Ken Ham Embraces Evolution

Ken Ham is president of Answers in Genesis, which is by far the best known young-earth apologetics ministry. The organization publishes Answers, a magazine targeted for a general audience. The latest issue (Jan-Mar, 2016) has “Exotic Ark Animals” as its cover article.Answers in Gen The article is noteworthy because it argues for macro-evolution; the theory that the species of today evolved from prior, extinct species.

Historically, young-earth creationists have distinguished between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Micro-evolution is the variety and change that occurs within species. (Think of all the different breeds of dogs–that’s an example of micro-evolution). Macro-evolution is the idea that species evolve into other species. Young-earth creationists have traditionally accepted micro-evolution while rejecting macro-evolution. So it’s big news that Answers in Genesis has embraced macro-evolution.

In their academic and scholarly writings, members of Answers in Genesis have started to accept the notion that species evolve into other species. Last November I listened to Nathaniel Jeanson, a biologist with Answers in Genesis, present a paper at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting in Atlanta. Dr. Jeanson emphasized that Answers in Genesis does not hold to the “fixity of species.” Rather, they view species as “fluid” (his terms). Similarly, geologist Andrew Snelling (also with Answers in Genesis), argued in his book, Earth’s Catastrophic Past,  that only about a thousand species were on the ark (p. 136). These 1,000 species then evolved rapidly into the millions of species we see on the earth today. An article located on the AIG website, “Mammalian Ark Kinds,” provides another example. There Jean Lightner argues that Noah’s ark contained at most 350 species of mammals, from which the current thousands of species of mammals evolved.

The Answers article argues that God created “kinds” from which the animals we see today evolved:

“He made the original ‘kinds,’ not all the variety of animals that would be born. There weren’t lions or donkeys (at least, not exactly like today). Instead, He made all the animal ‘kinds,’ that today’s cats, horses, and bears have come from. So God didn’t necessarily make both lions and tigers at the same time. He made the cat kind. From that original kind came all the cats that we find today, such as jaguars, cheetahs, and house cats.” (p. 50)

It’s important to note that Answers in Genesis is not endorsing Darwinism. There are a number of evolutionary theories, of which Darwinism is just one. But Darwinism is by far the best known, so well known that many people equate evolution and Darwinism as synonyms. Darwinism make three claims: 1) that species are mutable and can evolve into other species, 2) that all species (including humans) evolve from a common ancestor (probably a single-cell creature), and 3) that natural selection is the primary (if not solitary) engine that drives evolution. Answers in Genesis has decided to accept the first claim–that species evolve.

Answers in Genesis does not accept the second and third planks of Darwinism. They still affirm the direct creation of certain proto-species (which they call Baramins), and they affirm the special creation of Adam and Eve. But they have shifted significantly from the positions argued by early young-earth creationists such as Henry Morris and Duane Gish.

Answers in Genesis is making a significant acknowledgment. They are acknowledging that, indeed, the fossil record does in fact give evidence of transitional life forms. They seem to be trying to go where the evidence leads them and at the same time continue to hold to their core beliefs. I, for one, applaud them. One thing is for sure, this is not your father’s young-earth creationism.

212 comments for “Ken Ham Embraces Evolution

  1. Calvin Smith
    March 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    The writer doesn’t seem to understand what Biblical creationists believe. Creationists accept speciation (it is a requisite for YEC to account for the many species we see today from the approximately 16,000 animals that disembarked from the Ark).

    We would expect to see rapid speciation (and we do http://creation.com/speedy-species-surprise, http://creation.com/darwins-finches, http://creation.com/speciation-conference-brings-good-news-for-creationists, http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-2-chapter-4-argument-natural-selection-leads-to-speciation ) whereas evolutionists are often surprised at it because they expect speciation to take hundreds of thousands of years. This article has either been written by someone ignorant of this or perhaps is deliberately muddying the waters.

    His comment near the end (‘Answers in Genesis is making a significant acknowledgment. They are acknowledging that, indeed, the fossil record does in fact give evidence of transitional life forms’) is particularly false because it goes beyond what YECs believe and extrapolates to make it appear as if YECs believe in transitional forms in the fossil record, which we don’t.

    Basically, this is a misrepresentation of YEC beliefs.

    Cal

    • March 28, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Calvin, I don’t think I’ve misrepresented Ken Ham’s position at all (a position, btw, I agree with concerning God creating the original kinds). He doesn’t want to use the words “evolution” or “macro-evolution” to describe his position, but take a look at the slide he used in his debate with Bill Nye to defend his position (It’s under the heading “One Powerful Testimony”) A rose by any other name….

      • Bob Burton
        March 30, 2016 at 6:50 pm

        Any response to his rebuttal of your blog article? Seemed well reasoned and presented. It’d be brotherly of you to correct some of your representations based on what his stated positions are.

      • Fred
        April 1, 2016 at 8:36 am

        Your claim:
        “But they have shifted significantly from the positions argued by early young-earth creationists such as Henry Morris and Duane Gish.”

        Statement by Morris:

        Contrary to the statements of most evolutionary writers, few (if any) creationists have ever advocated the idea of absolute fixity of species. The Biblical unit of biological taxonomy, of course, is the Genesis “kind” (Hebrew, min).

        It may be worth mentioning that this fact was stressed in my first book on creationism some 55 years ago:

        It is well to observe at this point that the Bible does not teach the fixity of species. . . . Thus, it is probable that the original Genesis “kind” is closely akin to what the modern systematist calls a “family.” And let it be stated in no uncertain terms that there is no evidence that evolution ever has occurred or ever can occur across the kinds. [quote from Henry M. Morris, That You Might Believe (Chicago: Good Books, Inc., 1946), 48, 49.]

    • March 29, 2016 at 11:47 am

      I have point this out for years being an ex-YEC. You have to believe in the same radical Darwinian mechanism to hold to the thousands to millions of species in only 4,000 years. At that rate we should have been able to document genera to genera evolution, meaning duck to chicken level evolution.

      • March 29, 2016 at 10:21 pm

        I didn’t highlight the compressed timeline issue, but you’re completely right.

        • March 31, 2016 at 4:27 am

          It would seem from the article and exchange I’ve read that Dr. Keathley is indeed misrepresenting Ken Ham and the YEC position. At no time did Ken ever acknowledge that there are transitional forms (as evolutionists define the term) showing a gradual, purely naturalistic progression from one “kind” to another “kind”. Ken (and other YEC scholars, including those at the Institute for Creation Research [ICR] and Creation Ministries International [CMI]) steadfastly stick to what the objective evidence shows us, which is that, as God said in the Creation Week in Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25, that there is no progression from one ‘kind’ to another ‘kind’. The current binomial nomenclature classification system, which was formulated by 18th Century life scientist, Creationist Carl Linnaeus (http://creation.com/ligers-and-wholphins-what-next) is perhaps the best approximation that human scientific effort has come up in the last 300 years, but still falls short. God’s animal classification system, which is the we see in nature, and spelled out in outline form in Genesis 1, is what we’re now just beginning to see, and formulating a completely new scientific model based on the observable reality of micro (horizontally-based) evolution, which is observed as “intraspecies” speciation.
          https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            March 31, 2016 at 7:52 pm

            Ham is arguing for transitions of forms SINCE NOAH’S FLOOD. Even if he will not admit it.

          • Randy Senior
            April 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm

            Boy, you sure smeared Ken Ham etc. I am staying away from this website/blog..no thanks!

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 4, 2016 at 6:47 pm

            Randy Senior

            We told the truth about Ham’s teaching.

      • Jonathan Sarfati
        April 4, 2016 at 8:41 pm

        This “thousands to millions of species” falsehood has been repeated so often, after being thoroughly rebutted, that it can only be called deliberate deception.

        For the millionth time, the thousands of *kinds* on the Ark would have been just the land vertebrate animals. The millions of species today include insects, marine creatures, and plants. Do you really think that anyone is stupid enough to think that insects and plants arose from land vertebrates, whether by evolution or otherwise? Or are you just bandying around “millions of species” in total ignorance of what they comprise?

        This “hyper-evolution” charge and many other attacks on God’s revelation of the global Flood and Noah’s Ark are thoroughly refuted in http://creation.com/refuting-noahs-ark-critics

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          April 6, 2016 at 12:29 pm

          “For the millionth time, the thousands of *kinds* on the Ark would have been just the land vertebrate animals.”

          I do not recall reading anything by Keathley or in other comments here suggesting anything different. Unless Jonathan can point us to such.

          Sarfati appears to get getting highly exercised. It’s as if a ‘refutation’ by CMI settles everything and must never ever be questioned and even trumps any other interpretation of the BIBLE.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 6, 2016 at 12:37 pm

            Actually, on closer inspection, Sarfati is plain wrong and is totally misrepresenting scripture. He claims “the thousands of *kinds* on the Ark would have been just the land vertebrate animals”.

            Yet Genesis 6 19-20 (NIV) reads: “You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive”. That description includes at least some insects and worms (of which there are extremely large numbers of extant and extinct species). Sarfati’s claim that only vertebrates found on land – and not invertebrates found on land – should be counted looks incredibly desperate. He appears to be denying/twisting the quoted words of GOD.

          • April 8, 2016 at 9:48 am

            Sarfati appears to get getting highly exercised. It’s as if a ‘refutation’ by CMI settles everything and must never ever be questioned and even trumps any other interpretation of the BIBLE.

            Except ‘your’ interpretation Ashley? There’s a logical fallacy in there somewhere, I can just feel it.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 9, 2016 at 11:48 am

            Steve Drake

            I stand by everything I wrote, Steve.

            If I am wrong it is for Jonathan Sarfati to show it.

          • April 11, 2016 at 9:07 am

            If I am wrong it is for Jonathan Sarfati to show it.

            No truer words from the egoist have ever been spoken, Ashley. You’ve perhaps read all of Dr. Sarfati’s books, no?

            Perhaps your statement should have said “If I am wrong it is for the Holy Spirit to show it”? Perhaps as a Christian this is what you meant? And because the Holy Spirit hasn’t shown you any errors in your thinking, you can boldly claim you are right and Dr. Sarfati and all Biblical (YEC) creationists are wrong?

            For as I”m sure you know, you can’t get millions and billions of years from the Bible. It’s just not there.

            But since the Holy Spirit hasn’t show you that your thinking is wrong, what if though, unbeknownst to you, (for how could you know this), the Holy Spirit ‘has’ shown Dr. Sarfati, Ken Ham, Henry Morris, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, the Westminster Divines, Bede, James Ussher, and the collective consciousness of the Church through 1800 years of history that their thinking was right. What then?

            That would sort of put your thinking out of line with what the Church and these great men of faith have believed through all that time, wouldn’t it?

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 11, 2016 at 3:55 pm

            Steve Drake

            If I am wrong HERE it is for Jonathan Sarfati to show it HERE.

            But he is nowhere to be seen.

          • April 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm

            If I am wrong HERE it is for Jonathan Sarfati to show it HERE.

            I’m not sure this is helping your cause Ashley. To insist that Dr. Sarfati must answer ‘your’ opinion HERE and ‘only’ your opinion HERE is the height of egotistical behavior. You know the little saying that if you’re trying to dig your way out of a hole and you find you’re only getting deeper, the best course of action is to “stop digging”?

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 11, 2016 at 8:14 pm

            Now Drake is calling me an ‘egoist’. Best to resort to Ad hominems when he has run out of more polite responses.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 11, 2016 at 8:15 pm

            The person currently in a hole is SARFATI, Steve. Have you not noticed?

          • April 12, 2016 at 11:56 am

            The person currently in a hole is SARFATI, Steve. Have you not noticed?

            I had to chuckle and laugh when I read your comment, Ashley. I’m sorry, but I find it quite amusing that you think Dr. Sarfati must answer ‘your’ opinion on a blog post, as if merely stating your objection and counter makes it the bona fide gospel truth without error, or by merely posting a link to a rebuttal opinion does the same, or because he doesn’t directly respond to ‘you’, your point then carries the overwhelming essence of veritas. My, my, Ashley, what big teeth you must have!

            Sarfati is in no more of a hole than OEC’s who can’t or won’t answer the insurmountable theological problems with an earth millions and billions of years old.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 12, 2016 at 5:27 pm

            “I find it quite amusing that you think Dr. Sarfati must answer ‘your’ opinion on a blog post, as if merely stating your objection and counter makes it the bona fide gospel truth without error …”.

            Steve Drake is very persistent with his nonsensical comments. If the highly qualified scientist (and chess master) Sarfati cannot or will not address my ‘opinion’ as stated here then I do indeed suggest that my ‘opinion’ is fact. It’s his refusal to respond not my brilliance or otherwise that I am referring to.

            He is in a hole, both scientifically and theologically.

          • April 13, 2016 at 9:03 am

            …cannot or will not address my ‘opinion’ as stated here then I do indeed suggest that my ‘opinion’ is fact.

            Let the record show that Ashley’s opinion is fact. Any conversation in contradistinction to Ashley’s opinion are false unless begun on this initial premise (the Ashley premise, TAP). All thinking must first go through TAP to be considered fact. Any errors in thinking, unless checked by Ashley, through TAP, are not considered valid and will be rejected outright. One is free to express divergent opinion, but it is not ‘fact’ if not begun and screened through TAP.

    • R Verelst
      April 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      “The writer doesn’t seem to understand what Biblical creationists believe. Creationists accept speciation (it is a requisite for YEC to account for the many species we see today from the approximately 16,000 animals that disembarked from the Ark).”

      So far, so true. Simply a statement of what you believe.

      “We would expect to see rapid speciation (and we do http://creation.com/speedy-species-surprise, http://creation.com/darwins-finches, http://creation.com/speciation-conference-brings-good-news-for-creationists, http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-2-chapter-4-argument-natural-selection-leads-to-speciation ) whereas evolutionists are often surprised at it because they expect speciation to take hundreds of thousands of years. This article has either been written by someone ignorant of this or perhaps is deliberately muddying the waters. ”

      This is a prime example of a fallacy creationists use a lot, namely post hoc ergo propter hoc. Simply because a few species develop really quickly does not mean all species (particular those large ones that live in environments that don’t allow enormous amounts of reproduction).

      Another good example would be the belief that fossils found on top of Mount Everest proves the Great Flood, ignoring plate tectonics and the fact that that same piece of Earth was under water some eons ago.

      “His comment near the end (‘Answers in Genesis is making a significant acknowledgment. They are acknowledging that, indeed, the fossil record does in fact give evidence of transitional life forms’) is particularly false because it goes beyond what YECs believe and extrapolates to make it appear as if YECs believe in transitional forms in the fossil record, which we don’t.

      Basically, this is a misrepresentation of YEC beliefs.”

      Once again, this is a fact. Doesn’t make them true though.

  2. March 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Macro-evolution is not species changing into other species. Micro-evolution can explain speciation within a general kind (like the cat kind). The following distinctions have been around for a long time within the creationist movement:

    “Macroevolution refers to major evolutionary changes over time, the origin of new types of organisms from previously existing, but different, ancestral types. Examples of this would be fish descending from an invertebrate animal, or whales descending from a land mammal. The evolutionary concept demands these bizarre changes.

    “Microevolution refers to varieties within a given type. Change happens within a group, but the descendant is clearly of the same type as the ancestor. This might better be called variation, or adaptation, but the changes are “horizontal” in effect, not “vertical.” Such changes might be accomplished by “natural selection,” in which a trait within the present variety is selected as the best for a given set of conditions, or accomplished by “artificial selection,” such as when dog breeders produce a new breed of dog.” (ICR)

    • March 28, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Hi Mark, thanks for your comment. As I noted to John, as an old-earth creationist I’m actually in general agreement with AIG’s theory concerning kinds. However, when two species evolve from a common species to the point they cannot interbreed, then I think the term “macro-evolution” is appropriate.

      • Fred
        March 31, 2016 at 7:45 am

        ….Except that they are still the same KIND. They haven’t somehow invented new genomes but instead have switched on or off or lost some part of the original genome……
        If you disagree, please supply examples where completely NEW genes with resultant new structures, functionality and incorporation into an existing body has occurred.

    • Claire
      April 1, 2016 at 11:56 am

      An ancestral vertebrates descendants are all vertebrates. An ancestral mammals descendants are all mammals. An ancestral carnivora’s descendants are all carnivora. An ancestral cat’s descendants are all cats. An ancestral cheetah’s descendants are all cheetahs. An ancestral asiatic cheetah’s descendants will forever be asiatic cheetahs. All descendants are by heritage the same type as their ancestor, so this scale of evolution is just variation within a kind by your definition.

      Thus begins the puzzle of choosing a point for the biblical kind divisions to sit at (Order/family/genus/species??).

      Macroevolution is equivalent to the physical processes of microevolution on a longer timescale.

    • R Verelst
      April 1, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      ““Microevolution refers to varieties within a given type. Change happens within a group, but the descendant is clearly of the same type as the ancestor. This might better be called variation, or adaptation, but the changes are “horizontal” in effect, not “vertical.” Such changes might be accomplished by “natural selection,” in which a trait within the present variety is selected as the best for a given set of conditions, or accomplished by “artificial selection,” such as when dog breeders produce a new breed of dog.” (ICR)”

      Creationists have this thing where they determine arbitrary definitions of what kinds are and keep changing them to accommodate new discoveries.

      I have this theory that if a duck turned into a serpent, creationists would call all species of the same kind.

  3. John Estienne
    March 28, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    This is nothing new, and I think it has always been AiG’s understanding, as well as that of most YECs – that the “kinds” originally created and which were represented on the ark correspond more to, in modern taxonomical terms, families (though those are not precise categories – it could be a suborder or a genus in some cases).

    Most YEC adherents have no problem saying that all felines evolved from one pair of cats and that all canines evolved from one pair of dogs. We reject the proposition, however, that dogs and cats share common ancestors.

    • March 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Hi John, thanks for your comment. Actually, I’m in general agreement with Ken Ham’s position. As an old-earth creationist, I also believe that God miraculously created the original basic “kinds,” which in turn developed into the myriad species we see today. I also belief that these “kinds” establish limits to the amount of change possible (i.e., a rabbit will not evolve into a cow). The main problems I have with the AIG thesis are 1) the timeline they propose (of merely 200-500 years), and 2) the confusion created in the pew when they don’t clearly acknowledge that they accept the notion of one species “evolving” into another.

      • March 29, 2016 at 8:27 am

        I don’t think AiG likes to use the terms micro or macro evolution because people tend to think that the difference is one of degrees and not a qualitative difference. I understand macro-evolution to be exactly what you are referring to when you said, “these ‘kinds’ establish limits to the amount of change possible (i.e., a rabbit will not evolve into a cow).” Macro-evolution would be rabbits evolving into cows. It would take a completely different mechanism (than simply what occurs in micro-evolution) to get rabbits to change into cows. Of course, Ken Ham agrees with you that rabbits can’t change into cows. Thus he rejects macro-evolution.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          March 31, 2016 at 7:59 pm

          “Macro-evolution would be rabbits evolving into cows”. No – that would be fiction. The theory does not include ‘magic’ or the strawmen invented by some of its opponents.
          But it WOULD be some dinosaurs evolving into birds. For which there is abundant evidence from fossils and even genetics.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroevolution

      • Fred
        March 31, 2016 at 7:58 am

        I guess you are here playing with words. In general people understand “evolution” to mean the Darwinian kind, i.e. all current organisms having “evolved” from a common ancestor. Instead of that sense you are now using the word in a different context whilst still implying the former. This is known as equivocation and really should be shunned by Christians since it is generally deceptive.

        • George
          April 3, 2016 at 12:39 pm

          You nailed it on the head here! I am glad some people do their research and can properly analyze logical fallacies like this one the author has made (whether they realize it or not).

        • George
          April 3, 2016 at 12:56 pm

          J May
          March 31, 2016 at 12:20 am
          To be fair, Dr. Keathley, I think you should change the title to say that Ken Ham supports micro-evolution. Unless you distinguish the two types of evolution, it is a misleading title. For those who read the article, they may pick up on that, but for the many who simply see the title, it is misleading. The word evolution has different meanings depending on context and it is important to define our terms to avoid misunderstanding. The simply addition of the word “micro” here would greatly help to clarify accurately what Ham actually believes. Let’s be as fair as possible to each other. The addition of that one simple word would go a long way to clear up and prevent misunderstanding. I know it is not as sexy a title as the current title, but I’m sure that as a follower and representative of Jesus, you can understand the importance of accuracy in this discussion and would want to represent the beliefs of your YEC brothers as fairly as possible. Is there a reason you purposefully chose NOT to put that word in the title? Or is there a reason that you think it would not be helpful to do so? Just curious.

          You should respond to the above. Your integrity is at stake.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

            “To be fair, Dr. Keathley, I think you should change the title to say that Ken Ham supports micro-evolution. Unless you distinguish the two types of evolution, it is a misleading title.”

            It’s not Keathley’s fault if somebody only views the blog’s title.

            And what Ham is forced to accept is NOT just ‘micro-evolution’. That is the whole point.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 3, 2016 at 6:10 pm

            Besides, George is merely repeating the words of J May. Does he not think for himself?

    • R Verelst
      April 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      “We reject the proposition, however, that dogs and cats share common ancestors.”

      Prove it.

  4. Matt
    March 28, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Good evening Dr Keathley, this is one of your M.Div graduates here.

    It’s interesting to see Answers and Ham scale that mountain only to find that Reasons To Believe and Dr. Ross have been sitting there for decades.

    I’m also hoping that this compels Answers to take a more respectful tact in dealing with this issue. They consistently marginalize Old Earthers and have historically resorted to rather silly ad hominem attacks.

    They’ve convinced so many people that you must adhere to a young earth, literal 24 hour position to be a Christian. That’s a shameful legacy that alienates many of our Church Fathers, including Gleeson Archer, J. Gresham Machen, and Augustine himself….all of which commented clearly that a solar day need not be the case.

    It’s to the point that saying you are an old earther in many of our Baptist churches becomes a quick way to wreck your ministry. Such a shame.

    I adore the Young Earth movement, I admire them and respect their position, and happily converse with them. But unfortunately it’s very, very hard to find ones that haven’t bought into Ken Ham’s tactics of accusations of compromise or accusations of denying the authority of the Bible.

    • J May
      March 31, 2016 at 12:06 am

      Matt, does Ross really believe in speciation through evolution? Would he agree that God created the original kinds and then evolution on a small scale through adaptation, etc. explain all the variety we see today within those original kinds?

      Perhaps I have misunderstood RTB’s beliefs/teaching.

      And you make it sound as if AiG has all of a sudden made some kind of a huge change in position. They have not and the author here is clearly uninformed of the creationist position. The article should be correct to show because as it stands, it is inaccurate and unfairly portrays YECs.

      Anyway, can you point me to somewhere that shows this is indeed the belief of Ross?

      Thanks.

    • J May
      March 31, 2016 at 12:09 am

      Also, you make the charge that YECs have convinced so many people that they have to be YEC to be a Christian.

      Can you support that claim with some examples? I hear this often, but the sites I am familiar with NEVER make that claim but make it very clear that this is in fact NOT TRUE.

      Perhaps you have a site somewhere that does say that. But writing in context here, you make it sound like AiG takes that position. They do not. I think it is very important that we represent each other’s ideas as accurately as possible.

      If you can point me to a YEC site that makes the YEC or be damned claim, I’d be very interested in seeing it. Thanks.

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        March 31, 2016 at 8:02 pm

        Sites like AiG argue that already saved Christians have to be, become or remain YECs.

        They don’t.

        • Fred
          April 1, 2016 at 8:10 am

          The only consistent way of being a Christian is as one who believes in a 6 day creation and world wide flood. Anything else requires butchering the bible text to suit the divergent belief system.

    • Fred
      March 31, 2016 at 8:09 am

      “They’ve convinced so many people that you must adhere to a young earth, literal 24 hour position to be a Christian. ”
      One can be a Christian and still believe in an old earth. However, one will then be faced with a whole set of inconsistencies that need to be explained away, for example, what to do with Exodus 20:8-11 where the context makes it clear that God created everything in exactly the same days in which man is to do all his work. Those verses immediately prompt some very incoherent responses from people who believe in an old earth in order to make them make sense.
      Or how to respond to the fact that the fossils are billions of years old and therefore precede Adam’s sin which the bible clearly states is the cause of death on earth? Death before sin now needs to be explained away. Or that Jesus is the second “Adam” who brings righteousness and ultimate restoration from death and decay?
      Or that Jesus believed in Adam as a real person and quotes that “in the beginning he made them male and female”, not billions of years afterwards? Or that Noah was a real person who experienced and survived the destruction of the WHOLE earth by water? One can go on and on with the inconsistencies. Ultimately it boils down to a belief in an old earth contradicting the very reason and existence of Jesus to the point where one has to ask “Are you really a Christian, i.e. one who claims to follow Christ and thus believe everything He says?”

  5. Rich
    March 28, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    This is either a gross misunderstanding of the positions that Morris, Ham, and Gish have held for decades, or a deliberate misrepresentation. Morris and Gish always accepted rapid speciation within created kinds as fitting within the Biblical young-earth model. So has Ham. This has nothing to do with either micro-evolution nor macro-evolution; it’s simply natural selection. It’s a downhill slide due to loss of genetic information, rather than an uphill climb due to added genes. Nothing new about Ham’s current position.

    • March 29, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Rich, I think I understand their position better than you’re giving me credit. Remember the title to Darwin’s book: “Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.” Speciation is evolution. That’s what it meant when Darwin used the term, and it’s what biologists mean when they use the term. It’s what it means when Ham uses the term.

      • Rich
        March 29, 2016 at 11:26 pm

        The notion that “speciation is evolution” is an equivocation fallacy.

        Yes, speciation is evolution, in the sense that evolution means change. Ham would agree.

        No, speciation is not evolution, in the sense that evolution means that all living organisms descended from a single common ancestor over millions or billions of years. Ham would vehemently disagree.

        The claim that “Ken Ham Embraces Evolution” commits this same fallacy, whether deliberately, or not. Darwin meant evolution as common descent of all life from a single common ancestor. Ken Ham most certainly does not support this position.

        Does Ken Ham believe species change? Of course he does. A quick trip through the Creation Museum would verify that. Does he believe that all species evolved from a single common ancestor over millions of years? Absolutely not, and to imply he does is either ignorant or deliberate deception unbefitting a seminary professor.

  6. March 29, 2016 at 12:27 am

    Using the word “evolving” is just wrong and confusing. Species do adapt to their environment; they don’t evolve. Darwinian Evolution is defined as macro-evolution. Biblical Kinds are created by God with a certain amount of information that defines how much they can change/adapt. This is NOT Evolution. There are limits.

    • March 29, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      With all due respect, Ken Ham doesn’t just believe that species adapt to their environment. He believes species develop into other species. That’s evolution.

      • John
        March 30, 2016 at 8:38 am

        That is a gross misrepresentation of what Ken Ham believes. As to whether your misrepresentation is done with mal-intent or misunderstanding is the real question. Species can come from other species. That’s observable fact from observing the present. But that’s not evolution. That’s variation as no new information is being added. It can also be called speciation, but don’t falsely equivocate that with any kind of new-information evolution.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          March 31, 2016 at 8:06 pm

          “That is a gross misrepresentation of what Ken Ham believes.” There is a difference between what Ken Ham admits to believing and what his and AiG’s teachings actually lead to (which he is reluctant to own up to eg rapid post-flood speciation and thus evolution within ‘kind boundaries’).

      • J May
        March 31, 2016 at 12:20 am

        To be fair, Dr. Keathley, I think you should change the title to say that Ken Ham supports micro-evolution. Unless you distinguish the two types of evolution, it is a misleading title. For those who read the article, they may pick up on that, but for the many who simply see the title, it is misleading. The word evolution has different meanings depending on context and it is important to define our terms to avoid misunderstanding. The simply addition of the word “micro” here would greatly help to clarify accurately what Ham actually believes. Let’s be as fair as possible to each other. The addition of that one simple word would go a long way to clear up and prevent misunderstanding. I know it is not as sexy a title as the current title, but I’m sure that as a follower and representative of Jesus, you can understand the importance of accuracy in this discussion and would want to represent the beliefs of your YEC brothers as fairly as possible. Is there a reason you purposefully chose NOT to put that word in the title? Or is there a reason that you think it would not be helpful to do so? Just curious.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          April 3, 2016 at 6:08 pm

          I have already answered your points (just now).

      • Fred
        March 31, 2016 at 8:13 am

        Seems quite clear to me that you do not WANT to accept the YEC position. You seem to persist with the equivocation in the face of many replies to the contrary. One must therefore conclude that your writing of this article stems from an inherent need to lash out at those who disagree with your position. Why did you write it in the first place? To start arguments or simply to reveal your own true nature?

        • Jonathan Sarfati
          April 4, 2016 at 8:23 pm

          Dr Keathley is basically a Rossite, with all that entails. See a critique “A theologian’s disappointing departure from
          biblical creation” http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j28_3/j28_3_120-127.pdf

          Abstract:

          Greatly influenced by the Whitcomb and Morris classic The Genesis Flood, theologian Ken Keathley once upheld, defended and promoted the young-earth/global flood position. Due to a number of ‘disappointments’ with the young-earth creationist community he has recently moved to a position of compromise. Keathley’s presentation provides young-earth creationistswith the opportunity to determine if such disappointments are warranted, to evaluate potential motives for compromise, and to address the importance of biblical authority. Finally it will be shown that his basis for determining whether or not to accept the plain reading of Genesis is flawed from the outset.

  7. March 29, 2016 at 8:20 am

    I don’t think the author of this article understands the YEC (Biblical) stance. Macroevolution and Microevolution are two entirely separate processes. One is observable and scientific (Micro) and the other is pseudo by nature and propped up by a stack of assumptions. AIG in no way believes that a created kind has ever acquired new genetic information and changed to a different kind. They believe the scientific fact that God created each kind with the ability to change, but not to acquire new genetic information, as would be required for macro.

    • March 29, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      Josh, I didn’t say that Ham was a Darwinist. I said he embraces evolution. If one believes that God created a species with the ability to change into another species, then he believes that God granted that species with the ability to evolve.

      • John
        March 30, 2016 at 8:43 am

        Please don’t fall into the trap of false equivocation. There are many definitions of evolution. New species doesn’t equal evolution, but variation. Some might consider that evolution. Ken Ham doesn’t.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          March 31, 2016 at 8:08 pm

          “New species doesn’t equal evolution, but variation.” That is your erroneous opinion. As taught by the likes of Ken Ham.

        • April 22, 2016 at 5:21 pm

          “Please don’t fall into the trap of false equivocation.”

          You need to heed your own advice, John.

          “There are many definitions of evolution.”

          True. But most of us only care about the definitions in science textbooks. You can pretend that “variation” isn’t evolution but what non-scientists say while ignorant of the actual evidence and analysis published by the scientific academy simply doesn’t matter to science-literate people. Denying the correct terminology doesn’t make the reality go away.

          Whenever Ken Ham and other YECs equivocate on scientific terminology, they don’t simply misrepresent and naively pass along lies. They create unnecessary barriers to the Great Commission because they convince many non-believers that Christ-followers are deceptive and prone to pathological lying. If you don’t believe me, consult the great many ex-evangelicals throughout the Internet who often cite the lies of science-denialists within the Church as a major reason for their deciding that “My church lied to me about _____ and _____. So why should I believe what the church told me about Jesus Christ and the Bible?” I used to hear this from undergraduate students who would come to my office hours even though they weren’t in my classes. They felt a need to explain to an evangelical “authority” why they had abandoned their faith. (Indeed, I decided long ago that people like Ken Ham have pushed more people toward atheism and away from the faith than Richard Dawkins & Co. ever will.)

          I’ve always appreciated the young earth creationist professor, Dr. Todd Wood. He has taken a great deal of heat from his YEC brethren for his exhortations that they stop lying about scientific terms and concepts. I disagree with Dr. Wood on many topics but I respect him as a brother-in-Christ and commend him for his honesty—as well as his insistence that one can be a Young Earth Creationist without emulating the pathological dishonesty and obfuscations of so many of the best known non-scientist, non-scholar entrepreneurs of the origins-ministry industry.

      • J May
        March 31, 2016 at 12:37 am

        I would like to edit my first request where I asked you to add the word “micro” to your title. I see from the understanding of micro and macro evolution further down, that this is not the best word to use.

        May I suggest that you add the word “limited” to your title to make things more clear and accurate?

        “Ken Ham embraces limited evolution”

        I don’t think he or any other YECs would have a problem with that. It is instructive that Ham himself feels like he is being misrepresented by your title, which is another reason you might want to edit it.

        Even in your post here, you should make it clear that Ham believes that “God granted that species with the ability to evolve” to a limited extent. What you wrote is not technically wrong, but it is misleading. You need to explain further what you mean by that to avoid giving a false impression. The onus of avoiding a false message is not totally on the writer, but the writer needs to do his best to clarify what he means to prevent misunderstanding.

      • Fred
        March 31, 2016 at 8:16 am

        Perhaps you should first clarify your definition of “evolution” so the readers can understand where you stand.
        As it is now, you are using that word in two senses and refusing to acknowledge the deliberate ambiguity that results and instead feasting on the arguments.
        This is un-befitting of someone who claims to be a brother in Christ.

    • R Verelst
      April 1, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      “Macroevolution and Microevolution are two entirely separate processes”

      Not really, there just is an epistemic barrier creationists have created that they keep moving around depending on the new scientific discoveries.

      As I’ve said higher, I have this theory that if creationists were shown every single birth along the lineage, they’ll invent some other bullshit distinction to keep their inerrantist beliefs afloat.

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        April 2, 2016 at 5:35 pm

        Some YECs come out with amazing tripe that deliberately misses the point:
        http://radaractive.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/lying-for-darwin.html

        Meanwhile the first AiG response wailed:
        “The other problem with Keathley’s claim is its implicit tarnishing of young-earth creation’s name, and in such a public way, with the godless and unbiblical idea of Darwinian evolution”.

        Keathley did NOT say that he or Ham believe Earth’s life evolved from simple forms billions of years ago via wasteful or cruel Darwinian evolution. He DID say “It’s important to note that Answers in Genesis is not endorsing Darwinism. There are a number of evolutionary theories, of which Darwinism is just one. But Darwinism is by far the best known, so well known that many people equate evolution and Darwinism as synonyms. Darwinism make three claims: 1) that species are mutable and can evolve into other species, 2) that all species (including humans) evolve from a common ancestor (probably a single-cell creature), and 3) that natural selection is the primary (if not solitary) engine that drives evolution. Answers in Genesis has decided to accept the first claim–that species evolve.”

        WHY do YECs have this compulsion to lie about and misrepresent their critics (whilst wailing that THEY are the ‘misrepresented’ ones)?

  8. Rick
    March 29, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Ken, you seem to be missing the point that the comments above are making: Your post suggests Ken Ham and AIG have changed their position, when there is a decades long trail of evidence that shows they haven’t their position at all. It’s no different than if I were to write a post saying you have changed your position because you acknowledge the idea that God created “kinds.”

    • March 29, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Rick, I do get their point, and I intend to address it in future posts. I also thing they are trying to deflect from the main point of the article–that Ken Ham accepts the mutability of species, which is a major part of evolutionary theory.

      • Jonathan Sarfati
        April 5, 2016 at 2:21 pm

        Mutability of species was part of biblical creation theory before Darwin. Just because he hijacked it doesn’t make it *exclusively* part of evolutionary theory. Darwin’s object of attack was Lyellian fixity of species, to which Hugh Ross adheres as well, but has never been part of Ken Ham’s teaching or my own, or even Henry Morris’.

        To make a genuine case for evolution from goo to you via the zoo and against biblical creation, you need to find evidence for a process that is *both* consistent with the former *and* inconsistent with the latter. Evidence consistent with both models does not point towards just one of them.

        Also, compromisers are impossible to please. The point of this post was that YECs have ostensibly changed their mind about a scientific issue. But if YECs never changed, then the compromisers would whinge that they are too dogmatic!

        Indeed, there are plenty of cases where modern creation science is different from Morris and Whitcomb, e.g. informed creationists reject the canopy theory. But this is normal: the retired CEO of CMI-Australia, Dr Carl Wieland, advised long ago (1991) that we hold the propositional revelation of God’s written Word tightly, but hold models loosely (aka the ministerial use of science). http://creation.com/hanging-loose-what-should-we-defend

  9. Rich Starnes
    March 29, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Not only does AiG accept speciation, it accepts natural selection (along with mutation and other processes) as a primary process of speciation and has since I first heard of them 15 years ago. That doesn’t make it Darwinism. Just an example: “However, natural selection merely redistributes or reduces preexisting genetic information, and mutations often corrupt the information.” (From “Natural Selection is Not Evolution,” https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/natural-selection-is-not-evolution/). That the loss of genetic information through natural selection and speciation would lead to different species coming out of the same kind that are reproductively incompatible doesn’t change that they proceeded from the same kind.

    It seems that your definition of micro-evolution may be more narrow than AiG’s ever claimed to be. And it may be that many other YEC’s wouldn’t agree with AiG’s definition. But, right or wrong, there doesn’t seem to be anything here that shows a drastic change in position for Ham or AiG.

    • March 29, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      Hi Rich, thank you for your comment. I didn’t say Ham was a Darwinist. I explicitly say he isn’t. But he does accept the mutability of species, which is a key plank of evolutionary theory. That’s what I claimed, and he hasn’t denied it.

      • Rich Starnes
        April 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm

        To clarify, I wasn’t saying that you said Ham was a Darwinist. It’s that you included natural selection as a primary driver of evolution/speciation as one of the three defining tenants of Darwinism. Ham and AiG would likely acknowledge that natural selection is a primary driver of speciation. Thus, they would say that natural selection is not just a component of Darwinian evolution.

  10. Erin
    March 29, 2016 at 10:10 am

    With all due respect, the title of your article seems designed to create controversy and cast Ken Ham as equivocal. I hope you’d consider him a brother in Christ; should you not have sought personal clarification before presuming to attribute to him such a radical change of position? It does not help the church’s witness to appear to throw a brother under the bus in hopes of gaining traction for one’s perspective. I hope you will endeavor to clarify this with him and, if appropriate, seek to correct the false impression you have created.

    • March 29, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Erin, thank you for your respectful comment. Yes, I do consider Ken Ham a brother in Christ. I entitled the article the way I did because I do think YEC proponents have been vague and unclear on this issue. I don’t think I’ve created a false impression at all. Just the opposite.

      • Fred
        March 31, 2016 at 8:19 am

        Sorry but I have to disagree with you on this point. The YEC position is clear that they do no support Darwinian Evolution and here you are trying to use the other sense of the word, namely change, to imply that they do. This is deliberate and obscene.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          March 31, 2016 at 8:15 pm

          Time to calm down, Fred?

          And perhaps RE-READ the blog. It includes the sentence “It’s important to note that Answers in Genesis is not endorsing Darwinism”.

          Whilst he may wish to add a question mark to the blog title, your charge that Ken implies within his blog that they DO is plain desperate.

          PS
          There is a new blog:
          http://www.theologyforthechurch.com/?p=2031

  11. deuteroKJ
    March 29, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Ken, I share your concern that YECs are redefining the term “macroevolution.” Technically speaking, “macro” is any change at or above the level of species. YECs and OECs are free to disagree with the scientific consensus as to how far the evolutionary process extends, but we shouldn’t re-label the terms. (This is one of several errors perpetuated in Tim Challies’ response today.)

    I am wondering about why you think this is a recent change from YECs more recent position (which, as your writing has shown, is decidedly not the same as YECs in past generations). Perhaps this is the first posted AiG article that clarifies? (I’m friends and former colleagues with YEC Todd Wood, who’s been saying this for years. Todd has always been more nuanced than the more popular YECs.)

    • March 29, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Many are certainly claiming that this is old news. Which is unfortunate, because it buries the lede: Ken Ham, like Darwin, affirms the mutability of species.

      • Fred
        April 1, 2016 at 8:18 am

        ” Ken Ham, like Darwin, affirms the mutability of species.”
        And herein lies the whole argument – what exactly is your definition of evolution Mr Keathly? I am sure a lot of people would like to know just what is meant by that term since at present it can mean whatever one wants to the point where evidence against “evolution” can be smartly turned around to be evidence FOR “evolution”.
        In the same way your play on words says one thing and implies another. You claim in the blog that Ham does not affirm Darwinism yet in this very sentence you then magically turn around and imply exactly that. So which is it then, exactly?

        • April 1, 2016 at 9:45 am

          Fred,
          Professor Keathley understands the power of words. It’s one of the oldest tactics in the book. He’s playing a word game. Get the YEC’s to admit that evolution occurs, with a bit of equivocation on the word ‘evolution’ to the unsuspecting, and then with this small step we lead them by the nose down the primrose path to accepting an old earth, Adam with hominid ancestors, physical death before sin, and the whole lot of it. Even the best of us can buy into the secular mindset if we are not constantly on guard to take every thought captive to Christ.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          April 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

          Darwin did not believe in fixity of species. Nor does Ken Ham. But the latter isn’t a Darwinist.

          I for one am not confused. Ham is forced by his beliefs to endorse some kind of post-flood ‘evolution’ – what some have labelled ‘hyper-evolution’.

        • April 1, 2016 at 2:12 pm

          Fred,
          Since my first reply earlier this morning to your comment did not pass the Keathley moderation filter, I will attempt another one here.

          Ken,
          Since I wholeheartedly disagree with your premise that Ham has changed and that mutability of species equates to evolution, did my previous comments hit too close to home? Did I expose true intent and that’s why you wouldn’t post it?

          Fred,
          Ken understands the power of words. An attempt to word play evolution is an attempt to bait and switch and to foster through subtle manipulation a stroll down the primrose path to old earth, millions and billions of years, Adam with hominid ancestors, physical death before sin, no universal and worldwide catastrophic flood in the days of Noah, and the rest of the whole lot.

          An old earth philosophy buys into the secular mindset, for anyone who has studied the history of the idea and understands its roots can clearly see. Why a Christian would adopt the rebellious anti-God mindset of the secularist is not taking every thought captive to Christ.

  12. Calvin Smith
    March 29, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Equating macro evolution (one kind turning into another kind- lizard to bird etc) with speciation (variation within the created kind- fruit flies speciating into fruit flies that can’t breed with the founding population etc) is unfounded. Most creationists believe in speciation and require it to explain the diversity we see today coming from the Ark only 4400-4500 years ago. The basic definition of a separate species is two creatures which cannot interbreed. This does not equate to macro-evolution because they have not changed kinds. There are humans today that cannot breed but they are still humans. The articles I linked to in my last post contain several examples of rapid speciation which YECs point to as examples of support for our position. I have presented this information hundreds of times to ‘the pew’ and have rarely encountered confusion from my audience. Micro and macro evolution are evolutionary terms that most modern YECs do not use because they cause confusion (From evolutionist-so you DO believe in evolution to some degree etc?). The creationist orchid is the model we work with VS the evolutionary tree or ‘web’. See http://creation.com/is-the-evolutionary-tree-changing-into-a-creationist-orchard The title of this article ‘Ken Ham embraces evolution’ is simply wrong, period. It is misrepresentation, and as a brother in Christ I believe you should either change it or remove the article.

    • Jeff
      March 29, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Calvin said, “The title of this article ‘Ken Ham embraces evolution’ is simply wrong, period. It is misrepresentation, and as a brother in Christ I believe you should either change it or remove the article.” I couldn’t agree more strongly. It’s just clickbait pure and simple.

      • March 29, 2016 at 10:09 pm

        Hi Jeff, sorry you feel that way. But I respectfully disagree. kk

    • J May
      March 31, 2016 at 12:28 am

      I fully agree with you Calvin. Thank you for that clear explanation. Someone above claims that “Technically speaking, “macro” is any change at or above the level of species.”

      I don’t think that is fully accurate, but even if some people think that, I can certainly see why we should avoid the use of the words micro/macro evolution.

      • deuteroKJ
        March 31, 2016 at 10:29 pm

        “Macroevolutionary studies focus on change that occurs at or above the level of species …” (Wikipedia entry on “Macroevolution”). This is consistent with every standard evolution textbook.

    • R Verelst
      April 1, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      “Equating macro evolution (one kind turning into another kind- lizard to bird etc) with speciation (variation within the created kind- fruit flies speciating into fruit flies that can’t breed with the founding population etc) is unfounded.”

      Prove it without creating arbitrary distinctions (like changing the definition of bacteria, even though the Lenski experiment proves positive mutation (btw, AIG went nuts over this, and said the exact same thing (bacteria turning into bacteria), despite bacteria being very different kinds in and of themselves by their own admission)).

    • ashley haworth-roberts
      April 3, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      “The basic definition of a separate species is two creatures which cannot interbreed. This does not equate to macro-evolution because they have not changed kinds.” Another YEC posting arbitrary claims and tryin g to redefine terms:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroevolution
      Clue: it has been difficult to determine whether some fossils are from birdlike dinosaurs or extinct birds (different ‘kinds’).

  13. March 29, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    “These 1,000 species then evolved rapidly into the millions of species we see on the earth today.”

    A typical Rossite distortion. The 1000 *kinds* (which creationists even before Morris and Gish pointed out are broader than “biological species”) are only land vertebrate animals, the millions include insects, plants, and marine creatures, which were not obligate passengers on the Ark. I explained this in response to a Hugh Ross book back in 2004, http://creation.com/trilobites-on-the-ark

    Informed biblical creationists have always rejected your Lyellian/Rossite/Nyist straw man of fixity of species. See for example http://creation.com/cosmos-neil-degrasse-tyson-episode-2#Evolution_bait-and-switch

    Old news here, move on!

    It would also be nice if anticreationists would not impute to biblical (“young earth”) creationists arguments they reject. E.g. from the page “Arguments we think creationists should not use” http://creation.com/arguments-we-think-creationists-should-not-use:

    “Creationists believe in microevolution but not macroevolution.” These terms, which focus on ‘small’ v. ‘large’ changes, distract from the key issue of information. That is, particles-to-people evolution requires changes that increase genetic information (e.g., specifications for manufacturing nerves, muscle, bone, etc.), but all we observe is sorting and, overwhelmingly, loss of information. We are hardpressed to find examples of even ‘micro’ increases in information, although such changes should be frequent if evolution were true. Conversely, we do observe quite ‘macro’ changes that involve no new information, e.g. when a control gene is switched on or off. Importantly, the term microevolution will be seen by many as just a ‘little bit’ of the process that they think turned bacteria to people. In other words, it implies that simply given enough time (millions of years), such ‘micro’ changes will accumulate to amount to ‘macro’ changes. But this is not so; see The evolution train’s a-comin’: (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction http://creation.com/the-evolution-trains-a-comin).

    Interestingly, even high profile evolutionists (e.g. Mayr, Ayala) disagree with the idea that the observed small changes in living things are sufficient to account for the grand scheme of microbes-to-mankind evolution.

    • March 29, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Jonathan. I don’t think you can deflect the main point of my article by dismissing it as old news. Ken Ham embraces the concept of speciation. Speciation is a form of evolution. I didn’t say that Ham was a Darwinist; I said he embraces evolution. Which is true.

      • March 31, 2016 at 1:31 am

        This is the classic old-earth compromising “bait and switch”. Who says that evolutionists have a monopoly on the concept of change, when creationists proposed this before Darwin? Your caricature works only by equating biblical creation with the Lyellian/Rossite straw man of fixity of species.

        If you want to distort non-information-gaining speciation within a kind with “evolution”, that’s on you. But don’t pretend that Ken Ham or any other informed YEC has changed position. There is nothing in the term “kind” that must restrict it to the modern term “biological species”, or any warrant to call any change “evolution”.

        What real evolution, i.e. goo to you via the zoo, requires is information-gaining change.

      • Ron Voss
        April 17, 2016 at 7:55 am

        Dr. Keathley, I’m wondering if the commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” is covered at your seminary?

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          April 18, 2016 at 5:10 pm

          What is the relevance of your comment since Keathley’s text did NOT bear false witness?”!

    • R Verelst
      April 1, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      ““Creationists believe in microevolution but not macroevolution.” These terms, which focus on ‘small’ v. ‘large’ changes, distract from the key issue of information. That is, particles-to-people evolution requires changes that increase genetic information (e.g., specifications for manufacturing nerves, muscle, bone, etc.), but all we observe is sorting and, overwhelmingly, loss of information. We are hardpressed to find examples of even ‘micro’ increases in information, although such changes should be frequent if evolution were true. Conversely, we do observe quite ‘macro’ changes that involve no new information, e.g. when a control gene is switched on or off. Importantly, the term microevolution will be seen by many as just a ‘little bit’ of the process that they think turned bacteria to people. In other words, it implies that simply given enough time (millions of years), such ‘micro’ changes will accumulate to amount to ‘macro’ changes. But this is not so; see The evolution train’s a-comin’: (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction http://creation.com/the-evolution-trains-a-comin).”

      How are kinds determined? Are they arbitrary distinctions set up to reject change that cannot be seen over the period of a human lifetime?

      AiG went nuts over the Lenski experiment, calling it micro-evolution. Is there only one kind of bacteria? If so, can you give me a detailed account of how hydrophobic bacteria evolved from being on board Noah’s Ark?

      “Interestingly, even high profile evolutionists (e.g. Mayr, Ayala) disagree with the idea that the observed small changes in living things are sufficient to account for the grand scheme of microbes-to-mankind evolution.”

      Can I have a quote on that? Just checking if you quote mined that.

      • Jonathan Sarfati
        April 5, 2016 at 2:24 pm

        More likely, the kinds have been long defined in terms of hybridization. Rather, it’s atheopaths and their compromising churchian allies who twist the meaning into “modern taxonomic species”. This enables them to knock down the straw man of fixity of species (held by uniformitarian pioneer Charles Lyell and modern old-earth compromiser Hugh Ross). That means they can dishonestly both overload the Ark and point to speciation as proof of “evolution” in a classic bait-and-switch http://creation.com/don-t-fall-for-the-bait-and-switch

  14. Calvin Smith
    March 30, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Ken Keathley
    March 29, 2016 at 10:46 pm-Speciation is a form of evolution.

    No, it is not. Both YECs and Evolutionists accept speciation in their model. Both accept natural selection in their model as well. So in this article’s logic, I could write a piece saying ‘Richard Dawkin’s embraces creationism’, explain that he believes in speciation/natural selection, and claim I’m right. This is terrible misrepresentation and I have seen enough responses (including my own and Dr Sarfati’s) to see that you have been proven wrong Ken. Responses like ‘I respectfully disagree’ do not cut it.

    It has been shown to you that YECs have long accepted speciation, so when your article says (talking about the Answers magazine article); and then further on says , you are making the claim that YECs have accepted something they previously did not.

    The article I sent in my second post is from 2000, (and in it it states- ) and there were many articles published before it explaining how YECs accepted speciation before that. So the claim in your article that it’s ‘big news’ that Ken Ham has accepted something that he didn’t before has been shown to be incorrect.

    Now it is understandable if you weren’t aware of this before that you might write the article while believing what you were saying is correct, but now that it has been proven to be false it is important as a Christian that you publicly admit you were wrong (no shame in not being aware of something and making a mistake, we all do it) and amend or remove the article. If you do not when it has been clearly shown you were wrong then your article stands as a known falsehood which is being willingly declared by yourself; a lie.

    One other thing which you have not commented on that I mentioned in my first post. At the end of your article you also say; This is also a falsehood. Show me one article by AiG where they accept evidence of transitional forms.

    Ken, your response to my post should be thought and prayed about. We are talking about your reputation as a Christian and your representation of Christ in a public forum.

    Blessings,

    Calvin Smith

  15. Calvin Smith
    March 30, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Sorry, in my post above some text I cut and pasted from the article did not show up. Corrected below.

    Ken Keathley
    March 29, 2016 at 10:46 pm-Speciation is a form of evolution.

    No, it is not. Both YECs and Evolutionists accept speciation in their model. Both accept natural selection in their model as well. So in this article’s logic, I could write a piece saying ‘Richard Dawkin’s embraces creationism’, explain that he believes in speciation/natural selection, and claim I’m right. This is terrible misrepresentation and I have seen enough responses (including my own and Dr Sarfati’s) to see that you have been proven wrong Ken. Responses like ‘I respectfully disagree’ do not cut it.

    It has been shown to you that YECs have long accepted speciation, so when your article says (talking about the Answers magazine article); ‘The article is noteworthy because it argues for macro-evolution; the theory that the species of today evolved from prior, extinct species’ and then further on says ‘Young-earth creationists have traditionally accepted micro-evolution while rejecting macro-evolution. So it’s big news that Answers in Genesis has embraced macro-evolution’, you are making the claim that YECs have accepted something they previously did not.

    The article I sent in my second post is from 2000, (and in it it states- ) and there were many articles published before it explaining how YECs accepted speciation before that. So the claim in your article that it’s ‘big news’ that Ken Ham has accepted something that he didn’t before has been shown to be incorrect.

    Now it is understandable if you weren’t aware of this before that you might write the article while believing what you were saying is correct, but now that it has been proven to be false it is important as a Christian that you publicly admit you were wrong (no shame in not being aware of something and making a mistake, we all do it) and amend or remove the article. If you do not when it has been clearly shown you were wrong then your article stands as a known falsehood which is being willingly declared by yourself; a lie.

    One other thing which you have not commented on that I mentioned in my first post. At the end of your article you also say; ‘Answers in Genesis is making a significant acknowledgement. They are acknowledging that, indeed, the fossil record does in fact give evidence of transitional life forms’. This is also a falsehood. Show me one article by AiG where they accept evidence of transitional forms.

    Ken, your response to my post should be thought and prayed about. We are talking about your reputation as a Christian and your representation of Christ in a public forum.

    Blessings,

    Calvin Smith

  16. Caleb G.
    March 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Joel Duff, a Christian Biology prof from the University of Akron, has documented this phenomenon at Answers in Genesis for some time now. See this thread of articles on his blog: http://thenaturalhistorian.com/category/baraminology-2/

    David MacMillian’s post “Dodging Darwin: How Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is Slowly Embracing Evolution” on Joel Duff’s blog is especially relevant to this discussion (http://thenaturalhistorian.com/2015/12/30/dodging-darwin-how-ken-hams-ark-encounter-is-slowly-embracing-evolution/).

    Both sides on this commend thread seem to be speaking past one another. Historically Creationists have rejected speciation. “Kind” as used in Leviticus seems to correspond most closely to “species” in modern taxonomy. Yet YEC have recognized for 2 generations now that “kind” cannot equal species because their theology requires that all species alive today descended from animals on the ark. The 1+ million species of animals alive today (in addition to all the animals found in the fossil record which YEC says also were on the ark) would not fit on the ark. So in order to fit all the animals on the ark, the concept of “kind” had to be expanded to something like “genus” or “family” (although the concept is never clearly defined, which does not bode well for their attempt at a science of classification). Here YECers are not allowing the Bible to “speak for itself” but are taking empirical findings of science to change the definitions found in the Bible. That is fine, but please acknowledge that is what you are doing.

    Joel Duff extensively documents how Answers in Genesis’ “post-flood hyper-speciation model” requires a pace of evolution much quicker than observed today. This model is arbitrary because according to Answers in Genesis the fox and the domestic dog are part of the same “kind”. Yet foxes and domestic dogs are more distant genetically to each other than humans and chimpanzees are to one another. Thus if foxes and domestic dogs are part of the same “kind” then chimpanzees are also part of the same “kind”. You cannot have it both ways.

    • Caleb G.
      March 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Correction
      *Thus if foxes and domestic dogs are part of the same “kind” then chimpanzees and humans are also part of the same “kind”.

    • Jonathan Sarfati
      April 4, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Typical reversal of the truth. Rather, the atheopaths and their compromising churchian allies want to attack God’s Word in the Ark account by burlesquing the Ark with two of every modern “species”. It is thus no wonder that a known apostate like Ashley Haworth-Roberts loves the initial post.

      In reality, there is no reason to equate the biblical “kind” with what a modern taxonomist calls a “species”. Things that are classified as different “species” or even “genera” are often not separate “biological species” since they can produce fertile hybrids. Thus even if the kind corresponded to “biological species”, the number would be a lot smaller than the number of named “species”. Also, a lot of the high numbers come from including marine creatures, plants, and invertebrates, which would not have been obligate passengers on the Ark because they could have survived off it. See also http://creation.com/refuting-noahs-ark-critics

      In reality, the “kind” would include those where even infertile hybridization can occurred, or if two creatures can hybridize with a third. Creationists have long explained this by one created kind, originally a single biological species, splitting into two populations that had lost the ability to interbreed to produce fertile offspring.

      Note that Frank Marsh invented the term baramin with this hybridization criterion way back in 1941. So what Ken Ham proposed is at least a decade older than he is! The classic “The Genesis Flood” incorporated Marsh back in 1961. No news here—move on!

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        April 4, 2016 at 6:59 pm

        “Typical reversal of the truth. Rather, the atheopaths and their compromising churchian allies want to attack God’s Word in the Ark account by burlesquing the Ark with two of every modern “species”.” Sarfati and co are twisting the Bible to suit their anti-scientific agenda. Genesis 6: 19-20 “You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.” How is this ‘not’ referring to all separate species (a species being a kind or type of bird in everyday English)?

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        April 4, 2016 at 7:01 pm

        The Bible speaks of post-flood multiplication, Jonathan. Not hybridisation or speciation. It’s also NOT a science manual or biology text.

        • Jonathan Sarfati
          April 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm

          It’s amusing to see a biblically illiterate apostate like AHR trying to spout on about the Bible. Of course, don’t expect to see the slightest evidence that min = modern taxonomic species. Then there is the argument from silence: the Bible doesn’t mention speciation (or Noah using nails for example), so it can’t have happened.

          In any case, speciation is a deduction from the ministerial use of science to elucidate the direct teachings of Scripture. The atheopaths, apostates, and their churchian allies instead try to attack God’s written word. Compare http://creation.com/biblical-history-and-role-of-science

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 6, 2016 at 12:40 pm

            And now Sarfati resorts to the Ad hominems.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 6, 2016 at 12:42 pm

            http://biblehub.com/hebrew/4327.htm
            I did not write this, Jonathan.
            Is the author about ‘Bible illiterate’ non-apostate?

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 6, 2016 at 12:43 pm

            Sorry “another”.

  17. Michael Nowlan
    March 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Ken,

    You sound like an intelligent man. I think you understand that the term “evolution” has many meanings to many people. That may be part of the problem. Confusion. In reality, the word “evolution” has become a term like “direction”, which needs more information to truly understand what it means to each of us. Unfortunately those who believe what Darwin taught hear a “direction” in the term “evolution”. Whether you intended to or not, the sentences you have written in your blog place the name “Ken Ham” together with the term “evolution” in an apparent attempt to show what exactly? That you think YEC have been misleading us as to their position, or that they’ve changed their position? Is your purpose to compliment YEC in “moving forward” or to discredit them by showing them as hypocrites? Why don’t you tell us what you believe and what your motive is, and stay away from stating what others believe. We get in trouble when we pretend to understand what others believe. Let them speak for themselves. Ken Ham has already posted that he believes you have misrepresented him.

    So how do we get clarity in this sea of mud? Since the term “evolution” is understood differently according to one’s worldview, I suggest that YEC clarify its terms, and set itself apart with its understanding of scripture in the miraculous creation and devolving of genetic kinds over a short time frame. Ken, you can call it “speciation” and claim that Ken Ham believes it, but this too is a muddy term, and you can’t help but paint Ken Ham with your own brush. So, to all you YEC believers (myself included), how do we re-label our position to bring clarity and avoid others from purposely confusing our terms? How about “baramination”?

    BTW, your student Matt needs to read what is posted on AIG before claiming what AIG convinces people of. Being a Christian does not require one to be YEC and AIG has bent over backwards trying to clarify that point. He was consistent as your student in making claims about other people’s intentions.

    Mike Nowlan

    • March 30, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Mike. Yes, the term evolution is ambiguous. Which is one of the reasons I stressed that Ken Ham is not a Darwinist.

      • Fred
        April 1, 2016 at 8:22 am

        Yet you then ambiguously go ahead and equate him with Darwin in your blog: ” Ken Ham, like Darwin, affirms the mutability of species.”

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          April 1, 2016 at 11:28 am

          You can have something in common with someone that you otherwise disagree with. The blog (apart from its ambiguous title) seems perfectly clear to me.

        • Jonathan Sarfati
          April 4, 2016 at 11:09 am

          Of course, while Charles Lyell and Hugh Ross affirm the unbiblical “fixity of species”. Both Darwin and Keathley attack this as a straw man instead of what biblical creationists have believed since Linnaeus: fixity of kinds. In terms of modern genetics, creationists have long taught, since even before Ken Ham was born, that God created the kinds with enormous genetic variation so they could diversify into many varieties. The modern varieties would have less genetic variation than the parent kinds.

          E.g. I taught this in Refuting Evolution way back in 1999, and Ken Ham wrote the foreword to the first edition, so we can presume that he agreed even back then. And it was not even controversial among informed creationists. See for yourself at http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-chapter-2-variation-and-natural-selection-versus-evolution

  18. ashley haworth-roberts
    March 30, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    http://www.theologyforthechurch.com/?p=1873
    Needless to say both the young earth creationists at Answers in Genesis (and Calvin Smith of Creation Ministries International who – I know from previous experience – would be enraged if I copied this message to him) are not very charitable in response to this blog post by someone who I took to be a theistic evolutionist Christian but who is described by AiG and by himself as an old earth creationist (I see Jonathan Sarfati has also weighed in under the blog post).

    https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/does-ken-ham-embrace-evolution/

    Which is worse – presenting the nonsense put out by AiG and other YECs in a way which could be clearer and more factually precise, or putting out deliberate pseudo-science posing as so-called ‘creation science’ (ie rapid post-flood speciation within kind boundaries only’) in the first place?

    AiG’s Georgia Purdom also calls Keathley’s article an ‘erroneous blog’ on her facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaPurdom/

    But the only erroneous thing about the blog was its TITLE. As implied above, Ham embraces a distorted version of evolution ie a sort of ‘post-flood’ speciation, diversification recolonisation of Earth, and very fast evolution – but within so-called ‘kind boundaries’ only. I would be surprised if what Whitcomb and Morris believed and taught in 1961 regarding speciation etc was exactly what Ham and co teach today since YEC-ism is not ‘pure Bible’ but a reaction to and rejection of mainstream science (which HAS moved on since 1961 as more fossils and more living species have been discovered and our knowledge of the unseen past has been added to).

    A separate point is that YECs cannot remotely explain or account for huge numbers of species allegedly going ‘recently’ extinct (but before humans caused this).

    The above text is from an email I have just sent (including to opponents of YEC claims). My tone may sound provocative but I have studied YEC ‘science’ claims for years and generally found them wanting. The evidence may point to a God – but science does not back up Genesis as literal, infallible history. Period. That is a faith belief.

    • J May
      March 31, 2016 at 12:49 am

      “But the only erroneous thing about the blog was its TITLE.”

      Thank you Ashley for affirming what so many of us have been trying to tell Ken.

      Yes, the title is erroneous – or at least very misleading – and therefore should be amended out of courtesy and respect for those he is writing about.

      Dr. Keathley, now that someone from your own side agrees that the title is “erroneous”, will you consider amending it?

    • Fred
      March 31, 2016 at 8:32 am

      “The evidence may point to a God – but science does not back up Genesis as literal, infallible history. Period. That is a faith belief.”

      Which “science” are you referring to? The “science” which doesn’t have any observable evidence to support the claim that everything came from a singularity about 13Ga ago? The “science” that claims with zero observed and recorded evidence that stars formed from clouds of gas all by themselves with no outside help and which basically contradicts basic physics and mechanics? The “science” that claims that planets can form out of dust all by themselves in total contradiction of basic physics, chemistry and mechanics? The “science” that doesn’t have any observational support that one kind of creature can morph into some other kind of creature, e.g. dinosaurs into birds etc? The”science” that claims that life sprang up from DEAD materials all by itself with no outside help – in contradiction of the OBSERVED facts that over approx. 6000 years of recorded, verifiable and repeatable history that once something dies, it doesn’t come to life again all by itself, i.e. dead stays dead?
      The “science” that can only make claims but not deliver on repeatable and verifiable evidence to support that claim?
      All of the above mentioned “science” claims are based on FAITH, blind FAITH since there is no evidence for it.

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        March 31, 2016 at 8:24 pm

        Fred

        Your rant is making an attack against science hypotheses that I never specifically mentioned. You appear to be trying to read things into my comments that weren’t there or argue that they ‘should’ have been there.

        You ask “Which “science” are you referring to?” A reasonable question. I was alluding to what some view as fine-tuning of our universe such that life is (very rarely?) possible – on one small planet at least. Also to the undoubted complexity of eg living cells. Both of which MIGHT – or might NOT – point to intelligent input/design/planning.

        It is a big leap to go from such to claim – as AiG and CMI etc do – that ‘science confirms Genesis’ (as ‘literal infallible history’ not re-interpreted).

        Ashley

  19. ashley haworth-roberts
    March 30, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    I tried to send a further email, just as Prof Keathley was clearing my comment above, but it has apparently failed to reach many of the intended recipients. So I decided to resubmit it here instead.

    The attempted message confirmed that I agree with recent comments by Caleb G above.

    I also commented:
    http://www.challies.com/articles/has-ken-ham-embraced-evolution
    “But what is a “kind?””
    What indeed? An attempt to make the Bible ‘scientific’ I suspect. A ruse to fit ALL of Earth’s land-based creatures on a single large wooden boat to boot.
    “What young-earth creationists deny is that speciation has occurred at the levels of order, class, phylum, or kingdom. One order of animals cannot change into another order of animals;”
    Why not? Since the Bible is silent about such matters (though it IMPLIES fixity of species which Ham and co have had to reject).

  20. Michael Nowlan
    March 31, 2016 at 11:27 am

    So, Ken, I can see that you chose not to answer the big question buried in my previous post. What is your motive in writing this recent blog? It is human nature to fill in the blanks, so until you state unequivocally what it is, people will assume all sorts of hidden agendas, and mean-spirited intent. Your silence speaks volumes. Ashley seems like another one of your students, referring to you as Professor. It is sad that these posts tend to degrade into name calling while trying to sound all “scientific”.
    All we can possibly claim to have are our beliefs, from the YEC Christian scientist to the atheistic scientist, and everywhere else. As much as we like to convince ourselves that we can prove anything, the only one who can truly prove anything is the one who holds all knowledge and can master all matter and energy. All we finite humans have is a severely limited data set (in time and space), obtained through fallible and severely limited sensory receptors, processed by fallible brains. Essentially every thought must be a belief, as every thought is processed in this way. How any human can think he/she can master the universe and deduce the past by looking at a fossil (or a million of them) is the epitome of arrogance. Unfortunately those who don’t believe in God think that those who do, operate with the same arrogance. If it is all belief and opinion, then why do we cast aspersions, and get all worked up about what other people think? I hope you come clean Ken and get off your imaginary scientific throne. Give the throne back to only one who is worthy.

  21. ashley haworth-roberts
    March 31, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Michael

    I referred to Keathley because I understood that that was his title (I am in England not the USA). I am not some imaginary Keathley student or ‘Keathley disciple’.

    By the way, I also mixed up Tim Challies with AiG’s Tim Chaffey. Which might explain me not finding the former’s blog post on the AiG website.

    Mr A Haworth-Roberts

    • ashley haworth-roberts
      March 31, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Sorry that should have read “Keathley as Professor Keathley because …”.

  22. ashley haworth-roberts
    March 31, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I see that the somewhat ‘behind your back’ (ie NOT directly interactive with you even though your blog unlike those of AiG allows COMMENTS and direct exchanges) AiG attacks are continuing:
    https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/follow-up-to-professor-keathleys-erroneous-claims/
    I would be interested to know whether Jeanson has been in direct contact with you about this blog, either before or after his post of 30 March (and now this follow-up) was posted on the AiG website. (Though you may prefer not to comment.)

    My personal view is that Prof Keathley might wish to add a question mark to his blog post title. If AiG remained dissatisfied after that, that would be THEIR problem. Since I am not clear that AiG have identified within the text of your blog “factually erroneous accusations against Ken Ham”. The main thrust of the latest post appears to relate to the past thinking of Morris and Whitcomb rather than the present-day thinking of Ham.

    (I have not read either ‘The Genesis Flood’ or the ‘Exotic Ark Animals’ article.)

  23. ashley haworth-roberts
    March 31, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Just to add that I’m fairly sure that the article in ‘Answers’ magazine in question is based upon this (which was critiqued at ‘Naturalis Historia’ in December 2015):
    https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/reimagining-ark-animals/
    Though I’m not sure I could spot the quote “He made the original ‘kinds,’ not all the variety of animals that would be born …” within that article, so perhaps Answers magazine contained a fuller or revised version? This blog also does not confirm exactly who was the author of the article in ‘Answers’ magazine.

    I also glanced again at the two Jeanson articles. On the second, if Morris wrote in 1961 “it is well to observe at this point that the Bible does not teach the fixity of species” then YECs like Ham at least have probably indeed been misrepresenting Genesis on this matter for years rather than just in the past few months (because of observed biological reality and also in attempts to make Noah’s Ark appear ‘historical’). And Ham’s embrace of speciation and a fictional ‘rapid evolution within kinds’ is therefore not ‘new’ even if they are talking about the ark and what happened ‘after the flood’ more because of the attraction they hope to open on 07/07/16. But Prof Keathley may be able to back up his remark that “young-earth creationists have traditionally accepted micro-evolution while rejecting macro-evolution [as he defines those terms]”.

    https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/
    “The Bible nowhere teaches that species are fixed and unchanging.” That is disingenuous. If anything the Bible IMPLIES that, post-flood, the emerging ark species/kinds/whatever would simply multiply and fill the Earth. The Bible certainly nowhere teaches what AiG teach regarding post-flood ‘rapid speciation’ and ‘rapid diversification’. Speciation – a slow process over many millennia – is of course factual and real, though.

  24. ashley haworth-roberts
    March 31, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Just to add that I’m fairly sure that the article in ‘Answers’ magazine in question is based upon this (which was critiqued at ‘Naturalis Historia’ in December 2015):
    https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/reimagining-ark-animals/
    Though I’m not sure I could spot the quote “He made the original ‘kinds,’ not all the variety of animals that would be born …” within that article, so perhaps Answers magazine contained a fuller or revised version? This blog also does not confirm exactly who was the author of the article in ‘Answers’ magazine.

    [post continues]

    • ashley haworth-roberts
      March 31, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      [continued]

      I also glanced again at the two Jeanson articles. On the second, if Morris wrote in 1961 “it is well to observe at this point that the Bible does not teach the fixity of species” then YECs like Ham at least have probably indeed been misrepresenting Genesis on this matter for years rather than just in the past few months (because of observed biological reality and also in attempts to make Noah’s Ark appear ‘historical’). And Ham’s embrace of speciation and a fictional ‘rapid evolution within kinds’ is therefore not ‘new’ even if they are talking about the ark and what happened ‘after the flood’ more because of the attraction they hope to open on 07/07/16. But Prof Keathley may be able to back up his remark that “young-earth creationists have traditionally accepted micro-evolution while rejecting macro-evolution [as he defines those terms]”.

      https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/
      “The Bible nowhere teaches that species are fixed and unchanging.” That is disingenuous. If anything the Bible IMPLIES that, post-flood, the emerging ark species/kinds/whatever would simply multiply and fill the Earth. The Bible certainly nowhere teaches what AiG teach regarding post-flood ‘rapid speciation’ and ‘rapid diversification’. Speciation – a slow process over many millennia – is of course factual and real, though.

      • Fred
        April 1, 2016 at 8:26 am

        “Speciation – a slow process over many millennia – is of course factual and real, though.”
        Yet, the Galapagos island finches going back and forth with differing size beaks tends to contradict this theory…..?

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          April 1, 2016 at 11:31 am

          Maybe – but speciation is real and AiG accept it (even though it is never mentioned in the Bible as far as I know):
          https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/

          • Jonathan Sarfati
            April 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm

            That might actually be a decent argument for once—but only if you knock down yet another straw man. In reality, biblical creationists believe that the Bible is *wholly* true but is not *exhaustive* truth. It reveals explicitly that God created distinct kinds of creatures and flooded the whole globe, but doesn’t provide a list of created kinds, nor how much they can change. It does implicitly teach variation within a kind, since it affirms that all people come from Adam and Eve.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 6, 2016 at 12:45 pm

            “It does implicitly teach variation within a kind, since it affirms that all people come from Adam and Eve.” That is not remotely the Bible teaching speciation. It’s just amazing what young earth creationists come out with.

  25. Daniel Waite Ph.D.
    March 31, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Okay, I’m confused. You say, “It’s important to note that Answers in Genesis is not endorsing Darwinism.” But the article is called “Ken Ham Embraces Evolution.” It seems that these are contradicting statements.

    Hint: the rank and file (non-scientist like me) equate the two. Darwinism is Evolution is Darwinism. Split hair all you want, the title accused Ham of embracing Darwinism (a.k.a Evolution).

    If Ham has not embraced Darwinism, then the article is pointless.

    • April 2, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Daniel, thank you for comment. You’re right that the typical person equates evolution and Darwinism. And that’s exactly the type of confusion that needs to be corrected. Many ID proponents (Michael Behe, author of “Darwins Black Box”, for example) hold to non-Darwinian versions of evolution. In fact, many evolutionary biologists have their doubts about Darwinism (see Jerry Fodor’s “What Darwin Got Wrong”, and James Shapiro’s “Evolution: a 21st Century Perspective”). Treating “evolution” and “Darwinism” as synonyms has created all kinds of difficulties for dialogue.

    • Paul Stocksdale
      April 8, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      Would an okapi turning into a giraffe be evolution? Would a chimpanzee becoming an ape be considered evolution? These are two examples of the speciation within kinds that Ken Ham and AIG suggest.

  26. March 31, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    To say the whole question of what to call evolution and how much of evolutionary theory some creationists are willing to accept or employ is a complex one would be a huge understatement. Jeanson is correct that Morris does describe a “kind” as possibly being at the classification level of a family. So he is not inaccurate that this is something that modern 6-day creationists have suggested for a long time. It should be noted this is only true for modern creationist not those from before the 1920s. But Dr. Keathely is not wrong to suggest that creationist have not made significant changes to their approach to the topic. Morris suggested kinds were families but still placed far more animals on the ark than Ken Ham is now. But, really, the topic of speciation after the flood and where the diversity of life came from today was hardly talked about other than a few sentences here and there. The first 30 years of the modern YEC movement is spent talking about the age of the Earth and the only thing you ever heard about evolution was big philosphocal arguments and statement about how wrong it was. I’ve read many books from the 70s and the lay christian would have gotten no idea that most of the species of animals alive today looked nothing like what they do today in the original creation. All the pictures of the ark and the Garden of Eden show species of animals that look utterly familiar. So they have implicitly even if not explicitly been preaching fixity of species. It hasn’t been until the past 20 years that YEC have been slowing easing the language of bariminology and speciation into their literature. I have read it carefully the past 10 years and it is obvious that the words used have changed and that they use natural selection, genetic drift and even mutations and proposed mechanisms to effect biological changes in species. Morris and company were not likely to use those terms often and were critical of anything that sounded like evolutionary terms. Now, maybe they believed natural selection was a force that could divide populations into species but they didn’t write about that way.
    Is Ham embracing evolution? Not in the larger sense of the term but he and his organization are more freely using the language of evolution and inventing their own version of evolution to explain the great biological changes they feel need to have occurred to have enough room on the ark for all the animals. Not sure that helps at all but it is a bit of perspective having read this literature and talked to hundreds of YECs over the years.

  27. March 31, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    If I could just add a few more thoughts. I have been rather direct in claiming that Ken Ham and AiG are promoting a version of evolution. I fully recognize that Ken Ham doesn’t believe that the mechanism of evolution have the ability to create the pattern of life on earth from a common ancestor. What I hope to show is that Ham doesn’t really understand just how much evolution is required to accomplish what he thinks is just genetic sorting. In other words, he might not believe that the mechanisms of evolution are capable of producing new information and new “kinds” of life but he isn’t aware of just how really different an okapi and a giraffe, or a wolf and a fox, or a chimp and an orangutan are. And by claiming that these pairs share a common ancestor he is admitting that the proposed mechanisms of evolution truly do have creative powers far beyond what he understands. In this sense his is a evolutionist but just doesn’t know it. He is giving away far too much to the evolution camp while thinking he is just stealing a few of their ideas to help solve a perceived problem. Morris, never really thought about how to explain kinds and where species might have come from. For him and his colleagues it was just something you say to answer the inevitable questions about how the animals fit on the ark. Modern YECs think they have to provide every answer and so they are moving to ever more detailed descriptions. However, the devil is in the details and the more they try to explain exactly how modern diversity of species came about the more they find themselves having to rely on evolutionary explanations. Its creating more problems than it is solving.

    • Claire
      April 3, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      This whole Ark Encounter thing has really forced AIG’s hand into following their old claims to their logical conclusions. It’s really been fantastic to watch from a evol biologist’s standpoint, and you’re doing a wonderful job tracking it.

      Their model is really just a plain old evolutionary species tree with the lower part cropped out somewhere around the paleocene. Oh, and 200,000x faster, by some handwaving. I don’t think I could come up with a realistic genetic mechanism for this if I tried – not counting on the AIG team to figure one out anytime soon.

  28. April 4, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    How sad…that is all that can be said. If you disagree on the age of the earth, why misrepresent young earth creationists on other issues (i.e. speciation) instead of engaging them on why you think death had to / could have / should have happen before the fall.

    Also, why won’t you deal honestly with the rebuttals for Answers in Genesis? https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/follow-up-to-professor-keathleys-erroneous-claims/

  29. Michael Nowlan
    April 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    There is only belief. There is no proof. One can do all the experiments one wants in today’s timeframe, but there is absolutely no way to prove origins. There is no way to prove the rate at which speciation has occurred, how it occurred, or what the starting point(s) was for each animal alive today. There are only ASSUMPTIONS. Today’s rates and “observations” cannot answer what happened in the distant past, so please, all of you, stop pretending you KNOW what happened. It is entirely possible that speciation rates were greatly accelerated in the past thousands of years, and have now slowed as the genome has degraded. Even Ken Ham would admit if pressed that he only knows, because he believes in God’s word, before the presuppositions of human thinking enter into the equation. Yes I recognize that is a presupposition in some people’s minds, but I argue that my belief formed my presupposition. Before I would dismiss any “hand waving” (Claire) I would consider who’s hand is waving. BTW, I am referring to God’s hand, not Ken Ham’s. Even your number of 200,000x is based on what exactly? Either believe or don’t believe, but do not try to speak with authority where you have none. I see very little humility in these posts, only scientific pontification and disbelief.

    • Jonathan Sarfati
      April 4, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      The atheists and their compromising allies demand that biblical creationists surrender because of alleged difficulties in post-Flood diversification: quick appearance of new species and genera. But they cling to evolution although they believe in something far more ludicrous: that all living creatures evolved from a single-celled creature, which itself evolved from non-living chemicals. And they have the sudden appearance of whole *phyla* in the Cambrian. Yet whenever there is a difficulty with the evolutionary story, “it’s the job of science to solve problems.” OK, then the same allowance should be made for biblical creationist scientists.

      In reality, it’s very easy to explain the creationist diversification model, which was known even before Darwin. Modern creationists explain that God created kinds with enormous genetic variation. Then after the Flood, the mountains of Ararat would provide an ideal environment for rapid allopatric speciation. This involves separate populations with less variation and more specialization. But no new genetic information.

      Conversely, to turn prokaryotes into professors requires an enormous increase in information.

      See further discussion in http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-2-chapter-4-argument-natural-selection-leads-to-speciation, which dates from 2001, yet more proof that Ken Ham has not changed his mind.

      • Claire
        April 5, 2016 at 4:16 am

        Humor the geneticist then. Genetics and genomes are NOT amorphous philosophical concepts. Saying that “God created kinds with enormous genetic variation” means nothing to me as an explanation unless accompanied by a physical description. What does a high genetic variation containing single genome look like? How could this variation be quantified? How would this variation be drawn as a conceptual diagram. How would you draw genome degradation? How do two members of a species physically harbor enormous genetic variation beyond their 4 possible alleles for each gene?

        Very interested to also know why gene duplications, whole genome duplications, protein fusions, protein domain rearrangements, and de novo genes out of non-coding regions don’t count as new information.

        I’m getting concerned that this wasn’t really an appropriate forum for me to burst in on. However, I don’t think these are unreasonable questions for a proposed genetics theory. Creation scientists are free to do whatever they want.

        • Jonathan Sarfati
          April 5, 2016 at 2:40 pm

          What is the problem? But it’s notable that an atheistic evolutionist just loves this compromising site.

          Anyway, long ago, I wrote in my first book Refuting Evolution:

          The ardent neo-Darwinist Francisco Ayala points out that humans today have an ‘average heterozygosity of 6.7 percent.’1 This means that for every thousand gene pairs coding for any trait, 67 of the pairs have different alleles. If we consider only the protein-coding genes, this would mean 1,340 heterozygous loci overall. Thus, any single human could produce a vast number of different possible sperm or egg cells 21,340 or 2.4 × 10^403. The number of atoms in the whole known universe is ‘only’ 10^80, extremely tiny by comparison. So there is no problem for creationists explaining that the original created kinds could each give rise to many different varieties.

          In fact, the original created kinds would have had much more heterozygosity than their modern, more specialized descendants. No wonder Ayala pointed out that most of the variation in populations arises from reshuffling of previously existing genes, not from mutations. Many varieties can arise simply by two previously hidden recessive alleles coming together. However, Ayala believes the genetic information came ultimately from mutations, not creation. His belief is contrary to information theory …
          http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-chapter-2-variation-and-natural-selection-versus-evolution

          More recently, geneticist Dr Rob Carter has analysed the human genome and found that it is consistent with descent from just a pair of alleles from Adam, with Eve a divinely fashioned clone of Adam apart from losing the Y and doubling the X.
          http://creation.com/historical-adam-biologos

          But atheists must ultimately derive genes from random non-living chemicals, followed by random copying mistakes with natural selection. And you think creationists have a problem?!

          • Claire
            April 8, 2016 at 10:31 pm

            I’d guess I need to clarify my previous post for posterity. Talking about single gene variants between species, not variation from possible combinations of alleles of different genes as you describe.

            If I sequence a single orthologous gene from multiple members of animal taxonomic family, I don’t find just 4 different versions of that gene, I find many more. Mixing up 4 gene alleles from 2 parents repeatedly doesn’t get you species level gene variation like what is observed today (if evolutionary mechanisms aren’t allowed). How do we get today’s single gene level variation from just 2 genomes. It’s OK if no one knows, though gaps in theories shouldn’t be hidden. I don’t know how the first cell began, so we’re even in at least one perceived impossibility.

  30. Michael Nowlan
    April 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    When geneticists take God out of the equation, all they are left with are unanswered questions, or worse, answers to questions that are entirely conjured up in their collective human imagination. There has to be a believable mechanism to the person who only operates at the physical level. But they do have a need to believe in something. If the possibility of the supernatural is excluded from the conversation, all you get are tribes of arguments, changing and re-changing.
    One can throw all the complicated terms one wants into the conversation, such as “gene duplications”, “whole genome duplications”, “protein fusions”, “protein domain rearrangements” and “de novo genes”. All of these terms have one thing in common. They all start from fully functional genetic material. “Duplications”, “rearrangements” and “fusions” did not pop out of nothingness. Just because we’ve never seen it before doesn’t mean it’s new. Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just because something happens a certain way today, does not mean it has always happened that way, or that it will continue to operate forever that way. The spiritual aspect of life will always elude those who deny that God exists, though their soul still searches for meaning. There are really two conversations that have been going on here. Those of non-believers desperately searching for something that will prove that it could all happen without God and that they are smart enough to figure it out. And those who are believers that only seek the mechanistic details to affirm the wonder of God’s creation. God-believers do not need to understand to be content, because our joy is not founded in material existence. We take God at is His Word. The freedom of choice is a God-granted privilege that can be thrown away freely by anyone, to their own self-destruction. Has this earth been “growing” for billions of years, or it has been dying for thousands? You can turn to the sky and think you are floating up with the air pressing at your back, when you are really falling to your doom. My hope was to convince everyone that their beliefs are un-provable, and thus un-arguable, but that would be to admit vulnerability and have humility. Silly me.

  31. Paul Stocksdale
    April 8, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Ken Ham’s organization says that an Okapi and a Giraffe share a common descendant. So clearly, according to AIG, species changed over time into two different species. That is clearly a textbook example of macroevolution.

    Ken Ham’s organization would also say that chimpanzees and apes evolved from a common ancestor on the ark. That would also be called macroevolution by almost anyone.

    So, to say that speciation is not macroevolution is simply not true to the meaning of the word. Any change of one species becoming a completely different species over time is macroevolution.

    • Michael Nowlan
      April 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      So, by the same thinking, would it be fair to state that all evolutionists believe in God, since you have now labeled Ken Ham an evolution believer? This type of convoluted thinking has to stop. The mechanisms and starting points of what AIG believes to be consistent with scripture is entirely inconsistent with a molecules-to-man belief system. Just because we are forced to use the same words doesn’t mean they are intended to convey the same meaning. I suggested earlier that the YEC movement come up with new vocabulary to divorce itself from the confusion, but to no avail. It looks like we will continue to talk past one another and this blog is only stirring the pot.

  32. Calvin Smith
    April 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Unfortunate that it had to come to this Ken but you have refused to simply admit your mistakes, even though they had been clearly pointed out in a fair way. Your refusal to do so does not paint you in a very good light and I believe you have misrepresented our LORD in a very public way by demonstrating known falsehoods. I think the average reader of your article and this comment section can clearly see your avoidance of the truth. Dr Sarfati’s article describing your distorted representation of fellow Christians is now available for all to see. Known falsehoods are lies. You need to repent.
    Blessings,
    Calvin Smith
    whttp://creation.com/keathley-ham-yec-distortion

    • ashley haworth-roberts
      April 12, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      Calvin Smith

      The CMI response is full of confusion and false accusations. I sent an email critiquing it in great detail. It was copied to your CMI colleagues Tas Walker and John Hartnett, as well as Kenneth Keathley and a number of other recipients. (You were omitted because you objected to a past email.)

      I would be more than willing to post its full contents here as well.

      Basically the CMI response was untrue. The only real thing YECs could object to in Keathley’s blog is its TITLE.

    • ashley haworth-roberts
      April 12, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Smith
      The article in question is also NOT, as you state, by Sarfati.
      http://creation.com/keathley-ham-yec-distortion

      • Michael Nowlan
        April 13, 2016 at 11:10 am

        Ashley,

        It sounds like many of you have had a dog in this fight for a long time. And still you refuse to understand each other. Would it be distortion to title a blog “Ken Keathley considers Young Earth Creation position and applauds Ken Ham and AIG.”? Would it be a further distortion to continue the blog talking about how Ken listened to Nathaniel Jeanson speak and read Andrew Snelling and postulate how Professor Keathley may be coming around to the YEC way of thinking because of his actions? Sort of a “guilt by association” way of thinking?

        I suppose it is difficult to see that you are muddying the waters if all you are looking at is the reflection of the surface. Jesus said “Do not judge by mere appearances, but judge with right judgment”. Stop looking at just the surface. Rather remark at how two people can use the same words and derive two entirely different meanings. Communication is no longer communication.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          April 13, 2016 at 11:27 am

          Michael
          I do not accept that I am muddying the waters. My position is clear. I thought Keathley’s blog title misleading. But the contents of the blog make his position clear and they are accurate. YEC critics at AiG and CMI have failed to show otherwise. Note that in their articles they failed even to define ‘macro-evolution’ (though Nathaniel Jeanson appeared to accept Keathley’s – traditional – definition of the trem).

          • Michael Nowlan
            April 15, 2016 at 5:22 pm

            I can understand how you cannot accept it, because you can’t see it. My difficulty is in trying to come up with a metaphor to accurately point you to the possibility that there may be some things that you are not seeing. Just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they are not there. Take, for instance, glass that will appear as a mirror when lit from one side. If light appears enough on the other side suddenly things behind the mirror become visible. That is the best description I can come up with to describe a Christian’s position in trying to describe the window of God to the individual who only sees the mirror. Unfortunately I cannot control the light as I cannot control God. Such is my dilemma. You can believe that your understanding is crystal clear and accurate and yet be totally wrong if you do not have all the data. And the truth is, you can never have all the data.
            A problem now arises with how someone who can see behind the mirror describes it to the one who can’t see it. They use words that described reflections to attempt to describe something invisible to the other. If you keep complaining that the YEC movement is lost, because it inappropriately uses terms that you believe have to mean a certain thing, then you are falling victim to the ivory tower syndrome. When you believe that the truth is a person (the personal presence of God, Jesus Christ) who created physical reality, then physical reality is not the ultimate source of information. I hope that your mirror is backlit soon and you realize that evolution as an origin for life is an imaginative construct. There can only be one source for finite existence, and that is an infinite ever-existing God. All your arguments that you are clear and others are not is self-serving.

  33. ashley haworth-roberts
    April 13, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Someone who I trust has informed me “the Hebrew text had already specified that NEPHESH animals were to be taken aboard the ark” (I’ve asked him WHICH Bible verse he is referring to). IF he is correct then Jonathan Sarfati MAY be correct that invertebrates like worms and crawling insects might not have been upon Noah’s Ark (as I understand it they don’t have lungs – Genesis 2:7 and/or the phrase ‘the breath of life’ may also be relevant).

    If I made a mistake it was an honest one from reading Genesis 6: 19-20 as it is translated in the New International Version.

    • ashley haworth-roberts
      April 15, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      That said AiG are on the fence and perhaps Sarfati was being overly dogmatic about, I assume, Genesis 6: 16-17 (see footnote 1):
      https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/no-kind-left-behind/

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        April 15, 2016 at 7:06 pm

        “All your arguments that you are clear and others are not is self-serving.” They happen to be true, Michael.

        • Michael Nowlan
          April 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm

          Truth is not yours to wield Ashley, no matter how vehemently you proclaim it.

          • ashley haworth-roberts
            April 18, 2016 at 4:58 pm

            Nor yours, evasive Michael.

            Truth exists though.

          • April 19, 2016 at 2:25 am

            “Truth is not yours to wield Ashley, no matter how vehemently you proclaim it.”

            I”m not clear on what that even means, Michael Nowlan. Are you saying that somehow Ashley is not capable or not entitled or not allowed to “wield truth”? Surely you can’t mean that. Anyone who makes true statements—whether about science, history, or lexicography, for examples–is “wielding truth”. As a Christ-follower, I would think you would be in favor of truth-wielding in all its forms.

            Michael, I certainly hope that you aren’t not taking the position that you alone (and those who happen to agree with you) are the only ones capable of wielding truth.

            Frankly, Michael, you seem to be projecting on others accusations that could just as easily be applied to you. So often you fail to present any sort of evidence or logical argument. You simply proclaim yourself correct and proclaim everybody else not only wrong but EVIL IN THEIR POSITIONS because they dare disagree with your tradition-based interpretations of the Bible and the created universe. Again and again you substitute anger and denigration while others present evidence and substance.

            How about we start over again with a clean slate and examine particular issues in dispute one at a time, each presenting evidence and analysis for our position?

  34. April 14, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Biological evolution is changes in allele frequencies in populations over time. Ken Ham claims that the original pairs of animals left the ark and produced a rapid diversity of species within their kind/baramin within an approximately 200 year period. Obviously, that kind of super-sonic speed diversification of allele frequencies is certainly EVOLUTION, no matter how much Ken Ham fears the term.

    Words have meanings and the protests of a non-scientist like Ham demanding that the science academy amend the term EVOLUTION to suit his sensitivities is both sad and narcissistic. Words have meanings and anyone who claims “That is speciation, not evolution” can’t change the fact that speciation represents a undeniable changes in alleles frequencies within populations!

    Ham’s admissions that the very processes which define evolution have taken place (though far faster than any evolutionary biologist would ever claim),but then refusing to accept the word which labels them, reminds me of the humorous Potholer54 video about Kent Hovind: “Potholer and Hovind Come Together.” Hovind agrees with everything scientists say about populations of rabbits which are clearly diverging from their northern and southern varieties—but that steps back from the brink at the last minute by maintaining, “But that’s not evolution!” Likewise, Ham will admit that various evolutionary processes have diversified populations until someone explains to him that that’s what evolution is! (He always throws another hissy fit and repeats the traditional mantra denying “goo-to-you-evolution by way of the zoo” even though there’s not a biology textbook on the planet which considers abiogenesis a part of the Theory of Evolution. Of course, there’s also no “Theory of Abiogenesis”)

    I’m old enough–as an embarrassed veteran of the early “creation science” movement as a 1960’s and 1970’s speaker/debater who spread Morris’ and Whitcomb’s THE GENESIS FLOOD pseudo-science– to have witnessed first hand the gradual and reluctant admission that the evidence for evolution was overwhelming. It began with a shiftg to acceptance of evolution within a taxonomic genus. As observations of evolution multiplied, the imaginary “boundary” moved to the taxonomic family. Today, the “baramin boundary” is about as flexible and meaningless as one can get, extending even the to the class, order, and KINGDOM taxonomic unit. YECist literature abounds with silly excuses like “Yes, but its still a bacteria!” It is just a matter of time before somebody says, “Yeah, but it’s still a eukaryote. Therefore, no evolution has taken place at all!”

    Yes, Young Earth Creationist had to start dancing the “micro-macro evolution mambo” in order to cover all of their bases. Of course, you will never see them explain what processes or boundaries prevent micro-evolution to become so “extreme” that macro-evolution results, even though that hurdle was passed years ago. But much like the “It’s still a bacteria!” nonsense, the convenient perpetual ambiguities of such meaningless distinctions–and ark “baramins” which they never bother to name and define–are constant reminders that “creation science” exhibits none of the traits of REAL science.

    [Of course, the Bible says absolutely nothing about this 200 year hyper-evolution period, and Ham never provides any scientific evidence for his claim, but most of all I’m surprised nobody replies with Ham’s favorite question: Were you there? Somehow, Ham’s Young Earth Creationist followers never seem to complain when Ham pulls incredible claims out of thin air. The lack of neither scientific evidence nor scriptural evidence somehow poses no problem or even any hesitation—just like he claims that there was a single Ice Age associated with the Noahic Flood.]

    • Michael Nowlan
      April 18, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Prof. T.
      What amazes me is the religious ferocity that evolutionists proclaim their dogma, and they scream all the louder that they are not being religious. Evolution is a religion. When humans decide what is truth, they are trying to be their own god. There is no human witness to the origin of the universe (yes, I went there). If you CHOOSE not to believe in a God who can miraculously create a universe and give it life, they you CHOOSE to believe anything. Whether there are a billion people who agree with you or not, doesn’t make it any more or less true. All you have at the end of the day is only a belief, period.
      Ken Ham does not conjure up things out of thin air. He cites the Bible. I suppose to one who believes that the Bible has no authority it appears as thin air, but that is only a presupposition (belief) on your part. The only reason Keathley put this blog on was to imply that Ken Ham embraces some aspect of evolution, and somehow there is a chink in his armor. You use your own definitions and meanings and arguments all you want to attempt to open a chink in God’s armor. Whatever overwhelming evidence you claim is there only shows that your feet were not founded on the rock, and you got swept away. You claim to be a former YEC believer? So, have you abandoned belief in God altogether, or do you just believe in a miraculous resurrection while denying the potential for a miraculous creation or a global cataclysmic flood? Trying to keep your worldly scientist friends happy with compromise?
      Does God need to spell out the mechanisms of the proliferation of the earth after the flood in order for you to believe that his command of “be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it” was followed? The stubborn heart will always try to find a way to not believe, no matter how much God shows him otherwise.

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        April 18, 2016 at 5:15 pm

        “What amazes me is the religious ferocity that evolutionists proclaim their dogma, and they scream all the louder that they are not being religious.”

        What amazes me is how much young earth creationists evasively try to change the subject – and get on their soapboxes when discussing science theories.

      • April 18, 2016 at 11:49 pm

        “Evolution is a religion.”

        No. In religious studies we define a RELIGION as a reverence for the transcendent. (That definition thereby includes both theistic and non-theistic religions.) You can’t complain that evolution is “devoted to naturalism and materialism” as Young Earth Creationist leaders have complained for years while ALSO claiming that evolution is a religion. It can’t be both “naturalistic” and transcendent at the same time! Absurd contradiction. But your posts are filled with self-contradictions and illogical rubbish that is utterly foreign to the Word of God.

        “Ken Ham does not conjure up things out of thin air.”

        He does that CONSTANTLY. Or perhaps you can tell me where the Bible describes an Ice Age occurring in association with the Noahic Flood? If you can’t do it, you’ve proven my point. (If you were an honest Christ-follower, you would be able to be honest and admit that.)

        “He cites the Bible.”

        Yes, he sometimes cites the Bible. At other times he doesn’t. Again, cite the scripture which supports Ham’s teachings about the Ice Age. While you’re at it, you should also cite the scriptures which state that many diverse species were descended from the original “pairs” on Noah’s ark in a 200 year period. That’s what Ham says and you will find it on an exhibit sign at his Creation Museum. He doesn’t simply provide it as his personal opinion. He has claimed that everyone should accept that as Biblical truth.

        “The only reason Keathley put this blog on was to imply that Ken Ham embraces some aspect of evolution…”

        No. The reason Keathley mentioned it in his blog was because he and the rest of us have read and listened to Ham describe ENTIRE TAXONOMIC FAMILIES (Ham’s exact words) descending from the “baramin pairs” in 200 years. That’s a description of supersonic speed evolution (i.e., changes in allele frequency distributions in populations over time to develop entire family-level diversity.) The fact that Ham doesn’t actually call it evolution doesn’t matter. He is meeting the standard definition of evolution—although he is accelerating the processes by a factor of millions.

        “You use your own definitions and meanings…”

        No! I’m using the English language and the “definitions and meanings” which have been standard in science textbooks since before you were born. Again, you are LYING when you claim that they are MY own personal definitions and meanings. You embarrass yourself and dishonor the name of the Lord Jesus Christ when you spew lies in that manner.

        (Frankly, you’re also babbling nonsense. You are simply denying the facts of what we’ve all observed and stated because you have no actual evidence or logic behind your claims.)

        If you deny the Theory of Evolution because you are afraid that it defies the cherished traditions of your church or denomination, fine. If tradition is your guide, that’s your choice. But please don’t babble pseudo-science and illogical nonsense and repeat the lies of origins-ministry entrepreneurs who have made millions preying off the sincere but gullible. It is harmful to the Body of Christ and creates stumbling blocks to the progress of the Great Commission.

        “Whatever overwhelming evidence you claim is there only shows that your feet were not founded on the rock, and you got swept away.”

        That’s nothing but babbling childish rhetoric. (I grew up in a fundamentalist church. I know how the language of the Bible can be commandeered to promote the traditions of men. You pretend that anyone who fails to embrace the traditions of your church can’t be a “true Christian.” You are blasphemed by using God’s Word for your own carnal purposes.) When preaching to the choir, such reckless rhetoric will get you “Amen!” outbursts, but it makes no sense.

        If you don’t approve of the evolutionary processes God created, take it up with YHWH ELOHIM, the Creator, not me. But please stop repeating lies and empty mantras in the process. It is unbecoming to the Christ-follower who cares about truth.

        “You claim to be a former YEC believer? So, have you abandoned belief in God altogether, ….”

        What an inane outburst. Clearly you are the kind of fool described in the Book of Proverbs. You claim that if someone doesn’t adopt the relatively recently developed man-made traditions of Young Earth Creationist “creation science”, they have “abandoned belief in God altogether.” Now you are illustrating what it means for someone to MAKE UP THEIR OWN DEFINITIONS. If someone doesn’t agree with your beliefs about the age of the earth and how God diversified life on earth, you declare them an ATHEIST who has “abandoned belief in God altogether.” That tells me exactly who you are: a liar and the fool of the Proverbs, the mocker who scorns instruction, one who loves folly.

        I exhort you to repent of the dangerous hubris that has alienated you from showing love for your brethren in Christ and for elevating the babblings of foolish false teachers to being equal to what God has clearly revealed in the scriptures and in his Creation. I quit reading once your pathological lying went off the charts. May the Spirit of God convict you of your sin and draw you to repentance. It is not for me to decide whether or not you are an actual disciple of Jesus Christ—but a Spirit-filled Christ-follower doesn’t not delight in pathological lying. Beware of the dangers of quenching the Spirit.

        • April 19, 2016 at 11:17 am

          but a Spirit-filled Christ-follower doesn’t not delight in pathological lying.

          I wonder who’s doing the pathological lying here? The double negative in the quote above would seem to indicate that Professor Tertius as a Christ-follower does delight in pathological lying? No, that can’t be true, right? Professor Tertius is not a pathological lier, is he? Or is Michael Nowlan the pathological lier? What a conundrum. Both are Christ-followers, yet both can or can’t pathologically lie?
          I suppose if you begin with TAP, (although we must now call it to P-TAP, the Professor Tertius & Ashley Premise, pronounced pea-tap) what you proffer as rebuttal either scientifically or scripturally unless begun and screened through P-TAP is considered false and invalid outright. No amount of contrary opinion, sound doctrine, scientific evidence, or biblical exegesis will affect the outcome unless started and finished on P-TAP. And of course, the corollary premise that Professor Tertius as an ex-YEC and has seen the light of bad YEC means and ways carries additional weight in support of P-TAP, so no challenges to this premise either. He should know the truth, right? He’s come out of the cult, and like an ex-Church of Scientology member he’s zealous to see that you do as well.

          • April 21, 2016 at 4:26 pm

            Steve Drake, I’m fully aware of my double-negative typo. Unfortunately, this forum makes no provision for EDITS after posting.

            I’m legally blind and have to use special software in order to interact with webpages like this one. Unfortunately, the beta-version of the non-commercial (at this point) vision-assistance software I use has to be custom-adapted to the countless forum formats found online. The format of this forum has yet to be included in the programming so I have to get by with a rather unwieldy approximation of what fully-sighted readers are accustomed to seeing here.

            Nevertheless, it is the childishness and “The fool who mocks instruction” aspects of your posts which will prompt me to take advantage of a very handy feature of my vision-assistance software: the IGNORE feature. Your babblings don’t merit the waste of time, and I will no longer be seeing them in my display. If you have any sincere questions for me, you can probably find them already addressed on the Bible.and.Science.Forum blog on WordPress. (Don’t be fooled by the domain name recently registered by a Young Earth Creationist professor hoping to deceive and divert traffic from the BSF blog. I have no association with the pseudo-science at the bait-trap website.)

            It’s interesting that laughing at a typo is the best you could manage in attempting to refute my posts. It is also interesting that I’ve never seen this kind of behavior among Old Earth Creationists—and they eschew so many other of the childish and vacuous habits commonly found at YEC ministry websites, such as the heavy reliance on quick and total censorship of comments and the use of dishonest quote-mines.

            The contrasts between behaviors, tactics, and spiritual maturity is starkly evidence whenever Dr. Hugh Ross’ REASONS TO BELIEVE ministry is compared alongside any of the major YEC organizations. Dr. Ross and I disagree on various topics but I greatly admire and respect him as a Christian brother. I can’t say the same for the entrepreneurs of the YEC origins-ministry industry.

      • April 19, 2016 at 2:17 am

        “Whether there are a billion people who agree with you or not, doesn’t make it any more or less true.”

        And that is why you can’t find ANYWHERE in my writings that I use numbers of people to support what we know about science.

        “All you have at the end of the day is only a belief, period.”

        That statement is rubbish. Period. What scientists have at the end of the day is EVIDENCE. Exclamation point! Your FEAR of the scientific and scriptural evidence is all you have, but the progress of science and the world of advanced scientific progress you enjoy is not just a “belief”. It is REALITY based on EVIDENCE.

        If you were to write, “Personally, I don’t find the evidence for billions of years or for the Theory of Evolution at all compelling. I believe that my interpretations of the Bible render those positions impossible for me.”, I would have no problem with that—and would even defend your right to hold that position. But that isn’t your position, is it?

        I have been very stern with you because I greatly lament that I was lost in Young Earth Creationism “creation science” for far longer than I should have. I had to find my way out very slowly, on my own. Fortunately, God used some strong words of a few critics along the way to set the stage for the Holy Spirit leading me out of what was on its way to be coming a cult-like movement, one I, unfortunately, helped to create.

        I appreciate my Old Earth Creationist brethren. Rarely do OECs call me an atheist and an enemy of God. (Young Earth Creationists often do.) Dr. Hugh Ross is a wonderful brother in Christ and, even though we disagree on various scientific topics, I commend his spirit and love of the brethren and I thoroughly enjoy his worshipful presentations of his views on creation. A lot of Young Earth Creationist leaders could learn much from Dr. Ross’ Christ-like behavior and grace to all.

    • Jonathan Sarfati
      April 21, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Professor Tertius:
      “Biological evolution is changes in allele frequencies in populations over time.”

      More of the usual bait-and-switch by atheopaths and their compromising churchian allies (cf. http://creation.com/don-t-fall-for-the-bait-and-switch). In reality, if that’s all “evolution” means, then no one in the creationist movement has ever been opposed to “evolution”. But in the same breath, these same critics will attack creationists for denying “evolution”, e.g. Richard Dawkins claims that 40% of Americans deny “evolution”. Of course, 40% of Americans most definitely don’t deny change in allele frequencies over time!

      The real debate on evolution is what the late Gerald Kerkut called “the general theory of evolution”, “the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.” http://creation.com/evolution-definition-kerkut

      If this Tertius really had ever been an informed creationist as he claims, he would not have committed this equivocation fallacy. You can tell whether a claim of being a former YEC is bogus by how many elementary misundersandings of YEC teachings are illustrated.

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        May 13, 2016 at 5:29 pm

        I have only just discovered that this thread remains active.

        “Richard Dawkins claims that 40% of Americans deny “evolution”. Of course, 40% of Americans most definitely don’t deny change in allele frequencies over time!” (Sarfati.)

        If Sarfati is referring to Dawkins’ ‘The Greatest Show on Earth: the Evidence for Evolution’ (which appears to be the case since he peddled the very same argument in his ‘The Greatest Hoax on Earth; Refuting Dawkins on Evolution’) then he is attacking a strawman. I have read BOTH books. And in his book Dawkins wrote “More than 40% of Americans deny that humans evolved from other animals, and think that we – and by implication all of life – were created by God within the last 10,000 years”. Which is NOT what Sarfati is accusing him of saying.
        https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=JC6MtjmzJrkC&pg=PA430&lpg=PA430&dq=dawkins+40%25+of+americans+deny+evolution&source=bl&ots=NkGCU09257&sig=H_SDOAqpKrAyhZXknxAQDardzGE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjttrL3_NfMAhVHrRQKHVHwB1UQ6AEIIjAB#v=onepage&q=dawkins%2040%25%20of%20americans%20deny%20evolution&f=false

        Or can Sarfati point to a more recent statement by Dawkins that “40% of Americans deny changes in allele frequencies in populations over time” or “40% of Americans deny systematic increase or decrease in the frequency with which we see a particular gene in a gene pool”?

        I very much doubt it.

        I see that Sarfati also scrapes the barrel by accusing Prof Tertius (because he keeps his exact identity secret and I for one do not know his real name) of being a liar – by asserting that his claim that he was formerly a YEC is ‘bogus’. Well, the evidence suggests that Dr Sarfati is more likely to fit that description.

        http://www.amazon.com/review/R20EDOWA9ET8XI
        (I attempted to inform Dr Sarfati of this review back in 2010 – the year his book ‘refuting’ Dawkins was published.)

  35. ashley haworth-roberts
    April 18, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    And now Ken Ham himself is whining (within a self-satisfied sounding blog) about Keathley:
    https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2016/04/17/natural-selection-opposite-evolution/

    “The popular misconception that natural selection is synonymous with molecules-to-man evolution has even resulted in one theologian publicly accusing me of embracing evolution!”

    Within his blog comments Keathley did not ‘equivocate’ Liar Ken Ham. Within his blog Keathley scarcely used the phrase ‘natural selection’ Liar Ken Ham, let alone suggested that the phrase is synonymous with Darwinian evolution (which he made clear Ham does not accept). He merely said (slight paraphrase) that natural selection is the main ‘driver’ of evolution. Which it is. But Ken Ham wants to pick a fight with non-YEC Christians as well as ‘secularists’. The blog also sought to distinguish clearly between ‘evolution’ and ‘Darwinism’ – but Ham wishes to conflate the terms. Typical YEC deliberate evasiveness – for the purpose of rabble rousing.

    • ashley haworth-roberts
      April 18, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Darwinism being precisely what Ham dubs ‘molecules-to-Man evolution’.

      • April 19, 2016 at 2:30 am

        Yes, one will usually find it difficult find any mention of “molecules to man evolution” in any science textbook. Obviously, what some call “the chemical evolution of the first life on earth” and what EVERYBODY calls the Theory of Evolution are two very different things. I’ve never seen a university textbook which conflates the two and I doubt that I ever will. (Of course, that’s because most textbook authors of scientific tomes actually know what the Theory of Evolution states! I have a strong hunch that Michael does not.)

  36. Michael Nowlan
    April 19, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Wow! In trying to get this conversation finally on a spiritual level, I guess I finally struck a nerve. Which is good. Prof. T. Please understand that this is my attempt at tough love. I have not condemned you. I am willing to let you believe whatever you want, but you have to understand that no one can have a perfect grasp of what is real, because we are limited in our senses and sight. We all decide what to believe after we filter a limited amount of data through a fallible brain. All of us, including me and including you. You can proclaim “EVIDENCE” as the supreme arbiter, but I could throw the same harsh words back at you. Every bit of evidence must be interpreted by a brain to have meaning. Stop proclaiming there is such a thing as objective truth that is obvious to everyone. The same evidence can be interpreted a myriad of ways.
    I simply pointed out that your belief may be founded on a “special interpretation” of scripture, or perhaps not on scripture at all. There is so much defensiveness in your responses that it’s obvious your belief system was questioned. The sad issue is that you don’t believe it is a belief system. Evolution does not even rise to a level of theory, by the way, according to the scientific method, but I’m sure you’ve heard that diatribe before. Everything that questions your reality seems like a diatribe.
    Does God need to spell out every detail of reality from the beginning to now in the Bible in order for you to give it any sense of validity? If the Bible contained details on “great snows” and frozen areas that we call “the Ice Age”, and that it occurred after the Great Flood, and it stated that it lasted 200 years, would that make you believe it any more? How about the accelerated speciation from ark to today. If the Bible said in Jesus day that the two cats on the ark were propagated to vast varieties from the time of Abraham to the time of Moses, would you believe it any more?
    Your dismissal of other people’s beliefs only shows the weakness of your own.

    • Michael Nowlan
      April 20, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Prof. T.,
      I must confess that I had no idea who I was responding to, not that anyone does because of your chosen anonymity. I honestly knew nothing of your tortured past, or previous blogs. I apologize if I offended in asking questions with respect to your beliefs (not knowing them at the time). I never called you a fool in my postings. From what I have now read, and looking at your posts on this blog, it is my understanding now that you believe in God, but that you also believe that God used evolution over long periods of time to “create”. I am sorry that you were attacked in the past by YEC zealots. I believe that there are zealots and legalists in every denomination and facet of Christianity. There will always be those that simply bash and scream their arguments to “win”. That being said, I do not automatically dismiss an argument simply because it was screamed by someone. In other words, the ferociousness of the messenger does nothing to convince me of the veracity of the argument. It is obvious that you were hurt in the past. We will all answer for every act we commit.
      Now, if I may, I would like to ask a few questions with regard to your position that God has made his creative acts clear in scripture and that the YEC movement is a cult for believing in “24-hour” creative days. It is my understanding that one of the biggest problems in believing in 24-hour days is the creation of the sun on the fourth day. I heard it many times. How can a day be understood as 24-hours if the sun was not yet created? I think this was even cited in “Inherit the Wind”. I do not believe that the creation of time required the creation of the clock first. In other words, I believe God could have created the time period we now know as a “day”, and then created the mechanisms of the sun and stars and orbits to keep track of the days, but not necessarily define them. Let’s put that aside for a second. If God created over long periods of time, why didn’t he say so? It is my understanding that the Hebrew language allowed for reference to a “long period of time”. So why did God choose the word “day” to describe his creative acts, if there was a clearer way of describing it? If the text of Genesis still proclaims long periods of time to you, rather than 24-hour days, then is the sequence of events at least correct? If so, how did the plants survive from “day 3” to “day 4” if the sun was not yet created? If your answer is that Genesis is both unclear on the duration of the creative acts and the sequence of the creative acts, then how did it get written down as such? To me, the only clear and consistent interpretation of Genesis 1, and trustworthy interpretation of all scripture is that God said it right, in both sequence and duration. To me, it is otherwise a confusing mess.
      I look forward to your loving response.

  37. April 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you, Michael Nowlan. Excellent questions. Give me just a little time and I should have an adequate overview with answers to your questions by tomorrow (Thursday.) It will necessarily cover everything but I think it will be a good start.

    I would post it now but I type very fast but tend to omit keywords and littered with typos. So proofreading it the next day tends to help a lot. I think you will find the eventual product useful.

    Blessings on you.

  38. April 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

    The real question in all this, and the unmentioned elephant in the room, is why sincere Christians like Professor Tertius and Ken Keathley and a host of others continue to adopt positivism as their default assumption of thought, when there is a clear conflict between the secular worldview and their own.

    • April 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Steve Drake wrote:
      “The real question in all this, and the unmentioned elephant in the room, is why sincere Christians like Professor Tertius and Ken Keathley and a host of others continue to adopt positivism as their default assumption of thought…”

      My question is how Mr. Drake came to misunderstand and misapply the definition of the word POSITIVISM. I’d bet that he found the term misused and abused on various Young Earth Creationist websites. (When I was still part of the “creation science” movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s, I repeatedly clashed with Drs. Morris and Gish over the fact that even when their errors were publicly exposed in an audience Q&A and they conceded their error—sometimes even promising to correct their error in “the next edition of the book”—they would repeat their fallacies at the next event a week later as if nothing were said or promised. Of course, the next editions of their books would be published without the promised corrections. This was one of many sin problems which God brought to my attention to convict me of my personal culpability in the rise of the false teachers and entrepreneurs of the YEC origins industry.)

      I would challenge Steve Drake to tell us what he thinks POSITIVISM means and where in my posts I have made positivist claims. (If he had read my blog articles at the Bible.and.Science.Forum, he would have known that I’ve often denounced positivist opponents. The real kind. Not the imaginary ones arising from the misuse of the word.)

      The bigger elephant in the room is the question of whether these kinds of nonsensical arguments—including the misuse of science and philosophy technical terminology which so commonly appears on YEC websites— are due to ignorance, dishonesty, or both. Moreover, I caution readers not to focus blame on people who naively but sincerely swallow such bloopers, but to denounce the Young Earth Creationist ministry leaders who mislead, exploit, and prey upon those who naively trust them to tell the truth.

  39. April 21, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Michael Nowlan, I appreciate your intelligent questions. I’m a little pressed for time but I will try to be cover a huge topic quickly, and then you can always ask more questions to hone in on what may be unclear due to brevity.

    One of our greatest difficulties in interpreting an ancient text is understanding it on its own terms in its own language and culture. That includes recognizing its GENRE. What kind of literature is it? It is VERY EASY (too easy) for those of us who are a product of western civilization to demand that an ancient share our cultural presuppositions about what such a text is meant to convey. To cut to the chase: How do you know that Genesis 1 was intended to be a “literal” chronological description of an actual “creation week” of six 24 hour days? Was that the intention of the author? Do you understand that within the Old Testament are many kinds of literary genre, all of which can be the revelation of God to us and yet without necessarily requiring a western mindset? (Michael, that’s a rhetorical question using the generic you plural. I’ve no doubt that you as a Bible reader are familiar with the many literary genre in scripture.) Before my retirement, I often taught Socratically and that is what I’d like to do here.

    We know that in the Psalms, for example, there are tributes to God which speak in very figurative and almost ecstatic terms of praise. We see similar genres in some of the major prophets, such as when God is master even over the mythical creatures of neighboring cultures’ religious traditions (e.g. the leviathan.) There’s nothing wrong with an author in the Bible, or a prophet explaining God’s truths, using themes, expressions, and even fictional concepts from the cultures of the Ancient Near East.

    Similarly, in Genesis we see a literary genre which is not at all like the narrative texts of the Old Testament. Even in English it doesn’t read at all like a simple historical narrative. It is loaded with structures one doesn’t find in any historical narrative, such as the patterns of 3+3 parallelism and chiasmic structures. Most of all, it is has SIX YOM “STANZAS”, each followed by a verbatim-repeated CHORUS: “And the evening and the morning was the Nth YOM.” That is clearly more poem-like or song-like than a common feature in historical reports of a series of events.

    Furthermore, notice that each YOM in Genesis 1 is devoted to a particular “domain” of the world, one which neighboring religions attribute to various gods and goddesses—but the author of Genesis 1 emphasizes that for every possible domain of the world we observe, ELOHIM is sovereign. He is not just “the god of the sea” or “the god of dry land” or “the god of the sea” or “the god of the birds of the air”. He is master of all. Where an entire pantheon of deities is assumed in the neighboring religions, the God of Israel is the one supreme deity who created everything and rules all of those domains.

    I often call Genesis 1 a “hymnic tribute”. Besides all of the obvious structures that are inescapable even in English—surely you’ve seen them described in great detail in various commentaries—this emphasis also explains why the author seems oblivious to the self-contradictions entailed in observing that there was light before there was the sun and that there was “evenings” and “mornings” before there were any of the physical elements which would give those words meaning. (How can you have an evening and a morning without a sun? And by the way, did you notice that an evening and a morning do NOT define a 24 hour day? At most, a “literal” interpretation would demand a 12 hour period. Of course, it is not clear at all why a “literal interpretation” is called for. After all, we don’t approach the “hymnic tribute” chapters of the Psalms and the major prophets in that way. So why should we do so in Genesis 1?)

    Notice that even though Christians have traditionally assumed EX NIHILO creation, there is not a trace of that teaching in Genesis 1. (Of course, there is no reason there has to be.) Instead, Genesis 1:1 makes a summary statement and then Genesis 1:2 describes an initial condition of great chaos. Indeed, anyone who has studied the cosmologies of the ancient Near East will notice that the very same cosmology appears here: chaos is turned into order. Everything in the world has its beginnings in the TOHU VAVOHU chaos, and then ELOHIM (a plural form, and also with the pronoun expressed as “us”) moves over the face of the dark WATERS. When/how were the waters created? How was the “vast and void” face of the deep created? That would be a problem for an historical narrative but it poses no problem within a hymnic tribute. The latter has a different purpose.

    What we see in Genesis 1 is a view of the ancient world much like that of every other culture in that area, right down to strange details like a “hard-shell” dome over the ERETZ much like an upside-down bowl. And that firmament is what supports the stars in the sky. Of course, today we know that there is no such glass dome over us and that astronauts can journey into space without crashing into such a firmament. Yes, this is an ancient text that is very similar to the cosmology of the neighboring cultures. It describes things which don’t exist and never existed.

    But how does this Genesis 1 account of “in the beginning” differ from other cosmologies of the day? Unlike the neighboring cultures, it presumes that God is in charge of everything. There is not any creation by passive or accidental means, such as the rotting of a deity’s body parts. No, ELOHIM wisely and deliberately commands everything according to his will. And even though a 24-hour day has no meaning within a “reality” without any sun and planet earth relationship which can define such a YOM, that doesn’t matter. Why? Because the primary message is focused on something else entirely: that God is so powerful that he can create an entire world (1) without any help from other deities, and (2) that his power is so great that he can do it in a single work-week—making a dramatic comparison between what humans can do and what God can do.

    Genesis 1 is not a text meant to be tell a story of a series of events. It is an expression of how a single sovereign God of Israel is master of everything and created every single domain of the world with no other deities to rival him. It is a hymnic tribute loaded with literary structure, parallelism, chiasms, and all using language and genre which were familiar to the culture and even the rest of the Ancient Near Eastern world.

    We live in a culture which is downright obsessed with chronology. A a result, most European languages rely heavily on grammatical tense indicators, and a careful description of what is before, after, and concurrent. Anyone with broad linguistic and translation experience will tell you that there are many cultures and languages where tense and temporal relationships matter very little. Indeed, every seminary student learns that Hebrew verbs don’t even have tense indicators!

    Indeed, while we tend to see a text about six YOM to mean “this happened on YOM #1, then this happened on YOM #2, …”, the Jewish rabbi who taught my Hebrew grammar sequence long ago kept reminding us that we could NOT force our western minds and concerns into the Biblical text. Where we see chronological sequence, they see literary structures and symbolism, such as YOM #1 & #4 sharing particular meanings, and so with YOM #2 & #5 as well as YOM #3 and #6. Of course, he also explained that YOM #7 was missing the usual chorus, “And the evening and the morning was the Nth YOM”, because it was not referring to a 24-hour day at all. Indeed, even most Christian commentators concede that God remains in YOM #7, at “rest” from his creative works. YOM #7 of creation week has never ended. (YOM #7 is also a reminder that even the strictest hyper-literalist interpreters of Genesis 1 are forced to abandon their literalism when the problems and conflicts are just too great.)

    There is nothing “erroneous” in what the author(s) of Genesis 1 wrote about the God the Creator—unless we unjustly and anachronistically demand that the text be something it isn’t. It isn’t a scientific description of creation. It isn’t even a chronological description of creation. In fact, it is more like some of the Psalms’ descriptions of the works of God. Most Young Earth Creationists tend to read Genesis 1 as if it is focused on the SHAMAYIM and the ERETZ (the SKY and the LAND.) Yet, the ACTUAL focus is ELOHIM, the creator of all. The author(s) doesn’t know any more about cosmology and science than his peers in the neighboring cultures. (That’s why they author(s) thought that there is a solid dome over the ERETZ which holds the stars on it as it rotates.) Yet, even while knowing nothing about Copernican astronomy and making no attempts at scientific explanation, the author(s)’ theology of the Creator is dead on harmonious with that of the rest of the Bible.

    When we read Genesis 1 in its own cultural context, everything makes sense. Yet, when we anachronistically try to force it into our own cultural and English language expectations, we wallow in internal contradictions, gaps, and irresolvable hermeneutical conflicts. (Who’da thought?)

    TRADITION is our greatest obstacle when we interpret Biblical texts. And so much of what we THINK we see in Genesis 1 is only “there” because we’ve been TOLD that it is there! We all struggle to put aside our cherished traditions and our long-held assumptions when we read such a well-known passage of scripture.

    God gave us two great books of revelation: his Book of Scriptures (the Bible) and his Book of Creation (the universe itself.) When we demand that Genesis 1 conform to our modern demands and cherished traditions, it forces us into arduous and perpetual contradictions between God’s two books of revelation, two accounts which explain the history of the universe. Yet when we allow Genesis 1 to speak to us on its own cultural terms, the unnecessary conflicts totally disappear. No longer are there “claims” in Genesis 1 which are totally refuted by the history God gave us in creation itself.

    I refuse to believe that the God of the Bible is deceptive and contradictory. I believe BOTH of his revelations can be trusted. Accordingly, whenever there APPEARS to be a conflict between the two, I can be confident that the ERROR OF INTERPRETATION is on my part, not in God the author of both.

    Unfortunately, many Christians have decided that fallible man is INFALLIBLE when interpreting God’s book of scripture but FALLIBLE when interpreting God’s book of creation (the universe.) This is an absurd double-standard. In fact, common sense tells us that there is far more clarity in the consensus of the evidence from the created world than there is in the constantly and perpetually-in-conflict interpretations of scripture promoted even among very doctrinally-similar Bible-affirming evangelical Christians!

    So when I see the clarity in God’s historical record of the story of life on earth, for example, I realize that there is conflict with our traditional interpretations of Genesis 1 ONLY when there is a failure on our part to accept the genre and the cultural/linguistic context of the pericope.

    When I was a young man, I knew pastors who freely admitted that the evidence within the creation itself stood in total contradiction to a hyper-literal interpretation of Genesis 1. I well remember those preachers telling their people, “God put dinosaur bones and rocks in the ground to confuse the proud atheist scientists and to test the faith of His people!” So rather than expecting God to be a God of truth, harmony, and order, they described a deceptive deity who plants false evidence to fool and test us. Sadly, today’s “creation science” Young Earth Creationists continue that tradition—except they fail to be honest and upfront on the implications of their claims. They arbitrarily assume that the history of the created world which God reveals in creation itself can’t be trusted while THEIR LITERALIST INTERPRETATIONS of the Bible (and theirs alone) is the only reliable history which God has given us.

    No, I refuse to believe that God is a deceiver. So, ultimately, I can only accept interpretations of the Bible and of the created universe which tell a consistent, harmonious story of God’s creation. Unlike my many years as a Young Earth Creationist activist, how I can find and enjoy that peace and harmony. And instead of science being an obstacle to faith, it helps me to understand an incredibly wondrous world that exhorts and inspires me to praise the Creator.

    When fallible man’s interpretations of scripture conflict with fallible man’s interpretations of the scientific evidence, the problem is not due to God’s errors but our own. In the rare circumstance where I sense a conflict between the revelations in God’s scriptures and God’s universe, I assume that there is error in my interpretations of one or the other or both. God does not lie and God does not deceive us. So the conflict is in our fallible minds, not the plan of God for his creation and not in the revelations of God.

    The Theory of Evolution ranks among the very best attested theories in all of science. It has survived 150+ years of falsification attempts, and there is not a shred of evidence to debunk the theory. (That’s why no university biology textbook wastes time on “the strengths and weaknesses” of the theory. In contrast, there are many gaps and problems in Newton’s Theory of Universal Gravitation—but I don’t hear any science-denialists clamoring for “teaching both sides” of Newtonian science.) So when I consider that there is nothing in the scriptures to deny or defy the evolutionary processes we observe in operation all around us, and which continues to diversify and adapt life on earth, I have no difficulty accepting the undeniable history of life on earth which God has given us in both special revelation and general revelation.

    Yes, God has clearly revealed to us the amazing power of the evolutionary processes which God in his wisdom chose to utilize for creating the biosphere which we observe today. Truly, God said it. I believe it. And that settles it. It is time that Christ-followers learn to live with it, and to praise God for the choices he made in designing the universe—even when we don’t think that those choices meet our personal approval. The love of man-made traditions and hyper-literalism in the Pharisee dwelling inside each and every one of us (at one time or another) has long been a recurrent impediment to accepting the will of God in the world. It explains why Christians are often among the last to accept various scientific facts and revolutions. Christian leaders passionately fought against Copernican heliocentric astronomy as “obviously in total defiance of the scriptures” and many will continue to oppose the Theory of Evolution in exactly the same manner and words. We have a poor track record for learning from our history. We keep repeating our patterns of mistakes and stubborn pride and we are slow to learn from the sins of our ancestors—just as ancient Israel was prone to do.

  40. April 21, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Yes, God has clearly revealed to us the amazing power of the evolutionary processes which God in his wisdom chose to utilize for creating the biosphere which we observe today.

    Sure. The engine of evolution being death, Christ in His work of creation cared enough about His creatures that He designed physical death and built it into the fabric of His created order over millions and billions of years. He then had to enter history in the form of the God-man, suffer horribly and die a physical death to defeat the physical death He built the system with in the first place. Makes sense.

    • April 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      “He then had to enter history in the form of the God-man, suffer horribly and die a physical death to defeat the physical death He built the system with in the first place. Makes sense.”

      Yes it does. It makes complete sense. God wisely built biological death into his creation and that is why we see it already in existence even before the fall. (Why would the fruit of the Tree of Life be needed for avoiding death if death didn’t yet exist? Have you ever actually READ the Book of Genesis?)

      God in his wisdom designed the biosphere to be dependent on the death of organisms to recycle nutrients. Otherwise, the reproduction of living things on earth would quickly overwhelm the planet and make life impossible.

      Only human death was said to be conquered by the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Tree of Life provided an antidote for Adam and Eve because they would otherwise be subject to death, just like all other animals and plants! (One more time: No antidote is necessary if the “poison” it addresses does not exist.) After the fall, they were banished from the garden and access to the Tree of Life so that they could no longer avoid the processes of death which had been functioning throughout creation outside of the garden all along.

      Yes, biological death has always been part of God’s plan for ecosystems. (Or do you think Satan is another creator deity and created biological death?) That’s why even in the garden in Eden, living cells died in the stomachs of Adam and Eve every time they ate a meal! But IMAGO DEI humans were offered a continual existence exempted from the death seen in the rest of the biosphere. They sinned and, as they had been warned, “You will surely die”. Death became the norm for them just as it had been all along for the plants they had been eating.

      Steve, I do hope that you will read the scriptures and accept its authority—and abandon the manmade traditions which have blinded you to what the Bible so clearly states.

      Goodbye, Steve.

      Good bye, Steve Drake. You posted before I set my software to ignore you. But now that is addressed.

  41. April 22, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Yes it does. It makes complete sense. God wisely built biological death into his creation and that is why we see it already in existence even before the fall. (Why would the fruit of the Tree of Life be needed for avoiding death if death didn’t yet exist? Have you ever actually READ the Book of Genesis?)

    This isn’t Christianity anymore. I don’t know what this is. Make-believe? I love these old-earth guys, not only do they want to equivocate and bait and switch with the words evolution and positivism, but they want to make up their own pseudo-Christianity replete with their own versions of understanding completely divorced from Scripture and any of the historic creeds. Roundly mocking God’s omniscience and holy perfection they posit He ‘experimented’ over millions and billions of years through a wasteful and horrible process of trial and error, disease and decay, death and destruction, with untold millions of living creatures dying in the process and call it all ‘very good’…part of God’s benevolent plan, indeed his loving plan for His created order. Rightly do even the secular evolutionists have no truck with them.

    • Saito Singh
      April 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      I saw Professor Tertius’ *Genesis 1 as Hymnic Tribute* essay (above) in the BSF email newsletter and decided to check out Dr. Keathley’s blog. Great topics! And the comments here are often interesting in their own right.

      I’m fascinated, though not surprised, by Stephen Drake’s very “YECish” assumption that with anything which is not totally familiar and traditional within the recent belief-system of young earth creationists, it thereby “isn’t Christianity anymore.” That would be downright humorous if it weren’t so tragic. Many of us care about what God has revealed in his scriptures and in his creation a lot more than what YECs tell us we must believe. Incredible.

      Drake made no attempt at serious analysis or argument. He simply complains that it isn’t traditional and that it apparently scares him. Why? Because Steve Drake has a special inside track on what God would and wouldn’t do! Somebody has convinced him that because some natural processes are “random”, they are therefore beyond the sovereignty of God. Of course, a greater familiarity with the scriptures could solve that deficiency (God controls even the casting of lots, we are told in scripture) but Steve clearly knows a lot more about Christian _traditions_ than about what God’s Bible and God’s creation tells us. According to Steve, we should look to him and his young earth creationist
      friends for an understanding of what God did in diversifying the biological world. He certainly doesn’t want us to read the revelation which God himself placed in his creation.

      Steve further ridicules our Creator by saying that evolution processes (which we clearly observe all around us in God’s creation) operating over billions of years would be _”experimenting”_. Again Steve rejects the sovereignty of God. (He called it “experimenting” so as to imply that it was somehow out of God’s control or that God didn’t know the outcome.) Steve, when the human immune system “experiments” with many varieties of protein folding in order to produce the right antibodies to fight infection, do you complain that God would never subject us to an “experiment” and “a wasteful and horrible process of trial and error”?

      You see, to Steve, it just doesn’t seem “loving” to him that God would create a world where death is part of God’s plan. (After all, Steve knows best what is and isn’t loving.) Steve makes this claim apparently oblivious to the many ways in which death is central to the ecosystems God created and to the salvation of sinners in general. (Yes, Christians for centuries have even used the traditional symbol of the cross of Jesus, an instrument of death, to represent our faith!) And what is central to dealing with sin and repentance in the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament? Death through animal sacrifices. Yes, death is about as central to the plan of God as it could possibly be!

      Sure, Steve, God would _never_ use death throughout his creation and in both the old and new covenants with his people. (Sarcasm alert.) That just wouldn’t be “loving”. According to Steve, that is. Now we know.

      Steve, do you know what some prominent Christian theologians said when Copernicus and Newton explained the motions of the planets and the heliocentric model, the solar system? They said, “No! God would never never do things that way!” and “A literal reading of the Bible denies any such possibilities.” Those rantings didn’t just come from obscure, no-name Christ-followers, but from some of the great heroes of the Reformation. (At the time, many Christians preferred, “God commands his angels to propel the heavenly bodies in their paths, carrying out His will for the operation of the universe. God doesn’t need scientists to explain anything beyond these obvious facts.”)

      It only took a few generations for “The Bible absolutely denies that!” to become “Not only has the Church never denied such obvious science, nothing in the Bible ever conflicted with these scientific facts.” Yes, those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. Christians are going through the same transition in their thinking about evolutionary processes. Just as with heliocentrism, despite the angry protests of many theologians at the time, the evidence became too obvious and overwhelming. Evolutionary processes are even among the most obvious of all scientific realities because there are so many independent bodies of evidence towards the consilience.

      Yes, Steve is right about one thing: It is not your _tradition-based_ version of Christianity anymore. Even the most determined, tradition-loving Pharisee is unable to stand up against the revelations of God in His Bible and in His created universe. The evidence for the history of life on earth which God gives us is just too overwhelming.

      As the old saying goes: God said it. I believe it. That settles it. And that includes what God said in every organism’s genome He has created.

      • April 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm

        I’m fascinated, though not surprised, by Stephen Drake’s very “YECish” assumption that with anything which is not totally familiar and traditional within the recent belief-system of young earth creationists, it thereby “isn’t Christianity anymore.” That would be downright humorous if it weren’t so tragic. Many of us care about what God has revealed in his scriptures and in his creation a lot more than what YECs tell us we must believe. Incredible.

        The incredible part of this, in calling yourself a student of the Christ, is your adherence to a man-made belief system…the unregenerate man’s creation myth. Jacques Monod, atheist and Nobel Laureate said it well in speaking of evolution:

        The more cruel because it is a process of elimination, of destruction. The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethics revolts. An ideal society is a non-selective society, is one where the weak is protected; which is exactly the reverse of the so-called natural law. I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set-up in order to have evolution.

        Self-proclaimed, self-called Christian prophets of the evolutionary mantra, as proof of their illiteracy of orthodox Christian history, despising sound doctrine, unaware and/or ignoring and twisting the truths from Scripture and the historic creeds and councils that have come before them, posit that they are the truly “enlightened ones”; that Christians must adapt to the times and follow them in the Pied Piper’s musical soliloquy of evolutionary dogma. Continuing in the footsteps of the unregenerate man in their disdain for God’s Word, in clear contradistinction to the Christ they claim to adore and love, they make Christ in his work of creation out to be a demon and monster, willfully and purposefully infusing death and destruction, disease and decay, into His creation over millions and billions of years and then tell us with a straight face that He is a God of love and benevolence, perfect and holy in His attributes, His omniscience clearly on display. Even an atheist can see through this folly.

        Realizing the secular evolutionists will have no truck with them, they continue in their blind adherence to man-made philosophies and vain-thinking, never understanding the mind of Christ, foolish and darkened in their understandings, never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Carried about by the trickery of unregenerate men they scheme deceitfully and craftily in internet blog posts proselytizing their false doctrines in hopes of converting even the elect.

    • Saito Singh
      April 22, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      Steve Drake,
      I’ve noticed that you are misusing the word “positivism”, even applying it toward your Christian brethren! That makes no sense. I don’t blame you for this because I’ve often seen the word used improperly on various ministry websites.

      Positivism is a philosophical system which says that every rational, justifiable assertion must be subject to scientific verification or mathematical-logical proof. Of course, that means that it wholly rejects theism and all metaphysics.

      Obviously, it makes no sense to call any evangelical Christian a positivist. They can’t hold that God created everything and embrace positivism at the same time. It sounds like you are confusing positivism with the methodological naturalism of modern science. The fact that the scientific method depends upon methodological naturalism does not mean that evangelical Christians working in the scientists are positivists!

      Unfortunately, there are many Christian ministries which automatically label anyone who doesn’t share their exact set of beliefs as “atheists”. When you label your Christian brethren “positivists”, you are making a similar error. (Of course, if one does so after being informed of the meaning of the word, its a serious violation of the scriptures.)

      I find that a lot of Christian ministries today are routinely hurling technical terms from philosophy at their perceived enemies without bothering to learn what the words mean. Non-believers see this behavior and do judge us for it. (It is bad enough when they judge our ignorance. It is far more serious when they rightly criticize our behavior in failing to reflect the love of Christ towards others who dare disagree with us.)

      Please don’t repeat an unfortunate and unChrist-like behavior that is creating obstacles to the advancement of the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  42. Saito Singh
    April 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Dr. Keathley, I certainly agree that Ken Ham’s statements about speciation are in sharp contrast to the “creation science” of the 1960’s. However, acceptance of the _concept_ of macro-evolution even while still denying the term itself has been happening in the young earth creationist community for a long time.

    That is, when the reality of evolution beyond the alleged species boundaries became overwhelming in the 1970’s, even for YECs, even creation science advocates like Henry Morris started staying that speciation was possible through evolutionary processes, even though he carefully avoided those terms. So Ken Ham is simply continuing a game that preceded him.

    When Morris (all four generations) and Ham talk about _macroevolution_, they are not using the term correctly, as a real scientist would use it. They pretend that macroevolution means “evolution beyond the baramin/kind boundary”.

    So even though they like to use “I believe in micro-evolution but not macro-evolution” because it is a concise and pithy defiance of modern science, never assume that they mean what any science-literate person assumes those standard terms mean. They have for years now accepted evolutionary change beyond the species taxonomic category, which scientists call “macro-evolution”. Yet their meaning is “no beyond the baramin/kind boundary” evolution.

    It would probably make a lot more sense and avoiding general confusion if Ham and friends were to start saying: “I believe in intra-baramin evolution but not inter-baramin evolution.” Because kind/baramin is not a scientific term, YECs can define it as they wish and then maintain that there is some imaginary but convenient boundary around each baramin which prevents evolution from progressing beyond the baramin level. (Of course, it’s nonsense but it is clearly _their_ nonsense! They have zero science to support it but nobody confuses it with science anyway, so it doesn’t matter.)

    So….yes. Ken Ham believes and states that macro-evolution takes place. But he simply refuses to call it that. Sometimes he even calls it “speciation”. But he is doing the same thing Henry Morris started doing in the 1960’s: manipulating scientific terminology whenever it suits his purpose. Ham pretends that speciation is not macroevolution. In fact, Ham generally avoids calling all sorts of phenomena “evolution” even though that is what biologists call the various processes and the terms have appeared in texbooks for generations now. Ham will continue to accept many of the concepts of evolution even while avoiding the terminology. Most YECs continue that tradition which Morris and Gish made famous.

    Ham & Co. even play the game of claiming that “evolutionists” have multiple and contradictory definitions of evolution. Ham refuses to acknowledge that “changes in allele frequencies in populations over time” is evolution just as “common descent with modification and adaptation” is another way to say the same thing. Yes, it’s a free country and anyone can pick and choose what they want to believe. But that doesn’t change standard terminology published by scientists, the very same terminology which appears in university textbooks.

    A few years ago Ken Ham made a big deal about his new AIG “baraminology project”. Insiders tell me that there is a lot of frustration that despite the many millions of dollars AIG churns through annually, there is virtually nothing budgeted for actual scientific research. Ham simply doesn’t care about science and the staff know it. So nobody should anticipate any evidence-based papers appearing in peer-reviewed journals explaining what baramins were aboard Noah’s Ark and what modern and extinct species descended from each baramin/kind.

    Furthermore, although Ham and others like to say that “a baramin-kind is usually a taxonomic family”, they readily ignore this vague claim whenever it suits their purposes. Indeed, when necessary, they will claim that a baramin constitutes an entire order, class, or even an entire KINGDOM of diverse species! After all, when shown the evidence for evolution among flavobacteria, Ham says, “But it’s still a bacteria!” That is akin to say, “Yes, but it’s still an animal. So that can’t be called evolution!”

    This “baramin-inflation” of the young earth creationist apologists hardly has any farther that it can go. It is just a matter of time until some clueless YEC says, “That’s not evolution. After all, it’s still a eukaryote!”

    (I thank Professor Tertius for that one. Definitely one of my favorites.)
    _____________________________

    [Apparently my attempts to use bold and italic attributes in my comments did not fit the requirements of this website’s software. I couldn’t find where the tag characters for such attributes are listed and defined.]

  43. Michael Nowlan
    May 4, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Professor Tertius,

    I wish to continue the conversation, but I fear that the opportunity to converse with you via this blog thread has been lost. I believe even Ken Keathley has given up on this thread. I have had some time to ponder your lengthy discussion and my questions are not fully satisfied. I visited your blog, but the last post was over six months ago last year. I will check back each day, and I will look for other opportunities in the future. If God wants us to keep talking we will “meet” again.
    Mike

  44. May 6, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Michael Nowlan wrote:
    “I wish to continue the conversation, but I fear that the opportunity to converse with you via this blog thread has been lost.”

    Both on this page and on the BSF blog, I am only notified of your visit if you actually post. So that is why I didn’t post any further until I got the notification for your May 4 post.

    As to Cowboy Bob Sorensen and his “Anonymous” sock puppet identity, he’s been bragging for years about his alleged “victories” over all who dare oppose his claims—until someone like me actually challenges him. Then he always goes silent and runs away, returning to his Piltdown Superman blog where reader comments aren’t allowed and where he declares himself the undefeated champion. His refusal to engage The Laws of Thermodynamics discussion with me shows that even he knows enough about the science to know that his position indefensible. (Ironically, he complains about my identity even while posting under the username “Anonymous.” He’d rather engage in the Argument from Authority Fallacy and the Generic Fallacy rather than discuss the SCIENCE and the SCRIPTURES. He refuses to discuss the actual EVIDENCE on any forum where he doesn’t have censorship controls.)

    HOWEVER, I’m not at all blameless in the origins debate. I was a Young Earth Creationist speaker/debater back in the 1960’s and 1970’s and helped launch the “creation science” movement, which has done so much damage to the evangelical Christian witness in America and which has created very serious impediments to the Great Commission.
    Unfortunately, many of the pseudo-scientific and pseudo-scriptural arguments for Young Earth Creationism which I once so passionately promoted are now NOT ONLY assumed to be “factual”. Many Christians wrongly assume that the YEC position has been the only orthodox position of the Church since the time of the Apostles.

    Due to disabilities from aging and a recent series of strokes, I’m not as active in the origins debate as I once was. Nevertheless, I still feel a great deal of culpability and responsibility to address the damage I did as a young professor speaking and writing outside of his areas of expertise during that era when Young Earth Creationist was NOT the default origins position within the Church in America. Entrepreneur false teachers like Hovind, Ham, Comfort, et al would not have been able to launch their mega-ministries and prey off of the trusting but uninformed masses without the foundation poured by those of us drawn in by THE GENESIS FLOOD (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.) Our gullibility has been multiplied many times over.

    One of the saddest results of the origins-debate has been the rancor and division caused by the lie that anyone denying the young earth position has a “low view” of scripture. One of the many reasons I renounced my former YEC positions was the low view of creation and the Creator that was growing within the “creation science” movement. (Even though many YECs are oblivious to that dynamic, non-believers both then and now are not.) I had no idea that that ominous trend would grow exponentially over the decades.

    Michael, I’m very willing to answer your questions and if ever I don’t receive notification of your posts, you can contact me through the Bible.and.Science.Forum address at Gmail. (If you put “Professor Tertius” in the subject field, the auto-forwarding software should notify me even if an RA overlooks your message.)

  45. May 6, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Michael wrote:

    “If God created over long periods of time, why didn’t he say so? It is my understanding that the Hebrew language allowed for reference to a “long period of time”. So why did God choose the word “day” to describe his creative acts, if there was a clearer way of describing it?”

    Are you sure you want to pursue the “Why didn’t God do/say things like I would?” argument? Try applying the same “logic” to Jesus’ choice of OBSCURING his meanings by the use of parables? The disciples applied your argument when they complained to Jesus, “Why do you make things hard to understand?”

    Indeed, why didn’t Jesus CLEARLY speak of his three days in the tomb and then being resurrected—instead of saying, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

    I could mention a great many examples in the scriptures where God chose to do things HIS way instead of how you or I might prefer. Yet, most of the time God chose to state things in ways which made complete sense in ANCIENT HEBREW CULTURE but which doesn’t fit into our cultural expectations. Genesis 1 is a prime example. We know from the study of Ancient Near East culture and the texts of those cultures that Genesis 1 fit very well into what people would understand. You are basically demanding that Genesis 1 provide a chronological presentation and “scientific” explanation of origins—something entirely foreign to the culture and irrelevant to the author’s purpose. Genesis 1 is focused on the sovereignty of the CREATOR, ELOHIM, and how he contrasts with the pagan gods and goddesses of the neighboring cultures’ pantheons, where each deity was in charge of a single domain of the world (e.g., fish of the sea, birds of the air.)

    Rather than allowing recent Christian TRADITIONS of your particular church/denomination/movement dictate what the Biblical text must say and mean, why not allow the Bible to speak for itself to its original audience? If Genesis 1 was actually intended to convey strict chronological narrative, why is it constructed in ways so foreign to that genre? How does it compare to prose narratives of the HMT? Why is it written in the form of six YOM-stanzas, each followed by a repetitive chorus? (And yes, I’m very familiar with the lame, long ago discredited “YOM with an ordinal number” argument. It reminds us of just how desperate for evidence YECism has become.)

    God has given us two great works of revelation, his scriptures and his creation. If ever the two appear not to be in harmony, the weakness is not in God’s revelations. The problem is in our INTERPRETATIONS and UNDERSTANDINGS of those revelations. So when there is the appearance of conflict, we can assume that the conflict arose from our misinterpretation of scripture, the universe (i.e., creation), or both. The central flaw of the last half century of Young Earth Creationism in America is the assumption that (1) YECist interpretation of scripture is infallible, while (2) our interpretations of the universe are not only fallible but always inferior to #1. So YECism demands that God gave us a flawed and/or deceptive revelation in the universe/creation itself while the label of “man’s fallible interpretations” somehow never applies to YECist hermeneutics.

  46. Michael Nowlan
    May 9, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Dear Professor Tertius,
    I’m glad that you can be alerted to postings and you are still able to respond. God’s not through with either of us on this earth. We never know how long we have remaining in this fallen world. I am fallible, and I hope that you realize that you are fallible as well. I would hope that we can agree on that before I share with you my fallible interpretations. While we are left on this earth, all we have are the words that God has preserved in His Scripture, the remnants of a scarred earth after a global flood (I have never checked to get your belief on the flood), and our fallible fallen minds to interpret God speaking to us through it all.
    I do not currently share your beliefs on origins, though I do not wish to “lord” anything over you. In my mind it is more miraculous and awe-inspiring to believe in a God that can create everything in a week’s time, rather than over billions of years. I must admit I have some heartburn over thinking that death was part of the original creation. In order to believe this I must assume that life in the garden operated as life we see today. In your previous posts you mentioned cells dying in the stomachs of Adam and Eve. I am not sure I can make that leap that it “must” have been that way, simply because that’s how we see things operate today.
    I hope you realize how subjective some of your statements are with respect to the interpretation that Genesis 1 is poetry. Stating your interpretation as being “clear” does not convince me. Stating that it requires understanding how Hebrews would have interpreted Scripture two thousand years ago is again subjective. We live in the year 2016 and no crystal clear human understanding exists, especially with respect to how Israel would have interpreted Scripture. I think that reading the New Testament should give us pause of considering what Hebrews thought 2000 years as authoritative, considering most of their scholars did not understand Jesus’ teaching.
    In order to begin the description of Genesis 1 creative acts, I do not believe matter as we know it and see it today was in existence. The earth was formless and void. How does one describe a lack of something? Could the “face of the waters” be referring to the canvas on which God started His creation, from the viewpoint of heaven? It is impossible to say this looked like to an observer. It does say that God created light and dark and called the light “day” and the darkness “night. The light generated in this creative act cited in Genesis 1:3 could have been the emitted light from the instantaneous creation of all matter. Matter does not need to clumped into a sun shape to emit light.
    I also am not sure why you raise the observations of the natural world as equal to Scripture. I believe this world suffered a huge global flood which completely change the ground surface of the earth and the sediment layers below them. I cannot trust looking at a completely re-deposited terrain of the earth to know what it looked like before the flood, or how it operated. I believe God did this purposely to force us to not trust our eyes first, but to trust His voice, His Word, first. What a fallen creation “looks like” should not be what we base our decisions on for discerning the character of God.
    With all due respect as a fellow created being, I trust that God is unharmed by my asking questions of His word choices to inform my understanding. I find it perfectly consistent to believe that a God who could create a universe could also do so in any time frame. For God to be an evolutionary billions of years Creator I find makes him nearly indistinguishable from the atheistic view that life came into being by itself over billions of years.
    I did find it interesting in your post about the tree of life, which wasn’t necessarily directed to me. It think it is very difficult to display faith and trust in God without an object. We are spiritual and physical beings. Our spiritual decisions are invisible until we show our decisions through an object. This is why I believe God had both a tree of life and a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Curiously God did not originally direct Adam and Eve to specifically eat from the tree of life in order to live. If this was crucial for them to continue to survive in a Pre-Fall condition that certainly wasn’t made clear. It only became clear once they made the decision to disobey God and show their spiritual disobedience by eating the forbidden fruit. Their knowledge of the importance of eating the tree of life fruit was not in their thinking until they chose to learn about evil. Suddenly they realized they were naked. They could no longer both live forever with God’s blessing and live in disobedience at the same time. They crossed over the line. They made it impossible to eat from the tree of life by their decision to disobey God. God simply gave an object to their decision. Ultimately God is the tree of life, and we are merely branches (connected and alive, or disconnected and dead).

    • May 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Mr. Nowlan, before responding further on your other points, I first want to verify that you are satisfied with this statement in your remarks:

      “For God to be an evolutionary billions of years Creator I find makes him nearly indistinguishable from the atheistic view that life came into being by itself over billions of years.”

      Are there any missing words or phrases? The statement is so outrageously illogical—must we count the logic fallacies??—that I don’t want to dissect it without giving you opportunity to proofread and edit. It sounds far too stereotypical of the kinds of manufactured LOGIC FALLACIES illustrations one finds in undergraduate Logic 201 textbooks.

      1) How, exactly, can a view of God as Creator make him “nearly indistinguishable” from an “atheistic view”? I defy you to explain how a THEISTIC viewpoint can be “nearly indistinguishable” from an ATHEISTIC viewpoint! That makes zero sense. Are you that desperate for something to say in opposition to science which conflicts with your traditions that you are actually making the argument that merely CALLING something “atheistic” somehow makes it so—and that a THEISTIC view, a view of God as Creator of all, is somehow “atheistic sounding”?? If it somehow sounds “atheistic” to you, you are sounding just as illogical as evolution-deniers who deny evolution because they say it sounds to them “like Communism” and therefore “atheistic”. A reminder to all who promote such arguments: Words have meanings. Dictionaries and lexicons exist for a reason. Simply stringing words with negative associations into random sentences does NOT necessarily make those sentences rational and logical.

      2) If nothing else, would you please explain how you decide that “billions of years” is tied to atheism? Why would a God who creates a world in six days be part of a “theistic view” while a God who creates in billions of years part of an “atheistic view”?

      3_ Do you also apply these Argument from Negative Association fallacies to The Germ Theory of Disease, the Theory of Photosynthesis, and The Laws of Thermodynamics? After all, each of those scientific concepts is embraced by the vast majority of atheists—as well as scientists and non-scientists, Christians and non-Christians. Do you understand why non-believers LAUGH and MOCK Ray Comfort, Kent Hovind, Ken Ham et al when they use such childish guilt-by-association arguments when preaching to their choirs? Yes, the gullible love those “arguments” and even think them clever. Meanwhile, everyone else in the world, both Christians and non-Christians who understand logic fallacies, resort to exhausted face-palms. Have you any idea how many unnecessary obstacles to the Great Commission are fabricated when foolish origins-ministry entrepreneurs prey upon the naive and convince many that Christ-followers are brainless and silly?

      If the “duration” of creation processes somehow belittles God the Creator, do you agree with Augustine and the many other Christian theologians who rejected the “insulting” idea that an omnipotent Creator would require AN ENTIRE WEEK to create a world instead of a measureless instant? (Indeed, this was one of the many reasons why they recognized Genesis 1 as an ILLUSTRATION of God’s sovereignty over his creation and not a “literal history” of how creation happened.)

      Considering that God is outside of time (as the creator of time), what makes you think that there is the slightest consequence to God’s honor whether the creation of the universe we observe today took six nanoseconds, six minutes, six hours, six days, six millennia, six billion years or six EONS? If you object to a “long time” because you think it dishonors the creator, then why don’t you share Augustine’s view that ANY DURATION other than an “instantaneous creation” is belittling to God?

      I will be critiquing point-by-point much of your prior post but in the meantime I do hope that you will consider posting some EVIDENCE-BASED arguments—whether from the scriptures or from the created universe itself—which support your claims, rather than these emotion-based appeals to your discomfort with any interpretation of the evidence which threatens your TRADITIONS. Yes, traditions have their place, even within the plan of God. But if they are not based on God’s revelations in scripture and in creation, they are just another set of man-made fabrications which people grow to promote and cherish over time.

      Have you ever taken a logic course? Or have you read a textbook on LOGIC FALLACIES? Whatever the case, I would encourage you to review the definitions of the classic logic fallacies and learn to recognize them. (e.g., the Generic Fallacy, Argument from Authority Fallacy, the Tu Quoque Fallacy, the False Dichotomy Fallacy, the Argument from Ignorance fallacy, the Argument from Personal Incredulity Fallacy, the Ad Hominem Fallacy [one which YECists regularly misunderstand and mislabel] as well as the Negative Association fallacy which you like to use so often. Also, the Argument from Emotion Fallacy has many synonyms and versions. Check it out.) Educating yourself on logic fallacies would help you to screen them out before they get ported through your fingers into the keyboard—a common foible of people who get their arguments from YEC ministry websites. Frankly, in a debate context these kinds of logic fallacies are a waste of the debaters’ time and an insult to readers. As much as people react negatively to the science ignorance of the Young Earth Creationist movement, they are even MORE annoyed and even angered at the ubiquitous logic fallacies which allow even someone totally ignorant of the relevant science to realize that the science-denialists are desperate for ANY sort of meaningful argument that doesn’t defy common sense.

  47. May 11, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    P.S. I don’t have my complete vision-assistance software running on this computer so I’m unable to adequately proofread and edit my typos and my all-too-frequent word omissions. So please bring mangled sentences to my attention.

  48. Michael Nowlan
    May 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Professor Tertius,

    If you are going to elaborate and dissect every statement I make to the same degree, I trust we will be here a very long time. I, unfortunately, have less free time to devote to this, though I am not quitting.
    Logic certainly has its place in creation, but I do not believe it is the ultimate arbiter for belief. In fact, I believe that belief in God is beyond logic, as I think you’ve illustrated. If I understand you correctly, you think that a God who creates over billions of years using evolution, death, cancer, etc. is just a magnificent as a God who creates in a nano-second. A Creator is a Creator is a Creator. Can God create in a nano-second? Certainly. Can God create in a billion years? Certainly. Can it be both? Here’s where logic creeps in. In our minds it cannot be both, can it?
    So, here’s my defense. In my statement I did not say they were definitively the same. I did not say X equals Y and X does not equal Y. I used the words “nearly indistinguishable”. My point was that the atheist who believes there is no God, will cite the process of evolution and billions of years as proof that a God is not necessary for existence to exist. I take it that you look at the process of billions of years and evolution and claim that it screams a Creator exists. Perhaps in your mind the chasm between believing in God and not believing in God is still enormous, but I believe it has the opposite effect. To the believer who believes in evolution and billions of years, how do you make God special to the non-believer? What motivation is there for the non-believer to wish to cross the chasm? What motivation is there for the believer to stay on the believing side of the chasm? What makes God holy and loving to the atheist? There is no logical basis for belief in God. People simply believe or don’t. No amount of evidence is going to convince anyone. I will continue to seek God and I trust that you will as well, in the way you believe honors Him most. I hope that God will save us both and we can laugh on the other side. Let God be true and every human being a liar.

    • May 21, 2016 at 1:06 am

      Mike Nowlan wrote: “If you are going to elaborate and dissect every statement I make to the same degree, I trust we will be here a very long time. I, unfortunately, have less free time to devote to this, though I am not quitting.”

      I often find myself in a perpetual Catch-22 when replying to Young Earth Creationists and other science-denialists: If I post a general summary and/or just a few major flaws in their position, they criticize me saying, “Just as I thought! You completely ignored what I said about X, Y, and Z and you clearly have no explanation for A, B, and C.” On the other hand, if I systematically examine and destroy each one of their points, they post, “TL/DNR. You clearly are obsessed with my position and are obviously afraid of it.” Indeed, I usually find that my expended time is largely wasted because they either disappear or they ignore what I posted and/or change topics. Often I get, “I see that you are lying about being a Christian. I don’t waste time debating atheists who obviously hate the Bible.” Keep in mind that this is after I’ve mentioned my life’s work as a Biblical scholar and evangelical minister and years of Bible translation work on the difficult fields in Africa. Because I don’t agree 100% with their interpretations of the Bible, I’m automatically “a godless atheist who is pretending to be a born-again Christian—and I don’t buy it!”

      Nevertheless, Mike, I hope you will continue the discussion. I’ve given you the respect of reading a responding to each of your major claims and so I hope you will reciprocate—even if you have to do so gradually over time. In fact, why not just take ONE of them at a time. It will make things easier and keep things focused.

    • May 21, 2016 at 2:04 am

      Mike Nowlan wrote: “To the believer who believes in evolution and billions of years, how do you make God special to the non-believer?”

      Mike, I’m baffled by your question. First, how do evolution and “billions of years” make any kind of statement about God—let alone, whether or not God is “special”. Does gravity make God special? The Laws of Thermodynamics? Secondly, does the Bible say anything commanding Christ-followers to make God special?

      I’m wondering where you got those ideas. The Bible says that nobody comes to God except when the Holy Spirit draws them. It is not my job to do what only God can do.

      There was a time when very little was known about how human reproduction worked. Indeed, until not so many centuries ago, it was assumed that males planted seeds in females and those seeds “sprouted” and made babies. The mother was simply considered “soil” and an incubator. All of it was attributed to God’s plan. But eventually scientists started figuring out HOW the process worked, including the genetics of BOTH parents contributing. Did that process of discovery make God less impressive? Did it “leave out God”? Does more and more scientific discovery make God “less special?”

      More specifically, are you suggesting that we decide what is and isn’t truthful depending upon whether it makes God more or less “special”? I reread your post and it sure sound that way. It sounds like you want to throw aside the overwhelming evidence for billions of years (and the Theory of Evolution as well) because IF THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE, you fear that God will seem “less special”. Have you ever taken a logic course and learned the major logical fallacies? If yes, can you please explain to me why your reasoning is not an example of the Argument from Negative Consequences fallacy?

      I’ve often had denialists tell me that the Theory of Evolution can’t be true because “Darwin’s theory led to Hitler and Holocaust.” Seriously? Ignoring for the moment the vast ignorance of such a claim on so many levels, let’s consider what would happen if we evaluated scientific hypotheses NOT on the basis of evidence but on their potential negative consequences. Thus, what if I said: “Newton’s Theory of Universal Gravitation and Laws of Motion led to the rockets used in war and even the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Therefore, something so evil in its result simply can’t be a valid scientific theory.” Can we agree that I would be guilty of the Argument from Negative Consequences fallacy and whether or not we like the consequences of some scientific fact, that doesn’t change reality in any way?

      Mike Nowlan also asked:
      “What motivation is there for the non-believer to wish to cross the chasm?” Who says there is a “chasm”? Aren’t you actually just PROJECTING your own emotional reactions to ideas you fear and assuming that everyone else reacts with the same fears?

      After all, MOST of the people in the world who accept billions of years and evolution aren’t atheists at all! (Surely you realize that atheists are a relative small percentage of the human race.) Indeed, the vast majority of theists have no problem with the two concepts. Most importantly for our discussion, most of the world’s CHRISTIANS accept billions of years and evolution. (The USA is one of the few places in the world where a significant subset of Christians—mostly the Young Earth Creationist segment of fundamentalist Protestant Christians—reject both.) You appear to treat billions of years and evolution somehow “defiant” of the existence of God but the vast majority people don’t make that connections.

      Ironically, because of a half century of Young Earth Creationist ranting about the imagined atheism of those concepts, the most vocal atheists today have gladly taken up that banner and helped the YECs promote their “freebie” anti-god argument! I find it quite amazing that Ken Ham and Richard Dawkins love to quote each other to “prove” that evolution and billions of years “proves” that God doesn’t exist! Their contempt for each other doesn’t stop them for exploiting the silly claim.

      Most people today don’t remember a time long ago before Young Earth Creationism had such impact. Even in the famous “Monkey Trial” in Bryan, TN, the Bible “defender” was an old earther and no Christian denounced him for that. And people forget that in Darwin’s day, no less of a hero of conservative Protestantism than Benjamin Warfield, the father of Biblical Inerrancy, considered Darwin a great scientist for explaining HOW God created the diversity of life on earth. It has taken a lot of propaganda and deceit to turn scientific concepts like evolution and billions of years into assumed synonyms of evil.

      The pathological lies people like Ken Ham tell about Charles Darwin—in pursuing the Generic Fallacy, the Argument from Negative Associations based on WHERE an idea came from—are a terrible testimony for a Christ-follower. Ham et al claim that Darwin was an evil racist. Was he? That should be irrelevant! Gravity would be no less real if Newton had been a Satan-worshipper. The Germ Theory of Disease would help save lives even if some Nazi had been the first to public it. Even so, I’ll play along and ask the Darwin-haters this question: When Darwin died, why did many pastors across America deliver eulogies to Darwin in their Sunday sermons—eulogies we can still read today because in those times it was common for newspapers to publish each Sunday’s sermon in the Tuesday or Wednesday edition of the paper. I’ll bet that you never heard about those eulogies from a Darwin-hater like Ken Ham. Ham has such a low opinion of his audience that he assumes that lying about Darwin’s alleged evils and racism will convince simpletons who have no logic skills to hate the Theory of Evolution. (Ham even cites the subtitle of Darwin’s famous book in a laughable way, claiming that the phrase “favored races” makes Darwin a “racist”, when that expression had a different meaning in the mid-1800’s and didn’t even refer to people!)

      So, why was Darwin praised from pulpits when he died? Was he a racist? He was praised by pastors not so much because he had explained how God diversified life on earth (although Warfield was enthusiastic in praising Darwin for that.) No, it was primarily his “concern for the oppressed African” as a “tireless supporter of Abolitionism and the ending of a wretched institution which he had personally witnessed on his voyages.” Until Darwin’s death, enormous financial gifts from the Darwin family—made possible by the royalty stream from ORIGIN OF SPECIES—usually ranked #1 worldwide in the list of largest donations to the Abolitionist cause. Darwin’s money also printed HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TRACTS which used appropriate Bible passages to exhort America’s Christians in both the north and the south to end “the sinful abomination of slavery.” No, Ham is far to busy lying about Darwin’s alleged “racism” and non-existent role in Hitler’s evils to ever mention why Christians praised him. (Darwin supported Henry Ward Beecher, among others, a famous abolitionist minister you should recognize. You probably know of his like-minded sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and author of a very famous UNCLE TOM’S CABIN.)

      Do you agree with me that this kind of evil pathological lying about Darwin does great damage to the Great Commission—in addition to convincing many non-believers that Young Earth Creationism is not just ignorant of the scientific and scriptural evidence but is “proof” that anti-evolution Christians are willing to lie shamelessly whenever it fits their agenda?

      More importantly, don’t you think that kind of pathological lying by anti-evolution Christians provides a NEGATIVE MOTIVATION “for the believer to stay on the believing side of the chasm?”

      Frankly, the logical fallacies and personal PROJECTION (of your own emotional feelings towards evolution when you presume to impose them on everybody else) in that post really shocks me. Are you truly willing to make decisions about TRUTH based on whether or not an idea helps you make an argument for belief in God? It is extremely hard to avoid that conclusion when reading your post.

      Indeed, because the existence of disease is a huge obstacle to belief in God for many people, do you think that we should deny The Germ Theory of Disease for that reason? Politicians make decisions on what they believe dependent on how voters respond to an idea. Are you sure that you want to affirm or deny billions of years and evolutionary biology based on whether it makes it easier for people to believe in God?

      Perhaps you feel outraged at these questions. But do you understand that anyone who reads your post has no choice but to react in this way to your chain of “logic”?

      (Once again: Due to my blindness and limitations of my vision-assistance software, I can’t proofread easily. So there are likely typos, missing words, and even homonym substitutions in my post. Please ask me if a sentence is confusing.)

    • May 21, 2016 at 3:37 am

      Mike, you raise another interesting question, so I will pose it for all to consider:

      Am I being, as you say, “more authoritative than humble”? Frankly, humility is of less concern to me than the evidence and the conclusions we can draw from that evidence. But I certainly DO hope that I am being “more authoritative!” As a Christ-follower, truth matters to me. And being authoritative is very important to me. (Indeed, if I failed to be authoritative in the classroom, my students were wasting their money. My job has never been to tell students what to believe. But it certainly has been my job to explain to them how and why the academy has published various evidence and reached important conclusions about that evidence.)

      To rephrase the issue as some of my YEC critics have in the past, consider this question:

      Am I being arrogantly dogmatic in my position—or is Mike? Consider:

      1) I am saying that I have observed enormous and overwhelming evidence for billions of years and evolutionary processes in the universe which God created.

      2) Mike disagrees with such conclusions.

      3) I’m asserting the very same scientific claims as the science academy from major universities all over the world. I’m saying that based on my own background and observations as a science professor (and later as a Biblical studies professor when I moved to the humanities side of the academy), I fully acknowledge and affirm the academy’s conclusions. I agree with the overwhelming consensus and CONSILIENCE OF EVIDENCE published by the science academy of scholars who have earned PhDs in the relevant fields and lifetimes devoted to these investigations.

      4) Mike, on the other hand, claims that despite having no advanced degrees or experience in the relevant fields of science, he has determined that the entire science academy of scholars with earned PhDs in the relevant fields are wrong. Why Mike believes himself qualified to say that the science academy is wrong is not clear. His arguments posted so far have mostly been based on logic fallacies (i.e., Argument from Negative Consequences, the Generic Fallacy, Argument from Personal Incredulity, Argument from Ignorance) and have repeatedly included appeals to emotions and tradition.

      Thus, readers can decide for themselves. Am I arrogantly dogmatic for agreeing with what the science academy has concluded? Am I out of line to affirm the process of peer-reviewed publication and the scholarly consensus being published in the standard textbooks? Or is Mike guilty in such ways by claiming to have a better understanding of biology, geology, physics, paleontology, and astronomy than those with relevant PhDs who wrote the standard science textbooks used by universities?

      Who is being humble? Who is being overly “authoritative”?

      One of us is AGREEING with the academy consensus. The other is DENYING and DEFYING the academies conclusions. Which position is more humble? Which position is less humble?

      • May 21, 2016 at 3:39 am

        Postscript: Mike Nowlan, I do greatly appreciate your being a very good sport and being willing to participate in a direct “head to head” discussion where we can be very frank and speak freely. Far too many Internet forums involve people huffing about how they are offended by this and that instead of focusing on the issues.

  49. Mike
    May 13, 2016 at 8:59 am

    As this article notes, your definitions of micro and macro evolution do not fit what YECs have believed for decades:
    http://www.icr.org/article/microwave-evolution

    Evolution is a confusing term, sometimes deliberately (by evolutionists, I mean). The key distinction between the Biblical view and the atheistic view is not whether or not speciation can occur, but whether evolution is driven by selection of pre-existing DNA sequences, or the addition of new DNA sequences. The Biblical view is that God created the complexity in the genome of each kind, and then selective pressures allow the variations He created to be expressed in various ways through reductions or selections in the DNA sequences originally created. The atheist view is that the genome of all living things is constantly growing better and more complicated by mutations building up new blocks of capability that then are selected when they happen to confer a natural advantage. The Biblical view is that of a highly complex, adaptable computer program that, while it may have been corrupted by the fall, can still adapt to new environments. The atheist view is that of a simple program that gradually becomes more complicated simply by random processes plus natural selection weeding out bad additions to the genome.
    I think this article seriously misrepresents both Ken Ham and the whole YEC viewpoint. YEC believe in evolution in the sense of natural selection expressing God’s created diversity within the genome of each kind. YEC do not believe in macroevolution or natural reprogramming of the genome providing new capabilities.

    • May 13, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Mike, I’m glad to see you say “YEC believe in evolution in the sense of natural selection expressing God’s created diversity within the genome of each kind.” I didn’t say they were Darwinists; I said they hold to a version of evolution. Which they do.

      • Mike
        May 13, 2016 at 10:51 pm

        You’re being disingenuous in the title of your article and in quotes like “One thing is for sure, this is not your father’s young-earth creationism.” It most certainly *is* your father’s young-earth creationism, as demonstrated by the article I linked to above. As a brother in Christ, I expect much better of you. You owe Ken Ham and all YEC believers an apology for misrepresenting their positions.

        • May 14, 2016 at 2:29 am

          Even though Henry Morris was starting to deviate from it in the 1960’s, most IFCA pastors I knew back then, for example, were still demanding fixity-of-species from the pulpit when they preached against evolution. So I definitely agree with “this is not your father’s young-earth creationism” when comparing Ken Ham to 1950’s and 1960’s evolution-denialism. I’ve watched YECism change a lot since I was active in the “creation science” movement and all you have to is read some old sermons from that era. (My personal favorite from back then was “God put dinosaur bones in the ground to fool the atheist scientists and to test the faith of his people.” Yes, some pastors openly expressed the idea that God put deceptive evidence on earth as a test.)

          Even when Morris talked about his abandoning fixity-of-species on tour after publishing THE GENESIS FLOOD (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.), he often implied that the Biblical kind was not beyond the “genus level”. I remember one time at a “creation Sunday” event, he talked about how “black finches, white finches, and yellow finches are all part of the finch genus and that’s an example of a kind from the Bible. Evolution goes no further.” (I’m paraphrasing but very close.) Today, the evidence for much broader evolution is so obvious that YECism simply HAD TO EVOLVE to include the family-level of taxonomy and even far beyond. Indeed, when confronted with flavobacteria evolution, the common response from AIG nowadays is “Yes, but they are still bacteria!” So apparently, some “kinds” extend all the way to the kingdom-level!

          Indeed, I’m just waiting for an evolution-denier to say “That’s not evolution. It’s still a eukaryote!” LOL.

          • Mike
            May 14, 2016 at 9:26 am

            I’m sure you can find pastors who have taught all kinds of non-scientific positions, but that’s not what is in question here. AIG and ICR still hold to the same position set forth by Morris when he founded the modern YEC movement, and he did not hold to a fixity of species. It is also true that the Bible does not tell us what a Biblical “kind” is in terms of a Linnaean classification system, so it may map to varying levels for different creatures. The key is that God said each creature would reproduce after its kind, while Darwinian macroevolution says that creatures can reproduce and create new kinds without boundaries.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          May 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

          There is NO misrepresentation of Ham’s position within the content of the blog (only the blog title is questionable).

          • Mike
            May 14, 2016 at 2:06 pm

            The point of the article is that Ham and AIG have changed their position from what YEC used to believe. As I have demonstrated, this is false and should be retracted.

  50. ashley haworth-roberts
    May 14, 2016 at 10:21 am

    If anyone was ‘misrepresented’ it was Morris and Gish (they will not be suing).

  51. ashley haworth-roberts
    May 14, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Mike

    “The point of the article is that Ham and AIG have changed their position from what YEC used to believe. As I have demonstrated, this is false and should be retracted.”

    OK – since I don’t know the history of AiG in vast detail – I will rephrase my previous comment. There is NO misrepresentation of Ham’s current, and recent, position within the content of the blog.

    Whereas you alleged “you owe Ken Ham and all YEC believers an apology for misrepresenting their positions”. Which anyone would take to mean their position ‘today’.

    Ashley

    • Mike
      May 15, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      Actually, there is. Ham and AIG are represented as believing in macroevolution, which they don’t. Keathley’s definition of microevolution as restricted to adaptation within a species is more restrictive than what YECs have traditionally believed, from Morris on down to Ham today. As defined by YECs, microevolution is adaptation within a created kind, which does not map to the species level in many cases, so this means that microevolution can and does produce new varieties and even new species within that created kind. Macroevolution, on the other hand, is adaptation without boundaries, allowing for any creature to evolve into any other creature without the boundaries of the created kinds that God ordained.
      Therefore this posting does misrepresent AIG’s current positions. I focused on the historical aspect, since I think that is more demonstrably false, but this point of differing definitions also twists the way that YECs are portrayed.

      • ashley haworth-roberts
        May 16, 2016 at 9:13 am

        No, Mike. Sorry. Ham believes in a form of post-flood rapid macro-evolution (according to the definition Ken Keathley uses) but refuses to call it that. You are using different definitions of macro-evolution and micro-evolution. And I am not aware of a prominent article by Ken Ham on the AiG website where he refers to ‘post-flood micro-evolution’. I also do not recall Nathaniel Jeanson stating that in his articles of 30 and 31 May.

        • ashley haworth-roberts
          May 16, 2016 at 9:17 am

          http://creation.com/diversity-life
          I also looked for the term ‘micro-evolution’ in THIS new – new on the CMI website – piece of YEC propaganda (note the lie in its title). I did not find it.

  52. May 16, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Michael Nowlan, all of the issues you bring up have been covered in my articles on the Bible.and.Science.Forum—and in just about any competent Bible commentary. (Indeed, many of these points are covered in a good study Bible and even in the translation footnotes at the bottom of the page in many modern English Bible such as the NIV.)

    “While we are left on this earth, all we have are the words that God has preserved in His Scripture, the remnants of a scarred earth after a global flood”

    The GLOBAL flood is a TRADITION that can’t be found in the Hebrew text of Genesis. For years I assumed a global flood tradition due to my background in the KJV Bible—but once I began working in the Hebrew MT, I realized that it was the ERETZ (“land”, “nation”, “country”, “region”) that was flooded. (It was also the ERETZ and the HASHAMIYIM that was created.) Nothing in the text indicates a global extent of the flood, including the Hebrew idioms like “everything under heaven” which many English Bible readers misunderstand. Of course, any geologist will tell you the same thing: there is zero evidence of a “global flood”. Indeed, the Christian geologists who looked for global flood evidence in the early 1800’s were flabbergasted and troubled by the fact that such a RECENT flood should have left abundant evidence, but they found none. They clung so tightly to their King James Bible traditions that they were slow to come to terms with the history of the planet which God had so clearly placed before them. (Yes, I am well aware that NON-SCIENTIST mockers like Ken Ham claim that there is no such historical record in the earth’s crust. But Ham and so many other origins-ministry entrepreneurs foolishly project their ignorance of geology, physics, chemistry, paleontology, and many other fields onto everyone else. But Ham’s lack of knowledge is not shared by everyone. The Book of Proverbs warns us about “the fool who lacks instruction” who scorns those who would try to teach him. I’ve spent years looking at the history of the earth which God gave us and I’m not going to scorn and mock what God has revealed to us—especially when that revelation in his creation in no way defies what God has revealed in his scriptures.)

    Of course, anyone fluent in Modern Hebrew understands the ERETZ YISRAEL is the “Nation of Israel” or “Land of Israel”, not “Planet Israel.” So the TRADITION which claims the Noahic flood was global ignores the Genesis text and has replaced it with an artificial imposition. (Even the KJV Bible USUALLY rendered ERETZ with other English words but felt obligated to side with tradition when dealing with ERETZ in the early chapters of Genesis. Yet, they had no hesitation translation ERETZ with words like “the Wilderness of _____” when a particular region was identified. As a lexicographer, I simply can’t justify the tradition of ERETZ=”Planet Earth”. It makes no sense. Of course, this same confusion over ERETZ has led to many manglings of the garden in Eden pericope.)

    “….and our fallible fallen minds to interpret God speaking to us through it all.”

    And that is why I prefer to stick with the original language texts of scripture rather than more recent translation traditions which deviate from those texts when driven by English language traditions from the 1611 KJV and prior.

    “In my mind it is more miraculous and awe-inspiring to believe in a God that can create everything in a week’s time, rather than over billions of years.”

    I find that a very bizarre position for three reasons:

    1) God created time and exists outside of time and is in no way limited by time. So why would it matter in the least whether God chose to describe creation taking place in billions of years, thousands of years, six days, six hours, six seconds, or instantly? How did you determine WHICH of those was “more miraculous” and “awe-inspiring”? Why do you think a creation described in terms of six days is any more “superlative” (or “better) than any other?

    2) Augustine and many other theologians have found the idea of a six day creation DEMEANING to God’s omnipotents. After all, if “more miraculous” and “awe-inspiring” is your standard, wouldn’t SIX NANOSECONDS or even an INSTANTANEOUS creation be far more impressive than a six day creation? Augustine concluded that there was no scripture reason to support a six-day creation belief and his reasoning was similar to yours in that one respect: He found the idea of limiting God to such a slow time frame an insult to an omnipotent deity.

    3) When you say “In my mind it is more miraculous and awe-inspiring….”, why should your emotional reactions or mine or anybody else’s be in any way a standard by which God’s choices should be judged? Does not the Bible tell us that God’s ways are not our ways? Do we expect God to make his choices based upon our emotional reactions? Indeed, the suffering of the cross horrifies me. And the idea of commanding one’s son to die a terrible death in that manner horrifies me. Yet, my emotional reactions to the ways God has chosen to use death and suffering in his plan throughout the history we read from Genesis to Revelation is irrelevant. God didn’t ask me for my approval of his choices and I’m in no position to offer them.

    “I must admit I have some heartburn over thinking that death was part of the original creation.”

    Again: our emotional reactions to the Biblical text are irrelevant. And I’ve already explained that God used death in many important ways in his divine plan—even though we humans are naturally “wired” to be repulsed by the idea.

    “In order to believe this I must assume that life in the garden operated as life we see today.”

    And unless the Genesis tells us otherwise, why shouldn’t we assume that the laws of physics and chemistry operated as they do today? Unless another creation took place since then, I have no reason to assume that there have been some sort of imaginary changes in the processes which God created.

    Obviously, if your “answer” to every problem with your interpretations of scripture is to pull out of thin air the possibility that “God set it up differently than now but just didn’t tell us about it.” That is akin to the “last Thursday” philosophy (and debate tactic) where one can always assume that “The universe was created last Thursday but we have been implanted with false memories so we only THINK we have lived long lived before this.” (Your favorite logic fallacy is known as the Argument from Special Pleading.)

    Essentially, your arguments so far are that you PREFER YOUR FAVORITE TRADITIONS because you find them more comfortable and find the alternatives too emotionally unsettling. Jesus ran into the same roadblocks with the traditionalists of his day. They liked the tradition-based status quo and were determined to defend it. When I was a Young Earth Creationist speaker/debater, I was every bit as determined and defensive as any first century Pharisee!

    “In your previous posts you mentioned cells dying in the stomachs of Adam and Eve. I am not sure I can make that leap that it “must” have been that way, simply because that’s how we see things operate today.”

    Then I have my doubts that we can have a productive discussion. You are using a “wildcard” refutation tactic made popular by many Young Earth Creationist leaders (including me at one time, sad to say.) One can trump anything effortlessly if you always have the option in hand to say: “But things were different back then!” If the scripture doesn’t identify that imagined “difference”, you’ve simply played a wildcard of your own imagination. Yes, we can fantasize anything as convenience demands. But the ONLY reason your own common sense did not already reject that tactic outright is that you’ve heard many Young Earth Creationist leaders resort to it whenever they are cornered by logic and their own self-contradictions.

    “I hope you realize how subjective some of your statements are with respect to the interpretation that Genesis 1 is poetry.”

    Unless I committed an unfortunate typo or key omission, I never claimed Genesis 1 is poetry. I’d encourage you to read what I wrote again. Poetic and hymnic structures are found in various genres. Genesis 1 doesn’t have to be “poetry” per se (whatever that label might be determined to mean) to contain hymnic elements and purposes. And they are CLEARLY THERE. If you deny that you see them, I would have to question your honesty. (Explain them in other ways if you wish—but don’t pretend that they aren’t there.) Moreover, how is it that YOU KNOW that Genesis 1 is an “historical narrative” of a six-day series of events and not a hymnic tribute to God the Creator in a style familiar to that culture and audience? Even authors today in the English language will start their books with a section titled “Foreword”. Indeed, one such book I recently read started with a Foreword featuring nothing but all of the original verses of John Newton’s poem AMAZING GRACE. It was not identified as such. The poem simply appeared on that page without any introduction or explanation. A hymn introduced the book.

    Indeed, if Genesis 1 appeared independently as just another chapter of the Book of Psalms, would you still claim that it was a “literal history” of creation? Or would you better recognize the hymnic elements if it was situated within a Psalmic environment? How do you determine the GENRE of a Biblical text? How do you know what the author intended?

    Do you think that such strange elements as a SOLID DOME over the ERETZ—which the ancients imagined held up what they thought were “blue waters” but we call “blue sky”—were recognized according to the cultures of the Ancient Near East? Do you believe that that was a LITERAL “solid dome” like an overturned bowl supporting the stars? Wouldn’t we expect a hymn writer in the ancient world to praise God using the worldview and cosmology known to him? How is a hymnic tribute to God the Creator any less “Biblical” than your tradition-based assumption that Genesis 1 is a “literal history” of a six-day week? How did you determine which interpretation is most in harmony with ancient Israel? Did you find a title or label explaining the GENRE of Genesis 1? My hunch is that we determine the genre of a Biblical text from what it says and its context. I totally agree. And that is why I see no evidence of Genesis 1 being a “literal chronology” of the world’s origins. What I see is a focus on what the author(s) cared about: the God of Israel created everything and doesn’t need any help from a pantheon of deities. ELOHIM is so powerful that he can make an entire world in one workweek. Tell me how you know that I should ignore all of the internal clues and evidence that the genre of Genesis 1 is that of a hymnic tribute of six stanzas with chorus.

    “Stating your interpretation as being “clear” does not convince me.”

    Convincing you of my interpretation is not my purpose.

    “Stating that it requires understanding how Hebrews would have interpreted Scripture two thousand years ago is again subjective. ”

    I’m not sure why you assume 2000 years ago would be the interpretive standard. Again, I think you need to re-read what I wrote. In any case, is that the best you can do for an argument: Claiming the views of others are “subjective” while yours are somehow objective?

    “We live in the year 2016 and no crystal clear human understanding exists, especially with respect to how Israel would have interpreted Scripture.”

    Are you certain of that? How do you know that?

    Yet, Young Earth Creationists make dogmatic claims all the time about how Genesis should be interpreted. So, are you now saying that your position on Genesis reflects no “crystal clear human understanding”? Indeed, if what you are saying is true, are you saying that nobody’s interpretation of Genesis is more valid than somebody else’s interpretation?

    “I think that reading the New Testament should give us pause of considering what Hebrews thought 2000 years as authoritative, considering most of their scholars did not understand Jesus’ teaching.”

    I confess that you have now totally lost me.

    “In order to begin the description of Genesis 1 creative acts, I do not believe matter as we know it and see it today was in existence. The earth was formless and void.”

    So now you are saying “the earth was formless and void” referred to an “earth” that was NOT “matter as we know it and see it today”. What is your scriptural or scientific basis for that claim? (Is that a subjective determination? Or simply a claim pulled out of thin air for no reason?)

    Would you please tells us when you think the first “modern day matter” (my term, in an effort to capture your intended meaning??) began to exist? And how did you make that determination?

    “How does one describe a lack of something?”

    More importantly, why do you think there was a NEED to do so??

    “Could the “face of the waters” be referring to the canvas on which God started His creation, from the viewpoint of heaven?”

    According to the Genesis text, I think we can all agree that the TOHU VAVOHU was “starting material”. The text doesn’t tell us how long it had existed nor how long it took for God to make it. Also, we know from other Ancient Near Eastern texts that a “formless and void” state of chaos was a commonly held perspective on how the “creation process” began. (Obviously, what varied was the names and numbers of the deities involved.)

    “It is impossible to say this looked like to an observer.”

    But why is this important? I don’t see how any of this fits into our discussion and what I wrote above.

    “Matter does not need to clumped into a sun shape to emit light.”

    Again, I don’t see how this is relevant. More importantly, you are coming up with ideas out of thin air. Nothing in the scriptures supports what you are saying. Is your purpose in this to make the argument that “If we make the following series of assumptions, my traditional interpretation of Genesis 1 could be possible”?

    “I also am not sure why you raise the observations of the natural world as equal to Scripture.”

    I don’t recall what I said about them being “equal”, but the Bible itself says that God has given us both types of revelation—which theologians commonly label “special revelation” and “natural revelation”. Because BOTH revelations comes from God, why shouldn’t we be eager to learn from both? Are you saying that one is reliable and the other is not? Or are you saying that YOUR TRADITION likes to focus entirely on God’s answers provided in scripture revelation but ignore God’s answers in his creation revelation?

    “I believe this world suffered a huge global flood which completely change the ground surface of the earth and the sediment layers below them.”

    OK. Let’s hear about your evidence which supports that “I believe.”

    “I cannot trust looking at a completely re-deposited terrain of the earth to know what it looked like before the flood, or how it operated.”

    Why? And why would you need to? And why should anyone believe that there was a global flood in the first place? I ceased to believe in that tradition of my church when I realized that there was no global flood mentioned in the Bible and God gave us no history of that “global flood” in the creation itself. Isn’t it rather peculiar that we see no evidence of such a recent and catastrophic global flood all around us? Where did the evidence go? Did God erase it and replace it with deceptive evidence of a history of billions of years which never happened? Why are there remnants of MILLIONS OF YEARS of sea life under Ken Ham’s Creation Museum, for example? If they planet is just a few thousand years old, how could so many “animal bodies” stack up in that manner in a short time? Likewise for the White Cliffs of Dover. Have you ever calculated the biomass of such locations on our planet and wondered why they completely defy a recent global flood?)

    “I believe God did this purposely to force us to not trust our eyes first, but to trust His voice, His Word, first.”

    Sorry. That’s pure pious posturing and “spiritualization” in order to elevate your tradition while IGNORING what God has revealed to us in the history of his creation. Besides, 99% of what you’ve said so far has no basis in the scriptures. I’m still waiting on you to present scripture evidence and creation evidence (that is, evidence from God’s creation, the universe.) Remember: I was a Young Earth Creationist speaker/debater for many years. I know the spiel one preaches to the choir (i.e., the friendly audience coming from the same traditional background.) Emotion and posturing do not set the stage for sound Biblical hermeneutics.

    That’s all the time I have for now. I would encourage you to read Genesis 1 to 9 in several translations while paying special attention to the translation footnotes at the bottom of the page. (I best recall the NIV notes but it is not the only translation which points out the issues with words like ERETZ and translation issues surrounding words like mountain/hill, heaven/sky.) I do understand the difficult process of objectively re-examining the traditions you’ve known for years and comparing them with what the Biblical text actually STATES and the history God has recorded for us in the creation itself. It is often unsettling and it takes time. I’ve compared my experience to that of Nicodemus who said to Jesus, “How can these things be?” Nicodemus thought he knew the scriptures as well or better than anyone—and yet Jesus was telling him that his traditions were blinding him. I get the impression that you are young and very committed to defend the truths of God. I hope that your path of discovery of those truths is a faster and smoother one than I had. I was the prisoner of my church’s traditions—as well as THE GENESIS FLOOD (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.)—for far longer than I should have been. I don’t care whether you take on my personal exegetical conclusions about the many controversies of Genesis. My hope for you is that you start a process of discovery where you begin to discern how tradition and God’s revelations so often differ.

  53. Michael Nowlan
    May 20, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Professor Tertius,

    You certainly are well versed in your beliefs. I am now understanding more fully how denominations have formed over the centuries, with people interpreting Scripture differently and arguing to the point of frustration. That was not my intent. I do now have a better understanding of the “old earth” perspective after this exchange. I do not believe it is effective for me to continue to respond to your latest responses, when your latest responses are addressing discussion from three posts ago. I can see you believe you have a vast wealth of knowledge to share. You have had many years to formulate your understanding/belief. I am not as young as you might think, though I am likely younger than you. I do not generally cling to traditions as much as you are suggesting my beliefs are traditions. I grew up Catholic, but left the church, only for God to find me later and place me into a more “Protestant evangelical” church. I have explored numerous issues in depth that most people generally gloss over. I am certainly no expert on everything and I attempt to approach issues firmly but with humility. I hope you do the same, though I must admit that I have felt a bit of your beliefs being delivered as more authoritative than humble.
    I have recently looked into the subject of Hebrew and the interpretation of Eretz in Genesis, and even found an interesting discussion on Psalm 104. I have not found any reference to Israel in the Genesis creation or flood accounts, but I’ll continue to explore this. I am still strongly believing in a global flood. I do not believe that David wrote Psalm 104 with such restrictive language that he was only speaking in terms of creation time. To David, the flood had already happened and God had set the seas in their place. His omission of a righteous judgment of the flood does not convince me that 104:8-9 couldn’t be talking about God’s power being displayed during the flood.
    I am not sure why you would say there is “no” evidence of a flood. I consider the vast layers of sediment and millions of fossils as a great evidence of rapid burial flood dynamics. If the entire surface of the Earth (and I do mean the entire planet) were subjected to deep high velocity water flow I am not sure how you could differentiate what terrain was obviously either in or out of a flood.
    I have also read Dr. Walt Brown extensively and I do not believe one can so easily dismiss all of his claims in any absolute manner. The White Cliffs of Dover are not necessarily primarily organically deposited limestone. I would be interested in your thoughts on dolomite deposits and the questions about dolomite raises in a billions of years world view. Please continue to respond. I am still interested in hearing your perspective, even if neither of us convinces the other of anything.

    • May 21, 2016 at 2:58 am

      “I consider the vast layers of sediment and millions of fossils as a great evidence of rapid burial flood dynamics.” Mike:

      1) Have you ever actually examined and STUDIED what flood deposits look like? (I know that you haven’t or else you couldn’t make such a bizarre statement.)

      ===> Especially a RECENT global flood of the magnitude described by most Young Earth Creationists should have left UNMISTAKABLE evidence. We should be tripping over global flood evidence virtually everywhere on the planet. Yet we find NONE!

      Of course, you STILL haven’t explained to me why the Hebrew Bible says nothing about a global flood. Why not accept exactly what the Bible DOES say? Why accept TRADITION instead?

      (I’ve noticed that you NEVER respond to my posts. You simply move on to another argument. Am I wasting my time? Perhaps this would be more productive if we focused on just ONE of your claims at a time, such as your affirmations of Walt Brown’s work.)

      2) After learning to recognize flood strata and their properties, have you looked to see if they are found throughout the planet? I don’t think you have.

      You wrote: “I am not sure why you would say there is “no” evidence of a flood.” Because there is ZERO evidence of a global flood. I looked. The entire geology academy concurs on that. (If you think I’m wrong, name JUST THREE RESPECTED GEOLOGY Ph.D. who have published a contrary claim. I’ll be impressed if you can even find ONE.)

      Tell me this: In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, Bible-believing Christians (who we now considered the pioneers of the science of geology) went looking for world-wide evidence of the Noahic flood. They took for granted that they would find it. To their shock and dismay, they COULDN’T find it. We know from their writings that this was a very disturbing experience for many of them—so you can’t say (as Ken Ham & Co. always do) that they were simply “godless atheists intent on leaving out God.”

      Mike, do you understand why arguments like “There are sea shells on top of Mt. Everest. So that proves a global flood” are idiotic and have convinced scientists that Young Earth Creationists are ignorant of basic science? (I’m not saying that you repeated that traditional argument….but you come close.)

      “I have also read Dr. Walt Brown extensively and I do not believe one can so easily dismiss all of his claims in any absolute manner.” Seriously? Tell me:

      1) Why do you ignore the conclusions of THOUSANDS of geology PhDs and other scientists in relevant fields in favor of ONE TOTALLY UNQUALIFIED sensationalist who makes no sense?

      2) Why should the opinion of a mechanical engineer with ZERO TRAINING OR BACKGROUND IN GEOLOGY matter more than all of the world’s geology PhDs—-especially when his arguments are made WITHOUT ANY SUPPORTING EVIDENCE and they guy appears to be ignorant of basic physics?

      3) Is it possible that the entire science academy (including many hundreds of born-again evangelical Christ-followers who have geology PhDs and have spent lifetimes looking at the evidence) is wrong while a man with ZERO TRAINING IN ANY RELEVANT FIELD, mechanical engineer Walter Brown, has somehow out-researched them all and is qualified to tutor them?

      If that sounds likely to you, I think you and I live in different worlds.

      4) Mike, have you wondered why even virtually every Young Earth Creationist ministry rejects Walt Brown’s nonsense?

      5) Why does Walt Brown refuse to comply with the journal publisher requests (such as AIG) that he provide citations and appropriate EVIDENCE for his ideas? Why does he refuse to conform to the most basic requirements of peer-reviewed journals?

      6) Why has Walt Brown challenged many of us to debates but then he provides so many caveats and demands such that he can always find an excuse for not debating us?

      ===> Keep in mind that with #5 and #6, I’m mainly talking about the Young Earth Creationist ministries and their “journals” who have found him impossible to arrange any debate or publication.

      ===> Mike, I’d like you to look up Walt Brown (Creationist) on Wikipedia. Most of the information about his problems cooperating with other Young Earth Creationists has been posed by YECs, not the “evil atheists”.

      As to Walt Brown’s Hydroplate Theory, have you EVER researched what geophysicists say about it? A number of reviews/critiques have been published. Brown is IGNORANT of basic physics. And it shows.

      I don’t understand the fascination which many have with Brown. Nothing he says about science makes any sense. With his Hydroplate Theory, where does all of the heat go? All of the water on earth would boil away! Scientists have asked him even to just show his basic math—-but his ignorance of basic science makes him clueless even in dealing with the critiques.

      Tell me, Mike. Why are all of the world’s born-again Christian PhD’s in geology wrong and mechanical engineer Walt Brown has trumped them. WHY? Why do you give him the time of day?

      If you want my opinion of him, I consider him a nut. A very arrogant nut who is unwilling or perhaps unable to carry on an intelligent debate with actual scientists. I’ve only talked with him on two occasions. I have a lot of experience with eccentrics and even with some very strange savants. But Brown is simply a babbling fellow who is a legend in his own mind. I have great empathy for the extended family—-and know just a little of what life is like for them—but most of such types don’t get the time of day from most people. Yet, somehow the Young Earth Creationist world has provided an environment where totally unqualified and bizarre people get their time at the podium. Strangely, in Brown’s case, this happens despite the fact that he has alienated himself from virtually the entire YEC “academy” and most gave up on him when he wouldn’t cooperate and allow any kind of event where he would defend his ideas on stage with peer-reviewers present. (By the way, I’ve seen a copy of his ‘debate format requirements” that I would have to sign if I were to debate him. Everybody had told him, “Don’t waste your time. Walt will ALWAYS find an excuse for calling off the debate.” They were correct.” It got so ridiculous that there is an “inside joke” in the origins-ministry industry along the lines “And how many years have YOU been trying to arrange a public event to discuss Brown’s Hydroplate Theory with him on the same stage?” Yes, Brown is happy to come to your church and “preach” his theory. But if you let him know that you want to schedule an event where a panel or even one scientist discusses Brown’s theory with him, Brown turns into a coward.

      By the way, that is another of my beefs about trying to debate Young Earth Creationist science-denialists on-line. They want total control over the format and the website where they can censor what they don’t like. (And most panic when they find out I’m not an atheist and I’m an ex-YEC who affirms the Bible and is fluent in the languages. They prefer their nut counterparts at the other extremes of the spectra.)

      Mike, I recommend you Google geologist Glenn Morton. For many years he was actively publishing in Young Earth Creationist “journals”. Then his oil-exploration company reassigned him out in the field where he was daily observing the actual geologic evidence. That is when he realized that there was ZERO EVIDENCE FOR A GLOBAL FLOOD and zero evidence for a 6,000 year old earth. I left YECism and the “creation science” movement many years before he became a part of it, but we share much in common. You could start with:

      http://www.oldearth.org/whyileft.htm

      ….but he has many others which are quite eye-opening, especially how he was treated by his YEC peers when he started asking embarrassing questions. Ironically, despite the nonsense in movies like Ben STein’s EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed, I’ve personally observed far more bias and discrimination (and lack of academic freedom) in Christian academia and “YEC academic societies” than I ever saw as professor at major universities. Yes, there is ANTI-CONSERVATIVE bias at many secular universities, but abuses of academic freedom are MUCH WORSE at the Christian institutions. Even Morton’s experiences are very illustrative of that.

    • May 21, 2016 at 3:08 am

      “The White Cliffs of Dover are not necessarily primarily organically deposited limestone.” What’s your evidence?

      Remember: I was a ‘creation science’ speaker/debater who once made the same silly claims. Tell me how you know that they weren’t organically formed. And if you don’t like the White Cliffs because they destroy YECism, what have the marine life strata under the Creation Museum? Are you going to try and claim that those aren’t actually bodies of many millions of years of sea creatures? Do you really think the excuse of “richer nutrients made them grow faster” can explain the math in your calculations by factors of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS?

      And in science, you can’t just pull out wild cards and say, “The laws of physics were different then!” If everything can be solved by a magical wild card (or a miracle on demand), there’s no point in discussing science or even evidence—-because it can always be trumped by a miracle!

      I’d have more respect for the position I used to hear from some pastors in the 1950’s: “God put dinosaur bones in the ground to confuse the atheist scientists and to test the faith of his people.” In other words, they at least openly acknowledged that they considered the evidence God gave us in the earth an intentional deception, a record of history which we couldn’t trust because it was just a “faith test.”

      Do you admit that your position on the science is always ready to abandon the evidence whenever it doesn’t fit your interpretation of the Bible (i.e., the traditions you trust)? That’s what you are doing with the White Cliffs of Dover. There is ZERO evidence for their being a few thousands of years old—-but you’ve read the YEC excuses in their propaganda. (They also assume that if they can cast doubt on ONE evidence for billions of years, that that somehow trumps THE THOUSANDS OF OTHER EVIDENCES OF AN OLD EARTH. We see that regularly with their attacks on radiometric dating. They ignore the fact that EVEN IF radiometric dating didn’t exist, there are many other ways that we know the age of the earth and its structures. Likewise, you could throw away radiometric dating and every fossil ever found, and yet the Theory of Evolution would be just as solid because the OTHER MASSIVE PILES OF EVIDENCE. (Look up the term CONSILIENCE and what it says about modern Science.)

  54. Michael Nowlan
    May 27, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Professor Tertius,
    I have to chuckle when I read your request to stay on one topic, when it seems you are writing a book every time you respond (I am guilty as well). You have pumped out so much information it seems impossible for me to stay on one topic for very long, but I’ll try. Let’s focus on Dr. Brown and Glenn Morton for a minute. Please do not disdain me for giving him doctoral credit, as I am affording you the same courtesy in referring to you as Professor Tertius. When I stated I have read Dr. Walt Brown’s material extensively I don’t believe that I stated that I believe everything that he says. So, don’t put words into my mouth. I enjoy reading as many viewpoints as possible. I am trying to learn as much as I can from you and the “old-earth” perspective, if I dare label you as such. I listen to all people’s viewpoints and love them regardless of how “crazy” they may seem to others. He is first and foremost a fellow created being in my opinion.

    I will share my limited experience in dealing with Dr. Brown. After reading some of his material I did what I always do and tried to find out if there were outstanding critics of his work. You named one of the individuals that I came across. In reading Morton’s writings I came across his crisis of faith and his account of the karst formations he “saw” underground. I sent an email to Dr. Brown asking if his next edition was going to address any of Morton’s questions regarding how seismic karst formations fit into a global flood dynamic. The response from Dr. Brown’s email was startling. I was referred to his debate request requirements rather curtly. I emailed back saying I was not challenging him, but was simply inquiring whether he was even considering responding “formally” as he does, in his book. I understand from that small exchange how Dr. Brown has isolated himself. Whether his emotional response to being questioned detracts from his ideas is another matter. I have to say, people can react in very strange and defensive ways when they are persecuted for their ideas. You have chosen your own coping mechanisms Professor, so I wouldn’t cast too heavy a stone in Walt’s direction.

    I do not share in Morton’s crises in considering his explorations and data, and his interpretations on how things could or could not have happened. Let’s set aside how measurements are taken of formations thousands of feet underground and assume that the “formations” Glenn is “seeing” are crystal clear. I also understand some of his data is from borings/corings, which moved material to the surface for direct analysis. Based on your mention of him I looked further into his issues. In addition to karst formations, I read his perspective on the formation of amber with insects being “stratified”, and another piece on the formation of a rock with sand and other lithified material mixed in between the sand particles. In each of these cases Glenn appears to believe that these formations and stratifications indicate non-catastrophic depositional conditions, as they appear to match formations we see on the surface today that are the result of slow and “tranquil” erosional and depositional processes. The amber stratification issue was unique and apparently unexplainable as occurring during a global flood. Mr. Morton can believe what he chooses, but I do not pretend to predict with any certainty what could or could not have happened during a global flood. I think when people hear “flood” they think water only, and they think in terms of the small events we call floods today and do not realize the power of very fast moving huge volumes of water. Dr. Brown’s description of the flood is anything but tranquil or predictable. Calling it “flood” is even a stretch, though it is referred to as a flood in the Bible, but with a special word used. The amount of earth-ripping upheaval that Dr. Brown believes occurred tore the continents apart, resulting in huge volcanic activity, continents crashing and uplifting tens of thousands of feet, and oceans of water being thrown into the atmosphere, carrying salts and mountains of minerals from miles under the earth. The water surface we see on the oceans today is serene in comparison to this utter chaos he describes. How can anyone then predict what this should look like or how it will show up in the formations we see today, either below ground or above ground? I am a strong proponent of the phrase “Correlation does not prove/imply causation”. For instance, perhaps the forests of the world bore different amber and insect combinations, and these “layers” we see today were created in the order they were because of the clumping and floating of different forests passing over the same depositional area at different times of the flood. A similar anomaly could have created the other mixtures and formations where sediments were deposited, quickly lithified (yes it can happen) and re-eroded in chucks and mixed with sand. Utter chaos does not follow a predictable pattern. FYI, I have yet to invoke a miracle into the picture if you’ve noticed.
    Let’s now focus on Dr. Brown’s theory and your question of “where did all the heat go?” As I read his material he claims that the subterranean water was supercritical, which seems feasible considering the huge pressures and tidal pumping that he postulates. He states quite clearly that he believes the “heat energy”, which according to physics is a form of kinetic energy, was dissipated through motion. In other words, the energy did not escape to the surface of the earth through conduction as we think heat moves generally, but it was accelerating/moving the water at supersonic speed toward space, moving huge amounts of rock from the earth’s crust into space. So, his theory quite clearly hinges on the behavior of supercritical water being violently released through miles of earth’s crust. I had a recent exchange with Dr. Faulkner of AIG on this very issue as he believes that the “jets of supercritical water” would have intermixed with the Earth’s atmosphere at the boundary and could never have reached space. I argued that it is impossible to test it either way. The behavior of thousands of feet of supercritical water expanding and flowing through a split seam of planetary crust cannot be experimented on without a laboratory of similar size and gravitational forces, etc. So, until this can be tested I don’t think anyone can prove or disprove his theory. This one thing makes it nearly impossible to have thousands of experts on the issue, and formulate a belief based on popular scientific consensus. It is a catastrophic non-repeatable event. Show me something that definitively disproves this specific issue Professor and I will concede this point.
    Ironically, I am a hydraulic engineer, which is why I am fascinated with this subject. Do not assume you are right on everything Professor or that scientific consensus always makes a right answer. The present is not the key to the past. If you rely entirely on your senses you will tend to disbelieve the miraculous. Do you think that Jesus walking on water is believable scientifically, as it defies the laws of physics?

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