New Genes | A Science Explainer with Dennis Venema

There you are with your ‘if’ again.

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I hope you don’t mind if I step in a moment to comment. Thank you for your good questions.
The more I learn, the more I realize that it’s really hard to come to a conclusion about things–science is complicated, and even if we have clear answers, my own insecurity makes me baulk at it.

In addition, most people don’t have the scriptures, and don’t know things from God.

From Psalm 103, as a father has compassion on his children–the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

I think that the more I realize things are hard to grasp. the more I realize that if God is truth and righteous, he knows exactly where we come from.

I think that God knows what we struggle with. He must be better than my own, Christlike parents–and they gave me every understanding as I stumbled to learn (I was homeschooled, and both parents took a hand in all my learning, as much as possible).

I think that we’ll see a lot of people we never expected to see in Heaven–sometimes, people who struggled much more than we do, with science, lack of faith, pain, and indecision. Some of them (likely you) will be way ahead of me.



This is factually untrue. The half life argument is most certainly not a non-argument; it is a real, measurable line of evidence that must be accounted for by any legitimate creation model in an honest and mathematically coherent manner. Dismissing real, measurable lines of evidence as “non-arguments” is telling us to reject the evidence of our eyes and ears as your final, most essential command. Big Brother again.

Nor is it something that can be dismissed as “secular science.” The mechanics of radioactive decay are determined and understood using techniques and disciplines that have nothing whatsoever to do with secularism, but that are governed by strict rules that must be adhered to by Christians and atheists alike. For starters, in order to challenge a scientific theory by questioning its assumptions, you must make sure that it really does make the assumptions that you claim that it makes, and you must provide a coherent, evidence-based explanation as to how those assumptions could have been violated in such a way as to be consistent with both the evidence that we see and your alternative hypothesis. If you are not able to provide such an explanation, but are just crying “assumptions” as if “assumptions” were some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card, that is a non-argument.

The fact that radioactive decay rates were the same in the past as they are today is not just an assumption, let alone a “secular” one. We know for a fact that radioactive decay rates must have been constant because if they weren’t, the differences would have left clear, obvious, indisputable and far-reaching evidence that we do not observe in reality. Radioactive decay rates are not arbitrary; as well as measuring them directly in the laboratory, we are also able to understand through laboratory experiments why they take the values that they do. For radioactive decay rates to have been different in the past, the fundamental constants of nature and/or the laws of electromagnetism and quantum mechanics would have to have been different in the past. If that had been the case, it would have affected many, many other physical phenomena, to the extent that the Earth as we know it would no longer exist. It was young earthists themselves, in the RATE project, who admitted that accelerating nuclear decay rates to the level that they need would have raised the Earth’s temperature to 22,400°C.

Likewise, the initial state of the minerals being analysed is not just an assumption either, and certainly not a “secular” one. The fact that zircon crystals do not contain lead when they initially form is a direct consequence of the physical, chemical and crystallographic properties of the elements concerned. For these to have been different in the past, once again the fundamental constants of nature and/or the laws of electromagnetism and quantum mechanics would have to have been different in the past, and again we would be seeing far-reaching and obvious consequences that are not observed in practice.

This being the case, the only way that you can get lead into a zircon crystal in the quantities that we observe today is via decay from uranium and thorium at present-day rates, from which we can place a lower limit on the ages of the crystals of millions or billions of years. This is the case whether you acknowledge the possibility of miracles or not, because any miracle that would have short-circuited such a mechanism would be an invisible, pointless and deceptive miracle whose only effect would be to make the Earth look older than it really is in the most complicated and convoluted way imaginable for no discernible reason whatsoever.

Once again, there is nothing “secular” or “evolutionist” about this whatsoever. It is simply the fundamental basics of how measurement works.

If you don’t want your arguments to be dismissed as pseudoscience, make sure that they obey the rules of science. It’s as simple as that.

If you believe that your arguments are being unfairly dismissed as pseudoscience, demand to know exactly which rules of science they are supposedly breaking, and be prepared to offer a coherent and evidence-based response to whatever answer you are given.

That is nothing more nor less than a conspiracy theory, and one that is far too extensive to be even remotely plausible at that.

The number of data points supporting evolutionary theory and deep geological time runs into the millions. Each of these data points costs thousands of dollars to obtain. If “evolutionists” really were throwing out every data point that conflicted with the theory in the way you suggest, they would have to be throwing out perhaps as many as a hundred for every one that gets published. What you are talking about here is wholescale, tightly coordinated, systematic scientific fraud on an industrial scale over the course of two centuries at the cost of trillions of dollars—with no-one blowing the whistle on it. I’m sorry, but conspiracies on that scale simply do not happen, it’s as simple as that.


you are ignoring the reality that this is exactly what YEC scientists do. However, because you disagree with their outcomes, you call what they do pseudoscience and discount it. Christians are either God fearing or they are not. If Godfearing, than his word is infallible and best explains our reality…the how, the where, and why. The overall theme of the Bible simply does not support secular scientific interpretations. Anyone who follows secular interpretations over scriptural ones is choosing not to believe in the Bible.

The argument that God was learning (which has been repeated on these forums on numerous occasions to compromise Christianity with secular evolutionary interpretations) is discredited by Proverbs Ch 8

22The LORD created me as His first course,c

before His works of old.

23From everlasting I was established,

from the beginning, before the earth began.

Wisdom is of God and it was present before the creation of the world and this Proverb also makes a direct connection between Wisdom and the pre-incarnate Christ.

Hi Randy, that is a very gracious post and I am humbled by it. I do agree with that point of view and you have reminded me of something that i have said many times in personal conversations with a few other SDA’s over the years…“Im sure there will be atheists in heaven and im sure God is going to get a real kick out of the looks on their faces when they realise they are in a place they didnt believe in”

Whenever i have made the above statement, eyebrows have been raised and shadows form across faces, however, Jesus did make the process for entering the kingdom of heaven very very simple…I have this phrase that pops into my mind on this topic and its paraphrased a little

Matthew 25:40

In as much as you do it to the least of these my brethren, you do it to me

There are many non-Christians who are selfless and spend their lives doing wonderful work for others, surely that is following the model Christ gave us?


Thank you. It sounds like you have a great deal of grace! I think you’re right–it’s up to God–who alone can know our thoughts, and is the healer our hearts, too!

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And you are ignoring the reality that science has rules that have nothing to do with secularism but that are demanded by the Bible itself. You are ignoring the reality that it is young earthists’ failure to stick to those rules, and not their outcomes, that earns them the label of pseudoscience that should be discounted. You are right in saying that Christians are either God fearing or they are not, but if you are God fearing, you will obey the Bible and not just pay lip service to it. And if there is one thing that the overall theme of the Bible simply does not support, it is fudging and cherry-picking measurements, quoting people out of context, exaggerating the extent and significance of errors, and the like. Anyone who does these things and then denounces people who call them on it as “following secular interpretations over scriptural ones” is choosing to disobey the Bible.


What is the evidence? Who are these “lots of scientists”?

As @jammycakes says, you would have to change the most fundamental forces in nature in order to get half lives to change. Where is the evidence that these were ever different?

This is pseudoscience:

“No apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field of study, including science, history, and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture obtained by historical-grammatical interpretation.”–Answers in Genesis

They ignore evidence if it contradicts their interpretation of Genesis.

No elements are at different states of decay. That doesn’t even make sense.

If you want to claim that rocks were created with certain ratios of parent to daughter isotope then you need to deal with the fact that these rocks overlay fossils. Your scenario requires God to create the Earth with fossils already in the ground. Is that what you are pushing for?

If you think we are wrong, then show us any type of physical process that would alter the intrinsic half life of these isotopes, and does so at temperatures that would allow rocks to be solid. Show us. If you can’t, then what are we to conclude?

What is this evidence that scientists are ignoring?

It’s not a matter of belief. It is a matter of evidence. If you have evidence, then present it.

What if the creator of the universe has personally hid from us, and this creator has a heavenly realm where he will only admit people who disbelieved in a creator because he purposefully hid from us? Perhaps this creator wants people who are skeptical. How will you feel when you stand before this creator and have to answer for believing in a false religion?

Perhaps you should be an atheist, just in case.


You can disagree all you want, but there is no serious dispute among scientists over the reality of nuclear decay and foundational principles of radiometric dating.

What you do not appreciate is that radioactive decay is not like going rotten or being eaten by worms. Half lives are not fundamental and independent variables, they are determined by the properties of the very underlying forces which make up this material world. You cannot turn the dial on the rates of radioactive decay without disrupting the rest of the physical reality that makes up the atoms in your own body. What is stable and what transmutes is based on the exact same laws of nature.


I have reason to believe you have seen this before because it was in a thread you were active in both above and below it:

So why does that not apply, or did you selectively ignore or forget it.

i can agree and disagree with that statement.

Theologically i can disagree by making the claim, you are trying to impose restrictions on God. How does one theologicaly make the claim that God is restricted by the very thing He created from nothing?

Logically, outside of theology, i can also agree with your statement.

The point is, is it possible that we have had environmental events significant enough to do exactly that? My belief is yes and that is because we cannot provide proof of the starting threshold…one makes an assumption based on what modern data we have…but we dont have historical ancient data. To you that might seem stupid, i accept that, however, for me its important because i have a theological position which is very tightly interwoven into my view of my own existence. I genuinely do not twist scripture to suit my own understanding or interpretation, but i am very willing to interpret what data i do have to fit with scripture and to discount what does not align with scripture. The reason for this should be obvious, if i am wrong i do not lose out (because i stayed true to scripture) however, if i am right, those who intentionally refuse to accept the authority of scripture over mans interpretations are honestly not going to end up in good places at the end of time (which is exactly what scripture says)

No, it’s not possible for any environmental event that would leave the earth intact to have had a significant effect on radioactive decay. A miracle, sure, but not an environmental event. (But again, why a miracle whose only effect is to make the universe look old?)

We do have historical ancient data. We have, for example, the remains of a naturally occurring nuclear reactor in Gabon, so we can tell how nuclear processes worked two billion years ago. We have direct observation of the rate at which radioactive elements decay in the aftermath of supernova, stars that exploded more than 100,000 years ago but whose light is only reaching us now.


Exactly zero well-known physicists disagree with the basics of nuclear decay. From the point of view of science, YEC beliefs are simply unconnected to reality.


If you are going to indulge a Pascal’s Wager filter to observations of nature and living in an alternate reality, might you not be better served by simply being oblivious and ignoring science, than all this fabrication?

You mean like disallowing God to use evolution?

If we are going to follow your logic, then we can’t make any conclusions about anything. Let’s say we find a suspect’s fingerprints, DNA, shoe prints, and fibers at a murder scene. The jury is presented this evidence by the prosecution. The defense attorney gets up and says, “How does one theologicaly make the claim that God is restricted by the very thing He created from nothing? Therefore, God could have planted this evidence at the crime scene. You should find my client not guilty.” If you were on the jury, would you find the defendant not guilty?

What are these beliefs based on? What conditions would cause these half lives to change that much without also melting the Earth?

We do have historical ancient data. The stars. If half lives changed as much as you claim then we would see them in things like supernovae. But we don’t see that. The rocks themselves are also ancient records. They don’t show complete melts due to the massive amount of heat produced by accelerated nuclear decay.

That’s pseudoscience. When you change the data to fit your conclusion you are using pseudoscience.

From where I sit, you are putting your authority over both the Bible and the creation. You are telling the Bible what it means, and ignoring the creation.


You do disingenuously ignore scripture that does not suit you though, as likewise simply refuse (as in are very unwilling) to interpret data that you cannot explain your way around, even with pseudoscience.

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That is a total misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the evolutionary creationist position. Nobody is trying to impose any kind of restrictions on God whatsoever.

God could easily have created the heavens and the earth in six 24-hour days of Earth time. But it’s one thing to create a fully functional Earth in six 24 hour days. It is a completely different matter to create evidence for 4.5 billion years of history that never happened in six 24 hour days. That is completely contrary to what the Bible tells us about the character and nature of God.

No it isn’t. Environmental events do not change the fundamental forces of nature and to believe that they could is to express wilful ignorance of what the fundamental forces of nature actually consist of, how they work, and what the consequences of changing them would actually be. We are talking about such things as the speed of light, Planck’s constant, the masses of the fundamental particles (the electron, the proton, the neutron etc), the strengths of the electromagnetic, strong, weak and gravitational forces, the electric permittivity and magnetic permeability of space, the fine structure constant, and so on and so forth.

The only way that these values can be changed is by divine intervention. And the only way that these values can be changed in a way that is honest and consistent with the character and nature of God that we read about in the Bible is by divine intervention that leaves evidence.

It’s not just stupid, it’s factually untrue. You can’t just hand-wave away scientific facts that you don’t like by crying “assumptions.” In order to challenge assumptions, you must state what those assumptions are and provide evidence that they could have been violated in a way that is consistent with both the evidence itself and your alternative hypothesis. Any attempt to cry “assumptions” without doing both of these things is a non-argument.

Good for you. I too have a theological position that is also very interwoven into my view of my own existence. It is this:

13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 16 For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly. — Deuteronomy 25:13-16

Note in particular the words “accurate and honest.” It is not sufficient to merely claim that young earthists measure things. They must do so in ways that obey the rules of accuracy and honesty: no exaggerating or downplaying errors; no cherry-picking or fudging; no quote mining; no cutting corners.

If you really interpreted what data you do have to fit with Scripture, you would insist on accurate and honest weights and measures. If you really discounted what does not align with Scripture, you would discount arguments that did not obey the rules of accurate and honest weights and measures. Fudging and cherry-picking measurements to make them say that the Earth is only six thousand years old, when quite clearly they do not, is not “interpreting what data you do have to fit with scripture” nor is it “discounting what does not align with scripture.” It is lying.


Hang on a minute, don’t TEists claim God used the mechanisms of science in creation…is that not environmental?

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I did not say change data…that’s your claim not mine. I said I selectively choose data…which is very different from changing it.

Some of it you choose to ignore because you can’t deal with it. Just like some scripture.

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