Young-earth creationism proponents’ greatest sin?

A recent comment on GOE offers an interesting point for reflection.

comment

As far as I’m concerned, our friend Claude is right on.

That YEC proponents lie, twist and distort truth, in Jesus’ name no less, is reprehensible. But what I fear will truly have eternal consequences for them is the false dichotomy they create, with the gleeful assistance of militant atheists who hold an identical theology (evolution being true = no God).

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • Evolution does remove one example of the argument from design. No more, no less

    • Not the way I understand it. In my view, God is the still the supernatural author of creation; evolution is the natural process he used. It’s not an either/or, and it never has been, except in the shallow theology of the young-earthers.

      • “One example of”; as Darwin pointed out (Autobiography), Paley’s argument from the fitness of living things to a designer fails, given evolution. Darwin, of course, had earlier been much impressed with Paley’s thought.

        Arguments such as that from the overall structure of the Universe, an orderly place in which evolution is possible or even inevitable, remain to be discussed on their merits.

        So I would say, not just YECs but IDeologues, who in the UK are generally YECs but, in the US, Old Earth creationists

      • Tony Breeden

        Tyler,

        In your view, God is still the supernatural author of creation; He’s just not the supernatural author of the Bible because His
        “revelation” is contradicted by an all-natural explanation conceived by a man who’d already rejected the Bible’s revelation.

        btw, to say that its never been an either/or is to turn a blind eye to much the entirety of ecclesiastical history, but whatevs, dude. You just keep fiddling; you can always blame the fires of apostasy on those wacky young earthers who believe what Christians have traditionally believed since, well, Jesus…. right? I mean, it’s always been the ones who turn away from traditional doctrine that cause the problem, right?

        • In your view, God is still the supernatural author of creation; He’s just not the supernatural author of the Bible because His “revelation” is contradicted by an all-natural explanation conceived by a man who’d already rejected the Bible’s revelation.

          Science only contradicts God’s revelation in his word if you read it wrong.

          btw, to say that its never been an either/or is to turn a blind eye to much the entirety of ecclesiastical history, but whatevs, dude.

          Yeah, Tony, you should really just stick to your bread and butter of nastiness and put-downs. Your attempts at sounding flippant and cheeky just make you look like an idiot.

          You just keep fiddling; you can always blame the fires of apostasy on those wacky young earthers who believe what Christians have traditionally believed since, well, Jesus…. right? I mean, it’s always been the ones who turn away from traditional doctrine that cause the problem, right?

          That’s better. Classic goat charmer.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            Goat Charmer?

          • That’s our nickname for Tony, because of his charming personality and habit of calling people (and even bleating like) a goat when he gets in theological debates that are out of his depth. See http://www.godofevolution.com/the-goat-charmer-returns.

          • Professor_Tertius

            Considering Tony’s antics leads me to pause and consider this: When I was a Young Earth Creationist “creation science” activist in the 1960’s and 1970’s, there was no plethora of YEC ministries. There was no Internet filled with countless YEC “ministries”. There was Morris and Whitcomb and there was Duane Gish. And that was about it.

            So I have been thinking about the fact that today’s average YEC has a LOT of “P.R. baggage” to deal with compared to the “simplicity” being a YEC in 1970, for example. Today’s Young Earth Creationist is judged–fairly or unfairly–against a background of SO MANY “colorful characters”, the many origins ministry entrepreneurs who virtually compete against each other to say the most bizarre, angry, defiant, and…. well…..CRAZY things. The “creation science” peanut gallery, the clown car of YEC “entertainers” is quite larger with a continuous supply of many more wannabe entrepreneurs vying for a piece of the lucrative millions of dollars of the Young Earth Creationist industry.

            I’m even reading more press releases and news about more “creation museums”. And Ken Ham claims to have an entire “site plan” for which the “Ark Encounter” is just for the first of many. So he apparently thinks that many more YEC market dollars are out there.

            So I’ve wondered how many Young Earth Creationists are all too aware that YEC leaders have a justifiable reputation for science ignorance, buffoonish behaviors, and a nearly endless supply of embarrassing choices which inevitably harm the reputation of evangelicals and interfere with (or at least make more difficult) the progress of the Great Commission.

            I KNOW that it must be a problem, in part because so many YECs don’t want to talk about ex-con Kent Hovind. And Ray Comfort’s crocoduck nonsense. And Ray Comfort’s banana-as-the “atheist’s nightmare”. And Chuck Missler’s “a jar of peanut butter is the evolutionist’s nightmare.”

            And then there are the endless parades of silly anti-evolution letters to local newspapers. They confidently recite the rubbish they collect at AIG, ICR, Creation.com, etc., but there’s nobody around from those ministries to help them out when the groaning starts.

            Indeed, since Ken Ham & Co. don’t allow comments on their main websites, visitors never get exposed to any contrary information. They never see Ham challenged. So when they are out on their own, championing the same arguments, they get totally destroyed while Ham & Co. are nowhere available to come to their aid.

            Even on the Facebook pages where AIG staff have pages where comments are allowed, BSF experiments have found that the average non-foot-kissing post (at Ken Ham’s Facebook page, for example) lasts an average of about 20 minutes before the censors delete it and ban the poster. Even “inconvenient” questions of Ham’s claims which might possibly puncture the illusion are deleted before anybody can react to them. The paranoia is incredible. And THINKING Young Earth Creationist visitors can’t help but notice.

            So I wonder: How many from within the YEC camp ask themselves: “Why do we have so many nutty buffoons on our side of the fence? Why don’t Old Earth Creationists have their fair share of loons?” Indeed, if asked to name a OEC ministry leader, Dr. Hugh Ross is about the only person mentioned. And whatever one thinks of him, everybody agrees that Dr. Ross has a real live, legitimate, bona fide, accredited Ph.D. in science from a top university. NOT ONE of the best known Young Earth Creationist ministry leaders has a doctorate of any sort.

            Contrast that situation with the 1960’s. Yes, Morris and Gish were definitely buffoonish, and became more so as the years went by. Yet they DID have legitimate Ph.D.’s from solid universities (though not necessary in fields which helped them avoid a lot of foolishness when dealing with origins topics.) And Morris’ partner, John Whitcomb Jr. at least had a doctorate in Biblical studies—admittedly from a small, “denominational”, unaccredited seminary where he earned THREE OF HIS DEGREES and then stayed there to teach for many years. (Talk about inbred educational pedigrees!)

            So when comparing that situation to today, the untrained, uncredentialed entrepreneurs now run the show, the occasional Ph.D. scientist may be lucky enough to land a steady job. (Notice how Jason Lisle didn’t last long under Ken Ham. Nobody knows quite what happened.) And despite the millions upon millions going into the coffers, they don’t seem to have much to spare that can fund actual scientific research!

            Surely it must be a discouraging time to be a Young Earth Creationist with a functional brain. And when I find myself debating the YECs who try to think seriously, NONE of them want to be asked anything about the scientific claims of Ham, Comfort, Missler, the Hovinds, Baugh, and so many others. They so often reply with, “I never said I support AIG.” or say, “Just because Hovind has crazy ideas about paying taxes doesn’t mean that his science is wrong.” Surely that is not fun to admit.

            There surely must be a lot of discouragement in the ranks. The buffoonish clown car and the peanut gallery of infamy has to be difficult to ignore. Do YECs ever feel safe discussing that “burden”, even among themselves?

          • What really needs explaining is the ecclesiastical, political and financial success of the YEC revival, from Morris onwards. This is what has attracted the clowns and charlatans, and made it possible for them to present folly as wisdom. And this is what we need to learn to counter; at the moment I fear we are only talking to ourselves

          • Saito Singh

            True. Follow the money!

          • Fair point. Thanks for sharing, Paul.

          • Professor_Tertius

            I understand what you are saying. But I don’t know. Actual goats probably don’t like the reminder.

        • Professor_Tertius

          Wow. Bizarre. As usual, I had to read it twice to figure out what Tony is trying to say. (I’ve been a big fan of Tony’s for a long time. He always reminds me why I have such a sense of relief at no longer being an angry YEC.) At least he rightly identified the issue as being “traditional doctrine” versus BIBLICAL doctrine.

          I think most all of us who used to be adamant young earth creationists now recognize that it was the cherished TRADITIONS of our church background (and the narrowly defined interpretations allowed in that tradition) and not SCRIPTURE that was the “doctrine” at stake that used to get us so worked up.

          Seriously, it is very sad that “creation science” YECism has continued to degenerate over the decades where it is little more than angry Phariseeism desperately trying to reassure itself that all Christians who fail to agree with a particular traditional view of Genesis (1) have abandoned the Bible, (2) reject the YEC “perfect interpretation” of scripture in favor of “man’s imperfect interpretation of the scientific evidence”, and (3) surely they are headed to hell for ceasing to be Truly Genuine Christians (TM) “like us”.

          I’m not laughing. It truly is sad. And the level of censorship at their websites and the careful suppression of anything which might inform cult members of what other Christians have found in the scriptures and in God’s creation is indicative of the fear that is obviously growing in the YEC world. Ken Ham’s book lamenting the loss of young people from the church is a fascinating admission of how the cognitive dissonance necessary to remain YECist simply cannot be sustained— at least, not among thinking Christians who believe the God of the Bible is NOT a deceiver who fills the Bible and his Creation with contradictory claims. The claim that everyone else’s interpretations of the scientific evidence is hopelessly flawed because it depends on “man’s fallible thinking” while pretending that YECist interpretations of the Bible are infallible (being exempt from that same man’s-fallibility-problem) just doesn’t cut it among college age young people nowadays. They’ve sat in my office and lamented it.

          I think Tony has long been so grouchy because, like Ham, he knows that the jig is up. The contradictions and hypocrisy tolerated by previous generations of pew-sitters is NOT tolerated by most young people today. Unfortunately, many will assume that abandoning YECism requires abandoning the Church. After all, that is what Ham & Co. have told them for years: “You can’t be a TRUE Christian if you reject my tradition-based interpretations of Genesis.” The big lie. One of many big lies that scripture warns us about.

          I praise God that his omniscience and omnipotence are so clearly evident in the evolutionary processes he brought about when he established the laws of physics billions of years ago. I’ll borrow a wish of Ken Ham and Ray Comfort and look forward to the day when Tony will join us and the heavenly choir in that praise of these amazing aspects of God’s great plan for diversifying life on earth! Amen.

          Tony, may the love of God through the work of the Holy Spirit within you transform your spirit and purge your hatred, your anger, and your tradition-based denials of the truths of God throughout his creation. I’m confident that EVENTUALLY you will find peace at last.

          • Thanks for your comment, Prof. Very wise and gracious words. I hope they prove prophetic.

            As to why Tony is the way he is, I only know he is one of the most unpleasant people I’ve ever interacted with. I have no idea why, but I, too, hope he finds peace.

          • Professor_Tertius

            It saddens me that the leaders and most public and outspoken representatives of the Young Earth Creationist “creation science” movement are so extreme and angry. The vast majority of my Christian brethren in the YEC world are not at all that nasty and unChrist-like. They deserve better—-better leaders and better public relations people cultivating the the public’s perceptions of who they are what they are like.

            So many of my YEC friends are wonderful people and honorable ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ. So when I observe the public antics of various “creation science” leaders—and the many self-appointed “defenders of the YEC faith” with their own websites and “ministries”—I notice the enormous contrasts. That bothers me. The general public and the news media tends to lump all such Christians together. I wish that that were not the case.

          • I agree with this. Many young-earthers I know on a personal level do not act like little Ken Ham clones (though I have met some). The extremists do make a big (and negative) impact, though, even if it is primarily on the Internet and through other forms of media.

          • Tony Breeden

            I’m sorry. And you are?

          • Saito Singh

            “I’m sorry. And you are?”

            You have good reason to feel sorry, Tony. Professor Tertius, not so much. So why bother asking?

          • Tony Breeden

            Saito,

            You are merely the sock puppet admin of the Poe in question. You don’t fool me anymore than the “professor” does. If you were anything more, Tertius’ true identity would’ve been uncovered by now.

          • Professor_Tertius

            Tony, these exchanges have thus far focused on our differences. So as we approach the Lord’s Day tomorrow (Sunday), I’d like to propose a new discussion topic: How can all of us who are Christ-followers work together to show the love of Jesus Christ to all of our fellow humans? Are origins topics the most essential of all Christian doctrine? (If yes, we are left to wonder why Jesus had so little to say about the subject. A recent book published by Young Earth Creationist ministry leaders made a bombastic statement by Jesus quoting from Genesis more than any other book of the Bible. Even non-Christian bloggers were amazed at that incredible blooper.)

            Why do you think that this has become such an incendiary topic and such an enormous stumbling block to non-Christians having any confidence in the reasoning abilities of Christians? How can we work together to “defuse” it? Whether one affirms an “old earth” or a “young earth”, is it worth making it a basis for division within the body of Christ?

            To those who answer by saying, “It’s a matter of whether or not the Bible means what it says!”, I 100% agree with that!

          • Professor_Tertius

            On the Bible & Science Forum we “honored” Tony Breeden with his very own “Rev. Tony Breeden “knows” the “clear, plain meaning of Genesis” blog topic. See:

            https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/rev-tony-breeden-knows-the-clear-plain-meaning-of-genesis-does-he/

            Tony’s protests in the comment section demonstrate that his misunderstandings of common terms are much more extensive than we’d ever imagined! Not only does he bobble “perspicuity”, he manages to use the term “Poe” into some sort of wildcard term which can adapt to the needs of the moment. (Indeed, in Tony’s hands it seems to EVOLVE as environmental conditions change over time!)

            As with all other visitors, BSF allows Tony to post to comment sections as often as he wishes—so I hadn’t noticed that a few weeks ago he claimed about our treatment of the “Doctrine of Perspicuity.” He even claimed that we don’t know what it means. Yet,
            Biologos decided to post our FAQ entries about the misuse of PERSPICUITY arguments by Young Earth Creationists. Biologos decided to launch their new “best of the forum” series with that exposition, which one of our Associate Scholars had posted their under the username OLDTIMER. So Tony can get a remedial education on the meaning and history of the Doctrine of Perspicuity, courtesy of the Bible & Science Forum at:

            http://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/dispatches-from-the-forum-on-the-plain-meaning-of-genesis-one

          • Ha! I had totally forgotten, but this reminded me: Last year, Tony and I were having a spirited discussion on my Facebook page. Long story short, he misused the doctrine of perspicuity, I pointed it out, and he totally lost it. I have a screenshot of it saved on my work computer; I’ll have to look it up when I get back from leave. It was funny at the time, and hilarious to hear that it has happened before. Guess certain doctrines are just too complicated for some people, huh?

          • Professor_Tertius

            They get ensnared regularly in the insularity of their cult. Because their websites are carefully supervised and censored so that readers are never allowed to see criticisms and corrections of their blunders, when they venture outside of “home territory”, they are totally unprepared for reality and truth. They simply recite the nonsense they’ve heard from Ken Ham & Co. a thousand times before—-and then are caught like deer in headlights when people point out their obvious errors. (Ken Ham and friends are never around to help them when somebody challenges the propaganda.)

            Yes, I’d love to see the “Tony’s Tirades” flashbacks. No doubt he informed you that you are not a True Christian™ like he is. We are all “Poes” in his mind! (I can imagine the Apostle Paul rebuking him, “Whatever they be, Poes or not, they are preaching the Gospel! Let them spread the message!”)

          • Tony’s Greatest Hits (click through and magnify to read):

          • Apparently, I forgot to expand one of the comments before taking the screenshot. Here’s the copy from the original conversation: “All right, Tony. You think I’m wrong, and you think you’ve demonstrated it. You also, apparently, think repeating that over and over again makes it more so. I really think your work here is done, my friend. For my part, I’m sorry for pointing out how you misused the doctrine of perspicuity, because it really seems to have brought out your nasty side. If it makes you feel better, I take back what I said. You used the doctrine perfectly, and you are a theological genius on all other matters, too.”

          • Professor_Tertius

            My favorite Tony Tactic™: “I don’t think you’re wrong. You are wrong. I don’t think I’ve demonstrated it. I have.”

            Yes, it is extremely funny. And I have absolutely no doubt that if I posted that on my office door, I have colleagues who will say, “Don’t you recognize parody when you see it? That is a great portrayal of Young Earth Creationist tactics. Brilliant!” Yet, on another level, as part of the entire exchange, it is fascinating how Tony is primarily trying to convince himself. I’ve noticed exponential growth in this kind of desperation in this particular wing of YECism in recent years: the assumption that STRONG FAITH is demonstrated by exuding 100% SELF CONFIDENCE.

            I also find it interesting that it’s almost like an assumption by Tony that “the Perspicuity of Scripture” (Yes, Tony, I intentionally place it in quotation marks) is some sort of Platonic Ideal. Perhaps he’s not even aware that it can’t be found in the Bible as some sort of explicitly declared (and so named) doctrine and that it was a product of the Reformation. He’s angry at you for failing to see the “bigger picture” of a “bigger” doctrine and restricting yourself to the Reformation version. The Perspicuity doctrine is so entrenched in the traditions of his church that he’s never paused to ask if it actually exists in the scriptures. (Answer: Yes, it is easy to find in Jesus’ teachings and the Reformers did a good job of pointing out that church leaders and been ignoring it.)

            It’s amazing that Tony & friends can so easily ignore the many scriptures which emphasize the MYSTERY of scripture revelation and “we see through a glass but darkly.” Of course, in their church traditions, they’ve got all of the answers figured out! So THEIR CHILDREN do indeed know all of the answers!

            Why is he so angry? (Always. Continually. Incessantly. Tony misread the scripture and thought it said, “Bray without ceasing!”) Because his church has worked very hard to determine all of the 100% correct answers and to make sure that all of their children can recite them with 100% assurance. Then somebody comes along and reminds them that they ARE NOT INERRANT. And if they have misunderstood and misapplied the perspicuity of the scriptures, they would be forced to admit “Some things in the Bible are unclear, even to children, our final arbiters. So it is possible that we are wrong about some detail.” They can’t live with that possibility! To them, anything less than 100% inerrancy in their interpretations of the Bible means that they LACK “100% faith.”

            With that in mind, we should (1) keep in mind that many of us come from similar backgrounds, very much like Tony’s, and (2) coming to terms with the errors of cherished traditions is not easy, and (3) God calls us to love ALL of our brethren in Christ and to pray that we ALL grow to be more and more Christ-like in His Image. So, Tony, I see no flaw in your local church heritage that has not also been part of my heritage in the Church. Yes, the path is hard. Coming to grips with the mysteries of the scriptures is difficult. Seeing through a glass but darkly is not always a pleasant experience. Most of all, Tony, I pray the the love of God would soften your heart and free you from the anger that is harming YOU. (It’s not hurting me except in terms of the empathy I feel toward you and the memories I have of similar emotions.)

            Of course, for those readers who’ve just joined us, Tony insists that I’m not a Christ-follower and never was. (I will not challenge him to compare the physical suffering each of us has chosen to take on as a part of the Great Commission—whether it be by comparing the number of nights in jail or the greater number of ant bites while chained to a chair in the hot sun—because it is not a contest between us.) I do wish I could take Tony with me on a Bible translation field consultation in west central Africa. In all of my years there, NOT ONCE has anyone asked me about the age of the earth or “the evils of evolution.” They are more concerned with what they are going to eat tomorrow and whether Muslim rebels will kidnap people for ransom. They also want to know if it is OK to refer to God as “Allah” when they witness to Muslims.

            I mention all of this, Tony, because I’m encouraging you to examine your priorities and to compare them with the entire history of the Church. The Great Commission calls us to MAKE DISCIPLES, not just MAKE DISTINCTIONS. You know, I’m talking about the kinds of distinctions which provide new reasons for hating our Christian brethren. Sadly, many who take the name of Christ show far more aptitude for making distinctions than making disciples. What a shame.

            Tony, I know that you don’t believe it, but I remember a time prior to the “creation science” movement of the 1960’s when nobody automatically assumed that a Fundamentalist Christian believed in a “young earth”. I knew some of the people who helped define Fundamentalism in the famous tracts and movements of the early 20th century. Incredibly, some of today’s fundamentalists would condemn them as “liberals”!

            A lot of people in churches today focus on the controversial things. Yet we should keep in mind that we will be judged by what we know, not what we don’t know. When Christ-followers fail, it is usually for not doing what they know to do.

          • Tony Breeden

            Tertius,

            I comprehend the doctrine of perspicuity just fine, despite your attempts to muddy the plain meaning of Scripture. The fact that you cannot seem to print the term without quotation marks suggests that you comprehend it better than you’d like and certainly understand how damning it is to your argument.

            fyi, a Poe is a well-established internet term. It refers to a person who writes a parody of a Fundamentalist that is mistaken for the real thing.

          • Hey Tony, it’s cool that you looked up “Poe” on InternetSlangDictionary.com or whatever, but you still haven’t explained how the Prof. fits that definition in any way. Parodies are usually more extreme than the views they are parodies of, right? The exaggeration is what carries the humor and gets the point across. So how is Tertius a parody? His views, on this issue anyway, and the way he has presented them, are far more moderate and restrained than, well, yours, for example.

          • Professor_Tertius

            I read Tony’s post about the word “Poe” a few minutes after writing a reaction to the Tony & Tyler exchange. I’ll be curious to see an explanation of how my views expressed there are extremist and how they parody anyone. I’ve been called a lot of names over the years but never a Poe. (Why is that? My hunch is that most people who use the word know what it means.)

          • Tony Breeden

            Tyler,

            People are unpleasant to you you because you’re a snarky arrogant jerk. You seem to be able to dish it out, but you’ve got a glass chin, kid. I’ve seen it before: you think you should have carte blanche to act as you please and if anyone bothers to call you on it, well, the smeller’s the feller, right?

            And you do realize the “professor” is a Poe, right? If he was real, he’d have the integrity to tell folks what he really believed in the flesh. He’s not. He’s a fake and you give him praise because he says what you want to believe. Your credulity knows no bounds.

            I have peace, Tyler, but I give no quarter to those who openly doubt the veracity of God’s Word while claiming to defend it. I realize you’re not used to plain speaking, but when you have the arrogance accuse people like me of SINNING for pointing out a real and actual dichotomy between a theory based on pure naturalism trumps supernatural revelation and a doctrine where naturalism is tempered by supernatural revelation, you should expect people to call you to the mat on that.

          • Saito Singh

            “People are unpleasant to you because you’re a snarky arrogant jerk.” I’m impressed! Readers of Tony’s blog figured that out many years ago, but I didn’t think that Tony had figured it out yet.

            As the old saying goes, “We knew you were….but we didn’t know that YOU knew you were!”

          • Wow, you really know how to cut to the core of a person, Tony. You’ve got me dead to rights. It’s a shame your deep insightfulness into the natures of people you’ve never met does not carry over into matters of doctrine or Internet slang. But hang in there, kid: I’m sure you’ll figure out what Poes are and what perspicuity is all about one of these days.

          • Saito Singh

            Tony Breeden babbled:

            “And you do realize the “professor” is a Poe, right?”

            For those readers who are unfamiliar with the frustrated science-denialist/scripture-denialist entrepreneur-buffoons of the YEC origins-industry, they use the term “Poe” as a kind of catch-all, wild-card term for any opponent who repeatedly destroys them in debates. Tony has never been able to compete with Professor Tertius on the playing field of scientific or scripture evidence. So his last resorts are always Arguments from Ad Hominem fallacies and Arguments from Authority fallacies.

            Indeed, Tony Breeden is a very typical, garden-variety denialist who uses both the positive and negative versions of the Argument from Authority fallacy. And that explains why he is SO FRUSTRATED and insecure over Professor T depriving him of that tactic.

            You see, the negative form of the Argument from Authority fallacy involves ignoring the ACTUAL MERITS AND EVIDENCE behind an argument and instead focuses on IRRELEVANT details of an authority’s CV.

            Tony gets so worked up and angry about Prof T’s identity because without it he can’t try and change the subject by using his standard desperate excuses like, “Dr. X is NOT a second-degree separationist—so obviously we can’t trust anything he says!” or “Dr. X was Chairman of the Dept. of XYZ at the horrendously liberal University of ______ and in the 1980’s was responsible for hiring Dr Z., the cocky scientist who hosted those horrid Discovery Channel documentaries on The Rise of Western Science, which claimed that dinosaurs didn’t live contemporaneously with humans!” Yes, Tony WISHES that he could learn Professor Tertius’ identity so that he could complain, “Rev. T quit preaching in IFCA churches in the 1970’s!” and “He was involved in the revision of the ____ Bible translation, and was responsible for the translation footnotes at the bottom of the page for Genesis 6 through 9!” Worse yet, “He used to guest lecture at Wheaton College! Need I say more?” Professor Tertius is depriving Tony of all of those “winning” arguments! How unfair!

            Yes, that’s how the game works. Tony wants to ignore the scientific and scriptural evidence and wants to OBSESS on Professor Tertius’ identity instead.

            “If he was real, he’d have the integrity to tell folks what he really believed in the flesh.”

            Real?? A “real” what? (And by the way, he preached at my church last July. He used a satellite link, but I’d still call that an “in the flesh” appearance because we saw him. And plenty of INTEGRITY came with it. Integrity. That’s something you really ought to check out, Tony. You obsess over imagined slivers in your brother’s eye while remaining oblivious to the pile of 4″x6″ in your own eyes.)

            Prof. T’s scientific evidence and scriptural evidence are enough to whip your tail to a bright red. Is that real enough fer ya, Tony? LOL!

            Tony blathered: “He’s not. He’s a fake….”

            A fake what? Tony, instead of obsessing on arguments from AUTHORITY, why don’t you try to refute his EVIDENCE AND ANALYSIS? (Of course, we all understand why you’d RATHER talk about his identity instead of his science, his exegesis, and his hermeneutics. It’s your last resort, Tony.)
            Tony, Prof T was my faculty adviser and favorite professor years ago, and so I’m very familiar with his ministry, then and now. At that time his car was vandalized by “creation science” young earth creationists protesting his commencement address at a seminary near the university. (They hoped to badger the church which hosted the graduation ceremony to where they’d prevent him from speaking.) His ministry website was hacked soon after. Yes, there’s a lot of people on the Internet just as angry as Tony (and every bit as irrational) who don’t want people like Professor Tertius to be able to speak freely without harassment. Yet, Professor Tertius continues to lecture and preach against the ignorance and dishonesty of the “creation science” movement. But now that he’s retired, much of his ministry online avoids the unnecessary distraction of his biography and bibliography because he chooses to keep the focus on the BIBLICAL IDEAS, not his identity. (Not everybody is ego-driven, Tony.)

            [Most pew-sitting Christians wouldn’t recognize Professor Tertius’ real name. But most Ph.D. candidates in top seminary programs certainly would, as well as M.Div. students in the more technical fields of Biblical Studies. Yet, you’d claim that I was guilty of “name dropping” if I spoke of him and the famous names on his endorsements. Some of us care about the merits of the ideas, not the fame of the individual who espouses them. So I’m content with you complaining either way. I think I can live with your contempt.]

            The evidence and the ideas are what matters, NOT the WHO of the particular mouthpiece for the truth who happens to be delivering that message. If you are an ACTUAL disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ, you shouldn’t need this explained to you. You also wouldn’t find the LOVE OF CHRIST so foreign to your experience and to your demeanor. I pray that the Spirit of Christ would change you from within.

            I’m proud to know Professor Tertius. I’m thankful for his mentoring me (and my wife), and not just in the classroom. Pastorally, he was and still is a Biblical “good shepherd.” He brought me through some very difficult processes of coming to terms with the contradictions of my young earth creationist background versus what I read in the Bible and in the universe God created.

            Tony, it has long been observed that one of the best ways to assess someone’s impact on others (as well as the depth of their character) is to read what someone’s opponents have to say about them. In Professor Tertius’ case, you can read online what his most outspoken ATHEIST CRITICS wrote about him last November when news of his series of debilitating strokes was relayed around the Internet. Do their comments about Professor Tertius on the Bible.and.Science.Forum blog website sound like they are referring to a “Poe” and a “fake” whatever? Read them, Tony:

            https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/an-update-on-professor-tertius/#comments

            Tony, I hope that when my days on earth are done, I will be remembered as someone who, like Jesus, was known for reaching out to “both saints and sinners” like my mentor is known for doing.

            Tony, not only does Professor Tertius reach out continuously to a audience of Christians and non-Christians, atheists and theists, scientists and laypersons, when working for his department I found myself forwarding and relaying a lot of equally diverse PRIVATE correspondence. In fact, every now and then I’d see very personal questions and requests coming from major “names” who I think you and most readers here would recognize. I’m still amazed that even self-described “anti-theist” atheists contacted him to discuss what most of us here would classify as “spiritual things.”

            Tony, I don’t know anything about you other than what you reveal in your comments. But I know a lot about the professor who taught me more than anybody else. If you think he is a “Poe”, then it is my sincere prayer that the Spirit of God will lead me to be so Christ-like that somebody like you will call me a Poe. That would be wonderful.

            I will second the motion already posted: That the Spirit and love of Christ will so overwhelm Tony Breeden that all of that anger, bitterness, contempt, judgment, and fear that you spew upon your Christian brethren will be swept away and that the Lord will grant you great peace and A LOVE FOR THE TRUTH.

            The last page of his course syllabi usually had a familiar Proverb at the bottom. So I have included one of those below for your benefit. Tony, you don’t have to follow the scorners of knowledge, fools like Ken Ham who scorn the scientists who could teach them about God’s created universe:

            “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” — Proverb 1:19

          • I wondered about the Poe thing. As near as I can figure, Tony seems to think if means someone on the Internet who doesn’t go by their real name.

            Ironically, as a fundie extremist, Tony is far closer to the actual meaning of a Poe than the more moderate Prof.

            And, though I don’t know him personally, we have conversed a number of times through email, and I, too, have found the Prof. to be a kind, thoughtful and conscientious man of God. Pretty much everything I have found lacking in Tony.

          • Professor_Tertius

            “but when you have the arrogance accuse people like me of SINNING for pointing out a real and actual dichotomy…” It is a false dichotomy, one you share with many anti-theist atheists who insist that the Theory of Evolution debunks God’s existence. But it is not your lies about science which presents the greatest stumbling blocks to the Gospel. It is a heart filled with contempt and hate that is most contrary to the way of Jesus Christ. Tony, may the Holy Spirit heal you of your anger and sadness.

          • Professor_Tertius

            Tony, you can read my recent posts below (replying to Tyler) for the links where we respond to your confusion over the Doctrine of Perspicuity which you posted at our BSF blog at https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/rev-tony-breeden-knows-the-clear-plain-meaning-of-genesis-does-he/

            Tony, sorry that I didn’t notice your comments there. I was in West Africa for a Bible translation field consult. Some endlessly complain about how to interpret Genesis 1 while some of us are actually translating Genesis 1 for the benefit of people groups who haven’t had their own Bible translation in their native language. The love of God and love for God’s people motivates such labors. In contrast, hatred motivates more and more conflict and the unhappiness that goes with it. How sad that so many of the LEADERS of the best known Young Earth Creationist ministries have become known for their continuous states of anger and unending contempt for their Christian brethren. Your perpetual state of anger must be very draining and stressful.

            You will notice the very same kind of continuous anger and lashing out from the administrator fellow, Terry, who replies to comments posted at the bizarre but illustrative website for the Creation Science Hall of Fame. I’ve dropped in there occasionally to try and encourage some of the well-intentioned visitor comments and to correct some of the most appalling misuses of science terms and concepts. Notice the thread below, where I compliment a lady for accurately summarizing an archaic definition of UNIFORMITARIANISM from nearly three centuries ago. After the administrator gets surly with me, I correct his claims that today’s scientists teach that all geologic change is very slow and gradual and never catastrophic. Because he knows nothing but the silly script he learned from YECist websites, he’s very angry to be told that his straw-man arguments have nothing to do with what today’s geologists actually state:

            http://creationsciencehalloffame.org/#comment-11687

            Like Tony Breeden, he’s in a continuous state of anger. However, one of the funniest of his arguments is his declaring that everyone else’s argument based on ACTUAL EVIDENCE and excerpts from science textbooks are “Arguments from Authority” fallacies—to which he responds by saying that they should debate Walt Brown, “who has spent many hours reading geology books”! Much like Tony, the administrator bobbles the meaning of “Argument from Authority fallacy” and then actually deploys it by using Walt Brown as his answer to every question!

            Some day I’ll get around to reminding him that Brown is famous for evading debates and AIG and other Young Earth Creationist websites have even offered to publish his “complete” Hydroplate Theory in their “journals” so that he doesn’t have to keep complaining that the public has never been “allowed” to read his entire arguments for his “theory”—yet Brown always turns them down. Someday I will ask the angry administrator at the Creation Science Hall of Fame why he isn’t angry at Ken Ham, Jason Lisle, and many other of the YEC he “honors” at the “Hall of Fame” who doubt and ignore Walt Brown’s “theory”.

            Anyway, I think Tony and that administrator (i.e., I hate to embarrass him by mentioning Terry’s complete name) have much in common, and definitely the same anger towards other Christians. Do Tony and Terry actually believe that Jesus Christ will pass judgment by saying, “Depart from me. I never knew you—because you dared doubt that the world is 6,000 years old, something my scriptures never claimed!”

        • Saito Singh

          “you can always blame the fires of apostasy on those wacky young earthers
          who believe what Christians have traditionally believed since, well,
          Jesus…. right?

          So, TRADITION is the ultimate authority. Right, Tony?

          (A lot of my Roman Catholic friends would agree with you 100% on the importance of TRADITION.)

          Tony probably endorsed that recent young earth creationist book which claimed that Jesus quoted from the Book of Genesis more than any other book of the Old Testament. (Oops!)

          • Except that he’s wrong from the initial premise. Whether people in the church believed the earth was young throughout history or not is actually a secondary issue. Of primary import is whether the authors of Scripture, the early church, or any of the giants of the faith over the years, believed young-earthism go be an essential component to the gospel and the Bible. This is what modern-day YECism is based on, and it is the harmful (and wholly novel) aberration, not any underlying view of the cosmos.

  • It is extremely interesting how similar Christian fundamentalist assumptions, logic, and hermeneutics are to atheism. The only real difference is the atheists say, “So, of course you can see how silly this is,” and the fundamentalists go, “We will believe this in spite of anything.” But they largely agree on the content in dispute.

    Your site, appropriately, focuses on YEC creationism and items germane, but in the world of evangelicalism, you could fill that blank in with a lot of things.

    You’re pro-choice = no God
    You think some parts of the Bible are symbolic = no God
    You think homosexuals should be allowed to marry = no God
    You don’t believe in a future Rapture, Beast, Anti-Christ, One World Government Led By President Obama = no God
    You’re a pacifist = no God
    You voted for gun control = no God
    You don’t think Peter wrote 2 Peter = no God

    I mean, the list could just go on and on.

    • You didn’t like “Fireproof” = no God…

      • Kirk Cameron definitely = no God

        • God is real but bananas aren’t proof that he exists = no God

          • lzzrdgrrl

            But, is it possible that you could be wrong about that?….’>…….

            A rather voguish tactic used in defense of G_d’s existence is an argument style called “presuppositionalism”. Essentially just say that logic, reason and evidence presupposes the existence of G_d and you’re all in:

            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Presuppositionalism

            In action it looks like this:

          • Matthew Funke

            TBH, I see presuppositionalism as a kind of pretending to know what one does not. If you can’t accept the assumptions of logic and reason, it doesn’t seem immediately obvious to me that assuming God automatically makes it all make sense. (It requires assuming certain things *about* God that don’t seem to have independent support.) A perceived weakness in one argument does not mean that a different argument is automatically correct.

          • lzzrdgrrl

            Just playing trend-spotter with this sort of thing. The more troubling aspect of apologetics as STB would have it is not to clarify debate so much as to reframe it, so that the secular opponent is humiliated and looks like a stooge………

          • Matthew Funke

            That analysis actually makes a lot of sense in terms of the “you-can’t-prove-you’re-right-so-we-must-be-right” tactic I’ve seen so much of lately. Thanks for pointing that out.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            Bananas or banana fellatio?

    • Alan S

      I agree in part with what you say here. For example, I am conservative, both theologically and politically. But many “evangelicals” (whatever that term even means anymore) conflate their theological/Biblical views and their political views. I myself feel that temptation, and have to consciously remember to separate the two. And by the way, the temptation is felt by both those who are on the theological/political left AND those who are on the theological/political right.

      For example, while I don’t believe that all gun control measures are unconstitutional, I also think that most gun control measures (at least in this country) are ultimately useless in preventing most of the mass shootings we have had in recent years. But here’s the thing: I don’t base my beliefs (right or wrong, that’s not the point here) on any particular Scripture; in fact, I’m pretty sure that the Bible really has little (actually, nothing) to say about the issue, so my conscience is free as it relates to conclusions about gun control. So I’m able to happily confess that a fellow believer, as mature or more mature in his/her faith as me, may have a completely different perspective on gun control.

      Unfortunately, you have thrown some things in your list that the Bible DOES speak to (for examples, abortion and homosexual marriage), so while being pro-choice or pro-gay marriage in no way implies the non-existence of God, or one’s DISBELIEF in the existence of God, it does suggest a fairly clear disagreement with the Bible.

      • It does suggest a fairly clear disagreement with a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. That reading may be the correct one, or it may not, but it does not indicate disagreement with either the Bible nor a disbelief in God. While I’m sure there may be Christians out there who say, “I’m pro-choice and I don’t care what the Bible says about it,” the vast majority of pro-choice Christians don’t see a conflict.

        You may believe they are incorrect about that, but it’s very fundamentalist to equate a disagreement with my reading of Scripture with disagreement with Scripture, and that calculus is key in YEC discussions.

        • Alan S

          I understand what you are saying. I grew up in a church culture where everything in the Bible was clear, and the circle around “true Christians” was drawn very small. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to appreciate why other sincere Christians can draw different conclusions than I do about certain passages/doctrines, while having the same love and respect for Scripture as me.

          However, while the churches of my youth (which zealously self-identified as “fundamentalist”, see the label as a badge of honor) may have been too inflexible and uncharitable towards others whose interpretations differed from theirs, there is another danger, a danger of overreaction. There can be SUCH an attitude of flexibility, such an amorphousness regarding the clear message and ethics of the Bible, that anyone can interpret the Bible in any way they choose (despite the weakness or even absurdity of the interpretation), and to question the orthodoxy of such an interpretation becomes tantamount to a rigid fundamentalistic judgmentalism.

          I think it best to steer through both Charybdis and the Scylla. 🙂

          • I largely agree. I’m definitely not saying that all interpretations are correct or equally likely or coherent. But if a person said something that I thought was contrary to what Scripture tells us, then I would want the discussion to center around the consistency of our interpretations rather than just say they are ignoring or defying the Scriptures. The odds are good that, if they are a Christian, they have somehow come to understand the Scriptures in a way that teaches or at least permits their view.

            I may think their interpretation is ridiculous and, if it is, there should be good reasons I can turn to. If their interpretation is at least viable, they should have good reasons they can turn to. But I can’t accuse them of ignoring the Scriptures, unless they are, in fact, saying, “I don’t really care what the Bible says about this.”

          • Alan S

            That’s fair. 🙂 Nice discussion.

  • Chris

    Taken straight from the writings of Paul I have only changed two words to apply it to today’s crowd:

    “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the [YEC] group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, “[Evolutionists] are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”

    Good Bible.

    • OT and naughty of me here, but can’t resist: as Wikipedia puts it (Cretan paradox),

      ‘Epimenides was a Cretan who made one immortal statement: “All Cretans are liars.” A paradox of self-reference arises when one considers whether it is possible for Epimenides to have spoken the truth.’

      Or, I would add, for my sainted namesake to have understood what he said.

      • Matthew Funke

        But that just makes Chris’ contribution *even better*. Creationists like Ken Ham have to postulate a kind of super-evolution that would be far more rapid and radical than *anything* proposed by evolutionary biology. They create a paradox when they say something about people who “believe in” evolution, when they themselves have to create a weird kind of evolution in order to try to (superficially) fit the facts.

        • True. But I still think the laugh is on St Paul. If I believed as you do, I would compile a list of where the divine Inspirer had allowed His emissaries to make all too human mistakes. Whales before land animals, Jeremiah when it should say Zechariah (?), that sort of thing. And this would be one of them.

          • Matthew Funke

            I have kind of an informal list of such things. (The human errors in the Bible are kind of endearing to me.) I don’t *think* Paul got the paradox in what he was quoting, but I (obviously) don’t know for sure.

          • Professor_Tertius

            “But I still think the laugh is on St Paul.” Why? If you think that the author of Titus was unaware that Epimenides was a Cretan, you need to read it more closely. He said, “One of Crete’s own prophets has said it.” Furthermore, the Apostle Paul didn’t say whether the famous sound-bite (of his century as well as ours) was 100.000% always true. He simply quoted the famous Cretan as making a characterization that fit the situation at Crete that St. Paul was addressing.

            The ancients used self-deprecation, irony, paradox, and comical self-reference just as we like to do. To twist the Pauline statement and try to make an “error” out of it is rather bizarre. And surely you understand the use of hyperbole in language. Even Epimenides original tongue-in-cheek statement—yes, he was aware of his own Cretan nationality—wouldn’t have been meant as an “absolutist absolute”, even if he had been a non-Cretan. If I were to say, “Those Marxists are always lying!”, or “All Marxists are liars!”, nobody would honestly believe that I thought that no Marxist had ever made a true statement in his entire life. That’s not how any contemporary or peer would interpret that statement. And that’s not even an accurate understanding of fundamentalist “hyper-literalism”. (It is more of a popular CARICATURE of it, a popular myth about what such Christians believe about the Biblical text. I used to spend a lot of time with first year undergraduate religious studies majors “curing them” of such myths.) No, there was nothing wrong with the Apostle Paul’s statement. It is only a “gotcha” if one is playing some sort of game with rules of one’s own making.

            I am NOT some kind of extreme Fundamentalist inerrantist. (Indeed, I’m usually getting yelled at by such people.) But saying that “the laugh is on St. Paul” sounds like one of those lame Skeptics Annotated Bible “error list factoids”. The ancients weren’t so mentally inferior to us that they weren’t capable of using the same figures of speech that we use.

            Perhaps you meant “the laugh is on the hyper-literalist, hyper-Fundamentalist inerrantists if they think that the word ‘always’ in human speech is some sort of mathematical assessment.” That would be just as silly as criticizing someone for using the term “sunrise” because it proved them ignorant of Copernican solar system model of planetary motion. No, even fundamentalist seminaries which teach the Doctrine of Inerrancy shred those kinds of misunderstanding of inerrancy in their first year Systematic Theology classes.

            Now, if one wants to make a list of “Bible errors”, you are on far more solid ground starting with something much more interesting like the Cyrenius census in the Gospel of Luke.

            P.S. As to “whales** before land animals”, you are using a particular kind of fundamentalist view of the Genesis text, where they impose of own modern day culture on an ancient people. (In our chronology-obsessed culture, we assume that ORDER OF PRESENTATION equals ORDER OF CHRONOLOGY. That isn’t true of every culture and it wasn’t NECESSARILY true of the ancient Hebrews. In fact, ancient Hebrew verbs don’t even have the kinds of time-inflection temporal sense we would expect!) Now this is an extremely complex topic which entire books have been written about and I can’t summarize it satisfactorily here. Personally, because of the way the author of Genesis 1 has obviously arranged the order of the YOM (day/s) to fit a broader theological agenda and wanted the CHIASMIC STRUCTURE to be obvious, I think he (they, actually, in that it was probably an oral tradition that developed over time, long before someone wrote it down) started with that OVERALL AGENDA and then IMPOSED IT on a seven-day week as a poetic structure. (Carl Sagan didn’t think the history of the universe fit into a single calendar year, but he used that structure as a helpful analogy to communicate a set of main ideas. Genesis 1 is quite similar.) So as a secondary consideration, the authors of Genesis 1 made it “chronological”, but only in the sense of using the analogy of a typical work-week, NOT in order to claim a detailed “scientific” timeline of events from a modern historian’s point of view. The ancient Hebrews never imagined a “scientific account” of origins. They didn’t think in those terms. Genesis 1 is primarily HYMNIC: there are six YOM, each declaring the God of Israel as in charge of a particular DOMAIN which the neighboring religions all attributed to various gods/goddesses who were in charge of that domain (e.g., “the birds of the air”, “the fish of the sea”.) So it is a statement of “the God of Israel is the King over everything” versus “the neighboring peoples assign an entire pantheon of gods and goddesses over the various domains we see around us.”

            Personally, I find it fascinating how people like Ken Ham and Richard Dawkins actually share a very similar view of the Bible in these regards. They definitely interpret Genesis 1 in much the same way. (Ham even appeals to Dawkins in defense of some of this arguments against people like me!)
            ___________________________
            ** FOOTNOTE: I can’t think of any Hebrew word that would demand the translation, “whale”. The Hebrews obviously didn’t use LInnaean taxonomy, so we would expect them to use general categories like “swimming creatures”, a term which encompasses fish and aquatic mammals quite well. (Of course, it is quite anachronistic to treat their lack of Linnaean taxonomy as a “Bible error.”)

          • An interesting alternative interpretation of St Paul. I had assumed that he had heard the Cretan paradox, but not understood it. You are suggesting that he was familiar with it, understood it to be a paradox, and was making a joke.

            Regarding the “mistake” of whales being created before land mammals, we are actually on the same side here. This shows *either* that our science is wrong, *or* that the Bible is not an accurate biology textbook. Absurdly, creationists, especially YECs, embrace the first alternative. Within the second alternative, we still have two choices. One could say that Genesis was written by fools (who but a fool would have day and night before Sun and moon?), or one could say that looking for such prosaic accuracy was a misreading of the text. Dawkins and a lot of other people who should know better make the former choice; you and I, the latter.

            For the first 17 years of my life, I was an Orthodox Jew, but it would never have occurred to me that this was a reason for doubting the scientific narrative, and it particularly grieves me that the wilful stupidity of biblical literalism is now making inroads into the particular community of believers of which I was once part.

          • Professor_Tertius

            “…we are actually on the same side here.” Definitely! I hope no reader understood me otherwise. So many centuries of rabbis would have been astounded if a modern day Young Earth Creationist had interrupted them with a stupid question about “appearance of age” and “light created already en route”! To them, the purpose of the pericope was God and his being the only boss over all of creation.

            Geological or biological timelines were not the agendas they cared about. Most of all, the ancient Hebrews named their books after the FIRST WORD OF A TEXT. So what we call the Book of Genesis, they called BARASHIT (“in the beginning.”) In the beginning of what? What today’s fundamentalist YECs fail to grasp is that the Children of Israel considered Genesis to be the book of the Torah which told the story of THE BEGINNINGS OF GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE. And Genesis 1 introduces THE MAIN CHARACTER of that history: YHWH ELOHIM! The creation account is a very brief background setting the stage for a PREFACE to the CALL OF ABRAHAM. (We are told just a little about the other people God made, just enough to make the singling out of a lineage from Noah meaningful, setting the stage in turn for Abraham.)

            The other day I had a YEC literalist declare that “it could hardly be more obvious that Genesis 1 is history, with nothing at all poetic about it.” He told, “That would be nothing unusual if I decided to finish my account of the first day of my activities by saying, ‘And after that I went to bed that night and got a good sleep, and woke up the next morning ready for another day.’ ” I asked him if he thought it likely that he would recite THOSE EXACT WORDS SIX TIMES as he described his entire week of activities. He refused to acknowledge that EVEN IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION it was OBVIOUS that Genesis 1 consisted of SIX YOM (a verse for each day), each followed by a repetition of “And the evening and the morning was the Nth day” (a chorus.) I challenged the young YEC to recall ANY TIME in his own life when he had included such verbatim NUMBERED CHORUSES in describing the historical events of a single week of his life. (Of course, I didn’t see any more posts from him.)

            This is yet another reminder that YEC hyperliteralists demean the ancient Hebrews and insult the Biblical text MORE THAN ANYBODY when they imply that the ancients weren’t smart enough to realize evenings and mornings and days (YOM) have no “literal meaning” when no SUN yet exists. (Many YECs will insist that the time-interval which would *later* coincide with recurrent observations solar day and night—but they ignore the fact that “evening” and “morning” still have no meaning while one is making that strained hermeneutic.)

            Imagine if someone had interrupted Carl Sagan’s frequent use of the very effective COSMIC CALENDAR illustration by complaining, “You just said that the first biotic life began in September. Yet the name of that month tells us it is the SEVENTH month and October means EIGHTH month—which would obviously require that your calendar year start in March, not January. How can you be so stupid! You can’t even count accurately and you are using names for the months which are obviously anachronistic impositions. (You spoke of ancient events taking place in July, yet the name of the month honors Julius Caesar, one not nearly so ancient as the cosmic events you describe.) You call yourself a scientist and a “Dr.”, yet even a little child can quickly debunk your silly attempt at describing for us the history of the earth!”

            Is Genesis 1 inaccurate science and history? One might as well ask if Shakespeare’s “Would a rose by any other name smell so sweet?” was intended to be a question for a botanist, for an osmologist (a scientist who studies smells), or even a linguist!

            Isn’t it fascinating that Young Earth Creationists work so hard to HELP Bible critics make the Bible look ridiculous?

            “….and it particularly grieves me that the wilful stupidity of biblical literalism is now making inroads into the particular community of believers of which I was once part.”

            Your statement fascinates me because I’m just not that aware of how the Biblical literalism of Young Earth Creationists and the “creation science” buffoons are influencing Jewish faith communities. I should investigate that.

            I got to know Dr. David Levin and Dr. Christine Janis as we kept finding one another posting on the same Amazon book reviews and “creation science” forums. Our arguments and beefs were always much the same! Young Earth Creationist ministries and their origins industry entrepreneurs have become serious threats to the future of science education in America. I consider it important that we not allow YEC propagandists to characterize the debates as “theist vs. atheist” or “Christian vs. non-Christian” or “the Bible versus Science” or any other dishonesty dichotomy. In reality, it is a matter of those who care about evidence versus those who do not. And in the process of working together to fight the same science-denialist foe, they’ve taught me more and more about their fields of science and I believe they’ve learned more about the study of ancient texts, ancient cultures, and linguistics as well as the complexities of translation. (And meanwhile, I don’t think the Young Earth Creationist leaders have learned much about anything except making excuses.)

            So I’m glad my scientist friends have referred me to your insightful posts. Do you think the “creation science” evidence-deniers ever notice that while the ranks of scientists and scholars who oppose them continually grow in size and diversity, they remain an isolated, relatively homogenous pariah of the same couple dozen outliers? (Yes, I will gleefully lower myself to take advantage of the all-too-easy pun: Those outliers seem to compete to “out-lie” one another, striving to tell bigger and bigger whoppers. They are the OUTLIER OUTLIARS.)

            Thus, I had to laugh aloud the other day when a creation science blogger accused his opponents of CONFIRMATION BIAS, when those opponents consisted of a scientists and non-scientists, atheists and theists, Christians and non-Christians, “liberals” and “conservatives”, people all across a wide variety of spectra but linked ONLY by a common pursuit of honestly following the evidence wherever it leads!

          • Indeed we totally agree. The explicit recognition of the poetic language of Genesis, as an aid to understanding, goes back in Judaism at least as far as Maimonides, who influenced Thomas Aquinas on this.

            Part of my rancour towards the YECs derives from the way they reduce a many layered palimpsest to a cardboard cutout.

            There was a scandal a couple of years ago, when it transpired that a group of Orthodox Jewish schools in England, within the state system (as many faith schools are; in the UK church and state are not separate, but deeply intertwined), were not merely failing to teach about evolution, but were blanking out questions about it in the standard examination papers. State-funded faith schools are the worst of all worlds; the most unyielding representatives of a religion are able to present themselves to the outsiders in the civil authority as the most authentic

          • Professor_Tertius

            “Part of my rancour towards the YECs derives from the way they reduce a many layered palimpsest to a cardboard cutout.”

            Well said. And while Ken Ham & Crew continue to babble at a fifth-grade reading level, I enjoy interacting with my diverse and deep thinking academic colleagues who expertly craft such marvelously descriptive language as that “many layered palimpsest” versus “a cardboard cutout.”

            I appreciate skillful prose.

            It’s gotta be a tough life, trying to put on a confident face while pretending that sitting in the Young Earth Creationist peanut gallery is anything but a penalty box life sentence for unrepentant idiots.

  • D. Humeston

    NPR had an interesting story this week about scientists investigating people self stereotyping themselves. The focal point was Christians do poorly on science tests if they are reminded of the stereotype that Christians and science do not get along.
    http://www.npr.org/2016/01/14/463010075/researchers-probe-stereotype-christians-and-science-dont-get-a-long

    The original published paper is at:
    http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/07/30/1948550615598378.abstract

    This whole thing disturbs me as I have a daughter living in Portland who just is never going to join a faith that is this stupid. I work at a university and know that her view is shared by an entire generation. We are about to move into a Post-Christian Society,

    I put partial blame on the thousands of churches that either support this anti-science view or simply do not have an opinion at all. Their silence is interpreted as support for the anti-science young earth people.

    We need a national campaign to break down this stereotype.
    .

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    But what I fear will truly have eternal consequences for them is the false dichotomy they create, with the gleeful assistance of militant atheists who hold an identical theology (evolution being true = no God).

    Ken Ham and Richard Dawkins; separated at birth?

  • Dylan Cook

    I agree with Claude over there. Thanks to it, I gave up my faith for a short time period when I was a small child before I regained it, yet still understand evolution and believe in the Big Bang theory. My will is not as weak as most people’s which is why I regained my faith.