Re: [asa] Advice for conversing with YECs (Cheek turning)

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Tue Oct 28 2008 - 23:11:41 EDT

If I remember correctly, the other genes needed for production of VitC
are still in the human genome in functional form. Just one gene in the
sequence is nonfunctional. So the situation is messier than has been
discussed here.
Dave (ASA)

On Tue, 28 Oct 2008 16:03:28 -0400 "Steve Matheson" <>
Hi James--

Dennis wrote: "It may be that forcing us to include vitamin C in our diet
does make for healthier humans in general but why then have the
remains of a clearly once-functional gene for Vit C biosynthesis present
in our genome?"

You wrote: "Why not? What do you expect God to do with it...delete it,
and put a "this space intentionally left blank" sign?"

This is a very strange response. If God specially created humans, with
no common biological ancestry, then he would have no need to "delete" the
gene. It wouldn't be there in the first place. I'm not sure you
understand this, but your answer to Dennis makes no sense unless you
assume common ancestry. So, are you assuming that the human genome was
assembled/constructed from the genome of a non-human primate?

To explain broken genes in otherwise intact genomes, one must choose from
among a limited set of plausible explanations. One explanation is that a
supernatural designer created the genome that way, de novo with no
biological continuity between that genome and its predecessors. Another
explanation is that the genome has descended from genomes of common
ancestors. Opting for the first explanation creates the questions that
Dennis has posed, and your answers reflect the rampant confusion at RTB
on this important issue.

I would suggest that those who prefer the RTB "model" need to get a lot
better at saying, "that's a good question, and we don't know the answer."
 Answers like "well, it helps primates eat better" will not fool
knowledgeable people.

You end your post with this troubling statement regarding "God's
miraculous involvement" in creation, which is very typical of Christian
design theorists of various stripes:
 "If you don't see the handiwork of God in nature, then I worry that you
are choosing not to see it. And if you are choosing not to see it, I
worry that you are denying God."

James, this is the damaging error of so much of creationism, and it's one
reason why I hold RTB in very low esteem. The error is this one: that
someone (like me, or like Dennis, or like Francis Collins) who sees God's
natural providence as just as important as his "miraculous involvement"
is someone who might be "denying God." The implication is created
through the indefensible presumption that "God's handiwork" equates to
"miraculous involvement." This stance is obnoxiously uncharitable, to
say nothing of its theological incoherence. If you prefer miraculous
intervention as an explanatory framework, just state that and let it be.
Or if you have strong evidence that a particular occurrence or phenomenon
bears marks of supernatural intervention, then by all means let's hear
it. But when you link your preferences or opinions to profound issues of
whether a Christian is "denying God," you are playing a dangerous and
foolish game.

Steve Matheson
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Received on Tue Oct 28 23:37:42 2008

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