Did anyone notice this response from the “Is Genesis History?” guys to the BioLogos critique of the film? Any thoughts?
Nice find! And frankly, I think the writer of the Linebacker essay is unusually articulate in Geology. How many YEC’s have we seen here on the BioLogos pages who wouldn’t have a chance of understanding what he was saying - - other than to chime in: “Yeah, what he said!”
But I was on the hunt for the “doozy” paragraph … the paragraph that simply cannot be defended by most any competent scientist. I think I found the top contender! The paragraph is based on a well-worded paragraph that outlines the Evolutionary position. This prelimnary paragraph is provided below (for context):
The Evolutionary View:
On top of all those Precambrian rocks are many layers of sedimentary rocks called the Phanerozoic. These contain all kinds of complex fossils, with different fossils in different layers of rock. In the Grand Canyon . . . the lower part of the Phanerozoic can be seen… starting at the Cambrian layers and going up through the Permian layers. If one is an evolutionist, these Phanerozoic layers were formed over 540 million years by the slow transgression and regression of epicontinental seas. During that time, life evolved from marine creatures to amphibians (paleozoic life), then eventually to gymnosperms [proto-seeded plants like conifers], dinosaurs, and birds (mesozoic life), then finally to flowering plants and mammals (cenozoic life). The fossil record is therefore just a series of snapshots of evolution occurring over long ages."
Then the “doozy” narrative begins! To aid in comprehension, I have divided it into a few sections:
“If one is a creationist, these layers were formed as a result of the global Flood. They represent different sediment types that were deposited during the Flood as well as during the centuries of geologic recovery after the Flood.”
“The marine creatures, amphibians, dinosaurs, gymnosperms were all living at the same time in the Pre-Flood world, just not in the same places.”
“Mammals and flowering plants that we see in the upper layers were captured after the Flood during the centuries of recovery and diversification. The fossil record is therefore a series of ecosystems representing different created kinds living at different places on the earth, some before the Flood and some after.”
[End of Wopper Paragraph]
Wow… this writer has spent quite a bit of attention to making the geological record understandable to the average American… and yet, with so much attention invested, the writer finds no bitter irony in his words!
A. He has no explanation for fossilized rain drops found in layers of rock within the multiple layers of all that rock which was supposedly left by the flood.
B. He has no explanation for why no vegetarian dinosaurs are found with any of the larger vegetarian mammals - - ever (even when comparing one global region to another).
C. He has no explanation for why no meat-eating dinosaurs are found with the bones of any large vegetarian mammals - - ever (even when comparing one global region to another).
D. He has no explanation for why air-breathing marine reptiles and air-breathing marine mammals are never found in the same levels of rock - - ever (even when comparing one global region to another).
E. He has no explanation for how so many fossils can be found in hard-as-rock rocks in layers that in his view were clearly laid down less than 3000 years ago?! Mammoths lived at the same time as Dinosaurs he says (or implies!) … but we frequently find mammoth carcasses with meat still on them … yet we have yet to find any dinosaurs with obvious flesh. He does mention the relatively recent discoveries of dinosaur soft-tissues, but he refuses to explain why we find only these specific kinds of soft tissues, and never a muscular rack of T-Rex ribs buried in a dune or in a peat bog.
There are dozens of detectable distinctions between Dinosaur rocks and post-Dinosaur rocks, but the writer just cruises over these distinctions, as though they had no value to note.
We have ice cores from the arctic regions, with detectable seasonal variations, seamlessly extending back from the historic period of humanity to more than 100,000 years ago! And the epochs of of high and low sea levels with high and low levels of plant pollen, syncrhonize with the climate changes the Earth has experienced in the last 100,000 years, as indicated by converging lines of several different methods of investigation!
No global flood can be found in these ice cores… just the passing of seasons … and the years these seasons comprise.
What a doozy …
There is one problem that I did have with the BioLogos critique, and this response has actually highlighted it. The original article started off by complaining about the video setting up a false dichotomy, and only got on to discussing the actual evidence towards the end.
This is a mistake that I see being made time and time again with critiques of YEC claims.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re going to respond to YEC claims, you need to start by demanding honest reporting and honest interpretation of accurate information. “Make sure your facts are straight” needs to be Point Number One, and any discussions about false dichotomies, or which historical Christian teachers (e.g. Augustine, CS Lewis, BB Warfield) did or did not affirm an old earth or evolution needs to come secondary to that.
If you’re discussing the theological aspects first, you’ll just end up playing to their tune of “same evidence, different worldviews.” And this will divert the discussion right off the issue of not getting their facts straight.
So all the flowers managed to outrun the marine dinosaurs when the Flood happened… I am having trouble imagining that.
Even the flowering plant pollen sorted itself out such that it didn’t mix with the dino/gymnosperm habitat. Maybe there was no wind before the flood so all the oak pollen didn’t float around the earth like it does today. Hmm, but then how did the oaks get pollinated before the Flood. One solution always created 10 more problems for the YECs.
That sounds good in theory, but misunderstands the way these debates actually work. YECs believe fervently that they do have their facts straight. Telling them that they don’t is mostly useless, at least for them. What actually helps people change their views is disrupting their narrative. That’s why the article started the way it did. It’s people-focused, first and foremost. I think your point would be more relevant if this was talkorigins.org or another site whose purpose was basically to yell at YECs for being super wrong. But that’s not what BioLogos is trying to do. We’re trying to create dialogue and actually change people’s minds.
While it may be difficult to know exactly what is in the mind of the writer, in this quote he appears to be contradicting himself!:
“… mammals and flowering plants that we see in the upper layers were captured after the Flood during the centuries of recovery and diversification…”
But flowering plants begin to appear in the fossil layers of the Triassic period, some 200 million years ago, and well before dinosaurs disappear (whether due to flood or the dinosaur-killing asteroid).
But he may be implying that flowering plants “diversified” (is he implying “rapid speciation”?)… but is afraid to say it…
I’d agree with you here if you just say “you’re not getting your facts straight.” However, it’s a different matter if you can actually point to specific things that they’re claiming, say, “sorry, that is simply not true,” and provide some indisputable evidence to back up your point.
To give one example, I had one particularly YEC friend who went very quiet about the subject after he posted a staggeringly blatant quote mine on Facebook about a year ago and I called him on it.
On the other hand, what I’ve seen here is them responding to the “false dichotomy” line with them trying to argue that it’s a genuine dichotomy after all.
For me, the real problem for YEC’s is how these different species groups were sorted by a flood so that they were associated with rocks with specific ratios of isotopes in them. We can even ignore the dates that geologists derive from these elements for the moment.
How is it that a flood sorted dinosaurs and rocks so that no dinosaur is found above igneous rocks that have a 40K/40Ar ratio of 0.0364 or a 235U/207Pb ratio of 0.0657? How do YEC’s explain this observed correlation between fossil species and isotope ratios? From what I have seen, they can’t. However, there is another set of theories that does explain it.
btw, when you say marine dinosaurs, don’t you mean marine reptiles? Only one marine dino has ever been found.
I’ve seen a stunning number of debates, both here and elsewhere, where “indisputable evidence” was provided and either ignored or dismissed or otherwise downplayed by the other person. “Indisputable” is an amazingly high bar to reach, because all it takes is one “expert” and suddenly the evidence is in dispute.
This is why I like Casper’s approach so much, because he’s not trying to just throw scientific “facts” around, but actually explain how scientists come to the conclusions that they do. Many YECs have simply never encountered a clear, patient explanation of the “process” behind the conclusions. And it’s even rarer to have this process explained to them by someone who shares basic Christian convictions, as Casper does.
I agree with that approach as well. Instead of punching and counterpunching, perhaps it would be more helpful to explain why scientists have reached the conclusions they have. In doing so, you can show how scientists really did start with the evidence, and how that evidence consistently pointed to the conclusions that we find in geology and biology. One of the common misconceptions I have seen among non-professional creationists is that the only reason scientists believe in evolution and other theories is that they are atheists and can’t accept creationism. I don’t think they really know how much evidence is out there, or how powerful that evidence is.
I had to google that, and I must thank you for your correction, lol! When seeing their huge skeletons in natural history museums, I always assumed that these ancient marine reptiles were basically “marine dinosaurs”. But thanks to you I learned that these are separate things.
Don’t leave us hanging … what is this other set of theories?
You gave me that religion too … and now I try to always remember to type “marine reptiles”…
But you know… if there is one marine dino … @Casper_Hesp wouldn’t be wrong, right ? …
Standard geology, theory of evolution, quantum physics, etc.
Thanks for referring us to this article. I read it but felt about it the same way I felt about the movie. The movie was great, but a nonscientist who hears one guy say X and the next guy say non-X, is not helped by being told there is only one legitimate point of view – that is, the view the speaker or essayist holds.
Hearing multiple viewpoints is a very good idea when trying to form a point of view or to evaluate a product. If this writer thinks BioLogos is nasty and takes potshots, it can also be said of him. A film on a subject of this nature is going to be a contribution to the larger discussion and should be viewed as such instead of crying woe-is-me.
I like your point.
Indeed it might be good to build on what we do agree about.
I saw the film with my son-in-law who has a PhD in biochemistry.
During one part of the film they described how animals form from a base pair and then diversify over time and lead to more species. This sort of explains how you could get all the species on the ark that existed in Noah’s time. I asked my son what do you call that process. He said “that’s evolution!” even though they didn’t call it that in the film.
So in essence we can agree that there is evolution, just that they disagree on where and when it started.
That is something anyway.
Wow—your son in law said it well!! That was a good one!!
And yes, maybe there IS some agreement on evolution. But the rub comes in interpretation of the data’s more metaphysical meanings. Is evolution a statement that there is no God or Intelligence? or is it a description of methodology (if you will)? The data is one thing, but the extrapolations from that into existence of God-or-not or the existence of space aliens – that is another thing.
I saw the movie “Expelled” a number of years back. Think that was the name. Ben Stein interviews various individuals…etc. At the end of the film, Stein is having another conversation with Dawkins of The God Delusion fame. Same interview, I suspect, but tidbits of the conversation peppered throughout the film.
At the end of this movie, Dawkins is asked by Stein how humans came to be here. Dawkins says we were seeded on this planet by those from a dying Universe. Now right there, Dawkins would “appear” at least to be retiring from some belief in evolution-from-apes-over-millennia. That is: can’t explain how we got here, so let’s stop fussing and just postulate a dead Universe for which there is no evidence. (OR: change the wording like they do in the “Is Genesis History?” discussion you cited.)
But Stein presses forward and says something like “Where did that other race from that dying Universe come from?” And Dawkins said that, well, they themselves were descended from still another race of intelligent beings who seeded their planet while escaping their own dying Universe.
No Big Bang here…just on and on. Perhaps both sides ---- YEC people and those in the sciences or other fields whose philosophical beliefs exclude a Supreme Being — have wrestled this subject to the ground in some distorted way or other.
It does make you wonder what AiG’s position will be in 10 years. They now accept some things they used not to, like limited evolution, and seem to have softened on a few positions. As the tide turns, their choice will be to either hunker down and build more walls or to morph into a more mainstream theology and an acceptance of scientific findings. I think while there are areas of conflict, the video on the Gospel Coalition thread demonstrates an openness that was not there 5-10 years ago in similar groups.
Much as many evangelical splinter groups that were pretty weird have gradually changed into mainstream churches, I sort of suspect that they will change in order to survive, though it may require a change of the guard.