Re: Attacks

Stephen Jones (
Fri, 05 Jun 1998 06:41:41 +0800


On Mon, 01 Jun 1998 21:25:26 -0500, Glenn R. Morton wrote:

>SJ>Thanks for being so frank. But brazening it out by "proudly plead guilty"
>>won't work.It just *cannot* be Christian to destructively criticise the
>>positions of leading Christian apologists like Phil Johnson and Hugh Ross.
>It >can be Christian to *constructively* criticise the positions of these
>leading >apologists.

GM>So when they are wrong, factually wrong, I am not to point it out because
>it is unchristian? I have sent messages to Phil on the rodent issue, I
>have sent messages through his friends who have assured me that they
>contacted him about the 'rodents gave rise to whales' and 'rodents gave
>rise to bats' error he makes. He claims it is a joke and doesn't see any
>reason to change. I don't see the humor.

Why don't you send messages to Steven Stanley, also, because he wrote:

"Within perhaps twelve million years, most of the living orders of mammals
were in existence, all having descended from simple, diminutive animals
that might be thought of as resembling small rodents..." (Stanley S.M., "The
New Evolutionary Timetable," 1981, p93).

Or why don't you send messages to other evolutionists, like Rensberger (former
Senior Editor of SCIENCE), who wrote:

"If gradualism were correct, one could hope to find the fossil bones of
creatures that were transitional between, say, the early rodent-
like mammals and a giraffe, or the species intermediate between a
primitive fish and the first land-dwelling vertebrate." (Rensberger B.,
"Modern Synthesis," in "How the World Works," , 1986, p260)

Picking on Johnson because he wrote that:

"A Darwinist can imagine that a mutant rodent might appear with a web
between its toes, and thereby gain some advantage in the struggle for
survival, with the result that the new characteristic could spread
through the population to await the arrival of further mutations
leading eventually to winged flight." (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial,"
1993, pp103-104)

is just scraping the bottom of the barrel. This shows that your *real*
goal is to find any fault (real or imaginary), in any Christian apologist who
attacks evolution, in order to discredit that apologist.

>SJ>But on your own admission, this is *not* what you do. Your criticism is
>>*destructive* not constructive. Your aim is to *destroy* their positions,
>not >just correct them in love.

GM>Actually I have tried but they don't like what I say.

So, if Christian apologists "don't like what" you "say", you then set about
trying to discredit them?

>>GM>In the marketplace of ideas, an idea survives only if it can stand up to
>>>criticism. Ideas that are no good or are erroneous must be criticised.
>>>Ideas that are correct, can't be destroyed. The concept a few years ago
>>>about cold fusion was destroyed by the criticism of other scientists. The
>>>idea was not strong enough, and didn't have the observational support to
>>>withstand the criticism. On the other hand, the concept of high
>>>temperature superconductivity did survive criticism and is a flourishing
>>>area of research. This is how science works.

>SJ>It might be OK in "science" to destructively criticise other scientist's
>>ideas, but even that is doubtful. One would normally expect scientists
>>to engage in friendly debate, with the aim of mutually helping each
>>other arrive at the truth.

GM>You obviously haven't been to very many scientific symposia on
>controversial topics. They can get rather raucous at times. I have seen
>leading geophysicists yelling at each other in the question and answer
>period. There is no 'friendly debate with the aim of helping each other'
>in some of those situations.

See below.

>SJ>But this is not just "science". This is also *Christian apologetics*.

GM>So are we to allow our children to be taught erroneous things because this
>is *Christian apologetics*?

Firstly, in the case of Hugh Ross and Phil Johnson, you have not shown that
they are teaching "erroneous things".

Secondly, even if they were teaching "erroneous things", they are so minor
in the scheme of things, that your destructive criticisms are out of all proportion,
and amount to scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Thirdly, Christian apologists may have taught "erroneous things" does not
warrant *destructive* criticism from one who himself claims to be a Christian.

Fourthly, you teach even more "erroneous things" than they do. You claim
that the Biblical Flood was 5.5 mya, and therefore Adam and Noah were
Australopithecines or Homo habilis/erectus, and that all their technology
was lost until recent times, is far more "erroneous" than anything Hugh
Ross or Phil Johnson teach.

>>GM>And when Christians deal in science they MUST play by the rules of
>>science. We can't allow weak hypotheses in our apologetics. If Christian apologists
>>>are unable or unwilling to present ideas that can't be falsified by the
>>>simplest observations, then their hypotheses need to be removed from the
>>>field of play so that we can finally get a solution for the
>>>Scripture/Science issues....

>SJ>I have no problem with you *constructively* criticising Christian apologists
>>scientific claims. My problem is the *way* you do it, by "destroying" rather
>>than building up.

GM>Wait a minute. I do offer an alternative when I criticize the competing
>views. That IS constructive.

Not the way you do it. In this same thread you "proudly plead[ed] guilty" to
destructively criticising the views of Christian apologists:

Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 21:50:01 -0500
To: "" <>
From: "Glenn R. Morton" <>
Subject: Re: Attacks

SJ>For the record, unless I indicate otherwise, when I say that Glenn
>destructively criticises Christian apologists, I mean he destructively
>criticises their *positions*, not their persons.

We might actually be making progress here. I would absolutely plead guilty
to this. In fact I would proudly plead guilty.

>SJ>And it is not just Christian apologists major claims that you attack. You
>scrape the bottom of the barrel to pick on the tiniest alleged scientific
>inexactitudes, like Johnson saying that bats came from a "rodent", ignoring
>the fact that Johnson is only echoing what evolutionists like Steven Stanley
have said.

GM>Steven, as I pointed out to you before, Stanley doesn't say what you think
>he does. I quote from JOHNSON"S Darwin on Trial, p. 51. Stanley clearly
>says that a rodent COULDN"T give rise to a bat or a whale which is exactly
>my contention.

And as I have pointed out in reply that it is *you* who misunderstand Stanley.
He believes (along with all evolutionists AFAIK) that all mammals arose from
small rodent-like mammals, but he does not believe that Neo-Darwinian
mechanisms could have been able to do the job in the time available.

Here are two quotes from two different books by Stanley:

"All of these longevities must be judged in light of how long it has taken for
new higher taxa of the same group to develop. Recall, for example, that early
in the Cenozoic Era, whales evolved from vastly different small, rodentlike
mammals in no more than 12 million years." (Stanley S.M., "Earth and Life
Through Time", 1989, pp156-157).


"When the mammals inherited the Earth, the result was
spectacular. Their great adaptive radiation was recent enough
that the fossil evidence for it is impressive. Within perhaps twelve
million years, most of the living orders of mammals were in
existence, all having descended from simple, diminutive animals
that might be thought of as resembling small rodents, though not all
possessed front teeth specialized for gnawing. Among the nearly
twenty new orders were the one that contains large carnivorous
animals, including modern lions, wolves, and bears; the one that
comprises horses and rhinos; and the one that includes deer, pigs,
antelopes, and sheep. Most of the orders evolved in even less
than twelve million years. Perhaps the most spectacular origins
were of the bats, which took to the air, and the whales, which
invaded the sea." (Stanley S.M., "The New Evolutionary Timetable,"
1981, p93)

GM>He wrote:
>"A chain of ten or fifteen of these might move us from one small rodentlike
>form to a slightly different one, perhaps representing a new genus, but NOT
>TO A BAT OR A WHALE!" p. 51 emphasis mine.
>So, please correct yourself in your claim that Stanley supports Johnson's
>position. He doesn't!

You completely misunderstand the point Stanley was making. He is
arguing not against all mammals arising "from one small rodentlike
form" (what else would they arise from) but against the Neo-Darwinian
phyletic gradualist mechanisms being able to accomplish this change
in the time available. This is seen by his next paragraph:

"What the gradualist must then postulate is an extraordinary
acceleration of evolution within established species. In other
words, he must claim that, in the lineage leading to the first bat or
whale, chronospecies were actually of very short duration. This
situation brings us to the essence of the gradualistic dilemma-a
dilemma that holds for the adaptive radiations of Cambrian
marine life and Cretaceous flowering plants as well." (Stanley S.M.,
"The New Evolutionary Timetable," 1981, p94)

So it is *you* who are "wrong, factually wrong" on this point. You
owe Phil Johnson a public apology for destructively critcising
his views, when he was right and you were wrong.

>SJ>Your aim is not to correct Johnson but to discredit him. The reason is not
>>hard to see-you try to discredit *any* Christian apologist who opposes

GM>As I said, I have sent messages directly and through intermediaries. No
>effect. So I have tried to correct him, contra your claim.

You are just side-stepping what I said above: "you try to discredit *any*
Christian apologist who opposes evolution."

I found a quote from Johnson which I believe aptly describes your
unique half-fundamentalist/half-deistic evolutionist approach:

"MN is widespread even among persons who are theologically
conservative, by the way. At heart many fundamentalists are
methodological naturalists who just want to reconcile Scripture
(the Genesis chronology and/or Noah's Flood) with a science that
is otherwise as naturalistic in methodology as possible. The same can be
said of other nondeistic Christians who allow a very small number of
supernatural interventions (the resurrection, the implanting of the
image of God into a hominid) but try otherwise to stick to MN. If MN
is so sound in general, why make arbitrary exceptions? Makeshift
compromises between supernaturalism in religion and naturalism in
science may satisfy individuals, but they have little standing in the
intellectual world because they are recognized as a forced
accommodation of conflicting lines of thought." (Johnson P.E.,
"Reason in the Balance, " 1995, p211).


"Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented."
--- Dr. William Provine, Professor of History and Biology, Cornell University.

Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\
3 Hawker Avenue / Oz \
Warwick 6024 ->*_,--\_/ Phone +61 8 9448 7439
Perth, West Australia v "Test everything." (1Thess 5:21)