Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Apr 17 2004 - 20:39:30 EDT

Glenn Morton wrote:

> As to why I don't think the cosmology of Genesis 1 is valid and true for
> their time and ours valid for our, is because it means truth is very
> elastic. One or the other cosmology is simply false, wrong, erroneous
> and contrary to data (to be a wee bit redundant). If you tried to
> publish a physics paper which said that both aether and GR were correct,
> your paper would never see the ink of day. Truth is singular, not
> plural.

> And if we allow God to use a false science to get across a true
> theology, how can we be sure he isn't using a false theology as well?
        Because the purpose of scripture is to tell us the truth about God & God's
relationship with the world (the classical definition of theology) rather than about
a scientific understanding of the world. Cf. Jn.20:31.

> > Would it have made any sense for God to imspire the sacred
> > writer to describe Einstein's universe? Would the sacred
> > writer have understood the inspiration, assuming some theory
> > of direct inspiration? Would anyone hearing or reading it
> > have accepted such a model in 1500/500 BC? Of course not!
> I smell the stink of a dead RED HERRING. No one says that God had to
> print out copies of Thornton, Misener and Wheeler in order to get across
> truth. Nor did God need to stand on the street corners of Eden passing
> out copies of The Origin of Species in order to be true. One can clearly
> state truth in a much simpler manner.
> Take evolution. I think the bible does teach evolution. When God said,
> 'Let the land bring forth living creatures after their kind', God didn't
> bring forth the animals, the land did. The land is the subject of the
> quotation. That is all one has to do to make the Bible true
> scientifically. He doesn't need to explain the intricacies of genetic
> theory. So please spare me those dead red herrings.

        The Bible does not "teach evolution." It teaches mediated creation of life,
& this is important because it opens the possibility of understanding creation in
evolutionary terms, but the picture in Genesis 1 is of the land directly bringing forth
plants & animals. There is nothing at all about one species being descended from

        Genesis 1 does not state what we see today as a correct picture of cosmological
development, even in simple terms. It has no big bang, no formation of elements in
stars, no formation of the earth from a solar nebula, and no descent with modification.
All attempts to get any of these things out of Genesis 1 are eisegesis. & some of the
events are not in the correct order. Land plants weren't formed before sea animals, &
the sun wasn't formed after the earth.

> > For one thing, they wouldn't have had the Hubble Space
> > Telescope. Let's give God a break on this one.
> And one doesn't need one to say true things about the universe. This is
> another dead red herring.
> I think
> > Paul's approach is a good one, and he has John Calvin on his
> > side, not to speak of a number of his predecessors (e.g.,
> > Aquinas). The sacred writer(s) was/were not teaching
> > science, they were teaching theology of creation. It is a
> > problem of interpretation of the Scriptures, as Bill
> > recognized, not of science.
> Using false facts (if Genesis is interpreted as normal. I would suggest
> that you take a look at two pages of mine.
> And
> >
> > This either/or thinking is not only a problem with religious
> > folk, it is also a problem with some scientists (religious or
> > not).
> Gee, either energy is conserved in the collision or it isn't. I don't
> see a problem with either or thinking. That is what allowed science to
> proceed and progress. One can't say that both Thompson's plum pudding
> model and Bohr's model of the atom are both true. They simply aren't.
> One can't say that light passing through two small slits both acts like
> a wave and a particle at the same time. They don't. Even in Quantum
> there is either or thinking. We rule one possibility out of contention
> that allows us to accept the other hypothesis. That is one of the ways
> Science progresses. If you wish to do away with either/or thinking,
> don't limit yourself to religion. Have guts and do it for science as
> well.

        Both Thomson's & Rutherford's theories can't both be true because they are
claims of the same type - i.e., theories about a particular aspect of physics. But two
different types of texts about the same thing can both be true. Again I refer to the
example of the historian Benjamin Thomas's description of Lincoln's assassination &
Whitman's poem about its significance. They are both true, but if you try to read the
poem as an historical description you get serious contradictions, & Thomas's account
doesn't convey the affect of Lincoln's death very well.

> We who are read in the history of science grit our
> > teeth whenever we hear a science teacher say, for example,
> > that the Ptolemaic model of the heavens was "false," or when
> > Carl Sagan said in "Cosmos" that Ptolemy set astronomy back a
> > thousand years. That's nonsence; the Ptolemaic model
> > _advanced_ astronomy. We need to help people generally
> > understand the nature of scientific truth.
> >
> > Bob Schneider
> Sorry Bob, parallax measurements FALSIFIES ptolemy. The Ptolemaic
> system simply can't account for stellar parallax. It is false. If you
> chose to say it is true, you are equivocating on the word truth. You
> have an entirely different definition of truth than the one used by
> Aristotle.

        & by the same token one has to say that the theories of Kepler, Newton, &
Maxwell are false. & when we find effects of quantum gravity, we'll have to say that
general relativity is false. It doesn't matter that all those theories correctly
explained phenomena that their predecessaors hadn't & predicted new ones. They're just


George L. Murphy
Received on Sat Apr 17 20:42:08 2004

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