Praising God in the Planetarium: My Story

  1. The imprint of a leaf is not a record of history at all in any real sense. It marks a point in time. It does not give us much else that doesn’t involve assumptions.

  2. Geologists cannot observe the forming of rock layers and fossils that took place millions of years ago. They cannot observe that taking place now over the course of millions of years.

  3. Many things have been dated, but all those dates involve a lot of assumptions about history that cannot be verified. That’s not particularly disputed.

We have some common ground there. I would agree that the incompatibility arises only if one insists on a specific narrow reading of Genesis. Otherwise, there is no incompatibility with creation as observed when other interpretations are accepted as possible.

So why isn’t yours the specific narrow reading of Genesis? (Do you see, once again, the assumption that underlies your claim?)

That’s my point. You are concluding that. Which is different than observing that.

Perhaps we are using different definitions of history. My question is if you can conclude, as a fact (upon sufficient examination of this rock with a leaf imprint) that it is evidence a leaf once existed to make the imprint. The point in time that it existed was a step farther than I meant to carry it.

I feel I would understand you better if you were more specific. What assumptions do you think would be involved in looking at this rock? When you say it doesn’t give us much else, does that mean there is something there that we can know for sure? What do we know?

What makes you think they have to? I’m quite sure sitting around for millions of years watching rocks form would be excruciatingly boring.

I was referring for starters to things that have been dated with corroboration from written history. Is that a lot of unverifiable assumptions, too?

  1. If someone says that the fossil of a leaf or animal in a rock is millions of years old, they are making assumptions. That is not a materially based observation. There is nothing else there that we can know for sure. That’s my point.

  2. If someone is going to say a rock is millions of years old, that isn’t materially based observation. It is based on assumptions.

  3. Not necessarily. But geology positing millions of years of history isn’t corroborated by things written.

The difference being that I am not locked into a reading that locks me into a specific scenerio of how creation took place, but one that i allows freedom to interpret the physical world as it is observed. It gives the freedom to consider a young earth and 6 day creation time period if that is what is found when we look at things, or the freedom to accept an old earth progessive creation scenerio if that is what the data show. Or an evolutionary creation mechanism if that is the best way to understand creation. In all creation scenerios, none take away or negate the truth communicated by the scripture.

Talk about splitting hairs. I observe the sand has the characteristics of wind blown sand and therefore conclude that it is NOT water born sand. Or are you saying it is possible it is water born sand that just happens to look like wind blown sand? In other words, what can I do with the observation that the sand was wind blown sand?

Ok, no assuming millions of years. Can we compare the leaf to different plant species we see today, to maybe determine what kind of leaf it is? Is it an oak leaf or a horsetail fern? Or maybe it doesn’t match anything we see today at all. Maybe it looks almost but not quite like a particular kind of leaf we are familiar with.

But I don’t want to go too far into speculation. I’m curious, would you agree that if our leaf looked exactly like a modern horsetail fern, that we would be justified in concluding it was a horsetail fern? Or would that be an assumption? Can we even know if it’s a plant at all, or are the only things we are allowed to observe mathematical measurements of its dimensions?

It’s not really splitting hairs. It’s the actual point–that you are drawing a conclusion about the past which you didn’t see. And the conclusion is based on assumptions.

@Lynn_Munter, Sure, for the most part. But none of that is the point here.

First the whole “were you there” argument is bogus.

Second, can I or can I not determine based on objective measurements that the sand is or is not wind blown sand? Can I trust what I can see? You appear to be saying that no you can’t.

No, the “were you there” argument goes to the heart of science. You either observe it or make assumptions about it. If you weren’t there, you make assumptions.

Which leads to your second question. I think the answer to that is no. But notice again the assumption in your third question.

Yes, you can trust what you see. But you assume that your interpretation of the past based on what you see is accurate. That’s the point: It’s an assumption that wind blown sand always does the same thing and nothing else can account for it. It also assumes that millions of years hasn’t changed either what you or how an event might have happened.

Now, you might be right. But it’s an assumption.

I’m getting to it. :slight_smile: Let’s say we look at where it came from, and we see lots of layers with lots of horsetail ferns in them, and only on a few top layers do we see any oak tree leaves. Would it be reasonable to observe that this area had lots of horsetail ferns before it had oak trees, or is that an ‘assumption’? I’m not saying anything about time scales here.

Isn’t that true of just about everything in life? We assume that what we see is based in reality. In magic shows, we know it is not, and assume deception and sleight of hand from the magician, but in nature and creation, I hope you share with me the thought that there is not deception behind it. And of course the same goes regarding the Bible. Which mean they can be reconciled.

That’s an assumption, isn’t it? It is not, by definition, an observation however reasonable it might be. The observation is that oak leaves are on top and ferns below. The assumption is that there were ferns before oaks. It might be true.

But we must ask, what other possible explanations are there for it?

There is an assumption of uniformitarianism that underlies science. I’ll give you that.

Problem is, as I explained to a good friend who’s a YEC the other night, for folks who know the scientific record, there are millions upon millions of data points from dozens of disparate fields of inquiry that, when you assume uniformitarianism, amazingly all tell the same story.

Whether you’re looking at data from astrophysics, genomics, geology, morphology (in paleontology), biogeography, plate tectonics, or any other scientific field (and they all measure different sorts of things), they all, with one voice, paint the picture of a universe that is 13.8 billion years old and a tree of life diversified via common descent with modification. It harmonizes with amazing accuracy.

So why is that? Why would God make a world that looks as if evolution happened, if it didn’t?

Perhaps you, personally, disagree with the evidence (probably because you’re not familiar with it). Fine. But most folks that look at the evidence clear-mindedly will not. They will find it compelling. So then what do you do with that?

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Yes, we assume that what we see is based in reality. The problem is that you are defining reality based on a worldview and set of assumptions. You have defined deceit in a rather problematic way. I disagree with that. But your view of reality apparently will not admit to other possible explanations of reality. So we agree that what we see is based in reality. We disagree on the strength of the conclusions built on questionable assumptions.

Again, all my point is that you are making a lot of assumptions.

@AMWolfe, And when those millions of data points from dozens of disparate fields of inquiry are read with other assumptions, they amazingly all tell the same story. Your interpretation of the data leads you to conclude 13.8 billion years. But there are equally valid assumptions that don’t lead to that.

You say God made a world that looks as if evolution happened. Yet that is not clear at all, and there are lots of reason to doubt that. There is a good case to be made that the world looks just like it would if things happened the way that the Bible describes.

I don’t disagree with the evidence (though I can’t help but notice how you accuse dissenters of being close minded). What I do with those who disagree with me on the evidence is exactly what I do here–try to have a patient and gracious conversation about the issues without stooping to personal comments.

Where we disagree is in what the evidence says about the past, and ultimately, about the worldview that underlies all this.

Fair enough. Some assumptions are valid, some are not, so I guess we will just have to accept our disagreement on which are which.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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