Remaining calm with YECs

I have long appreciated the tone of Biologos as an organization and the people who participate on these forums. In most of my life, I am quite surrounded by lovely people who happen to espouse YEC views by default. They are involved in churches and parachurch groups that use AiG materials in various capacities (Sunday school, VBS, homeschool curriculum, speakers etc). Most have never been exposed to anything else and the idea of “evolution” or “millions of years” sounds evil and scary to them.

This makes me very angry at Ken Ham and others (though not all) in the YEC movement who teach a false dichotomy about origins. I’m not angry at the people around me…their understanding of science isn’t very sophisticated and while they are responsible for their own views, they’ve definitely been heavily influenced by AiG. I occasionally read YEC materials if my friends are talking about them, so that I can speak into the conversation. But reading/listening to them makes my blood boil :frowning: How do you guys manage not to get angry about this? I feel like if I’m going to be part of this conversation, I need to know what’s being said, but it drives me crazy.

Then a second question is about actually having conversations on origins. On youtube, I watched presentations and a subsequent discussion @DennisVenema had with AiG speaker Georgia Purdom. Dennis remained totally calm, exuded humility and seemed comfortable with the uncertainty inherent in science while Georgia came across as more aggressive, overly certain and her answers resembled that of a cult member. Dennis, you looked calmer than I do after a yoga session and a bubble bath. What advise would you give to someone who typically avoids conflict but would like to be able to address these issues when they arise but can’t seem to remain calm? It’s not like I would start yelling at people, I just get worked up and want to prove that my view is right, which I know is not a good approach. Everyone needs to think these issues through on their own and if I get aggressive it’s likely to be counterproductive. Any tips on how I should think about this and how to approach discussions?


Well, before a discussion, I usually do yoga and have a bubble bath…


Kidding, of course. I don’t think I’ve ever even tried yoga…

Taking an irenic tone helps the conversation a lot. It’s always best to do what one can to avoid inducing the “flight or fight” response in one’s audience - and when people hear things that challenge their views, it can induce that response.

Georgia is also my sister in Christ, and respecting and honouring her despite our obvious differences was one of my goals for that evening.


The secret is actually our BioLogos patented “Tranquility Now!” essential oil blend, now available in a convenient roll-on dispenser. Just one whiff of therapeutic grade “Tranquility Now!,” and all your frustrations and resentment and sensitivities to abuses of logic and facts just melt away… :cherry_blossom::hibiscus::herb:


I will require overnight shipment. Just need enough to fill a bathtub. :bathtub:

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I know the feeling, and I’m not very good this kind of thing either. One advantage to having online discussions is that you can get angry, type something inflammatory, and then edit it more calmly before posting – you just have to remember not to hit “submit” right away. It helps to have a conscious strategy of trying to appear calm and reasonable, even if you feel neither, if only because doing so will make you more persuasive.

Also, I sometimes imagine my mother is listening. . .


Therapeutic grade sounds decent, but does it also come in persistent repetitive polemics grade?

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Dr. Venema, that’s a great way to prepare.

I’ve just listened/watched to the question/answer parts 2 and 3 of the university presentation with you and Dr. Purdom. Very interesting! Did anyone from the BioLogos / AIG side go out for coffee/beer afterwards? Or was it strictly the presentation no real conversation/bridgebuilding between the two sides.

Most troubling to me of anything I saw was Dr. Purdom stating that no evidence could convince her that her approach to the Bible was wrong.

I think you can purchase that blend from this fellow: Using Essential Oils - Ultra Spiritual Life episode 33 - YouTube

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Yes! He is the guy who came up with the patented formula we use! It is just the thing to purify the air of that moldy straw man smell.


If I may interject … I find that I’m most calm (which is not as frequent as I would like it to be) when I have reviewed my favorite 3 or 4 Evolutionary positions in my head … and realize the only way they can be refuted is if the YEC in question literally just says I don’t know all day long… which is not much of a refutation!

Here are my favorite talking points, which are really not very amenable to refutation:

  1. Australian wildlife is predominantly marsupial, while the rest of the world isn’t. Until humans brought the ancestors of the Dingo, there were no placental mammals there for millions of years. Assuming the Earth is only 6000 years… it means all the marsupials galloped to Australia while it was still close to Indonesia… ahead of the Placental animals (many of which are faster than many marsupials)… and got on Australia before the placentals could … and before Australia moved very quickly into the middle of the Ocean.

  2. The pattern of fossils regarding Large Mammals is completely opposed to any Flood scenario yet concocted. Marine whale bones are not found with Marine dinosaur bones… virtually always being quite higher in the rock layers. And yet large land-based mammals are never found with plant eater dinosaurs … and are Also found higher in the rock layers. No flood scenario can explain these things, nor explain how horses and lions seemingly appear from nowhere in the fossil record… since they are not found connected to dinosaurs.

  3. And finally, there is Job, which describes Snow and Hail as being stored in heavenly treasuries (store houses), as stated by God, to be ready in case of any important battle or human situation that requires special applications of snow or hail. This is not as famous as the Firmament discussion, but it is much harder to get sucked into foolish rhetoric than the Firmament analysis is.

Time to put on the tranquility now lotion! Hi ya’ll. Miss you. Its mee-ee. Not going to take much of your time this time as really really busy with work…just a couple of questions with a comment: Can we scientifically determine that all of life evolved from a bacterium or the like based finding marsupials in Australia? Can we really? Is that good science? And why is it so unreasonable for us to consider the possibility that God creating kinds of animals with the ability to adapt and then placed them on earth to evolve? Why is this option scientifically unreasonable when it could very well be the truth?

I personally believe that it takes more faith to believe that matter and energy spontaneously generated a life form or that an asteroid or such planted bacteria on earth for these to develop by chance, time and selection to beauty and complexity we see on earth than to believe that our Creator created and placed kinds of plants and animals with the ability to adapt via evolution on earth.

Again-miss ya’ll. Be nice to the AIG folks. Sometime go and meet some of these folks…mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandpas who love God, seek to be holy and caring to fellow man, love His Word and have deep convictions that our God who is so outstanding and transcendent that His ways may not be detectable through naturalistic scientific means. I see this as more honorable than not.

Blessings ya’ll


Good to hear from you Greg, glad work is busy (sort a sweet and sour dish at times.) Hope your hand has healed well.
You have some good insights for looking at those we disagree with as people loved by God, not as opinions to refute.
I think the real irritation comes not with the moms and pops, but with the formally trained who at times distort and intentionally ignore scientific findings, just to fit their pre-determined agenda. They know better, and from my viewpoint, hurt the witness of Christ by so doing.
Have a good pi day!


If you are willing to allow for this possibility, that evolution does happen in the presence of God, I think we could discuss lots more things that would interest both of us!

Lots of people here at BioLogos think God created important milestones in the evolution of life… so I can’t imagine there being a problem in discussing more …

1) You agree that there is enough time in Earth’s history that speciation can occur?

2) You agree that while God is dealing in special acts of creation, his mysterious plans also include animals evolving, right?

Science is very self-limited, and is unable to deal with the supernatural. So science can’t tell us whether or not God might be involved with some natural phenomenon. Think about it; how do you seal God out of an experiment?

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Thanks for thinking about me and my hand issue…I opted out of surgery thus rendering my thumb partially dysfunctional in the back motion…I have full strength gripping which is most important.

And about science I agree. This is tricky when one believes in a God of the miraculous who built the natural environment in which we live. You guys must have your hands full of guys like me who lean more towards God and the miraculous element in His nature and away from naturalistic explanations about how we were created.

On one hand, I can see how groups like AIG push against what we find in the rocks to support a young earth. On the other hand, I see how groups like mainstream science have a pre ordained view that God did not interact at all in nature thus put together model after model of things like explaining the evolution of flight and sexuality to bolster their presupposition to the point that I hear folks all of the time using these models to prove the theory that was presupposed! That is bad science too!

Gotta run. Please share my deepest honor and respect to Tim Keller in his retirement. His books have been my #1 source of Christmas and B-day presents for family members for the past several years and i hope he has a new one coming that will be available for the future!

To work I go…

  1. Can I assume that you believe in a God who can turn water to wine and can raise a person dead and rotting back to life? If so, then can you believe that God can evolve an animal that was created by Him and placed here on earth in a short period of time or in a long period of time as He saw fit?

  2. Have you read materials by young earthers on animal evolution? Where they don’t believe that dog evolved from amoebas, they do believe that dogs can evolve. I am amazed how dogs can evolve to different types of dog according to how they were created. I understand that they lose genetic information not gain it when they evolve into different types. A wolf can become a shitzu in a matter of years. And many even young earth and old earth creationists are not opposed to a kangaroo becoming a mole either.

That is why I have always supported the value of science in present day experimentation and determinations where I don’t value it as a writer of ancient history that attempts to pinpoint how we got here. That is where I go to my most trusted history book, the Bible.

You are moving the goalposts. Anyway, the evidence is here.

I think the thought by many is that the Bible is not a history book, and if it is, then it is a pretty poor one.


This reminds me of the question: “What do these four groups have in common?”

  1. Young earth creationists
  2. Darwin creationists
  3. The right to life crowd
  4. The pro-choice crowd

Answer: They all know they are 100% right in their beliefs and the other side is 100% wrong!!! They can’t find any middle ground to carry on a informational conversation where both sides might have a valid argument about why they believe like they do, and the other side might acknowledge that difference without giving up their views.

So where does this leave you. Start with the point that you are not going to radically change the views of the extremes. Reply with questions that might gain some middle ground like: “Doesn’t it seem reasonable that livings things change over time due to changes in their environment?” When people are dealing with beliefs (for which there is no proof) arguing about them are pointless. For those that take a literal “six-day” (24 hours) creation story and believe the Bible is inerrant, it is unlikely there is any logic that will change them. Even pointing out some of the many places in the Bible where it conflicts with itself, won’t make any difference.

Just relax, smile and accept the fact that you are not going to change the world. You are also allowed to have your beliefs and don’t have to go to great lengths to defend them. (Even if you believe and claim the earth is flat, I may do an eye-roll, but I won’t get into a debate with you.)