jtrhart

Posts Tagged ‘creation’

Why I Am A Young-Earth Kinda Guy

In travel on March 24, 2008 at 8:05 pm

My wife and I took a few hours this week and went down to the Museum of Natural History in D.C. They have a new butterfly exhibit that Libby wanted to see and I’ll take any chance I can get to think more about evolution/creation. Butterflies have created quite the stir lately given one genus’ particular mating habits that seem to reinforce the idea/theory/fact of natural selection. So I assumed this exhibit was in-place to help create more buzz about this research. And it was.

T-Rex

First off, museums need to create more modular exhibits and their accompanied text. It’s unfortunate with the speed of things today that museums are months or years behind current research, I found people actually crossing things out with a permanent marker because something on a plaque was incorrect. Other than that museums are wonderful places to get an up-close, 3D look at things. There’s only so much a computer screen can really tell you. So just a quick note, if you are like me and haven’t been to a museum in a long time, go spend a Saturday at one.

Steg

Two major schools of thought exist today in Christian circles. Some call themselves young-earth creationists, others would label themselves old-earth creationists. One group sticks to a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2 and say everything was created in six 24-hour days and, given the recorded genealogies we have in the Bible, would say the earth is around 5000-6000 years old. The other says Genesis 1-2 should be read poetically and that the time period of God’s creation was very long, thus accounting for the scientific research stating that the earth is about 4.6 billion years old. Within both of these groups there are all types of differing ideas on evolution and man’s beginnings. Both sides would hold fast to their high-view of the Word of God and the truth that God created all things no matter what process He used to get there.

display

I hold to a young-earth creation viewpoint only because I haven’t been convinced otherwise. Old-earth creationism has too many gray areas that haven’t been answered yet for me. For instance:

Gen 1:7then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature…15The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it…But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

I don’t know how to read that poetically. If man evolved from more primitive forms of modern-day humans, at which point in the evolution did God say “this one is the first one”? Paul said we all sinned in Adam, did all the other creatures before Adam sin or is Romans 3:23 incorrect? Adam is found in genealogies (Genesis 5, Luke 3) which tells me that we are not to interpret Adam as being mankind but as a particular individual. Even more so, Paul says Adam is a type of Christ, we certainly can’t say that mankind is a type of Christ, it must be an individual otherwise we all become a type of Christ.

You might say there are too many gray areas in young-earth thought but those seem to be gray areas when viewed from the ever-changing state of current science. Where did the dinosaurs come from? What about the look/feel of the earth? it looks old. What about the bones of primitive man we’ve found? I don’t have any answers to these questions that don’t refute what I believe to be a correct interpretation of Genesis 1-2 so therefore I continue in my young-earth beliefs.

Where are you on this issue? Is it even an issue for you? I would love to hear from those who consider themselves old-earth folks on this.

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Grand Canyon Dating

In news on March 20, 2008 at 8:17 am

Grand CanyonA buddy of mine sent me an article in the Washington Post about recent thinking in how old the Grand Canyon (the one in Arizona not the one in Pennsylvania in case you were confused) is. The article states that there is debate as to whether the pothole-relative-from-space is 5 million years old or 17 million years old. No doubt this makes a difference because when you find objects at different sediment levels, you date them relative to the age of the sediment you found them in and each sediment is dated based on its surroundings. So, the actual age of the Grand Canyon will have some effect on these ages. Nowhere in the article do you find any discussion of “creationism” or any such derivatives, this article is purely informative from a scientific viewpoint and does not attempt to crush any debates, which is a great compliment to the reporter.

Then I read the readers’ comments.

The very first comment on the article was this:

Hey, I thought the Grand Canyon is only a few thousand years old because it was formed during the Great Flood!

At least that’s what a minister once told me. Perhaps he was wrong?

The first one! I kept reading, they’re all the same. Everyone wanted to mock young-earth creationism. This is instantly on the minds of a lot of people, myself included from the other perspective, when they read through any article related to dinosaurs, evolution, geological ages, etc. Why is this? Why do people skip over the content of the article and head directly to the hot topics, the ones that are controversial?

Maybe we can say that deep down, people feel like if they can debunk the truthfulness of the Bible, they don’t have to believe it or the author of it. The Bible says that creation speaks of God’s workmanship and that man has looked upon God’s creation and suppressed the truth that God was the one behind it. So, the burden of proof is not on Christians to defend the creation aspects of the Bible. God has taken this upon Himself.

But, this certainly does not mean that we should give up on pursuing these aspects of study. Christians have been at the forefront of the study of God’s creation (Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Faraday, etc.) for a long time. Without their studies, the world would be lacking in the most basic things we take for granted today (the earth revolving around the sun for example). The study of the sciences and God’s creation should point us to God, never away.

Now it’s your turn to comment. Are Christians the cause of some of this? Have we made too big an issue of creation/evolution and caused that to be a great dividing line? Do you think this is a worthy dividing line?

The Language of God

In news on March 19, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Scot McKnight has a series of posts looking at Francis Collins’ book The Language of God. The posts are well-written and well-researched and the comments add a great deal to the discussion.

Having gained quite a few readers recently, I should say that a link to a post is not always an agreement with a post…

Links and More (Links)

In news on February 22, 2008 at 12:46 am

Rather than just posting one article, here are some articles that I’ve found interesting recently.

33 Things on Evolution and Creation

In news on February 20, 2008 at 5:19 am

Here‘s a good post relating to some of the things dealt with on this blog. Enjoy!

Life's Frigid Beginnings?

In news on February 6, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Walrus

Here is an article from Discover Magazine on the research of Stanley Miller. Miller’s theory of how life began is, very simply put, that it was formed in very cold conditions contrary to other theories that it began under very hot conditions like those found in volcanoes.

I guess my only comment on this article is that I still don’t understand how scientists can say this is how life began, when it’s not how life began, it’s how living organisms came together. For something to have a beginning, it had to have a period of time when it didn’t exist. According to the big bang theory, all matter has always existed, it was just not in the same form as it is now. So, life never really began, it always was, or so the theory says. OK, you say, so aren’t we just arguing over semantics now? Does it really matter what word we use for all this? I believe it does.

For something to have a beginning, it had to have a catalyst, something to change it from what wasn’t to what was. Some modern-day scientists say that all matter existed in a point of infinite density (singularity) and then, all of a sudden, this built up energy was released (the big bang) and this is where all life comes from. There are two well known questions that still remain unanswered by this theory though. The first is, where did this singularity come from? And the second is, what caused it to explode all of a sudden?

An answer to the first question only leaves you stranded at the second. Some say that singularity has always existed, just as we say God has always existed, there never was a time when singularity did not exist. But if this is the answer, you are still left with the question of why did it explode all of a sudden. This is the issue of cause and effect. Every effect has to have a cause associated with it. If a ball is rolling down the street, something had to make it roll. Either I kicked it or the wind blew it or something happened. If singularity has always existed, what was the cause of the effect of its explosion? What force acted on this point of matter to cause it to explode and begin life as we know it? The question cannot be answered without belief in something other than what is known.

The Missing Link; part II

In news on February 4, 2008 at 10:40 pm

A few days ago I posted some information on a recently discovered fossil being called the “missing link” to ancient and modern day crocodiles. Today I found a video of a really odd looking shark found by some fishermen near Japan.

Could it be that these fossils we keep finding aren’t of things that are extinct but are of things that are just difficult to find?

Imagine for a moment that a few thousand years ago the earth was suddenly, within a matter of days, flooded. Creatures in the sea can only survive at their comfortable pressure level. A small fish that hangs out at 10 feet below the surface isn’t going to last very long at 1000 feet because there is more pressure at 1000 feet verses 10 feet.

The Bible says that the tallest mountains were covered during the flood; this could possibly mean that Mt. Everest was covered to its tip in water. So, this would mean that sea level rose 8,850 meters or roughly 29,000 feet! This is a pressure differential of 247 atmospheres at sea level. So, every creature in the sea had to drastically change its habitat within a few days. Either the fish stayed where they knew their food source was and died from the new pressure that all this water caused or they left their habitats and swam upwards where they had to find new sources of food.

This is no small change. The effects that the flood had on this earth are very difficult to spell out. But it is obvious that if an event like this really took place, we would need to drastically rethink how we date fossils based on their sedimentary layer level. The pressure caused by this much of an increase in so short a time are very hard to model and calculate. The earth’s composition and sedimentary layout would have changed significantly if that much weight was suddenly piled upon it. Any thoughts?

The Missing Link

In news on January 31, 2008 at 5:04 pm

missing link to crocodileReuters is reporting on a recent finding by paleontologists in Brazil. They are calling it the “missing link” to the modern-day crocodile. The artist renderings are fantastic, all that detail from some old gray bones.

Let me admit here that I am going out on a limb with this one, so I am asking for comments and criticism on what I am about to say.

First of all, those subscribing to the theory of evolution seem to be far past this idea of a “missing link”. Today’s evolutionist believes that life evolved in very, very small steps. There is disagreement as to how bursty these steps were, some say they were gradual and consistent, others say they occurred in bursts with long lengths of time in between. So the idea that they would find one set of remains that would bridge the awkward gap between animals of noticeably different characteristics is, yes I’m going to do it, extinct. A missing link would basically be some kind of half-way point between a species that has gone through thousands of changes, so what kind of evidence would this provide? You’d need to find another missing link between your current species and your newly discovered species, and then another one after that, and so on. Otherwise, you are just finding remains of different looking animals at different periods in time, you need more than a flipper that is larger than previously found flippers.

But this got me thinking. If life started evolving billions of years ago, shouldn’t we have an overabundance of fossils to prove these theories with? I mean, we should be finding this things every time little Billy tries to dig his way to China. It is difficult for something to fossilize, the conditions need to be almost perfect so I can see how our fossil record would be full of so many gaps. Generally, something needs to die and then be preserved before it decomposes for it to be fossilized. So it is difficult, I realize. But, with the sheer numbers evolutionists are talking about, this shouldn’t matter at all. You need a lot of animals to have lived for evolution to have occurred.

Think of how many species there are today. The theory of evolution says that they all came about through micro-changes in physical characteristics. Your newborn boy may be a more evolved human than you are but you would never know it from looking at him. But over time, some of these characteristics prove to be more useful to a species and that characteristic becomes more common, you can almost think of it as survival of the fittest but not really in a my claw is bigger than yours so I’ll get more food and live kind of way. But for this to happen, you need lots and lots of genes to pick from. Even if remains are only preserved during snapshots of history, it seems like there should be a lot more than there are.

Again, I may be stretching things here so I’m looking for some feedback. Thanks!

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2008 at 7:27 am

evolutionThe NY Times has an article on a new book published by the National Academy of Sciences titled “Science, Evolution, and Creationism“. You can read the book online for free as well, you can sign up to get a PDF version of the book that is much easier to read. Basically, the book gives a brief summary of the evidence for evolution and then spends the majority of its time denouncing so-called creationism. The copyright given in the book seems fairly strict, so I will not quote from the book to back up my claims so please have a look for yourself.

It’s a short book, obviously written at the middle school/high school reading level so it seems to be meant to reach a wide range of audiences. It cites many examples of findings in the fossil record, DNA mutations, dating methods of fossils, geologic research, and astronomic research. No answers are given for the “where did matter first come from?” or “how/why did the Big Bang ever occur in matter which was in a state of equilibrium?” questions so don’t look for them in there.

In summary, this would be a good book to read if you are looking for a quick overview of what the most current theory of evolution states and what the belief of a lot of the scientific community is on the origins of life in the universe. With all of the news on creationism recently, it is understandable why a book like this needed to be written. It is basically a defense of their beliefs written in the same way Christians defend ours when fallacy comes up in church doctrine.

Personally, this book doesn’t provide any new evidence to sway my belief. The account given in Genesis 1 and 2 and the lineage given from Adam to Christ in the gospels is too specific for man to have evolved from another species.

Rapid Human Evolution

In Uncategorized on December 11, 2007 at 2:46 pm

I found an article Reuters has posted on current research into human evolution traits over time. John Hawks out of the University of Wisconsin has been looking into what specific physical traits have evolved in humans over the past few millions of years. I think the article can be summed up as quoted below

The central finding is that human evolution is happening very fast — faster than any of us thought

and, from the article

In fact, people today are genetically more different from people living 5,000 years ago than those humans were different from the Neanderthals who vanished 30,000 years ago

The traits this research focused on were not the physical traits (big forehead, lots of hair, big noses) that we typically think of when we think of the pictures of Neanderthals that saturate our museums and elementary school text books, but rather the less visible ones (ear wax, ability to digest milk, disease resistance, etc.). Therefore, this is not a case against the micro-evolution that most evolutionists hold to today since we are not talking about sweeping changes in human-body structure. But it is interesting to point out that this research seems to imply that the humans we are today came about very rapidly in the past 5,000 years; which is about the age of the earth if you ask someone who believes in a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.

But There Are Still 30,000 Year Old Bones

The question still remains though, if we have human bones from 30,000 years ago we would have to throw out the literal Genesis account of creation, so how do we reconcile this? Let’s look at the method used to date these human remains.

Carbon Dating

Carbon dating will calculate the age of carbon in a specimen based on how much carbon is left when you find it. Since carbon decays at a known rate, you can calculate an age given the current amount found in a specimen. The rate at which carbon decays is based on the amount of C14 in the atmosphere during a specimen’s lifetime. This is where carbon dating breaks down. The amount of C14 in the atmosphere has not been constant over time. For instance, the amount of C14 doubled for a little while during the 1950’s and 1960’s (when atomic weapons testing was done above ground anywhere there was available space). Natural conditions affect the amount of C14 as well; climate changes, solar storms, amount of organic matter existing, etc.

Scientists have attempted to fix this issue by looking at items with known ages and measuring their amount of carbon and then calibrating based on these values. So, as an example, we can take a tree and count its number of rings and determine its age (1 ring = 1 year of life) and measure its carbon quantity and match up the age of the tree and the age of the bone. But again this method relies on a constant ecological environment during the tree’s lifetime. For example, during periods of rapidly changing climates, trees may grow faster or slower and hence would not gain 1 ring per year. Apart from the non-constant growth cycle, you have the bigger problem of taking two objects that did not begin their life-cycle together and attempting to base one’s age on the other’s. Let’s say I date a tree at 20,000 years old and then use that tree’s age to calibrate for a 10,000 year old bone, I cannot just assume that a tree’s previous 10,000 years would not have any effect on it’s aging characteristics for the next 10,000 years. I would have to calibrate using a specimen that began its life at the same time the bone (and whoever it was attached to) did. And even if I could do that, I would only be basing the bone’s age on the tree’s age, but the tree’s age is based on the bone’s age because I had to use a tree that was the same age as the bone’s. And so you have an iterative calculation method without a lot of specimens to choose from (we have about 270 samples which are older than 5,000 years).

The Variable Truth

In the end, what we have is methods which rely on assumptions to determine their results. What if the world flooded 4,000 years ago? Certainly something this massive in scale would throw off a formula which is based on things remaining fairly constant through-out their life-span.