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NPR unwraps Christian Darwinism: Bible matches Huckleberry Finn in authority

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In “Evangelicals Question The Existence Of Adam And Eve” (National Public Radio, August 9, 2011), Barbara Bradley Hagerty translates Christian Darwinism into real world talk:

Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”

Venema is a Biologian, that is, a senior fellow at BioLogos Foundation, a group that “tries to reconcile faith and science.” (Which, some say, means “tries to market materialist atheism to gullible Christians, a bit at a time”).

And Venema is part of a growing cadre of Christian scholars who say they want their faith to come into the 21st century. Another one is John Schneider, who taught theology at Calvin College in Michigan until recently. He says it’s time to face facts: There was no historical Adam and Eve, no serpent, no apple, no fall that toppled man from a state of innocence.

They were sure to get round to that, of course. No sin. Always, no sin …

The article assumes something UD News had suspected – that Karl Giberson had to leave Eastern Nazarene because of problems there with his unorthodox views. Never mind, in his own eyes, he’s the new Galileo:

Giberson — who taught physics at Eastern Nazarene College until his views became too uncomfortable in Christian academia — says Protestants who question Adam and Eve are akin to Galileo in the 1600s, who defied Catholic Church doctrine by stating that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa.

And when you know that that’s who you are, even if you have never donee anything whatever of importance in science, what other recommendation do you need?

The money quote is from Venema:

But if you read the Bible as poetry and allegory as well as history, you can see God’s hand in nature — and in evolution.

Of course. It then has equal authority with Huckleberry Finn.

75 Replies to “NPR unwraps Christian Darwinism: Bible matches Huckleberry Finn in authority

  1. 1
    Bantay says:

    Good grief. So it has come to this new low? I thank God that Biologos doesn’t actually represent evangelical Christianity. Oh, and Dennis Venema, you really need to read Ross and Rana’s “Who Is Adam?”.

    Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”

    I wonder what genomic evidence Dennis Venema has that predates Noah? Hello? Mr. Venema? The different time periods of Y-Chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve…The bottleneck modern science has only recently discovered that fits the biblical (Noahic) narrative perfectly?

  2. 2

    Bantay:

    I wonder what genomic evidence Dennis Venema has that predates Noah? Hello? Mr. Venema? The different time periods of Y-Chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve…The bottleneck modern science has only recently discovered that fits the biblical (Noahic) narrative perfectly?

    What bottleneck has modern science discovered that fits the biblical narrative perfectly?

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    “Of course. It then has equal authority with Huckleberry Finn.”

    What is wrong with that? I like Huck Finn.

    One can derive a teaching from two naked people in a paradise, choosing between two kinds of trees, egged on by a crafty snake, without believing that the story is literal. Look up the word “allegory.”

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    A camel still can’t fit through the eye of a needle.

  5. 5
    suckerspawn says:

    Did Jesus believe it was an allegory? did Luke? did Paul?

  6. 6
    oyer says:

    It means spontaneous generation. Look up the word “allegory.”

    No you know what, it means a static universe. Look up the word “allegory.”

    No, expanding, expanding! Look up the word “allegory.”

    sigh ok, no expansion. Static. Look up the word “allegory.”

    I mean Lamarck. Look up the word “allegory.”

    Did I say Lamarck? Well, you know me…silly silly silly. I meant Darwin. Look up the word “allegory.”

  7. 7

    The necessary uncaused first cause of all that begins to exist in the universe, thus resolving the very real issue of an infinite regress of material causes; a conundrum for materialists is merely a “placeholder.” Look up the word allegory. Sigh…

  8. 8
    tgpeeler says:

    I guess the good news (or the bad news) is that we will all find out some day if Jesus is who He claimed to be or not. I personally don’t want to be on the wrong side of that call…

  9. 9
    mike1962 says:

    You’re interpreting it thru literalistic evangelical Christian glasses. Be my guest. Although you may want to read what Origen and Augustine had to say about the matter.

  10. 10
    mike1962 says:

    Why not generalize that and say you hope you’re not on the wrong side of the truth, whatever it is. What if Mazda Ahura is the true God? Or Allah? Are you worried about that?

  11. 11

    I think whatever you make of the designer of the universe by calling Him God or not, it becomes quite clear that this designer has set in place not only the laws that govern the processes found in nature, but the unavoidable logic that He exists. There is no “Escape From Reason” to borrow from Schaeffer.

    Not everything regarding His account of things, then is meant to be allegorical. Those who attempt to find meaning in an allegorical interpretation of Genesis miss out on exactly the intended meaning that makes the rest of the books that follow in the bible meaningful. All of these things fit together in a coherent whole. Not just the bible, but reason and reality.

    By allegorizing just one part of the bible you have to turn Jesus himself into a myth, or else make Him a liar. The mistake of these Christian Darwinists is that they state we must face the facts of science; while ignoring it’s tentative nature and while further; the true facts we must face are ignored completely.

  12. 12

    I think he’s interpreting it according to its intent. Genesis doesn’t contain a disclaimer at the end of the Adam and Eve account: “Well that’s the alleged story, and now onto the actual history.”

    When Jesus refers to Adam as an historical person he means it as such. It’s not just an Evangelical interpretation but the interpretation of a majority of Christian theologians throughout the history of the church.

  13. 13
    mike1962 says:

    Just because one accepts that certain stories in the Bible are allegorical, including Genesis, doesn’t necessarily make one a “Christian Darwinist.”

  14. 14
    Bantay says:

    Elizabeth, Dr Fazale Rana comments on the genetic bottleneck as relating to Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/....._rana_phd/

  15. 15
    rhampton7 says:

    Catholic Theology is, for the lack of a better term, “Christian Darwinism.” Be careful who, and how, you denigrate.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    suckerspawn says:

    Why would I give Origen and Augustine more weight than Jesus, Luke, and Paul?

  18. 18

    But tht doesn’t “fit the biblical narrative perfectly”!

    Yes, of course, the most recent patrilineal ancestor at any given time will tend to be younger than the most recent matrilineal ancestor simply because women tend to have fewer offspring than men. You don’t even need to invoke infidelity to see that – until recently, having children was a huge factor in female life-expectancy, whereas the same is obviously not true for men. But simply biologically, a woman is limited to a child a year, and that’s pushing it. A man is not.

    And yes, there is evidence of a population bottleneck, but estimates are in the thousands! Whereas if the ark story was true, the bottleneck would be 8! Not viable, especially as four of them were closely related.

    BTW, the last common couple, as it were, would be more recent still.

  19. 19
  20. 20

    If I understand Dr. Rana correctly he’s saying the bottleneck indicates a migration after a catastrophic event. Thousands wouldn’t then be contradictory. You can get to thousands out of eight eventually, but the bottleneck is still there. That’s the only thing the data indicates. It doesn’t touch on the specifics of the biblical record as far as I understand. The evidence that’s been unearthed could be from hundreds of years after the flood, yet still be indicative of such an event.

    But I’d have to read up more, as I’m pretty new to the idea.

  21. 21
    StephenB says:

    rhampton7, A lot of liberal Catholics would have us believe that, but it is not true.

  22. 22

    Well, the point is, CY, that the evidence indicates that the bottleneck may have been down to thousands. In other words, that at its smallest, the human population may have been as small as a few thousand, and one candidate for the catastrophe is the “Toba supercatastrophe”, which occurred about 70,000 years ago.

    The genetic evidence does NOT suggest a bottleneck of 8!

  23. 23

    Why do people rule out the possibility that Jesus was not quoted verbatim? The gospels were written substantially after his death, and presumably up till then, stories had been passed on orally.

    Why regard them as verbatim? Especially when the actual events are contradictory? (As you’d expect from an oral tradition, of course).

  24. 24
    StephenB says:

    To make the point a bit more concrete, Pope Pius XII, speaking for the whole Church, taught that a historical Adam and Eve is a non-negotiable article of faith, which would seem to rule out Christian Darwinism in principle.

  25. 25

    Well, the official diocesan teaching in our diocese was that Adam and Eve represent the first humans to have a soul.

    The handout didn’t specify that they were a couple, but sort of implied it.

  26. 26
    material.infantacy says:

    Maybe they just “hooked up” after clubbing one weekend. xp

  27. 27
    material.infantacy says:

    Taking the scriptures at face value helps discourage the invention of our own versions of what occurred and what was said. It’s our central tendency to fabricate our own versions of reality and to dwell there eternally.

    If we assume that Jesus could have said any ol’ thing then there’s not much point in the written record.

    A God who can speak the universe into existence is not much good if he can’t also speak his intention into the written Word.

  28. 28
    junkdnaforlife says:

    You need to familiarize yourself with Jewish oral tradition, and the letters of Paul before you start to ask why “people” think what they think. You can start there. Then familiarize yourself with the historical method, and apply this to the gospel accounts. Using primary and secondary sources, eyewitness accounts, criterion of embarrassment, adverse witnesses, oral tradition, historical impact, and then collect all non-biblical sources and cross reference them with the four gospels. When your done there, take a look at the archeological evidence as it applies to the biblical texts. Take some time and go over the STURP teams work and subsequent peer-reviewed literature on the Shroud of Turin and Sudarium of Oviedo and investigate the applicability to the Gospels, namely the passion event. Then you will understand why claims like, “gospels were written substantially after his death,” ridiculously misleading.

    But before you kick off this investigation, go over the Kalam cosmological argument. Then apply the mathematics of general relativity and the cosmic microwave background radiation emission to premise 2.

  29. 29
    StephenB says:

    To fine tune the point a bit more, the Church’s official teaching is that the first human souls “are immediately created by God” (Pius XII, Humani Generis). So, by your report, the teaching materials in that diocese leave out important information, suggesting that perhaps the soul (of which the mind and will are faculties) could have emerged from matter, and may not necessarily have been “directly created” by God. That would be a misrepresentation of the official Catholic position, which is that, regardless of what science may or may not say about the evolution of the body, evolution of the soul is ruled out in principle.

  30. 30
    ciphertext says:

    What constitutes substantially in

    substantially after his death

    ?

  31. 31

    No, it did say that.

    My son thought it was pretty silly.

  32. 32
    StephenB says:

    Which part did he think was silly and why? I gather he does not identify with Catholicism, though is sounds as if he was given some semblance of a Catholic education. (I say “semblance” because American Catholics are typically given inaccurate information about their own Church from Catholic-in-name-only educators).

  33. 33
    rhampton7 says:

    COMMUNION AND STEWARDSHIP: Human Persons Created in the Image of God

    70. With respect to the immediate creation of the human soul, Catholic theology affirms that particular actions of God bring about effects that transcend the capacity of created causes acting according to their natures. The appeal to divine causality to account for genuinely causal as distinct from merely explanatory gaps does not insert divine agency to fill in the “gaps” in human scientific understanding (thus giving rise to the so-called “God of the gaps”). The structures of the world can be seen as open to non-disruptive divine action in directly causing events in the world. Catholic theology affirms that that the emergence of the first members of the human species (whether as individuals or in populations) represents an event that is not susceptible of a purely natural explanation and which can appropriately be attributed to divine intervention. Acting indirectly through causal chains operating from the beginning of cosmic history, God prepared the way for what Pope John Paul II has called “an ontological leap…the moment of transition to the spiritual.” While science can study these causal chains, it falls to theology to locate this account of the special creation of the human soul within the overarching plan of the triune God to share the communion of trinitarian life with human persons who are created out of nothing in the image and likeness of God, and who, in his name and according to his plan, exercise a creative stewardship and sovereignty over the physical universe.

  34. 34
    StephenB says:

    The International Theological Commission does not represent Catholic Magisterial Teaching. It simply serves to advise. In any case, I find nothing in that document that would support “Christian Darwinism.”

    I have already provided the relevant statements with respect to the historical existence of Adam and Eve and the need for God’s direct intervention in the creation of the human soul.

    Christian Darwinism denies both teachings and is not, therefore, a legitimate Catholic world view.

  35. 35
    Bantay says:

    Elizabeth, I was not invoking infidelity (although a certain, limited number of incestuous relationships were probably necessary at the beginning, at a time and in such limited numbers that they would not have been harmful to the early human genome), but merely showing that science has discovered the genetic bottleneck that the Noahic narrative explains.

    The genetic evidence does not have to suggest 8 individuals, only that there was a bottleneck of relatively few individuals. In this sense, the Noahic narrative is what is more clear on the issue, even naming names.

    In this case, the biblical narrative is more clear than what science itself has revealed. This should not come as a surprise, since the Bible also describes the big bang as coming from nothing (the Hebrew word for “created” in Gen 1 refers to something new, not from pre-existing materials) and later describes the constant expansion of the universe, both of which modern science has only caught on to within the last 70 years.

    Rather than deny the biblical narrative out of hand and without good reason, I think that it would be wise to give it equal consideration in this case. The Noahic narrative explains the genetic bottleneck.

  36. 36
    Bantay says:

    Canuckian…..I would recommend Ross and Rana’s book “Who Was Adam?”

  37. 37
    rhampton7 says:

    Catholic theology agrees that the material mechanism (true contingency) of Evolution poses no threat nor barrier to Catholicism:

    69. The current scientific debate about the mechanisms at work in evolution requires theological comment insofar as it sometimes implies a misunderstanding of the nature of divine causality. Many neo-Darwinian scientists, as well as some of their critics, have concluded that, if evolution is a radically contingent materialistic process driven by natural selection and random genetic variation, then there can be no place in it for divine providential causality. A growing body of scientific critics of neo-Darwinism point to evidence of design (e.g., biological structures that exhibit specified complexity) that, in their view, cannot be explained in terms of a purely contingent process and that neo-Darwinians have ignored or misinterpreted. The nub of this currently lively disagreement involves scientific observation and generalization concerning whether the available data support inferences of design or chance, and cannot be settled by theology. But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, true contingency in the created order is not incompatible with a purposeful divine providence. Divine causality and created causality radically differ in kind and not only in degree. Thus, even the outcome of a truly contingent natural process can nonetheless fall within God’s providential plan for creation. According to St. Thomas Aquinas: “The effect of divine providence is not only that things should happen somehow, but that they should happen either by necessity or by contingency. Therefore, whatsoever divine providence ordains to happen infallibly and of necessity happens infallibly and of necessity; and that happens from contingency, which the divine providence conceives to happen from contingency” (Summa theologiae, I, q. 22, a. 4 ad 1um). In the Catholic perspective, neo-Darwinians who adduce random genetic variation and natural selection as evidence that the process of evolution is absolutely unguided are straying beyond what can be demonstrated by science. Divine causality can be active in a process that is both contingent and guided. Any evolutionary mechanism that is contingent can only be contingent because God made it so. An unguided evolutionary process – one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence – simply cannot exist because “the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles… It necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence” (Summa theologiae I, q. 22, q. 2).

  38. 38
    mike1962 says:

    Perhaps. Jesus, Luke and Paul were talking to spiritual and philosophical babies. Perhaps Origen and Augustine came along later to takes things up a notch, in due season. Who are you to say they didn’t?

  39. 39
    material.infantacy says:

    Perhaps anything at all — you can fashion it to any form you wish. This is your fundamental, libertarian freedom to decide what is true and what is false in your own personal universe.

    That’s the beauty of Belief, and the treachery of it.

  40. 40
    StephenB says:

    As I pointed out, the International Theological Commission does not speak for the teaching Church. Its role is to advise and speculate on matters that the Teaching Magisterium may or may not rule on. The latter does not always accept the advice of the former, which can, and does, make errors. Providing more quotes from this non-authoritative document will not make it authoritative.

    In this case, (69) the writers are confused because they do not understand that neo-Darwinism is, by definition, an unguided process and cannot, therefore, be reconciled with the Catholic faith. Also, they confuse “contingency,” which falls under Divine causality, with radical contingency, which does not. Hence, they misquote and misuse Aquinas’ passages, which were in no way meant to justify a radically contingent process.

    According to Neo-Darwinism, natural causes such as random variation and natural selection can generate biodiversity in the absence of Divine guidance or planning. This is what mainstream evolutionary biologists mean when they speak of the “Neo-Darwinian” view. For good reason, the Catholic Church rejects this view.

    If, on the other hand, God is thought to have set up, programmed, or directed evolution (defined as common descent), then such a process could be reconciled with a Catholic word view and it would not be a Darwinian process.

  41. 41

    Bantay:

    Rather than deny the biblical narrative out of hand and without good reason, I think that it would be wise to give it equal consideration in this case. The Noahic narrative explains the genetic bottleneck.

    Well, no, it doesn’t. A bottleneck of several thousand is not a bottleneck of 8.

    And if the biblical narrative is wrong on the numbers (as it must be), why give it “equal consideration”? Especially when it is also wrong on the flood!

    And on the timeline, unless you think the bottleneck occurred about 4,000 years ago. If you think it occurred 70,000 years ago, where is the evidence that people were capable of writing down scripture 70,000 ago?

    And if you think that a bottleneck of 8, 4,000 years ago would leave the same genetic evidence as a bottleneck of several thousand, 70,000 years ago, then there’s a heck of a lot of explaining to do before you can claim that “The bottleneck modern science has only recently discovered that fits the biblical (Noahic) narrative perfectly”!

  42. 42
    mike1962 says:

    You’re assuming the Gospels are “his written word” in the first place. Maybe they aren’t.

  43. 43
    Bantay says:

    Elizabeth, you seem to be approaching this topic with some assumptions that I think we should examine closer. For example, you said here…

    “And if the biblical narrative is wrong on the numbers (as it must be), why give it “equal consideration”? Especially when it is also wrong on the flood!”

    Elizabeth, what is the positive evidence that the biblical account of Noah was wrong on the numbers of people surviving the flood? Also, you seem to be very sure the Bible is wrong on the flood. Which flood? A global or a local flood? A local flood is both plausible and well supported in context, but that’s not very convenient for someone who is looking for a way out is it?

    Here you have this to say “And on the timeline, unless you think the bottleneck occurred about 4,000 years ago. If you think it occurred 70,000 years ago, where is the evidence that people were capable of writing down scripture 70,000 ago?”

    There is no good reason to suggest that I think the bottleneck occured 4000 years ago, since that is not what I believe. And the fact that genetic evidence may show a bottleneck 70,000 years ago has nothing at all to do with when the text was first penned. Please, don’t degenerate the discussion to some petty attack on textual inerrancy.

    Genesis describes some scientific truths unknown to modern science until just recently, like the big bang and cosmic expansion et etc). Since the Bible is true on these scientific facts, wouldn’t it be wise to consider other scientific facts as having their best explanation from the biblical narrative instead of holding out for some purely naturalistic science to be more likely, which in some cases (multiverse, macroevolution et etc) requires greater faith if only due to a corresponding lack of positive evidence for such modern day myth-making in the name of science?

    In any case,since the genetic bottleneck did not take place at the time the text was penned, but thousands of years prior, it would seems to me that attacking the Bible with baseless assertions of it being “wrong on the numbers” and that “it must be wrong” are best explained as your unwillingness to consider the biblical (Noahic) narrative as being true, not because you have made a good case against it, but because perhaps you just don’t want it to be true.

  44. 44
    Mung says:

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    Especially when the actual events are contradictory? (As you’d expect from an oral tradition, of course).

    I thought you were going to stop lying.

  45. 45
    bevets says:

    Theistic evolution may be defined as an anesthetic which deadens the patient’s pain while atheism removes his religion. ~ William Jennings Bryan

  46. 46
    bevets says:

    Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience; . . . Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know. ~ James Barr Regius Professor of Hebrew at Christ Church, Oxford

  47. 47
    material.infantacy says:

    Maybe they are.

  48. 48
    ScottAndrews says:

    Christians hold that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that what it says is both true and is what God intended to communicate.
    There are many lines of evidence, often corroborated by science and history, but not scientific in nature. Anyone looking for science to validate the Bible is likely to be disappointed.

    From the standpoint of those who accept the Bible, the Gospels accurately reflect what Jesus said and did, whether the words are exact or not. We don’t view it as someone writing down what he heard passed through a dozen people. That would make a pretty lousy holy book, and would suggest that God was incapable of producing the book he intended to. If I believed that I’d chuck my Bible in the trash.

    The trouble is that now the ones diluting it are the ones who are supposed to be teaching it. Suddenly Jesus didn’t say or mean this or that. Adam was allegorical. Current morality judges the Bible instead of the other way around.

    The Bible is a book for people who seek divine wisdom, not for those who use themselves as the standards by which to measure it.

  49. 49

    Elizabeth, you seem to be approaching this topic with some assumptions that I think we should examine closer.

    OK

    For example, you said here…

    “And if the biblical narrative is wrong on the numbers (as it must be), why give it “equal consideration”? Especially when it is also wrong on the flood!”

    Elizabeth, what is the positive evidence that the biblical account of Noah was wrong on the numbers of people surviving the flood?

    Well, firstly there is no evidence fo a global flood to survive. Secondly the evidence for the bottleneck suggests several thousand.

    Also, you seem to be very sure the Bible is wrong on the flood. Which flood? A global or a local flood? A local flood is both plausible and well supported in context, but that’s not very convenient for someone who is looking for a way out is it?

    Well, you talked about “the bottleneck modern science has only recently discovered that fits the biblical (Noahic) narrative perfectly”. I’m not seeing a bottleneck that fits the Noahic story perfectly.

    Here you have this to say “And on the timeline, unless you think the bottleneck occurred about 4,000 years ago. If you think it occurred 70,000 years ago, where is the evidence that people were capable of writing down scripture 70,000 ago?”

    There is no good reason to suggest that I think the bottleneck occured 4000 years ago, since that is not what I believe.

    Well, that’s why I suggested you might believe it happened 70,000 years ago. But that would be a bit odd, because the manuscript is much more recent.

    And the fact that genetic evidence may show a bottleneck 70,000 years ago has nothing at all to do with when the text was first penned. Please, don’t degenerate the discussion to some petty attack on textual inerrancy.

    It wasn’t supposed to be a “petty attack on textual inerrancy. I just don’t see any reason to think that a population bottleneck about 70,000 years ago has much to do with a creation myth about a global flood with 8 survivors, dating from much more recently.

    Genesis describes some scientific truths unknown to modern science until just recently, like the big bang and cosmic expansion et etc).

    Well, not really.

    Since the Bible is true on these scientific facts, wouldn’t it be wise to consider other scientific facts as having their best explanation from the biblical narrative instead of holding out for some purely naturalistic science to be more likely, which in some cases (multiverse, macroevolution et etc) requires greater faith if only due to a corresponding lack of positive evidence for such modern day myth-making in the name of science?

    Well, no. I just don’t share your view of science vs creation myths. I think science is more reliable, if what we are after is a model that fits actual events. If you want an inspiring story, though, myths are pretty good.

    In any case,since the genetic bottleneck did not take place at the time the text was penned, but thousands of years prior, it would seems to me that attacking the Bible with baseless assertions of it being “wrong on the numbers” and that “it must be wrong” are best explained as your unwillingness to consider the biblical (Noahic) narrative as being true, not because you have made a good case against it, but because perhaps you just don’t want it to be true.

    Well, your claim seemed to be that the science fit the Noahic narrative perfectly. Apart from the fact that there are bottlenecks in both, I don’t see that it does fit the narrative perfectly, and in terms of the numbers, there is a huge discrepancy.

    If it fits at all, it seems to me it fits pretty imperfectly.

  50. 50

    StephenB – My original response seems to have got lost for some reason, so I’ll try again. Apologies if it turns up somewhere I can’t find it!

    Which part did he think was silly and why? I gather he does not identify with Catholicism, though is sounds as if he was given some semblance of a Catholic education. (I say “semblance” because American Catholics are typically given inaccurate information about their own Church from Catholic-in-name-only educators).

    He was educated at an excellent British catholic school, and the materials were diocesan materials.

    He thought the idea of there being lots of adult human beings around, and suddenly two of them having souls and not the rest was pretty silly.

    He was serious about his religion, though. In fact I think that’s what bothered him – he felt he was being fobbed off with a story that made no sense.

  51. 51
    Mung says:

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    Why do people rule out the possibility that Jesus was not quoted verbatim? The gospels were written substantially after his death, and presumably up till then, stories had been passed on orally.

    Oh, so now your an expert on this as well?

    How long after Jesus’ ascension were the Gospels written?

    How do you know the extent to which they were or were not compiled from earlier written sources?

  52. 52
    Ilion says:

    She’s an expert on that as well because she’s an expert doubter … that is, an expert at doubting anything which contradicts God-denial; anything that can be see as supporting God-denial, she can joyfully accede to.

    In her first post to me (at any rate, the first I noticed or recall), the “argument” she presented to “refute” an argument I had presented was this: “Do you ever consider that you may be wrong?” — it was at that moment that I grasped that her approach toward argumentation will be fundamentally passive-aggressive … and possibly intellectually dishonest, too.

  53. 53

    If I ever start lying, Mung, I assure you, I will stop.

  54. 54

    Not an expert, Mung, but I have read a good deal. Do you think that the gospel writers were working from contemporaneous written notes?

    I don’t know of any scholars who think so, and there is at least a substantial body of scholarship that regards “Q”, for instance, as an oral source.

    Ilion: yes, my stance is to regard conclusions as provisional, and subject to adjustment in response to infirming data. It’s the basic scientific stance – you fit models to data, not the other way round.

    It’s not a “passive-aggressive” stance – or, at any rate, if you think that considering that one might be mistaken is “passive-aggressive” then you are not using that term in a way with which I am familiar.

    And I’m not exactly “an expert at doubting anything which contradicts God-denial”. It took me 50 years to get as far as doubting God at all. I’m still not very good at it.

    Oh, btw, I put up a post for you at my site:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=129

    I tried to put a link at your blog, but I’m not sure it got through.

    Please feel free to comment at my blog – comments are open to anyone.

  55. 55
    Bantay says:

    Elizabeth, I believe you have read much, but not enough of what you need to read to be fully informed on the issue here. And you even outright deny what is true. Let me expose this for your benefit.

    I earlier said “Genesis describes some scientific truths unknown to modern science until just recently, like the big bang and cosmic expansion et etc).”

    And your reply was only “Well, not really”. Yes, really. If you were better informed about it instead of dogmatically denying it, then you may have commented differently.

    Good science has with a certainty only excelled by the certainty of gravity established that the universe began from nothing, from no pre-existing material, about 14.XX billion years ago. The Bible describes this scientific truth in it’s very first verse, Genesis 1:1, where the word “created” is used. The Hebrew word for “created” is “bara”, which means to bring forth something brand new by divine fiat. Thus, the Bible in it’s first verse accurately describes what modern science has only just recently discovered, that the universe began from nothing natural.

    Why nothing natural? Because the universe consists of all matter, energy, space and time. All of these components began to exist a finite time ago. This means that they were absent from existence a finite time ago. The absence of all matter, energy, space and time is reasonably referred to as “nothing”, or “nothing natural”.

    Since this recently discovered, profound scientific truth is described in the very first verse of the Bible, then equal consideration should be given the other parts of the Bible that describe our world, and our moral condition as accurately as Genesis 1:1.

    However, if you are as uninformed on the other contents of the Bible as you are the biblical description of some scientific truths, then I think you have little more to say on the issue that others would consider reasonable.

    Here you say ” firstly there is no evidence fo a global flood to survive. Secondly the evidence for the bottleneck suggests several thousand.”

    I also mentioned a local flood, and that that was plausible and supported in context as well. You had a very interesting silence on this latter point.

    Here you say “I just don’t see any reason to think that a population bottleneck about 70,000 years ago has much to do with a creation myth about a global flood with 8 survivors, dating from much more recently.”

    That’s right. You don’t see it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. A population bottleneck appx 70,000 years ago is important because it is a scientific fact that demonstrates a consistency with what the Bible describes, the men coming from a direct line of Adam, while the women would have come from other family lines eventually originating from Eve.

    Again, if good science demonstrates a consistency with what the Bible described thousands of years ago, then I think it would be wise to consider other scientific truths of the Bible.

    You say here “I just don’t share your view of science vs creation myths. I think science is more reliable, if what we are after is a model that fits actual events. If you want an inspiring story, though, myths are pretty good.”

    I don’t have a view of “science vs creation myths”. Though there are many myths, including the myths of scientism and naturalism, the biblical creation account does not fall into that category. You will disagree. That’s okay. Since there are scientific facts in the Bible, we can predict that such facts will be consistent with what modern science discovers or will discover. So far, that has been the rule and not the exception.

  56. 56

    Bantay: First of all, my original comment concerned your implication that recent scientific evidence “fits the biblical (Noahic) narrative perfectly”. It seems to me it doesn’t fit it perfectly. It may touch on a few truths here and there, but the fit to the scientific model, is, I’d say, is self-evidently, poor. There is no evidence for a global flood; why would a local flood leave a population bottleneck at all? And why would people tens of thousands of years later write about it?

    Elizabeth, I believe you have read much, but not enough of what you need to read to be fully informed on the issue here. And you even outright deny what is true. Let me expose this for your benefit.

    I earlier said “Genesis describes some scientific truths unknown to modern science until just recently, like the big bang and cosmic expansion et etc).” And your reply was only “Well, not really”. Yes, really. If you were better informed about it instead of dogmatically denying it, then you may have commented differently.

    Genesis does mentions neither big bang nor cosmic expansion. The only overlap I can see is that both the scientific and Genesis accounts say there was a beginning. But so do lots of creation myths.

    Good science has with a certainty only excelled by the certainty of gravity established that the universe began from nothing, from no pre-existing material, about 14.XX billion years ago. The Bible describes this scientific truth in it’s very first verse, Genesis 1:1, where the word “created” is used. The Hebrew word for “created” is “bara”, which means to bring forth something brand new by divine fiat. Thus, the Bible in it’s first verse accurately describes what modern science has only just recently discovered, that the universe began from nothing natural.

    “Accurately”?

    Why nothing natural? Because the universe consists of all matter, energy, space and time. All of these components began to exist a finite time ago. This means that they were absent from existence a finite time ago. The absence of all matter, energy, space and time is reasonably referred to as “nothing”, or “nothing natural”.

    Since this recently discovered, profound scientific truth is described in the very first verse of the Bible, then equal consideration should be given the other parts of the Bible that describe our world, and our moral condition as accurately as Genesis 1:1.

    This makes no sense to me. Because Genesis, in common with just about every other creation myth describes a “beginning” and so does science (well, depending on whether you consider cyclical models) – that therefore everything the bible says should be given “equal consideration”? What about other myths that match no more or less well?

    However, if you are as uninformed on the other contents of the Bible as you are the biblical description of some scientific truths, then I think you have little more to say on the issue that others would consider reasonable.

    Well, I’m reasonably well informed.

    Here you say ” firstly there is no evidence fo a global flood to survive. Secondly the evidence for the bottleneck suggests several thousand.”

    I also mentioned a local flood, and that that was plausible and supported in context as well. You had a very interesting silence on this latter point.

    But a local flood wouldn’t be “accurate” nor would it account for the bottleneck. There does seem to have been a global catastrophe, but the evidence suggest a supervolcano.

    Here you say “I just don’t see any reason to think that a population bottleneck about 70,000 years ago has much to do with a creation myth about a global flood with 8 survivors, dating from much more recently.”

    That’s right. You don’t see it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. A population bottleneck appx 70,000 years ago is important because it is a scientific fact that demonstrates a consistency with what the Bible describes, the men coming from a direct line of Adam, while the women would have come from other family lines eventually originating from Eve.

    But it isn’t consistent with a bottleneck of eight! And if it wasn’t a bottleneck of eight, with one patriarch, why would you expect that pattern, except for the mechanism I described (more children per man than per woman)? And if you do invoke that mechanism, then the bible story is irrelevant!

    Again, if good science demonstrates a consistency with what the Bible described thousands of years ago, then I think it would be wise to consider other scientific truths of the Bible.

    I find this rather extraordinary. There are lots of flood myths as well as non-flood creation myths. None of them, including the biblical one, bear much resemblance to what science has revealed, although they may touch on it in points (hard not to touch on it at some point). So why pick one as more accurate than the others, and why, when it is obviously discrepant from the science, grant it any other factual truth?

    You say here “I just don’t share your view of science vs creation myths. I think science is more reliable, if what we are after is a model that fits actual events. If you want an inspiring story, though, myths are pretty good.”

    I don’t have a view of “science vs creation myths”. Though there are many myths,

    There certainly are.

    including the myths of scientism and naturalism,

    hrrrmm

    the biblical creation account does not fall into that category. You will disagree.

    Well, I do, rather! Not only is it one myth, but two! Rather good myths actually. I don’t knock myths.

    That’s okay. Since there are scientific facts in the Bible, we can predict that such facts will be consistent with what modern science discovers or will discover. So far, that has been the rule and not the exception.

    So what about the order of creation? Day and night, and even vegetation, before the sun? What about that water dividing part? Birds before land animals? In what way are these “consistent with what modern science” has discovered?

  57. 57
    rhampton7 says:

    Because the Protestant Reformation removed the need for a central theological/doctrinal authority (the Roman Catholic Church), Sola Scriptura rests on the ability of millions of individual to accurately and independently interpret the Bible. And as the number of Protestant sects clearly demonstrates, this does not beget a unified nor unquestionable theology – quite the opposite, in fact.

    A perfect example of this flaw in Sola Scriptura is evidenced by Martin Luther himself, as he dismissed Galileo’s theory in favor of Geocentricism:

    “Scripture simply says that the moon, the sun, and the stars were placed in the firmament of the heaven, below and above which heaven are the waters… It is likely that the stars are fastened to the firmament like globes of fire, to shed light at night”

    “…We Christians must be different from the philosophers in the way we think about the causes of things. And if some are beyond our comprehension like those before us concerning the waters above the heavens, we must believe them rather than wickedly deny them or presumptuously interpret them in conformity with our understanding.”
    – Luther’s Works. Vol. 1. Lectures on Genesis, 1958

    If Martin Luther was led astray by his erroneous conviction in Sola Scriptura & literal Biblical interpretion, what hope has the rest of his followers?

  58. 58
    Bantay says:

    Elizabeth

    I am glad to see you are now asking questions, not making rash statements. I will do my best to answer your questions.

    Your first question was “There is no evidence for a global flood; why would a local flood leave a population bottleneck at all? And why would people tens of thousands of years later write about it?”

    I agree there is no reasonable evidence for a global flood. That a flood is local or global has no bearing on the fact that a genetic bottleneck is evident. The flood does not explain the bottleneck, the biblical (Noahic) narrative does. And why would somebody write about it tens of thousands of years later? Why not write about it? Maybe becuase it is part of the story of the history of modern humanity, considered by the author to be important enough to share with others. And why not?

    Your next question was “Genesis does mentions neither big bang nor cosmic expansion. The only overlap I can see is that both the scientific and Genesis accounts say there was a beginning. But so do lots of creation myths.”

    True, Genesis does not use the words “big bang” or “cosmic expansion”, but it does describe those events in other terms, as I have shown earlier. How would a person several thousand years ago have the factual, scientific knowledge of how the universe began and that it was expanding..just the way modern science has discovered it to be doing?

    You also mention that there are other creation myths. This is true. However, only the biblical creation story is reported from the perspective of being independent of nature. In other words, creation myths are reported from a perspective of taking place within nature, while only the biblical creation narrative is shared from a perspective of being independent of nature…..EXACTLY what would be required of a universe being created from nothing.

    Here you said “Genesis, in common with just about every other creation myth describes a “beginning” and so does science (well, depending on whether you consider cyclical models) – that therefore everything the bible says should be given “equal consideration”? What about other myths that match no more or less well?”

    Please see the latter reply directly above the quote.

    Here you said…”But a local flood wouldn’t be “accurate” nor would it account for the bottleneck. There does seem to have been a global catastrophe, but the evidence suggest a supervolcano.”

    I am not aware of any evidence suggesting that a local flood could not have happened as part of a divine judgment, while some severe volcanic activity occurring simultaneously. However, I find your statment very interesting. Why wouldn’t a local flood be accurate? Is there some kind of evidence against a local flood in the Mesopotamian Basic between 50 and 100 thousand years ago?

    You said here “But it isn’t consistent with a bottleneck of eight!” I think you are just being flippant here. Obviously a genetic bottleneck could mean a very few or a relatively few, which could mean as many as 1000, which would have originated with as few as 8. The main point is that the bottleneck is consistent with the Noahic narrative, while modern science has no reasonable alternative. In other words, the biblical version is the best one to date. All things considered, including other scientific truths the Bible has accurately described in terms equivalent to other terms used in modern science, I think any serious, objective consideration of a genetic bottleneck should also consider the biblical narrative as a source of information on actual, historical events of early humanity. To dismiss the Bible out of hand as a source of information pertaining to the genetic bottleneck is foolish, biased and unscientific.

    Here you state ” There are lots of flood myths as well as non-flood creation myths.”

    This is true. I have already touched on the creation aspect, and I think if you were better informed on the issues you would not be so eager to mention flood myths, since it is well known that the biblical flood account is distinct, not similar, to flood myths. I would be happy to go into detail on this latter aspect, but perhaps it deserves a thread of its own, perhaps entitled “A Flood Of Flood Accounts! Which One Is True?”

    You asked here….”So why pick one as more accurate than the others, and why, when it is obviously discrepant from the science, grant it any other factual truth?”

    Is the evidence so strong against a local flood in the Mesopotamian Basin between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago as to conclusively rule it out?

    And finally, I am glad you asked the following:

    “So what about the order of creation? Day and night, and even vegetation, before the sun? What about that water dividing part? Birds before land animals? In what way are these “consistent with what modern science” has discovered?”

    This again reflects your evident lack of information on the issue. If you were better informed, you would know that I am not a young earth creationist, a view that your stated critical question reflects. However, there is no problem with the order of creation from an Old Earth creation perspective.

    On this view, during the first “day” (a relative time period of undetermined length of time, could be billions of years), the universe came into being, including stars, the planet earth, sun and moon. Since the universe is all of nature, all matter, energy, space and time, it is a profound deduction that the universe began from nothing natural.

    This period of time ends with the heavy gaseous atmosphere being removed due to the super collision between a Mars sized object and the earth that resulted in the moon. Due to these events, the final event of this time period is that light became visible from the perspective of the surface of the earth.

    On “day” two, the earth would have cooled and stabilized sufficiently for water to be in abundance in liquid form.

    So far, we have several undetermined time periods that could be billions of years long, a planet with light, a stable ecology and liquid water.

    On “day” three, primeval plant life began, including microbial plant and animal life, in preparation for the food and environmental needs of later, more advanced forms of life.

    “Day” four, the atmosphere thins more due to the work of greenhouse gas eating microbes, so much so that light penetrates the atmosphere in a transparent way, so that stars and the sun become directly visible.

    “Day” five, Birds, whales and sea mammals (“swarms of living creatures,” where “creatures” is the Hebrew word nephesh, referring to soulish animals – those that can form relationships with humans) were created which would correspond to the end of the Cretaceous period/beginning of the Tertiary.

    On “Day” six, the “beasts of the earth” are created(in Genesis 1:25 the Hebrew word is chayyah, which is best translated as “wild animal,” usually referring to carnivorous mammals and the cattle (the Hebrew word is behemah, from which we get the word behemoth, the artiodactyls (large grazing mammals) appeared, and the rodents (mammals that “creep on the ground”). Therefore, the wild and domesticated mammals and rodents were created on the sixth day as well as pre-human bipeds. Finally, modern human beings were created at the end of the sixth time period of undetermined length, the pinnacle and culmination of all creative activity.

    Thus, your critical questions have been answered with the biblical narrative that is consistent with what good science has only recently discovered. For scientific paper citations and other details, including a better overview of the scientific evidence for God in the Old Earth creation view, I would recommend “Creator And The Cosmos”, by Dr. Hugh Ross

    http://www.amazon.com/Creator-.....1576832880

    If you have other questions, I would be glad to answer them.

  59. 59

    Bantay:

    Elizabeth

    I am glad to see you are now asking questions, not making rash statements. I will do my best to answer your questions.

    Well, OK, but remember that I have been commenting, throughout, on your allusion to: “The bottleneck modern science has only recently discovered that fits the biblical (Noahic) narrative perfectly”, and my “rash statements” have been to query this alleged “perfect fit”!

    Your first question was “There is no evidence for a global flood; why would a local flood leave a population bottleneck at all? And why would people tens of thousands of years later write about it?”

    I agree there is no reasonable evidence for a global flood. That a flood is local or global has no bearing on the fact that a genetic bottleneck is evident. The flood does not explain the bottleneck, the biblical (Noahic) narrative does. And why would somebody write about it tens of thousands of years later? Why not write about it? Maybe becuase it is part of the story of the history of modern humanity, considered by the author to be important enough to share with others. And why not?

    I just don’t understand your reasoning here. The Noahic narrative is about a flood. How can a narrative about a global flood reducing a population to 8 be a perfect fit to data that indicates no flood and a bottleneck of several thousand? But OK on the timeline – let’s suppose that somehow the story (of whatever led to the bottleneck) got passed down as a legend about a global flood and eight survivors. But then it’s not a perfect fit!

    Your next question was “Genesis does mentions neither big bang nor cosmic expansion. The only overlap I can see is that both the scientific and Genesis accounts say there was a beginning. But so do lots of creation myths.”

    True, Genesis does not use the words “big bang” or “cosmic expansion”, but it does describe those events in other terms, as I have shown earlier. How would a person several thousand years ago have the factual, scientific knowledge of how the universe began and that it was expanding..just the way modern science has discovered it to be doing?

    Well, they wouldn’t – but I don’t see any evidence that they did! How does Genesis I indicate anything that scientists now postulate, apart from the idea of a beginning? Which is common to most creation myths anyway (indeed, it’s why they are called “creation” myths). And it’s not as though the rest of the account bears any resemblance to what scientists now postulate.

    You also mention that there are other creation myths. This is true. However, only the biblical creation story is reported from the perspective of being independent of nature. In other words, creation myths are reported from a perspective of taking place within nature, while only the biblical creation narrative is shared from a perspective of being independent of nature…..EXACTLY what would be required of a universe being created from nothing.

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean. In fact I don’t. How is the biblical story “independent of nature” in a way that others are not?

    Here you said “Genesis, in common with just about every other creation myth describes a “beginning” and so does science (well, depending on whether you consider cyclical models) – that therefore everything the bible says should be given “equal consideration”? What about other myths that match no more or less well?”

    Please see the latter reply directly above the quote.

    Here you said…”But a local flood wouldn’t be “accurate” nor would it account for the bottleneck. There does seem to have been a global catastrophe, but the evidence suggest a supervolcano.”

    I am not aware of any evidence suggesting that a local flood could not have happened as part of a divine judgment, while some severe volcanic activity occurring simultaneously. However, I find your statment very interesting. Why wouldn’t a local flood be accurate? Is there some kind of evidence against a local flood in the Mesopotamian Basic between 50 and 100 thousand years ago?

    Not at all, but that wouldn’t fit the Noahic narrative perfectly!

    You said here “But it isn’t consistent with a bottleneck of eight!” I think you are just being flippant here. Obviously a genetic bottleneck could mean a very few or a relatively few, which could mean as many as 1000, which would have originated with as few as 8.

    No, I’m not being flippant. A “bottleneck” is a narrowest point. If the narrowest point was eight individuals, that would leave a very different genetic fingerprint to a narrowest point of several thousand. There is no evidence for a narrowing to less than 1000 as far as I am aware, and most estimates are of several thousand.

    Just to illustrate:

    If “y chromosome Adam” was a man who was once one member of a population of eight, not only was his the only y chromosome to be passed down thereafter, he was the carrier of half the genetic material for all his descendents, i.e. a maximum of two alleles of any gene(and this only if Noah was heterozygous for every gene), and almost certainly fewer, given that he only had three sons (so the chance of all Noah’s alleles being carried between his sons would be very small). So not only is the bottleneck tiny, half of the allele flow, as it were, must have passed through a single man, Noah, with a maximum band width of two alleles. The other half would have gone through the four women, so a maximum bandwidth of 8 alleles. So that’s a maximum of 10 alleles for any gene, coming off the ark. That’s not consistent with the very science you are claiming in support of the Noahic narrative.

    The main point is that the bottleneck is consistent with the Noahic narrative, while modern science has no reasonable alternative.

    Of course it has! What is unreasonable about any of the alternatives?

    In other words, the biblical version is the best one to date. All things considered, including other scientific truths the Bible has accurately described in terms equivalent to other terms used in modern science, I think any serious, objective consideration of a genetic bottleneck should also consider the biblical narrative as a source of information on actual, historical events of early humanity. To dismiss the Bible out of hand as a source of information pertaining to the genetic bottleneck is foolish, biased and unscientific.

    Well, no – the biblical narrative is at odds with the science at all kinds of points.

    Here you state ” There are lots of flood myths as well as non-flood creation myths.”

    This is true. I have already touched on the creation aspect, and I think if you were better informed on the issues you would not be so eager to mention flood myths, since it is well known that the biblical flood account is distinct, not similar, to flood myths. I would be happy to go into detail on this latter aspect, but perhaps it deserves a thread of its own, perhaps entitled “A Flood Of Flood Accounts! Which One Is True?”

    You asked here….”So why pick one as more accurate than the others, and why, when it is obviously discrepant from the science, grant it any other factual truth?”

    Is the evidence so strong against a local flood in the Mesopotamian Basin between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago as to conclusively rule it out?

    No, it’s not. But that’s not what you were suggesting. Most legends probably have some basis in histories, but that doesn’t mean we can rely on them for history, and certainly not when they are at odds with other evidence.

    And finally, I am glad you asked the following:

    “So what about the order of creation? Day and night, and even vegetation, before the sun? What about that water dividing part? Birds before land animals? In what way are these “consistent with what modern science” has discovered?”

    This again reflects your evident lack of information on the issue. If you were better informed, you would know that I am not a young earth creationist, a view that your stated critical question reflects. However, there is no problem with the order of creation from an Old Earth creation perspective.

    OK, well, I guess if you can figure out a way of making it fit, then fine. But then you are fitting your story to the science, and you can’t then claim that the science supports the story.

    On this view, during the first “day” (a relative time period of undetermined length of time, could be billions of years), the universe came into being, including stars, the planet earth, sun and moon. Since the universe is all of nature, all matter, energy, space and time, it is a profound deduction that the universe began from nothing natural.

    This period of time ends with the heavy gaseous atmosphere being removed due to the super collision between a Mars sized object and the earth that resulted in the moon. Due to these events, the final event of this time period is that light became visible from the perspective of the surface of the earth.

    On “day” two, the earth would have cooled and stabilized sufficiently for water to be in abundance in liquid form.

    So far, we have several undetermined time periods that could be billions of years long, a planet with light, a stable ecology and liquid water.

    On “day” three, primeval plant life began, including microbial plant and animal life, in preparation for the food and environmental needs of later, more advanced forms of life.

    “Day” four, the atmosphere thins more due to the work of greenhouse gas eating microbes, so much so that light penetrates the atmosphere in a transparent way, so that stars and the sun become directly visible.

    “Day” five, Birds, whales and sea mammals (“swarms of living creatures,” where “creatures” is the Hebrew word nephesh, referring to soulish animals – those that can form relationships with humans) were created which would correspond to the end of the Cretaceous period/beginning of the Tertiary.

    On “Day” six, the “beasts of the earth” are created(in Genesis 1:25 the Hebrew word is chayyah, which is best translated as “wild animal,” usually referring to carnivorous mammals and the cattle (the Hebrew word is behemah, from which we get the word behemoth, the artiodactyls (large grazing mammals) appeared, and the rodents (mammals that “creep on the ground”). Therefore, the wild and domesticated mammals and rodents were created on the sixth day as well as pre-human bipeds. Finally, modern human beings were created at the end of the sixth time period of undetermined length, the pinnacle and culmination of all creative activity.

    Thus, your critical questions have been answered with the biblical narrative that is consistent with what good science has only recently discovered. For scientific paper citations and other details, including a better overview of the scientific evidence for God in the Old Earth creation view, I would recommend “Creator And The Cosmos”, by Dr. Hugh Ross

    http://www.amazon.com/Creator-…..1576832880

    If you have other questions, I would be glad to answer them.

    Well, thanks, but I have to say, I don’t find any of the above convincing at all. It seems to be a very tortuous way of fitting a story to scientific evidence, and even then is at odds with that evidence (when were dinosaurs in your story? How come the artiodactyls preceded the whales?)

    And then you have to change it all again when you get to Genesis II!

    Anyway, I do appreciate the trouble you have taken to explain your position. Thank you.

    Cheers

    Lizzie

  60. 60
    Bantay says:

    Lizzie

    Good day to you, and thanks for replying. Just a few, brief comments in reply to yours.

    You say here…

    “I just don’t understand your reasoning here. The Noahic narrative is about a flood. How can a narrative about a global flood reducing a population to 8 be a perfect fit to data that indicates no flood and a bottleneck of several thousand?”

    It’s true, the Noahic narrative is about the flood, but there are other details in the narrative than just the flood itself. One of those details that is consistent with modern findings, is that there is a small group of people who, given their lineages, fit the genetic bottleneck.

    You also said here “Most legends probably have some basis in histories, but that doesn’t mean we can rely on them for history, and certainly not when they are at odds with other evidence.”

    In addition to not stating exactly what is the positive evidence for the Noahic flood being even partly mythological, you still have not stated a single iota of positive evidence that shows a Noahic, local flood did not happen at all. So what’s this supposed “other evidence” that it is at odds with?

    And here you say “But then you are fitting your story to the science, and you can’t then claim that the science supports the story.”

    I am not fitting the story to science. I am simply showing that there is no inconsistency with what the natural record shows through good science, and what the biblical creation narrative explains via an old earth perspective. And another point, I don’t seek science to validate what the Bible says. If the creation narrative is what really happened, then we can test it for discrepancies by comparing it to the natural record. As I have shown, point by point, creation day by creation day from an old-earth creation perspective, modern science shows a consistency between the two. My point was, since they are so much in agreement on issues pertaining to the origin of the universe and ecological development over billions of years, then there is no reasonable reason to out of hand dismiss the Bible as a source of other accurate scientific information.

    Here you say, in response to my very brief summary of how the old-earth creation perspective is consistent with findings of modern science….

    “It seems to be a very tortuous way of fitting a story to scientific evidence..”

    Elizabeth, the terms from the original Hebrew that support the Bible first describing a universe beginning, expanding, and other creation related passages are not tortuously fit. They are very literal, just understood in a different context than the usual young earth creation perspective.

    The young earth view is much easier to attack….which is why you leaped to attack with your temporarily smug comment….until you found out I was not a young earth creationist.

    Apparently, you have no real argument against what I have provided in my summary of the old earth creation view being consistent with the findings of modern science. You did have another question though, so I will address it next.

    “when were dinosaurs in your story?”

    Dinosaurs would have come and gone by the time modern man first appeared. Thus, the undetermined length of time between the beginning of creation “day” 5 and the end of creation “day” 6, when modern man first appears, would have been millions of years long.

    You asked “How come the artiodactyls preceded the whales?”

    This is only a problem if one holds to the Darwinian just-so fairytale. Imposing the Darwinian, macroevolutionary myth on good science is not necessary when better options are available.

    The artiodactyls mentioned above is referring to some types of grazing mammals, not necessarily all grazing mammals.

    And, artiodactyles may have similar body parts as whales, but this is easily explained through convergence. The assumption of “transitional” is simply imposed on the data, not a result from testing and observation…..good science.

    Since there is no testable, conclusive evidence that whales descended from artiodactyls, I don’t see your question as being problematic. I think artiodactyls are best explained and more consistent with what we actually do see in how engineers re-use parts that work well, demonstrated in nature. Whales and artiodactyls were created independently, sharing similar, well working body parts, evolving small changes with little net change over time (evolving within the “kinds” that Genesis 1 mentions).

    If you think morphologically similar traits between artiodactyls and whales are evidence of macroevolution to whales, then I suggest you consider your own words offered to me earlier.

    ” It seems to be a very tortuous way of fitting a story to scientific evidence,”

    or consider the miracle that must have taken place for all the required muskulo-skeletal, reproductive, neuro, behavioral and other physiological changes that needed to have taken place for such a leap from land mammal to whale over 12 million years only to result in 40 million years of stasis stretches both the imagination and scientific credibility.

    And finally, you say here “And then you have to change it all again when you get to Genesis II!”

    I think you are unprepared to engage in serious criticism of the biblical narrative. Read in context, Genesis 2 is not meant to be a copy of Genesis 1. Genesis 1 is the account of the creation of the universe and life on planet earth as it happened in chronological sequence, a sequence that is consistent with what modern science has only recently discovered. Genesis 2 is simply a contextual, expanded explanation of the events that occurred at the end of the sixth creation day.

    Best regards

  61. 61
    rhampton7 says:

    Bantay,

    Remember that the bottleneck refers to Early Modern Man, so those figures do not include the existing Neanderthal populations.

    Also, the bottleneck happened during the Middle Paleolithic Age. Tools at that time were fashioned out of stone and bone, unlike the bronze axes and cooper saws a Bronze Age figure like Noah (as understood by Biblicists like Answers in Genesis) is presumed to have used. Furthermore, the stone axe at the time of the bottleneck was just a large, hand-held stone — the handle (haft) was not invented until the Neolithic Age, circ. 6,000 BC. Likewise for quality braided rope. I can’t imagine an ark being built with such limited technology.

  62. 62
    Bantay says:

    Rhampton7 and Elizabeth

    I’m not a young earth creationist, but I would like to add some clarification, with citations from scientific papers.

    The predicted discrepancy for molecular dates of mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome data as being the bottleneck of modern man (as in, post-Noah humanity) is actually seen in the scientific literature. The mitochondrial data makes an approximate time period for women of around 70,000 to 100,000 years (other less conservative estimates put it to 150,000 years ago)(A), while the Y-chromosomal data sets the date of distinctly modern humans between 35,000 and 50,000 years ago (other, less conservative estimates put this to 90,000 years ago)(B). With the conservative figures, that puts the bottleneck between the Middle Paleolithic and the Upper Paleolithic. Middle Paleolithic humans were adept at creating stone-tipped spears, which were the earliest composite tools, by hafting sharp, pointy stone flakes onto wooden shafts. This level of technology, more sophisticated than simply a stone tied to a stick.

    If the most conservative estimates are used, the Upper Paleolithic, then there would be little to object to since that technology was by far, more than sufficient to craft a vessel the size of the ark.

    The main point though, is that the discrepancy between Y-chromosomal Adam (so-called) and Mitochondrial Eve (so-called) is within a date range that the Noahic narrative could reasonably include. Thus, what science has only recently discovered is shown to be consistent with what the biblical (Noahic) narrative has already described thousands of years ago.

    (A) Elizabeth Pennisi, “Tracking the Sexes by Their Genomes,” Science 291 (2001) 1733-1734; Carl Zimmer, “After You, Eve,” Natural History, March 2001, 52-53

    (B)Jason A, Wilder, et al, “Genetic Evidence for Unequal Effective Population Sizes of Human Females and Males,” Molecular Biology and Evolution 21 (2004); 2047-2057

  63. 63

    Bantay – thank you for your substantial response, but I have to take issue with this:

    I am not fitting the story to science. I am simply showing that there is no inconsistency with what the natural record shows through good science, and what the biblical creation narrative explains via an old earth perspective.

    As I tried to explain, “good science” is not consistent with a bottleneck through which a maximum of 10 human alleles per gene could pass, 4 for each of the animals taken by twos, and 14 for the animals taken by sevens.

    And to be consistent with the Ark narrative, it would have to be.

    Unless you are suggesting that the Noah story wasn’t really about a bottleneck across all species, the bandwidth for the majority being no more than 4 alleles, and that for humans, 10.

  64. 64
    Bantay says:

    Elizabeth

    Again, you are uninformed on the biblical narrative portion at least. The genetic bottleneck of mention has little to do with non-human animals and even less to do with all animals. Being a local flood, it would have only affected animal groups limited to the Mesopotamian Basin, which would also have been the geological extent of modern human activity. In fact, the studies I cited above and will cite below are expressly concerned with only the human genome. As such, there is no reasonable reason to insert irrelevant topics into the discussion. Let’s stay on topic please.

    You have again made references, uncited and apparently baseless pertaining to allele counts. Evidently, you have not taken heteroplasmy into consideration. (A) (B) Studies have shown that heteroplasmy (the addition of another type of mitochondrial DNA) can drastically alter the conventional molecular clock upon which standard model mitochondrial DNA measurements are based. Studies have shown that heteroplasmy occurs in up to 20% of populations and suggests a mutation rate for Mitochondrial DNA of roughly one every 40 generations (one every 800 years), a rate 7 to 15 times faster than the old rate. (C)

    When heteroplasmy is considered, the date of a Mitochondrial Eve (so called) becomes more recent. Using the outdated Darwinian assumptions of mutation rates based on the ape-to-man myth, the estimated age of so-called Eve was 150,000 years old. The more recent, heteroplasmy consideration brings it to a more recent 12,000 to 20,000 years. Further studies on some European populations brought an adjusted measurement of heteroplasmy, and, when averaged with the results from the earlier studies, indicated a mutation rate of one per 60 generations (one in about 1200 years). (D) With this adjustment, the mitochondrial date for Eve would be consistent with other, substantial archaeological data that supports an age of Mitochondrial Eve of around 50,000 years ago, a date consistent with a literal reading of the creation narrative from an old-earth perspective.

    This demonstrates that the findings of good science are consistent with what the Bible has described for thousands of years.

    (A) Loewe, L and Scherer, S. ‘Mitochondrial Eve: the plot thickens.’ Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 12(11):422–423, November 1997.

    (B) Gibbons, A. ‘Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock’. Science 279(5347):28–29, January 2, 1998

    (C) Parsons, T.J. et al ‘A high observed substitution rate in the human mitochondrial DNA control region’, Nature Genetics Vol. 15: 363–368, 1997

    (D) Ann Gibbons, “Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock,” Science, 279 (1998)

  65. 65

    Well, Bantay, I’m just not sure at all know what your point about the science fitting the narrative “perfectly” actually is. The narrative says a global flood that destroyed every living thing apart from the ones on the ark.

    The science says something very different.

    I guess if you want to interpret the story to fit the science, that’s fine, but it doesn’t seem to me that the science fits the story very well.

    As for the allele counts – how many alleles per gene do you think there were on the ark, at least for the human passengers?

  66. 66

    PS: It’s true I didn’t cite a source for the allele count, but it’s not very difficult to add them up!

  67. 67
    rhampton7 says:

    Bantay,
    If you accept that it was a local flood, then I see no reason to insist that there were only eight people alive on the entire planet. For example, Australia was inhabited 40,000 years ago, if not earlier. So that would push the flood date pre- 38,000 B.C. Then again, Neanderthals survived in Europe until 32-33,000 years ago, which pushes the flood date up to post- 30,000 B.C. The archaeological history of human migration, as well as the genetic evidence, just doesn’t support your hypothetical bottleneck.

  68. 68
    ScottAndrews says:

    Elizabeth,

    It seems to be a very tortuous way of fitting a story to scientific evidence

    It certainly is. In the first two chapters God makes animals and a full-grown man out of dirt. Then he makes a woman out of a rib. You can’t square that with science, period.

    I believe in a God who can perform miracles such as these. If I didn’t none of this could make any sense. Every now and then an interesting scientific detail harmonizes with scripture, but trying to support the Bible with science is a waste of time.

    As for seemingly contradictory scientific evidence? It comes from the same people who believe that animals and full-grown men and women emerged over billions of years from warm puddle or a vent or some ice or a crystal or something else unknown, all by themselves. If my beliefs are a myth, why should I prefer theirs? Sorry, no credibility there.

  69. 69
    rhampton7 says:

    ?ScottAndrews,
    You seem to imply that anyone who is not a YEC is the equivalent of a Darwinist. But an OEC, for example, accepts the scientific findings of geology, cosmology, etc without discounting the miracles of God. Could you please explain who and what you are arguing against?

  70. 70
    Bantay says:

    Elizabeth

    Here you said “The narrative says a global flood that destroyed every living thing apart from the ones on the ark.”

    No, the narrative does not say that. There are Hebrew idioms throughout the Old Testament. For example “the entire world” would have meant the world known to them at that time, the Mesopotamian Basin…not the literal entire world. Also, the young earth view is inconsistent with the biblical description of the character of God. Thus, there is simply no good reason for God to kill every living thing on the planet on account of the sin of a relative few humans inhabiting a limited geographic area.

    Here you say (again) “I guess if you want to interpret the story to fit the science, that’s fine”

    This seems to be your best (and only) reply to the old earth creation view. If that is your best argument against it, then I think you are much closer to the truth than you realize. Thanks for engaging on the issues.

  71. 71
    Bantay says:

    rhampton7

    You say here “If you accept that it was a local flood, then I see no reason to insist that there were only eight people alive on the entire planet.”

    Unlike young earth creationists, I do not consider Neanderthals to be “people” in the sense of modern, spiritual and moral beings or beings with the image of the character of God.

    You also say here “Australia was inhabited 40,000 years ago, if not earlier. So that would push the flood date pre- 38,000 B.C. ”

    There is no problem with that from an old earth creation model perspective. As I said before, with citations for the scientific papers supporting it…

    “With this [heteroplasmy] adjustment, the mitochondrial date for Mitochondrial Eve would be consistent with other, substantial archaeological data that supports an age of Mitochondrial Eve of around 50,000 years ago, a date consistent with a literal reading of the creation narrative from an old-earth perspective”

    (C) Parsons, T.J. et al ‘A high observed substitution rate in the human mitochondrial DNA control region’, Nature Genetics Vol. 15: 363–368, 1997

    (D) Ann Gibbons, “Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock,” Science, 279 (1998)

    My point was that science has only recently discovered this, while the Old Testament has described it for thousands of years.

    ScottAndrews says here “In the first two chapters God makes animals and a full-grown man out of dirt. Then he makes a woman out of a rib. You can’t square that with science, period.”

    The use of “Adam’s rib”, if taken literally, is obviously not squareable…but the use of some of Adam’s DNA is very squareable with modern science but would have been expressed in understandable terms or imagery as the Genesis narrative uses, someone from the time period of the writing of Genesis. However, the fact that Adam represents modern man, spiritual and moral beings who are rational and who also appear suddenly in the fossil and archaeological record, without precursors, is very significant.
    Also, the fossil record is replete with examples of life forms and body types suddenly appearing in the fossil record with no pre-cursors, fully formed…just like the Bible describes Adam and Eve.
    The so-called Cambrian explosion is another example of many. But also Genesis’ order of created organisms supports it, as we see in the narrative God introducing different and more consequently more sophisticated forms of life at the beginning of undetermined lengths of time, fully formed.

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    Bantay, though YEC, this following article may interest you in its genetic analysis;

    The Non-Mythical Adam and Eve!
    Refuting errors by Francis Collins and BioLogos
    http://creation.com/historical-adam-biologos

  73. 73
    Bantay says:

    Thanks for the link BA77.

    I checked it out and found it very interesting. Though I’m not a YEC, I found the level of scientific dependence, evidenced by cited, published works, impressive. Even though I find the OE view more compelling than the YE view, I still think the YEC view has scientific merit in some areas and should not be dismissed out of hand, but welcomed to matters of scientific discussion that concern it.

    I found another page from the site particularly interesting, specifically detailing the flood and genetics and the dispersion of people. I will post the link below in case others would like to check it out…and I hope they do….Elizabeth.

    http://creation.com/noah-and-genetics

  74. 74
    rhampton7 says:

    Aside from the dating, there are important errors in the presentation of human haplogroups. The author has to account for greater mtDNA diversity and an earlier separation date (circa 80,000 B.C.).

    May “Mitochondrial Eve” and Mitochondrial Haplogroups Play a Role in Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s Disease?
    Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2011; 2011: 709061.

    African haplogroups fall into seven major families (L0, L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L6). About 85,000 years ago, probably in the Horn of Africa, changes in climate, the glacial interstadial phase 21, triggered the rising of many descendant haplogroups from the root of haplogroup L3, the first multifurcation node, probably because of some colonization event or local population growth. Non-African mtDNA (excluding migrations from Africa within the past few thousand years) descend from L3 and belong either to the M or N superclades.

    See also:
    PhyloTree.org
    A Revised Root for the Human Y Chromosomal Phylogenetic Tree

  75. 75
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note; not only can evolutionists not account for the origination of the Mitochondria,,,

    Powering the Cell: Mitochondria – molecular machine – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrS2uROUjK4

    On The Non-Evidence For The Endosymbiotic Origin Of The Mitochondria – March 2011
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ochondria/

    ,,Evolutionists cannot even account for the origination of a single functional protein fold within the mitochondria;,,,

    Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds: Doug Axe:
    Excerpt: The prevalence of low-level function in four such experiments indicates that roughly one in 10^64 signature-consistent sequences forms a working domain. Combined with the estimated prevalence of plausible hydropathic patterns (for any fold) and of relevant folds for particular functions, this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15321723

    ,,, much less are the ‘molecular clocks’ devised by neo-Darwinists to be trusted,,,

    Do Molecular Clocks Run at All? A Critique of Molecular Systematics
    Jeffrey H. Schwartz
    Excerpt: Although molecular systematists may use the terminology of cladism, claiming that the reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships is based on shared derived states (synapomorphies), the latter is not the case. Rather, molecular systematics is (largely) based on the assumption, first clearly articulated by Zuckerkandl and Pauling (1962), that degree of overall similarity reflects degree of relatedness. This assumption derives from interpreting molecular similarity (or dissimilarity) between taxa in the context of a Darwinian model of continual and gradual change. Review of the history of molecular systematics and its claims in the context of molecular biology reveals that there is no basis for the “molecular assumption.”
    http://www.mitpressjournals.or.....06.1.4.357

    Darwin’s Predictions – The molecular clock
    Excerpt: The claim that the molecular clock can only be explained by evolution is, however, now a moot point as the mounting evidence shows that molecular differences often do not fit the expected pattern. The molecular clock which evolutionists had envisioned does not exist.,,,
    http://www.darwinspredictions......_molecular

    When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....t-collide/

    ==============

    ,,,nor can neo-Darwinists explain the origination of even one unique gene which is present in the human genome,,,:

    Study Reports a Whopping “23% of Our Genome” Contradicts Standard Human-Ape Evolutionary Phylogeny – Casey Luskin – June 2011
    Excerpt: For about 23% of our genome, we share no immediate genetic ancestry with our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. This encompasses genes and exons to the same extent as intergenic regions. We conclude that about 1/3 of our genes started to evolve as human-specific lineages before the differentiation of human, chimps, and gorillas took place. (of note; 1/3 of our genes is equal to about 7000 genes that we do not share with chimpanzees)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47041.html

    God by the Numbers – Charles Edward White
    Excerpt: “Even if we limit the number of necessary mutations to 1,000 and argue that half of these mutations are beneficial, the odds against getting 1,000 beneficial mutations in the proper order is 2^1000. Expressed in decimal form, this number is about 10^301. 10^301 mutations is a number far beyond the capacity of the universe to generate. Even if every particle in the universe mutated at the fastest possible rate and had done so since the Big Bang, there still would not be enough mutations.”
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=2

    etc.. etc.. etc..

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