Re: Apologists and other salesmen

Glenn Morton (
Tue, 05 Nov 1996 20:01:18

Jonathan Arm wrote:
> I wish to take up a couple of things that Glen wrote on
> 11.3.96.
> - in regard to your argument about "mythology". I agree
> that it is inconvenient to use a term for which the techical
> meaning is different from the popular connotation. But as
> scientists we learn to put up with this. There are
> countless examples of proteins/receptors/molecules with
> biological activity which were given names that subsequently
> turn out to be unhelpful; other terms are misleading - for
> the longest time I could not work out what alternated in the
> "alternate" complement pathway, and then I discovered that
> "alternate" was American for "alternative" (!); and there
> are countless examples of medical terms whose technical
> definition differs from popular connotation. Tough! It is
> a shame, we try to do better with new dicoveries, but in the
> meantime we learn to live with it.
But when we scientists use technical jargon in front of laypeople, their eyes
glaze over. They have no idea what we are talking about. We do less damage
to science than I think is done by the use of mythical in theology.

> - as for the world on a turtle's back. It seems to me that
> you are ignoring the problem of God communicating to people
> with limited knowledge and understanding. One would not
> expect God to use 20th century cosmology to communicate with
> the early Jews. As with all of scripture we have to try to
> understand the understanding of those for whom it was first
> written. Scripture has to transcend cultures and time.

I find this argument not very strong. There were lots of evolutionistic
primitive societies in the past who believed in an old earth. The Maya's I
hear, at Coba had a sequence of 20 numbers for their creation dates. In their
base 20 system, that would represent 10^23 year ago or so for creation. There
are several ancient references which appear to be evolutionary in nature.
Lucretius believed that man arose from a brutish state (Nature of Things bk V
925-987). Plato believed in the inheritance of acquired characteristics Laws
VI 775). The Indians in NW America believed in all sorts of transformations
from one animal to another in their creation stories. (see Jeremiah Curtin
Creation Myths of America).

My point is that if these cultures could understand such "terribly difficult"
concepts as morphological change and old earth, why couldn't the Hebrews?
Were they less smart? Of course not.

> - lastly, there is a huge difference between "no evidence"
> (as in exodus etc) and "contrary evidence" (as in geological
> evidence against a young earth). Again there is a great
> deal in the biological sciences that has to deal with this;
> lack of evidence does not mean very much.

I agree that lack of evidence does not mean much. But we christians are not
dealing well with contrary evidence to our positions. Those who believe that
the flood was a mesopotamian affair which landed the ark in Ararat must have
water flow up hill contrary to the laws of physics. There is abundant
evidence that art existed long before 60,000 years ago and yet apologists like
Hugh Ross continue to say that there is none. And more dangerously he clearly
states that the Bible would be wrong if there were any! While no one can know
it all, we need to do our best.

Along that line, I was chided privately for possibly making it sound in a post
last nignt, that the speed of light could change. I don't think I stated it
that way, but let me clearly state that the speed of light cannot change. But
since some creationists have made that suggestion, I raised it in order to
show that the evidence was against it, in the form of the rates of radioactive
decay we see on the supernova.

> Thanks to Glen for his continuing thought provoking stuff.


Foundation,Fall and Flood