RE: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Sun Mar 18 2007 - 18:50:08 EDT

This is for David O., Jack, and George M.
David O. wrote:
>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

Admittedly my use of the term neolithic is a bit loose, using it for
anything after 12,000 years, which technically isn't correct. But I got the
idea from your refusal to move the date of Adam back to previous times.

In a note sent March 4, 2006,8:47 am, you wrote:


'It seems difficult to me to stretch the Genesis account of the creation of
Adam back millions of years. I can accept that Adam may not have been
neolithic, but I can't see anything in the text that suggests he was a
non-modern-human homo species from millions of years ago.'

But, my remembrance of this was wrong,so I stand corrected. thanks for
correcting me and I am sorry for mis-remembering

In another note you quoted me:

Reason is what gives rise to all the other things, religion, art, etc which
we often associate with the IOG.

You then wrote:
>Not so sure about this; reason is necessary for such things, but I'm not
sure I'd agree that reason "gives rise" to >them.

In the sense that without reason, animals don't do art, or make stone tools
and technology. Thus, reason's existence, does give rise to these things as
an efficient cause.

>In any event, none of this says that any being with any ability to >reason
at any level possesses the IOG. And I'd bet if you pressed >Kant a little
further, you'd find him talking about human reason in
>it's fully-orbed capacities, not, say, a chimp's ability to reason >it's
way out of some puzzle.

Since Kant is dead, pressing him doesn't elicit a response. But, we each get
to make him say what we want if we move his mouth.
Jack wrote:
>There are of course different views on this, but I think the most
consistent "accommodation" view, gets rid of a historical
>Adam altogether.
Which goes to my basic objection with accommodation. It makes everything
untrue and then proclaims it worthy of worship--a rather silly approach in
my view and it confirms the question someone asked about how far
accommodation is willing to go in making things in Scripture untrue--to
which I responded, mighty far.
This response, at least is worthy of you, not that mocking response
yesterday. Thank you.
George wrote:
>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.

Well, when the Jews, Christians and Muslims all accept the Pentateuch, it is
a trivial statement to say that they would all agree with what I am saying.
And irrelevant, because the entire religious universe does not consist
merely of those 3 religions. There is Zoroastrianism (Parsee's), there is
Hinduism, Buddhism (of a variety of flavors), shamanism, animism and a host
of other religions large and small. As I have pointed out innumerable times,
one can't simply assume that Christianity is correct and then conclude that
christianity is correct, without engaging in a huge begging of the question.

You say I trivialize Christ. We have been round this maypole before.
Exactly WHAT physical evidence is there TODAY, that Jesus arose? There is
about as much physical evidence as there is for my ape or your ET's. You
can not believably point to that empty tomb (and even if you could, how does
one have evidence of a missing body at this late date since most bodies have
decayed to nothing in the interim??).

The NT documents also don't work as any form of verificational support (NOT
When we see that Joseph Smith was able to get witnesses to his nonsense, and
they wrote documents, it is clear that the NT documents in and of themselves
don't prove a thing because they rest upon the veracity of the guy writing
to document (think of Howard Hughes Will,here).

Christianity makes extraordinary claims, which can not be verified by
physical evidence. Thus, if one would like one shred of physical evidence
for its veracity, the only real place to look is at the Book of Genesis. The
Flood is verifiable. Human activities can be verified, in the sense of
archaological verification of certain activiites. Claims about a primal
pair are verifiable or falsifiable via genetics.

But what always amazes me is how resistant people are to having facts
checked. But far from trivializing Christ, the creation and the Flood, both
events Jesus seemed to speak of, are the only physically verifiable things
for him, weak though it is!

And if the God, Jesus beleived in, Jehovah, is unable or unwilling to tell
us what happened at Creation or the flood, then upon what basis do we
believe that Jesus' God is THE GOD? If that God is ignorant of what
happened, is He God? I would say know, you all seem to implicitly say yes
because not wanting anything in early Genesis to be historically true,
except in the most general way, y'all make God to be an incompetent
communicator. And if he is an incompentent communicator on something
physical which I can check up on, how on earth am I to trust that when he
tells me about sin he is suddenly a communicator par excellance??? Sin is
something that is first mentioned in this very questionable early Genesis
account. If there was no talking snake, in reality, then it seems to
diminish the reality of sin itself.

And one shouldn't try to say that we see sin all over the place, in the 20th
and21st centuries, in Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin etc. The reductionist view of
man says that there is no sin and that is certainly one possible solution to
the meaning of mankind.

And if there is no sin, then, Christ is not merely trivialized, he is made
totally irrelevant to our lives.

So, early Genesis is epistemologically speaking the sine qua non of
Christianity--no sin, not nothing. It is upon this basis that H. G. Wells
rejected Christianity.

"If all the animals and man have been evolved in this ascendant manner, then
there would have been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there
had been no Fall, the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of
the first sin and the reason for an atonement, upon which current teaching
bases Christian emotion and morality, collapses like a house of cards." H.
G. Wells, The Outline of History, (Garden City: Doubleday, 1961), p. 776-777

Without the Fall, No Christianity.

>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.

You of course didn't get it right. Go back and re-read what I actually said.
Responding to you taling about 2 creation accounts,


> More to the point is the fact that we have 2 creation
> accounts which don't agree as historical/scientific accounts.
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

So, your claim that somebody thought something new about something I didn't
talk about is not particularly relevant.

>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.

George, you don't play chess do you? I knew you didn't believe that, but
like a good lawyer I only ask questions I know the answer to. And it is
precisely my point that somehow you think it is fine and dandy to believe
that this utterly ridiculous and unfactual Genesis account actually teaches
true theology--something you can't demonstrate if one includes in the
theological universe, Hinduism/Buddhism/ Taoism, etc. It is like saying
that you want to buy a bridge from me even after you have been to the Title
company and seen evidence that I don't own the bridge!

>The reason I didn't answer your irrelevant question about that was because
it is indeed irrelevant to the point I was

But it was relevant to the point I was making. YOu pick and chose what you
want to be historical. You claim that Genesis 2:7 only tells us that we are
made of matter. Who gives you the right to choose that part of the verse and
allows you to reject the God breathing part? It appears to me you have an
'ad hoc picker/chooser'. Isn't it concordism even to say that the verse
teaches that we are made of matter? Why is this limited concordism ok but
my more grandiose view of what must be concorded ruled out? Is it ruled out
on the basis of an ad hoc picker/chooser?

>& 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.

But the point is that you and many here DON"T think the account has a bucket
of warm spit's worth of historicity, so this answer above is very
unsatisfactory. We have agreed for about 10 years that poems can tell
history, but we have disagreed over whether or not Genesis contains any
history. You won't give a solid answer to any question about the historicity
of any passage. Nothing in that passage is accurate for you. So, why do you
believe that it teaches any decent theology that can't be gotten at any
tribal fireside anywhere in the world?

>At this point I despair of trying to get you to understand that simple

And I despair of getting you to see that by having an non-historical account
of sin, it casts big doubt on the very existence of sin. People are leaving
the church because they don't think Christianity is real and we help them
out the door by telling them that the Bible doesn't tell us anything real
about creation, miracles etc. But then, we inconsistently tell them that we
should believe that one resurrectional miracle, and they, quite logically,
ask "why?'

>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.

Maybe you should write better and more clearly. You were the one arguing
for what you mis-perceived was Stephen Wells position that humanity was
60,000 years old. When I tried to correct it, you defended it. But, of
course, the fault must lie with me, because you have none.

>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.

If theology requires me to believe that false accounts give rise to good
theology, I prefer my ignorance to your illogic. Ignorance is curable;
illogic isn't.

>>>>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."<<<<

Of course you didn't read carefully enough, or if you did, you failed to
understand. He also said this on that same page:

"Also, our Adam and Eve weren't the only people alive at the time, just the
lucky ones who left descendants down to the present day. But it is nice to
know that we arrive at the same general conclusion: we're all related." (I
wanted this extra large)

That is hardly the Biblical story, and most CERTAINLY not what you have been
saying that Wells' Adam represents the origin of humanity. He is using the
word 'humanity' differently than most people use the term when the ORIGIN OF
HUMANITY is discussed

But, given the ad hoc picker/chooser, one could pick out that all humanity
is descended from this man, but then not pick that Eve is mother of all
living. One could also use the ad hoc picker/chooser to ignore the fact that
Eve lived about 90,000 years earlier than her handsome beau, but then, Adam
probably liked older women.

>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

I am amazed at how you are doing what you don't want YEC preachers to do.

>>>>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

I have told my Turkish translator story before. Basically at 1 am in Dallas
Texas in 1970, I was involved in praying that a turkish translator would
come to a particular 20 sq foot area in a down town Dallas hotel. He came.

Your reasoning could clearly apply to my translator story. Maybe God didn't
send that translator. I have documented the miracle, but if you are
unwilling to allow any miracles and proclaim all such accounts not
historical, why don't we declare the resurrection itself not real? I mean,
after all, who believes that dead men can really get up and walk around
after 3 days? Isn't that the most amazingly laughable story, that some
group of guys actually think Jesus got up from the grave? Let's go to the
pub and have a pint in toast of St. Paddy, who was too drunk to know that
men really don't get up out of graves. Clearly this passage must mean
something else or be intended for some other purpose than to tell us real

I despair of ever getting you to see how your own exegetical arrows can
strike the heart of your view point.

>>>>>But even worse, you put the resurrection of Jesus Christ as just one
more miraculous historical event along with the floating ax!<<<<

So, the resurrection isn't a historical event? Is that what you are saying?
If you aren't saying that, please explain without the ad hoc picker/chooser
why the ressurection is history and the ax head can't be? Do you get to
decide what miracles God performs? ARe you his scheduling secretary?

>>>>>5) The existence of gravitons follows from (a) the fact that things at
the quantum level interact with gravitation and (b) the uncertainty
principle. <<<<

Flows from, but still unobserved, so your point is meaningless. They are
UNOBSERVED. If I am wrong, please provide me with the particle
accelerator/detector direct evidence for their existence. (I believe they
exist, I just know that they haven't yet been seen anymore than the
monopole, the axion, and WIMPs. The observation on the Higgs boson is
currently out, with at least one possible siting.


>>>>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.<<<<

Interesting. All I could find was one citation on Google Scholar to the D&P
article. But never the less, they still have not been directly observed.

"Four years ago, Tony Rothman, a physicist at Princeton University was
chatting with fellow physicist Freeman Dyson about the elusiveness of
gravitons. In fact, gravitons are thought to be so elusive that Dyson
wondered whether it was possible to detect one at all. And if gravitons are
undetectable, do they really exist? Marcus Chown, "The Longest Stake-out,"
New Scientist, March 18, 2006,p. 32

"He's talking about something very large indeed. In fact, according to
Rothman and Boughn's calculations it would have to be the biggest detector
conceivable, something similar in mass to Jupiter. "Much bigger and the
detector would shrink under its own gravity and become a brown dwarf," says
Rothman. Drifting through interplanetary space, the detector's vast surface
would be a web of glistening electronics. Building such a behemoth would be
a colossal technical challenge and enormously expensive - clearly way beyond
anything conceivable today. But let's suppose it will one day be possible to
build one.

Would such a detector be capable of bagging a graviton? Rothman and Boughn
calculate that during the lifetime of the universe, a detector placed as
far. from the sun as Earth is now would detect about 1000 gravitons. Placing
the detector the same distance from a super-dense white dwarf or neutron
star would collect up to a billion gravitons. That's one every decade or

"Even supposing that the detector works perfectly, and each graviton hit
produces an electrical pulse, the problems go on. Millions of other
particles would rain down on such a vast detector every second, and many of
them would produce the same electrical signals as gravitons. The most
troublesome particles are expected to be neutrinos, but the good news is
that although they rarely interact with matter they are positively sociable
compared with gravitons and so, in principle, could be shielded. Yet there
is a problem: that you would need an impossible amount of shielding
material. "Neutrinos can penetrate light years of lead," says Rothman. "That
much shielding would collapse into a black hole." Marcus Chown, "The Longest
Stake-out," New Scientist, March 18, 2006, p. 35

technical details at

The abstract starts with a question by an impressive physicist--Freeman

"Freeman Dyson has questioned whether any conceivable experiment in the real
universe can detect a single graviton. If not, is it meaningful to talk
about gravitons as physical entities? We attempt to answer Dyson's question
and find it is possible concoct an idealized thought experiment capable of
detecting one graviton; however, when anything remotely resembling realistic
physics is taken into account, detection becomes impossible, indicating that
Dyson's conjecture is very likely true. We also point out several mistakes
in the literature dealing with graviton detection and production."

Since this is 2007 and your referred articles are 5 years and 29 years old
respectively, I will go with the new stuff. Besides, Freeman Dyson is
probably more up to date on this and his talk questioning the existence of
gravitons took place in 2005.

The popular account of the Jupiter sized detector didn't take into account
that the method involves a graviton ejecting an electron, and then counting
the electrons, but the mean free path of such an electron in a Jupiter sized
mass would make it impossible for the electron to reach the surface to be

Don Page got a reference in Rothman's paper.

Only one more day, and you won't have to worry about me here. I will leave
again Tuesday morning.


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

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Received on Sun Mar 18 18:51:07 2007

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