Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sun Mar 18 2007 - 14:49:25 EDT

I was quoting Wells. I am not committed to his views although they need to
be taken seriously. They would pose no problem for my theology. If you
want to talk about that theology do it in terms of my June 2006 PSCF paper
for this particular topic.

But since you already imagine that you know what I think, why bother?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dick Fischer" <>
To: "ASA" <>
Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2007 9:27 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

> Hi George, you wrote (quoting Wells):
> "First, it shows us our most recent common ancestor (Adam). This man
> lived in Africa around 60,000 years ago."
> Then we should look in Africa for the Garden of Eden? Where in Africa
> is the Euphrates River? Where in Africa is "Assyria"? Where in Africa
> did they make stringed musical instruments? Where in Africa did they
> make implements of bronze and iron?
> If we discount the Genesis narrative as to place and time, (Mesopotamia,
> 7,000 years ago) why attach any credibility to the man named - Adam?
> Let's just say we don't believe any of it and that "Adam" didn't exist
> at all. Why not start out saying its all myth and the ignorant Hebrews
> made it all up, since that is obviously what you think?
> Dick Fischer, Genesis Proclaimed Association
> Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of George Murphy
> Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 9:51 PM
> To: Glenn Morton
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists
> This has reached the point where it seems best to regroup points instead
> of
> continuing to embed argumenst within arguments &c.
> 1) It is quite telling that you make no response to my criticism that
> your
> theology, such as it is, marginalizes Christ. In fact that's a polite
> way
> of putting the matter - it pretty much leaves Christ out. You focus
> almost
> exclusively on the early chapters of Genesis & say nothing that a
> concordist-minded Jew or Muslim couldn't agree with.
> Connected with that is the way you blow off the creeds by saying that
> they
> "say nothing or very little about creation." I think what you mean is
> that
> they say "say nothing or very little about" how to read early Genesis.
> &
> that itself is significant because it means that as far as the creeds
> are
> concerned there's considerable scope for interpretation of those texts,
> as
> we in fact find in the early church. In other words, they didn't
> consider
> Gen.1-11 the canon within the canon as you - in company with Ken Ham -
> do.
> But in reality the Nicene Creed says a lot about creation, with
> statements
> about it in all 3 articles. (Creation is, after all, a trinitarian
> doctrine, which is why your understanding of it is so inadequate.) You
> might note in particular the statement about the Spirit as "the Lord,
> the
> giver of life" and the ways in Pannenberg & Ernie Simmons have developed
> from this some new & interesting ideas about pneumatology & its
> connection
> with the science-theology dialogue, thus refuting your claim about
> theologians not doing anything new about the doctrine of creation.
> But of course I see now that when you say "theologians" you mean
> "interpreters of Genesis 1-11. You have the most parochial notioneology
> I've ever encountered.
> 2) If you paid attenion to things I've I written you'd know that I
> didn't
> think God literally formed the 1st human from dust & breathed into its
> nostrils. The reason I didn't answer your irrelevant question about
> that
> was because it is indeed irrelevant to the point I was making & on which
> I
> was trying to stay focussed: That the part of your attack on those who
> disagree with you in which you said that people were arguing that early
> Genesis is poetic and therefore cannot contain truth about the natural
> world
> is nonsense. No one is saying that poetic implies (in the strict sense)
> non-historicity, & whether they think that the texts are poetic and/or
> non-historical doesn't affect that. At this point I despair of trying
> to
> get you to understand that simple fact.
> 3) I pointed out that you have, with no warrant, assumed that (a) I'm
> arguing for a recent origin of humanity and (b) that I think modern
> humanity
> is descended from a single "historical Adam & Eve." Immediately below
> this
> you reply "When you say all humanity can be traced to a single man ..."
> which I have not done. This shows again your carelessness in reading.
> In any case, your statements about my ignorance of genetics stem largely
> from this misunderstanding. I recognize my limitations in that area &
> try
> to be careful not to exceed them - in strong contrast to your
> willingness to
> expose your ignorance of theology.
> 4) A brief interview with Wells at
> seems, if anything, an
> even
> stronger statement about the recent origin of modern humans than the
> program
> note I cited. Note, e.g., the following: "First, it shows us our most
> recent common ancestor (Adam). This man lived in Africa around 60,000
> years
> ago. The significance of this date is that it means that all modern
> humans
> were living in Africa until at least that time. In other words, within
> the
> past 60,000 years - only about 2,000 generations - our species has
> populated
> the entire planet."
> I hasten to add that this seems kind of strong to me: I'm aware
> (believe it
> or not) of the arguments for a regional continuity model. But I didn't
> bring this up originally to argue for Wells position.
> 4) Your floating ax head statements are embarassing & show that you've
> never gotten out of the fundamentalist mindset. Of course the question
> isn't whether or not God _could_ make an ax head float but whether he
> _did_ - & that requires some attention to the type of text we're dealing
> with. But you can't do that because you can't imagine that the texts
> are
> anything other than historical narratives, or that God would condescend
> to
> use something other than such narrative. (Which again is traceable to
> your
> weak christology.)
> But even worse, you put the resurrection of Jesus Christ as just one
> more
> miraculous historical event along with the floating ax!
> 5) The existence of gravitons follows from (a) the fact that things at
> the
> quantum level interact with gravitation and (b) the uncertainty
> principle.
> That doesn't make it 100% certain but it's a lot more so than your
> mutant
> ape dream. In any case there may be ways of detecting the effects of
> gravitons other than direct detection of them - e.g., combine the
> suggestion
> of Dodakian & Pazameta in Physics Essays 15.2 (2002), 246 with one of
> mine
> in Australian Journal of Physics 31 (1978), 205.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Glenn Morton" <>
> To: "'David Opderbeck'" <>
> Cc: <>
> Sent: Friday, March 16, 2007 10:29 PM
> Subject: RE: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists
> George M. wrote:
> {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
> "humanity."
> 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.}
> Did Wells write the program or did someone else?
> George wrote
>>>>1st, Jan didn't say that the account_s_ were poetic, which was your
> claim.
> But that's minor. <<<
> So, Here is what Jan wrote:
> "God wrote a poem in Gen.1,
> Are we to believe that a poem is not poetic? Is that the sense of your
> argument here? Or are you splitting hairs so find that only an SEM will
> see
> the hairs?
>>> 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. <<<
> Whether or not you think Genesis 1 conveys truth is exactly the point.
> From
> your failure to answer a simple question twice, I infer that you really
> don't think it teaches anything historical. I will, however ask again,
> Did
> God make man out of dirt, as Genesis 2:7 asserts? Yes or no?
>>>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."<<
> You were the one who asserted falsely that no one argued that it was a
> poem.
> I have refuted that but you refuse to acknowedge that refutation.
>>>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?<<
> You haven't shown that no one asserts that Genesis 1 is a poem.
> Concerning what George claims to have refuted of mine.
> {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?"}
> Yes, I said that they don't think new things. I defined that this
> morning
> but you ignored it. What you did was not provide evidence for your
> claim
> but you asserted that lots of new (but unnamed) things were being
> published.
> Evidence would be nice. But remember I defined what is not new as the
> dichotomy between Genesis 1 having history and not having history. You,
> won't answer what it is that you think is historical in Genesis 1 even
> when
> asked and I suspect what you think is new, are new ways of claiming that
> Genesis has no history--which isn't really new.
>>>>{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.<<<<
> Well, George, I see so much of it it is hard to find theologians not
> ignoring scientific data. You ignored the genetics, the preacher at my
> old
> church ignored geology. What is the difference? Both are ignoring
> science.
>>What you display is an "utter contempt" for both theology and
> theologians -
> So? When they deserve it it should be shown! When they don't, I won't.
>>>>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.<<<
> What I see is little but an escape from verification on the part of
> theology
> and theologians. If we can make the Bible so science can never disprove
> it,
> so the thinking goes, then it will always be true. This might be correct
> but
> only in the most trivial sense of it is true that every atom has its own
> little angel which pushes the atom around. I see YEC theologians
> proclaiming
> false science, and others proclaiming a Bible which has no or very
> little
> connection to the physical world.
>>>>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.<<<
> As I said, when contemp is earned it should be shown. When it isn't it
> shouldn't 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: <<<<
> Fine, do what you feel called to, but don't ignore data, and don't
> ignore
> genetics. What you are doing by simply citing a program written by God
> knows
> who for a speech by Wells and thinking that will suffice, you are doing
> two
> things wrong. You are 'judge shopping' and you are not thinking
> yourself.
> With a physics degree you should easily be able to understand genetics,
> if
> you would only try.
>>> 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.}<<<
> Frankly I revived this thread because even Francis Collins sees that
> TE's
> don't do anything to confront the secularism of the day. Of course not
> everyone can do it, but by golly we should be doing SOMETHING. I will
> stand
> by my, and Collins observation that we TE's don't do spit to counter the
> secularization of our society and often we actively work towards it.
> Whose
> side are we on?
>>>>{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.<<<
> Interesting, but what did God say Adam would return to? Why, I think he
> said
> 'dust'. Adam would become dust. But when Adam died, what did he
> become? A
> corpse. So, is a corpse dust? In some real sense yes. So from dust we
> came
> and to dust we will return. So, I would disagree that I haven't
> presented
> something very close to what is there in Scripture.
>>>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.}<<
> I can buy that about the dust, but what about the breathing part of the
> verse? Why ignore god breathing into us? What does that mean? Is this
> the
> IOG?
> {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.}
> Those creeds say nothing or very little about creation. So, you can't
> judge
> my views by things which don't address my views.
> Am I to understand that you don't believe God is capable of making an
> axhead
> float? See, this is the crux of the matter. Either we have a miracle
> producing God or we don't. If he can't do miracles, then he can't raise
> the
> dead. If he can raise the dead, what on earth is the objection to a
> floating
> ax head?
> {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.)
> You have statedthat even in this note. When you say all humanity can be
> traced to a single man, that says something different than what I said
> Wells
> was saying. My understanding is not unwarranted. It may be your poor
> writing
> or even your poor understanding of Wells, but this is the first sensible
> thing you have said. Maybe you should go re-read what you actually wrote
> in
> this thread.
> {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.}
> Sure, I have never said I could prove that part of my views. But, if
> you
> would look at all science, even modern physics, every theory has some
> aspects which can never be proven either for fundamental or practical
> reasons. Gravitons can't be detected because they would require 28
> million
> years of watching a jupiter sized detector. Not much chance in that.
> glenn
> They're Here: The Pathway Papers
> Foundation, Fall, and Flood
> Adam, Apes and Anthropology
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Mar 18 13:50:02 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Mar 18 2007 - 13:50:02 EDT