The Problems with Bill_II's Idiosyncratic View

(Mike Gantt) #54

No intrusion. Anyone is more than welcome to answer.

(Christy Hemphill) #55

They come right out and say they are committed to certain conclusions and they are committed to rejecting any evidence that conflicts with the conclusions they believe must be upheld. So I don’t think they are scientists in the true sense of the word. If you already know the conclusion you are arguing for, and you are conscripting evidence to prove only one conclusion and squelching evidence that throws that conclusion into question, you are more a lawyer than a scientist.

[quote]Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation, spanning approximately 4,000 years from creation to Christ.
The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages, but are six [6] consecutive twenty-four [24] hour days of creation.
The Noachian Flood was a significant geological event and much (but not all) fossiliferous sediment originated at that time.
The gap theory has no basis in Scripture.
The view, commonly used to evade the implications or the authority of biblical teaching, that knowledge and/or truth may be divided into secular and religious, is rejected.
By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.[/quote]

Todd Wood:

(George Brooks) #56


Oh, I don’t know about that, Mike. That seems like an “easy shot” to fire off… but there are some intensely faithful people who support the BioLogos effort. You could say, for example, that “they don’t share your approach to a conviction that Scripture is the word of God!”

As you well know, different premises lead to different conclusions.

You appear to start with the Bible, and only change your position on the Bible when you find reasons within the Bible to accept those changes.

Others start with their eyes and ears as witnesses to what they see happen in the Universe, having the confidence that God wants them to rely on their perception of what is true in order to make conclusions and expectations of what else must thus be true.

If you start with eye-witness testimony about what is real … and then hold that up to a book that was written thousands of years earlier - - during a time when knowledge was limited, superstitions were as common as field mice, and rival philosophies took precedence over actual experimentation - - it’s hard to arrive at the same conclusions you arrive at.

"It seems that a number of those here at BioLogos

(George Brooks) #57


If Reality is “ad hoc”, then you can write the above sentence with confidence.

But for many centuries Christian natural philosophers saw Reality as a way to see how God works in the Universe. That seems every bit as principled as your approach - - with the added benefit that Reality doesn’t have to be set aside.

(Curtis Henderson) #58

Excellent comments, Christy. Let me add one more thought to this observation of YEC science. I have heard multiple individuals say something to the effect of “No amount of scientific evidence could convince me of anything other than a young earth.” Christy’s quotes from AiG and Todd Wood, specifically, show that mindset. But let’s look at that AiG quote one more time…

Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

I really don’t understand how it has escaped their attention, but theology is also “subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”

I believe that both God’s word and God’s works should taken into consideration when searching for answers. Sometimes it is appropriate to give primary importance to one over the other. Since God’s word is devoid of detail on the origins of life, I feel it is entirely appropriate to give heed to God’s works.

(George Brooks) #59

My experience with YEC advocates is that at some point in their discussions they stop using evidence from Science, and start saying things like:

“It makes no sense to me that one species can turn into another species …”


“How can randomness (which may not have even been discussed up to then) can lead to the creation of something like Humanity…”

“Evolution is impossible because any change in genetics leads to a loss of information…”

In short: they stop processing evidence and facts, and start fixating on their feelings and their beliefs about facts and evidence.

To answer your question:
“What do you think about the YEC geologists, YEC astronomers, YEC biologists? Do you think they come to their conclusions in good faith, too?”

My answer is a two part answer.
Part 1: Many YEC scientists, without question, think “winning the debate for Jesus” is more important than having the correct scientific answer.

Part 2: The remainder of YEC scientists appear to rely on the limits of human knowledge to find solace for why they do not have the knowledge to refute scientific findings.

This second part merits just a few more words of explanation:

I am prone to say to a YEC at one point or another, that there isn’t a single Creationist theory or scenario that explains how air-breathing mammals like whales are never found in the same sedimentary vicinity (in a stack of fossilized rock) as air-breathing reptiles like marine dinosaurs, and what’s more, the whales are always in the newer layers of rock.

Rather than accept the inevitable conclusions that such universally consistent observations like these lead to, they simply state that someday he/she/they will have the answer to that riddle.

What would you say about someone who insists that the inner core of the Moon is made of cheese? You can use all the logic and evidence one might think of … but at the end of the day, that person insists that the cheese will be discovered.

Shall we praise his devotion to his faith?

In the post right above this one, @cwhenderson makes an excellent observation:

Why should the “cheese”, or the “Vatican’s invisible plains covering the visible mountains of the Moon”, be awarded primary Truth in the face of the intelligent minds, granted by God, that provides the insights and facts to conclude otherwise?

If creation is unceasing, how are we to understand Genesis 2:1-3?

God commanded humans to marry because before A&E were even created He had designed us for marriage. Or so says a preacher I heard once. A&E don’t have to be historical persons for the verse to be true. You could say God had a plan for marriage before the first couple even met. And there is actually some biology that backs this up.

My interest in geology started when I was young. I lived in an area that is literally covered with fossils. I remember writing, yes a letter on paper using a pen and sent with probably a 10 cent stamp, the USGS for some information and they sent me some booklets that I couldn’t understand. In 8th grade science we had to do a fossil collection which was a piece of cake and I started to learn the names of a few. Which incidentally when walking around the building at work I found some more of the same fossils I found then. When I started reading about geology at the library I found the work of the early geologists that were trying to work out the age of the earth as opposed to the deluge geologists that still believed in a global flood. So yes I did come to my conclusion being unaware of the “grand consensus” of which you speak. Of course over time I have found many sources that have provided further evidence for me and as they say I have never looked back. To me the evidence is so simple and clear that there should be no question of is it true only exactly how old is the earth.

And is it telling that you included biologists in your list as they have nothing to say about the age of the earth. Are you still conflating the age of the earth and evolution?

(George Brooks) #61


You have heard of Karl Giberson I suspect. He went from card-carrying Creationist to Theist Evolutionist because of physics … not because of biology.

If we could get all the YEC’s into the Old Earth stance … it would be much easier to discuss everything else.

Frankly, I don’t even like to start a discussion about Evolution with discussions of Evolution - - if you get my drift. First, I need to find out where a person stands on science in general. And Geology is a fairly calm and mild discipline, with less emotion than the dreaded phrasing: “Common Descent”! … or even worse … the term “Speciation”!

(Mike Gantt) #62

I don’t see how.

You could…but Jesus didn’t. His argument was based on what God said and the way things were. And if God didn’t say those things or if that’s not the way things were, then His argument falls apart.[quote=“Bill_II, post:60, topic:36201”]
When I started reading about geology at the library I found the work of the early geologists that were trying to work out the age of the earth as opposed to the deluge geologists that still believed in a global flood.

To what degree did this consist of the “scriptural geologists” of whom Terry Mortenson writes?

Maybe you weren’t aware of the grandness of the consensus, but by your own testimony it sounds as if you had to be aware of the geological consensus.

What is it telling? I included the biologists because their stance indirectly speaks to the age of the earth and would be impossible for anyone attending a public school (and most private ones) to be unaware of.

(Mike Gantt) #63

Yes, I’ve told @Bill_II that I see the wisdom in this approach, the economy of effort it allows for all parties.

(Mike Gantt) #64

Speaking of economy of effort with regard to study of the age of the earth, is it reasonable to say that geology is the field of science that paved the way for such discussions…and that the debate about uniformitarianism versus catastrophism was what paved the way for geology?

Is it also fair to say that uniformitarianism and catastrophism are both assumptions about the past - albeit one you think is right (i.e. supported by the evidence) and the other you think is wrong (i.e. not supported by the evidence)?

(Mike Gantt) #65

How is this any different from @Bill_II’s stance of commitment to the conclusions of modern science and history such that he’s committed to rejecting any evidence from Gen 1-11 that conflicts with the conclusions he believes must be upheld?

(Mike Gantt) #66

Aren’t you weighting the argument against the Bible by framing it this way? The Bible is a text of fixed length, settled long ago. Modern science is churning out more details with each passing day. If you want to decide the age of the earth in favor of modern science, that is one thing, but to do so on the basis of who talks the most about the subject seems to be logically questionable.

(Mike Gantt) #67

By the way, there can be no denying that science as a community is more united in its view of origins than is Christendom. In the former, one finds a clear majority of opinion and in the latter controversy upon controversy. In fact, is it not fair to say that the proliferation of Gen 1-2 interpretations over the last, say, 200 years bears ample witness to which community has invested more effort in accommodating the other?

I suppose one could say that the readers of God’s book of nature have not needed to be as accommodating to the readers of God’s other book as the other way around…but why?

(Curtis Henderson) #68

Is it really logically questionable to use evidence when choosing which source is most helpful? The Bible was never intended to give us scientific details about our origins – not when it was written, and not today. I can’t understand how it would be illogical use the aspect of revelation that humans can keep adding to.

Yes, adjustments to theology have had to be made in light of new scientific discovery. But this would have to be the case since it would be impossible to adjust theology due to scientific discovery before the discoveries were made!


Are you saying God didn’t have a plan for marriage before he created? Really? Do you believe he just wings it as He goes? “Let’s see, man created, check, woman created, check, now what am I going to do with them?” He might not have said it in those verses but based on what we know about God from the entire Bible I am sure we can say with confidence that yes he did have a plan.

Sorry but my memory is not quite that good. The problem with the scriptural geologists is the evidence that should have been found based on their assumptions wasn’t there. And what was there didn’t match their assumptions.

Sorry no evolution in my public school. Not even a hint.


From what I have read about the history of geology this debate as you are thinking about it never happened.

You are setting up a false dichotomy. Modern geology accepts both uniform and catastrophic processes.


I[quote=“Mike_Gantt, post:65, topic:36201”]
How is this any different from @Bill_II’s stance of commitment to the conclusions of modern science and history such that he’s committed to rejecting any evidence from Gen 1-11 that conflicts with the conclusions he believes must be upheld?

That is not my stance. I let the evidence from God’s own creation speak to my own human, fallible interpretation of Genesis. If you think I am trying to uphold science over God you are very wrong.

Most likely because God’s word does not speak to nature as we continue to grow in understanding. You said the Bible was fixed so it is stuck in presenting nature as understood when it was written. You seem to be unaware that the understanding of God’s word has likewise continued to grown which has resulted in changes in which you do not appear be aware.

(Christy Hemphill) #72

Science has established procedures that involve open inquiry, not pre-determined conclusions. Bill’s acceptance of science is an acceptance of the results of an established scientific method. He is not personally performing the method when he is committed to accepting scientists’ conclusions. He is trusting their performance of the method. I bet if scientific consensus on something changed, Bill would accept the new conclusions.

This is entirely different than someone claiming to be a scientist and claiming to participate in open inquiry and the scientific method, but being unwilling from the outset to go where certain observations would lead because the hypothesis is actually the conclusion.

Biblical interpretation relies on a different process than the scientific method. When we (speaking for myself as an Evangelical-ish person) approach a Scripture passage, it isn’t an open inquiry process in the same way, because conclusions must fit an accepted orthodox theological framework, and must be coherent with other established interpretations.

(Mike Gantt) #73

Yes, I think so. You’re a judge and there are two witnesses at the trial. One talks more than the other. Should you assume loquaciousness correlates with reliability?

Agreed. But are you saying that the Bible was never intended to give us historical details about our origins?

I can’t think of an example where a scientific discovery requires an adjustment in theology.