Sunday, February 12, 2006

Discussing Creationism

Dave of A Bit of This, A Bit of That, is a frim believer in evolution and gives good arguments against Creationism. I have not done a lot of study on the matter because I have never doubted the idea that God created the universe just as recounted in Genesis 1-2.

The following is from Dave's blog, dated Feb 8, 2006

"Regular readers of this blog and Simon's blog will understand that Simon and I do not share the same opinion on this subject. How any intelligent adult can believe in Creationism is, as I have said many times, completely beyond me. On a mere common sense level it is palpably absurd. To see a blog more in line with my own thoughts please visit CK's.

That said here’s a few discussion points for anyone who wants to respond.

(Dave's Argument #1)
Light – I’ve actually seen this said by a creationist blogger:-

‘What good would it do for God to decide to provide starlight if the stars weren't going to provide the light for millions of years? Well, none. In the Bible, God says he created light FIRST and then the sources of the light.’

Another one said -

'As for the starlight? Easy. God made light, the scriptures tell us. He made it everywhere. So that includes light that was "in transit". Easy. And scientifically, you can't prove otherwise. If God made the raw material for stuff and then shaped that raw material into *everything* including distant stars, then it's hardly beyond him to create "in transit" light.’

Now it’s hard to believe that anyone would postulate this as an argument but there it is. If God had created light in his 6 day effort some 6000 years ago then of course we would now only be able to see galaxies and stars that are under 6000 light years away when in reality we can of course see objects millions of light years away.

(Dave's Argument #2)
Humans – If we are all descended from Adam and Eve and we’ve only been around 6000 years, that’s about 200 generations, can you imagine just how quickly all the various races have developed? I wonder which generation saw the emergence of Caucasians, or of negroes, or of Orientals, indigenous N Americans, pygmies, aboriginals, Arabs, S American indigenous people, Asians etc etc.

Human life however long it has been around has had to develop to where we are now, we have had to have time to invent things. It would seem from the creationist point of view the discovery of fire, and the wheel and then the stone age, bronze age and iron age was concertinaed into a couple of thousand years. Invetions must literally have been happening on a daily basis.

(Dave's Argument #3)

Noah’s Ark – We are told all the animals in the world were on board? There have been loads of articles written about just what a ridiculous story this is if taken literally but I’ll restrict myself to a few thoughts. Even today we are discovering new animals, are we suggesting that Noah found them all and then they were lost? Are we suggesting that Noah walked/rode/sailed to every corner of the world to get a male and female of each species? Just how many hundreds of years would that take I wonder, no actually that’s OK as the bible says Noah was 600 years old! Oh and his knowledge of the whole world was restricted to the Middle East or was he the real discoverer of America, Australia etc?

What geological or archaeological evidence is there of such a universal destruction of all plants, all animals and all human societies except for the ones on Noah's boat? Should there not be a layer of sediment dating from the same time, which contains all the bones of these poor creatures. There should be evidence that all human societies were wiped out simultaneously. No such evidence exists of a universal flood.

So we have a situation where some 50,000 species of animal including all the dinosaurs and all the extinct species that have ever lived are in this boat that’s made of wood. I wonder how the T Rex for example was persuaded not to eat the sheep? The food alone required to feed all these animals for 6 months would have required another 47 arks. The daily amount of animal excrement would have sunk the ark in a week. I could go on but really is it necessary?

(Dave's Conclusion:)

However an interesting point is that it seems that from the creationist point of view if you don’t believe in Creationism then you must actually believe in Evolution as a solid, unmoveable fact with no possible concerns about it at all. Very few people would actually take this point of view, I would suggest that most people take it as the best theory that is currently available, that it makes eminent sense and that it is backed up by science. That is not to say that it cannot be discussed and debated.

However the really interesting point of all this is why some, a small minority of the world’s population I know, but some seemingly intelligent people believe in Creationism. What is it that causes them to suspend common sense, to ignore overwhelming scientific evidence? I really don’t know. I have said before that-

‘As far as I am aware no one (well certainly not me) has any problem with creationists believing in God. I don't but many of my friends do and that's fine. My sole 'problem' if that's the word, is with this idea that the bible is literal and that the world came into being in a 'flash' 6000 years ago. …………… But as I have said before this creationism idea is patently absurd. The future of the human race lies in looking ahead and working together not harking back to a book written nigh on 2000 years ago, albeit that it has a lot of sensible things to say.’

Some useful reference sites:-
http://www.holysmoke.org
http://www.talkorigins.org/
http://www.theistic-evolution.com/transitional.html
http://www.tim-thompson.com/trans-fossils.html"


Carol's counter-arguments
Creation is a mystery. Science has its theories and religious people have their belielfs based on the ancient writings. Can the two ever meet? If scientists and believers agreed to look at all the facts, both of science and the ancient text of the Bible, perhaps the truth may be known. Rejecting the Words of God isn't the answer nor is rejecting the scientific facts but remember that theories are not facts until proven without a trace of doubt. This is what the debate is about. Evolution is being accepted as fact as religious people point out that important facts are being left out, the creation account in Genesis.

Carol's Counter-Argument #1
Genesis 1:3 does state that God made light on the first day. Up until that point, "the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Gen 1:2 This is interesting because the sun, moon and stars weren't created until Gen 1:14-18.
It appears that the earth has an inherent light apart from the sun, moon and starts. Astronomy might help with this.

Stars and the travel of light brings up another interesting question. If the universe was only created 6000 years ago then because of the travel of light, stars millions of light years away would not exist. This might be true but I put this idea forward for consideration. God created matter with age. Adam and Eve were not created as babies. Earth looked much older than it already was. When the universe was created and the stars put in place, it looked as if they were millions of years old even though they were just created.

Carol's Counter- Argument #2
Regarding the quickness of the development of the different races according to creationism, how accurate are our assumptions that all these different groups of people are as they are now? I suggest that they weren't. The division of people began at the tower of Babel in Genesis 11, which is relevently near the beginning of the world and then they separated. Environmental and cultural differentiation would've begun then

Regarding the speed of inventions, one only has to look at our present age and the rapidity of technological change. "Necessity is the mother of invention."

Carol's Counter- Argument #3
There is a common misconception that God created every type of animal we know now. No, he created all the animals that the others evolved from (yes, Christians believe in evolution, within a species, that is) Eg. From an original feline animal evolved saber-tooth tigers, cheetahs, and of course our beloved pet.
As well, before the flood, the world was one continent so Noah would not have to walk as far as proposed. The earth was divided afterwards and is mentioned incidently in Gen 10:25.
Also, before the flood, man and animals were not carnivores. Gen 9:2-3 Dinosaurs are a amazing mystery to me. The flesh eatings forms would have evolved after the flood. So there would have been no danger of animals eating one another.
I find it interesting that you say that there is no evidence for a universal flood yet different cultures all talk about a great flood. I would have to do further research on geological evidences for I have not heard anyone state that before. This is one interesting site I found, although it is biased.

Carol's Conclusion:
Yes, Dave, it should be discussed even though, like I stated at the beginning, this is not a topic I have studied extensively.
Christians take God's Word as fact as much as scientists take the fossils they discover as fact. I believe the truth lies in looking at all the facts. This Book has a lot in it to discover, mainly spiritual, but the book of Genesis was written as a book of history not myths. That is why religious people will not deny the facts it present.
I hope you will get a Bible, Dave. It would help your study of this important topic. It is great that you have such a fascination with it.

41 comments:

Dave said...

Carol, I'm honoured that you considered my post worthy of a post of your own. I'm afraid however that your answers appear to me to be based entirely on your faith rather than any serious level of rational thought. You also state that 'Christians take God's Word as fact' when in fact very, very few christians take the bible literally. I'm not a believer as is obvious but I do not take evolution as fact merely as the best possible theory that is currently available. God may well have been involved at the beginning of time but that clearly was not 6000 years ago.

Dave said...

I've just had to re read your post Carol and I find myself having to make another comment, sorry!

You say:- Evolution is being accepted as fact as religious people point out that important facts are being left out, the creation account in Genesis.

So if I read this correctly evolution should not be taken as fact but genesis should be?

When what I actually said about evolution was:- I would suggest that most people take it as the best theory that is currently available, that it makes eminent sense and that it is backed up by science.


You say:- before the flood, the world was one continent so Noah would not have to walk as far as proposed. The earth was divided afterwards and is mentioned incidently in Gen 10:25.

Carol the Atlantic is approximately 3000 miles wide, so in 6000 years it has been widening from nothing by about 1/2 mile per year, I don't think so, do you?

Carol says:- From an original feline animal evolved saber-tooth tigers, cheetahs, and of course our beloved pet.

Evolution happens over millions of years, in the last 6000 years virtually no discernable evolution has happened, let alone two felines evolving into all the feline forms that have and do now exist.

Carol says:- the book of Genesis was written as a book of history not myths. That is why religious people will not deny the facts it present.

Carol, nearly all religious people view the bible as a book that shows 'the way' via stories that are not meant to be taken literally. Creationists are not the majority as 'thank God' (pun intended) most christians think as well as believe.

Carol said...

Hi Dave,
Yes, this topic goes along with my Sunday theme for the last few weeks that God does exist.

I find your creationism posts interesting and it is a good topic to discuss, as you said.

I have not researched the scientific data as I intimated earlier but I do know the Bible and I am familiar with how science formulates conclusions. Combining the raw data with the scientists' influencing religious beliefs will lead to certain conclusions. Or the scientist might take God out of the picture to try to remain neutral but this all influences the conclusion. Conversely, if the scientist believes in God or in the Biblical accuracy of creation then that too will be a part of the conclusion.
Creationism and evolution are both theories. If there were more religious people in Astronomy and Geology, perhaps the Creationism theory would be better developed so as to answer your questions dealing with the raw data of creation. I regret not being able to answer those questions.
But I am a Bible student so I pointed out some Biblical misconceptions that you wrote of.
I am glad that you said, " God may well have been involved at the beginning of time" because that shows a openness to the possibility.

Now, I want to respond to your statements directed to me:
1. Regarding if I thought evolution shouldn't be taken as fact.
The raw scientific data is what should be taken as fact.

For the Creationist point of view, the truths of the Bible are facts. Eg. the length of time, order of creation.

Now, as you are clearly on the Evolutionist's point of view, I can hardly expect you to accept this but as a Creationist, it is part of the theory.

2.Regarding the movement of the land mass: I would think that God created natural events that precipitated and accelerated this shift.

3. Are you positive that isn't enough time? What is your scienfice proof for this belief? Micro evolution which are changes within a species is not the same as the macro evolution supported by the Evolutionists. Macro evolution are the changes from species to another species which would require millions of years (and then some) to occur.

4. I did some researching on the internet to see the percentages of people that take the literal Biblical account of creation literally vs evolutionists and found this American site.
According to these statistics from 1997, 44% of Americans supported the Creationist viewpoint.
Thanks for reading Dave. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

Dave said...

Interesting facts and figures on that site you've linked, certainly income and education seem to have an as expected impact on the stated beliefs and of course if you've studied science then the figures again are as expected. Nevertheless the belief in creationism in the states is obviously out of all proportion with its acceptance in europe.

Su said...

Hi Dave!. Bless you as you search for truth... here's an interesting place to look at the debate...http://www.amazingdiscoveries.org/beginning_main.htm

Please remember that ... 'Evolution ... is a belief system or theory that is based on an interpretation of scientific evidence'(Dr Walter Veith). Do check Amazing Discoveries out, pleeeezzzzz....

Su said...

Sorry, that link looks like a dud. Just go to www.amazingdiscoveries.org and click on 'Beginnings'

Su said...

Carol, to answer your question...Yes, it is true. While many call themselves 'christian' this is not a living faith and is not manifested in their daily lives (lying, cheating, adultery, fornication etc).

A good example of this is the nature programmes that are on TV - they ALL are fiercely evolutionist. Total propaganda!!!

The 'Age of Christendom' (as we know it, state religion) is dying. Only to be replaced by a church on fire, operating from the margins. And as we know, the church grows under persecution! Hallelujah!

Stephen said...

Just throwing in a brief thanks for this discussion and to note something. I see myself who was considered himself a Christian but who was dead in his transgressions until recently. I did not keep the points of doctrine sacred. It's tough, but to chip away at the Word is to take what's convenient and scrap the rest. Truly reading the Bible is tough, particulary when it doesn't suit the reader. Well, I'm exhausted.

Fred said...

Wow - lots to learn from this discussion. As a teacher, I sometimes feel like I'm in the middle of it all.

Barbara said...

What do you think the Yankees chances are this year?

puremood said...

I'm a beliver of God... I'm going to have to reread this post tho... it was a bit much at first glance...

Carol said...

Thanks Su for the link. I bookmarked it as well.

Stephen,
You are entirely right, studying the Bible is tough! It is especially hard to keep an open mind when the Bible is teaching something you don't agree with.
Keep it up!

Thanks for reading,Fred.

Barbara, You're great!

PM,
I hope you have an opportunity to look further at this issue. I know it is a lot to absorb in one sitting.

Bad Alice said...

I am able to be okay with a paradox--a belief in God's Word and in evolution. God reveals himself as we are able to take it in. I don't think those who wrote the first books of the Bible would have been able to make heads or tails of evolution, but they knew God was responsible for the world, and God revealed that to them.

God has also blessed us with science, which has its own problems and limitations, but not many of us would want to live without its benefits. I don't think we can ignore what it shows us. The theory of evolution may not be perfect, but it works pretty well in general.

I'm not much for Intelligent Design, either. I think we make a mistake trying to shove faith into a scientific paradigm. There's something ironic about Christians using what it has considered the enemy of faith to try to validate itself.

I'm not a biblical literalist, but I take the Bible seriously. I think it is possible to take it seriously without taking it literally. But I have a lot to learn from people who are sola scriptura. That kind of close reading is invaluable. Living out Christianity is a difficult committment, as Su points out, and science doesn't really help with that.

So, as I say--I live with the paradox.

Carol said...

Thanks Bad Alice for your comment.
There are different ideas on the subject.

I hope you don't mind me asking, but do you take the creation of Adam and Eve literally?

Simon Peter said...

Carol, as one of the originators of the original discussion, I suppose I should speak up and say hello.

I was like you, believed in the creation, but had never deeply studied it. I have studied the scriptures, but had never dug in to the creation with the same level that I'm finding necessary these days.

Interestingly, the more I dig in, the more it continues to make sense and the more that the evidence backs it up.

Carol said...

Hi Simon,
Please tell me more.
Could you point out your posts on Creationism?

Simon Peter said...

Carol; Most of the recent stuff is creation related. Head on over to U&B and start reading back.

Bad Alice said...

Carol, to answer your question, I don't believe in a literal Adam and Eve, but I do believe in a Fall. I think that this story is True, even if I don't believe in it literally. Humans have a relentless drive for power and knowledge, and we are so ready to listen to the voice that tells us we can be all-powerful, like God. I think we re-enact the story of Adam and Eve every day.

On the other hand, I recently read a wonderful exposition on the Adam and Eve story, by Donald Miller, who wrote Blue Like Jazz. He takes it at face value and puts us right in the story. He was able to bring out a lot more than I can with my more psychological take. That particular essay is in Searching for God Knows What.

DwayneinBonanza said...

I could set back and comment on this subject all day but God is are creator end of debate.

Carol said...

Nice to meet you, Simon. I will have a look.

Thanks for Bad Alice for giving me your views on this.

Yes Dwayne, ultimately that is the truth of the matter but an accurate interpretation of the Scriptures is as important as an accurate interpretation of the scientific data.

Su said...

Loads of good stuff here! It is tough living and believing with the heart what the Bible says - at first glance, anyway. BUT, when you read and re-read and ask for God's Living Spirit to teach...WOW, something amazing happens. It's like getting a new pair of spectacles - things really do look different. So, I can't judge what life looks like through someone else's specs, but looking through my pair is just divine...and I have more to learn than I know!

Barbara,
Who are the Yankees?!? Don't all laugh at once!!!

Barbara said...

Su - The Yankees are a professional baseball team from New York.

cranky old fart said...

How many creation myths are there? Let me (or someone) count the ways;

http://www.cs.williams.edu/~lindsey/
myths/myths.html

But of course, the Hebrew/Christian one has the real facts.

Su said...

Thanks, Barbara. I suppose I should now check them out.

Carol said...

Thanks for the web page, Cranky Old Fart! (love that pseudomyn!)
I would like to discuss mythology versus the Bible, especially with a lawyer (I presume). Give me some time though.

Rhiannon said...

Its interesting to read all these debates and the "I'm right your wrong" type thoughts. Debates are very educational and good food for thought to see the "other side" of issues and we can learn from them. But with religion and spirituality wouldn't it be nice if we all would just accept one another as we are and agree to "disagree" instead of "show me the proof"..does it matter? Look at the person "inside" and get to "know" them. Look at the middle east and how they have been fighting and killing over religion forever and who's right and who's wrong. Something to think about.

Diversity is "healing" I feel. We need more of it.

Thanks for letting me share my "deep thoughts"..:)

Blessings,

Rhi

Carol said...

Hi Rhiannon,
I am glad that you feel comfortable stating your beliefs here.
I have to say though that I am not interested in winning a debate but in understanding God's Word accurately. If I am incorrect, I want to have a heart that so loves the truth that I am able to change my viewpoint.

In some matters, opinion is all that counts. Opinion counts even in some Biblical matters. We are created differently and that diversity is beautiful but still God has given humanity a way to him that is narrow and where obedience is required.

It matters.

But getting to know each other and understanding where people are coming from is important too. That is called love.

Thanks for reading.

cranky old fart said...

Rhianon,

You are, of course, correct that religious beliefs are a matter of faith, opinion and belief. Carol's response, however, demonstrates the importance of the issue for some religious sects and, indeed, the rest of us.

Some fundamentalists feel they need to prove their scripture as being literally true in order to justify their "faith". Read Carol's words carefully; "God has given humanity a way to him that is narrow and where obedience is required".

The narrow way to god, oddly enough, requires that we understand every word of a man-made text as being from god and literally true in every respect. When fundamentalists bump up against anything that contradicts this view, it creates dissonance.

For some, as you may have noticed, the dissonance leads to violent acts against those who would question their literal "truths". For others it leads to the construction of elaborate theories in an attempt to explain away common sense realities (e.g. The Flood). Either of these results have consequences for the secular world.

In the case of the violent response, the consequence is obvious. The consequence of Creationism is more subtle, but nonetheless insidious.

Got to run for now. I will leave you to ponder where this is going.....

sister celtic said...

OKAY SISTER CELTIC HERE... I WILL TRY AND SUGGEST SOME STUFF TO CHECK OUT.. FAITH IS SOMETHING YOU CAN NOT SEE VISIBLEY DOESN'T MEAN IT'S NOT THERE.. I SUGGEST THE BOOK BY FRANCIS SHAFFER GENESIS IN SPACE AND TIME..AND FAR AS FAITH I'M A WOMAN OF GREAT FAITH...I LOVE THE VESE WHICH SUPPORTS THE THINGS NOT SEEN " FOR SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD HIS INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES, HIS ETERNAL POWER AND DIVINE NATURE, HAVE BEEN CLEARLY SEEN, BEING UNDERSTOOD THROUGH WHAT HAS BEEN MADE, SO THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE." ROMANS 1:20....GOSH IT COULDN'T BE CLEARER...THANKS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACHING US ALL TRUTH AND IN HIM IS NO LIE..AMEN!

Mango Lane said...

I would like to respond to C.O.F.`s response to Rhiannon concerning Creationism.
The Bible is in fact a man-made text. It was written by various men throughout the ages. As I believe there is a God I, of course, hold that these men were divinely inspired. How can anyone prove that these men were otherwise- beyond the shadow of a doubt?
Fundamentalism is such an over-used term that it has become pretty much meaningless. It seems the accepted definition of a fundamentalist is someone who is a raving religous lunatic. If I am correct fundamentalists are people who take the Bible strictly in a literal sense. Conversely allegorists view the Bible as a series of allegories. It seems as if a reader has to be one or the other; however, this can`t work. In the case of fundamentalism there are, for example, prophecies that are manifest in dream imagery or in poetic language. Obviously everything is not to be taken literally. That would be absurd.
C.O.F. writes of dissonance. If everyone is saying something different and contradictory about reality then it`s pretty much a cacophony of custom made "truths". Apparently we are either all correct no matter how contrary the views are to each other or all Christians are all wrong and atheists are right. Well, we can`t all be right.
I`d like to think that a reasonable person would be searching for the truth and not be afraid of the possibility of being wrong.

Carol said...

COF,
I would like to understand the impact that Creationism might have on others that are not Christians. It is Evolution that is being taught in the school system, at least in Canada. Do you feel threatened by the remote chance that Creationism might be taught alongside that theory? What insidious consequences do you speak of for the secular world?

Evolution has constructed more elaborate theories to piece together the physical data that they have found. The complexity of life and the universe is said to have originated from chaos and chance alone. The time required to accomplish this is in terms of the millions or billions of years. Species originate from a common ancestor despite the huge variety and complexity of life.

But I thank you for visiting and hope that you will continue to visit and contribute to this and other discussions. It is important to know and understand other viewpoints.

Sister Celtic,
Romans 1:20 is an excellent verse which clearly states that creation is proof that there is a God.

Mango,
Thank you so much for your input on the matter. Your logical thinking and exact use of words is a definite asset in any debate.

zeb said...

Kudos to Mango for an erudite argument and I know that I am not wrong

cranky old fart said...

One of your criticisms of the theory of evolution is that "Species originate from a common ancestor despite the huge variety and complexity of life"?

If I'm not mistaken, Creationists hold that the "huge variety and complexity of life" sprang forth from the mere 16,000 animals imagined on the Ark. No?

Carol said...

I never heard this estimation of numbers before, Cranky Old Fart. You wouldn't happen to remember where this figure came from, do you?

16,000 or 1?

cranky old fart said...

Carol,

For one who gets her "facts" almost exclusively from the bible, I understand your confusion. But if you are going to make these incredible creationism assertions, you really need to bone up on the creationism concoctions used to "make sense" of it all.

The current billions of species are alleged to have come from the Ark animals. Remember according to literalists, the flood destroyed all animals. You made passing reference to this creationism argument in an earlier comment when you said:

"Micro evolution which are changes within a species is not the same as the macro evolution supported by the Evolutionists"

Quiz time. How many animals do you think were on the Ark that now allegedly account for all the animal species alive today? The Biblical Ark was 450' long.

Carol said...

Cranky Old Fart,
You are right, I do have some homework to do on evolutionism/creationism facts and assertions.
I hope you will be reading up on the Bible ;)

Thanks for your comments!

cranky old fart said...

Carol,

Thank you for the suggestion. I've read the Bible. I've also read a good deal "about" the Bible and biblical history. I highly recommend it.

Carol said...

I am glad to hear it, COF!

radar said...

Carol,

I have posted arguments concerning the Ark on my blog. Evolutionists have no leg to stand on when they claim the Ark could not have held all the necessary creatures.

There is Faith, and there is science. They are separate but can and must co-exist in individual minds. We can only learn and believe as faithfully and honestly as we can. May your journey of self-discovery be blessed!

Carol said...

Thanks so much Radar.
I do not find it so much a self discovery as a discovery of the truth of our origins. It can be understood.

Chakka said...

Thankyou for this tremendous read, and the link to Amazing Discoveries. I am a 16 year old boy living in the UK, and have believed in evolution my whole life...until this summer. I finally spoke to some creationists, and their arguments blew me away. As another said, when I next went online I started researching, and although some creationist theories fall down as you delve deeper, more get tighter and tighter till they become apparent fact, or at least for me.

I must say though, the hardest and easiest problem is school. I go to a non-state, Catholic school yet no teacher will teach Creationism, only Evolution. This means I am daily bombarded with friends and teachers alike telling me to forget my beleifs as they aren't sound, and so places like this have become a haven to boost my arguments to throw back at theirs. Thanks again :)