Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: Jack <>
Date: Sat Mar 17 2007 - 18:55:40 EDT

There are of course different views on this, but I think the most consistent "accommodation" view, gets rid of a historical Adam altogether.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: Glenn Morton
  Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 6:07 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

  You claim that Adam is neolithic
  This is what I mean about listening, Glenn. I said no such thing; I've said over and over that I agree with you that I don't think Adam has to be neolithic; and indeed, I think the prinicple of accomodation can help explain the anachronisms in where the Bible seems to locate Adam in time. But no matter.

  On 3/17/07, Glenn Morton <> wrote:
    David O. wrote:
>Exactly. We are all connected, as the Bible suggests. This supports my idea it doesn't weaken it. I don't claim to
>know who THE Adam & Eve were, except that the Bible says there were such people.
>Unfortunately, this is as pointless as it always seems to be. You don't listen, you don't care to dialogue, you just
>want to diatribe. Have at it.

    All I am asking is that if you say something supports your view, that it actually does support your view. You claim that Adam is neolithic, and then you say we are descended genealogically but not genetically from him. The problem is that the time to the MRCA (most recent common ancestor), which you had said was Adam, is actually 2000 years ago and that means you have the wrong time, yet you claim that this supports your view--it doesn't.

    Secondly, as to listening, so long as you equate the words 'listening', with 'agreeing with you', then I guess I will be guilty of said charge. I argued my case from your assumption, that Adam was the MRCA and he can't be if Adam is neolithic. I can't change the logic and I cant change the facts, so don't get mad at me for merely pointing out what contradictions you have in your assertions.
    Michael Roberts wrote:
>I have been following this discussion with despair.
>However we take Genesis there is simply not enough information there to draw parallels with palaeoanthropology or
>the date and location of the Flood. All attempts to do so have been found to be chasing after wind.
>It is best to say "we don't know"

    Michael, I don't want to send you off again following me around the internet posting nasty little notes about me, but frankly, scientists shouldn't believe that which is not real. I mean, isn't science supposed to be about that which is real? So, if we are dealing in science/theology, but the science is supposed to be irrelevant to the problem, then why have this forum at all? What is the purpose of it if science is not supposed to say anything to the Bible and the Bible is not supposed to say anything to science?

    And if we don't know, what happened, because we can't trust anything in Genesis, why not start a movement to de-cannonize it? If it is such a bad thing, get rid of the creation story and all these problems.

    As to chasing wind, one could have said that to Champolian before he broke the hieroglyphics. See, you have given up but you want everyone else to follow suit. Why, I don't know, unless you dont' wish to be proven wrong. If someone like me chases wind all one's life, what is it to you? Why does my demand for reality, which drives me in this area, bother you so much? Don't tell me that it is because the YECs are misled in this area, because your view certainly isn't going to fix that either.


    George M wrote in another thread;
>Does the honorable gentleman not realize that the historical Tubalcain is the foundation of our faith?

    Typical arrogant, liberal knee-jerk reaction to anyone that disagrees with them. People claim that Tubalcain is neolithic, I provided alternative information along those lines and you, instead of dealing with what I presented and showing why the Hebrew phrase, 'brass and iron' doesn't mean what I give other biblical examples of it meaning, (rebellion), chose merely to go the irrational route and mock. Mocking might be fun, but at base it is anti-intellectual and school-boyish--and I might add, beneath you George.

    David O wrote in another post:
>But OTOH, so what? Almost nothing about a concept such as IOG can be "ruled out." Again, all you're suggesting
>is that I should prove a negative. I also can't "rule out" that there are space aliens somewhere that possess the IOG,
>and that they dropped Adam and Eve off when they built the pyramids and Aztec temples. The Discovery Channel
>has made a mint airing shows that suggest nutty stuff like this. But OTOH, I don't see any warrant at this point for
>asserting affirmatively that any such thing is true, and the best and most coherent explanations rather strongly suggest
>it isn't. The burden of proof remains on you, just as it remains on people who claim aliens built the pyramids.
    Well, I dont' know about space aliens and pyramids, but the IOG must do something useful other than be a name. And while I agree, that no one can PROVE what it is, one can offer interesting possibilities, and I think the things I have cited for it are quite possibly it. Immanuel Kant, in a passage I read two days ago says it quite well without using the words IOG, in this amazingly anti-evolutionary(but based upon the concept of a perfect creator), pre-Darwinian passage.

    "In the physical constitution of an organized being, that is, a being adapted suitably to the purposes of life, we assume it as a fundamental principle that no organ for any purpose will be found but what is also the fittest and best adapted for that purpose. Now in a being which has reason and a will, if the proper object of nature were its conservation, its welfare, in a word, its happiness, then nature would have hit upon a very bad arrangement in selecting the reason of the creature to carry out this purpose. For all the actions which the creature has to perform with a view to this purpose, and the whole rule of its conduct, would be far more surely prescribed to it by instinct, and that end would have been attained thereby much more certainly than it ever can be by reason. Should reason have been communicated to this favored creature over and above, it must only have served it to contemplate the happy constitution of its nature, [14] to admire it, to congratu­late itself thereon, and to feel thankful for it to the beneficent cause, but not that it should subject its desires to that weak and delusive guidance, and meddle bunglingly with the purpose of nature. In a word, nature would have taken care that reason should not break forth into practical exercise, nor have the presumption, with its weak insight, to think out for itself the plan of happiness and of the means of attaining it. Nature would not only have taken on herself the choice of the ends but also of the means, and with wise foresight would have entrusted both to instinct."

    "And, in fact, we find that the more a cultivated reason applies itself with deliberate purpose to the enjoyment of life and happiness, so much the more does the man fail of true satisfaction. And from this circumstance there arises in many, if they are candid enough to confess it, a certain degree of misology, that is, hatred of reason, especially in the case of those who are most experienced in the use of it, because after calculating all the advantages they derive--I do not say from the invention of all the arts of common luxury, but even from the sciences (which' seem to them to be after all only a luxury of the understanding)-they find that they have, in fact, only brought more trouble on their shoulders rather than gained in happiness; and they end by envying rather than despising the more common stamp of men who keep closer to the guidance of mere instinct, and do not allow their reason much influence on their conduct. And this we must admit, that the judgment of those who would very much lower the lofty eulogies of the advan­tages which reason gives us in regard to the happiness and satis­faction of life, or who would even reduce them below zero, is by no means morose or ungrateful to the goodness with which the world is governed, but that there lies at the root of these judgments the idea [15] that our existence has a different and far nobler end, for which, and not for happiness, reason is properly intended, and which must, therefore, be regarded as the supreme condition to which the private ends of man must, for the most part, be post­poned." Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, Transl. By Thomas K. Abbott, (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., 1949), p. 12-14

    In other words, reason is something God gave us for a higher purpose. Reason is what gives rise to all the other things, religion, art, etc which we often associate with the IOG.

    They're Here: The Pathway Papers
    Foundation, Fall, and Flood
    Adam, Apes and Anthropology

      -----Original Message-----
      From: David Opderbeck [mailto:]
      Sent: Friday, March 16, 2007 11:07 PM
      To: George Murphy
      Cc: Glenn Morton;
      Subject: Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

      This means that the most recent common ancestor
      of all six billion people on earth today probably lived just a couple
      of thousand years ago. And not long before that the majority of the
      people on the planet were the direct ancestors of everyone alive
      today. Confucius, Nefertiti, and just about any other ancient
      historical figure who was even moderately prolific must today be
      counted among everyone's ancestors." Steve Olson, "The Royal We," Atlantic
      Monthly, May 2002

      Olson is a geneticist. This is clearly NOT within the time frame you want.
      And if 3000 years ago, EVERYONE on earth is our ancestor, who one earth is
      Adam and Eve? Which one of those 50 million is THE Adam and Eve?

      On 3/16/07, George Murphy <> wrote:
        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 Sat Mar 17 18:56:09 2007

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