credentials of training in biblical studies from any secular academic institution. I have failed to find her listed as a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the largest organization of academic biblical scholars in the world.

[OT]

Her statement that “ we have extensive records of these traditions going back many centuries in the form of the Talmud…” is also quite misleading. The earliest Hebrew manuscripts for the Bible are the Dead Sea Scrolls which date no earlier than about the third century BCE, and so about 1000 years after the supposed events related in Deuteronomy. There is also the inscription from Ketef Hinnom, but that is of disputed date. For a standard treatment of biblical manuscript traditions, see See Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Ausburg: Fortress, 2001).

I wish Public Schools would have a book like this vs. that Panda book.

Unfortunately, Chapter 9 contained a bit of theology, which will probably rule the book out of the public schools. Unlike the authors of “that Panda book,” Smith is honest about his intentions.

It is a pity, in a way, because Chapter 9 reveals a surprisingly weak justification for accepting “the divine origin and moral authority of the Scriptures”: the authority of the Scriptures themselves, the church, and individual faith. I thought that the book would have been stronger without that chapter and would have appealed to a wider audience.

Incidentally, I forgot one of my pet peeves: No nonfiction book should ever be published without an index.

Carol’s always amusing, in her way.

I have not read their book but the brief description here tells me more than enough to conclude that it is based on unmitigated ignorance of Hebrew and the ancient Hebrew of the Bible in particular.

Most likely, and quite unremarkably.

If the authors had any knowledge of the matters they discuss they would know, for example, that the ancient talmudists also struggled with the light of the first ‘day’ before the sun of the fourth day problem. These folks lived not much after the author(s) of the Hebrew Bible and should have suffered from the same lack of knowledge. Yet they noticed the problem and attempted to address it.

And a big “so what?” The book is simply about these men’s own lives and conclusions. It’s not remarkable that someone else previously noticed whatever they noticed about the bible.

Also, there is not a shred of support to the idea that the Hebrew of Genesis sounds poetic. It is simple, straighforward narrative, no more, no less.

True or not, it’s irrelevant, since they didn’t read the Hebrew version. If the point is that they are mistaken in their interpretation of the bible … well, gee, no kidding.

1) I don’t think they discuss it much, off the top of my head. 2) They support human evolution from apes. 3) They reject Omphalos ideas.

Okay, Jordan. Thanks for your straight answers. I’ll keep them in mind and look things over critically, when I read their book for myself.

****

FL: by “apparent-age miracles,” do you by any chance mean “God creating a planetful of deliberately-deceptive evidence and still expecting us to trust him as the source of all Truth?”

Raging Bee, Dr. Kurt Wise has already refuted the “deceiver argument” in his excellent book “Faith, Form, and Time”, but just like I haven’t yet read “Paradigms on Pilgrimage”, you haven’t yet read Dr. Wise’s book (even though it’s been available for quite a while.)

So let’s stop there until we’ve had a chance to read our respective books, mmmm?

FL

FL Wrote:

I believe that if one chooses to believe that the global Biblical Flood is historically accurate, THEN one does have a plausible reason for believing that a Super-Catastrophe of that unimaginable level might have something NECESSARILY to do with the way fossils and other geological things are on the table.

The fossil distribution cannot be plausibly explained by a global flood, other than by appealing to many miracles.

FL still has failed to explain why we should accept the deception interpretation of fossils by Wise when there was NO need to distribute the fossils in such a manner that it would suggest not only evolution, but also an old earth? The earth is full of evidences against a young earth, evidences that are totally unnecessary.

1. God placed them there that way, opening up the deception argument 2. People who insist on a young earth also insist that God must have been deceptive

The best and most logical option is that God was not deceptive because the earth is not young.

FL can attempt other approaches as to why a 24 hour creation day would be important to be factual but these ‘arguments’ are even more ad hoc. We can discuss these arguments once we have settled the totally unconvincing ‘explanation’ by Kurt Wise who relies on a false analogy.

What fascinates me as an ex-yecer is how YECers are so reluctant to consider the obvious. The power of the cult which comes in many forms, is not easily overcome. Worse, coming to realize that one has been living a lie is an even worse situation. Yet many YECers have survived the transition.

FL:

FL: by “apparent-age miracles,” do you by any chance mean “God creating a planetful of deliberately-deceptive evidence and still expecting us to trust him as the source of all Truth?”

Raging Bee, Dr. Kurt Wise has already refuted the “deceiver argument” in his excellent book “Faith, Form, and Time”, but just like I haven’t yet read “Paradigms on Pilgrimage”, you haven’t yet read Dr. Wise’s book (even though it’s been available for quite a while.)

How would one know if in fact the miracle actually involved the creation of wine, bread or fishes, or whether the perceptions of the witnesses alone were altered. Theoretically, it is far easier to alter ones perception of reality (hypnosis, chemicals, induced sensory responses) than it is to change the physical properties of a substance. What if (assuming that such a miracle actually occurred) the governor merely thought he was tasting a fine wine, or that the host merely believed that they were eating fish and bread? No actual adjustment of time would be required other than altering the belief structure and/or memories of the event. In that case, there is no necessity to muck about with the “apparent age”, is there? I do find it hilarious that people can actually deny the reality of the universe, (as measured and correlated by every scientific and biological instrument) because someone once indoctrinated in them the belief that the Bible (or any other religious tract) is the inerrant word of God. These works were written by humans, collected by humans, edited by humans, read by humans and interpreted by humans. Since when did humanity become inerrant?

Since when did humanity become inerrant?

Silly question. I think it was sometime in the 1800’s.

There are so many contradictions and inconsistencies in the bible that it is almost certain the compilers had no such belief. Two creation myths, four different gospels, and on and on.

Plus, the bible states that the sun circles the earth, which is flat, and the stars are just stuck on a dome.

Plus Pi is 3, which makes circles smaller than that Euclid guy claimed they are… :p

Plus Pi is 3, which makes circles smaller than that Euclid guy claimed they are… :p

Or else their brains exist in a warped, non-Euclidean universe (which comes from living in a “black hole”, perhaps?).

Henry J– Now, this is when I get irritated with biblical inerrancy. Figuring out that there was a constant relationship between the radius of a circle and its circumference was pretty good for the time. And the ancients did manage to calculate pi to the nearest integer.

But people who insist on biblical inerrancy are the ones who make pi=3 look ridiculous. Presumably, if the bible were inerrant, it would have the EXACT value of pi. (which, because pi is an irrational number, would make it a much, much, MUCH longer book.)

Going back to the original article, I find the disassociation between twilight and sunlight interesting, as it seems to appear in other mythologies. In Vedic and Shinto mythology, there are goddesses of the dawn, named Ushas and Uzume, respectively. These are considered to be separate from the solar deities (Surya and Amaterasu). Sorry if it’s a bit off the topic, but I thought it was cool.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on October 15, 2007 12:05 PM.

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