Hello, Mr. Kulikovsky. I recently read Mark Noll's book and found it to be extremely interesting and insightful. I have incorporated
many of Prof. Noll's ideas and challenges into my own thinking about the importance of scholarship and intellectual engagement. The
book left some important questions unanswered, however, and I was curious to see how evangelicals in general and fundamentalists
in particular would respond. This curiosity led me (via AltaVista) to your page and to your review of "The Scandal of the Evangelical
Mind". Although you raise some important questions and some valid criticism, your review contains myriad errors and falsehoods,
and I feel compelled to respond.
I am a confessing evangelical, born again July 1982.
I attend Park Street Church (conservative, evangelical, congregational)
(parkstreet.org) in Boston, Massachusetts, with my wife of 15 years and our 4 children (youngest born 22 March). Academically, I am
titled (using your pattern) as follows: Stephen F. Matheson B.S., M.S., Ph.D. (I was in the honors program, but I can't see including that in my academic title.) My B.S. was a double major in Cellular and Developmental Biology and Mathematics, the M.S. in Toxicology and the Ph.D., awarded in 1996, in Neuroscience. I am currently Research Fellow in Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Research Fellow in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital; and Officer, Harvard University. My specific research is focused on cellular signaling mechanisms in the mammalian brain. My current work is not yet published (we're working on it), but you can read both my M.S. thesis and my dissertation in the scientific literature.
Evolutionary theory is an important part of my scientific thinking (I can explain if you wish), so I possess comprehensive knowledge of evolutionary biology, and I am an expert on molecular techniques and their application to evolutionary theory.
What do you mean by evolutionary theory? Are you referring to mutations + natural selection, and speciation or are you referring to microbes-to-man evolution?
I (and all mainstream YECs) accept the former but reject the latter. Microbes-to-man evolution requires an information increase in the genome, but mutations and natural selection only ever result in a loss of information or at best a duplication of existing information.
All of this is to assure you that I am knowledgeable,
Yes, you are certainly knowledgeable in your highly specialised field. However, please do not presume to think that your expertise in biology and neuroscience somehow makes you an expert in physics, astronomy, geology, theology, philosophy and history.
He is right to point out the relative naivety of evangelicals
in regard to
science (p. 127), however he also shows a great deal of naivety himself,
when he discusses it in later chapters. Noll appears to mock the idea that
the that the Bible may be read and interpreted according to a logical and
scientific procedure (p. 127-128).
I can find no reasonable support for this accusation. Noll describes the rise of dispensationalism, with its Baconian foundation, with
specific quotes from the principals (Scofield and Ryrie). He doesn't "mock" anything, but maintains that these traditions rested on specific assumptions and modes of analysis and that these assumptions and patterns were self-confidently (even arrogantly) asserted to be self-evident.
I gather that dispensational hermeneutics and its "scientific" procedures are attractive and important to you, and I think that is why you take umbrage with Noll's analysis.
You are incorrect. I have no love for dispensationalism at all. I do not hold to that system because I find it flawed at critical points. My hermeneutical method is the historical-grammatical method which is adhered to by the vast majority of professing evangelical scholars including those in the Evangelical Theological Society.
If you want justification for my mocking charge see Noll
"...an overwhelming tendency to 'essentialism,' or the conviction that a specific formula could capture for all times and places the essence of Biblical truth for any specific issue concerning God, the human condition, or the fate of the world; a corresponding neglect of forces in history that shape perceptions and help define the issues that loom as most important to any particular age;"
In other words, Noll thinks that following a procedure when interpreting the Bible (eg. grammatical-historical method) so that we can accurately determine what God is saying to all men in all times, is somehow presumptuous and negligent.
This is surely post-modernist existentialism applied to
It appear he doubts the perspicuity of Scripture.
As you seem to define it, he almost certainly does, and so do I and many confessing evangelicals.
Yet the vast majority of evangelicals would say that the central message of Christianity is indeed very clear and can be read straight from the pages of Scripture.
You seem to equate perspicuity with a state of affairs in which one effortlessly extracts self-evident truth from a simple reading of the Bible, without self-criticism and without explicit reference to extrabiblical truth (e.g., facts of nature).
No. I don't think any such thing. Biblical interpretation is never effortless. Nevertheless, it is never so obscure that only certain elite people can do it. Of course, those with greater training and knowledge will do it better but an average person can understand the vast majority of Scripture simply by reading it, and indeed, many have.
In any case, my method (historical-grammatical) does indeed consider extra-biblical data including data from the facts of nature.
However, one must ask which "facts of nature" and whether the "facts of nature" are indeed facts. The history of science is full of examples of so-called scientific facts which were subsequently shown to be false. For eg. the appendix was considered to be a vestigial organ - that was "fact", but now we know that it does have a function.
See Thomas Kuhn "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" for many more examples and discussion of this.
I'm a big fan of Schaeffer (I own four of his books)
Good for you. I own them all.
It seems to me that Noll sees a big difference between Christian *commentary* on society, the arts, nature, etc. and serious Christian *thinking* in these arenas. Schaeffer's work, to me, clearly represents the former.
I don't see the difference between the two. Don't you think what Schaeffer wrote was "serious" and thoughtful? How much more serious do you want to go?
Noll rightly criticises the tendency for fundamentalists to give shallow answers, guidance and responses to the people's questions about current events, and for instructing people by merely quoting proof texts. He notes that these issues are rarely looked at and studied in detail (p. 132). He then affirms that there has been NO fundamentalist philosophy, history, aesthetics, novels, poetry, literary criticism etc. This is surely an overstatement and again, Noll forgets the work of Francis and Edith Schaeffer as well as Norman Geisler.
OOPS! You left out the next sentence: "Or at least there has been none that has compelled attention for insights into the way God has made the world and situated human beings on this planet." (p. 137) No overstatement there (though you might disagree with his opinion).
The Schaeffers wrote on these subjects and many more, and they have had (and continue to have) a phenomenal impact around the world.
Noll also correctly points out that any theology that encourages Bible reading as puzzle solving is not just bad theology but prejudicial to intellectual life (p. 142-143). Yet, Noll himself does not accept the plain reading of Genesis 1-11!
Good for him! The alternative is the complete evacuation of the scientific examination of nature,
The is an utterly ridiculous statement with absolutely no justification whatsoever. In fact it is demonstrably false.
Furthermore, the alternative also involves the complete rejection of the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.
as well as a world of endless puzzle-solving designed, for example, to avoid insistence on a geocentric universe.
Not sure what you mean exactly by geocentric universe. If you mean in the absolute sense (ie. the earth is the absolute centre of the entire universe) then your statement above is ignorant because the YEC interpretation certainly does not imply anything of the kind. If you mean that Earth and the rest of the solar system is at, or very near to, the centre of the universe then your above statement is also ignorant, but this time of cosmology. The belief that the earth is nothing special and in no special location is an ideological assumption not a scientific fact.
Noll also holds to a dual revelation theory (p. 182), but it is completely unreasonable to suggest that general revelation in the natural world should be given equal weighting with the special revelation of Scripture.
No one said it should. A classic strawman.
But Noll implies that it should, so your dismissal of this point as a straw-man is unwarranted.
There is no doubt that science has an impact on how we interpret the Bible,
This admission alone, if you really mean it, eviscerates nearly every objection you can raise against Noll, myself, Warfield, Augustine and the "cloud of witnesses" Noll uses so effectively. Not just science per se, but all sorts of knowledge are brought to the table when opening the Bible. Without certain extrabiblical information (what is a "talent"? a covenant? what exactly does "create" mean?) we can understand little of what the Bible has to say.
This comment shows clearly that either you have completely misunderstood my comments, or it is you who is guilty of straw-manning.
but scientific data does not speak for itself - it must be interpreted by fallible human beings with limited knowledge and understanding.
Indeed. And those same limitations, resident in those same humans, have their same effect when reading, interpreting, even dissecting,
the word of God. Ignoring this fact, while reciting a creed about "plain" reading or "perspicuity", is in my opinion hubris on a cosmic
The difference is that the Bible is written linguistic communication - science is not. In fact science does not communicate at all! It does not talk and we can not just walk up to a rock and read its history. We can take measurements and perform experiments and form some conclusions but we can't ask the rock to tell us what it is, how old it is, and where it came from. Indeed, the natural world never "communicated" to anyone through science in the millennia before the enlightenment when modern science was born.
The natural world is also a distorted world (Romans 8).
That's one view of one small part of Romans 8, which seems not to be about this subject at all, and certainly doesn't speak in any "plain"
way about whether the creation is a reliable testament. As you know, Psalm 19 and the first chapter of the same letter to the Romans
make this very clear: somehow the "distorted" world testifies quite unambiguously. So, reference in this context to the assumed distortion" is red herring #2.
Both Romans 1 and Psalm 19 limit the extent and scope of God's revelation. From the natural world we can see that God exists and that He is great and powerful, personal and intelligent etc. And that is it.
Furthermore, Genesis 3:14-19 makes it clear that the world
is cursed and has been distorted:
So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
Scripture, on the other hand, is written in normal, intelligible, human language, understandable to all.
According to that same Scripture, all of the above apply to nature, and so your "on the other hand" makes the above statement a falsehood. Indeed, Romans 1:18-20 makes it "plain" that what is "plain" to *all* are the characteristics of God that are revealed in creation. No exegesis required.
Again, the extent of God's revelation in the natural world is limited to the fact that there is a God and that He is great, powerful, intelligent and personal. General revelation does not tell us the history of the world.
It is also ridiculous to think that the scope of revelation in the natural world comes even close to that of Scripture. Looking at the natural world you can see that God exists and that He is powerful, but you won't see God's righteousness, man's need for salvation, or Christ's substitutionary death or hundreds of other Scriptural truths!
Did Noll indicate otherwise? No, of course he didn't.
But this is the logical implication and the practical application of dual-revelation theory.
It should also be noted that Article XII of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy reads: "We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood."
I'm not sure why this is significant with respect to Noll's ideas, or why it is included at this point in your article.
It is the consensus of evangelical opinion, and it affirms that Scripture is more authoritive than scientific conclusions. Thus, it is a denial of dual revelation theory.
He wrongly accuses fundamentalists/evangelicals of
sacrificing the idea that "properly scrutinised results of the main cultures
scientific enterprises should assist Biblical interpretation." (p. 185).
Those in the creationist movement would totally agree with this -
what they object to is the use of results that have not been properly scrutinised!
Scrutiny *of any kind* of major scientific enterprises by "creation science", when it happens at all, is comically incomplete and
transparently pre-conditioned. I've been watching for a long time.
Oh really? What creation science have you read? Have you read John Woodmorappe's work on flood geology and radiometric dating? Have you read Oard on the Ice age? Snelling and Austin on radiometric dating? Faulkner on Astronomy? Humphreys on cosmology and magnetic fields? Baumgardner on plate tectonics? Do you regularly read CRSQ and CENTJ? I doubt very much whether you have read any of these - and yet you think you're an expert on what creation scientists believe and do!!!
And I've read the results of the "scrutiny". Anyone who can read "Science Held Hostage" by Van Till et al.,
Ha Ha Ha! What a laughable book. It is full of faulty arguments, half-truths, misrepresentations and strawmen. The fact that you would cite this book (which is quite old now anyway) as a refutation of creation science demonstrates your total ignorance of creation science and your scientific incompetence when it comes to assessing arguments for and against an old earth.
I've read the stuff. I know. I'm not impressed by fundamentalist chest-beating. The obscured assumptions and the gigantic errors
are always obvious.
Stephen, I doubt whether you have read very much at all, and from what you have said so far, what you "know" regarding the beliefs and practices of creation scientists could be written on a tooth-pick.
He also wrongly defines "creationism" as "the effort to construct an alternative, fundamentalist science based directly on the Bible." (p. 186).
That's exactly what it is. Some (like Kurt Wise) even admit as much.
Yes, well, Kurt Wise gets a bit confused sometimes.
Creationism uses the Bible as its starting point, but
it still makes use of legitimate scientific research and methods.
This gives the impression that creation scientists have invented their own form of science with its own set of rules and methods. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Stating this with conviction cannot make it true. *All* the rules are different. And the quote from the intro to "The Genesis Flood"
makes this clear. The assumption is that a literal reading of the Bible contains all truth, and science may be changed in any way
necessary to "orient the data ... within this biblical framework."
No. The rules are the same. The differences are in the presuppositions. Secular science assumes (incorrectly) that there is no God, or that if there is, He is not at all directly involved in His creation (ie. it is essentially deism). Thus, they are forced to come up with a naturalistic explanation for everything. Creationism presupposes that God exists, that He is active in creation and that He has communicated with his people through Scripture, and that the Scriptures are a true and inerrant testament of the origin of the universe and everything in it.
In your own writing, all references to "distorted world", "major structural disjunctions" and the like are plain commitments to non-
uniformitarianism, which frees you to invent your "own form of science with its own set of rules and methods." Again, there are at least
some YECs who readily acknowledge this.
No. My commitment to non-uniformitarianism (really I prefer to call it catastrophism) frees me to see the direct activity of God in the world.
Most of the creation scientists are highly qualified professionals who also publish in secular journals in their respective fields.
On the lists I've seen, few were qualified in any relevant field, and some had no relevant credentials at all.
The same could be said of the crew at talk.origins
Yet Answers in Genesis has 6 PhD scientists on staff (Don Batten, Tas Walker, Jonathan Sarfati, David Catchpole, Pierre Jerlstrom and Emil Silvestru) and 1 medical doctor (Carl Wieland)... ICR has even more.
In any case, what counts is the quality of the argument not the number of letters after your name.
Until recently, many "creation scientists" held honorary degrees or worthless wallpaper from diploma mills.
Yes, I believe there are a few of these around. They are, however, the distinct minority, and they are NOT associated with the mainstream creationist organisations such as CRS, AIG and ICR. I call them loose cannons (well, pea-shooters really).
There are, to be sure, a few YECs who hold Ph.D.'s in relevant fields, but I have found no evidence that they "publish in secular journals in their respective fields". If you have such information, I'd like to see it. (Steve Austin, if I recall from Numbers' book, published 3 papers more than 20 years ago.)
See Don Batten's bio:
Russ Humphreys' bio:
Pierre Jerlstrom's bio:
Jonathan Sarfati's bio:
Robert Herrmann's bio:
Also, Robert Gentry published several articles on radio-halos in Nature and Science and other journals. They're all the bios I could get hold of at present.
In any case, this is hardly relevant to the question of whether these folks are engaging in legitimate "scrutiny" of modern science or
whether their "creation science" adheres to standard scientific rules and methods.
The standard rules and methods disallow any inclination of the supernatural. Many creationists have experienced academic censorship because their work ultimately points to the existence of a supernatural creator. Jerry Bergman (who has 2 PhDs) has documented many such cases in CENTJ 10.3 (1996) 405-414.
Once again, Noll wrongly accuses creation scientists of dropping the idea "that the best theology should understand and incorporate the best science" (p. 186). Again, creation scientists would agree as long as the science is properly scrutinised and verified.
Those who have intellectual integrity and who believe this (the above statement) will not long stand for the abuses of creation science.
You talk about the abuses of creation science, yet you have not produced one example of such abuses. So, what does this say about YOUR intellectual integrity?
Thus, I and others predict that young-earth "creation science" will be inexorably rejected, not necessarily as a result of mounting
evidence of its intellectual corruption, but as a result of the realization that it is an abuse of Scripture and a dangerous distraction from the concerns of the Body of Christ.
Now it is an abuse of Scripture as well!?!? I challenge you to produce exegetical evidence demonstrating that interpreting the days of creation in Gen 1 as ordinary days is an abuse of Scripture.
He makes the astounding claim that creationism was not a traditional belief of nineteenth century conservative Protestants (p. 188).
Here you are making two serious errors. First of all, Noll is referring to a very specific (and accurate) definition of "creationism", articulated in the previous sentence. He is NOT referring to the overall belief in the inerrancy of Genesis 1.
Yes, but even then the statement is not true. Noll makes it clear that he relies heavily on Numbers' book, but as I said to you before, Numbers' book is incomplete since it focuses primarily on creationism in the USA. If you and Noll had been good scholars you would have checked out what was going on in other parts of the world such as the UK. If you and Noll had done this, you would have found that there were a number of creationists of the type Noll is referring to. Terry Mortenson did his PhD (at University of Coventry) on them. He has published a series of articles in CENTJ:
"British Scriptural Geologists in the First half of the
19th Century" CENTJ 11.2 (1997) 221-252.
"Granville Penn" CENTJ 11.3 (1997) 361-374.
"George Bugg" CENTJ 12.2 (1998) 237-252.
"Andrew Ure" CENTJ 12.3 (1998) 362-373.
"Henry Cole" CENTJ 13.1 (1999) 92-99.
"Thomas Gisborne" CENTJ 14.1 (2000) 75-80.
Second, this claim is not Noll's per se but that of Ronald Numbers and others who have studied the history of "creationism" as we know it, and Noll explicitly cites Numbers on this.
But Numbers is a lapsed Seventh-day Adventist and so not only does he have a few axes to grind, he is also not really in a position to make a call on what was or wasn't a traditional belief of the Christian church. Furthermore, the book was written specifically about the rise of "modern" creationism ie. this century, and primarily in the USA. Thus, in relying on Numbers, Noll is either very careless or has not been completely honest.
I've recently read this excellently-researched book, and all accounts I've seen indicate that it is an accurate historical account. (Even Henry Morris agrees.) If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd love to see it.
See above. Numbers' book deals only with creationism in
the USA, and that is its major flaw. See the following reviews of Numbers'
Jerry Bergman, Origins 21(2):85-90
Edgar Andrews, Origins (December 1995):21-23.
In any case, a look at the Westminster Confession reveals that Chapter IV states:
I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.
II. After God made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image; having the law of god written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
This does not refer to "creationism" as specifically defined by Noll,
But it does refer to the interpretation of Genesis held by such creationists. Noll is clearly wrong on this point.
and in any case does not disprove the claim that YECism was not a traditional belief of the groups mentioned.
The groups mentioned were 19th century conservative Protestants. The WCF was written a couple of hundred years before this time and was certainly a central and representative doctrinal statement of conservative protests (and still is BTW).
Noll's reference to "The Fundamentals" is strong evidence in favor of the assertion, and in any case the definitive study is cited, and there's no reason for him to rehash it.
But again, Noll is either very careless or just plain dishonest. It is true, as he states, that most Protestants believed the days of Genesis were geological ages or that a gap existed between Gen 1:1 and 1:2, but the reason these interpretations were invoked was because because of the supposed certainty of Darwinian evolution. The fact is that before Darwin and Lyell, the church generally held to young earth creationism. Remember Ussher? His chronology was recalculated and supported by Lightfoot - and both preceded Darwin.
One again, both you and Noll are simply wrong.
Noll also accuses creation scientists of being "radical" in their scientific conclusions (p. 189). If by "radical" he means rejecting the humanistic and rationalistic hypotheses and pseudo-science of the modern age then he is right.
He is right. The writings of prominent "creation scientists" are radical to the point of absurdity in their "conclusions", and again the quote from Whitcomb & Morris goes a long way toward revealing why.
Again, more baseless undocumented accusations. And you chastise ME for lacking intellectual integrity!
The "gap theory" Noll refers to (p. 189) was in fact popularised by C. I. Scofield, who Noll greatly criticises in the previous chapter. The gap theory is rejected by creation scientists.
This irrelevant factoid is red herring #4.
His reference to the gap theory on p. 189 suggests that he believes it to be superior to YECism, yet it was popularised and expounded by a man that Noll greatly criticises.
Noll makes the astounding claim that the creation science movement originated from the efforts of the Seventh-day Adventists!
Here, your carelessness is devastating to your credibility as a thoughtful commentator.
First, it is simply not accurate to attribute the claim to Noll when it is so clearly Numbers' work.
But Noll repeats and reinforces the conclusion, and therefore claims the same.
(Can you really be so ignorant of the work of Ronald Numbers, while aggressively disputing claims of historical record?)
As I have shown above, Numbers' work focuses only on the USA. Thus, as a truly accurate and thorough history of Creationism, it is lacking.
Second, and as a result, you imply that the "astounding" claim is something novel and surprising. Ugh.
He also forgets to mention that a 6-day creation is the historical interpretation.
Red herring #5, apparently designed to deflect attention away from the thesis that historical Christianity, from Augustine (at least) to today, has always considered non-literal interpretations.
Augustine was a member of the Alexandrian school which interpreted just about everything non-literally. BTW, a non-literal interpretation does not necessarily imply an old earth interpretation.
In any case, although there have been a few non-literal
views, such views were always the minority by far. Thus, it is dishonest
to say that historic Christianity "has always considered non-literal interpretations."
Ken Ham, one of the founders of the Creation Science Foundation in Australia, recently wrote (Creation Ex Nihlo, vol. 19 no. 4, p. 14) that when he became involved in the creationist movement 20 years ago, he had never even heard about the Adventist, Price. Ham goes on to state that the reason he was a young-earth creationist was for theological reasons.
Red herring #6, by the truckload. Ham, 20 whole years ago?! What does this have to do with Morris and Whitcomb and Price in the early 50's??? I have to consider the possibility that this is a deliberate attempt to mislead the reader.
Read p. 189 again. Noll explicitly states that modern creationism arose from the efforts of SDAs such as Price. That may have been true in the USA, but it was not true in Britain or Australia. Thus, you and Noll are simply wrong (again!)
And in any case, this whole thing is a genetic fallacy.
Numbers and Noll are trying to caste doubt on the credibility of creationism
by associating it with a mildly cultic church group. Yet, just because
SDAs were very influential in the revival and rise of creationism, doesn't
automatically make it false.
It is interesting to note that Noll chides the Adventist, Price, as an armchair geologist with little or no formal training, for reconstructing natural history in order to question the understanding of the geological column and indication of an ancient earth. Yet Noll openly accepts and endorses B. B. Warfield's comments on Genesis and the age of the earth, even though Warfield is also not a qualified geologist.
Let's see if this is clear: Price, a *non-scientist*, re-interprets (badly) *science* to fit a literal interpretation of a Bible passage. Warfield,
a non-scientist, discusses Scripture in the light of science, without altering the science. The difference is obvious, and your implication
about Noll comes back at you. It seems to me that in your haste to damage Noll, you have become reckless, and it's only diminishing your credibility and damaging your integrity.
You can't even see the difference between observed scientific fact and conclusions based on scientific naturalism - what does that say about YOUR credibility?
Warfield, a non-scientist, was completely ignorant of
science and was unable to critically evaluate the validity of its truth
claims. Indeed, Warfield had no problems at all accepting Darwinian evolution
and didn't see any problems with reinterpreting Scripture to fit with such
It should also be noted that there are a number of modern young-earth creation scientists such as Andrew Snelling, John Morris and Steve Austin (just to name a few), who do have high qualifications in geology and are regarded as experts in their specific fields.
"Just to name a few"?!?! I'm guessing that you have named at least half of the Ph.D. geologists in the whole world who are young-earth "creation scientists". Consider it a challenge.
Creationist PhD geologists:
Clifford Burdick (now deceased)
PhDs in related fields:
Kurt Wise (paleontology)
John Baumgardner (geophysics)
Ker Thomson (geophysics)
There are also dozens of other creationist geologists
who only have Masters or Bachelors degrees.
He also misleads the reader when he writes that Henry Morris was just "a hydraulic engineer". When his book the "Genesis Flood" was published, he was Professor of Hydraulic Engineering and Chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering at Virginia Polytech Institute. He is also a full member of Sigma Xi and Honour member of Chi Epsilon, as well as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi honorary societies. He is also a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and holds professional memberships in American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, Geochemical Society and National Society of Professional Engineers among others. Morris also has biographical listings in 6 different "who's who" publications.
In other words, he's a hydraulic engineer. With an academic appointment (decades in the past) and some assorted honors. Such lists are obvious attempts to bolster flimsy scientific credibility, and I find them wholly unimpressive and sadly amusing. Henry Morris was a hydraulic engineer when he wrote that book, and that matters to anyone who wants to know about the expertise of an author who is proposing new theories that necessarily require analysis of existing data.
Henry Morris sets forth in the book a catastrophic global flood model. Who better to work on such a model than a hydraulic engineer?
Noll, views the 6-day creation reading of Genesis as a "literal one" but it would be more accurate to describe it as the "plain" reading.
This oft-repeated semantic trick doesn't impress me, doesn't illuminate anything, and doesn't affect any of Noll's arguments.
The two terms are quite different. "Literal" implies there is no room for figures of speech and idioms. Plain, however, does.
He appears to ridicule the notion that there were major
structural disjunctions between the original created order and the postfall
postflood worlds (p. 195).
I find no hint of ridicule, instead reading an illuminating comparison between "creation science" and dispensationalism. Your illegitimate
accusations against Noll do harm to you and your cause.
(I for one am convinced that CS is scientific dispensationalism,
and in fact the only way YECism can work, given its complete scientific
illegitimacy, is to avoid natural science altogether by introducing new realities through techniques like dispensationalism).
Your a priori dismissal of creation science indicates your intellectual paraplegia.
Yet the Bible clearly teaches that this is the case. In Genesis 3:14-19 we read that the serpent is cursed above all the livestock and wild animals (implying that the livestock and wild animals are also cursed).
There is no mention of a "major structural disjunction" in this passage.
Isn't a cursed world a major structural disjunction???
Women are to have greatly increased pains in childbirth.
Demonstrating clearly that they had pains *before* the curse. So....where's the "major structural disjunction"? Looks like continuity to me.
But there were no children born before the Fall, so how could there have been pain in childbirth?
In any case, pain is really just an intense physical sensation.
Pain was to be "increased", so God may have intended that child-birth be
uncomfortable, rather than painful.
The ground was cursed because of Adam's sin and will produce thorns and thistles.
So....where's the "major structural disjunction"? I know where it is: in a highly derivative interpretation, necessarily incorporating
extrabiblical data and necessarily resting on non-self-evident assumptions that are taken to be "common sense".
Why would you expect to find Noll's particular description ("major structural disjunction") verbatim in Scripture?
All the verses I cited demonstrate that the Fall caused major changes in both the form and function of nature. "Major structural disjunctions" is Noll's description.
So....where's the "major structural disjunction"? I'm sorry, Mr. Kulikovsky, but your claim that the Bible "clearly teaches" about "major structural disjunctions" is nonsense.
I'm sorry, Mr. Matheson, but it appears you either can't read or you at least have a reading comprehension problem. And then you question my intellectual integrity??? What a joke!
Read Gen 3:14-19, Rom 8:20-22 and 5:12-14 again.
With regard to the flood, it is only logical and sensible to conclude that such a global flood would have had a massive geological impact on the natural world.
At this point, we reach a crescendo. The preceding is a tour de force of the scandal of the evangelical mind. It contains the basic error
(scientific falsehood presented as truth), the basic accompanying attitude (hubris) and a hint of the mischief's source (non-critical
incorporation of assumptions, labelled as "common sense" or the like). No, it is not logical. It is not sensible. It's not even
biblical. Upon any amount of honest reflection, the claim dissolves into absurdity.
Bold (and unsubstantiated) claims from a biologist/neurologist. Anybody can see the massive destruction caused by modern day local floods, so it is not in the least absurd to suggest that a catastrophic global world-wide flood would have a massive geological impact on the earth.
Do you really think that a lot of water created the Himalayas?
Did I claim any such thing? No.
If a global flood can have "massive geological impact", shouldn't the Marianas trench at least partially mimic it? Can anyone honestly claim that these ludicrous claims are "only logical and sensible"?
This is a perfect example of just how completely and utterly ignorant you are of what creationists actually believe. The flood geology model is not trivial - it encompasses many things and fields of science. For example, it includes a very comprehensive plate-tectonics model (creationist John Baumgardner is a world authority on plate tectonics) which is used to explain mountain up-lift - like the Himalayas for eg.
Stephen, you criticise creation science even though you know hardly anything about it!
That is inexcusable, and removes any intellectual integrity you may have had.
And, by the way, science has indeed proved literalist readings of the Bible to be "wrong". It happened sometime around 1610 A.D.
I assume you are talking about Galileo. If so, then this is another perfect example of your ignorance - this time of history.
The treatment and trial of Galileo had absolutely nothing to do with science v. Scripture. Although this is a very common belief, it is, in fact, a clear case of historical revisionism, and therefore, completely untrue.
The facts are well documented in Thomas Schirrmacher's
article on Galileo in CENTJ 14.1. It is at my web site in PDF Acrobat)
Again Noll, makes the astounding claim that creationism is "making it much more difficult to think clearly about human origins" (p. 197). Yet it is creationists who hold to the "plain" and simple reading of Genesis ("plain" is a more accurate description than "literal").
This literalist interpretation makes it impossible to understand human fossils or general human antiquity. Thus it is difficult to think clearly about human origins.
It is only difficult if you want to maintain the Bible's inerrancy (as all evangelicals do), yet still uncritically accept all the conclusions of modern science (as Noll does).
The old-earthers, on the other hand, insist on a complicated, figurative and non-chronological reading, despite the narrative nature of the text.
Complicated? Nah. And all that huffing about "the narrative nature of the text" is just the forceful articulation of a specific assumption
that is *completely extrabiblical* in nature. Watch that "plain" reading get really sticky when we start examining the biblical evidence for a geocentric universe and a flat earth.
This is another perfect example of your ignorance - this time of Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis.
When I say "plain" I mean the application of the historical-grammatical
method of interpretation to the text of Genesis 1-2 (since Genesis is historical
narrative, the result is a "plain" reading). However, the historical-grammatical
method involves taking into account idioms, figures of speech and phenomenological
language. Thus, the same approach can be applied to those Scriptures you
mention with no problem at all.
Noll also accuses creationists of not being careful thinkers (p. 197), and again no reason or documentation is given to support his accusation.
The *whole chapter* is reason and documentation. Badly done.
The whole chapter is more or less attacking creationist hermeneutics. The problem is that Noll's view of creationist hermeneutics is a straw-man. As you would say, it is "badly done".
Presumably, it is because they don't agree with him!
Or because he's read their work and seen them repeat "refutations" of scientific findings DECADES after the "evidence" is shown to be
comically misconstrued or even deliberately misrepresented.
Really? I hope you have some examples. Please cite that "Science held hostage" book (it's probably the only book you have on these issues anyway) - I will really enjoy blowing their claims apart!
I have found rare examples of YECs (e.g. Leonard Brand) who abandon the "noisy alarums" that Noll refers to in the passage you are
using here, and attempt careful thought about the reality of the scientific evidence with respect to the Bible. They do exist.
Don't know him.
He also forgets to point out that there are a number of Old Testament scholars who disagree with Bruce Waltke's conclusions (p. 198), such as John Whitcomb and James Barr.
Red Herring #9. Noll makes his point clear, and you either missed it or chose to misrepresent it as an endorsement of Waltke's ideas.
The point is that careful scholarship does not lead self-evidently from "the central meaning of early Genesis ... to detailed explanations
of how God brought about the creation." This is a fundamental point of Noll's book, and you are either amazingly unable to understand it, or you are deliberately attempting to obscure it. (You make the identical error (or obfuscation) when dealing with Warfield's ideas; see below).
Citing one scholar doesn't prove or even make his point. The reason why Waltke holds to such a complex reading of Genesis is because he too is intimidated by the truth claims of modern science. In an attempt to rescue inerrancy, he simply reinterprets the Bible to fit.
If you do not see this then you have a serious intellectual blind-spot.
These are very serious problems with your thinking, Mr. Kulikovsky.
No. I think it is your thinking that has very serious problems.
Whether you agree with Waltke or Warfield or Noll or me is really not the issue. The challenge that you cannot meet is: can you
consider questions of science and Scripture with any degree of intellectual integrity?
Yes, I can. Can you? So far, I haven't seen any evidence of it.
Noll goes on to make the incredibly naive claim that research and experiments are not important to creationists! (p. 198)
Did you, um, leave out a word there? (The word is 'relatively'.) Was that a mistake? If you put that word back in, then consider
(in your case, evidently, for the first time) the facts, Noll's statement is plainly accurate.
Relatively or not - it makes no difference. Noll is saying that actual research and experiments are not particularly important to creationists.
Firstly, scientific research is very expensive, requiring substantial funding from governments and industry. This money is usually not available to creation scientists, so there is a huge limitation to what direct research into creationism can be done.
Geological, anthropological and paleontological field work: three examples of areas of scientific endeavor that are not expensive at all, and that impinge very directly on issues of presumed interest to YECs. The excuse is ludicrous.
Here is _another_ example of you complete ignorance of what creationist actually do. If you had picked up any issue of Creation Research Society Quarterly or Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal you will find many many articles on all these subjects and much more. See also the numerous ICR monographs on various topics.
Thus, Noll's claim (and your repetition of it) is demonstrably
Noll chides creationists for not looking at the world they wish to understand in light of the Bible (p. 199). This amazing statement simply highlights Noll's utter ignorance of creationists work and publications. One only has to look at the literally thousands of articles, technical monographs and books published by creation scientists on the natural world to realise that Noll really has no idea what he is talking about.
Oh, Mr. Kulikovsky, I'm afraid that your bravado cannot hide the fact that these "thousands" of writings contain very little scientific
analysis of the natural world. I've seen them.
Have you? Sounds like all you have read is "Science Held Hostage"
Some are decent. Many are lame. Some are absurd. (I saw one recent article in which the authors looked at tropical islands and tried to imagine how they were evidence for "flood drainage". Just laughable.)
Just like the scientists who look at the Martian landscape and try to imagine how all that water (which they haven't found 1 drop of yet) carved all those deep canyons etc.
The vast majority of creationist writings (I estimate 70%) are nothing more than regurgitation of objections to (usually misconstrued as refutations of) evolutionary theory or the age of the earth.
70% - I guess that must be 2 and a bit out of the 3 books/articles you have read on this. Gee, you really have done your homework.
Next time, try reading the Creation Research Society Quarterly
and Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal.
His misguided accusations continue when he includes a quote insinuating that creationists commit the sin of intellectual pride by believing they can "conjure the knowledge of the nature of things out of one's own head instead of seeking it patiently in the Book of Nature." (p. 200). In actual fact creationists believe that knowledge of the nature of things is revealed by God in simple human language in the early chapters of Genesis.
Precisely. Thus, they are happy to do exactly as Noll says: inventing "knowledge" of nature instead of seeking it in the revealed creation.
Again, you show your ignorance - this time in regard to the philosophy of science. When one examines the world one makes observations in the present about the present. One does not make observations about the past - especially the remote past. When it comes to origins, science is of limited use since science is based on observation. But when the world came into being no-one existed, so no-one was there to observe.
That's how craters on the moon become the result of a space battle between Satan and the Archangel.
No mainstream YEC organisation believes or teaches this.
Thus, it is a silly and juvenile strawman.
It is the old-earthers who commit the sin of intellectual pride by believing they can conjure up knowledge of nature using their own fallible methods which are based on humanity's limited knowledge and understanding.
Well, I'm sure not going to deny that there's "intellectual pride", even ark-loads of it, among "old-earthers" (i.e., scientists). But your
inability to see that "fallible methods...based on humanity's limited knowledge and understanding" apply to your literalist analysis of
the Bible is the sad proof of your rampant hubris, and the embodiment of precisely the errors that Noll warns of.
I've been through this above. As far as I can see, you and Noll himself are the prime examples of what Noll is talking about.
Again, it appears Noll does not accept the perspecuity of Scripture (p. 201). Yet Article IV of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy states: "We affirm that God who made mankind in His image has used language as a means of revelation. We deny that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation. We further deny that the corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God's work of inspiration." This statement was signed by over 300 noted evangelical scholars including James Boice, Norman L. Geisler, John Gerstner, Carl F. H. Henry, Kenneth Kantzer, Harold Lindsell, John Warwick Montgomery, Roger Nicole, J. I. Packer, Robert Preus, Earl Radmacher, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, and John Wenham (note that some of these also hold to an old-earth theory).
This cannot save you from the obvious fact that you must bring limited human understanding of myriad subjects with you when you interpret the Bible. You admit as much in the next sentences.
Of course. Why do I need to be saved from this? I am simply saying that the Bible can be objectively interpreted not that ALL interpretation is straightforward.
Noll seems to imply that creationists interpret the Bible with no regard for scientific evidence (p. 205-206). This is not so. Creationists simply hold the revelation of Scripture over and above the subjective evidence from science.
Again, the plain support lent by the Bible to geocentrism and to flat-earth theorists makes this claim far more complicated than you want to admit (and understandably so).
Again, you are ignorant of creationist hermeneutics (and evangelical hermeneutics in general).
Again, Article XII of the Chicago Statement reads:
"We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from
fraud, or deceit. We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood."
Noll quotes Warfield, who states that the age of the earth and natural mechanisms have no theological significance (p. 206). But it is clear they do, since an old earth with natural mechanisms that included death, suffering and bloodshed before the fall, would be in direct contradiction to Scripture.
Wrong. It would be in direct contradiction to your tortured literalist interpretation of a few passages of the Bible. To state that "it is clear they do" is simply to state that Warfield and all who agree with him are just stupid.
Not stupid - just foolish.
Contra Warfield, Calvin held to a literal 6 day creation (p. 207), which may be confirmed by looking at his commentary on Genesis.
I've not read much Warfield, and none of Calvin's commentaries, so all I can say is that you have shown yourself to have scant credibility on several subjects, and your intellectual integrity is badly damaged by the mechanisms outlined by Noll, so I consider it extremely unlikely that your statements re Warfield and Calvin are accurate.
You have shown yourself to be incredibly ignorant even though you think you are so intelligent and well-informed, so I really couldn't care less what you think of me. I do not care to be well thought of by such an ignorant and shallow thinking person.
But, much more importantly, you are badly missing the point, and in the process you are exhibiting the worst errors that have
so compromised the evangelical mind. Here's the point, according to Noll:
The point to be made about Warfield's conclusions must
be stated clearly. What Warfield concluded is not the primary concern;
he may have been right or wrong on the age of the earth, on Calvin's view
of the material creation, or on his own conclusions about the natural world.
But that Warfield, the biblical inerrantist par excellence, came to conclusions
opposite from Whitcomb and Morris on questions of science must mean that
it is anything but a simple, common-sensical, or intuitive procedure to
move from a belief in biblical
inerrancy to conclusions about any specific areas of science -- including the conclusions of creation science.
But because you are so ignorant of history, you cannot see that Warfield was so intimidated by the truth claims of Darwinian evolution that in order to rescue inerrancy he felt compelled to reinterpret Scripture. Whitcomb and Morris on the other hand reinterpreted scientific data.
The reason why Warfield and other theologians come to different conclusions is due to presuppositions. Warfield presupposed that the earth was very old and then interpreted the Bible to fit his presupposition.
Welcome to the flat earth at the center of the universe, Mr. Kulikovsky. All presuppositions (some of which are called knowledge) are now banned. Do you really want to live here?
This comment is so stupid and idiotic it doesn't even deserve a response.
Noll uses a logically fallacious argument to suggest that "If the consensus of modern scientists, who devote their lives to looking at the data of the physical world, is that humans have existed on the planet for a very long time, it is foolish for Biblical interpreters to say that 'the Bible teaches' the recent creation of human beings." (p. 207).
How is this a fallacy? I strongly suggest that you look up the word, and think about what it means. It has a very specific meaning. No
matter how strongly you disagree with Noll's opinion (and I respect your choice to do that), you cannot call this fallacious with any vestige of intellectual integrity. Seriously, you should look the word up.
Now you are displaying your ignorance of logic.
There are actually 2 fallacies in the above statement:
1. Argumentum ad numerum - the fallacy of asserting that the more people who support or believe a proposition, the more likely it is that that proposition is correct.
2. Appeal to authority - the fallacy that because "modern scientists, who devote their lives to looking at the physical world" say something, it must be true.
Seriously, you should take a course in introductory logic.
This article on my web site is a start:
What Noll is doing here will be clear to anyone who reads the book. He is attributing the above conclusion (regarding the relevance of
scientific consensus) to Augustine, Bacon, Galileo and Warfield, and showing how it emerges from a biblically-mandated respect for
the testimony of the natural world. You may choose to disagree, but you may not choose to refer to this as a "fallacy", or to
deliberately misconstrue Noll's ideas and claims, without compromising your integrity.
You may choose to agree or disagree with me, but the fact remains that Noll's statement does indeed contain 2 logical fallacies.
One wonders, if Noll also believes that it is foolish for interpreters to say the Bible teaches a virgin birth without IVF technology and bodily resurrection from the dead, since the consensus of scientists who devote their lives to looking at the natural world, is that these are impossible!
Here you are making a serious error. The impossibility of virgin birth and resurrection are considered to be scientific facts, by consensus of scientists modern and otherwise. These facts, though impossible to completely "prove", are the knowledge that tells us that Jesus'
incarnation and resurrection were miraculous. It is *precisely* the consensus conclusions of science that provide us with the relevant
Don't you think creation in 6 days in miraculous?
Noll's line of reasoning is completely fallacious. Consensus is never a necessary indicator of truth - a billion Chinese can be wrong!
That's true. But you're conflating consensus of opinion with scientific consensus based on facts and evidence. They're not the same.
But the problem is much of the so-called science relating to origins is not science at all - it is, in fact, not facts and evidence, but opinion and conjecture.
While I think Noll could have been clearer here, you should be able to get the point: that many Christians throughout the ages have held to the belief that it is foolish to talk about "what the Bible teaches" when one's interpretation of such leads to conclusions that are *evidently false* (to use the words of Thomas Burnet, a 17th-century Christian who attempted to harmonize Scripture with the known scientific facts of his day). To hammer it home: by any "plain" interpretation, the Bible clearly teaches geocentrism. Geocentrism is evidently false. Therefore it is foolish to say that "the Bible teaches" geocentrism.
The Bible does not clearly teach geocentrism (at least in the sense that the earth is the centre of the universe and the sun, moon and stars revolve around it). That belief came from Greek philosophy not the Bible. But then I expect such a statement from someone who is ignorant of history and philosophy.
While Noll chides creationists for being uncritical, he himself uncritically accepts the conclusions of rationalistic and humanistic pseudoscience as indisputable proven facts, when in fact they are not.
Here's where your argument falls apart: the mountains of data supporting an old earth are in fact based on "indisputable proven facts" (e.g., the behavior of atomic nuclei). It is extremely unlikely that Noll accepts these conclusions "uncritically" since he quotes from authors (like Davis Young) who in fact have subjected the evidence to the appropriate scientific criticism.
So let me get this straight. Noll doesn't uncritically accept scientific conclusions because a scientist (Davis Young) has already subjected the evidence to scientific criticism!?! This ranks as one of the most absurd and ridiculous things I have ever read! Firstly, my comments related to _Noll's_ uncritical acceptance of the scientific data NOT Davis Young's. Secondly, you seem to think that Davis Young is infallible. Again, just because a scientist (Davis Young) says it, doesn't make it true. Many other geologists disagree (on strong scientific grounds!) with Davis Young.
Claims by creationists, by contrast, cannot stand in the same light, and by logical necessity must be accepted uncritically. Indeed, many of these claims cannot even survive a cursory examination of the evidence they pretend to explain.
Really? Could you please take a cursory examination at the following and offer your refutation. After all, you "find little in the realm of 'creation science' that is inaccessible to reasonably well-educated, reasonably intelligent persons who are willing to exercise intellectual integrity."
Beyond Neptune: Voyager II Supports Creation - Humphreys
The Earth's Magnetic Field is Young - Humphreys
Dubious Radiogenic Pb Behavior Places U-Th-Pb Mineral
Dating in Doubt - Snelling
"Excess Argon": The "Achilles' Heel" of Potassium-Argon
and Argon-Argon "Dating" of Volcanic Rocks - Snelling
Potassium-Argon and Argon-Argon Dating of Crustal Rocks
and the Problem of Excess Argon - Snelling
The Young Faint Sun Paradox and the Age of the Solar System
Excessively Old "Ages" For Grand Canyon Lava Flows - Austin
Were Grand Canyon Limestones Deposited by Calm and Placid
Seas? - Austin
Mt. St. Helens & Catastrophism - Austin
Polonium Radiohalos: Still "A Very Tiny Mystery" - Snelling
Neither does he mention the large volume of data that suggests a young earth.
Which data? The dust on the moon?
That argument was deemed "inconclusive" years ago - by YECs themselves I should point out!
The salt in the sea?
Yes, that is a very strong argument. I recall that "Science Held Hostage" has a go at this argument and I guess you believe everything it says. But as I said previously, that book is quite old now and creationists have done more research on this. Humphreys and Austin blew the "Science Held Hostage" objections out of the water in an ICC paper. See S.A. Austin and D.R. Humphreys, �The sea�s missing salt: a dilemma for evolutionists�, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Vol. II, pp. 17�33, 1990.
You can also see a summary article at (which cites further
positive evidence not available to Humphreys' and Austin):
See also the interview with Russ Humphreys:
In this interview he discusses the chapter on salty seas
in "Science Held Hostage". Here is an extract:
"I wrote Clarence Menninga a letter, and Davis Young also when I found out about that chapter in their book, and I challenged them on it, to produce data. After considerable going back and forth, Dr Menninga acknowledged in a letter to me that he had no data, and that he had basically been going on statements of other evolutionists. But Steve and I had already talked to the other evolutionists and we found that they had no data either! So basically, that whole chapter of that book, which rather arrogantly chastized young-earth creationists for not doing their scientific homework, was written by a person who had not done his scientific homework."
But, of course, you've read it all, so you would know all this already - which raises another question about your intellectual integrity. If you knew about Humphreys' and Austin's total destruction of the "Science Held Hostage" objections, then why are you still raising it as an objection?
The "missing rocks" in the Grand Canyon?
Not entirely sure what you are referring to.
Helium in the atmosphere?
Yes, that is a good argument too.
See "Up, Up, and Away! The Helium Escape Problem" - Vardiman
and "Blowing Old-Earth Belief Away: Helium gives evidence
that the earth is young"
The shrinking sun?
See "Is the sun shrinking" - Snelling
"The matter of the shrinking sun"
I have NEVER seen ANY credible data that supports a young earth. Is there something new out there? What's the latest
Steve, if you bother to pull your head out of the sand and actually read creationist publications instead of regurgitating the pseudoscientific propaganda in books like "Science Held Hostage" you will find lots of credible arguments and data.
My real problem with these claims of "data" that "suggest a young earth" is not that they interpret scientific facts with religious presuppositions (that's dangerous, but YECs correctly point out that all scientists bring religious assumptions of some kind to the party). It's that these claims have a history of demonstrating inexcusable deficits in intellectual integrity, and often seem to show deficiencies in fundamental personal integrity as well.
Actually it is Clarence Menninga who wrote the chapter on salty seas in "Science Held Hostage" who lacks intellectual and personal integrity.
For example, you can go -- right now -- to the AIG web site and read an article by Jack Sarfatti on the salt-in-the-sea argument.
His name is Jonathan Sarfati - he is a PhD physical chemist so he knows what he is talking about.
He selectively cites ancient data that have been clearly shown to have no relevance to the age of the earth. "Science Held Hostage" shows much more than the scientific absurdity of this bogus claim. It shows that those who continue to repeat it lack the intellectual integrity to consider all the relevant data or, worse, lack the personal integrity to acknowledge the existence of the refutation of their already dubious claims.
Firstly, Sarfati's article is really a short laymen's summary of Humphrey's and Austin's paper which completely destroyed the "Science Held Hostage" bogus objections.
Secondly, as I have shown above, Menninga, who wrote the chapter on the salt in the seas, based his argument on NO DATA AT ALL!!! Do you get that Steve??? NO DATA!!! And he even admitted this to Humphreys in a letter!
So who lacks intellectual integrity now, Steve? You blindly,
ignorantly and arrogantly pontificate about thing which haven't a clue,
and then have the audacity to call my intellectual and personal integrity
into question, and also that of Jonathan Sarfati. What's even worse is
that you uncritically believe everything you read in "Science Held Hostage"
despite the fact that it is demonstrably wrong.
He notes that Francis Schaeffer urged more careful attention to the theological meaning of general cultural developments (p. 223), but fails to mention that Schaeffer also believed in a young-earth, the perspicuity of Scripture and a disjunction between the original created world and the fallen world.
I think you're in big trouble here. First of all, you have again manufactured a red herring (an even 10!): Schaeffer's views on these
issues are quite irrelevant to the point in question (that being political activism).
But the overall theme of Noll's book concerns evangelical thinking. Schaeffer is one evangelical who did what Noll is talking about, and yet still believed in the perspicuity of Scripture, disjunctions between the original world and cursed world, and a relatively young earth.
Much worse though, you seem to be hijacking Schaeffer to give the false impression that his views are more like yours than Noll's. Unfortunately for you, I have actually read several of Schaeffer's books, including "Genesis in Space and Time", which I
own. The facts are:
1) If Schaeffer believed in a "young" earth, he certainly
didn't agree that it is 10K years old or less. He rejected that option
biblical and scientific grounds. (For example, based on known dates of arrival of humans in North America, he concluded that the flood
had to be at least 20K years ago.)
But he didn't see it as billions of years old either.
2) Even if Schaeffer believed in a "young" earth, he maintained that there were not as yet (and presumably this has not changed) sufficiently defined terms on which to base a discussion of dating with respect to Genesis 1-11. He agreed with Warfield's claim
that "it is to theology, as such, a matter of entire indifference how long man has existed on earth".
Strictly speaking that is true. But the problem is that an old earth implies death before the fall and a rejection of inerrancy. These ARE major theological problems.
3) Schaeffer believed that the flood was universal, but wrote: "I do not think by any means that we should make it a 'test of orthodoxy'". In other words, he acknowledged the strength and legitimacy of arguments against a universal flood, some of which are biblical, some of which are scientific.
Again, it does call into question inerrancy.
4) I can find no evidence that Schaeffer believed in a literal interpretation of Genesis 1; in fact, he joins Augustine, Machen, Warfield et al. in the opinion that the creation days were plainly not literal days. So I really don't know what your claim of his belief in "perspicuity of Scripture" means in the context of creation science.
Nonsense. Schaeffer clearly held to a literal historical interpretation of Genesis 1-11. What he did do, was leave open the length of the days because he (as a non-scholar who was not trained in Biblical Hebrew) thought the data was inconclusive. He also allowed for gaps in the genealogies.
5) With regard to a "disjunction", it's true that Schaeffer (in "Genesis in Space and Time") notes that the external world became
"abnormal" as a result of the curse. But he does not use this as license to disregard the conclusions of science. Indeed, one
reason he will not commit to dating of Genesis events is because of the testimony of science. And importantly, he does not insist
on no death before the fall, writing: "The full implications are not clear, but ... it is clear that at creation, creation was at
peace with itself. This does not necessarily mean that trees or even fish or animals might not have died of old age, but rather
that there would have been no fear of non-being..."
True. But he states that there would have been "no chase". Yet the fossil record shows much evidence of disease, and animals eating one another...
In light of Davis Young's remarks, one wonders how Young can believe in the basic gospel (let alone inerrancy!) if he rejects the notion of no death before the fall, the ark narrative and the universal flood, all of which are clearly affirmed in the Bible.
A dark, disturbing outgrowth of the scandal of the evangelical mind: questioning the faith of a fellow believer because he rejects dubious
Scriptural approaches that you arrogantly refer to as "clearly affirmed". Your beloved Francis Schaeffer fails 2 of those tests. Thank God the gospel is something other than what you seem to believe.
I do not see anything wrong with questioning the faith of a fellow believer. I don't think we can definitely say whether a person is or isn't a Christian - that is between them and God. I do, however, think it is legitimate to question whether someone is obedient to Scripture, and whether they actually believe it. 2 Tim 3:16 says that Scripture is profitable for "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"
As I stated above Schaeffer affirmed that there was no
human death and no animal death (in the sense of animals preying on each
other) before the fall, and he certainly affirmed the global flood.
Noll quotes again from Young, who accuses evangelicals
of being afraid of what scientific discussions might "turn up" (p. 232).
What evangelicals are afraid of is having the foundations of Christian
Theology blown apart by speculations based on rationalistic and humanistic
pseudoscience and unproven hypotheses.
So Young is right: many evangelicals (including yourself) are afraid of what scientific discussions might turn up. Sir, if your "Christian
Theology" has foundations that can be "blown apart", then you need to get a new one.
Clearly, you do not understand the implications of what you are saying. Christianity is founded on God acting in history and revealing Himself to mankind in history. If you deny the history presented in Gen 1-11 then you have "blown apart" your own foundation. If you get some other new foundation then you cease to be Christian. Whatever it is you believe, it can no longer be called Christianity. What you have is what Schaeffer called an "existential leap".
Young complains about the lack of anthropological study in evangelical circles, but creationists are certainly not guilty of such.
Young is very clear about this, and he's right. He would *have* to be right, since YECism will preclude the consideration of ancient
human activity. He writes: "It's as if the hundreds, perhaps thousands of ancient human sites around the world didn't exist."
This is, quite simply, absurd!
Firstly, YECism does not preclude ancient human activity. Ancient is a relative term anyway, so YECs view ancient human cites as thousands of years old rather than millions of years old.
Secondly, Kurt Wise is a Harvard trained paleontologist and anthropologist and also a YEC, yet he still does his research with no problems. Also, Jack Cuozzo, another YEC, has done cutting edge research on Neandertals.
Again, you show your ignorance of creationists beliefs
Indeed, creationists have pointed out that almost every known culture in existence has a 'great flood' legend, with many details that match exactly with the Biblical description of Noah's flood. Creationists have also proposed that the many dragon legends and references to dragons in Scripture are most probably references to dinosaurs. Again, creationists have pointed out that the description of the Behemoth in Job 40:15-24 matches perfectly that of the Brachiosaurus.
These are laughable excuses for "anthropological study", and strongly validate Young's claim. Fact is, flood legends vary significantly.
But not in the central elements.
If calling dragons dinosaurs is anthropology, then comparing chariots of fire to alien spacecraft must be planetary science.
A silly strawman. The arguments and evidence is quite involved. My comments are simply a brief summary. The point of the research is that man and dinosaurs did indeed live at the same time as Gen 1-11 would imply.
And the vague description of Behemoth could apply to any of dozens of large beasts, extant and extinct.
An elephant? A hippo? Neither of these have tails like cedar trees. The description is quite thorough - it's not vague at all.
Even Noll's comments on the Bible reveal an amazing naivety. John 20:31 is merely John's reason for including what he did in his gospel, not the purpose of the whole Bible! (p. 244).
Grotesque strawman. Noll uses this Scripture as one example of several that state the writer's purpose. A brief examination of his claim
reveals it to be correct.
Nonsense. Noll's words are "The purpose of the Bible is spelled out quite clearly in the Bible itself, as in John 20:31" As I said, this verse states _John's_ purpose for writing his gospel not the purpose of the entire Bible.
The other passage he cites is 2 Tim 3. But this passage is an even worse example! It is Paul's warning to Timothy about the tough times to come, and his exhortation to stay true to the Scriptures and to what he had learned from Paul. 2 Tim 3:16 describes the applicability of Scripture not its purpose (and this verse was referring to the OT only, since the NT was obviously still being written.)
Your strawman looks very much like a deliberate attempt to misrepresent Noll's claims. Shameful.
Noll (and you) misinterpret and quote Scripture out of context. Now that IS shameful!
In the final analysis, Noll's book is very disappointing and it is quite obvious that Noll himself is all too often guilty of the very things for which he attacks creationists - a gross naivety of science, uncritical acceptance of ideas, bad hermeneutics and a poor handling of Scripture.
In the final analysis, you have utterly failed to show any hint of any of the above. Your work is a tour de force of CS error and arrogance. Noll isn't perfect or even superb, and your differences of opinion with him (and me) are not illegitimate per se. But your article is an intellectual cesspool, a sadly typical example of the scandal of the evangelical mind, magnified by hubris and popular evangelical support.
I guess you're welcome to your opinion, but I find your objections sickeningly naive and ignorant.
It is quite ironic that Noll includes this quote from Hodge: "If the Bible cannot contradict science, neither can science contradict the Bible..." Hodge continues: "There are some good men who are much too ready to adopt the opinions and theories of scientific men, and to adopt forced and unnatural interpretations of the Bible, to bring it into accord with these opinions." (p. 184). This is a remarkable description of Mark A. Noll and many others who hold to the same old-earth, progressive creationist/theistic evolutionist ideas.
The key word in Hodge's statement is 'opinion'. There are 2 reasons why Hodge cannot help you here.
1) The age of the earth has been inferred from a mountain of facts.
Now your ignorance of geology and cosmology comes to the fore. The age of the earth is based on a mountain of presuppositions and conjecture. If you had read Humphreys on Cosmology, Faulkner on astronomy and Woodmorappe on radiometric dating methods (for eg.) you would know this.
It is disingenuous to refer to this conclusion as an "opinion". You might as well say the same about every other conclusion of
Again, you show your ignorance of the philosophy of science. You fail to distinguish between origins science and operations science. In your field of biology and neurology you can do good scientific research because you can directly test and observe. You are doing operations science. But when it comes to origins science no-one was around to test and observe what happened - that's why Genesis TELLS us what happened!
2) 'Opinion' is, on the other hand, plainly accurate when used to describe your assumptions that lead to your Scriptural interpretations.
Thus, "forced and unnatural interpretations" result, not only with respect to the Bible, but also when considering revealed creation.
Would you care to demonstrate my forced and unnatural interpretations? Many old earth creationists (even Davis Young if I recall) admit that the plain reading of Gen 1-11 is the most natural reading. The only reason they reject it is because their science textbooks tell them something different.
As Augustine wrote (quoted by Noll on p. 203):
Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture
bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they
are caught in
one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although 'they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion'.
This is a remarkable description of you, Mr. Kulikovsky, and especially of many others who hold to the same young-earth, "creation science" ideas.
Sorry. I think it is a remarkable description of you and Noll, and I have shown why. You have not addressed my YEC interpretation of Scripture at all, so on what basis can you claim that it is reckless, incompetent and mischievous?
I wrote this a couple of months ago during some time off after the birth of our new son. I have now re-read it and decided to send it to you (when I wrote it, I didn't intend to do this). Of course, I'm hoping that you will examine some of your intellectual practices and your
I hope you read my responses carefully, do some more research and examine _your_ intellectual practices and attitude. They are wanting.