Category Archives: Bible and Biblical Creationism

Creationist Boo-boos

Creationist Boo-boos? Yes, I think we need to recognize there have been mistakes on both sides. Before I go on with some more examples of errors that have plagued the science of evolution due to faith in Evolutionism*, I’d like to point out some mistaken or misused arguments that have been used by creationists. *(An example of faith that matter/energy and natural processes alone can account for everything.) So we can call these Creationist Boo-boos.

Using the Bible as a science textbook

Of course, it’s perfectly legitimate for a creationist to trust the Bible as the Word of God and take Genesis as a straightforward account of what actually happened in the beginning. The error comes in when creationists take the words as equivalent to scientifically technical terms, or read into them or beyond them various natural processes which might or might not have been involved. In other words, place excessive scientific significance in or between the lines. This is similar to the superstitious use of Scriptures that Sir Francis Bacon warned against.

I would also like to note, however, that evolutionists should not criticize using the Bible as a science text, but then turn around and criticize creationists for citing it in terms of its not matching scientific criteria. A history including God’s supernatural activity can’t be judged by the yardstick of known natural processes.
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Canadian microfossils – first life of evolution or deepest of creation?

A recent (March 2017) article claims that scientist have found the oldest fossils yet. Are they the traces of the first life forms to be preserved? Do they show the earliest known step in evolution? Do they show how long ago life began? Certainly, if our derived dating methods are correct, these are the oldest fossils. Even so, they raise a couple of questions about the story of the origin and evolution of life.

The Story

The article, based on research published in the journal NATURE,  claims the fossils not only set the origin of life farther back than ever before, but also support the theory that life arose around deep-sea hydrothermal (hot water) vents. It also suggests that Mars might have had similar forms of life early in its history.  The article claims that “It was primordial microbes like those described in the study that set in motion the evolutionary march toward complex life and, eventually, the appearance of humans 200,000 years ago.”

The Facts

What do we actually know about these fossils? They were taken “from the Hudson Bay shoreline in northern Quebec” and consist of “Tiny filaments and tubes made of a form of iron oxide, or rust, formed by the microbes…encased in layers of quartz” within iron-rich sedimentary deposits. These deposits are estimated by experts to be about 4 billion (thousand million) years old.

The Significance

Many evolutionists have said that the origin of life is not part of the theory of evolution, but clearly it is important to know about it. If the dates assigned to these deposits and the age of the  Earth, and the theory of the formation of the Earth, are correct, they “suggest ‘an almost instantaneous emergence of life’ after ocean formation,” according to lead researcher Matthew S. Dodd. Of course, that also sets the stage for the story of the long march of evolution that just happened to include humans at the end, at least so far.

Too soon?

Or does it? Nobody is claiming that these were the first living things. One of the researchers, Dominic Papineau, said the find “shows microbial life diversified to specialized microbes very early in Earth history.” The early date assigned plus the time it would have taken to evolve to that point from the first life explain Dodd’s “almost instantaneous” estimate. There would not have been much evolutionary time between the first conditions necessary for life on Earth and these fossils.  This should raise a question in the minds of properly-skeptical scientists: If life arose so soon from chance conditions, how hard should it be for highly-intelligent scientists to re-create the event? They have been trying to do so for decades, and have only produced a few relatively simple organic molecules that don’t do anything. The conditions that produce these chemicals also produce others that would interfere with the functions of biological molecules (poisons).

Too Modern?

The reason for the confidence in identifying such tiny traces as showing early life raises another question. The report notes that the fossils’ “structure closely resembled modern bacteria that dwell near iron-rich hydrothermal vents.” If the very earliest traces of life look so much like those left by living things now, clearly there was nothing forcing the further evolution of life. Fossils assigned dates from hundreds of millions of years ago also appear very similar to living things. Clearly there is no environmental or biological imperative for life to evolve. Granting for the sake of argument that life did evolve from some early microbes into all the other forms, it must have been a process in which random mutations somehow just happened to produce changes that added up to all the new features needed to live in new conditions in new ways even while the population they came from was doing fine in the old conditions.

Further Considerations

Some might say that this is where God stepped in, but that raises a couple of other questions. If we allow that God was actively involved, what else might he have done? Why not take the Bible’s creation account at face value, and question man’s ability to give dates to things supposedly long before humans existed? Why would God create by gradually nudging natural forces?

We should also consider the fossil record in this light. If we have traces left by tiny bacteria billions of years ago, where are all the traces showing the major steps of evolution? We find fossils dated around 500 million years old (3.5 billion years after these Canadian traces) showing all the major designs (phyla) of many-celled living things.  Some of those, too, are very similar to living things. There is a great dearth of fossils assigned to the billions of years between. It’s not that there aren’t any traces. There are mysterious burrows and footprints, small bits of shells, and some strange forms that don’t seem closely related to any living things. So how is it that the major work of evolution has no evidence over all that time?

Creationists can look at the same data and come to different conclusions. We can’t rely on our ability to derive dates from current evidence. We see many distinct forms of life and distinct sets of fossils at various layers, without having to imagine lines of many more forms connecting them. In general, the oldest fossils are forms that lived on the bottom of the ocean. The most recent include forms that are the fastest, most agile swimmers; animals capable of living in the highest, driest, and coldest regions; and birds which can fly more powerfully and higher than any other living things. The general pattern of increasing altitude and mobility holds throughout the fossil record, with an understandable degree of overlap. This could fit within a global-Flood model of geology.

Conclusion

Fundamentalist science simply presents the facts: There is evidence that experts interpret as showing the age of these deposits is about 4 billion years. The traces appear to be very similar to those produced by bacteria living today near hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea today. Beyond that, if you want to believe that separately-created life forms were buried during the global Flood described in the Bible,  that’s a matter of faith. If you want to believe that life evolved from microbes over billions of years,  that’s a matter of faith, too.

References:

Canadian bacteria-like fossils called oldest evidence of life, Reuters, By Will Dunham, March 1, 2017

Evidence for early life in Earth’s oldest hydrothermal vent precipitates
Matthew S. Dodd, et al., NATURE, 543, 60–64 (02 March 2017), doi:10.1038/nature21377, Published online, 01 March 2017

Religion antithetical to science? Obviously not …

Notes based on Men of Science — Men of God by Henry M. Morris, copyright 1988, 13th
printing 1997. (with plenty of my own thoughts and recollections added in) I hope they encourage you to look up the book and buy it so you can get the full stories.

 

I think the hardest part was to just note a few of the names and pertinent facts, and not give in to the temptation to copy the whole book. I’m going in chronological order. Anything not in quotes (other than the dates and names) is probably not in the book.

 

A lot of people may not see a lot of significance in these cases, but there are some people who seem to think that religion of any sort or degree is totally incompatible with science. However, it’s also been argued that it was the Christian worldview in which modern science flourished which was primarily responsible for its strength and vigor, and indeed science as we know it may never have formed under other cultural conditions. It seems enough to me to show how many different fields of science were founded by men who were sincere believers, even if some of them had unorthodox religious ideas.  It is also telling that some of the greatest scientists of all  are included in this list.  Some cases seem so significant to me that they could stand alone as refutations of the idea that religious thought is anathema to scientific research and the scientific mind. Perhaps you will feel the same about others.  When I saw the first one, it seemed that alone was “enough said” on the subject, but there were four or five more that seemed to have that status, along with all the other cases, examples of religious scientists spread all across the fields of science and over centuries of time.

Continue reading Religion antithetical to science? Obviously not …

There’s no standoff if you think clearly

A response to “The Creation-Evolution Standoff” by Paul Arnold in “Converge.” ( http://convergemagazine.com/creation-evolution-standoff-14552/ )

 

For someone hoping to emulate Dr. Denis Lamoureux’s statement about being “as clean and as competent with the data in front of me” in order to “actually learn something from those we disagree with,” it’s sad to see Paul Arnold so badly misrepresenting this situation.

“To atheists, religion is oppressive and ill informed. To religious fundamentalists, science is morally bankrupt. ”
How can someone write something like that, and then bemoan the excessively binary way people look at it? What’s really bad, though, is the misrepresentation of religious fundamentalists as anti-science. The issue is about creation vs evolution, and while the atheists’ view of religion is essentially immaterial to that, the portrayal of religious fundamentalists as anti-science rather than anti-naturalistic philosophy is a symptom of the central problem. As it comes down to, later in the article, the question is, do we put our faith in God and his ability to communicate with us, or in men and their ability to divine the past from circumstantial evidence, and re-interpret what the Bible plainly says? Continue reading There’s no standoff if you think clearly

42: Salvation by faith, not by works

As this is a personal blog website, every now and then I’m going to step away from the Fundamentalist Science theme and share some other things. Here is a Bible study I did years ago…

Some people, in spite of all the clear passages about salvation, still manage to create doubt and fear that if we don’t do this, that, or the other physical action or have some church official say just exactly the right words over us, we’re still going to be lost. Or they even teach that no matter what else we do, if we fail to do one good work or commit one sin, our salvation is shot and we have to get saved all over again.
Continue reading 42: Salvation by faith, not by works

Instant Rock

We live in an age of “instant” things — instant gratification, instant coffee, instant oatmeal…

Rocks, on the other hand, are supposed to be the epitome of slow. Not only do they not move (or move very slowly via plate tectonics), but they also are supposed to have formed very slowly. But nobody scientifically observed the rocks forming. Therefore, it’s not really rational and scientific to think we know that the Earth must have formed over a long time, or argue that the animals and people coming off Noah’s Ark would have sunk into and drowned in a deep ocean of soft muck that would take a very long time to turn into rock.
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