Re: the saddest statement

John W. Burgeson (
Fri, 13 Aug 1999 10:09:45 -0600

>Glenn Morton wrote recently:
>"I am on good terms with Paul Nelson but we differ deeply.I think the
>saddest statement in their part was their characterization of theistic
>evolutionists. They wrote:
>"Theistic evolution is not the result of some stupidity, but a creative
>failure. Such people, for whatever reason, cannot see beyond the bounds
>their training or their own philosophic and theological commitments to
>seriously consider other possibilities." Paul Nelson and John Mark
>Reynolds, "Young Earth Creationism," in J. P. Moreland and John Mark
>Reynolds, editors, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, (Grand Rapids:
>Zondervan, 1999), p. 46"
I commented:

>>Describing that as the "saddest" seems to me to be overkill, my friend.

Glenn replied:
Actually I will stay by my personal opinion of this. The statement was
made against a backdrop of an acknowledgement that their view had no
supporting it, indeed, they even acknowledge that the data is against

"Natural science at the moment seems to overwhelmingly point to
an old cosmos. Though creationist scientists have suggested some
evidence for a
recent cosmos, none are widely accepted as true. It is safe to say that
most recent creationists are motivated by religious concerns." Paul
and John Mark Reynolds, "Young Earth Creationism," in J. P. Moreland and
John Mark Reynolds, editors, Three Views on Creation and Evolution,
Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), p. 49

And consider this statement:

"As we shall argue later, recent creationism is an attempt to reinterpret
the data, not to deny their existence or importance. As it is now
interpreted, the data are mostly against us. Well and good. We take
seriously. Eventually failure to deal with that data in a recent
creationist scientific theory would be sufficient reason to give up the
project." Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds, "Young Earth Creationism,"
J. P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds, editors, Three Views on Creation
Evolution, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), p. 5
OK, Glenn. With the additional evidence of a citation in another book by
Nelson, et. al. your claim of "saddest" is bolstered. I still don't see
the need for a superlative here, however. That means no other statement
in all the many words written on this funny subject are "sadder." Not by
Sagan, not by Morris, not by Dawkins, not by (gasp) Glenn Morton hiss
self 20 years ago! < G >

Cut your claim back to "it is sad" and I'll have no problem with it, as
your deeply felt opinion. To some extent, of course, I clearly think
Nelson's claim is true. Hardly a universal claim, of course; he, too,
has used overkill. IMHO of course.

On another subject, Glenn goes on to write:
I would ask Mssrs. Nelson and Reynolds, when will enough time have passed
for YECs to give up the project? As of today, 169 years have passed
the publication of Lyell's Principles of Geology which showed the world
evidence for an old earth. YECs still can't explain the geologic data.
hundred and 40 years have passed since Darwin published and the YECs
have no definition of a baramin that works. They also have no
for the nested hierarchies in the biological realm.

When Paul and John Mark are 100 years old and on their death bed, is this
enough time to have passed for them to give up their project? They have
open-ended checking account on the future. They draw upon it anytime
they can't explain something or anytime the data goes against them.
As you know, I am not a YEC; never have been, although at one time I did
consider part of that claim, at least, as a viable option. But I see no
reason they, and their successors, should not continue to try to support
it as long as they wish to. It is their call.

You write:
Then they turn around and say that the reason that TEs accept TE is that
they can't see beyond their training. Switch and bait. Now we won't talk
about the evidence that goes against YEC, just the blindness of the TEs.
What is so very, very sad is the hypocrisy of this statement. While
acknowledging that the data goes against them, instead of acknowledging
that TEs are TEs because the data is in favor of evolution and an old
universe, they try to blame the problem on the TEs rather than on the YEC
failure to explain the data. This is a classic case of avoiding
responsibility. If they were responsible, they would put forth a
hypothesis which could successfully deal with the data they admit they
can't explain!

And then they offer the lamest of reasons to be a YEC:

"The recent creationists may fail, but the effort itself will be
intellectually interesting." Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds, "Young
Earth Creationism," in J. P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds, editors,
Three Views on Creation and Evolution, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999),
p. 50

So we are supposed to invest such time in an intellectual lark, that
admittedly ignores the evidence? And then we are supposed to say that
failed lark, which is opposed by every piece of observational data is
we should be engaged in because it supports the very Word of God. Sorry
Burgy, I find this all very, very sad, hypocritic and blind.
I understand. I suspect it is because, at least in part, you yourself
were once a YEC and now you have "seen the light."

But Glenn, what I see you doing here is attacking the person, not the
claim. And I don't have a lot of patience with that, so I decided to
comment. You claim Nelson et al, above, of being hypocrites. That is
something I find sad. Not "saddest" BTW. < G >

I wrote: "Does it (Nelson's claim, amended to cover some, but not all,
people) describe Glenn Morton? I don't know. Possibly. You & I have
engaged in enough "chatter" over the past several years to lead me to
consider it a possibility."

You wrote:
This comment amuses me. In fact it is laughable. To claim that I can't
beyond my training is ridiculous on the very face of it. I, who was a
publishing young-earth creationist (20+ items for the CRSQ, one YEC book
my own, and one ghost-written for Josh McDowell. If I couldn't see
my training, I would never have changed sides. I changed sides because I
finally saw what the YECs were doing to the Bible.
Sorry you laughed. I meant it seriously. Yes, you "changed sides." And I
once (I am told) believed deeply in Santa Claus.

Here is a question for you. What makes you espouse a variation of the TE
position so assuredly as opposed to some variation of PC? Or is PC still
a "live option" to you? If not, would you characterize the writings of
some PCs (me, for instance) as also being "sad?" Is TE, to you, the only
possibility left to consider?

Finally, you wrote:
YEs we are all fallible humans. But I have evidence that I am willing to
change when presented with new evidence. Do Paul Nelson and John Mark
Reynolds exhibit this ability? Not yet. But I am hopeful that Paul
change some day. He is far too smart a person to continue to support the
totally unsupportable.
You again make a personal attack claim. If you'd change the "Not yet" in
the above to "I have personally not seen any" it would be an acceptable
claim, and not an attack. You are not God. You have not seen Nelson and
Reynolds is every one of their life situations. You don't know, nor can
you possibly know, enough to claim "not yet."

Enough, my good friend. If I did not think a whole lot (good) of you I
would not bother posting this over-long response!


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