Re: teaching evolution & creation science in public schools...

From: Jan de Koning <>
Date: Sat Apr 02 2005 - 11:30:58 EST

At 03:08 AM 4/2/2005, Steven Carr wrote among other things:

> No, we are here talking about the fact of evolution itself, a fact that
>is proved utterly beyond reasonable doubt. To claim equal time for
>creation science in biology classes is about as sensible as to claim
>equal time for the flat-earth theory in astronomy classes.
> Or, as someone has pointed out, you might as well claim equal time in
>sex education classes for the stork theory. It is absolutely safe to say
>that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that
>person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not
>consider that).'

This way of arguing does not get us anywhere. Though, I must say that I
find it tiresome that I hardly ever heard any arguments on this forum
against some points I made about Bible translation, which go much further
than just the creation story. ( I mentioned that the same word "nephesh"
in Gen. 1 is translated in some translations as "life", but in Gen.2 as
Granted, that type is going on in many places in the Bible as all Bible
translators have a certain "philosophy of life" which determines the way
they translate old documents.
So, Gen. 1 - 11 was written by and spoken to people who did not speak
modern English, nor did they learn any geography. Their "history"
knowledge was limited to some generations back, but certainly not hundreds
of years. We should not expect Bible translators to have a philosophy of
understanding "life", "languages" etc. etc. which prevents serious
errors. Even in our own thinking we make mistakes in understanding what we
read in English. As long as we talk out of different backgrounds we will
never agree..
My objections to our discussions here are:

1. that linguistic arguments about translations are not answered, or
sometimes based on texts which are part of the"mistakes" in
translations. On this forum these arguments are impossible to lead to
agreements. Not only can these only be answered by specialists in a
particular area, but a thorough discussion will take years, and often needs
to be discussed by specialists in a particular area.
2. Evolution is an ongoing process. Saying that it worked differently in
the past is logically difficult, if not impossible, to accept.
3. God spoke to people in a way they would understand, but not all people
have a modern-day English understanding of "truth." Not many centuries
ago "truth" was relayed to the next generations in stories, which had a
deep meaning, but which were not necessarily based on facts. As a matter
of fact, some people do still educate that way.
4. Unfortunately the discussions here are limited to the English language
thus eliminating references to other languages. Else, I would be able to
quote some orthodox theologians in the 19th century, who did not argue
against evolution, since they did not see it contradicting the Bible.
5. My uncle studied (unfortunately in Dutch) in explaining the beginning
of the Bible (he was an Old Testament specialist) old Egyptian tablets
(found at El Amarna) and old Babylonian history. On the basis of these
studies he said that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not "history" in
our sense of the word. For example, the numbers mentioned in these
chapters are impossible to fit in with the time these chapters are talking
about. (I don't know about other universities, but I know that his book is
in the library of the University of Toronto, and I have seen a copy in
another library as well. I used to have two copies, but I cannot remember
what I did with the second copy.)

Can we agree, that even if not everyone agrees, there are more than one
explanation, and even translation of certain biblical texts?

Still, as Christians we accept the Bible as God's Word, even if we do not
agree with each other? This forum is not a forum to condemn each other,
but to build each other up in an environment which is often hostile to

Jan de Koning
Received on Sat Apr 2 11:33:07 2005

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