Questions on God, Science, and Intelligent Design

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Oct 29, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)

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1

Questions on God, Science, and Intelligent Design


By Lawrence H. Johnston, Ph.D.



Editor's Note:


Kirk Brower, of Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Idaho, Moscow,
asked
1

Larry Johnston, UI emeritus physics professor, tough questions
he find
s on Campus,
about God and Science. Both have given their permission to share the questions and responses
here. Johnston is a scientist closely involved in two of the great scientific developments of the
20th Century

the Atomic bomb, and microwave radar.

See an interview with him at
a
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


conference
2
.
INTERVIEW

(
Edited by Mary Ann Reese.

)


THE QUESTIONS

(
Click on any blue Question to move to the discussion

of it. )


Question 1

You mentioned that more than 100 scientists recently took out an ad in the New York
Times saying they had problems with Evolution. The ad was in response to a PBS TV
program saying
"all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinia
n] evolution" as does
"virtually every reputable scientist in the world."

Who are these scientists?




Question 2

What material, publications, books, websites, etc. would you consider reliable sources to
consult for further educatio
n in the area of Intelligent Design

-

either for me or for
referring non
-
believers
?


Question 3

What is your perspective on the Age of the Earth (AOE)

young or old

and how
do you
come to these perspectives

Biblically?


Question 4
-
A

Scienc
e articles speak of fossil

skeletons which
look

like those of modern humans, going
back at least a hundred thousand years. Where would you place Adam and Eve in this
sequence?


Question 4
-
B

Since the

chimpanzee DNA genome has been sequenced

(2005)
, and compared to

that of
humans, it has been sta
ted that there is a 99% similarity of the two.


( This 99% has now
been reduced to 70
%,
Dec 2008)

Does this mean that w
e should be thought of as “just
another

animal?





1

Questions were presented about September, 2001. Responses by LJ were written in the following months. Several
more questions were so
on added, and the document has been further edited by LJ over the years.(12
-
6
-
2008)

2
http://www.ieee.org/portal/cms_docs_iportals/iportals/aboutus/history_center/oral_history/pdfs/Johnston094.pdf



2


Question 5
-
A

How would you explain

the fact that from a secular world’s perspective, almost all the
material published out there (
Scientific American, National Geographic
, textbooks, etc.)
seem
s

to hold to the theory of E
volution?




Question 5
-
B

I’ve discussed this with many students and with my father
-
in
-
law and they seem to think
that if
D
esign were an intelligent world view there would be more evidence out there
regarding the issue.



Question
6



Any Evo
-
Skeptics?

Do you know of any secular scientists who have not put their faith in the theory of
Evolution, and if so who are they and what problems do they have with this theory?



Question 7

Are th
ere well
-
known scientists who are Christians?



Question 8

Are there widely respected philosophers who are Christians?


QUESTIONS AND
RESPONSES


Question 1

You mentioned that more than 100 scientists recently took out an ad in the

New York
Times saying they had problems with Evolution. The ad was in response to a PBS TV
program saying
"all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution" as does
"virtually every reputable scientist in the world."

Who are these scientists?



Response


First let me define what I mean by "Evolution" and "Evolutionist" in this document. I do not
mean "Microevolution", the SMALL changes in organisms that are known to happen frequently
due to mutations in their DNA. A prime example that is k
nown to occur is the development of
antibiotic resistance in bacteria. What I mean herein by "Evolution" is Macroevolution, the
BIG changes in body plans of creatures, which Darwin postulated were the result of myriads of
small changes
accumulating
ove
r long periods of time. The fossil record show
s that these big
changes happen
ed, but scientists are increeasingly dubious that the Darwinnian
gradual
process
is able to explain it satisfactorily.


3


Here is the advertisement
3


that was in the NY Times:

A S
cientific Dissent from Darwinism

Public TV programs, educational policy statements, and science textbooks have asserted that
Darwin’s

theory of evolution fully explains the complexity of living things. The public has been
assured, most recently by spokespe
rsons for PBS’s Evolution series, that “all known scientific
evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution” as does “virtually every reputable scientist in the
world.”


The following scientists dispute the first claim and stand as living testimony in contradicti
on to
the second. There is scientific dissent to Darwinism. It deserves to be heard.


”I am skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for
the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinia
n theory should be
encouraged.”

(Note that Johnston is #27)


1.

Henry F. Schaefer, Director, Center for Computational


Quantum Chemistry, U. of
Georgia

2.

Fred Sigworth, Prof. of Cellular & Molecular Physiology
-

Grad. School: Yale U.

3.

Philip S. Skell, Emeritus P
rof. Of Chemistry: NAS member

4.

Frank Tipler:, Prof. of Mathematical Physics: Tulane U.

5.

Robert Kaita, Plasma Physics Lab: Princeton U.

6.

Michael Behe: Prof. of Biological Science: Lehigh U.

7.

Walter Hearn: PhD Biochemistry
-
U of Illinois

8.

Tony Mega: Assoc. Prof. o
f Chemistry: Whitworth College

9.

Dean Kenyon: Prof. Emeritus of Biology: San Francisco State U

10.

Marko Horb: Researcher, Dept. of Biology & Biochemistry: U. of Bath, UK

11.

Daniel Kubler: Asst. Prof. of Biology: Franciscan U. of Steubenville

12.

David Keller: Assoc.
Prof. of Chemistry: U. of New Mexico

13.

James Keesling: Prof. of Mathematics: U. of Florida

14.

Roland F. Hirsch: PhD Analytical Chemistry
-
U. of Michigan

15.

Robert Newman: PhD Astrophysics
-
Cornell U.

16.

Carl Koval: Prof., Chemistry & Biochemistry: U. of Colorado, Bou
lder

17.

Tony Jelsma: Prof. of Biology: Dordt College

18.

William A.

Dembski: PhD Mathematics
-
U. of Chicago:

19.

George Lebo: Assoc. Prof. of Astronomy: U. of Florida

20.

Timothy G. Standish: PhD Environmental Biology
-
George Mason U.

21.

James Keener: Prof. of Mathematics &
Adjunct of Bioengineering: U. of Utah

22.

Robert J. Marks: Prof. of Signal & Image Processing: U. of Washington

23.

Carl Poppe: Senior Fellow: Lawrence Livermore Laboratories

24.

Siegfried Scherer: Prof. of Microbial Ecology: Technische Universität München

25.

Gregory She
arer: Internal Medicine, Research: U. of California, Davis

26.

Joseph Atkinson: PhD Organic Chemistry
-
M.I.T.: American Chemical Society, member




3

This ad first appeared in the Weekly Standard, of week S
ept 24, 2001. It was also soon after placed in the NY
Times and other publications.


4

27.

Lawrence H. Johnston: Emeritus Prof. of Physics: U. of Idaho
;

fellow of The American
Physical Society

28.

Scott Minnich:

Prof., Dept of Microbiology, Molecular Biology & Biochem: U. of Idaho

29.

David A. DeWitt: PhD Neuroscience
-
Case Western U.

30.

Theodor Liss: PhD Chemistry
-
M.I.T.

31.

Braxton Alfred: Emeritus Prof. of Anthropology: U. of British Columbia

32.

Walter Bradley: Prof. Emerit
us of Mechanical Engineering: Texas A & M

33.

Paul D. Brown: Asst. Prof. of Environmental Studies: Trinity Western U. (Canada)

34.

Marvin Fritzler: Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: U. of Calgary, Medical
School

35.

Theodore Saito: Project Manager: Lawrence L
ivermore Laboratories

36.

Muzaffar Iqbal: PhD Chemistry
-
U. of Saskatchewan: Center for Theology the Natural
Sciences

37.

William S. Pelletier: Emeritus Distinguished Prof. of Chemistry:

U. of Georgia, Athens

38.

Keith Delaplane: Prof. of Entomology: U. of Georgia

39.

Ken

Smith: Prof. of Mathematics: Central Michigan U.

40.

Clarence Fouche: Prof. of Biology: Virginia Intermont College

41.

Thomas Milner: Asst. Prof. of Biomedical Engineering: U. of Texas,

Austin

42.

Brian J.Miller: PhD Physics
-
Duke U.

43.

Paul Nesselroade: Assoc. Prof. o
f Psychology: Simpson College

44.

Donald F.Calbreath: Prof. of Chemistry: Whitworth College

45.

William P. Purcell: PhD Physical Chemistry
-
Princeton U.

46.

Wesley Allen: Prof. of Computational Quantum Chemistry: U. of Georgia

47.

Jeanne Drisko: Asst. Prof., Kansas Medica
l Center: U. of Kansas, School of Medicine

48.

Chris Grace: Assoc. Prof. of Psychology: Biola U.

49.

Wolfgang Smith: Prof. Emeritus
-
Mathematics: Oregon State U.

50.

Rosalind Picard: Assoc. Prof. Computer Science: M.I.T.

51.

Garrick Little: Senior Scientist, Li
-
Cor: Li
-
Cor

52.

John L. Omdahl: Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: U. of New Mexico

53.

Martin Poenie: Assoc. Prof. of Molecular Cell & Developmental Bio: U. of Texas, Austin

54.

Russell W.Carlson: Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: U. of Georgia

55.

Hugh Nutley: Pro
f. Emeritus of Physics & Engineering: Seattle Pacific U.

56.

David Berlinski: PhD Philosophy
-
Princeton: Mathematician, Author

57.

Neil Broom: Assoc. Prof., Chemical & Materials Engineeering: U. of Auckland

58.

John Bloom: Assoc. Prof., Physics: Biola U.

59.

James Graham:
Professional Geologist, Sr. Program Manager: National Environmental
Consulting Firm

60.

John Baumgardner: Technical Staff, Theoretical Division: Los Alamos National
Laboratory

61.

Fred Skiff: Prof. of Physics: U. of Iowa

62.

Paul Kuld: Assoc. Prof., Biological Science
: Biola U.

63.

Yongsoon Park: Senior Research Scientist: St. Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City

64.

Moorad Alexanian: Prof. of Physics: U. of North Carolina, Wilmington

65.

Donald Ewert: Director of Research Administration: Wistar Institute


5

66.

Joseph W. Francis: Assoc. Prof. o
f Biology: Cedarville U.

67.

Thomas Saleska: Prof. of Biology: Concordia U.

68.

Ralph W. Seelke: Prof. & Chair of Dept. of Biology & Earth Sciences: U. of Wisconsin,
Superior

69.

James G. Harman: Assoc. Chair, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry: Texas Tech U.

70.

Lennart M
oller: Prof. of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute: U. of Stockholm

71.

Raymond G. Bohlin: PhD Molecular & Cell Biology
-
U. of Texas:

72.

Fazale R. Rana: PhD Chemistry
-
Ohio U.

73.

Michael Atchison: Prof. of Biochemistry: U. of Pennsylvania, Vet School

74.

Willia
m S. Harris: Prof. of Basic Medical Sciences: U. of Missouri, Kansas City

75.

Rebecca W. Keller: Research Prof., Dept. of Chemistry: U. of New Mexico

76.

Terry Morrison: PhD Chemistry
-
Syracuse U.

77.

Robert F. DeHaan: PhD Human Development
-
U. of Chicago

78.

Matti Lesola
: Prof., Laboratory of Bioprocess Engineering: Helsinki U. of Technology

79.

Bruce Evans: Assoc. Prof. of Biology: Huntington College

80.

Jim Gibson: PhD Biology
-
Loma Linda U.

81.

David Ness: PhD Anthropology
-
Temple U.

82.

Bijan Nemati: Senior Engineer: Jet Propulsion La
b (NASA)

83.

Edward T. Peltzer: Senior Research Specialist: Monterey Bay Research Institute

84.

Stan E. Lennard: Clinical Assoc. Prof. of Surgery: U. of Washington

85.

Rafe Payne: Prof. & Chair, Biola Dept. of Biological Sciences: Biola U.

86.

Phillip Savage: Prof. of Che
mical Engineering: U. of Michigan

87.

Pattle Pun: Prof. of Biology: Wheaton College

88.

Jed Macosko: Postdoctoral Researcher
-
Molecular Biology: U. of California, Berkeley

89.

Daniel Dix: Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics: U. of South Carolina

90.

Ed Karlow: Chair, Dept. of Phys
ics: LaSierra U.

91.

James Harbrecht: Clinical Assoc. Prof.: U. of Kansas Medical Center

92.

Robert W. Smith: Prof. of Chemistry: U. of Nebraska, Omaha

93.

Robert DiSilvestro: PhD Biochemistry
-
Texas A & M U.

94.

David Prentice: Prof., Dept. of Life Sciences: Indiana Stat
e U.

95.

Walt Stangl: Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics: Biola U.

96.

Jonathan Wells: PhD Molecular & Cell Biology
-
U. of California, Berkeley:

97.

James Tour: Chao Prof. of Chemistry: Rice U.

98.

Todd Watson: Asst. Prof. of Urban & Community Forestry: Texas A & M U.

99.

Robert Wal
tzer: Assoc. Prof. of Biology: Belhaven College

100.

Vincente Villa: Prof. of Biology: Southwestern U.

101.

Richard Sternberg: Postdoctoral Fellow, Invertebrate Biology: Smithsonian
Institute

102.

James Tumlin: Assoc. Prof. of Medicine: Emory U.

103.

Charles Thaxton: PhD Phys
ical Chemistry: Iowa State U.


Editor's note: Since this ad was published, the total number of scientists si
gning this
list has risen to over

five hundred (1


23
-

08
)
.


To see the whole list, go to
www.dissentfromdarwin.com


Question 2


6

What material, publications, books, websites, etc. would you consider reliable sources to
consult for further education in the area of Intelligent Design
-
either for me

or for referring
non
-
believers?


Response


BOOKS


Here are some

of the books

that define Intelligent Design:


Darwin On Trial

by Phillip Johnson.


Intervarsity Press,

1991, 1993.


This book was the opening
gun in the ID campaign.

Johnson is a
Berkeley Law professor, retired,

and the acknowledged
fo
under of the ID movement.


Reason in the Balance
-

The Case Against NATURALISM in Science, Law and Education

by
Phillip Johnson.


Intervarsity Press, 1995


Defeating Darwinism by opening minds

by Phillip Johnson. Intervarsity Press, 1997.


Icons of Evoluti
on
-

Science or Myth?


By Jonathan Wells. Regnery Publishing,


2000.


Wells
shows that the usual textbook examples of evidence for evolution are flawed.


Darwin’s Black Box
-

The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution b
y Michael Behe.


Free Press,


1996.


Beh
e shows that the many novel proteins required to form the flagellum of bacteria could
not have been produced by a gradual Darwinian process.


The Design Inference


by William Dembski ~2001.


Dembski gives a procedure for identifying
design.


If you can eli
minate lawful occurrence, and accidental occurrence, then you have Design


No Free Lunch
-

Why Specified Complexity cannot be Purchased without Intelligence
byWilliam
Dembski.


Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.


Dembski shows by mathematical examination of
Evolu
tionary algorithms, that on the average, evolutionary processes cannot increase the
specified information content of an animal’s genome.


For the student

who is

into physics/chemistry/engineering, I highly recommend:


The Creator and the Cosmos
-

How the g
reatest discoveries of the century reveal God,


by Hugh
Ross


Navpress (modern cosmology) (1993).



Websites

Intelligent Design Network

www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/

Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center

www.idurc.org

Access Research Network

www.arn.org. Click on FAQ, (frequently asked questions)

Discovery Institute

www.discover.org. Click on Top Questions, then Questions about ID


Other helpful Christian websites


Leadership University

Campus Crusade:


www.leaderu.com/


7

Intervarsity Christia
n Fellowship

www.intervarsity.org/

Navigators


http://home.navigators.org/us/index.cfm

Reasons to Believe
---
www.reasons.org

Institute for Creation Research

www.icr.org

Question 3

What is your perspective on the Age of the Earth (AOE)

young or old

and how

do you
come to these perspective
s Biblically?


Response

I con
sider the Age of the Earth
to be at best a secondary consideration for a Chris
tian, and I do
not bring it up
in conversations on Camp
us.

There are some

Christians

on Campus
, though, who
consider
it of primary importance, as I’m sure you have found out, and want to talk about it.

Also there are many
educated
seekers who have talked to such Christians, and


the YEC (Young
Earth Creationism) position

"
Earth's creation was on
ly about ten thousand yea
rs ago"

c
an be a
stumbling block to them if it is emphasized as an important part of being a Christian.



Most ed
ucated people know that present
-
day

scientists almost universally consider the Earth to
be billions of years old.


For those

who are seekers
it can be
helpful to remove
YEC as a

stumbling block.


The Gospel itself , the Good News, is hard enough for them to accept.


My perspective is for an Earth
and Solar system
that is about 4.6 billion years old, and a
Universe about 13.7 billion years old.


These numbers are driven by scientific considerations,
observations made since perhaps 1500 AD; but

the precise numbers are recent, based on the
measured rate of expansion of the Unive
rse, and t
he measurements of the Cosmic Microwave
Background Radiation.

For the Earth, radiometric dating of rock strata is used.


All of these scientific estimates of ages are based on the fundamental assumption that the basic
laws of physics have not changed, since the beginning.

Most Young Earth writers propose

for
t
heir purposes
that particular
physical
parameters mus
t have
drastically changed, such as the
speed of light, or the rates of decay of radioactive elements.


The Scripture & Physical Observation

Does the Scripture regard knowledge obtained by physical
meas
urement and
observation as true
knowledge?


That is a conclusion of John Stott, a major spokesm
an for Evangelical Christianity:



"
--
that God has revealed Himself both through the created universe and through Scripture; that
nature and Scripture, or
science (the study of nature) and theology (the study of Scrip
ture),
cannot ultimately be in conflict with one another,
since all truth is God's truth;
---
"
4



Scripture frequently refers to observations of mountains and th
e sea and stars and the sun as
part of God’s creation, and in Romans 1: 19
-
20 it holds that everyone has sufficient such
knowledge to be responsible to believe in God as Creator because of having that knowledge.

The interpretation of S
cripture is not a
lways a simple task,

but it should consider

all of our
knowledge, whether from other scriptu
re or from well
-
tested

scientific observation.
5

A good




4

John Stott in
Evangelical Essentials,

page 96
. This idea of

the

two books, Nature and the Bible, was earlier
posed by Francis Bacon.


8

example of a place where Biblical exegetes have had to change their interpre
tation of scripture is
this:
W
here the Scripture speak
s of the sun rising and setting,

this had been taken

in the Middle
Ages
to imply
that the
sun circled the earth. After Copernicus and Galileo showed that this
effect was produced by rotation
(spin) o
f the
Earth
, exegetes have had

little trouble regarding
biblical sunrises and sunsets as metaphorical
expressions, even as we

use them

today. Scientific
ideas certainly should not take precedence in interpreting Scripture, but also they can
not be
safely ignored. Scientific understa
nding

can change, and worthy theologians' interpretation of
Scripture can change.


I have no doubt that historically, up to about 1500 AD, most Bible
-
believing Jews and
Christians considered the Days of creation in Genesis chapter one to indicate that t
he Creation
events lasted a duration of six 24
-
hour days.


Opinions of early church fathers

But it is quite interesting to see that some of the early Church Fathers
and Josephus
did ponder
this question, and came to various conclusions.


Their opinions,
in the early centuries of the first
millenium, could not have been influenced by modern science, so were presumably based
primarily on
their understanding of
Scripture.

(
perhaps
influenced also by

some writings of
Greek scholars)



● Athenagoras


no record



Philo

instantaneous creation with figurative
D
ays



Justin Martyr

each
D
ay was 1,000 years



Irenaeus

each D
ay was 1,000 years



Clement of Alexandria


instantaneous creation with figurative
D
ays



Origen

time sta
rts on day 4; D
ay 7 s
till runn
ing



Lactantius

creation was less than 6,000 years old; 24 hour
D
ays



Methodius

24 hour
D
ays



Victorinus of Pettau


each
D
ay was 1,000 years



Methodius of Olympus

each
D
ay was 1,000 years



Augustine

instanta
neous creation with figurative D
ays



Eusebius

unknown position



Basil

D
ays of
proclamation




A
mbrose

24 hour D
ays




Hippolytus

each
D
ay was 1,000 years



Josephus

Jewish histori
a
n
-
promised, but we have no written

opinion

from him.



Anthony


Unknown


Jerome


Un
known


Chrysostom


Unknown


G
regory of Nazianzus



U
nknown


Since 1500 the scientific evidence has gradually come into play, and
now
is
indicating

overwhelmingly for an earth that is billions of years old.


Hence many attempts
have been made





5

And sometimes this means tha
t we have to say that we do not fully understand the import of this passage.


9

by Christian scholars to re
-
examine the Scriptures, to see whether they really should be

interpreted to indicate an

Earth

age in the thousands of years
.





Eight

approaches to interpreting

Genesis 1

Here are eight

contemporary approaches t
o
interpreting
the Days of
Genesis 1.

My preference is
number three.


1
) The Day
-

Age Theory
-

When modern G
eology started to indicate that the earth was
ancient, this simple way of reconciling it with Genesis came along: Why not assume that each
of

the Genesis Days represents a successive geological Epoch, of whatever
duration in time?
This view
was

advanced by the 19th century biologist

Georges

Cuvier, and
was
more recently
given prominence by Gleason Archer
6
, Evangelical theologian. It is quit
e prevalent at the
present time. It suffers from the problem that in Genesis the Sun is not creat
ed until Day Four,
whereas day and night are mentioned in Day 1.


2
) The Gap Theory
-

This interpretation of Genesis 1 holds that there must have been a ver
y
long time gap between Genesis 1:1 and verse 1:2, and that the long geological ages and the fossil
record ocurred in this interval. One of the early proponents of this view was Thomas Chalmers,
a notable Scottish theologian (1780
-

1847), and it was imp
ortantly propagated by the notes in
the Schofield Reference Bible (1909).

This view translates verse 2 as "The earth
became

without form and void " instead of the usual
"
was

without form and void". This change in reading then is their basis for assuming

that there
was a huge
primordial creation

of


land forms and
animals
and even humans,

which was
destroyed, producing the remains of the fossils and the early geological record. In this view,
the Days of Creatiion in Genesis are a
re
-
creation
, of wh
ich

we

Humans are a part. There are
many Christians today who prefer this interpretation of Genesis 1, although Hebrew scholars are
dubious about this particular translation of the word
was
.

I know of no geological evidence for
this terrible catastrop
he postulated by the gap theory
, and one would expect it to be massive.


3
)

Framework, or

Literary
approach

This is an approach which I have found helpful for Genesis 1, called the “
Frame
work, or
Literary
Approach”.


It is advocated by Henri Blocher in his

book

In the Beginning
.

The gist of this
approach is as follows:


When trying to get the most out of a difficult section of scripture, one should consider what is the
GENRE of literature in which it is

composed.

We find in the book of Isaiah
7



“The trees
clapped
their hands
"
, and
in Job
8

"When the

morning stars sang together”.


We easily see that this is
exuberent
poet
ic license
, and
probably
should not be taken lit
erally. Jesus often spoke in
parables.

Other genres are

similie
, cipher (code),

parable,


and historical narrative.


So what is
the lite
rary genre of Genesis 1?


I take

the following from my Booklist:


(start Booklist)




6

Gleason Archer
A survey of Old Testament Introduction, Revised and Expanded

page 201ff (1994)

7

Isaiah 55:12. See also Psalms 96:12
-

"Then shall all the trees of the w
ood sing for joy"

8

Job 38: 7


10

Blocher, Henri,
In the Beginning
.
(
1984
)
. Intervarsity Press. ISBN 0
-
87784
-
325
-
2.

Blocher is a professor at the Evangelical

Seminary at Vaux, near Paris.


His research specialty is
ancient West
-
Semitic literature. Fortunately at the present time a great deal of such literature has
been preserved

on clay tablets

and recovered and studied, hence we have a good idea of how
people

expressed ideas and communicated ideas in the Late Bronze Age, the time of Moses.
[Recall that Moses was well educated by tutors at the court of Pharaoh, in Egypt]

This book is an exegesis of t
he early chapters of Genesis. Blocher

tries to view the text t
hrough
the eyes of a godly, well
-
educated person contemporary with Moses (
~
1400 BC
). Our
understanding of the message will first need to consider the literary genre of Genesis chapter
one.


Is it straight historical narrative? (low level of abstraction).
Is it Poetry, Parable, Cipher? (high
level of abstraction). All of these modes of literary writing were well developed and admired at
the time of

Moses. Blocher concludes that Genesis 1 is written at a rather high literary level,
based on the elaborate re
petitive structure in the description of each of the six Days. (And God
said, let... and it was so. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were
the Nth Day).


So, how does Blocher regard the Days themselves? He considers the Days to

be a literary box
structure
, or framework, in

which

to organize the im
portant information of creation;

not strictly
chronologically, but with a different kind of logic. Briefly, he points out what early Church
fathers had noted, that the story is about Go
d’s creatures.

The first three Days concern creation of
the physical environment for his creatures to live in
9
. Then in Days four, five and six God makes
the creatures themselves.

The Sun, Moon and Stars are created to inhabit the Heavens.

(end
Booklist)


With this interpretation of the “Days”, chronology disappears from consideration. One of the
most obvious logical difficulties one has if


he tries to use consecutive, 24
-
hour days is, that day
and night are created on Day one, while the sun is not create
d until the fourth Day. Many
ingenious schemes have been devised to get around this and other problems with a literal
interpretation of the Days, but they seem rather contrived.


But of course I must add that I know of no interpretations of early Genesis

that do not have
problems of one sort or another.

Many things are yet to be learned.
What kinds of problems
are you willing to live with

in the meantime
?

I must also add that
even
our best
scientific t
heories still

have unresolved problems.
Gravitati
onal Theory has unresolved problems, yet it
does a good enough job of predict
ing the
path of

a planet or a baseball.


So, if a Seeker is troubled

by the opinions of Young Earth Christians, it can be helpful to them to
know that many Evangelical Christia
n scholars do not see Genesis One as requiring a Young
Earth interpretation, to be faithful to the Bible’s inspiration.





9

Living plants and trees are mentioned at the end of the Day 3 text. They may be considered part of the Habitat for
the animals.


11

The later scripture refers to Genesis as establishing the 7
-
day week, and especially the invitation
to rest on the 7th day. This is pro
bably another reason why God chose the 7
-
day format used in
Genesis.




4) The Appearance of Age Theory
-

This concept is sometimes

used by Young E
arth
Creationists, when they feel

hard

pressed. The idea is that God
must have
created the Universe
a
nd the Earth in a special way, to look much older than it actually was. The distant stars, which
are admittedly millions of light
-
years distant
10
,

must have been created with their light rays
already spread out to the Earth's position, so that we did not h
ave to wait millions of years for the

light

to arrive. The
Uranium in the Earth's crust must have been

created in its strata
,

already
partially decayed into its usual d
aughter elements, Radium and Lead.

And so forth, for all
indicators of Age.

This pos
ition has been harshly criticezed over the years, because it
implies that God is being
deceitful
.

So Young Earthers only use this interpretation

sparingly.

Historically the first clear exposition of the Appearance of Age
idea
was by Phillip Gosse, in his

book
Omphalo
s


(1857)
, shortly before the publication of Darwin's
Origin of the Species

(1859)
.



5
) Days of Proclamation

-

This is a fairly popular interpretation of the Days.

B
roadly this
interpretation is

that long before the Creation was actualized,

God first Proclaimed
(commanded)
each event as a Day. "And God said, let
-

-

-
" and later a narrator (Moses?) says "And it was so
-

-

-
" .

This view allows for each actual creation event to happen at any time in the past,
later
than the S
ix Days of
Proclamation.
H
ence it
removes chronology as a feature to be dealt with in

Genesis chapter 1. I have heard this view
's origin

attributed

to St. Basil, 400 AD.


6) Reasons to Believe (RTB) approach

Hugh Ross, Cosmology www.reasons.org

Book:


The Creat
or and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries of the Century
Reveal God
. Ross is an astronomer/cosmologist.


RTB’s great evangelistic tool is talking about
the Big Bang, which shows that the Universe had a transcendent beginning, as in Genesis
1:1.
This appeals to most academically oriented people, because it accords with current ideas of
Cosmology. Ross prefers the Day
-
age interpretation of the Days of Genesis.


7
)

Inst
itute for Creation Research (I
CR)

www.icr.org


He
nry Morris, Founder .

Today's President, John Morris, son of
the late
Henry.

Book:
The Genesis Flood
, by Henry Morris and

J C Whitcomb

This is
probably the most prominent

Cre
ationist organization. It advocates

the
literal, 6 24
-
hou
r
Days

perspective,
with much of geology,
including the fossils,

having been

caused by Noah's
Flood. B
ut
it
is not

blatant

in making Young Earth
a primar
y Christian doctrine (see Item 8
).





10

For reasons I do not understand, I have not seen any Young Earth publications which try to re
fute the standard
astronomicaal distance scales, amounting to thousands, millions, and often billions of light
-
years.


12

I got acquainted with Henry Morris at the U of Minnesota in 1950, when he was a grad student in
Hydraulic

Engineering.


I was a new faculty in the Physics Department, and building a new

atom
-
smashing” machine.


We

communicate
d

occasionally, as friends
, until he died recently
.


Most Young Earth organizations
including ICR
try to maintain
the Scientific Appro
ach to
interpreting our world, but they
must
assume that

the major sciences have made erroneous
estimates of the Age of the
Earth. Most often
, YEC organizations

do this by assuming special
exceptions to

the usual scientific assumption of

"Uniformatariani
sm", the idea that the basic
laws of physics governing matter have not changed,
since
its c
reation.


For example,

Geologists use

the method of dating rocks by
measuring
the
decay of long
-
lived
radioactive elements
they contain
,

such as Uraniuim
-

-
"Radi
ometric Dating"
,

which
gives
consistent

ages for various samples, of up to billions of years.

So the ICR people have recently spent quite a bit of money looking for a way
out;
the solution
they have come up with is t
hat the rates of radioactive decay
of a
ll radioactive elements
must
have been

much faster in time past, than
they are at present.

They are presently (2007) trying to
deal with the consequence of extremely rapid radioactive decay, that the huge amount of heat
liberated would have melted the Ea
rth and boiled away the oceans.

Another

dodge they
sometimes
use is to assume that the speed of light was formerly many times
faster than at present, in order to allow the light from distant stars to travel the
ir

millions of light
-
years distance from Earth
, in a few thousand years.




8
) Creation Research Institute (CRI)



www.cri.org

Ken Ham, erstwhile director and major debater. Ken Ham is a major upholder of the YEC flag,
and he is emphatic about making the Young Earth po
sition a primary doctrine of Ch
ristian

Faith.


This was

the first major Creationist organization, founded in

1963



Flood particulars


Genesis 7: 6 begins the narrative of the Flood. It says that the “Whole Earth” was covered with
the flood, and that all living things on earth perish
ed, except those in the ark.


Geographic

explorations do not show evidence of a worldwide flood
, during Biblical times.

(since 10,000
BC). Gleason Archer
discusses this and
says
11

that the Hebrew expression for “The whole
Earth” ,
erets
, usually mean
s The whole L
and, which could mean the
part of earth known to
those people.

Hence it may be that this scripture applies to a local flood which was devastating
to all the people known to that civilization.


Question 4
-
A

Science articles speak of
fossil

sk
eletons which look

like those of modern humans, going
back at least a hundred thousand

years. Where would you place Adam and Eve in this
sequence?





11

Gleason L. Archer, “Asurvey of Old Testament Introduction” (1994) Moody Press, Chicago Pages 214
-
223


13

Response

The further back in time one tries to delve,

the more care

should be exercised to understand the
r
eliability of the scientific findings, as well as the interpretation of the
Scri
pture

we are trying to
compare
.

But
for this question
we do have
enough res
ources to make a start, however tentative.


In the fossil record it

is fascinating to be able to di
mly see God's temporal pattern of creation and
extinction in the animal world.
This pattern
shows
the arrival of
successively more complex
creatures,
complex
in bodily structure and in ways of living (culture). In the last 100,000 years
we see
anatomical
ly modern human groups (sub
-
species?) going from the Old Stone Age
(paleolithic) culture to a sudden appea
rance of the Neolithic culture.



T
he hallmark of

the Neolithic

is
the practice of
Agriculture and animal husbandry
, along with
making

advanced des
igns of stone tools
. We see the Neander
thal (sub
-
species?) go extinct,
about 20,000 years BC. I have
contacted

a local
Anth
ropology professor to seek the

current
professional
view of how sudden was this tran
sition to the Neolithic culture;

he assured me

that it
is often referred to as the "Neolithic Explosion"
,
and
dated about 8,000 BC
, shortly after the end
of the last ice age.



So I think it is a fair conjecture to

regard

Adam and Eve
as

the
founders of the
N
eolithic culture,

based on two
readings i
n Genesis
:

First, Adam is represented as
being
a reluctant
farmer
, and his
son Abel raises sheep.

Second, genealogical data in Genesis
are roughly consistent with the
anthropologist's
timing of the Neolithic

culture
.


Question 4
-
B

Since the chimpanzee D
NA genome has been sequenced (2005), and compared to

that of
humans, it has been sta
ted that there is a 99% similarity of the two.
( This 99% has now
been reduced to 70%, Dec 2008)
Does this mean that we should be thought of as “just
another animal

speci
es
?”


Response

We are animals, yes, but what amazing animals! We keep the chimps in a cage, but not vice
versa.


Our in
-
house Geneticist, as her first

reaction, said that it made a lot of difference, which
particulat genes are different. And since the
n the science of ge
netics

has been revolutionized
with the discovery of many elaborate systems that control the expression of

the genes.
This is
now called
Epigenetics
.
Some control lies in th
e non
-
coding parts of the DNA
, and other
control is in RNA s
egments. Some is even in the cytoplasm of the cell, to me a big surprise.

Where next?


It hardly needs pointing out, the huge differe
nce in behavioural capabilities between chimps and
us.


Our ability to build telescopes and study and comprehend the Uni
verse surely places us as a
unique qualitatively advanced and gifted animal. As a Christian I find no difficulty
identifying
these qualities with the event
s

when God created
12

Adam,
and gave him dominion over Nature,



12

Genesis 1: 26,27


14

including the animals.


Man exercised t
his dominion, I think, by using his
God
-
given
Intelligence, his
ability to
understand Nature


Ques
tion 5
-
A

How would you explain

the fact that from a secular world’s perspective, almost all the
material published out there (
Scientific American, National G
eographic
, textbooks, etc.)
seem
s

to hold to the theory of Evolution?



Response


I think t
he grip that the Evolutionary worldview has on academic people,

and through them on
journalists and
publishers
, is based on the overwhelming success of modern Scienc
e in
explaining the physical world.


And this is extended to the Biological world as well.


And

m
odern Science has also been applied to technology so successfully that it is a “Bully Pulpit”
from which to pontificate to the Peasants (us) about almost any t
opic, by the Priests of the cult.


And Evolution
13

is a subject which many feel needs
these days
to be preached
.

In the last few
years this has seemed urgent

to them
, since polls show that a majority of Americans do not
believe in Evolution.


It is intere
sting to note that writers and profs in the Social Sciences
and Humanities
are
especially prone to using Evolutionary concepts
, because they are a bit anxious about whether
their disciplines really are science
;

so they try to adopt as man
y of the technique
s of the
Sciences
as
possible, like using math, and assuming

materialistic world views.



Definition of science is key

One of the most effective ways to take control of an area of learning is to be the one who states
the basic definition of the terms, so
the definition of

“Science” is key.


So define Science
narrowly
as the study of the MATERIAL world, based ONLY on REPEATABLE experiments
and observations
that are found to hold without exception.


The results of these experiments are
codified into Laws of

Nature, and theories extending them.
14


The repeatability requirement of
these experiments excludes consideration of any one
-
time events, such as miracles.

15

The
L
aws



13

Michael R
use, a foremost philosopher of Biology, has just written a book summarizing his long
-
held view that
"Evolutionism" serves as a religion for many ardent Evolutionists. Title:
TheEvolution
-
Creation Struggle.

Ruse
affirms his Evolutionary orthodoxy, and his
Atheism.


But he criticizes Dawkins and Lewontin (see addenda 1 and
2, at the end) for flaunting their militant Atheism, and for claiming Atheism as a logical deduction from their
Evolutionism

; they give Evolution a bad name.


14

Macroevolutionary Theo
ry (large changes in body plans) is a pretty distant extension, since it is not
experimentally observed. It is inferred from their interpretations of the fossil record, and from interpretations of
molecular genetics.


15


An exception seems to be require
d for the Big Bang origin of the Universe, surely a one
-
time event, and
admittedly one that appears to be transcendent and miraculous, since this places the Cause of the Universe and of
space and time, outside of the Universe. So this inconvenient fact

needs a lot more theoretical work, materialists
hoping to find a natural prior cause for the Big Bang!



15

of Nature are stated as Cause
-
and
-
Effect, and only natural causes are allowed
16
. Ghosts, G
oblins
and God are not to be recognized as causes of any real phenomena. Now add to the above
definitions the (usually unstated) assumption that the laws of Science hold for ALL OF
REALITY.


All other ca
tegories of human experience must

be relegated to the

realm of Phantasy
and Emotion, and of course religion is assigned to that latter realm.

So religious thought is
tolerated, as long as Biblical miracles such as the Resurrection of Jesus are regarded as heart
-
warming, pure myth.


So now finally we get to w
hy t
hey hold to Evolution as the
overarching
theory

that must
be

depended upon to
explain the Biological (including Human!) world.

They feel that they MUST
support evolution, since this is the only theory which purports to explain the wonders of the
Biolog
ical world without invoking supernatural intervention into the normal course of cause
-
and
-
effect.


Questi
on 5
-
B

I’ve discussed this with many students and with my father
-
in
-
law and they seem to think
that if design were an intelligent world view there wou
ld be more evidence out there
regarding the issue.


Respons
e

I will respond first with evidence in Biology, where most of the
current
controversy takes place,
and then with the evidence in the Physical realm, where design has lately become undeniable.

Bio
logy:

The
Biological
evidence is documented every day in publications by
B
iologists. In
talking about the
intracacies of the

body plan of an animal, Biologists

are forced to use
teleological (purposeful) language in describing structure and function of t
he structural and
biochemical components of the creature.


When they see an organelle
17

in a cell, they ask

themselves

“Now what is this thing FOR?”


They must assume that the cell is purposefully
engineered, to make any headway with their analysis.


After
all,

its
many
components
and
systems
work

smoothly
together

to keep

it alive.

This all is explicitly recognized by people
working in the new "Systems

Biology" where it is the foundation
.
18

"
Currently, the people
involved in the new and exciting area of s
ynthetic biology seem to be taking the intellectual lead.
They take an engineering approach . . . ."


This pattern is so widely evident in the literature that the gatekeepers of Darwinian orthodoxy
have to keep admonishing researchers to watch their langu
age, and realize that the cell only
APPEARS to be
purposefully d
esigned
19
,

the “engineering” really only came about by a series
of lucky accidents over millions of generations.




16

Notice that this rule also excludes human free will as a real cause of anything.


Humans are seen as just
molecular machines, so can’t really origi
nate any events.


They are just part of the closed, unbroken chain of cause
-
and
-
effect.


Humans, even Biology professors, are not free agents.

17

A s pecialized cellular part (as a mitochondrion, lys os ome, or ribos ome) that is analogous to an organ.


18

"The
Next Frontier in Cellular Networking" by Herbert Sauro
The Scientist

Aug 1, 2005 page 20


19

”Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see is not designed,

but rather evolved.”


Francis Crick,
What Mad Pursuit
(New York: Basic Books, 1988), 1
38.


16


But the remaining

question is, then, was this creature intelligently engineer
ed, or was it a long
series of small accidents, selected in a large population pool to give maximum viability to this
strand in the population?


The True Darwinist must choose the latter option, but then it is
reasonable to ask: What is the probability tha
t all these
random
mutation /selection events could
produce this design, in this size of population pool, in this length of time? (This finite number of
generations?)


The author of a publication feels fortunate that he does not need to include this
kind o
f a calculation, since his colleagues know that it would be tasteless
, and also treading in a
well
-
marked mine field
, to ask him to do it.


Those who have tried the calculations
20

have come
out with vanishingly small probabilities.
Eugene Koonin finds a pr
obability of ten to the minus
1018 for the accidental creation of life..


But given these vanishing probabilities for the Darwinian origin of so many different animals
and of biological components o
f animals, does the researcher

say, “well then I suppose

this
creature was designed by an intelligent agent?”


No, for that conclusion would be unthin
kable,
because it is outside his

defined realm of Science. If he talks about this at all, he simply says that
there are a lot of loose ends, it needs further stud
y, and another grant from the NIH. (National
Institute of Health)
.


EVIDENCE OF DESIGN IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD:
In the last decad
e or so,
theorists have wondered what would happen in our Universe, if the basic laws of
Physics were to
be changed

slight
ly.

The answer seems to be that if the mathematical form of the law is changed,
or the physical constants in the law
s are changed, even slightly,

the results for our Universe are
not slight, they are catastrophic. Human life, or any kind of life would b
e impossible
21
. So the
laws, and the parameters of the laws seem to be very "Finely Tuned" to the precise values that
make our existence possible. This

astonishing

fine tuning has come to be called the "Anthropic
Principle" (The Universe is designed f
or Man)

and it is so obvious that it is widely
acknowledged by most

scientists, even though it is a bitter pill for those who want to keep God
out of the picture. The canonical book
22

on this is

given below.

Question 6



Any Evo
-
Skeptics?






Also, ”Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
(Dawkins R., “
The Blind Watchmaker
,” [1986], Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.1)


20

F
or ins tance,
for calculations of probabilities of

evolutionary change
s ee Lee Spetner:
Not by Chance
Judaica
Press (1997) p85
-
124.


F
or calculations of the probability of life to
originate

abiotically
on Earth,
(not evolve)
see


Yockey, Hubert P.
-

Information Theory and Molecular biology

-

(
1992
)

-

C
ambridge U.

Press, Chapter 9. Also

Koonin, Eugene V
.



The cosmological model of eternal inflation and the transition from
chance to biological evolution in the history of life
”:


http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1892545

(the calculation is in the appendix, at
the very end of the article)

21

For instance, if the electric charge on the electron were to be changed by 0.1%, in either
direction, stable

Carbon atoms could not exist.

22

Barrow, John D. and Tipler, F. J.
-

The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

-

1986
-

Oxford U Press
-

ISBN 0
-
19
-
851949
-
4. BD 511 B34, UI.


17

Do you know of a
ny secular scientists who have not put their faith in the theory of
Evolution, and if so who are they and what problems do they have with this theory?



Response

-


Here are a few publicly well
-
known ones.


Some Evolutionary theorists exclude
the Origin o
f Life as a separate problem from the Evolutionary one, partly because you cannot
invoke Natural Se
lection until life has begun;

but also because the Origin of Life problem has
proved so
frustratingly
difficult to
pursue. I will include Origin of Life
here, because it is such
an obvious open void in any materialistic explanation of the Biological World
.


Sir Fred Hoyle

comes to mind.


Hoyle is a celebrated
British
astronomer.

He doubts that life
originated spontaneously
on Earth
because he calculates th
at it is such an

improbable event.




Following is
from
my review of his book.


Hoyle, Fred
, and
Wijckramasinghe, Chandra

Lifecloud
-
the Origin of Life in the Universe
.
1978. Harper & Row. ISBN 0
-
06
-
011954
-
3 .


Hoyle is best known for his opposi
tion to the
“Big Bang” model of

cosmogony, and for
pushing
his “Steady State” Universe substitute

model
.


His model provides an infinite amount of time for
other solar systems to originate life,
in time past,

which could then somehow

be
transported to
Earth.



He free
ly assumes that the molecular gas clouds within the Galaxy must contain
large

quantities
of
biologically useful building blo
cks for living cells.


The
book seems to have
been thrown
together with minimal

care, and it is not taken seriously by most scientis
ts. Hoyle calculates that
the origin of
life on earth by natural means would be

so extremely
improbable, that even the
4.6
billion years age of the Earth and the Solar system

would not come near to being enough time.
He estimates the probability of life or
iginating on Earth since its birth, as about 10
-
40,000

23
.

He
guesses that life must have wandered to the


Earth from other solar systems that are

very

much
older.


He calls that
imagined process

”Panspermia”.


Stuart Kauffman

is another person who critic
izes Evolution because he has a substitute axe to
grind.


He wants his “Chaos Theory” to explain

the origin of life and
Evolution
, in place of the
slow Darwinnian process.


Kauffman, Stuart A.

-

The Origins of Order
-

self
-
organization and selection in evo
lution
.
1993. Oxford. ISBN 0
-
19
-
507951
-
5
-

QH325.k39. 1993. 645 pages.


This book is a bold attempt to explain many of the mysteries of living things in terms of the self
-
organizing properties of many
-
body, strongly interacting systems of par
ticles.


The

outstanding
model he uses thus is that

of living cells being self
-
organized
,

and assembled autocatalytically
out of the molecules of the “Primordial Soup” (chapter 7). He says that this process is so likely to
happen that no great amount of time needs to
be invoked.


He laughs at Hoyle’s 10
-
40,000

probability estimate.


However Kauffman himself makes no real estimates of such probabilities
for his own theory.


Like Darwin,

he is full of suggestions for how things might happen, but
doesn’t follow through
o
n any consistent scenari
o whose probability

can be estimated.


He



23

This probability number represents a chance of one part in a number 1 followed by fort
y thousand zeros, surely a
negligibly small probability of happening.


18

implicitly assumes that the laws of chemical thermodynamics can be ignored in a non
-
linear
dissipative system which is somehow maintained in a near
-
chaotic state.


Applying Chaos Theory

In a
pplying Chaos Theory, Kauffman falls into the trap of confusing order for complexity.


Near
-
chaot
ic systems often exhibit interes
ting kinds o
f order, as in the riffles in a
swift
river
, but
they
do not give rise to complexity, (Information) as required fo
r a viable DNA molecule, or to
write the Encyclopedia Brittanica. In the process of trying to advance his new model of
evolutionary change, Kauffman does not hesitate to savage currently accepted models, by and
large agreeing with Darwinism’s critics.




S
uch critics will find a gold mine of ideas in this thick book.


For example, Kauffman sees only a
limited role for natural selection in bringing about macroevolution. Instead, he thinks natural
selection is the agent which keeps biological systems “on t
he
edge of chaos”, where all the

good
things
he needs,
should
happen.




Soren Lovtrop

is the only biologist I know of that neatly fits this category.


Here is my synopsis
of his book (It is in the UI library).


Unfortunately, Lovtrup is not widely known outs
ide his field
of Embryology, but he has sterling credentials.


Lovtrup, Soren

-

Darwinism
-

The Refutation of a Myth
. 1987. Methuen. ISBN 0709941536.


Lovtrup is a world
-
renowned Embryologist and Taxonomist from Sweden. Thesis: Major
evolutionary changes
do not happen as the result of myriads of tiny steps (micromutations) as
modern Darwinian theory holds,


but as large, sometimes huge jumps in animal complexity
(macromutations) in a single generation. E.g. the sudden appearance of many new Phyla in t
he
ea
rly
Cambrian Epoch, and

the nearly complete absence of intermediate forms in the fossil
record. Lovtrup does not explain how so much creative engineering can happen so fast, he
merely gives it a name (macromutation).


But much of the book documents the ex
perimental
reality of this phenomenon.


He does not call it Creation,


but his data would be nicely explained
by a series of sudden Int
roductions of radically designed

animal types, every few million years.


He is unrelentingly critical not only of Darwini
sm, but of Darwin personally and of those who
early promoted Darwin at the expense of almost all other
contemporary biologists
.


The book is
very well written, witty, exciting.


Keep a dictionary of biological terms handy.


Also an
unabridged dictionary

o
f English words.


An

informative and enthusiastic review appears in the
journal
Evolution
, 43(3), 1989, 699
-
700.


Stephen Jay Gould

is a major example of a famous critic

of Darwinism.


He died 2002
.


He was
a Paleontology prof at Harvard.


He was a true A
theist and a Marxist. As a paleontologist he got
tired of sending grad students out to the fossil beds, and their finding that the sequence of fossils
in successive strata did not follow Darwinnian predictions of very slow change.


Instead they
found that
when a new type of

creature

appeared, it appeared complete and suddenly,

and that
thereafter the creature

hardly changed at all, over millions of years, and then finally went

extinct.



19

So after seeing this process repeated many times, he and Niles Eldred
ge published a landmark
paper reporting this pattern, and they called this pattern “Punctuated Equilibrium”, now referred
to as “PUNK
-

EEK”.


And many paleontologists are using
this concept, and reporting extended

instances of it.


In his writing he calls

this sudden appearance of new animal designs “The best
kept secret of Paleontology”


For publishing this blasphemous paper Gould has been
publicly
vilified by the gatekeepers of
Evolutionary orthodoxy, such as Dawkins,


and Gould has returned the complime
nt by calling
Dawkins a “Darwinian Fundamentalist”.


But, being an unabashed atheist, Gould still has to
claim allegiance to Darwinism as the only available theory of
biological

change that leaves God
out of the picture.


Robert Shapiro

is also critical o
f the usual attempts to explain
the origin of life.

Shapiro, Robert

Origins
-

a Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth
. 1986. Bantam
Books. ISBN 0
-
553
-
34355
-
6. QH325.S47.

This book is a critical look at the history of origin
-
of
-
life theories an
d experiments; it concludes
that we are far from having the answer. Witty, well written.


Is sympathetic to religious views of
Creation, but not to “Creation Science”. Shapiro is a professor of Chemistry at NYU. Not to be
confused with Arthur Shapiro, Biol
ogist at UC Davis.


David Berlinski

As a critic of evolution, Berlinski is a Senior Fellow of the
Discovery
Institute's

Center for Science and Culture
, a Seattle
-
based think
-
tank that is hub of the intelligent
design movement. Berlinski shares the movement's disbelief in the evidence for evolution, but
does
not openly avow
intelligent design

and describes his relationship with the idea as: "warm
but distant. It's the same attitude that I display in public toward my ex
-
wive
s."
[2]

Berlinski is a
scathing critic of "Darwinism", yet, "Unlike his colleagues at the Discovery Institute, [he] refuses
to theorize about the origin of

life."
[2]


Question 7

Are there well
-
known scientists who are Christians?


Response

First let me describe a position held by many Scientist
-
Christians:


THEISTIC


EVOLUTIONISTS


(call them TE’s)

There are a number of scientist Christians, some on this list, who take the position that they
largely subscribe to the theory of Evolution, but they deny the Atheistic implications that are
often attached to it.


For them, Evolution would be God’s method of creating life, and the
various forms of life.


They would all say that God created the Physical Universe, but then many
would say that God’s natural law was sufficiently broad that He did not need to intervene
further
to create the animals, inc
luding us.


Many Theistic Evolutionists

are almost Deists (Deism =
God created Natural Law, and then sat back and did no more, God is presently unemployed). But
they all recognize at least one miracle, the resurrection of

Jesus

Christ (who wants to miss the
Pearly Gates
?)


There are many variations and intensities within the TE position.




20

FRANCIS COLLINS

is head of the Government
-
sponsored Human Genome Project, a warm
Christian, as indicated in t
alks to Christian

organ
izations, and in published interviews. He is a
mild TE.

In his 2006 book
24

he tells of his conversion from Atheism to Christianity.


SIMON CONWAY
-
MORRIS

is a famous Paleontology professor at Oxford University.


He is
best known for his work on the fossils
of the Cambrian Explosion, the time 500 million years ago
when almost all of the new body
-
plans (phyla) of multi
-
celled animals are first seen. He is a
rather strong TE, in spite of the implications of his work.


He very explicitly claims to be a
Christian
.


OWEN GINGERICH

is a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical
Observatory and Research Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard
University. In 1992
-
93 he chaired Harvard’s History of Science Department.

He writes

of the
supposed conflict between science and religion, from a Christian perspective.

Evolution views
unknown.


CHARLES TOWNES
, an evangelical Christian. .

He won the Nobel Prize for his invention of
the

Maser and the

L
aser.


He is presently a professor of

Physics at the U of California at
Berkeley. Some of his pronouncements can be interpreted as his being Evolution friendly,
while others are quite positive about God's creative activity.

He recently won the Templeton
Award, for his publicly expressed v
iews that Science is friendly to the Christian worldview.


Sir
JOHN POLKINGHORN
E
, formerly a productive Particle Physicist, and now president of
Oxford University.


A prolific apologist for Christianity, especially in the realm of Cosmology
“The Universe i
s finely tuned
to support Life.” He is a rather firm TE.


ALLAN SANDAGE

is an outstanding astronomer, working at the 200 inch telescope
organization at Mt. Palomar. He was a young colleague of Edwin Hubble at the Mount Wilson
observatory, and has followed
up much of the work that Hubble started, on the expansion of the
Universe.


He is very explicitly a Christian.


Question 8

Are there widely respected philosophers who are Christians?


Response

Alvin Plantinga

comes immediately to mind. Alvin Plantinga ha
s been called "the most
important philosopher of religion now writing." After taking his Ph.D. from Yale in 1958, he
taught at Wayne State University (1958
-
63), Calvin College (1963
-
82), and has filled the John
A. O'Brien Chair of Philosophy at the Univers
ity of Notre Dame since 1982. He was president of
the Western Division of the American Philosophical Association during 1981
-
82 and president
of the Society of Christian Philosophers, which he helped to found, from 1983 to 1986.

His latest book is
Warrante
d Christian Belief

(2000).





24

“The Language of God”, a scientist presents evidence for belief. Free Press, (2006). The “Language”, of course,
is the language of the recipes in Biological DNA.


21

J. P. Moreland

is a well
-
known professor of philosophy at BIOLA University.

A strong
Christian.


Antony Flew,

a British philosopher, is a case of great interest because in January 2004 he
announced that whereas he had been an

Atheist, he was now persuaded that God exists. Flew
was not only an atheist, but was the global most persuasive intellectual exponent of the
worldview of Atheism. The reverberations
of this change
are still echoing through Academia.
He says he is not no
w a Christian, but is open to consideration of "revealed religion".


It is especially noteworthy that Flew gives his reasons for changing his mind: Purely the
accumulating scientific evidence that the Universe is produced by an "Intelligent Designer", in
Cosmology, Chemistry of the atoms, and in the fantastic complexity of the biological world. In
Flew’s words, he simply “had to go where the evidence leads.”


For a nuanced interview of Flew concerning his change of mind, see this website:

http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/index.cfm



The academic world is holding its breath while Flew further explores the implications of being a
believer.


_____________________________________________________


ADDEN
DUM #1


QUOTE from Richard Lewontin, Evolutionary Geneticist at Harvard U.


"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an
understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the si
de of
science in spite of the patent absurdity of

some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill
many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific
community for unsubstantiated just
-
so stories, be
cause we have a prior commitment, a
commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow
compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that
we are forced by our

*a priori* adh
erence to material causes to create an apparatus of
investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no

matter how counter
-
intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for
we cannot

allow a Divine Foot in the door." (Lewontin R., "Billions and Billions of Demons,"
Review of


"The Demon
-
Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," by Carl Sagan.



ADDENDUM #2

Quote from Richard Dawkins,
A Professor at Oxford University, of “T
he public understanding
of Science”;
the best
-
known living Atheist, now that Carl Sagan has died and gone to his
reward.





”An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: ‘I have no explanation for complex
biological design.


All I know is th
at God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope

22

that somebody comes up with a better one.’ I can’t help feeling that such a position, though
logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might
have bee
n logically tenable before Darwin,


Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually
fulfilled Atheist”
25



=====================================================================
=============

Editor: Mary A
nn Reese





Last
revised
7
-
21
-
09



HOMEPAGE




25

Richard Dawkins,
The Blind Watchmaker

(New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 1987), p 6:


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