Re: controversies

Paul Arveson (
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 15:09:54 -0500

Bill Hamilton wrote:

"Therefore it seems reasonable to me that while empirical knowledge might
influence the way I interpret something revealed in Scripture (since human
reasoing does have a role in the interpretation of Scripture), that it can
never overrule what only God can reveal.

This is where I believe my creationist Christian brothers actually have too
much confidence in science. Their belief seems to me to imply that science
can overrule revelation. (Actually the atheists who regard science as
supporting their atheism are making a very similar error, IMO) On the
contrary, I believe revelation was given to give us knowledge we could not
gain by our own efforts."


This is an interesting observation, which I too have made. I find that
sometimes creationists use evidence to defend their view, and then later
they say that the view is presupposed based on revelation, which makes
evidence irrelevant. Henry Morris did this in his early book,
The Twilight of Evolution, and Ken Ham does it in his recent
Back-to-Genesis traveling road shows, in which he admitted directly
to me that the 144-hour creation is a circular presupposition, after
having spent the morning telling the crowd about evidence!

You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either young-earth literal
6-day creation is a postulate that is immune to evidence (for or against),
or it is an empirical question to be decided on the basis of evidence.

When anti-creationists complain about the need for evidence, the
creationist starts talking about personal bias and assumptions of
the critic, in other words, knowledge is relative and theory-laden.
They are trained to ask, 'how do you know; were you there?' Even
J.P. Moreland tends to do this, fitting into the modern trend toward
philosophical relativism, but using it in defense of creationism.

When in front of non-scientific audiences, however, the creationists
typically talk about nothing but evidence for creation and against
evolution, as though it mattered.

This flip-flopping from positivism to relativism has been going on
since Morris wrote his first book, and has proved to be a robust tactic,
apparently, for over 30 years. No wonder a lot of us are tired of the
whole discussion, in which little light is ever shed. And not only
that, but it feeds into our modern relativistic age in which everybody
has their own special revelation which can't be questioned.

Paul Arveson, Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 816-9459 (H) (301) 227-4511 (FAX)