Reaping the Whirlwind: protein function without stable structure

(Phil) #483

Good to hear! I am retiring from my current position in a few weeks, but may continue to work a little here and there, so will be joining you at the candy store, I hope!

(Raymond Isbell) #484

I even went to the local animal shelter and picked up a couple of male cats (two brothers). One is little spooked, but the other loves sitting on my keyboard while I’m typing.


Basic physics, modern physics, and all the other aspects that were covered in my EE degree program. And I have also had the opportunity to discuss the Big Bang with an actual real life astrophysicist.

Sure, a can of hydrogen if opened in space will dissipate. There is not enough gravitation attraction to pull the atoms together. Now repeat the experiment but use enough hydrogen that the gravitational attraction keeps the atoms together. If your idea is correct could you please explain why our atmosphere doesn’t all just bleed off into the vacuum of space?

Of course God can violate the laws He created and move plates where ever He desires with no problem. The problem being why would He and leave the evidence that they didn’t move that fast? You are skating rather close to Last Thursdayism.

As you like to say, “I wasn’t impressed”.

(Chris Falter) #486

Of course not, Raymond.

However, once we introduce conjectures about God performing actions that do not leave a trace, we throw Bayesian analysis and, indeed, all of science out the window.

There is no amount of evidence, scientific or otherwise, that could ever refute such a conjecture. There is no amount of evidence, scientific or otherwise, that could convince an impassioned individual such as yourself who would make arguments based on such startling conjectures.

This is why I basically dropped out of the conversation a few days ago.

Your post was so illuminating, however, that I had to draw attention to it.

Good day to all.


(Raymond Isbell) #487

So once the Big Bang happened, no more miracles? Noah’s flood? Raising of Lazarus?

Under the evolution model, did vegetation grow without sunlight for thousands of years?

I guess I’m old school that says the Bible should be taken at face value (literal/historical/grammatical hermeneutic) unless the text is clearly figurative. I’m willing to change if I can see a good enough argument.

(James McKay) #488

No, Raymond, dates are calculated FROM MEASUREMENTS. Or do you seriously believe that they just pull them out of thin air?

Seriously, if you applied that kind of thinking to any other area of science, you would kill people.

YEC reasoning: any evidence that contradicts a young earth is, by definition, an assumption. Any test of these supposed assumptions is, by definition, also an assumption.

If you applied that kind of logic to any other area of science, you would kill people.

By that logic, Raymond, a doctor could just give a patient an arbitrary amount of medication because it’s an observation that anyone can make looking at medicines.

Once again, if you applied your logic to any other area of science, you would kill people.

We’re not talking about people who use hoes, Raymond, we’re talking about people who make them. Or does the fact that I write software for the travel industry make me an airline pilot?

Once again, if you applied your logic to any other industry, you would kill people.

(Phil) #489

I can respect that, and would suggest that you look at what you are saying and think about it in the context of the original audience and writer. A good way to consider that is with some of Walton’s Lost World books. Genesis may well have made sense literally 4000 years ago to a listener whose concept of the universe was a flat earth covered by a dome with water above and below. They also lived in a culture where the sun and moon and stars were considered gods, and the text confronts that headon. However, I think it is a stretch to throw that ancient literal meaning out and think you apply the same meaning to modern concepts, and think somehow God put hidden science in the ancient Hebrew writings, which only to come out when translated to modern English.
We then have to look for what meaning God has for us in the text. It is not the structure of the universe and the methodology of creation, but rather God communicates who he is and how he relates to us and the rest of creation, with a secondary meaning of how we relate to each other and creation.
Best wishes on getting your taxes done, as it looks like that is what you are working on in between posts. And careful how much you spend at Whole Foods! (Could not help but comment on your pic!)

(Chris Falter) #490

No miracles that science can speak to. That doesn’t mean miracles didn’t happen or don’t happen, assuming you believe in divine revelation.

Show me where the Bible explicitly states that God caused the motion of tectonic plates to accelerate by 7 orders of magnitude, yet in such a manner as not to leave a trace–and I will believe it.

Show me where the Bible explicitly states that God caused radioactive decay to increase by several orders of magnitude, yet not be accompanied be accompanied by a conversion of mass to energy–and I will believe it.

Here’s what I believe about miracles: God has performed them in order to show His love and His power, and to draw us to Himself.

I am puzzled, however, by the contention that God would perform undetectable miracles in order to offer a way of escape for the favored hermeneutical approach of a particular theological movement within the church.

In a courtroom, my lawyer would leap to his feet and say, “Objection, your honor; no foundation established for the question.”

If the judge insisted that I answer, I would say, “I agree with Augustine of Hippo that the first three chapters of Genesis should not be read in a literalistic manner. Perhaps you’ve heard of Augustine; he’s pretty famous in theological circles.”

I’m sure you’re sincere in this conviction, Raymond, and your faith is a beautiful thing. At the same time, your particular variant of faith has been leading to a confirmation bias in the way you approach scientific evidence.

Based on what I know from studying culture-embedded language and problems of translation between culture-embedded languages, and what I know about the ancient near east cultures that Israel shared a world view with, I disagree with your hermeneutical approach to the opening chapters of Genesis. But I do respect your faith.

Then we should be talking about hermeneutical approaches to Genesis 1 - 3 instead of scientific evidence. We’ve been talking about the wheels of the cart, but ultimately they go in whichever direction the horse wants them to go. Perhaps a discussion of how the horse should be guided would be more fruitful. I suggest you open a new thread on the topic of exegeting Genesis chapters 1 - 3 so we can see what you have to share, and you can learn something from us, too.

Have a good day,

(Christy Hemphill) #491

I would say that no geologic evidence for an event that would have fundamentally changed the earth in ways that are understood and predictable (we know what happens during floods, because we have observed their aftermath) and mountains of evidence that support a mutually exclusive scenario is a good clue that the text is clearly figurative. Miracles like turning water into wine or the resurrection of Lazarus are not contradicted by worldwide geology and would not require messing with fundamental constants of the universe.

(Dennis Venema) #492

Maybe you need to become even “older school”. Augustine has been mentioned, Origen would be another. Young-earth creationism in its present form is new - it dates back to the early 1900s and seventh-day adventism. The idea that the church has always had a literal understanding of Genesis simply isn’t the case.

(Raymond Isbell) #493

Just a quick comment as i have a full day in front of me and not much time for reading/writing. I’ve always been intrigued by references back to early Christian and Jewish writers. When I read them, I get the impression that they didn’t know nearly as much as we do today. We have the benefit of years of scholarship and debate over tough issues in the Bible. We also have a new set of tools to do Bible study, e.g., Logos Bible Software ( that gives us a huge advantage over the “old folks.” Their input is useful to be sure, but they didn’t have the benefit of all the accumulated knowledge we have which gives us a significant exegetical advantage and an expectation of more accurate conclusions regarding the meaning of particular texts. With Logos I can search my personal 8,000 vol library in multiple languages, and I have on line access to the Loeb, Perseus, and other classic libraries for doing detailed research in seconds where the ancients would have to read every text to find examples of usage of words and phrases for instance. Today we can do morphological searches in multiple languages across many volumes in seconds. Also, and what I consider the best resource of all, is access to the Theological Journal literature where someone else has done the deep research and work necessary to support an informed decision. The Journals allow you to compare different views to see the scholarship behind each. Bottom line is that today we can research and make better informed decisions on the meanings of words, phrases, pericopes, etc. that Augustine, Calvin, et al. could only dream about. So why would give weight to their views over modern sources?


The early church fathers actually spoke the languages used and lived in the culture present when the NT was written. They should have a better idea of what was meant by the authors than a scholar that is trying to study texts 1,000’s of years later. Some of those church fathers probably actually read the original autographs of the texts. You don’t think that should be considered?

(Raymond Isbell) #495

Hundreds of years later, not at the same time. Also, we have what they wrote about how they interpreted it, and some of it is bizarre.

(Christy Hemphill) #496

Ellen White certainly wasn’t using Logos to promote young earth creationism. If I remember correctly, it was more visions and imagination.

(Randy) #497

Mr Isbell, you are right that it helps to use Logos and other software to parse out the differences. It also helps to use scholarship to compare.
Scot McKnight wrote in “Adam and the Genome” and teaches currently, blogging at Jesus Creed. He examined the “New View on Paul” (which is actually an old view, more accurate than Calvin and Augustine and closer to Paul); and also believes that Genesis and Paul are consistent with evolution.
Pete Enns is a Harvard trained OT scholar who reviews this in “Evolution of Adam” and explains the second temple Judaism and Paul’s interpretation of the archetypes of Adam. His note on Romans 5:12 helps.
Denis Lamoureux has PhD from Regent, where he became convinced that Genesis 1 and 2 allowed for an old earth before he studied evolution to refute it.

actually, there is information about the writings of Jesus’ time and before (Second Temple) which is quite extensive. The Apocrypha has lots to explain about that; and there are extra-apocryphal writings. Not that they are inspired, but they do explain the thoughts of the NT writers and before. It’s interesting stuff. Esdras, Wisdom, and others help; Enns is a specialist in that area. I think you’d like the post by Enns under how Augustine may have messed us up.

the stuff we have to read is so vast that it is no wonder it takes a long time to understand it. Take your time. Enjoy all the types of candy in the store before deciding which is best! Thanks.

Have a good day of work.


Not for all. Ignatius of Antioch met his martyrdom in 107 AD and many of his writings have survived. He is believed to have known John. Have you read Euseibus’s Church History? It gives you a sense what the Christians in the 3rd and 4th century thought about the writings.

None of the Apostolic Fathers writings are considered inspired and therefore not in the canon but they “were there” so to speak and should be given due consideration.


I came across an item on a SDA site that was discussing Ellen White’s vision. Interestingly it was her objection to evolution that lead to her promotion of YEC. She was afraid acceptance of evolution would lead to a rejection of Genesis 1-3 which she considered to be the foundation for the Sabbath.

(Chris Falter) #500

Better tools do not necessarily yield better scholarship.

A day laborer with a shovel can be far more successful than a backhoe operator who is digging in the wrong place.

(Dennis Venema) #501

Hi @Raymond_Isbell,

Just your friendly (weekly?) reminder that I’m still hoping your respond to the example of genetic evidence that I presented to you - now that you’ve had a while to think on it, any thoughts? How might this fit into your framework?

(Raymond Isbell) #502

Thanks for the reminder, and please keep it up. This has been a busy week, and I’m trying to get back on track which includes your evidence.