Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Mar 16 2007 - 22:59:51 EDT

Comments below in brackets {}.


George M wrote:

[GLM No, I meant what I said. I introduced Wells as 1 example of a
scientists whose claims for a recent origin of humanity doesn't appear to be

motivated by religious concerns. The extent to which I'm qualified to
debate the issue is irrelevant. Your license to practice distance
psychoanalysis is suspended.]

Aw shucks, shrinks make such good money. But, I can analyze your statement
above. Wells DOESN'T claim a recent origin of humanity. You are doing what
you said YECs do. You are making Christians look ill-informed by missing
what Wells is saying. I tried to point out your error, but you are now
persisting in saying what Wells isn't saying. The age of the Y chromosome
is not the age of humanity, no matter how much you or I might wish it to be
so. It just represents the age of the lucky guy whose chromosome was the
most widespread. Go back 10,000 years and there would have been some humans
who didn't have that guy's y-chromsome but there probably would have been
some other guy dated 80 or 90,000 years ago, from whome all y chromosomes
were descended at that time. The y-chromosome Adam is a moving target. 5000
years hence, it will be a guy who lived 55,000 years ago or so.

If you don't understand this, then you are out of your depth here.

{GLM From the program for Wells talk at Kent State - Stark, 1 March '07:
"Wells analyzed DNA from thousands of men living in isolated populations and
concluded that all humans can be traced to an African tribe that existed
60,000 years ago." Does that mean that all humans descended from _only_
that tribe? No. Does that in turn mean that the origin of humanity can't
be placed at ~60,000 years? That of course depends on how one is defining

I won't pursue this further here because it would lead you to claim that I
have some stake in a recent origin of humanity, which I don't. More on this
below. & also more on being out of one's depth.}

[GLM You make wild claims & then pass by in silence the demonstrations
that they're false. What I refuted here was the claim that people are
arguing that the creation accounts are poetic and therefore CANNOT (not do
not or may not) convey truth about the natural world - i.e., that the very
nature of poetry precludes the possibility of conveying such truth.]

George, I want to laugh here. I cited Jan de Konig who argued that it was
poetic, and you didn't respond to that, effectively ignoring it, and then
charge me with ignoring facts that falsify your claims.

If you believe that the Genesis accounts are telling us something true
historically, then it should be easy for you to answer the question, what,
exactly is it telling us about history. I asked that simple question but
got the diversion above about me not answering your comments. If you
believe it is historical, then what is historical. If you can't tell us
that, then I doubt your assertion above is nothing but a red herring.

1st, Jan didn't say that the account_s_ were poetic, which was your claim.
But that's minor. More to the point was your claim that someone is saying
"poetic, THEREFORE not conveying truth about the natural world." Whether or
not I think it does convey any such truth is not the point. Someone may
think it doesn't simply because he thinks the accounts disagree with the
historical & scientific data or because of the difference between the 2
accounts, but that doesn't mean he's reaching that conclusion simply because
one or the other account is "poetic."

This is a small error on your part which could easily be attributed to
hyperbole on your part & it would be easy enough to corrent it. Why don't
you? Or do you just not understand the distinctions?

When you wrote:
[GLM Again you ignore the refutation of your 1st extravagant claim & go on
to a 2d. Your claim was that theologians never want to think anything new &

I pointed out that that's nonsense.]

I went back and looked for some kind of refutation. I simply don't know what
the heck you are referring to. What did you refute. What 1st extravagant
claim are you referring to?

{GLM That theologians never want to think anything new. Not a direct
quote but you said (on either the 10th or the 11th - I've omitted the
original but it's in my reply of the 11th) "They do if one refuses to think
anything new or novel about the accounts. They fit together quite nicely
within my interpretation, but, of course,
theology wouldn't really want to think anything new, now would we?"}

As the the second, I see theologians only thinking along lines of, it tells
us YEC history or it tells us nothing that we can claim to be
observationally verifiable. If you can point me to theologians who believe
that the Bible is telling us something observationally verifiable while at
the same time accepting the facts of modern science, I would be interested.
Even the framework theory in my opinion doesn't fall out side of the 'it
ain't history' school of thought. But your claims that there are new ways
of thinking are easy to make, but harder to document especially if you see
the world with the division I do.

{GLM No, what you said in your last post was an even more restrained
condemnation of theologians without qualification: "And theologians on a
daily basis show utter contempt for science by ignoring it or saying things
about science which aren't true and then acting like one is an idiot to
challenge them on it--this even if the theologian hasn't studied the area."
No qualifications, no "some theologians," many theologians," even less names
of any specific theologians. No recognition that there are any theologians
who know anything about science and/or are careful to talk to those who do.

What you display is an "utter contempt" for both theology and theologians -
without any distinction among them. Which wouldn't be quite so bad if you
gave any indication that you knew anything about theology beyond the most
simplistic "the Bible must be true" claims.

There is another point worth making here if you're able to listen. Your
accusations against "theologians" are far too extreme but it's certainly
true that many theologians - & I include parish pastors there - aren't as
well informed scientifically as they should be. That's precisely one reason
why a great deal of my ministry is devoted to seminary teaching, leading
workkshops for clergy, writing for clergy & theological jornals &c about
such matters. m& that should explain why I spend little time in direct
debate with atheists: One can't do everything. I don't deny the importance
of confronting atheist & other anti-Christian arguments, but not everyone is
called to do everything & there are only 24 hours in a day. If you can see
the importance of trying to educate Christians, & especially clergy, about
matters of science & technology you will perhaps see why we don't all devote
our attention to debating atheists & perhaps even apologize for your
implication that those of us involved in the former type of work are
cowards, dupes, &c. But I won't hold my breath.}

[GLM I.e., if I don't believe your resurrected stillborn ape-like mutant
story then I don't believe God had a miraculous hand in creating mankind!]

Oh, George, have some nuanced thinking for a change. It isn't my theory to
which I refer. It is to the Bible, which you seem incapable of believing
If you don't' believe the Bible where it says :

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into
his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

I don't care if you reject my theory, but if you decide that God didn't
actually perform the activities in the above statement, then you simply have
to admit that you don't' beleve there is a single shred of historical
reality contained in Genesis 2:7. And if God didn't do that, then what
miracle DID God do when mankind was formed?

{GLM Unfortunately you don't think it's necessary to believe it either.
You think it's sufficient to present "something close to Genesis 2:7" (as
below) but the simple fact is that God resurrecting a stillborn ape isn't
forming man of the dust of the ground & breathing into his nostrils. You
don't believe it really happened as the Bible says but manage to convince
yourself that since something that might have happened & sort of sounds like
it is the same thing & thus pacify your fundamentalist conscience.

You also assume with no justification that the important point about Gen.2:7
is that it's a "miracle." But of course the text doesn't say that or use
any of the common biblical terms for what we call a miracle. Isn't it
possible that the text is simply saying that we are made to be living beings
by YHWH from the common stuff of the earth? While it is not talking about
evolution, that's quite consistent with a scientific understanding - with
the crucial addition of "by YHWH," the God of Israel. That's what the Bible
says & I believe it. As for believing it as literal history, no, I don't
believe that & neither do you.}

See, this is the problem. I at least present something that is close to
Genesis 2:7. You simply believe it didn't happen but then turn around and
try to tell everyone what a wonderful book the Bible is and that it teaches
true theology. How would we know it teaches true theology if everything it
says is false? Do you believe Genesis 2:7?

{GLM This isn't horseshoes or hand grenades.}

[GLM I judge your claims by the standards you want them to satisfy & find
them wanting. OTOH I want my arguments to be judged by appropriate
theological standards - which include agreement with well-confirmed science
but are hardly limited to that.]

George, you speak so abstractly that there is not much one can say to this.
What standards? Who set up these theological standards? George Murphy?

{GLM How about - well, the Nicene or Apostles' Creeds (which the ASA
statement of faith says are "brief, faithful statements of Christian
doctrine based upon scripture") for a start? Or to be really radical, how
about speaking as if Jesus Christ made some difference to your worldview?
Your discussions seldom if ever say anything about him. The fact that you
seem unable to even think of such things as theological standards shows your
lack of interest in & knowledge of serious theology. In your words, you're
"out of your depth" when you try to talk about theology.

& please don't insult my intelligence with any "if we can't believe in a
literal Adam/Jonah/floating ax we can't believe in the resurrection of
Christ" drivel. "Many Christians do" is a sufficient refutation of that.}

if you want to be in agreement with well-confirmed science, then why do you
ignore genetics which clearly says that there has been no common human
ancestral pair for at least 5 million years? I can't change that. I wish it
weren't true. I wish every genetic system and every gene showed the same 100
kyr age because only in that manner can we have a REAL Adam and Eve who are
parents of all humanity, but the fact is that they don't. We have two
choices, George, ignore it, or incorporate it into our theology. You want to
ignore it. I don't.

Do you even understand why all genes should show the very same age if we are
all descended from a recent pair of ur-parents?

{GLM I realize now that some of your statements about my supposed
scientific ignorance stem from your unwarranted notion that I think that all
of present-day humanity can be traced to a single couple. If you had read
what I've written on these matters you would realize that that's not the
case (E.g., on p.114 of my June '06 PSCF article: "But it does seem
unlikely that the present human race can be traced to a single male-female
pair" - followed by reference to genetic data which may suggest that I'm not
quite as ignorant of the subject as you imagine.)

Time out for your expressions of shock, horror, and denunciations of my
refusal to believe the Bible. All I'll say not believing in an "historical
Adam" is a considerably smaller departure from the Christian tradition than
leaving Christ out of my theology.

2d, you seem to think that I have some theological commitment to a recent
origin of humanity. I don't, as again you'd know if you'd read what I've

Well, George, one can say that about the talking snake, the floating ax
head, and indeed, the resurrection itself. What real evidence do we have
today concerning the resurrection? We have some claims that people saw the
risen Lord, but in fact, there is not one shred of physical evidence
remaining. So, if physical evidence becomes your standard, then by
definition, there can't be evidence for the resurrection--the body is gone!

{GLM This is so childish! Of course I only referred to the lack of
possibility of _physical_ evidence for your "Adam" because I didn't think it
was necessary to point out that there is no _historical_ evidence of any
kind - documents &c - for such an event as there is for the resurrection of

Is there any real evidence that David slew Goliath? Is there any real
evidence that Samuel was consecrated by his parents? All we have is the
word of the Bible, but we also have the word that "God formed man of the
dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and
man became a living soul." But, there is no real evidence for that either.
By your standard, you reduce the Bible to an evidentiaryless set of

When I demanded that our solutions fit the details of what it is we are
studying George wrote:

[GLM Not enough for you but that's your problem. & again, the claim that
your ape scenario agrees with Gen.2 in "details" is a vast overstatement.]

So, is this an argument for sloppy research and ignoring data we don't like?
It seems that if one doesn't want to deal with the details of an area of
science, then one is saying it is ok to be sloppy and haphazard. Yes, that
is my problem, George, I won't settle for slop. I did that when I was a YEC
and I won't accept it anymore because it is self-deception.

[GLM Again I am not holding a "double standard of judgement." I am
judging your cliams as you want them to be judging but I have not said that
those criteria are the appropriate ones for theology. But OK, here's a
prediction that comes naturally from my approach: If we encounter
intelligent ETs we will find them to be sinful - or "fallen" if you will.
(This is a slight adaptation of an argument of Bob Russell's.)]

We probably have about as much chance at verifying this as we do at
verifying my ape. Do you have one that is more likely to be verified? I
would say that this illustrates that you don't apply the same standard to
you as you do to me.

{GLM Of course we don't know if there are ETs but there's a real
possibility whereas there's zero possibility of getting any evidence for
your fantasy.}

[GLM You want not just "verification" - which I have - but theological
prediction of novel scientific facts. I don't accept that as a criterion for

theology but see my comment above.]

You can claim verification but until you lay it out specifically in detail
(which means dealing with the details sometheing you above eschewed), then I
deny that you have verification.

{GLM & you don't _have_ agreement in details either - just a hope that
maybe you will someday.}

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Received on Fri Mar 16 22:00:18 2007

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