Executive Summary of the Most Convincing Lines of Evidence


(George Brooks) #1

I welcome readers to offer what they consider to be the best points to use to promote “Christian-Compatible Evolution” … and the Old Earth scenario that goes with it. Don’t forget to add “the reason why”.

I’ll offer my own top items in the requested format:

1) For Australia to be the home of highly specialized marsupial mammals, while the rest of the world has placental versions of very similar mammals, the global flood could not have happened.
WHY:
a) If Australia had identical mammals as the rest of the world, Young Earther’s would argue that Australia separated from the rest of the world shortly after the world’s animals were created.
b) But because there were no placental mammals found living in Australia until humans brought them there … and no BONES of placental mammals, it means there had to be a the time gap between marsupials and the rise of placentals longer than the time it took for Australia to separate from the rest of the world.
c) If Australia was re-populated by animals that survived the flood, it means ALL the marsupials traveled faster to Australia than all the placentals … and that Australia then separated from the rest of the world sometime shortly after approximate date of the Great Deluge (approximately 2348 BC).

2) If the Great Deluge happened around 2348 BCE, it means the flood would have come some time during the some of the historically documented times of human history!:
Why:
A) 5th Egyptian Dynasty ended with Pharaoh Unas, also called Wadjtawy, reigning approximately from 2375-2345 BCE 2375 – 2345 BC, with a pyramid in Saqqara outside of Cairo.
B) The last Sumerian king, Lugal-Zage-Si (lugal-zag-ge4-si = LUGAL.ZAG.GI4.SI), reigned from c. 2294 to 2270, before the Akkadians deposed him. Sargon would become the first great Akkadian king.
C) The Sumerians believed in a global flood, but many centuries before the Biblical dating for a global flood.

3) The Genesis account of all creation in six days cannot mean literal days because the only definition for what a day is - - the time between each sunset or each sunrise - - didn’t exist until Day 4 when God creates the sun!
WHY:
How would God explain any of this to humans, whom God apparently doesn’t tell that the Sun is a star, and that the Earth circles the sun.

4) The Bible contains false descriptions of the world that nobody takes seriously any more, which someday will include the Genesis account of 6 days of creation and a 5000 year history of the Earth:

A) Job says hail and rains are stored in Cosmic “treasuries” (storehouses).

B) The Bible construes the “firmament” as hard like poured and hardened metal, and that the firmament exists to keep the waters ABOVE from joining the waters BELOW.

C) A figurative description of Jonah’s 3 day visit to the afterlife is literally believed to have been inside a giant fish … and that he survived 3 days inside of an aquatic creature without being digested or drowned.

D) A figurative and legendary description of a “solar deity” with long hair (Samson’s hair represented the light of the sun) describes a man who lost all his power when his hair was removed (i.e., the sun without light is powerless).

E) Various Bible writers believed meteors were fallen stars, and didn’t realize that if a star fell to earth, all life and the earth would be destroyed.

F) The Biblical view of Hebrew history is so flawed it is not reliable:

a) If Simeon was one of the 10 tribes, how did it exist as part of the Northern Kingdom if Simeon’s territory was south of Judah?

b). if the Hebrew religion is the basis of New Testament theology of resurrection and an afterlife, how could the Hebrew spend 2 centuries with the Egpytians and yet after the Exodus, there is no trace of the one thing the Egyptians had in common with New Testament Christians: an intense belief in an Afterlife based on good behavior. This implies that the Old Testament scribes have no real understanding of where Hebrew religion comes from.

c) Exodus tells us that the Hebrew fled Egypt, and avoided generations of Egyptian interference, because the Exodus happened AFTER the arrival of the Philistines (who drove the Egyptians out of the Levant and even the Sinai). But there is NO supporting evidence for the Biblical 600,000 Hebrew men leaving Egypt after 1130 BCE (when the Egyptians were driven out of Sinai by the Philistine communities).

So… I have FOUR items in my version of the TOP LIST OF REASONS for rejecting a LITERAL interpretation of the Genesis account of human history.

What is YOUR list?


(Phil) #2

Not to quibble, but (and here I go quibbling…) but in your opening statement, I feel the “Christian evolution” is a non- entity. There are Christian evolutionists, but evolution itself cannot be described as Christian, just as there is no Christian auto repair, regardless of whether they put a little fish on their sign. But we know what you mean. Also in your closing statement stating " rejecting the Genesis account of human history". Is a little off putting to me as well, as I feel that Genisis is NOT an account of human history, and thus as such is not rejected In any way that it is properly read. But again, we know what you mean.
If we do try to link the words Christian and evolution, I would say the strongest argument to me is Romans1:20

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

As I see it, this gives Bibical support to the validity of creation as observed, and to deny it borders on blasphemy. That sounds harsh, and may be harsh, but feel is an underlying thought that is present to many of us, spoken or not. While I agee with your statements, I feel that we make little headway in arguing science, when the real issue is Bibical interpretation. I am far from a theologist, but learn a lot from those who write on matters of how the Bible should be read.

I’ll shut up now and look forward to reading other’s thoughts and favorite arguments.


(George Brooks) #3

@JPM,

I’ve revised the sentences at the beginning and at the ending… thank you for the assist.

Now… do you have a Top List of Evidences that you think are the BEST offerings to convince an Evangelical or someone on the Evangelical fence?


(Christy Hemphill) #4

Exactly. :clap:


(George Brooks) #5

@jpm

I would actually agree with you.

But in my FOUR items, certainly I DO touch on biblical interpretation, don’t you think?

@Christy
Where do you think I’m going wrong?


(Christy Hemphill) #6

@gbrooks9

I don’t think you are going wrong, I just think that for the people who whole-heartedly are committed to the idea that Christianity and science are incompatible, it doesn’t matter how much evidence you compile and anything you say that they can interpret as a suggestion the the Bible isn’t trustworthy makes them dismiss everything else you say. Unless people are actually in the sciences and confronting data and observations first hand, I think the best place to start is just general exegetical principles on less controversial issues. I liked that atheistic meteorology versus divine rain post we had a while back. I think the more instances you can come up with that draw parallels between places where people are comfortable applying good interpretive practices with the places that are more controversial, the more progress you will make.


#7

And the problem of course is that YEC are not convinced that christianity and science are incompatible, but rather that evolution and science are incompatible. It is for that reason, that Darwinism was found to be deficient in so many ways, and neo-darwinism followed it… but now that also has been found deficient.


(Christy Hemphill) #8

@JohnZ If it is really just about evolution, why the rejection of ancient earth?


(George Brooks) #9

@Christy

Quite the conundrum! But I detect an important difference between the “God sends the rains” rebuttal vs. “God uses Evolution”.

God sends the rains … using meteorological factors. Fine. But nothing in the Bible contradicts that.
Nothing in the Bible says “God sends new species”.

I think the better parallel is erroneous beliefs in the Bible that everybody ACCEPTS as erroneous!

The firmament is a classic example of this… forcing YEC’s to go on a ridiculous tangent that the firmament is either clouds or something else.

I think Australian animal forms is another good one … how can the Flood have happened right in the middle of the 5th or 6th dynasty of Egypt… .AND Australia separates from the other land masses only AFTER the marsupials arrive, but not before the placental mammals can?

I will reconsider the other points … maybe they are not as convincing as these other two…

But I don’t think “God’s rains” does much any good at all…


#10

johnZ, some YEC like Todd C Wood find that science and evolution are reasonable fits and that the science of an old earth is strong. However, Todd finds that viewpoint counter to his view of scripture. He’s not a YEC or antievolutionist because of the problems he perceives in science but because he can’t get his view of the scripture to align with the possibility of an old earth or the evolutionary relationships between species. He knows that his baraminology work is nowhere near ready for ‘prime time’.

The fact is, there are vanishingly fewer secular or non-religious YECists than there are with a strong commitment to the first books of the Old Testament. I believe that young Earth supporters persist today largely because of religious commitments. Further, the relatedness of past and present species is so strong that the most credible scientific ‘alternatives’ postulate that additional mechanisms drive evolution. No credible alternative would claim that species are unrelated by separate descent.


(nicolas andulsky allen) #11

I think that it is important to remember the difference between constructive criticism and negative criticism. If you are going to pull out a laundry list of biblical contradictions with which to bludgeon an unsuspecting YEC in a Starbucks, or on Facebook, then you are not doing said YEC any favors. It is far more important to have an alternative interpretation to offer. Otherwise, all you are doing is tearing down someone’s faith and leaving them in the desert of Atheism. I certainly see how all of your points can be used as evidence to argue that YEC is not true, but I do not see how any of them support that Christianity is compatible with Evolution.

Showing Christianity to be compatible with Evolution requires showing that the Bible is compatible with:
An old earth,
A local flood,
A local Eden with Adam as the first Semite and not the first human,
Evolution as the mode of God’s creation of the earth in Genesis 1
Replacing Original Sin with Inevitable Sin.
I’ve written about all of this in previous posts.

If you are looking for a laundry list of points that disprove YEC then. . .
The constancy of the speed of light, because it disproves a young creation of the universe V=D/T
The geological column and index fossils, because if there were a global flood that created all fossils then the distribution of fossils in the geologic column would be random.
Young stars, or just that not all stars are the same age. Yec gives all stars the same 24 hour birthday.
Heavy elements are created in stars and released in supernova, not created ex nihilo (although the big-bang singularity was created ex nihilo. YEC has the planet created before the stars.


(George Brooks) #12

@Nick_Allen

Your list is impressively cerebral!

But let’s chat about them. Your (1) touches on the Universe. I don’t know how this would work. Mightn’t God do all sorts of things with the Universe … long before God created Earth? When I read Genesis, I never get the feeling the author is talking about the ENTIRE universe.

(2) I think people don’t do enough with the basic truth in the geological column !!! This is my favorite of your list!

(3) I don’t know how obligated an Evangelical is to the idea that when God makes a star … he HAS to make it brand new …

(4) As with (3) … I doubt Evangelicals are very committed to the idea that the EARTH had to have been formed after the stars…


(nicolas andulsky allen) #13
  1. stars are on day 4, so that would be all of the visible universe.
  2. Yep, Superposition and Faunal Succession.
  3. Depends on the YEC. Light in transit implies deception by God, and creation of old looking stars could do the same.
  4. Earth formed before the stars. . . Day 1 vs. Day 4.

(James McKay) #14

What about the RATE project? The fact that they had to resort to claiming accelerated nuclear decay is pretty compelling evidence for the reliability of conventional dating methods to me. I can’t believe they’d have touched it with a barge pole if they had any other option – it’s just too far fetched.


#15

This is not conclusive. The flood theory would assume initially few animals to move to various locations, and they potentially could move over land just before it separated, or more likely after it separated on log rafts. Different animals moved to different locations. You could argue how many marsupials, how many types, etc, but that makes certain assumptions about reasonability of descent of all marsupials vs movement of many marsupial species to one place. Consider that if they moved quickly after the flood, they would not have left any behind for other places. Consider also for other species. No horses nor tigers nor giraffes nor hippos on the americas.


#16

Speed of light does not disprove YEC, although it certainly questions how God would have created the universe young… because the speed of light and distance of stars are definitely an unanswered question for YEC, although Humphreys has attempted to answer the question.

> if there were a global flood that created all fossils then the distribution of fossils in the geologic column would be random This is a wrong assumption, not based on actual physical experimentation or evidence. In fact, we would never expect fossils to be totally random. Yet, there is a large admixture of fossils. And yet there are more fossil footprints, clam fossils, and softbodied fossils than we would expect under a slow fossilization process. Virtually all fossils were formed in water, under water, and quickly, not slowly.

Young stars vs old stars. Of course, this is not proof of anything directly. There is no apriori need only to create at one stage of development. That type of assumption only proves itself by its assumptions. We could just as well be surprised that God created young stars, vs creating old stars.

Heavy elements only created in stars? only released in supernova? Again, an assumption that only what we have observed is possible. Yet, the creation of light elements is no less miraculous than the creation of heavy elements, and thus the reverse is no less possible. If God created the earth (planet) before the stars, then the statement that God would not create heavy elements directly without the aid of super novas, would be false.


(George Brooks) #17

@johnZ

Oh, it’s certainly conclusive.

While you you dither over individual species… I am pointing out that millions of years of diversification of marsupials are found on Australia … while virtually ALL of their kind have been REPLACED by placentals.

This CANNOT be explained by any version of the Flood scenario that you can imagine.


(nicolas andulsky allen) #18

If the speed of light is a constant 300000 Km/s then it would take longer than 6000 years for light to reach the earth from any star farther than 6000 light years away.

If you put a bunch of vegetables in a pot of water and stir vigorously, you get randomly distributed vegetables, not vegetables that are distributed with the simplest forms on the bottom and the more complex forms toward the top. The fact that fossils in the geologic column are more simple lower down and more complex toward the top is proof that the distribution is the result of many many small floods over the course of time while God brought about increasingly complex life forms over long periods of time.

God creating old stars is similar to the “light created in transit” argument which most folks have discarded because it makes God deceptive.

The fact that we can observe heavy elements being created in stars is proof that creation is ongoing. Genesis 1 is the timeline of the creation of the earth and life on earth. Genesis 1 is not 6 literal days leaving God with nothing else to create.

John 5:17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”


(Christy Hemphill) #19

Look what I just read last night on NOVA:

"Placentals had come to Australia, for some experts believe the tooth, dug out of Queensland deposits radiometrically dated to at least 55 million years ago, belonged to a primitive, nonflying placental known as a condylarth. More recent discoveries hint that other early placentals lived in Australia, even before marsupials turn up in the fossil record.

But the monotremes in South America, and the placentals in Australia, didn’t last."

:dizzy_face::confounded: I’ll never get it straight if the story keeps changing.


(George Brooks) #20

@Christy,

This was actually touched on in an earlier post on BioLogos.

Yes, there were placental mammals in Australia 55 million years ago [back when the land masses could more easily share different animals] … and then they went extinct… and no more placentals were able to replenish them with new more successful species. This would be the Evolutionary explanation.

But what explanation would the Creationists offer?

  1. That placental mammals from BEFORE the flood DIED in Australia during the flood.
  2. but how was Australia’s inventory of animals replaced?

a) the marsupials and the placental mammals made a mad dash to australia …
b) ALL the marsupials were faster … apparently faster than ALL the placentals (which is impossible);
c) but all the marsupials that went any place else DIED OFF in the last 4000 years.
d) and as soon as a bunch of marsupials got on board … Australia had to SHOVE OFF out of range from all the other land masses… so that no other placentals (except for humans) could ever get there.

I must remember to make some mention of placentals that ONCE lived on Australia… but are long gone, with no other replacement placentals.