Saturday, April 22, 2006

Kurt Wise on Global Warming

To my fellow believers in Jesus Christ,

I am a believer in Christ who rests firmly on the authority of Scripture, and I am a member of the scientific research community. I am neither a member of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Evangelical Climate Initiative, the Evangelical Environmental Network, nor any other related initiative or organization. I appreciate their "deep commitment to Jesus Christ and His commands to love our neighbors, care for 'the least of these,' and be proper stewards of His creation." I do not believe "everything hinges on the scientific data."

This letter is to insert a new combination of observations into the debate:
  1. climate change is real,
  2. the best we can hope to do is slow down or delay the process,
  3. we should plan now to adjust for its effects, and
  4. ultimately this climate change could be beneficial.
First, climate change is real. Although there is much debate on the rate of change and the long-term meaning of the trend, there is not a geologist in the world that will tell you global warming is not currently happening. The historical data is not in dispute regarding the recent upward trend in carbon dioxide and temperature. Even the evangelical leaders who "disagree about the cause, severity and solutions to the global warming issue" do not dispute the reality of some sort of global climate change.

Second, I believe the human contribution to global warming has been overstated. Although the burning of fossil fuels is contributing much more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than other (even non-human) sources, carbon dioxide levels have increased a total of only 30 percent over pre-industrial revolution levels. In contrast, geological evidence suggests there have been times in earth’s past with carbon dioxide levels were many times higher than present levels—and none of those elevated levels are thought to have been caused by humans. Additionally, if you were to take away the human contribution of carbon dioxide altogether, carbon dioxide levels would still increase—from entirely non-human sources.

Furthermore, carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas, although it may be the only one humans are significantly increasing. In the case of one greenhouse gas, oxygen, the burning of fossil fuels is decreasing atmospheric oxygen. For other greenhouse gases, such as sulfur dioxide, modern volcanoes release at least as much as humans, and volcanoes inject their greenhouse gases directly into the upper atmosphere where they generate a quicker and longer-term effect. Plus, modern earthquake and volcanic activity is at what may be an all-time low. Some volcanoes of the past were 1,000 to 10,000 times larger than present volcanoes. If this increased geologic activity occurred immediately after the Flood, as some of us believe, the human contribution of carbon dioxide over all human history is dwarfed many times over by events in the Flood and immediate post-Flood period.

Beyond earth sits a more significant and obvious source of (at least short-term) global warming: the sun. 2005 was an unusually active year for the sun with respect to its well-known 11-year solar cycle. The effects of this have been noticeable during the mild winter following. There has been a general rise in average solar activity per 11-year cycle for several decades now. Similar solar activity levels 1,000 years ago caused a similar period of global warming that opened up the seas and northern coastlines to the sea-faring Vikings. Few would seriously argue such solar variation is human-induced.

Third, assuming these trends continue, the long term effects of global warming are significant and should not be ignored. And this will most likely be the case even if we are able to immediately reduce, or even eliminate, the burning of fossil fuels. Chief among these effects is the rise in sea level. There is enough ice in the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica to raise earth's sea level by more than 200 feet. That is enough to leave just the dome of the Capitol and 350 feet of the Washington Monument above water. For New Yorkers, that's 100 feet of Lady Liberty wading atop a submerged island. The Gulf of Mexico would reach the State of Illinois and the Atlantic ocean would lap against the eastern foothills of the Andes. Current estimates indicate the rise in sea level could force the relocation of more than 200 million people worldwide. Even while we are seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, relocating our major cities and coastlines is a project that we should begin planning now.

There is not a geologist in the world that can say with definitive authority what kind of timetable we have to deal with these problems. It could be 10 years; it could be 300 years. Neither can anyone say with authority that these climate changes will be permanent once they come. We should not delude ourselves into believing we can hold back the inevitable, and that we should not prepare for it. Jesus never promises us "stability" nor encourages us to work for such. In fact, he promises us the opposite (John 16:33).

Fourth, along with the acknowledged challenges, global warming is likely to bring positive changes to our existence on earth. Higher temperatures worldwide would allow us to farm more land at northern latitudes such as Canada and Russia. The burning of fossil fuels—organisms of the past—would allow plants to recapture carbon previously an active part of the planet's ecosystem. Higher carbon dioxide / oxygen ratios would reduce the threat of wildfires getting out of control. Higher carbon dioxide levels would stimulate plant growth and thus increase crop production. Fishing would be enhanced with the greater areal extent of shallow seas which come from higher sea level. All this means more food available on earth. Global warming may very well provide more of a solution to world hunger than a contribution thereto.

Just as the period of global climate change 1,000 years ago produced significant geopolitical changes—the end of the Roman empire, the rise of the middle ages—so could the current period of climate change on which we embark today. Although the rise in sea level could be inconvenient for people along the coasts (and disastrous if it happened rapidly), this period of global warming could ultimately make the earth a more habitable place. The basic task for all of the world's inhabitants with respect to climate change is to prepare for and act on the coming changes.

There remains a lot that scientists do not know about earth's climate, including how, why, and when it will change. There's a lot more we don't know than we know, and there are probably many more things we don’t even know that we don’t know. That is why we do well to trust the more sure word (2 Peter 1:19) and live by faith (Romans 1:17) in doing what we know we can do (James 4:17) than to pretend we can hold back the coming change that could, in the end, actually be for the better.


Kurt P. Wise, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Science
Director, Center for Origins Research
Bryan College, Box 7802
Dayton, TN 37321-7000
423-775-7321
info@bryancore.org

(or, as of August 1, 2006):
Kurt P. Wise, Ph.D.
Professor of Science and Theology
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
2825 Lexington Road
Lexington, KY 40280

This analysis is brought to you exclusively by The Mountaintop Report which added the links to the text for reference purposes.

25 comments:

Diana in NC said...

Yeah Dr. Kurt!!! You can always count on Dr.Kurt for a good (is it too cheeky to say 'wise' hee hee ) answer!

Dude, we SO need more scientists like you! Keep up the good work!!!

Anonymous said...

This guy has got to be kidding.

Anonymous said...

how can anyone respect someone who blatently admits that evidence is meaningless to them??

Anonymous said...

so much has been made of his comment about the evidence for creationism! seems to me the point was that all scientists begin with a set of beliefs. i don't believe he thinks there will ever be evidence to disprove creationism or prove evolution so what he said was more a statement of faith than anything.

Hobbes2007 said...

"all scientists begin with a set of beliefs."

This is a statement made only by the poorly educated (as opposed to UNeducated. One can be highly educated in a poorly presented subject).

Scientists begin with an hypothesis, which is a scientific guess based on empirical knowledge (historical evidence and/or rational arguments that might support the hypothesis).

This is the beginning of the scientific method. From there, they proceed to test the hypothesis. Failing to disprove the hypothesis, they publish so that other scientists in their field can formulate tests. If any test disproves the hypothesis, the hypothesis is thrown out in favor of one that better fits the evidence.

Creationists, on the other hand, begin with a conclusion based in the Bible. They look in nature for evidence to support their conclusion. If evidence is found that refutes their conclusion, the evidence is thrown out. At no time will the biblically based conclusion be questioned.

Folks, that ain't science!

--The unexamined belief is not worth believing--

JCP said...

Actually Hobbes you should look into the philosophy of science. The presuppositions of the scientific method assume uniformitarianism and often assume methodological naturalism, both philosophical presuppositions which cannot be empirically verified. No honest philosopher of science believes that the scientific method begins without presuppositions. Of course, presuppositions are "a set of beliefs" even if they merely consist of the presuppositions that the scientific method depends upon. I would encourage you to look into epistemology, specifically the downfall of logical positivism, etc.

Hobbes2007 said...

JCP, I appreciate your comment, but my post stands.

Of course there may be presuppositions in the early stages of formulating an hypothesis. We are, after all, only human. Still, an honest and rigorous testing of the hypothesis, and subsequent retesting by others in the discipline will ferret out wrong assumptions.

Therefore, it isn't really important what assumptions filter into the formulation of an hypothesis, as I stated, it is only a "scientific guess." Others will do their best to disprove it, and therein lies the best method of learning the true nature of nature. It sure beats faith based on stories thousands of years old.

As far as honesty goes, I submit that an honest study of the Bible should cause the student to discard it as an untenable collection of myths and contradictions.

A good book, The Case Against Christianity, by Michael Martin, and earlier books and essays by Robert Ingersoll and others, would be helpful in understanding how an intellectually honest study of the Bible would lead one to reject it as a basis for one's spiritual life.

Pierre Bayle (seventeenth century) is a good example of the definition of a Creationist (as defined in my last post).

Bayle would expound at length using solid, logical arguments against some current orthodox belief, then conclude, "so much the greater is the triumph of faith in nevertheless believing."

This is faith for faith's sake, not faith for the sake of truth, and it is a good example of beginning with a conclusion, and then throwing out all evidence to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit, I cannot believe this guy is saying that global warming will be beneficial since farming yield and the like will increase. Still, when you don't believe in proven facts like evolution it's easy to fall into such a trap.

All organisms are adapted to their environment and pretty happy with it; only a madman would fiddle around with the Earth's thermostat to try and improve on it. For all the new farmland that will become available, think of all the farmland that will rapidly turn into desert. Think of all the people who live at the subsistence line right now.

Furthermore, only an American would say humans aren't the major contributor to climate change. Wake up to the facts around you and you'll see it all stems from us.

Hobbes said...

Anonymous, that's why an idiot tinhorn dictator want-to-be like GW Bush gets in the White House.

And the conservatives complain that Liberals think they're stupid. Ignorance like this tends to give evidence to such a mentality.

Mathew said...

Anonymous, did you think at all about what you put in your last post before you posted it, or did you mistakingly type it out in your sleep?
Reason Im asking is because your understanding of what Mr Wise wrote isn't very good.

Kurt is not suggesting that we try to alter the weather at all. What he is saying is that he believes that there is little we can do about it changing itself.
He believes that humans are probably the least in the contributing factors toward global warming, so no matter what we do its still going to get hotter, as evidence suggests has happened about 1000 years ago.
He is also suggesting that it may not be permanent, and nowhere did he state that the situation would ever become so severe that any of these effects would become noticable to a degree for it to require significant lifestyle changes for us.
Im no scientist myself, but I clearly understood what he wrote there. Maybe you should read it again...

Since you believe in evolution though, why are you worried about global warming anyway? Surelyou'll
evolve/adapt to the warmer weather?

Personally Im not in favour of global warming, and time will prove/disprove Kurt's opinions on this topic.
But you have no right to mock the man for not believing in evolution. Evolution is so far an
unproven theory invented by man.

Why you and so many others reject the simple truth of an all powerful creator for some unproven "scientific" theory (which doesn't even make sense) is what I find totally incomprehensible.

Hobbes said...

Mathew, your post spurs a few thoughts:

1. Even if our contribution to global warming is small, there are good reasons to do our best to reduce our contribution. Besides making the environment cleaner, we will create an entire new industry (actually already begun), which will put people to work.

2. Computer models in the 1990’s predicted the effects we are now seeing. However, it is true that even if we brought an end to our contribution today, the climate would still get warmer (even if it was all our fault).

3. It’s interesting to note that during the Cretaceous Period, there were no polar ice caps.

4. “Evolution is so far an unproven theory invented by man.” This statement lends evidence that you have never had any objective study in evolution. It is common for religious conservatives (I’m not calling you one because I don’t know you—but the point remains) to call evolution “just a theory.” It is obvious that those stating this haven’t a clue what goes into a valid scientific theory. The scientific method must be applied first, in order for any hypothesis to become a valid scientific theory. This includes observation, hypothesis, predicting, testing (to disprove the hypothesis), publication, retesting by peers, and, after many years of gathering evidence and testing, the hypothesis cannot be disproved, it becomes a valid scientific theory.

A good evolution time-line (with many links) may be found at: http://www.triassiclegacy.org/Bio_Timeline.html . Also a very good continuing online study of the evolution/creationism (or ID) debate may be found at: http://talkorigins.org/ .

Mathew said...

Well Im glad I didn't use the phrase "just a theory" then.
What I did say however is that it is so far unproven. This is because there is no conclusive evidence in evolution's favour.

One of the things you mention for a hypothesis to become valid scientific theory is observation. I do not know anybody who has observed evolution. Nobody that I know was there when evolution happened.
On the other hand however the Bible does contain some very interesting history. Parts of which include how the earth and the universe came to be. These are witness accounts from very early generation people. They say they were either there, or they personally knew the people who were there at the beginning.
And their accounts, unlike the evolution theory, make plenty sense, which in my book holds much more ground than any oposing argument that I have heard.

Hobbes said...

Hi Mathew,

“Parts of [the Bible] include how the earth and the universe came to be. These are witness accounts from very early generation people. They say they were either there, or they personally knew the people who were there at the beginning.”

The bible says nothing about people witnessing the formation of the universe and the earth. It’s supposedly an account dictated by a creator. No body saw it, and nobody signed a name to the manuscript. Wouldn’t hold up in court anywhere.

I find it fantastic that anyone would believe the creation myth in the face of evidence to the contrary. That’s the very definition of “blind faith.”

Again, it is evident that you haven’t had any objective education in the theory of evolution. I can write a story totally fictitious, but write in a slew of “witnesses.” Wouldn’t prove a thing.

The point is that you can’t use a book to prove what is in that same book. That’s called a circular argument. You need to find extant, independently verified evidence.

Note please that if you had been born in India, you most likely would be a Hindu, or in the Middle East, a Muslim, or in the South Asia, a Buddhist. Each person usually believes the religion which she or he was taught. Had you been taught any of the other religions, you would believe it just a fervently as you believe what you believe today. It’s all a matter of inculcation into the culture in which you are born and raised.

That evolution is “unproven,” is quite correct. Scientists normally don’t say they “prove” evolution, but the body of evidence is voluminous and growing by the year. Many evolutionary scientists would say that the evidence is so strong that there is a high probability of it being true is somewhere near 99.9%. No other model of life comes close to the evidence for evolution. Personally, I call it “proved.”


Check out the web sites I sited in my last post. Be intellectually honest with yourself. There are wonders out there we couldn’t imagine, just waiting for discovery.

No problem with a god creating it all. Science cannot address that issue. They can only deal in physics, not metaphysics. Believe what you want, but it is intellectually dishonest to reject a body of science of which you have no objective knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Hobbes is gay.

Hobbes2007 said...

Anonymous, my goodness, what an intelligent comment. Have you anything of substance to say? Or, have you knuckle-walked away?

Hobbes2007 said...

Exactly what is the evidence for a global flood? Had it happened, there would be evidence.

For example, we find irridium deposits in the KT boundary all around the earth, thus we have evidence of a very large impact event that probably ended the Cretaceous.

So, where's the evidence for the Biblical Flood? Any scientist worth his salt would be able to present the evidence.

Tim McGhee said...

Hobbes,

What if that "very large impact event" is evidence for the flood?

The "irridium deposits in the KT boundary" is the data.

How that data becomes evidence is a result of presuppositions and interpretation.

Your theory says that "probably ended the Cretaceous."

If one is looking for "evidence for the Biblical Flood," then this is possibly the method for how "were all the fountains of the great deep broken up" (Genesis 7:11).

Wouldn't any philosopher worth his salt understand that data can have more than one interpretation?

Tim
11,285 days

Hobbes said...

Tim, there are many problems you face with your suggestion that iridium in the KT boundary is proof of the Noah flood.

1. No human fossils have been found anywhere near (above or below) the KT boundary. In fact, there is no evidence of hominid (early human) fossils farther back than about 2.2 mya. Since the KT boundary is dated to approximately 65.5 mya, this gives you a gap of about 63.5 million years. Species Homo sapiens fossils date only to 195,000 years ago. However, you are free to form a team and search the world over for human fossils near the KT boundary, but it would be a complete waste of time and money.

2. You would need to explain the even greater extinction at the P-Tr boundary. Not even dinosaur fossils have been found prior to this event, and certainly no human fossils before or during the Mesozoic.

3. You need to explain why there are very few fossils of present day animals anywhere near the KT boundary (the “very few” being omnivores, insectivores, and detritus eaters), above or below.

Actually, there is much more, but this is enough. If you can explain the above, giving scientific evidence, I am more than willing to consider it. However, just saying “God can do anything” is not a valid argument and cannot be used in objective science.

Also, you may want to go to http://talkorigins.org/ . I have a link on my own website http://www.triassiclegacy.org/Bio_Timeline.html, there, I have many other links that back up my timeline, and more are to be added.

The unexamined belief is not worth believing.

Tim McGhee said...

Hobbes,

First of all, I did not claim proof for anything, nor did you ask for proof. You asked for evidence, and I showed you how the data can be interpreted consistent with the Biblical account.

Your first item is yet another example of data that can be interpreted consistently with the Biblical account. "The LORD said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land'" (Genesis 6:7). In other words, based on the Biblical account, there should not be human fossils anywhere. If we ever did find human fossils from before the flood, that would actually be evidence against the Flood.

The Flood easily explains mass extinction. Further, with the Flood occurring so soon after Creation, it's not hard to see why we wouldn't find much before this event.

None of this, of course, proves anything. If "scientific evidence" is the objective, and "scientific" is defined as excluding special (vs. general) revelation such as Scripture, then I don't intend to offer anything of the kind.

God cannot do everything. God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). I believe this includes God cannot lie about how he created the earth and what he did to it since then.

I don't believe God's Word is inconsistent with what we see in Creation. However, if it does appear inconsistent and it comes down to a question of should I trust what God says about Creation or should I trust what man says about Creation, I pray I come down on God's side every time.

Science is inherently false. And that is easily proven. Take any "scientific" theory that's 100-150 years old or more, and they're all "proven" wrong. (e.g. Quantum Mechanics replaced Newtonian Physics.) Take any scientific theories we have today and they'll be proven wrong or similarly insufficient in another 100-150 years, as well.

What should I trust, then? Should I trust what God says that is never proven wrong, or should I trust what man says which will always be proven wrong? This doesn't seem like a hard decision.

This question also speaks to your claim that "The unexamined belief is not worth believing." The question one must ask there is, examined by whom? By me? I know I've been proven wrong before when I really thought I was right. Knowing I'm fallible, why should I have to be proven wrong on everything? That would be exhausting!

Just because people do what looks right in their own eyes does not mean they're doing the right thing. Just because people believe what looks right in their own eyes does not make it true. Will our unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? (Romans 3:3).

God told us how he began the world (Genesis 1-2). He also told us he would do things after that, and every single one of those that he said would come to pass in the past have come to pass.

Make no mistake, every one that he says will come to pass in the future will come to pass as well.

Do you really mean to say that your word is more reliable than God's?

Tim
11,288 days

Hobbes said...

Hey Tim,

I’ll take your last question first: “Do you really mean to say that your word is more reliable than God's?”

Tim, this question assumes two things that I don’t assume, i.e., the god of the bible (assumed from the rest of your text) exists, and that I might take my word over this god. I don’t believe Yahweh exists. But, that’s a debate for another time.

Second to last question concerns my mantra: The unexamined belief is not worth believing. You asked “examined by whom?” I think that if one does not examine one’s own inculcated beliefs, one is not being intellectually honest. At least, that is my own thought. Others in the world have been taught to believe other religions, for example, and they believe theirs every bit as fervently as you believe yours. To you, they are wrong, to them, you are wrong. I looked at a great many of them, and decided none of them are right.

I used to believe as you. However, I valued objective truth over everything. Thus, it was incumbent upon me to examine my beliefs with intellectual honesty, and follow the arguments to their logical conclusion. The result was that I became an agnostic with latent atheistic tendencies. If you care to understand my conversion, you can find The Renaissance of My Life at my new
Blog: http://earthsshadow.blogspot.com/. It’s about three quarters the way down the page.
-----------------------
As to your critique of my last post, you’re quite right in the first paragraph. You did not claim “proof.” My mistake. Wrong wording. You claimed that the iridium could be evidence for the flood. However, my reply is still valid.

This whole argument is really kind of moot anyway, because the Biblical flood story was plagiarized from a much earlier Sumerian story we find in the Gilgamesh Epics, where the Sumerian “Noah” was Utnapishtim. Check it out. Some of the verses in the Sumerian flood story are almost verbatim to the Biblical story. And, the Sumerian story predates the Noah story be a thousand years. See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/icr-visit/bartelt5.html.

Even so, I still have a few observations on your post.

Concerning the “blotting out” comment as the reason no human fossils are found, this is irrational in terms of the suggested event being executed by an omnipotent, even near omnipotent god. I assume here you are suggesting that “blot” means to “delete” them or “make them disappear.” So, why drown them in the first place? Why cause a flood to start with? Why wouldn’t he have just “blotted” them out? If the flood was to impress Noah and future generations, then why were the remains not preserved as a reminder?

And, BTW, my copy of the KJV doesn’t say “blot.” It says “destroy.” I’m sure, however, that you can find a version that has Yahweh saying what you want him to say. (this statement isn’t meant to be condescending, it’s only point out that there are many changes over time and many versions available)
---------------------------
“. . . with the Flood occurring so soon after Creation, it's not hard to see why we wouldn't find much before this event.”

This statement flies against the KT boundary being used as evidence of the Biblical flood. In truth, we find a great many fossils of creatures that lived for hundreds of million years before the KT boundary.

Check out my timeline at: http://triassiclegacy.org/Bio_Timeline.html , and you will see that there was a very long history before the KT event. Indeed, we find a great many fossils of animal species that didn’t survive the event, and many new species after the event.

Now, check out Genesis 6:7. Yahweh, were the story true, said he would destroy not only man, but all beasts, creepers and flyers. Why would he have destroyed all living creatures, leaving their remains, but no human remains???

Thus, that we “wouldn't find much before this event,” doesn’t wash, at least for the KT event.

However, as with all such attempts to present evidence for a biblical flood, it is all groundless conjecture, and mental acrobatics. As you yourself state, you yourself say you don’t “intend to offer” any scientific objective evidence. But, still, you still point to objective scientific evidence for an impact and suggest it could be evidence for the flood. I’m simply stating, as above, that your suggestions present more problems than they attempt to solve.

In any case, were there such a world wide event, there would be evidence, not just the iridium, but much other evidence, such as salt deposits in shale beneath all fresh water lakes.

You state that “god can’t do everything,” that he cannot lie. Apparently, Yahweh is not omniscient either, because the inference from Genesis 6:6 is that Yahweh changed his mind, grieving that he had made man. An omniscient god, by definition, cannot change his mind.

Thus we now establish that Yahweh was not omnipotent, nor was he omniscient.

“However, if it does appear inconsistent and it comes down to a question of should I trust what God says about Creation or should I trust what man says about Creation, I pray I come down on God's side every time.”

Have you read Richard Dawkins’ Sadly, an Honest Creationist ? Your comment reminds me of it. It can be found at http://richarddawkins.net/article,115,Sadly-an-Honest-Creationist,Richard-Dawkins .

Peace.

Tim McGhee said...

Hobbes,

Peace be with you as well!

Your last comment was posted twice in an indentical and immediate subsequent post. I trust you will not take offense that I "blotted out" the duplicate. :)

Thank you for the Richard Dawkins link. The honest creationist of whom he speaks is a good friend of mine. Hence, in fact, the original Kurt Wise post here!

Dawkins also reaches a wise conclusion (no pun intended): "Depending upon how many Kurt Wises are out there, it could mean that we are completely wasting our time arguing the case and presenting the evidence for evolution.

"We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism's most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference."

I think the book Dawkins recommends also looks interesting.


I have a confession to make: you correctly point out at least two flaws in my last comment here.

I don't think it at all a stretch to say "The Flood easily explains mass extinction." However, my statement immediately following that about "the Flood occurring so soon after Creation" was neither well-reasoned, nor consistent with either Scripture nor anything else we see in Creation. I was simply trying to complete the thought and got tangled up in my words.

Secondly, when I read your statement, "there is no evidence of hominid (early human) fossils," my mind immediately went to the Scripture I had heard used as an argument for why this might be, and found Genesis 6:7.

When I looked up the whole verse, I indeed read all of the following: "The LORD said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.'"

And yes, as I was composing that last post, I actually thought something along the lines as you said, He "said he would destroy not only man, but all beasts, creepers and flyers."

However, I did not acknowledge this discovery in my last comment. I ignored this fact, and pretended I could still use this Scripture to make the point. Please forgive me.

In taking another look at the Scripture, to test for relevance to your original point in question, I'm realizing that original word for blotting out doesn't necessarily imply we should or should not find evidence of early humans. And since we do find evidence of all other living creatures, then maybe we should be able to find human remains!

A better argument for why we still don't find human remains after the Flood would be that once the rains came and kept coming, man knew what he had coming from years of warnings from the man inside the boat, and headed to higher ground for survival--ground that would not produce any fossils.

As we've already established, however, whether or not there are human fossils, and why that is, will not change the fundamental principles here.


Thank you for acknowledging that I was not and am not intending to prove creation the flood or anything scientifically here. I'm also beginning to question my own use of the word "evidence" here.

My working definition of evidence is the combination of data (perhaps "objective" would be an appropriate adjective here) with one's assumptions or presuppositions to form an explanation for the former that is consistent with the latter. This definition freely acknowledges that the same data can be used to reach a very different conclusion based on a different set of assumptions.

However, in the world that is this origins debate, "evidence" is often discussed as if the objective data is conclusively declared to be for or against one side or the other.

I'm speaking to your point that I "still point to objective scientific evidence for an impact and suggest it could be evidence for the flood." You seem to be implying (though not exactly saying) that I'm claiming "if it is evidence for the Flood, then it can no longer be evidence for anything else." I'm not saying it is and only is evidence for the Flood. I'm saying the data can be evidence for the Flood. The raw data we find out there can be understood in a manner consistent with the Flood.

What I'm not saying is "This is the only way to understand the data." Nor is it my intent to "present more problems." Many people already had enough problems. That's what invoked God's judgment by the Flood in the first place.


Why did God do this by flooding? I don't know. He didn't explain why in Genesis. He probably doesn't need to either. Perhaps judgment by water early on makes a good contrast to the judgment by fire which will come later.

The Apostle Peter tells us, "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority" (2 Peter 2:4-10).

He goes on to say, "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.'

"For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:3-7).


I think you are correct when you say that God "cannot change his mind." Numbers 23:19 says, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent."

Now, so I don't make the same error I made earlier, let me say it's interesting to note where that same Hebrew word is used in 1 Samuel 15.

The storyline leading up to 1 Samuel 15 is this: God made Saul king. Saul disobeyed.

"Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, 'It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments.' And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night" (1 Samuel 15:10-11).

Samuel comes down to bring God's judgment to Saul. Saul confesses his sin, "I have sinned" (1 Samuel 15:24).

Then, "as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.

"And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent" (1 Samuel 15:27-29).

Saul confesses his sin again, "I have sinned" (1 Samuel 15:30).

The chapter concludes, "and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel" (1 Samuel 15:35).

Most Bible commentaries skip over this last verse altogether.

The word is translated as "repent" here. Traditional Christian teaching says to repent means to turn around, change direction, or change one's mind. Perhaps that is truer of the word when its translated from Greek in the New Testament. (No, I haven't checked.)

Here, in Hebrew the word is "A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself)" (as explained by the KJV exhaustive concordance lexicon). Another word study says this is "A verb meaning to be sorry, to pity, to comfort, to avenge" and "The verb always means to console or comfort." (I can include further examples if you would like.)

None of those definitions really sound like, "change."

Thus, I would be hesitant to take this passage and then conclude that just because God knowingly did something that later caused himself to feel sorrow therefore means "we now establish that Yahweh was not omnipotent, nor was he omniscient." (I would not be hesitant to say that God is not lying when he speaks of that ultimate "day of judgment" He has coming.)

To deny that God can cause Himself pain or sorrow is to deny God can fulfill His entire purpose in the history of the world: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). When Jesus said that God "gave his only begotten Son," referring to Himself, what he means is God "did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" (Romans 8:32)!!

Do you know what all of Romans 8:32 says? "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"

Do you know what "all things" includes? I would not be surprised if that included the answers to all of our questions of origins, of the Flood, of human remains, of flooding, of judgment, all of it. All things.

We have only to humble ourselves as Saul did and say, "I have sinned" because "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame'" (Romans 10:9-11).


Hobbes, whether or not you see evidence for a global flood is really not that important.

What is really important is whether or not you are saved from the wrath to come.

All of us have sinned. Even I have sinned against God and against you during this conversation. I repent. I confess that sin. (And again ask your forgiveness.) Man should repent. We all need to confess our sin before God for forgiveness of our sin. Jesus paid for all of our sin.

My prayer is that you will put your trust in Jesus as your savior. This is worth believing. It is worth an eternity. Trust him today!

Tim
11,291 days

Hobbes said...

Tim,

I appreciate your courtesy and candor. This is the very reason I like polemics. A good debate always forces me to go back and review old threads of thought, and even research new ones. Keeps the blood flowing, so to speak.

I disagree with Dawkins’ comment that we may be completely wasting our time arguing the merits of science. There are those out there who haven’t made up their minds one way or the other on evolution. These folks, once they become curious about what the truth really is, will take a look at the arguments on both sides, and, perhaps, come to a conclusion.

I have become convinced that there are two kinds of truth: objective and subjective. Objective truth is like math and geography, ideas to which every reasonable person would agree, once considering the evidence.

I would define subjective truths as conceptual propositions which a individual sincerely believes to be true, but it cannot be independently verified. Religious truths are subjective truths (of any religion). Objective truths are universal. Subjective truths are relative to the individual. This is not to say that a subjective truth will never become an objective truth. It all depends on whether that truth really exists independently of the individual.

As for subjective truths, from his book, Religion and Science, Bertrand Russell said, “from a scientific point of view, we can make no distinction between the man who eats little and sees heaven and the man who drinks much and sees snakes.” What these men “saw,” was quite real to them. It was “truth.” But, these things science cannot address, because, science can only address objective truths.

Science can deal only with objective truths, where the realm of religion resides in subjective truths.

That said, concerning your definition of evidence, I wouldn’t include assumptions or presuppositions. These are subjective, but if they correspond with objective evidence, then they are no longer assumptions and presuppositions. They become hypotheses. This is possibly semantics. I’ll have to think about it.

However, when running a proposition through the scientific method, yes, assumptions come first (based on logic and empirical evidence) in the formulation of an hypothesis. But, once all proper testing is done over a long period of time, and the hypothesis is not invalidated, then it would become a scientific theory, precisely because the hypothesis is validated by objective research. It is then up to the individual to decide if the weight of the objective evidence constitutes Truth. As far as I am concerned, the evidence for evolution is now overwhelming, and I call it Truth.

“. . . man knew what he had coming . . . and headed to higher ground for survival--ground that would not produce any fossils.”

Actually, there is much “higher ground” in the world that contains fossils. In fact, this was one of the discoveries Charles Darwin made while on his journey into destiny aboard the Beagle. While in Valdivia, Chile, there was a major earthquake. Much of the city was destroyed.

From Valdivia, the Beagle sailed to the island of Quiriquina, where he went exploring. There, Darwin found that areas of the island had risen a few feet. This confirmed, in his mind, Charles Lyell’s theory that land rose in small increments over a very long period of time. In fact, what was once the sea floor could now be mountains.

This discovery confirmed two ideas in Darwin’s mind, 1.That the earth is extremely old, and, 2. it explained how fossiliferous sedimentary rock can often constitute the very structure of a mountain. Indeed, he had found marine fossils at very high altitudes.

“. . . righteous Lot . . .?” As the story goes, in Genesis 19:8, Lot offers the men of the city his daughters to do with them as they saw fit. Indeed, it was Lot’s daughters who subsequently committed incest with him, and was actually rewarded by Yahweh for this act (rewards in those times apparently was to allow their “seed” to make great nations. Thus were conceived the Moabites and the Ammonites. And, to tell you the truth, I’ve never been so drunk I didn’t remember having sex, and with whom. I don’t buy he was too drunk.
---------------------------

1. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent."

2. 'It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments.' And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night"

“None of those definitions really sound like, ‘change.’"

These two together seem to form a contradiction, no matter what the meaning of the word “repent.”

BTW, there seems to be something wrong with this board, as I didn't click the "publish" button more than once. If I have a repeat post this time, please delete the repeat.

Hobbes said...

Tim,

"My prayer is that you will put your trust in Jesus as your savior. This is worth believing. It is worth an eternity. Trust him today!"

I know this is difficult for you to understand, but the Bible is not worth believing, because I have to suspend reason to believe it. I value my intellectual integrity above any inculcated belief, and, as is my mantra, the unexamined belief is not worth believing.

My evolution from Christianity to reason can be found on my blog at http://earthsshadow.blogspot.com/

Max

Anonymous said...

Wow Hobbes,

Why do you care what others believe? If you are just complexified goo, then what rational/logical basis do you have for believing your own thoughts and their accuracy?

Reorganized chemicals thinking rationally... sure buddy.

Just a rational thought for you...

Oops!

BTW- Talk Origins is for the easily deceived... it's what they ARE NOT saying that is of critical importance.

Tim McGhee said...

Max,

Reviving an old thread here...

"I know this is difficult for you to understand, but the Bible is not worth believing, because I have to suspend reason to believe it."

Is it possible that you're determining the value of something (the Bible) exclusively by the value of something else (your reasoning ability)?

Is it possible there are things outside the realm of our experience that may speak to the value of those words contained in the Bible?

For instance, let's take Noah as an example. He was building a boat in the middle of the desert. He had to suspend his reasoning ability for this to to work. It didn't make any sense based on what he understood at the time, though his faith (which included a significant financial investment) was not in vain.

"I value my intellectual integrity above any inculcated belief, and, as is my mantra, the unexamined belief is not worth believing."

Is it possible to believe in something bigger than we are? It seems you're arguing it is not: If we cannot examine something in full, it cannot be fully examined, and therefore, by definition, reason must be suspended in order to believe it.

If we can only worship a god who is as small as us, would that god be worth worshiping?

Tim
12,054 days

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