Re: Four Rivers Revisited

Steven H. Schimmrich (
Mon, 10 May 1999 12:28:46 -0400

James Mahaffy wrote:

> Let me first indicate that I am not a YEC. Yet I thought Steve was a bit too hard on
> Roy. While he is critical of Roy's not knowing stuff, Roy to his credit is still on
> this forum and I think that is great for communication. Secondly I know a bit about
> philosophy of science and I think Steve is too critical of Roy's position simply
> because the predominance of scientists are not working from his framework. Most of
> those scientists have not looked at several frameworks or paradigms and then
> empirically decided that one was false and the other right. This does not mean that I
> think the flood model will work well in the field and in fact Davis Young has had an
> impact because he understands their position and shows in a careful way geological
> things that will not fit well with a young earth.

A couple of points:

- I may come across as being hard on Allan but it's based on over two years of
seeing him present the same oft-refuted claims over and over again on this
(and other) lists.

- Anyone who posts controversial ideas to this forum is fair game for criticism
as far as I'm concerned. Why not? Are Christians supposed to be immune from
criticism by other Christians when they espouse silly ideas (some of you
obviously think so!). Criticism is an integral part of science -- if you can't
take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

- I'm not critical of Allan not knowing stuff, we all don't know stuff, I'm
critical of him not knowing stuff and then pontificating about it. Does
everyone know that Allan leads tours of the Grand Canyon explaining how it
all formed during Noah's Flood? This, in my opinion, makes him a self-styled
"expert" on geology and thus fair game for criticism. Check out the web page
at How on Earth can someone do these
types of tours and then regularly admit they're unfamiliar with the geologic

- I understand the position of the YECs as well as Dave Young, I'm just less
polite about refuting it. It's a personality problem :). If anyone's
worried about me sullying the reputation of Calvin, I'm only temporary
faculty here (sabbatical replacement) and will be teaching somewhere else
next year (a Godless state college).

- My criticism may seem harsh but it's because I take YEC very seriously and
believe that it has caused a great deal of damage to the Christian community
by misleading them about science (sometimes with outright lies) and by telling
them that one can't accept certain findings of modern science and still be a
Christian. YECs also commonly utilize "creation evangelism" which I believe to
be a misguided and indeed dangerous practice ("Hey, the YECs lied to me about
science, why should I believe what they told me about Jesus?").

> I was cleaning up unread ASA files and after reading this found Roy's response and
> another by Steve. But it still struck me that the argument Steve used was a bit too
> much - most scientists don't hold to your position so it must be wrong. By that
> argument most of us should not be Christian since most of the world thinks it is
> silly. But maybe in fairness to Steve, the YEC position is also largely a lay position
> and suffers from a mixture that includes many who do not understand science and who
> unlike Roy and a couple others don't even follow the ASA list. Roy, even if I think
> your position won't work, we need you on the list.

I think you're mischaracterizing my argument. It isn't that Allan's wrong because
no one agrees with him, it's that no one agrees with him SO IT'S HIS RESPONSIBILITY
TO SHOW WHY HE'S RIGHT AND EVERYONE ELSE IS WRONG!!! It's not up to everyone else
to do a lot of time-consuming work to prove why every crackpot idea that comes along
is incorrect! All Allan is doing is armchair hypothesizing and he's confusing that
with scientific research and daring everyone else to prove him wrong. I'm not going
to play that game (read Don Wise's excellent article "Creationism's Geologic Time
Scale" in the March-April 1998 issue of _American_Scientist_ for more about how
geologists should react to YEC claims).

Allan will be back on the list when he talks to the other YECs on their secret
mailing list and he gets some good diagenesis arguments :). (Inside joke)

- Steve.

   Steven H. Schimmrich, Assistant Professor of Geology
   Department of Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies
   Calvin College, 3201 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546 (office), (home)
   616-957-7053 (voice mail), 616-957-6501 (fax)