RE: [asa] Advice for conversing with YECs (and now the flood)

From: James Patterson <>
Date: Fri Oct 31 2008 - 07:36:06 EDT

> John said to Schwarzwald:
> I believe that all the species were guided to some point. If some
> choose to say that CD excludes any guidance then that is their
> arbitrary choice but there is no reason why it should, other than they
> are seeking support to discredit theism, but I wouldn't agree to give
> them that. I don't accept that CD implies unguided.

I have to agree - I think it is guided too. I believe the TE viewpoint would
be that guided means from the beginning of life; that the guidance mechanism
was built in to the original bacteria, and that from there to man, no
further guidance was needed, that God's creative handiwork was such that
there was no need for any further intervention...and He just watched what
happened. Correct? And this differs from Deism in that Deism states that
God's (and not necessarily the God of the Christian Bible, either) handiwork
was such that the original creative act (Big Bang) required no further
intervention by God, and He just watched what happened.

Now, that parallel troubles me, and I hope it troubles you. I think that TE
is too close to Deism. That is one of the major philosophical differences
between PC and TE. So, I agree with John that CD was guided; it is only the
degree of guidance that we differ on. I think God is involved quite a bit
more. I think God is continually involved in his creative work, as well as
our lives - a personal God. You will hear the TE point of view say that he
is too: but only providentially. However what I believe they mean by
providentially is that any mechanisms discovered for life's change over time
must agree with the neoDarwinian evolutionary model, or it is simply called
erroneous, or gets the label "we don't understand it yet", or "we don't have
all the data yet". Now that last point is true (not all the data), but that
excuse will continue to be used long past it's natural life.

The reason (the only reason) that the neoDarwinian model is accepted is
because there is no other (strictly natural) model in existence. It also
explains superficially much of what we see, it seems to fit. And so because
it's the only model, it is kept. The only other model that works is
theistic. TE is a compromise (in my opinion) and simply adds that God
started life up, just as he started the universe up, and guides things - but
this guidance is discoverable. I agree it's *mostly* discoverable. I don't
agree that it fits with neoDarwinism, and I don't agree that it's always
natural or providential; sometimes it may simply not be discoverable because
of God's intervention. And by saying that God did not (cannot?) intervene in
the natural processes that have occurred since the beginning of life is a
restrictive barrier that is artificial.

> In my opinion CD is only relevant in that it puts the lie to the fiat
> creation mechanism that most of us grew up believing. It doesn't take
> anything else away from humanity or our faith or God creating us in
> His image. It just means He did it gradually and "dust of the earth"
> is figurative.

I agree that "dust of the earth" can be considered in other terms that
directly. I have to agree with this above statement, but truly most mature
descriptions or explanations of the beginning of the universe and life will
be discordant with what we grew up believing. I was taught that God created
everything in 6 days!

> I do believe there was "intelligent intervention with humanity" but it
> wasn't necessarily from the outside nor was it necessarily during
> humanity's development. It could have all been embedded originally
> in the creation of life. I don't rule either of the above out, only
> that they are not necessary and we can't know anyway so no use in
> making a doctrine out of them.

Yes, I believe there is use in making a doctrine out of them, in my opinion.
One, the TCM agrees with the extant data better, and is more predictive
(read the end of "Creation as Science"), and two; the Bible tells us that we
have a personal God involved in our life. See above statement comparing TE
to Deism.

Dave said:
> If I remember correctly, the other genes needed for production of Vit C
> 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)

Only if you think it's messier. Truly, I don't know if my hypothesis about
the VitC gene is correct. However if it *is* the way God wanted it and
guided it to be that way, then I could envision him saying "Hey! All I have
to do is this one thing in this one gene and the whole thing stops working -
no more intervention required. So what if the rest of it keeps working,
helps generate heat". Or something like that. I think the point is that this
gene's deactivation *can* be consistent with a God who is active and
involved in our lives. To state that it isn't, and that God isn't involved,
is pushing the interpretation too far. God may very well let evolutionary
processes move some of the changes that we see - it certainly appears to be
so in plants and small organisms. However it does not explain many of the
things that we see in the record of nature, and it doesn't matter whether
you look at the archaeological record, the genetic record, the chemistry,
cosmology, etc.

> Would science, being what it is, even be able to pick up on this
> guided verses unguided evolution. How would you know? There are no
> tests.
> Steve

I don't believe methodological naturalism would, no. It arbitrarily
pre-excludes anything that is not natural, and so God is excluded from the
beginning, and the naturalist cannot think outside this artificially
restrictive box. However, should one choose to consider God, one can test
the evidence that way. 1 Thes 5:21. "Test everything, hold on to the good".

James said:
>> If God had custom designed the DNA of man (or any organism for that
>> matter) to be "perfect" then it would have been like putting a
>> signpost there stating "God was here"

> Bernie said:
> Does that mean that God also hid all the evidence from a worldwide
> flood, because if we saw the marks on the Earth from a world wide
> flood (which we don't) it would scream "God was here?"

I don't think the flood was world-wide, I am not a YEC. This thread has
changed much since its creation. :)

> James makes it sound like God is playing a very serious game of hide
> and seek. However, if God created via evolution, there's nothing to
> hide, and the marks we observe just reveal reality.
> ...Bernie

I don't think he's hiding anything. I don't think he's announcing anything.
I think that if God wanted to switch off Vitamin C production, he could have
done it in just the way that it was done. To say that God would not have
done it that way is quite presumptive, and is countered easily with: why
would he have done it any other way?

James Patterson said:
> "No enzyme to create vitamin C means a healthier diet is needed."

> What is "healthy?" It is defined as giving your body what it needs to
> thrive. If our copy of genes were correct, we could make our own
> vitamin c, and wouldn't need an external source. If we made our own,
> then there would be nothing "healthier" about a diet with vitamin c if
> our body made all it needed. It is only healthy to eat oranges now
> because our copy of the gene for the vitamin c enzyme doesn't work.
> Maybe someday we'll fix the gene with gene therapy?
> ,,,Bernie

Perhaps so. And in so doing, discover that we need to eat fruit and Vit C
containing vegetables for all the other benefits that they contain, and that
without the need to do so, our health is actually worse. If for no other
reason than the fiber...nature's broom.

> Dave, in reply to Coope:
> Your suggestion makes God about as bright as the automotive engineers
> who designed the dubiously functional cars. We have genes for every
> step in the synthesis of ascorbate, with a mutation in one that
> renders it nonfunctional for the one step. Why? I see two
> possibilities that fit this view. God is as stupid as the human
> engineers that just added more mechanisms to old technology. God left
> the old stuff in the genome to mislead honest investigators (see the
> appearance of age in YEC views). I prefer to junk such speculations
> and recognize that the Almighty, under his providential care, had all
> creatures evolve according to "natural law." Did he control the
> process? Of course, but in ways that are not discoverable through
> empirical methods.
> Dave (ASA)

Presuming that God just left it there to mislead you is just that: a
presumption. If God did this, then that's the way he wanted it done. Does
leaving the system there, working but non-functional, do us any harm? Does
it help us in any way? Much of the inefficiencies of human cellular
chemistry only appear inefficient because we *think* they should work better
or more efficiently. However when we look at how much that energy loss
contributes to our body temperature and makes us warm blooded, light begins
to dawn. Now I don't know how much our body temp would drop if the rest of
the Vit C metabolizing system were to stop - can anyone answer that
question? Seriously I'd like to know. But even if it's zero - it is a
presumption of man to say that God did it wrong.

And if all creatures evolved according to "natural law" then why doesn't the
record of nature agree with neoDarwinian evolution? I have not seen one
answer to this in any replies - maybe I just haven't gotten there yet - I am
moving fairly slow. I see many more replies ahead, but I can only move so
fast - too many pots on the stove.

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Received on Fri Oct 31 07:36:45 2008

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