Re: David Livingstone's take on geology and creation

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Thu Jan 30 2003 - 07:27:21 EST

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    I dont know about the autopsy but I have found that there is so much speculation on many people about their mental health, persecution by the church, VD , homosexuality that I am very sceptical about most reports until I have been presented with good arguments.

    livingstone picked up his earliest science from Thomas Dick a scots presbyterian . William Astore of USAF academy colorado has written a good book about Dick and streses the Livingstone connection and the general acceptance of an old earth.

    Glenn always remeber that YECs make more noise than others and are noticeable because of their absurdity so we always think there are more than there are. Even Mortenson agrees with me that YEC were a minority in the early 19Cent and declined by 1855.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: jdac
      To: Michael Roberts
      Cc: Glenn Morton ; ASA list
      Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 6:46 AM
      Subject: Re: David Livingstone's take on geology and creation

      I think tertiary syphilis is the result of parental misbehaviour, not the sufferer's.
      Do you think the autopsy report is a myth?


      Michael Roberts wrote:

        Yeah but it makes a good story doesn't it! Not only has syphilis been suggested but also repressed homosexuality. I haven't checked them out, but having considered the nonsense about Darwin's and Buckland's illnesses I remain totally sceptical Regards michael
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: jdac
          To: Glenn Morton
          Cc: Michael Roberts ; ASA list
          Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 10:40 PM
          Subject: Re: David Livingstone's take on geology and creation
           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.:

            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

            for lots of creation/evolution information
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