RE: 19th century YECs.

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 23:31:58 EST

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    Hi Jon,

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: []On
    >Behalf Of Jonathan Clarke
    >Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 11:48 PM

    >I agree also, but you are coming are coming across as lumping all
    >these people into the
    >same category. You also seem to be giving undue emphasis to these
    >people in the
    >1800-1850 time frame.

    I have emphasized the period from 1830s-1850s. That was when geologic
    knowledge seemed to be seeping down to the laity. I wanted to know what was
    being said by the authors during that time. I have paid more attention to
    how the flood was viewed than the age of the earth, although the two views
    are related. In the 19th century one of the most widespread views of those
    who believed in a global flood was that the earth was old but the flood was
    global. This view is almost non-existent today--I knnow only one person who
    holds this today. Within this view, one is able to concord the Scripture by
    allowing an old earth, but keeping mankinds history at less than 6,000
    years. This was a peculiar form of young-historyism which seemed to satisfy
    the Biblical literalists during that time. Today the only thing left of
    this view is the use of erratic boulders and bone breccias as evidence that
    the flood occurred, but all but one modern advocate holds to a young earth.

    Because of this different view point, it is difficult to place in modern
    terms the people of the 19th century. There were YECs of modern form as
    evidenced by Miller, but most people who would otherwise probably have been
    young-earth, believed in a youthful history for mankind. This position was
    destroyed as more knowledge cambe about showing that mankind has been on
    earth more than 6,000 years. What I have found are the beginnings of many of
    the modern YEC arguments, like the polystrate fossil argument, the comet
    explanation for the flood, the sinking and rising of continents for the
    cause of the flood, waters under the earth's surface as the cause of the
    flood, the vapor canopy (or rings) as the cause of the flood, the
    earth-axis-shift theory of the flood, the Flood-as-miracle view of the
    flood, the-glacial-drift-as- evidence-of-the-flood (which is still used and
    published today), the use of Guadalupe man as evidence of the flood, the
    Cambrian explosion arguement, the transitional form argument, the tree ring
    argument, the appearance of age argument, the population argument, the
    frozen mammoth as evidence of the flood argument, the lunar recession
    argument for a young earth, longevity of the patriarchs caused by no
    radiation argument, Woodmorappe's magical carbuncle that lights the ark
    argument, the natural reading of Genesis argument for what intepretation
    should be allowed, and the use of anthropological tradition as evidence of
    the flood. The same suspicion of scientific data and, like Allen, waiting
    upon future discovery to explain things, is also evidenced among many of the
    people I have read. Many of these arguments are to be found among people who
    were old earth but today these same arguments are used by YECs. Thus, it is
    a bit difficult separate their arguments from modern yecs.

    I have also found analogues for Dick Fischer, Michael Behe, and me, in the
    19th century books.

    >> In the 19th century there was a position which is extremely
    >rare today. The
    >> old-earth global flood advocate. They believed that human history was
    >> short, that there was a global flood. This is a variant of the modern
    >> young-earthers in which youth is applied only to human history but not to
    >> the earth's history.
    >And this was a very reasonable position based on what was then known.

    Agreed! up until 1835-early 1840, when it was known that the 'diluvium' was
    really glacial till and was not caused by Noah's flood. Buckland had
    recanted his views of the diluvium in the mid 1830's, Sedgwick in 1831 or
    so, and Aggasize's article had been published Of course, people, including
    Granville Penn (1840), John Murray (1840),James Monroe (1843), Burton
    (1845), Louis Figuier(1872), Dawson (1894), Wegg-Prosser (1895), Joseph
    Prestwich (1896), continued to cite it as evidence until the end of the

    >Nobody that some of these people were YEC Glenn. What I am
    >suggesting is that you are
    >giving much greater prominence to these people than their numbers
    >warrant. The vast
    >majority of clergy 1800-1850 were not YEC. The vast majority of
    >people who wrote about
    >geology 1800-1850 were not YEC. OEC's like Buckland, Whewell and
    >Miller had a large
    >and appreciative audience.

    Jon, I have already, several times stated that I agree that most clergy were
    not YEC. As to whether or not I am giving too much prominence to them, that
    may or may not be. History, it is often said, is written by the winners.
    Evolution and the scientific method were the winners. That doesn't mean
    that there wasn't a whole range of history going on of which, the winners
    speaking to themselves, may have missed. As you have agreed, someone was
    buying those books. And there were certainly a lot of them. While the
    winners were congratulating themselves, the losers were busy buying books
    that totally disagreed with the visible winners.

    By the 1880s, no geologist believed in a global flood except the very old
    geezer-geologists. Yet the books on the flood begin to multiply. We can pay
    attention to the geologists who never wrote about the flood, other than as a
    local event, after about 1840, or we can chose to learn what we can of those
    who were ignoring the geologists AND the clergy.

    >After 1850 all sorts of things happen, and I think this is the
    >interesting period
    >because we still know so little. The anti-geologists die out, to
    >surface in a few
    >decades in the SDAs who were not mainstream evangelicals. Where
    >had the ideas been in
    >the meantime? We don't know.

    That is what I am finding out. They did not die out. That simply isn't true.
    Miller fights against them, but doesn't actually give their names, although
    he makes it clear that he is fighting particular people. Granville Penn,
    grandson of William Penn, and probable progenitor of Gosse's extreme
    appearance with age argument(I am about to read that work, so I will verify
    if that claim is true), wrote Mineral and Mosaic Geology in 1825 and
    Conversations on Geology in 1840, and died in 1844. Yet Miller, in 1857 felt
    the need to whack a book written 32 years earlier. Miller writes:

    "Granville Penn, for instance, does not scruple to avow his
    belief, in his elaborate 'Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaic
    Geologies,' that both sun and moon were created on the first
    day of creation, though they did not become 'optically visible'
    until the fourth. " ~ Hugh Miller, Testimony of the Rocks,(New
    York: Hurst and Company, 1857) p. 188

    Why would Miller feel the need to whack a dead viewpoint? Indeed Miller has
    an entire chapter entitled "The Geology of the Anti-geologists." If they had
    died, why would he have to write this chapter?

    By the way, that view of Granville Penn is exactly Hugh Ross' viewpoint!

    The Fundamentals are partly (not completely)
    >anti-evolution but accepting of an old earth. William Jennings
    >Byran was OEC. Only
    >the SDA's Price and Clark visibly kept the fires burning into the
    >1940's when Henry
    >Morris takes it up.

    You are unfamiliar with William Williams who was a young-earther, non-SDA
    who presented this population growth argument in 1925. He started with the
    assumption that the Jews doubled population every 161 years from 3850 b.p.
    He writes:

    "But let us generously suppose that these remote ancestors,
    beginning with one pair, doubled their numbers in 1612.51 years,
    one-tenth as rapidly as the Jews, or 1240 times in 2,000,000 years.
     If we raise 2 to the 1240th power, the result is
    18,932,139,737,991 with 360 figures following." ~ William A.
    Williams, Evolution Disproved, (privately published, 1925), p. 10.

    You are unfamiliar with Harry Rimmer who was a Young-earther ( in the 1930s
    and wrote lots of books and seemed to be a yec. He too was not SDA. Some say
    he was a gap theorist but I find that hard to reconcile with some of his
    statements Does this argument sound familiar having been placed on this
    reflector just this week?

    "The confusion grows worse when we leave the textbooks and get out in
    field research, for we then see that the rocks with stubborn ignorance
    refuse to follow the chart laid down by the World Congress of Geology!
    In many places rocks one hundred million years old (?) are laid down on
    top of rocks only one million years old! And this according to the
    geologists' own way of reckoning. How could it happen? Why the only
    possible way was for the earth's crust to slip and turn over. In some of
    our California formations, notably of the Eocene period, the strata of
    rock run straight up and down instead of across the mountain! When did
    this tremendous shift take place? Dr. Price says that it was at the
    time of the Flood. . ." ~ Harry Rimmer, The Harmony of Science and
    Scripture, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1936) 22nd printing 1973, p.


    "But in the second chapter of this same book another meaning of 'day'
    appears when the text starts:
    'These are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were
    created, in the day that Jehovah made heaven and earth.'
    Here we have the day (yom) embracing in its meaning all the days (yoms)
    of the first chapter, yet without doing violence to the meaning of the
    word. We note again in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter ten and verse
    'And I stayed in the mount, as at the first time(yom) forty days(yoms)
    and forty nights, and Jehovah hearkened unto me that time (yom) also."
    "Here we see the word yom used for a solar day, and for forty solar
    days, and for an occasion, all in the same verse. . .If the student
    desires to accept the era theory, and say that these days were vast
    periods of time, there is room enough in the Hebrew meaning to allow of
    this interpretation BUT¨while we thus concluded that the days of
    Genesis do not arbitrarily demand a solar day meaning, we must not lose
    sight of the fact that these days of creation may very well have been
    solar days." ~ Harry Rimmer, Modern Science and the Genesis Record,
    (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1952), p.16-17


    "Sixth: in the Hebrew manuscripts, when a definite number precedes or
    accompanies the word 'yom,' a solar day is intended." ~ Harry Rimmer,
    Modern Science and the Genesis Record, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans
    Publishing Co., 1952), p. 19


    "Finally, there is no reason to demand an extensive time period in the
    days of creation in Genesis, except the desire to be in conformity with
    the contentions and demands of the evolutionary school of geology." ~ Harry
    Rimmer, Modern
    Science and the Genesis Record, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans
    Publishing Co., 1952), p. 22

     The fact that Morris found a ready ear in
    >non-evangelical circles
    >for YEC among American evangelicals, indicates that it was there.
    >Was Harry Rimmer
    >sufficiently influential?

    Rimmer was extremely influential, he is just forgotten today. He wrote lots
    of books which sold a whole lot, long before Henry began his career as a

    What about the role of the Missouri
    >Lutherans? What
    >position did the Moody Science Institute play? What about the ASA?

    My recollection from H. Morris' History of Modern Creationism is that the
    ASA split over the issue of YEC.

    > What were people
    >reading in Christian magazines, newspapers, hearing in Sunday
    >School? I think this is
    >an area worthy of research.

    Well, they were buying the books I am reading during the 19th century.


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