Re: YEC and 19th cent

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 17:58:45 EST

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    I think Ted's getting a good balance.

    At no time have I denied that there were YECs in the early 19th century. All
    those Glenn cites are familiar to me and most of Mortenson's too.

    I have tried to make a list of OECs and YECs in various churches.
    In the Cof E - the largest english church I have found over 120 OECs clergy
    from 1800-50 and less than 20 YECS and some of thsoe changed to OEC
    No bishops were YEC (checked over 30) , One cathedral Dean out of 15 and two
    Cambridge dons - Nares and possibly Charles Simeon
    The proportion of Cof E YECs was about 10% (and probably 5% today)

    Recently I read the Christian Observor the main Cof E evangelical magazine
    from 1800 to 1855 and found that most contributors were OEC with YEC being a
    raucous minority.

    There were a higher proportion of YECS among english non-conformists

    My list of YECs hardly tops 40 and I keep looking.

    My point about Winchester is that he alleged court cases and attacks from
    church authorites . That did not happen in the main denominations and
    especailly the Anglican and Presbytarian churches. Nothing happened to
    Chalmers Sumner Fleming sedgwick Buckland Conybeare Henslow etc except
    attacks from what we would call the fundamentalist right, a minority of
    ill-informed people, who with the exception of Harcourt, Cockburn and Nares
    had no real clout.

    I am coming to the conclusion that for every YEC from 1800 to 1850 there
    were at least 5 OEC, and more in the Churches of Scotland and England.

    I hope that makes things clearer than an Aberdeen sea mist



    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Ted Davis" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2002 9:07 PM
    Subject: YEC and 19th cent

    > I think there were in the early 19th century, as Glenn Morton notes (using
    > appropriate texts from Edward Hitchcock and Hugh Miller) rather more
    > YECs--what they themselves might have called "biblical" or "scriptural"
    > geologists--than one might gather from what Michael Roberts says.
    > concern seems to be that lots of modern ignorami apparently think there
    > essentially no Christians who thought otherwise (than YEC), and he is
    > that lots of modern ignorami think this, and they are wrong about it:
    > were a truckload of Christian geologists, e.g., who accepted the earth's
    > great antiquity, though a good number of them prior to the 1850s at least
    > did not also accept the antiquity of humans. On the other hand, as Glenn
    > stresses, there were also lots of Christian thinkers--I hesitate to call
    > them "geologists," since already in that day the real geologists were
    > pulling away from the "scriptural geologists" and other popular
    > found the idea of an old earth enormously disturbing (I don't exaggerate
    > wording it that way). This is precisely why Hitchcock, Silliman, and
    > were so keen to make their case for allegorial interpretations of some
    > (though Hitchcock was pretty darn sure that his favorite view, the
    > creation/restitution or "gap" view, was really the "literal"
    > of Genesis): they knew that the popular view was untenable, and they
    > gently or otherwise to nudge the church into accepting real science.
    > By the latter half of the 19th century, to the best of my knowledge, the
    > position had pretty much faded into obscurity among educated Christians,
    > though the hoi polloi might have held YE views more widely (it's always
    > to know about the hoi polloi at this historical distance). SDA people (as
    > Ron Numbers notes) held YE views quite strongly and still do. They also
    > combined this with "flood geology" for the combination that is now YEC.
    > thinks the combination was rare or unknown outside SDA circles for
    > I think it was more widely held than Ron thinks, but still not very widely
    > held among educated Christians.
    > This issue is (like all historical questions) very much dependent on which
    > precise historical period one asks about, which countries, and which
    > Christians. It gets pretty messy, that's one of the things about history
    > that frustrates many scientists, it can look like one *%&$ fact after
    > another (to quote someone loosely). On the other hand, some of the
    > can be pretty messy too, looking like one *&$% fact after another, until
    > know enough to recognize the principles in operation.
    > Ted Davis

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