Re: David Livingstone's take on geology and creation

From: jdac (
Date: Wed Jan 29 2003 - 17:40:10 EST

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    One biography of Miller I read said that an autospy showed that he
    suffered from brain lesions the result of tertiary syphylis or a
    tumour. It was this that almost certainly led to his depression,
    nightmares and sucide. There is no evidence what so ever that his work
    on the science faith intrerface led to his sucide.


    Glenn Morton wrote:

    > Michael wrote:
    > >-----Original Message-----
    > >From:
    > []On Behalf Of Michael Roberts
    > >Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 10:29
    > >In 1857virtually all scots presbytarians and nearly all anglicans
    > accepted vast ages of geology. At that time there was a lower
    > proportion of>YEC than there are today. (Remember old fashioned
    > evangelicals and fundamentalists believe in an old earth. None of this
    > new-fangled YEC for them) !857 was>also the year when Hugh Miller
    > ppublished Teh testimony of the Rocks - a classic on geology and
    > genesis. Two comments on Miller's book. I am delighted that you do
    > acknowledge here (at least implicitly) that there were YECs. Miller
    > spends an entire chapter on YEC arguments and he wouldn't have done
    > that if they were totally insignificant. Secondly, I have both the
    > American version and the British 1857 version of this work. In the
    > American version, there is an extended preface by the editors which
    > may shed some light upon the expectations with which Miller's book was
    > greeted. Below is from p. 165 of Foundation, Fall and Flood, 1998. It
    > is my view of what was bugging Miller. Before the historians slap me
    > (as they do everytime I touch on history) I will simply say this is my
    > view, and there is some reading between the lines.:
    > *****begin********
    > In the autumn of 1855, an American publisher received an offer for the
    > publication of a new book by Hugh Miller.Miller was a famous British
    > geologist who was also a devout Christian. He had written a very
    > popular book on the Old Red Sandstone. Miller believed the Bible. He
    > was also concerned with the distortions concerning geology, which were
    > being made by his fellow Christians. This new book would address the
    > tension between geology and the Bible.The publishers were very
    > interested and closed the deal at once.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
    > "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
    > Over the next year, advance pages were written and dispatched to the
    > American publisher.As the editor perused the papers they were
    > convinced that this book was a monumental work. They wrote, "It became
    > more and more evident that the work was destined not only to extend
    > his fame, but to establish for him new and special claims to the
    > admiration and gratitude of mankind." The editor felt that Miller had
    > been successful in dealing with the science/religion issue.
    > As Miller struggled with the issues and finished his work, he became
    > more and more depressed.No one knows what was actually going through
    > his mind during the final stages of manuscript preparation but the
    > issues of how to explain the Divine record were clearly on his mind.As
    > a geologist, Miller knew that he had not solved the issue of the
    > flood.All he had done was explain why the Flood could not be global.He
    > had not offered a detailed and successful scenario for the Flood.He
    > had suggested that the Caspian basin was the locale for Noah's flood.
    > His scenario did not allow one to point to a group of rocks and say,
    > "There, those are the rocks deposited by the Flood." All he did was
    > note that the Caspian used to be bigger than it is now, but that does
    > not prove that the Caspian was catastrophically filled. It simply
    > proves that the water is evaporating more rapidly today than the
    > rivers can replenish it. He admitted that he was on weak ground and
    > called his view a 'conjecture'.1 He also admitted that the Flood might
    > have been miraculous rather than natural.2 This was almost equivalent
    > to admitting that he had not solved the problem.
    > Miller's despair grew. On the night of December 23, 1856, after
    > finishing the proof reading of his manuscript, Miller called his
    > doctor to dinner.There he told the doctor that he had been up at night
    > for several weeks working on the book.The doctor told him that he had
    > been overworking, that he should stop work and take a rest. Miller
    > agreed that that would be good.
    > After their dinner, Hugh Miller took his bath, and retired to his
    > bedroom. An hour or so later, the maid entered the room and found a
    > look of horror on his face.She fled the room rapidly. Later that
    > night, Hugh Miller, the famous author, wrote a note to his wife,
    > pulled out his pistol and shot himself to death.
    > Christians who do not study geology are unaware of the difficulties
    > this subject presents to the believer, but Hugh Miller knew! While not
    > coming to the depths of despair Miller faced, I have found it very
    > difficult to deal with the misunderstandings of geology I hear from
    > the pulpit.Miller knew, as I know, that what my fellow Christians are
    > teaching about science is not correct.It challenges one's faith when
    > he realizes that most of one's fellow believers are quite willing to
    > make definitive statements about geology and other areas of science
    > when they have never studied the subjects.It is painful to know that
    > Christian apologists regularly ignore observational data.Miller blew
    > his brains out.*******end***********Having now gone through 3 winters
    > in Scotland where Miller committed suicide, I can attest that the
    > constant darkness (very short days) can get one down. That had to
    > have an impact on his point of view. Dec. 23rd is about as dark as it
    > gets--a mere 6 hours of low to the horizon sun. But the thing that
    > struck me was that people were expecting him to have solved the flood
    > problem, and it was obvious that he knew he hadn't.glenn
    > see
    > for lots of creation/evolution information
    > anthropology/geology/paleontology/theology\
    > personal stories of struggle

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