Re: YEC defined

Adam Crowl (
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 06:00:22 PST

>From: "Allen Roy" <>
>To: <>
>Subject: Re: YEC defined
>Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:39:56 -0700
>Adam said
>> >or (in some cases) assigned to "apparent age," what Gosse in 1857
>> >"prochronic" time.
>> > More extremist elements tend towards Gossism when discussing the
>> > starlight problem. What's your take on that issue?
>I don't see any need for apparent time due to the possibility of an old
>universe. I am aware of some in the YEC camp who have proposed
>changes in the speed of light and a fellow named Humphres has developed
>white hole cosmology which has something to do with expansion of the
>Right now I don't know Kuhn or Lakatos so I don't know the difference
>between their views.
Definitely worth a look if you're going to keep discussing science as a
paradigmatic system - Kuhn was the first to start the modern useage of
"paradigm" in a science context. He proposed that science basically
advanced by "revolutions" as defenders of old paradigms were replaced by
younger proponents of the new. A number of physicists have since shown
his model to be flawed, so Imre Lakatos' ideas have gained more
attention, since it's a more objective account.

>> This is a common claim, that Genesis actually presents [some]
>> material from those involved, even God. I find this claim a bit hard
>> swallow, since it involves a literate culture prior to its directly
>> observed development in Mesopotamia.
>I think you may be refering to the tablet theory proposed by Wiseman.

Indeed I was, as it's been used fairly extensively by Creationists here
in Australia. Wiseman held to a "multiple revelation" view of Genesis
1's six days.

>The question then becomes how accurate was the passing down of oral
>traditions? If great significance was attatched to them, it is more
>that they will remain close to the original due to memorization by much
>repetition. I don't have any facts or figures on such accuracy, but it
>seems like I have read that such oral traditions remain quite accurate
>long periods of time.
True, but the current account of such transmission requires a corruption
of the common oral tradition in all but the tradition that culminated
with Moses. I find this hard to believe, since Abraham's father is
recorded as being an unbeliever, and that would be odd in a keeper of
true lore. That's not my only objection, but it springs to mind readily.

>In any case, Genesis then becomes not just a collection of stories and
>fables edited by a bunch of redactors, but a fairly accurate collection
>oral/written histories edited into one document by Moses.
The Torah seems to be a pastiche from roughly Ezra's day, but that
doesn't stop it from retaining valid tradition, since Ezra presumably
used older materials. However how much was obscured by the editing
process? My personal preference in understanding Genesis is to believe
that real history has been recorded and obscured by theologically minded
editors and scribes. Considering how much is left to us of the lives of
many of the Hebrew kings I'd say this is not an unreasonable view.

>> Interpretations can be accepted, denied, or reinterpreted
>> >without affecting the evidence.

>> Very unlikely. Our "paradigms" can affect our nomenclature and our
>> paradigmatic expectations guide our forays into the unknown.
>I wasn't talking of obtaining new evidence, but the interpretation of
>existing evidence.
Science is about extending our knowledge, and much of what YECism is
against has been accumulated through the "lens" of evolution. It's hard
to see how it can all be reinterpreted.

>I agree, but it doesn't really matter how new evidence is obtained.
>Evidence that is obtained through a paradigm is not the sole propery of
>that paradigm. It is possible that the new evidence may fit more
>than the one by which it was discovered.
While this is true, usually the new retains the old as a limit case. In
geology uniformitarianism never died, even though catastrophes are now
seen as "normal" processes. Newton's physics remains valid even though
it has been extended by Einstein and Planck, and Linnaeus lives on even
after cladistics. YECism requires total demolition of much of science.

[Now into the meatier issues...]

>> Consider the Serpent. To treat Genesis 3 as literal history we must
>> believe that all serpents became legless due to the smooth-talking of
>> one cursed ancestor - that's what a literal reading requires!
>I don't know of any YEC who believes that a serpent talked of it's own
>accord. The talking is usually attributed to Satan who either used a
>serpent as a medium or who took the form of a serpent himself. The
loss of
>legs or wings (or both) is largely speculation, for the text does not
>explain how the serpent motivated prior to crawing on it's belly.
>The curse, as applied to all serpents, could be seen everafter as an
>lesson of the results of sin.
>> How all
>> modern snake species arose in the next 6000 years is hard to imagine,
>> but necessitated by a literal reading.
>Perhaps the genetic variation of baramin is faster than that even
>by evolution.
That's be quite an admission considering the multitude of new genes it
would require to arise by [apparently] non-miraculous means. But that's
a side issue.

Right. Let's see what this all means. "No we don't accept it all
literally..." when it's obviously ridiculous, but when it's genealogies
or Flood tales it has to be believed. Why the dichotomy, if it's all
true? Why the fulminations against us theistic evolutionists when we
don't take it all as 100% history?

>> Biblically there is no mention of this presumed panzoological aspect
>> Adam's curse. What animal was cast out of Eden to be deprived of the
>> Tree of Life?
>Perhaps I'm an odd ball, but I have always understood, (and have been
>taught that) there was nothing of the Tree of Life itself which

The issue is what do we believe about the images invoked in the stories
and how they relate to history. If you can read Genesis 2,3
non-literally seeing the various components as "metaphors" or
"allegories" of other truths then why the insistence on literalism when
faced with a geneaology? There may have been an Adam, or the Adam may be
all of us ["as Adam sinned and died, so have we" to paraphrase Paul's
non-physical reading] - what's wrong with that? Yet to many YECs that's
"giving in to atheism" or some other hate-filled rhetoric that they
chuck at non-literalists who aren't YECs.

There was no magic potion which gave eternal life.

But you wouldn't know it from Genesis - though Henry Morris would be
quite happy to throw away the rest of the Bible and keep Genesis.

Rather, that the
>partaking of that tree, instead of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good
>Evil (TKG&E), revealed the choice one had made in believing in God.

An interpretation. Developed in an age used to non-literal readings.

>Eternal life is found in relationship with God. Sin is the choice of
>seperation from God and thus from life. Eating of the TKG&E signified
>choice to cut off ones relationship with God. Eve did not sin by
>the fruit of the TKG&E, rather Eve ate from the TKG&E because she chose
>sin. Adam did not sin by eating the fruit Eve gave him, rather he ate
>fruit because he chose between God and Eve. He gave up life for death
>Eve. (not exactly a great deal!)
Hmmm... the act not the choice alone was sin. God had to "kill" his
creations by casting them out of the Garden - that's the explicit
wording of the text - so they wouldn't eat and live and be like him. The
choice was wanting to be God or not, it seems. Or so a direct and
literal reading would tell us.

>Eating of the Tree of Life was a choice made by intelligent minds in
>relationship with God. The depriving of mankind from that tree was
>symbolic of the choice they had made. Whether or not animals ate from
>same tree is immaterial.

But the text says that's how A & E would live forever. Without it they
would die. To follow the Bible consistently for animal death to arise
they too had to be denied the Tree of Life.

Eternal life came by intelligent relationship
>with God, not by certain chemical reactions in the stomic or intestine.

You can say that after reading Paul and John on what eternal life means.
But then such is non-physical, non-literal and non-historical, and makes
mere symbols of the events of Genesis 2,3.

>There was no need to deprive the animals from the tree and no need to
>them out of Eden.
Especially if they died before and after the Fall. If no death was prior
then why all the carnivores with such magnificent adaptations for
killing? The cheetah runs to kill, T.rex grew teeth continually to
replace teeth lost ripping apart bony prey, sharks constantly grow the
same, eagles have brilliant eye-sight and powerful talons, ichneumon
wasps lay eggs on live caterpillars and their grubs eat their hosts
while they live... all perfectly adapted. Yet the Bible records nothing
of a second creation event after the Flood or after the Fall, and
records nothing of animals even being commanded to eat meat [though
humans are so commanded.]

>Perhaps you may claim that this is not a literal reading of the text.
>Perhaps this particular text was not ment to be read strictly literal.
>Bible has many types of literary writings in it, and a common sense,
>straight forward reading, instead of a strictly literal reading, makes
>understanding the Bible not quite so difficult. God has given us minds
>think, and we should use them when trying to understand the truths he
Indeed. The claim of all theistic evolutionists who honour the Bible.

>> We can interpret Paul's words how we like, but he WAS NOT
>> an "eye"-witness. The eyewitness material says nothing of the death
>> animals, says nothing of "vegetarianism amongst sea-creatures" [a
>> totally unbiblical claim , but required by your logic], and makes no
>> statement about how curses placed on [supposed]individuals could be
>> transferred to their descendents. To uphold "no death for animals
>> Adam" is to EXPLICITLY DENY the "eyewitness" material.
>While Paul may not have been an eyewitness to Creation and the Fall and
>it's effects, he was moved by the Holy Spirit to write what he did and
>Holy Spirit was an eyewitness. Also, the texts do not deny that death
>passed on to all life as a result of the choices of Adam and Eve.

They don't deny. They say nothing, yet this huge inference is made on
tenuous grounds based on a verse in Paul. It makes no sense Biblically!
Sure some rabbis claimed such, but no doubt other rabbis claimed
something else quite different.

And just
>because the text does not explain exactly how a curse placed on two
>individuals could be transferred to their descendents, that does not
>that it is impossible for such to happen.
It doesn't mean it is impossible, no. My point is it also says nothing
about the transmission of a death curse - that's reading INTO the text
something that is never elaborated. Another bit of creative

>> Problems arise when trying to account for all the physical evidence
>> catastrophically, since much of it requires gradual processes, or
>> to.
>"Or seems to" Yes, that is the issue. Must all the deposits which
seem to
>require gradual processes only be interpreted that way? Just consider
>changes of paradigm which occurred with the discovery and application
>turbidites. Many layers which had been interpreted as seeming to take
>gradual processes of slow deposition of very fine materials out of
>waters, is now understood to have been layed down very quickly
>in terms of days rather than tens of thousands of years)
Well that's not really true. There's turbidites and there's turbidities
and such deposits are usually fairly obvious - they don't usually show
fine bedding either. Other sediments are less obviously "rapid" and
often sequences present themselves as being gradually built up, as
ancient lake deposits attest.

>> Tidalites - often in deposits with multi-million individual layers -
>> required the steady pulse of Moon and tide, and couldn't have formed
>> less than tens of thousands of years.
>How much research has been done to look for possible fast deposition?
>you ever tried? Is it possible that an explanation has been found
>comfortably fits the uniformitarian paradigm, and looking for any other
>exlanation may be counter productive to the paradigm.
Well actually the scientists who studied such went to modern day
versions of the same depositional environments and watched how they
formed. To their surprise instead of being annual cycles, the tidalites
were daily and the pattern of the moon's orbit could be discerned in the
fossil tidalites. However since such deposits often involve millions of
daily cycles over large areas they would require tens of thousands of
years to form, and are frequently sandwiched between other depositional
layers and rock types. Great age is apparent and quite convincing. Some
varved layers also do appear to be annual cycles in quieter depositional
environments, and modern versions in glacial lakes are much older than a
literal 6000 years.

>> Several buried and mature rivers
>> are known, as are exposures of palaeorivers from very long ago.
>The latest Flood models do not require that every centimeter of the
>be covered by 15 cubits of water for every second. It would take more
>space than available here to explain further. But, for there to have
>runoff in rivers during the Flood catastrophe event is not impossible.
It's not the run-off issue that is really the main point. We're talking
fully evolved river-plains that take thousands of years to develop
sandwiched between other sedimentary layers. That's very evident age. No
Flood could produce such.


>The source of energy required for a Flood catastrophe of 150 days (the
>from the opening to the closing of the windows and heaven and the
break up
>of the fountains of the great deep) is indeed problematic. One of the
>latest ideas among Flood catastrophists is interpreting the effect of
>asteroid impacts during the Flood

600+ asteroid impacts in 150 days, sending out shockwaves travelling at
faster than the spped of sound. Noah's ark would have to be in orbit to
survive... then again it'd get toasted by the flashes from the impacts.
At least you're advocating a scenario that admits the evidence of
geology, of massive asteroid crashes over time. But take the K/T impact
for an example - very different species either side of that line of
iridium, and while there's some continuity there's also the
discontinuity of [for example] several generas of ammonites not to be
found anywhere in the geological record above that line - except for a
few reworked [and obviously so] remains in the Paleocene. No chaotic
jumble like the Flood can explain such order.
And that's one example amongst thousands of taxa intricately arranged in
the sediments.

>One need not apeal to miracles to obtain the forces required for a
>catastrophe on the order required for a global catastrophe. The '94
>of the "string of pearls" of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupeter was not
>miracle. Flood catstrophists propose something similar, a group or
>of asteroids hitting the earth and the moon and perhaps even Venus and
>during a fairly short time.
Cratering on the terrestrial planets has been reasonably well dated, and
there's no evidence for such a scenario. The Earth would stand alone, so
it would still be a miracle.


>This is part of the problem, is science a paradigm or a methodology?
>of what I've been saying is that science functions within a paradigm as
>methodology rather than being a paradigm itself.
Let's be precise. A paradigm is essentially an set of exemplars to guide
further work in a field of science - Einstein's equations in GR,
Maxwell's equations in electromagnetics, Natural selection in
evolutionary genetics... what do YECs have to offer science as an
enterprise? Nothing, but doubtful geology. YECism is anti-scientific
because it offers no leads into further exploration of nature. It denies
abiogenesis, so everyone playing with RNA might as well empty their
test-tubes. It denies beneficial mutation, so every breeder might as
well give up trying for a better variant. It denies evolution in the
fossils, so you might as well leave those "Ambulocetus",
"Australopithecus" and "Acanthostega" skeletons in the ground. It denies
radioactive dating, so you might as well moth-ball all those
mass-spectrometers and stop studying samples from fossil lava fields.

Anti-science. As far as Duane Gish is concerned any cosmological
speculations on the origin of planets, comets, stars, galaxies, the
Red-Shift and all the rest is just atheism waiting to happen. You might
believe that God created the world, but it can't have been by the Big
Bang cause that's too much like what atheists believe. I believe that
you're no where nearly so extreme, but you're a small minority as I see


>> So far I have pointed out numerous flaws in the interpretation of the
>> Bible adopted by the YEC position, and these are more fundamental and
>> more detrimental than whatever flaws you might find in science.
>As I pointed out before, the discussion is not between science and the
>paradigm, but certain interpretations of some scientifically derived
>evidence and YCE interpretation of the same evidence. I find no flaws
>science per se.
But you do. By denying the paradigms that guide research you deny the
whole enterprise and give it a negative valuation.

>There are many YEC and much of Christiandom in general which hold to
>infallibility of the Bible specifially at the verbal inspiration level.
>prefer Thompson's 'Incarnational' view of Biblical inspiration. In
>words, just as the Word of God took on our human imperfections in His
>incarnation as He came to show us the truth of God, so also the word of
>is clothed in the imperfections generated by human writers who were
>inspired by the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the truth of God. Thus the
>Bible may contain human induced mistakes, but still be God's truth to
>It is by the Holy Spirit, who was sent to us to teach us truth, that we
>find the truth of the Bible and not be mislead by the imprefections we
>find there from time to time.

On this last point of your discussion I whole-heartedly agree. The
extent of the "mistakes" or misunderstandings we might perceive is
doubtless quite different considering our divergent conclusions, but I
am heartened by your willingness to adopt such a risky view of the
Bible. Why is it risky? The censure that such views receive from the
100% infallible types is a minor aspect. The real risk lies in the doubt
and uncertainty that comes with any honest attempt to wrestle with Truth
revealed in such an imperfect medium.

but Jesus never said we would be alone in our search through the
Scriptures, and that's always my prayer and hope when reading the Bible.


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