Home | Feedback | Links | Books

Feedback from May-June 1999
© 2005-2007 T. Wallace. All Rights Reserved.


From: Bryan Katzenmeyer

Dear Sir,

First off, I would like to say that you have a very well organized and very informative website.

Although I have by no means read all of your website at this time, I feel the need to ask you a question. You seem to have a strong disliking for what you call the “naturalistic, mechanistic philosophical views” of many evolutionists. You even say that most evolutionists are inherently biased because they assume God plays no role in the universe. I am curious why you think this is some sort of atheistic trait. Why assume something that you have no reason to assume? Your point of view (from my admitedly limited reading of your site) seems to assume that God does exist. If one believes in God, isn’t their entire outlook colored in a similar way as that of someone who does not? Or to put it another way, don’t you think that your view assumes as much as the view of the naturalists and the like?

Why do you fault evolutionists for not considering the alternative of Creationism, when Creationism is based on the belief in God, and they have no reason to believe in God? Why fault them for not agreeing with the assumption that God exists?

Sincerly,
Bryan Katzenmeyer


Response from Timothy Wallace:

Hi Bryan,

>>You seem to have a strong disliking for what you call the “naturalistic, mechanistic philosophical views” of many evolutionists...<<

That’s because on close and thorough inspection, I find such presuppositions to be both philosophically (with regard to logic) and scientifically (with regard to empirical data) untenable. I don’t believe in pretending somebody’s philosophical foundation is harmless and irrelevant when there is indication to the contrary.

>>You even say that most evolutionists are inherently biased because they assume God plays no role in the universe. I am curious why you think this is some sort of atheistic trait. Why assume something that you have no reason to assume?<<

It isn’t wholly clear to me what you are asking. Since the assumption that God plays no role in the universe seems to be a plain atheistic position, I shall have to assume that you are asking why I think belief in evolution is an atheistic belief. (If I have misunderstood your question, please let me know.)

My studies of this topic, as well as many dialogues with a variety of people (including professing Christians) who believe in evolution, have led me to the conclusion that the majority of serious proponents of evolution do indeed subscribe to a fundamental doctrine of either atheism, agnosticism, or (at best) deism (the idea that God created the world but then withdrew from its day-to-day governance, leaving it to run by itself as a machine). Many of them do not hide their religious/philosophical views, so it isn’t particularly difficult to discern their positions.

So, it is in fact incorrect to state that I somehow “assume something that [I] have no reason to assume,” for it is not an assumption, but a general observation made through study and personal experience.

>>...If one believes in God, isn’t their entire outlook colored in a similar way as that of someone who does not? Or to put it another way, don’t you think that your view assumes as much as the view of the naturalists and the like?<<

From a purely philosophical point of view, it is indeed correct that both sides of this issue have their respective presuppositions (or assumptions, if you like). This should be self-evident. What matters is not whether one is operating from a bias or a set of presuppositions, but which set of presuppositions best fits the empirical data of science and/or best explains the many facets of the human condition and human experience.

>>Why do you fault evolutionists for not considering the alternative of Creationism, when Creationism is based on the belief in God, and they have no reason to believe in God?<<

First, I do not “fault evolutionists for not considering the alternative of Creationism” as you erroneously assume. I fault evolutionists for pretending that their presuppositions are better supported by the empirical evidence, when they have not bothered to genuinely, objectively, and thoroughly examine the empirical evidence vis--vis the alternative paradigm.

Thus, I do not simply fault evolutionists for “not considering” the alternative, but for making the false claim that their paradigm is scientifically and philosophically superior to the alternative, based almost exclusively on a combination of ignorance and their own presuppositions.

Second, it seems worth mentioning that the creation paradigm which I defend is not merely “based on the belief in God,” but is based on the historicity and reliability of the Genesis record as our Creator’s revealed and preserved account of the history of the Creation. It is not merely a “belief in God” that rests at the foundation of the creation model, but a confidence that He is who He says He is, that He has done what He says He has done, and that He will do what He says He will do.

By way of illustration: People who subscribe to deism, pantheism, and any of a number of philosophical/ religious beliefs may be said to “believe in God” while simultaneously embracing a belief in evolution. The biblical creation paradigm is by no means based on any such “beliefs in God.”

>>...Why fault them for not agreeing with the assumption that God exists?<<

Again, I do not fault anyone for “not agreeing with the assumption that God exists”—it isn’t realistic to expect presuppositional polar opposites to agree with one another’s presuppositions. However, many evolution proponents are to be faulted for simultaneously advancing false and arrogant claims about their own paradigm, while dismissing the alternative largely from a very superficial knowledge of the latter -- and in some cases of the former as well.

Kind Regards,
TW
 

Back to Top


From: John Collins

You describe your links as being “without evolutionist bias”, yet they uniformly point to people taking a Young-Earth Creationist position, not even including people taking a Christian but old-earth position as far as I can see.

Isn’t this “WITH young-earth creationist bias” in which case you should say so if you are being “intellectually honest”?

PS I’ve no particular axe to grind except a firm conviction that the YEC [Young Earth Creationary] position undermines the whole Christian message and puts people off.

John Collins


Response from Timothy Wallace:

Hello John,

You wrote:

>>You describe your links as being “without evolutionist bias”, yet they uniformly point to people taking a Young-Earth Creationist position, not even including people taking a Christian but old-earth position as far as I can see...<<

Your observation is incorrect. At least two of the links provided contain material from popular non-YEC writers. As long as you bring of this issue of “intellectual honesty,” however, it should be noted that these writers de-emphasize any OEC [Old Earth Creationary] bias they may have, which is why I chose to include them.

>>...I’ve no particular axe to grind...<<

[Note that that the balance of this dialogue betrays the falsehood of this statement. -TW]

>>...except a firm conviction that the YEC position undermines the whole Christian message and puts people off.<<

We apparently disagree. Christianity itself “puts people off” (with or without biblical accuracy):

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God ...God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”—I Corinthians 1:18,21

...and in my studies, I find no compelling basis for an OEC position in either the Scriptures or empirical science. (In light of this, I find it highly ironic—to say the least—that you should claim to have a “firm conviction” that “the YEC position undermines the whole Christian message.”)

Kind Regards,
TW
 


Response from John Collins:

>>Your observation is incorrect. At least two of the links provided contain material from popular non-YEC writers. As long as you bring up this issue of “intellectual honesty,” however, it should be noted that these writers de-emphasize any OEC bias they may have, which is why I chose to include them.<<

Well I don’t think anyone can possibly say that people like the ICR aren’t biased to and beyond the point of lunacy myself.

I think that if you want “intellectual honesty” you should include all shades of opinion from die-hard atheist evolutionist up to and including the ICR provided that the people concerned don’t launch into invective.

>>We apparently disagree. Christianity itself “puts people off” (with or without biblical accuracy)<<

What I was trying to say was that faced with overwhelming evidence, consistent from numerous scientific disciplines, that the Earth is nearly a million times older than a literal interpretation of Genesis would allow, people are going to say that if Gen 1-11 are incorrect, where should the line be drawn?

>>“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God ...God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”—I Corinthians 1:18,21<<

Fair enough but no reason to burden people with unnecessary baggage to swallow, or, to put it another way, make it more “foolishness” than it need be.

>>...in my studies, I find no compelling basis for an OEC position in either the Scriptures or empirical science. (In light of this, I find it highly ironic—to say the least—that you should claim to have a “firm conviction” that “the YEC position undermines the whole Christian message.”)<<

I agree that an OEC position isn’t compatible with scripture. In fact I don’t think that anything other than a YEC position is. Where we would differ is that I just can’t accept that people I know (many of them Christians) who have studied Astronomy, Physics, Biology, Geology, Palaeontology etc, all with no particular axes to grind, should all make the same enormous mistake over the age of the Earth and even more amazingly by the same amount. All this in a context where from Romans 1:20 we learn that “God’s divine nature has been clearly seen through that which has been made”. Doesn’t fit with fabricated ages and light fabricated already in transit etc.

So to me this must mean (at best) that the way we understand and use Scripture is wrong. Maybe we have read too much into 1 Tim 3:16 - it is “profitable” for all those things therein described, but Paul never meant it to be elevated to the status of inerrancy etc?*

[*emphasis added - TW]

In my darker moments I find myself thinking maybe the whole thing is up the spout and I’ve wasted my time all these years. The antics and dishonest arguments of many YEC types I come across, to name one thing, steer me in that direction.

John Collins


Response from Timothy Wallace:

Hello John,

You wrote:

>>I think that if you want “intellectual honesty” you should include all shades of opinion from die-hard atheist evolutionist up to and including the ICR provided that the people concerned don’t launch into invective.<<

Excuse me, but nowhere is it written that the internet, or any part of it, is required to be controlled by the likes of a self-appointed, liberal “equal-time” “tolerance police” like you seem to fancy yourself to be.

It is not “intellectual honesty” you are demanding, but a coerced compromising of one’s purpose [mine, to be specific] in the establishing and maintaining of a site. That purpose happens to be the defense of the straightforward biblical record vis--vis the assorted skeptics and antagonists with whom you have aligned yourself. If you would like to manage a web site defending your own (extrabiblical) views, you are free to do so, but it is an act of utter and unmitigated arrogance on your part to insist (under the phony guise of “intellectual honesty”) that I should include your views (and everybody else’s) in any portion of my site.

>>What I was trying to say was that faced with overwhelming evidence...that the Earth is nearly a million times older than a literal interpretation of Genesis would allow...<<

I suggest you start citing some of the specific unequivocal “overwhelming evidence” that you seem to think exists. Otherwise your “case” is all bluster and brainwash—and a serious failure in your own cherished arena of “intellectual honesty”!

>>Fair enough but no reason to burden people with unnecessary baggage to swallow, or, to put it another way, make it more “foolishness” than it need be.<<

Your contentions here are based purely on your own naive assumptions that God’s Word doesn’t mean what it says, and that man knows better. I suggest that it is those who swallow the myth of old-earth “science” who are the “burdened” fools, attempting to walking according to schizophrenic “theology,” picking and choosing among the Bible’s contents for what happens to suit their palettes, allowing the fear of man and the “wisdom” of man to direct their thinking more than the Word and Spirit of God.

I personally spent several years backsliding in the pits of despair—nearly ruining my life and my family—after a few years of my own compromising with humanistic influence. (I was willing to allow any origins view, as long as someone had tried to make it look as biblical as possible.) When God graciously and mercifully restored me, the one thing He made clearest of all to me was that His Word must not be compromised. On this I am determined not to budge an inch, just as it is my heart’s desire never again to be swayed by men’s “knowledge” or “power” more than I am by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). It’s a humbling path, but I wouldn’t exchange it for anything.

>>I agree that an OEC position isn’t compatible with scripture...<<

Then the choice should be rather plain to you (but apparently isn’t!).

>>...I just can’t accept that people I know (many of them Christians) who have studied Astronomy, Physics, Biology, Geology, Palaeontology etc, all with no particular axes to grind, should all make the same enormous mistake over the age of the Earth and even more amazingly by the same amount.<<

You “can’t accept” that a bunch of bright (but inherently very fallible) men could be wrong (and agree with each other)? Exactly why not?

“[L]et God be found true, though every man be found a liar,” (Rom. 3:4).

People regularly adopt the presuppositions necessary for them to operate within the dominant paradigm of interpretation, and to win the approval of their peers and authorities. For people for whom truth or obedience to God’s Word is secondary to career, position, scholastic pursuits, knowledge in general, or what have you, such stuff is natural, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s so comfy to have the general approval of those around you, isn’t it? You really have to be driven by some motive other than temporal happiness and peer approval to stand up for what most others will call folly. That’s just the way it is, take it or leave it.

>>So to me this must mean (at best) that the way we understand and use Scripture is wrong...<<

And do you reject out of hand the notion that maybe the way we understand and use “science” is wrong? If so, on exactly what basis?

>>...Paul never meant it to be elevated to the status of inerrancy...<<

Why just Paul? (You speak as if the absolute reliability of God’s Word was somehow Paul’s idea alone.)

[Note that even if Collins means to treat Paul as one of many, the logical end of his inference is that “God’s Word” (whatever that means to him) is neither reliable, nor trustworthy, nor even capable of being identified with any certainty. That is not a position that can be held by a genuine Christian (by Christ’s definition, that is). -TW]

If it’s not inerrant, then how much of it is reliable? Which specific parts? Which ones aren’t? Why do YOU get to decide? And on what basis do you do so? What kind of a God do you claim to walk with, anyway?

>>In my darker moments I find myself thinking maybe the whole thing is up the spout and I’ve wasted my time all these years. The antics and dishonest arguments of many YEC types I come across, to name one thing, steer me in that direction.<<

The folly and sins of other men—whether Christians or not—will never be a justifiable excuse for unbelief or sin in general. You are accountable to God directly, whether as an unregenerate sinner destined for His wrath, or as a mercifully redeemed creature, bought with a price, the possession—rightfully the bondslave—of Him who gave (and gives) Himself for you. If any “YEC types” have been dishonest (and I don’t doubt that some may very well have been), it ought surely to be addressed with them, but their actions are not your license to wallow in “darkness” and abandon the Saviour and His Church for ... for what?

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)

Kind Regards,
TW
 


Response from John Collins:

>>Excuse me, but nowhere is it written that the internet, or any part of it, is required to be controlled by the likes of a self-appointed, liberal “equal-time” “tolerance police” like you seem to fancy yourself to be.<<

I’m not saying it is. Nor am I appointing myself some sort of internet policeman. But if you want to describe your site as “intellectually honest” (your words not mine) you should present all sides of the case shouldn’t you? By all means say, like everyone else, which viewpoints you prefer, but you are shouldering some considerable responsibility saying that your site is “intellectually honest” and “talk.origins”, whose site *does* include an extensive list of links to Creationist sites, isn’t.

>>It is not “intellectual honesty” you are demanding, but a coerced compromising of one’s purpose [mine, to be specific] in the establishing and maintaining of a site. That purpose happens to be the defense of the straightforward biblical record vis--vis the assorted skeptics and antagonists with whom you have aligned yourself. If you would like to manage a web site defending your own (extrabiblical) views, you are free to do so, but it is an act of utter and unmitigated arrogance on your part to insist (under the phony guise of “intellectual honesty”) that I should include your views (and everybody else’s) in any portion of my site.<<

It’s ill-tempered rants like this that do so much to undermine the Creationist case. See for example the exchanges in http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/woodmorappe-geochronology.html where [Dr] Woodmorappe compares his critic several times to the Nazis.

>>...I suggest you start citing some of the specific unequivocal “overwhelming evidence” that you seem to think exists...<<

I don’t need to. Go into any ordinary bookshop and pick up a textbook on Astronomy, Geology, Biology ... Ask yourself why the author, clearly concerned to present accurate facts, and with no particular axe to grind, (indeed in some cases Christian) suddenly goes haywire when it comes to matters relating to the age of the Earth.

>>...Otherwise your “case” is all bluster and brainwash—and a serious failure in your own cherished arena of “intellectual honesty”!<<

Again I remind you that that is your term not mine.

>>Your contentions here are based purely on your own naive assumptions that God’s Word doesn’t mean what it says, and that man knows better.<<

Not true. Read what I said. To me it’s more like (if you’ll excuse the analogy) finding a verse which says “the sky is green” and having to come to terms with the fact that the sky isn’t green even though the Bible clearly said it was.

>>I suggest that it is those who swallow the myth of old-earth “science” who are the “burdened” fools, attempting to walking according to schizophrenic “theology,” picking and choosing among the Bible’s contents for what happens to suit their palettes, allowing the fear of man and the “wisdom” of man to direct their thinking more than the Word and Spirit of God.<<

Again read what I said. I really don’t like the implications that part of the Bible is wrong. If one bit goes the rest crumbles away. It’s nothing to do with “the fear of man”.

>> >>I agree that an OEC position isn’t compatible with scripture...<< <<

>>Then the choice should be rather plain to you (but apparently isn’t!).<<

There is the alternative of out-and-out evolution of course!

>>You “can’t accept” that a bunch of bright (but inherently very fallible) men could be wrong (and agree with each other)? Exactly why not?<<

It isn’t “a bunch”. It’s about 99% of the people in those disciplines. Like I said, what I can’t swallow is that they all get it wrong so enormously and by the same amount.

>>People regularly adopt the presuppositions necessary for them to operate within the dominant paradigm of interpretation, and to win the approval of their peers and authorities. To people for whom truth or obedience to God’s Word is secondary to career, position, scholastic pursuits, knowledge in general, or what have you, such stuff is natural, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s so comfy to have the general approval of those around you, isn’t it? You really have to be driven by some motive other than temporal happiness and peer approval to stand up for what most others will call folly. That’s just the way it is, take it or leave it.<<

I think you’re losing sight of the fact that for the people we’re describing, the age of the Earth isn’t a matter for argument, it is seen as settled fact, nothing to do with peer approval or anything. Unless and until someone comes along pointing out that there’s a conflict with scripture they wouldn’t give the issue a second thought. They probably wouldn’t give it a third thought afterward.

>> >>So to me this must mean (at best) that the way we understand and use Scripture is wrong...<< <<

>>And do you reject out of hand the notion that maybe the way we understand and use “science” is wrong? If so, on exactly what basis?<<

I’m not rejecting anything “out of hand”. I’m trying to think carefully and honestly about it. To pursue my previous analogy a bit, I just don’t think it’s right to think the sky is green on Sundays and blue Monday - Saturday. Indeed this is what happens in other areas at times - the most dishonest person I have ever met in the whole of my life, no exaggeration, is a church leader in London. Somehow what he believes (or says he does) on Sundays gets switched off the rest of the time.

>>Why just Paul? (You speak as if the absolute reliability of God’s Word was somehow Paul’s idea alone.)<<

I was referring to the most commonly quoted text which happened to be written by Paul. I wasn’t saying that there weren’t others written by other people.

[Note, again, that the logical end of Collins’ inference is that “God’s Word” (whatever that means to him) is neither reliable, nor trustworthy, nor even capable of being identified with any certainty. That is not a position that can be held by a genuine Christian (by Christ’s definition, that is). -TW]

>>If it’s not inerrant, then how much of it is reliable? Which specific parts? Which ones aren’t?<<

Exactly the point I was making...*

[*Emphasis added -TW]

>> >>In my darker moments I find myself thinking maybe the whole thing is up the spout and I’ve wasted my time all these years. The antics and dishonest arguments of many YEC types I come across, to name one thing, steer me in that direction.<< <<

>>The folly and sins of other men—whether Christians or not—will never be a justifiable excuse for unbelief or sin in general.<<

I don’t see how it’s “unbelief” much more “sin” to question whether people are approaching the Bible correctly. As for the people you refer to, aren’t they “causing little ones to stumble” and they’d be better off drowned with a millstone?

>>If any “YEC types” have been dishonest (and I don’t doubt that some may very well have been), it ought surely to be addressed with them, but their actions are not your license to wallow in “darkness” and abandon the Saviour and His Church for ... for what?<<

It’s not on just on the basis of their actions that I’m “wallowing in darkness” (if that’s what I’m doing) or abandoning anything. But some of their actions are pretty bizarre, and quite often the arguments are extremely aggressive in the face of fairly reasonable argument (see the talk.origins link above, where Mr Shimmrich is clearly a Christian). The story is told of a famous preacher who died and when people went through his sermons they found marginal notes in red “Argument Weak. Shout here.” It’s a bit like that.

John Collins


Response from Timothy Wallace:

Hello John,

>>...Nor am I appointing myself some sort of internet policeman.<<

As long as you continue demanding that I (and my website) submit to a perverted definition of “intellectual honesty” yes you are.

>>But if you want to describe your site as “intellectually honest” (your words not mine) you should present all sides of the case shouldn’t you?<<

No. You apparently haven’t a clue as to what “intellectually honest” means: It has to do with consistently telling the truth concerning what one thinks and what one knows (and being truthful about the difference). It has absolutely nothing to do with giving space to everyone—or anyone—else’s opinion.

Intellectual honesty by definition relates to the integrity of the contents of the web site (in this case). It does NOT require anything like pluralism, exhaustive or comprehensive treatment, equal time, or anything else.

So I suggest that you kindly cease shoving your illegitimate brand of “intellectually honesty” in my face, and learn to carry on a dialogue without relying on such manipulative semantic obfuscation to make room for views in places where they are neither welcome or required by law.

I describe my site as intellectually honest, precisely because it is my aim to challenge others who pretend their beliefs have been “proven” by “overwhelming” evidence—yet who have failed to apply much—if any—objectivity to the matter by studying the alternative paradigm vis--vis the empirical data.

I describe my site as intellectually honest, precisely because too many (but not all) evolutionists are foisting on the public the myth that the evolutionary interpretation of empirical data is the only valid one, the only acceptable one, the only one that “works” or “fits the data”—these evolutionists are being less than honest, because they are painting a false picture for their hearers. My aim (via intellectual honesty) is not to paint a false picture, but to defend the biblical creation interpretation against this modern myth and its proponents, by 1) challenging the less-than-honest approach of evolutionists, and 2) offering the creation alternative in its place.

>>...you are shouldering some considerable responsibility saying that your site is “intellectually honest” and “talk.origins”, whose site *does* include an extensive list of links to Creationist sites, isn’t.<<

Again, this betrays your failure to comprehend the meaning of the term “intellectually honest.” TalkOrigins wouldn’t become any more or less intellectually dishonest by including zero or thousands of creationist sites. Intellectual integrity has to do with what they say, and they say things that are not true, yet they claim they are true, and pretend that they have the unequivocal support of empirical science to back them up—exclusively—when in reality they don’t.

What TalkOrigins offers in the way of links has nothing to do with their honesty. It only has to do with their policy concerning what resources they will provide their readers. Perhaps they are to be commended for offering such a vast selection of resources, but it doesn’t make them honest! Perhaps they are counting on people like yourself mistaking their generosity for “honesty” (or even “objectivity”) but I haven’t been persuaded by either their content or their selection of links that the TalkOrigins people put objective truth above the promulgation of their views as unequivocal “scientific fact.”

(If nothing else has come out of our dialogue, I hope that at the very least you have learned what intellectual honesty actually is.)

>>It’s ill-tempered rants like this that do so much to undermine the Creationist case. See for example the exchanges in...<<

I don’t intend to allow you to further broaden this soon-to-end discussion by drawing my attention towards dialogues found elsewhere within the internet.

And perhaps you would be less likely to be faced with what you call “ill-tempered rants” if you wouldn’t persist in employing ill-founded, illegitimate definitions in your complaints against others and pushing illiberal, illogical and indefensible arguments and erroneous perceptions about “science” in their faces.

>> >>I suggest you start citing some of the specific unequivocal “overwhelming evidence” that you seem to think exists.<< <<

>>I don’t need to...<<

Oh, of course not. And, I don’t need to doubt that you’re just parroting the pro-evolution hooey you’ve heard elsewhere. If you can’t present even a basic case for a few of your favorite samples of the so-called “overwhelming evidence” why should anyone believe you know what you’re talking about when you refer to “overwhelming evidence”?? Who is “overwhelmed” by it?

I hear about this alleged “overwhelming evidence” all the time, and the absolute WORST excuse for a substantiation of such a claim is your lame “Go pick up a textbook...” You’re apparently convinced that because the majority of writers have been trained to interpret all data via the evolutionary paradigm, it must therefore be correct. There was a time when just about any “textbook” you might have picked up would have taught that phlogiston was the essential element in any flame, and all combustion experiments were conducted and interpreted via a paradigm constructed around phlogiston. You could have rambled on about your alleged “overwhelming evidence” back then too, and sent me to the library as well—and your false “knowledge” would have been just as wrong then as it is now(!).

>>Again I remind you that that is your term not mine.<<

Yes, it is my term, and I am pleased that it is. And again, I remind you that you have heretofore failed to demonstrate any understanding of the meaning of the term, which in light of your persistent misuse of it has made you appear much more a poseur than a credible (i.e., intellectually honest) individual.

>> >>Your contentions here are based purely on your own naive assumptions that God’s Word doesn’t mean what it says, and that man knows better.<< <<

>>Not true. Read what I said...<<

I did.

>>To me it’s more like (if you’ll excuse the analogy) finding a verse which says “the sky is green” and having to come to terms with the fact that the sky isn’t green even though the Bible clearly said it was.<<

No, I won’t “excuse the analogy”. Kindly either make a bonafide case to substantiate your arrogant claims, or make them elsewhere. You have no business slamming the straightforward creation account as “not right” and then excusing yourself from offering some form of support from some biblically and/or empirically tenable argument (or series of arguments).

Your analogy illustrates only the faulty logic you employ in justifying your man-centered beliefs [“a non-existent verse isn’t true, therefore I am free to say any existent verse isn’t true”]. And it requires no measurable respect for the Scripture to invoke such a weak excuse for embracing a fallible human interpretation of empirical data over an interpretation that supports the straightforward meaning of the Genesis text.

>>Again read what I said...<<

Again, I did.

>>..I really don’t like the implications that part of the Bible is wrong. If one bit goes the rest crumbles away...<<

Sounds to me as if YOUR Bible is already on its way to a dust heap, my friend!

>>It’s nothing to do with “the fear of man”.<<

Says who? Would the majority (or even nearly half) of scientists (and the public) have to consider biblical creation credible before you would embrace it? How about 25% of the population? Be honest with yourself (whether you will be with me or not); are you truly willing to unashamedly embrace—and obey—the whole of God’s Word at any cost?

[Note that Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:24-26) -TW]

>>There is the alternative of out-and-out evolution of course!<<

It’s certainly there, yes. What’s your point?

>>It isn’t “a bunch”. It’s about 99% of the people in those disciplines. Like I said, what I can’t swallow is that they all get it wrong so enormously and by the same amount.<<

Where did you get that figure? What exactly did these 99% say or do to give you this indication? Since when does the majority decide the truth? Did they all arrive at whatever conclusion you attribute to them independently or were they trained to interpret things in such a way that the conclusion in question was all but inevitable? Can you answer these questions? If not, then how in the world can you expect me to believe that you know anything in connection with what you’re talking about?

Do you also find yourself unable to swallow the notion that, “the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it”? (Matt. 7:13)

>>I think you’re losing sight of the fact that for the people we’re describing, the age of the Earth isn’t a matter for argument, it is seen as settled fact...<<

Well, I think you have YET to see that their belief that the age of the earth is “settled fact” doesn’t necessarily make it so. So it was with phlogiston also. So-called “settled facts” of “science” become “unsettled” regularly, just keep watching the media (as you apparently have done so well up to this point), and you’ll see what I mean. The “age” of the earth has been changed many times and by significant measures during the past two centuries. Each time, the “settled fact” was modified to accommodate some new empirical data that didn’t fit the “settled fact” as it had previously stood. And since all the data is being interpreted to fit the “settled fact” (and any “anomalies” rejected out of hand), it comes as no surprise that all the data appears to fit the “settled fact”.

>>...nothing to do with peer approval or anything...<<

How do you “know”?

>>I’m not rejecting anything “out of hand”.<<

How do you know? Your words paint a different picture.

>>I’m trying to think carefully and honestly about it.<<

How about doing some studying, some research—giving yourself something to really think carefully and honestly about? What exactly have you looked at in terms of the creation paradigm? What creation science books or journals have you read?

>>...the most dishonest person I have ever met in the whole of my life, no exaggeration, is a church leader in London. Somehow what he believes (or says he does) on Sundays gets switched off the rest of the time.<<

Hypocrites are inevitable—even amongst God’s flock. But again, they are not an excuse for throwing responsible and reasonable Bible study out the window.

>> >>If it’s not inerrant, then how much of it is reliable? Which specific parts? Which ones aren’t?...<< <<

>>Exactly the point I was making.<<

Do you truly want to find some resolution to this dilemma? Have you any idea how it might even be done? I ask you again: are you truly willing to unashamedly embrace—and obey—the whole of God’s Word at any cost? What must God do to persuade you in such a direction? How much of it has to be Him shoving the truth into your finite mind, and how much of it has to be an action of your will, choosing to trust Him and move forward in faith?

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Mat 24:35). I believe He really said that, and I believe He really meant it, and I believe He was referring to more than just the words He spoke which were quoted by the apostles who penned the New Testament.

Here was God in the flesh, declaring that His message would outlast the Creation itself.

Now, could He have realistically meant just some “general” message? One that would inevitably get corrupted and become impossible to discern from the fluff and chatter appended to it by a bunch of well-meaning busybody writers? Or might He have meant that, bizarre as it may appear to most of us, the words of His choice would survive any effort to pervert or eradicate them? I have chosen to embrace the latter, for if He is really God, and is really capable of doing whatever He pleases, then the Scriptures—from Genesis to Revelation—are exactly what He meant them to be, including every last quirk. I may not understand it all, but what I do understand I embrace and apply to my life and thought processes.

God has blessed me. I’m not just talking about intellectual satisfaction (“Oh I’m so glad all my beliefs are intellectually acceptable”), but relational peace and fulfillment that far surpasses political or intellectual correctness in both internal satisfaction and eternal value.

It’s not even a matter of being “theologically correct” (you’re not the first professing “Christian” to slam me for my position, and you probably won’t be the last). As far as I know, I’m humbling myself before His Word, enjoying His fellowship, His active presence and nearness in my life. And as I study matters of science, I don’t see any basis making it a “must” that I accept the “popular” interpretation of the empirical data (in fact, it’s that very interpretation that keeps many people from receiving precisely the joy and peace from God that I have come to know through Jesus Christ), and I see how much of the same data can be interpreted to concur with God’s Word as it is written. This just adds to my delight in God; the world He created fails to contradict His Word [contrary to what so many like yourself seem to enjoy claiming].

>>I don’t see how it’s “unbelief” much more “sin” to question whether people are approaching the Bible correctly...<<

Unbelief and sin go hand in hand. [“...whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23)] To doubt God’s sovereignty over the transmission of—or the general reliability of—His Word is indeed a form of unbelief. You wrote “I find myself thinking maybe...I’ve wasted my time all these years.” That’s another apparent indication of unbelief (i.e., sin).

>>As for the people you refer to, aren’t they “causing little ones to stumble” and they’d be better off drowned with a millstone?<<

It was you who referred to them. There is no justification for willfully lying, whether you’re a YEC or an atheist. Causing someone to stumble means leading them into sin, and to whatever extent anyone does this, they will surely be held accountable. On the other hand, I think Jesus, in stressing the seriousness of such a deed, invites us all to contemplate whether we aren’t ALL guilty of having such an influence on another at one time or another.

I think I can appreciate your frustration with certain YECs whose behavior isn’t exactly what you think a “model Christian” should be. I know they’re there, and I run into them occasionally myself. Imperfect Christians cannot be avoided, however. (There’s no such thing as a perfect Christian on the face of the earth!) I don’t count it my responsibility to account for anyone’s words or actions but my own. But nor will I “roll over and play dead” for a lame argument, bad logic or an evidence-free assertion. It’s my aim to fulfill my pleasure and obedience as God’s bondservant by telling the truth and pressing others to do the same. On my website that means largely (but by no means exclusively) in connection with matters of science and science history.

At the risk of being brusque, if you are really wrestling with the issue of the age of the earth as you appear to be, IMHO you need at least two things:

1) You need to crave the greatest possible intimacy with your Saviour [if this doesn’t matter to you now, NO intellectual exercise is likely to yield worthwhile results; and if you don’t crave that intimacy already, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but I advise getting on your knees and asking Him to give you the desire, to make you desperate for Him, to show you who you are in Christ like you’ve never seen before]. He doesn’t want you to trust Him or His Word purely on an intellectual level, but primarily in response to a confidence in HIM, which can only increase as you get to know Him personally.

2) You need to really study whatever serious materials you can get your hands on that offer the biblical creation perspective [without these, all you’ll ever know is what the popularizers and public-level advocates (like me)—or (worse) the evolutionists—have to say, and frankly, that can sometimes be more superficial than satisfying].

If you sincerely wish to explore the biblical creation framework, I invite you to let me know. Perhaps I can recommend some resources. On the other hand, if all you want to do is harass me on the basis of a false definition of “intellectually honest” or an illiberal philosophical view of “science” or “knowledge,” please know that I have no interest or time for further dialogue along those lines.

I’ll be praying for you (really!).

Kind Regards,
TW
 


Response from John Collins:

>> >>...Nor am I appointing myself some sort of internet policeman.<< <<

>>As long as you continue demanding that I (and my website) submit to a perverted definition of “intellectual honesty” yes you are.<<

Errr...
Who said I was “demanding” anything???

It just seems to me incredibly arrogant of you to decide that other people aren’t...

>>.... consistently telling the truth concerning what one thinks and what one knows (and being truthful about the difference).<<

...and that you or your selected authors are.

You can say whatever you like on your website. Lots of people say all sorts of crazy things, which I think are highly objectionable. You’d probably completely agree with me in most cases about their objectionable-ness.

My original mail to you was provoked by the thought that your site’s opening sentence is unnecessarily offensive (whatever definition you care to supply the words therein) to a lot of people and in particular the people who have contributed to talk.origins, some of whom are Christians. I still think it is.

And I think that if you want yourself and your site to be taken seriously you might do well to consider how what you say comes across to other people. Whatever you say about talk.origins there is little by way of denigration of the people they disagree with.

It’s this whole lack of graciousness and unwillingness to accept or even contemplate the thought “Maybe I might have gone over the top there” let alone “Maybe I got it wrong” and treat what is meant to be constructive criticism as a vicious personal attack not just on you, but on Christ himself, that makes you look so absurd to me.

>>So I suggest that you kindly cease shoving your illegitimate brand of “intellectually honesty” in my face, and learn to carry on a dialogue without relying on such manipulative semantic obfuscation to make room for views in places where they are neither welcome or required by law.<<

Do you take any criticism at all? Or do you lose your temper and fire back a huge broadside every time?

>>I describe my site as intellectually honest, precisely because it is my aim to challenge others who pretend their beliefs have been “proven” by “overwhelming” evidence—yet who have failed to apply much—if any—objectivity to the matter by studying the alternative paradigm vis--vis the empirical data.<<

“Pretending”. “Lack of objectivity” This is all strong stuff to hurl at people without some evidence yourself isn’t it?

>>I describe my site as intellectually honest, precisely because too many (but not all) evolutionists are foisting on the public the myth that the evolutionary interpretation of empirical data is the only valid one, the only acceptable one, the only one that “works” or “fits the data”—these evolutionists are being less than honest, because they are painting a false picture for their hearers. My aim (via intellectual honesty) is not to paint a false picture, but to defend the biblical creation interpretation against this modern myth and its proponents, by 1) challenging the less-than-honest approach of evolutionists, and 2) offering the creation alternative in its place.<<

Oh I see. We’ve changed the subject now. We’re now onto evolution, not arguments about the age of the Earth. My original email (you may recall) focused on the latter point.

>>Again, this betrays your failure to comprehend the meaning of the term “intellectually honest.” TalkOrigins wouldn’t become any more or less intellectually dishonest by including zero or thousands of creationist sites. Intellectual integrity has to do with what they say, and they say things that are not true, yet they claim they are true, and pretend that they have the unequivocal support of empirical science to back them up—exclusively—when in reality they don’t.<<

“They say things that are not true”, “they pretend” - i.e. they are lying?? Right?

>>(If nothing else has come out of our dialogue, I hope that at the very least you have learned what intellectual honesty actually is.)<<

Yes indeed. I have learned what your definition is. Everyone who disagrees with you or questions you in any way isn’t being intellectually honest.

>> >>It’s ill-tempered rants like this that do so much to undermine the Creationist case. See for example the exchanges in...<< <<

>>I don’t intend to allow you to further broaden this soon-to-end discussion by drawing my attention towards dialogues found elsewhere within the internet.<<

Fine. Well how about considering your own way of conducting dialogues? I was using that as a comparison with the way you were conducting yourself.

>>Perhaps you would be less likely to be faced with what you call “ill-tempered rants” if you wouldn’t persist in employing ill-founded, illegitimate definitions in your complaints against others and pushing illiberal, illogical and indefensible arguments and erroneous perceptions about “science” in their faces.<<

I’m inclined to say that I’d be more likely to avoid them if I refrained from trying to conduct a reasonable discussion with an unreasonable and arrogant person.

>> >>To me it’s more like (if you’ll excuse the analogy) finding a verse which says “the sky is green” and having to come to terms with the fact that the sky isn’t green even though the Bible clearly said it was.<< <<

>>No, I won’t “excuse the analogy”. Kindly either make a bonafide case to substantiate your arrogant claims, or make them elsewhere. You have no business slamming the straightforward creation account as “not right” and then excusing yourself from offering some form of support from some biblically and/or empirically tenable argument (or series of arguments).<<

>>Your analogy illustrates only the faulty logic you employ in justifying your man-centered beliefs (“a non-existent verse isn’t true, therefore I am free to say any existent verse isn’t true”).<<

What *are* you talking about??

I wasn’t talking about a non-existent verse, except by way of analogy.

I was talking about the real verses which say that the Earth was created in 6 24-hour days. That this was a few thousand years ago. That there was a global flood.

If the Bible really says that, and it is meant to be taken at face value, then (in my opinion) it is not true. Alternatively, the literal interpretation is wrong.

If such an opinion is inevitably purely man-centred etc etc, then I am guilty as charged.

>>Says who? Would the majority (or even nearly half) of scientists (and the public) have to consider biblical creation credible before you would embrace it? How about 25% of the population? Be honest with yourself (whether you will be with me or not); are you truly willing to unashamedly embrace—and obey—the whole of God’s Word at any cost?<<

I’d be perfectly willing to do so if I could be convinced that the Bible was 100% “God’s Word”. But to do that we have to deal with the many problems, a major one being the creation account, which if they are meant to be taken as literally true, mean that the whole of it isn’t God’s Word, given that God doesn’t lie.

>> >>There is the alternative of out-and-out evolution of course!<< <<

>>It’s certainly there, yes. What’s your point?<<

You seemed to be saying in your previous mail that the only positions were YEC or OEC.

>>Do you also find yourself unable to swallow the notion that, “the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it”? (Matt. 7:13)<<

No. But the speaker also went on to say “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” and believing things contrary to one’s senses doesn’t sound like an easy burden to me.

Do you truly want to find some resolution to this dilemma? Have you any idea how it might even be done? I ask you again: are you truly willing to unashamedly embrace—and obey—the whole of God’s Word at any cost? What must God do to persuade you in such a direction? How much of it has to be Him shoving the truth into your finite mind, and how much of it has to be an action of your will, choosing to trust Him and move forward in faith?

I’ve already answered this question.

>>It’s not even a matter of being “theologically correct” (you’re not the first professing Christian to slam me for my position, and you probably won’t be the last).<<

Here we go again - shields up! I’m wasn’t “slamming” you originally. But I do find your ungracious and personal attacks on me a bit hard to swallow. I think you ought to learn how to respond to people who might possibly be fairly rebuking you.

>>Unbelief and sin go hand in hand. To doubt God’s sovereignty over the transmission of—or the general reliability of—His Word is a form of unbelief. You wrote “I find myself thinking maybe...I’ve wasted my time all these years.” That’s another apparent indication of unbelief (i.e., sin).<<

I think the “i.e. sin” bit is a non-sequitor. You start by saying they go hand in hand, you finish by saying (apparently) that they are the same thing. And the “unbelief” seems to consist of not agreeing with you.

>>I think I can appreciate your frustration with certain YECs whose behavior isn’t exactly what you think a “model Christian” should be. I know they’re there, and I run into them occasionally myself. Imperfect Christians cannot be avoided, however. (There’s no such thing as a perfect Christian on the face of the earth!)<<

Except yourself I suppose? (But I’m getting a bit angry myself here).

>>At the risk of being brusque, if you are really wrestling with the issue of the age of the earth as you appear to be, IMHO you need at least two things:<<

I’m not wrestling with it at all. I am sure. Sorry if I appeared to be. I wasn’t.

But why should you worry about “being brusque” just there and not in the rest of what you say?

>>If you sincerely wish to explore the biblical creation framework, I invite you to let me know.<<

No thanks.

>>On the other hand, if all you want to do is harass me on the basis of a false definition of “intellectually honest” or an illiberal philosophical view of “science” or “knowledge,” please know that I have no interest or time for further dialogue along those lines.<<

Harass you? What do you think you’ve been doing to me? And to the people you gratuitously offend on your website? I had no intention of harassing you or anyone else, but if you’re so thin-skinned that any criticism is taken as harassment, get on with it.

I’ll be praying for you (really!).

How flattering. Why not pray for yourself also “that I may learn humility and not get so paranoid when someone criticises or disagrees with me”?

John Collins


Response from Timothy Wallace:

Hello John,

In the midst of all the griping you began with about links and equal time, has it escaped your notice that the first link on nearly every page of the TrueOrigin site is a link to your cherished TalkOrigins site? Or that on every page rebutting a specific TalkOrigins essay, a link is provided to that essay?

>>Errr...
Who said I was “demanding” anything???<<

Your statement (“you should include all shades of opinion”) is certainly an attempt to tell me what to do. To persist in this aim, as you most certainly have, may fairly be considered demanding. It was not a single suggestion, but a repeated statement concerning what you think I should do, your transparent claim to “have no particular axe to grind” notwithstanding.

>>It just seems to me incredibly arrogant of you to decide that other people aren’t...<<

>> >>.... consistently telling the truth concerning what one thinks and what one knows (and being truthful about the difference).<< <<

Are you saying that no one can ever tell when someone is not telling the truth? That you just trust everybody? I don’t think so. For you yourself have personally “decided” that certain YECs are dishonest (having referred to “dishonest arguments of many YEC types” in a previous message).

How dare you be so “incredibly arrogant” yourself, by “deciding” that certain “YEC types” are dishonest! As if your shameless self-condemnation weren’t enough, you then pull a double standard on me, telling me that I can’t discern whether someone is telling the truth or not!

You, sir, are a hypocrite: You practice liberally the very things for which you falsely accuse and condemn others.

>>You can say whatever you like on your website.<<

How kind of you to change your position enough to say so.

>>My original mail to you was provoked by the thought that your site’s opening sentence is unnecessarily offensive...<<

I have received messages from many pro-evolutionists who made it a point to express “offense” at the TrueOrigin site. It’s to be expected. I have also seen feedback sent to the TalkOrigins site expressing similar sentiment from Bible-believing Christians, and the TalkOrigins folks made no apologies.

Perhaps you could learn to expect to be “offended” by some of the words of those with whom you do not agree. You have yet to demonstrate any error in my statements, just that you are “hurt” or “bothered” by them. Though it has practically become clich to say so, sometimes the truth does hurt—and falsehoods no less so. The fact that you don’t like what you are reading has nothing to do whether it is correct or not, and you can’t seem to get past the “pain” of your “offense” to be objective enough to deal with truth—just science-free accusations and complaints.

>>...some of whom are Christians...<<

Since you’ve now begun to “decide” who is a Christian and who isn’t, why don’t you explain the criteria by which you perform this judgment?

[Collins’ philosophical schizophrenia has already been betrayed by the fact that, though he poses as a “Christian,” he has a seriously limited trust of the Bible (the only and original source indicating what a genuine Christian is—according to Christ Himself and the men who knew Him personally). Thus, the fact that Collins should even make the pretense of knowing what a Christian is—or that a legitimate definition such a thing truly even exists—goes logically against the very position he has been espousing from the beginning of the dialogue. -TW]

>>...if you want yourself and your site to be taken seriously...<<

By exactly what means have you arrived at the conclusion that the site is not already taken seriously?

>>It’s this whole lack of graciousness and unwillingness to accept or even contemplate the thought ... “Maybe I got it wrong”...<<

You don’t exactly present yourself as the embodiment of the kind of response you’ve been trying to coax from me. (Once again, it seems, your hypocrisy is showing.)

It is your assumption that this is my posture that leads you into so many further erroneous assumptions about me. For your information, I have been corrected many times by both evolutionists and creationists. I have corrected errors in the essays I have written, thanking the people who offered me the correction.

From the very beginning, I have been willing to re-evaluate anything that has been presented with appropriate support. This doesn’t mean I’ll drop any position upon receiving a word of discontent from an “offended” reader, and it doesn’t mean that I won’t defend and explain my position to those who are willing to listen.

The “feedback” portion of my site offers a fair picture of much (but not all) that has transpired since TrueOrigin’s inception. I am not ashamed of any of it.

>>Do you take any criticism at all?...<<

When it is legitimate, yes. (See above.) Do you do anything besides heap it upon young earth creationists?

>>“Pretending”. “Lack of objectivity” This is all strong stuff to hurl at people without some evidence yourself isn’t it?<<

Okay, then if your beliefs have indeed been proven by overwhelming evidence, start telling me how. A failure on your part to present some unequivocal support for your evolutionary beliefs from empirical science would make your claim to “overwhelming evidence” very much indeed a pretense. So if you’re not pretending, and you don’t like the “strong stuff” of your bluff being called, then where’s the “strong stuff” in the way of your unequivocal empirical support?

Your request that I offer evidence is noted, and I do cite the evidence that supports my position (often it is the same evidence used by evolutionists—just interpreted without their presuppositions). However, note one very important distinction: I do not go about claiming my position is “proven” by “overwhelming evidence” whereas you and your evolutionist colleagues do. At least I am honest enough to recognize the limitations of science in establishing unobservable, unrepeatable, and unmeasurable matters of history. I make no pretense to have absolute “proof” or “overwhelming evidence” on my side, because it wouldn’t be true. Nor is it true for the evolutionist. Some evolutionists are willing to admit this, but not your friends at TalkOrigins—instead they persist in their wholly subjective pretense to have “overwhelming” scientific proof.

(Again I ask, who is “overwhelmed”? This time I’ll provide the answer: Only whoever wishes to be!)

>>Oh I see. We’ve changed the subject now. We’re now onto evolution, not arguments about the age of the Earth...<<

Yes, we have... And they go hand in hand. But don’t flatter yourself: You’ve failed completely to present a “argument” on anything but your dislike for the TrueOrigin site in general. In spite of my requests, you haven’t advanced one single empirical argument in connection with the age of the earth. So what is it to you if I discuss the very topic which the TrueOrigin site aims to address (and to which you have eluded as a viable alternative to creation)?

>>Yes indeed. I have learned what your definition is. Everyone who disagrees with you or questions you in any way isn’t being intellectually honest.<<

That’s a very childish and irrational reply. You’ve become more antagonistic, sarcastic, and infantile in both your logic and attitude with every post. Now, instead of taking responsibility for your words and acknowledging your erroneous use of the term “intellectually honesty,” you sarcastically re-define it again and accuse me (falsely) of a form of bigotry that is not borne out in the balance of my feedback responses—yet which has become conspicuously manifest in your own approach towards this dialogue.

>>I don’t intend to allow you to further broaden this soon-to-end discussion by drawing my attention towards dialogues found elsewhere within the internet.<<

Fine. Well how about considering your own way of conducting dialogues? I was using that as a comparison with the way you were conducting yourself.

And your point was what? That when you try to bury your creationist opponents with bad logic, ignorance-based arguments (if any at all), false accusations, and intellectual bigotry, they shouldn’t accurately describe and challenge your science-free tactics, but gently roll over and purr for you?

>>Perhaps you would be less likely to be faced with what you call “ill-tempered rants” if you wouldn’t persist in employing ill-founded, illegitimate definitions in your complaints against others and pushing illiberal, illogical and indefensible arguments and erroneous perceptions about “science” in their faces.<<

I’m inclined to say that I’d be more likely to avoid them if I refrained from trying to conduct a reasonable discussion with an unreasonable and arrogant person.

A reasonable discussion—by definition—should include logic and reasoning (preferably from both sides). There is no question that I have endeavored to reason with you in reply to your several complaints and accusations. You, on the other hand, have persisted in employing erroneously defined terms, failing to offer a reasoned defense for much—if any—of your several claims about science and the Bible, and protracting an already fruitless dialogue with sarcasm, an emphatic resolve to remain willfully ignorant of the very position you decry, and repeatedly pretending to “know” things for which you have offered no empirical, logical or reasonable support.

This present discussion being my only available basis for formulating an assessment, I am hard pressed to grant that you are capable of “trying to conduct a reasonable discussion” with anyone.

>> >>Your analogy illustrates only the faulty logic you employ in justifying your man-centered beliefs (“a non-existent verse isn’t true, therefore I am free to say any existent verse isn’t true”).<< <<

>>What *are* you talking about??<<

I suppose it’s too much to think you might be objective enough to recognize when your logical fallacy has been exposed...

>>I wasn’t talking about a non-existent verse, except by way of analogy.<<

Exactly: Rather than explain by means of a rational, reasonable, logical argument exactly why the real verse can’t be taken at face value, you had to invent a pretend verse, the error of which would be obvious to all.

>>I was talking about the real verses which say that the Earth was created in 6 24-hour days. That this was a few thousand years ago. That there was a global flood.<<

>>If the Bible really says that, and it is meant to be taken at face value, then (in my opinion) it is not true. Alternatively, the literal interpretation is wrong.<<

Again, exactly my point: You happily state that the straightforward text of the Bible is wrong (in your opinion), but you fail completely to offer any reasonable empirical basis for such an opinion—other than the opinion itself and (as implied elsewhere) the opinions of others.

>>If such an opinion is inevitably purely man-centred etc etc, then I am guilty as charged.<<

Indeed you are! You place fallible human opinion (labelled as “knowledge”) above even the very possibility that God’s sovereignty and infallibility might allow Him to provide an accurate and straightforward record of His deeds at the dawn of Creation, and to preserve that record for all mankind.

>> >>Be honest with yourself (whether you will be with me or not); are you truly willing to unashamedly embrace—and obey—the whole of God’s Word at any cost?<< <<

>>I’d be perfectly willing to do so if I could be convinced that the Bible was 100% “God’s Word”...<<

Well that’s convenient! You’ve already made it plain that you are operating under the firmly held assumption that the Bible is not 100% God’s Word. I guess that pretty much leaves you free to do and believe whatever you please, then.

>>But to do that we have to deal with the many problems, a major one being the creation account, which if they are meant to be taken as literally true, mean that the whole of it isn’t God’s Word, given that God doesn’t lie.<<

Where did you get the silly notion that “God doesn’t lie”? (Not the Bible, I hope!) Is it just one of your “beliefs”? Something you decided was attractive? And even if you really believed it, what will keep you from flushing any and every other passage of Scripture that doesn’t suit your taste on the grounds that “that’s another part that’s not God’s Word, since it doesn’t fit what I’m convinced is knowledge”?

Indeed, earlier you denied making it your prerogative to decide which parts are God’s Word and which parts aren’t, and now you’ve made a liar out of yourself, having concluded that “the whole of it isn’t God’s Word” on account of the Creation record.

[By the way, it’s noteworthy that liberal (i.e., largely unbelieving) theologians tend to side with Collins in denying the accuracy of the Genesis account in its straightforward context, while conservative (i.e., largely believing) theologians tend to accept the straightforward meaning—yet Hebrew scholars (regardless of their theological or philosophical leanings) almost unanimously agree that the Genesis Creation account, as written, is meant to be taken purely as historical narrative. -TW]

>> >>Do you also find yourself unable to swallow the notion that, “the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it”? (Matt. 7:13)<< <<

>>No. But the speaker also went on to say “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” and believing things contrary to one’s senses doesn’t sound like an easy burden to me.<<

You won’t go very far trying to base everything on what you can determine with your senses alone. In the first place, it is repeated many times in Scripture that “the righteous will live by faith” (not by his senses alone). Second, it is not your senses that tell you the earth is old (history cannot be measured by the senses), but a specific interpretation of the evidence. And finally, you bring the burden on yourself by clinging to one interpretation, refusing even to examine the alternative interpretation, and then claiming that your self-imposed, willful ignorance is somehow a justification for a lack of confidence in the very sovereignty that God—by definition—logically must have, and which He has affirmed that He does have with respect to His ability to communicate to man.

>> >>It’s not even a matter of being “theologically correct” (you’re not the first professing Christian to slam me for my position, and you probably won’t be the last).<< <<

>>Here we go again - shields up! I’m wasn’t “slamming” you originally...<<

No? In your first message you questioned my “intellectual honesty” (by using a bogus definition of the same). In your second message you characterised young-earth creationists as “beyond the point of lunacy,” called the YEC position “foolishness,” in which “antics and dishonest arguments” are commonplace. You chose, by your own initiative, to point all of this at me for some reason.

“Slamming” by definition is “strong criticism.” I think the record shows that for someone “with no particular axe to grind” that is exactly what you have been doing from the start.

>>...But I do find your ungracious and personal attacks on me a bit hard to swallow...<<

Likewise, I’m sure. (This might be a good time to remind you that it was yourself who initiated this whole protracted affair—and with a false accustaion, at that!)

>>...I think you ought to learn how to respond to people who might possibly be fairly rebuking you.<<

I make it my aim to do exactly that. Regrettably (on your account) a “fair rebuke”—particularly one not equally or more applicable to yourself—has yet to emerge from your end of the table in this matter.

>> >>Unbelief and sin go hand in hand. To doubt God’s sovereignty over the transmission of—or the general reliability of—His Word is a form of unbelief. You wrote “I find myself thinking maybe...I’ve wasted my time all these years.” That’s another apparent indication of unbelief (i.e., sin).<< <<

>>I think the “i.e. sin” bit is a non-sequitor. You start by saying they go and in hand, you finish by saying (apparently) that they are the same thing...<<

I quote again: “...whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). Furthermore, “without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6).

>>...And the “unbelief” seems to consist of not agreeing with you.<<

Again you persist with the infantile logic. As a matter of fact it does happen to appear that I choose to trust my Maker—thanking Him for the very gift of faith itself—more than you do. And as a matter of fact you have expressed rather emphatically that you don’t share with me this same posture before God—that you resist “believing things contrary to [your] senses” (e.g., much of what God reveals about Himself in Scripture)—so, in a manner of speaking, yes, in your own self-described unbelief, you do happen to disagree with me.

But your words paint an obviously sarcastic—and baseless—picture, as if to say that I mechanically slap a label of general “unbelief” on anyone who doesn’t agree with me for any reason. This is just one more in a series of false accusations you’ve directed at me.

>> >>There’s no such thing as a perfect Christian on the face of the earth!<< <<

>>Except yourself I suppose?...<<

Again with that sarcasm! (And you have the nerve to attribute to me “ungracious and personal attacks”?)

>> >>At the risk of being brusque, if you are really wrestling with the issue of the age of the earth as you appear to be, IMHO you need at least two things...<< <<

>>I’m not wrestling with it at all. I am sure. Sorry if I appeared to be. I wasn’t.<<

My mistake, I guess, for taking your words at face value.

>>But why should you worry about “being brusque” just there and not in the rest of what you say?<<

By “brusque” I meant “blunt” or “forward” in offering unsolicited counsel—which you obviously have rejected anyway. In the interest of being sensitive to what was ostensibly your dilemma, I didn’t want my suggestions to come across as excessively aggressive.

As for the balance of my response to you, if it has appeared “brusque” to you, then consider that to have been a small sampling of your own kind of produce.

>>If you sincerely wish to explore the biblical creation framework, I invite you to let me know.<<

No thanks.

Of course not. Why foster an informed opinion now? Once your mind has been made up, there’s no sense examining the facts.

>> >>On the other hand, if all you want to do is harass me on the basis of a false definition of “intellectually honest” or an illiberal philosophical view of “science” or “knowledge,” please know that I have no interest or time for further dialogue along those lines.<< <<

>>Harass you? What do you think you’ve been doing to me?<<

I’ve been defending myself against your unsolicited, fact-, logic-, and science-free accusations. If you feel “harassed” then you have only yourself, your willfully ignorant bigotry, and your infantile sarcasm to blame.

>>...I had no intention of harassing you or anyone else...<<

Then your course of action most certainly diverged from your original intention.

>>...if you’re so thin-skinned that any criticism is taken as harassment, get on with it.<<

Hmmm. Likewise, I suppose that if you’re so “thin-skinned” (read “proud”) that a rejection of your baseless, myopic criticism is taken as harassment(?!), perhaps you might as well follow your own advice here.

>> >>I’ll be praying for you (really!).<< <<

>>How flattering. Why not pray for yourself also “that I may learn humility and not get so paranoid when someone criticises or disagrees with me”?<<

Your final installment of sarcasm notwithstanding, I do in fact desire and aim to be learning humility for the rest of my days on earth, and I shall continue praying for you.

Kind Regards,
TW
 


   Google     
 
Web TrueOrigin Archive  
Home | Feedback | Links | Back to Top

© TrueOrigin Archive.  All Rights Reserved.
  powered by Lone Star Web Works