Review: Already Gone by Ken Ham & Britt Beemer


alreadygone“Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it.”

Let me just cut to the chase. This book is shocking on one level. On another it’s really quite unsurprising – expected even.

It’s been said that upwards of 80% of church kids graduate from church when they graduate from high school. A lot of reasons have been thrown out for this horrid trend: things involving worship styles [are we not entertained?], small groups [we had such hopes!], sermon lengths [soundbyte theology or filler material for the music program?: you decide], “relevance” [It took me 6 months of enthusiastic research to realize that the relevant movement is pretty much embarrassed to be a part of the church and that the movement as a whole is trendy but in the end mostly irrelevant to the question] and whether or not the idea of a youth group as it’s done today is even Scriptural much less effective [are we just providing them with a more or less safe place to socialize and play with a little bit of Bible thrown in?] – and so on and so forth.

Ken Ham and Britt Beemer surveyed 1,000 former church kids from conservative churches [so presumably the numbers would be hideously worse in liberal, devil-may-care, biblically blase’ mainline churches, especially if the authors’ uncovered reasons for this mass exodus are accurate!].  The expected outcome was that just over 10% of those former church kids were still going to church during college. 90% had flown the coop by high school. OK, to be redundant, we expected that. But we didn’t expect to find that while 95% of these kids attended church regularly during their elementary and middle school years, only 55% were still attending during high school.

Waitasec! Aren’t they supposed to be graduating from church as they grab their high school diplomas? What happened to the middle schoolers? About 40% of the kids in our churches are already gone before high school [and of course this this where the book takes its name]. By the way, about 90% of those kids went to public school. Guess what they start teaching hot and heavy in middle school? Evolution and millions of years – the latter being the key issue here.

You should read this book. Or at least watch the DVD version. [Of course, the State of the Nation with Ken Ham’09 DVD is by all accounts an extended version of the Already Gone DVD, so why not get more bang for your buck, eh?] This isn’t a dry survey. If you care about our kids, this thing will grip you. You won’t put it down. You’ll keep picking it back up. You’ll stew over it. You’ll wish it said something else. You’ll look over your congregation and survey those kids and mentally erase 90% of them and beg God to show you how to keep that from actually coming true in your own church [IF your church still has any kids…]

Ken Ham and Britt Beemer call this an epidemic. I’d call it a pandemic. And it’s not very well understood.

Some surprising results: Kids who go to Sunday School are MORE likely question the Bible and have unBiblical views on homosexuality, abortion and a range of other hot button issues. Those who GO to Sunday school are MORE likely to believe that evolution is true and the Earth ismillions of years old.Those who go to Sunday school are even morelikely to see the Church as hypocritical and see church attendance as irrelevant toChristianity than those who DON’T go to Sunday school. Why? A few reasons. In Sunday school we get Bible stories [compare this with the way the same passages are treated if they comefrom the pulpit] but we get history, curriculum and science in school. The schools teach about rocks, fossils, dinosaurs and history. Too often, the Church doesn’tspeak of these things at all. Kids are more likely to hear an adult say that you can believe God used evolution in Sunday school.

Read this book. We need solutions to this pandemic. Church as usual won’t cut it when the cost is 90% of our kids. It’s time to re-evaluate how we’re doing God’s work. These kids showed a trend of questioning whether they could trust the Bible. We need to give these kids the tools they need to defend the Bible.

And we need to start making some changes NOW, because some of them are,well, already gone.

Oneof the reasons Defending Genesis launched the Creation Sunday network at http://creationsunday.ning.com was to allow Christians to network, pool together resources and exchange ideas to give churches and Christians the tools they need to defend Genesis, to defend the Gospel, to defend God’s Word. We hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity that website affords. Our enemy is engaged, motivated and organized. It’s time to step up to the plate and take it up a notch. 

God, let our lampstands blaze with truth and holy zeal!

 You can read more from Defending Genesis about this issue: Ex-Christians: The Evolution Factor

You can buy the book, Already Gone, at this link. There isalso a WordPress blog dedicated to promoting the book at http://alreadygonebook.wordpress.com/ 

You can also buy the State of the Nation with Ken Ham’09 dvd at this link.

Rev Tony Breeden

aka Sirius Knott

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57 Comments Add yours

  1. Another possibility is that young-Earth creationism is part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    Our youth are raised on a steady diet of dinosaurs living in Africa (Mokele-mbembe), human footprints in Cretaceous rocks, bad arguments about moon dust and the Earth’s magnetic field, and hyper-rapid evolution after the flood—while being taught that evolution as taught in the textbooks is stupid. At some point they figure out that none of this stuff works. Because they have been taught these things as Biblical Dogma—even though none of them are taught in the Bible—they eventually chuck their Christianity along with their AiG/ICR/Dr. Dino DVDs. This is a tragedy.

    1. Sirius says:

      And unsurprisingly Geochristian plays the “Smeller’s the feller” card. He’s played this one here before.

      His basic position is that the Bible is true, but our interpretation of it is false if it contradicts anything science says. Nevermind that scientists must constantly revise their theories while the Word of God is established forever. If only we’d compromise the plain meaning of Scripture [not only in Genesis but the 4th Commandment and the testimony of the New Testament authors] like he has, these kids would still be in church, right? If only we’d continue ridiculing the scientific inquiries of Creationists who believe our authority ought to be the infallible, inerrant historically accurate Word of a perfect God. Whilst swallowing the word of finite, fallible men who weren’t there and don’t know everything whenever their word contradicts His Word – so long as they call it science!

      A few comments on his drive-by examples:

      1. Relict dinosaurs are studied as a possibility by both evo and creation cryptozoologists. Neither camp calls their existence a certainty.
      2. Though less famous than the list of “Arguments Creationists Should Never Use,” the Paluxy River tracks are included in a complimentary list of Arguments that should be Avoid due to inconclusive evidence or because new evidence/research has invalidated someaspects of it. Today the majority of Creationist groups acknowledge that none of these tacks are unquestionably of human origin, though they were thought so at one time. See http://www.icr.org/article/paluxy-river-mystery/ for further reading on the issue of allegedly human footprints in Cretaceous rocks.
      3. Wow. Moon dust. That one is actually on the list of Arguments Creationists Should Never Use. Youmight want to update your playbook a bit, Geo. See http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/arguments-we-dont-use for the current list of arguments we avoid or no longer use.
      4. Earth’s magnetic field has been measured accurately for the past 160 years. At the current rate of decay, if we we extrapolate backwards, the Earth’s magnetic field would have been too strong to support life as little as 10,000 years ago.
      5. “Hyper-rapid evolution” after the Flood? Really, Geo. It’s usually moreproductive to disagree with someone after you know what they actually believe. Um, no. We don’t believe in evolution, but we do OBSERVE natural selection and speciation within fixed kinds without the increases in genetic information required of evolutionary theory. We agree with the evolutionists about the reality of natural selection, because we can OBSERVE it. We just don’t believe in evolution. To be fair, evos will say that we’re splitting hairs, that we don’t believe in macroevolution [big evolution] though we concede microevolution [small amounts ofevolution]; but it is the evolutionist [despite Gary Hurd’s gross ignorance of Theodosius Dobzhansky’s equivocation of the two terms] who conflates natural selection with evolution. We don’t believe in smallamounts of evolution; we simply believe in natural selection. Why? Aside from Biblical considerations,we have Gould’s admission that the fossil record [which should evidence that small evo equals big evo eventually] shows two features inconsistent with gradualism: stasis [species appear looking pretty much the same as when they disappear; a dog is a dog is a dog and recognizably so] and sudden appearance [there are no evident ancestral forms; they appear “all at once and fully formed”]. Soooo not only do we OBSERVE speciation within fixed kinds in biology, we observe the same thing in the fossil record. What we don’t OBSERVE is vertical goo-to-you evolution. The evolution trees are Just So Stories; the dots are only connected in our imaginations. Meanwhile, both evos and Creation scientists believe that natural selection allows for rapid speciation [look at how many dog breeds were possible in such a short history by unnatural selection!], but this isn’t evolution even if evos interpret the data that way. So, no, we don’t believe in “hyper-rapid evolution” after the Flood, so I hope Geo didn’t spend too much time thatching that straw man together.
      6.Evolution as taught in textbooks is embarrassingly stupid. For crying out loud, they still include vestigial organs, Haeckel’s embryos and slippery definitions [read: purposely misleading] of evolution as “change over time” with variations of Berra’ Blunder to illustrate the point. It’s propaganda, not science.

      7. “even though none of them are taught in the Bible” Wow. You thatch a mean straw man. We’ve never said that relict dinos, the Paluxy River tracks, arguments concerning moon dust or the Earth’s magnetic field or that rapid speciation after the Flood are taught in the Bible. These arguments are used to show that there is evidence to suggest that man and dinosaurs must have co-existed perhaps even recently as is implied by the Bible claim that man and all land animals [including dinos] were created on Day 6. [Note also Job 40:15 “behemoth, which I made with thee [man]”]. Though now inconclusive, the Paluxy River tracks were used in the same way. Arguments concerning the earth’s magnetic field, young comets, the recession of the moon or the existence of spiral galaxies simply illustrate that there are inconsitencies in the deep time mythos our children are being taught and that many evidences point to a universe much younger than evolutionists would like. I could go on.

      The tragedy is that guys like Geo enable apostasy by their compromise, but point the finger at those who don’t compromise.

      -Sirius Knott

  2. Bill says:

    Hi Sirius,

    I hesitate to say this without having read the book (I intend to), but I would say that the problem is that the kids aren’t really saved. They “ask Jesus into their hearts” or pray the sinner’s prayer, but they never repent and put their faith in Jesus.

    The problem lies with the milquetoast gospel that is preached even in conservative churches. Jesus said to take up our cross and follow Him, but it seems many try to trick people into making a decision for Jesus and hope it sticks. That is a recipe for disaster, which we see unfolding before our eyes.

    I think creation studies lends itself to proclaiming the true gospel, but it doesn’t solve the problem completely.

    Thanks,
    Bill

    1. Sirius says:

      Bill,

      AiG actually agrees with you somewhat. The thrust of the book’s proposed solution is that we need to focus on laying down a solid Biblical foundation for our kids. They need to know that there are good solid answers for belief in Christianity.

      Regardless of whether they were truly saved or not, our comission is to bring them in. This book reveals some of the impediments to their receiving the Gospel. While you’re right that creation studies or even apologetics will solve the problem completely, if we cause them to stumble Genesis, they stumble over the foundational basis of the Gospel for it reveals the very reason we need a Saviour!

      Incidentally, they also suggest that we start LIVING the commited Christianity that you’re refering to. Also, I was recently at Creation College 3 and I can state plainly that AiG agrees that a milquetoast Gospel is a major part of the problem!

      Good thoughts!

      -Sirius Knott

  3. geochristian says:

    My position is not that science trumps the Bible, but that God does not lie, whether in the Bible or in nature. If there seems to be a contradiction between the two, it is because we misunderstand one or the other. Young-Earth creationists do plenty of reading things into both the Bible and nature that are simply not there, and end up with a system that drives some people away from Christianity rather than drawing them in.

    I am very aware that some of the things I mentioned (footprints, moon dust) are on AiG’s “Arguments we don’t use” page. I am also aware that these especially bad arguments are still very widely used in the YEC movement. I think AiG should add more things to its “bad arguments” list, such as using sea salts to determine the age of oceans, fossils on the tops of mountains proving the flood, and Behomoth being a dinosaur (Job 40:21 — I don’t think dinosaurs could hide in the reeds and lotuses along the Jordan).

    “Apostasy” is quite an accusation. I believe in:
    –a real creation by the eternal triune God
    –a real Adam in a real garden of Eden
    –a real fall into sin with real consequences
    –in Jesus Christ as the only solution to our sin

    You may not agree with me on the age of the Earth, but to say that I’ve slipped into apostasy (or enabling apostasy) is quite an extreme statement. That is, unless young-Earth creationism trumps things like the Trinity or justification by grace alone through faith alone.

    Kids raised on AiG DVDs who end up going into the sciences often have a crisis of faith, not because of what the Bible says, but because of all the extra baggage that has been piled on top of it.

    With respect for your love for the Word,
    Kevin N

    1. Sirius says:

      Geo/Kevin,

      I should begin by noting that accusing you [and those similarly afflicted of Biblically inconsistent hermeneutics] of enabling apostasy in others and accusing you personally of slipping into apostasy are not in any way the same thing, sir. Are you PURPOSELY thatching this straw man or are you simply unable to divorce these two charges in your own mind? If by accusing you enabling apostasy, you suppose I’m accusing you of committing apostasy, you’re, well, wrong. By the accusation of enabling apostasy, I’m accusing you of undercutting the authority of the Bible, of purposely teaching error, of calling evil good and good evil [or calling error truth and orthodoxy error, of making a lie of the doctrine of Biblical perspecuity by requiring that it be interpreted through the filter of 21st Century science and of causing these little ones to stumble. But I’m not accusing you of falling away just because you’re sticking your foot out to trip others. If on the other hand I was simply unclear, I’m sure I’ve corrected the ambiguity by this point.

      The lack of subtlety that accompanies my reply should be addressed. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, in a sermon entitled ‘Hideous Discovery’ [July 25, 1886], made the following comment on evolution:

      ‘In its bearing upon religion this vain notion is, however, no theme for mirth, for it is not only deceptive, but it threatens to be mischievous in a high degree. There is not a hair of truth upon this dog from its head to its tail, but it rends and tears the simple ones. In all its bearing upon scriptural truth, the evolution theory is in direct opposition to it. If God’s Word be true, evolution is a lie. I will not mince the matter: this is not the time for soft speaking.’

      It is far past the time for soft speaking. Love constrains me to speak. Yet if I’m to love you at all, I am compelled to speak the truth with great plainness of speech, as St Paul put it.

      As to your charge that “kids raised on AiG DVDs who end up going into the sciences often have a crisis of faith,” what data are you refering to? Personal belief or did you actually try to sort through the data like Britt Beemer [and Barna before him] has? I think bias is tainting your objectivity, sir.
      ,
      And to the point of admission that AiG has included the arguments you mention as still “widely” common in YEC circles, you then realize that [1] it sometimes takes a while for new information to trickle down to the general public even with evolutionary science and, even so, [2] you are grossly misrepresenting the arguments of mainstream YECs by concentrating on the bad arguments of an allegedly YEC consensus which does not exist, making your argument a purposely thatched straw man and a tactic unbecoming of a man who admits to being a Christian. As for those arguments you feel should be added to that list of notoriety, well, you’ve yet to demoinstrate why you think these things are so other than your admission that you believe the Earth is much older than the Bible states.

      Finally, I must comment on your notion that nature is somehow an equal authority to the special revelation of the Bible, as you often wed them together in the same breath. Have you ever considered WHY God deemed that special revelation was necessary? There are several good reasons, but the one that I’m refering to here is that He wanted us to know the truth of our origins, of the Curse, of the global Noachim Flood and of His overarching plan of Restoration of the Creation he originally blessed as “very good.”

      As an afterthought, if you believe Adam & Eve were real as you state, how do you as an OEC explain how they came to be?

      -Sirius

  4. Thomas says:

    Sirius,

    I think Geochristian’s point about the magnetic field is that it has been demonstrated to be a waxing and waning phenomenon, and therefore using it to extrapolate is invalid. To borrow from someone else, it would be like observing the tide rising and concluding that the earth couldn’t be more than a few days old, or else the whole planet would be overwhelmed with water.

    Also, your Spurgeon quote brings up an interesting thing I read on geochristian’s site. A quote from Spurgeon:

    In the 2d verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” We know not how remote the period of the creation of this globe may be—certainly many millions of years before the time of Adam. Our planet has passed through various stages of existence, and different kinds of creatures have lived on its surface, all of which have been fashioned by God. But before that era came, wherein man should be its principal tenant and monarch, the Creator gave up the world to confusion. He allowed the inward fires to burst up from beneath, and melt all the solid matter, so that all kinds of substances were commingled in one vast mass of disorder.

    1. Sirius says:

      Thomas,

      By “waxing and waning” magnetic fields, are you refering to magnetic reversal, derived from the measured orientation of magnetic particales in rock, aka remnant magnetism? YEC geologists are fully aware of this phenomenon and account for it in several ways. I believe I have noted in prior conversations that Dr John D Morris’ book, The Young Earth, addresses this point. Morris bases his objections on the theories of physicist Dr Russell Humphreys. Humphreys believes that this “waxing and waning” phenomenon actually comprises rapid reversals. He rejected the dynamo concept in favor of a simple model of electrical resistance. Are you familiar with his model?

      As for Spurgeon, alas, he was invoking the Gap theory in that quote. It’s important to note that:

      1. The Gap theory is found explicitly nowhere in the Bible. It is an Old Earth compromise position with very little support.
      2. Given the other quote I mentioned, Spurgeon considered past life [before this present Creation] to also be the product of special creation not evolution.
      3. Quite obviously, no matter how inspiring the preacher, only the Bible itself is truly inspired [God-breathed]. et al, I can speak from experiance that preachers do make mistakes.

      -Sirius

    2. Thomas brings up a valid point: Geomagnetic reversals completely negate using the “decay of Earth’s magnetic field” argument for the Earth’s age. YEC scientists acknowledge that the magnetic field reverses, so it is absolutely beyond me how they can turn around and use this as “scientific proof” that Earth must be less than 10,000 years old!

      1. Sirius says:

        Geo/Kevin,

        I take it you’re not familiar with Humphrey’s model either then? I may be explaining badly, so I’ll provide a link with more info, but the basic idea is extremely rapid reversals with an overall trend of decay rather than a cyclic phenomenon. Does that make the model’s applicability clearer?

        http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v9/i2/astonishment.asp

        -Sirius

  5. Sirius:

    Yes, I’ve seen this study.

    Being classified as Cenozoic by standard geological thinking, the volcanic rocks of the Columbia Plateau (such as at Steens Mountain) would be classified as post-flood by many modern young-Earth geologists. In places, the Columbia River Basalts (1800 meters thick, 170,000 cubic kilometers) also contain records of geomagnetic reversals.

    It would take a considerable amount of time for a 1800 meter (6000 foot) thick layer of basalt to cool (the field evidence shows that these cooled as individual flows, not as one vast outpouring).

    What paleomagnetic studies show is that there were quick reversals (recorded within a few of the flows as they cooled) followed by long periods of geomagnetic stability. Sort of like geomagnetic punctuated equilibrium. There is no indication that these reversals occurred rapidly, one after another. Most flows have either normal or reversed polarity rather than containing a record of a reversal. Nor is there any evidence presented in the AiG article you referenced that the intensity of geomagnetism decreased over time as the reversals progressed.

    My analysis not dependent on whether the dynamo theory of Earth’s magnetic field is correct. Most geophysicists still hold to the dynamo theory, though not all do. My point is like what Thomas said: to use current trends of Earth’s magnetic field intensity to try to determine the age of the Earth is like observing the rising tide for four hours and using that to determine the age of the ocean. Cyclical processes do not reveal how long the process has been going on.

  6. Thomas says:

    I read the article you linked, which I think I have read before. (If not that one, a similar one from AiG). My point remains unaffected by how quicky or slowly the magnetic field reverses. You wrote to Geochristian that you can “extrapolate backwards” and conclude that “the Earth’s magnetic field would have been too strong to support life as little as 10,000 years ago.” The point is that the magnetic field is not decaying; it is reversing back and forth, and therefore you can’t use it to count backwards.

    I think you may have missed my point about Spurgeon. I was showing you that someone you seem to admire, who had a very high respect for scripture, had a different view about the age of the universe. You seem to be rather harsh on those who disagree with you on this point. I don’t think many people would consider Spurgeon a compromiser.

    1. Sirius says:

      Thomas,

      Apples and oranges. Based on uniformitarian assumptions about the age of the earth, you’ve interpreted these magnetic field reversals as occuring over long periods and therefore as indicative of a waxing and waning pattern. Yet according to our present model, the field reversals happened in a really short amount of time during and in the years [possibly centuries] immediately after the Flood and therefore represent a unique episode in Earth’s history; therefore, they have no bearing on data that has been collected since that time. Note also that the phrase “in as little as” indicates that other factors could extend the estimate somewhat, but that the overall pattern extrapolated backwards indicates a young Earth not an old one.

      I’ve not missed your point concerning Spurgeon. In fact, you’ve made this very same tired point on other occasions on this site. I shall endeavor to once again respond in the faintest hope that you will be paying attention this time. It is lamentable but true that many who are otherwise orthodox and have an otherwise high view of Scripture do compromise on Genesis and millions of years. That includes many contemporary theologians and admira ble fellows like CS Lewis and GK Chesterton. Nobody’s perfect. I would be just as harsh with those who are no longer with us, but to what end? You can’t argue with the dead. It’s only the living who can be held accountable. Those gone on before have already stood before Him to whom we must all give an account! They’re no longer my concern, except to warn that while commentaries and sermons are beneficial for study and contemplation of the Word, the Word of God alone is infallible. Having said this, what sort of red herring are you trying to toss into the mix here, sir? Have you no care for the sort of demonstrable unbelief your undermining of the plain meaning of Scripture has on today’s youth?

      Let God be true and every man a liar.

      -Sirius Knott

  7. Dan says:

    I guess the following remarks are mainly for Kevin, although others may find them helpful too.

    It’s true enough that wherever the Bible and science appear to conflict, this is due to misunderstanding of one or the other. Consider then the situation for all the Christian centuries before the rise of modern science. YEC was the interpretive conclusion, not of a majority of Christian scholars and theologians, not of an overwhelming majority thereof, but of ALL OF THEM, without a single exception I’ve ever heard of – all the while that they were often sharply and bitterly divided on a multitude of other interpretive issues. How could anyone offer stronger proof that they certainly did not misunderstand what Genesis teaches about creation?

    Back in June it fell to me to preach locally and I chose John 5:39-47. After spending the first part describing the nature of Jewish disbelief in Moses, I pointed out how little moral authority we have to point fingers at Jews if we refuse to admit the widespread CHRISTIAN disbelief in Moses. Among other things I cited examples of the fearful mess otherwise conservative modern church leaders have fallen into in their statements pertaining to this.

    Now, as to whether YEC is being made more important than the Trinity and justification by grace, I’d refer you to another Johannine saying of our Lord, viz. John 3:12. The Bible teaches “earthly” (material) things like YEC as well as “heavenly” (spiritual) things such as those other two. And the gist of Jesus’ question implies that we’re meant to believe the former category prior and as an inducement to believing the latter. Hence the relevance of e.g. AiG’s approach.

    By the way – yes, I’ve read the book, and have distributed a few copies in church – hoping for more soon.

  8. Dan says:

    Since typing my maiden post here I’ve received three email notifications of further posts, two of which came before mine and the third doesn’t relate it. Oh well, I’ll get the hang of things eventually.

    Meanwhile I’d like to add some remarks about Spurgeon. I don’t think I’d come across the citation from Thomas (though it would help if you referenced it), but am aware of another quote from a sermon of 1855 (when he was just starting out as a London preacher!) to the same effect, which can be found on the AiG website and elsewhere. So for the sake of argument, it’s fair to classify him as an old-earther.

    However, there’s more to the story than that. Psalm 104:6-9 is appealed to by contemporary old-earth Christians as proving that the Flood wasn’t global. Well, in his commentary on v. 9 Spurgeon simply says: “That bound has once been passed, but it shall never be so again.” See how firmly he believed in a global flood, even though he seems flatly to contradict the very text he’s commenting on!

    From our standpoint it seems incredible how he could have held both these viewpoints: every modern old-earther denies a global flood. All I can say is that this wouldn’t be the first time Spurgeon made contradictory statements in the course of his preaching career: I can document at least three other such cases, on unrelated matters. But the practical upshot is that there’s even less reason to pay regard to Spurgeon’s old-earth statements since he’s not even consistent with himself, let alone the Bible.

  9. Dan:

    When Answers in Genesis put Spurgeon’s sermons on their web site, they actually edited at least one sermon to remove references to “millions of years” (June 17, 1855, The Power of the Holy Ghost). They did not add a footnote indicating their historical revisionism until others pointed it out.

    I guess AiG didn’t want its readers to know that one can be a very orthodox believer and hold to an old Earth.

    1. Sirius says:

      Geo,

      Your objection is a bit snarky. AiG has addressed Spurgeon’s views on the age of the Earth elsewhere on their site, such as http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/wow/where-did-millions-of-years-come-from. In all honesty, I don’t see why it was such a big deal to edit his sermons for lengtrh or content. The omited portion had little or nothing to do with the subject of the sermon.

      In any case, AiG does point out the lamentable fact that otherwise orthodox believers do COMPROMISE the authority of God’s revealed Word when it comes to the age of the Earth. You appear to attempting to conflate an old Earth with orthodoxy when it has ever been heterodox at best, sir.

      -Sirius Knott

  10. Dan says:

    I find myself wishing to reply to Kevin and Sirius at the same time!

    First off: I don’t doubt that it’s unethical to present an abridged citation as though it were the entirety of the original, which is the default assumption in the absence of a suitable qualifying statement to the contrary. It doesn’t exonerate AiG that I can think of other Christians that have done the same thing from time to time. I’m sorry that AiG took that liberty, and am glad that someone (Kevin?) spotted it and pointed it out to them and that they then restored the original form – albeit with the disputable passage in square brackets and an appropriate commentary footnote.

    I had no idea that all this had happened – and in fact, I really only have Kevin’s word for it (not that I doubt it), unless he possesses documentary proof like caches or screenshots.

    I must respectfully disagree with Sirius that there’s no issue in editing Spurgeon’s sermon in this instance, where no statement was appended to the effect that it WAS edited.

    Moreover I would question whether the portion didn’t really fit the sermon’s subject of “The Power of the Holy Ghost”, seeing as it comes right after a citation of Gen. 1:2 in the context of a section dealing with the Spirit’s work in creation.

    Having said all this, I must say I’m surprised that AiG bothered to put all these Spurgeon sermons on their website – that just looks like a classic case of mission creep, as though there weren’t plenty of info about creation/evolution to fill its pages!

    Meanwhile Kevin, as Sirius has already indicated, your inference that AiG is out to conceal something as you describe, doesn’t really fit the fact that they do list notable Christian scientists past as well as present, pointing out that some of the earlier ones did indeed go for compromise positions.

    However, as I’ve already pointed out, we also have evidence that Spurgeon believed in a global flood, which no modern old-earther believes (do they?). And whereas the old-earth passages come in sermons, the implicit YEC statement comes in a commentary, which must be assumed to be the form of communication where Spurgeon (or anyone) would write in a more strictly intellectual, logical and systematic fashion. Therefore it could be argued that when he took time to think things through, the trend of his theology was in fact more favourable to YEC. However all this must be a matter for historical speculation – as I pointed out, his voluminous total output contains quite a few inconsistencies, so that while he was a great preacher I can’t rate him as a great systematic theologian – unlike, say, his contemporary Robert L Dabney, who DID consistently stand against the prevailing old-earthism of his day.

    In fact I consider it rather a shocking sign of the weakness and shallowness of Victorian Christianity that apparently no controversy arose over Spurgeon’s historically way-out sermonic remarks, nor any public challenge over that and/or the contradiction with his views on the Flood.

    Now then: all of the above is in a sense a side-issue. Maybe I should never have written the second post. In my FIRST post I asserted in effect that for almost 18 centuries NO theologian who so much as professed the name of Christ (including therefore even the various heretics) held any form of old-earthism. Anyone may step up to cite a counterexample, but I’m not holding my breath. Kevin, how do you feel about teaching a doctrine that (among Christians) appeared completely out of the ether over 17 centuries after Christ? From that point of view, if THIS isn’t heresy, nothing deserves that name.

    1. Sirius says:

      Dan,

      I find myself admirably and gently rebuked. I concede the point. In my zeal to defend the honor of AiG, I forgot the Biblical injunction to judge without partiality [ie- to hold everyone to the same standard].

      Respects,
      Rev Tony Breeden
      aka Sirius Knott

  11. Dan:

    I agree that some sort of YEC was the almost universal view of theologians until the 18th century. Young and Stearley have documented this in their excellent old-Earth book The Bible, Rocks, and Time. Among the church fathers, there were men like Origen and Augustine who held that the days were symbolic or figurative, but there is no indication that these fathers imagined a universe billions of years old.

    But then again, geocentrism was the almost universal position of the church throughout this period as well. When the overwhelming evidence for heliocentrism (sun-centered solar system) was presented, there was resistance within the church (and within science). Eventually, the church took a closer look at what the Scriptures actually said, and realized that the scriptures did not teach geocentrism after all.

    Regarding heliocentrism, then, one could have said, “if THIS isn’t heresy, nothing deserves that name.”

    One could even take your approach to something like the doctrine of justification: saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This doctrine was absent from the church for a long time, and was never stated in those words until the 16th century. The Roman church took your approach rather than taking a closer look to see what the Scriptures themselves said on the topic.

    The Copernican Revolution required a closer examination of the Scriptures to determine what the Bible really said and didn’t say about nature. The Protestant Reformation took a closer look at the Scriptures, to see what they really said and didn’t say. I take the same approach to the age of the Earth and the extent of Noah’s flood.

    If all you read is YEC writings on the topic, you will be convinced that the Bible requires a young Earth and planetary flood. There are a large number of conservative, orthodox Old Testament scholars, however, who hold to an old Earth. They do this because they have taken a closer look at the text than the young-Earthers have, and have come to the conclusion that it does not require a young Earth.

    1. Sirius says:

      @Geo:

      Actually, if all I read is the Bible, I’m convinced of a young Earth and a planetary flood. There are large numbers of conservative, otherwise orthodox OT scholars who hold to an Old Earth, but they don’t do this because they’ve taken a closer look at the text, for Old Earthers have not derived the idea of millions of years from the Text itself. Instead they’ve imposed an old earth upon the text artificially to save face with the suppositions of uniformitarian geology. They’ve come to the conclusion that it does not require a young Earth, but only by admitting that the plain meaning of the text without regard for hermeneutical considerations of modern science relates a young earth created in six days and overthrown by a planetary flood, but the text MAY ALLOW FOR [if we inconsistently interpret the text to fit old earth presuppositions] for an old Earth.

      Which is why it’s all hubris, mate.

      -Sirius Knott

    2. Dan says:

      Thank you Kevin for taking the time to write. By the way you may have noticed that I have started posting on your website, e.g. under the sad news about ELCA’s recent foolish vote.

      I’ll try to reply as briefly as is safe.

      (1) I was immediately curious about the “almost” in your first line – I simply can’t think of a single exception, and would be interested if you could document one.

      (2) As I understand it, in all the time in question there were but three Christian theologians who weren’t six-day creationists: the two you mention plus Clement of Alexandria. All were noted for a pronounced allegorical method which would find little favour among any Protestants today. More to the point, none of them was an old-earther, so even their position amounts to a distinction without any practical difference as far as the modern controversy is concerned. BTW not only do Origen and Augustine give no indication that they thought the earth could be much older than man, they both explicitly assert the contrary, and you may have seen the relevant quotations.

      (3) Isn’t it the case that geocentrism and heliocentrism aren’t absolutely exclusive of each other, but are alternative ways of describing astronomical motions from the POV of different frames of reference? That heliocentrism is superior for the purpose of describing the other planets of our solar system, but is itself inferior to galactocentrism when it comes to describing the motions of the 100 billion stars which would otherwise have to be seen to trace, yes, epicycles? Therefore this isn’t a good parallel with the real conflict between young and old earth views which can’t both be true (except of course in Humphreys’ time dilation cosmological model – but even then, not both true on earth).

      (4) The other question I’d raise concerns the important difference between what early Christians believed, full stop, and what they believed to be the interpretation of a given scripture. It could be argued that the matter of geocentrism really falls into the first category, whereas here we’re concerned only with the second.

      (5) Justification by faith alone wasn’t as absolutely absent from the church as you suggest – indeed Aquinas held it, albeit alongside unscriptural doctrines – and the matter of the form of words reminds me of (yes!) Archbishop Ussher’s remarks in his “Answer to an Irish Jesuit” as follows:

      “Whereas, if the thing itself were narrowly looked into, it would be found that they have only the shell without the kernel, and we the kernel without the shell; they having retained certain words and rites of the ancient Church, but applied them to a new invented doctrine; and we on the other side having relinquished these words .and observances, but retained nevertheless the same primitive doctrine, unto which by their first institution they had relation.”

      (6) Obviously, my inquiry concerning who in church history didn’t believe YEC has a Roman sort of flavour about it, and I’d be the first to say that the only decisive factor should be the teaching of Scripture itself. I don’t really define heresy in the way I suggested – I’ll leave that to the Vatican. And ironically it’s now the Roman church that has irreparably shot itself in the foot by adopting a view of creation which not a single ‘Catholic Father’ held – thereby destroying forever that church’s claim to be THE Catholic church of Christ.

      (7) You may be sure that I’ve read many non-YEC expositions and discussions, and (to put it in a nutshell) have found them to be full of special pleadings such as, if applied anywhere else in Scripture, would produce conclusions those very authors would dismiss as absurd or too abominably heretical to contemplate.

      (8) Has that “large number” of old-earthers come to OE as a “conclusion” or started with it as a (possibly subconscious) “premise”?

      (9) “They do this because they have taken a closer look at the text than the young-Earthers have.” Is that so Kevin? Consider this summary from Terry Mortenson’s thorough study of Jesus’ own attitude to this question:

      “[O]f the sixty one old-earth proponents authors examined (many of them among the top scholars in evangelicalism) only three (Grudem, Collins and Stoner) dealt with the Jesus AGE verses and attempted to rebut the young-earth creationist interpretation of them. But the old-earth arguments were found wanting. Sadly, many of these old-earth proponents refer to each others’ writings (therefore circulating their misguided arguments), and the vast majority of them do not attempt to refute the best young-earth arguments and in fact give little or no evidence of having even read the most current, leading young-earth writings.”

      Did you note that: 3 out of 61!!! And most showing little or no evidence of engaging with arguments of the “other side” – the very fault you above suggested YECs should be charged with! I saw a striking example of this recently in a book published in 2001, on the subject of the “Christian mind” or suchlike. The one chapter on the science/faith interaction contained just one reference to a YEC source – a book by Henry Morris from 1963! Is that not utterly pathetic? A man who presumes to write a book on the need to restore a Christian mind, yet at this point shows such intellectual sloth as not to bother sifting the ideas involved. But then, in the entire list of endnotes to that chapter there wasn’t a single reference to anything published since 1989, which strongly implies that the author had basically stopped thinking afresh about the subject for a decade before shoving it all into print.

      As a concluding example of how it is YECs that are in fact in the vanguard of the most thorough textual analysis relevant to this area, I humbly submit the case of my (to my knowledge) original argument from John 8:44, and leave it with you to see if you can spot it.

    1. Sirius says:

      GeoChristian really, and I hope unintentionally misrepresents me in this post.

      -Sirius

      1. Sirius says:

        Recently Geo has clarified his statements, eliminating any previous ambiguity, which I believe were not at all intentional.

        While Geo and I do not see eye-to-eye on some issues, it is important to note that I’ve never had reason to doubt his Christianity. His willingness to clear up this matter again evidences his integrity.

        Peace.

  12. Sirius:

    I had no intention to misrepresent anything you said, and offer my most sincere apologies for any statements I said that were in the least bit ambiguous.

    It was Dan who said I was teaching heresy, not you. And you merely accused me of encouraging apostasy, not of apostasy itself.

    Of course, I strongly disagree with all of these accusations. But again, I am sorry for any poorly worded statements on my part. Again, no misrepresentation was intended.

    In Christ,

    Kevin N

    1. Sirius says:

      Geo/Kevin,

      I appreciate the clarification. A good reputation is to be had above rubies and all that.

      Having said that, your reputation as a fair and reputable debater stands firm. I daresay I’ve never had cause to doubt your Christianity and do not ever expect to. I simply disagree with your hermeneutics.

      With Admiration,
      Rev Tony Breeden
      aka Sirius Knott

      1. Sirius,

        Thank you for your graciousness.

        Kevin N

    2. Dan says:

      “It was Dan who said I was teaching heresy”

      I suppose this is a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string issue. E.g. Christians of different eschatological viewpoints could say of each other that they’re teaching “heresies”, yet all be quite happy to accept that they’re all true Christians.

      Clearly, some errors are more serious than others. By way of counterpoint, presumably Kevin could say that people like me are teaching something extra-biblical and risk “binding heavy burdens grievous to be borne” on the backs of well-meaning Christians.

      What folks like myself, Sirius etc. are getting at is that when all the relevant Biblical data is in (and it’s considerably more extensive than most are aware), there’s not a ghost of a possibility of the Bible allowing the earth to be millions of years old – that is, unless we’re willing to rip the entire science of Biblical interpretation to pieces!

  13. Thomas says:

    A lot has happened since I posted last. :>

    Sirius, to sum up some points from an article on the magnetic field which I commend to you(http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2437/magnetic.htm), Humphreys’ observations of decay are based only on data from the dipole field, but he neglects the data from the nondipole field. Since the early 1800’s, the nondipole field has been increasing, balancing out the decrease of the dipole field and resulting in a nearly constant rather than decaying magnetic field. You and Humphreys have extrapolated from the data on the dipole field; to be consistent, you should also extrapolate from the data on the nondipole field. Doing so would produce a magnetic field that is of constant strength.

    Furthermore, since iron particles line up with the magnetic poles, they provide a record of the strength and direction of the magnetic field. Archaeological artifacts from 6500 years ago show a strength 20% weaker than today’s, while artifacts from 3000 years ago show a strength 45% higher than today. Again, magnetic reversals.

    As for you Dan, I think you do a disservice to Geo and to myself by assuming that we don’t realize all the “relevant Biblical data.” At risk of sounding arrogant, I don’t think I would be surprised by a single passage you might bring up. What folks like Geo and I are getting at is that the evidence from nature is so loud and unanimous that we have been forced to take a second look at scripture. As a former YEC, I reread and am still rereading Genesis and other relevant passages and have found that things are not so nice and neat as I once thought they are. What I have seen in scripture is a reflection of ancient near eastern understanding of the cosmos (flat earth, solid firmament, three-tiered universe, etc.), particularly in the first few chapters of Genesis.

    (Sirius and I have talked about this before, arguing over whether the language is metaphorical or not, and I think he would find it tiring to rehash it all over again, but you are welcome to come to my site (www.knowinginpart.wordpress.com) and debate it there.)

    Furthermore, there have been several controversies in the church over our view of the cosmos (see Beyond the Firmament by Glover for a nice little summary), and in each one, some argued passionately that the scriptures clearly teach x, while others argued that science shows x and the scriptures allow for it.

    1. Sirius says:

      @Thomas:

      Regarding your comments, especially:

      “What folks like Geo and I are getting at is that the evidence from nature is so loud and unanimous that we have been forced to take a second look at scripture. As a former YEC, I reread and am still rereading Genesis and other relevant passages and have found that things are not so nice and neat as I once thought they are. What I have seen in scripture is a reflection of ancient near eastern understanding of the cosmos (flat earth, solid firmament, three-tiered universe, etc.), particularly in the first few chapters of Genesis.”

      Assuredly, we have discussed your view of Biblical authority before. Your view remains that Genesis was written by men and shows their historical cultural graspings at comprehending the universe; therefore God had pretty much nothing to do with its writing. Of course, Jesus and the apostles were similarly afflicted with such historical, cultural misapprehensions of science and history. It took 21st century science to really set the Good Book aright. Of course, your eisegesis depends on a rather monotonously willful refusal to see the term firmament as anything but a solid [dare I say firm] object when the Hebrew reads “expanse” and and even more obnoxious refusal to recognize figures of speech like four corners of the earth and pillars of heaven. It pains me to be forced to comment once again on your complete inability to comprehend that flat earthism was pretty much begun by the author of Rip Van Winckle and is not supported by any consistent application of Biblical texts. My contention has always been, if you don’t believe it to be authoritative at the beginning, why the inconsistency? Why not toss it all? You’ve undercut the authority of the Bible and the Savior in one masterstroke of shoddy hermenetics. Bravo. Thank God that He knew 21st century science, though demonstrably the universal acid of religious belief, would set aright both His Word and His Son’s accomodation of completely inaccurate ancient neareastern misapprehensions of the universe. Do you realize how ludicrous your sound?

      It’s true that there have in fact been several controversies in the church where some argued passionately that the Scriptures clearly taught x, while others argued that science shows x and the scriptures allow for it; however, what you LEAVE OUT is that science had alleged that x was true and theologians had later speculated that a ceratin Scripture text seemed to agree with science’s conclusions. In time, said reference became so well-known and oft-repeated that it was raised to the level of accepted dogma. So eventually science changed its mind as it so often does and in the midst of a paradigm shift some argued that the Scriptures “clearly” taught x, but this was never really the case. Their interpretation of the relevant passages was not obtained by exegesis, by drawing out truth naturally from the context. Instead their interpretation of the text came about because they supposed that the Scriptures allowed for it. But the Word was NEVER meant to be interpreted that way- and never would have been if men weren’t arrogantly interpreting God’s revealed Word through the filter of modern scienctific graspings instead of the other way round! If you need a specific reference for my charge, I’m refering to the classic paradigm shift from Ptolemaic geocentrism to Copernican heliocentrism.

      I shall have to research the particulars of the objections you have made; however, I should like to note that Humphreys’ model bore fruit in successful predictions of other planetary bodies, so you’ll understand if I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      -Sirius Knott

  14. Thomas says:

    Sirius,

    Yes, I believe that Genesis was in fact “written by men” (as opposed to dictated to a scribe by God) and it does reflect its culture’s understanding of the cosmos, but I am not saying that “therefore God had pretty much nothing to do with its writing.” I am saying that God has no problem speaking through men without feeling the need to correct their scientific errors when his purpose is to communicate spiritual truth. I maintain that the purpose of Genesis 1 is to emphatically state to an Israel living in a polytheistic world that God and God alone is the creator of the universe; it is not to give an account of the scientific process that he used.

    As for the cosmological model that I have talked about elsewhere, the cultures surrounding Israel saw the cosmos in this way, and it would be strange to assume that Israel didn’t see it in this way, too.

    As for what Jesus taught, you and others make a mountain out of a molehill by insisting that when he said, “in the beginning it was not so,” he must have believed that the earth was young, a tenuous assertion at best. Why would Jesus feel the need to go off on a tangent about how long the earth took to be made when he was really trying to teach his hearers about divorce?

    As for scientific controversy in the church, I am not sure what you mean by referring to Washington Carver (wasn’t he the author of Rip Van Winkle?), but I do know that it would be pretty hard to arrive at the conclusion that the Bible did not teach an earth-centered universe without the illumination of nature. Incidentally, I don’t believe that it TEACHES it as dogma, so much as that it speaks spiritual truth with the relevant culture’s scientific framework.

    Peace be with you, Sirius. I know that you probably find it tiresome to repeat this same argument again, but I felt it necessary to address it to Dan.

    1. Sirius says:

      @ Thomas:

      Re: “[The Bible] speaks spiritual truth with the relevant culture’s scientific framework.”

      The unbiblical concept of NOMA [non-overlapping magisteria] raises its ugly head again. Yet Jesus affirmed a young Earth when He stated that God made them male and female FROM THE BEGINNING and also affirmed a universal Noachim Flood. More to the point, He stated, “If I tell you of earthly things and you believe not, how will you believe if I tell you of spiritual things?”

      Christianity’s spiritual truths are anchored in and often based upon historical realities.

      I maintain that the Bible is true and accurate in all it states and that the purpose of Genesis 1 is quite plainly to relate a historical narrative of the creation of everything that is. Only those with an a priori commitment to an old earth start apologizing for its most obvious meaning and purpose and therefore doublespeak that the text may allow for other things that what was plainly and historically intended.

      I will agree with Thomas that the purpose of Genesis is NOT to give an account of the scientific process God used to create the universe, for it relates not a process but rather miracles invoked by divine commands. By faith we know that the worlds were framed by the word of God. Miracles of course are exceptions to natural laws and therefore would not be subject to scientific description and would be exempt from scientific processes. OECs hold to a double standard that does not allow for miracles in Genesis because consensus science will not countenance them, but still allows for men to walk on water, control the weather at a word, heal the sick without medicine and rise from the dead even though the selfsame consensus science likewise denies the possibility of these specificed New Testament miracles and others throughout the Bible.

      Keep thinking,
      Sirius Knott

    2. Dan says:

      Thanks Thomas,

      As I read your post and gathered my thoughts of how to respond, lo and behold, many of them have been given excellently by Sirius, so I have little to add to them! But as well as John 3:12 I’d refer yet again to John 5:47 which I mentioned several posts ago – in fact a curious mental image that’s come to me is of Jesus as Ulysses voluntarily self-tied to a mast called “Moses” while the Sirens call out the familiar shibboleths of our age.

      Sirius is most acute in pointing out the inevitable tension faced by all OEs as to how on earth they maintain the literal historical character of the Gospels, stuffed as they also are with miracles. If you’re going to be Bultmannian about Genesis, why not go the whole hog with the NT as he did? Indeed, that German school would never have arisen had it not been given a beachhead in the form of the compromise of over 100 years previous.

      I remember reading in Whitcomb about a devastating case in point by a Dutch geologist and professing Christian who attacked TGF in a review. When said scientist was later asked whether the resurrection of Jesus was a real space-time event, his waffly answer came eventually to “I don’t know!” (Do you commend him for his “open-mindedness” on this?) As Whitcomb wrily noted, “Is this the way the early Christians would have answered this question?” Ah, but then of course the early Christians were also YECs to a man.

      Another point for yourself, Kevin etc. to consider from John 5 is verse 44. Whose honour are you really seeking? Do you feel any compunction in professing admiration for the blind man of chapter 9 who stood his ground even though it “cast him out of the synagogue”? Please also read Exodus 23:2.

      Again, do you marvel at all the Christian martyrs down the centuries? How do you suppose the spirit of boldness that shone through them all is going to develop among people too timid to challenge a current false intellectual consensus on whatever issue? And how far do you think Luther would have got if he’d just thought to himself that he’d best not rock the boat of the scholarly consensus of his day, but rather reinterpret Scripture to suit it? The applications of this point are endless….

  15. Sirius:

    I would dispute the assertion that Genesis 1 is “historical narrative.” It may have historical elements in it, but its structure is quite unlike other passages that are clearly of the historical narrative genre. Its genre may be unique in the Old Testament: not really historical narrative, not poetry, not law, not genealogy, not wisdom literature. I think this is a very important consideration when trying to determine what God’s intention was in giving Genesis 1 to us in the form he did.

    Grace and Peace,
    Kevin N

    1. Sirius says:

      @Geo:

      So you can’t really tell me what it is, except that it couldn’t be a historical narrative. Nevermind that Jesus and the Apostles took it as such. Nevermind that the 4th commandment is based upon it as if it were an actual historical narrative.

      The onlt thing about it’s structure that’s unique is how explicit it is. For example, that word “yom” which means day in Hebrew. Every other time we see the word morning or evening [separately or together] with the word day[yom] anywhere else in the Old Testament, it means a literal 24-hour day. [For that matter, anytiume we see the words morning and evening together withOUT the word day elsewhere in the OT, it denotes a literal solar day!] Likewise any time we see the word day [yom] coupled with a number [first, second, third, etc] anywhere else in the OT, it denotes a literal solar day. Now go read Genesis 1 again and see if you see the words morning and/or evening together with the word day [yom] or if you see those days enumerated; what do we see? It’s quite literally overkill! It’s like God is screaming, “IT’S A REGULAR OLD DAY! Now quit trying to bend My revealed immutable Word to try to make it fit 21st century science.”

      I think God’s intention is quite clear. Interestingly enough, even OEC commentators have noted that a straightforward reading of the text as given relates a recent creation in six solar days, a fallen world due to Adam’s sin and later judgment by a Flood that covered the entire globe. They just deny the text because they erroneously believe that the interpretation of the perfect revealed Wordof God must be calibrated by the graspings of depraved men whose minds are at emnity against God so long as they make their proclamations in the name of science! Rather they should be calibrating the graspings of finite, depraved men against the perfect standard and authority of God’s revealed Word.

      You see, the entire reason special revelation [miracles, the Bible, fulfiulled prophecy, Christ] were even necessary is because natural revelation is inadequate.

      Natural revelation can show that God exists, but it shows an ogre if we did not have the special revelation of the Fall.
      Depravity, death, suffering, disease, thorns, mass extinctions, et cetera would all seem a natural part of life without that special knowledge.
      Without the special revelation of the Bible, we would not know everything was created in only 6 days or that a global catastrophe altered the earth so that it would appear old by uniformitarian assumptions. We would not know to calibrate our findings to account for these special one-time events, miracles which superceded or else interrupted and possibly even altered somewhat the usual rate of processes we observe now.

      Were it not for special revelation, you would not have known there was a remedy when your conscience condemned you.

      -Sirius

  16. Thomas says:

    Dan,

    I think it’s important to remember the context of passages we use as proof texts. In John 5:47, Jesus is challenging the Pharisees’ refusal to believe that he is the Messiah. They looked to the law for their justification, and Jesus points out that he is pointed to in the law.

    Regardless of the context, the issue is not whether Geo and I believe Moses, but how we interpret him. I might read Revelation differently than you do, but I still believe John.

    Additionally, the issue is not a refusal to believe in miracles. I don’t have a problem with God creating or acting by miracle. Creation ex nihilo is an awesome miracle, in fact. The reason I think there is a subsequent process is that nature seems to testify to it, loudly. I do not interpret the gospels symbolically because the genre in which it is written is clearly intended to be historical. I cannot say that for Genesis 1. Indeed, it is highly crafted and even poetic. Rather than tell you why I think that here, let me refer you to what I wrote in two blog posts called “How To Interpret Genesis 1” and “Genesis 1, the Firmament, and Hebrew Cosmology” on my blog (www.knowinginpart.wordpress.com).

    As far as John 5:44 goes, I do not think that I arrived at where I am by seeking the praise of man verses the praise of God. I believe it started a few years ago when I was trying to be a witness to my scientist father-in-law and was looking into how to answer his scientific questions. I have great admiration for the early Christian martyrs (who died for their faith in Christ, not for a literal reading of Genesis 1) and for Martin Luther (who argued for justification by faith alone, not for being a YEC), and I pray that should I one day face similar persecution, I will likewise hold fast to Christ by faith. I don’t equivocate their stand to what some people feel is a need to stand against science because I think that what science has to say on this issue is true. The side of truth is the side of God.

    Trying to judge the motivations of other people, by the way, is a risky endeavor, and probably best left alone. I believe what I believe because I think it is TRUE, not because I care about whether the scientific community will applaud me. Very few people know about what I believe on this issue, as a matter of fact.

    Thanks for engaging on this issue, Dan. God bless you, and have a wonderful Sunday.

    1. Dan says:

      Hello again Thomas – and sorry this reply was delayed by a church weekend away, the wife’s birthday and whatnot 😉

      To be sure, John 5:47 needs its context – and that’s exactly what I gave it in the sermon, spanning the entire chapter in fact. Context: the Jews are mad at Jesus for healing someone on the Sabbath, and he just goes and pours fuel on the fire by implicitly claiming equality with God. The concluding verses therefore are saying, “If you believed Moses you’d know that he teaches that the Messiah would be divine, yet you reject that – no wonder you hate what I just told you!” I spent the first half of the talk on this, referencing Nachmanides and the Barcelona debate of 1263 along the way, lol.

      Now, what application to make for us who don’t have a problem with that particular disbelief in Moses which those Jews manifested? The turning point comes when we admit that it’s hypocritical for us to slate them for that fault when we have another area of disbelief in Moses we’re not addressing. What would Jesus have had to say to us about that? (Matthew 7:1-5 and all that.)

      So for example (although I didn’t say this in June), you surely ought to know that Jesus himself made several implicitly YEC statements; and if you don’t see that (cf. my earlier post on this thread on how only 3 of 61 OE writers even bothered to look at them!), perhaps the reason is that you’ve first dismissed Moses’ foundational YEC teaching – so no wonder.

      “Regardless of the context, the issue is not whether Geo and I believe Moses, but how we interpret him. I might read Revelation differently than you do, but I still believe John.”

      It seems to me that this analogy holds ONLY if you’re really prepared to assert that Genesis 1-11 is as obscure and hard to interpret as Revelation. But that would be a preposterous arrangement for God to make. Revelation is purposely placed at the end of the canon because it draws on imagery from the rest of the Bible and needs a good knowledge of that for anyone to hope to deal with it properly. The only correct progression in the Bible is from easy/literal to hard/allegorical, something like that.

      Additionally you can be sure that in my talk I took the “different interpretation” objection head-on with several counter-arguments briefly stated. One stems from the very words of Charles Lyell about wanting to “free the science from Moses”. Being a lawyer, Lyell knew all about placing on words every possible construction they could reasonably bear; but he doesn’t say “the literal reading of Moses,” just “Moses”. Why do you think that is? I’d suggest it’s because he knew perfectly well that they’re one and the same, and that the church would have no coherent, credible response to him on any other basis. Sure enough, the church since then has been at sixes and sevens about this – in fact the sad Deuteronomic line about “fleeting seven ways before the enemy” comes all too readily to mind.

      “Additionally, the issue is not a refusal to believe in miracles.”

      Nor have I ever said that it was – I think?

      “I do not interpret the gospels symbolically because the genre in which it is written is clearly intended to be historical. I cannot say that for Genesis 1. Indeed, it is highly crafted and even poetic.”

      Well, Psalms 105 and 106 are certainly “poetic” in a canonical way that Genesis 1 actually isn’t – but do you doubt they are also remarkably literal in the histories they describe? God really did “show his signs in Egypt, wonders in the land of Ham,” etc. Oh, and as it happens, tomorrow I’m preaching again, this time on Numbers 1. Take a look: there’s quite a lot of symmetry and structure there too. Does that mean the names and numbers aren’t exactly as described?

      “Rather than tell you why I think that here, let me refer you to what I wrote in two blog posts called “How To Interpret Genesis 1″ and “Genesis 1, the Firmament, and Hebrew Cosmology” on my blog (www.knowinginpart.wordpress.com).”

      Yes, I’ll be happy to read them, but obviously this reply is getting too long already! I may comment in loco, let’s see.

      “As far as John 5:44 goes, I do not think that I arrived at where I am by seeking the praise of man versus the praise of God. I believe it started a few years ago when I was trying to be a witness to my scientist father-in-law and was looking into how to answer his scientific questions.”

      Good on you – but didn’t you have in turn plenty of scientific (and other!) questions for HIM as a non-Christian to answer? You two might have shaken hands on that one, and he could have come to see that it’s a worldview issue, not a knowledge issue.

      “I have great admiration for the early Christian martyrs (who died for their faith in Christ, not for a literal reading of Genesis 1)”

      Although they certainly all held such a reading, against various old-earth pagan concepts of the day – but agreed, they were killed on political grounds. But it’s no good judging one age by the pressure points of another. Ours is a different battle now – cue Luther and his famous quote about knowing the times in this regard.

      “and for Martin Luther (who argued for justification by faith alone, not for being a YEC)”

      He argued forcefully for both – “Augustine resorts to extraordinary trifling in his treatment of the six days”, “We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before six thousand years ago”, etc. Just because he’s known and remembered primarily for one Biblical doctrine doesn’t mean he didn’t hold and teach lots of others!

      “and I pray that should I one day face similar persecution, I will likewise hold fast to Christ by faith.”

      Of course – but do you see the big point I was making? It’s an a fortiori argument similar to what Christ used – “Which is easier: to stand for Biblical YEC at this time, or to give your body to be burned?” “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses?” (Jeremiah 12:5) We really need to be made of sterner stuff these days.

      “I don’t equivocate their stand to what some people feel is a need to stand against science because I think that what science has to say on this issue is true. The side of truth is the side of God.”

      You can’t simply reify (not to say deify!) “science” like that (and in fact I think you mean “nature”) – scientific data don’t speak with a voice of their own without human interpretation (strange how you don’t seem to see that, yet are quick to invoke the “interpretation” gambit-defence re. the Bible which IS propositional and is the direct product of a great Mind!) Why, aren’t there plenty of ongoing debates among old-earth scientists themselves (e.g. how did the moon form, how did the dinosaurs die out) as well as YEC ones (e.g. is this or that formation Flood or post-Flood)?

      Having said that, I don’t know for a moment how you can claim scientific data all line up simply and neatly in favour of a five-billion-year-old earth – over on Kevin’s blog I even posted quotes by contemporary evolutionists who are much more circumspect about claiming such a thing. On 4 June CMI published links to 101 scientific evidences for young age, and recently in feedback noted:

      “Tellingly, it’s been more than three months since that article was published, and still no-one… has submitted feedback challenging any of those evidences.”

      That amid all the critical feedback they get all the time. Perhaps Thomas you’d like to have a go?

      “Trying to judge the motivations of other people, by the way, is a risky endeavor, and probably best left alone. I believe what I believe because I think it is TRUE, not because I care about whether the scientific community will applaud me.”

      Indeed in any given case such as yours, I can’t presume to judge. What I can say, though, is that it’s undoubtedly a factor underlying many compromising Christians’ attitude to this business. Carl Wieland’s superbly analytical article “Loving the Bible too much?” cites a minister of that school who told a YEC during dialogue, “You know, my tribe will not be happy that I’m even listening to you guys.” Once again, John 5:44 and Jer 12:5 come together to make my point: if he was fearful of even letting other compromising Christians know of a mere contact with YEC debate (not even converting to it!), how would he possibly summon up the guts to tell atheistic scientists he was now a YEC, if ever that should happen? To me it’s as plain as the day that this guy was just eaten up with fear of man (and frankly, quite apart from enquiring about particular doctrines, that character failing in my book renders him unfit to be a minister!).

      “Very few people know about what I believe on this issue, as a matter of fact.”

      If you’re a research scientist and say nothing, your colleagues will assume by default that you hold the prevailing view. It’s hardly an act of great bravado for you to come out to them and say, “Hey guess what folks – I believe the earth is 4.6 billions years old!” Chorus of yawns all round.

      “Thanks for engaging on this issue, Dan. God bless you, and have a wonderful Sunday.”

      Thanks returned Thomas. I know you were talking about last Sunday (when we were away in a lovely setting), but hey, I’ll ‘reinterpret’ your benediction for tomorrow’s talk. Oh, and perhaps I could round off by mentioning a matter I’ll raise there tomorrow (leaving it to you to guess how it fits, but assuring you that it does!). At my daughter’s school they were recently taught that the Aborigines got to Australia in 70,000 BC. What do you think – is that an acceptable view for Christians to take? (It’s a church school BTW.)

      Thanks for reading this far 😉

      1. Thomas says:

        Time is a bit tight for me right now, Dan, but I’ll give a few replies to some of the things you wrote.

        “It seems to me that this analogy holds ONLY if you’re really prepared to assert that Genesis 1-11 is as obscure and hard to interpret as Revelation.”

        I am not talking about the difficulty of some texts versus other texts. I am making a point about allowing the type of genre of a particular book to inform one’s interpretation of it. The genre of revelation is generally called apocalyptic literature, which is characterized by fantastic images, symbolic numbers, etc. It would violate the genre to take the “plain reading,” or the literal reading, of a particular passage from Revelation. Similarly, I believe the Genesis 1 account, for reasons I have noted in my blog, is not meant to be taken as a historical (as in this happened on this day, followed by this on the next day) or scientific account of God’s creative work.

        “Nor have I ever said that it was – I think?”

        When you ask why I don’t go ahead and discount the miracles of the NT, particularly resurrection, it seems that you are implying I have a problem with acceptance of miracles.

        “Well, Psalms 105 and 106 are certainly “poetic” in a canonical way that Genesis 1 actually isn’t – but do you doubt they are also remarkably literal in the histories they describe?”

        As with Revelation, it would be a violation of the Psalms to read them literally. To say that you do not read something literally is not to say that it is not true. You just don’t take everything at face value. For example, “In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun” from Psalm 19 is true but not to be taken literally. Likewise “He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses” from Psalm 33. You get the point. I am not denying the truth of Genesis 1, but I am saying that its main message is, “God, not the pagan gods, has made the universe.” As far as the highly crafted nature of Genesis 1, I would look a little closer at it before being so dismissive.

        “If you’re a research scientist and say nothing, your colleagues will assume by default that you hold the prevailing view.”

        I’m a language teacher in a very conservative church (our presbytery allows only YECs to preach) and from a YEC family whose father argued passionately for a YEC only position in our denomination. I’ve kept mainly mum about it because I wanted to look into the issue, not have arguments about it.

        “Jesus himself made several implicitly YEC statements.”

        Are you referring to Matt. 18:9? Because I have already said (I think in the comments to this post) why I think this is a weak point. What else are you referring to?

        “Scientific data don’t speak with a voice of their own without human interpretation (strange how you don’t seem to see that).”

        I agree. It just seems to me that the interpretation in favor of a long earth and of evolution makes more sense. It also seems that the challenges of YECers fall flat upon further inspection.

        “Why, aren’t there plenty of ongoing debates among old-earth scientists themselves (e.g. how did the moon form, how did the dinosaurs die out) as well as YEC ones (e.g. is this or that formation Flood or post-Flood)?”

        I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you asking why there isn’t more dialogue between old-earth and YEC scientists?

        “At my daughter’s school they were recently taught that the Aborigines got to Australia in 70,000 BC. What do you think – is that an acceptable view for Christians to take?”

        I do think it’s acceptable. But does that really surprise you?

      2. Thomas says:

        One more thing.

        “That amid all the critical feedback they get all the time. Perhaps Thomas you’d like to have a go?”

        It’s too bad they didn’t go ahead and publish the argument you referred to. However, responses to YEC arguments are not lacking. Check out talkorigins.org for one that systematically addresses YEC claims. Also, I have read several books that address such arguments as well as lay out a cogent argument for why the scientific consensus is that the universe is old and that evolution accounts for biological diversity. Hugh Ross’s A Matter of Days; Kenneth Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God; Darrell Falk’s Coming To Peace With Science; Gordon Glover’s Beyond the Firmament. A quick search on amazon.com brings up several books by authors about whom I have no idea whether they are Christians or not. But the titles are Science, Evolution, and Creationism; The Counter-Creationism Handbook; Evolution vs. Creationism; Scientists Confront Creationism.

      3. Sirius says:

        @Thomas:

        There are many responses to YEC, but they’re all sophomoric and weak. For example, you mentioned Evolution vs. Creationism, which I own, by evolution enforcer Eugenie Scott. Throughout the book, she completely and totally reveals that she hasn’t the foggiest notion what we YECs actually beleive and offers the same tired examples of micro-evolution as proff of mac-evo. It’s pathetic really.

        But I think he was asking for you to step into the ring, not give us a reading list.

        -Sirius

      4. Thomas says:

        Sirius,

        As far as Dan’s challenge to “step into the ring,” I am not a scientist and, I assume, neither are you or Dan. The best that we can do is read the work of scientists and then choose based on what seems to explain the facts. I suppose I could read the responses of mainstream science to the YEC critiques, but if he wants a professional response, why not read those from scientists? My main concern was to show that there is plenty of reading out there for him if he is really interested.

      5. Sirius says:

        Thomas,

        ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS??!

        Just because you aren’t a scientist doesn’t mean you don’t have a brain, right? You mean to tell us that you alone of your whole family and church happen to be the only [closeted] OEC in the bunch because you’re sooo much smarter than all that, yet you can’t research it out and formulate your own opinions and arguments?

        C’mon, Thomas. You’ve never struck me as a Darbot. You can do better than this. Don’t cop out on us.

        -Sirius Knott

  17. Dean says:

    A little late to the party but I found out about this book as the AiG museum is but a few miles from my house.

    I was raised evangelical and even attended a Church of God university for my undergraduate. However, why I left the church was for exactly the “solution” Ken Ham et. al. propose.

    In fact, Christians who simply accept their beliefs by faith will probably fare much better than those who try to defend them literally or scientifically. Given scientific progress, my faith in a 6000 year old earth ends when, via denochronology, we count a tree with more than 6000 rings. It’s completely shattered when I visit the Grand Canyon and see not only a canyon that would take millions of years to carve, but through strata that would take billions of years to form in the first place.

    The mission of AiG does amazingly more damage to Christianity than they realize. I’ve lost count of the number of fellow atheists I’ve met that were ardent “AiG” followers in their youth. I hope Ken Ham keeps doing what he’s doing because before long, he’ll be the #1 source of atheists today.

    1. Sirius says:

      @Dean:

      Dendrochronology is based on the assumption that tree rings represent a year’s growth, when in actuality said rings represent dry/wet seasons of which there can be more than one in a calandar year. It’s also not quite the exact science it’s portrayed as being.

      Most geologists have abandoned the idea that the Colorado River carved out the Grand Canyon. It is much more evident, despite the national park signage, that two basins separately broke forth and carved out the canyon rather rapidly. I’m sure you’re also aware that the Mt Saint helens eruption produced a miniature scale Grand Canyon in just a fashion and that it also evidenced the sort of rapid stratification in thick layers that is supposed to take millions of years. Polystrates also cast a monkey wrench into the uniformitarian dogma and were likewise explained in the observed rapid sedimentation and progressive deposition of vertical logs from the floating log mat on Spirit lake. Polystrates could not have been formed over long ages.

      I’m sorry that you’ve become an atheist. But are you saying that you and your fellow atheists are atheists because of Answers in Genesis? That seems a bit far-fetched. I’ve addressed the “smeller’s the feller” rebuttal already once, but I suspect you may actually be [quite unintentionally] agreeing with the findings of Britt Beemer’s study. I would be more confident in this conclusion if your statements hade been a little more specific.

      Perhaps you could clarify why exactly you left.

      -Sirius

    2. Dan says:

      Dean, re. your post three issues come to mind.

      If >6,000 rings in a tree means the end of faith in a 6,000 year old earth, what does < 62 million years' worth of ocean salt do for faith in a 4.6 billion year old earth?

      You see the argument cuts both ways.

      Secondly, if it's YEC that's supposedly harming Christianity these days, how is it that historically, the numerical decline of Christianity in Protestant Europe coincides with Christians' abandonment of YEC?

      Finally – and this really ties in with the above – I've read of cases like yours before, and every time I have to ask myself: Why didn't you consider adopting one of the compromise positions beloved of (still) a remarkably large number of Christians? It seems that you do, at least, still fully accept the insistence by AiG etc. that these are not logically consistent positions to hold, so that whatever else you do, you certainly won't be opting for any of them. But I'd love to read your own thoughts on this.

      That to me explains very well the phenomenon I mentioned previously – namely that the general populace regarded the foggy-formula fudging systems as incoherent and incredible, and refused to accept or retain Christianity on such terms.

  18. Dan:

    Your comments illustrate why I am opposed to young-Earth creationism as it is presented by organizations such as AiG and ICR.

    1. what does < 62 million years' worth of ocean salt do for faith in a 4.6 billion year old earth?

    The YECs completely ignore the complexities of geochemical cycles. One can use the same reasoning with aluminum to demonstrate that the oceans are 300 years old at best. I assume you believe the oceans are older than 300 years. This argument needs to be added to AiG’s “Arguments we don’t use” page.

    2. the numerical decline of Christianity in Protestant Europe coincides with Christians’ abandonment of YEC?

    The situation is a whole lot more complex than that, and a turn to YEC in European churches would only serve to marginalize them further.

    3. Dean may not have known about alternatives to AiG-style creationism, because it was probably pounded into his head that it is either young-Earth creationism or the Bible isn’t true (I attended an AiG seminar tonight—Terry Mortenson—and there it was again: a two model system with no middle ground). When Dean saw that YEC as he was taught it wasn’t true (e.g. dendrochronology), then he chucked his Christianity along with his YEC. I’ll be the smeller feller again and say that when people leave the faith for such reasons, AiG is at least partly to blame.

    1. Sirius says:

      @Geo:

      1. As stated ad nauseam, I disagree.

      2. The statistics just don’t agree with your opinions.

      3. Stating that people leave the faith for defending the Word of God is rediculous past the point of reason. Again, ad nauseam. Do you realize that you’re actually saying people leave the faith because they’re told by folks espousing an antibiblical history of the Earth that the arguments of those defending the Biblical history of the Earth aren’t actually true. In the end, you’re still espousing an antibiblical history imposed into the Text. You’re not, by any shape of the imagination, infering what the Bible actually says and then calibrating the findings of mere men by the revealed Word of a perfect God.

      -Sirius

  19. Dan says:

    “Your comments illustrate why I am opposed to young-Earth creationism as it is presented by organizations such as AiG and ICR.”

    The comments in question are my brief reply to Dean, but you appear not to have noticed my detailed previous response to Thomas. For example re. the 101 young age evidences article – how about writing some critical feedback to the site about that? There’s still time I think for you to be the first!

    FWIW I’ve hardly ever looked at the ICR website, and my principal involvement re. creationism is with CMI! Not that I suppose that makes much difference here.

    “The YECs completely ignore the complexities of geochemical cycles. One can use the same reasoning with aluminum to demonstrate that the oceans are 300 years old at best. I assume you believe the oceans are older than 300 years. This argument needs to be added to AiG’s “Arguments we don’t use” page.”

    My example was random so I don’t mean to get into a long discussion about it in particular. But hHave you any point to make re. ocean salt that hasn’t already been made by Van Till, Young and Menninga and received detailed reply by Austin and Humphreys?

    It doesn’t take a scientist to see the folly of using aluminum to date the oceans, viz. that its recent massive uptake into industrial use has swollen the input rate! Is that really the best counterargument you can offer?

    “2. the numerical decline of Christianity in Protestant Europe coincides with Christians’ abandonment of YEC

    “The situation is a whole lot more complex than that, and a turn to YEC in European churches would only serve to marginalize them further.”

    More complex but only in the sense that the defection from Biblical YEC is a major part of the overall declension to rationalism and scepticism, in whose hands OE is probably the biggest single ‘club’ with which atheists have bludgeoned the churches.

    Meanwhile your conditional prediction has no basis in historical fact I can think of, and is buried under the mountain of personal testimonies and biographies showing how compromise repeatedly leads to complete apostasy and how YEC apologetics has restored the Christian faith of many.

    “3. Dean may not have known about alternatives to AiG-style creationism, because it was probably pounded into his head that it is either young-Earth creationism or the Bible isn’t true”

    This is illogical and false. AiG etc. spend loads of time discussing and critiquing the various compromise views – in fact a YEC website is one of the best places to go for info and links on such! The fact that he doesn’t seem to have given them the time of day does rather suggest that he accepts the validity of the long-standing YEC critiques of them.

    “When Dean saw that YEC as he was taught it wasn’t true (e.g. dendrochronology), then he chucked his Christianity along with his YEC.”

    Whereas you didn’t. How about writing specifically for Dean to explain why he needn’t have done either?

    “I’ll be the smeller feller again and say that when people leave the faith for such reasons, AiG is at least partly to blame.”

    Can’t blame the mirror for my ugly face can I? I trust you get my meaning.

    Meanwhile, since I last wrote a great new opportunity has arisen for someone like you or Thomas to really show what you’re made of:

    “The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne publishes The Melbourne Anglican (TMA) monthly. An editor contacted Dr Don Batten of CMI (Australia), asking for an opinion piece on creation/evolution. Dr Don Batten wrote this, painstakingly tailoring it to the strict 800 word limit given, and emailed it to the editor on 26 May 2009, ahead of the requested deadline. The piece did not appear in the June or July issues and Dr Batten asked what had happened. Editor Roland Ashby said that he could not find anyone to write a countering article and he was not willing to publish CMI’s short essay without such a counter piece to accompany it (never mind that TMA had already published several one-sided pieces against biblical creation). When the editor requested the piece he said that there was no hard and fast guarantee that TMA would publish it, which is understandable as an article could contain unacceptable ad hominem, etc. However, at no stage did he tell Dr Batten that publication depended on the editor obtaining an effective counter piece. Clearly the whole exercise was a “set-up” along the lines of: “Here is the case for biblical creation ‘from the horse’s mouth’, so to speak. Now here is a counter to it that shows it has no sound biblical or logical basis—end of story; chapter closed.” It appears that TMA is not going to publish Dr Batten’s article—apparently no one was able to effectively refute it!”

    The same page goes on to reproduce the said article. How about if you sent an 800-word reply to it to TMA and ask them to publish both pieces side by side?

  20. Dan:

    I took a look at CMI’s “101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe” and wasn’t all that impressed.

    http://creation.com/age-of-the-earth

    I’ll tackle a few from the “geological evidence” portion here, and might go through the list on my own blog sometime.

    #13 — Thick, tightly bent strata without sign of melting or fracturing. E.g. the Kaibab upwarp in Grand Canyon indicates rapid folding before the sediments had time to solidify (the sand grains were not elongated under stress as would be expected if the rock had hardened). This wipes out hundreds of millions of years of time and is consistent with extremely rapid formation during the biblical Flood.

    This is easily refuted in the laboratory. The way to see how solid rocks behave is to take them to an engineering laboratory and put them under stress. There are various mechanisms by which solid rocks can deform without fracturing; the mechanism will depend on a number of factors, such as depth of burial, temperature, composition, pore fluid pressure, and cements holding grains together. Or if the stress is too high, the rocks will fracture, which is actually a common feature within many folded sedimentary rocks.

    If one puts the same sort of stress on a stack of unconsolidated rocks, on the other hand, a wide range of soft sediment deformation features are formed, such as blobs of higher-density sediments sinking into lower-density sediments, fluid escape structures, and sand dikes. If thick sections of sediment were soft when deformed, these soft-sediment structures would be the norm in areas of deformation, and they are not. See http://geochristian.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/six-bad-arguments-from-answers-in-genesis-part-6/ , where I analyze the same argument as it appeared in AiG’s “Answers” magazine.

    #14 — Polystrate fossils—tree trunks in coal (Auracaria spp. king billy pines, celery top pines, in southern hemisphere coal). There are also polystrate tree trunks in the Yellowstone fossilized forests and Joggins, Nova Scotia and in many other places. Polystrate fossilized lycopod trunks occur in northern hemisphere coal, again indicating rapid burial / formation of the organic material that became coal.

    Many “polystrate” trees are clearly in-place, with root systems penetrating the layer beneath the tree trunks. It is difficult to see how these could form in a global flood scenario, and the floating mat hypothesis really doesn’t help. The YECs commonly claim that it doesn’t make sense for a tree trunk to remain upright for thousands of years while sediments accumulate around it, but this is a straw man argument. Individual beds in a river flood plain can form quite rapidly, such as when a natural levee breaks, covering adjoining swampland with a significant amount of sand.

    Using the upright trees in Spirit Lake at Mt. St. Helens doesn’t really help the young-Earth cause on this one. It certainly is not analogous to “polystrate” trees found in coal swamp sediments. All it shows is that trees in a lake in a catastrophic volcanic environment can become waterlogged in such a way as to float vertically in water, and therefore we might be able to learn something about the emplacement of vertical trees in similar environments, such as the fossil forests associated with pyroclastic flows in Yellowstone National Park.

    #40 — Amount of salt in the sea. Even ignoring the effect of the biblical Flood and assuming zero starting salinity and all rates of input and removal so as to maximize the time taken to accumulate all the salt, the maximum age of the oceans, 62 million years, is less than 1/50 of the age evolutionists claim for the oceans. This suggests that the age of the earth is radically less also.

    (Sirius: please don’t ban me for bringing this up again; Dan mentioned it so I am just responding). If you don’t like aluminum, try Fe, Ti, Cr, Th, W, Mn, or Pb. They all “prove” that the oceans are younger than 2000 years old. Ocean-floor processes and geothermal processes beneath the ocean floor are poorly understood; we simply do not know the complete geochemical cycle for many of these elements in seawater, so it is ludicrous to try to use them to try to use them as age indicators.

    #49 — The decay of the earth’s magnetic field. Exponential decay is evident from measurements and is consistent with theory of free decay since creation, suggesting an age of the earth of less than 20,000 years.

    This one really needs to be added to AiG’s “arguments we don’t use” page. The question is whether “decay” of Earth’s magnetic field observed over the past few centuries is the tail end of an exponential decay curve, or if it is part of a longer-term sinusoidal pattern. The field evidence on this is clear: there is abundant geological evidence that Earth’s magnetic field fluctuates and reverses over time. Even if the YEC idea that it fluctuated rapidly during the flood were true, this in no way is an indicator of Earth’s age.

    I could do this with a couple dozen of CMI’s evidences for a young Earth without having to do a whole lot of research. My point is that this stuff doesn’t hold up scientifically and should not be used as Christian apologetics.

    1. Sirius says:

      Geo/Kevin:

      I’m not going to ban you, but neither do I feel particularly inclined to engage. This is territory we’ve trodden ad nauseam. Apologies.

      -Sirius Knott

  21. Thomas says:

    Sirius,

    You misinterpreted my comment. Nowhere did I say anything about checking your brain at the door. I did say that we are not scientists. This means that none of us has direct access to the facts in question, nor do we have the means or know-how to scientifically test our hypotheses about those facts. What we therefore have to do is read the work of those who are scientists and then draw a conclusion (an activity which requires the use of our brains). When you quote scientific objections to evolution or an old earth, you quote the work of scientists. When I or someone else tries to rebut, I read responses from other scientists.

    As for Dan, he complains that this list of 100 or so objections to evolution/old earth is unanswered, and then he challenges me to answer them. If he sincerely wants to know what the answers to AIG’s objections are, the best thing to do would be to go to the professionals and see how they have responded. I have tried to show him that people have in fact responded to these objections, if not directly on the particular article he links to. I suppose I could work my way through the list, but that would be very time consuming. I think it’s much more efficient to simply point to the source.

    I do not appreciate your implication that I think I am smarter than my family or my church. I have a different interpretation from most (not all) of them, but that doesn’t imply that I look down on their intelligence. Surely, as a preacher you are familiar with Jesus’ words, “Do not judge.”

    On a personal note (and you don’t have to publish this), I can tell that you are a passionate person who cares deeply about this issue. Prompted by this most recent comment of yours, however, I wanted to tell you that your passion often comes across to me as rudeness in several of your comments. Based on a past post entitled Apology, I am sure you have noticed this before, too. I know that it matters to you, and I thought I would bring this to your attention.

    God’s blessings to you,

    Thomas

    1. Sirius says:

      @Thomas:

      Re: “I think it’s much more efficient to simply point to the source.”

      Unfortunately, I disagree. In the interests of promoting independent reasoning, I actually have a rule against it here. See “Appealing to a higher power” under my Rules of Engagement.

      RE: “I do not appreciate your implication that I think I am smarter than my family or my church.”

      Perhaps I was unclear. What I actually said was that you believed this OEC rubbish in the face of such a countercurrent because you feel you are “sooo much smarter than all that.” By “all that,” I meant all that YEC rubbish you’re too smart to believe.

      I understand if you don’t like the implication that standing alone against the herd means that you do in fact think you’re smarter than they are [at least as regards the matter you stand alone on], but I didn’t actually state anything to that affect, thank you. In plain English, I never said you think you’re smarter than them, only that you think you’re smarter than all this YEC stuff.

      RE: “Surely, as a preacher you are familiar with Jesus’ words, “Do not judge.”

      I am… and no need to be facetious.

      RE: “I wanted to tell you that your passion often comes across to me as rudeness in several of your comments.”

      I could mention the limitations of printed speech. I could mention that what’s rude in your neck of the woods might only be plainspokenness in WV. I do suggest that you read my essay, Are Christians Too Nice? As you note, I do strive to walk the line, but in an honest way. In a way that reflects the Jesus I actually read about in the Bible as opposed to the stained-glass Sunday School homogenization most of us have been erroneously been introduced to instead.

      Regards,
      Sirius Knott

      1. Thomas says:

        Sirius,

        Regarding your rule about appealing to a higher power:

        That’s completely fine. Your blog, your rules. Two further points, though. One, I was answering an implication that evolutionists do not respond to creationist objections by pointing to people who have. Two, I hope that you apply the same rule to Dan, who instead of making his own objections, has pointed to a higher power by linking to an outside article.

        Regarding, the ‘sooo much smarter than all that” comment:

        Regardless of who or what I supposedly think I am smarter than, the implication is still there. You said that I think I am too smart for YEC arguments, i.e., that I have a haughty attitude. This is still an unjustified judgment. I have tried to interact with you with an attitude of humility and respect. Your comment makes no sense to me. Could I not just as easily say that you think you’re sooo much smarter than all that evolution rubbish?

        Regarding the jibe about you being a preacher:

        For the work that you do in the kingdom, you are worthy of great respect, and I ask that you forgive me for making a jibe that as a preacher, you should know better than to judge. Now, I do think that you were in fact wrongfully judging me, but I still shouldn’t have made a snarky preacher jab.

        Regarding the way that Jesus interacted with people:

        Yes, Jesus could let the Pharisees have it, saying things like “you brood of vipers,” but he was also gentle. It takes great wisdom to know when to use rough speech and when to be gentle. Peter urges us in 1 Peter 3:15 to:

        “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

        And two Proverbs:

        “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (15:1)

        “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (25:15)

        Peace,

        David

  22. Sirius, I’m hurt: “There are many responses to YEC, but they’re all sophomoric and weak.”

    I had hoped my responses were a step above sophomoric. In fact, I’ve striven to back up everything I say with either Scripture (even if you don’t agree) or geological field or laboratory evidence.

    Grace and Peace,
    Kevin

    1. Sirius says:

      @Geo:

      Thanks for noting my sweeping generalization. It is true that some responses are, as you say, “a step above sophomoric.” Some are even elegant. But still wrong.

      And on that final point, we shall have to be content to disagree.

      @Thomas:

      Obviously, your argument fails precisely because I do think I’m soooooo much smarter than evolutionism.

      Thank you for the Scripture. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on Are Christians Too Nice?

      Regards to you both,

      -Sirius Knott

      1. Thomas says:

        I must confess I just now read “Are Christians Too Nice?” It was very good. I agree with what you wrote, especially about the likes of Osteen. There is indeed a time to be angry and to use harsh language. (Have you, by the way, ever listened to Mark Driscoll?) Abortion makes me angry. People who take advantage of the poor deserve sharp rebuke. Having a conversation with atheists or with theistic evolutionists over this or that topic, however, generally warrants (in my opinion) a respectful, courteous dialogue.

        One last word (I hope) on the “sooo smart” controversy we’re having: I know you think you are smarter than what evolution entails. However, if I say, “Sirius, in the face of so many scientists you think you are sooo much smarter than all that,” I am going farther by implying an arrogant attitude. This is how I interpreted you statement below, which I feel was judgmental and unwarranted.

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