Re: How to discuss evolution with friends. WAs RE: YEC and loss of faith:

From: Walter Hicks (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 17:43:31 EST

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    Please excuse the long response but I felt that I needed to do so after
    "shooting off my mouth" recently. In addition to rerspoding (and taking
    a position, this may answer some issues raised by others.

    Hi Shuan,

    I will present this all in the first person singular. Extract from it
    whatever might be useful and discard whatever is not.

    Conversation with a YEC (and other things):

    1.) First and foremost, I consider it to be a dialog. Now matter how
    biased I may be initially, the other person is a rational human being
    who has (often strong) reasons for his/her beliefs. Being a good
    listener is critical. I come by that naturally so it is easy for me. Not
    so easy for many. I may even take notes if I think that I may forget
    critical items. If I wish to convince the other person of my ideas, then
    I must be clearly willing to allow him/her (I'll just use "him"
    henceforth) to change my outlook.
    2.) The impact of atheistic scientists: My mother liked to say, "Nobody
    is useless; you can always be a bad example." This joking remark can be
    put to good use. Take Dawkins for what he is - a bad example of a
    scientist. Instead of adhering to his own domain of science, he uses it
    as a vehicle to tout his own atheistic outlook on life. I hold him to
    ridicule as someone who uses controversy to make a fast buck in
    publications. He acts no more like an objective scientist in his
    writings than Ophra Winfrey and I expose him as such. (Same goes for
    Carl Sagan and a lot of what is portrayed as objective science on
    "Public Television".) Sure Sagan and Dawkins say that science "proves
    there is no God". What else could a godless scientist be expected to
    say? --- Science is all he has! To believe his propaganda is to be a
    fish for atheists. (Jesus called us to be the fishers of men - not the
    fish for men.) Next, consider the ethics of an atheist. Now, I know many
    who are really ethical in general. However, their logic is inconsistent
    and it is only because they have a comfortable existence and have no
    need to exceeed moral bounds. If the pressure hits them, what moral
    constraints do they have? I point out the "Atheism 101" article in Mensa
    as an example. The author said he was moral because he was not stupid
    and did not want to go to jail. That is the perfect scenario for a
    Dawkins type thinker - "Just make certain that you don't get caught.
    That's all that matters." The bottom line of this is don't allow
    Christians to be a fish and fall for the lines of people like Dawkins.
    Let the Lord deal with those people and let Science speak for itself.
    3.) TRUTH: Now there really are two bases for a discussion of origins
    for a Christian. One is what we extract from the Bible and one is what
    we extract from our Scientific Investigations. The problem arises when
    they do not appear to say the same thing. Our mutual position has to be
    that we interested in the truth - not some abstract notion that might
    lead either of us away from that. The ultimate truth is Jesus Christ and
    it is important to establish that everyone in the discussion sees it
    that way. A discussion lead by mutual prayer is an excellent way to
    proceed. It tends to be bonding for any discussion.
    4.) The "truths" of Science: Let me confess to being in love with
    science since I was a little kid. Despite degrees in Electrical
    Engineering (and a job in that area), I left work to get a Ph.D. in
    Physics (fusion plasmas) and then used it only as a hobby. Having
    "retired" I worked as a consultant in order to pay for my $50K
    laboratory to investigate entangled photons. Despite this love, I am
    quick to recognize the soft spots in physics and some bizarre nature of
    the theories. You may see this in some of my posts. Scientific theories
    lead to a lot of strange conclusions, so don't be too gullible in
    accepting everying unless the proof is really compelling. I acknowledge
    that, but I openly defend what has been discovered if it makes sense.
    Remember, we are witnessing the Glory of God in His creation and that is
    not to be minimized.
    5.) Darwin: Atheists like to cite Darwin as the reason that they can be
    atheists and thereby give an impression that is not valid. While it is
    true that Darwin leaned towards agnosticism in his later life, he avowed
    that he was not an atheist. In his "Origin of Species", the edition that
    I own ends with "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its
    several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a
    few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on
    according to the fixed laws of gravity, from so simple a beginning with
    endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being
    evolved." I think this paints a different picture of Darwin and is
    worth noting.
    6.) The Bible: Most likely, the YEC will take the viewpoint that truth
    can be obtained only from the infallible word of God. I personally find
    it hard to accept this extreme view but it has to be accepted as a
    possible starting point. Trouble is: which version of the Bible do we
    accept? There are flocks of "translations' (with possible
    "interpretations" sneaking in) so one has to establish a ground rule.
    Most will want to start with the King James. That is a good idea in that
    it is uncolored by any thoughts that come from recent science. I think
    that it is not a great idea to attack a YEC so hard that he winds up
    loosing his faith. Yet a nice place to start with Biblical
    interpretations is, I believe, Genesis 1 and 2 with respect to the
    creation of Man. In Chapter 1& 2 we have what appears below. When I
    first read this I took the discrepancy to simply show first that God
    illustrated a sequence of events in close agreement with the
    "discoveries" of science, while the second (different sequence)
    illustrated the real nature of God's relationship with mankind. Animals
    were created after man, specifically for him, in the mind of God. Also,
    I have claimed that God can do more than one thing. An "inconsistency"
    in the Bible does not mean that both could not have happened ---- just
    IMHO). Anyhow, that can be a starting point for a discussion and can
    lead to what science has discovered and what the Bible really says.
    Remember that everyone who believes in the infallibility of the Bible
    also admits that translational (and other) errors could have crept in
    after the original Divine Revelation. That leaves a lot of "wiggle room"
    for everybody.
    7.) Loss of faith: I don't think we should present such roadblocks that
    a loss of faith can happen. However, in "A grief Observed", C. S. Lewis
    illustrates his own loss of faith and said that sometimes God will tear
    our faith down because it is a house of cards and He will then make it
    stronger. That did indeed happen to me way (way, way) back in my college
    days. I am glad that it did, because the faith that I had at that time
    neglected a real relationship with the Lord.

    I hope that this may be of some help. If George or others disagree, by
    all means listen to them first. I am just an Engineer/Physicist with no
    theological credentials.


    Genesis 1

    24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his
    kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind:
    and it was so.
    25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after
    their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind:
    and God saw that it was good.
    26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and
    let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of
    the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over
        every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he
    him; male and female created he them.

    Genesis 2

    18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I
    will make him an help meet for him.
    19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field,
    and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he
    would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living
        creature, that was the name thereof.
    20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to
    every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet
    for him.


    Shuan Rose wrote:
    > Hullo List,
    > In my opinion, the constant proprogation of YEC views as THE only true
    > interpretation of Genesis can lead to a loss of faith, as it almost did in
    > my life when I confronted the evidence for evolution. Evolution may not be
    > the perfect scientific explanation for the diversity and elaboration of
    > life, but it is better than OEC and incomparably better than YEC, which has
    > been completely falsified scientifically.
    > The next question for me is how I explain this to my YEC friends. I go to a
    > conservative evangelical church, and most folk there appear to be YEC. In
    > fact, the church puts out a tract attacking evolution as ungodly. When I
    > mentioned that I beleived in evolution, I was challenged on this. One of my
    > friends even wants the church to bring Answers in Genesis(GROAN) to town for
    > an evolution/creation debate!
    > My position is not helped by Dawkins & Provine, with their proof of
    > evolution = atheism formulas.
    > Its enough to make you wish for the simple life of an atheist!
    > Seriously though, I would like some guidance on how to deal with evolution
    > when the topic comes up with my YEC friends.
    > regards,

    Walt Hicks <>
    In any consistent theory, there must
    exist true but not provable statements.
    (Godel's Theorem)

    You can only find the truth with logic
    If you have already found the truth
    without it. (G.K. Chesterton)

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