Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Big Questions - Evolution Debate (Part 3)

Where do I come from?

We go to the very first verse in the Bible to get the answer

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

God created the world around 6000 years ago over 6 days. He took six days to fill and shape the earth with land, seas, animals, and, of course, man.

Verses 26 and 27 tell us:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

Jesus taught this scientific fact in the New Testament:

But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' (Mark 10:6)

The Christian world view teaches that man was created by Almighty God in His image. That man has always been man since the creation of the world.

Why am I here?

Christianity teaches that you are not an accident but have been created with a purpose. To live a life that brings glory to God and to enter into eternal life with Him in the next life.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.... Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31)

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

Where am I going?

It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27b)

The reason for this judgment is that we are all going to live for eternity in either heaven or hell.

Heaven is described in the Bible:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:3-4)

Hell is also described as a place where people will:

drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night (Revelation 14:10a,11a).

My opponent's answers to these questions were similar to those in the video below, though dressed in "nicer clothes". William Provine (the man in the video) is a world-famous evolutionary professor at Cornell University who featured in the movie "Expelled". Using my gift of the best possible construction I would have to say that Provine is an honest evolutionist:

Provine's comments are even more chilling in the light of the fact that he has a very serious illness! Lord please open his eyes . . .

Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1


Kristoffer Haldrup said...

So, you really, honestly believes that the Earth is 6000 years old or so? And you believe so because...this can be deduced from the Bible, I guess?

I can absolutely understand why people would believe so back in the 15th century or so, but that some people, you, still believe so is flabbergasting, to say the least.

Back in the 15th century, there was no information available as to the age of the universe, only guesses and estimates based on philosophy, biblical numerology and similar. This is not so today. -Going from the longest time scales to the shorter ones, there are many, many separate lines of evidence each pointing to an age of the universe, and age of the earth and the solar system and the age of us, the human race, being MUCH older than these 6000 years that are bandied about in young-Earth creationist circles. I´ll list but a few, each can easily be researched on wikipedia and I will also be happy to provide references to the scientific literature on specific points, if requested.

1) Age of the Universe. Roughly 13.5 billion years as determined (independently) from the speed at which remote galaxies are moving away from us and all other galaxies AND from the spectrum of the microwave background radiation that shines on us from all directions of the cosmos. These estimates are supported by other lines of evidence as well, for instance the age of the oldest star clusters.

2) Age of the Earth and the solar system. Roughly 4.6 billion years, as estimated primarily from the relative abundances of radioactive isotopes. This line of evidence is supported, again independently, from the age of the Sun as estimated from the ratio between its mass and its luminosity as well as from the relative abundances of hydrogen ("fuel") and helium ("ashes") in its energy-producing core.

Now, as the relative abundances of various radioactive compounds and their mixing can be used to estimate the time at which a particular piece of rock was formed, we can begin to estimate the ages of the oldest fossils. -If something is found _inside_ a piece of rock that is determined to have been formed, say, 500 mio. years ago, it is a fairly good assumption (but not in itself sufficient evidence) that the the fossil and the piece of rock are of similar ages. This places the oldest fossils of primitive bacteria at about 3 billion years ago and more advanced, multi-cellular animal-like life forms at around 600 million years ago. -The radiometric evidence is independently supported by geochemical clues, that tells us the age of a rock from the chemical composition and knowledge of how this changes with time.

3) Age of the human race, which is somewhere around 500.000 years old as determined from fossil dating (using the methods outlined above) and, increasingly, by studying the rate at which mutations accumulate in the genetic material.

4) Age of human societies, which can be roughly defined as the age at which permanent settlements appear, is a few tens of thousands years ago. This has been determined using mostly Carbon-14 dating, but has been supported by archaelogical estimates, tree-ring studies and genetic studies of domesticated animals and plants.

-This was but four estimates of the age of phenomena we see around us, all of which significantly predate the 6000 years you claim in your post. Importantly, the estimated ages DO NOT rest on a single line of evidence like, for instance, radiometric dating. Rather, a lot of very, very different methods for determining the ages have been used in concert and they all agree. -The universe that we see around us, the Earth that we live on and the race we are part of are all MUCH older than the 6000 years you claim based on the Bible.

In summary, there is no scientific evidence for the age of the earth as 6000 years being even close to correct and plenty of evidence to the contrary. -We live on a beautiful planet, with lots of interesting history, in an old, and marvellous, universe:)

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, all of those dating methods are based on assumptions. Primarily, I studied radiometric and carbon dating prior to the debate so I am most familiar with those. And will discuss them at greater length in an upcoming post.

Concerning microwave radiation and starlight travel I suggest you listen to astrophysicist Jason Lisle who totally debunks your arguments. All your conclusions are built upon assumptions.

As for radiometric dating it starts with 3 major assumptions that cannot be proven. 1. They don't know how much daughter isotope was in the rock at the beginning, 2. They don't know if the rate of decay has always been uniform (noone has observed a uranium half life - they extrapolate 100 years of observation over billions of years - do not consider the possibility of a cataclysmic global flood. 3. They do not know how much parent and daughter isotope contamination has happened to the rock over that time period via water etc. All of these can radically alter the time measurements. Because of such contamination, the less than 50-year-old lava flows at Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, yield a rubidium-strontium “age” of 133 million years, a samarium-neodymium “age” of 197 million years, and a uranium-lead “age” of 3.908 billion years! So much for your empirical science.

As for evidence of a young earth how about the fact that they find large traces of C14 in diamonds? That dates them at less than 50,000 years going by their own assumptions about Carbon 14 decay. You have no proof at all. Just a lot of assumptions.

But here's my question to you Kristoffer. What is the sin that you love so much that you prefer to embrace the religion of evolution than repent and humble yourself before the living God Who made all things including yourself. The God Who will judge you and knows every action, word, and thought in your entire life. He won't go away by pretending He's not there.

Soldier of Kurios said...

Aside from the scientific arguments, can anyone mount a solid case from scripture that points to the text suggesting an earth of 6000 years old?

Generally, most Christians who hold this view point to the genealogies in the early chapters of the text. But I ask all, is this the aim of the author, and God for that matter? Is this text in the bible to articulate the age the earth or the fallibly of humanity after its rejection of God?

Secondly, is the Genesis account of creation explaining the process and mechanics of creation? Or is God expressing to us his eternality, ownership of creation as the creator and the place of humanity in his cosmos? I dare say the former.


Cameron Buettel said...

Soldier of Kurios, let me ask you this question: when did the genealogies stop being metaphoric and start being literal and how do you figure this out? Was Adam a literal historical figure? Was the fall an actual physical event? Was there death before Adam? How do you harmonize Romans 5 with an old earth view? Why is the six day creation given as the reason for the fourth commandment in Exodus 20?

All of these have serious implications for the Gospel so I am interested to know your response because it is exceedingly important. You will hear more about this in later posts. And why not read Genesis 1 as a straight narrative by a God Who has no difficulty explaining Himself? I look forward to hearing your answers.

Soldier of Kurios said...

Yes, I agree with you that the scriptures need to be read literally, in there historical context.

What is the author of Genesis 1 trying to articulate? A six day creation or is he interacting with common polytheistic, coltic beliefs of the religion of the Chaldeans?

There was a text discovered in the Middle East about 150 years ago called Enuma Elish, which detailed how a multitude of warring and sex crazed gods battled beasts of the seas and created us as slaves to serve a race of enslaved gods. This text was written on seven tablets. Contrast this account with the ordered and purposeful creation by the one and only God in a seven stage account. Can you see the parallel and contrast?

I am not opposing you as I am a fellow bible believing Christian. What I am arguing however, is that the bible does not suggest a young earth. Whether Adam was a literal person, death before sin and the Sabbath day in relation to the seventh day of creation does not point to a young earth. An old earth does not discredit the gospel, nor does Intelligent Design or Theistic Evolution etc.

What is paramount though is that there is one God who created and sustains the Universe. Whether young, old or middle aged Earth is a secondary issue, but interesting to discuss.

Keep up preaching the gospel brother!


Soldier of Kurios said...

Sorry, one more thing Cameron.

Provine and your fellow debater make the massive error of imparting Philosophy into Empirical Science. I asked a few atheists who argued the very same thing to me, this question: "Please demonstrate to me how evolutionary biology proves the non-existence of God, life after death, sin and so on". They could not. Why? Because these aren't scientific issues! They are theological and philosophical issues in nature.

Additionally, Darwin did believe in God. His views changed, however, not because of his scientific discovery but rather, his inability to rationalize a good God with evil and suffering.

Provine is way way off the mark here! My prayer do go with for healing and salvation!

Cameron Buettel said...

Theistic evolution is a flat out denial of the Gospel. Because it denies the fall as an event and death is not from the curse. Now, if you are going to make all the comments here that you are making then you need to extend the courtesy of answering all of my questions because they are important. And they will seriously affect your understanding of the Gospel. So please go back and answer each of my questions.

Also, empirical science is a subset of theology based on presuppositions that find their sole affirmation within Scripture. Biblical theology stands over empirical science because the laws that empirical science observes find their basis in the Bible and the creation account. Furthermore, evolutionary theory (at the macro level) has NOTHING TO DO WITH EMPIRICAL SCIENCE. You will probably want to ask me questions about this and I will answer them. But first, you need to answer my questions.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

I posted a lengthy reply around 12 hours ago that seems not to have appeared here?

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, I've posted everything you've sent me.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

This is part of why I truly hate the blogspot/blogger interface with approvals and such...posts tend to disappear into spam folders or to just disappear outright.

Anyway, here is a significantly shorter reply than my original, due to time constraints.

With respect to the Ngauruhoe volcano, the disparate age determinations of the lava outflows did pose a bit of a puzzle, when these ages were first determined. However, the situation was resolved in 2010 by a very thorough study by Richard price and coworkers (Price et al., Chemical Geology (2010), let me know if you want the original research paper). As it turns out, the magma vent system feeding this volcano is very young, meaning that the magma contains contributions of several different origins, and therefore of different ages. -This also bears onto what you mentioned in terms of assumptions and presuppositions, in the present case that no significant mixing of magma had taken place. This lead to a surprising result (disparage ages), and therefore the assumptions were reconsidered and better experiments (more isotope pairs, geochemical comparisons with neighbouring volcanoes) were carried out. Such is the nature of Science, and at the end of the day a better understanding of the Ngauruhoe volcano was obtained:)

-The same thing goes for all the other age-determination methods, that sometimes the underlying assumptions (isotope mixing, year-ring overlap...) do not hold, and supporting evidence from other methods must be included to ensure full understanding of some phenomenon. In this sense, the "science of age determination" is not a house of cards as you seem to imply, but rather a sturdily built house where the many structural elements are mutually supporting one another.

With respect to the C14-dating of diamonds you did not propose a reference, so I assume you are talking about the RATE-study? -This was an interesting investigation, but to the best of my knowledge, the surprising C14-content of the diamonds they investigated was later determined to be a result of sample contamination, both in the diamond-bearing rock itself and in the instruments used. -If you have more information on this, I´ll be happy to have look at it -- the same goes for the supposed "debunking" of the microwave background and the age of the universe that you claim without references above.

Turning to the concept of sin that you also invoke, you must understand that as a non-believer I do not buy into the concept of "sin" as you Christian folks do. However, for the sake of argument, I guess that among the "Christian sins" I do think that my favourite one is fornication. Gluttony is also nice, but in moderation, of course;)

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, most of those theological questions were for soldier of Kurios.