Re: Griffin book

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 10:03:17 EST

  • Next message: Shuan Rose: "How to discuss evolution with friends. WAs RE: YEC and loss of faith:"

    Allen wrote: "1. Since nothing exists before origins, then the
    assumptions about existing things must apply to after origins only. 2.
    Since nothing exist before origins, the assumptions that apply after
    origins cannot apply before origins and cannot therefore define origins.
    3. By accepting that God created by speaking things into existence (i.e.
    "And God said, let there be light....") one is faced with the reality
    there is no scientific way to evaluate, test, or repeat events of

    I think I see your difficulty. You see "origins" as an event in time --
    at one moment there was nothing, a terasecond later there was everything.
    And I see "origins" as a process, and, I think the 6th century BC writer
    of Genesis did also, else he would not have described the events as
    taking six days, whether he was thinking literal 24 hour days or six
    periods of time.

    I think your argument above holds if one accepts the ex nihilo
    assumption, but does not hold if one does not. So perhaps the ex nihilo
    concept is what should be debated.
    Allen continues: "4. Anyone can compute from given Biblical chronologies
    that the events of the Creation Week story date to somewhere in the
    vicinity of 6000 BP. (The
    Bible does not ever give any precise dates for anything). The origin of
    life forms on the earth dates to that era. Thus, there is a Biblical
    time constraint on anything involving life forms that may studied
    scientifically (such as Noah's Flood and related flood depositions).
    Creationary Catastrophists choose to accept this constraint as valid."

    In that argument you are, I see, EXPLICITLY using the your interpretation
    of the scriptures as a scientific text, allowing it to form a certain
    fundamental assumption under which all data must be subsumed. In the
    words of a professor of mine many years ago -- you are "torturing the
    data until it confesses." IOW, any interpretation which does not fit with
    your interpretation is not given any credence at all; not even
    considered; not even "seen."
    Allen went on: "(I have said on this list before that I am not a typical
    YEC, for I believe
    that there is Biblical evidence that the universe (all inorganic matter)
    was created at a beginning long before the Creation Week.)"

    Again, using scripture as a science text. Of course, there is a wealth of
    SCIENTIFIC/OBSERVATIONAL evidence of this. I presume you pay no attention
    to this either? I guess you don't have to -- you have your scriptural
    interpretation to tell you about such things.
    I wrote:> So the Creationist starts by "giving up." That's OK, of course.
    But how
    > would you answer a "Creationist Shaman" who insists that "God makes the
    > thunder" and therefore disdains any investigations into natural
    > for thunder?
    Allen evaded my question by saying: "Give up?!?! Not hardly, it is
    simply a different focus of attention. Let's just suppose that today
    scientists prove beyond any doubt just exactly how the universe and life
    originated. Every scientist would now know
    everything there is to know about origins. What would they do tomorrow?
    They would simply focus their attention in other directions. They would
    not need to consider origins any longer."

    1. Scientists do not PROVE things. We simply establish, over time, better
    and better models of reality, coming closer (we hope) to the truth of
    reality but never claiming that we have arrived. So you supposition is a
    "thought experiment" that simply cannot happen, not even in principle.
    "That is the position of Creationary scientists. They know that God
    designed, invented and created the inorganic universe. They know that
    designed, invented and created life forms. They know that God spoke and
    was so. Since such action is beyond the scope of science, it is
    to try to develop a scientific theory to explain HOW God did it."

    Any scientist who says "I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that such and
    such a theory is really really true" is unlikely to be given much
    credence by his colleagues. Such a person is not a scientist at all, but
    a dogmatist.
    "Mankind does not need to know exactly HOW God did it. Just knowing that
    did it is all that is needed."

    Of course we (and I include womankind!) do not NEED to know -- but the
    glory of science is in the pursuit. I think the pursuit of God is much
    the same thing. He who early establishes the boundaries of what ideas he
    will accept about God is necessarily confined within those boundaries,
    and his growth is often thereby stunted.
    Allen concludes: "The ostrich supposedly hides his head so as not to see.
     I have looked at the foundations and found that I do not need to examine
    the superstructure."

    No Allen, you have not studied the foundations. You have assumed them,
    based on your own modern interpretation of scripture. I use the word
    "modern" deliberately, of course, for it does not have a very long
    history. Perhaps 50 to 80 years, at most.

    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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