Re: David Livingstone's take on geology and creation

From: jdac (
Date: Fri Jan 31 2003 - 20:12:38 EST

Hi Glenn

First of all we must defer to Michael's research. As I recall his data
indicates that no more than 10% of Anglican clergy were YEC in the first half of
the 19th century. The handful of people who published from this perspective is
consistent with this. So does your estimation that 10% of Miller's book is aimed
at refuting YEC. Also almost no person in high office in the CoE was YEC and
many of the clerical geologists also held high office. The YEC's did not have
the performance, profile, and public and scientific impact of people such as
Conybeare, Whewell, Buckland, Sedwick, Miller, Fleming or Playfair. The YEC
stream of 19th century thought should not be ignored, but it should not be
over-emphasised either. The impression you are giving me (doubtless incorrect)
is that you want the YEC stream to be dominant. You certainly give greater
emphaisis to the 10% than you do the 90%. If you do not want to give this
impression, perhaps a bit more empahsis on the 90% would be good

What has yet to be clarified is how influential YEC was in other streams of
British Christianity - especially the numerically important Methodists,
Presbyterians, etc. Perhaps there were more in these circles, perhaps less.
Michael, perhaps you can clarify this situation.

By way of contrast a leading Christian geologist writing a book today aimed at
Christians would have to devote a much laerger percentage of the book, perhaps
even all of it, to refuting YEC and defending mainstream geology, as is indeed
the case with the works of Davis Young, Michael Johnson, etc. Like in the first
half of the 19th century there are a great many leading Christian geologists,
however unlike that time their opinion is not only rarely heard in the churches
is is actively ignored and denigrated in too many. Partly this has been
through the professionalisation of science and ministry (how many Michaels are
there, both geologists and clergy?) reducing their profile. The rise of YEC is
of course the other part, possibly aided by the ignorance of most Christian
leaders of geology, a situation very different to the first 50 years of the 19th
century in Britain.



Glenn Morton wrote:

> Jon, it is equally important not to confuse lack of publication with lack of
> existence in significant numbers. There can be lots of reasons for lack of
> publishing. If the editors were eductated, they would be less willing to
> publish. Secondly, the uneducated poor who might have believed YEC were a
> poor market for books, not being able to buy many thus leaving no market for
> the product. Just because one doesn't see the earthworms doesn't mean they
> aren't there.
> But the YECs did exist in significant numbers. Hugh Miller cites many in his
> book and spent 1/10 of his 1857 book arguing against them. Why would he do
> that if they were so non-existent?
> I would cite Strachan from England from 1852 as a YEC who illustrates some
> pretty bad logic but he was there in that generation and was publishing:
> “If the Mosaic narrative be rejected, then we must believe that the world
> was 3600 years without any written account of its own origin and of the
> supervision exercised, over the affairs of men, by Divine Providence. Now I
> ask the unbeliever himself, whether this be at all probable?” Rev. Alexander
> Strachan, The Antiquity of the Mosaic Narrative, (Burnley: Thomas Sutcliffe,
> c. 1852), p. 57-58
> The latest reference in that book is to Hitchcock's 1851 Religion of
> Geology so I believe this book is in the 1850s. This guy also favorably
> cites Granville Penn. Scientifically literate people and non-YECs don't do
> that.
> glenn
> see
> for lots of creation/evolution information
> anthropology/geology/paleontology/theology\
> personal stories of struggle
> >

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