Re: Griffin book

From: Allen Roy (
Date: Wed Feb 13 2002 - 13:57:32 EST

  • Next message: John W Burgeson: "Re: Why methodological naturalism?"

    From: John W Burgeson <>

    > 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
    > that there is no scientific way to evaluate, test, or repeat events of
    > origin."
    > 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,

    I don't see it as my difficulty. :)

    I would like to clarify my point that based on the Bible there are two types
    of origins. The first is what I was talking about above. That of the origin
    of inorganic matter which I do consider instantaneous and Ex Nihilo. (The
    Big Bang model may be a poor comparison) The second origins is that of life
    on planet earth where individual life forms were made from the pre-existing
    matter (i.e. "God formed man from the dust of the earth.") rather than Ex
    Nihilo, that they were made individually and that they were made in

    > 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.

    Perhaps, but only for the origin of matter, not the origin of life forms.

    > 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,

    I am not using the scriptures as a scientific text. I use it just as
    archeologists have used eclipse observations from clay tablets, or ancient
    Egyptian observations of the highs and lows of the Nile, or their notes of
    the appearance and disappearance of stars. These ancient observations are
    not scientific, they are merely observations. Yet scientists of today take
    those observations and draw scientific conclusions from them. Are the
    scientists using the texts as scientific texts? Are they called to the
    carpet for developing scientific theories based on them? No.

    The Bible is not a scientific text. But, it does have observations and
    statements about nature which the authors have include in the text. Can
    scientists of today do the samething with the observations from the Bible
    that has been done from clay tablet, papyrus scrols, or stone carvings? Or
    is only clay, papyrus and stone acceptable to scientists?

    > and allowing it to form a certain
    > fundamental assumption under which all data must be subsumed.

    To be sure, the creationary scientist does develop a philosophical world
    view from the Biblical observations. (He does not read into the text his
    philosophical world view, but draws it from the Bible)

    > 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.

    Again, the Bible is not a scientific text, but has may observations and
    statments about nature from which one can draw a worldview.

    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.

    If one take the position that God is author of both Nature and the Word,
    then one would expect them to be in agreement. However, they are not of
    equal value. The Word is explicite and communcates certain truths and
    priciples directly. Nature needs to be interpreted and is best interpreted
    within the worldview defined by the Word.

    > 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
    > causation
    > > for thunder?
    > Allen evaded my question by saying: "Give up?!?! Not hardly, it is
    > simply a different focus of attention....."

    Did you really mean that question about "Creationist Shaman" to be taken
    seriously?! That is an absurdity. I gave it all the attention it needed.

    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.

    Glenn, don't you know: "Evolution is a proven FACT!"? It can never be
    shown wrong nor even challenged!

    My thought experiment is valid. What if Scientists reached the same point
    in origins that they have reached with Evolution; that they knew absolutly
    EVERYTHING there was to know about origins; THEN WHAT??

    > 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.

    So, Evolution is a Theory?!?!?!? Boy, that will be shocking news to
    everybody on this list! Evolution is a FACT! And don't you forget it!

    (speaking of dogmatists!)

    > "Mankind does not need to know exactly HOW God did it. Just knowing that
    > God
    > 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.

    I said previously "that God spoke and it was so. ... Such action is beyond
    the scope of science" because it is not testable or repeatable, therefore
    "it is impossible to ... develop a scientific theory to explain HOW God did
    it." You may try to persue the impossible for the "glory of science." if
    you wish. I prefer to accept as true the word of God for the glory of God.

    > 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.

    The foundations I was refering to was Griffins assumptions. I believe them
    invalid based on a worldview drawn from the Biblical record. And so, any
    conclusions Griffins has based on those assumptions will be invalid also.
    So there is no need to examine Griffins superstructure of conclusions.

    (I am going to have to refrain from responding anyfurther to this, not
    because I would not want to, nor because I cannot, but simply because I only
    have so much time and there are some more important things I need to get
    done. I'll go back into Lurking mode for a while again. See you. It's
    been fun.)

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